Thursday, February 11, 2010

Drag Me To Hell

Last night lovely Ben took me for an evening of cabaret.

One of the acts was a very beautiful man who explained how when he was 24 he thought he'd been an alien and had recorded an album in his bedroom called "Alienathan" which he then sang songs from. They were all awful and we all laughed and gradually he told more stories and explained his betrayal by his lover and he passed round his bankruptcy proceeding papers and it all got dark and sinister and then he sang a duet with a recording of his younger self, and some of us may just have cried at how sad growing up is.

I'm not quite sure when I remembered I'd once tried to ask him out at University, but I made an utter mess of it. Later on he starred in a one-man Hamlet with finger-puppets and self-harm which was brilliant.

He was followed by a performer called Dickie Bow who did what's probably deconstructionist drag, examining subtly why it is that men dress up as women in the first place. It was clever and moving and poetic.

Sadly, he was followed by "Miss Kimberley", an act so awful I actually felt a bit funny. It was like Dickie Bowe hadn't happened. This was a New York trash tranny in a big wig, all ancient 'tude and unfunny snap. It was like discovering an Aldi knock-off of Ru Paul. She wasn't funny, she wasn't clever - she was just there. And there was a queasy tang of misogyny on the dry ice, which doesn't look good on a gay and looks terrible on a drag queen. It's as outdated as Bernard Manning. There's a difference between a man wearing a frock as a laugh and doing it to get what felt like... revenge. I couldn't put my finger on exactly what it was, but it somehow made me think about standing in Trafalgar Square a few months ago, and it made me wonder what the point was when there's this kind of thing on. *shrugs* But that's my view. She had her fans in the audience who loved every minute of it.


Ben said...

It was a peculiar night, wasn't it? Such a grating gear-change from unsettling beauty to braying egotism. I was particularly turned off by the gimme-gimme-gimme materialism of the patter – was it sincere? Was it supposed to be a satire of women's approach to relationships? Is that what you meant by misogyny and revenge...?

And many thanks for the link, even though your account puts me to shame.

Skip said...

Oh bless you. I once saw the Ru Paul and similarly took against. She stood there, swearing at the audience and screaming "GIVE ME MONEY! I'M FAMOUS! GIVE ME MONEY!" and they did.

Which at least kind of passes as a deconstruction of modern celebrity. Whereas Miss Kimberley... eurgh. And the video clips they played of her in slanty eye make-up pretending to be a geisha... oh....