The therapy game


When I played the larp Beginning, I had the experience of being born as a blind creature in an unknown world.  I felt myself to be full of hope and innocent idealism, while with my ‘adult’ head I knew what dreadful disappointments were in store … I was very moved and cried for several minutes.

I found the experience cathartic and not at all disturbing – it was genuinely therapeutic.  I thought it would be interesting to sketch out some therapeutic techniques that are similar to larp.

This is the most obvious parallel.  It’s a technique that involves creating a little dramatic performance that illustrates a key crisis in a person’s life, or a conflict within them.  Usually several people are involved, to play Mum, Dad, and other characters involved in what happened to me when I was five; or alternatively they might represent “Strong Me”, “Weak Me”, “Fear” and so on. Continue reading

Bleedin’ Emotions!


In larp, the word ‘bleed’ means a leakage from the player’s real life to the character (‘bleed-in’), or vice versa, from the character to the player (‘bleed-out’).

What is ‘bleed’?  I would say it’s mainly about emotion.  Some thoughts too – but, as they say, our thoughts are what we think we are; our emotions are what we are.  Bleed is about feeling something. Continue reading

Kinky Larp


My first larp experience was at Knutpunkt 2014, in a run of Kink & Coffee, “introduction night at your local local BDSM club”.  It was a particularly challenging choice, as both larping and BDSM were some way outside my comfort zone.  I’d persuaded Frederick to sign up as well, but as we waited for things to begin he was having serious doubts.

“This is exactly why we have to stay,” I told Frederick. “Right now, we’re shit-scared – and that means that at the end of this we’re going to feel amazing.”  I half-believed myself.  I remembered feeling just as scared at the beginning of a tantra course on intimacy that I’d attended two years earlier.  Persuading Frederick to stay made it easier for me to quell my own worries. Continue reading

… and I don’t like Star Wars


When the first Star Wars film came out in 1977 I was 7 years old and I thought it was the best thing ever, apart from Disney.  The Empire Strikes Back (1980) was utterly amazing to my ten-year-old self.  By 1983 I was struggling a bit with The Return of the Jedi.  Mark Hamill had a troublingly raddled look about him; the new Death Star made it too obvious that George Lucas was running out of ideas; and the Ewoks … well, anyway.  I was only 13, but I just couldn’t get the old enthusiasm going. Continue reading