Village halls are fine things even for those who don’t share John Major’s mystical warm beer and leather on willow visions of rural England. I have been to weddings, birthday parties and aerobics classes in village halls. They are a great community asset and , indeed, would help contribute to David Cameron’s vision of the Big Society if he had done anything about it rather than fracturing society further with his war on the poor.
But as was reported from Trumpington near Cambridge on Newsnight yesterday, any Big Society doesn’t include kinky people. The village hall trustees there have cancelled a booking from a group teaching people about relationships. It came to light that participants were going to be given an introduction to some aspects of BDSM , such as instruction in spanking, the use of floggers and so on. This was too much for the trustees who accused the organisers of making a booking under false pretences.
But what were these false pretences? Are they suggesting that BDSM cannot form part of a relationship? In any event it all sounded very respectable. Tea and cakes were to be served after the session and, no doubt, spankers and spankees would have had a good natter about how their root veg was coming along. Kinky people are not a race apart. They live among us and with us. Why, some even belong to the WI!
As regards BDSM I am a sympathetic bystander. I write stories, often based loosely on the real life experiences of other and I have come to see that it is a big store of erotic treasures. You do not need to embrace the lifestyle to enjoy some of these and elements of kink can surely add to any relationship. And for those not afraid of the deeper water there are sensations and delights that, once tasted, can never be foregone. My own sexual journey is leading me in this direction. Think of me as a nervous swimmer on the poolside waiting to dip a toe in the water.
Many of the activities can be dangerous when done by novices so training in how to flog someone, or how to tie them up seems a good thing and life enhancing for those involved. .Just not in Trumpington.
Village halls have form in this area. A couple of years ago a dominatrix from Derby called Mistress Tia used to hire a village hall in Shropshire for filming. It had a great acoustic, especially when she strode the wooden floor in killer heels. She paid her dues, left the hall as clean and tidy as she found it and did her filming behind closed doors. Then the Trustees found out, cancelled the booking, and the local newspaper (the Sunday Mercury about which I have written before ) outed her.
This week we heard about Mariella Frostrup’s new programme in which participants will have sex in a box and then talk about it. This is, allegedly, supposed to provoke mature debate about sex. In the light of the continued stigmatisation of BDSM and kink she doesn’t need to bother. Too many people in this country still have too much growing up to do.