Starved of an audience and bored out of my mind, I have recently taken to strutting around the village, Queen blaring in my ears… Gallileo! (gallileo) Gallileo! (gallileo), Gallileo Figaro..magnifico –oh-oh-oh- No! No! No! No! No! No! No! whilst the neighbours, half buried in their award winning tulip patch, look up at me and scowl (yes! scowl!) because I am FREE and they are SWISS.
I know they don’t like me because every time I call out “Hello!” in that annoyingly happy sing-songy tone of mine, they never say hello back. They just stare, and wish I didn’t live in their street. I guess Camp is the opposite of Swiss. And I am the definition of camp which Wiki defines as: ostentatious, exaggerated, affected and theatrical.
Camp people are easily bored and must be the centre of attention. I had hoped that age would temper my campness but it seems to be getting worse and I swing between embracing the full Freddie to wishing I could be quiet and mysterious at picnics.
It all started at my sister’s 21st birthday party, a party I wasn’t allowed to go to because I was only 7. All I could do was stare out of my bedroom window, weepy with longing, at the big girls in their Laura Ashley dresses snogging their flick haired boyfs in double denim. But luckily someone took pity on me and gave me a glass of Bucks Fizz which inspired me to I draw pubic hair on my 6 year old foufoune in black felt tip pen and fantasize that Chachi from Happy Days was riding Black Beauty hell for leather en route to my Schiaparelli pink boudoir. Now, what business Chachi might have had with a 7 year old in a Wombles nightie with an ink merkin can not be dwelt upon in this blog, but suffice to say I was not your average 7 year old.
Nowadays at parties I behave like a closeted gay man who has chosen that particular night to come out. I am 52 but it doesn’t stop me throwing myself at gay and even hypothetically gay men who may not know they are gay at 9pm but are definitely gay by 6am. I love to dirty dance with them, giggle in corners with them and generally do everything I can to make them fall in love with me. Why? Because they are always wittier, braver and a million times edgier than anyone else at the party. Once at a party in Hampstead I was standing next to a gay guy who was so bored with the conversation that he threw himself on the floor and pretended to be dead. So I did too. Then everyone else did and in 60 seconds we’d gone from a tense cocktail situation to a writhing mass of giggling bodies. It was magical.
Apropos, this is my favourite lockdown song:
It’s the ruthless exhibitionism, the ‘I’m-just gunna-state-what-everyone’s-thinking’ courage of the camp that I adore. We all want attention, but most of us don’t care to admit it. Camp folk on the other hand are like kids marching into their parents dinner party, upstaging the Baked Alaska and forcing everyone to watch the show. That kind of blatant ’tood represents everything that is BIG to me – like the opening night of Studio 54 that I would have given my entire collection of Australian birdsong greeting cards to attend.
Watch this documentary. It’ll make you ache for ’78.
I dunno. Maybe it’s a white middle class thing, this longing I have to belong to a culture other than my own. I’ve always been a shameless Joupie because lets face it Jews are the wittiest people on earth. Any culture that has stuggled for millenia simply to exist invariably explodes with creative output whereas hegemonies are flaccid in comparison. Perhaps thats why so many trustafarians become junkies. Cos they get everything for free. Didn’t someone say that life stagnates without obstacle?
Talking of stagnation, I am told by enlightened friends that the pinnacle of evolution is to be content with the ordinary and there is nothing more ordinary than loading and unloading the dishwasher. Again. And again. And a-fucking-gain.
So here is the legendary Vivien Stanshall, who was both bored and enlightened.