Submitted by Nigel Whitfield, BLUF webmaster, Nigel, aka SubDirectory (3), 22 October 2013
Last weekend in Bristol, we had another great BLUF party. The same weekend there were also BLUF events in Chicago and San Francisco, and the weekend before saw events in London, LA, and Chicago (again! It must be something in the water). This coming weekend, BLUF events are being held in Amsterdam and Vienna.
October is a busy time (November too), and it looks like this year we'll have a total of seventy five BLUF events around the world, including several events that were organised with other groups, like the SF bay cruise with Golden Gate Guards, or German events in association with BSF.
But there's one thing that's important above all else. These events happen because people decide they'd like something to happen, and put in the time and effort, of their own volition. We're not a commercial organisation, nor do we have committees and officers and a big decision making hierarchy; just members who decide that they'd like to organise an event in their area.
Sometimes people try things and they don't work out, but at least they've tried. Sometimes it's a matter of persistence, building up a local community to make it stronger, and help create or resuscitate a local bar scene. It would be great if we could say that we have all the answers to the problems affecting so many leather bars. Sadly, we don't, but what we do have is members - 3100 of them in over 50 countries around the world (75% are in the UK, Germany, US, Netherlands and France, in that order).
It's those members that individually are 'BLUF'; we are nothing if not the sum of all those parts. So to anyone out there who thinks "wouldn't it be great if there were events near me", forgive me for paraphrasing JFK and saying "Ask not what your leather club can do for you, but what you can do for your leather club."
Whether you're a BLUF member or not, the best way to make things happen is to get involved on the ground. Talk to your bars, find out if they would be happy to host nights, talk to other people, find out what they like. Share your ideas, ask people about their experiences of what works, and what doesn't, and start with a modest plan, then see where it takes you.
Find out what your own club can do to help you - BLUF has official Facebook and Twitter feeds, for example, we can use to help you get the word out - but remember that the ideas that will work are the ones that include the words "I will" rather than "you should." And if you don't belong to a club, don't let that stop you, either: London's new monthly leather social has just grown out of people deciding that it would be good to get people out on the scene in their gear.
Seventy five BLUF events a year don't just happen because I sit at BLUF HQ pulling strings. They happen because people in the community - ordinary people like you - get out from behind their screens and talk to people, to bars, to other groups, spreading the word, and we use our tools on the BLUF site and social media to help with that.
Whether you're a BLUF member or not, we're happy to add community events to our public BLUF calendar; drop us a line to find out how we can help spread the word. If you want to organise a BLUF event, even better - contact us with your ideas.
The leather scene is about a lot more than big dance orientated 'fetish' events. At its best, it's about people, connecting and communicating, at community events big and small, sharing, learning - and yes, hooking up. You could be one of those people. Get in touch.