I wanted to write to you to keep you up to date with what's happening at BLUF during the current pandemic. Around the world, many of us are being urged - or even required - to stay at home and not go out unless for essential reasons.
For some of us, more used to going out to work every day, or socialising in bars, this can be tremendously difficult, and quite isolating. I've been trying to think of ways that BLUF can help, and if you have any suggestions, please let me know.
You may already have discovered the group chat facility on BLUF; one of the recent actions we've taken is to create 'BLUF Bar' chat room, where members can gather to talk if they wish. Because our membership is spread around the world, people are online at different times. So, if you'd like to try and get people from your area together for a virtual meeting in the BLUF Bar, let me know what time, and I'll do my best to publicise that, so that everyone can come together in the chat room, which is available both on the website and in our Navigator app for iPhone and Android.
To go directly to the BLUF Bar in your web browser, click here.
There are also other people around the world organising chat sessions, and virtual leather meetings. If you know of these, please get in touch, and where practical we'll add them to the BLUF calendar, so that people can find ways of connecting with others, even while they're in isolation. We have added an 'online event' category for the calendar, to help make it easy for people to find these.
I'd also like to say a word about the people who work in our bars and clubs, often on relatively insecure contracts, without whom much of the leather scene would simply not happen. With so many venues clues, and customers advised to stay at home, many of these people will be suffering financially. To help them, we have created a 'virtual bar' donations system, where you can nominate a bar from our list - let us know if your favourite is missing - and buy either a virtual beer (5 pounds, dollars or euros) or a virtual round of drinks (20). We'll record the amounts donated, and the bars selected, and pass the funds on to be distributed to the staff of the selected bars and clubs.
I hope that as many of you as possible will be able to support this initiative - even just a little of what you would spend on a night out could make a big difference, if enough of us chip in. You'll find the 'virtual bar' for donations both on the Today screen of the website, and in the web version of the BLUF Bar group chat. I hope to make it available in the app before too long.
Much of the leather scene is not financially well off; some of it is downright precarious. We need to do what we can - both now and when this crisis is over - to help our community and the businesses that support it.
You may already have seen that BLUF events until the end of April have been cancelled worldwide, for the reasons set out on the blog. For the moment, some events from April 1st and beyond are listed as going ahead, but they are all under review, and realistically, I expect that many more will be cancelled. This is a shame, but I firmly believe it is the right thing to do, to help minimise risks to our members, our volunteers, and the wider community.
Finally, please look after yourself: I don't want to sounds like anyone's mother, but it's vital we all follow public health advice to get through this. Stay isolated, as much as possible. If you need help, please reach out - either to BLUF, or to other people in the community.
We may not be able to get out and see other leather people in person for the time being, but rest assured we'll be doing our best to make sure that the BLUF community stays together.
With best wishes,