Met up with Mr and Mrs Magpie at a rather lovely coffee place here. We had a good catch up, pushing all the usual and unusual around the table - religion, politics, sex, and made an agreement to actually go out and do something together once their globe-trotting antics have calmed down a little. What that something might consist of is yet to be discussed but a general excitement over rubber masks was mooted, together with suggestions of "creepy mutterings". I'm certainly game.
I'd never been to that bar before - which rather ruins my bi-credentials - but I shall endeavour to make up for it, especially given the high proportion of cute girls with shaven heads. I have a thing about that. And also about places that are openly friendly to varied sexualities, so will be keen to support them in the future. Oh, the hardship, to endure good looking women whilst sipping decent wine. My life is hard. That said, ever since CCK stopped having a physical location I have had difficulties finding another similar and suitable location for social meet-ups. I suppose I don't need the environment to actively support my lifestyle - but when London is bursting at the seams with every-other-sort-of-coffee-shop I am feeling a little left out and hanker after something similar to Gargoyle in Berlin. According to various people who run club nights, there's a problem with venue licensing in the UK, but I think that the main problem is attitudinal.
Put simply, there is something wrong with how we think of BDSM sex in the UK. And not wrong in a good way. The general consensus is that we are private people and therefore a bit embarrassed about the whole thing, however, high profile events and movements like Gay Pride would suggest that when our sexuality is important to us, when we view it as under threat, we are more than prepared to shout about it. Similarly, there are many clubs, bars and coffee shops that confer a strong sense of vanilla heterosexuality through their decor, attitude and even menu. But that is considered "normal" and therefore generally passes unnoticed.
What we have, in the BDSM community is a lack of public space and therefore a lack of public acknowledgement, public place and public pride. Why is this important? Because the more we live in corners the more we are expected to live in corners, the smaller we make ourselves, the smaller we are perceived to be and the less we speak of ourselves, the quieter our voices become. We are overshadowed by an outsiders opinion of what we are - either the silly, spanky world of Ann Summers where acceptably air-brushed models flirt with bits of fabric under the guise of "bondage" or we get the other extreme whereby sexual "difference" is sexual "deviance" and gets bundled up in government Bills about child molestation and thus spoken of in the same terms. Neither is acceptable to me.