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Queer Porn at the British Film Institute

Posted at 14:51 on 28 Mar 2017 by Pandora Blake

Myles Jackman, Jiz Lee, Pandora Blake and Jay Bernard at Sexit, BFI Flare

When I started making spanking films I never once imagined that I would get a chance to screen them at the British Film Institute. Porn - especially queer porn and fetish porn, and Dreams of Spanking is firmly in both camps - is in many ways innately counter-cultural. When I launched the site I didn't expect the draconian criminalisation that would follow; but equally I didn't expect that queer porn, specifically my queer spanking films, would be considered cultural enough to be shown somewhere like the BFI.

It's a bittersweet juxtaposition, perfectly illustrated by something I noticed when I arrived at the BFI for Flare, the LGBTQ film festival, at which I was taking part in a panel discussion around how porn law affects queer porn. The banner across the Flare reception desks proclaimed the sponsors of the event; and there on the left was the legend "Supported by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport." How ironic that the very department of the civil service supporting this event is the one which introduced a statutory instrument in 2014 criminalising many forms of queer porn, including my own. It was surreal to speak about that criminalisation, to a sympathetic audience eager to learn how they can resist state oppression, at an event supported by the very public body responsible for that oppression. For me, that dissonance aptly summarised the widening gap between legislation imposed from above by those who have no clue about sexuality or sex work, and an increasingly open-minded public who mostly consider the sex lives of consenting adults to be their own damn business.
 
Before the panel proper, I recorded a video interview alongside queer porn icon Jiz Lee, and Chocolate Chip, who stars in Snapshot, the new "porn noir" sexy whodunnit by Shine Louise Houston, with questions asked by Flare programmer Jay Bernard. Jay is one of the curators of the festival, and they did an amazing job co-ordinating the Sexit panel and programming queer films that center people of colour. The interview was intended to be streamed via Facebook Live, but apparently the BFI is an old old building with shitty connectivity, so it was recorded instead - I'll link the video as soon as it's available. 

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Tags: activism, Digital Economy Bill, Dreams of Spanking, ethical porn, Extreme Porn legislation, fairtrade porn, feminist porn, Gender politics, Jiz Lee, kink activism, listen to sex workers, Myles Jackman, obscenity, porn, queer porn

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La Fete du Slip

Posted at 11:09 on 10 Mar 2017 by Pandora Blake

Pandora Blake at La Fete du Slip porn film festival

I'm writing this blogpost on my way back from Switzerland, where I've been staying in Lausanne for five days for La Fete du Slip. Apparently it's the biggest festival of its kind in Europe after the Porn Film Festival Berlin - I'm told that six thousand people attended this year. It was my first time there. I was invited to accompany the screening of my film Please May I Come, Mistress, and they kindly offered some help with expenses which made it possible. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet members of our extended international porn family, discover hot new films, and visit Switzerland for the first time.

I’m always curious to visit new places. Lausanne is a small town on the Swiss bank of Lake Geneva, with the French Alps decorating the horizon. It’s hilly, each incline a hidden third dimension invisible on Google maps, but quickly discovered puffing up and down cobbled streets, or trying to work out a way between different levels of roads and bridges on foot. The central streets are paved and tidy, with restaurants, little shops and all the other trappings of a wealthy town. Other areas - like Arsenic, the venue hosting the porn film screenings - are more like the cities I’m used to, with large concrete infrascructure, graffiti and somewhat more urban decay. Even by London standards it's very expensive. Food and drink costs over twice what I expected, and I still hadn't got used to it by the time I left.

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Tags: ethical porn, feminist porn, film festivals, Four Chambers, Goodyn Green, Jiz Lee, La Fete du Slip, Lilith Luxe, Mad Kate, Mathias Antonietti, Mickey Mod, queer porn, Vex Ashley

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Interview about feminism and submission at ErikaLust.com

Posted at 11:00 on 4 Mar 2017 by Pandora Blake

I recently gave an interview to fellow feminist porn producer, the fabulous Erika Lust, which is now available on her website, complete with some pictures and sexy gifs! We talked about how I make my porn ethical; how Dreams of Spanking is at risk from the Digital Economy Bill here in the UK; how many of the fetish acts which seem to have been highlighted as “unacceptable” are those specific to female domination porn; feminism and submission; BDSM in the mainstream, and more. It had to be cut for length, but just for you dear readers here is the interview in full:

Dominance and submission at ethical porn site Dreams of Spanking

Hi Pandora! It's so great to talk to a woman on the same mission as myself to change the face of porn, *virtual high five* :) Now down to business. Your work has been described as "ethically produced fetish content" on your site Dreams of Spanking. Can you explain a little what this means?

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Tags: censorship, Digital Economy Bill, Dreams of Spanking, ethical porn, feminism, feminist porn, kink activism, stigma, submission

 

Briefing the House of Lords on age verification

Posted at 12:18 on 3 Mar 2017 by Pandora Blake

Briefing on the age verification section of the Digital Economy Bill - by Pandora Blake for Backlash

Along with the statement about the Women's March, one of my first actions in my new role as spokesperson for Backlash was to write a briefing about section 3 the Digital Economy Bill, and send it out to 151 members of the Lords, in advance of the Bill going to Committee stage. We targeted the briefing to those members sitting on relevant committees, those who had contributed to the second debate on the Bill, and Liberal Democrats whom we might hope would be sympathetic to issues of net freedom, privacy and civil liberties.

It was no easy task to condense my research and findings on the potential harms of this bill into a short, easily digestible format. To make it more likely that the briefing would be read, I summarised the main arguments in a single cover page, and then fleshed out the three sections - privacy, freedom of expression and lack of supporting evidence - in more detail over three subsequent pages. If you're looking for a succinct introduction to the problems with the age verification policy, I think it's a reasonable start.

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Tags: activism, age verification, Backlash, Digital Economy Bill, kink activism, lobbying

 

Sexit: What the Fuck is Happening with UK Porn Laws?

Posted at 11:19 on 2 Mar 2017 by Pandora Blake

Tickets are now on sale for SEXIT: What the Fuck is Happening with UK Porn Laws? an event taking place at the Birtish Film Institute as part of BFI Flare, the LGBT+ film festival. SEXIT will question the new wave of censorship which disproportionately targets queer pornographers, performers and portrayals of alternative sexualities. What does it mean when a feminist UK business is forced offline, but hardcore free American porn will still be readily available?

I'm delighted to be sitting on the panel along with the brilliant Myles Jackman - and I've heard some exciting rumours about other front-line activists and filmmakers who may be joining us to. This promises to be a great discussion, and it's great to see the BFI making space for this conversation amongst queer and kink community members. 

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Tags: censorship, Digital Economy Bill, events, feminist porn, kink activism, queer porn, Shine Louise Houston, vampire porn

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Organising with Backlash

Posted at 10:00 on 1 Mar 2017 by Pandora Blake

I had a great start to 2017 when I became a member of Backlash's management team in the role of co-spokesperson alongside Itziar Bilbao Urrutia. Backlash is the UK organisation that defends freedom of sexual expression among consenting adults in UK by providing legal, academic and campaigning advice, and they are keen to publically lend their support to the campaign for sex worker's rights and the full decriminalisation of sex work. Fittingly my first act as co-spokesperson was to release a statement about the Women's March in response to some see-sawing on the Women's March Washington policy statement last week  around sex worker solidarity. 

Our laws around porn, obscenity, BDSM and sexual expression massively affect sex workers. Obscenity law is a sex worker's rights issue, and a labour rights issue, as well as affecting all our sexual liberties. I'm glad that Backlash are willing to stand up in solidarity with all sex workers, and I'm proud to be organising with them to defend our rights and freedoms.

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Tags: age verification, backlash, Digital Economy Bill, kink activism, sex work

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The death of kink?

Posted at 15:40 on 10 Feb 2017 by Pandora Blake

The Death of Kink? Interview in Artefact magazine

This week Artefact Magazine has published a short article on the Digital Economy Bill following a phone interview I did with journalist Nana Baah, who had already written a piece in December on Porn Censorship. This piece fleshes out the details of the censorship overshadowing the UK internet, and includes quotes from my interview with her, and by Jerry Barnett of Sex and Censorship. Jerry rightly links this sort of censorship, to "rising intolerance to free expression" that is permeating our politics at the moment, both in the UK and beyond. 

As well as pointing out the high costs of age verification software and the disproportionate impact this policy will have on small businesses, I talked about some of the knock-on effects of an increasing lack of accessibility to erotic media. '“I get messages daily from people who say that I have helped them to accept themselves, changed their lives and got rid of their shame. If you can’t find out that there are other people with these fetishes, learn about consent and how to practice it safely, then you might think that there is something fundamentally wrong with you. I did until getting online at 13 and seeing preview pictures of spanking - I finally thought ‘Wow, I’m not the only one’.”

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Tags: age verification, Digital Economy Bill, in the news, kink activism, media

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Magazine interviews this month

Posted at 17:49 on 2 Feb 2017 by Pandora Blake

Sexual freedom campaigner Pandora Blake

I've had several requests for press interviews this month, and it's been a great opportunity to get the word out about my political campaigning and the other things I'm working on. I've talked to a writer Artefact magazine about the Digital Economy Bill and its impact on feminist porn that should be out in the next few weeks.

I also contributed to a feature with  Huck magazine , who interviewed me and queer porn performer Blath together. We co-ordinated a content-share shoot at my house especially for the interview, so that Huck's journalist and photographer could both come and have a look behind the scenes on a feminist porn set. (I get a lot of requests for this, but far fewer publications that are willing to pay for our time, so it was lovely that Huck were willing to help make it happen.) We shot a super gothy ritualistic scene featuring hot wax, knives, witchcraft and lots of other fetishy hotness! The Huck photographer took lots of behind the scenes pictures which I can't wait to see, and we gave an in depth video interview too. I might be able to put footage of the interview up on YouTube - although it might be a bit annoying to watch, as it has the journalist tap-tapping on his keyboard in the background, making notes as we talked! But it was totally worth it - he wrote an amazing piece, and was generous enough to let us approve it before publication. I wish more media folks were like this! I'm looking forward to seeing the feature and photos in print - and of course the scene itself will be available on Dreams of Spanking and Foxclure Films  once its out. 

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Tags: Blath, ethical porn, feminist porn, media, Patreon, queer porn

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2016 year in review - highlights and reflections

Posted at 13:35 on 11 Jan 2017 by Pandora Blake

Happy new year! It's traditional to do an end of year review, and I've been chewing over my 2016 one. Damn, it was a hell of a year; comparable in craziness only to the year before it. Here are the headlines:

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Tags: Bright Desire, Charlie J Forrest, Digital Economy Bill, Dreams of Spanking, Eroticon, media, Nimue Allen, Parker Marx, politics, porn, School of Erotic Mysteries, Tai Crimson, year in review, Zak Jane Keir

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Restricting niche porn sites is bad news for people with marginalised sexualities

Posted at 09:41 on 30 Nov 2016 by Pandora Blake

Restricting niche porn sites is a disaster for people with marginalised sexualities - Pandora Blake for The Guardian

Last week I had an article published in the Guardian about the impact of the forthcoming Digital Economy Bill, and its proposed restrictions on online porn. You can read it here - Restricting niche porn sites is a disaster for people with marginalised sexualities.

The article has received over one and a half thousand comments - and I was pleasantly astonished to discover that the majority of them are sympathetic or supportive. It seems that many people share my outrage that the Government think it a worthwhile use of time and money to legislate what consenting adults do for fun - or think that this bill is a proportionate, workable answer to the problems emerging from young people's lack of sex education.

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Tags: age verification, BBFC, classification, Digital Economy Bill, Dreams of Spanking, ethical porn, feminist porn, Guardian, in the news, kink acceptance, Kink Olympixxx, law, media, Myles Jackman, Obscene Publications Act, obscenity, porn, protest

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