Q&A with Comedian Ros Ballinger

IGTK fringe posterOnce upon a time (like, somewhere last year, I think), a grumpy, short-arsed and bespectacled blogger Twitter-met a gloriously funny, curly-haired comedian. Thus, a wonderful friendship was born.

Ros Ballinger is a comedian and slam poet, and this August she’ll be taking her show The Idiot’s Guide to Kink to the Edinburgh Fringe. In the show, she talks openly about her own experiences with BDSM as a beginner – spanking etiquette, dirty talk pitfalls, doms to avoid; no subject is off limits. Except PVC. She’s not into that.

I talked to Ros and quizzed her about her beginnings, what drives her, and why you should come and see her show if you’re headed to the Fringe.

How did you get into stand-up comedy?
Stand-up was the culmination of a number of years of escalating creativity and loudness alongside it.  I’d been writing for a long time, and as part of my undergrad degree; writing led to sharing work in public, which led to reading it out loud in public, which led to performance poetry (which I still do), which led to trying improv – something I was never adapt at but which gave me the confidence to act like a complete fool on stage and rid myself of any inhibitions I had left.  It’s hard to be self-conscious about much when you’ve pretended to be two inches tall and dangling from someone’s nostril hair.  Through improv, I met stand-up comedians connected to my university, and they encouraged me to try stand-up; the first time I ever workshopped material with them, they laughed – and that was the gateway, the first time I ever thought ‘I can do this, I’m good at this.’  I did my first stand-up set, and it was wonderful, and the rest is history.   

Did you always love performing or was it something that grew on you?
When you see pictures of me in my poetry-reading days, I’m sat down, my body language is very shy, I’m physically curled in on myself.  I’ve never been particularly shy but it look a long time to be able to stand in front of people and have to rely on my own intuition to get them on my side without my legs shaking and wanting to throw up – and that’s still the case, sometimes.  The nerves never go away, which is a good thing; they keep you on your nerves, and challenge you.  I can always be better, but I feel much more at ease on stage than I was at the beginning – that moment when they all laugh, and they’re all looking at you, wondering what you’ll do next – it’s very addictive, and very powerful.

Who are your inspirations?
I have a particular admiration for female performers who are unapologetically silly, imperfect and filthy – women are placed to a much higher standard in how they present themselves, both privately and on stage, and I aspire to be someone who does not give a shit about looking like a complete idiot despite constantly being under the threat of judgment for being ‘unfeminine’ or ‘unclassy’.  

On the ‘mainstream’ side I’m a big fan of Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, both together and separately, and I love Sarah Millican and Josie Long, and Grace Petrie.  Amongst performers I know personally, I really look up to Jackie Hagan, Cameryn Moore, the ladies of Sh!t Theatre, and fellow filth peddler Jenny May Morgan(/Pamela de Menthe.)

And, of course, Girl on the Net.  If it wasn’t for her and her writing, I don’t think I’d be doing this at all.

How did your show, The Idiot’s Guide to Kink, see the light?
I got into stand-up and kink around the same time, so I was developing my style and types of jokes, and exploring a new dimension to my sex life, and they ended up being interlinked in a big way – I was meeting more and more dominant men and building up experiences, and the more general mishaps and inherent silliness in S&M I was encountering, the more I was realizing that not only did it have the capacity to be really hilarious, but that I wasn’t seeing any other comedians cover the subject a great deal.  There was a niche, there, and it was really worth exploring.  The show developed to an hour which has been done in various forms at, amongst other places, the Camden Fringe and Greater Manchester Fringes.    

What’s your favourite part of the show?
When the audience is responsive, things get incredibly fun – I love when they react in horror/surprise/fascination to the various sex toys I bring out during the show, and I always love introducing the Doxy into the mix and enlightening the otherwise uninitiated.  My comedy life and sex life seem to intertwine a tad, because the moments I often find most satisfying are when I humiliate myself in front of a mixed crowd, in action or in anecdote.  I must be a masochist. No idea where that came from…

What do you get up to when you’re not talking kink on stage?
I do a lot of slam poetry as well, which takes me across the north, and I go and watch a lot of performance both at the professional and the localized level.  I’ve been going to more kink events recently and I’m aiming to go to more munches and get back into the ‘scene’ in Manchester.  Beyond that, I desperately trawl for men on dating apps, eat a lot of pasta, and spend time with my baby niece, whose birth I’ve already co-opted for comedy.  Poor thing.

What has been your favourite/funniest/weirdest on-stage experience so far?
There’s been a few – the woman who yelled “PINWHEEL!” in an involuntary, I’ve-just-revealed-my-sex-life way when I held one up during a show (whom I proceeded to take the piss out of for the rest of the show), the other, I imagine, drunk woman who thought it was a toothbrush, the reaction I always get when I inform unsuspecting audience members what you can use ginger for (which prompted my favourite ever heckle from a horrified friend, who simply shouted, “WHY?!”), the gig I had last week where I held up a vibrator to a microphone and accidentally fucked it to death, the performance at Eroticon where I had to tailor the show to an audience of experts and, definitely the weirdest – the time my dad came to see the show.  The show where I wave sex toys around and talk about dirty talk and spanking.  His reaction was to essentially tell me it was hilarious, then never mention it again.  If I can do that, you can do anything.

This is your first time performing at the Fringe – tell us why people should come and watch the show.
I feel I have a uniqueness to offer to audiences in what I talk about – although kink is spoken about freely by the sex positive community; by bloggers, toy-makers, sex work advocates, I don’t think it’s been given a decent airing by stand-up comedians, and the feedback I’ve had from audiences is that they enjoy hearing about it on stage, and enjoy engaging with it in a relaxed, non-academic way.  It is a shame it’s such a niche subject in that medium, but I do enjoy being known for that, and having a reputation as being fairly shameless.  People enjoy the show and come out energized and discussing BDSM more in-depth and openly than they might normally have done.  It’s always a lovely atmosphere, and at 10pm each night, what better way to warm up for a night out?

Plus, as mentioned, my dad is coming on the Saturday, so I’ll need a massive audience as a buffer so I don’t accidentally make eye contact with him. 

What does the future hold for you? Where else can people catch you performing in the next couple of months?

My immediate future beyond the Fringe will involve a vast amount of sleeping and adjustment to normal life again – beyond that, I hope to focus on getting back into stand-up not focused around my show, and will be doing my usual circulation of the brilliant regular spoken word nights and poetry slams across Manchester and all of the north.  If you like filth, I’ll also be doing a spot at Cameryn Moore’s brilliant Smut Slam at the Fringe on 9th August, and have just signed up to perform at an event next year which I’m sure many of the kink/sex positive community will know about and be popping along to.  Watch this space…

Get your tickets to The Idiot’s Guide to Kink at the Edinburgh Fringe here. Follow Ros on Twitter at @hurricane_ros

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Whack Be Nimble – My Interview With Christian Madsen

Mads. In case you were wondering what he looks like.

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I’d like to say that my following guest and I have a long and smoke-filled history together, but I would be blatantly lying in your lovely faces. Christian Madsen and I met through mutual friends who I met through mutual friends. I soon learned that he is not only very knowledgeable about the porn industry, but is also a fucking awesome dude with an eye for talent. So I found it only natural to drag his Danish arse to my blog for an interview.

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Introduce yourself to my readers, and tell them all why you’re a cool cat.

My name is Christian Madsen, I’m Danish (sort of), I’m a man’s man, a self-taught intellectual, newly appointed editor-in-chief of the smut rag Whackmagazine, struggling mainstream freelance screenwriter/journalist/essayist and citizen of the world, I belong to no tribe.

How did you get started in writing?

I’ve always written, ever since grade school. I use to write these very, very long essays back then about wizards, knights and elves. Eventually my teacher had enough of reading twenty-five pages of it, and she made limits as to how much we could write.

It’s sort of weird how I got into writing, because I’m not a very good speller, I’ve always struggled with English and Danish. I actually couldn’t even read until the 4th or 5th grade I think (?). I think one of the reasons I like writing, is because I love stories – all stories. I love hearing them and I love telling them, nothing beats a good story.

Right out of school I started doing a lot of poetry – I was all about the beatnik generation at that point – everything I wrote had a sensual, sexual rhythm to it, a jazzy vibe. But for some reason, that just died out for me.

It wasn’t until 2008 that I really, seriously, sat down and committed myself to writing and trying to make a living out of it. I wanted to be a big time Hollywood screenwriter.

How did you get started writing about sex and porn?

I was trying to make it as a screenwriter in Denmark, but I wasn’t really having much success with it. I was making enough to get by, but not much more and it really wasn’t going anywhere I felt. At them same time I was getting into reading all these adult blogs, such as: ZZinsider, Peeperz, Fleshbot, Whackmagazine and Pop Porn. I thought to myself “hey, that could be fun!” – So I started doing some writing on my tumblr (story-lab.tumblr.com) and I got some really good feedback on it, better feedback than I have ever had on my mainstream stuff in Danish. It really overwhelmed me and took me by surprise the way people (both outside and inside the adult industry) liked my writing! That gave a lust for writing for something bigger and more established. So I began mailing articles and interviews out to the different blogs out on the internet highway. In December 2011 Whackmagazine brought me on board.

What fascinates you about sex and the porn industry?

I’ve always been fascinated by pop-culture and sub-culture, and by sex (who isn’t?!). To me, porn is very much both pop-culture and sub-culture, as in; everybody watches porn, it’s popular, but also hush-hush. At the same time, it’s this closed of section of the entertainment industry where the rest of us are looking in, but not getting to be a part of it. To me that makes it a sub-culture.

The other thing I like about porn, or should I say the people in porn is – they have great stories to tell. Sometimes it’s hard to get these stories out of people, but once you get them – oh my god! It’s amazing what they have to tell.

Apart from editing Whack Magazine, what are your other writing gigs?

Adult blogs – I’ve written for Porn Dot Com, ZZinsider, Fleshbot, Darling House and Story-Lab (my own site). I’ve also written some mainstream stuff but that’s all in Danish.

What was the coolest thing you’ve done in the business so far?

Oh man! Good question. I’m really proud of the piece I did on Katie West on Fleshbot (http://straight.fleshbot.com/5922355/in-praise-of-katie-west)

My first article on ZZinsider (http://www.zzinsider.com/blogs/view/neutral_grounds_why_sex_is_better_in_a_hotel)

for WHACK! I think my best work are Violet+Rye interview (http://www.whackmagazine.com/2012/01/19/violet-rye-%E2%80%94-%E2%80%9Cwe-take-photos-make-videos-and-share-stories-it%E2%80%99s-fucking-fun-so-why-not-do-it%E2%80%9D/)

Joshua Darling interview (http://www.whackmagazine.com/2012/04/20/joshua-darling-%E2%80%94-%E2%80%9Cdarling-house-is-a-virtual-and-real-time-salon-of-artists-personalities-and-adventures-cultivating-a-new-erotic-movement-%E2%80%9D/)

Sovereign Syre interview part 1 (http://www.whackmagazine.com/2012/06/12/factory-grrrl-v2-0-%E2%80%94-a-conversation-with-sovereign-syre-part-1/) and part 2 (http://www.whackmagazine.com/2012/06/19/factory-grrrl-v2-0-%E2%80%94-a-conversation-with-sovereign-syre-part-2/)

There are so many cool things I’ve written on Whack, I can’t even remember them? Go check out this list and you can find all my WHACK! work there http://www.whackmagazine.com/author/christian-madsen/

How did you get to be friends with Sovereign Syre and the likes?

I don’t know if we’re friends? But I happened to notice her through a piece ZZinsider did like a year ago. From there I found Darling House, Joshua Darling and the rest of the gang. I really liked what they were doing and we just found some common ground I guess? The magic of the internet and twitter.

Your tweets do sometimes paint a vivid picture of your lifestyle. Are you really that much of a libertine?

Yes, I have an addictive personality and rarely do I constrain myself when it comes to love, sex, food, alcohol or anything else. I’m 100%  all in or nothing at all. That’s not to say I don’t have any morales or belief in anything, I consider myself a very idealistic person (ironically I hate idealism) and a very moral person. But I don’t go by what other people or society thinks might be right or wrong, I couldn’t care less about that and them. I do what’s right for me and the people in my life, without hurting anybody. I truly and deeply believe in the words “do on to others, as you would have them do on to you” if the world lived by these words, we would all be okay.

What is the main thing you have learned from dating a porn scholar?

I have a really huge and beautiful penis, and I’m the worlds greatest lover (laughing). No, she’s amazing, I feel so comfortable, relaxed and free with her. But what have I learned? That Brazilian women are intoxicating – they get you drunk and high on lust, life, intellect and love.

 

What kind of porn do you prefer?

Hard to answer actually, because some porn I just like to watch. With other porn I want to get my masturbator on. If we’re talking about getting off – I really like Tonight’s Girlfriend, The RAW series from Manuel Ferrara, Czech Streets, Cum Louder, Elegant Angel – that’s just at the top of my head.

What misconceptions are there about the industry and can you dispel them for us?

There’s too many misconceptions out there, too many to get started on here. Most of them are true actually, but not true in such a large scale as people think. The same kind of shit that goes down in mainstream, goes down in adult. The only difference is – that in porn you’re dealing with sex and it’s out in open, which it isn’t in mainstream.

I think people should stop trying to fix porn and maybe look towards mainstream modelling, because that is really a fucked up industry! There isn’t any fifty year old porn producer, banging a fourteen year old girl on his yacht in Cannes – while girl is high on coke. There is in modelling, more than one in fact.

If your house was on fire and you only got to save one porn flick, which one would you save?

Wasteland by Graham Travis, produced by Elegant Angel.

Who do you admire? Which one of your peers do you support/look up to/try to emulate?

I can’t name a single person, but I love Richardson Magazine – I try to emulate what they are doing and I look up to them. I support Darling House and Whackmagazine. And maybe Sasha Grey? She gets a lot of shit these days from porn peeps, but I like her.

Tell me anything you want to tell me. Something that I absolutely need to know?

The internet is real, there is no such thing as “it’s just Twitter or Facebook”.

What’s your stance on the music of ABBA?

I don’t like them, but I can pretend I do, if there’s a chance of getting laid.

What’s your favourite local thing to eat?

Pork roast with red cabbage, sugar potatoes, white potatoes and brown sauce. Classic Danish Christmas dinner, like mom makes it!

If you were to give up your job as a writer for anything else in the world, what would that be?

I would be a photographer.

And finally, do you have a message for the readers of Lady Laid Bare?

Flip the world the bird and walk away laughing.

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And I think that is excellent advice to end on….

Thanks to Christian Madsen for granting me the interview and for being a massive supporter of this blog. If you’re curious about his work, please don’t hesitate to visit the sites linked to in the interview. Or go bother Mads on Twitter, where he is @Chris_Madsen.

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Porn The Brave ~ Sophie Delancey Part Two

source ~ Tumblr, Formido

 

Great, you’re here! Which means that you must have had your interests piqued by my interview with the lovely Sophie Delancey last night. As promised, this is part two. Sophie and I discuss the shift of styles in pornography, how she met Camille and Mike and what the future holds for the Beautiful Porn revolution.

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Jillian: Okay, we left off at the conclusion that there is a market out there for what you guys do.

Sophie: Yes indeed

Jillian: Which I for one am very pleased with.

Sophie: As am I. Otherwise my job would cease to be.

Jillian: And that would in turn be detrimental to the porn world because they would be stuck in the same loop as they have been for years. Your job has made a change.

Sophie: For sure. I think that there are eras of porn that you can look back on and you can see the shifts. Just not all shifts have been great for the audience. I’m not saying that porn in the 70s was any better, but the direct to video/web model made adult filmmaking lose some of its lustre.

Jillian: When do you think that the shift towards the current model of pornography happened?

Sophie: Probably gradually in the 90s. I’m not a big porn historian, but I guess as distribution became easier and our appetite for porn grew, there was less competition for the few screening opportunities and it became more about getting something, anything, out there.

Jillian: Am I right in thinking there was also a shift in the tastes of the audience?

Sophie: Possibly. People started being able to get away with more, so they ran with it. I’m not saying it got out of control, but there was kind of a runaway train effect that has spiralled in the last decade or two.

Jillian: A kind of blurring of the boundaries, if you will.

Sophie: Mostly I just think that it came at the expense of the process of creating something erotic. Anything that gets too formulaic suffers from a detachment from its original intention. Porn isn’t just about showing sex, it’s ideally about making people feel it. That makes me sound all new-agey, but you know.

Jillian: I get what you’re saying. Tell me more about the history of beautiful porn. Where did it all start?

Sophie: I think it’s fair to say that it’s the marriage of erotica and more explicit sex.

There are varying degrees of explicitness and of glamour, but it’s the idea of playing with and tweaking the aesthetics and the devotion to the way sex is conveyed.

Andrew Blake is a good example of someone who played around with that, leaning mostly less explicit and more glam.

While I do find his work very beautiful, beautiful porn that tweaks it more the other way feels more authentic to my own sexuality.

I’m not speaking for everyone.

I think that glam quality can read as fabricated because it is, and that’s not a bad thing.

I’m not often pristine in super expensive silk gloves during sex and I’m not alone in that.

When Camille does something more glam, it looks like a girlfriend dressing up to feel sexy, not like a model on a film set.

That realism is the missing ingredient in a lot of porn for me.

Jillian: I completely concur.

And I know a lot of my friends would too.

Sophie: I think there’s a way to make that realism shine through when shooting non-couples, too. Queer porn is good at that. A lot of it comes down to styling and not interfering too much as a director. Using real homes instead of McMansions, letting people wear what they’d normally wear, letting people have the kind of sex they would actually have…

Jillian: Exactly. When the director interferes and calls out instructions, it loses its naturale. Real sex, basically.

Sophie: It’s so weird that it’s so rare in porn. Real sex can be awesome to watch.

Jillian: And as you say, queer porn has got that down.

Sophie: I know that if I’m watching something by Shine Louise Houston or Courtney Trouble, there’s going to be a moment where I directly connect with what they’re doing. That doesn’t happen when I watch most mainstream porn.

Jillian: There’s a disconnect.

Sophie: I think that comes down to genuine passion.

Jillian: With things directed by people like Shine Louise, you know it’s from the heart.

Sophie: It’s the reason people love James Deen.

He just loves what he does. He’s like a big puppy.

If you’re that full of joy, it’s contagious.

Jillian: For mainstream, James is a godsend.

Sophie: Love makes that easiest to convey, so people like Mike and Camille or Lilyanne and Max have it in the bag naturally.

I guess queer porn has a ton of joy because sex can be such a huge part of queerness and it’s thought about so much.

There’s so much permission to be creative and enjoy yourself in queer porn.

For mainstream, it comes down to the people involved.

If you’re making porn because it’s what you desperately love and you’re an engaging person, you’re going to come across that way.

If this is your fifth scene of the day and you’re over it, that’s going to come across too, and it seems like mainstream porn culture mostly churns out that kind of content.

Jillian: Because that’s what generates the big money.

Sophie: Exactly.

It’s a machine. That’s no way to have sex. (Except I guess with Fucking Machines.)

Jillian: Well, that’s true. Can I veer off into another topic and ask how you met and got to working with Camille?

Sophie: Craigslist! How all sexy adventures begin.

Jillian: Really?!

Sophie: Yessir. I had just finished school and I was looking for a job. I had always been a sex nerd, so I was unphased when I saw their listing looking for someone to work in adult. Once I saw the reel, I was even more convinced. We met up, clicked perfectly and my first day was that Monday.

Jillian: And history was made.

Sophie: It fell into place pretty perfectly.

Jillian: It shows. You make a wonderful team together.

And then Lilyanne and Max came into play. What was your goal with them?

Sophie: We’re not out scouting for couples, but we do want to expand into sharing our way of making porn with others. We met up with them to discuss their interest in making a site and helped them to make the site, create an image and make really beautiful porn that reflected themselves.

The goal is just to get more beautiful porn out there.

Jillian: What can we do to help the cause?

Sophie: More couples finding ways to make the porn they want to see is great. For that to happen, we need to reduce the stigma about making porn, so more education to create openness about sexuality is essential. It goes back pretty far.

Jillian: Would you say this interview is a step in the right direction?

Sophie: Yes. If everyone talked about the potential in porn, we’d have more people get that spark of interest on some level, even if just insofar as being a little more open to the idea that porn doesn’t have to be awful.

Jillian: So it’s a case of spreading the word.

Sophie: Getting everybody talking about beautiful porn would do a world of good.

Jillian: I hope that I have sparked interest in my readers to check out your projects!

Lastly, perhaps a little hint of what’s in the future? Apart from the super secret project?

Sophie: We’re hoping to continue developing new sites to get more beautiful porn out there and to reach into lots of adult and mainstream sources to get more people talking about it.

Jillian: What would be the ultimate goal?

Sophie: For porn to be destigmatized and much more varied in its offerings.

Jillian: And that is a good goal to work towards. Sophie Delancey, thank you very much for this interview!

Sophie: Thank you, Jilly Boyd!

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Thanks again to Sophie for agreeing to do this interview. You have been lovely.

Go to The Art of Blowjob for a taste of Camille and Mike’s work.

Or go to Slow Motion Blowjob for a taste of Camille and Mike’s work in slow motion!

To see Lilyanne and Max at work, go to Pornographic Love and follow their sex explorations.

 

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Porn The Beautiful ~ An Interview with Sophie Delancey

Camille Crimson in action. Courtesy of The Art of Blowjob dot com

When I first discovered Art of Blowjob, and in turn, Camille Crimson, I was amazed. I had stumbled upon the sexy goldmine that is Beautiful Porn. Camille is, by coincidence, also a very lovely person, and has supported my endeavors from the moment I first met her. I am a massive supporter of beautiful, smart and sexy porn, and am absolutely delighted to spend some words on the phenomenon. In the future, you can expect some words from Camille herself and from Lilyanne Bloom, of Pornographic Love fame.

But today, we start this ish off with someone I absolutely love to bits. Her name is Sophie Delancey, and she is one-third of the Art of Blowjob team. In this interview (which will most likely be continued in the next few days, so expect a part two!), she talks to me about Beautiful Porn, working with Camille and how porn is changing one step at a time. Transcribed from a Google Chat earlier in the evening.
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Jillian: So, would you please introduce yourself to my readers, lovely lady?

Sophie: I’m Sophie Delancey. I’m a PR and Marketing coordinator for a fabulous group of websites devoted to making beautiful porn. I get to work especially in developing exactly what that means and how it’s portrayed, and I get to focus specifically on the business side of how best to make that concept clear and increasingly popular.

Jillian: Sounds absolutely smashing!

Sophie: It really is.

Jillian: What are you working on right now?

Sophie: A big new sneaky project that I can’t divulge yet. But it’ll be huge.

Jillian: Ooooerrr, that sounds exciting!

Sophie: We’re also working on another Hustler DVD and a few other as of yet top-secret projects.

Jillian: Tell me about Art of Blowjob and how you got to working with Camille Crimson.

Sophie: The Art of Blowjob is amazing porn. It’s revolutionary in that it’s the first site devoted to the portrayal of blowjobs as something artistic and enjoyable for both parties. I’ve always been into blowjobs myself, and I really didn’t like the flippant disregard almost all porn had for something that was such an integral part of my sex life.

Jillian: Blowjobs are usually portrayed in a very stand-offish way, aren’t they? Like the giver isn’t actually enjoying it.

Sophie: There’s something so blase about it. Very much going through the motions Then there’s the flip side with blowjob sites with really rough and often degrading blowjobs. That’s sort of a grey area for me on a personal level. I find that type of thing hot in my own sex life, given the proper context and understanding of respect and consent and all that.

It’s almost never presented that way in porn and it makes all porn like that seem iffy on how much the performers are actually enjoying themselves, which is a deal-breaker for me.

So it’s extremely nice to have something like The Art of Blowjob where there is substantial focus on blowjobs, but there’s nothing about you that either wants them to just get it over with or makes you cringe as she gags.

Beside the basic elements of blowjob porn, it’s stunningly crafted. The way it’s shot is legitimately cinematic and yet not unapproachably glamorous.

Jillian: I absolutely love the style in which the clips are shot.

Sophie: We like to toss around the term “aspirational”, which sounds a little Martha Stewart-y, but kind of fits. It’s porn that you can aspire to and realistically achieve in your own life.

Jillian : Exactly.

Sophie: I think that’s part of the anger that a lot of porn viewers have about traditional porn. They’re aroused, but there’s also a feeling that they’ll never get to live that, so it’s an unfulfilling experience in some ways.

The conversation momentarily shifts to personal matters, which I am not going to transcribe for the sake of your precious eyes. But eventually, we talk about how Camille Crimson’s personal style of giving blowjobs proves to be an inspiration for many.

Sophie : But yeah, Camille is awesome both as a skilled blowjob queen and a human being, so it’s great getting to work with her.

Jillian: I love that Mike (Mike Flirt, Camille’s partner, blowjob receiver and camera whiz)  is clearly into all of this too.

Sophie: Oh, absolutely. He is also wonderful and his camera skills are just out of this world. I’ve been lucky enough to get to help them shoot a couple of times and it’s been a revelation. They are always alone to preserve the intimacy, but I’ve helped out a handful of times to try different techniques and see what works.

Jillian: I imagine you do learn from watching the way they work and gel together on the scene.

Sophie: They’re seamless. It’s like clockwork how the set up, get connected, start shooting, take down and go to lunch. It’s not a business feeling, but there’s a great effortless rhythm.

Jillian: Which is important in intimate productions like this, of course.

Sophie: Exactly. They’re really in tune with each other, which translates perfectly in their videos.

Jillian: It totally works and it is a joy to watch.

Sophie: That’s what porn should be. I don’t want to watch something that makes me feel bad after. I don’t want to watch something where I have to overlook stylistic elements or obvious fakeness to get off… I just want hot but normal people enjoying themselves and making me feel like I’m a part of it.

Jillian: You and me both, Sophie.

Sophie: It’s weird that it seems to be such a tall order for porn.

Jillian: Porn is a very mass-produced thing, it seems.

Sophie: It is. That’s why it’s so great to work for a small company. Everyone is personally invested in this. We have a real mission to revolutionize porn and make it something real and beautiful. When I tell people what I do, there are tremendously off-base preconceived notions, but by the time I fully explain what we’re about, it’s almost like a rallying cry.

Jillian: Don’t you feel annoyed that you need to explain the entire concept of what you do every time you tell someone?

Sophie: Yes, but the nice thing is that I’m able to blow someone’s mind and make them think differently about sexuality every time. But really, the times, they are a-changin’. Porn has shifted into a place where there is a little more emphasis put on aesthetics, feminism, respect… I’m not saying it’s by any means perfect yet, but as someone who follows the industry every day, it’s a world of difference from where it was even when I started, which is 2 and a half years ago.

Jillian: What with things like Make Love Not Porn arriving on the scene, it does look like small steps are being taken towards a bigger goal.

Sophie: For sure. I’m interested to see what ends up happening with that. Even big companies like Manwin have sites like Babes.com now, which is much more glam than anything that had been coming from them before.

Jillian: It’s because there’s been an outcry for better production values and actual storylines.

Sophie: I’m not sure that big companies can get the full experience of beautiful porn out there, but it’s a sign of the shift that they’re trying. It’s even just awesome that Hustler is putting out our DVDs. Having such a mainstream company want to invest in high-quality respectful porn is a really big deal.

Jillian: I have massive respect for Hustler for putting out your DVDs.

Sophie: It really bumped them up in my books. They’ve always been risk-takers, but it’s cool to see them take a risk in such an unconventional direction for mainstream porn.

Jillian: It’s a step in the right direction.

Sophie: These things move at a glacial pace, but there’s time. By that, I mean anything related to sex. We’re still so backwards.

Jillian: In writing this blog and learning how the world stands towards sex these days, I’ve been appalled a good few times.

Sophie: I’m routinely shocked, but I’m also routinely pleased. Beautiful porn is making inroads and we’re privy to a whole lot of positive feedback, much of which is heart-warming. It’s always nice when we forward around comments and e-mails to each other that brighten our days and strengthen our resolve.

Jillian: It shows that there is a market out there for what you guys do.

Sophie: An ever-growing market of people who are gobsmacked to find out that porn can make them feel good both in their genitals and in their lives.

Jillian: And that’s exactly the way it should go.

Sophie: It’s the best feeling.

 

~

Thank you to Sophie for willing to be grilled by me. There is most likely going to be a part two.

Go to The Art of Blowjob for a taste of Camille and Mike’s work.

Or go to Slow Motion Blowjob for a taste of Camille and Mike’s work in slow motion!

To see Lilyanne and Max at work, go to Pornographic Love and follow their sex explorations.

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