Amy Lamé interview
Amy Lamé goes from club hostess to Mayoress, and still finds time for homoLAB.
Amy Lamé has come a long way from her days serving coffee and quiche at London's lesbian and gay veggie café First Out. In fifteen years as the hostess of Duckie, along with nine years as a radio presenter with Danny Baker and Gary Crowley, she has also performed on stage and made regular appearances on television. Recently, she took on the unlikeliest of roles for a gay girl from New Jersey, becoming the Mayoress of Camden. And now she's busy working on a new queer podcast called 'homoLAB'.
Fifteen years is a long time in gay clubland.
'I know! Where does the time go? We had our big fifteenth birthday in September last year at the Southbank Centre. Duckie started off as just a bunch of mates having fun, and now we're putting on these huge events. And it's not just the club. There's also the theatre shows.'
Is there anything exciting coming up?
'We have a big show coming up at the Barbican in June. It's called “Lullabye” and it's a sleepover show. So instead of booking a seat, you book a bed. There'll be singles, doubles and triples, and there'll be someone on hankly panky duty. And then in the morning someone brings you breakfast in bed. Tickets are cheaper than a hotel room in London. So if any tourists are reading…'
How did you become Mayoress of Camden?
'I've known Mayor Jonathan Simpson since the early days of Duckie. We have a mutual love of Morrissey and we've spent many nights dancing together to Smiths records, and I knew he was my local councillor. Last year he became Mayor, and as a single gentleman of
a certain persuasion, he decided he needed a Mayoress. My role is purely civic and purely voluntary. I support Jonathan, and also I have specific community groups that might call on me - women's groups, for example. In May I'm hosting The Mayoress's Ball at Barfly. But mostly we work together. When the queen came I had to greet her, say: “Good morning, your majesty, and welcome to the borough of Camden”, and then curtsey! I thought: What has my life come to?'
What would Morrissey say?
'Exactly! But a lot of it is more community-based. It's a real mix. I think we're the first gay and lesbian mayoral tag team. Jonathan's not the first gay Mayor, but usually if there's a gay Mayor, their partner will be their consort. What's unusual is that we're not involved in any romantic way. But everyone thinks we're a couple. They see two chubsters roll up and they just assume that we're together. Someone even asked me how many children we had. I nearly choked on my white wine!'
Tell us about homoLAB.
'It's me, Lucio Buffone and Baylen Leonard. We're all friends and we all work in radio. And we just thought, there isn't any real quality, gay, lesbian, queer, cultural and topical issues programme out there. We wanted to talk about issues, chat with interesting personalities, and just reflect the kind of gay lives that we lead. It's very DIY. We record everything on a laptop, and the show is free to download. The best things usually start with a bunch of mates sitting around saying: “We should just do that!” That's what I've been doing at Duckie for 15 years, and that's what I'm doing now.'