Sunday, 26 February 2017
Queeropolis, that fabled city - and a ginger bombshell!
Rounding-off what has proved to be an absolutely hectic week - not only my first one back in work after our holiday (with all that entails), but also Objects of Desire at the Petrie Museum, the open meeting of the organisers of Gay Pride in London 2017 and Polari LGBTHM special at the Southbank Centre on consecutive nights - Madame Arcati, Hils, History Boy, John-John and I trolled off to the quaintly old-fashioned Conway Hall last night for the traditional (almost) "end-of-term-party" for Camden & Islington LGBT History Month, the "Queeropolis" Ball!!
Sadly competing directly against the much-vaunted Winter Pride event that saw the one-night-only "revival" of London's legendary Popstarz alternative gay club night at The Scala in King's Cross, the crowd was admittedly smaller than one would have hoped-for - but we made our best efforts to get the party going! Always an excuse for dressing-up, this year's theme was "Legal and Civic Society" and "high court judge, an officer of the law, ancient Roman Senator or just ‘as you were’" were the suggestions. We opted to just go the latter, and go "smart'n'blingy", although Crog did say he'd modelled his "look" on Columbo, and Hils had a wig that could pass for a barrister's, so lots of fun was had with that...
DJs Jason Prince and Alexander Price certainly helped get us in the mood with their (largely) 80s and Disco playlist, and got everyone (including the lovely eccentric hostess-with-the-mostest at the aforementioned Petrie Museum Helen Pike) up and dancing. However, things really started shaking (literally, where her sexy dancing boys were concerned!) when the evening's Mistress of Ceremonies Lana Pillay took to the stage to perform her hit Pistol in My Pocket!
The evening's programme opened with a serious introduction by Camden LGBT Forum Trustee Natacha Kennedy, who reminded everyone of the importance of LGBT History Month and how some of the lessons learned from some of the darker chapters of our history were frighteningly close to being repeated today (particularly where Trans rights are concerned). After that we went for a fag and then to the bar, so missed both the poetry of Trudy Howson and the (very loud - we could hear it in the lobby) performance by former Adam Ant guitarist David Ryder Prangley.
However, on our return, there was a whirlwind on stage - "The Beyonce Experience". Not being a fan of "Queen Bey" nor her music, this was nevertheless surprisingly entertaining - just watching him/her and his/her backing dancers cavorting all over the stage was exhausting stuff, and brilliantly done.
After a special appearance from former creative director of Harvey Nichols (she was directly responsible to the store's prominent repeated presence in AbFab), reality television star (Mary, Queen of Shops) and proud lesbian mother (she was the first celeb to marry her partner once equal marriage became law in the UK) Mary Portas, it was time for the moment we had all been waiting for - our headliner, a veteran of Stock Aitken & Waterman, Eurovision and even the Lily Savage Show, SONIA!
For the uninitiated, the effervescent and diminutive ginger-haired diva was immensely popular in the late 80s and early 90s, with 11 UK Top 30 hits, before trying her hand at comedy acting and panto. Never one to take herself seriously, she charmed even the cynics among us with her infectious laugh, and was never to be seen without a smile. And she hasn't changed a bit! She still has that powerhouse singing voice, and she had the audience absolutely in the palm of her hand, everyone singing along and waving their arms as if the 1990s had never gone away.
And here, for your delectation, is a double-bill of her greatest hits:
She was Great. Sophisticated. Mersey.
We (literally) had a Ball!