As one of Berlin’s most iconic and coveted performers, Bishop is involved with various club-, show- and film projects in the city. Starting out in the adult business at the tender age of 19, Playful got curious about how porn shaped him - as well as the importance of sex education from a porn perspective.
You came to Berlin from London - what about this city made you chose it?
I came to Berlin after working with an artist friend in London. He brought me to Berlin, and I ended up getting involved in the art scene as a performer. I was already in the process of thinking about moving away. I loved London, but I didn’t want to live my entire life there. I wanted to travel and live in other places. So, this was the ticket I needed to make the move.
What was your impression of the city the first time you visited?
I came three times to Berlin. The first time I loved it. I thought it was amazing. And I fell into the Berlin tourist trope, where I just could not shut up about how cheap it was, how it was so relaxed, and how raw the city felt. The second time I hated it. It was in mid Mars, and it was still winter. The vibe was off, and I was like, what am I doing here?! The last time, I was like ’Fuck it, let’s do it’ and so I moved here in the winter of 2011.
How would you describe the years in Berlin when it comes to your growth within your art and performance, as well as a person, and do you believe the city in some way had something to do with it?
My growth has been in waves and cycles. Sometimes it’s strong and at other times it’s been really difficult to be creative. I have always felt a necessity to explore the concept of my own identity through my body and through sexuality. Berlin gave me that energy, through the people and ideas within the queer scene, the performance scene and the porn scene. It has given me the space to explore and experiment. The winters bring up the melancholia that brings an introspection that I don’t think I would have had in London, for example. As much as the winters destroy me, they also fuel into my inner goth.
How did you find your community in Berlin?
Trial and error! Seriously Berlin is so transient sometimes and you make friends with people who leave like two years later. I found people within the aforementioned scenes I gravitated towards and they’re close people. Also, outside of that, I met people through the bar life. Through this, I discovered my community. It always changes, but I’m thankful to have a good group of people who support each other.
Have you always been a performer or how was your introduction to performing and what is the reason for you to do it?
I’ve always been drawn to performance in some way, and I always loved to dance and sing when I was younger. I stumbled into most of the fields I work in now and it was always on the basis of ‘why not?’ Being in Berlin did nurture that and I became more confident to manifest some ideas that I probably would have doubted in another setting. I also ended up meeting amazing performers in Berlin who inspired me to be more creative. Bad Bruises and the whole crew really helped nurture this a lot, as well as people like Caritia from Karada House and Ballhaus Naunynstrasse.
I love being able to perform. It’s a way to channel my feelings and my emotions, whether it’s being euphoric or melancholic. Music is also a catalyst and I love that it can create an atmosphere or a mood that I can utilise for my work.
Can you tell us how it was when you decided to start doing porn, and found that you were good at it?
I first got involved in the adult industry when I was 19, doing glamour photography and later when I was 23, when I did my first gay porn. It was not until Berlin, that I began to work with porn more frequently and I met amazing directors like Jennifer Lyon Bell, Morgana Muses, Petra Joy and got to meet people I consider to be friends today who also worked in the scene. It gave me the possibility to explore different expressions of sexual identity that made me feel more and more grounded in how I enjoy sex on and off camera. It has not always been so clear cut, simple and without hiccups.
How has ’mainstream porn’ affected your view on - and relation to - porn?
Porn is still a heavily stigmatized medium and there are definitely some things that can do with improving. But although we are being more open with expressing ourselves and platforms like Onlyfans, that has allowed people (some sex workers and some not) to be able to make money independently, being a sex worker and I mean a full-service sex worker, can still be dangerous. FOSTA and SESTA (the fight online sex trafficking act and stop enabling sex trafficking act) target consensual workers and policewomen’s bodies on platforms like Instagram and Craigslist. There are still laws that are pushed that stigmatize sex workers more than they claim to help them.
Yes, there are a lot of things that are very problematic that definitely need to be tackled, but mainstream porn is also affected by the consumer. A revision does need to take place, particularly in the way that we talk about sex with each other, from sex education to being franker about how we are with each other.
Why is porn and sex education so important?
Porn has been used as a form of sex education arguably by the younger people. It is a form of entertainment that some of us watch and talk about, either publicly or privately. And the way we see and talk about pornography is shifting, bringing it out of the ‘shameful’ place we put it in. So, in some way, it’s great that porn has had so much of this continuous exposure, as it normalizes certain things about how we enjoy ourselves sexually and what we get turned on by.
Before Tumblr fell, a lot of people curated their own form of sexuality on their pages by sharing content with each other or discussing topics of sexuality and identity. This was a lot more of an accessible way to explore their own relation to sex that traditional sex education did not have. Sex education can be seen as archaic and sometimes does not explore these other forms of non-normative sexual identity and instead can be heteronormative. But we also need to update the ways in which we discuss sex education, from differentiating that all forms of sex are sex, even without penetrative sex. Or how important consent is and how we can properly communicate our desires without feeling shame or shaming others.
When Berlin clubs open up - what’s the first place you’ll visit and why have you missed it?
To be completely honest, other than the Peepshow at Wilde Renate, I’m not such a club party person. I am more of a bar person. But if there is one party I do miss, it would be BodySnatch. It was one of the best nights I had out, and I had only sweated that much in one other party, which was a random night out at Berghain.
What’s one of your best memories in Berlin so far?
I think that there are too many good memories to name!
What’s your view on the culture of sex parties in Berlin?
I’ve had some great times in some sex parties here and some awkward to not so great times. All in all, I love that it can be accessible here and it can be super fun. I actually look forward to that whole scene returning. I also think that there should be a level of responsibility for yourself and each other’s, especially in terms of navigating non sober scenes.
You’re also an art performer, in various projects such as ’The peep show’ and ’Weisse Maus’ - do you have any project you dream of doing, and if so, what is that?