Interview: Simon Christopher his London Kink show – ‘Black Beauty in Irons’
In the age of 50 Shades on the big screen, as the nights get longer it’s time to get closer to the less hammy side of London Kink.
To help us get under the skin of fetish we caught up with Simon Christopher whose new theatre show Black Beauty in Irons is coming up from 29 September-2 October 2016.
Black Beauty in Irons | Theatre Utopia, 1 Matthew’s Yard, Croydon, CR0 1FF | 29 Sept-1 Oct: 7.30pm 2 Oct: 3pm | £10/£8 concessions
What’s ‘Black Beauty in Irons’ all about then?
Black Beauty in Irons is a razor-sharp journey into love, pride and kink that confronts what happens when the lines between fantasy and reality blur. It’s a show about what it’s like to have desires that you long to see fulfilled and to be accepted for.
Black Beauty in Irons is a sexy, provocative show about the kink community, but there are people everywhere who can’t be open about their lifestyles. We think everyone should be able to be proud of who they are, and it’s time for change.
It’s got scenes of a kinky nature, jokes and a soundtrack you can really hum. It’s a tenner apiece and you should definitely bring your mum.
Who or what inspires you to make your work?
It’s the community: our culture, our art, our openness, our otherness.
Black Beauty started as a reaction against my experiences of having to hide my kink identity away for fear of being misunderstood. Currently I’m lucky enough to be relatively out in my day-to-day life, but many of my friends can’t be for fear of losing non-kink friends, family, even their jobs.
Black Beauty is also a reaction against less-informed depictions of BDSM (think the shambolic cultural appropriation of 50 Shades). I want to show the kink lifestyle as it really is, free from depressing stereotypes. I want people to see the beauty of who we are and why we do what we do.
Do you think there’s a space for kink in London’s increasingly clean gentrified heartland?
London’s got a seriously strong kinky community – it’s one of the reasons I love living here! It’s true that in recent years many long-standing venues have been transformed into luxury flats, and we’ve lost clubs as a result. However, there’s several clubs still going strong – the London Alternative Market, for example.
There’s also a large number of ‘munches’ that happen all over London. These are informal gatherings of people in the kink community, usually in a pub in the evening. There’s often a theme, such as the well-attended Geek Munch, so it’s a great way to get to know people in the community without the pressure of being in a club.
We’re going strong, but a few more clubs opening their doors to new events would be very welcome!
What are your free or cheap things to do in London?
If you’re looking to get into kink but don’t want to go to a club just yet, going to a munch is a great start. They’re free, and a fun way to hang out with like-minded people for a few hours. I’m a fan of PRL, a once-monthly bondage workshop at Bethnal Green’s Resistance Gallery (it’s a fiver). I’d also recommend a trip to Duckie at RVT – a cheap and thoroughly entertaining night out.
Where do you feel most at home in London?
The West End. I’ve got my ideal itinerary. Breakfast in the British Museum. Nip out to Forbidden Planet comics emporium. Get a baked potato from Franx Continental Cafe (to die for). Stroll down to Covent Garden, along to Trafalgar Square via Waterstones and down Whitehall. Through Horseguards’ Parade towards St. James’ Park. Stick on Pink Floyd and chillax.
Alternatively, I can kill 8 hours at a time in the British Library. It’s where I do my writing. They’ve got comfy chairs with plug sockets in the armrests. Make sure you arrive early because they go quick, and take food and water because people circle like vultures waiting for a free seat.