Guest Blog: “BBB – Birmingham Bizarre Bazaar Market” by Manlock
Being different can be hard. Actually, that is an understatement. Being different can be an all-consuming soul-destroying obstacle to happiness that interferes with our self-esteem constantly and without mercy.
Being different rarely causes misery without some external influence though. Those who have never known this struggle are often not content with having access to an accepting community around them but often feel the need to mock those whose peg does not fit in to their hole (No pun intended). Some are angered by the idea that people could be another way. Others are themselves different and because they are unable to admit it or alleviate their own pain they treat others badly. And some even just don’t agree with ways of life other than their own.
Whatever the reason, the result is we are often stigmatised in to thinking different means wrong.
I know this because I am different. I am a greysexual gender fluid submissive. Pretty much all words society condemns in a man. I know this because I have watched my peers and silently felt alone and unknown. Society just does not allow for those who are different. The result of course is that there are many people like me desperately wishing there were others who would accept them.
I say this to emphasise the importance of events like BBB. Events that welcome you with open arms and creates a space where, whoever you are, you will find others like you. But I am getting ahead of myself. Lets take a step back and start from the beginning.
I was born unexpectedly in 1981 to screams from my mother who… oh, not that far back. Alright alright let’s just go back just a bit.
I have been to events before and loved them but after a not so brief hiatus I sought out events to go to again. I prefer not to go too close to home lest someone from my work or charity work turn up and out me for being different. I usually look in London which is far enough away that I do not risk bumping in to someone from work but close enough to reach relatively quickly.
I kept seeing talk about BBB on various social media platforms. A market during the day and a play event during the evening. Birmingham is a long way to go for me so it felt like a large commitment for an unknown amount of reward.
I am going to spoil the ending for you now. It was worth it. Both times I went. Going to BBB has been one of the best decisions I have made in the last couple of years.
Taking the plunge
I asked a friend if she would like to go with me the first time I went. She is a sub I met on a dating site so I figured it might be right up her street. When she said she would be up for it I decided to take the plunge and make the preparations to head to Birmingham.
As the date approached, I was nervous. Both times I went in-fact. The first time I was going with a friend but I had no idea what to expect. The second time I went alone. Both times it took only seconds before my fear became relief. And only moments more before my relief became joy.
I approached the building with anxiety and anticipation in equal measure. I had no idea what those walls contained within. Would I be poorly thought of as a submissive man? Even in some BDSM events we are often looked at as a nuisance. (Unfortunately, not always without cause). Would I be condemned for wearing vanilla clothes? There was only one way to find out.
As soon as I walked through the doors there were people dressed in all kinds of colourful and creative outfits. I actually felt a little drab compared to the variety of people who queued before me. There were those who identify as littles in onesies and others in full latex. Anything you can imagine there was likely someone dressed up in that way.
BBB has themes each month and many people dress up to align with the theme. The second time I went, for example I was faced with people dressed up as gods or goddesses. From Anubis of Ancient Egypt to what I thought looked like Danu from early Celtic mythology. They made for a magnificent sight and drew my eyes as soon as I came across them. As a fan of mythology I particularly liked seeing all of these gods and goddesses walking around me.
I paid, and walked up the steps to the first floor. Now dear reader if you have ever watched Harry Potter you will have some idea of what to expect from the Market. When Diagon Alley was first revealed the wonder and magic of the busy street dominated our screens. This is what walking up to the first floor is like. Items not to be found in everyday life littered my view. Each being sold or inspected by happy buyers and friendly sellers.
The busy murmur of retail could be heard everywhere. In-fact it was so like Diagon Alley there were even some wands on sale. I can’t imagine Professor McGonagall would have much approved of them though. Or perhaps she would, who knows? OK that’s enough Harry Potter now, promise!
It is a testimony to the welcoming nature of BBB that people were dressed up even for the market. Play parties are important and I will get to the after party soon but to feel accepted, truly accepted, sometimes being yourself while doing something you would do in everyday life is even more important. These people were shopping. And everyone accepted them for who they were. Admittedly they were shopping for collars and implements I could spend all day guessing at their use but it was still shopping.
Walking in to BBB is like releasing a breath you did not know you had been holding. It is that moment when you surface from being underwater for just a few moments too long. Dom, sub, Little, pet, larper or something else entirely you have a place at BBB. And within moments of entering, you will feel that. Be surrounded by it. And for the rest of the evening you will wrap that feeling around you like a cloak to keep out the judgemental frost of everyday life.
These stalls filled out the first floor fully. Going to the second floor there are even more stalls from crystals and artwork to lingerie and harnesses. If, like me, you are relatively early on in your journey you really will have fun trying to work out what each thing is meant to be. Three floors all filled with anything your kinky mind can think of.
When you are done wandering around the stalls you can buy a drink and sit outside in the seating area or on the intimate balcony on the second floor. Wherever I went I heard people eagerly discussing their purchases or, more often than not, how they planned to utilise their new items.
This was fun to listen to as people came up with such imaginative ways to use what was sold at the BBB.
Scarlet in Chains
The first time I was there I nearly bought some feminine garments but fear overcame desire and I left the stall empty handed. The second time I was determined. I reached out to one of the stalls, TerrisCorsets beforehand and asked them if they had a few items I had liked. She was lovely to speak to and we agreed on the items I would purchase. When I got there, I gritted my teeth and went to the TerrisCorsets stall. I bought my new outfit and was determined to wear them in the after party.
There is a reason I had chosen BBB to be my first time Crossdressing in public. BBB welcomes and even encourages people to be themselves. And the inclusive attitude fostered by the events organisers means many people will congratulate you and ask how you are feeling when you finally take the plunge.
It is actually an amazing and unequalled experiences to do something you are so scared of doing and to have so many strangers compliment you or look after you throughout the evening. And it is that vibe that BBB encourages so religiously. Inclusivity is one of the main hallmarks of the BBB. And it shows in every corner and on every face.
Whoever you are, as long as you are kind and without judgement, you are welcomed and embraced by the BBB. It is a haven for the underappreciated or misrepresented. A home away from home for the feared and repressed.
While I personally haven’t bought much except the aforementioned outfit, along with a collar and leash, I just loved being there at the market. Even during the day people will talk to you and listen to you. It is a community gathering where wonderous things are sold.
BBB – Birmingham Bizarre Bazaar Afterparty
As time wore on the stalls started to pack up in a bustle of activity. It was finally time for the market to make way for the after party. A party so gargantuan in size that all three floors of the market are transformed in to differently styled play areas.
From the impact play area on the first floor to the wax lounge on the third floor and newly equipped play only area. There was just so much. But I am getting ahead of myself …again.
I left the building while they turned the market in to a massive play space and went to get some food. There is a nice eatery only a minutes’ walk from BBB with a discount for wearing the BBB wrist band so I went there both times I visited.
Once dinner was done it was finally time to delve in to the BBB after party.
I am always afraid of these kinds of events. Afraid I will wander the rooms alone with only my fears for company. Even when I went with my friend this was a concern for me.
Lucky then that the heart of BBB was made evident again both times I went. From the staff manning each station to the organisers, Faye and Beasie-FS themselves there is a warm and smiling atmosphere. This trickles down to the patrons and so if you are seen alone it doesn’t tend to be for very long.
Even when my friend and I were just wandering we soon found people to talk to. While queuing up to try the electrotrickery stage, two couples started up a conversation with us. All of us were nervous to try the various electric implements being used on participants on the stage. We ended up supporting and joking with each other as we took it in turns to sit on the chair and be zapped by anything from chainmail to a wolverine claw.
And once we had taken our turn we were swapping stories about which ones we liked best and which ones gave the most unique sensations. If you have never tried eletro play I would recommend it. While it isn’t a fetish of mine I did enjoy it and the uniqueness of the experience has rested happily in my memory as a positive part of my past.
On my second visit I did build up the courage to try on and wear my newly purchased feminine attire. (See my article about Miss Poison Candi) and so many people supported me that evening. One fellow cross dresser talked to me before I had built up my courage and then checked in with me throughout the evening. She hugged me both before and after the change in outfit. I was so thankful to her for her encouragement.
A group of littles sat next to me and for a few minutes almost adopted me in to their group. Several of them talking to me and exchanging compliments about each other’s outfits.
This was an event where people were happy. And happy people make others happy. Both times I went, this was my biggest take away. There was no drama. No upset or creepy harassments. Everyone felt safe and helped to make others feel safe.
FayeSanders and Beastie-FS
When time came for the first of the stage shows I watched eagerly to see what would appear before me. A burlesque dancer, WildVixen floated across the stage gracefully. As she began her dance, I felt like I was watching the ever-changing tendrils of a fire, drifting purposefully through the air and leaving sparks in its wake. WildVixen was phenomenal. While anyone could be forgiven for being mesmerised by her picturesque body it was her hand movements that captivated me the most.
Each hand a floating swan, engaged in it’s own dance elegantly turning with a flick of her wrist to move gracefully anew. The room was all but silent but for the music WildVixen danced to as each person’s eyes could not wander from the stage lest they miss something important. I, like the crowd, was completely captivated.
The crowd had to let her go eventually and she walked off of the stage to thunderous applause. And then came Beastie-FS on to the stage. A harmony of energetic energy all wrapped up in to a smiling and welcoming face. She didn’t walk anywhere but rather bounced. We were swept up by her positivity on the stage as she announced we would be judging the costume competition next.
I watched as those who had dressed up to the theme came up on to the stage. People were laughing and patting each other on the back as each one was introduced.
Eventually a winner was announced (As an ancient Egypt fan I was pleased to see Anubis won) and Beastie-FS wrapped up the performance with as much stage presence as she had started with.
After that I got a chance to talk to Beastie-FS. We spoke about the event at length but I will leave those details for the interview, also to be hosted on this site.
My conversation with her did confirm that her stage presence was no façade. Beastie-FS really was as energetic and friendly as she appeared on stage. Even while talking to me her eyes darted across the room to make sure all was as it should be.
She made me feel like we had been friends a long time even though this was our first meeting. She was a naturally warm and likeable person. A perfect person to run the event with Faye. Our conversation ended with me feeling really quite happy with things. Beastie-FS seems to be one of those people whose gift is to make other people feel good about themselves. She did that with me, and I witnessed her do it twice more throughout the evening.
I didn’t get a chance to speak with Faye except briefly at the end of the evening. Both of our schedules meant we were like ships in the night. But as Miss Poison Candi’s slave for the evening I did often get a chance to watch people when I was not needed. In those times I often found myself drawn to Faye.
She seemed like one of those people with a limitless reserve of strength. This strength seemed to be born from the ability to command without being feared. I watched as she interacted with her crew and patrons alike and she was all smiles and laughs as were her conversation partners. I can see why people choose to work for and with her. She seems like a charismatic, caring and yet decisive leader. I found myself coming to admire the way Faye treated the people around her. I run a large department and feel I have some skill at it but if Faye ever chose to give me advice I would sit down and listen to what she had to say.
When I did speak with her, she was lovely. Her mannerisms were gregarious but not invasive. Her eyes met mine, not in challenge but in companionship. And her smile was full and sincere.
It is not hard, having met both Faye and Beastie-FS to see why BBB is such a soaring success.
Beastie-FS and FayeSanders
After chatting to Beastie I watched people playing on the Impact play area. The moans and groans coming from those utilising the space were beautiful. Even a few laughs were heard from those less serious about their punishments. I enjoyed the scene for quite some time but I am not someone who enjoys pain myself so I headed upstairs.
Here is where I saw the wax play. I have always been intrigued by wax play but have never had the guts to initiate it with anyone. It was actually really sensual. Bodies were writhing on the beds as wax was being poured from above. Each drip elicited a different reaction. I don’t like to stare or make people uncomfortable so I did leave before I wanted to but I could have stayed and watched for a long while.
On one of my visits the rest of the second floor was dedicated to a play area for littles. And there you would find a myriad of people all playing in their own way. I am afraid to say I have no experience with ABDL but I was heartened to see they had a safe space to express themselves here.
I moved again and was greeted by a smiley member of the BBB crew. There he explained that this was a play only area with no watching. I felt like this was a fantastic idea for those who were keen to play without risk of any onlookers disrupting their scene. Of course, I left once the explanation was done so as not to risk interrupting anyone.
I went to the ground floor and spent some time in the outdoor seating area. Here a large number of people were excitedly conversing. I was rarely alone outside as people spoke to me and asked about me. And in the few moments when I was alone, I watched. I listened. And I felt just how much enjoyment was being had by those around me.
I saw three people sitting together, one who had been here before and two who hadn’t. The two were thanking the one for bringing them here and stating how much fun they were having.
I saw a man telling someone he had just met how he always went to BBB. It was the one place he was not ridiculed. I felt for him and internally reached out to him with understanding and empathy.
I smiled to myself at their happiness. This is what I want for all of the community. To feel what these people were feeling. Imagine what a difference it would make if you could go somewhere were you weren’t different. Mental health would be repaired so quickly if everyone could experience that. And so it was with me. The shame I have carried with me for 41 years was gently coaxed out and discarded by the patrons of BBB.
As the evening wore on I went to the bar to buy a drink and noticed an array of cakes laid out, each one mocking my diet with victorious ease. They looked delicious and I knew no amount of willpower would prevent me from buying one. I bought a slice of cake and ate it a little euphorically. I never knew I needed cake in an alternative party until I had one but I now believe this should be the norm everywhere.
Everywhere I turned there were things happening. People playing, dancing, talking, eating and even a few lying down.
When the evening came to an end I have to admit I felt some regret that it was over. I wanted to live there. To feel the embrace of the afterparty all the time. To be around people who liked me despite my differences.
It was then that I realised it wasn’t just a market that I had come to. It wasn’t just a play party or alternative party. It was the celebration of a community. It was the reason so many people are continuing to smile. BBB is special and I am so glad I went. I cannot wait to go again.
Thanks for reading
FayeSanders – https://twitter.com/FayeSanders_FS
Beastie-FS – https://twitter.com/BeastieFs
BBB Website – www.thebbb.co.uk
There we have it, Kinksters and Fetishists!
A massive Shout-Out to Manlock and Birmingham Bizarre Baazar (BBB). Thank you, Manlock, for sharing your wonderful experiences at BBB. We are so pleased to hear that you had an awesome experience.
Check out MORE articles from Manlock here!
Kinksters and Fetishists, let’s support each other – so please SHARE this article with other like-minded kinky individuals! Also, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @podofeleus and Instagram @Podopheleus.
Much Kink Love,
P.s. Check out more articles about kinky events here.
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