Max Mosley, FIA president and son of famous fascist Oswald, has been in a spot of trouble recently, ever since the News of the World exposed his unconventional sexual preferences at the end of March. He was, so they claimed, "a secret sado-masochist sex pervert", who engaged in "a depraved NAZI-STYLE orgy in a torture dungeon" - helpfully caught on film by one of the five "hookers" who participated in the event, staged in a Chelsea basement flat.
There were calls for him to resign (so far he has resisted) and widespread revulsion. But Mosley has fought back, hiring an ex-Screws editor Phil Hall to do his PR, and current Screws columnist Lord (John) Stevens to investigate the circumstances behind the sting. In his defence, Mosley denied that there was an overt Nazi theme in any of the role-play, stressed that it was in any case his own private business what he got up to, and alleged that he was the victim of a conspiracy.
It's not entirely clear whether or not it was Lord Stevens' company, Quest, that outed the 38-year old blonde who shopped Max to the NotW as the wife of an MI5 agent. But this latest development certainly adds to the intrigue. At the very least, it is a severe embarrassment to the intelligence service, who are supposed to have vetting procedures to prevent this sort of thing. While the man himself - unnamed for "security reasons", though his identity is well-known to the press - was fully aware that his wife of just over a year maintained a fully-equipped 2-storey dungeon in Milton Keynes, he had, it seems, neglected to inform his employers. And they, we are told, had no idea. "We expect high standards of behaviour from all staff at all times, both professionally and privately" said a spokesman, primly. According to other reports that I have found, on the other hand, the agent made no secret of his wife's professional activities, and even boasted about her to colleagues. Make of that what you will. [Indeed, much of this speculation was confirmed by a report subsequently published in the Mail on Sunday - 10/7/08]
Personally, I would far rather MI5 spent their time monitoring terrorists than prying into people's sex lives. On the other hand, it's hard to see precisely why having a wife who spanks middle-aged gentlemen in her basement should be a bar to serving one's country. It might, in fact, be a positive advantage, given the intelligence that might be gleaned in such a situation. Was it just that he didn't tell them about it?
MI5, needless to say, denies that anything sinister has been going on. The idea that they might be a party to a sting operation makes no sense, they maintain, since Mosley was not a security risk and, in any case, there are more important things for them to worry about. I hope so. But did "Mistress Abi" did take the decision to run to the News of the World and pocket a large wad of their cash entirely on her own, without consulting her husband? It's hard not to think that someone somewhere has a hidden agenda. Formula One is a notoriously muky and espionage-obsessed business.
I cannot, alas, penetrate that particular mystery. But I have been able to discover more details about the private party in Chelsea and its attendees. And it seems that Mosley and his paid guests may indeed have been unfairly maligned. Of the five women, four knew each other (and Max) extremely well. The fifth - professionally known as "Mistress Abi" - seems to have been invited along at a later stage. This would seem to reduce the likelihood that Mosley was targeted "by persons and for reasons unknown", as he alleges. Unless of course someone got wind of what was in the offing and found a way to exploit it.
According to the original report in the News of the World, the "cast list" was as follows: Mistress Abi, (E) "Mistress S" (the main organiser, identified in court as A), a German dominatrix named in the News of the World, but due to legal restrictions now merely as B, and two "prisoners", described as a blonde and a brunette.
I managed to identify the two submissives, who were referred to C and D in court, and got a court order for my pains. These seem to be the only two who particpated in the sex acts, if any. (All the women involved deny being prostitutes.) Suffice it to say that both are well known in the BDSM "scene", having featured in numerous fetish and spanking videos with titles such as Prison Chronicles and Punished Brats. Both have also featured in a prison-themed S&M website which D co-founded (although she recently left due to "creative differences" with the director).
Besides her film career, the privately-educated Londoner (28) identified as D is PhD student in biochemistry (this came out in court). Her research concerns the structure and synthesis of lipids. She is also a former ballerina and rugby enthusiast, and she has even appeared in an episode of The Weakest Link. In an online interview she explained the origins of her favourite role-playing scenario:
I truly believe that the prison fantasy stems from spending many years growing up in a boarding school. If someone can name three differences between prison and boarding school I'd like to hear them. However, some inspiration, such as the use of storyline and particular characters come from TV and films based in prisons, women's prison's especially. I guess my fantasy is an exchange of power and in prison this is particularly strong. You are completely at the guard's mercy and that has always been my thing.
Miss D has her own fairly innocuous blog. Following the scandal she posted her side of the story (in an entry since deleted), explicitly denying that there was any Nazi theme to the March gathering: it was, she insisted, a bog-standard prisoner-interrogation scenario, there were no Nazi uniforms, and no orgy. Like Mosley, she insists that the Nazi elements were invented by the News of the World (or Mistress Abi) to spice up the story. The available video footage is, it must be said, ambiguous. German accents and snatches of German dialogue do not, of themselves, make a realistic concentration camp. Still, the man's name is Mosley.
Woman C is slightly younger, but is equally popular as a spankee, both in films and at parties which she organises with a friend who goes by the name of Dublin. In "real life" she works in the National Health Service. Her profile on the invaluable Northern Spanking website mentions that she "got into spanking through my glamour modelling work and one of the other girls asked me if I'd like to try it. I'd always liked a good slap on the bottom during foreplay, so I thought, why not?" She adds:
Since then I've gone strength to strength and become instatiable for spanking and all things corporal punishment. My favourite being the cane, and I love nothing more than a double caning especially when Lucy is the left handed participant!
Parties are probably my favourite thing to do because they are such a laugh, but I like doing videos and photos too - mostly because I love dressing up. It makes me feel so sexy!
The German participant B was named in the NOTW but is also subject to the court order. Her website, however (like D's, but unlike those of the two leading protagonists) is still fully functional. On it, she describes herself as 34 years old, 5'8, with natural long black hair. She adds, "my bottom enjoys a really good seeing to, and I don't mind either hand, cane or paddle." Although her main role in the Mosley affair seems to have been to bark orders in German, she says that she performs both dominant and submissive roles, but prefers submission. Elsewhere, we learn that she attended an all girls' school in Germany, and is a veteran of many S&M videos. In fact, she turns up on some of the same productions as Misses C and D. The three, together with "Mistress S" (A), took part with a number of other "scene girls" in a 2007 charity run in London for Cancer Research. They called themselves "Bums on the run", and raised almost £12,000.
B herself describes her initiation into the spanking scene as follows:
Two years ago I came to England and after a rather boozy rock and roll night we went back to my flat. I went to the kitchen to take some wine from the fridge. As I bent down to grab it my friend - Sam Johnson - slapped me across the bottom. I said: "aaaaaaa, that's great - give me more, it really turns me on"
I felt quite naughty because I enjoyed it. Sam administered a few more handspanks. I was reminded of my former school in Germany. I used to secretly like it when I had to be punished by the Headmaster who was severe.
However, in a French source she is described as having been "formed in the red-light districts of Hamburg and Cologne". In this account, it was B who brought the final line-up together, having been first contracted by "Mistress Switch", who was Mosley's only direct contact.
We now come to the two leading protagonists in this saga. Both blonde, both dominant, both aged around 40, both apparently hailing from Milton Keynes, and possibly both calling themselves Abi, they are rather difficult to separate. It took a while to work out which was Switch. While they clearly aren't the same person (they both featured in the NotW video, after all) the confusion between them may be either accidental or deliberate.
Mistress Switch, the overseer of the whole proceeding, is described as a divorced 40-year old mother of two from Milton Keynes. ("Switch", by the way, is a term used in BDSM for a mistress who performs both dominant and submissive roles in a single session. Woman A claims to be London's leading exponent of the technique.) Her website no longer works, but could be accessed via an internet archive. Elsewhere, she reveals that she has been in the spanking business for around 15 years and has appeared in a number of films with the other girls. In her "vanilla" life she runs an office. According to press reports, she is the ex-wife of a business associate of Mosley's, which is how they were introduced, and she has been arranging sex parties for him for a number of years. According to a rather gossipy French account (which I have attempted to translate), following her divorce,
She reinvented herself as a priestess. She became Madame Perversion for the whole of London. Her client-book is dynamite. It causes terror in government departments and the most secret offices in Whitehall. Happily, Mistress Switch is a prudent woman... She had already worked for [Mosley], who has frequented many S&M dugeons in Mayfair. She recognised in him a guilty neurotic who needed to be punished: but until this moment he had not confessed to her the original sin which obsessed him. Then towards the end of March, his instructions became more precise, constituting a confession in themselves...
Mistress Switch ("I'm Abi if I'm being naughty and cheeky, Mistress Switch if I have the upper hand and feeling, dare I say, sadistic") is reported to have her own palace of perversity at her Milton Keynes residence, trading under the name The House of Whispers. However, it is the woman billed as "Mistress Abi" (E), who is the 38-year old wife of the MI5 officer, who would seem to be the true proprietress of that particular dungeon. It was revealed in court that until they fell out spectacularly over the Max Mosley business, the two dominatrices sometimes shared facilities at the house. Although her website has also shut down as a result of the scandal (and has been blocked even from the archives), elsewhere on the net this "Mistress Abi" describes her services in considerable detail.
I am a tall, beautiful, strict, demanding, bi-sexual Dominatrix, the kind you've always dreamt about. I expect total obedience and discretion from those who wish to serve me in my private chambers. I get genuine pleasure from having submissives totally under my control, helpless for me to do with as I please. I am always dressed in boots or high heels, rubber, leather or PVC and have a very active and sadistic imagination, making your servitude both a fulfilling and exciting experience... I get a huge thrill from having a slave (male or female) completely submitting to me, completely and willingly under my control, able to go to subspace, able to test their limits.
Originally from Birmingham, "Mistress Abi" is another former boarding-school girl. And here was me thinking it was only boys' public schools which led to this kind of thing. In a photo I will not reproduce even here, Abi is using her stiletto (very successfully, it appears) to stimulate the reproductive member of an anonymous and headless client. However, she stresses that she operates a strict no-sex policy.
Interestingly, Abi lists "blackmail" as one of the many dominatrix services she offers, between "anal training" and "bondage (suspension)".
It was "Mistress Abi" who was fitted up with secret cameras by the News of the World after offering the paper an exclusive. According to some accounts, she was wearing a "Luftwaffe-style uniform"; others insist that it was simply a leather jacket. Her photo gallery certainly features (or used to feature) a range of military uniforms, but none of them are overtly Nazi.
In fact, and perhaps not surprisingly, Mistress Abi has made herself extremely unpopular with her fellow sub-doms. One colleague, Amy, called her "a callous “pro” domme who has gone against everything the scene’s professionals stand for, namely trust, discretion, and integrity." Apparently, too, some in the scene believed the Nazi stories and did not approve, so all those involved have suffered from the taint. Which makes it all the more unfair if it was just your average spankathon.
Sex, spies, Formula 1, le vice anglais: this story is British tabloid entertainment at its very best. Yet it also raises some serious issues. Whatever one thinks of Max Mosley's predilections (and whatever the precise nature of those predilections) are they, should they be, enough to destroy his reputation and career? He is not a politician. He didn't hurt anybody. True, he has a wife, who may or may not have been aware of his unusual tastes. But how she chooses to react to the embarrassing situation in which she finds herself is her business. And falling foul of tabloid morality (especially the morality represented by the News of the World) is not, yet, a criminal offence. Although the way this government has been going recently, it might soon be.
Compare and contrast another recent News of the World exposé: that of the Conservative peer Lord Laidlaw, who was revealed to be in the habit of flying parties of prostitutes to Monaco for champagne-fuelled "romps". That quickly blew over. But then Laidlaw reacted like a much younger celeb: he issued a statement blaming his behaviour on "sex addiction" and appealed for sympathy. It's a fair cop, he seemed to be saying; and his openness was rewarded with forgeiveness. Mosley's reaction was more old-fashioned, and dignified.
Is it the "Nazi" dimension? Let's assume the worst, that Mosley gets his kicks from acting out Third Reich scenarios. There may be deep psychological reasons for this, stemming from his family background. Perhaps he feels overwhelming guilt, which is assuaged by acting out the role of a concentration camp inmate. Perhaps he just likes being assailed by women in uniform. As Bryan Ferry pointed out some time ago, the Nazis knew a thing or two about style. Ferry got into trouble for his comments. And it may be that Mosley has simply fallen foul of this ultimate modern taboo.
All the same, I can't help wondering who else is in Mistress Switch's "dynamite" client book.
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