A few short months ago my friend, activist Dan Glass says: ‘Let’s hire a double-decker bus and go to all the iconic queer venues in London, have the activists and performers who were there in it’s hey-day, give a talk, starting from the ’60s. With dancers and queer bus conductors. And a sound system. It will be like a queer rave bus!!!’ I said ‘Sounds great darling.. (thinking it’ll never happen)’.
On Saturday it happened. Bang Bus was born. And it was bonkers. And wonderful and chaotic and queer AF.
100 people boarded our open top double decker bus outside Camden’s Palladium of Drag’ the Black Cap, on Saturday night. Transporting us back in time as we roared onto the homes of the iconic the Bell, Trade, Gay Liberation Front, The Joiners, and ending up at Hackney’s own Dalston Superstore.
In the 50th year since the partial legalisation of Homosexuality in 1967,our aim at ‘Queer Tours of London – A Mince Through Time’, is to highlight the impact of the loss of LGBTQI+ cultural spaces and supportive services, whilst supporting London’s current queer activism, culture and performance in all it’s glory. We wanted to create a safe space that was accessible and that gave space to those that needed -what could be better than a bus?!
And I think we got there, via an evening of storytelling and strutting. Tales of queer sex and past loves, resistance and resilience, mixed with a dash of poetry,(from the LGBTQ+ poet Laureate Trudy Howson no less), Opera, police raids and the very cheapest of wigs. It was a night of LGBTQ+ Histories leaping out of the closet to dance with activists old and new, to fight for our future. And I couldn’t be prouder to have been part of it’s irreverent birth.
If you are looking for a slick, sophisticated evening of highbrow queer arts, £9 a glass of prosecco, in a venue reeking of Tom Ford, this ain’t it. If you like it raw, rebellious, and camp – clamber aboard – THE BANG BUS – happening the last Saturday of every month!
“The BANG BUS was one of the most anarchic events I’ve ever experienced. It had all the elements of a trip on LSD. I thought at one point I was in a modern version of Fellini’s Satyricon.” – Stuart Feather, author of ‘Blowing the Lid: Gay Liberation, Sexual Revolution and Radical Queens’.
Words: Nell James Grace