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As Scotland’s first fetish club opens its doors, Rory Weller pulls on his rubbers for an evening of excruciating fun. Photograph by Chris Blott

cotland’s first dedicated fetish club is being launched, with the strictest of door policies. While other clubs might operate a ‘nae trainers’ policy. Glasgow’s Passion Cage is to enforce a rigorous. vigorous dress code. Fetishists are required to squeeze into the dress categories of ‘rubber. leather. PVC. TV, lingerie. body art. or cyber fantasy’. For the more versatile punters. there is the usefully ambiguous ‘bizarrc’ slot.

So why has it taken so long for a fetish club to step out of the closet in Scotland? All underground scene has existed for a while, with groups meeting up through coded messages printed at the back of leading fetishist magazine Skin Two. Assistant editor Michelle Olley feels it’s a question of demographics: ‘There’s just more people in London to support the shops and clubs Scotland is a bit of a fetish desert.’

Nestling in the Rat Trap nightclub beside the River Clyde. Passion Cage is a labour of love for its three promoters 24-year-old Glasgow student Perdita Dia. Alex Jacob and Mr X. who insists on anonymity for family reasons. Before launching their own night, the trio had been travelling to London fetish clubs. most notably the Torture Garden at the Ministry Of Sound. There they had found not only a vibrant scene where they were free to express themselves. but also many familiar faces from Glasgow. With the fetish scene increasingly crossing into mainstream culture. they felt the time was ripe fora Scottish fetish club.

Every individual has their own reasons for going to a fetish club. It gives some the freedom to express themselves, to wear whatever they want and be whoever they want. For others it’s a social outlet fetishist costumes enable them to feel part of a group and break down barriers. Dia uses fetish clubs as an opportunity to get dressed up without ‘getting the piss ripped out of you’. She’s appropriately open minded about her own club: ‘lf you want to come along in a leather thong with a ball in your mouth. being dragged along by someone in a dog collar, that’s fine by me.’

The first punter we see wandering into Passion Cage on its Opening night looks disappointingly tame. He wears leather trousers and a leatherjacket. an outfit that wouldn’t raise an eyebrow on Sauchiehall Street. As he passes. however, it becomes obvious he has no seat in his pants and no pants on his seat. Following the light of the moon, we make our way into the club’s main arena.

The majority of people are wearing rubber and leather, with black being the (le rigueur colour.

‘lt people would accept that it’s just about being a bit outrageous for the evening, the world would be a happier place.’

A couple are wearing matching gas masks and throughout the crowd, buckles, belts and chains are in abundance. Everyone has made an effort to dress up and the mood of the night is one of gleeful release.

A catwalk stretches out in the middle of the room and in one corner a wooden St Andrew’s cross lurks ominously. This is the set for a fetish-fashion premier by Glasgow designers Hevea Rubber. To the sound of up-front house tunes. nine models climb on stage wearing classic club wear made of orange. yellow, purple and gold—coloured rubber. Conventional garments like jockey tops and polo shirts are also shaped from rubber.

As the last model finishes his routine, two women dressed in black rubber cat suits and tight hoods invade the stage. appear to mug him and shove him into a body bag left at the end of the stage. Simultaneously. two guards dressed in black rubber uniforms drag the DJ from his booth and the ‘neo-tribal’ percussion band Abraxus kicks off, providing a suitably scary soundtrack to the choreographed happenings on the catwalk. ,

There. a woman in a bondage cat suit is joined by her master, a featureless figure with perforations for eye holes and a zip for a mouth who proceeds to tie up and humiliate another of the fashion victims. Next on the bill of fear is Giblet Boy. Accompanied by cheers from the audience. he smears chickens’ giblets and intestines over the naked breasts of the trapped model a man later asks to lick them off her boots before whipping one of the fetish crew who has been ordered onto the cross. Just when you think things can’t get worse. or the crowd any more animated. the show peaks with the live, fully public. penis piercing of one of the models.

The fashion show is the evening’s focus. but other distractions lift the night from being an ordinary club. Walking past some men whipping each other in the corridor. you reach a candle-lit chill-out ‘dungeon’. with masseur. dentist’s chair and more slapping and whipping. Above the main club room, where the sounds of industrial techno and happy house music throb, is a fetish market. selling clothes. magazines and ‘accessories’. There is also a photo studio for those snaps you’d prefer not to take to Boots.

Skin Two’s Michelle Olley is delighted the nation’s fetish family is growing. ‘It’s not that big a deal really,’ she says. ‘lf people would accept that it’s just about being a bit outrageous for the evening, the world would be a happier place.’

Passion Cage is monthly at the Rat Trap, Glasgow. Its second night will be on 3] March.

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The List 8-21 Mar 1996 9