I hear the opening bars, grab my cock in my hand and bound onstage, all energy and defiance.
“You were working as a waitress in a cocktai-ail ba-ar” … The crowd know the song, doesn’t matter if it’s the original or the remake – it’s a song that all the generations know. This is, of course, why I chose it. That and the chorus, of course. Perfect for a gay bar shout-along.
The vest is mine, the underpants too, the cock – well I suppose it’s mine. I bought it. I hope the crowd get the joke that the pants are Clavin Klein with a lurex waistband and don’t think I actually wear this kind of underwear in real life. I’m Estuarine Eddie right now, and he’s a wannabe flash bastard. Genuine schneid from the market and a bottle of Disaronno hidden in the pocket for the ladeez. The beard feels good and I know it looks good, too. Real. It gives me an absurdly exaggerated sense of confidence.
My outfit is carefully folded over a chair, stage left. I’ve practiced this reverse strip so many times now, but still, I’m aware that it needs split-second timing if the dressing and the lip-sync are to work with the music. The shirt cuffs have been an ongoing problem and I thought of cutting them off, but in the end, I’ll be leaving them unbuttoned. Nobody will notice, once that sharp jacket goes on. I know that I need to get to that last chorus just as I’m doing my tie up, with a casually violent gesture suggestive of strangulation. I’m sober as an athlete and high as fuck right now.
I pick out one of the women near the front, come right upstage, give her my best lascivious sneer of macho contempt and thrust myself at her while we all yell, “Don’t you want me, baby?” We’re playing, we’re all playing, we all bloody well know she doesn’t want me – or the persona I am right here – and that my question is at once a commentary on toxic masculinity and also a lament for all the failed pickups that all the queers in this room have themselves made down the years. Right here, with this stage and this song, we’re doing therapy. Mine. And their’s.
Pride in Worthing
Pride month is almost upon us again, all around the place, including Worthing. Here’s a post from 2019 and our 2nd celebration in the town – A Deeper Love?
This year, there’s plenty of events happening. Of course, there’ll be the commercial Pride event in the park on 8th/ 9th July. But that’s not appealing to plenty of people, whether it’s the cost (£35), the alcohol-fuelled atmosphere, or worries about how inclusive the event will be.
Hey! There’s plenty of other stuff going on.
There’s a free ‘Pride Walk’ happening on the Saturday 9th, that aims to be more grassroots and inclusive. People will be meeting at 12 noon, at the Pier, near the rainbow steps. The organisers are posting that this is a family friendly, 0.9 mile Proud Walk, from Worthing Pier throughout town and beyond… The walk is aimed to be fully wheelchair accessible. Details of this event are on Worthing’s LGBTQ+ group on FB and Meetup.
Worthing’s transgender and nb (non-binary) group is raising awareness about the still-an-issue of peeing liberation and the struggle for spaces to pee in peace.
And Worthing’s theatres are in on Pride, too. WoBy couldn’t resist an event aimed at people who love to scribble – a free Pride storytelling workshop at the Connaught. Led by a strong lady, we brainstormed moments of struggle and pride, survival and persistence, and thought about how we could turn them into good stories. For me, that was a moment of pride and affirmation in a safe, queer space.
What? Oh yeah, the ‘strong lady’ thing. Not my words, of course – you recognised that. No, this is how the workshop facilitator Charmaine Childs describes herself. As the event blurb explains, Charmaine Childs is a circus Strong Lady who produces joyful shows about strength and connection. She tours international arts festivals and develops bespoke storytelling and writing workshops.
At the workshop, we wrote our own sprint- write longform pieces (that’s mine, above) and also made some ‘micro-stories‘ of pride – look out for them around town over the next month in Worthing Theatres and Museums venues.
@bryonymayart was also at the storytelling event and dashed off a quick poem – reproduced here – which speaks right into the heart of what we need.
If it’s not inclusive of all of us – then our Pride events are nothing to be proud about!
If you want to do one little thing from home, from this page, then look below and click the links – and on Pride weekend, please remember and say their names. They weren’t part of the white, mainstream, middle-class, respectable, assimilated gaydom. As Edelman’s global ethnographic review from 2001 will tell you, liberation doesn’t tend to emerge from such spaces.