The plan was a simple one. Parachute in, maintain a low cover, learn sexy stuff and immediate extraction. I had my day at Eroticon 2017 planned with military precision, such is the calming effect of planning on this rather anxious individual.
The pennies at chez subsmissives aren’t in abundance, and receiving an email advising that I was the beneficiary of the frankly genius ticket pool was a god send. Google maps, street view and the Arlington website fully stalked, I suddenly realised I needed to get there. And shit, I needed a name. I couldn’t just be sub, I’msure there’d be loads more subby subs at Eroticon 2017 than myself.
I looked for inspiration in the round dough/tomato/cheese based delicacy that is both my saviour and my biggest vice. The name hit me square in the chops. Pete Zeta.
I didn’t go with it, as genius as it is, I continued to think. I settled on something rather more restrained, with an air of sophistication, an acknowledgment to my kinks, and simultaneously both completely different from yet similar to my real name.
This brought me back to my journey. There was only one real solution, I had to drive, so back to google I went.
With the 4th of March rapidly approaching, and car parking booked, I could feel the nerves rising. It was however, time to put into action Operation Eroticon 2017.
I woke after exactly 5 hours and 29 minutes sleep at 7.03am. With the venue only 40 miles away, and my meticulous planning, everything was going well so far. A quick shower and a hastily chosen shirt and trousers, I grabbed my laptop, phone, wallet, keys and manbag. I set the 2 satnavs for my pre-booked parking and hit the road.
The journey into London was clear, as you might expect for pre-8am on a Saturday in early March. Well, at least it was until I hit roadworks. Damn you satnavs, I thought you were supposed to know about delays. One was telling me to go down a closed road, and another to go down a taxi only road.
So I was slightly delayed, no problem, the 2 satnavs were telling me I’d arrive at my destination at either 8.48 or 8.51 depending upon which one you looked at. Eroticon 2017 was to start at 9.15, and with a 17 minute walk I would still be on time.
At 8.55 “you have reached your destination” the satnavs sang, not quite in union.
I was in Camden, the signs had told me that, but this was definitely not the place I had paid to park, I drove around for a few minutes, to continual cries of “perform a u-turn”. And then I saw her, the answer to my increasingly hard beating heart in mouth feeling. The only human awake in this part of London was sitting on a wall smoking a cigarette, tap-tap-tapping on a handheld communication device of some type.
I approached with urgency, wound down the car window, and leaned out with a smile that hopefully hid both my nerves and relief. “Hi, sorry, can you tell me where this place is please?” I asked.
She looked at me, and in what is probably the most useful phrase to someone in her situation, through a heavy accent, the words “No Inglish” entered my ears.
“Ok”, wound the window up, and actually sighed because this meant I could go home to the safety of my house, with the knowledge I had tried my hardest and was usurped by two useless satnavs and the inability of English speaking Londoners to be where I needed them when I needed them.
I found my way out of the labyrinthine backstreets I had found myself in, when for some reason I was compelled to check the on-street parking restrictions. Permit holders only Mon – Fri 8am – 8pm.
A wave of adrenaline crept up my back and crashed over my shoulders into my chest.
I parked up, tucked in my wing mirrors, grabbed my manbag and started walking. 9am dead.
Momentarily, I realised I hadn’t a clue where I was going. I had also prepared for this, so took my phone (AKA satnav no 2), and called up the destination I had saved as Eroticon 2017. 4 minutes it said. 0.8miles in 4 minutes, that didn’t seem right. Realising it was on driving mode, I tried in vain to switch to walking route. Honestly, if anyone knows how to switch google maps to walking from driving on Android, please please please enlighten me.
So, I had to resort to using my phone as a map, I had the destination marked, so I set off down a pedestrian only street in the general direction of Eroticon 2017.
I’m not a fit person, but I walk a fair deal, however carrying a laptop and a hundredweight of butterflies meant that by the time I arrived at the Arlington (9.21am), I was glowing.
Walking into the Arlington, I was immensely pleased to see signs directing me to Eroticon 2017, I didn’t need to talk to anyone, whoop. As I headed down the stairs from reception to the conference suite, my heartbeat slowed, breathing eased and adrenaline from the hasty walk faded.
I had to announce my name to obtain my delegate pass, and headed into an already busy seminar room. This is actually when I realised why the universe had conspired to make me late. Where my anxious self had wanted to be there early to figure out the best place to hide, by being late, everyone was already in conversation, meaning I slid in unnoticed and placed my manbag at the back.
There was no easy option for a seat, so I briefly asked a fellow delegate if I could sidle past her to an empty seat (on the back row of course).
Briefly the intro started, with Molly. Shamefully I don’t remember much of what was said as it seems the nerves were still pretty heavy then. This led into the opening panel and lots of discussing using many industry buzz words, most of which I recognised, and which although critical of besuited CIS Hetero White Dudes, of which I am one, was a very interesting Q&A session.
This first 45 minutes was over in a flash, and before long I had to choose where to go next. I opted for The Sex Tech Hands-On session, which featured a lot of toys I already have and some I don’t. Got to play around with some Lovense, and a we-vibe sync, before the session was commandeered by Hot Octopuss and a sales-pitch cum company history lesson cum engineering class. It was pretty interesting, and I learned about the good things that the Pulse does for chaps with orgasm difficulties.
Most interestingly though was seeing the forthcoming Queen Bee.
The sex tech talk finished with a brief presentation from a chap whose name I didn’t catch who is developing a kink-specific tinder type app. Not for me, but can absolutely see its use.
During the break I interrupted Doxy who was speaking to Hot Octopuss, to ask about the baby Doxy Diecast, which seems almost as powerful but amazingly light. I may have mentioned that I have many wands in an attempt to impress.
Moved on to chatting with Hot Octopuss, where I actually got to feel the Queen Bee prototype, and boy am I excited about that one (on M’s behalf). Picked up a free T-shirt, and a really good chat with a chap named Alex who seemed to recognise my twitter handle (or maybe not).
I skipped into a talk by Malin James on flash fiction. She said the work fuck a lot, but more than that, her absolute eloquence and wealth of knowledge she imparted has given me a real interest to try some more short erotica writing.
Next up was the energetic and exuberant girl on the net teaching us how to pitch our ideas. Something that is way beyond me, and I may never get to that point, but she was thoroughly entertaining, a real joy to hear talk. The message? No one does what I do quite like me. I have therefore decided I am now a sexpert. Cos GOTN says so.
The talks had kinda lulled me into a secure place. I had for the most part sat with arms crossed, meaning no-one could see my ID, plus I’m actually pretty comfortable like that, but with the end of GOTNs talk, lunchtime had arrived. Nerves rose again, and the butterflies lifted me out of the room.
Whilst everyone shuffled into the food-service area, I headed out of the door into Camden. I took a wander round Inverness street market, played some Pokemon go and caught my first Polywrath. Having not had a single bite to eat all day, and only the smallest amount of water, the butterflies were replaced by a growly monster. I headed back to Eroticon 2017, and do the dining area which to my enormous relief was half empty. Had myself a piece of chicken and went to the kink craft workshop.
I’m not a crafty person, and sitting slightly back from the rest of the table, the good folk at Kink Craft set me on my way, a blister later and after having the lighter confiscated by Pixie, I had fashioned myself a paracord collar – a perfect fit for the enormous 19inch girth of my neck. I would loved to have stayed for the cane workshop on Sunday, but it wasn’t to be.
Then it was time to listen to someone whose work I admire and whose attitude to life is just inspiring. The effervescent Alix Fox giving tips on recording audio media. Not something I ever plan to do, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to listen to her speak. Witty, pun-laden and knowledgeable, her talk was memorable and brilliant.
Afterwards I sat in the break-out room, listening to conversation between people far more interesting than I. By now, the nerves had faded, and my thoughts were alive with buzz-words, self-reflection and knowledge consolidation. Discussion was had on the late Rockbox, recycled bags and Eroticon 2017s legacy. The whirlwind of Godemiche appeared, and in its wake, I quietly departed. Using pokemon go maps to find my way back to the car.
It took me a long time to get home, reminding me of why London and I generally don’t like each other. 3 hours 3 miles is soul-destroying, but at least I had subs stereo to keep me entertained.
I’m not the type to take notes, since I always miss something, so reflection and recollection brings you this post on my experience of Eroticon 2017.