Bassline Junkie – The Eroticon Diaries – Deux

I don’t need no speed, no
I don’t need no heroin, no thanks
I don’t want no coke
You can keep your ketamine
I’m a bassline junkie, what?

*Dizzee Rascal – Bassline Junkie*

Welcome to day one of Eroticon 2013, or day two for the people who attended the little shindig at the Novotel the previous night. This included ILB and I, of course.

We arrived at Waterloo early, and therefore arrived at the venue way too early. As we stood outside, while the preparations inside blazed on, more people joined us. Rebel, wearing possibly the shortest skirt and highest heels known to man, tottered into view along with her husband. We were soon joined by Rose, Ian and a bunch of other people. At one point, the sight of about seven or eight erotica writing mavens (lead expertly by Lucy Felthouse and Victoria Blisse) arriving at the same time had me in internal giggles. The fact that all of them promptly left again to go get food at the nearest Costa was equally funny.

Eventually, we were allowed in and were fitted with our shag bags (gift bags for the smuttily inclined) and badges. Immediately there was a reason for a small panic in regards to ILB’s badge, but he found a very clever way to solve the mistake made. Still…

As we mass-attacked the coffee and tea, people started to flood in. Hugs were handed out, business cards were at the ready.

Eventually, it was time for the opening plenary, for which we filed into the Max Nasatyr (or as Kristina Lloyd dubbed it, the “Max Nasty”) room.

Opening plenary – Brook/FPA- XES- We Can’t Go Backwards

After Ruby’s housekeeping announcements, it was time for the opening to our conference. We were introduced to the XES – We Can’t Go Backwards campaign, which you can read about on the Brook website.

It’s a very noble cause, and I urge you to contribute in any way you can (I’ve asked Alison from Brook if I could possibly become a volunteer, and I was told they are needed). But it was a very heavy way to open a conference about writing sex. Still, very good cause and we need to help make the change Brook and FPA are striving for, lest we indeed go totally backwards.

Creative Writing 1 – Kristina Lloyd

Now this lady, I like.

I am embarrassed to admit that, although I know of Kristina and have the infamous Asking For Trouble in my book collection, I have never read a spat of what she has written. That didn’t stop me from admiring her hugely and therefore, I was keen to hear what she would bring to the table in her session.

I am pleased to say I did not have a disappoint.

In the run up to Eroticon, I noticed a tweet from her saying that “her sex machine” was ready to go. And indeed it was, her sex machine being an Excel spreadsheet, with blocks in many different colours. We were asked to fill in each block with various things that made no sense at first. Example.

Name four things that sparkle –

  • Glitter
  • Musical theatre
  • Diamanté
  • Ballroom dresses

Yes, this is where my head went.

But it was incredibly helpful and inspiring, weirdly enough. Kristina covered a lot in her 45 minutes and I left with a renewed zest for the written word. And, by my side, an ILB who has promised to write more erotic fiction. I think that’s a big tick, non?

Editing/Let’s Eat, Pussy – Cressida Downing

Upon arriving in the room, we were presented with THIS THING THAT CAN NOT BE UNSEEN.

eatingkitty

It set the tone for one of the most hilarious sessions I attended, as Cressida explained the what’s and what-nots of editing your work. Interspersed with some choice… ehm… yeah, snippets of godawful erotica, she elaborated on the mistakes, the forms of editing and what you need to think about when you’re writing. Cressida was amazing, full of natural dry wit (my favourite, don’t cha know) and love for her profession. When I ran into her later on, she seemed absolutely lovely, despite being stricken by a lurgy (as were most of the delegates, it seems). Very awesome session, this.

Creative Writing – Eroticism and Romanticism- Remittance Girl

Holy hellfire was this ever a session to make you think. RG had A LOT to say and it was hard to take it all in at first, but having had a few days to let it simmer (and the advantage of having her own notes to look over) I have to say that it all made sense in that way that RG makes things make sense. The first time I met her, she took me out to Pizza Express, down the road from my hostel. I came away from that night with a wisdom that isn’t much bestowed on someone who was that green behind the ears at the time.

Same here. Although I don’t always agree with what she says, her presentation made me want to insert slivers of transgression into my work. I’d like to be a bit more edgy in my writing, although not as edgy as RG and her peers are. This helped. A lot.

Pitching To Publishers – Hazel Cushion

I have to say that I kinda wish they had invited more representatives from different publishers to be present at this session. Not that Hazel isn’t a capable speaker (she totally is), but I would have liked to have gotten more points of view. My own editor was in the audience, sitting right behind me, and I would have loved to have heard her points of view.

Having said that, I loved this session. Hazel is incredibly funny and knows what her company wants. She explained the absolute no-no’s of sending in a manuscript, what Xcite is looking for and how fast the story needs to take the editor in if you want it to be chosen.

Erotic Podcasting – Sam Sparrow and Lea Rice (The High Tea Cast)

Okay.

I am absolutely biased to the tits about these girls (I LOVE THEM), so I will keep it short. It was a very lively and colourful session, and made me want to get experimenting with audio. Also, it made me never want to go to The Hummingbird Bakery again. Also, lollipops!

After the last session, Ruby closed us off by talking about how sex bloggers should grow up with our blogs. And I can’t agree more.

Later in the evening, the readings we missed out on last year would take place at a bar in Kennington. But between this and that, there was my personal highlight of the whole shebang.

Dinner with the gang.

Lady Pandorah, ILB, Blacksilk, me and Emma Whispers, sat at a table in a hotel, eating and shooting the shit, realizing full well that we don’t get to see each other often and that the next time we see each other as the full group could be months away. It made me wistful, and later in the night, during the readings (titled Aural Sex, which is ace) I had a very funny turn, which caused me oodles of horror in my head. Nevertheless, the readings were ace. KD Grace taught us that sex on a Harley is perfectly do-able, Ashley Lister Sr. (because there were two) regaled us with anecdotes about swinging and blow up dolls, Janine Ashbless made troll sex less icky and Kristina Lloyd made anal the new black.

Thus ended day one.

Part three tomorrow.

 

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Burn/Afterburn ~ The Eroticon Diaries- Un

Are you ready for this?
Have you come adequately prepared for this?
Did you consider that this might be something you’d have to plan for?

* Tim Minchin – Ready For This*

I am never ready for this.

Of course, I was raring to go on Friday night, after a week filled with anticipation, pain, fatigue and death. I wanted to go out and get to Molly’s drinks thing as fast as.

We went out for dinner at what has to be the poshest Nando’s there is. Somewhere between rushing in from the cold and feeling the burn of the spicy chicken on my tongue, excitement set in the pit of my belly. Excitement and pure, burning angst. Last year, Eroticon made me feel like a tiny fish in… like the biggest fucking ocean you could think of. Seriously, I was that unprepared for all the things I would learn.

But that didn’t quite matter at the moment.

What mattered was seeing our gang again. Rose was present, tall and smoulderingly dangerous (as always). She had followed my instructions to bring stroopwafels over from the continent and presented us with four bags of the buggers. And yes, I’m still munching away at them. I even gave some to two semi-drunk dudes on the tube who were most amused. Everyone should eat stroopwafels *and wear sunscreen.

But enough about my blatant stroopwafel-related agenda.

Marie Rebelle and her husband (both spoke Dutch, to my excitement) were also present, which was wonderful because I’d never met either of them. Remittance Girl and Harper were there, radiant and ever-knowledgeable. Of course, Molly and Dom were overseeing the proceedings, as they did last year (when about twelve of us ended up at Bella Italia at ten at night). Molly looked every inch the Molly she is, wearing sparkly hotpants, as you do. Ian Jade (the new kid in town) who I became mates with last year, was also there, with longer hair and a kind of weariness that I couldn’t place. He’s on the Twitters now, after being pushed into it with mild persuasion by… well, all of us.

But fuck.
Fuck, was it ever lovely to see the gang again.
I already mentioned Rose, but I had equal delight in meeting Emma Whispers, who is lovely and, yeah, fucking sexy to boot. Lady Pandorah turned up looking worn out from late nights at work, and eventually Blacksilk found her way to our meet-up. We chatted for a hundred years, about things like TS3’s (tall-short-threesomes, courtesy of Tease Matt), life in general and what we were planning that weekend.
It wasn’t a very good sign that most of our gang (including me) looked about ready to heave…
After we finally made it home that night, I had trouble sleeping, both from being ill and overly excited for the two next days.
And then the alarm went off. 6.30, Saturday morning. Game time.
Part two follows tomorrow.
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Eroticon 2013 – Towards A New Landscape

(Note – It’s been pointed out to me that there were indeed more male bloggers and writers present than I assumed. Which is great news! But I still stand by my words and hope that, next year, even more men will show up. And I would like to thank the likes of DomSigns, Mario from Someone Once Told Me, Justin Hancock, Guy New York (who wasn’t there physically but still managed to do his sessions via Google Hangouts) and every other wonderful dude who attended for attending and being awesome. You guys ROCK.)

It’s officially The Day After Eroticon 2013 Weekend. Now, I’m not a fan of day afters, especially days after a particularly excellent weekend. When we finally got home yesterday, I felt like I was going to collapse in a heap of dead Lady. But this morning, I feel alive. I feel more creatively alive than I have ever been, and that is due to the fact that I learned so much this weekend. I am raring to go into the next year (between this and Eroticon 2014) with more ambition and inspiration than ever before. Of course, there will be low moments where I will want to never get out of my bed again, but you take those moments and live them until they have worn their course and you can move on to the next good thing.

Anyway.

One of the things I was looking forward to this weekend was hearing businesswoman and founder of MakeLoveNotPorn, Cindy Gallop, closing the conference. She did that incredibly well, and I was very pleased that she took the time out for us to do so (in fact, I really hope she comes over to the UK for next year’s edition). Now, I am a shameless fangirl when it comes to her. I think that she has a fresh look on the landscape of pornography and, to put it in a way she might agree with, knows her shit. I ate her words up like the stroopwafels Rose gave me at the start of the weekend.

But then this morning I woke up, having processed her words. And I felt that there was some case for arguing. I do not mean ill on Ms Gallop, but I do want to address some things she said in her plenary.

At a certain point, she asked if she could make the assumption that the crowd was evenly split, gender-wise. I looked around, but already knew the answer. Cindy then went on to say that all industries are dominated by men at the top. We should harness the power of women and let gender diversity drive innovation. Women challenge the status quo because “we are never it”. A 50/50 gender divide is the future of porn and sex. There is a huge amount of money to be made from taking women seriously.

(note – The bits in Italics are quoted verbatim from my trusty notebook)

I genuinely agree with all of that. It is incredibly disheartening to see so few women at the top of major companies, in life as in porn. The power of a female voice should be harnessed because we have a hell of a lot to bring to the table.

My problem, however, is that the right words were pitched at entirely the wrong audience.

As I said, when I looked over the audience in the Max Nasatyr room that afternoon, I knew the answer to her question. The audience at Eroticon is predominantly female. It was last year and it was this year and it will probably be so in the years to come if change doesn’t happen.

Sex writing, erotica writing, sex work, sex education,… the people that are willing to have some visibility among the community are mostly female. I of course did not get the chance to speak to everyone I wanted to speak to, but I’m willing to bet that the only active male sex blogger in the building was coincidentally the one I share my life and bed with. Similarly, Justin Hancock, of BishUK, was one of the few, if not only male sex educators in the building. The rest appeared to be (and correct me if this wasn’t so) interested spouses, the odd speaker and a collection of journalists.

What I am trying to say (and I hope I said it well) is that the sex writing/sex work business seems to be one of the very few businesses dominated by women. Which I applaud with all my heart because God knows….

But I think that Cindy’s words should be take into mind (albeit the other way around, gender-wise). Why are there so few male sex writers/workers/educators speaking out about their job? Why are there not more male sex bloggers? I mean, I do know a couple but that pales in comparison to all the women I know who are out there, being proud about their sexuality online.

Maybe it relates to the point that was made in the Sex and The Media session. There are not enough privileged white, straight men willing to come out for their sexuality (be it in a safe anonymous environment online or in real life). They have a responsibility to speak up, because minorities speaking up have a lot more to lose than they do.

Or maybe it doesn’t.

Either way, I absolutely lament this fact. Men have shit to say about sex too. They do not all have the same standpoint (that of a sexist, anti-feminist,…) that the media is more than willing to attribute to them. The men I know are smart fuckers, in both ways. They have Things To Say and they have their own completely valid points of view. Not all men are shits.

If we can reach that 50-50 equality that Cindy talked about, with more men going into sex ed/writing/and the likes, maybe the sex writing industry can be one of the few industries that has a perfect gender balance.

I’m not saying this will happen. I’m not saying that we can indeed blow the spectrum open and change the entire world through sex. But what I am saying is that it is my humble wish for more men to speak out. Maybe next year, we can have a whole bunch of ass-kicking men in the Max Nasatyr room, speaking about how they are going to rock the world.

If you don’t agree with my views, that is absolutely fine. These are, after all, my personal views, written on a Monday morning after one of the busiest and most exhausting weekends of my life. But I hope that you may find some sliver of agreement in here. Feel free to challenge me, but please do it in a polite way.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have writing to do.

xoxo

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Eroticon 2013 Meet and Greet

Eager beavers have noticed that it’s now officially less than a month until Eroticon 2013 descends on London.

I bloody loved Eroticon last year. It was such a positive day in my life and I learned a hell of a lot (I keep my notebook with my notes from that day close by). This year, the action is spread over two days, so double the fun. Which means it’s time to reintroduce myself, because double the people.

~

Name: Jillian E. Boyd

Twitter id: @JillyBoyd

Must attend Eroticon 2013 session: Sex And the Media with Zoe Margolis and Nichi Hodgson, all of the Sex Ed panels, Pitching to Publishers with Hazel Cushion, the podcasting session with The High Tea Cast… (I quite like all of them, to be honest….)

Bloggers you’d like to be trapped in the lift with: Emily Dubberly, Lori Smith, Zoe Margolis.

Erotic writer you’d like to write dramatize your life story: KD Grace! I’d totally let her magic up my life story.

Expected biggest fangirl / fanboy moment: Toss-up between Rachel Kramer Bussel on the anthologies panel and Cindy Gallop doing the closing plenary.

What keeps you awake at nights? Insomnia.
See who else is coming to Eroticon 2013 in the Meet & Greet link up

 

And now to finish on a random pic. And yes, that is the Actual Tom Baker.

 

 

 

 

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