Thanks Ferris. With that in mind, and the dawning of a new year (a new era and all that jazz), I have decided to look back over the last 12 months of my life and pick out my top 15 highlights. From a music and performance perspective mostly, so not including stuff like Murdochgate (which I was obsessed with over the summer), the August riots and the Japanese earthquake. Looking back it turns out 2011 was quite event packed:
1) Boyz Magazine cover
The year got off to a good start with a cover feature in the London magazine Boyz (above). The interview is not online, but you can read this one at Bent mag instead.
2) Writing for Dangerous Minds
In January I landed a job writing about music (and other stuff) for my favourite website Dangerous Minds. I had been reading and commenting for over a year when I decided to chance my arm and send them a pitch - and they were into it! I've done well over 200 posts now, you can see a list of them here.
3) Vogue Brawl
At the end of January Growler & Niallist held our inaugural Vogue Brawl in Legends. The night was a huge success with Manchester's fiercest and most fabulous showing out. Music was supplied by Pumping Iron and Menergy, and prizes went to Woof Woof, Sebastian, Zsa Zsa Noir and the House of Blige. Vogue Brawl will be back this year, bigger and better than ever! Funnily enough, the Facebook event page is still up.
4) The Birth of Joyce D'Vision
I knew from the moment that Joe Spencer told me his idea for a Joy Division based drag act called Joyce that it was beyond brilliant. So big props to Scottee Scottee for insisting that Joe do some kind of performance piece at Eat Your Heart Out in February, kicking Joe's arse into gear and giving birth to the whole Joyce D'Vision thing! [Eat Your Heart Out pics here]
5) Dirty Minds - a tribute to Prince
In March Growler and Niallist hosted a Prince tribute night at the Purple Pussycat with help from local scene queens Sheela Blige, Kurt Dirt and Emma Peate (who incredibly dj'ed for 4 hours playing NON STOP Prince music and not even resorting to extended mixes!) This was a major blast, and I wanna do it again... [Dirty Minds pics here]
6) Facebook gay kiss controversy
In April Dangerous Minds had our biggest story of the year, unintentionally inspired by a post I wrote on a London pub's gay "kiss-in". This post was removed from Facebook, inspiring Richard Metzger to write another post that got shared 85,000 times on Facebook and gaining coverage in the international media.
7) Ariel Pink & Haunted Graffiti live
This was a great gig, but it was what happened on the walk home with Joe Spencer that was the real magic. Call it another gay kissing controversy if you will.
8) Supporting JD Samson's MEN at the Islington Mill
Another awesome gig by one of my favourite bands, and this time I was honoured to be able to share a stage with them too. Me and Joyce D'Vision also got to interview JD Samson and talk about queer issues, and it turns out she's lovely! You can see that (unedited) interview here.
9) Sharing a stage with David Hoyle
David Hoyle is a natural comedy genius, a legendary performer and a huge inspiration to pretty much everyone I know. Getting to share a stage with him (as part of Joyce D'Vision) was another great honour for me last year. As for the show, well, it was smashing...
10) Biophilia live
Bjork's Biophilia show as part of the Manchester international Festival was by far the best thing I saw live lsat year. It was a perfect blend of the old and the new, the organic and the technological and in a beautiful setting too (the Museum of Science and industry). The music was wondrous, rapturous - this was pretty much some kind of religious experience. You can read my review on Dangerous Minds.
11) Tranarchy presents Showgirls
As part of a series of alternative events over Pride Weekend, Growler & Niallist screened the cult classic Showgirls with live drag queen stripping, topless (bear) dancing, a thrusting competition, Bad Taste Barbies live and more.
12) Menergy second annual Fierce Ruling Divas Ball
The FRDB returned for it's second outing in Glasgow near the end of August, and saw a huge turn out of drag queens that seemingly never existed in Glasgow before. Have we cast some kind of a spell? Guest judge Jonny Woo might well think so...
13) Zombie Pride 4
A week after FRDB2 saw Zombie Pride return for its fourth year to Legends, packing in well over 400 crazily dressed people into the venue, and going on till 4AM. Although it was a long shift, it basically ran like a dream, and was probably the most successful night I've been involved in running! Here's Kate Hughes' excellent investigative report:
14) Remixxing werk
Although I spent a large part of my musical time this year getting together the AKA album (out soon with guests like Yo Majesty, Andrew WK, Beth Ditto, Ali Renault and more) the work I was most pleased with was my remixxing. I have been honing a sound that takes the best bits of urban music and makes it house (with some acid and disco thrown in).
15) Joyce D'Vision on Harry Hill's TV Burp
What the fuck can I say? This is still like a dream, it all happened so fast. I still have to pinch myself to remind me that it's real - it's one of the biggest comedians in the UK basically saying, in front of one of the largest audiences of prime time television, that he thinks this is great. Thank you Harry, so so much!!