We've been chatting with the leather clad Joe King as he approaches his six month anniversary of being crowned Mr Leather Europe. Follow the discussion below.
It’s now been over five months since you were crowned Mr Leather Europe, has it changed your outlook on the leather scene at all?
It has, for the better. It's given me a unique opportunity to spend time with other communities in Europe which has been fantastic. Everywhere I’ve gone I’ve been moved by how consistently fantastic each community is. I bang on about it all the time, but I think our community is very, very special. It’s a strange thing winning a title like this as the one thing you don’t expect is for your own fetish life to go on hold, but nevertheless, it’s a brilliant experience.
We’ll be seeing you at Belgium Leatherpride in February, what events are you looking forward to?
You certainly will! Well, as leather royalty (joke) I’ve got a really hectic schedule of things to do which take priority over the events, so I’ve yet to sit down and plan what I can fit in. This year I’m a judge for the Mr Leather Belgium 2017 contest which will be fantastic, so this year I’m going to see where I end up. I’m looking forward to the parties, so I’ll definitely be at those.
As leather venues are diminishing within the UK what do you think the leather community can do to safeguard its future?
Simply go out in gear and support the venues. The UK leather scene is now growing, year on year, but the venues are really struggling, so get out there, be visible and spend your money where it counts. We’ve already lost the Hoist, and The Backstreet is under threat - if we show there’s value in the Leather Pound then people will cater for it, and it will enabling struggling venues to help us keep our culture alive.
Do you have a favourite piece of leather?
I do, my chaps.
Looking forward, the International Mr Leather contest in Chicago is fast approaching, what are you doing to prepare?
Freaking out. Ha, ha, no I’m not. I’m excited about it. I’ve been through two contests already so I know how to control my nerves now and the one key thing I’ve learned is to just be myself. The race has already begun with many contestants using social media to show their credentials, but that’s not my style. I’m going to do what I can to gather up the right leather, keep my body in as good a shape as possible and just keep supporting community enterprises and activities.
What advice would you give to those on the outside who might like to get into the leather scene?
I’d say, don’t be scared to make contact with the community: were the most friendly, open-minded people you could ever meet, and that life’s too short not to follow what makes you happy.
Thanks Joe for answering these questions.
Joe will be visiting our market stall for a meet and greet with fellow leathermen. Follow our twitter for updates on timings to make sure you don't miss it.
Photos by Sly Hands.