Me, myself and I: Poppycock

Poppycock is one of the most exciting new cabaret acts on the scene. She won Bette Rinse’s It’s a Knockout at Halfway II Heaven last year, has a bit of an 80s obsession and would love to set up a new civilisation on Mars!

Where are you from originally?

I hail from the sleepy, conservative city of Winchester. It’s really historical and pretty but it’s very different to London.

And where do you live now?

Well, my fiancé (yikes) and I have just bought a place (double yikes) in south east London.

What do you love about London and why?

Being from Winchester where almost everyone is a white, straight, cisgender person, honestly my favourite thing about London is its diversity. There are so many people of different cultures and walks of life to learn from.

What was the first gay venue you visited?

Oh wow. It was my 18th birthday and I went to the only gay bar within 40 miles of Winchester – The Edge in Southampton. All I can remember is that there was a pool party and I left with no underwear.

How would you describe Poppycock and what she does?

Poppycock has developed so much in the nine months she’s been knocking about, and still continues to grow. At the core she is a whirlwind of energetic dancing, hypnotic vocals, and is loveable and sharp at the same time.

Last year you won It’s a Knockout, following acts like Ripley and Felix Le Freak, what did the contest and Bette do for you?

Knockout was an absolute blast. It was brilliant! It enabled me to try new things and discover elements of my drag I didn’t know existed. Bette really knew how to encourage both myself and Hashtag Joe to think outside the box and push ourselves. Honestly without Bette, the judges, my mentor Ripley and the Knockout team I wouldn’t have discovered some of the things that are now quintessentially Poppycock.

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

The last show I saw was ‘In Conversation With Graham Norton’ at The Hope Theatre. One of my close friends Jay Parsons was playing the lead (and only) character in the play, and it was amazing. It was a piece that I think a lot of LGBTQ+ people, or anyone who has been made to feel marginalised would connect with.

What is your guilty pleasure and why?

I have a weird habit of becoming obsessed with a song or album and listening to it on repeat for days, sometimes weeks. Usually an 80s or 70s album. Currently I’m obsessing over Cher’s 1971 album Gypsy’s Tramps and Thieves.

Biggest extravagance?

Speaking of obsessions… I have a small issue of buying endless coats. My collection currently stands at around 35 coats and jackets. Winter is a good season for gingers.

Best gift you’ve ever received and why?

It would absolutely have to be the engagement ring from my fiancé. Regardless of its material value, the gesture and thought behind giving me the ring triggered emotions I actually didn’t know I had the capacity to feel – super cringe I know.

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

Even though I’ve only been at this a short time I’ve been so lucky and had some brilliant experiences. Winning It’s a Knockout, performing at the Admiral Duncan for Pride, my weekly residency at the Queens Arms in Brighton, and working alongside some of the greatest queens in the industry.

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

The 80s! The hair, the music, the Lycra, the further development of androgyny and all round campness. When I learn a new song for my shows I always pick songs I love to sing and perform, I am now having to stop myself from learning endless 80s numbers.

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

My partner and I hosted a supposedly casual Sunday party at our old place for our birthdays. It ended up being one of the wildest parties I’ve been to, most likely due to the absinthe. It was a room of all of our closest friends just letting off steam and having a good time, the absolute best.

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

I’ve been lucky enough to be given advice from tonnes of the best people on the circuit. One of the things almost all of them have told me in some way or another is ‘if you’re having fun then the audience will have fun too’. The best audience reactions I’ve ever had have been when I am having a ball, so I guess it’s true!

Who is your LGBT+ hero and why?

I saw a quote online recently that went something like “anyone that comes out is making a choice to be happy over being safe”. We all have heroes that have paved the way for us, but anybody that choses to live their truth and embrace the bulls*** that comes their way is a hero to me.

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

Stella Marbles – Her looks are insane, creative and I’m obsessed with them.

Imp Kid – For the same reasons as Stella but also for how incredibly open and inspiring they have been with their transition story.

Best Of Grindr – This one is a guilty pleasure to be honest. It’s all just too real!

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

I’m low key really into sci-fi so I would actually love to visit space if that is ever an option. Set up a new civilization on Mars where you can leave all the racist, sexist, lgbtq-phobic boogers behind and have Macarthur Park as our anthem.

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

I wish I knew how amazing, fun and liberating it would be to become a drag queen. Then I wouldn’t have waited till I was 23 to start fully expressing myself. I spent so long looking from afar wanting to give it a go, when really I should have just jumped in.

Poppycock is at Halfway II Heaven at 8.30pm on Monday (11 Feb), 7 Duncannon Street, Charing Cross, WC2.

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