Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Once upon a time, in a dog-rough gay pub nestling against some railway arches in south London, middle-aged gentlemen used to dress up as ladies and lip-synch to Shirley Bassey records. Out of this scene came one genuine star (Lily Savage, who didn't mime and actually had talent) and a lot of endearing grotesques (Tilly, a four-feet-tall drag queen who mimed to Dusty Springfield while attacking the audience with a dildo).

Then the audiences grew up and moved on, and a new generation started propping up the bar at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, for whom I Am What I Am no longer seemed to be cutting edge. While the rest of the gay world migrated to the chi-chi bars of the newly gay Soho, the Vauxhall crowd remained resolutely lowlife, preferring lager to ketamine and demanding entertainment.

Into this vacuum stepped Duckie, a club night that added a new twist to the old beer-and-drag formula. The average turn at Duckie was absurd, confrontational, piss-taking - a mutant hybrid of pub drag and performance art. Duckie's biggest star, the Divine David, looked like Liza Minnelli after a car crash and delivered streams of obscenities intermixed with insane conceptual riffs. The two DJs, the Readers' Wives, played anything from Slade to the Stooges - anything, that is, except house and techno. And the crowd were refugees from the muscle-and-tan monoculture of the mainstream gay clubs. For "homosexual refuseniks", as the Duckie organisers call them, the Vauxhall Tavern became an oasis of abnormality from an increasingly homogenous world.

[From today's Guardian]

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