IML Diary: August 2003

All pictures credit Dave Harris unless shown otherwise

August 7th to 13th - ECMC Leather Summit in Reykjavik, Iceland

Picture of Icelandic houses on the far side of a lake, August 2003

Thursday August 7th - Dave and I flew to Iceland for an ECMC summit organised by MSC Iceland. It was weird watching the sun set at Heathrow at 20:30 and then come back up as we flew north west. We landed at 23:10 and were promptly driven to Reykjavik, 40 minutes away. After a quick change at the home of our wonderful hosts, Kristinn and Ragnar, we went up to the MSC clubhouse. The party was in full swing when we arrived, but after a couple of Icelandic vodkas we soon caught up.
Picture of a whale in Reykjavik harbour, 8th August 2003

Friday August 8th - This was the first leather event I've been to where whale watching was included as part of the programme. We went out to sea in the afternoon and saw Minke and humpback whales. One whale surfaced right alongside the boat but the leathermen were too busy screaming to take any pictures. In the evening we went to the premiere of "Ain't Misbehaving" - the first English-language "musical" to be put on in Reykjavik. It was a huge hit. Afterwards went back to the MSC clubhouse until 03:00. They certainly know how to party in Iceland.
Picture of John in the Reykjavik Gay Pride Parade, 9th August 2003

Saturday August 9th - Reykjavik's fifth gay pride. It hasn't rained here before on gay pride day, but today the heavens opened and it POURED with rain. Ragnar erected a giant garden umbrella in the back of the MSC Iceland lorry so that we wouldn't get too wet during the parade - but it was such a shame after everyone had put so much work into the event. The bad weather didn't seem to dull the enthusiasm of the crowds or participants. We changed into dry clothes before seeing the end of the gay pride concert in the main town square. In the evening the MSC club put up plastic sheeting over their courtyard so that a fish barbecue could go ahead.
Picture of under-road heating being installed in Reykjavik town centre, August 2003

If you're planning to go to Iceland here's some local information:
• They drive on the right.
• The currency is the Icelandic Króna
• Electricity is 240V via a 2 pin socket
• Icelandic people are incredibly friendly and hospitable, which is good news, because it's also quite expensive. (UK£5 for a bottle of beer, UK£6 for a pint or UK£10 for a shot of schnapps)
• 85% of the country is powered by geothermal energy. As a result they have more hot water than they know what to do with - they even run it under roads to melt winter ice (see above) and pump it out to sea at an artificial beach!
John and Dave standing in the Blue Lagoon, 10th August 2003
Photo credit: Bob Freese

Sunday August 10th - Slept all morning. In the afternoon MSC Iceland provided a trip to the Blue Lagoon, an outdoor lake filled with hot, geothermally heated water. You can swim in the lagoon, cover your face in white silica mud or have your back pummelled by a high-pressure waterfall. It's supposed to have health-giving properies - perhaps it explains why the Icelanders are so long-lived. Afterwards we were taken for a meal at Reykjavik's gay and lesbian centre, which houses a well-stocked LGBT library. In the evening we went back to the MSC clubhouse for their farewell party.
Picture of a geyser firing hot water into the air, 12th August 2003

Monday and Tuesday August 11/12th - Dave and I spent a couple of days sightseeing, including the "Golden Circle" tour. This is an 8-hr coach trip taking in a magnificent waterfall, volcanic craters, hot springs, the original Viking seat of parliament and geysers which fire boiling water into the air. This is a stunning country and we'd recommend it to anyone, but contact the friendly MSC Iceland club before you go.

August 21st - 25th: SM Gays in London and Manchester MSC's 20th anniversary

John at SM Gays, 21st August 2003

Thursday 21st August - Appeared at SM Gays monthly "Discovery" night at the Hoist, London. This month's theme was bondage and I spent a happy three hours assisting with a "spider's web" demo on volunteers from the crowd.
John with two guys from LUBE Ireland, 23rd August 2003

Friday 22nd August - Dave and I travelled to Manchester to help the MSC club celebrate their 20th anniversary. We went to their opening party where we met the MSC MSC members, along with leathermen from Scotland, Norway and two members of LUBE Ireland (Michael Byrne, LUBE chairman, and his partner Mike, pictured above).
John with Sir Ian McKellan, 23rd August 2003

Saturday 23rd August - The same weekend Manchester was hosting Europride, Europe's biggest gay and lesbian festival. MSC MSC invited me to join them on the Europride parade through Manchester city centre. Sir Ian McKellan was guest of honour at Europride - he was promoting the Lesbian and Gay Foundation. We met briefly before the parade began (pictured above).
John marching with MSC Manchester, 23rd August 2003

Saturday 23rd August - I marched in front of the Manchester MSC club banner in the parade, (pictured above - wearing a shirt by SpeXter of Munich and breeches by Expectations of London). By happy coincidence we were marching behind 40 men in leather who were representing the Manchester RoB fetish shop - so I had a very nice view for a couple of hours! Throughout the parade the crowd cheered and applauded as we walked by.
John with Svien from the Revise F-65 Project, 24th August 2003

Sunday lunchtime 24th August - Dave and I went to a seminar about the Revise F-65 Project, which is campaigning to have Fetishism, Transvestism and Sadomasochism removed from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) published by the World Health Organization. I agreed to become a supporter as a result. This photo shows me with Svein, who led the workshop.
John cutting the MSC club 20th birthday cake, 24th August 2003

Sunday afternoon 24th August - After the seminar Dave and I went to MSC MSC's farewell party, where I was invited to cut their birthday cake (pictured above - wearing a grey leather body warmer by Rob of Amsterdam). During the celebratory speeches I thanked everyone for making this such an enjoyable weekend and said I'd be happy to return.

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