My name is Tallulah...

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    Tallulah: his life in pictures (click to enlarge)

    The Escort Club (1972)

    ‘It was a cabaret club, a nice chic place. It’s where Hinge and Bracket started. There was a guy on the door called Jimmy Flipside. There was only one deck, so he had to flip the record over while he was taking the coats. They asked me to DJ there and when I arrived they told me that first I had to clean the toilets. I think all DJs should me made to clean the toilets. It’s character-building. Shortly after I started working there, a group of us went to Munich for the Oktoberfest. There was nothing to do except drink and do drag. I got searched going through customs, and all I had in my suitcase were feathers, sequins, make-up, old stockings and yards of lace.’

    Bang (1976)

    There was a gay American magazine called Blueboy, and they were holding a contest to find Mr Blueboy. The London heat was at Bang, which was the big gay club then, on Charing Cross Road. By then I was working as a DJ there, and what annoyed me was the flyer said ‘suit, evening wear and swimsuit’. Now to me, a swimsuit’s not male. It can be male, but it can also be female. But they wouldn’t listen, so I thought: Right, I’ll enter. At first they said: “No, you can’t enter, you’re working.” But when I threatened to storm the stage they soon changed their minds. So I entered, and to prove a point I wore a female swimsuit. And I think you can see by the reaction on the crowd’s faces [see right] that it wasn’t quite what was expected. That became my look for a while. I used to go to Marks & Spencer and buy ladies’ swimsuits and decorate them with diamanté and feathers.’

    Rollerdisco (1980)

    ‘This picture was taken at the Electric Ballroom, Camden Town. The guy who was the producer of “Top of the Pops”, Gordon Aylesbury, and a friend of his took it over every night. Tuesdays was definitely gay night. And Fridays was whoever we could get in. It didn’t work, really. I used to be on the mic, shouting things like “round the other way”, “boys only”, or “couples!”. Ian Levine [Heaven DJ and inven- tor of HiNRG] covered for me one night and hated every second of it.’

    Peppermint Park (1981)

    ‘It was next to Stringfellows, a sort of “Miami hits London” restaurant. On Thursdays we used to clear all the tables away and put out big bowls of sangria. It was the time of Divine and New Order, and that’s mainly what I used to play. I used to put on a cassette, which back then was quite modern. We’d get people like Barbara Windsor, and Leigh Bowery came in once or twice, possibly for the free drinks, I think. It was during his blue period. He’d stand there all in blue and pose for an hour before drinking up and moving on somewhere else.’

    The Porchester Hall Drag Ball (1982)

    ‘The Porchester was a sauna and Turkish baths just up Queensway. The drag balls were run by Ron Storme and had an avid following. People would spend months getting their outfits ready. I don’t think they entered for the prizes. The prizes that year were a £150 voucher for the ‘She-and-Me’ shop, and dinner for three. I mean, why three?’


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