- 22nd November 2010
- Images © Daniel Banting/Erotica (from www.erotica-uk.com)
Erotica, the UK’s largest exhibition for the sex, fetish and adult entertainment sector, set up camp at London’s Kensington Olympia for its biennial three-day love fest this weekend.
Now in its 15th year, Erotica’s 2010 edition was noticeably smaller than previous years with circa 150 exhibitors. Though with Burlesque/Fetish queen Dita Von Teese among the numbers the event maintained a suitably erotic atmosphere, though housed in a hall which, otherwise remained as sterile as a recently refurbished out patients department.
Rumour has it event organisers paid Ms. Von Teese a six-figure sum to appear at this year’s exhibition and issued a stern warning to photographers, on pain of a $1m penalty fee, not to snap her Opium Den burlesque shows (presumably Getty Images bought the rights to such) which took place at a entirely unerotic time of 6:15pm daily. The performance itself saw The Teese at her exquisitely sequined, beautifully betasselled, staged posing, best.
In the performance stakes Dita’s appearance, though the talk of the show, was overshadowed by some very impressive pole dancing, flaming breast displays, stunningly salubrious zentai clad contortion and a terribly topical, yet satisfyingly erotic ‘Cat Bin Lady’ routine by Neo-Burlesque starlet Kitty Bang Bang.
Surrounding the central performance stage were stands promoting sex aids, bondage-friendly beds and associated appliances; swinger holidays and rudely painted porcelain plus a tongue-in-cheek stall from the RSPB selling T-shirts emblazoned with ornithologically profound phraseology such as “Great Tits” and “Shag”.
Attendees at the exhibition ranged from rubber clad fetish aficionados to the ‘you’d never think it to look at them’ suit wearers alongside full on fantasy-inspired demons, the ever-predictable 50s underwear clad retrophile and their ‘pants and a corset’ll do’ cousins. Needless to say Dita clones were abound. According to show organisers the average spend per attendee at the show is £200 and business at the show generates a revenue of more than £12m.
Overall the exhibition, favoured its Fetish audience, and with the average BDSM bed coming in at £3,500, their spending power certainly themed the event, in an ‘alright if you like that sort of thing’ manner to those not privy to the specifics of more niche kinks. The more traditional and, shall we say, vulgar ‘marital aids’ (think of the items adorning the average high street Ann Summers’ back room) were relegated to rooms off the main drag, though remained, assuringly, popular.
The Saturday night after-show party at Vauxhall’s Club Colosseum, a cool £40 to enter, was run and staged by internationally renowned Fetish Club promoters Torture Garden, and featured many of the sights attendees at their events have come to expect; with multiple themed dance rooms, stage shows, BDSM dungeons & playrooms galore. Though the dress code was significantly relaxed from a typical fetish event, with as many black ties as there was latex hosiery, it was none-the-less a delightful affair, run with precision.
- Sam Agnew