It isn’t your Parade!

Update 2017-07-03: The original article has been removed, but as nothing is truly deleted on the web you can find a print screen here.

Earlier today I stumbled upon this comment where the author don’t want to see kink in her pride parade. Well, I got news for you honey, or it isn’t news, it’s a short history lesson.

The gay leather subculture have existed at least from the fifties, with gay motorcycle clubs or just leather clubs. SLM Oslo (then SLM Norway) is the oldest gay club in Norway, it started in 1976. First they may just have been to there to celebrate masculinity, but there has always been some elements of BDSM and kink. Anyway, over the years the community have grown and embraced different types of kink, for instance rubber, neoprene and puppy play. So kink has been in the LGBTQ* community from the start.

I find it narrow minded to deny a straight cisgender person who is into kink, the right to show their support to their brothers and sisters by joining us in the parade. Actually I know of several straight cis-men who have no problem playing with other men, so the premise for the article falls away.

It is interesting to see how this author in other posts tries to remove stereotypical stigmas, but walks right into one here. Kink and BDSM does not require use of sexual organs, they do not even need to be accessible. It does not even have to be sexual.  For instance the Japanese art of bondage, Shibari.

Another point that comes up in the article is that it is not appropriate to minors to see people with kinks in the parade. Let me ask, is it more appropriate to see men with perfect bodies dancing around with less clothing than I have in one of my hankies? Why should they be able to show their body as an object of sexual admiration, and i don’t?

I’m into leather, the first time I had leather jeans at work I got comments. I have stopped counting how many times I have been called Nazi when I’m in full leather on the street. Leather is not directly sexual for me, I have even baked cakes dressed in leather.

The parade is not yours alone, it is for everyone in the LGBTQ* community and those who support us! So please, do not try to limit the expressions of your brothers, sisters and fellow human beings, there is enough of those who want to do that already.

The Boots

One lonely boot hanging in-front of the building and a small sign high upon the wall is the only sign of Antwerp’s biggest and hottest fetish club.

This fetish venue is in the northern part of Antwerp city centre, in a quiet street. They even have a sign on the way out informing visitors that this is a residential area, and to keep the noise to a minimum outside.

As the Boots is a members-only club, you have go sign up for a membership to be able to enter. But you can sign up for a weekend membership, if you are visiting for a short period, like for the Leather Pride Belgium. And you can do it at the door. You will get a card that says that you are a member, to use the next time you enter. You do not need the card when you are inside the club.

When entering the club, you get a drinking card, where your coat hanger number is noted (if you use one). This is also used when you order something at one of the bars, and you pay when you leave.

The club is using the whole building. Starting at the bottom, which might be one level below street level. Here you can find some play areas, with benches, slings, gynaecology chair, as well as a small bar, with a sling and benches. The level above is mostly used as a hallway, but it also contains an extra cloakroom. The next level is where you enter the club, with the reception, cloakroom and toilets/changing area. You will walk up one flight of stairs from street level to get to this level.

Above the reception, you will find the main bar, with a smokers lounge and a large number of boots hanging in the ceiling. Further up it is a cruising floor, with a labyrinth, tub, slings and benches. And at the top level, there is a small bar among seating and play areas.

The area above the main bar might be closed off if it is a slow night. Be aware of the black light they are using, some might find that it makes it difficult to see when the eyes are directly exposed. Not dangerous, unless you walk into a wall.

We were visiting during the leather and fetish pride, when the city was full of hot and horny men. And probably most of them visited the Boots at some point, judging by the sexy atmosphere that was felt throughout the building.

If you take a taxi back to your hotel, make sure they start the taximeter. I got ripped off. One should think that such things would not happen in Belgium, but I was wrong.

Website: the-boots.com

MrB in Amsterdam

This is store is probably my favourite store. They have a good selection, the staff is helpful, and the atmosphere is relaxed and sexy. Most Mr. B. stores have somewhat the same articles and the same design. The staff in Amsterdam makes the big difference. It is difficult to point out exactly what they do in Amsterdam compared to for instance Berlin, maybe a more relaxed attention to the customer. The balance between getting personal space without being left alone is just right for me.

Another nice feature, if you can call it a feature, is that their workshop is also located in Amsterdam. So, when they didn’t have the leather pants I wanted in my size, it took just a couple of hours to get a pair from the workshop. Just enough time to relax and grab some pancakes with cookie filling, from one of the Creperies in the street.

The products they sell are mostly of their own brand, but they also have some fetish articles from other brands. There is something for every taste, also rubber, neoprene and sportswear. I myself love the leather items with stitching on the sides, like the belts and ties. It is a nice detail. When I think about it I have a pair of boots from this store as well. They are the only pair of high boots I have tried that fit strait of the shelf. It should be said that this is not a cheap store, but the prices are reasonable when compared to other stores with the same quality and service.

If you are going to Amsterdam, this store is definitely worth a visit. Remember that if you want tax return (if you are from outside the EU, like Norway), you need to bring your passport.

mrb

Website: misterb.com

Eagle Vienna

This is one of the places you must know about to find. In the basement of something that seems like an apartment block, some steps down from street level you can find the entrance and doorbell. And a sign that states “men only”. There is one exception, one of the bartenders is female. Rumour has it that she is the sister of the owner.

The bar stretches from a cloakroom on the right, and around a corner towards the entry to the toilette and a small darkroom. There are some sex shop articles for sale, for instance leather cuffs, t-shirts, cockrings and DVDs. I’ll have to get me one of their t-shirts.

The darkroom became quite crowded, but I’m not sure of how much action there actually were. I had my valuables on my person, and didn’t want to try my luck. Next time I’ll put them in my jacket.

Eagle Vienna don’t have a strict dress code the crowd might be in normal everyday wear. The night I was there the I would say the average age was about 45, and most was wearing a shirt and jeans. The last point suited me quite well, as I was visiting after a business dinner. There was some smoking indoors, so don’t be surprised if your cloths smells like cigarettes in the morning.

They have some themed parties, which is announced on their website and Facebook. The opening hours are normally Monday to Sunday 21:00 to 04:00, and closed on Sunday. But check as exceptions may occur.

I liked the atmosphere, it was relaxed and sexy. The bar staff was efficient and pleasant. As a famous Austrian said, I will be back!

Website: eagle-vienna.com
Facebook: EAGLE Vienna

Leather Pride Belgium

A big fetish event in Belgium’s largest city, Antwerp. The main events are located indoors in a big, old storage building at the docks. It is called “Darklands” during the pride. Inside there was this year three parts, a marketplace, a party area and a cruising area. Some parties and meetups was at other bars in the vicinity, like The Boots and Down Town.

The pride started on Thursday and ended on Sunday. The Darklands was open from Friday about five in the afternoon until Sunday evening.

In the marketplace, all the big fetish stores were represented, Mr. B, Boxer, Rob, Underground and Regulation, as well as different brands of toys, makers of slings and organisations. At some stands you could participate in competitions or try gear. For instance, a vacuum bed.

leatherpride_vac

My boyfriend tried a vacuum bed in the marked area. I have to admit I got flash backs to Star Wars and The empire strikes back.

The marked area of Darklands was open till about eight in the evening. A couple of hours later the main party of the night started. This year it was Fusion on Friday, Rage on Saturday and Alphatribe on Sunday. I did not notice the big difference between the parties, but what more than good music, sexy men, and a but it was fun. On Sunday, the party was a bit smaller, but that was expected since quite a few people had already left.

At the big stage in the party area they also had the Mr. Leather Belgium and the Mr. Puppy Europe competition. The X-Awards was held at the main stage on Sunday, giving out ten different awards. I can’t find an official list of winners online, but BLUF won the award for the “Association of the year” and Thorsten Buhl won the “Man of the year”.

leatherpride_xaward_bluf

BLUF won the “Association of the year”, received by Nigel Whitfield, it was given by Thorsten Buhl who later was awarded “Man of the year”.

It was fun to meet new and old friends. And if you stay until Monday, I would recommend to go the Boots on Sunday evening. We had a blast in Antwerp, and will be back next year.

leatherpride_darklands2

Leather events in 2017

A new year is almost here, and there is a lot happening throughout the coming year. I have gathered a list here of the events that came to mind. It is at the moment just events in Europe.

If you know of an event I should have listed let me know and I will update the list. (Last updated 2017-03-06)

January

20: Mr. Leather UK, London, UK

27-29: Leatherpride Dublin, Dublin, IE

February

15-20: Leatherpride Belgium, Antwerp, BE

March

03-05: Mr. Leather Hamburg, Hamburg, DE

April

12-18: Easter Fetish Week Berlin, Berlin , DE

30: Mr. Leather Italy, Padova, IT

May

11-14: Paris Fetish, Paris, FR

June

01-05: Cologne Fetish Pride, Cologne, DE

23-02 (July): WorldPride, Madrid, ES

July

09-16: Fetish Week London, London, UK

15-16: Lesbisch-schwules Stadtfest, Berlin, DE

22: CSD Berlin, Berlin, DE

August

10-13: Leatherparty, Hamburg, DE

September

06-10: Folsom Europe, Berlin, DE

22-24: UK Leather Pride, Bristol, UK

October

06-08: UK Leather Pride, Bristol, UK (moved til september)

06-08: Manchester Leather Weekend, Manchester, UK

20-21: Baltic Battle XL, Stockholm, SE

November

03-05: Mr. Leather Spain, Benidorm, ES

December

Left or Right side?

When starting with any kind of fetish and fetish parties it might be good to remember the rule about left and right in correlation to sexual preference (top or bottom). It might be displayed as a cuff on one wrist, keys on the belt, or the well-known hanky.

I am surprised how often I get this question, mostly from new guys in the fetish community, but also from men that has been around for a couple of years. I have talked to people who think the meaning of left and right are different between Europe and the United States, this is not the case, it is the same everywhere.

Left hand side: Right hand side:
  • Top
  • Active
  • Giver
  • Dominant
  • Bottom
  • Passive
  • Receiver
  • Submissive

You will see guys with plain black cuffs on both wrist. Then ask, they might be a switch, or it might be that they think it looks better. If the cuffs have some colour you can expect that they are a signal of sexual preference.

I always take such signs with a grain of salt, a good talk is preferred. A submissive might signal he is dominant on purpose, for instance if he is looking for someone special, and to discourage play with other random tops. Or if the guy is like me, mostly dominant, he might switch for the right top.

A couple of days at Leather Pride Amsterdam

Almost a week after the Leather Pride in Amsterdam I finally got some time to do a little write up of this small, but fully packed event.

We arrived on Thursday, and soon found our self in the Mr. B store. It ended with a couple of high boots, and me naked on the hotel room polishing them – the shine on the boots must at least be as good as the shine in the leather pants. Of course, it did not have to be done naked, but I like the feeling of leather against the skin.

That night we went to the piss party at Dirty Dicks. It is not quite my thing, but my partner in crime/life/travel/love/play enjoys it. He had lots of fun drinking beer and finding some pig for some recycling. At one time one guy asked the bartender where the toilets were, and the answer he got was epic “You ask where toilets are? On a piss night? They are sitting all over the place.”

On Friday, we went to the bondage workshop with Master Dart and Sir Bart, quite an eyeopener. The subject was predicament bondage, let the submissive choose between the fast and painful or the slow and not so painful, at least not at first. The possibilities are endless. I went only to one workshop, while my partner for the rubber workshop as well. He got to try out a rubber sleep sack, it will be interesting to see if that is something he would like to repeat.

After a late dinner at Getto, we ended the night at Eagle.  They had a bit earlier presented the Mr. Leather Amsterdam contestants. The place was packed with hot leather guys, even found a friend from Berlin there.

We lived some blocks south-west of Leidseplein, a 30-minute walk from Eagle and Dirty Dicks, especially in new boots. Five or ten minutes after we got back to our room, it knocked on the door. At four in the morning. Outside in the hotel corridor a guy in the beginning of his twenties stood and asked if he could be my slave for the night. I firmly said no and told him I wasn’t interested. After I had closed the door, I began to wonder if he lived at the hotel or if he had followed us. I hope he lived there…

What would a trip to Amsterdam be without a canal cruise? And on Saturday they had a leather canal cruise. It was a kind of meet and greet at Mr. B before we went to the boat. Here both Mr. Leather Amsterdam 2015 and the owner of Mr. B, said some words. The latter was talking about the importance of the leather community and the challenges we are experiencing. I say “we”, even though he was probably thinking mostly at Amsterdam, because the challenges are similar all over. If we want a community, we should use and support it.

The boat was almost full. Interesting people to talk to, and the scenery of Amsterdam from the canals are truly astonishing. Afterwards some of us went to The Web, a small bar that had a second-hand flea market, there was some interesting articles, but I did not get anything.

We were discussing what to do in the evening over dinner. The choice stood between going to the invasion party or to the BLUF party at Dirty Dicks. As we had to leave quite early, we decided to go to BLUF. It was full of leather guys, and I had several interesting conversations with both new and old friends. Several of them recommended the leather pride in Antwerp, we must see if it is possible.

Amsterdam Leather Pride here we come!

I’ve been really busy the last few weeks, starting Leather Social Oslo and just life as a whole. Leather Social Oslo was a success, and we have already set a date for the next one, but more on that in another post.

Tomorrow morning we are leaving for Amsterdam Leather Pride. Ready for a weekend with party, fun and socialising. I might even do some shopping, a pair of high boots wouldn’t be amiss. But that might become a Herculean task.

I’m also going to one or two of the workshops on Friday, but it was a bit hard to find and understand the ticket system. On the main site I found the tickets to the Invasion party, but not to the workshops, those were on the Amsterdam Kink Academy website. But I’m still looking for a package with two workshops and Invasion Night Pass. I’ll just have to ask someone when we get there.

It is a bit annoying that the BLUF meeting is at the same time as the Mr Leather Amsterdam competition. Now I have to choose. I’m not sure which of those I’m going to attend, it is likely to be the Mr. Leather competition.

If you are in town, drop me a line if you would like to grab a beer or something. Anyway, looking forward to the weekend, I might be dropping a post or two if I get the time.

Club Church in Amsterdam

This is one of the coolest venues I have visited in Amsterdam, a cruising club over three floors. It has, as the name suggests, a bit of a religious themed decoration. But I would be surprised if the building has ever been a church.

The top floor is a gallery, with some low couches and a sling. At the main floor you will find what you would expect at a dance club, but also a strip pole on the bar and a small private sling room. In the basement there is the bathroom, including showers and douche possibilities (both towels and disposable douche hoses can be bought in the bar). There was also a darkroom in the basement, and it is dark.

Even though it was a slow night (maybe 20-30 guys), those who were there was fun to play with.

This place gave a new meaning to the song “Take me to church” by Hozier. You can find the webpage for Club Church here.

Play safe.