Share via Email It said Greek, not geek … Photograph: Bettmann Archive A dark room containing a large fan heater and a lot of casual nudity. To those, like me, not on the scene, kink and fetish parties are little more than punchlines. Medusas and centaurs flirt, having fun. At least some people are. Being a disorganised fool, I have no costume. Burdened by natural diffidence, I cut a monstrously awkward figure. A centurion, poised to whip the bare ass of his shackled consort in the middle of the room, makes eye contact.
I add a double thumbs up to the mix, unsure what he needs from me. Performative intimacy is a riddle I cannot crack. I settle on ambient appreciation; the expression one wears at a world music festival. I should chill out. A few take it upon themselves to show me round. I feel welcome, if incredibly vanilla.
Eventually, I relax a little. This is normal, I think to myself at one point, despite the fact that a foot away, someone is being fisted. Or breath play, electrical play, Japanese rope bondage or figging.
This is an outre world, but a courteous one. There are strict codes of conduct. Consent must be explicitly confirmed before an activity. Pushiness or disrespect would meet with ostracism and ejection. I said ejection, relax. As one female member explains: Smaller events are also common, with a group often booking an Airbnb together.
Many clubs allow kink play only, no sex, and all will have their own unique atmosphere. Specialised marketplaces are easy to find. For the duration of my time inside, the club feels almost utopian. This is, in a literal sense, the dream: Of course, utopia is not for everyone. I often think a little repression can be the sexiest thing between two people: Maybe I finally found my kink.
Hydraulic engineering and the analysis of spillway erosion? Ford is building a Batmobile The car manufacturer Ford is returning to its revolutionary roots as illustrated by a series of new, eyebrow-raising patents. But the new stuff looks fun. Admittedly, the concept vehicle sketched in the patent is a hatchback and the motorbike is more of an electric bicycle. But you have to walk before you can fly. Another new piece of Ford technology lets blind people enjoy the scenery.
The real test will be in cities. Imagine the sophistication and detail of a system that might finally allow blind people to see a cyclist flipping them the bird, a Pret a Manger every 14 yards — or a rush-hour gridlock of commuters, apoplectic with rage because there are too many cars in the world.
Brings a tear to the eye.