Thursday, 10 June 2010

BoundCon VII: a festival of bondage demonstration and play, hosted in Munich - May 2010

Munich: our next destination on our 'Fetish Exploration around Europe' mission. James and I had been planning various trips around Europe this year, which had to be rethought in view of the latest volcano disaster. However, despite the menacing ash cloud hanging over us, the plane took off and was on its way to Munich. And here we were, in the land of BMW, Pretzels, Weiß beir and Weißwurst, ready to observe and explore some of this bondage extravaganza and meet new fellow fetishists. After checking in at the hotel and leaving suitcases in the room, we were ready to go.
I was very curious to see this exhibition, as I had never attended any German fetish event. Getting to the venue by public transport was an adventure in itself! When we finally arrived, I was somehow surprised. This building looked more like a big warehouse than an exhibition hall! In fact, there were two buildings parallel to each other, and I was told that one of them had been used as a power plant in the past. In England, these annual fetish exhibitions tend to take place in more modern halls, such as the Barbican; so this promised to be different.

As we entered the hall, the first thing that struck me was the darkness. This massive warehouse, hosting a multitude of stalls neatly aligned, was being kept in dimness. I guess the organisers wanted to give an intimate ambiance to it. I'm not sure how the exhibitors would cope without seeing much light for twelve hours! We began strolling up and down the aisles. It was Friday afternoon and it felt like the whole place was still waiting for the visitors to arrive. It seemed that the exhibitors outnumbered the visitors!

This was BoundCon, a celebration of BDSM, and true to its name, a demonstration of bondage, domination, and sado masochism was present at every stall through an array of weird, wonderful and kinky articles: whips, paddles, cuffs, masks, strap-ons, gynaecological equipment (I don't recall ever seeing such a collection in any English fetish exhibition), electric play equipment, stainless steel sex play items, jewellery, not forgetting the clothes and shoes for all tastes, original dungeon furniture, and much more.

Although I speak various languages, German is not one of them, so, for the first time in my life I felt at a disadvantage. Yet, as I approached the stalls and asked if anyone spoke English, someone always said yes. Whether they were German, Dutch or any other nationality, at least one person could communicate with us! How amazing! And everyone was extremely friendly!

Whilst walking around, perusing, observing, and talking, I became aware of something that I have never witnessed in any English fetish exhibition. It appeared that anyone was allowed to take photos of whoever they wished, without seeking their permission! Even official photographers in England have the courtesy to ask before photographing, but this didn't seem the case here! So, whenever a woman was parading herself showing some nudity, a hoard of men would stop and behave like a group of paparazzi. In some cases I witnessed men taking photos with their mobile phone cameras, almost secretly, which felt more like voyeurism!! So, beware when you attend these venues; if you do not wish to be photographed, this might be an issue.
It just leaves me with the question: are these men really interested in the fetish scene for itself or do they attend for the exhibitionism displayed?

As we headed to the exhibition soon after our arrival at the hotel, we hadn't had time to eat and therefore, my first experience with German food, in Germany, was at the venue, and I was looking forward to seeing what the bar had to offer: sausages, of course, and potato salad, amongst other typical, regional food. Weiß beir seemed to be the most popular beer, but I didn't fancy any alcohol so I ordered some fruit juice. However, everything seemed to come in a fizzy version, which I wasn't very keen on, so I opted to share James's beer instead!! The choice of food was not ample, so we seemed to keep a diet of potato salad and sausages during both days! Actually, there was no restaurant or cafeteria, but an area at the back of the venue with a bar at the front, serving some food and coffee, and another bar at the back offering various beverages. Sandwiched in the middle were some wooden tables with benches, quite wobbly, which would tilt when the person at the other end stood up, so we had to warn one another when leaving!
Yet, nobody attends a fetish exhibition for the food, so our focus soon returned to the important aspect of our visit.

Bondage was the prime focus of this exhibition; Fetish by name but BDSM by nature. The various shows on bondage were a feast for the eyes, as demonstrations took place on a regular basis on the front stage. Models had their area by the side of the stage, and were available throughout the day for the shows. On occasions, the models and the artist would walk around the venue showing the intricate and creative art of bondage.
As the exhibition took a new lease of life on the Saturday, the heart of it seemed to be throbbing at a faster pace. The whole place came to life with a showcase of bondage escapism, fashion shows, domination / submission play, and the buzz of visitors stopping for a chat, a demonstration, and some play.

As the after party was being held in the building opposite, many visitors arrived late afternoon in order to tie one event with the other. After all, the exhibition was quite long: 12:00 till 00:00, so there was no hurry to get there for opening time. But twelve hours on your feet is rather challenging. At English fetish celebrations, a foot slave would be on standby to serve all Mistresses, dutifully, but here not one slave on sight. In fact, what became very transparent at this event was that the domination / submission pattern was male to female. The female domination seemed practically non-existent in Germany. When I enquired about it, most men smiled and seemed surprised at the thought of being submissive. Do they see this as a disgrace to the macho status, or are they genuinely all dominant male, or do they secretly wish to be dominated by a Mistress? I'm not sure I'll ever find out, but one thing is for sure, I prefer a good balance. What's the fun in letting a man dominate you if you can't take your turn?? Then again my balance tends to veer more towards female domination...

Whatever your tastes or inclinations, BoundCon is really worth a visit. It took me a little while to be convinced but we met some very interesting, friendly and exuberant people. I would not quite describe this event as fetish but more a celebration of BDSM. A new experience to live if you want to see how others around the world live their fantasies and always something new to learn.

Eva Lamour

Take a look at the map -