Jim Lavender is the designated carer for Drag Idol 2017 champ Tracy Barlow. He’s originally from Newcastle, describes himself as a total history nerd and loves the tweets of JK Rowling and Bette Midler.
Where are you from originally?
I am from Newcastle upon Tyne. Originally the west end but I’ve lived all over Newcastle as well.
And where do you live now?
I now live in Deptford, the glorious bin of Greenwich. I’ve lived there since August 2016 with my best friend in the world: Chloe.
What do you love about London and why?
The opportunity and the history: that’s why I’m here. I don’t know why London has always been ‘the place to be’ but it is, so that’s that – harumph!
What was the first gay venue you visited?
An absolutely tragic place called Eclipse, which was mainly for lesbians, in Newcastle, which has a decent scene. I was fifteen!
Favourite club/bar/venue in London and why?
Fun fact about me: I hate ‘going out’ as a punter! But Her Upstairs is a very special venue to me: it’s where I saw my first drag show and won my first competition!
What was the last theatre show you saw, where, and what did you think of it?
52nd Street! I flipping died! It’s the tap dancing, the vintage style, all those old wonderful songs. Heaven!
What is your guilty pleasure and why?
I will legitimately get into bed with a bottle of poppers and have an intensely enjoyable evening. ‘Sex is a poor substitute for masturbation’.
Food and food alone. None of my clothes fit, I use all natural products from markets and all my technology is falling to bits, but I LOVE an extravagant meal – I’m a bit of a comfort eater.
Best gift you’ve ever received and why?
Sorry to sound like a proper cringe but the intense and unconditional love and support that I got from my Mam and Gran growing up as well as my Grandpa from whom I take my name.
What has been the highlight of your career so far and why?
Appearing in front of tens of thousands of people at Trafalgar Square at Pride In London as Tracy Barlow a week after winning Drag Idol was all right, I’m not going to lie.
If you could go back in time which year would you choose and why?
I’m a total history nerd! I’d love to go back to the Seventies and have a proper disco in San Francisco. Or get smashed in roaring twenties New York. Why aye, man. Fuck the Eighties.
What’s the best party you’ve ever been to and what made it so good?
My Mam and her long-time boyfriend got married in May 2016 and it was without a doubt the loveliest and funniest day ever. We ended up dancing around to shitey show tunes – she jumped on the table and threw a knife into the flipping wedding cake! I have it on video as well! HOWL!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
My Mam used to say to me ‘this too shall pass’ and a friend of mine once told me ‘suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem’. I like those.
Who is your LGBT hero and why?
My LGBT hero is Quentin Crisp. Can you imagine being that brave? In your twenties IN the twenties doing what he was doing? He paid a great price for it as well. He’s controversial to this day, and that’s important.
Who are the most entertaining people you follow on Twitter and why?
JK Rowling and Bette Midler – Oh my god! The most articulate vitriol of the day; the most well-informed and supported venom, all poured endlessly at that monstrosity of a being in the White House. We need more influential people to speak out like this! And not just because it’s fashionable!
Where in the world would you like to visit before you die and why?
I have spent a good portion of my life dreaming about seeing Hawaii but I will be honest and say I’m worried I’ll go and it’ll be shit.
What is one thing you wish you’d known when you were younger?
Don’t live with that flipping Welsh idiot in your second year of uni he ruined EVERYTHING! And I mean EVERYTHING!
Jim as Tracy Barlow will be at Ball at the Two Brewers on Friday 25 August.