Lewis Murphy agreed to share his spine-tingling experiences at Pleasure Principled: A Night of Xcess in this guest post. So sit back and listen to his harrowing tale…if you dare.
On October 14th, the first part of Yomi Ayeni and Expanding Universe’s Breathe was shown for the first time at the Power to the Pixel party, at London’s County Hall. However, that was not the only thing happening that evening – previously, players who had joined the mysterious secret society Clamamus Pro Aeris received a message to be there holding a copy of TimeOut magazine. Amongst the mingling and drinking at the party, one or two suspicious waiters approached people holding the magazine and offered them a free drink. Upon receiving their free drink, they were given a VIP invitation to the Pleasure Principled Night for Xcess party… and told to arrive at 9pm, one hour before the stated opening time of the party, for free entry. A message was posted to the Clanamus group, requesting players to arrive at the venue by 9pm for “challenges.” I attended the event along with several players.
Once the shutters of the front entrance to the club opened, our group entered the empty club with trepidation. We were soon greeted by a man covered head to toe in a white bodysuit that covered his face. He silently beckoned us into the club, where we were guided by many more people in white bodysuits, including one filming us throughout with a small video camera. This was our first hint of exactly how creepy the evening would become; the people wearing bodysuits were breathing very heavily and audibly, but not saying a single word. Instinctively we followed suit, remaining silent as we approached a series of chairs in one corner of the room. There, printed sheets on a clipboard informed us the reason we were there. We would take part in a test of our strength to see if we were able to join the Clamamus Pro Aeris sect fully. Failure was a distinct possibility.
The clipboard instructed us to remain silent or we would be thrown out. We were also given the chance to opt out at any time if we felt uncomfortable by saying the word “out”. Given the creepiness and intensity of the event, this was probably a good thing. None of us said the word, but having the option provided a measure of security going forward.
After our introduction, we were told to make a single file line, holding onto the person in front of us. We were instructed to remove an item of clothing and use it as a blindfold… and to follow the sound. Once we were all blindfolded, a distinct knocking sound was heard and we followed it. All the while, the other people in white were moving around us, guiding us while still breathing heavily. It’s hard to explain how this feels without experiencing it. You start to breathe heavily yourself, your heart beats faster, the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention. The creepiness was ramping up, fast.
Eventually we were stopped in our tracks. One by one, we were being taken to another area. As we were all blindfolded, we did not know what was happening to the others as they went through, although we could hear the heavy breathing reach a crescendo with each person. I was about halfway through the line, so I heard this happen several times before it was my turn. A knocking noise guided me to a short set of stairs. The sound of hands banging on the steps encouraged me to climb them. When I reached the top I was turned around, and my blindfold was removed. A clipboard in front of my face read:
“DO NOT TURN AROUND, TRUST ME. FOLD YOUR ARMS.”
I did as instructed, folding my arms over my chest. The page was turned…
Of course, this is a classic trust exercise. But the adrenaline that rushed through me as I tilted myself back and let myself fall from the edge of the small staircase was still intense. Now I knew what the loud periods of heavy breath were, as a group of the people in jumpsuits caught me and laid me on a crash mat. After the fall, I was guided to a makeshift bench with the others who completed the exercise, and watched as the rest were guided up the stairs and also told to fall. But the event wasn’t over. It was about to get even more creepy and intense.
We were next split into two groups, and guided to different areas of the club. My group was brought to the area of the venue where we started the event. We were given a regular die, and a woman in a white jumpsuit moved to the centre of the area. We were told to roll the die one by one, and the result would determine what happened to the woman. The options varied between pleasure and pain: they were a slap, a biscuit, a nipple tweak, a kiss, a shot of liquor, and the mysterious “pleasure”. The first roll was a 2, so a biscuit that looked like a chocolate digestive was brought out of a pot nearby. The woman in the centre was force-fed the biscuit. The dice rolls continued, and the woman was subjected to various acts, including a slap. After a few rolls, one of the group was brought to the centre, and the dice rolls continued. The first roll was a 6, the mysterious “pleasure” result. The man carrying out the options on the die approached the player and groped the poor man. The dice continued to roll, and more acts were performed on the player, both by the leader and by other players.
After this, there was one final part to the pre-party event. This was to be the creepiest yet.
The two groups were reassembled in a different room of the club, where we were all seated. We were told this would be our final test of the night. One of us was brought to the middle of the room, and knelt before a bucket slightly filled with water. He was informed he could opt out by squeezing the hand of one of the masked men two times. A clipboard was held before the rest of us…
“COUNT TO 5”
As we counted, the player was dunked into the bucket, and removed after the count of 5. Then we were given the next instruction…
“COUNT TO 10”
Once again, the player was dunked as we counted, and removed after the count. Then came our final instruction from the clipboard…
“COUNT TO 20”
The player was dunked a third time… but not removed at the end of the count. Quickly, two of the women in white removed their face-masks, forced the others to remove the guy, and protested the event in general. They were quickly grabbed by other members and dragged out of the room, protesting and claiming we could leave with them as it happened.
Since we’d completed the tests, we were led upstairs to a table full of fruit and drinks. Finally, one of the men in white spoke to us. We were told to eat fruit and drink champagne and vodka. We were told that we had passed the test, and had become part of their society. He told us that they were searching for someone or something named Artemis, and needed to recruit more members to expand their ranks. Then we were handed pieces of paper – one had the Clamamus Pro Aeris logo on it several times, one had a logo for GPS Mission on it a few times, and one had the word Artemis written on it many times.
We were finally left alone to eat and drink, and the party proper began. The party was an incredible club night, with a mix of classical harp and opera, and DJ dance tunes throughout. There were belly dancers, fire twirlers, and even a touring magician billed as a “complimentary therapist.” There was also one more unannounced surprise there; detective John Franks, from the Breathe movie, was also in attendance and mingling with partygoers. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to speak with him for an extended time, but I did see him. Footage of the night was taken by professional filmmakers, which will be incorporated into the next episode of Breathe, to be released on October 21st.
The plot of Breathe is advancing at a steady pace. A USB drive was located and picked up earlier tonight containing a video seeming to depict Daniel’s death at the hands of Clamamus members.
Breathe is currently running at http://www.breathewith.me and on Twitter at @breathewithus – you don’t have to be in London to join in online. Videos of both the first 10-minute episode and the story so far are available on YouTube and through the main site.
Click Here for our prior coverage of Breathe.