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Daniel Dumont – A Memorial

#41 Peter Fiske – Judges Team IML

© John O’Brien

Daniel & I shared so much. He could sure crack a whip beautifully. He lit up a room with his smile and his sense of dry Belgian humour is legendary. We met at IML when he was a judge. It was a joy serving him & spending the week with him. He brought us chocolates from his endless supply and every time I saw him, he brought gifts. He was the beating heart of the whole European Leather Community. His willingness to work & deep caring made him vital to the growth he brought to so many of the communities. He could be difficult but he wanted things done right. He was kind almost to a fault. Biggest heart in Europe. I am so sad he will not be at IML but it is sad that there will be no IML this spring also. I miss him every day. We will not see his like any time soon. Goodbye Daniel. Farewell. See you in leather Heaven. Peter Fiske

#42 Kevin Murphy – Mr Leather Ireland 2015

© Kevin Murphy

I have many memories that illustrate what a great friend Daniel was , but one of my fondest has to be in Antwerp way back in 2015 during the Darklands Festival.

It was my first time at Darklands, and my first big international event as a titleholder. I was very much “deer in the headlights” as it was a new world to me. Daniel went out of his way to ensure I was ok, introducing me to everyone he knew, checking in to make sure I was enjoying the weekend, and providing lots of calming conversations and humour. Since then I’ve seen him do this with countless others who he knows are newcomers and new clubs to events, and it was refreshing to see his genuineness throughout it all.

However, the legacy of Daniel that will always carry with me is not his kind nature towards his friends, it’s his sense of humour. Daniel knew that part of loving and living life was being able to laugh at it, tackling it with a smile rather than a frown. If it’s one lesson reinforced by him it’s that we can be firm in our convictions, have disagreements, but still be kind to each other, make each other laugh, and smile. By making the world a better place for someone else we make it a better place for all of us.

#43 Henk Van Tilburg – Secretary of SLFC

First, I was surprised when I was asked to write a short memoir about Daniel Dumont. Everyone who knew us both knew that we were not the best friends. So, why me?

Maybe it’s because I’ve known Daniel a good half of my life. We didn’t always get along – in fact, I suppose we had more conflicts than times of harmony. We are both two headstrong persons, and we both always think we are right. We just simply marched to a different beat, but we respected each other for our dedication to the fetish community. 

We met first on October 21st, 1995 when my Bar (Hanky Code) organized the first ever Mr. Leather Belgium contest. Daniel was there in the crowd as the representant of MSC Belgium observing carefully, what we were doing. He stayed quite serious up till the moment one of the candidates rode into the bar on his own Harley. You could see in Daniel’s eyes that this was the moment when he started to believe that something interesting was going to happen. But he was still not smiling. But when the candidates were started to dance to YMCA as the Village People, Daniel just couldn’t stop laughing. So that is my first memory with Daniel.

In 1996 we asked him to become a member of the jury of the new election, and in the following years through the intercession of Daniel, the election was moved to Brussels. As we all know the election returned to its origin these last few years.Most of us met him 4-5 times a year at different events, but except that he loved cats, we didn’t know too much about his personal life. If you asked; how things are at home, he said: ¨Why have a sandwich, when you can go out and have an open buffet? 

By putting on his leather gear, he not only changed his clothes, but he also became a person much younger in spirit. Daniel was a person who loved and enjoyed life; a man who lived for his community.

We had a love/hate relation, (despite what people think, we always talked a lot in private). Most of the times we had different ideas how to run things in the fetish world, but I can’t deny that Daniel lived for this community. And in his own way he wanted the best for the community. And when I remember him, I won’t remember the discussions, but the young Daniel Dumont who was crying of laughter at the first Mr. Leather Belgium election from 1995.  R.I.P

#44 Evert Leerson – Mr Leather Europe 2019

© John O’Brien

I remember meeting Daniel for the first time on the night that I won the Mr Leather Netherlands title. I had no idea who this man was, and why everyone was suddenly taking pictures of us.

We got to know each other over the years, during events, but more so when I became Mr Leather Europe and when we travelled to Russia together.

To me Daniel was a kind soul, a man of not too many words. Eye contact and smiles were our usual way of communicating. He was one of the people whose eyes gave me a direct glimpse into his soul. Eyes that could narrow, could be fierce but also eyes that offered an open view of his kindness. I’ll miss that.

I could write about all the things he has done for our community; I am sure others can do that better. I could write about the care he displayed for his family, but others can do that better as well. For me it all comes back to his kind soul. I’ll miss that very much.

#45 Paul Stag – Head Of Features at Alphatribe (AT) Magazine, Chairman Of The X-Awards:World Gay Fetish Awards & Head Of TreasureIsl

I cannot remember when Daniel was not around and making us all smile with his high jinks. We still have a couple of filmed interviews with him including his impressive bullwhip skills which when the time is right we will put up on the AT website (He would whip a cigarette out of someone’s hand from 10 metres away!).He wrote for the magazine several times and his knowledge was invaluable to the gay fetish World and he was also asked to be a presenter at the X Awards every year where he was a valued committee member and always took up Papa Smurf’s rightful position at the back of the stage to overseeing the whole show and keeping us and all  the chaos in line. When I asked him to present Man of The Year, he said that all the nominees were his friends and he would not like to disappoint anyone so I gave him another category the fact was that Daniel Dumont knew absolutely everyone in the scene. My favourite memory was at a dinner in Berlin for about 20 guys over a Folsom weekend where he, unbeknown to me, purchased everyone ear defenders for when I started to talk...basically as an ex-military officer I am naturally VERY LOUD and I also talk far too much. He thought it was the funniest thing when he - sat at the head of the table of course in his rightful place - gave the command of 'earphones in' just as I was about to give an opinion on something. I would have got him back for sure and plans were in development but now of course that will never happen which breaks my heart. A great man, a funny man, a man who genuinely cared about the development of the European gay fetish scene. As soon as some brave Russians held the first ever Leather Pride in that country in St Petersburg taking the Authorities on, Daniel was there providing International support and credibility. A true Leather Legend for our times that was equally well regarded across all our fetish tribes.

#46 Roger Blantern – Past President 69 Club London 2009-2012

I owe Daniel Dumont deep gratitude for all his kindness and help to me and in particular during the Annual ECMC Meetings in Rome 2009, & Frankfurt 2010. 

The truth is I should not have gone to Rome as prior to leaving home I didn`t feel very well but decided none the less to attend the ECMC Meeting. Shortly after arriving in Rome I gradually felt worse and Daniel arranged for me to have a medical check with the result that it was found I had a severe attack of Shingles. Daniel persuaded me to cut my stay in Rome short, helping me to obtain an early Flight home.

The following year in Frankfurt again soon after I landed, I had an emergency call to say that my Mother was very seriously ill in Hospital. Once again Daniel was superb in his support organising my travel back to the United Kingdom literally within hours of me arriving in Frankfurt.

For me Daniel was a `Gentle Giant`.

#47 Matt Spike

© Matt Spike 

I first met Daniel at Mr Leather Europe 2018 in Paris. I had been told by London Leathermen - who I was representing - that I needed to collect a parcel from him. When I got to Paris, after the first round of interviews I approached him nervously and introduced myself, and to my delight he told me he had been expecting me. He had with him a Tom of Finland tote bag, which I admired. He reached into it brought out a paper bag containing some ECMC badges that I was to take back to London. I asked him cheekily if I could take the tote bag too, and he gave me one of his expressions, as if to say “you cheeky person”! Afterward I was waiting outside the building where we had been doing the judging and he came up to me and presented me with the tote bag. He said “I know you like this bag so keep it”. I was really touched by his kindness. Later that evening at dinner we spent the entire time looking on his iPad at examples of his flogging work. He was a seductive man. It wasn’t long before I was agreeing to a public flogging at the next Darklands. For some reason that never happened but we kept in touch, and tried to meet up. Then we planned it for Darklands 2020. I never made it to that event, and sadly I couldn’t get to know him any further. He will always remain somebody who was so easy to connect with, funny, charming and witty. I will miss him. 

#48 Freddy Vanhoyweghen – Mister Bear Belgium 2015 – friend – confident

© Taco D Smit

I got the honnor knowing you since my election of Mister Bear Belgium 2015. 

Right away we had a good understanding and friendship. The present I got from you, my leather waistcoat with my title on is still cherished. We talked about things in life , struggles , and so on .. you called me “ my confident “ 

I was honoured . 

Last months we talked about you learning me to use the bullwhip . Plans we made ... are now for ever gone , but thankfull for the memories together! You made me the leather man I am today . 

Till we meet again my friend . 

Rest in peace Daniel 

Fred x 

#49 Ian Allan – Patron ECMC

© John O’Brien

Daniel & I met at a Dinner in 1990 possibly in Cologne, my memory fails on that! As we talked, we both came to realise that this was not the first time that we had met. Between 1960 & 1967-8 I was Book Manager & Buyer at the English Bookshop (W H Smith) in Brussels. At that time in addition to the Book Department there were News & Stationery Departments and a Tearoom. During our conversation Daniel & I began to realise that we had met one another about 1967 when Daniel was about 6 or 7! Daniel`s Mother, Mme Dumont was very anglophile and frequently visited the shop and on one occasion at least she brought a young Daniel with her with the long term aim of encouraging him to learn English and with the added attraction for Daniel, of Ice Cream in the Tearoom, a liking which was to last all his life.

Both of us then had the dawning realisation that Daniel`s Mother had said to Daniel, ` this is Mr Allan, the Book Manager`, it then seems that I then found and gave Daniel a copy in English of one of Herge`s Tintin Stories which said Daniel he had kept until it fell apart.

As John O`Brien writes at the beginning of this tribute to Daniel, there were moments when Daniel could be quirky and seemingly stubborn, but we all have our failings and little ways. So, it is fitting that so many people have expressed their thanks for all that Daniel accomplished in so many areas during his life.

Whilst others were involved it is to Daniel that I say a posthumous – thank you – In 2016 at the ECMC AGM in Helsinki kindly Hosted by MSC Finland, at the end of the Agenda the  last item was listed as – Proposal by the Secretary ECMC, but it didn`t say what the proposal was.

As the Meeting reached this item Paul Turner who was then President of London Leather Men signalled to me to come out of the room waving his Mobile Phone indicating there was a message for me. I thought this was odd but faithfully followed Paul out of the room. For some minutes Paul kept saying `I can`t get a connection, with myself continuing to be mystified as to who would be on Pauls phone who knew me. Then there was a shout, please return to the room! 

As I entered the room all present stood & clapped and Daniel on behalf of ECMC told me that the Meeting had unanimously agreed to nominate and make me Patron, ECMC. I am not ashamed to say I was moved to tears. But revived a little to hear Daniel add - `the others are all dead`.

So, THANK YOU Daniel for your life and giving me these two and many other special memories - you live on in my heart.

We would like to sincerely thank all who contributed; all who were unable to contribute for one reason or another and to all who shared memories privately.We hope to be able to add further memories that may have been delayed due to the current Covid – 19 restrictions, illness and various issues. 

Daniel Rest well and don’t laugh at us too much.

Daniel – Requiescat in Pace

Written by Jeroen Van Lievenoogen

Jeroen is publisher of Alphatribe magazine

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