How did it all start? For some it started it very early but for me it was a ‘lightbulb moment’ at the old age of 18 – a shiver down the spine that made me feel all wobbly, something strange but delicious at the same time. Browsing the top shelf in a London newsagent (news dealer) and seeing a specifically femdom magazine for the first time.
People under 30 must try to conceive of a world without digital imagery. These days you innocently think you might enjoy an obscure fetish, you Google it and a vast array of arc-lamps spring to life, illuminating you with huge quantities of information. We had to catch sight of candle flames flickering in the distance and wandered stumbling towards them, not understanding ourselves what it was we wanted. The problem then was starvation of information, whereas today it an indigestible surfeit.
You were really at the mercy of what your newsagent felt might be saleable or what you might find on a furtive trip to a sex-shop in Central London. Femdom was very much the Cinderella of kink back then (is it still?) and it was an occasion for rejoicing (by yourself usually) when a new magazine came out that hit your spot. Up until my eyes met this magazine I’d never seen one specifically devoted to femdom, nor did I even know that word.
So this is the magazine. I saw it in 1979 somewhere in North London. My memory played tricks on me. I could swear the cover girl was wearing a tiger skin print dress, though it was in fact a model on the inside who was dressed that way. The models were rather tired-looking and disengaged from the current vantage-point, but it didn’t matter, it was all so new, rare and I was just younger – what I saw then was cherished so much more. You had to wait a month to get another issue so you’d actually re-read the copy … again and again.
I never in fact worked for the magazine. It was too early, before I even got into drawing femdom. By the time I was beginning to look for openings it had descended into a graveyard of phone-sex ads, with minimal photo sets and hardly any text. But my memory holds its importance as a spark that set off something. I wonder if people these days remember their first google-search ?
Together with “Madame” magazine, my interest in femdom was sustained and developed until I felt confident enough to start producing my own artwork.