Why is fetish clubbing so much better outside London, when everything else is so much worse?

Why is fetish clubbing so much better outside London, when everything else is so much worse?The fetish scene started in London, back in the ‘80s and the best thing about it was the camaraderie. The explosion of BDSM sex was pretty striking, no question, but my most powerful memories are of the good humoured mutual acceptance of subs, doms, trannies, bondage fans, gays, artists, feminists, academics, writers and rubberists. You’d see a dominatrix talking politics with a lesbian leatherbitch while a sociologist took notes and Mistress Clare tied Nigel to a chair in full rubber – all to the gentle thwack of leather paddles on bare backsides.

Now that I’m in my rocking chair, by the fireside, silver haired and reminiscing, it’s the fun I remember more than the sexual thrills. The pony races where the subby male got beaten for coming last, the subby woman got beaten for cutting corners and the gay boy got beaten as his prize for winning. Talking of pony races, I still have a photo in my loft somewhere of pony girl Sue pulling Master Keith at a jaunty trot through the lanes of Kent. Sue had her heels and stockings on, of course, but she had, as usual, omitted her knickers. The look on the face of the yummy mummy passing by in her four wheel drive had to be seen to be believed.

The thing is, it’s like that up North right now. In London, we have more fetish clubs than in Paris, New York and Berlin all put together. Torture Garden is the world’s biggest regular fetish party and they tour Prague, Tokyo, Paris, you name it. From Club RUB through Subversion to specialist nights for sub blokes (Pedestal) or sub women (Sweet Torments) to friendly local nights like Isis, there’s something in London to suit everyone, every weekend. But it’s more fun up North.

Take Bury, for instance. For those of you at the back, it’s in Lancashire. Where the tripe comes from. It’s not exactly Paris or Milan, no, but it has its attraction. In a back street in Bury, tucked between the terraces, Dave the Butcher runs a regular fetish club called The Kage. It’s absolutely great. You won’t meet a nicer bunch of people. You can chat, there’s a dungeon, there are dark corners, there’s even a swimming pool! You can be rude if you like, but you don’t have to – no-one will pester you. And, best of all, there’s no loud music! I would drive to Bury sooner than go out in London. Actually, I did.

The Kage is held in a venue that’s also used for swinger nights and I wonder whether that’s a part of the attraction. Swingers and fetishists are different species, but there’s much more crossover up North. Some of the BDSMers would not really identify as swingers but let’s just say they have been known to help them out when they’re busy. And some of the swingers don’t mind dressing up a bit and getting spanked. In London, there’s so much going on that each club has it’s specialised vibe. Maybe crossover is more fun. Or is it just that London promoters think we all want music loud enough to kill all conversation?Londoners in the know head out of town to places like the Kage and Fetish Rocks in Lancashire. Birmingham is buzzing. Try one of the fetish nights at Ceasar’s near Coventry. In the South-West, I suggest Maison de Sade or Extremm. In Kent, try Kinky Britain near to Brands Hatch.

You’ll find all these any many more on the invaluable website at www.informedconsent.co.uk

Make a weekend trip out of it. Let me know what you think.