So that was 2013

It's the end of 2013, time to reflect and all. Here's a list of pop culture things that tickled my pickle and some of my doings.
It's been a pretty good one.


Things and people of the year

Dickhead
Vladimir Putin
(Go buy a 'Piss on Putin' shirt from Victory Brand)
Parody
Steve Kardynal  Wreaking Ball
Unintentional hilarious video
Geri Halliwell - Half of Me 
(Kayne's Bound 2 a close second)
Group number
Gay Bingo at Hackney Empire - Rasputin
Catwalk moment
Nigela Lawson
Woman  
Lucy Fizz
Pop song Little Mix –Move
Unimportant things I'd like to see disappear in 2014.
Onesies. "Ironic" Christmas jumpers. Payday loans. Beats by Dre headphones. EDM. Dalston gentrification. Anything that says "Keep Calm & Carry On". TOWIE. Katie Hopkins.

2013 started off pretty shitty as I was
punched in the face for defending someone in a transphobic attack.
Police have since said there's no CCTV and they can't trace the phone. It happened near The Ritz, pretty damn sure there are cameras everywhere. The phone the asshole dropped was a Blackberry, highly likely it WAS registered. Despite bruises and being shaken up, we weren't bloodied or seriously injured, they simply can't be arsed.
This has left me pretty disillusioned with the police but despite being another statistic, we still need to report all homo and transphobic attacks, even if those who are supposed to protect us can't be bothered with the paperwork.

Went off on my bi annual adventure, spending two months in Thailand and Cambodia. Swimming in the pitch black in the Gulf of Thailand off Rabbit Island, covered in neon plankton like something out of Tron being one of those life enhancing moments. Did a show in Phnom Phen and bagged my first magazine cover for The Advocate in Cambodia. Had to fly half way around the globe to be a solo cover girl.
Gave a lecture about my “practice” at the Bishopsgate Institute, wrote some articles for
Beige magazine and hosted the only official UK screening of RuPaul's Drag Race. As well as screening the show, I wanted to give new girls a platform to show off (there being so few these days) and hope to do so again this season.
May saw my début full length solo show, Sorry I'm A Lady which successfully ran for a week. It taught be so much about myself as a performer and the freedom that comes from admitting you're vulnerable. Thanks to Jonny Woo for helping me shape it and Ben Walters for his constructive critique.

Hosted karaoke for drunk posh people in west London (something I see akin to when I was in the army. Once you establish you're the boss, they tend to fall into line), sang my Jungle Book megamix at the London Zoo (very surreal) and returned to turn it out at the NYC Downlow at Glastonbury which was a return to form.

Did a fair few charity gigs, my own night POP came to the end of it's run at Vogue Fabrics (reviving in February at the Black Cap) and DJed for Sink The Pink, Popstarz and LLGFF.
Within two weeks, I performed with alt drag hero, David Hoyle in Liverpool, performed in front of film hero, John Waters and sat behind music production hero, Giorgio Moroder, while he was being interviewed for TV.
Talking of TV, I've been asked to be filmed for three different things this year. Non of which I've said yes too. I'll do TV, should the right thing come along. Until then, I'll laugh at myself on my own terms thanks. Also bagged my second magazine cover for Out North West. Someone got a bit carried away with the photoshop mind.

Debuted my new character 'Fat Madonna' at the RVT (she's bored of hot Brazilians, yoga and trying to maintain a mainstream idea of youth. She's moved to the north of England to eat pies, go dogging and sing megamixes of her old hits in a misheard lyrics style).
Performed at the Hackney Empire as part of the ten year anniversary of Gay Bingo. The Rasputin/Russian finale was quite the spectacle and an incredible night. Do wish there were more occasions where the drag fraternity could get together to create something fabulous, but y'know, bitches be busy.

Spent most of December as part of The Imaginarium which despite it's problems, was filled with an incredible cast of freaks, eccentrics and lovely people. There's usually at least one person who gets on my tits in a similar production but all the performers were adorable and professional.



So now. It's New Years Eve and I'm sat at my parents having just played Trivial Pursuit. Like my birthday on the 28
th December, I hate NYE and prefer to stay away from the madness. It's like the Thursday before Easter weekend, when most rational and sane people turn into utter monsters.

Coming up for 2014, there's a second London run of Sorry I'm A Lady as a Love Edition in February (also taking it up to Edinburgh Fringe Festival and should I find a producer, on the road). POP! moves to The Black Cap in Camden, more teaching queer performance and alternative drag at a few universities (heavens!), co promoting new 90's house night, 'Handbag', more from Fat Madonna and a brand new singing/performance concept which I'll keep under my bonnet for the moment.

So that's it. Come to my show if you're in London February 10
th – 15th. It's quite good.

Hope you have a ruddy marvelous 2014 etc etc.

x

How To Be A Drag Queen

I've written a piece for the winter 2013 edition of Beige magazine about how to be a drag queen. You may mutter to yourself "who is she to write something like this?" Well after ten years in the "biz", why not me? Only a misogynist would say I have no right to. So there.

Drag is the new club kid, everyone seems to be at it. More the merrier I say but there are a some who could do with a few pointers.
I've no time to be your Drag Mother, see me as a naughty Aunt.
This isn't a definitive guide to drag, merely ideas and suggestions. Take from it what you will.

In the UK, there are currently three types of drag.

'Trad Drag'
These ladies love sequins, a solid wig and singing covers or lip synching. They come from the tradition of music hall and variety, their poster girl, Danny La Rue. It's a grand tradition but there are some on the circuit who rely on being vile to the audience and recycling the same naff lesbian and knob gags. I've no problem with offensive material, just make sure it's funny.

'Fash Drag'
These girls are big on their labels, you won't see them down Pradamark or see their hair poking from behind their wig. Their look is high end fashion, finished, polished and can paint their face to perfection. Frequently party hosts or DJs, occasionally singers and performers. Poster girl; RuPaul.

'Alt Drag'
No rules. These dolls are not aiming for femme realness. More queer gender fuck, dressing up, playing and performing. Some have beards, some are of various genders and some are a complete train wreak. More racy, arty, political and underground than trad drag yet equally accessible. Their poster girl, Divine.

These categories can mix and mingle. I've seen alt girls in a high fashion, sequinned gown lip synching to Streisand. Boxes are for pigeons so do whatever you please, just have fun. When it stops being fun, hang up the wig.

Attitude
People like drag queens, we're fabulous. You're not the first person to wear a wig honey, so no need to be a bitch. It's a terribly old fashioned and dated look. It is possible to be fierce and friendly.
However, if someone tries to rip your wig off (as a queen, it's your crown) you have my express permission to pull their hair or punch them in the tit.

Language
Like cackling birds, drag queens tend to develop heightened camp behaviour and language. We don't have a British version of the influential show, RuPaul's Drag Race but I'm literally sickening of the overuse of “fishy”, “hunty”, “werk” and other RuPaulisms used by British based queens. Brits created modern drag*, surely we're marvelous enough to create our own language?
(* D.R.A.G. originates from the margins of Shakespeare where women weren’t allowed to perform so male actors had to Dress As A Girl).

Makeup
* Powders, paints, liners and lipsticks can be purchased from high end to high street, there's goodies to be had at all prices (though I won't endorse a particular brand unless I get some product, tit for tat dear).
* Invest in some good quality brushes and foundation (waterproof if you sweat like I do).
* If you're more Y than X and going for a femme look, cover stubble with beard cover and learn how to contour your face.
* Always define the eyes. If wearing coloured lashes, wear a black pair underneath to open up the eye, otherwise it looks crap.
* Build. Start with less product, add bit by bit and blend, blend, blend.
* Hairspray your finished face. It fucks your skin but keeps it all in place.
* Always remove at the end of the night and moisturise!
* There are numerous makeup tutorials online but every face is different. Just practice.

Hair
There's nothing worse than a limp, bag fresh weave. Shake it out, brush it, cut it a little or back-comb the hell out of it, just do something.
Look after your wigs. If you're not keeping yours in a box or on a wig stand, spray it with a fabric freshener, turn it inside out and stick it in a pop sock. An angel dies every time a wig is left to turn into a ratty mess.
And on the subject of hair, if you're going for a super femme look, shave your chest and back. If you're a Bear, enhance it with mascara!

Talent
If you're dressing up for fun, go wild but if you're looking to make a career out of gender bending, I'd suggest having or learning some kind of talent. Few get by on just being pretty.
We live in a culture where you don't need talent to be famous or well known. A cold hard fact but get used to it. Sharpen your claws because it can be a jungle out there and some of those cats are lethal (i.e. insecure).

Learn
A knowledge of current and past pop culture, divas and stars is essential. I've yet to find an ultimate book of drag heritage but the internet is your friend.
My film tips include Victor/Victoria, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Paris is Burning, The Cockettes, La Cage Aux Folles, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Some Like It Hot, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Wigstock, To Wong Foo, The British Guide To Dressing Up, I Am Divine and everything by John Waters. And French & Saunders.
Be inspired by others but emulate your idols with caution, be your own special creation. Be the best you can be rather than a pale imitation. It's comforting to be part of a tribe that look similar but you run the risk of losing your individuality and blending in. And the only thing you should blend is your make-up.

Be tidy
I'm not the tidiest of people but drag filth boils my wee, especially when sharing a dressing room, which is frequently the case. Have a little consideration for others and get organised, otherwise don't moan when your left shoe can't be found two minutes before show time because of your tardiness.

Lip synchers
Learn your bloody words. It's not hard.
Listen to the song 50 times and learn the breathing and timing of the singer.
When in doubt mouth “watermelon” continuously, spin, swish your head around in different directions and smile.

Respect
Respect your transvestite and transgender siblings. Some may not appear as femme fresh as others but don't be judgemental or mean. If you expect respect and to be accepted for who you are, you have to give it too.

Support
Go and see others perform. If we don't support live entertainment, it will disappear and we'll be stuck with cookery shows and reality show numpties forever.Hey, I feel a plug coming on. 

Come see the special Love Edition of my show “Sorry I'm A Lady”. It covers how I became the Tranny with A Fanny, my time in the British Army (hard to believe now I know. Khaki isn't my colour), as a dominatrix and artist, mental health issues and queerness all interjected with a few covers and cabaret versions of my own music. 
Vogue Fabrics, 10th-15th February 2014. 
She you there.

Photo Alex Craddock
Head piece Alun Davis

Oh Miley...won't someone think of the children?

If you reside in the west and have a penchant for pop culture, you'll be fully aware of the insane poorformance that went on at the MTV awards on Sunday. Not Lady Gaga doing her quick change cabaret routine but former child star, Miley Cyrus. If you've not yet witnessed the carnage, well you've got Google.

Now I'm no prude. I worked as a dominatrix for ten years and have seen things that'd make your eyelashes curl all by themselves but I found myself agog in front of my computer screen (much like Will Smith's family). I'm not going to do a step by step analysis through the many fails, far superior writers have done so here and here.

Miley has murdered her Hanna Montana persona in a rebellious, highly sexed fashion. Now I adore women who are sexually empowered but the whole things is uninformed, naïve and makes her look a victim of the viscous pop starlet money making machine (that are laughing all the way to the bank, as are MTV what with the heightened media attention) than someone in control of their sexuality. When Madonna pouted and rolled around on a barge in Venice in the 80s, there was a knowing look in her eye and her tongue firmly in her cheek (not hanging out like a gecko).

There are many young people out there who are yet unable to separate Hanna Montana (a character force fed to them through the evil masters of child manipulation, Disney) from Sexpot Cyrus. How are they supposed to view this?
Girls are already force fed by the media that appearance is of utmost importance where you must look like a plastic doll with perfect skin, hair, teeth, tits and vagina to be desirable. Miley's bypassing the inane facade and telling them to shove your lady parts into the misogynist crotch of someone twice your age and 'twerk'. Yeah, that'll get you attention.

I'd hate to come across as a Daily Mail reader but what of the parents that encourage their children into show business? I'm looking at those pushy stage Mums and Dads, living through their children, who hassle them to be a star through kiddy pageants, high endurance disco dance competitions and auditions for endless adverts, TV show and films. Yes there are some kids who love to perform and are destined for a life of showing off, but there have been enough reality shows and documentaries on this subject that show that most of these children just want to have fun and be kids.

Despite the plethora of child stars 'gone bad', it seems we still have yet to learn. Judy Garland, Britney Spears,
Macaulay Culkin , Drew Barrymore, Michael Jackson, Lindsay Lohan and now Justin Bieber have all had their falls from grace paraded before us. Growing up is tough as it is, having to work like an adult and do so in the glare of the public eye must be bloody terrifying. There must be a need to maintain the high that comes from mass attention, small wonder so many crack and drive off the cliff so to speak.
Parents who push their kids into this world need to take a look at themselves. Yes their offspring may look cute all dressed up but do you want to have a good relationship with your kids once they've flown the nest or a hot mess? Love them and let them be kids. All kids need and deserve love. Real love, not the fake love and adoration that fame brings.

Lets hope this event stirs up more mainstream discussion about the sexualisation of girls and how they are presented in the name of entertainment. This might just be the tipping point.
In the meantime, Lady Gaga is probably in her vessel, weeping into a baroque hanky made of Dodo skin that someone managed to upstage her so spectacularly.

x

Queens of Pop and misogynist queens

Queens of Pop, two gay brothers from Manchester of Youtube pop parodies and Smiffy's wigs, have withdrawn from Manchester Pride because of the furore surrounding their Will.I.Am parody video.
The offending video has since been removed but basically they changed the lyrics from his (frankly awful) song 'Bang Bang' to that of him being a massive homosexual and getting up to all kinds of gay naughtiness.
It wasn't the outing that caused the most offence (Will.I.Am, we all know love...) but that two caucasian boys blacked up in a Black & White Minstrel Show style with added jazz hands. They also implicate that all gay men have to offer the world is STDs and casual sex with the line “give all of the aliens AIDS”. We really don't need to reinforce this idea, the Daily Mail have that stereotype locked down.
I've had my eye on the Queens of Pop for a while and quite like their Girls Aloud video but they generally portray pop princesses as grotesque female stereotypes. Why not the same online ho-ha over that? There was no public petition or outcry for their Atomic Kitten parody (where they send up Kerry Katona as a drug addled mess). Why do we (and rightly) get so uppity and offended when someone ridicules race, but not gender? Is it because we've become accustomed to men in wigs being nasty about women that it has become an accepted norm?

While I respect the camp of trad drag (the tradition of a queen in a solid helmet wig, diamanté necklace and sequinned gown) unfortunately many have their view of women stuck in the 70s. I recently saw a show at one of the gay show bars in London where the established queen did karaoke for 40 minutes (not necessarily a bad thing) but the banter was painful and awkward. It all focused on cocks, naff sex talk and being hateful about lesbians. Again and again ad nauseum. I wasn't offended by the lesbophobia, it just wasn't funny. And dated, oh so dated.
This is my issue with the offending Queens of Pop video, it wasn't funny. I've no problem with offensive comedy, I adore Brass Eye for example. All comedy is based on someone or something being laughed at or mocked, but if you're covering a controversial subject, it needs to be smart, knowing and funny, not cheap unhelpful clichés that have been repeated endlessly.

Where does this culture of misogyny among trad drag come from? Is it because of their sexuality (frequently gay) that they are repulsed by women? Do they prefer to keep women at arms length as distant beings, without having to deal with the reality and unfamiliar nature of female biology? (FYI, despite looking like plastic sex dolls, all your favourite pop stars bleed. Oh the horror!?)

Misogyny is at the route of homophobia. It's no coincidence that as women have gained more strength and equality in the west, rights for queer people have improved. There is still a lot of work to be done in both camps but surely the whole point of drag is to champion strong, fabulous and incredible women, not deride them for a limp, tired laugh?
Whatever your relationship with women, we all came from a vagina, get over it.

Lets hope the Queens of Pop can learn from this incident and think a little more about the messages they are sending as they influence the next generation of drag.
And please invest in some decent makeup girls, you're (in)famous now.

x

I'm coming out....I've got depression

For anyone who caught the first run of my solo show 'Sorry I'm A Lady' (which will be at the RVT 14 & 21st August and again at Vogue Fabrics in December), you'll know I suffer with depression. Over the brooding menace of SebastiAn - Walkman, I revealed my long term medical condition, the bullying that contributed to it and how I manage to function. Like prolific entertainers Stephen Fry and Ruby Wax, I'm coming out too.“I look at the history of mad and I'm in good company”.

When I dislocated my knee, buggered the cartilage and was out of action for eighteen months, it was easier. I had a wheelchair, crutches, walking stick and knee brace to signify my medical problem. However, having depression is invisible and isn't socially acceptable. You're not supposed to tell people via a Facebook status that you're feeling sad. Cheer up love, stiff upper lip and all that.
The reality is, I've had depression since the age of 8. I've had numerous breakdowns. I've spent time in a mental hospital. I genuinely don't want to be alive most of the time. This isn't a cry for help but my daily reality.

I have no fear of death. Most of the time, I'd rather not be here. I get irritated easily and therefore incredibly lonely, few people 'know' me.
You see I'm an oddity and have never fitted in. I get in the way. I'm opinionated, strange and loud. Regardless of social change in the west, society still prefers a woman who gets on with things quietly instead of loudly. I could adapt to fit in but then I'd be compromising myself.

I'm insecure. Most show-offs are but I often wonder why I bother to try and make any kind of difference when I'm frequently overlooked. Hell, the lesbian media have chosen to ignore me altogether. Trying to infiltrate the music and performance scene has been near on impossible. Then again, I don't make things easy for myself. I refuse to be put into a box regarding my sexuality, gender or practice. Too queer for cabaret, too camp for the underground. Perhaps it would be easier if I was a saucy jazz chanteuse or angry tampon wielding performance artist?
I'm fully aware I'll never be a mainstream performer but I do a pretty decent job whether I'm singing, performing or DJing. Some say I spread myself too thin. I have a vagina and can multi task.
I continue to do what I do because I know there are at least three people out there who appreciate it which means more than money or acceptance.

But I've still got depression and those negative and suicidal thoughts make waking up everyday a living hell. And it's bloody exhausting. Despite therapy helping to rewire parts of my brain and a life full of wigs and glamour, I'd still rather not be here. Isn't that weird?
“It's a part of who I am but doesn't define me”.

Despite the state of my mental health, I am a strong woman, not less human because of it. You can be fabulous and flawed. You can be bold and frail. You can be a mass of contradictions. You can be anything you bloody want to be darling. In my own tiny way, I'm testament to that.

I may never be 'well' but that's something I've learnt to live with and for those few people who get me and my parents, I plan to be around a little longer.

x


P.S. For anyone with depression and wants constructive help, I'd highly recommend C.A.T. (Cognitive Analytic Therapy). I've had hundreds of hours of therapy since the age of 15 and C.A.T. has been the most effective. It's less homework based that C.B.T. and less Freud than psychoanalysis. It opens up things that already exist in your subconscious and teaches you to nurture yourself positively. It feels like the uncorking of a bottle or gear changes when you start to unlock and things start to make sense. Of all the therapy I've had, I can't recommend it highly enough.

P.P.S. For those thinking “oh no, why are you doing this?” Well I did it in my show, so why not write it down? I'm not looking for sympathy, maybe a bit of understanding. Oh and don't be awkward when you see me next. I've got depression, not leprosy.

P.P.P.S. My show isn't about depression but a small part. It's actually quite fun so come and see it.

Drag makeup tutorial for Beige magazine

I've been asked numerous times to do a makeup tutorial but there are so many good ones on the internet these day I didn't see the need to add to them but I was asked by the marvelous Beige Magazine to do one in conjunction with Cosmetics à La Carte.

I've still a lot to learn about makeup but I scrub up reasonably well considering I'm self taught and didn't wear makeup until my early twenties. And shock, my pasty corned beef skin in full effect!
Some handy hints have been fast forwarded but here's a basic look of mine (and to think I had to take this all off and then run across town to put it all back on for my window performance before my recent solo show. Showbiz babes).
x

Sorry I'm A Lady - Free mp3 Download!

So it's here, my first full length solo show commences this week and to celebrate, here's a free download of my cover of Bacarra's - Sorry I'm A Lady.


The show takes in my journey from the army, being a dominatrix and gender bending showgirl with reinterpretations of my 'hits'. I'll be getting my Gilbert & George on in the window of Vogue Fabrics from 6-8pm, doors at 8 and the main event at 8.30.  Saturday finishes with my own disco party night POP!

Tickets and info and interview I did for Beige magazine.

Do hope you'll pop down

x

Bitching among ourselves; Drug casualties



I'm waaaaay too busy with my new solo show at the moment to be wading in here but can't stop myself from pulling that soap box out.

I'm part of a panel in a couple of weeks called SleazyMichael Presents; SAUNA AND CLUB DRUG CASUALTIES. I wrote this blog about the issue last year and after lengthy Facebook discussions, Sleazy Michael Peacock decided to get people together and promote a panel discussion for people to discus this matter publicly. Simple.

It's a shame that writer Paul Burston seems to be taking the higher moral ground in an article for a national mainstream newspaper which is largely promoting his latest project (nothing wrong with that, guilty of it myself. Without the funds to advertise my wares I have to slip it in, so to speak, as and when I can). However he has unfortunately taken a somewhat bitchy snide view;

The impact of drugs like GHB has led to numerous deaths on the London gay scene. Next month, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in the capital is hosting a panel discussion to address the problem. The fact that it's presented by someone called Sleazy Michael gives some idea of the target audience.”

Meow!! Surely it's people on the 'sleazy' GHB and GBL scene who this event is aimed at and need to be involved. It's not aimed at angry lesbians, demanding that trans people be banned from biological female only spaces (I believe trans people have better things to do dears). Someone like Michael is more informed and knowledgeable of the gay scene than most. He's an open and out there sex fiend, has fought long and hard in the courts for his right to be kinky and can be seen on numerous dance floors, both on and off the gay scene, sweating his cock ring off, having the time of his life.
Would it make a difference if it was being run by 'Fisting Freddie' or 'Mary Minge' or should it be a project run by theorists who have the academic knowledge but non of the practical? Informing the community about the issue from someone who really knows the community makes Michael more than qualified.

He has been working very hard on this event for some time now, testing my own patience at times, but his enthusiasm for change and endless positivity for should be commended, not derided.
It's all good and well pontificating from behind our computer screens in our own parlours but the tally of deaths and numerous people going to hospital each weekend is a serious issue that needs addressing within the community. If it were any other minority group mixing drug cocktails to such lethal doses, they'd be an outrage and a BBC3 documentary knocked out about it. 
Maybe the event will be be a bunch of people giving their expertise and opinions or perhaps it'll create a dialogue where people can start openly talking about this matter and evoke some positive change. And surely something is better than nothing.

Right, I've got to get back to rewriting a section about people loving themselves a bit more in my new show, 'Sorry I'm A Lady'. Did I mention it?

x

Don't be shady, be a lady




I know, check me.

Since E4 stopped screening it after Season 2 (after minimal advertising and having it on at silly o'clock at night) Brits have had to download it doggedly off the internet so it's great to have a screening where Drag Racers can enjoy it together.

No need to name names but there was a hell of a lot of cold shade going on in tonight’s episode. I enjoy banter, the odd bitch and a well timed read but when it comes to being mean and hostile to someone because they don't shape up to your own expectations is an old drag cliché.

During a particular awkward sequence, two queens were being incredibly hateful to someone who may not be the most flawless queen but is clearly the most talented. Being on TV magnifies someone's shortcomings and these girls are fully aware of how another spiteful queen came across during last season. And being hateful isn't down to the edit. To repeat that behaviour makes them look bitter, twisted and not someone you'd want to work with, let alone be a drag superstar.
Drag performers are outsiders from the heteronormative majority, we're a source of entertainment and ridicule and at some point, we've all received some form of abuse from a drunken insult to a fist. I'm baffled why someone who is themselves an outsider would publicly abuse a peer so nastily. Especially a sister.
Being shady shows up your own insecurities and is incredibly tired. There will always be new queens and freaks who strut around as if they're the first to put a wig on their head and see this kind of behaviour as acceptable but established ladies really shouldn't be setting this attitude as an example.

I've seen all manner of drag performer, from stunning to busted. Personally, I have no interest in how flawless or “fishy” someone is. Talent and putting 100% into what you're doing outweighs a perfect blend and couture. I'd rather see a hot mess work an audience into a frenzy over someone who looks marvelous but has as much personality as an over back-combed weave.

Luckily on the alternative drag side of London, people are generally nice and respectful of each other. We're too busy being fabulous to worry about looking flawless and there are only a few who work a pageant style. Maybe because we don't have them in the UK or perhaps we favour talent and fun over appearance. Over each season, it's interesting that the bitchiest girls from Drag Race tend to be pageant girls where appearance is everything. Perhaps they should start looking inside instead of worrying about the façade so much. Being nice might not add to your look but it's better for your soul.

x


Photos 17 May 2013
Season 5 E11 Screening at Dalston Superstore
by Craig Parker




Holestar on Mean Girls

For the third year in a row, I'll be hosting the midnight screening at the Rio Cinema, Dalston for the Fringe Film Festival.
Previous shows of Showgirls and In Bed with Madonna were an absolute scream...this years Mean Girls should be a similar riotous affair. Here's a little piece I wrote for them.



Mean Girls hostess Holestar gives us the lowdown on why she loves a high school teen movie and why you shouldn’t miss the chance to see Lindsay Lohan’s finest achievement on the big screen.

I love teen school films. From Heathers, Teen Wolf, Election, Superstar, Napoleon Dynamite, Welcome to the Dollhouse, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Carrie, Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion, Weird Science to Grease 1 & 2. Being a teenager in school is a time everyone can relate to (presuming you've all been to school).

Being a teen is tough. You’re no longer an innocent and carefree child and too far away from the boring responsibilities of adulthood. Plus it seems to go on forever.

Raging with emotions, angst, hormones and new hair, I’ve yet to work out why teenagers are expected to take exams and decide what they want to ‘do’ when they are at one of the most vulnerable times of their lives. What if you’re arty but don’t know it yet? What if you’re obsessed with that popular sporty guy who doesn’t know you exist? What if you simply can’t be bothered? What if you take a subject that you’re highly unlikely to ever use in later life, like maths? (Yes basic equations are important but besides mathematicians and Mathletes, who ever really uses algebra?)
I had no idea what I wanted to be. The career advisor suggested I go to the local chicken factory and stop dreaming about being a performer. I’m happy to say things are now very much in my favour and don’t have to pop my hand up a chickens bottom to get by.

Like many outsiders, I was bullied as a teenager. That’s probably why I have an interest in films of this nature. When you’re odd and at school, nobody tells you that your life will be oh so much better once you leave and it’s the bullies who go on to have incredibly mundane lives. But it’s through film that I saw the outsider can find peace with who they are or that the underdog does get through and win in the end.


I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of Mean Girls when I first saw it. The petty bitchiness of the girls was a little close to home but 20 odd times in I love it. Despite the typical high school clichés, hilarity and numerous camp quotes, I love that there is a positive resolution; that is despite our differences and cliques, we all need to simply like and respect each other a little more.


If you haven’t seen it, you’ve a treat in store. If you already love it, no doubt you’ll be screaming at the screen with everyone else who can quote it out to the max (and to share that experience in a cinema full of fellow fans is better than sharing a plastic tiara).

To celebrate this glorious commentary of teen angst, before the film, we’ll be having our very own Plastics Pageant. We know the ‘costumes’ aren’t exactly elaborate in the film so we want you to be inspired by plastic people. Think fake, fake, fake, botched surgery and mahoosive body parts, Jocelyn Wildenstein, Katie Price, Orlan, Lolo Ferrari, Amanda Lepore, more blow up doll than human being. We also want you to bring a page from your Burn Book where you can exorcise the hate. As Madonna would say, its cathartic.

So for super fans or those new to Mean Girls, I suggest you book your tickets now. We sold out last year and it was an absolute riot (I fully expect a full dance routine during Jingle Bell Rock).

See you down the front.
Holestar
x
Mean Girls screens on Friday 12th April at 11.30pm at Rio Cinema Dalston. Get your tickets here.

Boy George and being fat


Boy George has lost a huge amount of weight (and just in time for Fashanker week too), everyone cheers and says "how wonderful". Am I the only person who sees him looking, well, a little ill?

It could be down to hard graft yet I suspect a gastric band and good luck to him. Now I've heard chubsters say such procedures are cheating and a betrayal of 'fat pride' but I challenge any fatty who'd deny the offer of a free gastric makeover, with a guarantee of no complications and a fat free life. Fat people are bullied and judged on a daily basis. Thin is 'good' and a quick fix is a lot easier than months and years of exercising, misery and starvation, only to pile it all back on again (as in the published cases of numerous female celebrities).

From the media, advertising, TV, films and everything visible thrown at us in a bid to buy more stuff, to be considered sexually attractive and even professional, you've got to be thin. Fat is lazy, incapable and undesirable. The Daily Mail are the worst perpetrators of this beauty myth. A quick look at their online gossip pages and every other story glorifies the weight loss or derides gain of someone we've vaguely heard of, usually female. I suspect the editor is a self hating, weight obsessed neurotic who is jealous of those who lose and angry with those who have lost their way in the quest for the body beautiful. 

I'm overweight. In socially acceptable terms, very overweight. But on a day to day basis and because I respect myself, am honestly happy with that. It's only when I go clothes shopping that I become frustrated where I'm expected to wear hideous, shapeless garments that age me by 20 years (seriously, who designs these things?). I overeat, under exercise and don't blame anyone for my size except myself (granted I've got fat genes being poured in from both sides of my family but hey..nobody forced me to eat that cake).

I'm currently in Thailand after travelling here and Cambodia where fat is unusual. Add to the mix being an unmarried, solo female traveler with very short hair and I've been stared and laughed at like a mythical monster in some parts.
Whilst talking to a couple on Rabbit Island about what-we-do-back-home and showing them a picture of myself looking faaaabulous (I studied photography and know how to pose honey), the young barman took one look and said "that's not you, you are fat". I was initially taken aback, forgetting for a moment that I'm in a part of the world where it's socially acceptable to say what you see. I'm not used to people commenting on my weight in such a blunt fashion but then again, why not? Being precariously PC, overweight  people are talked about in a passive aggressive language in the west, what's wrong in being so honest? It then became a running joke every-time I saw him, you know us fatties...always funny and self deprecating...



I don't believe in fat or thin, just healthy but healthy is different for different people. There should be more of a balance in the media when it comes to body size and shape. Less airbrushing, more realness of all sizes across the media and absolutely no focus on the rise and fall of someone's body weight because really, who cares? Of course fashion and advertising aren't able to cope with various sizing as they prey on the insecurities of consumers but the odd advert for soap showing a pick and pix variety of happy women in their pants isn't enough for women  (and more and more so, men) to stop hating and being insecure about their bodies.

Good luck to George and his slimline body. I'm no body language expert but to me, he doesn't look happy and reminds me a little of his withdrawn heroin days. Granted he looks marvelous in a westernised ideal of slimness but his eyes look removed and distant (but that could just be an indifference to the press).

It's a cliché but if you don't like something, change it but you've got to respect yourself first or you'll be just as miserable as when you started.
x

To TRANNY or not to TRANNY?

After my involvement in a NYE queerphobic attack, I've been thinking about getting people together for an event that isn't political, sit down cabaret, sex or 'tops off' one. A sporadic club and performance night for anyone and everyone (like all my club events, I try to be inclusive. I don't dig segregation) celebrating all things transformative, however permanent or temporary called TRANNY.

This may sound like I'm vying for controversy, this is how my mind works and the last thing I want to do is offend anyone. I'm the first person to stand up against transphobia (see my last post) but I understand that there may be some people who might have a problem with calling a club night TRANNY. 

Tranny can be controversial. The marvelous Mz Kimberley received all manner of grief from the trans community for singing her signature song, a cover of Peggy Lee's 'I'm a Woman' as 'I'm a Tranny' (which baffles me, as a transwoman, she has the right to call herself whatever she wants to). I've received negativity about defining myself as the 'Tranny with a Fanny'. I'm reclaiming over the top camp femininity from drag queens and glorifying it. It's been almost ten years, I'm not going to change that now. Interestingly, I'm not aware of a negative reaction against the name of club night Trannyshack.

I'm not dictating and guessing the overtly politically correct might react unfavourably to this idea but I'm suggesting trans people reclaim the word tranny from negative connotations. Gay people took the all encompassing term queer from bigots as a term of empowerment, isn't it time the trans folk did the same with tranny?
It's a word that isn't going to go away, surely claiming and using it positively removes negative power from idiots, bullies and Daily Mail readers? The more queer and trans people have a strong, positive public presence, the better for everyone.

So, back to the club night idea. I'd like to call the night TRANNY not to shock, scandalise, sensationalise or ridicule but to celebrate. The only policy I'd enforce is that everyone respect each other. I'm not reinventing the wheel here but would like to have a fun night where trans people, queers, drag queens, club kids, gays, lesbians and even straight people can mix and mingle without judgement and be as inclusive as Wotever and T-Lounge in Copenhagen (which I've performed and DJed at many times).

The music, like all my nights would be fun, up and party (no banging generic gay house or naff pop remixes). The performances would be a mixed handbag. There would possibly be a changing area (not a dark room). It'll be fun...one hopes. Would you go to TRANNY?

This is still an idea and may not happen. It's already provoked both a positive and negative reaction on my facebook page, we'll see what happens.

x

Hideous homophobia...

It's early morning, New Years Day 2013 and I'm sat at home with a bag of frozen peas pressed up against my face. After a gig in the west end of London, the roads were closed so the taxi that was arranged for our small group of wayward drag artists couldn't get close so we had to walk to Bolton Street in Mayfair to be picked up. A few were still in full looks which garnered the predicable heckles and cat calls you'd expect from New Years revelers in the capital but just as we finally reached our taxi, one of our party who was slightly ahead of us was attacked. I saw a wig fly and ran over to get in between the attacker and the innocent which resulted in me getting a bash on the nose myself.

The utter asshole (and there's no way to be polite about this) kicked and punched a person who was simply dressed differently. They felt threatened by someone disrupting their sense of the so-called norm.  After the initial attack, asshole #1 was pulled back by asshole #2 who then called us "batty boys". How original.
I retorted "Happy New Year, now fuck off". Asshole #1 tried to have another go but the screeching girl with both assholes forced them into a taxi and drove off into the night. I looked down to see asshole #1  had dropped his phone during the attack. Oh you silly, silly bastard.

We ran around the corner to tell the community police officers (who were unfortunately one street away) to report it. Luckily neither of us were severely hurt (can't imagine anywhere worse than A&;E on New Years Eve) so it would have been easy enough to shake it down and put it down to an unfortunate episode but all incidents of this nature, no matter how big or small and especially homo and transphobic attacks must be reported. Unfortunately statistics are required for any kind of change. These kind of incidents happen more frequently than should be happening in this age of so-called liberalism. You'd hope with legal changes and more gays in the media, attitudes would be on the move but there are still a lot of small bigoted minds out there. This was an abhorrent unprovoked attack by someone who obviously feels more of a 'man' swinging his fists when faced with something his pathetic little brain can't quite compute.

This is not how I expected my first blog post of 2013 to go but there you have it.  My nose hurts and I have a splitting headache but I'll get over it (I'm off to Thailand and Cambodia in just over a week to travel, volunteer and write my new full length show which premieres in May).
As for the asshole with the vile sexist screensaver, we're passing his phone to the police who will be able to track him down. We will be pressing charges. Happy new fucking year asshole.

x

P.S. Two days have passed and still haven't heard from Westminster police. It being on the corner of Piccadilly, it's likely there was CCTV and we've got his phone, it's an easy case to follow.
I'm ok, no bruises but a sore nose, more angry than anything. It's hideous that our queer fore brother and sisters have been physically assaulted for simply being who they are but incidents like this should not be a rite of passage for any LGBTQI person in 2013.
Look out for each other out there. Apathy is the current gay fragrance of choice, we've still a way to go.