It is some time since I wrote here. Me and Silia have been otherwise engaged, and my writing have been in order places. Rope has taken me on a fantastic journey that means I will from now on have a different home online, which you can find on Sense Shibari. Much of the content of this blog will be reposted there, but not all. I will continue to write there, but this blog from now on be inactive. Please feel free to scroll in the archives, and don’t forget to follow the new blog. Thank you for the time here!
I take a deep breath and look around. S is crying. N is crying. Someone who’s name I don’t know is crying. I’m trying to wipe away the tears from my face. Everyone around me is looking slightly dazed, slightly confused. I breathe out, feeling as if there are too many people around me, join N outside as he is enjoying a cigarette. It feels almost as if we have played ourselves, or watched something so intense that it feels as if we have played. S is expressing how she felt that she was watching something private, something which she was not supposed to watch. I’m trying to find some kinds of words for it, and N is doing the same. We give up pretty quickly.
Sometimes, you see something which hits you right in your gut. It is often unexpected and you need time to process it. Take time to find a way in which you can express what it was, because no words seem to make it justice. Not only are the words insufficient, but how can we even describe something which is so intrinsically tactile? I know photographers makes attempts, and some makes darn good ones. But it is still not the same. That is why it has taken this long to write this.
I had only seen a couple of videos with Naka Akira. Plenty of photos. But for me, none of then had really captured me, they were not luring me into the shadows of what he does so brilliantly. Beautiful rope that is for sure, but it had not left me with a lingering sensation. It had felt distanced.
That is why, when Naka and Iroha sat down on stage, I was not prepared. I was not prepared for the way in which he sat, not behind her as we usually see, but slightly off center in front of her, carefully seeking her gaze, meeting it and boom. A chill down my spine. I know that kind of look. It is one where my partner is not focussed on what I’m wearing, or what tie they will use or the next transition. It is one in which they see me, who I am. My desires, my longings, my weaknesses and my strengths. I wish I could explain this in any other way than this projecting my own feelings and experiences, but it is rather hard. That moment when he caught her eyes, she met his and looked away slightly before looking back, that is also when they caught me as an audience. This is a conversation that happens through the gaze, through the eyes and staying aware of what they express.
As he tied her into his signature highhanded gote, there was a calmness to it all. A stillness, placing her where he wants her to be and there is a different kind of objectification that usually does not appeal to me. I guess I am quite oversaturated with objectification of female bodies, how ever beautiful they are. What was not seen in many of the photos as well as being hard to detect in the few videos, is that Naka Akira’s gaze is so strong you can feel it in the audience, even if his complete focus is on Iroha. Raising her to standing up, he ties her legs tightly together and she could technically stand up (there is enough space) but she is leaning her whole body into the ropes. Iroha-style. Every single moment can be a photography of Norio, but this is different, because it is live and she meets his gaze everyonce in a while, before looking away again. As he continues to tie more and more ropes he is slowly revealing her. This is not the classical ‘slowly sliding the kimono over the shoulders’ move at the beginning of the performance that we have gotten so used to, it is much more methodical, not calculated but slower. Portions of vulnerability dished out and I can’t stop watching, while still feeling more and more like an invader.
He gagged her, slowly, with cloth, several of them, three in fact. When the last cloth went over her mouth, there was no way she could do anything but whimper.
As the performance went on, he tied her into a twisted facedown suspension, legs high, her beauty and strength exposed. He sits, looks at her again, she is breathing and processing. Hair getting tied. A flogger comes out and he hits her. The louder she gets, the more he push through the hit of the flogger. Harder and harder as you heard him breathing out every time the flogger hit down upon her.. She starts sobbing, and when she does, he is right next to her, holding her face in his hands, and suddenly, it does not feel like its about them anymore. Naka san had mentioned his mentor, Nureki, who has passed away just a couple of weeks earlier. This was him and Iroha paying homage to him, a farewell.
During the Q&A that followed it became quite clear how fond he is of what we would call a Showa period style of rope. Akira Naka does not work with carabiners or rings, he uses rope and bamboo as points of suspension as he feels the clash of metal and rope is not compatible. In an interview that followed, he was himself left wondering of why we see his style as ‘old’ or ‘historical’, it would not be a category he would use, he just feels that he ties rope and that is it. The ties are all harder on the partners’ body than even the most difficult ones showed by many other Japanese Masters. The focus is on the model, exposing her (it is almost always a her) and they are about creating angles, exposing and pulling the suffering out to be seen. Not flashy and fast, but slow and steady, a gradual build up that becomes meditative, a different type of flow and fluidity that does not seek speed at all. He is not always overtly close to his model, but always there, always present. Naka has the ability to sit back and watch, just watch, and seeing his partners inner experience unravelling. If there is something I learned from this, it was to take even more time, to dare to take a couple of steps back.
When Iroha later was asked how it was for her to show that kind of emotion on stage she answered that the audience does not matter. “You can see us but we cannot see you” , that their world is just their own. That is what we were witnessing, the world they created through the rope and through the eyes, and it was what made me cry. The way they saw each other, and the way the paid homage to someone who had just passed away.
Thank you Naka-san and Iroha-san. I will always be grateful for those moments that you share.
Ooopsie daisy. I found this the other day. 2012’s festival is soon coming up. I’m not sure I have anything from the Sunday or Monday written down anywhere, but I think it will have to be a ‘perhaps, maybe’ kind of thing.
On the Saturday, 2nd day of the festival, our little group of rope lovers all fell asleep on the train in the morning when going to Resistance Gallery. We got there a bit late (again) and by then, the schedule for the day had already been subjected to a reshuffle. The Japanese team were jet lagged and needed some rest, so others stepped in and did their classes or classes on other topics. I must admit I was terribly bad at keeping check on what went on during the day time, as it flew by so very quickly. Wykd Dave did his class on tension while Esinem held a beginners class upstairs, which went on during the day. I found myself walking around, looking at what was happening as well as relaxing. My two friends, one who has just only recently started to explore rope, went in very enthusiastically with all of his energy to learn as much as possible, and for others I offered myself up to be a demo-bottom. After a couple of intense weeks previously to the festival, with a lot of tying, I was quite happy to just kick back and relax. The mezzanine got very warm very quickly. That weekend was sunny and very warm, and while we were inside with ropes, the sun heated the building. A fan will probably be appropriate for next year, as people who walked down the stairs from the mezzanine were sweating like they had just been in a sauna. Rope can indeed get you flustered.
As a side-note, for the organizers, during the Saturday, the information was better displayed then on Sunday. Although the chalk-board worked as well as it could, those who arrived later during the day found it a bit confusing to find all the information. All in all, the festival was busier than ever, with more amazing rope going on, but for next year, the challenge will be to develop the organisation of the festival itself and focus on the small things which makes it even better for the visitors. One lecture which was very engaging and I would say vital, was Esinem’s talk on nerve injury. He was joined doing this by Wykd Dave. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this talk, and yet, I make sure I always try to listen as if it was the first time hearing it. Give the document a read if you yet have not done so, do this regardless if you bottom or top with rope, that is my advice. To no surprise, the Q&A section of this talk was buzzing, and had to continue even if Esinem had to leave to continue doing the beginners classes upstairs. Due to different reasons, I did not have time to stop and sit down to listen to talk and demo on Hojojutsu by Strange Love. During the day, Esinem performed with Ika. Previous to the show, he had written:
Whilst most have been busy practising their shows, I have been busy not practising. In part this is due to logistics, as my model does not arrive till Friday, but it is also a case of attempting to practice what I preach. In other words, I believe passion wins over emotionless precision every time. Anyway, if I properly get into a rope scene, I become lost in it and there is no way I would ever manage to follow a rehearsed set. So, I have decided to “let The Force be with me” and rely on the connection with Ika to guide me. It remains to see whether I can make the grade as a rope Jedi or will crash and burn …either way, I plan to keep it real!
And keeping it real he did. While I missed the beginning of the performance, a friend of mine did a recap. Esinem started with a floorbased ichi-nawa session, very distinct to his style. You can see it here. Up close, fully embracing Ika, playing with balance moving her back and forth, off balance, utilising all of the small nuances that are so important to kinbaku. Ika was then tied into a TK and a futo momo, partially suspended sideways and had wax dripped over her body. It was at this point I came into the room, and to my surprise, the soundtrack was one from the operas, and
other classical pieces. An interesting contrast to the music that you usually hear in rope performances. What followed, I saw Esinem demonstrate how it is possible to make the untying seamless from the tying, and in the end, Ika was rather wobbly legged and had to be helped off stage.
The evenings’ performances started off with something really special. Yui Namiko . I first met this shy firecracker in Berlin a week earlier, where she was Kinoko’s model. During that week I slept at Schwelle7 and got to see her both in practice as a bottom, as well as on her own, + a performance for the crowd at the playparty in Berlin. All left me rather….flustered, as her presence and passion is somewhat out of the ordinary. Tiny, smiley and though as nails, determined as no other. In London, Yui entered the stage with dimmed lights carrying a large candle, dressed in a kimono with several layers of sheer fabrics and cotton ropes tied around her body as decorations. Her performance cannot be described in any other way but as a demonstration of her love of ropes. First, it evoked a sense of loss, sorrow and mourning within me and I thought that the candle represented someone close who was with her anymore, but after thinking more about this, I decided to revise this notion and instead focus on the story she told us with her body, without having some kind of imagined ghost from the past lingering in my imagination. If there was any loss, it was her loosing herself completely into the ropes, with acrobatics and movement very rarely seen. She peeled layers of layers of clothing off her body, and the striptease aspect was heavily ingrained with the way in which she stripped herself raw, revealing layers of herself through the ropes. Every movement was deliberate, as an illustration of specific feeling; a story written and told with the body, all for art. To say it was a night of wax-candles it not to exaggerate. Yui herself lit candles that were tied into a bundle of and traced it over her body,and there was no way of escaping this, no way to stop watching (not that you wanted). She drew all of us in, as she poured the wax over herself whilst still being suspended. The candles burned close to her body, the drips of wax falling into her face, into her hair. Yui held us in a tight grip from start to finish and afterwards, when she left the stage on shaky legs, she had the whole crowd in the palm of her hand, standing and cheering her name. When she peaked out from the balcony back stage area she was meet with even more cheers. If it wasn’t that she had given us all, we would probably would have asked for an encore.
The next performance was from one of the Peer Rope London crew, Will Hunt, who tied the wonderful Rabbitbunnie and Zahara. This was something completely else. Will Hunt was the guy dressed in black who had caught an innocent lady, Rabbitbunnie, who was prim and proper in a pussy bow blouse and a pencil skirt. Hunt is not someone who hesitate to pull a punch, and the tempo went from 0 to 100 in less than 30 seconds.
With somewhat of a new take on the damsel in distress, set to music by She Wants Revenge, Hunt was rather terrifying and Rabbitbunnee played the damsel so very convincing, demonstrating a growing panic, but also screaming her lungs out, resisting, trying to get away from the brutal Hunt. He tied her into a TK while tossing her around, and if Esinem previously had played with balance with Ika, the way in which Hunt had Rabbittbunnie like a rag doll was a much more extreme example of this. While it looked rough and aggressive, it was also controlled. This kind of physicality also came through when he started to ripping the blouse open, tearing her skirt up, flipping her forwards across his knee to tie her leg. Rather than him moving,he kept her moving around him, like a cat playing with a mouse; catch and release.
As his frenetic aggression started to make her submit physically, we suddenly were all surprised as he brought out Zahara, covered up by a trench coat. As he uncovered her, he showed her off. She was already tied into a tight 3 rope Takate Kote, he smiled, and giggle rippled through the audience.I laughed, because it made me feel a bit like the classic cooking show; “Here is the one I made earlier!” but with a much darker undertone obviously. This damsel was completely different to Rabbitbunnes’, as she had surrendered completely to his will, completely letting go into the ropes, showing no sign of struggle. They all looked at each other for a moment, him grinning, Zahara completely calm and centred, Rabbitbunne on the ground, struggling to breathe slowly after her ordeal.
He quickly the attached a suspension line to the TK, and suspends her face down, in a very sharp angle so that she is almost diving down, before it is evened out. The only points of suspension at this point is the TK and one ankle and this is how the suspension remains; yes, Zahara is a tough one. Securing the points, Will then took out wax candles, and a lighter run by gas.
He lit it with another huge grin and for the second time made the audience giggle. Zahara turned into a chandelier, watching down upon her co-prisoner. As Zahara came down, he positioned them next to each other and started untying. During this time, Rabbitbunnie sought to get the attention from her, to wake her up, to make her realise what situation she was in. But Zahara were lost, in the ropes, perhaps the Stockholm syndrome. A favourite moment of mine during this show were these still seconds, captured so beautifully in this photo.
These contrasts, with Rabbitbunnie’s desperation, wanting to escape his aggression and Zahara’s stillness, acceptance of her predicament, showed us a classic story about the damsels in distress, with signposts that were still rather wonderfully kitsch in its portrayal of the bad guy; add then also excellent rope work, showmanship, control and technical skills. Speaking of technical skills, the untying of the two damsels were done in a tandem, right hand working on untying one of the TK’s, left hand on the other, never relinquishing his control over the situation. support, or attention from Zahara, who was completely still.
The next performer was Pedro & Karina. Tying with no music what so ever, only a history being told by a voice in a microphone, we heard of Karina, who had disgraced her family and thus had to be punished by being exhibited, tied up on public display. The story, narrated by the excellent Mac added much of the feel. Pedro, dressed in black with the classical black glasses embodied a type of kinbakushi we rarely see in this day of age; the distant shadow. All the focus here was on her exposed body that made us into the ultimate voyeurs, the exposure and the intention of the humiliation of being on display, tied up. We did not get the flashy, fast rope, nor explosive transitions, but instead a slow build up of a situation, a scene, also illustrated by the changing of the setting of the light which marked the passing of yet another day. We get very used of seeing a specific type of rope here, and have often quite rigid ideas about what it should be like, that it gets easy to forget where it comes from and different expressions of it. It has not always been the kind of ‘connected’ experience that we like to push it, there are other factors there, playing with shame, but furthermore, also playing with a total kind of objectification, in which the object is the female body being tied up for display, and the subject of the rope artist is the person enabling this. If looking at rope and forgetting about the history, the background, and much of its present use, and denying these specific pornographies which are still very much alive and kicking, if we remove this, we would commit some serious cultural appropriation. Pornography or not, rope is multifacetted, and through Pedro’s historical reminder which was also very beautiful and technically excellent and innovative.
Next up on stage were Wykd Dave and Clover. The calm of the previous performance was gone, this was a performance with a lot of sadism, adrenaline and insanely beautiful bottoming. The way in which Clover totally surrenders into the ropes is rather extraordinary. Suited up, Dave cut the dress off Clover, and started tying her into a sidesuspension, , moving into a futo momo, using a lot of wax as well as a couple of cane strokes. Clover always look remarkable in rope, and my friend noted how Dave controlled each and every part of the performance, even when they bowed to the audience. You can find a video of the performance here.
Max and Tina came on stage next. This is a couple who have tied only with each other for more than 10 years. He does not tie anyone else and she is not tied by anyone else. Seeing them work together thus become very personal, intimate. The first thing you note is the focus of Max. His eyes, firmly fixed on Tina sent chills down my spine, in a good way one might add, and probably down Tina’s as well.
The drums pushed this performance very much. Tina was tied into a beautiful, slick face down suspension with both of her legs in futo momo’s which more or less had become the new black of this festival, a tie which featured a lot both in private play as well as on stage. But still, the way in which it featured in this performance made it really beautiful and unique.
Attaching clamps with bells on that then were slapped off with the help of a towel, Max followed the tradition of the evening, which was really about a lot of sadomasochism. There was a different pace here though, slow, controlled, almost settled way of moving, with outbursts of energy. Tina herself looking very strong and beautiful in the ropes, working not against, but with the ropes. Tied into a tough guyaku ebi (face down suspension) with both of the legs in futo momo’s it was a performance which was truly memorable.
And I’m sorry dear readers. But this is as much as I will write about the festival 2012. The post is more than one year old now, and it is time to let it go. Time for new adventures. But this has really been nostalgic.
See you on the flipside.
Still catching up with backlog.
A couple of months ago I wrote down a couple of objectives for the ropes; what I wanted to focus on in order to develop my ropework. I guess it is time to evaluate and develop new objectives as the time goes on. (see previous post)
The objectives then were:
Muscle memory to solidify foundational elements
Visualisation- why I do what I do and think constructively about the ties.
Connection- was a questionmark then.
The main objectives on the foundations, especially in regards to the TK and Kinoko hip harness was to tie this with a focus on getting it right, tensions, placement and consistency. I’m most pleased with how the development of learning the Kinoko harness has worked out, both in my hands and in my mind. I understand why I want to do what I do with the harness, tying it goes smoother and smoother and more often than not, placement and tensions work out on the person I’m tying it on, which to be fair, is the most important bit. Every once in a while I tie it slowly, slowly, in order to keep track of myself and not getting into any bad habits. Slowly does it also for the TK. Back then I thought I was going to focus on the three rope TK, but in reality, it is the 2 rope TK that has been getting most of the attention, and it has really improved. But in the same time I’ve noticed tying the ‘third rope’ is still somewhat hesitant and not at all as smooth and efficient as it can be. Thus; the third rope will get much more attention now, especially in regards to muscle memory and efficiency of movement. I want to be able to use it if I need to, as well as exploring a couple of other versions of it, but for now, focus will be placed on the third rope. Same thing here, tying slowly but with effiency. After a couple of good pointers from Peter Slemrian, I think I’m going to head in the right direction when it comes to this, especially in regards to a couple of tiny movements of the fingers which will improve the flow.
Speaking of Peter Slemrian and his advice; I have finally a game plan for smoother sailing on my suspension lines. For some time I’ve felt like I have fumbled too much, had far too messy lines and felt line handling being somewhat laborous when it should not. The last couple of weeks I’ve been extra attentive when it has come to this; avoiding or cleaning up the mess and still being secure, but it wasn’t until the past weekend when Peter saw me tie and then pointed out how I was actually working against myself and making it more difficult than it really is that I had some practical tips that I can move forward with. Now there is something I can do on my own, and that is to practice handling my suspensionline. In this I will utilise the technique he demonstrated and made me test, over and over again. Extra attention towards not pulling the rope through the half hitch towards me, but pass me, like it is driving by. Also, being precise and a bit more thorough with the second half hitch will make me feel more comfortable, rather than stressing around.
After the workshops with Kazami Ranki, I have tried to really remember what he told me, which was essentially that I needed to relax a bit more. “Quick hands, slow heart”. This is the next thing to focus on, but not speed for speeds sake,but to rest into what ever it is that I, to mentally focus and trust that which is in front of me. Have a long road to travel on this one, and it will probably be a part of the overall objective for all the rope work. But it is a good one to hang on to.
A challenge just received from when I went across the Atlantic is to start to dare to move away a bit more. Cannon and I was discussing rigging styles and asked each other in what ways our rigging would improve. He asked me to try to step back a bit, to not always be right up close and I think there is something there. As much as closeness is important, I need to remember that it is not about vincinity but intimacy. If I work properly, the rope is the link, not my direct body. Indirectly he reminded me of that, hope the rope is the link, or the conduit; let it do it’s work. Rest into it, take a step away; create some space around the bottom, or even hesitation. Did exactly this in a session last weekend, actually as a start of a tie, standing and waiting behind the rope bottom almost in the other end of the room. Rest assured I will continue having this in mind as it produced very interesting results.
Last but not least, I want to work on angles. For this, I will go back to the classic yoko zuri, the Osada Ryu style, rather than the Kinoko style. The one which has the hip harness is spectacular from so many perspectives, but I found myself becoming lazy and not thinking enough about levels and angles in suspensions. It is easy to do something quite random, but I need to develop a better eye if there is something special I wish to achieve with this. So I will play around with and see how different angles in the side suspension work on the bottom.
To sum up I shall focus on:
The third rope on the TK (efficiency and stability)
Better control on my suspensionlines
Quicker hands, a slow and focussed heart
Playing with connection that is not based on actual vincinity- daring to take a couple of steps back.
Yoko zuri- levels and angles bootcamp.
All with the same engagement in tying it slowly and really focus on intent and how come I do things. At this time, I’m just happy to be back on track
So objectives change. This was my first one I wrote back in October perhaps. Things were not really good then on many levels, but tried to have something to focus on.
I try to keep myself a bit busy, try to keep going with that which is important. One of those things is to practice,practice,practice. Today Bambi Kiss and I have had our second practice session together and is keeping on top of our diaries in order to make them regular for the coming weeks as well, which feels good. It is so easy to get comfortable and sizzle out,
This diary is for me to keep track of what we go through, what we think about it and stuff for me to remember. I don’t know if it will always be published here as I still try to catch up with 10 blogposts but hey.
My general objective for 2011 (what is left of it) is to rope my ass off… D’oh. But on a more concrete level I wish to focus on:
*Muscle memory to continue to solidify the foundational elements, to put them further and deeper into my fingers and my spine. Slowing down and being thorough (speed for speeds sake is not that interesting anyway, technique and movement more so). Especially in regards to the 3rTK and hip harnesses (to begin with!), but also about the macro-elements of efficient movements and really push my fingers and body to utilise skills learned. Knowing is not enough, doing gets you further.
*Visualisation: Where do I want to go together with the person I am tying? Some people might add a ‘how would I do that?’ to that part, my I’m not sure at all that is included here, as the road we take quite often diverge into other paths less expected and it is not something I want to exclude.
*Concretizise: thoroughly think about the elements of ties, about what they consist of, and why they consist of this.
*Connection? This is a tricky one. Both me and Bambi know that practice is practice. We do have a good baseline and have done a connection based scene or two. Furthermore, it is easy to slip into elements of play while practising, no wonder. But I have also made it clear that my head space right now is one which is very untoppy, with an element of the dominant side of me being burned out due to outside circumstances. Just to think about a connection driven scene makes me shake and cry, miss his skin, the scent, the way in which he moves. I can’t and I wont go there unless the situation itself materialise as such. Not now. Not yet.
There, that’s about it.
Backlogs finally being posted here. Have not felt like writing that much nor have had the time. But am now looking forward to put up some of the backlogs as well as perhaps starting to write on other stuff. Hopefully, I will be able to move away from the complete rope focus in some time a head and find my way back to some of the queer politics.
Nawakiri Shin, a dear friend of mine, translated something I wrote a while ago into into Chinese and put it on his website. Sooner or later this is going to make me big-headed, but for now I mostly feel very happy and honoured about seeing my writing being spread to a completely different audience.
You can read it here if you are interested in Chinese, the original English one a bit further down in this post. But first I would like to muse a bit on language..
It is strange though, how passions can transgress any written or spoken language; tying with someone who does not speak the languages I know have never been a problem. But when it comes down to speaking, writing, exchange of words, it gets trickier. There is so much knowledge out there, so much love for what we do, but language barriers sometimes prevents the sharing of this. But people like Shin or NuitDeTokyo, as well as internet and technology, is slowly changing this. Because you know what? I think we want to interact, in one way or another. We want to know more, feel more, live more to varying degrees.
Language can also be about privilege. Who can speak what, which language is favoured and how does it act towards those who do not speak? In opening up and making sure that many voices are heard, listened to and interacted with, we can destabilise defaults and connect with each other.
Comparing rope as a language to the written or spoken word, I can sometimes find that one has more possibilities than the other, but they are not mutually exclusive. We need to do more rope, to listen more to each other, let images inspire but also words and actions of those who we admire. Rope is a language of the body, neither neutral or always objective, but always evolving and ever changing. I want to be the same, to strive not for perfection or becoming ‘better’, not a goal orientated vision of what we can do with ourselves, our bodies and our minds, but one in which we seek to understand each other more, respect and admire and learn because of learning itself. The journey you know?
Time for me to stop rambling. Thank you for reading. And thank you Nawakiri Shin for translating, FrenchLibertine for being an awesome rope partner, and Jenis for taking the wonderful photos:
I was tying with French Libertine again, but it was a different occasion than usual. Jenis had kindly offered to take some photos and even kinder was Esinem, who let us work in his wonderful studio. I wanted to do some floorwork, and some partials, as I felt ready to move like that with rope again, focussing less on the technical. And to be honest, it was great spending the Valentines with people I adore, and doing stuff which is great. Before I got there, sitting on the bus, I had an idea in my head about creating something visual in the same time as getting really close. To work in that studio also added tons of feeling to it, with its decor and the tatami flooring. If you have never heard the sound of rope and tatami, I can only try to describe it.
Rope for me will always be more than just yarn. It has so many specific properties, and when you find the perfect rope and tying together with someone, nothing is as good as exploring all the elements of it. You know that sound when you snap a coil open? How it sounds when it passes through your hands? The creaks when it is pulled tightly, the sound when it reacts to its own tension. When you have rope and bodies over a tatami mat, or wooden floor, it is like an orchestra. Kneeling on the tatami mat, that is the slow tap on the stand which the conductor do to signal that we are about to start. The conductor, her body, and the bodies of the orchestra; the rope bottom, the environment around them. Then, we have the overture, slowly building something up, the strings working, the bass setting a baseline and a first inkling of a perhaps reoccuring tune; the sound which characterises not just the overture, but how the whole piece will move you.
After having kneeled on the floor, my tapping on the stand consisted of focussing on a point just above the shoulders, watching first if there was any tension, then my right palm between her shoulders, to feel. In those moments, I had captured her attention, allowing her to rest into the tunes, her feeding the notes back to me. A slow shudder, she took a deep breath; in and out. And I could not help but to prolong that moment, you know the moment when the conductor has tapped in for attention and up to the point she lowers their hands to mark the beginning of the overture. No hurry, just anticipation. I took a deep breathe in, as I pulled the first rope towards me, and unsnap the coil is next to her ear. She shudders at the sound, that very Pavlovian response. The first rope is felt, before it even touched her skin. And then it did. Traced over her shoulder, then over her chest. A simple TK, tying it with tactility, not forgetting about technique but working more on tempo and what is underneath the ropes and in them, rather than the ropes themselves.
Her body provided me with cues, like a lead violinist and her string, the conductor conducts but also moves with that lead, the almost extravagant body language of the lead violinist, so that the rest of the strings can follow. But then, looking at the pictures from the session, when I finalised the TK with a wrap between the breasts, I was looking at the rope, rather than her. I actually did not realise I was doing that. On one level I can really understand why and where it comes from; having that focus on the ropes the last couple of months makes you look at the ropes more than the person. I’m slowly coming out of that headspace, and looking forward to it. All along while tying, the rope moved across the tatami, across her body, the rest of the music piece came out, intense sounds and small thumps.Having finished the TK, I continued towards creating the visual element. Tying her leg, tightly, but not really resisting the urge to close my mouth around her knee. The French Libertine let out a small whimper.
As I continued a quite simple partial, I kind of forgot the camera, but kept focus on my rope-bottom, and the vision in front of me. Watching the photos, I think I have now learned one thing; get my arse out of the way. Not being used to creating visual images for someone who takes photos, I did what I usually do; being very close, moving around a lot. That does not really work, if one wants to create images with a focus on the rope bottom and the rope.
Having finished the leg tie, I then did some rope in the face, as well as pulling the other leg backwards, making the partial more demanding. And when we had finished I remembered how much I love tying like this. There will be more to come. But if there is someone with a camera, I’ll just have to remember to be every now and again step away.
In 2010 I sat on a panel speaking about BDSM 101 on Stockholm Pride. It was an interesting experience, as it always is, because at that point, I had only recently started talking about kink in a public setting. Explaining what you do and why to people who perhaps have never heard of practices such as BDSM is a great thing to do, because it makes you understand it more for yourself as well as challenges you to pronounce things more clearly.
A year later at Pride 2011 there was a lot of focus on rope-bondage, mainly because I have managed to put all of my fingers in the pie. Esinem travelled from the UK to present and talk in different classes, and all were very well attended. During one of these classes I got to meet someone who I will call the Doctor.
We met up again later that week, and ended up talking a whole afternoon and evening, with a lot of wine and sushi involved. Thirsty was there to. It became clear that the Doctor had heard me speak in 2010 and had started to piece together what his interests were and then had decided to come to the bondage workshop this year. We spoke about everything and anything, but mostly kink, and especially DS. Later Thirsty confessed that he had felt like armcandy and liked it. That night, we ended up sitting at cliffs overlooking the whole of Stockholm, as it was lit by night. The sea looked like black oil, we made out, abused Thristy, a group of 16 year old’s asked if we were having a threesome and we could not really answer anything else but yes. After having failed on finding ourselves a hotel room; first checking up hotels online and then calling them in the middle of the night was probably not a good way of trying… we said our goodbyes. Another night was already on the cards as all of us had the same town as base. So when I headed down for a quick visit to south of Sweden, me and the Doctor planned in another night just the two of us. It started with Thai food, we picked up rope and toys and then headed to his place. There he corked up the champagne, and true to his specific brand of hedonism, strawberries. Talking, laughing and flirting was very soon followed by making out. The rope came out of the bag and the second time he ever tied someone, he did it again so well that he spaced me out. This is rather special, as it is very few people who have the ability to do this at all and most of the time, they are fairly experienced with rope. This is not so much about their technical capabilities, but rather about the joint notion of their desire, their way of tying and their confidence. In this case, with The Doctor, it was about the way he moved and his closeness and intensity that made us connect on a whole different level.
Another thing which was very interesting was to experience his exploration of dominance. As a bottom, he shines very strong, basking in the stimuli, and reacts to it very strongly, holding nothing back, a twitchy plaything that enjoys every second of what he is getting. But as a but as a dom, he is almost like a scientist: a special tone of voice, a distant, almost frightening presence. When he found my evil hitty schtick he did not use for pain, but to point and prod, to control my body, to place it in positions he deemed beautiful. As he studies the body his knowledge of it is very precise, and as one of those who get off on expertise, it has been rather remarkable to hear this man talking about the vulnerability of the skin. This has happened on several occasions, using Thirsty as an anatomical doll for example, writing with a sharpie, pointing and prodding, speaking about every little detail, those details that makes it so much more scary when pressing against the vulnerable skin. The man is certainly learning at the speed of light. And I’m looking forward to much more fun to be had. Especially since he is a bi switch, who loves rope and thinks every day should come with champagne.