So here I am, back from my yearly trip to Lovely Lady London! And, with my trip, come a few contemplations I'd like to submit to you.
Sometime in 2008 (I believe. I might be wrong here) Regent Street saw an Apple Store joining the myriad shops lining its gentle curve, and I, needing a power charger for my (sadly 2.5G) iPhone, ventured in. I asked a very friendly sales assistant for the charger and, since I was there, if there were any unlocked 3G iPhones for sale. Turns out there weren't, but the kind man went as far as adding "legally". He wouldn't advise me on how to obtain one, but ha mentioned it. SO off I went to Tottenham Court Road, one of my favourite places in London, to inquire about the possibility of having a 3G iPhone, legaly purchased and locked to O2 (for example) unlocked. As it turns out, it was cheaper to just buy the thing unlocked at the same place where they'd unlock it (with Turbo SIM included and all), but that's hardly may point. As I strolled down Tottenham Court road, past Goodge Street Tube Station and to Warren Street Tube Station, I remebered how only two years before there were quite a few video stores, and I'm not just talking about "Ma and Pa Stores", as it were, but large places, three stories high, each larger tham some so-called supermarkets I've been to. And now, they were all gone. Curiously, the smaller stores remain, trading in pre-owned DVDs, especially box-sets and doing a little something on the side in cell phones, but the large stores are now all luxury and design furniture stores. I have to wonder: with the much heralded crisis upon us, is this really the time to set aside the low-cost, small goods most households manage to be able to afford on a regular basis and instead invest in expensive goods, set in a niche market and which one shouldn't be looking to buy more often than once every few years? Perhaps my views of economy are twisted. I hope they are. At any rate, never in my many trips to London had I ran into so many Masserattis, Jaguars, Bentleys and even Aston Martins in the streets (although this was a bit of a slow year for Porsches). So it would seem that eevn in a most miserable economy, these ideas I'd so swiftly regard as hare-brained lead to an abundance of luxury sports cars. All the better, if you ask me.
Setting the vile issue of finance aside for a moment, one of my most favourite places in London closed down last November. I shall always remember the premisses of Coffee, Cake and Kink in Endell Street (or, at least, until they find a new venue, as they are still anactive company, even though they are now a dot com company). For those who don't know, CCK was a coffee house, erotic art gallery and somewhat of an upscale sex shop, in the way that they sold BDSM and fettish supplies and resources. I miss them. In their absence, I, seeking some new BDSM supplies, was forced to resort to common sex shops, where the walls are rank with cheap porn, the stands rife with poor novelty erotic items and the kinky supplies are, more often than not, inadequate to my standards. Alright, perhaps I'm being a bit stuck up here, but... Hold on...
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Right, where were we? So, I might be a bit stuck up about this, but most of you know that porn isn't all alike. We've all ran into high-quality porn as well as into some crappy scenes where male models keep to swinging their hips mechanically, thinking of something else entirely just so they can last for the duration of the scene and the female models either can't even be bothered to work up a half decent moan or, instead, scream in impossible ecstasy from the first awkward touch to the bitter end, and most of what you'd see on the video racks of sex shops looking for a quick profit would have to fall into the latter category. Also, regarding their fetish supplies, I might again come out as a bit arrogant, but most of their so-called restraints seemed quite poor, although I, as a rope enthusiast, am biased. However, some canes and floggers I found could not be honestly described as anything better than "crap". And I took the care to find the upscale sex-shops, the likes of Harmony (not a bad place, really. Still, they couldn't hold a candle to CCK, if you ask me). Now, my point (yes, I'm about to make one) is that London, with its rich mélange of cultures, subcultures, trends and styles, always struck me as a bastion of tolerance, very much a place where you can be as outrageous as you'd like and not be stared at (except by the tourists). Now, going to a sex shop isn't really something I'm accostumed to. CCK was a different thing altogether, because they were much more of a coffee shop and an art gallery, and this was a bit of a plunge for me. Of course, once you're inside, none of the other patrons are in a position to judge you, because, lest we (and they) forget, they're in a sex shop as well, but, more importantely, it seems to me that the people outside will pass no more judgement either. However, a rather remarkable thought crossed my mind: are the staff just as open minded, as one would think, seeing as they work in a sex shop, or are they more the type to secretely think "sick bastard, taking home this sort of filth" of each customer? The nagging sensation remained for a bit, until a buxom blonde, dressed in a provocative black dress, was so warm to ask me if I needed any help. Still...
Pax vobiscum atque vale.
ArabianShark will know knuckle down and abide by the intransigent laws of his condition, but before I do, I'll leave you this much advice: Don't stay at the Park Lane Hotel in London. It might be part of the prestigious Sheraton chain of Hotels, but it's still utter crap, although their "Sweet Sleeper" beds are rather nice.