Klub Verboten turned five years old last week. That’s half a decade of flirts and friendship and fun and freedom. That’s half a decade of hot, hot looks. Five whole years of liberation, expression and acceptance.
This beautiful community belongs to us all, so to write this blog I asked some members if they’d be willing to share some of their memories from the hallowed KV spaces that we’ve danced, fallen in love at and lived in over the past five years.
Personally, I find it difficult to pin down one defining experience. When I think about this community, millions of shards of memories fling up and stab me in the soul. It’s been a debaucherous whirlwind of hedonism, a decadent and defiant blur of expression. A relentless five-year assault on all senses.
There’s been a lot of firsts for me at KV. I was pretty inexperienced when it came to group sex and impact play before I started going. The first time someone taught me how to fist someone was there. The first time I was fucked with a strap-on whilst fucking someone else who was fucking someone else in a scene that was almost a copyright infringement of the Human Centipede, was there too. It was a delightfully perverted sight to behold, especially when the ‘drink’ started to kick in.
One of my favourite memories was when I first went, it was also my first fet night outside Berlin. My mind was overloaded hoovering up the atmosphere; the room shifted and coalesced into one colossal blob of sexuality, the escapism was oozing from the walls and bubbling out of every human I encountered. ‘Well, this is a fucking interesting way of living your life,’ I distinctly remember thinking. Getting a bit carried away, I started playing with my then-partner in the queue for the cloakroom before we’d even put our bags away.
Without warning a hand descended from inside the cloakroom hatch passing me a cane. It belonged to the attendant, a guy wearing just a balaclava and leather trousers. He proceeded to give me a masterclass in corporal punishment, using the cane before introducing ice. Now that is customer service! I still use the tips he gave me regularly, years later but I still couldn’t tell you what he looked like; I never saw his face. If you’re reading this, thanks.
The next week I headed to Homebase and asked how much it would cost for one of those pieces of bamboo that support the taller plants. They gave it to me for free (they don’t sell them on their own) and I took it to every KV I went to for the next few years before I lost it.
A pro-domme, who’s been attending the events for a few years, told me that she’ll never forget her first one. “My first KV I was kind of new to the scene,” she says. “Well, I’d only been on the scene for about a year but I’d never been to anything like that.”
“The venue was great, the music was great, the people were great. I was like, ‘Fuck, I’ve found my people – this is AMAZING!’ I can’t remember exactly where it was, somewhere in east London I believe. I think a lot of people will say the first time that they went to a big fetish night, it’s a transformative experience.”
A London-based artist told me that her most memorable experience was a particular Antibody event which she “loved from start to finish”. Why? “It was just a pure play space and only 100 people,” she recalls. “I went from scene to scene like a tornado – it was just full-on and excellent.”
“There’s this visual I still have. I was on my back on a Gegenstand furniture with my boots on a brick wall. One girl I just met was eating me out (she ended up becoming one of my best friends), her partner instructing her and another girl whipping me. I looked behind me and saw the red dome of voyeurs upside down as if they were standing on the mouth of hell casually and kindly drinking it all in.”
A musician now based in the Isle of White worked at KV for three years starting at the very beginning of the journey. “I worked with Klub Verboten, setting up events, for three years in many different kinds of venues,” he recalls. “There were several defining moments for me. Mostly involving hard work, long days and insane mornings setting up (and tearing down) exciting installations and play areas.”
“When the space was finalised, before the crowd would arrive, I would feel a mixture of apprehension and pride,” he added. “To work with the most brilliant, hardworking and dedicated individuals.”
“They started this out of a very pure place: a desire for London to host a run of events offering a visceral set of bodily experiences; as much about a great club night and respectful environment as its play areas. They never fail to deliver.”
What’s his most treasured moment? “Being the first couple (on our second date) at the event, getting down to it and feeling so incredibly liberated,” he remembers. “Watching the Klub fill up, and being approached by an older couple. We had a really great evening with them afterwards.”
A designer from London told me about the first time he entered into a KV space – another transformative night. “I will never forget my first time,” he said. “It was perfect in every way. We met the best people and had the best chats, there was such a quick sense that we had found our people. So many have become such close friends since then.”
Making long-term friends at KV was a common theme. A human doll told me about their experience: “I’d gone to Tears for Beers on my own and was very nervous,” they told me. “But I was wearing my rubber red corset which thankfully attracted the attention of someone who had arrived with a date who turned out to be awful. They made a beeline for me, we got talking, we went to my first big one together and we’ve been close friends ever since.”
This scene is about so much more than sex (although that’s undoubtedly a part of it). It’s about checking in with each other during a scene, watching out for each other and combating misconceptions about our lifestyles. It’s about giving your friend a sugary snack to raise their blood sugar levels as they are emerging from subspace. It’s about planning an outfit for a whole week. It’s about fucking someone with your eyes on the dance-floor before asking them if they want to play. It’s about acceptance. It’s about community. It’s about life.
Long live Klub Verboten – here’s to many, many more birthdays.