Last night I had a fire in my garden just after sunset. All the wood burnt was from driftwood I had gathered on the beach earlier. There is something magical about simple pleasures that money can’t buy. If a pleasure costs nothing, it sets you free. It gives you time that you would otherwise have to be spent working, earning money to afford things. Of course it took time to collect the bags and bags of driftwood and it made my arms as heavy as lead but I really enjoyed gathering a resource with no currency needed but my time. There was something else I realised last night looking into my fire and I could not stop smiling: It was the first weekend I have had off in years. Of course I have had weekends but for years I have not had 48 hours off work. I have always worked at last half a day. In the past five years there has never ever been a weekend when I would not have checked and responded to my emails.
Because I love my work I often forget to just live.
So it is a new and happy sensation to not work for a few days. Close the office, leave the house. They sell signs that say “Gone fishing” they should do one “Gone Foraging” Because when I am not collecting driftwood on the beach I can usually be found on a sunny day at the roaming “pick your own farm” where I fill my mouth and baskets with raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. There is always a different crop ready and I walk away with baskets full of carrots, beetroot, cabbage, Broccoli, cauliflower, onions paying only a few quid.
It is really satisfying to cook and enjoy food that I picked myself only a couple of hours ago. It is a little bit closer to the dream of self sufficiency I have. One day I will live in a big house with my very own beehive, goats and chickens, surrounded by 10 acres of land. Dream on.
It’s nice to dream for a while and stop banging my head against a brick wall. I had to do that. “Feeling it!” my new and if the critics are to be quoted so far best film is only selling very slowly. The sales are so slow that unless a miracle happens, it is very unlikely that I will invest into another erotic film this year. So now it is time for plan B: I will keep on working on my book ideas and my documentary on female pornographers and enjoy this amazing summer that has finally arrived in the UK. And I try not to feel guilty that I am not in front of the computer or behind the camera for twelve hours of more every day. It is like the lyrics of the song “Firewood” from one of my favourite singer-songwriters, Martha Tilston:
“I may be gone for a while; I must go away for a while – collecting firewood.
When I return my arms will be full. When I return my arms will be full of firewood.”
Without firewood there would be no fire. I realised this just in time. This is not a time for pushing but flowing. And I can feel it already: the whisper of happiness in my mind. It is nice to be rather than to want to have and just enjoy a summer’s day and swim in the sea.
In the last two weeks my feet have barely touched the ground. I am on the plane right now on my way back from Madrid where I spent the last 5 days attending the FICEB award, buying outfits and props and networking.
We arrived in Madrid last Wednesday and had only an hour or so to get ready to go to the gala night. Due to the extreme heat (38 degrees in the shade at 9 pm) I ditched the idea of wearing my long satin evening gown with matching gloves and opted for a short summery number instead. The awards party was held in a seventies style restaurant in the beautiful Retiro Park. All the big players of the Spanish porn industry were there and quite a few European porn celebrities as well. It was so nice to be able to share this event with Violetta who has become a dear friend to me as well as being my muse and one of the stars of my films. What we create is a labour of love and true teamwork so it seems wrong when I turn up at awards parties all by myself. It would have been nice to walk away on the night with one or even the two awards we were nominated for. It would have meant the world to me and a lot to Violetta who has supported me for 2 years now and had to take off three days from work so she could travel to be there with me. But it was not to be. ‘Best film’ and ‘best director ‘ went to “Casino” – a big budget film created by Marc Dorcel productions. Congratulations to them ! I have not seen the film yet but am interested to see what they created. I must get hold of a copy and put it on my “to view” list.
I am not disappointed as I never thought that I had a realistic chance of winning as an independent producer next to all the big production companies with massive budgets. We enjoyed the night and sharing our table with the marketing guys from Daring media who produce big, lavish porn films in Barcelona. It was great to chat to them as they, to our surprise share our opinion that porn must open up to new consumers, styles and content in order to survive.
There is a reason why porn DVD sales are falling and it is not just the growing popularity of video on demand (downloads). I also think that even hardened porn fans are getting bored with repetitive content. The film titles and names of performers change yet the sex acts and order they are shown in remain the same. It is like porn by numbers and the lack of creativity and innovation bores many viewers. With time the industry will change and for us, a small independent label doing porn in a unique way, to be nominated for the two big awards is an indication that the industry is getting ready to embrace creative innovation.
The morning after the award party I went for a day to the Ficeb show but it was not what I expected. The opening hours were from 6 pm until 5am and the show was held in a massive rave venue. Girls were stripping and couples were fucking live on various stages to the beat of techno and trance whilst hordes of middle aged men tried to video or photograph the action on their mobile phones. There were only a few stalls selling gimmicks and none of the big exhibitors were there. So I could not make any deals. As a business trip this did not work out well but as a girly weekend it was fun.
One night we went to see an excellent Flamenco show with some male dancers. It was HOT: their bodies heaving and dripping with sweat their faces contorted in almost orgasmic ecstasy. What a turn on to watch them dance as if they had sex with an imaginary lover. It just showed that sexiness has to do with personality and energy rather than full frontal nudity and explicit acts.
Some other nights Violetta and me spent watching a selection of alternative porn that I have found recently. We analyse the films, laugh about clichés and celebrate anything that done in a creative way or puts women on top. We were particularly interested with “The gift”, a Spanish film that won many awards at the Ficeb in 2006 and also “Constance”, a Danish film that is ten years old and was one of the first European porn films catering for a female audience. Apart from one rough and slightly disturbing scene (a kind of rape scenario) I liked all the other scenes in “The Gift” – it was shot really well with lots of steadycam work which I would love to use in the future and even featured a roof top sex scene with shots taken from a helicopter. The sex was hot and varied and many clichés were broken. So thumbs up from Violetta and me for this unusual film. “Constance” impressed us because it featured a lot of women reciving oral, showed some pubic hair and also integrated the use of condoms. I like it when porn promotes safe sex rather than risking the health of the performers or pretending that condoms are not sexy. It’s a shame that all sex scenes ended in a visible cum shot though – it would have been nice to see the orgasms just in the odd scene in people’s faces or whole body spasms. “The Gift” and “Constance” were created by male directors. The films are proof to me that the gender of the director is less important than their artistic talent and willingness to break porn rules when it comes to the creation of alternative porn.
A highlight of our trip was meeting the fantastic corset designer Maya Hanson. Violetta needed some new outfits for her burlesque performances and we also hoped to find a look that could work well for a future shoot. Maya works in a wonderful loft filled with mirrors and stunning outfits. We did not know where to look or what to try on first – there was so much choice. Whilst most shops just sell red, white or black corsets off the peg, Maya hand-tailors all her corsets in a huge variety of materials and patterns. Violetta went for a purple corset with matching bloomers, called “polollos” and also an ivory/baby blue outfit with build-in suspenders. They both look a million dollars. I splashed out on an under bust corset that I can wear with my beloved black jeans and vest tops as well as over a dress. I hope to get it tailored in a strawberry print and if that is not available will go for the Hawaiian beauties instead.
I am happy but also worn out and glad to be back home at last. It gets tiring to live out of a suitcase and it is also beyond my limited means to pay for all these trips on my credit card. I love to network and to be part of all the different film festivals and trade shows but now the time has come to concentrate on spending my time to actually making some money – be it with writing, photography or filming.
I look forward to put the skills I learnt in a Final Cut Pro editing course into practise and start the postproduction of my “women on top” documentary.
Violetta (who stars in my films and has become one of my best friends) and I were invited to Amsterdam support the female run sex shop “Mail and Female” at the “Pinched festival”. Violetta was modelling their new range of underwear whilst I was photographing people in a tiny photo booth. It was a pleasure to meet the wonderful Annie Sprinkle again who headlined the event. I had a chance to interview Annie for my documentary on women and porn. She is such a wise woman who has experiences with the porn industry from many different angles. An ex porn star she is now a director, performance artist and Tantra teacher spreading her credo: “Love is the new sex!”. I admire her for bring much needed sensuality and spirituality into the world of porn, the sex industry and our lives. Annie also gave a workshop on orgasmic breath – the power of breath is amazing. It teaches you to focus on being in the moment. Breath allows you to focus on different parts of your body, switch of your mind and become more alive. When I started doing yoga 20 years ago it changed my (sex) life. I learnt to breathe consciously and it truly helped to get me out of my head and into my body. Using the conscious breathing during sex opened up a whole new world of sensations I would never want to do without again. So any breathing workshops and especially Annie’s come highly recommended.
Violetta and I ventured out into the red light district one night. It was amazing to see how sex was for sale openly in a well regulated and non intimidating way, rather than hidden and tucked away in badly lit dark and dangerous alleys. Most women were displaying themselves in the red lit windows but a few of them had ventured outside in front to their shops. We decided to chat to them to find out what the sex industry had to offer to female customers. We were told that a blow job costs 50 Euros but to give a woman head costs four times as much – 200 Euros. There was not a single amn in any of the windows. Even though they do exist. Male escorts for men and women still are invisible. It seems that in prostitution just as much as in porn women as customers are still discriminated against. The whole sex industry is geared towards men.
We ventured into the famous live sex show at Casa Rosso and it was so disappointing. The men were really unattractive and I could barely bring myself to view the action. There were no sounds coming from the stage and no signs of ectasy in anybody’s faces. Silent and highly choreographed sex not more but rather less erotic than a sports routine. After one hour the whole performance started again with the same performers going through exactly the same motions – silently. Give me a aubtle burlesque show anytime over this dull and boring gyrating boredom. One night in the red light district was more than enough for me.
I used my time in Amsterdam well to work more on my documentary “Women on top” – female porn directors and was excited to have a chance to interview Maria Llopis from Spain (formerly one part of the well known director’s duo “girlswholikeporno”) and Jennifer Lyon Bell. Maria creates really fun subversive sex clips that play with gender and empower women. Jennifer has created a short film called “head shot” that was shown on quite a few film festivals. It shows a guys face and only his face during a blow job he receives. The clip stands in the tradition of the famous film “Orgasm -faces of ecstasy” and the “Beautiful Agony” website – showing faces rather than body parts during orgasm – a revolutionary act within the porn industry. The interviews were delightful and insightful and I can’t wait to share them with you soon when my film comes out and also as a special treat in my soon to be created member’s area on this site