Disruptive drag performer The Nightbus is a personification of everything we love about the alternative queer club scene. She’s talented, she’s original, and she’s not here to make fucking friends, because she’s got more than enough already.
She’s also formidably intelligent and switched on. When she gets to the counter at Chicken Cottage, she not only already knows what she’s ordering, she knows how many napkins she wants, and what sauces she’s having.
She’s done all sorts! She’s been a muse for electroclash queen Peaches, she’s performed at Glastonbury shitshow Block9, she’s been one of the stars of POC night The Cocoa Butter Club…go to her Facebook page and pack a lunch!
We took her aside just next to Old Street roundabout, and had a chat about Islam, hard boiled eggs, and some other stuff. We took some gorgey pics too!
Hello, The Nightbus! Why are you called THE NIGHTBUS?
The very thought of The Nightbus conjures thoughts of discomfort, necessity and regret, all of which apply when you know me on any level. Having said that, I am sad to say I feel rather defunct now that the pesky Night Tube has taken my reigns.
Tell us about your most eventful nightbus journey.
I cycle. I’m no bloody fool.
What’s your favourite condiment?
I quite like that imitable dessert-cum-accompaniment from across the pond – cranberry sauce. The saccharine offering brings tears to my eyes when I recall that despite best efforts to appear all sweet and rosy, there’s no such thing as an Innocent American…
What’s your favourite thing to eat when you’re a hungover mess?
The cholesterol-laced, still-beating hearts of Tory backbenchers. On toast.
How would you describe your bedroom manner?
Remedial. More so for the mattress than the participants. Sexy time is generally a lazy affair and ends with a natter about who we hate on the scene and how they will make it in the fashion industry blah blah blah – utter nonsense really.
Do you like a hard brexit?
I like a hard-boiled egg. In fact, I do believe a hard-boiled egg was included by Mrs May in her 12 point plan. Along with spilling the blood of every commuter who doesn’t tap in their oyster card quickly enough, and holding a national séance to see what Debbie Reynolds thinks.
What’s the weirdest sex thing you’ve ever done?
It involved a foot, a crusty wig and some duct tape. That’s all I can say.
Have you ever shagged a celebrity or someone vaguely famous?
See above. Again, that’s all I can say.
What’s your favourite accessory?
I’m quite fond of a luxury handbag, nimbly put together by the flexible and malnourished fingers of street urchins in Bangladesh for the delectation and delight of many a white woman in the West. I feel like it should be taken a step further though. Perhaps Uncle Karl could look into creating a trend for hollowed out orphans on chains? Perfect place to store your iPhone whilst letting everyone know you’re an utterly spineless and selfish cunt.
What do you think goes through Melania Trump’s head every morning when she wakes up?
I’m actually not so anti-Melania as she’s just an overlooked pawn in this hypermasculinised game of chess we’ve all been forced to watch over the last two years. I’m looking forward to hearing her chosen area of focus as First Lady. Perhaps she’ll go full throttle and also film a music video with Beyonce in a school canteen.
Or maybe she’ll choose to highlight the issues caused by using wet Weetabix as a wig when you’re the ‘leader of the free world’.
Give us some dancing tips.
If you hear it crack, remember you’re not black.
What’s the best place you’ve ever seen a drag show
A couple of years back a friend took me to a wet market south of Bangkok at around midnight. We wandered through entrails and flapping ducks before reaching the centre, where a makeshift bar had been set up and a flurry of gorgeous performers meticulously embodied their idols on a stage made of animal cages, covering hits from Rihanna to 2NE1.
It was dank, fab and the true definition of queering a space by utilising outside of its demonstrable purpose. Loved it.
You split your time between London and Berlin – how do they compare?!
Before moving to Berlin, I was told it was totes chill and I’d love it, but on reflection I was told this by white straight counterparts who never have to consider the risks taken when you’re a person of colour, femme, female queer and so on. Berlin presents a unique set of battles, because ultimately Germany is a country without colonies (as a punishment post Great War) meaning that there is a distinct lack of diversity on its streets, leading to unfamiliarity of things that are different.
London on the other hand, appears far more vocal in its aggressions towards the aforementioned groups, and it’s truly sad to experience in a city where we’re all being shat upon from a great height. I adore Berlin for one reason though, and that is the positive and unfaltering welcome of refugees to the city, despite how much the European media attempt to vilify them.
Everyone I know contributes to welcoming refugees and migrants in some way or another, whether through regular donation, volunteering every week or holding parties aimed at welcoming them to the rather splendid scenes that prevail across the city.
Special mentions to AJ Pittman and Olympia Bukkakis, both tirelessly working to support migrants and refugees in creative and beautiful ways. It’s sad to witness, but I believe the UK can learn a lot about integration from a country so historically fraught like Germany.
As a muslim queer person, do you think islamophobia is now more prevalent than homophobia?
Oh lord, totally! I really want to help people realise that being Muslim can mean so many things, just as being gay or femme or trans can cover a whole spectrum of people. Not everyone prays five times a day, not everyone despises the West and there are literally a negligible group who look to Daesh as a good thing, and we constantly speak up to say that small group will never and can never represent all of us.
It’s worth highlighting that younger generations appear to be brainwashed into following ISIS and being extreme. But I would guess this is a result of being a heavily oppressed and troubled generation.
The ones who suffered post-September 11th by being stopped in the street for no reason, or held by Border control for 24 hours because of a foreign sounding name (both of these things have happened to me).
The public want to believe that the forces in place always use their power responsibly, but actually they do make mistakes and the more that happens, the more disenfranchised the oppressed will be. Not a justification at all, just another angle to consider.
You’re mates with Peaches! What’s she like?
Peaches is a babe. I was invited, along with five other wonderful performers, to be muses in a contemporary interpretation of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte at the Deutsche Oper, and we worked quite closely on our roles in the show. Peaches’ partner, Black Cracker, is an incredible rapper and artist who happens to be trans.Their work on this and so many other things in Berlin is just beyond. So clever and thoughtful. Plus she lived on the same street as me so we’d have a natter in the corner shop when buying milk and lube.
Do you like the word “gorgey”?
I bloody love the word ‘gorgey’. It’s a quintessential throwback to the rhetoric of Patsy and Eddie. It will always have a special place in my life.
Where can we next see you perform?
Well I’m away for a bit now, but back in March for a few nights and I’ll be treading the boards at The Glory and Dalston Superstore no doubt.
April onwards I will be returning to Berlin, to my gracious home at Monster Ronson’s Ichiban Karaoke where myself and my drag haus (The House of Presents) host weekly drag parties and shows for y’all. And I also will be doing a few nights with my gal pal Olympia Bukkakis for her night called ‘Get Fucked’. Don’t worry. There’s no drugs or bumming. Just performances and other equally gorgey things.
Follow me on Instagram (the.nightbus) and Twitter (the_nightbus) for dates and dick pics sweeties. Or alternatively, come piss on my tyres in the Camberwell bus depot. Either/or really.
Give us a parting shot! What’s the Nightbus’s advice on life?
Stop taking shit, stand up and fight back. If you see injustice, speak up and don’t shut up until you’ve helped the silenced.
Oh and always tip your driver. Even on TfL.
• You can follow The Nightbus on Twitter @the_nightbus