Monday, 17 November 2014

The Next LOBOTOMY ROOM ... Saturday 27 December 2014 at Paper Dress Vintage!

Escape the boredom that imprisons us all – at LOBOTOMY ROOM!

Frug, twist, watusi and monkey away your post-Christmas / pre-New Year’s Eve ennui - with the throbbing excitement of Lobotomy Room at East London boîte de nuit Paper Dress Vintage! 

Lobotomy Room – a punkabilly beer blast! A spectacle of decadence for the permissive Continentally-minded sin set! A Mondo Trasho evening of Beat, Beat Beatsville Beatnik Rock’n’Roll! Rockabilly Psychosis! Wailing Rhythm and Blues! Twisted Tittyshakers! Punk Cretin Hops! Kitsch! Exotica! Curiosities and other Weird Shit! Think John Waters soundtracks, or Songs The Cramps Taught Us, hosted by Graham Russell (of Dr Sketchy and Cockabilly notoriety). Expect desperate stabs from the jukebox jungle! Savage rhythms to make you writhe and rock!

Musical guest is JANE RUBY - the bluesy chantoosie who purrs and belts in a voice of pure pink cashmere. Perhaps best-known as the hour glass-contoured frontwoman of South London’s now-defunct voodoobilly band Naked Ruby throughout the 2000s, Ruby then sang and played guitar in all-girl surf punk outfit The Deptford Beach Babes – and now she’s seducing audiences with her new one-woman solo act. Ruby’s songs evoke visions of Ann-Margret in her Kitten with a Whip prime twisting frantically to Link Wray and are informed by her chequered past. Hailing from the wastelands of Adelaide, Australia has left the devilish red-haired singer a life-long glamour junkie, something Ruby indulged via her stints as a former nudie cutie artist’s model, dancer (Can-Can, flamenco and belly) and cocktail lounge jazz diva covering Billie Holiday and Nina Simone standards (an apprenticeship that still lingers in her femme fatale vocal antics). Ruby’s lyrics are sometimes spun from her real-life debauched alcohol-fuelled Janis Joplin-esque misadventures and sometimes are Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!-style revenge fantasies (assuming her songs about killing men are not based on firsthand experience). Blues, flamenco-tinged rock’n’roll and dirty stories are assured. If we’re lucky Ruby might even throw in a spot of belly-dancing!

All this and admission is gratuit. (That’s French for FREE!)

Lobotomy Room – a tawdry good time guaranteed!

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Lobotomy Room is kindly sponsored by Vivien of Holloway - for all your faux vintage glamour needs!

Flyer by Ego Rodriguez. The “cover girl” this time is cult movie actress / burlesk strip-tease artist / convicted felon / naive outsider painter / gangster’s moll / authoress of books including My Face for the World to See and How to Attract Men ... the fabulous Liz Renay (1926 - 2007). You inevitably know Renay best for her portrayal of the vicious Muffy St Jacques in the 1977 John Waters classick Desperate Living. She is the embodiment of Lobotomy Room!

Read about all the Lobotomy Rooms so far hereherehereherehereherehere and here.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Reunion with the Prince of Puke: John Waters at Southbank Centre 11 November 2014

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[John Waters - the "filth elder" of us all  - made a triumphant return visit to London on Tuesday 11 November 2014 when he brought his This Filthy World: Filthier and Dirtier show to The Royal Festival Hall. I've been regularly contributing to Beige magazine lately and they asked me to do a scene report. You can also read this on their website]

Trust John Waters to lure the freakiest, queerest crowd assembled at The Royal Festival Hall since punk diva Siouxsie’s 2013 Meltdown comeback gig. Or the last time Diamanda Galas performed there. Or in fact since the last time Waters brought his acclaimed one man stand-up comedy show This Filthy World to town.

In his tight, rapid-fire ninety minute set, the veteran cult filmmaker turned raconteur regaled us with dirty stories like a joyous bad influence toilet-mouthed uncle (albeit an exceptionally elegant uncle clad in Comme des Garcons). [Note: I've since been corrected that Waters' ultra soigné suit was by Belgian designer Dries Van Noten!]

Outing himself as a Lana Del Rey fan, the trash auteur admitted contemplating coming onstage and serenading us with her entire Ultraviolence album while maintaining direct eye contact in an act of creepy performance art - but chickened out. Waters suggested David Lynch should produce the dysfunctional ice maiden’s next album and argued Lynch would be missing a trick if he doesn’t invite her to appear on the 2016 Twin Peaks reboot.

Perversely, Waters loves tarnished pop idol Justin Bieber even more now that he’s on the descent, admitting he’d love to cut an album of duets with him like Tony Bennett’s and Lady Ga Ga’s.

Recalling his childhood, Waters described how in kindergarten he’d tell his mother stories about the peculiar little boy in his class who never spoke to his classmates and only coloured with black crayons. When Mrs Waters enquired about this kid to his teacher at a PTA meeting, the teacher exclaimed, “But that’s your son!”

Anecdotes about the making of his notorious midnight movies were inevitable. Waters called outrageous late maverick actress Susan Tyrrell - who loved freaking out the squares by loudly announcing she possessed “the pussy of a 12-year old girl”- one of the most terrifying women he ever met.

[Tyrrell, of course, played Ramona Rickettes in Waters' 1990 film Cry-baby. He mentioned the cast also included the notorious, troubled and frequently violent sex kitten Joey Heatherton. He talked about Heatherton being arrested in 1985 for physically assaulting a clerk at the passport agency office – and then just recently attacking a neighbour whose noisy juicer machine was disturbing her. “Don’t fuck with Joey Heatherton!”]

When his elderly mother asked about the subject matter of 2004’s A Dirty Shame (Water’s last film to date) and he replied, “Sex addiction”, she wearily sighed, “Maybe we’ll be dead before it comes out.” His father shrugged “It was funny but I hope I never see it again.”

Waters cited viewing putrid 1945 “sexual hygiene film” Mom and Dad at an impressionable age as a key influence on his own sensibility. An embryonic example of sexploitation cinema, it played in Baltimore’s grindhouse theatres for eight years. Starved for a glimpse of female nudity, the men in the audience actually masturbated to close-ups of childbirth. Waters said seeing this set him on his path as a filmmaker.  

The tone sweetened when he fondly reminisced about his two much-missed leading ladies, Divine and Edith Massey. Explaining Divine’s persona as hybrid of Jayne Mansfield and Godzilla conceived to scare hippies, Waters described filming his 300-pound drag starlet crawling through mud on a pig farm in 1969’s Mondo Trasho. Once the cameras started rolling two of the pigs spontaneously started fucking. It wasn’t in the script, but it added to the magic. “Divine turned the pigs on!” he marvelled.

Admitting he still wakes up surprised that Divine is dead, he revealed that actress Mink Stole, his casting director Pat Moran and himself have bought burial plots together adjoining Divine’s and dubbed the area Disgraceland. Waters urged everyone to come and fuck on their graves when they’re dead: “We’d love it!” His is actually a double burial plot and Waters suggested if any rabid fan wanted to dig-up the remains of either Pier Paolo Pasolini or Jean Genet and re-bury them next to him, he’d appreciate the tribute.

But let’s face it, we come to John Waters for filth and he didn't disappoint. Most middle-aged straight men “are bears without even knowing it,” he argued. Waters is an unrepentant connoisseur of poppers. When he throws “popper parties” uncomprehending straight guests unsure about the mechanics of taking amyl nitrate have drunk it or stuck it in their asses. “We need popper education!” He skewered what he sees as the dysfunctional S&M relationship between humans and their pets: dogs are “doomed to suffer human caresses ...your cat hates you!” And he taught us kinky new sexual slang. A “blouse” is an effeminate top. [Note: he also lamented no one uses the expression "basket" anymore!]. As for “blossoms” (also known as “rosebuds”), do a Google image search if you’re feeling brave but perhaps not from your office PC.

/ The photos below were taken by Mia of Amy Grimehouse /

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Further reading:

My 2010 interview with John Waters for Nude magazine

My 2011 reunion with the Prince of Puke

When John Waters brought his Christmas Show to Royal Festival Hall in 2011

Full scene report from the Amy Grimehouse 12-hour John Waters Filth Fest on 29 March 2014