Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Bourne Identity

Last night turned out to be an unexpectedly interesting night at Duckie. I didn’t know it until I arrived, but the borough of Lambeth is having a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgendered History Month this month and it was Duckie’s turn to provide a contribution. If I had have been aware, then I would probably have realised it would be an extra busy night and made the effort to turn up a bit earlier; as it was the night for me started with a queuing nightmare; 15-20 minutes to get in; another 5-10 to check jacket into cloakroom; and perhaps yet another 5-10 to get first drink. (NB since the new owners bought the pub, they have replaced several members of the bar staff, and the new lot frankly don’t seem quite up to the job. And they seemed woefully short-staffed last night; perhaps the size of the crowd took them by surprise as well as me).

But I digress. Whilst I was waiting to get served, the first act came on, none other than Bette Bourne. I say ‘none other’ as if I’ve idolised him for years, though in truth it’s a name I’d only heard in passing a few times and until last night I hadn’t got a clue who he was. And so, I got quite an education on the life of a much-loved actor & drag queen who has been around for decades and consequently has several tales to tell as befitting an LGBT History night. His ‘act’ took a chat show format; he was accompanied on stage by a journalist (sorry, can’t remember his name!) who was there to interview him Wogan-like, though once he got going the interviewer could hardly get a word in edgeways! Not that that was a problem; what we got was a stream of wonderful stories of his life that were in turn informative, touching and funny. For example, stories of him and his friends forming “Drag Communes”, of being harassed and arrested by the police (yet often still managing to have the last laugh); of “scaring the shit” out of homophobic school bullies. It made a refreshing change from the drag acts of today who, on the rare occasions I find myself having to watch one, I generally find nasty, racist and misogynistic. Not only that, from an educational point of view, it was a reminder of just how different things were for gay people only a few decades ago, and how people like Bette were willing to stand up for their – and by extension, our – rights, to give us the freedoms we take for granted in 21st Century Britain. If he hasn’t done so already, then he really ought to write and publish his memoirs; there’s only so much that could be told in 20 minutes and I was left with the impression that there’s much, much more to hear.

The rest of the night was pretty good too – perhaps Bette had got us all into a happy frame of mind or something. The second act was an Australian bloke (another case of sorry, can’t remember his name) who did a strange sort of dance piece called “Split” to a Bjork track; the “split” of the title was represented by one side of his body wanting to do one thing whilst the other side wanted to do something else, lots of jerky side-to-side movements etc. I never really quite understand these things properly, but it was well-executed anyway. In the absence of Amy, the night was hosted by Christopher Green, the man behind Ida Barr & Tina C. It was the first time I had knowingly seen him as himself.

And I still haven’t worked out which of the two Duckie trannies (Gina Love & Maur) is which – despite once having been directed to a photo of Gina. Only one of the two of them was there last night; at one point I spotted Ms. Right Nasty from a distance and meant to go and ask her which one it was but never got round to it. Next week maybe…..which is my birthday too, not that I’m dropping any hints *cough*


Blogger redhairedqueer said...

It was Maur. I love her.

Wed Feb 15, 01:57:00 pm  
Blogger Dogdriller said...

Hurrah ! Mystery solved - many thanks!!!

Wed Feb 15, 08:05:00 pm  

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