Saturday, January 25, 2003

Someone's Left The Cake Out In The Rain



I took a trip to Blackpool last night. Blackpool is my local tawdry seaside resort, where packs of drunk women on hen-nights roam the streets, singing whatever song is currently top of the charts. It's also where all of the British people who can't afford to go abroad, go on holiday. I've had a love-hate relationship with the place since I was 5, and always feel a little bit excited when I arrive.

Blackpool's gay scene is very vibrant and raccuous. We stopped off first at a place called Funny Girls, which has recently moved premises, having taken over an old cinema. The last time I tried to get in, I wasn't allowed because my friend was wearing shorts. They have a strict dress code, which is ironic, because Funny Girls is a place where most of the bar-staff and entertainers are in drag. You'd think that a place that celebrates allowing people to wear whatever they want wouldn't be bothered by someone in shorts, but there you go - it's all part of the strangely contradictory gay scene. Funny Girls isn't really that gay to be honest. A lot of the clientele are straight people - they ogle at the "edgy" men-in-frocks entertainment, and the DJ insults them. British Northern drag queen humour is about the scariest, sharpest and most ferocious in the world. The girl I was with is very pretty and slim, and I think we were mistaken for a heterosexual couple. This stirred interest among some of the drag queens, who gestured for me to ditch the 'wife'. The entertainment was at least competent - one song involved a description of every actress who had ever performed Hello Dolly, complete with impersonations. The drag queens of grotty Blackpool have created a weird alternative reality, based upon Old Hollywood Values, glamour and cheap sentiment. "I did it my way" was the finale of the show, sung without irony.

Afterwards, we went to Flamingo's - four floors of hedonism and loud thumping music that I've never really understood. I sulked on the balcony, until a random person grabbed my bottom and told me to cheer up. I ignored him - I reserve my right to be miserable in these places. Then I made the mistake of standing next to a crazy person. From Glasgow. He had the hugest face and body I've ever seen. He was dancing on the spot and kept bumping into me. He then started making lots of weird hand movements and flashing his teeth at me. I decided to try and make an effort and talk to him. He was only able to say two things. First, pointing at a blonde girl dancing on a podium "That's my daughter!" And then "She's Donna Summer!" In the end, one of the bouncers dragged him away from me. But seconds later he bounded back, as proud as ever of his "daughter", "Donna Summer", and intent on telling me every ten seconds. I always end up with the crazies. It's a special talent I have.

There were two very attractive young men in their late teens or early twenties who were dancing on the stage next to the dance floor all night. One of them had taken his shirt off. When I am nightclubs I generally get so bored that I start making up little life histories about everyone. I decided that they both called Matt and tonight they were celebrating having been a couple for exactly two weeks and that the whole place was just for them, and that everybody else was judged on how close they were able to approximate the ideal. I tried to imagine what they would look like in ten years time, whether they would be considering hair plugs, or whether they'd still feel like dancing. I shouldn't really go out on the gay scene.

In the end, I decided to join in with everyone else and dance - it's hard to keep up the sulky act ALL night. My friend told me afterwards that I dance like James Dean. I think she was just being nice though. I hope Donna Summer and her father got back home to their hotel OK. Celebrities can't be too careful walking around the streets late at night.

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