When Eyeshot commissioned me to find out about sploshing, I went directly to the top, the two founders of the UK-based magazine SPLOSH!, Bill and Haley. Bill Shipton, 47, a freelance comedy writer and occasional broadcaster, invented SPLOSH! (the world's only magazine for fans of wet and messy fun) fourteen years ago in May. Now, SPLOSH! offers a whole range of products including books, magazines, and video tapes from its website. He met his partner Hayley, 40, when they were both working on another magazine in the 1980s and he asked her to help him set up SPLOSH! Soon they were going to the pub together, then staying in together, then sploshing together, then . . . well, you know. As well as writing flirty e-mails to customers and having pies pushed in her face, Hayley still has a sensible job as well. "One of us has to have some contact with the sane world - and unfortunately it's me." And just to warn the readers, this interview is quite British.
For most readers, this interview will be like being reintroduced to an old friend, but for those who don't know much about sploshing, could you start out with a definition?
BILL: Put at its simplest, sploshing is about getting wet or messy for sexual pleasure. You can do it with food, mud, paint, or just get in the shower in your best business suit. You can do it with your clothes on or off, alone or with a partner --
HAYLEY: Or lots of partners!
BILL: But all the substances start outside the body! We are not talking pee and poo here, though we have some readers who like knicker-wetting as well. Hayley's tried it --
HAYLEY: Yes, I found it quite empowering in a way -- deliberating weeing in my jeans on the way back from the shops. It was like breaking the ultimate taboo. But all that water sports stuff is different. Not really sploshing . . . Sploshing is more of a giggle. Besides Bill says living in a seaside resort full of pensioners, it's the women who DON'T wet themselves who are a rarity!
I've heard about sploshing in terms of sitting on cakes for sexual pleasure. But it encompasses so much more than just that, doesn't it? What else might sploshers splosh in? Is there anything dangerous to genitalia?
HAYLEY: One of the first messy things I did was sit in a cake. It was a big creamy black forest gateau and I gently lowered my bare pussy into it. It felt incredible. Try it. Then I smeared it around and let Bill lick it off . . . . Now the frozen gateau section of the supermarket takes on a whole new meaning. I look at them assessing them for squishyness -- which would feel nice between my legs! Remember to let them thaw out properly first though unless you want to freeze your principle asset.
BILL: Since we set up SPLOSH! nearly fourteen years ago, the subject has just got bigger and bigger. You can use practically any foodstuff you fancy, you can go and roll in the mud if you prefer (though I'd wait till it gets warmer) or play about with poster paints. Sex in the shower with your clothes on is pretty bloody good and all . . . Simply splosh in what you fancy the feel of. Some like the idea of baked beans or spaghetti squishing round their bits, others enjoy sticky things likes syrups and sauces that can be licked off. Chocolate sauce, cream, and custard are probably the most popular -- along with custard pies and cakes either for sitting in or smearing over each other. It's best to start with things you like the taste of, and in fairly small quantities. And don't mix sweet and savoury. Throwing up is soooooo unseductive.
HAYLEY: I like anything, me! No, make that EVERYTHING! For me, part of the pleasure is the sheer ridiculousness of having the entire contents of my kitchen cupboards poured over my head -- eggs, beans, jam, porridge, treacle -- then slapped in the face with a big deep pie. But I'm an extreme case!!
BILL: A nutter!
HAYLEY: I even like the things you shouldn't use -- smelly ones like ketchup or stuff that's very hard to get out of your hair like margarine, flour, and water. The only definite no-nos are things that stain (like some pie fillings which have really strong artificial colours in that can turn your hair blue) and batter mixes in the panties. They dry and set rock hard in your pubes -- turning into a very effective but fucking painful depilatory!
BILL: The only other stuff that you shouldn't use is materials like motor oil and oil-based paint. They have all kinds of chemicals in.
Where did sploshing begin? Are there historical accounts, antecedents, precedents?
HAYLEY: Well, there was Cleopatra bathing in asses' milk. That must have been quite sensual. Or mediaeval men being put in the stocks and pelted with rotten eggs -- the bondage fans would have loved that.
BILL: You would have been dunked as a witch...
HAYLEY: Oh, yes, please! Wearing the full Morticia Addams gear in a nice thick muddy pond coming up covered in weed and lily pads...
BILL: I'm sure the Romans must have done something decadent like rolling round in food and oils...
HAYLEY: Whilst Rome burned...or something.
Is there a difference between sploshing and WAM (wet and messy)?
BILL: Yes and no. Sploshing came first! When we set up the mag, we called it SPLOSH! cos we wanted a fun name that sounded both wet and messy. Prior to that, fans hadn't had a name to unite them so we called them sploshers and the activity sploshing. WAM was the term used by the Americans when they joined in a few years later, thanks to a guy called Rob Blaine (now sadly in the great mudbath in the sky) setting up Messy Fun. Because Rob was a computer buff, he was much more internet-led and so the term WAM caught on amongst the U.S. messy community on the Net.
That's the boring answer.
HAYLEY: But the biggest difference is the attitude. The Americans are far more earnest about it than we are. They have chat groups discussing every custard pie that appears on TV saying things like, "Great consistency, 85% facial coverage…" We just like having fun! It's meant to be a laugh not an academic exercise! I think also that they tend to like one thing and one thing only. The pie fans only like seeing people hit with pies, the mud fans only want mud, and so on. Here we tend to get more people who just enjoy mess or wetness in all its forms.
Seeing a beautiful woman get hit in the face with a pie turns many people on. According to Katherine Gates' Deviant Desires: Incredibly Strange Sex, most American pie fetishes start with a love of The Three Stooges. Do you think the sexual gratification comes more from popular culture than from actual physical need? (Feel free to discuss money shots and any pornographic or exploitative aspects.)
HAYLEY: Pies ARE terrific. Being slapped in the face with a nice big one -- followed by another and another -- really does feel incredible. Then finishing off with a couple slowly rubbed in, engulfing your head...okay, it must sound odd, but it does make me cum.
BILL: So you say it's a physical need?
HAYLEY: There is a strong physical side to it. Some of the feelings you get, the slipperiness of the substances, hands on your body, and that thrill you get disappearing under layers of stuff...ooh, I'm geting all horny just thinking about it.
BILL: Nothing new there then... No, I think it is a mixture of the two.
What slapstick comedy films provide are a series of scenarios that offer an opportunity for physical pleasures when re-enacted and because they are presented in a fun way -- as we try to with the magazine and video tapes -- make the person feel less guilty about liking it. Soooo, something like a pie fight is a socially acceptable, fun way to enjoy a bit of very mild humilation and domination (with the roles reversing all the time), the psychological delight of letting go of your inhibitions and behaving badly and the physical pleasures of substances on your body.
Howard Jacobson in a TV series he did on the roots of comedy said that all slapstick was about wanting to cover people with your sperm or shit. Frankly I don't think that is entirely true and most of our customers would be revolted by that idea. The pie, or whatever sploshing material used, might be mildly degrading when pushed in the face, but it mustn't actually be unpleasant. Any outrage, by the recipient has to be pretence.
So, you get that big open-mouthed look of shock and 'anger' followed by a wicked smile that says he or she is about to do exactly the same back.
If it was something genuinely unpleasant like shit, we'd know that the person is being degraded for real and wouldn't want it to happen to us.
That would be a 'victim' scenario where one person is being genuinely humiliated for the pleasure of another. This is more a mutual trust thing where a couple can let go of their egos and both be very mildly submissive knowing that no real harm or unpleasantness will actually take place. It's the difference between a clown falling down and an old lady falling down. We know the clown will get up again and any 'pain' will be pretend so it's funny. The old lady falling down isn't cos she might actually get hurt. Because of that, and the genuine fact that all the models who appear in our tapes and magazine have a real laugh doing it, I don't feel it is as exploitative as 'porn'. Certainly women who see our stuff say that they don't find it as offensive, cos the girls aren't being so deliberately 'sexy'. For a start, they keep their clothes on for longer (sometimes all the time) cos for a high percentage of our readers, messy clothing is sexier than messy bodies. Either way, rather than coming over as bits of meat to be fucked, SPLOSH! girls come over as a good giggle. People who'd be fun to meet down the pub. And they are. Almost every single one has approached us saying they want to do it, rather than me having to plead with them so they are really up for it. SPLOSH! girls may not have perfect size 10 bodies, but they ALL have a size XXXL sense of humour.
And, since Splosh! is a UK-based magazine, what British popular phenomenon might have previously equated messiness with sexiness?
HAYLEY: You mentioned the Stooges before. Well, they are more of an American phenomenon and quite old. Being a thirtysomething girl -- okay the something is now in double figures, but what the hell -- I was brought up on kids Saturday morning show Tiswas. That had lots of pies, buckets of water, and celebrity guests being messed up. The show gave the impression of total anarchy and as a kid in a nice home always being told to wipe my feet it appeared irresistible. Something inside me really craved doing that and having it done to me without being told off. Then in the 90s there was a show called Noel's House Party where he 'gunged' people. Although the gunge was plentiful, that didn't work for me in the same way cos the situation was too forced. I like messy mayhem!
BILL: Being a bit older I remember circus clowns like Charlie Cairoli who occasionally used women in his act and Charlie Drake a British actor/comedian who did a lot of slapstick, also sometimes with women. A Friday kids show called Crackerjack also had classic slapstick sketches like wallpapering the room but even as a child I can remember being disappointed that the girls on the team always disappeared when the buckets of 'paint' came out.
What do you think the splosh with which sploshers splosh might represent? Gluttony? Wish-fulfillment? Infantile muck-love?
BILL: A lot of it is genuinely child-like and innocent. As children we are constantly told to 'be on our best behaviour', to look after our clothes, not to play with our food. Then as we grow up, we become obsessed with our appearance. Is our hair okay? Does the designer suit fit right? Sploshing is the exact antithesis of that. It's a chance to let go for a couple of hours and deliberately misbehave and ruin your best gear. It's a sort of anti-vanity!
HAYLEY: That certainly sums it up for me. My day job means I spend most of my time wearing a suit and being bossy -- okay, more very well organised. So I love the idea of taking that image and completely destroying it. The perfect make-up, the hair, the suit, the snotty attitude -- the whole lot goes under a barrage of pies and buckets of baked beans! You feel so good afterwards.
BILL: It's the perfect cure for executive stress. We should set up clinics.
Is it all just innocent fun? Might it be about punishment and/or humiliation too?
BILL: Everyone sploshes in different ways and of course there are some who like it to be a bit more 'hardcore' than others. Certainly there are some Mess & M fans who like the idea of being pied by two women in a fem-dom scenario, others like to combine it with bondage or fetish clothing. But I come back to what I said before. Virtually none of our readers want to see people humiliated for real. As soon as it looks like the person on the receiving end is not having a good time (pantomime snarls to camera aside) then it kills it stone dead. They have to see the clown get up after the prat fall.
We have a studio which people hire for messy photo sessions and other forms of role play, and for a while one of the SPLOSH! models used to do a bit of mild CP (spanking) there with her on the receiving end. Although, she assured me that it didn't hurt very much, being genuine punishment fans, her customers wanted to see her looking seriously upset -- not larking and joking like we do in Sploshworld. So she would sob quite convincingly. Well, too convincingly for me. Even though she told me over and over that it was only acting, I couldn't cope with the idea that anyone would want to see a girl even pretend to be upset. So we stopped doing it.
HAYLEY: My problem is that I can't stop giggling. The more stuff that is pouring over me, into my knickers or pushed in my face, the funnier I find it. I mean how can you take having your best suit trousers filled with custard or your hair shampooed with soft margerine seriously? I've appeared on a couple of videos but I'm bloody awful. I can't act. I can only do it as me and I genuinely find it lots of fun.
Of course, if I'm honest, there is a very mild element of humiliation in it and frankly because it is me who wants it that way (I prefer being sploshed to sploshing others, though Bill never gets off completely!), then I don't have a problem with it. It never hurts, there is no danger of any sort, and whilst I am being submissive I know that the worst that will happen is that I have to spend a long time getting it out of my hair.
Most people though do it in a tit-for-tat style with the couple taking it in turns to get messy. No humiliation there at all cos it is mutual. I'm just greedy. I want all the mess over me!
BILL: No, I don't think the way we do it is humiliating. What it is though is iconoclastic. We take images such as the snooty woman in the suit, the traffic warden, the perfect bride, and destroy them with their consent.
What public figure would you like to splosh with? Or throw a pie in their face, etc?
HAYLEY: The England rugby team! Them against me. Armed with every foodstuff they can find -- and on a very muddy pitch!
BILL: All my female fantasy objects tend to be in comedy and the ones who have got messy instantly become icons.
HAYLEY: He's going to say Kathleen Turner soon. She gets messy in every picture she's in and Bill thinks she's brilliant.
BILL: Yes, a big pie fight with her would be fun. Ending up in a big bath of custard...
I've seen a t-shirt that states: "Slap me with brie and call me French. I oppose the war." Might that be a statement to unite sploshers against the probable (?) war with Iraq?
BILL: Slapping each other with Brie should replace the war! I find it incredible that human civilisation has come all this way but still can't settle its differences without killing the opposition. As for the Iraq situation, I am not going to say whether I'm for or against it -- we're here to entertain not campaign -- but war in general I find abhorent. How people can complain about 'kinky sex' and condone shooting and killing people with different beliefs is beyond me.
HAYLEY: We have tried to think up teeshirt slogans for our lot though, haven't we? My favourite was a teeshirt for divorced sploshers saying, "I get custardy at weekends."
Who is your favorite author, and could you write a short fantasy-sploshing passage in his/her style?
by Gooey Carroll
"You are old, William Shipton," young Hayley said
"47 but looking much older.
Yet you persistantly turn your career on its head
I only think that it's fair that I told ya."
"In my youth," said Bill Shipton, "I came up with Splosh!
Now sales are as good as they get.
So just get in the shower and have a good wash -
Those jeans look much better when wet."
"You are old, William Shipton," Hayley added with glee,
"And your waistline is losing the fight.
"Yet we both dress in satin and black PVC.
Do you think that at your age that's right?"
"In my youth," said Old Shipton. "I dressed nice and smart
In clothes both subtle and staid.
But even then I looked like a stupid old fart,
At least dressed like this I get laid."
"You are old, Uncle William," the young girl went on,
"And obsessed with custard and pies.
All you do is throw food at girls in the nude,
Do you think at your age that's wise?"
"In my youth, dear sweet Hayley," the writer replied,
"I used to be frightened and nervy.
But now whether it's beans or PVC jeans
I revel in things that are pervy."
"You are right, big fat William," the big blonde admits.
"Food's better for sex than as meals.
"Be a dear and rub some more cream on my tits,
I can't tell you how gorgeous that feels!"
"Yes, I know, lovely Hayley, have some warm treacle too
Fill your panties with edible muck.
I may be quite old but I can just about screw.
Let's go upstairs, I fancy a fuck!"
Please direct all splosh-related concerns and inquiries to this electronic address.
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