Wow, what words begin with X? I know many people are being creative with this letter of the alphabet and perhaps I am too. But in a different way.
X is for Xanadu and for X rated.
As far as I knew Xanadu was a song by Olivia Newton John and ELO that I remember from the 1980 film. Recorded at a time when I was young and single. I probably danced to it at discos (since that is what they were called then). But in searching for words beginning with X I discover that Xanadu is the name of the place described in in the really rather beautiful poem Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;
And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight ’twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.
Coleridge claimed that this poem was written under the influence of Laudanum, an opium derivative while incapacitated by painful knees, but that his creative flow was interrupted by someone knocking at his door to conduct some business.
Whatever the truth of the matter, the concept of Xanadu gives rise to thoughts of a special place, containing a pleasure dome, an exotic place where anything is possible. Much like Olivia Newton John sings about.
So to X rated and I guess that in my thoughts and dreams, Xanadu and it’s pleasure dome might be a place for adults only. A savage place where a maid waits and wails for her demon lover.
In some ways Tumbr feels like that kind of place. Erotic, forbidden full of the unknown. Real and unreal, perhaps best viewed under the influence of a mind altering drug.
I think that Tumblr is a great place to go to for the weird and wonderful. It is a great source of real BDSM life played out for the pleasure of themselves and others. But it is also full of fakes and occasionally, sadly photos that appear to feature people who may be subject to abusive relationships often due to age. As I get older I find it increasingly difficult to judge the age difference between 15, 16, 18 and 21 especially where young people are heavily made up and older girls are trying to look younger. It seems safer to avoid looking at those photos. The staged photos are also very sad; people who are trying to demonstrate that they are part of this whole lifestyle for the camera and who clearly are putting on a professional show.
I know that in this country, the government is planning to use the issue of online abuse as a way of restricting what people can write, and what they can publish on the internet as photographs and video. In the future, it might not be enough to say that this blog is for adults only, instead I might have to be much more careful about the things I write and the photos I post for fear of prosecution.
For me, this is the wrong approach. Writing about sex and adult subjects is much needed. It is often the only way of expressing yourself as an individual and in reading about the reality of living a free and liberated existence. But the adult internet needs to be safe too. It needs to be managed in such a way that it does’t regularly contain material that is clearly abusive. It needs to regulate itself so that people who are clearly (or not so clearly) underage are not exploited quite as much as appears to be the case now. We bloggers can and should be able to take control. Sadly I am not sure that we will be given the chance.