Lace Up Corsetry
Two Witches
The Cramps
The Midnight Configuration
Elvira - Mistress of the Dark
The House of Gord
The Hellfire Club
Gitane Demone
Carnival of Souls
Carnival of Desire
Marquis Masquerade

at Rock City, Nottingham

The Carnival of Souls. A celebration of gothic, pagan and fetish fantasy, was conceived in December 1993, The Marquis’ Masquerade were getting a lot of inquiries from people who were interested in the scene, but had never attended any parties. There were people from many different cults, rock, goth, pagan etc. All these people had a preconceived view of what a fetish party was. A place for dirty old men in raincoats, a sort of seedy strip club. Many of the people who had heard of the occasional act being performed at a fetish party were frightened to attend in case they found themselves being dragged into something they didn’t want to do. Or that they would be embarrassed and be the only person dressed up, and that they would look out of place.

With these thoughts and comments in mind, a night, to introduce a lot of these people and dispel a lot of the myths behind the scene, was designed.

It was to be a night were people would feel welcome. Not have to buy any really expensive clothes just to get through the doors. Where they could come and see for themselves whether the scene was for them, and to decide if they would like to get more involved, and attend more scene parties, although there had to be a dress code of sorts, to stop the voyeurs from coming and making everyone feel uncomfortable. Also a very strict no cameras policy would be adhered to. It was also intended to be a place where people could meet other people already involved in the scene and to discover some of the wonderful clothing and accessory shops available to them.

The planning took several months, and the date was finally released in February 1994. Several shops turned down the opportunity to participate, although later towards the event several contacted the Marquis’ Masquerade to see if they could still attend.

The posters were designed with the intention of creating very visual interpretation of the night, that would appeal to all the different people who might attend. 30,000 flyers were printed and distributed all over the country, though shops and with the help of several magazines. Everyone would know the Carnival of Souls was going to take place.

On the day of the event, chaos seemed to be the order of the day, Stalls and bands arrived all through the afternoon, with people running round trying to sort out what everyone was doing and where people were supposed to be. Unfortunately one or two of the stalls decided that they did not want to attend, and for reasons known only to themselves, didn’t turn up on the night, even though, I was told, that only a week before everyone had confirmed that they would be attending.
The only person who had to pull out at the last minute, was The House of Gord, This was very unfortunate, but due to their legal problems at the moment were unable to make an appearance, Many people asked where they were on the night, and I have been assured by the Marquis’ Masquerade that they will try to find some pony girls for their next big event.

When the doors opened at 7.00pm there were a number of people already queuing, with anticipation for the night to begin. Some of which had come all the way from Germany especially for the event. There were people of all ages, and representing all the different fractions of the fetish gothic and rock scenes. There appeared to be no fraction not represented in one form or another. Fortunately no one needed to be turned away, everyone had made the effort to dress up in one way or another.

The downstairs disco was pulsating with life by 8.00pm, as the five bands pounded out their music. The room was full. with people flowing out into the foyer. Anyone wanting to see their favourite band had to fight through the pack, some were happy just to be able to hear them live.
Empyrean were first on stage, with their Nephilim influenced sounds with 70’s overturns, pushed forth to start the night. The crowd started to warm towards the end of their set, containing many of the tracks off their new album “Realms of Prophecy”. The album was recorded with their old singer, but the change definitely seemed to be for the better.
The Midnight Configuration poured onto the stage with an enthusiasm that showed. The two girls had smiles on their faces from the time they took the stage until they left, Trev, the force behind the band pushed forward with his own style of dark and twisted vocals bringing a whole new sound to the successful chart hit “No Limits” and many original gothic influenced hard core tracks with a definite use of the 90’s technology, but still retaining a lot of the early 80’s influences.. They were by far the most visual band of the night and by this time people on the dance floor were starting to move.

13 Candles appeared on stage with an interesting mix of gothic and fetish imagery, with the guitarist wearing a full wedding dress. defining the whole intention of the night. The visual impression was superb although the movement was kept to a minimum, Their music also mixes the styles with influences by Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and The Sisters of Mercy with the likes of The Virgin Prunes. The music pushed forth with this. probably the newest of all the bands making a very positive impression on the appreciative audience.
Die Laughing, a band that has been around for some time, but as yet have not been able to get anything printed, were next on stage. This has produced a well refined live band. Superbly pushing forth their own traditional sound of poppy gothic music, with crisp clear harmonies. All this came together to an appreciative audience with a real sense of professionalism.

Incubus Succubus finished the night with an excellent display of professionalism. Their own distinctive sound of traditional rock with dark paganistic leanings, blasting out and sending the crowd into a frenzy of appreciation. Introducing an array of new songs taken from their forth-coming album “Corn King”, and still playing some of their best songs from their two previous albums “Belladonna & Aconite” and “Wytches”, With strong, powerful vocals leading the way for the rest of the band. Proving without a doubt why they were top of the list for the night, The imagery of the band was well in keeping with the theme of the night, with a strong fetish look.
Upstairs people were moving around exploring the wide variety of stalls displaying their wares.
New Aeon Books displaying a wide array of pagan and occult books.
The Rubber Plantation caused quite a commotion with their display of condoms and sex toys.
Tentacle were again displaying their excellent rubber and velvet clothing, turning many heads of the people who had not as yet discovered the erotic world of rubber.
Hidebound also made their presence felt with a large display of body harnesses and toys for the more adventurous. Also they provided some of the furniture which seemed to be tried out, either just for pleasure or maybe even with the intention of buying for further experimentation.

Eroteak also provided some furniture for people to experiment with, with the idea of people expanding their own realms of pleasure.

New Age Design attended, their stall being a mark of interest with their candles, producing a very paganistic look, including a large display of impressive, decorative metal work, and some superb ornamental candlestick holders.

Forbidden Planet produced an interesting array of fetish magazines and erotic cult books.

Three I Press produced an exciting stall of occult and pagan wares.
Halawa Henna were kept busy most of the night displaying and producing their wonderful temporary body adornment.

SM 93 Design produced a new look fetish style set of tarot cards with a wide display of artwork on show.

Ritual were in attendance, displaying their new magazine and an interesting array of shoes.

Storm Constanine and Inception were there, displaying many books including many of her own, wonderfully written with a definite gothic/fetish feel. She was also taking the time to do some tarot reading.

Ethos were kept busy helping and giving advice on the TV side of the market, with plenty of magazines and books to keep people’s interest.

The Fetish Times also put in an appearance displaying, hot off the press, their new glossy look magazine.

Fetters were kept busy suspending people from the ceiling in their specially designed harnesses, which produced an interesting reaction from the passing crowd, but not always, or maybe it was? to the appreciation of the person strapped up, unable to move or object to their situation.

Void was the local erotic/gothic shop in attendance with a much loved display of exotic fashion wear, with clothes in rubber, leather, velvet and lace.
Unfortunately the Divinity film show was unable to take place. Several problems occurred while trying to set up the projector and screen.
Slippery When Wet again produced a well thought out performance, in true keeping with the feel and theme of the night which although a bit slow seemed to keep people’s interest, even if it was just to see if the performance was going to pick up towards the end. They appeared in long rubber cloaks and followed a church style of theme, Marinda’s dancing again became the spotlight, building up to their big finish, an interesting display of S & M.

Even with all the stalls and live music, people still found the time to make their presence on the dance floor felt, With music ranging from the early futurist/new romantic sounds of “Soft Cell” to the heavier gothic sounds of such favourites as “The Sisters of Mercy”. With flashes of heavy rock such as “Poison” and “Metallica”, through to the more dance orientated material such as “Capella” and “International Crisis”. A very wide range of musical tastes were catered for on the night and fortunately everyone seemed to enjoy the mix.

The night as a whole was a resounding success with people from all areas and every market making their presence felt. With over a thousand people in attendance, the club was throbbing with activity, The playroom area was pulsating with pleasure and pain.

The Marquis’ Masquerade promises there will be another Carnival of Souls next October. But if you can’t wait until then there are the regular parties, or as I have been told, there are plans for a Carnival of Desires in April time.
Image: 11 of 25 Images
click the image to change to the next image.
Nightbreed Recordings