Lola Lasagne: Me, myself and I

Legendary cabaret act and this year’s Boyz Awards host Lola Lasagne reveals her love of lift music and why the Two Brewers holds a special place in her heart.

Where are you from originally?

I was born in West London, moved to Ealing and lived on the road where Julian Clary went to school. Then we moved to South London when I was five years old and stayed there until I was 28.

And where do you live now?

Brighton. I’ve been here since 1998 and currently live overlooking the marina, so wake up to a beautiful view each morning. I share with a friend of 20 years, Rupert.

What do you love about London? 

Central London is my favourite part and I walk around as much as possible rather then use the Tube. That way you get to see everything. The beauty. The diversity. The history. I’m a bit of city lover really.

What was the first gay venue you visited?

It was 30 years ago. I had to really think about this. I remember having my first legal alcoholic drink at the Two Brewers, but am positive that I went to a venue called the Euston Tavern when I was 17 years old. God knows how I got in as I looked about 14! I also frequented Traffic in King’s Cross, which was a real bloody eye opener for a young queen. And Heaven on a Friday night to watch The Golden Girls in the Star Bar at 1am.

Favourite club/bar/venue in London and why? 

I have to say the Two Brewers as I’ve been going there all my gay life. I worked as a barman at 18 and on its stage since I was 20. But I also have to share that accolade with the RVT, which is just everything. And it hasn’t changed in all the years I’ve drank and worked there. 

What was the last theatre show you saw, where, and what did you think of it?

Sunset Boulevard at the Coliseum with Glenn Close. Well, she was in it. I went with Mary Mac. I saw it six times when it was originally in London and this version twice. The choreographer, Stephen Mear, is a friend of mine and he, the creative team and the cast restored that original magic. It’s Lloyd Webber’s best score and the orchestra was a musical orgasm.

What is your guilty pleasure and why? 

Lounge or lift music. I have loads of it on iTunes and make up various playlists which keep me entertained on the train. The BBC released original music for the Test Card too. Bloody wonderful stuff!

Biggest extravagance? 

Train tickets to get to work! And flying to Las Vegas to see Bette Midler in 2008 for The Showgirl Must Go On show. The last time she did the ‘original act’ with ALL the characters.

Best gift you’ve ever received?

Not a gift in the normal sense but my first paid gig. By Brendan Murphy at the RVT on Wednesday 7 June 1989. The rest is history.

What has been the highlight of your career so far and why?

Pride. London 1994, being on the main stage with Lily Savage and H.I.H Regina Fong as backing singers for Boy George’s encore as headliner for the main stage. And all the Brighton Pride and LGBT organisations events I’ve helped to produce.

If you could go back in time which year would you choose and why?

I’d go back to when London had a vibrant LGBT scene in all four quarters of the city. You were never short of somewhere to go, no matter where you lived. And everywhere was so different.

Who is your LGBT hero? 

So many to choose from, but anyone who’s spoken out and helped our community to be able to be accepted in one form or another. I’ve always admired people who don’t see obstacles in their path and keep on going no matter how rough the journey is.

What’s the best party you’ve ever been to and what made it so good?

My 40th birthday party. My best friends Craig, Keith and Dan were there. And it was in New York City.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Never read the comments and ignore the trolls on social media. I do need to heed it more though!

Who are the most entertaining people you follow on Twitter?

There’s too much retweeting of Trump etc on Twitter at present. I’m a massive Instagram fan and I would say my favourite pages on there are Mark Mackillop, who’s an American actor and dancer, ginger and normally just in his pants. I also follow one of my best friends, Craig Hanlon Smith, who’s new to social media but uses it to its fullest potential. And I’ve spent the last year following Cynthia Erivo on her journey on Broadway in The Color Purple.

Where in the world would you like to visit before you die and why?

Finland. My grandmother was Finnish and I’d like to see where she came from as I loved the bones of her and miss her dreadfully as she always made me feel wanted. Especially when I came out to her.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

I wish I knew how to dance, sew and style wigs. That’s three things, I know, so perhaps I should know how to answer questions properly.

Lola is the new host of the Retro Quiz at the Retro Bar every Tuesday from 8pm. She’ll also be hosting the Boyz Awards this Wednesday (22 Feb) from 7pm (show starts 9pm) at the Two Brewers in Clapham.

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