22/01/12: “Oh Bette, you look fucking gorgeous this evening”…
Having had to keep tight lipped about last Sundays ‘big event’ at 79CXR for almost a month was no easy thing for me and my big old gob, but this glowing lush managed to keep it tightly under his flat cap.
79CXR, now known for its rehashing of TV shows of old, under the ingenious imagination of guv’nor Dave Bunce, resurrected ‘This Is Your Life’ to celebrate all round drag tour de force Bette Rinse and her 50th birthday.
The scene was set as all the guests from Bette’s past gathered in the piano bar next door but one, and sneakily crept through the fire exit (the glamour is endless) to converge upstairs ready to surprise the birthday gal. Mary Mac, looking more like a glimmering Marilyn Monroe than Michael Aspel, hosted with the expertise of someone well beyond her years, reading from the famous big red book. She really is one to watch, ya know!
Scene faces including Tanya Hyde, The Boy George Experience, Dame Julie Paid, Halfway’s Ange, Barbie and some old drag hag called Jason Reid, along with good friends of La Rinse, Inch, Evil, David, Raymondo and hubby Andrew, made their way down the stairs and on to the stage to share memories and anecdotes.
There were even a few very special video messages from family members that pulled at the heart strings, and from fellow artistes that had Bette and the CXR crowd chuckling away.
The night was rounded up with Bette’s best bits from over the years followed by showstopping performances, dedicated to Bette, from three piece lip-syncers Supasista and super foxy Tanya Hyde.
Happy Birthday Bette Rinse from all at QX Towers and a special glittery hug from me. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to know you and to have you and your unique ‘talent’ that so enriches the scene. You really are one of the diamonds in the pack. Here’s to another 50, eh?
79 Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0BN
Words by Jason Reid
Photos by Joel Ryder