Wednesday, April 17

An orgy and then a cup of tea: miscegenation and the new boom in sex clubs | Music


TOAlthough public physical contact hasn’t been a defining characteristic of recent years, London’s sex clubs are experiencing a renaissance, thanks to a generational shift. Think: Fewer key bowlers and CEOs in expensive lingerie, more pioneering house DJs and art students in makeshift harnesses, as younger crowds drive demand for events that foreground inclusivity, individuality and quirkiness. . For fog machines and San Andreas crosses, try banned club. For hedonism with a sense of humor, you’ll want Adonis. And for women and non-binary people, One night offers a mix of Japanese strings and R&B.

Between them all the lies Hybrid, a night where underground stars like Shanti Celeste Y tama sumo DJ in a room full of techno fans who can partake in everything from flashing orgies to solo cups of tea in a dance floor-adjacent sanctuary of wellness. “The [queer fetish] For a long time, the community has been dominated by gay men, who have rightly claimed and taken space,” explains Alex Warren, who founded the event in 2019. “But that has left bisexual, pansexual, lesbian, trans and non-binary with fewer people not masc-dominated spaces to call home.”

While some events veer towards exclusivity, with membership systems and ticket prices high, Crossbreed, which has staged events across the UK and will open a new permanent venue in London in February, aims to be as accessible as possible. Their parties have a trans and women-only gaming space, and there is a mutual aid ticket scheme to help those with low incomes. Warren says they affirmatively discriminate at the gate to make room for trans, non-white and disabled people. And the dress code is strict: you will not enter with jeans. “It’s not designed to rule out cis straight men, it just happens that cis straight men don’t dress up,” says Warren. “And if they are forced to dress up, there can be an awkwardness that makes them feel less empowered.”

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However, fetish gear can be daunting for anyone. The first time M, 27, had Crossbreed tickets, they nearly ran away. “Everyone always looks so good in photos and I ended up panicking with 12 bras on the bed in front of me,” they recall. However, shortly after their arrival, they were helping a stranger whose suspenders kept rattling. “We laughed a lot and made jokes about how everyone was off their asses and I felt comfortable right away.”

'A space that strives to be utopian': Revelers at Crossbreed.
‘A space that strives to be utopian’: Revelers at Crossbreed. Photography: @arabellarchives Arabellararchives

Mestizo staff wearing luminous armbands monitor inappropriate behavior. “We call it ‘pervert patrol,’” says M. “Obviously, there’s like 1,000 wasted people in there, so it’s a really tough job, but I never felt insecure. They make a tangible effort to challenge the harmful sides of perversion, primarily the ones that ignore consent and make other people uncomfortable.”

While some people go to fetish events to “play” (the BDSM scene’s sweet euphemistic term for all sorts of activities, including sex), what keeps most people coming back to Crossbreed is the combination of music and community. “I haven’t been to any other fetish party on the same scale that has the same degree of diversity and inclusion,” says Tom, 33, who is non-binary. “I feel so accepted and not judged in Crossbreed. I can be who I feel I am and feel safe doing it.”

Warren is the resident DJ, he performs under the name Kiwi and also has a Mongrel record label. “People come to dance. It just so happens that we create a space for more hedonistic adventures,” says Warren, who started his event after navigating three “parallel universes”: DJing, partying in London’s queer/gay scene, and exploring its fetish community, and found very little integration compared to other European cities like Berlin. The coming together of these three worlds is perhaps why Crossbreed has gone from a traveling rave to selling Fabric in just three years, two of which were eaten up by the pandemic. “People have had a lot of time to reflect and find a deeper understanding of their sexuality, gender, politics,” Warren suggests. “Mestizaje has become a natural home for many of these people.”

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'Everyone always looks so good in photos': a perverted patrolman attacks.
‘Everyone always looks so good in photos’: a perverted patrolman attacks. Photography: The Hogg

He also has the political concerns that Warren mentions to his heart. In addition to featuring attractive people who wear relatively little, Crossbreed’s Instagram page sparks conversations on sensitive topics like kinky racism and how to respond to abuse without “cancels.” Between the parties, there have been workshops on consent and viewer intervention. The goal is to help people hold each other accountable, both within the club and in everyday life. “You’re not just coming to a dance, you’re active in creating a space that strives to be utopian,” says Warren. “A place where you can feel seen, wanted, liberated and euphoric, something that sits alongside cis-heteropatriarchy and white supremacy.”

His jargon may make some older perverts roll their eyes, but Warren’s candid political acumen is vitally important to his assistants, like M, who is now a regular half-breed. “It has more of a ‘night out with your mates’ vibe than other events. When I’m on the dance floor and everyone around me is so happy and weird, I feel like I’m in exactly the right place,” they say. “However, having the tube full of latex is terrible.”

Crossbreed begins his weekly residency at Color Factory, London, on February 13.




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