The Glory’s final live-stream shows east London drag in ‘a different guise’
- Credit: Supplied
For lovers of drag champing at the bit for live shows to re-start and hankering for something new, The Glory’s final live-stream might just be the ticket.
Drag queen Margo Marshall heads up the Haggerston queer pub and performance venue’s last virtual show on May 15 which celebrates the diversity of the east London drag scene and Margo’s own experience as non-binary.
Red Chipped Nails features RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’s Bimini and Crystal, as well as The Glory co-owner and performer Jonny Woo, and a host of others including Sue Gives a Fu*k, Grace Shush, Cazeleon and Baby Lame as a kind of “BBC Live Lounge for queers, by queers, about queers”.
With original “beatniky, punky, disco” music written by Margo and performance artist Robyn Herfellow, it might challenge your expectations of what drag can be.
“I wanted to show east London drag in a slightly different guise,” says Margo, “and for people to hear the conversations we’ve all been having and the plethora of queer, musical voices.”
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Margo adds that drag is often seen as one dimensional – often only ever given one note to play – which pigeonholes the artform, queer music and ignores the rich mix of LGBTQ+ voices.
"There are more voices to the drag and gender journey and I wanted to write about that. We need to see all the other dimensions of drag and see ourselves in different lights and hear different narratives rather than falling into tropes.”
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Reflecting the diversity within the east London queer community, a host of drag queens and kings, queer, non-binary and trans performers who are a mix of ethnicities and genders get up on stage for the show.
"It’s really important to have that crossover,” says Margo, “In east London, that mix happens naturally and people are more interested in your point of view rather than what’s between your legs.
“We try to be different and try not to be copycats. East London is an amazing place for pushing for diversity and I think that is really special about east London drag.”
The live-stream will be the first time the trained dancer who has worked with Sink the Pink, Melanie C and Robyn, has performed their own songs, which detail their experience of self-discovery going through “a period of big change”.
“They’re so personal,” Margo says. “They’re about our scene and about my life. One song is about having depression and having to go to the gig to entertain, and a lot of queers will relate to that. I speak in a candid way, but make it fun and celebrate it with dance and music."
As well as lip syncs, songs and comedy from the various performers, Margo interviews Bimini - a standout contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season two - about being non-binary, in a section of the show filmed at The Bethnal Green Workers Club.
“We talk about writing queer music and being young, non-binary artists who are trying to break that mould of drag. She’s not doing the drag hustle anymore, and at such a big moment in her career, it has been a nice opportunity to speak to her about the people who have made her now.”
Margo also hopes Red Chipped Nails whets people’s appetites for the reopening of queer venues, which they say we should support - along with the queer artists who perform on their stages - “in full force”.
“We need to show each other that we are part of a big family and that can never go away if we don’t let it. Queer people’s lives have always been hidden away in nightlife and I’ve missed being able to turn up at The Glory and see friends do their thing and hug them."
Venues like The Glory and Bethnal Green Working Mens Club are queer community hubs they add: “As a performer I’ve missed the attention, but as a queer person, I’ve missed our social spaces and watering holes.”