Kinky Nights At Legendary Fetish Club Der Putsch

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For ages, Der Putsch was the best club in the world and the most exciting place to go in London in the late 1980s. I started clubbing after the demise of Maitresse, and Der Putsch filled the gap. It was run by the the most incredible couple called Sadi and Steve. Steve was young and good-looking and Sadi was like a little blonde doll straight from an Eric Stanton cartoon. She was perfect and every club night she made such an effort over her outfit; what she wore was an event in itself. A couple of times she dressed as a bride, all in white, for the famous Der Putsch boat parties, I think. She looked good enough to eat and she loved to dominate men, too. Many submissive men would flock around Madame Sadi, dying to kiss her boot or taste her whip, and one or two lucky ones might be chosen by her to be her personal slaves for the night of the club. Those who were chosen were certainly the envy of all the others.

What’s more, Sadi and Steve were the perfect hostess and host. Unlike some of the later clubs which shall be nameless, where you can go to every single one for years and the organisers never so much as acknowledge your existence other that to take your money and where you’re just an anonymous face in the crowd (gripe!), Sadi and Steve always took it upon themselves to make everybody feel at home in their club. They’s often be on the door and would greet you personally, making you feel welcome. They were serious about BDSM and if you were too, they were sympathetic towards you. You felt you were being welcomed into their inner circle, and they always behaved with decorum and organised everything beautifully.

They branched into running other ventures such as their Westward Bound ‘bed, Breakfast and Dungeon’ establishment in the West Country, which got featured on TV and in the tabloid newspapers, and I believe it was very successful of its type. I feel it was classically English in its conception and not at all tacky like similar ventures abroad. They also held private parties there, for fellow clubbers, which drew attendees from all over the country and further, and it was a real honour to be invited.

However, Der Putsch (and its offshoot, Madame Venus, which was often held at Portlands in Great Portland Street on a Saturday night) started to go a bit wrong in my opinion when Sadi and Steve became too restrictive against what they saw as certain types who were not true sadomasochists, most notably swingers, trendies, fashion victims and those who wore fur (their later flyers list the barred categories) – perhaps rightly so in retrospect, as these were the sort of people who did indeed dilute and dull the fetish club scene considerably in subsequent years. But at the time, I remember being amused, then offended, and me and my friends felt Sadi and Steve were too dedicated in the pursuit of the BDSM ethos, and that Der Putsch had become humourless and full of the same old faces (because they’d alienated people in those groups). We dropped out of going long before the last Der Putsch in 1993. Which was a shame because in its heyday – 1987 to 1989 – it was a truly amazing club. I’d go so far as to call it a legend. But I guess all clubs have a built-in obsolescence.

LESLEY HOPEWELL-ASH

Thanks to Westward Bound
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