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Yay annual membership!

Posted at 15:00 on 2 Dec 2020 by Pandora / Blake



Patreon has had a spanking new update! Some of you may have seen that they can now facilitate annual membership, paid up front with a tasty discount to give you access to your favourite creators for the whole year ahead. This feature was in beta with selected creators for a time, but it’s been rolled out Patreon-wide which means you can benefit from it!

 

What does this mean for you? Well, that depends. Maybe it suits your finances better to continue paying monthly, and that's totally fine and dandy. For some though, this could be really neat. There’s a fair bunch of you that have been here for years. With the annual membership, you can pay for the entire year in one go and know that you’re set up to enjoy my content without interruption. Not only that, but the annual membership option saves you money! It’s available for every tier, and you get a 16% discount on your membership.  So it’s cheaper, more convenient and entails less work - a win all round!
 

It would be remiss to suggest that the benefits are all on your side. There are also advantages for me as a creator. The first benefit is financial security; by securing funding for the year, I can invest in longer-term projects in the knowledge that the money is there, rather than planning in the short-term. The second is cashflow. As a wise person once said, money now is always better than money later. 
 

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Tags: Patreon, rewards

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November Roundup

Posted at 15:00 on 1 Dec 2020 by Pandora / Blake



It feels like yesterday I was clicking “Publish” on the October Roundup, and here we are again checking in at the end of the month! These roundups are a great opportunity for me to reflect on the past 30 days and remind myself that I actually get quite a lot done in a month.
 

Patreon Posts

My Patreon special offer ended on November 6th and it has been great getting to know all the new patrons on the team. A lot of this month’s content features chapters cut from my manuscript that you get to devour instead. 

Keep reading »

Tags: November, roundup, update

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Celebrating 500 Patreon Posts!

Posted at 15:00 on 24 Nov 2020 by Pandora / Blake

It’s hard to believe it, but I now have over 500 on my Patreon! I actually hit this milestone a few weeks ago and in all the chaos of life it passed me by. To be precise, this will be my 512th post to Patreon since I started in April 2016. We’ve been on a rollercoaster of activist causes, legal battles and kinky fun, and I don't intend to stop any time soon. Here’s a highlight reel of some of my favourite moments over the last four years.
 

April 2016 - Did a week of research and sent a ten thousand word response to the Government consultation on age verification - as long as my MPhil thesis!
 

June 2016 - Gave interviews to dozens of publications including The Guardian and The Independent about winning my legal appeal, and Ofcom’s ruling to allow my porn site Dreams of Spanking, to reopen after being criminalised the previous year.
 

Keep reading »

Tags: book, campaigning, media, Patreon, round-up

1 comment

How the word "kinky" helps tackle BDSM stigma

Posted at 09:50 on 18 Nov 2020 by Pandora / Blake

As I'm revising my manuscript, I'm cutting out the sections that don't quite fit and posting them here. Become a Patron to get access to cut sections about my personal kink, and excerpts from what I'm keeping.

 


The word ‘kinky’ is a useful one. It sounds reassuringly harmless: playful, quirky and unthreatening. It’s my preferred term when I’m discussing my fetishes with people who don’t share them. (We can move on to the question of whether or not we want to reclaim ‘pervert’ later.)
 

I never imagined I’d talk about my kinks outside of my close-knit fetish community - let alone write a book about them. It’s an endless source of surprise to me that I find myself doing this.

 

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Tags: advocacy, BDSM, book, cut section, fetish, freedom of expression, kink, sex, sex positivity, sexual freedom, sexual liberty, sexuality

9 comments

5 Ways to Build Trust

Posted at 16:00 on 9 Nov 2020 by Pandora / Blake

As my patrons know, I've just moved house, and am now living in an amazing community with friends. Forming this community has been a powerful experience. It happened surprisingly quickly, from realising during the March lockdown that none of us wanted to live in isolation again, to moving in together at the end of September. In between were five months of weekly Zoom calls, two in-person socially distanced park meets, and some of the richest group work I've ever done. It's transformed the entire way I think about relating. 
 

Several of us have previous experience of attempting to form a community like this, myself included. It turns out that if you want to make it work, you have to do the work - both within yourself, and with the group. We've taken our learnings from our personal experience, from self-development work and our studies into how to form high-functioning relationships, and evolved an organic process which seems to be working really well for us. It's challenging, but so worth it.
 

I've identified five key principles which I think are absolutely essential if you want to build trust and connectedness with people, that will withstand all the difficult things that come up in our lives. In this post I'm going to share them with you, and I hope you find them useful.
 

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Tags: communication, community, power, relationships, trust, vulnerability

10 comments

Three Reasons To Become A Patron

Posted at 15:25 on 2 Nov 2020 by eilidh

If you are a patron of my writing and activism, thank you for your support. This post isn't for you. You're welcome to stay and read on, but today I'm talking to non-patrons.
 

Hello, reader who is not a patron! I hope you've enjoyed my public posts. Perhaps you've come here from pandorablake.com, or maybe from my Twitter or a recommendation from a friend. Either way, you're here reading this post and I appreciate it! I'd like to tell you a little bit more about what's going on here on my Patreon. Why do people subscribe, what brings them here, and what keeps them here?
 

1. Be part of something
 

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Tags: activism, Patreon, patron, support, writing

7 comments

October Roundup

Posted at 15:00 on 31 Oct 2020 by eilidh

                        

 

What a month it has been! I packed up and moved house which was an overwhelming experience. Now that the dust has settled and I’ve been able to get back to work, let’s have a look at what we’ve been up to in October.

Patreon Posts

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Tags: October, roundup, update

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BIPOC reading list: Girl, Woman, Other

Posted at 15:00 on 26 Oct 2020 by eilidh

I’m having fun writing book reviews here. It's a great way to connect with you and share some of the reading that stays with me.
So far I've only posted about non-fiction. I shared my top takeaways about ‘White Fragility’, I recently wrote about three books about communication, and I’m percolating my thoughts on two other items from my antiracist reading list, ‘Why I No Longer Talk To White People About Race’ and ‘White Supremacy and Me’, for upcoming posts.
But I've also been reading a lot of fiction. Some of it has been pure indulgence - and some of it has educated me, moved me, and changed my perspective on social issues.
Fiction is a comfort and a joy. It's one of the few pieces of self-care that fits into my current hectic schedule, and I cherish breastfeeding for the opportunity it gives me to recharge by getting engrossed in a good book.
Over the last five years or so I’ve been intentionally reading fiction by women and non-binary authors, which works really well for me - but over the last couple of years I've come to terms with the whiteness of my library, and have started to seek out more fiction by BIPOC writers.
I can't call this part of the "work" of antiracism, but if I'm going to be reading anyway, why not take the opportunity to expand my horizons and increase my empathy and understanding of the lives of people with different experiences than my own? It's barely a fraction of the work required to dismantle white supremacy, but supporting and promoting BIPOC authors and opening my mind and heart to what they have to say is far better than a whites-only literary diet.
So welcome to the first post in a series of book reviews of fiction written by BIPOC women and non-binary authors.
I’m kicking off with 'Girl, Woman, Other’ by Bernadine Evaristo. It's ranking high on lists and charts at the moment and I'm not surprised. I’ve never read a novel like it. 
 


 

As much as I’m almost tempted to just say “PLEASE go and read this groundbreaking, heartbreaking book immediately oh my god”, I’m aware that isn’t much of a review, so here's just some of the things that struck me about it.
Every chapter is a snapshot of someone’s life. The narrative voice is like a stream of consciousness; we’re taken inside the minds of our protagonists, shown their thoughts and impressions at a specific moment in time. Of course, nobody could be expected to understand your experience without understanding a great deal else about you and your history, so each  chapter is also a potted life story.
None of us stand alone, and we are all interconnected. As well as reverberating through time, the story also connects across social networks, weaving together a big picture that shows the same events from different perspectives. The troubles of a child are seen first through their own eyes, then those of their parent, then via a teacher or friend. Each retelling unwinds layers of nuance and meaning that creates a richness more detailed, complex and humane than most books are able to offer. It shows us how differently the same events can be internalised by different people, and reminds us that every single person we meet has as deep and complex an inner world as we do ourselves.
This is a book about the choices we make, and the thinking that goes into those choices. It’s about relationships, and love, and betrayal. It's about parenting and growing up; it's about being an immigrant, being black, being poor. It's about growing up working class and then going to Oxford and joining the middle classes, and all the complex layers of feeling that throws up. It’s about working hard for your Economics PhD in Nigeria and then coming to London and having to work as a taxi driver. It's about marrying someone whose life experiences have been wildly different to your own, and raising children in a cultural background that is not yours.
It’s about belonging, coming out, assimilation, acceptance and rejection.
It’s about a middle-aged lesbian who works in theatre, lives in London in a polyamorous triad and is a single parent. It’s about the feminist culture wars: the generation gap between the women liberated by second-wave gender theory and younger feminists rooted in intersectionality and trans activism. It’s about a working class non-binary kid from the north of England who isn’t politically active and doesn’t know all the fancy words we’ve made up, but who falls in love online and gradually figures out who they are. It's about rape and domestic violence, and the different ways we process out trauma and discover our boundaries. There's a content warning for sexual abuse, childhood abandonment and child death.
Not all of the characters are likable, but they’re all comprehensible. People you disagree with, people you may be prejudiced against: they're all introduced compassionately, as whole entire people with their own traumas,  concerns and rationalities. 
The story ripples backwards through time. The opening chapters are set in 2019, and each story then delves further into the past, via the ancestors and mentors of the younger characters, until we're reading the story of a mixed race person in the north of England in the late 1800s: and that history sheds new light on events in the present.

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Tags: anti-racism, BIPOC authors, books, reviews

2 comments

A Special Announcement

Posted at 15:00 on 25 Oct 2020 by Pandora / Blake

I'm so excited about this news I'm jiggling in my seat! Hold onto your hats (or whatever other part you want) because I've got a very special announcement to make.
As I've been unpacking my stuff in the new house, I've found a box of sexy postcards featuring some of my favourite photography prints from my work over the last decade.  I want to send them to my favourite people - you!
I'm immensely grateful for your belief in my work, your support for my activism and for all the writing I've been able to do this year thanks to you. I want to treat all my Patrons with a handwritten personalised postcard to say thanks!
I'm offering this for a limited time only, from now until Friday 6th November. Anyone who is a patron pledging $5 or more on 6th November will receive a postcard in the mail written by me personally, tucked into a discreet plain envelope.
This is also a super exciting moment though, because I've just got some lovely designs made for a t-shirt. I've been thinking about this all year and I'm thrilled that it's finally happening. I wanted to create a design expressing my political values that I can wear when I'm out and about, and that you can wear too! It's been fun thinking of possible slogans, and I've settled on a Love Heart style design with the words SHAME LESS. 
It's available in three colourways - they're based on the Kink Pride (red, purple and black), Bi Pride (pink, purple and blue) and Trans Pride (blue, white and pink) flags. They're subtle enough that you won't be outing yourself if you don't want to, and they're suitable for shameless allies to wear too! As well as choosing your SHAME LESS colour palette, you also get to choose the size and colour of the t-shirt, produced ethically and responsibly from 185gsm cotton.
Patrons who are at Advocate level (or above) will not only receive a post card, but will also get one of these new t-shirts. Become a cheerleader for yourself and others, supporting my activism against shame culture!

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Tags: Patreon, reward, shame resilience, special offer, t-shirt

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No, you can't shoot your documentary on my porn set

Posted at 15:00 on 19 Oct 2020 by Pandora / Blake

Image is from Oh Joy Sex Toy, who are definitely not who this post is aimed at.

Over the years many journalists, television producers and documentary makers have wanted to talk to me about my work in the sex industry. In the past I did my best to give them the benefit of the doubt. I’ve spent hours on the phone giving interviews, I’ve helped producers sort out venues and performers for documentary work, I’ve sent backstage content for TV companies to use. I believe strongly in demystifying and destigmatising sex work, and I’ve tried to help when I can.

But I've reached a point where I'm extremely wary when it comes to my dealings with the mainstream media. And I've never once said yes to one of their most common requests: to shoot a behind-the-scenes documentary about ethical pornography on a set where I am the director. 

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Tags: documentary, ethical porn, media, porn, rant

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