Tag Archives: Mathilda Gregory

Cameryn Moore’s Smut Slam comes to the UK & I learn about ovipositor porn

So I got this email: from Cameryn Moore:


camerynmooreWe’ve met once before, the night that I told a story about one of my phone sex clients at Stand Up Tragedy, in the spring of 2015. Now I’m collaborating with Stand Up Tragedy‘s Dave Pickering to bring the UK something entirely new.

You could call me the Pied Piper of pervs; my Smut Slam storytelling open mic has drawn tawdry true-life tales out of people all across the U.S. and Canada. This January I’m leaving a network of eight Smut Slam branches around North America and coming to the UK to launch an entire circuit there. I’ll be hitting Bristol (Jan 10), London (Jan 11), and Brighton (Jan 12) in rapid succession, with Manchester rolling around later in the month (Jan 31)

Open mic hosts know that one unexpectedly “blue” anecdote can derail a show. What happens when the whole show is blue?


Cameryn Moore performs in New York City (Photo by Ed Barnas)

Cameryn performs in New York (Photograph by Ed Barnas)

Obviously, I had to talk to her.

“So it’s like a poetry slam?” I asked, “but with smut.”

“Yes,” said Cameryn, “Slam and dirty stories. Poetry slams are set up for championships and are very competitive. In this case, we only called it a ‘slam’ because people are competing for sex toys. It is an astounding motivator for most people.

“Every time I do a Smut Slam, I get a local sponsor so the Sh! Erotic Emporium in Hoxton is providing various sex toys for the London show. Stores in Brighton and Bristol are also providing sexy prizes.”

“It is like an open mic night?” I asked.

“The way I do it at the Brighton and Edinburgh Fringes is it’s like a cabaret. But the Smut Slams in London and Bristol and Brighton and Manchester are open mics. Every Smut Slam I have ever done since 2011 has had an amazing mix of stories.”

“How many have you staged since 2011?”

“Probably close to 50 or 60. It’s been on a monthly basis in Montreal since 2011. I’ve done them in between 15-17 cities around North America every year.”

“What sort of audience do you get turning up to hear smutty stories?”

Smut Slam poster

“What sort of audience do you get turning up to hear smut?”

“It depends, to a large part, on who I am collaborating with. In the UK, I have found co-producers for  every city. In London, it’s Dave Pickering from Stand-Up Tragedy so he is drawing on his storytelling audience. In Brighton, it’s Mathilda Gregory, who does storytelling and erotica. I do outreach to the kink communities and to comedy audiences because, while the point of Smut Slam is not comedy, most sex stories can get awkward and funny pretty quickly.”

“So,” I asked, “the attraction is ‘awkward and funny’?”

“I would say,” Cameryn laughed, “that ‘awkward and funny’ are definitely high points.”

“And you want to set up a circuit of Smut Slams in the UK?”

“My goal is to relocate to the UK, so I want to set up a circuit – like the old-time travelling preachers.”

“I am,” I told her, “sure preachers will be honoured for their sermons to be compared to your shows.”

“Well,” she replied, “I have had people say I am doing God’s work and, while I don’t believe in God, I do believe there is something important in gathering people together and having some open, honest, authentic discussions about sex. That is one thing lacking in our society today. There is sex-sex-sex everywhere. But it’s all about sales and marketing. There is nothing being sold at Smut Slams except this sharing opportunity that most of us don’t have.”

“But,” I asked, “are you not titillating the audience to get some cash?”

“Sure,” she replied. “I am hoping to make some living money, but I don’t think that’s any more of a problem than social workers who get money just for listening to people. I have a sense of mission about it, but I’m not an altruist. Obviously sex will titillate, but people will come to these things and find out it goes a lot deeper than that.”

“Into which depths does it go?” I asked.

“What Smut Slam offers is a safer place where people can share. That is cathartic; it is community-building. People can hear their own experiences reflected from on stage. Or share entirely new experiences they maybe haven’t known before. It’s almost educational. Those are the deeper things. It’s a learning experience.”

“So you’re a preacher and a teacher?” I asked.

Cameryn Moore with Pavement Pornography at the Manchester Fringe

Cameryn preached some Sidewalk Smut at Manchester Fringe

“I tell the opening story. I set the guidelines. I build the segues between the storytellers. But the great thing is it’s not me doing any educating or outreaching. It’s other people who are willing to be brave and stand up.”

“Isn’t this,” I asked, “the audio equivalent of voyeurism?”

“It is. Exhibitionists need voyeurs. There are going to be people who just rush the mic, desperate to tell their stories. But there will also people who are feeling a little intimidated by the microphone.

“We have something called the Fuck Bucket – a receptacle into which people put an anonymous question or confession. That is a raffle pot for the end of the evening but I also read the slips during the course of the night. And people feel they are contributing and sharing even if no-one knows it’s them.”

“Some people,” I suggested, “will surely make up fantasies?”

“I don’t have any way of verifying. But the guidelines are that all the stories need to be real life.”

“What is your background?” I asked.

“I identify first and foremost as a playwright and performer. I have done five solo shows since 2010 and I have done phone sex for the last 7½ years, which I have now quit.”

“Phone sex?” I asked.

“Engaging in other people’s fantasies over the phone: so 7½ years of working with other people’s stories. Everything dovetails.”

“Why do you want to relocate to the UK?”

“I have spent three summers touring the UK and feel there are markets for the Smut Slams and my own shows because ‘Fringe’ is such a strong culture in the UK but not in the US. I am a non-traditional performer – I started late – I’m 46, I’m what you would call unconventional looking. Also, I will be honest. I am following true love. It is a Brit I met when I was touring the UK in 2014.”

“Male? Female?” I asked. “Animal, vegetable, mineral?”

“He’s a dude.”

“Why settle in the UK not the US?”

“When we talked about where we could be together, there was the States or the UK and – after the major electoral events in 2016 – both are turning into these incredibly horrible pits of bigotry, right? – it came down to: Which place has more guns? Let us not go there.”

“You are,” I said, “a multi-award-winner for your shows.”

The award winning Phone Whore

Her stage show Phone Whore won multiple awards…

Phone Whore got a number of awards across Canada,” said Cameryn. “Slut Revolution got an award. My fifth show is Nerdfucker, which I’m bringing to the Brighton and Edinburgh Fringes this year.”

“You have,” I said, “written ‘pornography as street performance’… Is this legal??”

“In most places,” said Cameryn. “Unless the police tell me to hustle along.”

“What is it?” I asked.

“Well, she explained, “It is not strictly pornography; it is erotica, But the phrase ‘pavement pornography’ has nice alliteration. In North America, I call it Sidewalk Smut. I just set up my manual typewriter on the sidewalk and do custom erotica for people who come up and commission it. I will be doing more of that in the UK when the weather is good which is – what? – maybe two weeks in the year?”

“You are an optimist,” I told her.

“I managed to do it in Edinburgh,” she explained. “Underneath the arches in Cowgate.”

“So,” I asked, “if I came along and asked for a bit of stuff about having sex with a giraffe, you would write me a short story about it?”

“Only if I really felt you were erotically attracted to giraffes. I don’t do novelty pieces. I want people to have fun but also be serious. I have never done giraffe smut, but I have done ovipositor porn.”

“Eh?” I asked.

“Insects or aliens laying eggs inside you,” explained Cameryn. “That’s something people like.”

“Giraffes seem less exotic now,” I said.

Rule 34,” said Cameryn, “is very much alive and well, even with ovipositor porn.”

“Rule 34?” I asked.

“If it exists, there is porn about it,” explained Cameryn.

After we ended our conversation, I googled ‘giraffe porn’.

It does, indeed, exist.

Leave a comment

Filed under Comedy, Sex, storytelling

Edinburgh: critic Copstick ejected from Gilded Balloon; Freestival venue burned

Papa CJ with two passing strangers in Cowgate

Papa CJ with two passing strangers in Edinburgh’s Cowgate

On Sunday, I thought Papa CJ was going back to India on Monday.

Then he announced an extra show in Edinburgh tonight (Tuesday). I had no idea how or why.

I didn’t ask him until last night.

“I had 18 back-to-back full-houses,” he told me. “Then, during a coffee chat with (comedy critic) Kate Copstick, she mentioned it would be great to be able to say ‘extra shows added’. Also a few people who wanted to see me weren’t able to. So I found out what rooms might be available, changed my return flight to India and added one show. The only catch is that there is no publicity about it out there. So I’m hoping people come in on the back of flyering and social media. Also, in all honesty, I’m really enjoying the response the show is getting from audiences… so subconsciously I probably just got greedy for one more gig.”

So do I know what is happening in Edinburgh?

Well, to be honest, I have never claimed to.

Arthur Smith, alien, in the Royal Mile last night

Arthur Smith on Royal Mile tour

This was proved yet again yesterday when this blog’s South Coast correspondent Sandra Smith (who is not in the comedy business but seems to know everybody at the Fringe) told me that, this year, Arthur Smith is probably not doing his famous – some might say infamous – last-weekend-of-the-Fringe tour of the Royal Mile.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because he’s not here at the weekends.”

“Ah,” I said.

“He will be doing it next year,” Sandra told me.

“Ah,” I said, as if this was no surprise to me.

Last night, critic Kate Copstick was ejected from the Gilded Balloon venue for falling asleep in the Wine Bar. Thankfully not during a show.

The Edinburgh Fringe can be tiring even for people who are not performing.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been seeing around seven shows each day (each show = one hour) and, last night, I went to bed at 04.30am and got up at 08.30am.

But that’s my choice.

My highlights yesterday were Mathilda Gregory’s hour-long show on How To Be Fat – just the right balance of comedy and serious fascination. I could say comedy is often better with some meat to get your teeth into but, of course, would never dream of being so shallow.

An even more quirky show was Accident Avoidance Training For Cutlery Users in which Jimmy Frinton (performing as character Ian Crawford) … erm … well, he does what it says in the title. He gives a lecture on how to avoid getting injured by your own cutlery.

Safety can be comic or not.

Earlier today, I blogged about the eccentricities of the PBH Free Fringe.

There has been drama too at the Freestival, who were ejected from their presumed Cowgatehead venue by PBH and belatedly found homes in the New Waverley Arches.

The Freestival Arches

The Freestival Arches: site of a weekend break-in and burning

In the early hours of Saturday morning – around 4.00am to 5.30am – a person or persons unknown broke into one of their arches and their chairs got burned.

“Somebody broke in,” Dan Adams of Freestival told me today,”and appears to have known enough about how we work to get the generator going and plugged in the bar power to the generator. But the lights are on a different power ring which they appear to have been too pissed to realise. So they went into the venue proper and plugged our lights into the bar circuits with an extension causing overload to build.

“They stole one of our PA units and about three cases of booze and left stuff running which caused a fire because it wasn’t set up correctly. The venue’s 40 chairs are covered in burned particulate. Part of the bar burned where the fire started melted cables etc and pump beer coolers. On Sunday it was all hands to the pump and yesterday and we got it all turned around and ready by about 12.30pm. No damage to the other arches at all.”

In Edinburgh, that counts as a happy ending.

Leave a comment

Filed under Comedy

Edinburgh Fringe: Picking up girls and boys + a court case on werewolf erotica

Adam Taffler at the Grouchy Club

Adam Taffler at the Grouchy Club

Yesterday in the Grouchy Club show at the Edinburgh Fringe, showman Adam Taffler picked up a girl. Literally. He does it all the time.

And a boy.

One on each shoulder.

Afterwards, he took me outside where two girls wearing snorkels and flippers were in a restaurant opposite, eating noodles from boxes.

“I’ve lost my wedding dress,” one of them told me.

“How?” I asked.

This scuba girl has lost her wedding dress

This scuba girl has lost her wedding dress

“I was walking along and it fell off my back pack in London,” she told me.

“I’ve got the bridesmaid dress,” said the other scuba girl. “So we’re going to have a bridesmaid and no bride.”

“And no husband,” added the first scuba girl.

“Is this a real wedding?” I asked.

“I’m looking for a husband,” said the first scuba girl. We will find him.”

“It was going to be Garry,” said the second scuba girl, “but he ran away.”

“Does this link up to scuba diving in any way?” I asked.

“We are giving training in how to swim,” said the second scuba girl.

Second Scuba Girl of the Scoober Doober duo

Second Scuba Girl of the Scoober Doober duo

“And how to be a bride?” I asked.

“Yeah,” said the second scuba girl.

“You’ve got to be really ladylike,” said the first scuba girl.

“Yeah. Really feminine,” said the second scuba girl. “We’re good at cleaning as well.”

“We found haggis today,” said the first scuba girl, “in a tin. We didn’t eat it.”

“I’ve just had an idea,” said Adam Taffler.

“Oh dear,” I said.

“Two naked people standing on the Royal Mile completely covered in flyers,” said Adam. “The more people come and take flyers, the more naked they get.”

I am physically harassed yesterday

I was physically harassed against an Edinburgh wall (Photograph by Adam Taffler)

Then he took me outside and photographed me against a wall with the two scuba girls.

As the girls flip-flopped their way across the road in their flippers, someone asked: “Are you promoting a show?”

“We call ourselves the Scoober Doobers,” they told her.

“But are you promoting a show?”

“No,” they said.

“Are you in any show up here?”

“No.”

At the Grouchy Club itself, Mathilda Gregory had told us about writing werewolf erotica.

Mathilda Gregory

Mathilda Gregory – funny girl turned mistress of wolf  erotica

Mathilda was the Komedia New Act of The Year in 2000, a BBC Writers’ Room/Laughing Stock winner in 2011 and a Funny Women ‘One To Watch’ in 2013.

“Why did you stop performing comedy?” I asked.

“It was a lot of hard work,” explained Mathilda. “You had to physically go to a place. You thought: Oh God! I’ve got to go to Birmingham!”

“It was specifically Birmingham that put you off?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Mathilda. “Or maybe it was the person I was sharing a car with.”

“So you took up writing instead…” I said.

“I’ve written six novels,” Mathilda replied. “Three of them are about werewolves.”

“What are the other three about?” I asked.

“One of them is about a woman who likes to spy on gay men having sex. One is about a woman who gets obsessed with a male prostitute. And one is about a woman who has a disability fetish. I won Writer of the Year at the Erotic Awards in 2007 and I have a wonderful trophy from that.”

A highly coveted Erotic Award - the Golden Flying Penis

A highly coveted Erotic Award – the Golden Flying Penis

“Ah!” said Grouchy Club co-presenter Kate Copstick. “The penis with wings.”

“Yes,” said Mathilda. “But my wings have fallen off.”

“How did you get into this?” I asked.

“My publisher,” explained Mathilda, “told me: We’re starting a line in paranormal erotica. There’s a huge market. In America, this is going to do really well.

“Is it sex between consenting werewolves?” asked Copstick.

“There are three books,” said Mathilda. “We get into all kinds of things.”

“Apparently,” said Copstick, “wolves are much, much better at sex than men are.”

“I can believe that,” said Mathilda. “I’ve obviously done the research now. Vampires are not really very virile.”

Mathilda Gregory and werewolf

Mathilda Gregory and one of her close friends

“I think everybody’s fucked a vampire by now,” said Copstick.

“You have a show about your werewolf books at the Fringe this year,” I prompted. “Werewolf Erotica She Wrote.”

“Well,” she said, “one of my books had been the subject of a court case. In 2013 a male prisoner in California, who was imprisoned for the attempted murder of a member of the Mexican Mafia, took his prison to court because they wouldn’t allow him to have one of my werewolf novels in prison. There was a two-year long court case where they read my book and tried to assess whether I had enough literary merit to be allowed in prison.

“They compared it to Shakespeare. They compared it to Dostoyevsky. The court report is the most amazing gift I’ve ever been given – 30 pages, just banging on about my book. It’s like an author’s dream.”

“Were they objecting to the sex?” I asked. “Or to the werewolves?”

Mathilda Gregory at the Grouchy Club

Mathilda at the Grouchy Club

“They said it was inter-laced with pornography and that it incited violence. But the court found against them. So legally I have literary merit. There’s a lovely quote from an author called Peter Orner who they called as an expert witness. It says something like Pelican Bay is one of the most violent prisons in California. It has a lot of serious problems. An inmate reading books about werewolves having sex is really not a concern.

“So, legally, I have a judgment that my book has literary merit and is ‘perhaps’ less than Shakespearean. I like the fact they used the word ‘perhaps’ – so there is some legal doubt as to whether or not I am better than Shakespeare.”

2 Comments

Filed under Books, Comedy, Pornography, Prison