IML Preperations

For some silly reason I haven’t blogged for a little while and yet I’ve been to Berlin amongst other places that I should write about! If I was into CP I’d give myself a smack but I guess that’s about as much fun as being a top and having to play solo. 

As I write this, I’m sat on a United Airlines flight above the Atlantic Ocean heading towards Chicago. To be precise, I’m currently travelling at 561 miles per hour, 1548 miles from London and still have 2783 miles to go until I get there which is another 5.5 hours to wait until I can have a cigarette! 

So I am on my way to compete at IML. In fact there’s a large number my European counterparts taking part this year and I believe it might actually be the most thats ever competed.

Being the shy and retiring kind, I’m not quite sure what to expect. A number of people have helped me prepare for this week in terms of coaching, speech writing, outfits and the like as well as online and offline friends who have sent me well wishes and cards which is rather humbling. I had a send off last Friday at the Eagle in Vauxhall which was nice – not overly busy despite being the usual London Leathermen last Friday of the month event and in fact there was only the current president there. Sadly, it wasn’t advertised as my send off (and the club Facebook page has posted about IML but neglected to mention that im taking part lol) so I’m guessing IML isn’t as important to a persons club as it is to the contestant. But moving on……

A big shoutout has to go out to Nhamo at Spitfire leather who are one of my sponsors and have dressed me for IML and will be dressing for each official event I go to. 

There’s 62 contestants entering this year and let’s face it we would like to win. But, we are all winners for getting this far. Most people know my journey to how I’ve got here and none of this amazing stuff would be happening if I hadn’t have gone through the hell ive been through. My only goal is to get into the top twenty so I can get to tell my story. Anything else is a bonus. 

Anyway, I need to get some shut eye and I’ll update you all through the week! 

Mr Leather Poland 2017

So I’m sat on a Ryanair flight to Stanstead on the way back from Warsaw. Cramp conditions aside, I’ve had the privilege and pleasure to have been invited to be a guest and member of the jury at The Mr Leather Poland competition. Arriving Friday and being met at the airport by the lovely Janos and Henk (and of course their cute dog Nero), I joined Mr Leather Europe – Joe King, Mr Leather Amsterdam – Raymond and Mr Bavarian Leather – Werner to support a country that hasn’t been known for its great treatment of its LGBT community. Having Polish lodgers, they offer constant reminders to me about the harsh treatment that LGBT people in Poland. In fact before I left to travel, one of them apologised for their countries attitude and asked me to be careful when out and about. Being an LGBT activist as well as a title holder, it was important to me to understand the challenges faced by our leather brothers and to see what I and the other European title holders can do to help change attitudes and fight discrimination and break barriers in Eastern Europe. 


Thanks to education, attitudes have started to change but we have a long way to go. Homosexuality was never illegal under Polish law and cities such as Warsaw and Krakow are testament to the change in attitudes. Despite campaigns for equal marriage, some-sex marriage is not recognised in Poland with the major opposition coming from the Roman Catholic Church which influences politically. A google search provides more information than I am able to provide in this blog post.


We were invited to be part of the jury for the Mr Leather Poland contest and I can confirm that the gorgeous Lukasz Sankowski came first in the competition. I wish him luck in his title year and look forward to meeting him at future events. I know he will do his country proud. 


Despite warnings from my lodgers, we faced no hassles walking round Warsaw in full leather. In fact, everyone was perfectly charming even the lady who asked me to take a photo of her with the other title holders. It’s the beginning of Brexit Syndrome. lol One of the group took the picture so I could join my colleagues but I bet she cuts me out the photo! Lol 



As I reflect, I realise this is why I go to events such as Pride. Not just to celebrate the freedoms we have here in the UK but to show solidarity and raise awareness of worldwide communities who are unable to share the same freedoms. Until we are all equal, until hate crime is eradicated, until young people stop committing suicide, there will always be pride festivals and people like to march in them. 

Hampshire Pride

So today I’ve attended my first regional pride festival here in the UK – Hampshire Pride which took place in Winchester. When people think of Pride, they tend to think of the larger festivals such as London, Brighton and Manchester and yet there are 82 pride festivals taking place in the UK during 2017. Obviously I can’t attend all of them but I will be attending as many as I can.

When I spoke at the Mr Leather UK competition, I pledged to take leather to the smaller Pride festivals to be a visible leather presence so that people don’t have to hide in their leather closets. I believe that visibility is the biggest weapon in fighting discrimination.

I was lucky to be accompanied by Mr Puppy UK, Piglet, and ‘Ripper Moff’.

This year as well as attending many of the prides I want to see if I can host a few of them to bring the leather community to a wider audience. I have been asked to host two at two of the events so far and I think I may end up being the first Leather Man to do so in the UK. I’ll give further details when everything has been confirmed officially. Mr_leather_uk_mr_puppy_uk_ripper_Moff.jpg

The Pride Events that I will be attending this year are:

  • 13th May: Exeter Pride
  • 3rd June: Oxford Pride
  • 10th June: Gloucestershire Pride
  • 11th June: Coventry Pride
  • 8th July: Pride in London
  • 22nd July: Pride in Hull
  • 29th July: Swindon Pride
  • 5th August: Brighton Pride
  • 12th August: Margate Pride
  • 19th August: Folkestone Pride
  • 26th August: Manchester Pride
  • 2nd September: Reading Pride
I may add other prides through the year.



Leather Pride Antwerp

So this weekend I returned to Antwerp for Leather and Fetish Pride. I went for the first time last year shortly after ‘you know what happened’ and my attendance was unplanned. I had received a recon message (yes I have needs) asking if I was going and I had to explain that I has originally intended to go but things had changed somewhat. Suddenly a dog sitter appeared and I found myself sharing a car and apartment with 3 other guys I didn’t know and heading to Belgium. It was my time attending an event like it and for those that know what happened the month before, a break was very much needed. I booked to go again as soon as I got home.

After being elected Mr Leather UK 2017, the lovely Brock asked if I’d like to be
one of the judges for Mr Puppy Europe 2017. I was slightly reluctant as I didn’t know much about the Pup scene but I said yes anyway. My reluctance was short sighted as the pup community embraced me for the two days I was involved. I could be wrong, but to me the pup scene is an innocent introduction to the world of kink. Observing, it was clear that the lads entered a head space where their sense of logic were replaced by that of reactive animal and they forget all their cares and ignore small talk. Through my input as a judge, I started to recognise that the pup scene contains the leather, rubber and neoprene that we have become accustomed to on the fetish scene. When I won the contest, I pledged that we have to be the shoulders for the next generation to stand on and maybe the pup scene is where this starts? I certainly look forward to exploring the pup scene more and well done to Farex who was crowned Mr Puppy Europe 2017.

Leather Pride was my first European outing as a title holder and I was slightly nervous as it would be the first time I’d be meeting other title holders and representing the UK in Europe but the other misters made me feel welcome. Cheers guys.

Happy New Year

So it seems I haven’t posted for quite a while! Me bad!

Well I guess I can say a that a lot has happened! I think I ended up doing 14 pride events last year plus attended Bear Week in Sitges and then Folsom in Berlin. It was the first time I’d been to either of the big events so I was pretty much like a rabbit caught in the headlights. Sitting here now writing this blog post, I’ve come to realise how much I have changed since I started writing this blog a year ago. Even though I always describe myself as the shy guy, there seems to have an injection of confidence that arrived from somewhere!

I guess can’t update anything without announcing that i am also now a title holder and am now Mr Leather U.K. 2017. I entered the competition in January and was shocked to find that I had won. 3 weeks on and it’s starting to sink in and it looks like I’m going to have a very busy 2017. I pro,isle I’ll get better at updating this blog!

Sunday 5th June 2016

So the UK Pride season has begun!

In memory of my late husband I wanted to attend as many Pride festivals as I can this year.  He was a leading figure within the Reading Pride charity and was a founding member with myself and our friends.  I stood back a few years ago but he was committed to the festival and its success so its only right that I attend as many as I can in his honour.  Thankfully, he didn’t mind me being part of the UK Leather Community and attended a few of the leather socials at comptons with me so I know he would have no objection to me attending in my finest cow hide!

So yesterday I started with Oxford Pride.

James Leatherlad bus boundI had secretly hoped that there may have been a few other leathermen on parade but as it happens, I was the only guy in gear. Feeling corageous, I went by bus in gear to the train station and then on a cross country train that took me from Reading to Oxford.  Usually I disguise myself with a hoodie and boots that go under my leather jeans – that way people assume I’m a biker!  This time my leather shirt was exposed and my leather jeans were proudly tucked into my tall boots!

Oxford Pride is maybe a lot smaller that most prides but the parade IMG_4390through the city centre was welcomed by the Saturday shoppers and I noted at one point that we disrupted a graduation ceremony!

During the parade, I decided to try Facebook Live and stream the parade live on facebook – in fact I did that a number of times during the day with the final video taken back at the local gay bar where its pretty obvious that I’m a little worse for wear!

13407396_1717457601876881_714392515_nWhen I entered the Mr Leather UK compeition, I made a statement that Leather exisits beyond London, Bristol and Manchester and so I intend to continue that pledge and gear up at as many of the other pride festivals as I can. After all, we all need to be the ‘beacon’ that illuminates the leather community to the other guys who, like me, live out in the sticks and probably never leave their homes in gear.  By putting leather on parade, we can show them that there is nothing seedy about being a queer in gear and hopefully encourage them out of the leather closet!

IMG_4392I thnk it’s fair to say that I had a few beers or two at Oxford Pride – thankfully we got the train back!

Hopefully by having been seen at Oxford Pride, next year there I may not have to be the only leatherman on parade – fingers crossed!

IMG_4397The day ended with a pint or two at the local bar in Reading where I went in a leather kilt.  Not sure how it went down but lets face it, I was two sheets to the wind to care!

Is this a new me?  I’m not sure.  I was suprised to here people say on facebook that they wish they were that confident to go out on the bus/train in gear.  I just thought everyone did it!  Besides, smetimes you just don’t have a choice! Anyway, enought wittering on from me, I have to decide on what I’m wearing to Gloucester Pride tomorrow!  Until next time, big leather hugs xxx

Monday 21st March 2016

​So I thought I’d enter the blogosphere! Not for any particular reason but to prevent a good mate of mine moaning at me about everything I share on Facebook!  Not that putting your personal thoughts down on here is any better – unlike Facebook, there are no controls over who can see your statuses or Blog Posts.

So let me tell you a little bit more about myself.

I’m 38 and live on my own in Reading with my King Charles Cavalier.  Reading is an odd place. It sits along the M4 corridor and doesn’t quite fit under London and doesn’t quite fit under the South West. It has a pride festival which has become one of largest pride festivals outside of a city and that’s something I’m quite proud of having been one of the founding members back in 2004. But size isn’t everything.

I came onto the leather community rather late in life and only recently took my gear out of the house last June at London Pride where I signed up to join the BLUF parade group. I was nervous about being ‘leathered up’ in public but I had a cunning plan and I racked my brain to think of any icons in leather.  Fast forward to London Pride when a leather man, Indian, builder and cowboy step out of Baker Street station. We decided that the BLUF parade group might not have appreciated the appearance of the Village People and opted to walk with Stonewall (who didn’t appreciate it!) instead. It was a cliché look but it gave me the confidence to go public. To me, it was like coming out all over again and it was a cathartic moment. In fact I refused to take it off when my friends went back to the apartment and changed. My big toes are still recovering from 15 hours in boots!

This outing led me to want to organise a presence in Reading. Through the power of the BLUF website, combined with the publicity from LeatherWest, several guys messaged me to say they’d love to come to and support the leather cause at Reading!

So, fast forward to the actual day of Reading Pride, I left home in full leathers and caught the bus from the South Reading suburbs to meet these “leather troopers” outside Reading Station.

Now I had a bit of a cunning plan. I went with some straight friends and as usually I was to accompany them as the leather man from the village people. Really, I needn’t have used this story as on the bus ride to the station, I was steadfastly informed that they all knew I was a leather man and that they thought the only thing I was missing was a big fat cigar!

I’m sure you’ll all remember the first time you went out in public kitted-up in full leather? Remember that mixture of nerves and excitement and a little bit of horny – call it a ‘twang’! To be honest though, the walk to the parade assembly point thorough Reading’s Saturday morning shoppers was the longest walk imaginable! Hey guys, this isn’t Berlin at Folsom, this is Saturday morning in Reading! This is radical, ‘out-there’, ‘doing it’.

Not only did I get to march as a leather man, I got to speak on stage at Reading Pride as a leather man too. I was asked to speak about hate crime, something sadly I have been a victim of. Then there is the irony: I was stood on that stage in full leather gear that was paid for by the person who committed the crime against me. Thanks mate!

So I came out in leather in front of the 5,000 people assembled.

This led me to start attending the leather socials in London where I started to meet other guys who shared the passion and I also attended the Leather Pride Festival in Bristol. I have also now since attended Leather Pride in Antwerp.

Up until December, I was married.  Sadly my husband passed away around my birthday and this sort of changes a person. This has spurred me to take chances and try to increase my confidence.  Believe it or not, I’m actually a shy guy! Endearing to some – a pain in the ass for me!  Following his death, I created a bucket list of things I wanted to do in 2016 that I could do in his memory and help improve my confidence.  Strangely, one of those things was to enter Mr Leather UK!

In hindsight, it was probably not the wisest things I could do but once I was on the train, I realised it was too late to back out!  Round 1 was being interviewed in your best leather which I could cope with but round 2 was more revealing – you had to deliver a speech in just a leather jock strap!  Here is my speech:

“…If you had told me 6 months ago that I would be stood here now entering this competition I wouldn’t have believed you.

So why did I enter? Back in December, 3 events occurred that changed the course of my leather journey. I nearly died in a car accident on what should have been the first night out in gear unaccompanied. Thankfully I didn’t die but standing on the side of the M4 in full BLUF for an hour waiting for a recovery man surprisingly changes a person. Suddenly I was catching the train in full gear from Reading to London to attend events. A week later a BLUF event was held at the Eagle and as you know, you can get your pic taken in front of the banner. I thought I’d have a go and shockingly they made me hunk of the week! I know it’s a silly thing but it does wonders for the ego and my husband was so proud – he even joked that I’d be entering Mr Leather UK next – the competition that is (yes I’m a top)! Sadly a week after he made that joke I became a widower and since then I have created a bucket list of things that he believed I could do and things that take on his legacy of reaching out forward and making a difference. So here I am, wanting to be an ambassador for the leather community and be a role model for tomorrow’s leathermen.

As Mr Leather UK, I want to share my journey to inspire others to take those first steps in their tall boots. As well as being approachable and stand up for the less confident guys who get the same kick from wearing gear that we do, I want to reach out to the suburbs and take leather to the smaller prides in the UK. After all, leather exists beyond London, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol. It strikes me that there must be lot more leather men sat in the closet across the UK, keen for their leather boots to step over their front doorstep and that’s why leather on parade and being an ambassador of the leather community is important to me in celebrating the diversity that exists within the gay community. I believe that blatant is better than latent. After all, visibility is the biggest weapon we can use to fight discrimination and to send a positive message to those wanting to be part of our community. After all, we are the shoulders that the next generation needs to stand on.

​We are the shoulders that the next generation needs to stand on and I want to show them what the leather community has taught me: Dare to be different, be happy in the skin you’re in and even though leather maybe on the outside, it’s the leather man that’s inside that counts…”

As many of my mates know, it was the taking part that counted for me but I was pleasantly surprised to be placed second!  Not bad for a shy guy from the suburbs.