Sewers enjoy a special place in the pantheon of urban mythology.

-Matthew Gandy

Photo by Otter at Silent UK

The first big event of 2011 already went down. Literally. This year’s International Drain Meet (IDM) was hosted by London, organized by Otter at Silent UK. It was the largest meeting of the international draining community in London’s history with over 50 people from 6 countries in a large overflow chamber under Knightsbridge. We had drainers from the UK, Sweden, Italy, France, USA and Australia, including the UE Kingz, Brescia Underground and the Cave Clan. We also had a heavy contingent of the massively fun Manchester drainer contingent.

We also seem to have finally melded the two top London crews at this meet through Siologen’s powers of healing oration (see below). By the end of the night, Jon Doe, the King of UK draining, conjured himself out of thin air in the middle of the party to the delight of everyone in attendance. It was, by all accounts, one of the best gatherings in London urban explorer history. A full write up can be found on Winch’s blog.

Otter was kind enough to ask me to film the event since he was busy organizing all night. Here is my contribution – it is best viewed on full screen with the volume turned up loud enough to assault your neighbours.

As always, explore everything.

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I am a law only for my kind, I am no law for all.
-Nietzsche

Urban explorers are notorious for taking themselves too seriously, with our posed people shots and braggadocio over daring feats. I am probably more guilty of this than most. To be fair, that mentality is usually a reaction to “authorities” and the media treating the practice with little levity. When we do encounter authorities, we all know that getting them involved by showing them photos and talking about why what we are doing is harmless, and, in a best case scenario, getting them to laugh about it, is our best defence. Despite our appearance of machismo, most explorers are always game for a good laugh.

That is why I love the UE Kingz. You can’t watch this video and not crack a smile, despite the fact that they talk about taking bolt cutters to locks and tag up a drain in the video, blatantly breaching the UE “code of ethics”. And despite the antics depicted, the primary message of the video – the power of choice is, I think, an important one. While social and cultural constraints do exist, it is largely up to us to make life what we want it to be and the UE Kingz encourage us to take responsibility for that decison.  See, I told you I take this to seriously!

Cheers to the UE Kingz for bringing UrbEx a bit of festivity – we can all learn from them. Now get out there and go mad with a bolt cutter!

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