Back in April, this blog’s South Coast correspondent Sandra Smith shared a meeting in London’s Soho with the UK’s only ‘drag king’ LoUis CYfer.
Last week, Sandra went back with her friend to the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho to see LoUis perform again.
The result was three nights of emails from Sandra. Here are two.
Two other acts were on as well.
One was Shakondda, a Brazilian girl with a body that could move as only a Brazilian can – and big, big hair, made up of two wigs and a couple of smaller pieces. She wore a banana as an earring, and sang a few numbers.
The other was somebody called Sugar Lump – a guy in drag – who sang and it was left to the audience to decide whether he was to get paid or not. We voted Yes.
After the pub closed, LoUis invited us to Muse, a nearby nightclub, to meet her girlfriend Kayleigh, a dancer who works there. LoUis is very smitten by Kayleigh and they are moving in together very soon.
So we all arrived at Muse – LoUis, Shakondda, Sugar Lump, the manager of the Admiral Duncan, Psychic Sadie (who works behind the bar) and another guy. The Muse manager and one of the girls there work with fire, which they demonstrated. They set fire to the bar every so often just for the hell of it.
LoUis is busier than ever. Filming for her documentary – out next year – is ongoing. She is going to be filmed at home very soon. Then she is going back to Texas to do some workshops and a mini tour, possibly ending up in Las Vegas. She is also rehearsing for a one woman musical in Derby called Joan, based on Joan of Arc. She will be performing it in Derby on 17th and 18th July, then it’s coming to Camden’s People’s Theatre, possibly in August… and to the Edinburgh Fringe next year.
LoUis looks upon herself as gender fluid and intends to have a double mastectomy in the future. I think that has as much to do with having large breasts, which give her backache and she has to bind for her act. She wants to be seen just for herself and not identified by her gender.
She was born in Germany to a mother in the Royal Signals and a father who was a PE instructor. She came to England aged six. Her auntie, Marie Myers, was the first woman CID officer in Yorkshire and was attacked with a hypodermic syringe and contracted meningitis. But I can’t remember the outcome of that, as it was getting late.
LoUis went to Brunel University in London and has an MA in Contemporary Theatre Performance. She also studied Gender and Art in Relationship to That of Identity. At least I think that was what she said. It was getting very late.
Shakondda and I chatted about things racial in Brazil. She told me she chose her rather over-the-top wigs because of her family’s attitude to race and her mother’s refusal to acknowledge that they may have black blood. That is as far as I can remember. My memory is hazy in parts.
I told her that I would have loved hair like that when I was younger, as I was desperate not to be English. I used to get called Chink (so non-PC) as a kid, which delighted me enormously.
We left them at around 3.30am and all I had to do then was persuade the friend I was with that I would rather go back to where we were staying and not on to another club till 5.00am.
Have got my top on inside out at the moment, having had two hours sleep. Went to bed at 5.00am. No doubt I will perk up later.
As well as my top being inside out, I am drinking coffee – instant – out of a cafetière that I found under the sink. Not a cup to be found.
We spent a fairly sedate afternoon yesterday up at Middle Temple.
I then headed to Soho and the Admiral Duncan pub again, as they have an act on every night.
I went alone, as my friend had fallen by the wayside after too many late nights.
The entertainment came in the form of the very glamorous Mary Mac – a Scottish lad from Glasgow – with tartan ribbons in his hair and a belter of a voice. There was a real party atmosphere and Psychic Sadie was behind the bar.
I spent the evening with a couple of boys who work together in Shaftesbury Avenue. They were great fun to be with, as were the rest of the crowd.
Mary Mac asked me where I was from and how I had spent my time in London, then asked me my age.
My answer elicited a huge cheer from the crowd and Mary Mac proposed a toast to me. My glass was clinked many times, and the evening continued apace. The show finished around 11.30pm and Mary Mac asked us collectively to join him at Heaven, the nightclub just off the Strand.
I decided not to go and said goodbye to the boys, after exchanging e-mail addresses with them. I headed off for something to eat in an Italian restaurant, which was on the point of closing. They insisted that it was no trouble at all to prepare something for me, after which I headed back to Bloomsbury at around 1.30am.
Sandra sent me a photograph of herself wearing Shakondda’s hair. She told me she felt less like Scarlet O’Hara, more like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?