Rubber Ball trip, Day 5 (events originally occurred on Oct. 5):
Saturday morning dawned too early for our fair maidens, two of which were now tasked with setting up and manning an Exposition booth, while the third was the day’s “Expo slave.” However, being the Expo slave is not at all as difficult as actually operating the booth and it gave Kali and Liebling a reason to get me an official Expo vendor badge, which gave me free admission for both days. At 10am, the ladies had their vendor suitcases packed and rolling towards the Barbican Centre. As soon as they checked in and received their booth number and located the space, I instinctively knew what my first assignment was: procure coffee!
Poor Kali and I cannot function without it, and Liebling is little better. Luckily, we all like our coffee the same way—light and sweet. Though it takes longer with all the condiments, it means having less to remember.
It did not take long for the ladies to get their booth set up, and once complete it became apparent that the one-size coffee from the Barbican Centre snack bar was not going to satisfy Kali, so off I went into the surrounding neighborhood to locate a proper coffeeshop. This took a little bit longer then anticipated, as the one coffeeshop I’d seen the day before was now closed. It was very odd to be in an international metropolitan area and see so many shops closed not only on Sunday, but also on Saturday. Haven’t these Brits heard of capitalism?! Once I returned with the prized libation, I was released from my duties so I might toodle around the Centre and check out the other vendors.
The one beef I have with the Rubber Ball Expo is that they seem to cram too many vendors into too small a space. It really seems that there is more floor space they could utilize, but choose not to. And it’s a bit unfair, because many of their vendors have excellent product, it’s just hard to get to it all or see it all, especially when the Expo is busy and the tiny aisle ways are mobbed like a Japanese bullet train. Apparently because of the terrible economy this year and the price of renting a booth at the Expo, many smaller vendors pooled their resources to share booths. All the major British vendors were there, of course: House of Harlot
, Skin Two
, and now Torture Garden
was unveiling a new line of clothing. Some of my favorite smaller vendors were present: Vanitas Empire
, Fairy Gothmother
, and What Katie Did
. New American upstarts Vex Clothing
and Puimond Corsets
both displayed lovely product. Vex Clothing especially was doing some fun things with the trims on their latex pieces. Plank Design had an impressive display of minimal, sturdy, and highly functional metal furniture pieces. They even taped footprints to the floor to indicate where to stand to test the items.
Routinely I checked in with the ladies to see if they needed anything and more often than not they were so swamped with potential customers that they could barely blink in my direction. Along mid-afternoon, I briefly took my leave of them to hit an Internet café and send my travel updates Stateside. When I returned to the Expo around 4pm, Herr Professor and Cowboy had arrived on the scene. The immediate question of the day was, of course, which party were we planning to attend that evening? The official Skin Two event was that evening, but the lads had word of another party being held at a place called Club Wicked
, immediately under London Bridge. They seemed to think the Club Wicked party was going to be the best offering, but I, the ladies, and our host were constrained by either the paper tickets or credentials we had in hand or by the ability to get on an official guest list. The boys were insistent we try to check out Club Wicked, but ultimately, that would not be our destination.
Cowboy was a darling lad who seemed determined to cater to me. I’m not really domme by nature, but after a few episodes of Cowboy opening doors for me, or using his body to shield me from the massing crowds in the aisles, I was starting to pick up the role rather naturally. This achieved its fruition when I saw a Lady Marlene bustier at the What Katie Did booth that I wanted to try on. WKD did not have a dressing area set up at their booth and as I cast my eyes about for a suitable way to try on the garment, the girl at the booth, seeing my vendor badge, directed me to use the lobby bathrooms, since she “knew where she could find me.” (My friends’ booth was on the same aisle way as WKD.) Cowboy accompanied me to the lobby and before you could say “Yes, Mistress!” I handed him my coat and my purse and told him to “stay right there while I run into the bathroom.” It wasn’t until I got into the stall with my shirt off, fighting with the front zipper on the bustier, that I realized…Ohmigod! I have just given a virtual stranger my purse!
With a quickness, I finished trying on the bustier, determined it was too large, threw it off, threw on my shirt, and ran out of the bathroom--only to find Cowboy standing exactly where I had left him, my purse perfectly safe. Emboldened by this new power, I repeated the process once more, finally locating a bustier that fit properly.
I enjoyed Cowboy’s company during the remainder of the Expo that day (that little incident with the electrified tennis racquet notwithstanding--no electrical play for this girlie!) and along about 4pm we ventured off to the retail shop of House of Harlot, so he could be measured for a custom outfit. Robin, the owner and operator of House of Harlot, is a handsome man of obvious refinement and taste, and making his acquaintance was a pleasure. As I waited for Cowboy and Robin to finish, I rested on a bench seat, over which hung a large photo portrait of a woman in a full Louis Quatorze-style ball dress, made entirely in latex and complete with a hood. While Cowboy waited for Robin to finish some paperwork, he sat beside me and mentioned the name of the woman in the portrait. Apparently, she and her husband are dreadfully wealthy and able to indulge in all their proclivities. “You know all those fantasies with the beautiful mansions, on the beautiful grounds, tended by beautiful fetishy servants? They live
that life.” Ahh, well…some people have all the luck.
After Cowboy’s business with House of Harlot was completed, he, Herr Professor, and I decamped to a lovely seafood restaurant not too far from the Barbican Centre, where for the first time in my life, I had true Dover sole. Now, it’s quite likely that Dover sole is one of those species that is being overfished, but since I will probably only have it two or three times in my life, I tried to ignore my own remorse while tucking into the tasty white fish. After dinner, everyone returned to their respective accommodations to prepare for that evening’s parties. Along about 10pm, the ladies came racing back from the Expo, only to have to change their finery for something fresh for the Skin Two party. They were quite exhausted and had barely eaten all day. This rendered everyone a bit snappish, but a couple of cups of rice pudding at least kept people from fainting outright. Kali and Liebling dressed in matching Spanish dancer-style corsets and skirts, their luxurious black hair decorated with all manner of silk red roses.
Preparing for the event took longer than anticipated, as well as locating an available taxi. By the time we arrived at the venue, it was 12:30am and the line out the front door was about 50 people deep. This did not bode well for a quick entry. Our host, who had his own credentials in hand, went to the front of the line to find out what the trouble was. During this interim, poor hungry Kali and Liebling cast their wandering eyes on a sandwich shop across the street, audibly hoping that it would still be open once they left the club. A few minutes later, our host returns to inform us that the club has horribly over-sold the event, and at this point only people with paper tickets or press credentials will be allowed in, meaning that Kali and Liebling’s attempts to enter via guest list would be rejected. At this point, we decide that it would be best for Kali and Liebling to return to the flat so they could relax after a long hard day, and the Mountie and I would continue on into the club. The ladies begin by racing across the street for sandwiches before hailing a cab.
The venue was hopping, with persons in all manner of dress and undress crowding about. Trying to get through coat check was an absolute misery and I didn’t genuinely attempt it for the first hour I was there. Apparently, in Europe, there is less concern about nudity in club environments, as toplessness, bottomlessness, and even downright all-lessness was routine. The interior of the club was designed along a Moroccan theme, with numerous dark nooks and booths and seating areas to gather in. The Mountie and I sought a vantage point in a balcony area so he could get a good look at the crowd and get an aerial shot of one particular attendant. During all of this, an attractive couple were visibly copulating on the bench a few feet from him. On my walk back down the staircase to the main floor, an attractive and completely nude man is stroking himself by the dance floor.
Near the front entrance is a large metal cage, standing about 10 feet tall and perhaps five feet square. Inside, a Japanese woman wearing a cartoonish rendition of a geisha costume is busily trussing up model Kumi. It is one of the longer demonstrations of Japanese rope bondage (shibari) that I've seen. The woman completes a tie on Kumi and allows her to dangle for a bit for the convenience of the photographers and spectators. Then, with grace and facility, she moves on to a different configuration. This goes on for the better part of an hour. At one point, as the woman is struggling to elevate Kumi off the ground, a glamazon of a domme from Atlanta struts her thigh-highed boots into the cage and tugs on the rope with both hands, hoisting Kumi vertically a good three feet, to much applause.
After the shibari demonstration, I watch The Mountie take numerous photos of other attendants, as a young man named Loki offers to rub my tired feet, and does a fine job of it. At the end of the night, after a crushing time retrieving my coat from coat check, The Mountie and I tackle an off-license minicab back to his flat for as much rest as possible before beginning the next round of activities.