The great, the good, the gangly and the ghastly gathered at Shakespeare’s Globe for the Alternative Miss World contest.
Created by Andrew Logan and held every few years, the first event took place in his Hackney flat in 1972 and has since grown into an institution that is renowned for twisting and turning the soulless concept of a female beauty contest on its head.
Fucking with gender identity its famed for turning dreary swimwear and eveningwear categories into a luminous parade of mind-popping shapes, physical theatre and drag distortions.
From giant rainbow ships to outfits made entirely out of repurposed stockings, the crowd whooped and cheered as surprise followed surprise with each contestant’s big reveal.
As if the costumes weren’t enough to gawp at, the night wasn’t without added gimmicks to create extra buzz, from stage dives to plastic ball prolepses.
A mechanical blunder had the crowd clutching their pearls when Miss Lysergic Acid’s giant umbrella erection suffered a mechanical glitch and wouldn’t retract, forcing the theatre’s crew to dash on stage and pull the awkward appendage down. It didn’t seem to stop her taking third prize.
Judges included artist and philosopher Grayson Perry and designer Zandra Rhodes, who had their work cut out for them choosing a winner.
Eventually it was the bubblicious Miss UFO aka Russian artist Andrey Bartenev, who scooped top prize after showing consistent delivery of ingenuity across all three categories.
It was a bewildering night that attracted an equally audacious audience to the Southbank on an unusually balmy October evening.
For years the doom mongers have declared London drained of creativity.
But as Jonny Woo’s Un-Royal Variety Show played to a sold out Hackney Empire across town, and Alternative Miss World flew the flag for peculiar pageantry on the Thames, it was a welcome reminder that our rather queer capital is still very much pulsating with life.
Thank you Andrew Logan for all the years of wigs and wonder.