Velvet Tongue is an erotic literary soiree devised and hosted by Spanish native and renowned London poet Ernesto Sarezale.
Held in the basement of enjoyable Shoreditch bar Kick, upstairs the patrons watch sports screens or play table-football whilst downstairs, behind an indigo entrance curtain, a number of performers and writers celebrate sexuality upon the stage, dressed to suit. Presumably, for most people who aren’t self-oppressively religious, the act of sex itself long ago ceased to be a taboo, but it is a largely homogenised, mass hetero-normative idea of sex that sells billboard advertising and scintillates in society magazines. At Velvet Tongue, all boundaries and genres were free to be explored in how we treat sex, both linguistically and literally.
We heard about Madame in the auction house and her wooden paddles in a short story read by the wonderful Cathy Flowers, comedian Ivor Dembina introduced us to the concept of ‘sado-Judaism’ and performance artist Sunshine Faggio gave us her inventive installation piece ‘Humans’, where she writhed naked with the elements of the earth that make us.
An elegant, beautiful lady operating under the nom de plume Open Minds, dressed in black lingerie, gave us her sensual words inspired by the very idea of a velvet tongue, and Ernesto himself provided a scintillating turn as a Santa Claus who doesn’t wear much more than a beard and a hat.
The very depths of dark sexuality were plumbed also by Paul Ebbs’ desire for consensual pain inflicted by himself on women, and Volker Renato’s bizarre but striking piece about HIV/AIDS, where he bled over his white patient’s outfit, securing the audience’s attention. These were only some of the performers from a talented, intriguing display.
And of course I decided to join in. I’ve written a lot of poetry before but never an erotic poem and so, knowing that I was writing it for a mostly straight/mixed audience, I felt hesitant to write explicitly about sweaty man-on-man anal sex. But that very first thought, that hesitation, made me write a poem entitled ‘Gay Sex’ about its very invisibility in mainstream society, as explicit as they come. It worked, and the reaction of that crowd was one of the most positive I’ve seen. Times, they are a’changing.
• Bar Kick, 127 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JE
• The next Velvet Tongue will be in early 2014. www.velvettongueuk.blogspot.com