Vauxhall’s answer to David Starkey takes us on a tour of his fave city hotspots!
If you’ve never seen international homosexual, historian and cabaret performer Lenard Pink in action, think a modern day Larry Grayson (look him up kids) crossed with a jovial David Starkey. For the past year Lenard has been working hard on his new documentary, I’m Still Queer, filming with seven queer luminaries to find out about the places that have special meaning to them. This independently made documentary coincides with the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Partial Decriminalisation of the Homosexual Act 1967. But what are Lenard’s favourite places with a gay lilt? This week Jason Reid finds out…
We’re so spoilt with luscious outdoor green spaces in London, but my ultimate favourite has to be Hampstead Heath. And I know exactly what you’re thinking, and you’re right; my partner Sydney and I often walk through the wooded overgrowth with our dog Elizabeth I. There’s a treasure or two to be found there… We walk from Hampstead Heath to Highgate embracing its ancient woodlands and beautiful spring pools, and ramble up its hilly, grassy knolls.
The best eatery to visit if you want a tasty burger and a bum. A bum if you sit in the window seat, because your eyes are just at the right level, if you know what I mean. Naughty Lenard! I’ve been in and out of this place for thirty years, since it was first conceived, I do believe by David Taylor (one of the co-founders), and he’s still involved to this very day. Friendly, efficient, hot, hot staff and a very good place for celebrity watching.
Royal Vauxhall Tavern
This is, without a shadow of a doubt, my favourite cabaret venue in London. An auditoria par excellence. She oozes history, character and vitality. I’ve seen so many outstanding performers at the RVT over the years, such as Lily Savage, Regina Fong, Sandra Hush and David Dale. All the greats.
National Portrait Gallery
The V&A has a fabulous LGBT history section, and is a stunning source of artefacts, pictures and relics, but the National Portrait Gallery has so much more depth of LGBT history. Rooms full of portraits of real people with fascinating tales that not everyone would be familiar with. Now, if you decide to pop along, make sure you go with an historian who will reveal the stories behind the portraits. Oh, that would be me then…
The Kings Arms
We’re back in Soho for my next choice! Andy GarciaValarino (Doctor Woof) introduced me to this place, and since I interviewed him for the documentary I haven’t supped ale anywhere else. I do like a pint of ale by the way. The Kings Arms is fundamentally a bear hangout and I have to say, in the time I’ve been going there, I haven’t had one encounter with a grizzly.
Nowadays I don’t really go out to pick up. I always find that sexual tensions get in the way of a good conversation. However if I were to go on the prowl it would have to be somewhere bloody dark and XXL fits that criteria perfectly. There’s also always a possibility of picking up in a museum of course. You never know, I might bump into a sapiosexual. Hmmm, I’ll leave that one with the readers…
Highlights of Lenard Link’s I’m Still Queer will be shown at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern on Saturday 27th May, from 12PM.