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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.

Keep reading »

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

1 comment

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!

Keep reading »

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

0 comments

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. 

Keep reading »

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

5 comments

What I want

Posted at 15:00 on 5 Oct 2020 by Pandora / Blake

I want a femme daddy. A soft butch top. I want to be nurtured, protected, enveloped in softness.

I want to be spanked soundly, have my hair strokes, and be tucked up in bed.

I want someone I can lean on. Someone who'll say: stay there, I'm coming over. Who will wrap me in a blanket and cook me dinner, massage the knots out of my neck and shoulders.

Right now I'm spending all day in the caregiver role. I work, parent, keep house. I did the physical tasks my partner couldn't do while they were waiting for surgery to resolve their mobility issues, and now I do all the tasks they can't do while they're recovering.  Since lockdown started I've leaned into my strength and endurance, my role as a responsible, reliable, supportive partner and parent.

I'm tired of being load-bearing. I want to be taken care of. I want to be picked up and carried to bed. I want bear hugs and orgasms and cups of tea. I want someone who can hold me in my smallness and vulnerability. I want a big spoon who's into my Little mode, who likes me cute and excitable, who'll lustfully squeeze my bum and kiss me pressed up against the wall. I want a giver with love and energy to spare.

Do I sound ungrateful? My partner is all of these things, when they're well. But chronic pain saps a person. They don't have it to give right now. I try not to complain to them about how their health problems are affecting me. I try to support them and be gentle with them and reassure them it's okay and their needs are valid.

But it does affect me, and I have needs too.

Keep reading »

Tags: dating, dominance & submission, fantasy, pandemic, parenting, polyamory, real life, vulnerability

 

Northern Spanking & ethical spanking porn

Posted at 12:28 on 28 Sep 2020 by Pandora / Blake

I wrote a little while ago about Northern Spanking, one of my favourite spanking sites. They've recently(ish) unveiled a new website that has a lot to offer the online spanking community. It was an honour to be their web designer and make it all happen. I wanted to follow up that post with a closer look at Northern Spanking as a company - who they are, what they do, and why I wish they were still in the UK so I could work with them more.

By the time I appeared on the spanking scene in 2006, Northern Spanking was already well established. They've been going (I think) since the late 90s, and have been pioneers when it comes to ethics, diversity and inclusivity. 

Keep reading »

Tags: ethical porn, Northern Spanking, performers and producers, spanking and bondage porn

1 comment

Diagnosing the secret fetishes of authors

Posted at 15:00 on 21 Sep 2020 by Pandora / Blake

Do you ever read a novel and think, this author is clearly kinky?

I read a lot of sci fi and fantasy. I've started to get quite good at diagnosing the secret fetishes of the author from the way they write. Either these authors are deliberately dropping Easter eggs for like-minded pervs, or they're in the closet and revealing their kink without meaning to.

All stories need conflict. In fantasy in particular there are often very black and white Goodies and Baddies without much moral complexity. The baddies are the ones who conquer, enslave, torture and rape. The goodies are the ones who stop them. Sometimes you get priggish or obstructive goodies, but you rarely get honourable and well-intentioned baddies.

Keep reading »

Tags: BDSM, books, caning, catgirl, corporal punishment, fetish, forced breeding fetish, forced impregnation, furry fetish, incest fetish, mind control, monks, monster cock fetish, monster rape fetish, oh so wrong, punishment, riding crop, scifi & fantasy, sex slave, sexy victims, sexy villains, so very wrong, welts

10 comments

Good boy

Posted at 15:00 on 14 Sep 2020 by Pandora / Blake

I'm bent over the sofa, naked. My lover is punching my arse. Every thump sends deep vibrations echoing through my body. They would be spanking me if they could, but it would wake the baby. Punching is quieter.

This is the first time our little one has napped without being held. They're one year old. During lockdown, without any outside support and with a baby who only sleeps on my body, we've had barely any opportunities for adult play between the two of us.

I've been craving a beating for months. This is the first chance we've had.

Keep reading »

Tags: cunt punching, dominance and submission, Felix, gender, gender euphoria, genderqueer, impact play, kink, non-binary, parenting, play, punch play, trans, transgender

2 comments

A series of data disasters

Posted at 10:06 on 15 Jul 2020 by Pandora / Blake

Meme image: The Count from Sesame Street saying One disk failed! Two disk failed!Shooting porn generates a lot of data.

For years I bought another cheap external USB hard drive every time my storage filled up. I meant to sort out proper backups, but I never got round to it. I had loads of duplicate data on different drives, I couldn't afford the storage to back it all up without de-duping, and I didn't have time to de-dupe.

You can see where this is going.

Keep reading »

Tags: learning curves, personal, technology

30 comments

Northern Spanking's shiny newish website

Posted at 15:00 on 8 Jul 2020 by Pandora / Blake

A while back, the lovely folk over at Northern Spanking released their new website. I've been meaning to blog about it, because, well - I made it! It had been in the works for a few years and was a long journey from start to finish, and it wound up being a project that I'm really proud of. I think the new site offers some things I've not seen as part of a spanking porn website before, and I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you about it.

I built the new site using the same CMS we use over at Dreams of Spanking, so Northern Spanking now share some of its best and most innovative features. Many membership sites have "tour" pages for people who are considering joining, usually rather out of date, but we've both decided to avoid that approach. Northern Spanking, like Dreams, now has fully-integrated free preview versions of every page, allowing you to explore the search and tagging systems and see a preview of any scene you fancy before committing to join. I'm a big fan of this approach, because it lets potential new members get a much better sense of what they’ll get once they’ve paid for their subscription.

Keep reading »

Tags: , ethical porn, Northern Spanking, Performers and producers, Spanking and bondage porn

3 comments

Blake Presents

Posted at 14:15 on 21 May 2020 by Pandora / Blake

Did you know that spanking isn’t the only kind of porn I make? It’s my first love, of course, but it’s not my only kink.

A while back I found myself itching to film some different content and explore some of my other interests on camera. Much of it wouldn’t have been at home on Dreams of Spanking, though - so I opened Blake Presents, a side-project studio focused entirely on doing whatever the hell I like.

Banner for Blake Presents. Blake is a slim white person who is naked in blue water with a small smile on their face and two perky nipples poking out above the water. The words Blake Presents run across their body, just like your hands want to.

Keep reading »

Tags: DIY porn, femdom, kink, masturbation, Nimue Allen, Porn, queer porn, strap-on

11 comments

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