Personal Leather Histories; Edward
We came into contact with Edward through our website. He wrote us a mail after visiting our "Leather history" telling us he sold many of the magazines we mention in his shop in the late sixties and early seventies. We thought his personal story was so interesting that we wanted to give him his own page. We are very happy he agreed. This is Edward telling his story.
I’m Edward from Amsterdam. I am over sixty now, but I’ve been interested in men in leather since I was 17. I love guys who know how to wear tight leather jeans. It is not so much about sex but more the erotic excitement that I get from those masculine shapes covered in leather, even without the heavy S&M play or extreme dirty stuff. I had never thought there would be more people with this specific interest. I never really met them, not even in Amsterdam, and that is actually strange when you think of it. Of course a lot of guys have some interest in leather, but when it comes to sex they want to take everything off right away and I end up with more bare flesh than skintight black leather…
Amsterdam, 1959: Edward at the tender age of 17 with his partner note their white scarves: the trade mark of the English Rockers!
At 17 I had a kind of craving for leather but I never knew why. In my fatherless childhood my mother always “threatened” me: whenever I wet my bed she told me I would be forced to wear leather shorts. That might have ignited my interest. I bought my first leather pants in Germany when I was 18 on my first holiday with my friend. It was in Hamburg in a motorcycle shop called Erdmann on the infamous ‘Reeperbahn’. I was really one of the first guys in Amsterdam in the early sixties to walk around in leather head to toe. I have been called names many times in those days. My friend was afraid that I was going to be beat up because of all the leather but I was not gonna change it. I probably sent out vibes that people stayed out of my way. I hated aggression and I couldn’t fight, but I was never afraid.
Edward at the age of 25.
The right picture was printed life size on card board
and displayed in his shop!
It was probably because my friend and long term partner couldn’t really understand my feelings for leather that I started living my fantasies more and more. I became an “auto-erotic” and collected all kinds of pictures with attractive guys, especially men in super tight clothing. Faded jeans (but not frayed and torn) and extremely tight glossy black leather pants were my favorites, especially in scenes with some dominance or threat and spanking scenes (where the pants stayed on!) were the most exiting to me. I even liked to cut out the guys in my picture collection and create “spanking scenes” with those cut out characters.
Edward reading in one of his albums with leather
Filming Vince Taylor
In 1962 I had been the member of an amateur filming club for some years. I had already created my first 16mm film. I had written the script, financed it and been the main character as well, it was quite successful. That year leather clad rocker Vince Taylor was to come to the Netherlands for a television show. We didn’t have a television set at that time yet, but I was allowed to watch with the neighbors. I was all leathered up and waiting in excitement to see this great guy in leather, but all who came… no Vince Taylor. Yes, I did see Vera Lynn closing the show and I could have strangled her in those days, because it turned out that hot shot madam had refused to perform in the same show with that obscure rocker in leather and they cancelled his performance! I was very disappointed but to make up he would be in two other shows. I decided I had to be there in person.
Stills from the 1962 film by Edward: "Symphony in Black"
with Vince Taylor in The Hague, Netherlands.
So with my 16mm camera all dressed up in leather I went there. The crowd shouted at me: “look there he is, Vince himself” but I loved it. I had 5 minutes of black and white silent film to shoot that day, and the next day too. After montage with titles and news paper clippings, and after adding sound from a tape recorder I had a unique film that I called “Symphony in black”, that I still enjoy.
Teddyboy a magazine shop
Edward in front of his shop "Teddyboy" late 1960's, early 1970's.
From 1967 to 1972 I had my own shop selling (erotic) magazines in Amsterdam. When I started with my shop "Teddyboy" I was only 26, and I had never really seen hard porn. It was a shock to realize that I myself was appalled by those pictures, it most certainly didn't arouse me! And so I specialized in pictures of guys and men in leather. On “my” pictures you would hardly see naked flesh because that didn’t interest me and to my delight there was a demand for those pictures. Apparently the pictures were even more exiting because there was no nudity! I went into business with a German photographer who produced pictures especially to my taste and I still have a whole collection of those pictures.
The bilingual business card and the shop interior of "Teddyboy". There was an extra remark on the English version only: "A must for leather fans!".
In 1968 selling pornography was still forbidden in the Netherlands, but I had to sell it to pay the rent. My strategy was to lock the door during negotiations with customers. The Danish pornographic magazines (gay and straight) were hidden under the steps of the stairs to the cellar. I would take the customer to that cellar to show the stuff. During one of those showings in the early days of my shop keeping a guy wanted to see more, so I told him I would get some from upstairs. When I returned I stumbled upon a shocking scene. The guy had his pants around his ankles and was 'amusing' himself while he admired my merchandise. For a minute I was flabbergasted and didn't know what to say, but then I aptly told him: "Before you come sir, I must tell you that you will have to pay for those magazines!" Probably because he was so aroused he promised me to buy them all and when he returned to the shop upstairs shortly after, he paid the 120 Guilders I asked him without hesitation. To my surprise actually: that amount was a month's rent for an average house in those days! I sometimes felt like I was there for the sexual amusement for certain customers, but after just one year I could already buy a brand new Ford Capri!
Edward's brand new Ford Capri in 1969.
After the ban on pornography was lifted there was such a lot of competition for my shop that I decided to make my life easier. I went back to an ordinary office job.
Now I’m still living out my leather fantasies. Of course things have changed, in 2000 I lost my partner, with whom I had a perfect 'two-household-relationship' for over 40 years. I don’t have to work anymore and I have since long adopted a kind of a cowboy image. But I am still actively participating in gay culture. In the 1998 Amsterdam Gay Games I even won a silver medal in bridge! Who would have imagined that: I hate sports!
A silver medal at the Amsterdam Gay Games 1998.
I really like to roam the internet during long nights for pictures of cowboys and leathermen. I also scan my old pictures and send them in to the Yahoo-clubs I joined and I just love the reactions. They are mostly very nice and positive.
Edward: a 35 year age difference... (click for
For my sixtieth birthday I decided to treat myself to a professional photo shoot, just like I had at 25. For fun we did one in the same position as in that first shoot. Spot the differences! And I still have that life size card board picture of myself in the attic. It was in the shop all those years ago. Now it works just like a reversed "Dorian Gray" picture: the picture stays young and I age. But I don't really mind, that's life, and I still enjoy it!
Edward, Amsterdam, May 2004
Update, September 2009
In the Summer of 2009 we received the sad news that our friend Edward had died in an Amsterdam hospital of cancer. He was only 67 years old.
Edward was very proud of this page with his (leather) life story and he loved to share his great stories and his wonderful old pictures with many others on the internet under the name of Cosmoleather. We will keep his personal page on our website in his memory.