*Warning, this is a long post, so you may want to grab a cuppa/coffee/G&T*
I first documented Verboten in May last year, when the club was starting to gain momentum. Since then, I feel like Verboten’s journey is a lot like my journey into kink – I remember a few years ago it was held in Murder Mile with no more than 50 odd people and now it is a larger than life event attracting more than 300+ people monthly. A few years ago I was the shy girl in the corner at events, and now….well, I am still the shy girl in the corner, but I get into a lot more trouble and mayhem. 🙂
Verboten is for me, as it is with a lot of people, the replacement of TG. The brand (I call it a brand because the name is certainly well known now) has grown to more than just a club night; it hosts a monthly munch (which is the word used to describe a social kink) and a more laid back play-focus event which I am yet to check out. Basically, Karl and Hans are busy. I don’t go to their events monthly, but I do like to check-in every couple of months, not only because it is still one of the best club nights in the capital, but also because it brings me tremendous joy seeing how the brand is evolving.
It is because of this, that maybe I am harsher in my reviews of them that with a lot of other events. My expectations for Verboten are high, but only because I can tell they want to really make an impact in the scene and they are willing to put the work to do just that. So, let’s get into the finer details:
This was my first time at their new venue, and from the moment I walked in, I knew straight away that this was the place they have been longing for so long. It is a large warehouse, with the industrial feel they suit so much. We arrived just before 11pm, so rather early, but there were already plenty of people. The cloakroom was very well organised and I like the fact that the ticket is a wristband so no fear of losing it. The main dance floor area was nicely lit and it was nice to see the DJ on a raised platform as it gave him the spot-light he deserved. There was only one bar, but the staff were really efficient so I never had to wait more than 5 minutes to get a drink. Yes, the drinks were on the pricey side (£9 for a double with mixer) but that is London for you.
The space was divided into what I would call the ‘front’ space and the ‘back’ space. The front was were the dance floor, cloakroom and bar were at. There was also a ‘secret’ room behind the DJ where my beloved latex bed and sofas were situated. The area had clever lighting and a thin latex curtain so it was quite an experience to see all the shapes behind it and trying to figure out what naughty things were taking place there! Down a corridor there was the ‘back’ space, which consisted of a rather large open space with a pop-up couples’ room and the dungeon around it. What I loved was how spacious all of it was. London, and specially the scene, is suffering from lack of locations, so it brings me hope to still find places like this, with high ceilings and exposed brick walls.
Karl and Hans have definitely invested quite heavily into some amazing dungeon furniture. There were (for what I can remember) three benches, two chairs, a cross, a hanging frame, a yellow curvy thing which was the comfiest thing I have place my butt at, and a swing. I would have loved to have seen a proper spanking bench, instead of one of the traditional benches and the swing definetely needed leg supports as I did see some people falling (which was hilarious to watch but I guess a bit awkward for the people in question) but overall I really liked the fact that they understand the importance of good furniture in a dungeon. We certainly enjoyed it.
The majority of the people were hanging out in the dungeon (could you blame them?) so there were a few instances were people were simply too close to certain scenes. I’ve always hated those separating robes in TG, but I do think that maybe some UV tape on the floor to mark where people should stand would be a good idea. Common sense suggests that people should know where to stand but many people I encountered were newbies so maybe they are not aware of the little things like this. Also, the couples’ room was a pop-up room with black screens used as walls- as things got steamy there, the screen did fall a few times. I’ve heard they have tried to re-arrange the space before, so I am unsure as to how it was before. Given how popular the dungeon was, I would have preferred the couples room to be situated alongside the far wall, in a rectangle shape, so that the dungeon would be one big open space. Having such a grand open space would certainly make it one of the biggest pop-up dungeons in the city. Keeping this area as big as possible would also allow for other types of kink to be explored, like rope or electric. I did mention in my first ever review that Verboten is heavy on impact play, so having a bigger space would allow for them to cater to a wider variety of play. The room behind the DJ ended up being a couples room as well, so I am sure people wouldn’t mind to have the other couples’ room to be on the corner.
My last thought on the dungeon are the Dungeon Masters (DMs). Maybe it is because I have been to places like Subversion and Club Rub (oh, how I miss these events) that my expectations are high, but the DMs on this night were not up to standard. As mentioned before, many were standing way too close to where scenes were taking place. There were a few people doing things dangerously which could have caused serious harm to the people they were playing with. Also, a girl who was heavily intoxicated was in a scene where she should not have been allowed to as she could barely stand. These are just some of the examples I witnessed, and this is where proper DMs would step up and control the situation. I remember once of my first ever scenes in Subversion where I did not know what I was doing, and after my scene, the DM kindly came to me and showed me a few tricks so that I could avoid any issues in the future. I must admit that one of the things TG still got is really top-notch DMs. It is not a simple case of getting a few Dominatrix and Masters on the night. You need people who know how to run a dungeon – who are firm but friendly, and knowledgeable of course.
I will keep this short and simple. As you all know by now, I don’t like techno. So I am not going to comment if the music was good or not because I don’t have a clue. I did notice that there were a lot more people on the dungeon than on the dance area, but was that because the music was terrible? or because the dungeon area was the place to be? We just won’t know!
As always, it is the people that make the event and here it is no exception. There were a lot of new faces this time around, and I found this was because a lot of them were the plus ones for members (you need to be a member to attend Verboten, or be the plus one of a member). I like seeing new people as it feels like the scene is growing. I also liked that the scenes were all about having fun and now about showing off. One thing about Subversion was that scenes took a more serious approach, so it all became about skill and having impressive scenes – it became almost a competition sometimes. I was also approached by a few people who have read my blog and visited Verboten because of my review, so thank you so much for coming to say hi to me!
Overall, with the demise of TG, it is good to see an event that understands what the scene is all about and is able to successfully combine the club elements with the fetish. I admire how Karl and Hans are not trying to replace TG, but instead are leaving their own mark. They work furioysly hard on their events, and they deserve all the attention and success they are experiencing. If you have never been, I strongly suggest that you try and gain membership.
Next on my diary? DVS on March 2nd so stay tune for that!