Dame Julie Paid is back and talks about lockdown, her songs and why she loves The Old Ship crowd

Boyz theatre critic Stephen Vowles has a chat with Alf Short aka Dame Julie Paid prior to his return to the London cabaret circuit at The Old Ship in Limehouse. 

Alf, or can I address by your wonderful stage name, Dame Julie Paid? 

So long as you don’t scream at me, you can call me anything you like… handsome and gorgeous will do though! 

Are you excited that you are bringing Dame Julie Paid out of hibernation to do a performance at the renowned Old Ship in London’s Limehouse on Sunday 1st August?

It’s been 18 months that we’ve all been in these micro bubbles of nauseating extremes. I’m amazed, like everyone else who has survived this pandemic, to come out of it with some kind of a semblance of sanity. OK, I’ve never been sane, but near as damn it. My heart goes out to all the families and friends who have lost dearly loved ones. One can only imagine… and I cannot thank those on the front line enough… Heroes! 

You have a wonderful reputation for adding a fabulous mix of old East End songs mixed with West End musical numbers and power ballads. Can The Old Ship audience and our Boyz readers expect the same with a few new songs included for good measure?

I can’t wait to be back at guv’nor John’s little pleasure palace The Old ShIp. I  am thrilled at the prospect of being in front of a live audience in such a special venue and hopefully entertaining everyone with my usual or unusual sense of humour. Nothing is more lively than The Old Ship crowd. They make you feel so comfy and warm. It’s like being back at Molly Moggs which I had for 16 years. It’s brilliant to be back with the people that matter. I know so many songs now that I when I discover songs which I had forgotten about, it’s a treat to sing them, plus I like to keep my audience guessing. 

How was the pandemic for you? Did it give you time to work on your other skills? I understand you make most of your own gowns and are rather a wicked seamstress?

It’s nice to have that skill for sure. I can run up a frock as I used to do it for a living. There is no end to my talents. With regards to the pandemic, like everyone else you just had to cope. It was hard at first but strangely enough you got into planning your day the best you could. 

You can catch Julie at The Old Ship, 17 Barnes Street, London E14 7NW on Sunday 1st August, plus for dates in September, and as the host of the always incredible Halloween Party held by John and his crew at The Old Ship every year.

Future acts and events at The Old Ship this month include:

Saturday 31st July – A star in the making, new act Scarlett Harlot 

Saturday 7th August – Son of a Tutu

Sunday 8th – AIDS Memorial Fundraiser with Stephanie Von Clitz and 5 Special Guests

Saturday 14th – Marsha Mellow

Sunday 15th – Tiffaney Wells

Saturday 21st – Dave Lynn

Sunday 22nd – Mandy Gap

August Bank Holiday Weekend

Saturday 28th – Miss Terry Tour

Sunday 29th – The Vixens

Monday 30th – The Miss Ross Summer Show

The Old Ship, 17 Barnes Street, London E14 7NW. 

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