17 February 2012

Rubber Spring 2011(2) - Northern Europe

Stockholm Dawn

Stockholm was full of surprises.  I had done my research beforehand and had a full itinerary of sights to see, but the train got in a little after midnight. After a call home on my iPad, the unexpected announcement came through that the station was closing but I had not stored my bags and kroners for lockers were not to be had. Grrr!  I was chased out of the station with no place to go and no wish to rent a room for just a couple of hours.  Not the best of planning.  The hotel across the street would not let me loiter in the lobby for more than 30 minutes and I was chased off again to the Casino 4 blocks away, apparently the only place open that time of night in the area. Off I went, luggage in tow and dressed head to toe in full rubber. The casino welcomed my money (requiring about $5 to enter), but did not approve of my attire.  I had to put on some pants. The black rubber shirt and jacket were okay but not the pants! One would think a casino would welcome such a visitor.  Oh well.  I hate casinos, so spending several hours wandering the halls to the incessant chime of slot machines was a real drag. If there had been a show, any shows, it might have helped. Finally as the chill early summer dawn was breaking I gathered my belongs and headed back to the station where I could ditch my bags.  
Station keeping time
A little tired from the long night, I began to wander the cold streets of Stockholm, alone, pumped to see the city at last. The Sun was not yet up though the sky was fully bright. The city was essentially deserted. A handful of cars cruised the streets.  It was sheer delight.  I had the city to myself for the next 4 or 5 hours.  European cities do not seem to wake early the way we do over here. As a result I had few encounters. Although the chill forced me to layer up from time to time, the gear I wore was essentially the same as I had been wearing since before arrival in Kopenhavn.
An exhibit at the museum entitled "The Power of Fashion."
Pity they were closed at the time.  Note the scarf.
One of the first sites on my plan was the statue of the "Sunsinger" (Apollo) in the city center, sculpture I was really looking forward to. It was a shock to find the entire square barricaded for repair of the stone pavement. I searched the fencing for any kind of gap to sneak through but found none.  Wandering off, I looked back and was surprised to see a lone fisherman in the square walking past the statue to the river! I raced back to the 8 foot high fence, motioning to the man for some indication of how he got in. Climb over the fence, he gestured. It was immediately apparent that this strategy would have ripped my rubber suit to shreds. There must be another way. So I propped up one of the fences with a rock and limbo-style snuck under the fence, gingerly avoiding damage to the rubber. In I went to take my pictures of the Sunsinger welcoming dawn. I did not stay long, wishing to avoid any confrontations, but the city was still deserted and no police came by. What the fisherman thought of this guy in full black rubber taking pictures behind barricades I never did find out.

Center city
Night Train
I boarded the night train to Berlin in Malmo Sweden.  This train had only two cars, each consisting of nothing but numerous 6-person sleeping compartments.  Here I am in a compartment filled with essentially college-age student types, dressed in full rubber: tight black sailor pants, and motorcycle jacket.  I settled into my berth for the night.  I found it strange that noone onboard said hello or asked who I was or what I was wearing.  I just wanted some sleep after the long day of hiding out in the casino and walking the streets, so I wasn't going to start a long conversation.  Still, would have been nice to meet some new folks on their travels.
Dawn Arrival in Berlin
Berlin Dawn and the Lady

Arrived in Berlin Station saturday at 6 am and this time had no trouble stashing my bags for the day. After giving my tight black rubber (yep still the same suit) its best shine, I headed into the city. Like Stockholm the city was utterly deserted at that hour. I had the streets and subway to myself, at least until the museums opened several hours later. Early morning in the summer has to be one of the best ways to see and "feel" a city like this. My first stop was the bronze statue of "Sandelbinder" in Lietzensee Park. As I was setting up for photography a charming lady of grandmotherly age approached on her morning walk in the park. She stopped and said good morning, and proceeded to tell me about her friend the Sandelbinder, whom she said hello to every day during her morning walkabouts. She told me some of its history, but I didn't tell her I already knew much of the story. I was completely charmed by this sweet lady who did not seem to mind at all that I was dressed like a pitch black shiny alien motorcycle cop in head-to-toe latex.
Subway scenes
The rest of the day was spent seeing various sights of Berlin, including some of the most famous museums in the world, including the Pergamon. I was briefly chased off a movie set in the city streets but otherwise few ventured any comments as I wandered about. I do remember one hot looking guard in the museum who kept looking my way. I shot a few glances too, but nothing came of it, I had to leave town in the afternoon.  
Art - ancient and modern
Around town
Hunks of metal or metal hunks?
Among of the nicer surprises during the day was the large sculpture group just off the Seigesaule, featuring two larger than life young males hammering and heaving.  Glorious.

I had a great time wandering the city but not everything was rosy during the day. Large groups of school kids were roaming the stations on field trips across the city. Giggling is a common reaction from gangs of teenagers so I have learned to avoid them. But is it also the times we live in? Are folks a little more apprehensive about the future and thus a little less open to the unusual? Although I got my share of compliments, few came up to simply say hello or inquire about the latex. The population just seemed a bit subdued this year compared to past adventures.
At the end of the day I had an appointment with the owner of Rubber Addiction for a fitting (Blackstyle was closed the only day I could be there). He is a great guy and has some hot and rather distinctive rubber gear for sale (check out their website). Sadly I won't have much discretionary cash till later this year so that purchase will have to wait a bit. By this time I was starting to smell like an stale locker room so I took the first opportunity to change and wash up at the train station on my way to the airport the next morning, the end of one amazing rubber adventure.

16 February 2012

Rubber Spring 2011(1) - Northern Europe

Returning from this trip last May began an exceptionally busy summer/autumn for work and travel and posting travelogs from it got pushed back and back . . .  But its time to post the tale of my rubber holiday in Europe last spring while I can still recall some of these great adventures from memory.  

This trip was motivated by business and did not coincide with any of the large fetish events in northern Europe that occur during the year.  Mid-May proved to be very pleasant and I took some days off and hopped on trains to see some of my favorite statuary across the mid-continent.  One of the more intriguing aspects of rubber is how it can make a man look sculpted out of black granite, or an ancient athlete in bronze brought to life.  I took that to heart and wore some of my black skin-tight gear as I traveled.  
intense sculpture outside cityhall in Hannover
First rubber stop was Munich, home of one of the best sculpture museums around. I wore my green rubber camo pants and black motorcycle jacket for this trip.  There I noticed someone hovering around behind me in the museum apparently taking my picture.  That happens all the time now, especially annoying people whipping their cells out to take photos without asking or (they think) with my noticing.  One of the drawbacks of the modern age.  Whether I or he asked first I don't recall, maybe it was him, but he informed me he was an art photographer and professor from Switzerland interested in what I was wearing, as art.  He wants to use the photos in his next book perhaps.  I hope he lets me know so I can see what he did with it.  In any case, the rest of the day was fairly uneventful.  The green and yellow rubber camo pants almost look like and can sometimes be mistaken for ordinary camo if one is not observant.  Maybe that helped me blend in a little but the shiny black motorcycle jacket stood out for sure.  I had a lot of fun posing for self portraits at the stations in that outfit!
artworks in the scultpure museum in Munich
. . . training across Europe . . .
Zurich Daytrip
. . . my stop the next day to see one of the hottest male sculptures I know of, located in the heart of the city on the waterfront (see picture).  It is a handsome and graceful piece symbolizing male "fraternity."  It was a busy spot inside a very small park located on the lake front just a few km from the station.  I spent an hour or so photographing the piece, stopping only once to capture myself on film.  The walk back to the central station down the main boulevard felt conspicuous and I wished I had gone down a quieter street.  I believe most were either curious or befuddled but crowds, especially tourists, can sometimes get rowdy and uncouth, as I was to experience later that week.  Individuals and smaller groups are more likely to be friendly and inquisitive.
Ganymed - Nuf said

A few days later my work was done so I headed north to Skandinavia. Kopenhavn and especially Stockholm are both sculpture centers and feature a lot of public sculpture scattered around city center. The predominance of nude male sculptures in both cities is remarkable, especially given that winters are cold enough to freeze a man's balls off. Several of these are hot and a few even intense in their style!  Someday I will elaborate on this.

I arrived in Kobenhavn in full rubber, black tight skin-pants with yellow strip and the old black rubber cycle jacket. The pants are exceptionally comfortable and I could have worn them all week. It was a delight to wander the city and its parks in full rubber looking like a walking sculpture. Again I felt a little out of place strolling down the central boulevard, full of tourists, me in full rubber, but otherwise I encountered no issues in the streets and parks of the city.

There were two exceptions. At the end of the day there I had to pass close by a group of tourists at the train station, several of whom started laughing out loud as I went by. I flashed them the finger as I went off but am not sure they saw. At least it was the ugliest moment of the entire trip.  Later as I munched a snack waiting for departure I notice two young "ladies" passing by aiming their cell phone at me.  I shot a glance and they went off, only to reappear minutes later trying it again.  So I made it known I was aware of what they were trying to do and they disappeared.  Then they came around a third time. Same result. They could have asked permission but insisted on trying to get a stealth photo. It all makes an interesting statement I think on the new culture that is evolving. I was but half way on this leg of the adventure . . .
. . . in the sculpture park . . .

13 February 2012

Days of Olde

Remember when sports was worth watching for something other than the score?  Notice how uniforms have subtly changed over the past few decades?  Looser and looser.  We may have to wait a while but eventually fashions cycle around and someday we can get back to the olde days of tight hip hugging uniforms, like those proudly worn by that great northeast team from 1975 shown above.   And don't get me started on basketball . . .