Godlight 

Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you will never get from reading books on astronomy. These pure and spontaneous pleasures are ‘patches of Godlight’ in the woods of our experience.” C S Lewis


Photo by Exhibit A who, from his position, couldn’t see the woman walking up the path to my patch of Godlight! Eek! Also, Honey, this area of Epping Forest is known at The Ditches, so I had to have ‘one for the ditch’ didn’t I?! 

Sinful Sunday

In case of turbulence…

…please keep your seat belts fastened. 

It’s not much of a secret that I do a lot of flying, but – strangely! – it’s never actually occurred to me to create a mile high Sinful Sunday! When I discovered these rather random seats outside the lift on the second floor of the Radisson Blu in Bristol I couldn’t resist having a play. So in our Eroticon lunch break the gorgeous @fdotleonora and I got up to mischief…

We both prefer the pop of colour from the fuchsia silk, but I’ve included both shots to prove that, yes, I really did take all my clothes off in the lift lobby…

Sinful Sunday

“We Measure the Nostalgia”

Another heart has made the trade
Forget it, forget it, forget it
I don’t understand how a heart is a spade
But somehow the vital connection is made

Connection, Elastica

IMG_6527Monday afternoon, jetlagged and in need of distraction I started playing around in my garden, busting some rock goddess poses for my camera. The results definitely weren’t very goddess-like! Twenty two years ago I thought I had the Justine Frischmann scowl perfected, but in hindsight I suspect the look was less sexy smoulder and more petulant teenager.

Anyway, back around the same time I was girl crushing over Ms Frischmann and wearing her hair style I also had a questionable habit of living in coloured tights with fishnets over the top. That was me busting my Manic Street Preachers circa 1992 look. Next week I am off to see them (my favourite band!) with one of my favourite people. Ages ago I promised her I’d do a coloured tights and fishnets Sinful Sunday as a nod to our shared crazy tights past.

‘Mmm, they’re not really Sinful Sunday material’, I thought on Monday as I looked at the results. Five minutes later I spot that music is this week’s Wicked Wednesday prompt. Oh how I love a bit of serendipity. Off I went, tripping down memory lane…

I have written before about losing my virginity to Blue Moon Revisited by The Cowboy Junkies and Goth me reared her head in Fuck Me and Marry Me Young but this week I started thinking about how deeply music is meshed with the memories of men who have mattered to me and how some songs will always call to mind certain times, feelings, experiences.

Spring 1995: the chemistry between S and I has been growing for weeks but neither of us has done anything about it. It doesn’t occur to me to make a move; at 20 I still thought it was the man’s job, but I wanted to prompt action. He and I talk about music incessantly. We pour over NME every Wednesday. Wake Up Boo! By The Boo Radleys is top 10. We love it. I see they’re playing in London on a Saturday. I think about asking him to go, but play it differently and go alone. I want him to think I’m ballsy even though I’m not brave enough to make the first move. When he asks on Monday what I did at the weekend I tell him. His expression changes: ‘You went on your own? I would have come with you.’ We get together that night.

Now, you suck, suck it hard, go down, baby
You suck, lick it hard a
nd move your tongue around
You Suck, The Yeastie Girls

Spring 1996: S and I have fallen by the wayside. Friends and I are regularly tearing it up at a student night, pogoing and shouting passionately to You Suck by The Yeastie Girls. Inspired by cider and angry and bruised by S, I rant at a stranger sitting in my friend’s living room about oral sex: “If a woman comes and you haven’t gone down on her first she’s FAKING”. I know I know, a bit mad. For a few weeks after that night a hot bloke started to say hi when we passed in the street. One night he’s at a student night. “You always smile at me. Do I know you?” I ask. “You gave me a lecture about oral sex,” he replies. We get together that night. He didn’t learn the oral sex lesson but I learnt not to be too vocal about not liking a man’s mother. Bluetones’ Expecting to Fly had been released the day before we got together and it’s my album of that spring. When I hear it I am taken right back to us squashed together in my single bed in my grotty student house.

Well it’s a most peculiar feeling, like sunburn in the evening
With dark clouds on their way
And you think it’s most unlikely life could ever shine as brightly
Once the sun has gone and the pressure’s on

Don’t Need the Sunshine, Catatonia

My mid-twenties: Pulp in Finsbury Park. I meet N, the friend of a friend. I think he is a bit of an idiot. Halfway the through the afternoon my stomach lurches. Everything changes. For that summer, that year, and probably my attitude to relationships forever more. A week later he’s the first man to make me come with his tongue. A week after that we fuck for the first time. In a tent at a music festival. The tent collapses. We watched Catatonia as the sun went down and saw them many more times over the next few years. They will always be the soundtrack to us.

Is music still so intertwined with my memories of love and sex? Not in such a visceral way; I think the raw emotional responses we have to music, love and sex have a particular characteristic in our teenage years and twenties. But it’s still there, albeit in a more tempered less all-consuming way.

My early thirties and a man presents me with a compilation CD at the end of our first date, custom printed with my online user name. Surprised, I blurt out, “Would you have given this to me if you thought I was an idiot?’. He raised his eyebrows. There was only one more date, but I still listen to the haunting songs on that CD and wonder if life worked out OK for him. The half-brother he told me about as he smoked all my cigarettes will be a teenager now. I wonder if his mother ever found out the child existed? I wonder if he is reconciled with his Dad? Kate Rusby makes me think of him.

My late thirties and I am visiting a new lover in a different city. Something isn’t right with the energy in the room. I am trying to ignore the hollow pit in my stomach and not let the feelings of vulnerability and desire for my own home translate into tears behind my eyes. I talk to try and force conversation, a connection. The wrong strategy for that man. But we stumble across a shared love of the same band and the energy in the room shifts as we rummage through You Tube. An hour later I no longer need to fill the silences and sink into my book. Six months later in a different city we geek out and decide to create our perfect live set list for that band.

Praying for the silence
When we look into a mirror
Stained so patient
We measure the nostalgia
Show Me The Wonder, Manic Street Preachers

And so it continues. This morning, I’ve been playing Landslide by Fleetwood Mac on repeat. The seeds of that story were sown last night. Whether today’s fantasy becomes tomorrow’s nostalgia remains to be seen, but regardless, I know what images hearing this song are likely to bring to mind for many years to come.

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

Eroticon 2016 meet and greet

Eroticon Meet and Greet 2016

It feels quite mad to be going to Eroticon! I have followed the fun on Twitter for the last couple of years. In 2014 I was already reading many of your blogs and had taken a photo or two of Exhibit A for Sinful Sunday, but I was a bona fide lurker and never imagined that within a year or so I would have my own blog or be calling many of you friends. By last year’s conference, Exposing 40 had been born but I couldn’t make it because it was my best friend’s 40th birthday weekend. 2016 is my lucky year…

NAME (and Twitter name if you have one)

My Twitter name is also @Exposing40 but I’m pretty sure I’ll tell people my real name too. As a clue, my mum was reading Wuthering Heights when she was pregnant with me and she didn’t call me Heathcliff!

If you had the opportunity to rename yourself (or your blog) what would you pick?

I wouldn’t! I love the name of my blog and it sums up perfectly what it is all about (thanks for the brainwave Jedi Hamster!). For those who’ve never seen it before, Exposing 40 is an exploration of our relationship with our bodies and ourselves as we reach that milestone age. It’s photography-led, hence the ‘exposing’, although that word also speaks to the exhibitionist in me. Anyone can get involved and I’m always up for photographing others, being photographed or hosting others’ self portraits and posts.

What are you most looking forward to at Eroticon Live and/or is there anything you are nervous about?

I am not nervous about anything! I LOVE big gatherings and I get Golden-Retriever-puppy-excited about meeting new people. Of course it will be fabulous to see those who have already become real life friends (especially F. Dot Leonora who sadly doesn’t live close enough to see regularly) but I am really looking forward to meeting people for the first time, especially Marie Rebelle, Tabitha Rayne and fellow Sound of Music obsessive, GOTN.

Have you planned which sessions you will be attending or are you more of a spur of the moment kind of person?

I am a planner through and through so I am pretty clear on what I’ll be going to. Sadly it’s my business partner’s 40th party on the Saturday night (luckily he only lives 20 minutes by train from Bristol) so I will only be there for the Friday night and Saturday day. Although if I am not too brutally hungover after his party I may come back after Sunday lunch and sneak into the afternoon readings… *looks at Ruby to check this would be OK…

What essential items to your life will be bringing with you to Eroticon Live? (you can have a maximum of 5)

Apart from the obvious phone, bank cards and overnight paraphernalia, I will be bringing rehydration salts to have before bed on Friday because I always call ‘one for the ditch’ and want to take preventative measures before sleep! I will also have my camera so if any 40-somethings or close-to-40-somethings want to get involved with Exposing 40 let me know and we’ll make time for some photos – I’ll be arriving Friday lunchtime and am staying at the Radisson.

A new cocktail has been made on your honour, what would be the key ingredient and what would it be called?

It would be gin-based and include cardamom flavours. It would be called Indian Summer.

And finally… Complete the sentence; I have yet to…

…do my guest post for F Dot Leonora despite her inviting me in the autumn!! My mission is to complete it before I see her… (Note: this is now done – look out for it week beginning 23rd May!)

Check out who else is going over at Molly’s place!

Leap

FullSizeRenderAll week I have been working in hot dusty villages and factories. It has been 35 – 40 degrees and sticky humid. In other words, weather for floaty dresses and spaghetti straps. Except here I have to wear the shalwar kameez. The shalwar (pantaloons) hide the shape of my legs, the kameez (body shirt) must be long to ensure I am not seen to be flashing my genitals, and the orna scarf is an extra layer to ensure the shape of my breasts is not visible. When I get back to my air conditioned room in the city all I want to do is strip off and leap onto the cool white sheets with abandon!

IMG_6496 IMG_6489

IMG_6481 IMG_6477

Sinful Sunday