Pics by Lee Baxter
Growler & Niallist is Joe Spencer and Niall O'Conghaile. Joe has been promoting parities in Manchester for a few years and can occasionally be seen performing as "Joyce D'Vision". Niall has been djing and promoting parties in Glasgow for over a decade, as well as releasing music on respected dance labels like Dissident, Tirk and Eskimo.
Niall: I moved here in 2010 from Glasgow and met Joe at a screening of The Human Centipede. We decided to work together to throw a vogue ball (a competitive, drag queen fashion show), inspired by the cult documentary Paris Is Burning and previous vogue balls thrown by Horse Meat Disco in London and our own Menergy night in Glasgow. The first Vogue Brawl was in January of this year and was a roaring success. There is footage shot and edited by the legendary Homocult, and off the back of that we have put together a drag-revue party called Tranarchy. The next night will be a strip along screening of the camp classic Showgirls at Kraak Gallery on Saturday August 27th, featuring the House of Blige, Pumping Iron, Bad Taste Barbies, Menergy's Lady Munter and more.
Joe: There's been an alt queer scene bubbling under in Manchester for a few years now and it feels like it's about to erupt! People are getting sick of the Canal Street mafia and starting to find spaces outside the village, venues like KRAAK and Islington Mill are some throwing killer queer parties. I feel the village is ran by a very cynical and bitter older generation of gay men, what they're offering is pretty outta date and really boring, the village is just so void of diversity. There's all the fuckin' hen parties too which I hate because they're keeping these shitty bars in business. Though as much as i slag the village you'll still always find me at company bar or eagle come 6am! I guess it's a real love/hate relationship we got going.
Niall: Having said that, there's still more diversity and life on the Manc scene than there is compared to Glasgow, or most other cities in the UK. People here bitch about the village a lot, and yeah it's not perfect, but it's still a valuable social centre for a lot of people, with spaces where you can hang out and not feel judged. Too much, anyway!
Joe: With this new queer uprising Bollox kinda got the ball rolling and has really been a melting pot for Manchester's arty alty queers. Rod is a total scene hero for me, Bollox was pretty much the reason I moved here cuz I got to meet so many awesome people there. There's so many awesome creative people in this city and the great thing is that unlike I dunno probably London people aren't fighting and competing, people work together and promote and play at each other nights and generally help each other out. WE'RE ALL FRIENDS!!!!
Niall: Yeah, Bollox is awesome, and Rod is a total unsung hero. I'd also like to praise the sterling work of Bren O'Callaghan who has put on a few different film screening-meets-live performance nights and has done a lot to bring the current scene together. And of course I have to mention the fabulous Zsa Zsa Noir, who has kept the alt-drag flame of David Hoyle alive while being really gorgeous, talented and quite bizarre. Performers like Zsa Zsa (and Kurt Dirt and the Bliges) are the reason we've started Tranarchy, as there is so much untapped talent in this town, and if it wasn't for the work of people like Rod and Bren we wouldn't meet each other!
Oh, and I'd just like to take this moment to plug my new album "AKA" which is coming out later this year. It's got an old school electro-hip-hop vibe, as I think gays in hip-hop are really under represented. There's tonnes of guests - Zsa Zsa Noir is on there, as is the hottest drag queen in the States right now, Christeene Vale and New York's vogue princess Cherie Lily. There's also tracks with gay rap legends Yo! Majesty and Scream Club, and an appearance by a certain Ms Ditto...
In this pic, Niallist, Deb Jump, Growler, Greg Thorpe, Jayne Compton, Reggie Ron Waite and the fabulous Sebastian.