London, United Kingdom
September 8, 2001
It is situated in South London and is an old music hall situated on Kennington Lane. To get there take the tube to Vauxhall and take the south-eastern underpass or walk across Vauxhall Bridge from Victoria. It is not in the most picturesque of areas but you know you are in the right place when Terry Farrells ziggurat-like M.I.6. Headquarters looms over everything, as featured in the last Bond film "The World is Not Enough". In fact the area is on the up and The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is under constant threat from demolition leading to lots of final parties. In fact, I have been to three final parties in the last year. It's that living on the edge of oblivion which gives the tavern its kudos.
During the week it holds entertainment (this was the pub which started the career of Lily Savage (probably not known outside the UK, but a dragqueen known as the 'blonde bombsite'). In fact you must have a sense of the ridiculous for the RVT which is a club that doesn't take itself too seriously and expects its patrons to enter in the fun. Upon entry there is a main club area with stage and a bar. You can see its old music hall roots by ascending tiers and wooden pillars. The toilets are fun, usually covered in white paper with pens inviting patrons to scrawl on them with questions like "Margaret Thatcher: woman or android? Discuss."
But its best night is Saturday night for the famous "Duckie" hosted by larger-then-life American lesbian Amy Lame. The music is indie, retro and alternative with the The Smiths, Sex Pistols, Blur and Blondie featuring heavily but it is the cabaret that brings in the punters. And what a weird and wonderful bunch they are? There is Lorraine Bowen who describes herself as a sexy, modern, socialist,bicycle enthusiast, 'Delightful Delores - a lesbian belly-dancer from Cricklewood, 'The Divine David' a scary, mascara covered comedian and 'Helena Goldwater' who is billed as 3 parts Shirley Bassey and 7 parts Auntie Margy. To quote Helena "Auntie Margy had offers from Hollywood but decided to stay with her knicker shop behind Walthamstow market" It's that kind of place and that kind of humour - very stange, very British and very perculiar...
From journal "Wilde about Oscar" - Gay and Lesbian London