Daily Mirror : Mr Pussy Tells All - U2 France

Daily Mirror : Mr Pussy Tells All

lundi 21 octobre 1996

Source : Daily Mirror

From The Daily Mirror :

LIFE IS SUCH A DRAG NOW I HAVE QUIT BINGO CALLING TOTHE STARS EXCLUSIVE : MR PUSSY TELLS ALL .. ONLY IN THE MIRROR ALAN AMSBY RECALLS HIS DAYS AT MR PUSSY’S CAFE DE LUXE

Richie Taylor

It was the night club that broke all the rules.

Instead of gourmet food and exotic cocktails, it served egg and chips andmugs of tea.

And in place of smoochy music and dance floor clinches, there was only thepatter of a bingo caller and the occasional cry of "house".

But Dublin’s entertainment oddity, Mr Pussy’s Cafe De Luxe, pulled in afull house nearly every night. The call "heads-down" would hide such famous faces as Van Morrison, Michelle Rocca, U2’s Bono and AdamClayton, Shane MacGowan and Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood.

But the main attraction was Mr Pussy himself, bingo caller and drag queenextraordinary Alan Amsby.

"I’d look down from the stage at a sea of famous faces," recalls Amsby.

"Ronnie Wood really loves his bingo."

The club was forced to close nearly a year ago after failing to get a late nightdrinks licence.

But Amsby swears he will reopen it soon in another venue.

The original venture was bankrolled by Bono and movie maker Jim Sheridan.

Other stars drawn to the caff for a laff included Mel Gibson, Michael Stipefrom REM, top dancer Michael Flatley, American Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, Barry Manilow and super models Naomi Campbell andChristy Turlington.

And laugh they did. Mel Gibson took Mr Pussy, in full drag, clubbing aftera late bingo session.

Heads turned as the bizarre duo paraded up Grafton Street arm in arm. "Itwas good fun that night," recalls Amsby, "Mel was really nice.

"I suppose I get on well with celebrities because I’m not star struck. Ireally should have had a photographer record it all. Everybody who was anybody went to the cafe.

"Naomi Campbell visited several times. We’d her knickers put on displayin a glass case.

"Then Christy Turlington turned up with her bra and panties in her pocket.I said, ’you dirty cow, what are you doing with them there ?’"

The gaiety continued until the party ended and the shutters finally camedown.

Mr Pussy picked up the pieces and went back to performing his outrageousdrag act in pubs and cabaret clubs.

He also spent time in London and Dublin filming a video called Cross Dressing.

"It’s a guide for blokes who want to cross dress," he explains. "It teaches themhow to walk, sit and eat. And it’s also very funny."

Amsby estimates that there are more than 30,000 cross dressers in Ireland."Everyone from High Court judges and politicians, to lorry drivers and labourers - you’d be surprised."

In Dublin they socialise at the Amanda Barry Centre near the North Quays,which Amsby says is the premier cross dressing club in Europe.

The centre is named after a woman who joined the British army pretending tobe a man and was found out only when she became pregnant.

"I pop in myself from time to time," says Amsby. "I sit and listen to thelads in their dresses talking about football and racing. It’s very funny. But I’m not a transvestite myself." There was never any need for Alan Amsbyto declare his credentials.

He says : "I didn’t need to come out because I’ve never known anything otherthan being the way I am.

"It was more a case of realising I wasn’t straight than realising I was gay.

"Being an only child, I used to go into my mother’s bedroom and play forhours rooting through a pile of clothes."

The London-born impersonator leads a lonely life. He shares his home, aterraced house near Drumcondra, with his dog Lily, named after his pal, drag queen Lily Savage.

He says he has no desire to form other attachments.

"I’m in love with myself," he jokes. "So I’m going to stay single.

"A lot of the fellows I had relationships with have married. One even hassix kids.

"I used to get terribly possessive. I’d row if I saw them talking to anyone else.

"Then I’d have to go on stage trying to cover up a black eye. I couldn’t bebothered with that now.

"Anyway AIDS had made it all far too dangerous nowadays.

"Funnily enough, most of my guys hated my dressing as a woman. It wasAlan they wanted, not Mr Pussy."

And, he says, they are two very different people. "I change the minute I setfoot on stage. It’s show time. Time to make some money to feed the dog.

"Audiences think I earn a lot of money, but they don’t realise I’ve costumes,wigs, and drivers to pay for.

"And I rarely wear an outfit more than two or three times."

He often finds facilities provided backstage at one night stands distasteful.Then Mr Pussy lets the fur fly.

"I’ve stormed out in disgust a couple of times," he admits.

"One publican said, ’Big Tom played here last week and we’d no complaintsfrom him’. I said, ’Big Tom doesn’t wear a frock, does he ?’"

When dressing room doors have no locks he’s forced to take all his valuableson stage.

"I have my jewellery in one half of my bra and my keys and money in theother. I’ve learned to be careful from bitter experience."

He’d like to take his act up-market and do more television work. But, he says,RTE are afraid of him.

"I suppose I’m a bit like Freddie Starr in that respect. Producers are alwaysvery cautious about putting me on."

He has appeared on several shows, notably Play the Game, in which he wason the women’s team one week and the men’s the next.

He enjoys relaxing with Sixties singing star Marianne Faithfull, his closestfriend in Dublin.

"We like nothing better than a night out at the pictures with a big box ofchocolates."

Mr Pussy was almost purring.

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