Tuesday, 17 August 2010

The Pitter Patter of Tiny Feet?

Nope, more like the trample-clatter of stiletto-clad size tens!

This past weekend saw the fantastic spectacle of the 6th Annual Greenwich Drag Race. I had seen pictures of last years race on a friends profile, and I simply couldn't miss out this year, given my innate fondness of men in dresses.

My sister and I, Oggers, and our mates Ste and Kyle installed ourselves safely in Bar Du Museé on Nelson Street prior to the big event, along with about another 20 of Ste and Kyles friends. You see, it's simply not cricket to turn up to the Drag Race 100% sober....even for the contestants. I had been under the impression that the race would start at 7pm, however, the rumour had circulated that it in fact didn't start until 8pm, they told the Queens that it was 7pm to make sure they turned up on time!

We were still in the bar at 7:45pm, knowing that in all likelihood it still wouldn't kick off until 8:30pm. The area we were sitting in had actually been reserved for another party, but they were loathe to throw us out seeing as we reportedly spent about £1000 between us over 3 hours. Instead, they had blocked off our exit with a sofa, herding us safely into the corner with no hope of escape. So precious a commodity were we, that when we left at 8pm and Ste asked if we could reserve the area to return at 9pm, they accepted immediately and marked the area off.

Released from our upholstered prison, we trotted along to the Rose and Crown, the pub that organises this now-annual event. The Rose and Crown bills itself as a straight-friendly gay pub, I really love that! It was very cool to see policemen and women along with towering drag queens milling around in a huge crowd outside the pub. I spotted at least two brides, one Lady Gaga, a group of air hostesses complete with carry-on and at least 6 wigs that must have exceeded a foot in height.

Now the drag race is only one lap around the block (a large block). You can sympathise, the minimum requirement for the race is a 2 inch heel, and you must start and finish with your shoes on. There are also 2 'Sambuca Stops', where the Queens must halt and take a shot before carrying on. We positioned ourselves where last years Sambuca Stop had been, in the hopes of seeing some entertaining staggering and/or digestive pyrotechnics. Unfortunately they had moved the stops, but we were nicely positioned to see the Queens racing/trotting/walking/staggering into the final straight.

The winner of the Race was really quite impressive, we looked on to see a bride racing towards us, and I mean racing. She had her long white gown held up and out of the way, arms pumping, leaning forward in the manner of a bull running for a red flag. She reminded me somewhat of an over-competitive young mother at a Sports Day, kicking her toddler before her like a football as she 'helps' him win the 10 metre sprint.

She was followed closely by a few others, and then the rest began to come through in a slow flow. There were the joggers, balancing carefully on their 3 inch heels. They obviously hadn't put as much time into running around Greenwich with heels as Miss Bride had. Every competitor got cheers, waves and sips of beer from the crowd as they passed back into view of the Rose and Crown. But the biggest cheer was reserved for the last contestant.

If I remember correctly, she was dressed in a leopardskin top and pink leggings, and one of her heels had broken off, but she was persevering! After a slow walk chatting up a policeman, she 'sped' up, her legs bent so far it looked like she was in a half squat, and taking a tumble every now and again, but she made it over the finish line.

I've never seen anything quite like it in my life, I think I love it, a huge collection of people coming together to celebrate sexual and cultural diversity. However, the thing I love the most is the fact that the police close the roads for the duration of the race. I saw a bus stopped at the end of the road, the unexpected sight they were treated to must be something that will be burnt into their memories forever!


  1. They are all my photos of the Greenwich Drag Race you have used. Where have you lifted these from? They are clearly marked as copyrighted and you need my permission to reproduce!

  2. My apologies, I did credit you, but will now remove them.