Recently the LAMies were held and for a second time a motley collection of people won. This is fine as far as it goes if it were a bit of harmless fun however it's taken seriously and used in advertisements for venues and as a status symbol by the winners. So it's not fine that for two years running various people have commented that an awful lot of the returned voting forms had remarkably similar handwriting on them... so similar you'd swear the same people were filling out all the forms.
In fact it was outright said that the first time this happened one person went from table to table collecting the forms before they'd been completed and outright said "I'll fill them in for you".
But lets also point out that the winners represent a club that, at most, has had 198 people attend it and at the low point had a grand total of... 6 (including 5 members of staff). Now that high figure sounds impressive, 200 people. But lets look at some other clubs within the London area which by rights should fall inside of the London Alternative Market awards.
The Boat. It's been running since the mid/late 1990's and is internationally known (it had reporters from FDI magazine on it in 2014), the 2014 event had around 120 people onboard for a kinky cruise down the river Thames.
Pedestal. This is a massive FemDomme event and has been running for years, at it's height when hosted at the defunct Colosseum venue it had, reportedly 2000 people attend it on a single night. At the Fire venue it regularly pulls in between 300 and 500 people. People in the scene from around the world have heard of it.
Antichrist. Again a massive Industrial/Goth event with some BDSM flavours (so appropriate for consideration in the LAMies), it much like Pedestal regularly gets 300+ people attending it and is known internationally. At ElectroWerx it really takes on a flavour that it couldn't at Colosseum and numbers are increasing.
Those three are not only based in London, where as the club that won is in Kent but have higher numbers, been around longer and are much better known globally. Considering Kent isn't part of London and we can therefor safely say that the LAMies aren't limited to London based events, where are is the representation of events that happen further north such as Devotion, based in Birmingham (130 people attended in February 2015) and been running for many many years.
But the question remains: Why is this a problem? To my mind it's a problem because the BDSM community is striving for some degree of acceptance from those in the vanilla world, we want to show those who aren't involved that the community keeps its nose clean, is above board and does everything it can to police itself.
So here we are with people strutting that they won these awards, the same people winning multiple years, rumours have persisted for two years that vote rigging and outright ballot stuffing is taking place and it doesn't represent or reflect the events that are in London but rather a whole different county.
Now that's what I've discovered doing some very cursory research, the exact sort of thing any reporter or journalist looking to cover the LAMies and working towards legitimising BDSM in the eyes of vanillas would do. And I've found it to be a complete clusterfuck.
Think about it. What does that say about our community to an outsider looking in? Does it say that we're a community of fun loving and largely honest people or does it say that we're a bunch of egotistical maniacs so hell bend on stroking our own internal status within the community that we'd usurp some harmless fun to further our agenda? How would The Daily Mail or The Sun (both of which have the highest readership of any newspaper or newspaper website in the UK) report this because if anyone starts this ball rolling its likely to be one of these two doing it.
Now think about this: Does knowing that this is happening make you proud to be kinky?