Fetish folk from the London scene and beyond turned up at New Cross venue Crystals last Friday (November 23) to say farewell to Dave Playpenz and Club Subversion – writes Tony Mitchell.
Doctors had given him 12-18 months to, in his own words, “raise hell and party” following the diagnosis. In the event, after a brave, wheelchair-bound appearance at Subversion on Friday, he lost his battle with cancer two days later, on Sunday November 25.
Subversion co-host Mistress Absolute told us in June: “Having had Dave as a central part of Club Subversion for 12 of its nearly 15 years made it impossible for any of us to consider continuing the club without him.
“Dave and Subversion are intrinsically linked and continuing without him would be untenable; he is after all utterly unique.”
Dave supplied dungeon furniture to Subversion and other well-known London fetish nights, and performed dungeon monitor duties at clubs such as TG.
With his height and his distinctive Mohawk (pictured above by Bobette), Dave cut an impressive figure in any fetish crowd. But despite his statement hairstyle, he often came across in conversation as fairly quiet and reserved — in contrast to his general reputation as a fun-loving, hell-raising party animal.
It was quite a shock to see him at Crystals hunched in a wheelchair at the far end of the club’s balcony, with only a vestigial Mohawk remaining and his breathing aided by oxygen supplied through nasal cannulas.
But his eyes still had a glint in them and he graciously accommodated the steady stream of people who came
Behind Dave on a balcony table sat the Subversion 15th birthday cake (above), in the shape of a corset-inspired plinth topped by two figures indulging in some consensual corporal punishment. I managed to get pictures of it before we ate it.
Crystals was packed with people who had all made the effort — in some cases with impressive feats of improvisation — to meet the final night’s rigorous ‘anything but Black Friday’ dresscode.
Including many familiar faces from the earlier days of London fetish clubbing, the crowd really took to heart the idea that the night was a celebration of two great lives rather than a time for mourning.
Dave left the club at 2am on Saturday morning, and before the weekend was out, sadly, he had departed for that great playpen in the sky. Knowing, one would hope, just how loved he was.
If anyone is still not sure just how great was the regard in which Dave Playpenz was held by his extended fetish family, then the tributes that poured in (and are still pouring in) after his death should make it abundantly clear.
You can see them on his Facebook page (link below), which is being kept open by his beloved, Sarah Hozier.
A full photo report from Subversion’s closing party will follow soon.
Published November 30, 2018