Book Extract: The Number 9 Bus to Utopia

No 9David Bramwell spent a year travelling the world in search of utopia. One of these was the Other World Kingdon – a female dominated world.

My first experience of a fictionalised matriarchal world came at an early age through The Worm that Turned, a weekly serialised comedy story on the Two Ronnies, depicting a world where men had been reduced to doing menial housework and wearing aprons while the ladies swanned around in black pvc and knee high boots, ruling with an iron fist. It was clearly the erotic fantasy of one of the two Ronnies. My money is on the little one, Corbett. Of course a real-life erotic female-dominated world will always be utopia for some but remain permanently in the realms of fantasy. Or so I thought until I heard about the Other World Kingdom.

Set in the buildings and grounds of a 16th century castle, the OWK was a Disneyland for perverts, with its own flag and a coat of arms, currency (the dom) and a state hymn which sounded like Russ Abbott’s Atmosphere played on a tuba. The OWK was an oligarchy with its own Queen Patricia and her team of sublime ladies. It even had its its own law courts and singular laws that contravened all human rights. Here men were the inferior class, subject to slavery, serfdom, torture, imprisonment without a fair trial and on occasion, being dressed as a giant spider and whipped. The OWK was a fantastic sexualised human hive with its own kinky Queen Bee. It contravened every rule of contemporary utopian thinking and would have had Amnesty International on its knees and weeping. The only major gaff seemed to be in calling itself a kingdom. Having first heard about the place from my old friend Hannah, a professional London dominatrix, (five minutes in her company and it’s clear she likes to be in charge); it seemed only right to take her along.

The tiny hamlet of Cerna in the Czech countryside seemed an unlikely home for an S&M kingdom: there was a decrepit farm, a few houses, an old lady feeding the ducks by a pond and a handful of kids idling about in the trees. Rather preposterously, in the centre of this scene of pastoral bliss stood the high walls of the OWK, an impenetrable fortress, its central tower pointing towards the sky from which it appeared to have fallen.

After being let in by a sad-faced man in a dog collar, I was surprised at what lay beyond. With the warmth of the sun, the trees in blossom, and an array of impressive whitewashed buildings the Other World Kingdom looked like a well-groomed stately home. We were alone in the vast, serene and empty grounds. It seemed a far cry from the dark, shadowy images I’d seen online the forbidding tower, dank dungeons and grumpy-looking doms whipping great red welts across the backsides of hairy, naked men.

We wandered into the bar (empty), checked the temperature of the water in the swimming pool (cold), and had a nose at the other bedrooms (empty). Up one set of stairs we found a large, dark nightclub (empty), strewn with limp balloons, unemptied ashtrays and dusty pint glasses still filled with flat, stale beer, its guests seemingly whisked away by some unforeseen calamity.

‘My god, it’s like Westworld,’ Hannah murmured.

As we journeyed from building to building we’d occasionally catch a glimpse of a short fat Japanese man in a ‘State Slave’ t-shirt, skulking in the shadows but whenever approached, he slipped away.

What the OWK lacked by way of human beings, it more than made up for in dead flies. There were everywhere, thousands of them, as if a great plague had blown through the building, taken one look at all the kinky attire and dropped dead out of sheer embarrassment.

The sad-faced man seemed to be in charge of the cooking, cleaning and general maintenance of the OWK. His spare time was spent in the bar, glued to the Czech equivalent of Pop Idol. Hannah and I wandered in for a drink on the first night. There were flies all over the bar. The only drinks on offer were Cinzano and Malibu. The sad-faced man appeared to be eating what looked like boiled tripe and cornflakes. We’d been warned before leaving that the worst torture at the OWK was the food so Hannah had stocked up on Pot Noodles, which turned out to be lifesavers.

As we’re standing around sipping our Malibus, I noticed the short fat Japanese man in the State Slave t-shirt had slipped into the bar and was skulking in the shadows, staring at us. For the first and only time during our entire visit, the sad-faced man engaged us in conversation:

‘Don’t worry about Frank, he said, in his melancholic, heavy Eastern European accent, ‘he’s been here ever since we opened. He’s been terribly unhappy since the ladies have left.’

‘So they have gone for good then?’ asked Hannah, ‘we did wonder.’

‘Yah. The queen fell out with sublime ladies a few weeks ago. They wanted pay rise, she refused. There was enormous cat fight. Pffft. Everybody go.’

Engaging me with a knowing look, he rolled his eyes and quietly added: ‘you know what women can be like’. Luckily Hannah didn’t hear this comment, otherwise she’d have clouted him.

So what’s Frank still doing here? I asked.

‘He loves the place. He doesn’t want to leave. Sometimes he gets to be an extra when people come to make the porn. Trouble is, Frank’s spent so much of his life on all fours that his knees are totally fucked. He’s not much use any more. He cannot kneel down. We just have to stand him in background. It is pity.’

With little more to hold our interests at the OWK, Hannah and I spent our last day eating Pot Noodles and roaming around the grounds and buildings. We found the human kennels and stables where men had once lived as dogs and horses. We perused vast collections of S&M ephemera and a great library of kinky literature. We journeyed deep into the dungeons that scared the willies out of me (though I did notice, with some relief, that each prison cell was fitted with a ‘panic button’) and the sports arena where, every summer, the OWK had once hosted a Slave Olympics, attracting Mistresses and slaves from all over the world to indulge in some but top class entertainment that ranged from potentially life-threatening to the downright silly. Games included the ‘Largest Number of Ladies Standing Together With Their Full Weight on One Male Creature Competition’, ‘Face-slapping Billiards’, the ‘Pushing Lady’s High Heel Shoe 50 meters with Slave-Nose Event’ and the ‘Highest Pain Tolerance Award’, held (I read somewhere), by State Slave Brynn, who endured an impressive three hours and twelve minutes of whipping one summer. I wonder where they buried him?

On the plane back to England, Hannah said, ‘you know a genuine utopia? Sub space. When you lose yourself completely in S&M role play. Detach from all reality. The ego surrenders, there’s no sense of time or space. That’s utopia surely?’

Her choice of words were curious the surrender of the ego, the absence of time or place were the exact words I’d come across in one of Osho’s books when he was describing states of deep meditation and techniques for awakening the consciousness. Had the OWK once been a great sexualised monastic retreat? With both men and women focussed entirely on the needs of the other could S&M role-play be considered a surrendering of the ego, a form of meditation? A former flatmate of mine had once dismissed S&M as ‘fucked up people trying to have sex.’ But sexual power games, restraint and pain have long been some people’s idea of utopia. It all comes down to the old adage: one man’s meat is another man’s poison.

Taken from The Number 9 Bus to Utopia – a book about finding utopia. Help fund the book on Unbound.

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