Me, myself and I: Alan Bugg from Cancer Is A Drag

Cancer Is A Drag founder and authentic Cockney Alan Bugg adores Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut and would love to visit Machu Picchu in Peru.

Where are you from originally?

I’m a true Londoner, born in Barts Hospital within the sound of Bow Bells, so a real Cockney.

And where do you live now?

I grew up in Islington but am now a Bermondsey boy. I live with my husband of 11 years; we were married in a Swedish chapel on 07.07.07 and we met on 01.01.00, so 18 and a half years together.

What do you love about London and why?

My dad has sung in London’s pubs and clubs since I was a young boy and I love my connection to that original London scene. As I grew up I loved the fact that London became more and more diverse. As a true Londoner I learnt that if anyone needs help you lend a hand.

What was the first gay venue you visited?

I was a punk around 1979-82 and a night out would be a visit to the Black Cap, then Cha-Cha’s or Daisy Chain at Heaven nightclub.

Can you sum up what Cancer is a Drag does?

Our charity provides much-needed financial and wellbeing support to anyone living with cancer by raising funds at drag and cabaret shows throughout London and in Brighton, Southend, Portsmouth, Newcastle, Northampton and, now, Wales. This was born out of the various struggles I went through for four years after I was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2010. It was so difficult that when I survived it all I knew is I just had to help others by stopping the disease from being such a ‘drag’.

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

I recently went to see Dreamgirls for the first time and was blown away.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Fruit & Nut.

Biggest extravagance?

Buying people drinks.

Best gift you’ve ever received?

My husband, family and friends.

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

I loved being on the punk scene and it allowed me to come to terms with who I was, so 1979, when I left school.

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

My 50th in 2011 was the best ever; over 100 of my friends and family came, all dressed as different celebrities. Not only was I David Bowie but I was also in my first remission from cancer.

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

When a child I taught when he was aged 10 came back to our school to see me to say thank you for giving him the chance in life he needed and fighting his corner. I felt so proud. Now I run the charity too, just being able to give someone a grant to help them out is a highlight.

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

To be mindful and learn to let go.

Who is your LGBT+ hero and why?

Tom Robinson (born 1 June 1950), British singer-songwriter, long-time LGBT rights activist, best known for the hit Glad To Be Gay. He was also involved in Rock against Racism back in the day.

Who are the most entertaining people you follow on social media and why?

I don’t follow anyone in particular, I just love Facebook to connect with people.

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

I’ve always wanted to go to Machu Picchu in Peru.

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

To not worry about what others think of you, be true and believe in yourself.

For more details about the charity Cancer Is A Drag, please visit

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