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Conversations With Leather Featuring Michael Tattersall

By February 25, 2015

 

Michael008 C Web 250

For those who don’t already know, please tell us about yourself and what your titles have.

I am honored to be asked to do this.  Thank you. I almost 50, and have the weekend lifestyle of a 20 year old.  As a personal trainer, that is a difficult thing to do.  I produce National Capital Leather Pride and the four Titles that go on during the weekend:  Ottawa Pup, Mr. Rubber, Mr. and Ms National Capital Leather Pride.  I do this because it was needed, and I can do it.  I traveled across the Continent during my year as Mr. Leather Ottawa 2010, and saw what other people in some other cities were doing, and I was inspired to do some of the same things at home.  Most of my Titles have been a surprise to me.  My year as MLO 2010 changed my life; I had so much fun that I hoped others who followed could take advantage of the kinds of opportunities I did. 

 

Before that, I suffered through Mr. Central Canada Olympus Leather 2009, and won First-Runner-Up in the MLO 2009 Competition as Mr. Cellblock 2008 – which is the title I won the day after I turned 44.  I was honoured to be Ottawa’s ‘Capital Pride 2013 Community Builder Parade Marshal’ this past August.  I am honoured to be one of the IML Contestant Handler Team, also.  I was shocked to have been asked the year after we competed, to work with them, and I was even more honoured to have been asked to become a permanent member of it.  I do have another title, also, which I won two weeks after winning Mr. Cellblock:  ‘Mr. Cellblock/Cruiseline Best Chest 2008.’  THAT one was an accident, too.  It is no wonder some people think I am a Title Whore.

I suffer clinical depression, low self esteem, health issues related to poverty and those other two demons.  I hardly ever talk about me or things I accomplish, because there is always so much more to do.  I have been lucky to find Love at First Sight four times now.  May it never stop?

What or who got you started in the Leather community and for how long?

I guess you could say I was first attracted to Leather through my crush on Billy Idol, back in the early 1980s.  Leather was always around, as I was growing up, but not the sexualized stuff.  Eventually… that too changed.

I avoided the Ottawa Leather Community for about a decade.  I was appalled at who and what I saw as the Community, so I did what a couple of hundred Ottawa guys still do:  I wore Leather elsewhere; out of town, everywhere else but in Ottawa, except for certain occasions.  On “Leather Night” at the bar, I would not wear Leather, wanting to not be associated with what I saw in Leather, embarrassed by the decrepit, the geriatric, the dirty old me of any age, misfits, outcasts with no social skills, and predators looking to take out their angst on unsuspecting innocents.  I would wear Leather the weekend before, and the weekend after, but not on Leather Night once a month. 

One night out with friends at the bar, we saw a notice of the upcoming Competition, to be held the day after my Birthday.  My friends told me I would be a shoe-in, and I should enter it because it was my Birthday weekend.  Well, after 4 or 5 beer, my name appeared on the end of a pen as my hand held to the sign-up sheet.  I got a call a few days later asking if I was still interested, and since I believe in following through with what I put my name on, I went with it.  My Leather Education took on a steep curve, showing me a very different side than what the general community sees is Leather in Ottawa.  What the public does not see are the ones of quality, the ones very much worth working with, the ones those Ogres and Trolls are envious of.

Which club or bar are you affiliated with and tell us more about the history?

The bar I won the Competition at, Cellblock, is no more.  The owner of the bar changed the focus of the establishment, Centretown Pub, so each floor would be known as the same place.  Originally called Central Park, the bar has been open for 26 or 27 years, and the name was changed to Centretown Pub (CP, as it is commonly called) by the owners when they bought it.  One of the couple was Leather, and the other was not.  Eventually the Leather owner passed away, and after some years of neglect the other of the couple tried to change the nature of the establishment from a Men’s bar to a ‘glitter bar,’  styled on Montreal’s successful Sky Complex.  That did not work, since the clientele did not go away, and new clientele did not come... and the 1880s 3-story house is never going to look like an industrial space made upscale.  Then the manager arranged to buy the bar as Centretown Pub Complex, which it is called now.  I have been thanked many times by the current owner for doing more for the bar than all of the previous Mr. Cellblock Titleholders combined, since I won the Title in 2007.

Tell us about your charity involvement and goals.

I have been involved in charity work for much of my life.  I know what it is like to not have a lot, not have much self esteem, not have the trappings of a ‘successful’ life.  Currently my main charity work is ‘The Leather, Titleholder Travel Fund.’  It started when I needed to travel and did not have the means to afford it. The Fund has made travel and accommodation arrangements easier for men and women in Leather, local and International Titleholders, and others who need a helping hand get to or from Ottawa for Leather Events from Coast to Coast. Along with that I also do fundraising for Pink Triangle Services, through National Capital Leather Pride.  PTS is an organization in Ottawa devoted to improving the lives of younger Community members, however they self-identify under the umbrella of Queer.  As MLO 2010, my main fundraising was done for PFLAG, and through our efforts we arranged to come up with enough funds to cover their operating expenses for at least three years.  Over the last four years, almost every weekend I have not been traveling or attending events in other cities, I have worked to raise funds for assorted groups and organizations, and needed another weekend to recover from my weekend!

Tell us about your Leather family.

My Leather Family is people who inspire me, who live ‘other-oriented’ lives.  Some are my IML Class Brothers, some are IML Staff, some are local people, and some live in cities on one side of the Continent or on the other.  I am Mama’s Top Trainer, I am ‘Daddy’ to International Ms Olympus Leather 2011 Sir Kira (first by virtue of me being Mr. CCOL 2009 and she being Ms. CCOL 2010), and I am ‘Tartarsauce’ to hundreds of people.

Who is the most influential person in your life and why?

I guess, over all, it is my Mom.  (See?  I am a typical fag after all!).  After she passed, it became obvious that she was the one who taught what it meant to live Respect, Responsibility, Obligation, and Duty.  The next most influential person was Michael, the man who showed me what it really means to Love, unconditionally, completely, from your core, for everything on the planet.  He passed six months before Mom did.  They are always with me.  Who is the most influential person in body, to me?  My good friends who know when to slap me up-side the head and get a grasp of reality.  From them, I take it.  From others, it does not happen.

We competed together at IML 32; tell us some of your favorite moments and scariest moments.

Those moments, there are so many…  I guess first meeting several Brothers at CLAW set the stage, a month before.   I shared my IML experience with awesome men.  My Scariest first moment, was, I suppose, a minor success of mine…  Standing on stage, wearing nothing but a Leather Jock, Boots and Harness for Minimal Wear, and the MC, Karen, asked me something like, “Based on your History Degree; imagine you are asked by the Discovery Channel, doing a documentary of IML from its beginnings at the Gold Coast up to today, what one seminal moment in IML History would I insist had to be included in the show?”  I froze.  I had no clue.  I had no idea about much of IML History at all!  I raised the microphone to my mouth.  I opened my mouth.  Moments seemed to last for hours.  Out of nowhere, my voice came out strong, “That would be… having Karen as your MC!”  Chuckling ensued from the crowd.

Cutting off the crowd while the laughter had not quite died down, I continued. “And the reason is,” (and I pointed to Karen, who had just gone off on a diatribe about her never getting sex at IML, some few minutes earlier) “Look at her!” <pregnant pause>, “I’d go there!”  The crowd went wild with laughter.  Somehow I can work a crowd, and pull a horse-shoe out of my ass.  My second scariest moment was walking down that long hallway to be the dead last Contestant to face the panel of Judges, hating every moment of that part of the experience, and resenting the energy in the room as I felt it scream out, “It’s the last one.  Let’s just get this over with.” And then, don’t you know, it went over eight minutes, and I was so furious when I left that room.  My one regret is that I avoided the cameras as much as I could, recognizing after the fact that those pictures would have been great reminders to others of the wonderful memories we shared together.

As for favorite moments:  Laughing and crying with my friends that I made… Dressing next to Lance as we were preparing for Minimal… oh yes! Standing on stage during rehearsal and being bestowed with the name, “Tartar Sauce” by Karen, out of the blackness beyond the stage lights, who heard the story of its inception just moments before by someone who was at an event I didn’t go to the week before, where someone was asking, “Is Mike… Tatt… Ter… whatever his name is… Tartarsauce, coming?” …sitting with Tyler on Saturday morning and telling him I was so honoured to know him, and that he would be making some sort of History that weekend (again, my voice speaking but me not saying the words).

In your mind, what’s the biggest misconception of the Leather community?

Locally?  The Ogres and Trolls who insinuate themselves at the front, in the face of the crowd, who give the most repulsive and revolting impression of Leather to the guys who end up avoiding Leather in Ottawa, assuming those they see are what Leather is here, so off they go to other cities all around the World to wear Leather, but not at home. They do not see the hard-working guys making sure events happen, making sure funds get raised, making sure people are taken care of, making sure Community exists for those who eventually come to see that Leather is not what they assumed; that Leather is not what I assumed, for a decade.

In terms of the larger Community, the Brotherhood, the Tribe, the biggest misconception is that we are all about Beauty Pageants, Drama, and beating people up or getting beaten, for kicks.  Some perhaps cultivate that impression for a reason, but they are likely the ones doing/spreading all the Drama.

What would you say are the most important strengths to have as a Leatherman?

Heart.  Those who don’t have it are not quite sure of the depths of its meaning.  After that one, Respect, Responsibility, Obligation, and Duty.  Active work in those things will accord a person some measure of Privilege, in proportion to their own level of integrity to those ideals.  Those Privileges are easily tarnished when the undeserving person assumes them as theirs.

What does Leather mean to you and tell us why you can wear two sashes? (if you rather not answer this question – I will understand .)

To me, Leather means so much more than just ‘belonging,’ or ‘membership in a group of like-minded individuals.’  It means active interconnectivity across distances, with good people, to achieve social progress where there was once terrible pain.  It means freedom of the soul, of the spirit.  It means Love.

Wearing two sashes is easy.  Try wearing four concurrently.  But, if you approach your responsibilities as a privilege, competing interests become, very quickly, the same things:  Community Building.  Only an arrogant bully would ever see it differently.

What do you see for the future of Leather in your community and internationally?

Leather will be the focal point for social action in achieving freedom of sexual expression as a right, regardless of identity, gender identity, gender preference, or sexual predilection between consenting adults.  We are out, we are proud, and we have boundless energy to do for others what we wish others could have been able to do for us.  As for the wider Community, the same.

What advice can you give a future title holder?

Do we have three more pages for writing on?  Hehehe First, you will achieve more in the year after, than you do during your Title Year, if you let it happen.  But to have that happen, build; build Community by doing what is needed, that others tell you not to bother doing, because to them it is impossible, and thankless.  It is NOT impossible; I did it, and I am still doing it, four years later.  It is NOT thankless.  In your eyes, in your mind, in your Heart you will see the Joy in the eyes of others who participate in what you build.

Second, associate with people who are other-oriented.  There are many who are self-oriented, self-serving, but not selfish.  They will try to ride your successes, but they will resent your successes as much as the selfish ones do, because you are awarded Privileges for active integrity.

Tell us what your favorite piece of Leather is and why?

My most important pieces of Leather are Michael’s that I have.  My favorite piece is my Kangaroo Flogger, built by Master Andre (R.I.P.), which was one of the prizes in my Winner Package for MLO 2010.  It is versatile, from soft and sensual to harsh and brutal, and everywhere in between.

What’s the funniest thing that happened to you in Leather?

The funniest? During the MLO 2011 Competition Weekend, my Step-down, the Roast on the Friday missed the ‘hilarity’ mark, no matter how many stories, how many pictures, how many jokes were presented.  I figured I had escaped a bullet!  Hehehe. Saturday after the Dinner, ‘Daddy PFLAG,’ a tiny Irish man with a glint in his eyes and a knack for storytelling, gave the history of PFLAG and MLO’s ties back to the early days of the Competition (21 years, now).

At the end of his story of Gratitude, he said, “and there is one more thing.  Mike,” he said, turning toward me, “After seeing all those pictures of you (and he made the sign of the Cross), and hearing all those stories of your exploits far and wide, and seeing you in action (and he made the sign of the Cross again) all weekend, ladies and gentlemen, let me say this once and for all.  Mike.  You ARE a Slut!”  The room erupted.  Bedlam.  People stood up, cheering and clapping, hooting and hollering, laughing from deep inside their souls.  I was laughing so hard that I fell off my chair, and rolled on the floor, holding my stomach, it hurt so much from the laughing.

You are a professional model; tell us about the most erotic shoot you have been on.

I am not a professional model, but apparently the camera loves me. 

The most erotic shoot was in March of 2009.  An Arts Student at University of Ottawa needed a Leatherman for his final project in Photography.  We did the typical shots you might find on any Leather Profile on-line.  Then he said, ‘Whatever you want to do, go for it.”  We did a few more shots, and before you know it I was naked, erect, and proud.  Of the 500 shots from that day, I guess half of them are not suitable for Facebook, but cropping makes so many of them easier to get past their antiquated views of what is proper.  It felt like I was a porn star, doing promo shots for my latest movie.

What are your favorite S&M activities?

The three ‘Fs’ of Fisting, Flogging, and Fucking; pinning a guy down and nailing his ass one way or the other.

What’s your favorite drink? And if you could invent a cocktail for the Leather community and what would you call it?

Water.  Oh, you mean Alcohol?  I guess that would be Dark Rum.  Or Vodka.  Or 100 percent Agave tequila.  I don’t drink much of them, but let me tell you, the combo is lethal.  Once a year, at IML, I tend to get into a little difficulty of one kind or another, on Monday Night.  If I could invent a drink, it would contain all three of those, on the rocks, but it would have no ‘personality enhancing’ attributes.  I would call it ‘Tartarsauce,’ and it would be served on the rocks.

Tell us your favorite book at this moment.

It has always been “The Grinch who stole Christmas.”  It will always be my favorite book.  Sheer Joy, sheer emotions on the roller-coaster scale for the reader.  It is Pure.  It is Innocence.  It is Delight.

If I visited Ottawa, Ontario, what five things would you show me and why……without being arrested?

Parliament Hill, but not the way that it is allowed now, under Harper and the Regime of Totalitarian Xenophobic Dogma.  I would show you the stonework up close, the doorways and the views from the places that people are not allowed to go, now.  I would show you the view from the Peace Tower, the way it was before the shields of glass were installed sometime in the 1970s, and I would show you the places I partied as a University Student, in the centre Block, East and West Blocks, and their courtyards.  I would hopefully avoid running into some of those who claim to work there.

The neighborhood I spent the first 10 years of my life in, where now the more recent immigrant families battle it out to get some measure of respect, standard of living, and security of person that the rest of us take for granted.

The places two hours away, up the Ottawa River, where some of the short happy moments of my childhood are based; the Canadian Shield, with the aura of Old Canada and the ghosts of settlement battles with Nature and Climate.

Montreal, some two hours downstream, where my ‘alter-ego’ gets wild and crazy with the hot men of that city, in the bars and on the streets and in the shops.

The places Michael and I would go, whether it was to walk the dogs, or be with friends of the human sort, and where I learned to accept what is.

In conclusion, anything you would like to add to this interview for the Leather community of South Africa?

We are all the same. All of us. Underneath the tribal ego attachments of language or ethnicity or place and time, or clothes or material goods, we really are all the same, and we all deserve Love of an unconditional, everlasting sort, guaranteed by each other against the selfish demands of those who don’t quite get it that they are not any ‘better’ than anyone else, or deserve anything ‘more’ than what the least of us hold.

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