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Sunday, June 16, 2024

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New Year Cabaret: Jason Reid chats to award winning vintage vixen Chanel N°5

Well, here we are in 2022! Happy new year, cabaret lovers. After a disastrous December for much of the scene because of omicron, let’s hope brighter times lie ahead. Please support cabaret venues and artists as much as you can. The recovery continues apace. With that in mind, I caught up with award-winning vintage vixen Chanel N°5…

JR: Firstly, congrats on going viral recently. How does it feel to be a bona fide Twitter icon, and where did “Live, Laugh, Lateral Flow” come from?

CN: Thank you! I’ve always tweeted like a bit of a “hun”, and it just popped into my head. I found myself really funny and the rest is history. I really wasn’t expecting it to blow up as much as it did. Someone even sent me a cross-stitch of my tweet and it’s been deemed the tweet of 2021!

JR: What predictions do you have for the world of drag in 2022?

CN: I predict that we’ll all get bored of flat, straight, human hair wigs and death drops, and that proper camp drag will have a huge resurgence in 2022. It’s already started — it was a joy to see La Voix on Queen of the Universe being celebrated for being classic, British camp drag.

Photo Credit – Aiden Orange Photography

JR: Covid has been devastating for venues and artists, can you give us an insight into how it’s affected you and how you’ve bounced back?

CN: It hugely affected me. I went from having a job I love, to having no creative outlet and no way to make money unless I begged for tips on Facebook (we’ve all been there, I’m never going back!)

Once we were out of lockdown, I was really grateful for the community of bars that we have both in London and across the country. From there I ended up having residencies at new venues, traveling to places I’d never performed at before and meeting some fabulous people on the way.

One of my favourite gigs of the week is always bingo down at The Bridge Clapham. It’s a really cute bar with a great team led by Vicki, we always have a lovely crowd in and there’s always shots and Prosecco to be given out!

JR: What would you say to people who are anxious about venturing out because of Covid?

CN: If you want to go out but are nervous, message the bar, see what they’re doing to keep people safe — lots of venues are very good at seating people at tables and will be happy to book you in and perfectly happy to make sure that you’re feeling safe and comfortable. Many bars have started doing earlier shows midweek that are seated, or are more of a cocktail lounge style so you’re free to stay seated or move about. Venues need as much support as they can get at the moment.

JR: Which song is going to be your 2022 energy?

CN: ‘I’m Still Here’ from Sondheim’s follies — there have been times these past two years where I’ve felt like giving up and getting a ‘normal’ job, but I’ve stuck with it and I’m still here. I also just had to honour Stephen Sondheim, who we lost last year. An absolute genius who has inspired me ever since I saw Sweeney Todd and walked up to him in the loos (but that’s a story for another day).

Photo Credit – Aiden Orange Photography

Drag Bingo with Chanel N°5 is every Thursday at The Bridge Clapham, 8 Voltaire Road, London SW4 6DH



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