Manchester Rubbermen celebrates its 10th anniversary 11- 15 April, we spoke to Alxrbbr to find out what you can expect from the weekend.
How did you get involved with Manchester Rubber Men?
Well, I sort of got roped into it in 2013 when I met my partner, the late Si (Sly) Hands. I'm not sure I really had any choice in the matter - he was super persuasive and would have badgered me to be a part of it, but I was also incredibly happy to help him with the group he'd started here in Manchester. I was pretty new to the scene at that time and to be a part of building MRM meant a huge amount to me and I was glad I could be there to support him. Something he used to say was that you couldn't sit around and wait for other people to put on events, or build groups - if you wanted to see a vibrant fetish scene it was up to you to help create it. And I think loads of people around the world have bought into that message and we've seen the massive growth in rubber groups all over the place from Vancouver, through Barcelona, Cologne and Switzerland, and all the way down to Melbourne.
How did MRM come about?
Si was massively inspired by the Chicago Rubbermen and visited the city loads, building a lot of special friendships there. He was inspired by the fact they had created a social scene of real friendships there - not just going to sex events or nightclubs, but much more of a community. It was something he wanted to bring back to Manchester and so he, and a few local friends, started the Manchester Rubbermen group ten years ago. I think the first social had about 25 guys come along - which was a great turnout for a first event. Every Spring there'd be a birthday party social, complete with a birthday cake - these started off pretty small but over the years they've grown and grown, and this year we're expecting around 1000 guys from over 25 different countries. So yeah, the MRM weekend is actually just a giant birthday party.
What can people expect from MRM?
We don't hide the fact that we're a bit different up here in Manchester. We've not been able to put on huge sleazy dance parties like in London, and we don't have the sex venues like Berlin does. MRM is hugely social event - and that's always been our main focus. We've always tried to build on that idea of community that Si started it all off with. MRM is a chance to meet old friends you know from events around the world or get to meet the guy you've been chatting to on Recon for years, but never actually hooked up with. It's a chance to dance, snog, get sweaty, and absolutely have some hot sex, but most of all it's about having a fun weekend with friends - it's been likened to giant house party full of hot rubber guys! We definitely try not to take ourselves too seriously here.
What parties and events can guys look forward to this year?
Once again, we've got a jam-packed schedule - I think there's 26 different things going on over the weekend. We've got six parties over four nights - from Stretch at the Eagle on Thursday; an immense fetish party on the Saturday put on by our local legendary fetish club Alert!, who are holding a party for 1000 sweaty rubbermen; and on Sunday, keeping with tradition, we'll have our birthday party, Slick (cake will absolutely be provided!). We're also really stoked that you Recon boys are coming up north to Manchester to throw a horny Recon party on the Friday night - can't wait to have you guys party with us. We've also got loads of day time events to keep you occupied and out of mischief - from a Fetish Market, to social drinks, rubbery show tunes (actually a highlight for a lot of people), art auction, brunches, city walking tours, sneaker meets, and drag acts.
How has MRM changed over the years?
The most noticeable difference is the scale of the weekend. My first ever MRM was MRM4 back in 2013 which had two nights and about 80 guys. And after that it just grew and grew, to 450 in 2017, 750 in 2018 and more than 1000 this year. And we've expanded from two nights to four (and five days). But no matter how big it's got we've always tried to keep the same social, fun vibe that we've always had - to keep the focus on building a welcoming group for guys who have been on the scene for years, and to newbies who are just starting out on the fetish scene.
What's the Manchester rubber and fetish scene like?
We're incredibly lucky here in Manchester that we have Canal Street and the Gay Village as somewhere that we can call our own, and in which we can create events and build that rubber and fetish scene. Alert! have been going strong every month for the past 14 years and are a huge focus of our scene. We've also got newer nights like Deviant at the Eagle, Stretch - which is put on by our own Sam Barclay - and of course our regular Manchester Rubbermen bar crawls. But lots of the bars here are very fetish friendly anyway - and there's often people out most weekends even if it's not an event night.
What is it about MRM that attracts rubber lovers not just UK based but internationally?
That's a good question! You'll have to ask them that when you're here in April. I'd like to think that it's because MRM reflects a scene that people want to see - it's an event put on by the community for the community. The organising team are all volunteers putting the weekend together in our spare time. We're not always slick and professional (although we try our best), but hopefully the heart and graft shows through and we can put on something that people can go home from with a huge smile on their face. I know one of the things I look forward to most is seeing friends from round the world who come and visit our city. It's a chance to throw a massive party for everyone and I feel hugely honoured that people spend their time and cash (and people travel from as far as San Francisco, Melbourne, and Tokyo) to come and see us every year.
What will you be getting up to during MRM?
Ahahaha. Probably running around and panicking about making sure the events are running ok, or we haven't forgotten anything vital for a party (there's gonna be something, I can tell!). But when I'm not panicking I'll be hanging out with some amazing friends, snogging some sexy guys, and hopefully getting hot and sweaty with some horny rubbermen.
For more info on MRMX and Recon Manchester, use the links below. If you'd like to take part in a member interview, send your username to: firstname.lastname@example.org