Sunday, May 03, 2009
Alternative Miss World 2009: Body parts to dream of
Mr & Ms Andrew Logan (photo by iJPanda)
“Is that a vagina?” Ruby Wax demanded to know as co-host of Andrew Logan's Alternative Miss World 2009. Three large sails had made a grand entrance on the stage - a vagina was not the first thing they reminded me of, unless you‘re talking about an acute case of thrush. On a similar theme she added later of more imagined stylised pudenda: “There’s a strong smell of fish in the air.”
Yes, so moving on …
The 12th in the series since 1972, this Crufts-inspired AMW was once again the post-Warholian dry debauch of androgynous excess. The venue this time was The Roundhouse in London’s Camden and the theme The Elements - happily, only very loosely taken as inspiration.
Miss Flotsam told how she hates tidy beaches, and Miss No Signs Of Any Civilisation Whatsoever complained of traces of rust on her underbelly. I liked Miss Trailer Trasher’s boast that she has enough residual energy to become extremely unpleasant while Miss Bubbles Of Hope was composed of 78% air, 17% alcohol and 5% grape resin. Miss Majordha Beach's helium-inflated balloons, representing clouds, broke away and collected on a roof trap high up: I wondered who pops them in the morning. When Miss Sahhara gave birth to Africa I prayed Madonna wouldn't materialise and adopt it.
I can’t remember who won now but if it was the Miss who was hoisted aloft out of a tank-size puffball skirt then I concur - was that Miss Hokusai? Please write in.
Actually, the winner was Miss Fancy Chance
Andrew appeared as principal and exemplary host and hostess in a male/female harlequin-style get-up: to Ruby he probably looked like a badly bruised vagina with labial piercings and mirror adornments. Not for me to reason why.
My fiancee Molly Parkin was one of the judges and she took me as her VIP guest. We’d rendezvoused at the Chelsea Arts Club first - she was dressed as a thunderstorm in black and sparkling red. But since flashlight is white we recast her as a volcanic eruption with lava flows. I wore a dark velvet suit - a cloud seeking a silver lining.
Molly Parkin and Bruce Lacey (photo by Frances Lynn, see below)
In the Roundhouse’s VIP gallery other judges and their friends and/or fuckees joined us: Julian Clary - he asked me how he could find Madame Arcati on the internet: his delightful friend wore a pink balloon; Ken Russell, who sported a one-piece tent, his fifth or sixth wife and feet bandages; Time Out boss Tony Elliott - I told him I approved of his acting editor Mark Frith and he said “He’s good, I hope he stays”; the wonderful eccentric and performance artist Bruce Lacey - in one minute he twice fell off a pouffe, yet danced later; Zandra Rhodes; Tim Currey (great new teeth), oh, and so many others. Btw, Molly got the biggest aud cheer during the introductions.
One guest told me how she'd been Miss Conception in '81 - "and we had these props to represent artificial insemination". Now her daughter was about to open the show singing La Vie En Rose - "Andrew told me to wear a little black dress so people might think, 'Am I at the right show?'" Another guest told me: "I came second to Ursula Andress once in a beauty pageant ... "
The striking thing about the judging panel, in contrast to the huge youthy throng below with their muscle and tatts, was their age: both Bruce and Ken are over 80, many of the others in their 60s and 70s. Even Julian is close to 50 though looks closer to 30. This I like. All these Yodas presiding over the stripling Anakins for mischief and mayhem. Pass the lightsabre, darling.
From the gallery I peered down on the Misses preparing their costumes backstage: a multicoloured prosthetic body parts tip, lit by dressing room mirror lamps, with young lithe bodies seeking drag heaven. The show was tremendous fun. I can’t imagine why it’s not on ITV1 - it’s a telegenic spectacle, funny, and it doesn’t have Simon Cowell pulling panto faces. What more do you want? No wonder Michael Grade’s on his way out.
“He’s being strangled by a penis,” shouted Ruby as a monster tower-costume collapsed on stage. For once she was right. She may not know her cunt but she can certainly spot a cock.
My new friend the author Frances Lynn has some good pics of the judges and guests, click here. She's also written this enlightening piece on Madame Arcati here. Yet more amazing photos at frillip moolog, here. Ken Russell writes about the show in The Times.
Incidentally, I was much taken by The Irrepressibles, a 10-piece orchestra - fronted by the "angel-throated, androgynous, Jamie McDermott" - that was part of the entertainment