Duckie (at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern)

 
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1990s outrageousness still lifting the spirits on a Saturday night
An alternative, retro-happy, queer-proud and irreverent weekly Saturday night event hosted by New Jersey-born handbag-wielding lipstick-lipped lesbian Amy Lamé, who in 1995 co-created this fabulous, mostly male institution with Simon Casson. The striking, stand-alone 1864 Vauxhall corner pub casually known as the RVT has had a gay thing going on since after the Second World War, with drag a house specialty. Lamé and Casson are unyielding in their zero tolerance for attitude, conspicuous hipness and shirtlessness. Those who recall the left-field Bell in the mid-80s might well think that Duckie takes the spirit of that long-gone King's Cross hot spot to the next level and beyond. Expect adventurous cabaret acts — this is where incomparable performance-art duo Kiki & Herb hit London first — and a playlist ranging from indie to camp with a sizeable dose of radio oldies, whether the Smiths, Kate Bush, the Mamas & the Papas, Joy Division, Baccara, Depeche Mode, the Monkees, Pulp or Fleetwood Mac. In November 2016 London's mayor Sadiq Khan appointed Lamé the city's first Night Czar to stem the tide of nightclub closures. Lamé also presents a Sunday afternoon radio show on BBC 6 Music.

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