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after the masquerade

Posted at 19:14 on 2 Jun 2009 by Pandora / Blake

A few years ago I got hold of a large, gold-covered Taschen paperback. Taschen isn't the most prestigious brand, but they introduced me to a lot of my favourite art growing up (and enabled me to discover fetish photography at a tender age, thanks to the ease with which you could buy books of classic photographs of lingerie and corsetry from budget bookshops).

This volume was called 1000 Nudes, and compiled the photography collection of Uwe Scheid. I started flicking through it on the train, looking for out-of-copyright nude studies I could use as inspiration for erotic paintings. I was astonished - and delighted - to discover a handful of spanking photos dating from the late 19th and early 20th century.

I marked all the pages with post-its, scanned them all, and have been posting them on and off to this blog ever since. This is the last one.



This photo fascinates me for a number of reasons. The composition seems a little artificial, but that just adds to the sense of theatrical mystery that surrounds the scene. The anonymous masked tormentors, the elegant furniture - it all suggests that the scene is taking place at a rather debauched evening revel - or after it.

I absolutely love the hopeless expression and limp posture of the spankee. Has she drunk too much after-dinner sherry, causing her to allow her captors such shocking liberties? Has she been blackmailed, or overpowered? Is this the first time this has happened, or is she doomed to suffer again and again at the hands of her vicious acquaintances? I like to think that her will to escape has been broken, and she's resigned to enduring her fate. She's physically pinioned by the lady straddling her waist, but she isn't attempting to struggle: she's already given up. Her bottom is as yet unmarked; one wonders what power is being wielded over her that makes her so readily accept her own helplessness.

And because I am ever predictable, I can't let this pass without mentioning the bloomers. A full Victorian evening gown, disarrayed to uncover a froth of white undergarments, untied and loosened to reveal a smooth-skinned, shapely, vulnerable bottom. Perfectly framed for a thrashing.

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Tags: Fantasies, other pictures, Victoriana, Vintage

6 comments

sleepyhead

Posted at 21:27 on 3 Jun 2009 by Pandora / Blake

I woke up this morning with a stinking cold. I'm snuffling and aching and hiding under the duvet with my cat, trying to sleep as much as possible.



I'll be back in a couple of days: right now I just need to rest.

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Tags: admin, Photos

8 comments

Ludwig behind the scenes

Posted at 19:05 on 9 Jun 2009 by Pandora / Blake

Thanks for all your good wishes. I'm still feeling under the weather, but have been back at work since yesterday - and have to do extra days to make up the time I took off sick, unless I want to lose three days' pay. The joys of freelancing! Throw in a missing portable hard drive containing a load of recent work, and a three-day tube strike this week (making my five days of commuting to random places in London even more hellish) and you can see that I'm not having the best of weeks. I'm exhausted, resentful and feeling thoroughly sorry for myself. So I'm sorry if it takes me a little longer to get back to regular blogging.

In the meantime, Ludwig has written the second half of his account of the shoot we did together in March for SM Circus. Two months late, but hey, I haven't managed to finish my writeup either, so it's lucky for me he's so dedicated.



He had so much to say he had to split it into two new posts, so I guess that makes it a post of three halves. The first is Back in the Arena, and the second is called Pets, Bullwhips and Russian Roulette. Enjoy!

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Tags: pet play, Photos, SM Circus

5 comments

half a spoon of sugar

Posted at 21:11 on 10 Jun 2009 by Pandora / Blake

You may wonder how Stephen Lewis manages to organise his crazy schedule, flying all over the world to interrupt hot lesbian action and spank the bottoms of deserving girls. Northern Spanking has just revealed his secret: Caroline Grey, the top PA who works around the clock taking his bookings, organising international conferences, and making his tea just the way he likes it.



Of course - it's always a woman doing all the real work behind the scenes. Sadly for poor Caroline, Mr Lewis is a bully anal-retentive meanyhead perfectionist with exacting standards. Despite her sterling work organising the Japanese conference to perfection, he takes her to task for the crime of putting half a spoon too much sugar in his tea.



I can sort of see Mr Lewis' point of view to some extent - tea is, after all, sacred. But I know if I was as awesome as Caroline and I'd worked that hard, I'd want to be cut some slack. Which is kind of why it's hot.



This is Caroline's first appearance on Northern, and having read her reactions to the shoot I'm desperate to see the rest of the material. I wonder if Lucy accepts bribes for accelerating the update schedule?

Luckily for me, the jetsetting Ms Grey is visiting London next week, and I get to meet her in person, along with her sister in pervery, Graham! Which is, I think, even better than getting to see the rest of her spanking films, although given I can keep the films and I don't think I'll be allowed to keep her, I'm glad I get to do both.

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Tags: Caroline Grey, Northern Spanking, other pictures, Stephen Lewis

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corporal experimentation

Posted at 16:25 on 16 Jun 2009 by Pandora / Blake

We are keeping Caroline under observation. Upon meeting her we discovered that she is so awesome she must be, on some level, fictional. We are detaining her in my flat until we can be sure that she won't cease to exist once we return her to cyberspace. Various tests are being conducted to measure her level of corporeality.



So far we have ascertained that she is capable of consuming food, wine and other intoxicants, and responds positively to pain stimuli. We will keep you informed of our progress.

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Tags: Caroline Grey, other pictures

8 comments

apparently stoicism is infectious...

Posted at 21:34 on 18 Jun 2009 by Pandora / Blake

For the last few months, I've been working two days a week in the same office as my kinky friend J. Tuesday was my last day at that contract, and I was glad to have someone to moan at when I took my seat at the desk next to his.

"Ow, ow, fucking ow," I grimaced, just loud enough for J to overhear. He grinned at me. I winced. My bottom felt like one enormous blister waiting to pop. I sat down gingerly, half-expecting the swollen skin to split as I put weight on it. The tube journey into work had been a misery, and I was glad J was there. Having a domly friend on hand to cheerfully enjoy my suffering made it much easier to bear.

As soon as we had a moment alone, he flashed a sly smile and asked, "So! Who were you shooting with at the weekend?"

I blinked a bit before replying. "Not shooting playing. Last night." He blinked back at me. I laughed. "I know! Not often I scene this hard for fun. I haven't been this bruised from a private play session in years. It's brilliant."

Here's the photo I took that morning, in the work toilets like the classy lady I am:

My bottom the morning after.

--

It started in the pub on Saturday, when Tom and I met Caroline and Graham Grey for the first time. They are both very like their virtual selves, although Graham hadn't let on how cute she was (very.) Caroline in particular is someone I've felt a real connection to since we started talking online, and I was delighted that we clicked in person. Good job too, as I'd offered her my flat to crash in for the few days she was in London: I'm the most territorial person in the world, so this was a big deal for me, but it was lovely having her around.

The four of us drank and talked and laughed and gossiped and talked and drank, and Caroline and I swapped tales of our misspent youth (I like to think I'm still misspending mine) and embarrassing poor Graham by talking loudly about spanking where everyone could hear. Originally we had planned to reconvene on Monday night for a playdate, once we'd all got to know each other, and Graham had had her baptism of fire at the Lowewood school day on Sunday. But (thanks to a series of hilariously implausible events) she told us she couldn't make it on Monday night after all.

I didn't want Graham to miss out, so we flirted with the idea of playing that evening instead. But we'd all only just met and Caroline and I were both feeling tired, and Graham seemed hesitant, so I was reluctant to push it. At which point Caroline made the genius suggestion that we just head back to my place and just dress up in school uniform, and see what happened next.

So that's what we did! Graham was unbelievably adorable in white kneesocks and matching tartan tie and alice band, and Caroline made an unfairly cute netball player in her gym kit. I was declared a "sweet little convent girl" by Caroline in my grey cardigan and pleated skirt, but I felt a bit like I was cheating because it didn't match their navy blues.

No spanking resulted that evening, but that was fine. It was fun, and it was really lovely to get to spend some time with both girls.

By the time I saw Caroline again on Monday night, she'd had her Lowewood day and I'd been back at work. She was an absolute angel while I was out I got home to find the groceries bought for dinner and my washing brought in before the heavens opened. And I was astonished by how comfortable it felt having her around. Normally I'm an antisocial wreck when I get in from work, but we just fell straight back into nattering, drinking tea, talking about Lowewood and picking up where we'd left off on Saturday night with swapping life stories.

Tom arrived; we stuffed ourselves on fajitas and wine; Caroline and I got a major case of the giggles. We were having such a good time just hanging out that I couldn't work out how to segue neatly into playing, but I was determined to take advantage of Caroline while she was here, so in the end I just came right out with it, in my usual shamelessly blunt fashion. "Are we going to play, then?"

Not the most graceful of openings, perhaps. Tom had me pull down my jeans and go over his lap for a warm up. The spanking was slow and felt good, but I was fretting a bit about Caroline, who was sitting and watching. I hoped this wasn't weird. Usually, if I'm playing with new partners there's some sort of theatre to the event a planned scene or roleplay. I felt awkward going straight from sitting chatting to spanking without any psychodrama. Of course I'm Tom's sub, and he reminded me of that, but I held back from sinking full into a D/s atmosphere - I didn't want to exclude Caroline.

By the time it was her turn for a warm up, my worries had been partly spanked out of me, and then I had her spanking to distract me. I very quickly realised that Caroline is:

1. unbelievably gorgeous.
2. really quiet when she's playing.
3. way more hardcore than I am.

It was weird and amazing to watch. At first her lack of reaction made me think she wasn't into it, but pretty soon it became clear she was just signalling that she needed it harder. So she got it harder, and she still wasn't yelling, but when a stoic sub starts to kick you know you've really got to her, and it's all the more precious.

We took turns to bend over the pillows in the centre of the bed while the other girl kept count and held the victim's hands. It was a quiet scene - not much fuss or dialogue, just the slow, inexorable rhythm of the strokes. I had my first taste of the rubber singletail I bought at Boundcon, which is a horrible thing with a real sting in the tip, far weightier than you'd think to look at it. We both got the martinet and the tawse. Caroline took an incredibly heavy flogging with the martinet that made my heart pound in my throat. The next day her right cheek was covered in that distinctive stippled bruising.

We played and we played and we played. There was the inevitable Tour of the Canes, starting in the middle and working up to the Master dragon cane by Chopper. I think it went 18, 24, 36, 48; and they were hard, hard enough to break my skin and my resolve, if Caroline hadn't been there. Tom paced it slow, and the deeper we went the more attuned I became to her responses. It wasn't that the pain wasn't making an impact on her: she was zoned into her own world, absorbing it, and processing it internally. Her quiet focus was infectious and I found myself responding more and more the same way. I was still yelping and wriggling in the way that is natural to me, but her calmness was soothing. I started to breathe through the strokes, taking far more of them without a cry than I ever normally would unbidden. Instead of finding expression in my voice, each impact blazed inside me, magnified in the echo chamber of my body.

Her count was very steady, but she held my wrists tightly, stroked my hands and my hair, cradled my head in her arms and clung to me as I struggled with the harder strokes. Her response to my pain was much more expressive than her response to her own. One of the reasons I tried to be brave was so as not to worry her. The atmosphere was quiet and intense. I was focussed wholly on her, on her little flutters of dismay as I cried out in pain, on the fragrant dark of her hair and breath. The softness of her hands contrasted with the fierce pain of the caning, and made it easier to bear. Whenever a particularly harsh stroke made me jump, she caressed and kissed and comforted me until my breath came back, and I was ready for the next.

Caroline after her caning

I felt so connected to her. It was wonderful. But I was also interested to realise that I felt most connected to her during my own canings; during hers I was much more attuned to Tom. I think he set that up deliberately. I held her wrists tightly, remembering how hot I find it to be pinned down. She barely made a sound as the strokes slammed into her, but I felt like the energy of each impact jolted through her body and into mine, up through my arms and out of my mouth as I spoke the count aloud. I was counting to Tom, for Tom, addressing each "thankyou, Sir" sincerely and respectfully to him. For the whole of her second caning I fixed my eyes on him, his face and his body, his controlled power.

During the rest I held her and kissed her hair, drinking in the sight of her body, the savageness with which she was whipped. I appreciated her beating with a sensual, sadistic enjoyment.

Caroline after her caning

The most interesting thing is that we weren't competing. One of the things we'd clicked over online was our shared competitiveness and exhibitionism, how much easier pain is to take with an audience. But that evening, there wasn't a shadow of jealousy or oneupmanship. We were just in tune.

Towards the end, I remember laughing and commenting that this was no good, I could never take this much when she wasn't here - and after this I was worried Tom was going to expect it regularly. Sharing energy with a third person, especially when you're discovering a new intimacy with them, completely changes the flavour of a scene. Tom was able to take me further that night than he's taken me in years. He's reassured me and I'm not seriously afraid that he's going to expect the impossible. In fact, I think it's good for us to deepen our connection through opening it to others; to know that this place is still there, if we can find a way of reaching it. Maybe it will be easier for him to take me further next time; each encounter fuelling the next one, reinforcing the pathways. In the meantime, I have the prettiest marks I've had since shooting with Pain4Fem in January. And some wonderful memories.

Me after my caning

Me after my caning

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Tags: Caroline Grey, dominance and submission, J, kink, other pictures, Photos, Thomas Cameron

7 comments

to play or not to play?

Posted at 20:27 on 19 Jun 2009 by Pandora / Blake

One of these days I will stop trying to cram umpteen million things into every week and actually have time to be the faithful and diligent blogger I aspire to. I haven't finished writing about this week yet, let alone BoundCon; nor I have written the synopses or titles for the Roué films (sorry, Dave); nor written about seeing Waiting for Godot on Wednesday (it was excellent, but not terribly kinky, so perhaps there's not much to tell).

This is because since Caroline left on Wednesday and I landed back in reality with a harsh bump (which my sore arse did not appreciate one bit) I have been ludicrously busy. Things occupying my attention have included:

  • going in to work like a good officemonkey;

  • worrying about my financial future now that one - and possibly both - of my ongoing contracts are coming to an end;

  • reassuring D. I still love him (this involved dressing up in a tartan miniskirt and white kneesocks, and allowing him to fuck me until I scream. No complaints here!);

  • concocting outrageous plans to go into business with D. and take over the world;

  • running around like a headless chicken frantically trying to organise the outdoor project I'm running next week.

Yep, it's that time of year again: this time tomorrow I'll be journeying out of the city and into Nature, which I love like a true masochist, despite its habit of mercilessly raping my face in showers of pollen bukkake on summer mornings. Once there I intend to camp and make Art and definitely not get stoned, of course not, what kind of layabout drug-addled hippy do you take me for.

(Sorry. All this running-around sourcing art supplies and herding my team of layabout drug-addled hippies may have left me slightly manic.)

Anyway, I very much doubt I'll have time to line up a neat series of BoundCon posts to publish in my absence, so all will be quiet from me until I'm back. In the meantime, I want to tell you about Tuesday night.

Haron invited me and Tom to the dinner party her and Abel were hosting when I saw her t'other week. Tom sent his apologies - he was working that night - but I decided screw it, I'd go anyway, I never go to these things and I wanted to see as much as possible of Graham and Caroline while they were in town.

I knew that by "dinner" they probably meant "kinky" and was looking forward to spending social time with likeminded friends, but I wasn't planning to play. For a start, my arse was a state, and even if I'd been up for taking yet more punishment on my beleagured butt I wasn't sure it was a good idea. Secondly, I wasn't sure how comfortable I'd feel at a group play party without my Dom.

See, I'm actually really inexperienced at this whole topping/bottoming thing. I do it on film, and that's brilliant and a very specific set of headspaces. I don't bottom to my Doms, I sub to them, which is different yet again. While I'm poly, I don't really have many other playmates. I don't have the energy: it all goes into working and creative projects and my existing relationships. When I've dated J I've subbed to him, but that's not happened for a while. No-one else is really close enough to count as a "Dom". My lovely toppy friends are tops, and actually, subbing is so amazing and intense and fulfilling, and my bottoming/roleplaying itch is usually satisfied by shooting, that it's hard to find space in my busy brain for casual play with toppy friends on top (as it were) of everything else. Besides, if I'm finding the time and energy to seduce any new lovers, they're much more likely to be female. And the story of My Attempts to Sub to Women is a whole other novella which I don't have time to write just now.

Which is fine, and my lovely toppy friends are lovely and therefore not the types to put any pressure on me. But still, I've very rarely played with non-Doms without one of my Doms being there, thereby providing a sort of Domly Umbrella which I can sort of generally sub to, which makes my headspace much easier. Just casually playing with toppy friends without my Dom there to look after my comfort zone, and without getting paid, was a fairly new experience. God, that makes me sound like such a whore. But you know what I mean.

I arrived at the party later than everyone else, thanks to working in the arse-end of London until 6pm, and everyone was already very bouncy and tipsy. I'm not going to do the full name-check but it was marvellous to see new and old friends alike. Haron got me a glass of wine and I started trying to catch up with the drinking.

While I was still relatively sober, I admit I found the flirty, pervy atmosphere a bit overwhelming. It was all very friendly and no-one was behaving inappropriately, but I felt surrounded by brats being mischievous and tops making lewd threats, and I found myself actively seeking out the non-kinky conversations where I could be a normal grownup lady rather than just a spankable bum. I'd sort of decided by this point that I wasn't going to play, not because I absolutely intended not to, but because I'm really bad at saying no, so it was easier to change my mind from No to Yes than the other way round, and this way I wasn't in danger of putting pressure on myself to do something I wasn't comfortable with.

The play started sporadically, the odd brat hauled over a knee for untying shoelaces and generally Asking For It. Abel's girlfriend was very sternly dealt with and made to face the wall, sobbing, which was simultaneously uncomfortable to watch and deeply hot. After dinner Caroline and Rebecca were hauled upstairs by Jessica for a double caning, and made to show their marks to Rev Jenkins. (I took a picture, but I'd rather not post it until I've checked if Rebecca's happy with me doing so.) I took on the role of Resident Lotion Applier, which wasn't just an excuse to fondle Caroline's spanked bottom, honestly. Things hotted up. Pretty soon I felt like the only person there who liked being spanked and hadn't been (although that wasn't true - a couple of the others were abstaining for their own reasons).

Once I'd decided that maybe I did want to be spanked after all, I suddenly remembered how marked I was. I didn't want to parade my bruises in front of the whole house (not out of shyness, but I used to be so attention-seeking I now get paranoid if I think I'm in danger of it) so I dragged Haron upstairs and demanded she give me her expert opinion.

Bending over the edge of their double bed, I raised my skirt and she knelt behind me. "I hate to be the bearer of bad news," she said, tracing the thickening scabs with her fingertip, "But I think you're too damaged."

"I suspected as much," I sighed. "How bad is it?"

"Well, unless the top only hit your thighs and certain areas of your left buttock, it's going to be messy."

So we went back downstairs, and because I was drunk I started whining loudly to anyone who would listen about how ironic it was that earlier I wasn't sure I wanted to play, and now really wanted to, I couldn't. Then I stopped whining because it was annoying. So I sat and fidgeted for a while, and watched HH spanking Kami with a frat paddle that was bigger than she was, and when she'd been well aftercared and there was a gap in the conversation I scooted in next to them and wailed "I want to play! But I don't think I can!"

"So play," grinned Kami with a shrug.

"But I asked Haron and she said I shouldn't!"

"Come on," said HH, "Let's have a look."

So it was, despite my earlier self-consciousness, that I knelt on the sofa and exposed my bruised and scabby bum to the whole room, while HH undertook a detailled "examination". ("For the power of SCIENCE!" I quipped, clearly not knowing what was good for me.)

"Hrm," said HH. "Yes. Yes, I think we can do something with that." I found myself being led upstairs, while HH explained that he was going to use the same tawse on me that he'd previously introduced to Graham, it being reasonably light and unlikely to add to the bruising.

I was kind of dazed as I followed his lead. Drunk, I guess; happy that I was finally playing; resolutely not feeling weird about any of this. We'd played well and deeply before on several occasions, and we'd shared some pretty deep conversations earlier that evening. I was nervous of being tawsed cold and gabbled something about how tawses had made me cry lots on shoots. But I wasn't really scared. I trusted him.

I stretched out on the bed. He was talking in that rich, soothing voice of his. I can't remember what he said but I felt very small. As soon as the first stroke fell I shrieked and suddenly remembered what Haron had said about thighs. None of the strokes were easy; there was no "warm up", although I'm pretty sure he got harder as I got used to it. After the first few I yelled and tossed my head, clinging to the bars of the bed for dear life. I kicked too, and he told me off for that. But it was strange: despite the sharpness of the cold strokes slicing into my vulnerable thighs, the lack of roleplay context to immerse myself in, I never panicked. I never wanted it to stop, I never worried I couldn't take it. I just responded, loudly and vocally and sincerely, with my whole self.

I think I started sobbing after the third or fourth stroke, but I can't really remember. Tears poured down my face. I choked and sniffled and felt bad about getting mascara stains on Haron's bedsheets. But I was totally relaxed. When he told me to stay still, I stayed still. Tears poured out of me, all the restraint of the previous night's play gone. I cried like a little girl. It was wonderful.

Just when I was settling into the rhythm of tears and voice and stinging flashes of pain, just when I was confident I could keep this up, and starting to worry that that meant it wouldn't end for hours, he stopped, apologetically. One of my cuts had reopened and was bleeding. So he went and got a tissue, while I sagged on the bed, wiping my eyes, and then he mopped me up and we mutually exclaimed over the lack of aloe in the house (honestly! what sort of kinky house is this?) before deciding that cocoa butter would do fine. My bottom was cossetted and pampered after its ordeal and so was I, and there was lots of cuddling and it was lovely.

The rest of the party was terribly, terribly drunken, and I won't embarrass myself or others by sharing its secrets.

But that tawsing on my thighs was wicked. I had stripes for two days!

Today my marks are at that itchy, peely stage where I can't scratch it without scabs flaking off. I love me a bruised, welted arse, but scabs are just annoying. This is my last night with D. before I disappear off into the wilds of nature, and I don't want a passionate parting fuck to be spoiled by the flaky scabs from my dalliances with other men. Oh well. I'll just have to distract him. It's amazing what you can do with white kneesocks and a tartan miniskirt.

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Tags: Caroline Grey, D, Kami Robertson, kink, making a scene

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