The leather scene in Manchester has been around in some form as long as I can remember. Back in 1989 when I first went out on the Manchester gay scene, you’d get a few leather types in The Rembrandt and Rockies/Chains and Manchester Super Chain also had monthly meetings. Despite all this, there wasn’t an actual leather weekend for many years in Manchester until 2004, after I had visited a BLUF event at Backstreet in 2004. When I saw how good the event was in London, I thought we could do just as well in Manchester. This led to me holding my first leather night in Manchester, on Saturday 5th March 2005. The event was a BLUF leather night at Legends in the Tunnel on the Saturday night after Barracks (which eventually became Alert!), and it was a great success, as over 90 guys in full leather attended.
I subsequently went on to organise 5 more BLUF leather nights which occurred every six months, and I increased the number of leathermen attending every time. Despite my success, after the BLUF night on Saturday 24th March 2007, I decided to hang up my muir cap, so to speak, as I really felt that the nights had run their course and that it was time for someone else to take up the mantle
As I stepped down, two local BLUF members came forward and carried on the night, but they also, unfortunately, decided to step down after hosting two nights themselves. After they stepped down, the leather scene in Manchester had declined, although obviously Alert! was an event that attracted many leathermen. Manchester Pride parade also became a focus for the local leathermen, as they would march in the Manchester Pride Parade and meet afterwards for a few beers.
It was also a Pride event that inspired me to get involved in the leather scene again, as I visited London Pride in 2014 and decided to start organising new leather nights. Hideout, a leather only event, was born in September 2014. This time, my event took place at The Backdoor in the basement of Bar Pop right at the heart of the gay village, but at short notice meaning around only 35 guys turned up; however, it still turned out to be an enjoyable night.
I hosted a second Hideout event in April 2015, and this time it was a fantastic success. Around the time when I organised the event, the Manchester Leathermen group was beginning to take shape, with many of their members coming along and supporting Hideout. As I, unfortunately, lost the use of The Backdoor venue, I collaborated with Manchester Leathermen and held Hideout after the Manchester Leathermen dinner at Delicatezze in September 2015.
Since the end of 2015, Manchester Leathermen has grown from strength to strength, and now the group is organising the Leather Weekend’s events.