Welcome to the blog of Sir Dave where you can find news, appointment availability, new purchases, new ideas and just my thoughts on life work and the world. Oh and maybe the odd photo or collection of photo's I like.
I’ve been looking back at an old blog and a few years ago I wrote a post about the SM Apartments, owned by SteelCollar, in Berlin. I thought it was worth sharing a slightly updated version of this post as some of you kinksters may be interested in it.
I’m very lucky in that I have my own permanent dungeon space, but appreciate that most people don’t have that luxury. And so quite often look at hiring somewhere to play, and over the years there have been some amazing play destinations. The Black Tulip in Amsterdam was quite legendary for example!
Around the UK and London there are some dungeons available for the evening or by the hour. But there is something about taking a break away with your boy /slave / maid to an apartment that has everything you need and a fully equipped dungeon & more right there. Oh and one that happens to be round the corner from some very horny bars!
And the SM Apartments are still, in my view, some of the best dungeon spaces you can get!
Berlin is also home to the Hoist Basement apartments – but these don’t appeal as much for me. And there is a very simple reason – the Hoist ones are almost over styled to be hard sex environments. Yeah a good dirty play space is awesome, but I really also like comfort and style to relax in and have my boy clean my leathers and boots in or just sit at my feet as we relax with a good wine. And the SM Apartments offer both the play space, and relaxation and comfort.
This trip we stayed in The Suite, the largest of the three apartments available. This review is based on a visit from 2012, so some of the decor and features and decor have changed since then, but the principles and ideas are the same!
For a long time now I’ve felt in a minority … a proud active Leatherman. But one for who the majority of the gay fetish “scene” in the UK hasn’t held much interest. I’ve always enjoyed my trips to Leather events and bars in the USA – CLAW (Cleveland Leather Annual Weekend) is a favourite event, and The Eagle in San Francisco a favourite bar.
And one of the reasons I have always enjoyed them is they have a real sense of community, of support, of brotherhood.
Something that until recently I can’t really say I have found at most events in the UK. I recently had my first visit to The Backstreet in London, what I can now see has been the UK’s only Leather bar for a long time. But that is going to form another blog post in the coming weeks.
This past weekend was the Annual General Meeting of Manchester Leathermen (MLM). The group was founded in 2012 and in 2015 merged with the Manchester Superchain, and last year I was excited to join as a member and attend my first MLM events.
Unfortunately, I have found it hard to get to as many of the regular events they host as I would like. The additional cost of a hotel (living two hours away) and free weekends lining up with events seem limited.
Even though I can’t get to many events I follow the activities of the group through their Twitter and Newsletters etc. Throughout all of this there comes a real sense of community, a group of people who support each other, who want to build something more than just another bar night.
One of the members of MLM who has helped spread the word of the group across the country and Europe is Joe King. He won Mr Leather UK 2016 and then Mr Leather Europe 2016. As a holder of both titles he has worked for the benefit of the community.
And now he is hoping to make it to International Mr Leather this May in Chicago. But attending such an event takes time and money, quite a lot of money!
One of the aspects of community I have admired from the American Leather scene is its willingness to support each other in representing their own bars, cities and organisations.
IML is an amazing event to attend, and for many it involves one thing – sex and lots of it! For others it’s cocktails, and lots of them, for others it’s about social time, shopping and discovering new friends.
For those who are attending to compete it is a very different weekend! They must attend all the formal events, rehearsals, meetings, meet and greets, interviews with judges, photo calls, press calls, networking and promotional events.
It’s busy, it’s hard work, it’s incredibly full on! In fact, most contestants usually have at least one person with them acting as their Personal Assistant. Ensuring they attend everything, are in the right place at the right time, have everything they need, their kit is ready, they eat, they sleep and hopefully get to enjoy what is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The only time a British Leatherman has won the title of International Mr Leather was when John Pendal won in 2003. So I think its’s about time we changed that! And we also showed the rest of the kinky leathery world that the UK is working hard to build an amazing community. And quite frankly American’s love the Royal Family …
So please join me in helping Send The King to IML and make a donation to his travel fund and to put the UK on the map again at the worlds biggest gay fetish event!
Thankyou Manchester for not just a Big Weekend, but an amazing weekend! And thankyou to all my friends who were a part of it and made it so special. I last went to Manchester Pride a three or four years ago, and had quite a mixed experience of it. But was determined to make the best of it this year … it’s all in the planning.
I have quite a love / hate relationship with pride – indeed a good friend on twitter replied to a comment saying “you sound like a crotchety old man”, which is about right. I don’t really like hugely crowded places, queuing to get in a bar, or the fact that you can apparently only celebrate pride with music turned up to 11. I do enjoy a good bar with a drag DJ taking the piss out of everyone, but most of the time I’d prefer an old man boozer.
This past week saw me take my second visit to the Island House resort in Key West, Florida, USA. Long term readers of Gay Times may be thinking the name Island House sounds familiar – they have advertised in the magazine for years!
Island House is a gay men’s clothing optional resort based in Key West – the southernmost point of the Florida Keys and USA. It first opened in 1976 and now has 36 rooms with loads of facilities:
We booked Island House because they had advertised in GT for so long, and also the online reviews and pictures. Though I have to say I think the website could do with being updated – the mobile version is much better.
This past week has been my 2nd visit, and talking to many of the guys here that is quite common … People come back. And if it didn’t take so long to get there I would happily go a couple of times a year.
Located at the end of Fleming Street the hotel is about a 10 – 15minute walk from Duval Street, there is a great little bakery around the corner (Old Town Bakery). The fantastic Michael’s restaurant a few minutes’ stroll away, and I highly recommend a visit for dinner!
With over 30 rooms to choose from and rates from $99 to $649 a night (depending on time of year and room type) you will be able to find a room to fit your budget. Or if you want to stay elsewhere you can also visit as a day guest, lockers available and full access to the facilities (and boys).
The rooms are lovely, I stayed in the same poolside room both visits, and I’m sure will book the same one again next time. Daily housekeeping visits, quality Aveda toiletries supplied and coffee maker (with decent supply of coffee), large fridge, and Xfinity cable. Though I have to say if you can find most channels without giving up you are doing better than me! They seem to be absolutely no order to them.
The main resort area surrounds the good sized heated outdoor pool. Even here in Key West it needs to be heated, it makes a real treat as you step in … No shudder as you feel the chill of the water touch your balls. And of course means that at night it’s still warm to float around in.
Overlooking the pool is the café and bar. Food is available 24hours a day (menus on the website) and its excellent quality! I love the selection available, it’s not just the typical “American” sandwiches and fries selection. And of course they are so helpful on making meals that suit your tastes and preferences. And the chocolate cake is to die for!
When you stay here your room also includes the free poolside happy hour daily from 5:00pm to 6:30pm. This is a complimentary open-bar of all premium brand spirits, craft beer, and champagne!
As good as the resort is, they need to have good staff. And here the staff are awesome! Super friendly, flirty and excellent at their jobs. America understands and appreciates the service industry, and these guys do it very well. So many of the staff we recognised from our stay a year ago, and I suspect many have been here for quite a few years.
Island House attracts a great mix of friendly sociable guests, of all ages and sizes! There is also a nice mix of residents and day guests, many of the locals use Island House as their local “Club”, spending the day here enjoying the facilities on offer.
Sunday afternoons are Naked Pool Party, these can get very busy at peak times of year with the pool and bar full of naked men! You won’t know where to look first! And of course Wednesday, being Hump Day, has a pool party too (5pm – 8pm) which has an extended Happy Hour.
If you want a few days, a week or even a few weeks leave from the world I would highly recommend Island House.
If you want to relax with cocktails by the pool, you can. If you want to relax with a cigar naked under the stars, you can. If you want to get a blowjob in the sauna or cinema, you can. If you want to have breakfast at the bar naked, you can. If you want to sit in shorts and t-shirt by the pool watching the world go by, you can. If you want to visit somewhere to relax, enjoy the company of other guys, chat and enjoy good food and drinks without the pressure to have sex, you can.
It has a really relaxed vibe about it, and you can enjoy the time to unwind and chill as you want. I’m sure some guys turn up for a few days in nothing but the clothes they are wearing and toothbrush, and then leave in the same clothes having not worn anything their entire stay,
I’m already planning a return visit.