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ZONE DEC 2019/JAN 2020 ISSUE 272

Readers’ Awards

2 020





Ru paul paul’ss FIRST Drag Race uk WINNEr NNEr



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Contents December.qxp_Layout 1 27/11/2019 18:38 Page 1



December / January issue






20 Front cover photography - Ben Mak

ALSO INSIDE: News 4 The Vivienne Interview10

Killer Queens 16 The Year That Was... 24

Make 2020 A Sociable Year 27 Readers’ Awards 31 Cat’s Corner 33 On The Ball 35

Let’s Talk: The Lacey Lou Column 36 Now & 10 Years Ago 42

Get connected...




News November MM.qxp_Layout 1 27/11/2019 18:40 Page 1


The temporary exclusion zone which has been in place around Anderton Park, one of the Birmingham primary schools at the centre of the LGBT equality lessons row, has been made permanent. Judge Mr Justice Warby delivered his judgement on Tuesday 26 November at the high court in Birmingham.

The judgement pertains to the ongoing row about the school’s teaching of lessons that include information about LGBT relationships. Judge Warby’s pronouncement brings to an end an anxious wait for the school’s staff and supporters. The demonstrations outside the school had been taking place for several months until, in the summer, Birmingham City Council won a temporary injunction to stop them. Protesters continued to demonstrate but from outside the exclusion zone.

He did, however, lift restrictions on the use of social media, and also said that he did not accept that the protesters posed a risk of harm to others. Responding to the ruling, Birmingham City Council's Director of Education & Skills, Dr Tim O’Neill, is reported by BirminghamLive as saying: "We are really pleased for the pupils, staff, parents and wider community that the Judge Warby rejected claims that the injunction has been upheld. school promotes homosexuality. He also "This was always about protecting the said that the protests had had an school and community from the adverse impact on pupils, staff and escalating levels of anti-social behaviour residents, and had made false claims.

of the protests, not about trying to stop peaceful protest.” In response to the decision, anti-LGBT equality protester Shakeel Afsar said: “I’m being told that there’s nothing wrong with this - that it’s okay to be gay and to marry the same sex. Well, like it or not, we do not accept this.” The protest group will now have to stand 80% of the costs incurred by Birmingham City Council in taking the campaign to court. The total costs of the case are yet to be revealed.

LGBT History Month programme unveiled Popular lesbian singersongwriter, playwright and comedian Clare Summerskill is to explore LGBTQ+ writings in a one-day workshop for Shrewsbury LGBT History Month.

Clare will also host a celebratory evening of songs and comedy as part of the monthlong programme of events being held at various venues and locations across the Shropshire town. Now in its fifth year, Shrewsbury LGBT History Month also features: an exhibition of bird photographs by Gay’s The Word bookshop founder Jonathan Cutbill; a presenta tion titled Growing Up Gay: Coming Out And Finding Gay Liberation In The Early ’70s, and Yours Sincerely - a queer com4

ing-of-age comedy about the complications of 21st-century communication. There’ll also be a series of film screenings, talks and workshops taking place between Sunday 26 January and Saturday 14 March. For full details of what’s happening where, visit

Fancy LGBT fostering? Sandwell Children’s Trust is launching a major campaign in January to encourage new foster carers to come forward including same-sex couples. Sandwell foster carers come not only from Sandwell but also the surrounding areas. Looking after a child in care means giving them a stable, supportive home while they continue to attend the same school and maintain their friendships, therefore keeping to a minimum any disruption to their lives. For more information, 0800 358 0899

News November MM.qxp_Layout 1 27/11/2019 18:40 Page 2

Have ya heard?

Birmingham Pride tickets now on sale... and it’s FREE for kids and seniors! The 2020 Birmingham Pride Festival and Street Party will be FREE for kids and seniors.

takes place Tickets are now on sale for the event, which 23 & day Satur on e Villag Gay m’s ingha Birm s acros all for ded provi be will s Sunday 24 May. Free ticket an by d panie accom when 12 of age the children under age. of adult, as well as for seniors over 65 years -cost Street Last month organisers revealed that a lower time, for first the for Party-only ticket is to be introduced al’s Festiv the d atten to those who don’t want entertainment zones. ingham Pride Speaking exclusively to Midlands Zone, Birm

Festival Director Lawrence Barton commented: “We want to make Birmingham Pride as inclusive as possible, and we’re delighted to be not only introducing a lower-cost Street Party Ticket for everyone, but also to be ensuring that children Lawrence Barton under 12 and seniors over 65 can t Stree and enjoy both the Festival Party for free in 2020.” Party and the Super Early Buy Tickets for both the Street ased from purch be can and sale on now are al Full Festiv

‘Stronger Together’ confirmed as theme for Pride 2020 Birmingham Pride organisers have announced that the festival’s Parade theme for 2020 will be 'Stronger Together' - a theme which finds its inspiration in the actions of two trans women half a century ago... In New York in June 1969, a black, transgendered woman, Marsha P Johnson, and Latino-American trans activist Sylvia Rivera threw the bricks which sparked into life the Stonewall Riots and ignited the gay liberation movement.

restaurant in the last year. Almost half of trans people don't feel comfortable using public toilets through fear of discrimination or harassment. More than two in five trans people avoid certain streets because they simply don't feel safe there as an LGBTQ person. “Birmingham Pride stands proudly in support of our trans family. Our wider community has won many battles; achieved as one voice, as one movement. We achieve more when we’re united. We are 'stronger together'."

“Over 50 years later and 2019 has seen a reported 331 trans and gender-diverse deaths,” says Birmingham Pride Festival Director Lawrence Barton in commenting on the Paradetheme announcement. “It has also seen a move towards separation of the 'T' from 'LGBTQ' by some members of the community. “A third of trans people have been discriminated against because of their gender identity when visiting a cafe, bar or 5

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PROTECTS AGAINST SAME-SEX SUICIDE David Tennant to star as gay serial killer...

David Tennant is to play gay serial killer Dennis Nilsen in a threepart ITV drama series.

Tennant, best known for starring as Dr Who, is joined in the cast by two actors who’ve both appeared in hit TV police series Line Of Duty: Daniel Mays, who will play Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay, and Jason Watkins as Brian Masters, on whose biography of Nilsen - Killing For Company - the show is being based.

A new study has revealed that the number of lesbians and gay men committing suicide in Sweden and Denmark has fallen by almost half since same-sex marriage was legalised in the two countries.


It was found that suicides among those in same-sex partnerships fell by 46% between the two periods.

Speaking to Reuters about the study, the Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention’s Annette Erlangsen said: “Being married is 2002 to 1989 protective against suicide. Legalising periods two ring Compa and 2003 to 2016 - the study looked at same-sex marriage and other deaths by suicide of people in same-sex supportive legislative measures might couples during the time both countries actually reduce stigma around sexual minorities.” legalised civil partnerships and the time they both legalised same-sex


A Brummie Christmas with THE DREAMGIRLS!

Hit West End musical Dreamgirls will spend Christmas in Birmingham next year as part of its first ever UK tour.

and Deena - aka The Dreams - three talented young singers whose musical rollercoaster ride through a 1960s world of fame, fortune and showbiz Featuring classic songs And ruthlessness tests their friendship to the very limit. I Am Telling You I’m Not Dreamgirls shows at the Going, Listen, and One Alexandra Theatre, Night Only, the awardBirmingham, from Tuesday winning production is 8 December 2020 to loosely based on the story Saturday 2 January 2021. of musical icons The Tickets are on sale from Supremes. 10am on Thursday 5 The show focuses on the December. characters of Effie, Lorrell 6

Nilsen was sentenced to life imprisonment later replaced by a whole life tariff - for a five-year killing spree which saw him murdering boys and young men in his London flat between 1978 and 1983. He died in May last year. Commenting on the newly announced show, ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill, said: “The first episode starts with Nilsen’s arrest. The series is looking at him through the eyes of the police officer trying to identify those he killed, and deliver justice for them, and the biographer to whom Nilsen chose to tell his story.”

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Birmingham Repertory Theatre is hosting a workshop for trans/non-binary people aged 18-plus who are interested in acting (Monday 16 December).

No experience of performing is required, although those who do have experience are also welcome to attend. The workshop, which is being run by Outbox Theatre, will

include a selection of warm-up exercises, games and drama activities which might typically be used in a rehearsal room and/or a drama school setting.

The workshop leader is Yasmin Zadeh, an associate artist with Outbox Theatre who has performed in a number of the company’s shows. Yasmin also runs The Queer House, an artists’ agency & producing house for LGBTQIA+ actors and makers.

UK one of the safest places for LGBT travel The UK is the sixth safest country in the world for LGBT travellers, according to new research into gay rights in the 150 most-visited countries.

The LGBTQ+ Danger Index ranks the countries according to factors including legalised same-sex marriage, worker protection and whether Gallup poll findings profile it as a good place to live. Sweden came out on top, with Canada ranked the second safest country. Norway, Portugal and Belgium came third, fourth and fifth respectively. The most dangerous country was Nigeria, followed by Qatar, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. 7

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Brum queer arts festiv hhailed a massive success

Festival of T 2019 edition of Birmingham’s SHOUT and The huge a ed queer arts & culture has been hail q unqualified success by its organisers. u

in November, the rating its 10th anniversary and taking place C Celeb ces. Highlights rman perfo of e amm progr event featured a diverse e movie director cult by rance appea d-city secon ever first a iincluded ingham Birm the to show an John Waters, who brought his one-m Hippodrome. Carver said: ‘SHOUT Commenting on the festival, organiser Adam art, culture and Q+ LGBT of ration celeb dible 2019 was an incre 25 events at 12 With identity, marking our 10th anniversary year. r of what can be powe the to ent testam a venues over 13 days, it was her. s toget achieved when the LGBTQ+ community come a line-up of queer ming welco y, histor “This year’s SHOUT made Hairspray director ed includ that m ingha Birm to icons legends and activist Travis trans and es John Waters, the legendary Split Britch Ball - a night Vogue ever first al’s festiv the red Alabanza. It also featu we will never forget. s the Midlands and “We welcomed thousands of people from acros n into the UK’s grow beyond, and are unbelievably proud to have all again for SHOUT it do to wait can’t We largest LGBTQ+ arts festival. 2020!”

Pictures taken at the launch night of SHOUT Festival 2019 at the Nightingale 9

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ALL HAIL THE VIVIENNE Midlands Zone chats to RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’s first ever winner 10 Midl d Z k

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The first series of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK was a real triumph - particularly, of course, for its eventual winner, the ever-magnificent The Vivienne.

Midlands Zone caught up with the Liverpool cabaret star to find out about her time on the show - and why the guy who plays her, James Williams, decided to enter the wonderful world of drag... How did it feel to win Drag Race UK? Bloody marvellous! I said at the time that it was nuts, and it really was!

Cher! Michelle Visage and Alan Carr are both coming, and RuPaul’s very welcome if it fits his schedule.

What did you find most frustrating during the series? Not being able to smoke as much as I usually do.

Did you have a wild night out celebrating your victory? If you’d call a little party with all the girls & crew and a McDonald’s in bed ‘wild’, then yes, I guess I did!

Do you feel your personality came through in terms of how the show was edited? I was 100% me. They left out every nice thing I did for every other girl in that competition, but hey ho.

As your victor’s prize, you get to create a web series. Any ideas for it yet? It’s early days, but I’d imagine it’ll be some sort of ‘Vivienne takes Hollywood’ thing. And your next big event is your wedding, isn’t it? Will you be wearing drag for the occasion? Oh good God, no! That would be an absolute nightmare! Yeah, the wedding’s happening on the 15th of December. Chad Michaels, who I absolutely adore, is marrying us as

What were the highlights of the series for you? Snatch Game! That’s the one I really wanted - and I got it!

James Williams (The Vivienne) with his fiance, David Ludford How was the experience of working with RuPaul on the show? He’s professionalism personified couldn’t ask for anything more.

You opened up on the show about your four-year drug addiction to Ketamine. What helped you beat the addiction, and what advice would you give to someone who also wants to quit? You’ve got to want to do it, and if that means losing mates, then so be it. You can do it! Continued on the following page...

EPISODE 1 We loved The Vivienne’s Queen Elizabeth II look - and yes, Michelle, that is her real nose!



The Vivienne went all Downton Paying homage to the legendary Pete Burns, this catwalk look Draggy as the queens’ acting had us Spinning Right Round skills were put to the test...

EPISODE 4 The Vivienne dominated the Snatch Game with her Donald Trump impression 11

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Did you always believe that you could go all the way in the competition? I always believe I can do anything. Clearly your Donald Trump, Cilla Black and Kim Woodburn impressions are spot-on. Which other celebrities do you like impersonating? Cher, Bette, Catherine Tate, Robin Williams. I do sooo many. Both RuPaul and Michelle Visage were clearly impressed with your Donald Trump impersonation in the Snatch Game. How did all that praise make you feel? It was truly brilliant. Snatch Game was the one thing I wanted to slaughter! And I think I did! A lot has been made of the spat you had with Divina De Campo. Was it as tense as it was portrayed, and how are you now with each other? I hate her! Only jokin’! We’ve been mates for 12 years and we’re still mates! Even more so. How did you start out on the drag scene? I started out as a make-up artist in Debenhams in Liverpool, then I found the city’s nightlife scene, which burst open my eyes to drag. I looked at some of the drag queens and thought, I can do that! I told the owner of a club one night, “I’ll do that - times 100!” How did your stage name come about? It was given to me by my gay family. I always wore Vivienne

Westwood, so everybody always called me Viv. But when you wanna take over the world, you need to put ‘The’ before ‘Vivienne’ - and here she is! What made you leave the UK and become a resident artist at Sparkles Cabaret Bar in Gran Canaria, and what eventually made you come back to the UK? I left the UK to go work at Sparkles to say goodbye to my drug addiction. I left it on the plane and didn’t look back. I had two great years over there but moved back home for Drag Race UK. I just knew it was going to happen!


In 2016, you won a competition to become RuPaul’s Drag Race UK ambassador. How did it feel when you won? Fucking unreal! RuPaul’s just chosen me as an ambassador for his brand! Wow! Do you feel the 2016 success gave you an unfair advantage in terms of being selected to feature in the first season of the UK show? Oh hell, no! Everybody walking through that door was shitting themselves - including me!



She may have found herself in the bottom two - but Viv brought the Power for her lip sync

Another win this week for The Vivienne - her advert left us DRIPPIN’!


What’s next for The Vivienne? I’m currently in rehearsals for the UK tour of DragRace UK, which is hitting Birmingham on Sunday 1 December at the Alexandra Theatre. Then I’m doing a new show with Baga called Morning T&T, which is basically a feature-length Snatch Game. It’s a spoof of a morning TV show, like Good Morning Britain or Good Morning America, and features Donald Trump and Margaret Thatcher no less. After that, I’m going to be putting together and touring a stand-up comedy show. So keep your eyes peeled by following me on Instagram and Facebook!


The Vivienne and The Mother After an amazing final lip sync against Divina, The Vivienne showed us some Scouse was named a winner, baby! glamour on that catwalk 13

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BIRMINGHAM’S Laura Chen is a 22-year-old Dutch artist who’s been based in Birmingham for the last five years. She launched her Killer Queen project at the end of last year with the aim of documenting through photography as many Birmingham LGBTQ+ dragqueen artists as possible. To date, she’s photographed around 40... Here, Laura explains how her photos explore the idea of parodying gender as a performance art and a way of self-expression... “The talented individuals I have worked with do not see this 'playing with gender' as a caricature to insult the opposite sex. Their intentions are to entertain and educate. Drag offers them a platform for diversity, a chance to be themselves and discover who they are. “This is exactly what attracted me to drag, and where the interest to document the scene came from. I am fascinated by the ways in which drag artists can create endless variations of characters, and in the most unique ways possible. They do this by playing with different fabrics, colours, patterns, textures, shapes and forms. “Through the medium of photography, I feed my curiosity in my subject, in an attempt to get to know both the person behind the stage name and the character/persona that goes hand in hand with the performance attire they decide to wear. “With these photographs, I aim to spread the idea that everyone is made in a specific shape and form, but that we can play with our bodies by changing our appearance and attitude. We are never fully formed. “At first glance, the studio portraits look quite glamorous, but if you look closely, you start to notice more details; the fake hairline of their wigs and the texture in their skin that’s coming through the surface of many layers of glossy makeup. “Photography uncovers raw beauty, which I

value and am keen to articulate throughout my work. Essentially I play with the same idea as my subjects; the disconnection between desire and reality - the person they want to be that day, in that moment, and the person they are behind that mask. I study and observe this balance and its limits. “The studio portraits are driven by colour. I experiment with different shades to evoke and communicate a certain mood or message, but also literally to display and visualise the colourful, lively personalities of my subjects. With the use of simple backgrounds in various colours, I try to give a twist to the theatrical environment my subjects are accustomed to. I see the studio as a stage without an audience or decor. “The title of my project references Queen’s song, Killer Queen. It’s a play on words that I use to introduce an alternate meaning and interpretation of the word ‘queen’. Through my eyes, you don’t have to be royal to be a queen.” Laura, who from 6 to 8 December will be exhibiting some of her work at the New Dutch Photography Talent 2020 exhibition in Amsterdam, has teamed up with Midlands Zone to highlight different Birmingham drag queen each month. This month we start off with two artists Dominus Von Vexo and Elliott Barnicle featured on the following pages... 17

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Danny Phillips (Dominus Von Vexo) first encounter with drag was at a Halloween event at the Nightingale Club. “I saw Miss Marty performing Thriller when I was 18. I thought it was great! I knew I wanted to get on that stage as a performer, not necessarily in drag but to dance and perform. It wasn’t until years later I actually go into drag. I was 23 when I started. "I don’t feel that my drag persona is a different character but more an extension of myself. I feel great because I love my costumes and I love that it allows me to explore glamour. But I feel just as confident expressing myself in androgyny or as just me. A strong part of Dominus is that it’s an attitude, and I carry that attitude in myself. "I consider myself more of a burlesque queen than a drag queen. My intention is to empower those around me, those I teach, the audience when I perform, those looking at my looks. I aim to instil the confidence that society so readily rips away from us through beauty standards, racism, homophobia, to name but a few. Confidence changes your life completely. "Through my performance, I want to empower others by fighting for equality, defeating gender stereotypes and being an example of a suicide survivor and mental health activist. I want to make the world a better, more accepting place." Photography: Laura Chen 19

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ELLIOTT BARNICLE ""I like that I’m slightly different. I must admit that there’s a part of me that does slightly enjoy confusing people, as I don’t present myself as what the majority would expect from a drag queen. I’m not 100% about where I identify myself on the gender scale, so it’s nice to experiment. Drag just gives me confidence, full-stop. As soon as the makeup comes off, I’m like, don’t look at me, I’m shy! I like to make people laugh, and for them to be entertained and enjoy the performance I present. For me, my drag is very much a creative outlet and an art form. I’m a graphic designer by day, so drag is another medium in which I’m able to let my creative juices flow. More recently I’ve also used it as a way to gain confidence, as I struggle with that in my day-to-day life. It’s nice to have my ‘time to shine’, so to speak, when I’m in drag. People who’ve known me since before I started my drag journey and even people who only really know me out of drag, like my work colleagues - are always confused as to how I have the confidence to be on stage, because that’s not a part of me that they ever get to see.

Photography: Laura Chen 21

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2019 Highights MM.qxp_Layout 1 27/11/2019 18:52 Page 1

2019 The year that was... The anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a rise in homophobic attacks and the Sultan of Brunei’s introduction of the death penalty for gay sex captured many of the headlines nationally and internationally this year. But 2019 has been full of incident and controversy for the LGBT community at a local level too. While several gay venues have either closed or been in danger of doing so, the ongoing row over LGBT lessons in Birmingham schools has cast a dark shadow across the second city. It’s not all been bad news, though, as the following review of the year ably illustrates...




Major residential C A M P A I G N developments in the Birmingham Gay Village posed threats to the area’s cultural heritage and the future of its venues.



We launched our Save Birmingham Gay Village campaign

Missing Bar reopened after refurbishment One of Birmingham’s favourite gay venues, Missing Bar underwent a significant refurbishment before celebrating its relaunch with a Unicorn Disco!




Four teenagers brutally beat up a lesbian couple in a homophobic attack on a London night bus Melania Geymonat and girlfriend Chris were left covered in blood when a group of young men attacked them.

Another Birmingham gay venue announced its closure



Local drag star Lacey Lou joins the Midlands Zone team And what a favourite Lacey has proved to be with our readership! Here’s to another year of cracking columns from one of the Midlands’ most accomplished drag acts...



Two greatly missed scene personalities were honoured Dez Barrett - former general manager at The Village - and Saathi founder Perdes Simplay were each posthumously awarded Midlands Zone Lifetime Achievement Awards. 24



The Wellington announced it would be closing on Saturday 16 March. One of its owners, Paul Cueson-Speck, told Zone: “We’ve been here for the last 25 years, and it’s now time to hang up the pub keys.”

New LGBT flag was unveiled in time for Birmingham Pride

Eden Bar became the latest Brum venue to be under threat A planning draft was released which showed Eden Bar surrounded by new apartments, creating concerns that future noise complaints would lead to the venue’s closure.


Birmingham LGBT joined other national organisations and Pride events up and down the country in using the new flag, which incorporates colours representing Trans communities and queer people of colour.

No Outsiders’ Andrew Moffat led the Birmingham Pride parade In response to the equality-lessons protests, the creator of the awardwinning No Outsiders school educational programme led Brum P Pride’s p parade alongside LGBT Muslims Khakan Qureshi and Saima Razzaq.


Prince William gave his endorsement to the LGBT community On a visit to the Albert Kennedy Trust, Prince William gave his endorsement to the LGBT community by saying that he would support ay. ay y. his child if they were gay gay.

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Dedicated to providing the LGBTQ+ community with the prom night that they ed always wanted but never had, the UK’s first Q Queer Prom made its Birmingham debut at the iconic Nightingale Club.

Year-long Ageing With Pride campaign came to an end

Birmingham LGBT’s Ageing With Pride campaign came to an end after 12 months spent challenging ageism, confronting over-50s’ isolation and making the scene inclusive for all LGBT people, regardless of age.



Three more Brum gay venues announced they y were to close We exclusively revealed that Birmingham gay venues Unit 2 Sauna, The Core and Boltz were all to be demolished within 18 months.

Gorgeous Nightclub objected to a planning application which would see a six-storey building comprising 113 dwellings and associated works being constructed opposite the venue.

November Unit 2 closed its doors

Sadly Unit 2 Sauna closed osed its doors for the very last time on Sunday 24 November 2019. Property developers are set to demolish the building along with a cent large number of adjacent buildings soon.

Coventry gay venue revamped



Queer Prom made Birmingham debut

T first ever television series of The R RuPaul's Drag Race UK aired on BBC Three.

The muchanticipated final of Church of Yshee saw drag act Black Peppa take the crown.

Wolverhampton’s s only l ly remaining gay venue came under threat



Black Peppa won Church of Yshee contest

RuPaul brought his Drag Race contest to the UK


Fifty years on from the Stonewall Riots, we reflected on the ‘moment in history’ that signposted the route to equality for the LGBTQ community across the western world.



50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots

Same-sex marriage was made legal in Northern Ireland Earlier in the year, the UK Parliament passed a law stating that same-sex marriage would become legal in Northern Ireland unless a new Executive was formed before 21 October, something which did not happen.

Another venue in Birmingham’s Gay Village closed Bar Jester, one of the oldest gay bars in Birmingham, closed its doors for the very last time.

The downstairs area of The Yard in Coventry underwent a complete remodelling, meaning that in future the venue will benefit from the addition of an all-year-round garden area.

High Court made final ruling on LGBT lessons row exclusion zone The temporary exclusion zone which had been in place around Anderton Park one of the Birmingham primary schools att i the centre of the LGBT lessons row - is made permanent.

Happy birthday to SHOUT Birmingham’s festival of queer arts & culture celebrated its 10th anniversary.



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Make 2020 a social year IN BIRMINGHAM & THE MIDLANDS

Is your resolution for 2020 to be more sociable and spend time with like-minded people? Or maybe you fancy trying your hand at a new hobby, participating in a sport or joining a drama company or singing group? If so, the following two pages are definitely for you!...

We’ve compiled a list of some of the Midlands’ best clubs, groups, societies and organisations for LGBTQ+ people. CHECK IT OUT - you never know, you might just see something you fancy!

And there’s plenty more besides, too - head over to and you’ll find an even longer and more comprehensive list... 27

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Make 2020 a social year

Circle Birmingham



LGBT-friendly football club, sponsored by The Fox. Training every Wednesday, 8pm -10pm, with matches in the Festival League every Sunday.

Suitable for anybody over the age of 18 who identifies as being anywhere on the trans spectrum. The club provides a safe space in which to enjoy your football the group has sole access to the changing rooms during sessions.

To find out more, head to

To find out more, contact via email to


BLACK COUNTRY FUSION Formed in 2016, Black Country Fusion was the first LGBT-inclusive club in the West Midlands to enter a Sunday league rather than a conventional gay league. The club has both male and female teams. To find out more, head to Birmingham Blaze FC

BIRMINGHAM SWIFTS A free, England Athletics-approved running group for LGBT people, meeting three times a week. Open to all abilities and offering regular ‘couch to 5k’ starter sessions and more advanced marathon training programmes. To find out more, head to

Birmingham Swifts 28

Performance & Arts ACTING OUT Birmingham-based acting group for the LGBT community, open to anyone. The group meets weekly in Birmingham Gay Village and puts on a variety of performances throughout the year. Website:

BIRMINGHAM GAY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The BGSO offers a safe non-scene environment where musicians can relax, play, and enjoy the company of their fellow performers. For more information, head to

COVENTRY CORSAIRS RFC Fully inclusive rugby team that welcomes new members whether or not they have any previous experience of playing rugby. To find out more, head to

Birmingham Gay Symphony Orchestra



Fully inclusive badminton group which welcomes all ages, standards and abilities, from beginners to league players.

The only West Midlands choir for gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and trans people and their friends. The choir has members across all ages and comes together to celebrate diversity through song.

To find out more, head to stokepanthersbadminton.wordpress.c om


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Social CIRCLE BIRMINGHAM Monthly informal and sober social event for all people within the LGBTQ+ community. The group aims to improve mental and physical wellbeing by encouraging participation in healthy activities. (Pictured page 28) For more information, head to

PINK SOU’WESTERS Pink Sou'westers offers a range of lowcost, accessible and inclusive out-of-town non-scene events and activities for LGBT+ people and their guests, regardless of age or area of residence. Taking place in the daytime every third Thursday of the month.

STAND OUT 19 TO 30 GROUP Derbyshire’s LGBT+ weekly social support group enables people aged between 19 and 30 to meet up and make friends with like-minded people in a friendly, relaxed and safe space. For more information, email

X2Y - LGBT YOUTH GROUP Youth group for gay, lesbian, bi and trans people in Wolverhampton and the surrounding area. There are two weekly groups - one for ages 11 to 17, the other for 18 to 25-year-olds. For more information, head to

For more information, head to

FINDING A VOICE Social group offering support to gay South Asians aged 18 or older, regardless of their faith, culture, religion or disability. For more information head to

LIVING OUT LOUD Leicester LGBT Centre’s free-to-attend drop-in group for people aged 18+ who identify anywhere under the trans umbrella or are questioning their gender identity. The group provides a safe space in which to socialise with other trans adults and gain both support and information.

Contact Number: 07976 274271

Contact number: 0116 254 7412




Monthly Bromsgrove support group for parents, friends, relatives and carers of LGBTQI people. The group covers an area across Birmingham and Worcestershire but has members who travel from much further afield too.

X2Y LGBT Youth Group


Social and support group for young adults aged between 18 and 30 who identify anywhere under the LGBT+ umbrella or are questioning. A drop-in group, Misfits is free to attend and provides a safe space in which to socialise with other LGBT+ young adults, take part in numerous activities, access support and gather information. For more information, head to

FIRST OUT First Out is Leicester LGBT Centre’s social and support group for young people aged between 13 and 18 who identifies anywhere under LGBT+ umbrella or are questioning their sexuality or gender identity. This dropin group is free to attend and is a safe space to socialise with other LGBT+ young people, take part in fun and educational activities, and gain support and information. Every Thursday evening from 6:30pm - 8:30pm. For more information, head to

A monthly social group for LGBT+ people with learning disabilities, No Barriers is a place in which to relax, be yourself, meet new people and make friends - and all in a safe and supportive environment. Call or text 07580 532659 or email for more information

Specialist ALBA Support group for women asylumseekers or refugees. If you are a lesbian, bisexual or transgender woman and have come to the UK to seek asylum, you are very welcome to join in with the monthly meetings.

For more information, head to

POSITIVE WEST MIDLANDS Group providing social support - and signposting to other agencies - for people living with HIV, their supporters and volunteers. Make new friends and share experiences over free tea, coffee and biscuits. For more information, head to

BIRMINGHAM FETISH MEN Social group for gay men in Birmingham and the Midlands area who want to meet up while wearing their gear. Gay kinksters from all over the country are welcome. For more information, head to

For more information, head to

DERBY OLDER GAY MEN’S GROUP Golden Rainbows is a friendship and social support group for people aged 50 and older who identify as gay, bisexual or trans. The group is facilitated by members of the Derbyshire LGBT+ staff & volunteer team.

Birmingham Fetish Men 29

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ZONE Readers’ Awards

2 020 Yes, folks, it’s that Midlands Zone Readers' Awards time of year again! We all have our favourite Midlands gay bars, clubs, stores, people, personalities and LGBTQ charities - and this is your chance to show how much you appreciate them. Nominate and vote for your favourites when voting starts online on Monday 9 December and help them secure a title worthy of their work. But you’ve only got until Monday 6 January to take part in the first round of voting! We’ll then announce the TOP 5 in each category and re-open the voting for you to choose your winners. Results will be announced in full in the March 2020 issue. And don’t forget to enter our FREE PRIZE DRAW for your chance to win a whopping £1,000 in cash! To enter, simply vote online and then complete our online readership survey. Keep ’em peeled on Facebook and Twitter for more information and links!



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by Gudrun

There’s more to Father Christmas than meets the eye - and not all of it is good! ’Tis the season to be jolly, as Santa once so rashly said. However, when he was around, anything that wasn’t the Black Death or civil war seemed jolly. In these days of general joy and gaiety (in relative terms to the plague), absolute jolliness is arguably a little harder to come by. Christmas has become expensive, over-commercial, hard work and not always all that easy to enjoy.

I reckon he’s got too much time on his hands. We’re told that Christmas should really be about the baby Jesus and definitely not about coveting everyone else’s farmore-fabulous gifts, but Father Christmas is, of course, all about the presents.

This year, for Christmas, we’ve got a general election, which is never going to look good, no matter how much expensive wrapping paper you put it in. It’s like having a vaccination jab on your birthday - it may well be what you need in the long run, but it still takes the shine off your tinsel. It’s certainly doing nothing to dissuade me from my annual immersion in bah humbuggery.

And to everyone’s shame, his busy toy workshops are staffed with child-sized labour working their fingers to the (wish) bone. (Christmas elves are small, you see - geddit? Come on, I’m doing my best here…). Come January, we’re all worrying that we’re too fat, not fit enough and have drunk too much eggnog and babycham. He, on the other hand, celebrates his enormous belly like it’s his trademark. He revels in his fat cheeks and full-stretch elasticated waistband. At Christmas, while we’re desperately squeezing as many sprouts and roasted parsnips onto the plate as possible, he doesn’t eat a single vegetable, instead having a diet of only cookies and whisky. Give him a carrot and he makes Rudolf eat it. I don’t believe that man has any sort of a regular exercise regime at all.

But look at Father Christmas. He’s the one telling us how great Christmas is all the time, yet he makes no secret of the fact that he spends the whole festive period working. By the time he gets back from delivering all the presents, has wiped down the sleigh and brushed off the deer, it’s all over. He bangs on about how Christmas is all about family. Not wishing to be judgmental, but I’ve heard he’s partial to the odd Christmas Cracker, if you get my (snow) drift, and has a very soft spot for Christmas Carol. Surely it can’t have escaped your notice that every time you see Mrs Claus, she’s an entirely different woman. As he only works one day a year,

a time. And then there’s his infamous book, in which he lists everyone as either naughty or nice. When I marked everyone in my little black book with a score out of 10, I was told it wasn’t a PC thing to do.

He has sackloads of the things. You never see him at Midnight Mass. Always says he’s working. Despite his smiles and amiable persona, he’s quick to judge, often calling other people a ho - sometimes three women at

And he’s the one who says I’m naughty! Every year. So judgmental. Whatever you’re doing when the ballot boxes have been put into storage, have yourselves a fine festive season of excess and celebration and a fabulous January of regret, remorse and resolution!


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Animal Magic

ON THE LL A with B Steve Ball

How two penguins inspired a heart-warming story of love and acceptance... Of all the claims and counter-claims in the general election campaign, none were more unexpected than the one made by Dawn Butler - the shadow secretary for women & equalities - that 90% of giraffes are gay.

concern in the United States, where, after pressure from the Christian Right, it became one of the most banned books in the country. Here in the Midlands, And Tango Makes Three has sparked controversy due to being one of the books at the centre of the No Outsiders protests. The protests are being led by a minority of socially conservative parents who are opposed to the inclusion in primary school classrooms of books which feature same-sex parents.

Her statement was refuted by Stuart Lachlan, one of Jeremy Corbyn’s advisers, who responded angrily on Twitter over what he felt the claim also meant about gay people. “It is a ludicrous, offensive, homophobic claim,” Lachlan said, insisting instead that the same-sex physical contact observed between giraffes in the wild is “not gay behaviour” at all, but a display of dominance.

Never one to miss an opportunity to introduce children, young people and families to a heart-warming story of love and acceptance, I produced - as part of my day job at the Birmingham Rep - a piece of dance theatre inspired by the story of those Central Park Penguins.

Either way, it's not just giraffes that demonstrate same-sex attraction. Roy and Silo, two male chinstrap penguins in New York City's Central Park Zoo, were noted by staff to be performing mating rituals. In 1999, one of them attempted to hatch a rock as if it were an egg, which inspired zoo keepers to give them an abandoned egg. This resulted in Roy and Silo raising a chick named Tango. The story captured the imagination of millions when it was reported in the New York Times and has since been made into a children's book - And Tango Makes Three. The book generated widespread



The show, entitled Penguins, was created by award-winning children’s theatre director Paul Bosco McEneaney, working alongside international choreographer Carlos Pons Guerra, and won praise from primary schools and parents of young children when it premiered last year. It’s an uplifting and very visual piece of theatre, and there’s a chance to catch it again when it returns to The Rep from 4 to 14 December. It then heads off on a major tour of the US in 2020. 35

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The Lacey Lou Column Message Lacey on Twitter


Let’s talk...

s m e G m a h g n i m r i B ’s Lacey ! 6 of the best

Birmingham. More like BirminGLAM! I will admit I’m not an OG Midlands gal - I’m actually a southerner - but Birmingham has taken my heart and is now where I call home. This city is ace - not so big that it loses its sense of community, but not so small that living here means missing out on anything. Bellissimo! What I love about Birmingham is its sense of raw underground-ness; nothing feels spoilt by too much commercialism. The cool, intimate places pretty much stay that way, and new things and events pop up everywhere. Whilst the rest of the UK mocks both the people and the accent, we’re here doing bits and making the city a place for Midlanders to be proud of! So here are my fave hot places in Brum - I hope you love them, too! Lots of love,

Lacey X


1. Cocoa By Ali I’m kick-starting these gems with a magical belter. This is a must for anybody with a sweet tooth and a taste for fantasy. Situated in The Mailbox, this little café is the brainchild of Great British Bake Off’s Ali Imdad. From the décor to the food & drink, everything is embellished and, well, magical. Imagine, Instagram-galore décor, unicorn lattes and overthe-top cakes. Instagram @cocoabyali


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2. Winterbourne Gardens It’s no exaggeration to say that I find this place breathtaking. I couldn’t believe that somewhere so beautiful and relaxing was situated so close to me! During the warmer months, this sevenacre oasis is blooming with over 6,000 different plants to enjoy on your stroll. There are floral arches, bridges, streams and a cute outdoor café on the terrace of the manor house. Tranquil and stunning. Instagram @winterbournehg


5. The Old Crown The modern and the traditional meet in sweet harmony at The Old Crown. Located in the heart of Digbeth, the pub is Birmingham’s oldest secular building and has been in existence since 1368. So many different types of event take place here, from food fairs to outdoor parties. It really is a hive of activity... and one of my favourite pubs in which to have one cider too many! Instagram @oldcrownbham

3. Digbeth Dining Club



No ‘Birmingham gems’ list would be complete without DDC. The place speaks for itself, offering high-quality and tasty-as-shit food and drink. Each month the space hosts different vendors selling their personal take on a range of culinary delights. Founded in 2012, DDC is a multi-award-winning event which has put Birmingham on the map for street food. Alongside its food & drink offer, the venue hosts DJ sets and boasts various areas to explore. My favourite vendors are Only Jerkin’ and Buddha Belly. Yum! Instagram @digbethdiningclub

4. Ghetto Golf


Ghetto Golf is the most fun I’ve had in ages and is so well made! Every time I go here, I end up bollocked drunk, munching on the most tasty loaded fries I’ve ever had and laughing so much. The whole space is decked out with awesome routes and fab artwork. There’s even a bus in there to play golf through - a West Midlands one, of course! This place gets busy, so booking in advance is essential and is absolutely worth it! Lots of picture ops here. Instagram @ghettogolfbham

6. Damascena I usually go to a coffee-shop chain, as I’m a bit of a coffee wanker, but decided to give this place a try. I’m so glad that I did because this is the best coffee shop I’ve ever been to! The Turkish coffee is my fave - a small, rich, espresso-style coffee that comes complete with a cup of water to cleanse the palate and a small cube of Turkish delight, all displayed on a beautiful silver set. The food is also to-diefor; I love the salads and a pick-and-mix of baklavas! For what you get, the price is amazing. Definitely recommended!

6 TWITTER: Carry on the chat @laceymcfadyen 37

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Photo Credit: Ben Mak

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The Vivienne

2 tickets to RuPaul’s Drag Race Werq The World Tour TO BE WON!

Shea Couleé

The official RuPaul’s Drag Race Werq The World Tour returns with an all-new production in 2020 - and we’ve got a pair of tickets to the Arena Birmingham date to give away! UK Drag Race 2019 winner The Vivienne will be joined by Asia O’Hara, Kameron Michaels, Plastique Tiara, Shea Couleé, Vanessa Vanjie Mateo and Yvie Oddly. The tour stops off at Arena Birmingham on 12 May.

Vanessa Vanjie

Plastique Tiara

The army of Queens will journey through iconic periods in history in a bid to find host Michelle Visage, who’s been sent spiralling through time with no way of returning home. Can they save the former Strictly contestant from a terrible fate? So get entering our competition on Yvie Oddly or on Facebook or why not bag yourself a ticket NOW!

Kameron Michaels Asia O’Hara

Enter the competition via our website or Facebook page at @midlandszone 39

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Arts • Theatre • Entertainment

Vanessa Vanjie

Fat Rascal Theatre here present a musical parody of the untold story of Ursula the Sea Witch. In a tell-all tale of sex, sorcery and suckers, the award-winning company reveal what really happened under the sea. Birmingham Hippodrome, Monday 16 - Sunday 22 December

Vanjie here Star of RuPaul’s Drag Race seasons ten and eleven, Miss numbers nergy ‘high-e of s minute 60 show man one-wo her ts presen -besure-to a and y’ comed us with the Klub Kids dancers, hilario . session fascinating Q&A The Glee Club, Birmingham, Monday 2 December

Direct from its record-breaking season at the London Palladium, this critically acclaimed production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King & I shows in Birmingham this month. Set in 1860s Bangkok, the hit musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna, a British schoolteacher charged with the task of serving as governess to the modernist king’s 67 children... Featuring West End favourite Annalene Beechey, Broadway star Jose Llana, a company of 50 talented performers and a full-scale orchestra, this is a production not to be missed. Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, Tuesday 10 December Saturday 4 January 40

Jane McDonald

This not-to-be-missed concert will be packed to its festive rafters with fantastic seasonal music, including I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day, Fairytale Of New York and songs from Jane's very own repertoire. Arena Birmingham, Friday 20 December

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Mary Mac in panto? Oh yes she is!

Scottish drag queen and Brum Gay Village regular Mary Mac (aka JP McCue) is promising a double dose of fun when she returns to panto at Leamington’s Royal Spa Centre this month. Mary, who made her panto debut in 2012, will this year play both Dame Dolly and Wicked Queen Holly in a festive production of Snow White. “I'm so excited to be returning to this fairytale in a brand new version for 2019,” says Mary, “and even more thrilled to be playing Dame this time around. The Dame offers fantastic opportunities to be cheeky and cause a bit of mayhem, which is definitely one of my favourite hobbies - as anyone who’s seen my previous Spa Centre pantomimes will know!” Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa, Saturday 7 December - Sunday 5 January

With 2018 winner Stacey Dooley taking on the presenting role, the Strictly Come Dancing Live tour is back with a bang. Waltzing its way into Birmingham in the new year, the sequin-filled show features TV judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli. Taking to the dancefloor with their professional dance partners are celebrities Karim Zeroual, Kelvin Fletcher (pictured), Saffron Barker, Mike Bushell, Alex Scott, Emma Barton and Catherine Tyldesley. If you’re a fan of the hit BBC TV show, this is definitely an evening out not to be missed... Arena Birmingham, Thursday 16 - Sunday 19 January

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, which is the fairest panto of them all?... Qdos Pantomimes is this Christmas bringing yet another starstudded festive show to Birmingham Hippodrome. Birds Of A Feather’s Lesley Joseph - top-billing as the Wicked Queen - is joined by X-Factor winner Joe McElderry, the everpopular Matt Slack, Coronation Street’s Faye Brookes and Britain’s Got Talent finalists Flawless. Andrew Ryan is the man charged with the task of getting all Damed up, while ‘lazy cow’ Doreen Tipton brings her ‘strung’ Black Country accent into the very heartland of Brummie territory... Birmingham Hippodrome, Saturday 21 December - Sunday 2 February 41

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December 2009

January 2010

10 YEARS AGO A look back at Midlands Zone from Dec 2009 and Jan 2010

After 34 years Lesbian and Gay Switchboard West Midlands came to an end - so thank goodness we have Birmingham LGBT Centre now!

Following the untimely death of Missing Bar boss Eric Richardson-Riley 10 years ago, the venue soon re-opened in January 2010 under the more than capable new ownership of David Dindol - happy 10th anniversary!

Former Mr Gay UK Richard Carr takes over and revamps Jester Bar 10 years ago - however, the venue closed for the last time in October this year.


Januar y 2020

David Dindol celebrat 10 YEAR es S Missing as Bar owner!

Kirk Stephens the leaseholder of Angels Cafe Bar which is now known as Sidewalk gets evicted 10 years ago!

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DIVINE MISS M is the ultimate hangover cure at Missing

Your guide to the month ahead on the GAY SCENE

DRAG WITH NO NAME brings the laughs to Bar Diva

Party with PAM CATZ at Glamorous Birmingham

LINDA GOLD is camp as Christmas at Gossip


Get ready for the


parties of the year...

NYE 2020

and the infamous

NYE RE-RUN Alexandra Burke headlines the Nightingale’s NYE Re-Run 43

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Charlie Hides

Sat 7 December Eden Bar, Birmingham


Sitges’ Lady Diamond Miss Penny back in the Midlands

The award-winning Miss Penny is live on stage at several Midlands venues, entertaining the masses with her super-fantastic act. If you haven’t yet seen her, be sure to check out at least one of her shows - she’s fab! Friday 20 December, and Friday 31 January The Yard, Coventry Thursday 26 December, and Friday 24 January Village Inn, Birmingham Tuesday 31 December, Red Lion, Walsall and you can catch Miss Penny EVERY Monday at Havana Republic, Shrewsbury

The Queen of Sitges is coming back to the Midlands for camp-as-tits cabaret performances in Birmingham and Shrewsbury. Don’t miss them! Sunday 1 December, Missing Bar, Birmingham, also with Amy LaQueefa Monday 9 December, Havana Republic, Shrewsbury, also with Miss Penny

KY KELLY Pop down to The Yard for the venue’s weekly Friday night extravaganza and check out the ever-fabulous KY Kelly, live on stage! And Coventry’s not the only place to catch KY over the next few weeks either she’s making her debut at popular Shrewsbury nightspot Havana Republic too!


Friday 6 December, and Friday 3 January Village Inn, Birmingham

Son Of A Tutu Award-winning drag queen Son Of A Tutu will be gracing The Yard with her presence not once but twice this festive & new year season. She’s a popular fixture at G-A-Y down in London town, so be sure to catch her while she’s in the region!

Friday 13 December and Friday 10 January - The Yard, Coventry

Mother’s Meeting Join the cast of Mother’s Meeting for a very special drag Christmas at the new venue of Eden Bar. Expect a night of performances, games and a whole load of tinsel! Saturday 7 Dec, Eden Bar, Birmingham

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Fannie Coil

Vicky Jackson

Fri 27 December The Yard, Coventry

Monday 16 December, Havana Republic, Shrewsbury

Vivienne Lynsey

Thur 19 December, Eden Bar, Birmingham

HAZELL DEAN AT BRUM ’80s XMAS PARTY Step back in time this festive season as Eden Bar hosts a live performance by ’80s legend Hazell Dean. DJ Toni Lee will be helping to keep things nice ’n’ retro by only playing tunes from 1980 to ’89. So dust off your ’80s clobber and party like there’s a big-haired Iron Lady in Number 10 Downing Street! Oh, and fancy-dress is very much recommended! Saturday 21 December, Eden Bar, Birmingham

Electric Blue

Blue, blue, Electric Blue! Dudley’s the place to head for if you fancy a memorable evening of camp frolics and dancefloor fillers! Saturday 7 December, Bar Diva, Dudley

Miss Thunderpussy p y ar Miss International drag superstar ffe ff ferent Thunderpussy visits four diff different venues in the Midlands in December, so brace yourself lf fo fforr cheeky banter, dirty talkin’ n’ and blinding tunes! Friday 6 December, Propaganda, Nottingham Friday 13 December, Village Inn, Birmingham Sat 14 December, Red Lion, Walsall Sat 21 December, Bar Diva, Dudley



legen Marty Smith is once again out and about, Drag legend r ing up her usual delightful dose of fun, games and rv serving serv in and around the Midlands. a t antics g ty a gh au naughty nau

a 2 December, Havana Republic, Shrewsbury ay Monday The Yard, Coventry D a 6 December, ay Friday a 14 December, Bar Diva, Dudley ay Saturday 24 December, Village Inn, Birmingham a 2 ay Tuesday January, The Yard, Coventry a 3J ay Friday also catch up with her at Thirsty Thursdays, c and you can THURSDAY at The Village Inn, Birmingham R T RY EVERY 45

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Shania Pain

Mon 6 January, Havana Republic, Shrewsbury

Brenda LaBeau Drag Idol UK 2016 finalist Brenda LaBeau is known for her incredible live vocals. The scouse songstress will surely bring the house down when she takes to the stage at Eden Bar once again. Saturday 28 December, Eden Bar, Birmingham

LINDA GOLD’S XMAS DISCO Gossip is set to be golden this Christmas as the amazing Linda Gold hosts a night of camp, crazy and confetti-filled chaos! Saturday 14 December, Gossip, Hanley, Stoke-onTrent

Betty Bangs Tantalising vocals, super songs, flirtatious behaviour, cheeky banter, verbal abuse, big wigs and loads of glitter and sparkles - it can only be the incomparable Betty Bangs! Betty is eager to point out that her drag shows contain adult themes, bad language, and can be scary places if you’re a snowflake! Friday 17 January, The Yard, Coventry 46

The Whore of Hampstead Heath


The Whore of Hampstead Heath willl get you in the party spirpirit when she plays The Village Inn on the lastt Friday of the month. Friday 27 December, and Friday 31 January ry The Village Inn, Birmingham


A Dickensian tale of snow-covered London, raggedy orphans, plum pudding, redemption, the dark arts, overthe-top acting, ghosts and, yes, MURDER MOST FOUL!... In true Killer Queens fashion, a talented cast of local drag artists and performers will be camping it up as you lend them a hand in trying to work out whodunnit! There are prizes for the winning team and the best dressed! Friday 6 December, Eden Bar, Birmingham mingham

Divine Miss iss M

THE HANGOVER PARTY! Put on a brave face and grab rab a a ab Bloody Mary as the talented nted Divine Miss M hosts Missing’s sing’s Party! t ! ty New Year’s Day Hangoverr Party Wednesday 1 January, Missing Bar, Birmingham am

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Lola Lasagne Fri 10 January Village Inn, Birmingham



NYE PARTIES Let the countdown to 2020 begin! There’s a host of New Year’s Eve parties taking place around the Midlands. Here are some of the highlights...

DRAG WITH NO NAME The always-fantastic Drag With No Name returns to the Midlands! Expect an evening of quality comedy and reworkings of popular songs. From Gaga to Britney, Jessie J to My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, and Kerry Katona to Susan Boyle... no one is safe! Saturday 18 January, Bar Diva, Dudley

Topsie Redfern Tuesday 31 December - New Year’s Eve Highlights

Masquerade Ball with DJ Simon & special guest The Yard, Coventry Roaring Twenties with DJ Nora & Amy LaQueefa The Fox, Birmingham New Year’s Eve Party with DJ Mike Emery Missing, Birmingham New Years Eve Bash with DJ Dom Cook Gorgeous, Wolverhampton New YEAR New HUN! The Nightingale Club, Birmingham NYE Party with Miss

Annie & DJ Gavina Bar Diva, Dudley New Year’s Eve Party with DJ Nikki & DJ Toni Eden Bar, Birmingham Masquerade Ball with Amanda Cruz & Jelly Cube Glamourous, Coventry Pam Catz Countdown Party Glamourous, Birmingham New Year’s Eve Party The Village Inn, Brum 90s House Party - New Year’s Eve Party The Loft, Birmingham

More NYE listing on page 50


West End star, cabaret artist and runner-up in Drag Idol UK 2013, Topsie Redfern brings her stunning vocals to the Midlands to kickstart 2020 in style. Fri 17 January, Village Inn, Birmingham

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Fanny Burns

Fri 24 January The Yard, Coventry

Party time with Asian Night

Pam Catz Saathi The fabulous Pam Catz will be getting punters in party mood over the festive period at Birmingham’s Glamorous. Tuesday 24 December Christmas Eve and Tuesday 31 December - NYE Glamorous, Birmingham

The Midlands Asian night is back for a special December gig at the Gale. Friday 27 December Nightingale Club, Birmingham


Put the date in your diary now and be sure to get along to the Nightingale’s legendary New Year’s Eve Re-run event. It’s always an extremely vibrant occasion - and with a live pa from Alexandra Burke featuring on this occasion, it’s definitely one not to miss! Saturday 1 February, Nightingale Club, Birmingham 49

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Kelly Wilde

Friday 20 Dec Village Inn, Birmingham


Lady Diamond and Amy La Queefa Missing Bar, Birmingham The Milkshakes The Fox, Birmingham

Monday 2 December Miss Marty Havana Republic, Shrewsbury

Wednesday 4 December Coz’s Scrooge Christmas Quiz & Bingo The Fox, Birmingham Men Only The Crown Inn, Derby

Friday 6 December

Coventry Corsairs RFC Kit Launch The Yard, Coventry Yard Tucka' Trial - in aid of Coventry and Warwickshire Mind The Yard, Coventry Miss Marty The Yard, Coventry KY Kelly The Village Inn, Birmingham Killer Queens - Seasons Beatings Eden Bar, Birmingham Miss Thunderpussy Propaganda, Nottingham Derby Pride Christmas Party The Crown Inn, Derby

Saturday 7 December

Mother’s Meeting Eden Bar, Birmingham Charlie Hides Eden Bar, Birmingham Electric Blue Bar Diva, Dudley Champagne Shirley The Red Lion, Walsall

Sunday 8 December Cineden Eden Bar, Birmingham Cycki Brokat The Fox, Birmingham

Monday 9 December Lady Diamond Havana Republic, Shrewsbury 50

Friday 13 December

The K-POP Party The Nightingale Club, Birmingham Miss Thunderpussy The Village Inn, Birmingham Son Of A Tutu The Yard, Coventry House Of Allure Eden Bar, Birmingham Christmas Jumper Party Gorgeous, Wolverhampton Christmas Jumper Party Chic, Birmingham Baga Chipz Propaganda, Nottingham

Miss Penny The Yard, Coventry MidsBears Eden Bar, Birmingham Miss Penny, early show (9pm) The Red Lion, Walsall The Vivienne Propaganda, Nottingham Chic’s Christmas Party Chic, Birmingham

Miss M, Glamour & Ego Dance The Red Lion, Walsall

Saturday 21 December

Miss Penny The Village Inn, Birmingham Pounded - Boxing Day Special The Nightingale Club, Birmingham Pam Catz The Red Lion, Walsall Vocals Special Chic, Birmingham

Miss Marty Bar Diva, Dudley Linda Gold’s Xmas Disco Gossip, Stoke-on-Trent Maria Gardner Disney princess Eden Bar, Birmingham Miss Thunderpussy The Red Lion, Walsall

80's Christmas Party with Hazel Dean Eden Bar, Birmingham Christmas Breakfast Club Gorgeous, Wolverhampton Miss Thunderpussy Bar Diva, Dudley Bear’s Xmas Party Greenhouse Sauna, Darlaston Karaoke with Mitzy Mansell The Red Lion, Walsall Scream Queenz The New Foresters, Nottingham

Sunday 15 December

Sunday 22 December

Saturday 14 December

Leather Social Eden Bar, Birmingham Gameden Eden Bar, Birmingham Kings ‘n’ Thinks The Fox, Birmingham Euro Drag Gossip, Stoke-onTrent

Monday 16 December Vicky Jackson Havana Republic, Shrewsbury

Tuesday 17 December Big Fat Christmas Quiz Dover Castle, Leicester

Thursday 19 December Vivienne Lynsey Eden Bar, Birmingham

Friday 20 December

She Dazzle Party Greenhouse Sauna, Darlaston Kelly Wilde The Village Inn, Birmingham

Night At The Musicals The Yard, Coventry Leather Social Eden Bar, Birmingham Auntie Tilly’s Christmas Show The Fox, Birmingham

Monday 23 December

Christmas Choir The Yard, Coventry Miss Penny’s Christmas Party Havana Republic, Shrewsbury

Tuesday 24 December r Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve with DJ Andy The Yard, Coventry Miss Annie’s Christmas Show Bar Diva, Dudley n, Miss Marty The Village Inn, Birmingham Christmas Eve with DJ am Nikki Eden Bar, Birmingham Pam Catz Glamorous, Birmingham

Wednesday 25 December Christmas Day Bring and Share Buffet The Yard, Coventry

Thursday 26 December Boxing Day

Friday 27 December

Sandra London The Village Inn, Birmingham Fannie Coil The Yard, Coventry Saathi Night The Nightingale Club, Birmingham

Saturday 28 December

Club Scritches Eden Bar, Birmingham Brenda LaBeau Eden Bar, Birmingham Mitzy Mansell The Red Lion, Walsall

Monday 30 December Amy La Queefa Havana Republic, Shrewsbury

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Maria Gardner

Sat 14 December, Eden Bar, Birmingham

Tuesday 31 December New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve Party The Village Inn, Brum 90s House Party - New Year’s Eve Party The Loft, Birmingham NYE Party with Miss Annie & DJ Gavina Bar Diva, Dudley Masquerade Ball with DJ Simon & special guest The Yard, Coventry Roaring Twenties with DJ Nora & Amy LaQueefa The Fox, Birmingham DJ Mike Emery Missing, Birmingham New Years Eve Bash with DJ Dom Cook Gorgeous, Wolverhampton New YEAR New HUN! The Nightingale Club, Birmingham New Year’s Eve Party with DJ Nikki & DJ Toni Eden Bar, Birmingham Masquerade Ball with Amanda Cruz & Jelly Cube Glamorous, Coventry Pam Catz Countdown Party Glamorous, Birmingham House Party with DJ EJ Chic, Birmingham NYE with Lucy Fur Chic, Birmingham Fanny Burns & DJ Cilla The Boston, Northampton Miss Penny The Red Lion, Walsall

Wednesday 1 January W

Hangover Party with The Divine Miss M Missing, Birmingham

Friday 3 January

KY Kelly The Village Inn, Birmingham Miss Marty The Yard, Coventry

Monday 6 January Shania Pain, Havana Republic, Shrewsbury

Friday 10 January

Lola Lasagne The Village Inn, Birmingham Son Of A Tutu The Yard, Coventry

Sunday 12 January Cineden Eden Bar, Birmingham

Friday 17 January

Topsie Redfern The Village Inn, Birmingham Betty Bangs The Yard, Coventry

Saturday 18 January Drag With No Name Bar Diva, Dudley

Sunday 19 January

Leather Social Eden Bar, Birmingham

Monday 20 January Miss Marty Havana Republic, Shrewsbury

Friday 24 January

Miss Penny The Village Inn, Birmingham Fanny Burns The Yard, Coventry

Saturday 25 January Club Scritches Eden Bar, Birmingham

Wednesday 29 January Rii Rii Lepour does Spiceworld The Fox, Birmingham

Friday 31 January

Sandra London The Village Inn, Birmingham Miss Penny The Yard, Coventry

Saturday 1 February

Alexandra Burke live: NYE ReRun The Nightingale, Birmingham 51

Venue Map December.qxp_Layout 1 27/11/2019 16:30 Page 1

EVERY SUNDAY Rock and Roll Bingo with DJ Daddy




Sherlock St, B5 6NB Tel: 0121 622 1953 /

12 Bromsgrove St, B5 6RG Tel: 0121 6222 444 /The-Loft-Lounge

EVERY MONDAY 8PM Quizzical with DJ Yogi


EVERY FRIDAY & SUNDAY Karaoke & Disco with DJ Nikki The Loft, Birmingham EVERY WEDNESDAY Midweek Wednesdays DJ Mike Emery EVERY THURSDAY Thirsty Thursdays with Pam Catz

EVERY SATURDAY DJ Toni Lee & DJ Poni alternate weeks.


EVERY WEDNESDAY Wing It Wednesday Kilo of wings and drink £10

17 Lower Essex St, B5 6SN Tel: 0121 622 3213 /


EVERY FRIDAY Christmas Karaoke with Amy LaQueefa & Little L

GLAMOROUS BIRMINGHAM 27-35 Hurst St, B5 4BD Tel: 0121 622 5912 /GlamorousBirmingham

EVERY SATURDAY Sparkle Pop Saturdays with Pam Catz


EVERY SATURDAY The Big Gay Saturday Night Party

Birmingham venues where you can pick up Midlands Zone VENUE KEY 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8


Hurst St, B5 6NU Tel: 0121 622 4256 /missingbar EVERY MONDAY UNTIL 4AM Ministry of Pound with DJ Mike Emery

EVERY FRIDAY Fabulous Fridays open until 6am

EVERY MONDAY Monday Cocktail Club 2 for £10

Clone Zone Missing The Village Eden Bar The Core Boltz Club The Fox The Nightingale

9 10 11 12 14 15

Devil’s Kitchen The Loft The Fountain Club Chic Glamorous Birmingham LGBT

12 13




EVERY SATURDAY Nightingale Saturdays with free entry until 12pm

THE VILLAGE INN Hurst St, B5 4BD Tel: 0121 622 4742 /villageinnbirmingham EVERY MONDAY 9PM Bingo with Queeny EVERY TUESDAY Pick n Mix with Ginny Lemon + Blanche EVERY WEDNESDAY Karaoke with Pork Pie EVERY THURSDAY Thirsty Thursdays with Miss Marty EVERY SUNDAY Yshee Black + special guests

EVERY TUESDAY Karaoke with Gavina Vagina EVERY THURSDAY 9PM Thursdays with DJ Gavina £1.50 bombs PLUS THESE VENUES EVERY FRIDAY 9PM Hit Man and Her with DJ Mike Emery & Gavina Vagina

BOLTZ CLUB Lower Essex St, B5 6QP Tel: 0121 666 6888

EVERY SATURDAY Missing’s House Party with DJ Matty, DJ Mike Emery and host Twiggy

CLUB CHIC 28 Horsefair, B11DD Tel: 0121 666 6806

EVERY SUNDAY 8.30pm & 10.30pm Camp as t*ts with Amy LaQueefa and guest cabaret


EVERY FRIDAY Absolute Anthems with DJs Corey Hadley and Scott Hilton

THE CORE Sherlock St, B5 6NB Tel: 0121 622 2797 DEVILS KITCHEN Kent St, B5 6NB FOUNTAIN INN Wrentham St, B5 6QL Tel: 0121 622 1452


Kent St, B5 6RD Tel: 0121 622 1718 /thenightingaleclub

SPARTAN HEALTH CLUB 127 George Road, B23 7SH Tel: 0121 382 3345

EVERY THURSDAY Pounded! with £1 drinks all night

UNIT 2 78 Lower Essex St, B5 6SN Tel: 0121 622 7070

Venue Map December.qxp_Layout 1 27/11/2019 16:30 Page 2

West Midlands COVENTRY

GLAMOROUS COVENTRY 88 Short St, CV1 2LX /GlamorousCoventry EVERY MONDAY Happy Hour all night EVERY TUESDAY Karaoke and prize games EVERY WEDNESDAY Aftr Drk with the biggest House and R’n’B hits EVERY THURSDAY KaPownd Thursdays with £1 drinks all night EVERY FRIDAY Thank Pam it’s Friday! with Pam Catz

EVERY WEDNESDAY Live music with Tom Barnwell & Jade Justine EVERY THURSDAY Free Shot Karaoke EVERY FRIDAY Dirty Disco 80’s Night and cabaret EVERY SATURDAY Identity with DJ Simon Baker EVERY SUNDAY Bingo ‘n’ sh*t DUDLEY

BAR DIVA 76 Lower Plaza Mall, King Street, DY2 8NZ /BarDivaThePlaceToBe EVERY MONDAY Manic Monday with Miss Annie

EVERY SATURDAY Haus of Cube cabaret with Jelly Cube


HAVANA REPUBLIC 18-21 Abbey Foregate, SY2 6AE Tel: 01743 271821 /HavanaRepublic EVERY MONDAY Fabulous Mondays with Miss Penny and guest cabaret every 1st and 3rd Monday THE PEACH TREE 18-21 Abbey Foregate Tel: 01743 355055 /ThePeachTreeRestaurant


GOSSIP 5 Hope Street, ST1 5BT Tel: 07399 664955 /gossipstoke EVERY MONDAY Double Your Mondays with DJ Bradderz


DERBY THE CROWN INN 40 Curzon St. DE1 1LL Tel: 01332 381742

LEICESTER TELFORD THREE FURNACES 30 Bridgnorth Rd, Madeley. TF7 4JB. 01952 588521

WALSALL THE LION Birchills St. WS2 8NG Tel: 01922 610977 THE RED LION Park St. WS1 1NW Tel: 01922 637790


GREENHOUSE Willenhall Road, WS10 8JG Tel: 0121 568 6126



DOVER CASTLE 34 Dover St. LE16PT Tel: 0116 255 3052 HELSINKI 94 Rutland St. LE1 1SB Tel: 0116 254 7568 RAINBOW & DOVE 185 Charles St. LE1 1LA Tel: 0116 254 7568

SAUNAS IN THE AREA AMIGOS LEISURE 30 Bedford St South, LE1 3JR Tel: 0116 251 1955 CLUB 29 29 New Bond St, LE1 4RQ Tel: 0116 262 7770 SPLASH SPA & LEISURE 61 Bedford St South, LE1 3JR Tel: 0116 367 3932

School St. WV1 4LF Tel: 01902 427247



THE YARD 11-12 Bull Yard, CV1 1LH Tel: 02475 012 959 /TheYardCoventry EVERY TUESDAY Quiz of random things with The Saturnos

EVERY THURSDAY Get Pounded Karaoke with Miss Annie

EVERY THURSDAY Throwback Thursdays with DJ Bradderz

EVERY FRIDAY Freaky Friday’s with DJ Mikey

EVERY FRIDAY Double Your Money Fridays

EVERY SATURDAY Cabaret Saturdays with Miss Annie

EVERY SATURDAY Sinful Saturdays with DJ Destiny Dyson

EVERY THURSDAY 1AM-6AM Balsed Up! Thursdays

EVERY SUNDAY Karaoke fun & games with Klassy Kassy

EVERY SATURDAY 12AM-6AM The Breakfast Club

EVERY SUNDAY Ring & Ride with Mo & Margaret

THE BOSTON College St. NN1 2QP Tel: 01604 604404

/thebostonnorthampton NOTTINGHAN

PINK 93 Stafford Street, ST1 1LS

Tel: 01782 272772



NEW FORESTERS 18 St. Anns St, NG1 3LX Tel: 0115 958 0432

/gaybar.nottingham PROPAGANDA 8-10 Broadway, Lace Market Tel: 0115 979 9183

THE FLAG 50 Lowesmoor, WR1 2SG Tel: 01905 780220



K’ WITH THE U Q MAGAZINE BT LG AL N IO REG Lei ore contact: To find out m 01743 281703 on Woodhouse

Nightingale Club, Birmingham 53

Halloween on Hurst Street DPS.qxp_Layout 1 27/11/2019 18:46 Page 1



Ghoul and ghost and goblin host descended on Birmingham’s Gay Village for this year’s Halloween celebrations. And with amazing outfits galore on show, venues packed to their specially cobwebbed rafters and plenty of top entertainment to enjoy, the evening was truly terrifically terrifying!


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Village Inn Left Hand Full December 2019.qxp_Layout 1 27/11/2019 08:56 Page 1

Village Inn Right Hand Full December 2019.qxp_Layout 1 27/11/2019 08:56 Page 1

The Village DPS.qxp_Layout 1 27/11/2019 10:37 Page 1



Open seven days a week and boasting karaoke and cabaret galore, The Village Inn has no trouble pulling in the crowds! Top drag acts KY Kelly, Miss Penny and Sandra London all feature in the venue’s festive-season line-up of riproaring live entertainment! (check advert for more details.)


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Eden single.qxp_Layout 1 27/11/2019 10:40 Page 1



Situated in the heart of the Birmingham Gay Village, Eden Bar presents the very best cabaret from across the country. December and January are set to be non-stop for the venue, as it hosts Mids Bears and Leather Social events, an Eden Xmas Party with Hazell Dean and New Year celebrations with DJ Nikki and DJ Toni Lee! (see advert opposite for more details)

Eden boss Garry


60 uk

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Nightingale Dec/Jan.qxp_Layout 1 27/11/2019 10:48 Page 1



RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’s Divina De Campo, Baga Chipz and Blue Hydrangea - aka The Frock Destroyers - brought the house down at the Nightingale last month! X-Factor star Alexandra Burke will be taking to the stage at the Gale in early 2020 for the venue’s New Year Re-run event... (*Check the back cover for more details)


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Missing Dec/Jan.qxp_Layout 1 27/11/2019 12:07 Page 1



Known as ‘Birmingham’s party bar’, Missing on Hurst Street offers a fun-filled night of quality cabaret in the company of a great crowd! The venue has entertainment every night of the week across the festive period. Highlights include a New Year’s Eve party (with free entry) and The New Year Hangover Party on New Year’s Day, hosted by Divine Miss M. (see advert opposite for more details)


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November saw the crowds flocking to The Loft to enjoy the venue’s screening of the final episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, with The Vivienne crowned as the series’ winner!


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The Yard DPS.qxp_Layout 1 27/11/2019 10:34 Page 1



As our pictures show, it was another busy month of fun and frolics at The Yard this November... The venue is hosting a great selection of cracking events over the festive period, including Snowball supporting World AIDS Day, Yard Staff Get Me Out Of Here! and an NYE Masquerade Ball. (see advert for more details)

68 Midl

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Havana Republic Dec_Jan.qxp_Layout 1 27/11/2019 12:12 Page 1



November saw the wonderful Brenda La Beau perform at Havana Republic, appearing as part of Miss Penny’s Fabulous Mondays - the biggest gay Monday night out in the Midlands! December will see Lady Diamond turn up at the venue - direct from Sitges! Miss Marty, Vicky Jackson and Amy La Queefa will also be appearing at Havana Republic across the festive season, with Miss Penny presenting her very own Christmas show on the 23rd! (see advert opposite for more details)


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Bar Diva DPS.qxp_Layout 1 27/11/2019 10:44 Page 1



November was another crazy month for Bar Diva, with the likes of Gavina and Miss Marty hitting the stage. The venue is providing plenty of cabaret this festive season to keep the Dudley crowds in good spirits, including Miss Annie’s Christmas Show and an NYE party with Miss Annie and Gavina! (see advert for more details)


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Gorgeous Dec/Jan.qxp_Layout 1 27/11/2019 12:09 Page 1



Gorgeous is home to one of Wolverhampton’s busiest club nights, Ego - taking place every Saturday from 11pm till 6am. With a mashup of commercial R&B, chart-toppers, anthems and house & bass, there’s something for everyone. Students can also get 20% off entry & drinks with a valid student ID card. The club will also be hosting their own New Years Eve Bash with DJ Dom Cook!


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It’s always party time at Glamorous, open seven days a week. Head on down to its brand new Sparkle Pop Saturdays event with Pam Catz and dance the night away to chart, Disney and show tunes from midnight until 6am! And don’t forget to visit Glamorous in Coventry too, where you can enjoy karaoke and cabaret throughout the week! (see advert opposite for more details)


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BIRMINGHAM FETISH MEN There was a record turnout at Birmingham Fetish Men's quarterly social at Eden Bar last month. The end of the night saw organisers announcing the return to the gay village of the highly anticipated Birmingham Fetish Weekend, taking place from 13 to 15 March.

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What’sOn MEDIA GROUP Offices: Wynner House, Bromsgrove St, Birmingham B5 6RG and 13-14 Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, SY2 6AE

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Editor-in-Chief & Publisher: Martin Monahan Editorial: Brian O’Faolain 01743 281701 Sales & Marketing: Lei Woodhouse 01743 281703 Chris Horton 01743 281704 Managing Director: Davina Evans Subscriptions: Adrian Parker 01743 281714 Graphic Designers: Abi Whitehouse, Lisa Wassell, Chris Atherton Accounts : Julia Perry 01743 281717 Contributors: Lauren Cole, Steve Ball, Lacey Lou, Patsy Moss, Laura Byrne This publication is printed on paper from a sustainable source and is produced without the use of elemental chlorine. We endorse the recycling of our magazine and would encourage you to pass it on to others to read when you have finished with it. All works appearing in this publication are copyright. It is to be assumed that the copyright for material rests with the magazine unless otherwise stated. No part of this publication may be reproduced, or stored in an electronic system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopied, recording or otherwise, without the prior knowledge and consent of the publishers.


Squirt Full December 2019.qxp_Layout 1 21/11/2019 11:06 Page 1

Nightingale Full December 2019 .qxp_Layout 1 22/11/2019 14:03 Page 1

Profile for Midlands Zone

Midlands Zone December 2019 + January 2020  

The UK’s Biggest Regional LGBTQ+ Lifestyle Magazine

Midlands Zone December 2019 + January 2020  

The UK’s Biggest Regional LGBTQ+ Lifestyle Magazine