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Friday, June 14, 2024

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SCENE SPOTLIGHT: Jonathan Wheatley of Fetish Freak

Today we continue our “Scene Spotlight” Series. We caught up with the ever so lovely Jonathan, the man behind the wonderful world of Fetish Freak based in South East London.  We couldn’t wait to find out more…

Inside Fetish Freak
GLL: Hi Jonathan, Tell us all about Fetish Freak,  its history and how it started?
JW: I was for many years the manager of Expectations the biggest, most fabulous fetish store London has ever seen. It used to be in Great Eastern Street EC2 and people would come from far and wide to visit and maybe make a purchase too. It was eventually sold to MPG (Millivers Prowler Group) who had always had their “lifestyle” stores but never anything even slightly fetishy or hardcore …. that’s  where it all started to go wrong, for me at least, so after a while we parted Company. As I’d been doing it for so long-I was manager for about seventeen and a half years- and I absolutely loved my job, with the encouragement of friends and my  life partner Ian I decided to open my own store as I had all the contacts I needed and not a bad redundancy package so I was good to go as it were.
I started it with a friend firstly in The Hoist when it was a Leather/Fetish bar. We were thrown out of there after six and a half years in favour of the Rob shop who were  being turfed out of their premises in Wells street (they lasted approximately a year and then went bust, with the club closing soon afterward) .
Our friends at The Eagle on Kennington Lane very kindly gave us a counter space immediately after so we set up there and stayed for roughly six months until we found our current premises at Bolton Crescent just down the road by Kennington Park/Oval underground station.
SOOO much happier here than in that dark filthy club!
Jonathan & Friend
GLL: What makes Fetish Freak stand out from the crowd?
JW: It’s basically an Aladin’s cave, Full to bursting with men’s fetish gear,  used army boots,  cockrings, dildos, toys, harnesses etc…. we ARE different to the other stores and we are famed for our friendly customer service. You may not get a cute twink behind the counter (pretty but no knowledge of the fetish scene) but you’ll get an ugly old Gruffalo who’s worked on the gay scene for 37 years and specifically in the Fetish scene for 31 years and counting!
GLL: If somebody has never heard of Fetish Freak and finds you now how would you describe it?
JW: I’d say we are a totally independent,  gay owned and run tiny little fetish store with tons of very reasonably priced fetish gear most of which is still made right here in the UK which is a rarity in itself nowadays. Come take a look!
Fetish Freak
GLL:  What’s your favourite product in the store?
JW: Oh I have a few!    I LOVE our  padded leather jackets (a snip at only £269), our stretchy wrestling suits (only £36.99!)  And our best selling leather OTS Harness (available in five different colours!) From £79.99/£89.99.
GLL:  Can you tell us about any exciting plans for Fetish Freak in the future?
JW: Well I can’t deny the past 18 months have been very difficult for us but spending so long at home with my hubbie Ian has made me re-evaluate many things and the most important of these is spending quality  time with him before one of us conks out! Next year will be our 40th together so we are moving out of London. Depending on where we decide to live I may choose to do the shop part time and have someone else work there when I am not there, or I may sell it or I may shut it! That said I’m
toying with the idea of moving oop north so if we do that I may well open another store!
Fewtish Freak has a large range for everyone!
GLL: We’re buying; what’s your fave drink and where do you go out on the scene?
JW: Ooh ta very glad! I’ll have a nice glass of Pino Noir (large!) Please.
I don’t really go out anymore but if itsa social drink then where else than The Eagle on Kennington Road…it is friendly, plays great music, amazing beer garden with additional theatre …what’s not to like?
Make sure you keep up to date about everything Fetish Freak HERE!

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