This post was from a little while ago, but I think that some of the mental scars that I bare are from some the jobs that I have done as a photographer….
Firstly an apology for not updating the blog recently events have kind of overtaken me. But rest assured that normal service will be resumed shortly. I won’t bother writing the rants that was going to do, as they were time sensitive, and I can’t be ‘kin’ arsed.
Slightly gob smacked at the jobs in the diary this week, yours truly ended up in a Swingers Club in the South West of England from about 2130 till stupid o’clock. By the time I got home, wired the images, written up a narrative of the evening it was 0430, and I still had to get up at 0630 to get to Patsy Kensit’s Wedding. D’oh, I am knackered now, anyway I have included the narrative for your edification. Any images placed in your mind from reading this text is down to you, I will not accept charges of mental assault.
Having been a singleton for a little while, tonight’s mission was one that appealed and repulsed on so many levels, the opportunity to immerse myself, or at least bits of myself into the Swinger culture! The venue for tonight’s little adventure was The Office. A swingers paradise in what can only be described as a derelict and condemned nine-story office block in one of the “nicer” parts of Bristol.
Hmmm, The Office even David Brent would cringe at this, I was confronted by some garish red lights “duct taped” to the hand-rail as I approached the main entrance, in the gap between the entrance steps and the building are the remains of old arm-chairs and sofas obviously past their “use-buy” dates in Swinging terms.
A glance up to the fourth floor reveals a light show of dazzling proportions, 100 metres of Red Rope Lights woven into shapes to spell the legend “The Office”
The Entrance lobby is an impressive mixture of dereliction and abandonment, drinks vending machines and settees randomly scattered, with bits of old carpet, “duct-taped” to the floor.
Having negotiated the main stair case to the fourth floor again “shabby chic” without the chic, peeling paint and flickering lights abound, if this place ever decorated it was probably sometime in the late 1970s.
Having made the long journey up to the club, you are greeted by a cheerful, but definitely home made sign (PIC) , through a heavy office door and you are into the ante-room (probably the Anti-Room) and the first thing that you spot is a curious mannequin, with a curly wig and what appears to be a bowler hat (although the lighting is so bad it could equally be a pork pie hat). The initial reaction was slight shock, it is about as realistic as Michael Jackson, on a bad day.
Negotiating one’s entry beyond the Anti-Room, is conducted through a serving hatch, where the teller behind the hatch tells you the charges, £50 membership for the year and £25 for the evening, so 75 quid up front, before you even get to see what the quality of the goods is like. Had I dragged a partner with me, then membership would have been free, and I could have just paid the £25.
In a curious example of Low-Rent and High Tech, you scribble some details on a form, including Name, Address, Mobile Phone Number and Age (yeah like that’ll happen) and then they scan your finger print. Once the harridan at the door has got all of your personal details you are ushered into the “inner sanctum” or Bar as I prefer to call it.
Having got there early enough, (can tell how keen I was ehh?) I was given the tup-penny tour. And introduced to the “old hands” and some of the staff, including Ray behind the bar, Simon, the owner and his partner.
Other than the bar area, which incidentally doesn’t have a licence to sell booze, so you have to bring your own, whatever gets you through the night, probably a case of Jack Daniels in my case, the club has a few other “facilities” which paid up members can avail themselves of.
And so started the guided tour. The first room that I was invited to inspect was the Dungeon, a curious black hole of a place equipped with some very strange dungeon equipment, including pommel horses, a few skeletons and countless chains hanging from the ceiling, I recognise this place now, from some of my worst “cheese induced” nightmares. On one wall there is a full length mirror and in the far corner appears to be a one man tent, no, my mistake a blow up doll.
At the opposite end of the room is a rudimentary Prison cell, where is Max Mosley when you need him? And the essential for any Friday night Swinger a stirrup pump to inflate your chosen partner, if required.
The next room I visited was what could only be described at a “Snug” a cosy little room tastefully decorated with purple and black stripes with a circular bed knocked up from some old floor boards, and a luxurious wipe clean plastic finish, nice.
One of the highlights of the tour was the Glass Bed Room. A narrow little room with a stair case to a glass bed that is over your head, nicely garnished with a set of illuminated flowers, just in case you need to look elsewhere.
Next came the Exhibitionist room, as if bonking with your arse cheeks and tackle visible through Toughened Glass wasn’t overt enough, an 8ft Vinyl covered mattress, with two CCTV cameras, which with the flick of a switch will turn all of the TVs inside the club to the channel showing you in all your glory.
There were also several other communal rooms, but by this time I was kind of losing the will to live. Much more and I would have been bored rigid.
So what did I get for my 75 squideroos, well probably the most uncomfortable bar stool, in the world, Evar. and a chat with Chris, (I assume is was short for Christine) who regaled me with stories about following Bristol City, or it may have been Bristol Rovers, I kind of lost track a little, being so completely underwhelmed.
I had the dubious pleasure of seeing women of a certain age (you will get my drift, if I explain that my Mum is of a certain age), arrive wearing seemingly normal clothes and then disappear into the WCs and emerge, Superman-like in a completely different, almost alter ego! One game old bird, and she must have been sixty, had a trio of young bucks (well younger than her) follow her, twenty minutes or so apart into one of the Anti-Rooms. Business for her was obviously looking up, unless she prefers to be on top.
But there is something vaguely nauseating (at least for me) about middle-aged and beyond, women, in skirts down to their kebab and tights up to their knees.
Adios for now drivel lovers.