Now, I know that I’ve been using the term ‘icon’ to describe a lot of my guests lately, but, if ever there was an appropriate time to use the word it is now. Shirley Temple Bar burst on to the scene when she won Alternative Miss Ireland in 1997. Since then she has hosted bingo weekly (for the last 23 years) at The George in Dublin, and hosts the National Lottery gameshow, Telly Bingo.
None of this compares, however, to the fact that she has MET THE SPICE GIRLS… Like, all five of them…
We caught up to discuss H.A.M at P.O.D, meeting Ms. Halliwell, and the heady, heady days of 90s Dublin.
Find out more about Shirley by following her on Instagram.Transcript
Shirley Temple Bar 00:00
The really weird thing about this place is it’s right across the road from a big police station, which I believe with alter where the drugs are the National Drug Squad was as well. So a lot of irony occasion of this club. And if I’m hazy on some of the details, I mean, that’s to be expected because it was a time to be, you know, kind of getting messed up. So your memories, if they’re hazy and really good time.
K Anderson 00:26
I am K Anderson and you are listening to lost spaces, a podcast that mourns the death of queer nightlife. Every episode I talk to a different person about a venue from their past, the memories they created there, and the people that they used to know. Now, I know that I’ve been using the term icon to describe a lot of my guests lately, but if ever there was an appropriate time to use the word, it is now Declan Buckley’s drag character Shirley Temple Bar burst onto the scene when she won alternative Miss Ireland in 1997. Since then, she has hosted bingo weekly for the last 23 years, the Georgian Dublin and hosts the National Lottery game show tally Bingo. None of this compares, however, to the fact that she has met the Spice Girls, like all five of the Spice Girls. We could have to discuss ham at pod and the heady heady days of 19th Dublin.
Shirley Temple Bar 02:01
So my basic gig is that when I finished university backing up Oh, sorry, the year broke out there. When I when I finished university, the first thing that I did, because Orleans back then with a completely different place, I loved it, I packed my shit. And I moved to London straightaway. So I lived in London for like, several years after I graduated. And when I moved back to to to Ireland after being in the UK for maybe five or six years, I moved back to a completely different space, it was completely changed. I was completely changed as well because you know, living in London and being a gay birth and you know, you kind of you live your life you kind of the shit that you haven’t seen before you know, your accent. Yeah, but when I moved to London, it was in 1992 and I with a lot of my flatmate who half of whom were Irish as well, we were young gay people we were you know, just you know, we were wild eyed, wide eyed and wild and having the best time we’re going to you know, club the round you know, that we were in West London at that time. So I local with a place called the Royal Oak which is in Hammersmith it’s no longer there but at the time Jeremy Joseph who’s the kind of head honcho of ga why he was running that place then and he was just about to move to take over buying and you know, the GI franchise but yet to come and so when I was living there was when that that kind of all kicked off, had a great time lived my wildest kind of mad times being a floater the whole thing and then decided I’d had enough I kind of decided I want to come back to Ireland because
K Anderson 03:41
Did you have enough of London or you had enough? Obviously, you can never have enough Okay, a few good good I I’m very careful what I say here.
Shirley Temple Bar 03:58
But um, yeah, so But anyways, you know, to be honest with you, I mean, London is such a big city and I’m from a small town and I wanted to be near people and I found having to travel for an hour to go to work on the tube and then half an hour to come back home and then and then I was going out a lot of even going a lot during the week that would go eggs and that was another hour in the tubes. You just find yourself travelling a lot and being on my own a lot because my plant my friends were in different parts of the city and and some of them were hooking up and they were in relationships and and I hadn’t been in a you know, a long term relationship at that stage. So I kind of got a bit miffed off with overpaying and going out clubbing all the time, and gi and having you know all these bases having a great time, but I you know,
K Anderson 04:42
it was so hard I was just having such
Shirley Temple Bar 04:46
a tarping it’s already booked being you know, being fabulous all the time. So I wanted to come home and have fun. So I moved home in the mid 90s. And as I said already, I came back to a Dublin that had changed, you know, people had done what I do Done, they’d gone away and come home and, and the LGBT scene in Dublin seemed more vibrant and I was ready to be part of it as well. So I found myself, you know, hanging out, you know, with really good bunch of friends. And every Friday and this is the place that I really want to start talking about is we go to in a club complex called pod, which stands for place of dams, because that’s really rare. And it within the kind of it was a real configuration of the old Harcourt street train station in Dublin. And the parts of the building was kind of old and fabulous. And part of it was very warehouse the and with some of the some of the The club was inside the archways of the old train platform. Actually, if you remember boyzone very first video in the 1990s that you probably might not because to me, to me, if you’ve seen boys on his very first video, it was filmed in the pod, that place of dance and in the archways there and it’s just them bouncing around and, you know, in the 90s with all very kind of long silk shirts, long sleeve, the very kind of Lauren went bowling kind of crazy, no fancy linen, horrible clothing, you know, but greasy hair, with candles with wrought iron handled, but it’s all taking place inside the archways of this club. And when it opened the club was, it was, you know, it was the place to be with, you know, cue that side with 254 type bouncers, and, you know, you kind of get, you know, you’d be kind of delighted with yourself if you if you got in that kind of thing. Luckily for me, my friends were running the club, so I was already feeling very comfortable there. I suppose one of the best things about the club for me, this is the Friday night, game nights run. By Ashley panty bliss was the main promoter at with a friend, and Niall Sweeney, and a whole bunch of other people. And the DJs were fine, but the music it was it was very cool. It was very, you know, edgy and fun and sweaty. And you know, the gay boys were hot and it was cool place to be. But it was also as well as being somewhere you wanted to be. It was also more I felt comfortable. Because often you can be very comfortable in a scraggy Oh, local gay bar because you know what, really well, but you don’t it doesn’t give you the same kind of, you know, Studio 54 vibe where you kind of know I got in here on my own merits because I’m fat, you know, that kind of vibe. Yeah, it was one night, it was probably the first place in my youth where I kind of I’m not an angel. I feel I belong here. I also feel I want to be here. And that was really fun. It was a really fun time. And yeah, we have so many kind of Crazy Nights there. It was the main thing so you can imagine why. But it was you know, night that never ended and we’d end up going off afterwards. And, and before we knew it Friday was out again. You know, a lot of fun.
K Anderson 08:02
Okay, so I think we haven’t actually talked about what the name of the night is. We know that pod stands for place of dance. But okay, M stands for
Shirley Temple Bar 08:12
we have Jesse. Allegedly, and it’s for the doors because they said a door that sounds for hamo action movies. I don’t I never really understood why because
K Anderson 08:23
I mean porn,
Shirley Temple Bar 08:25
kind of, kind of because they were always the ones sometimes a bit of porn playing, but it was Rory and the guys were very athletically kind of fashion for them kind of, you know, I mean, he did amazing graphics. And the graphics always had a sort of a, it was more than the pork and the pig kind of, you know, aspects of ham. were okay. Yeah, so that was the kind of you know, that was you know, I kind of always thought that was the, the, the innuendo was to do with, you know, sausage and pork. And all I knew I never really gave it much thought, because it wasn’t, he didn’t know. But it was kind of butcher kind of vibe off them as well from
K Anderson 09:06
that sexy, sexy bunch of IBM.
Shirley Temple Bar 09:10
He’s figured in the thing as well. But also, to the point, there was this really, really weird movie that they like to show on the big screen, kind of which would seem to be made out of cheese, they were really good at taking the space and making it seem like it wasn’t the same space that you’re in. If you were to if you were there for another night, it just felt like a different space. It doesn’t work amazing at making it feel like a really fun environment to be to be in. But they have this really strange Turkish sports, which I don’t know what it is, but it’s kind of like Turkish wrestling with oil. Yeah. Do you have a banana wearing kind of leather trousers but no top and oils? And the whole idea seems to be to like kind of try to hold the guy down as long as possible and sit on top of them but the other guy is oiled up and he’s kind of wiggling together. You know? Yeah, I did spend many hours looking kind of trying to work out what the fuck is going on? Because then again,
K Anderson 10:04
but it’s easy to get distracted when
Shirley Temple Bar 10:08
we’re also, you know, if you’re, you know, trying to deal with a period time. Interesting, you know, with 90s. So yeah, we had that going on that was kinda like really fun music, but
K Anderson 10:21
we waited that was happening live? No. Oh, it was projection, but it was certainly less interested.
Shirley Temple Bar 10:32
Yeah, kind of like, what’s happening live and then the damper was full of sweaty people who were like, definitely, you know, on something and definitely having the time of their lives. And you know, you know, I’m talking about it was very electric. Yes, clubbing in the 90s. thing, the second thing that hasn’t been replicated for me, but then again, I’m an old person. So maybe it’s still there?
K Anderson 10:55
Well, let’s, let’s kind of explore that a bit more. What do you think is different?
Shirley Temple Bar 11:00
Well, for me, my mom, my three my main. For me, my main motivation and being in a LGBT space at the moment would be when I’m performing as my drag character shredding from a bar. So I’d be putting on a show, I’d be backstage, I’d be doing my best. And then I’d meet people afterwards, when they’re down for the night, to be honest with you. I’m not much for getting on the dance floor anymore. And it’s particularly in the nights when I’m there because the music might be to my taste or whatever. So yeah, so I don’t I don’t know if it’s changed in that way. But I think definitely, it’s become a lot more fragmented. I mentioned coming back to Dublin, from the UK, from London, specifically, where London is a big sprawling place to see where the where the left place have to go. And you kind of knew most of the people who were your age, or else though, it was a No, that was a really fun experience, I suppose. Obviously, I’m naturally, I’m older. Now. I’m also married. Now I’m kind of not looking for the same thing that the young kids are looking for. So of course, I’m not going to be having the same experiences of them. So you know, it would be kind of a base curmudgeonly for me to start a thing. Back in my day, things were much better, because I think everybody makes their own. You make your own paying with whatever you got, you try to you know, the onus is on each generation to kind of pull out the bits to make whatever they’re doing the fun thing for them to get them through that particular stage.
K Anderson 12:31
So, so it’s maybe more that you’ve changed over time rather than
Shirley Temple Bar 12:36
just frickin hope. So you know, that’s the I I’ve been doing my gig in the George for like, 23 years. We’re talking about a cobra I used to go to, which is like 30 years ago, we’ll see you so you know, you do the max. I’m, I’m not a child. So obviously, one would hope that my, my perspective in you know, my needs from life have changed a little bit.
K Anderson 13:00
But but just so we’re clear, you still enjoy watching the Turkish wrestling, right?
Shirley Temple Bar 13:06
I mean, who doesn’t? Yeah, okay, a few good, good, or I think it even have a name and I really wish I could
K Anderson 13:15
name it must have a day. The fuckin sports? Yeah, I mean, I get a bit lost when sports comes in. But so let’s just get this timeline. Right. So you were you were in London for five years from 92 to 97? Or
Shirley Temple Bar 13:30
from 92? From 9192? Till 96.
K Anderson 13:34
Yeah, six. Okay. And then so in that time, homosexuality was legalised within Ireland. Yeah. Absolutely.
Shirley Temple Bar 13:43
In Ireland, and, you know, what a lot of people don’t talk about when they, when they are thinking about when they talk about legalisation, which happened in, you know, the actual bill was enacted in 93. And it doesn’t mean that back in 92, and 91. And then in the late 80s, that, you know, everybody was being chased by the cops. And it wasn’t that kind of thing. It was, because David Norris had taken the case to the to the European Court of Human Rights. Is there any of that, you know, the 1970s, there was legal stuff happening. And in that time, even though there was a law on the statute book that said, this is illegal. People weren’t being Yeah. You know, they weren’t being arrested, and it wasn’t advised. Yeah. So, you know, while you were nominally a criminal, you were in effect kind of allowed to go to your very pious boarded up, blackened window, gay bar, and, you know, and hang out. And so I was a bit kind of frightened and horrified and put off by 1980s done. And of course, that was the kind of the heyday of the AIDS crisis and it was all there was very heavy momentum to get going.
K Anderson 14:58
Oh, no. I mean, you just brought up the AIDS crisis. And all I want. All I wanted to ask was did you have to ring a bell to get into the bar? I think maybe
Shirley Temple Bar 15:07
it wasn’t quite. But it was definitely there was definitely you kind of look over your shoulder and then you look over your shoulder again. And then you’ve kind of got skedaddle down the narrow alleyway and kind of get students. That wasn’t because it was more that you just didn’t want people to kind of follow you. You know, there was a definitely a time for that without possibly, although my own daughter.
K Anderson 15:29
Yeah, but this Yeah, and, okay, so so it wasn’t, it wasn’t as bad as it sounds, but it was still a more oppressive society.
Shirley Temple Bar 15:39
I mean, people were being beaten open with a lot of a lot of, you know, homophobia in, you know, on display. I’ve mentioned, you know, AIDS and I’ve mentioned the fact that, you know, there was definitely a tension around that. So anybody who was gay felt targeted by by people of General, sheer attitude about that island was kind of coming out of a kind of a Roman Catholic stupor where the society seemed to think it was one thing when, in fact, he was realising that he didn’t want to be that. And that was a long road, I keep saying this, but it was a long road to get from, you know, the 19, late 1980s through to 2015 when we had the marriage equality referendum that was, you know, very heavily endorsed, and with a long road and with many stages along that road, but for most people I think the individual road realising that even though there are so that there they have stupid attitudes towards you, and you make your own path and and and there’s more people who think like you then then down to so that was a good journey to find yourself on
K Anderson 16:46
that. Yeah, really heartening to just picking up on the point about the the heavy religious focus in Ireland at the time, was there then kind of a, as happened with the marriage referendum? Was there then this concentrated effort to spread homophobia in order to somehow scupper that progress in society? Or it was that was their focus elsewhere at the time,
Shirley Temple Bar 17:18
there’s always there’s always like, you know, it, the Americans call it the culture war, there’s definitely a group of people who believe they know what’s best for everybody else. That would be their opposites, people who believe that, you know, they want to do their thing, and their thing is not ours, anybody so therefore, let me do my thing. And in the middle, there are people who just don’t give a shit about either of the the arguments. And sometimes their silence can be just as hurtful as them joining with one of the other sides. Now I’m not on the side of the homophobe that the homophobes would be coming from era of a lot of power, which gradually began to disintegrate as their hypocrisy was unveiled. And as paedophilia in the in the priesthood was being, you know, kind of constantly and forever reported. And so many people who would have been part of the silent majority actually acknowledged that well hang on a second, this organisation and this thought process, and it’s not just about the church, it’s about control, not the ideology had on the way the whole of the country was run. And that included allowing people to have, you know, to be gay, to have nightclubs that were for gay people. And, you know, I’m remembering, you know, the 90s, when just around the time that I had come back from London, again, I’m going to you know, this is actually panti story has helped, but you probably tell that way better than I will. And but she’d run a club called Guide, which is another one of our three letter acronym, G, I don’t even remember what jG stood for. But definitely, you know, way more kind of edgy, then then the harm paying animals have definitely much more of a kind of a sex, you know, orgy kind of club, it was definitely down that line of, of vibe. And I remember that she made the front page of some kind of red top tabloid newspaper because people were, you know, in inverted commas clutching their pearls, horrified by the gays, you know, having this kind of sex club, you know, and it was, you know, I don’t know if that attention would be given nowadays, to something like that happened, people might think it was It is okay, that’s a bit much, but I don’t think it would have the same level of kind of Saqqara. mokara because it was definitely performative kind of morality that wasn’t justified because the same people who were like, you know, shouting at the queers or having their a gay club, you know, where men might be kissing each other. We’re also go into math the next day with the priest who was doing way worse.
K Anderson 19:52
Yeah, yeah. And turning a blind eye.
Shirley Temple Bar 19:54
Yeah. And then being horrified when they were being criticised. And then I think so that kind of help. Because the unravels the whole thing, and I think that by the time we got to, you know, this century, we know, people were like, okay, we’re kind of dealing with this we’re hearing. So not only were these stories being revealed about what these priests were doing to, to young people into children, it was also revealed how the church, the establishment of the church going all the way up world, though complicit in hiding it, and then and then, you know, for their own political gain for their own power, but you know, to be able to go through that they didn’t want the story revealed so. So when all that stuff came out, people just lost, they lost it, they just went, you know what, this is not a voice for good. They’re not the moral guardians of our Republic, we’re not that we’re not having this, you know, I’m not having this. So. So I think from that point on, I think I think people began to listen wit to facts. And you know, and also, there were people who were out there living their best gala, I can see where you were showing people that you know, what they were doing wasn’t harming people, it was actually there with a lot of fun, including stuff that we were doing panting the generosity of I was doing my show, My show is becoming well known. And people were coming from all walks of life to come in to see their show and go, I’m actually this is fucking good fun, much in the same way that equal to 2020. And, you know, every 14 year old girl in the world watches RuPaul drag race, and whereas that would have been horrify, you know, 20 years ago, you’re totally doing what you know. And even that shift seems kind of ridiculous when you look at that, it’s actually not that much of a shift. But when you’re back then it would have seemed like this amazing sea change of thought. Mm hmm.
K Anderson 21:39
Okay, so just so we just we finish off this timeline. So you came back at 96. But then 97, like pretty big year for you, right?
Shirley Temple Bar 21:50
Yeah. So and this is, again, to do with to do with the way that my life was at that time, I was hanging out, I come back from London, where I’d had, you know, real jobs, I’d kind of quit my real jobs, I was working in a coffee shop, going to various clubs in the pod, having the Bethel time and in the red box, which is actually part of the power building. It’s actually was built in 1996, a big, huge, bigger club for like dance music events, you know, and I had a big stage, they the worry, and the crew decided to host their alternative authority. And there, which happened in March 1997. The one the version we’re talking about, because that was the year that I entered this with Shirley Temple Bar, and I want babies I want Yeah. Yeah, boy, me, like,
K Anderson 22:39
let’s say, how long have you been doing? How long had you been surely at that point?
Shirley Temple Bar 22:44
About an hour? I mean, literally, that was the time that was that was the first time we I’d done it, you know,
K Anderson 22:52
I mean, just all been downhill since then. Pretty much.
Shirley Temple Bar 22:58
Pretty much. Yeah, I mean, I you know, this panti Rory had basically said to me, will you do this thing where, you know, we want to contest and come and do it. And I’m like, Okay, sounds like, you know, you’re in sounds like fun. Basically, she was saying, You’re mad, you’ll do this, I’m, I’m mad, I will do this. So I didn’t really know what I was getting into. It’s one of the few and I certainly didn’t realise that it would be a kind of a life changing thing. Because, because, because because I won. I ended up getting other gigs on and to becoming, you know, a kind of working Queen, which was never my intention. CUT TO 23 years later. And I’m still working queen. So the, like winning the crown for alternative. Miss Ireland. Did
K Anderson 23:43
that lead to your gig at the George then?
Shirley Temple Bar 23:46
Yeah, I mean, you know, as I said, So, on the night, I didn’t know what I was getting into. I did I did a really stupid thing. It wasn’t it was. It’s so weird. And I don’t even think it translates and it doesn’t I don’t even think if I was to do it again, exactly the same in 2020. I think he would would just look and go You’re, you’re a weirdo. But on the night, it seemed to fly and it worked. And everybody, all the judges except for Louis Welch. I was fun. We took great pains,
K Anderson 24:19
Shirley Temple Bar 24:21
tell me, I took great pains because it’s the kind of guy he is, took great pains to tell me on several occasions. Whenever I met him in Ireland throughout the year that he didn’t think I should have won that nice.
K Anderson 24:35
Prepare with nothing. I just wanted to tie
Shirley Temple Bar 24:38
in the ability to get a judging panel to do what he wanted, or that he didn’t like me or even The Press But even though whatever he wanted, I managed to the wars and the verts. And in whatever minor way I managed to do that by the by the way. Anyway, whatever. I’m just kidding. But
K Anderson 24:57
what was your actual act?
Shirley Temple Bar 24:59
Oh my god. Again, it was a kind of a nod to the fact that it was the middle of the 19th. And everybody seemed to be on drugs. Everybody was able to enjoy ecstasy was everywhere and clubbers were kind of crazy. So, but it was also, you know, in the city of Dublin, there was a kind of a problem with heroin as well. So I made my heroine of my story kind of very much anti drugs. And she was like a schoolgirl, he would turn her back on drugs and decided to take up gymnastics instead. So, but anybody who saw her perform her gymnastics would be under no illusion that that page is still on drugs, though. I would kind of divide again, it doesn’t make any sense. That sounds stupid. No, he’s a schoolgirl character. And I was from Dublin. So it was a very much a kind of a parochial thing. And you know, and then the name Shirley Temple Bar is a play on obviously shorty temple, that kind of char star and Temple Bar, which is a part of Dublin City Centre.
K Anderson 25:59
It’s overrun with horrible terrorists. And really,
Shirley Temple Bar 26:02
it is, yeah, like me. Yeah, cuz it’s kind of a you know, as I said, it wasn’t something that I spent a lot of time thinking about, because I didn’t think it would turn out to be anything other than, you know, another crazy night that I forgot the details, though. But I had a good time. In the end, it turned out to be something that, you know, within a week, I was offered a gig and I was being paid. And then I got another gig and I was being paid them. Okay, this seems like fun. And before I knew it, I had a regular weekly gig, doing bingo in the George. And that’s how that happened. And and that was 23 years ago. And it’s still going. It’s incredible.
K Anderson 26:35
But so in terms of so so being a title holder for alternative Miss Ireland, like what does that do in terms of your status? So like, if you were in when you were in HCM app pod, Would everyone know who you were?
Shirley Temple Bar 26:54
Well, you kind of because at the time, you know, the AMI, the alternative? Wasn’t really like it wasn’t it was a once a year thing. And it had only been kind of done the year before one. I mean, there was one time in the 80s when they had done it, but this this particular incarnation of it had only so it was the second year of their kind of Renae songs, others. And so it didn’t really come with a lot of baggage. So a lot of the a lot of that kind of it was whenever I did turn that to be what am i people did, and after me came a whole slew of very talented, fun people who did incredible things as well. So so as the years went by, it became you know, the AMI title came with the kind of, oh, that’s gonna happen. And you can, you can do this. And you know, you can end up working on television, and blah, blah, blah. But at the time, it was it wasn’t that big a deal. Other than, you know, people seem to think I was a nutjob, and they liked what I was doing. And I was funny, you know, I was having a good time. And every day was a different day. And I didn’t know why I didn’t have a plan didn’t have an agenda. I like to have fun and going out and working, working, getting paid to have a good time thing and like a win win situation for me.
K Anderson 28:15
Yeah, yeah. So in that club, what like, which people know you are, would you be able to be anonymous?
Shirley Temple Bar 28:23
And I think at the in the initial stages, yes, you will be anonymous, but I can remember, this is not London, or big city where and you know, there’s lots of different clubs. You haven’t, you know, regular people coming there. And so for the large part, the regular crew would know who most other people were. So you know, you were that guy who did whatever that thing that you do is, and whether that’s you were the same, you know, failure seems every week or you’re the guy who does lead the drugs and ends up in a pool of your own bombers in the corner, or
K Anderson 28:59
any one of them. Oh, yeah. Well,
Shirley Temple Bar 29:02
I did it. When I did it. It’s awfully Well, you know, you got to get the title. Yeah. So yeah. And, you know, Dublin’s a small place. So and of course, there were a lot of a lot of tourists. And I don’t mean people from out of town, I mean, you know, temporary visitors to the LGBT world who would come in and do whatever they needed to do, and then leave again, back to whatever they wherever they worked as a priest. So you know, it’s kind of it was a weird time with fun and crazy and weird and we have lots of fun.
K Anderson 29:33
But does that like, does that bring with it any sort of feeling of responsibility or any regulation of your own behaviour because you know, people know who you are, and maybe judging you.
Shirley Temple Bar 29:47
I would think, you know, there’s always haters gonna hate and there’s always going to be people who are going to disapprove of whatever you do, and, and again, you’re going back to a time when represent Asians have, you know, you’re not representing the gays very well would be would be an admonishment that a lot of drag queens with gas. You know, you know, you’re presenting the wrong thing and timing, you know, whatever the you know, the gays that work in offices will be
K Anderson 30:16
Yeah, I’m a normal person you’re
Shirley Temple Bar 30:19
and you’re given a bad name with your decadence and you’re, you know, well, I’d have to talk about sex so much, why is sexuality so important? When you’re talking about homosexuals, it’s in the fucking word, you moron. What is but you know, I’m, I’m kind of, you know, of course, there will be people who think that you’re at, you know, that you’re, you’re dickheads, but whatever, you know, you’re not if you’re not able to deal with that, you know, you’re not going to be able to deal with life. But in terms of the responsibilities, I think as a as my career kind of became a bigger thing. And then I was working on television, and particularly when I started doing the game show programme, which I started presenting as the drag queen on Irish television in about 2000 2001 maybe. And when I was when I was doing that, because I was representing, you know, a TV show and you kind of feel you have to be a bit more careful about the way you presented yourself when you’re doing your other stuff. Because one of the plants that they being a drag queen in the 90s was you could do or say whatever you want because you’re part of the underbelly, you know, you’re under world is kind of mocked and and thought of as being disgraceful anyway. So being disgraceful and dishonourable with kind of Part A went parts with the gag, whereas suddenly, you’re on national television, you’re becoming part of this media establishment, you kind of feel that you have to be a little bit more, a little more careful. But I think at the end of the day, I also got to a point in my life where I wasn’t a single person anymore, I’ve met my who’s now my husband and you We met in ATM ham back in. And so and we’re together like 20 years this year, but we managed to this, you know, even a couple of your, your, your behaviour, your lifestyle is, is different, you know, you’re not, you know, going to get into the kind of floppy methods that you get into when you’re a single person,
K Anderson 32:20
and no more like felting jokes, or you can make the jokes. Okay, so let’s then talk about your husband like until you met at ATM. Do you remember that night?
Shirley Temple Bar 32:34
Yeah, well, you know, I, we always joke I because So, hey, JMX so ham, nobody called it Hmm. Okay, sorry. Yeah, you can call us every Friday and and after a few years of being every Friday, panty warrior decided that they would put on a cabaret show, early in the evening at around, you know, eight or nine to kind of get people in early and so that we would have a drag show, which I used to do is show the Temple Bar, and then we do the show for a couple of hours. And then we’d get changed. And then we go out we’d have a great night and have a laugh and, and the club would be rammed and it was always great fun. And you see everybody there. You know, I met the Spice Girls, there was really four or five of them. Actually, they were Oh, five of them were there. But we ended up hanging out literally hanging out with them. Baby spice and Geri Halliwell, or evening because they were the fun crazy ones. Yeah, yeah, I think that was when they came over to do they actually they were either doing an awards show or like a big kind of charity gig in, you know, co2 or whatever it was called back then the theatre that did all the big gigs. And then they you know, they came to the club afterwards, because it was the kind of fun place to be, you know, the way they did? Where did the gays hang out? You know, and we of course, we were doing our show, so we were all back in the kind of the VIP area kind of chillin and pretending that were fabulous. And that’s where they were brought. The next thing you know, was standing beside the Spice Girls. Wow. Amazing. So much fun.
K Anderson 34:14
Anyway, sorry, sorry, I’m getting distracted. Let’s get back to your husband and meeting him. So the show was on.
Shirley Temple Bar 34:19
And yeah, no, I what I’m what I what I was about to say it was see we would do our show and then we would come down and hang out with the crowd afterwards. And so my joke is that, you know, I’d see him for a few weeks before we actually met on AI. The joke is that he was talking to you, of course, he seems to think the light is there. So now 20 years later, we’re still arguing about who’s the most who’s responsible.
K Anderson 34:46
Um, oh, okay. So do you remember your first conversation at all?
Shirley Temple Bar 34:51
And we didn’t talk. Oh, it was nonverbal. Yeah.
K Anderson 34:58
That’s what I mean. That’s the best way To communicate Really?
Shirley Temple Bar 35:01
Well, you’ve got to work out whether this is going to work for you on a on a on a minds to body kind of level.
K Anderson 35:08
Yeah, like why bother with chit chat right like my word dumb Can you spend all this time getting to know someone and then when you smoke, it’s terrible. It’s like, well, I’ve just wasted our
Shirley Temple Bar 35:22
homosexuality in the fucking. Yeah. So yeah, no, we said we met we had a really fun time and yeah, and then
K Anderson 35:38
really fun time I won’t ask any follow up questions. I think you can hear me so. Oh, okay, so then I can say if you could just say yes or no. Oh guys yeah no I get in trouble I’m a very private person. So not really well that’s another thing that drag queens are famous for right?
Shirley Temple Bar 36:10
Well being private shopping of like, you know you’ve got one side of you that you you throw out there to be devoured. So you can kind of keep the bits that you wanted for yourself. And you know, the thing about it is though, for drag queens, the mask can sometimes be a thing that you you can hide behind, but it’s an also thing that when you take it off, people kind of think is either weird or interesting, maybe or maybe not interesting at all. Why do you think RuPaul does a lot of well, i’m amused by how, how RuPaul seems to want to spend less than less time in drag, because, you know, makeup? It’s a joke. It’s a drag?
K Anderson 36:50
And is there also like a weird feeling of a razor of yourself? I don’t know, I’m saying this right.
Shirley Temple Bar 37:01
I do think that’s that’s part of it as well. Because Because I suppose it’s if you achieve success and you achieve attention in a creation, that’s not you, it’s not even new in name. And it doesn’t look like you. And sometimes people don’t even recognise you 20 minutes later, when you’ve taken it off. And you can feel that the success doesn’t even or the attention doesn’t belong to us. You don’t even get that part of it. All you really get is, is any financial return or, or sort of nominal kind of, you know, the knowledge in your head. It’s kind of an intellectual thing. So, a lot of people yes, it’s part of that. It’s like, I want to be known for me, I me.
K Anderson 37:41
But there’s no say like, do you ever have? Do you ever have people who meet you in non drag who have kind of disappointed? Oh, yeah, they’re fucking entitled and rude, isn’t it? Like, it’s just such a weird thing is,
Shirley Temple Bar 38:03
you know, meeting people, after a show has been the bane of my life for a long time. In fact, I don’t know that I avoid this where possible, because it is it’s the thing you two people are disappointed even if they meet you in drag afterwards, they’re disappointed. He just either not able to deliver you know, at 100 all
K Anderson 38:23
the time. Yeah.
Shirley Temple Bar 38:25
And especially if I’ve just done a three hour show, I say well can be too I don’t want to I don’t want to give you any more I given it to you before you know I’m at here having a drink now or I’m chatting to my friends or whatever it is. And but there’s also the fact where you you can’t possibly give people the attention that they want. They want to tell you their life story. They want to tell you everything or dark depraved thing people seem to think the drag queens are like confessional for every dark deeds that they’ve ever done in their life. And, you know, yeah, that’s lovely and all but I think sometimes I just want to sit here and have a drink with my friend. That’s why we have a VIP section. That’s why we pull the rope the curtain back so I can go back to my conversation with Geri Halliwell.
K Anderson 39:14
Oh, what was she wearing?
Shirley Temple Bar 39:17
It was the mid 90s she was wearing some Nydia exact dress, but it was definitely something gaudy.
K Anderson 39:25
And he tipped her out and yeah. Jerry I miss her. So, so this so Okay, so I did a little bit of research. So you know it which is like one Google search and then three. But so and so the only thing that came up was some old Rough Guide guidebook about Dublin that talked about ham at pod and it talked about the art deco room. Does this make any bells for you?
Shirley Temple Bar 40:05
deco? Like so. So, the actual space was, as I said earlier on, it was in the underbelly of an old train station. And literally these are these are Victorian train station archways. And with there were three or maybe four of them in a row. One of them was the main dance area that had been knocked through to the next one, which was the if more VIP lounge which is where you would go if you were amazing with the Spice Girl, for example. One would have been used for a bathroom or something like that. And then on the other side, there was like a fancy bar that was it was a lot of wrought iron and very fancy sculpture, but I don’t remember anything that was very Art Deco. And it was very it was very stone and very I don’t know about art deco. Maybe I was just out of it on ecstasy. Maybe I didn’t see anything. Yeah,
K Anderson 41:07
maybe this rough guide is just full of shit.
Shirley Temple Bar 41:11
Yeah, more than likely more than likely will be really nice space, though. I mean, it was definitely it was it was definitely a very cool and interesting space to be in. And they they developed it it was obviously successful. So they bought space above the the archways, which they turned into this big massive club as well called the red box, the whole place was converted in years to come to be called tripod with with the old kind of the bar area with turned into it and performing lands called crawdaddy. So all these people were rebranded, rebranded and rebranded. Unfortunately, I think around the time of the last recession, the whole thing just came to a financial crunch, and ended up being vacated. It was empty for a long time. And I think at the moment, it’s currently being redeveloped into some kind of retail space, which is very sad. But
K Anderson 42:07
not flat, which is usually
Shirley Temple Bar 42:09
no, it’s not really in a kind of a residentially type area. But yeah, it’s and the really weird thing about this place is it’s right across the road from a big police station, which if I believe with auto where the drugs are, the National Drug Squad was as well. So a lot of irony occasion of this club. And if I’m hazy on some of the details, I mean, that’s to be expected, because it was the time to be, you know, kind of getting messed up. So your memories, if they’re hazy, and really good time.
K Anderson 42:41
Well, yeah, I mean, you’re not going to remember the good stuff, right?
Shirley Temple Bar 42:44
Yeah. And if you’re not remembering it, because either you’re blocking it out because of the trauma or because something better came along to take up the space or that memory had formerly been kept.
K Anderson 42:55
Yeah, it was boring. I mean, you remember meeting the Spice Girls, and I think that’s the main thing.
Shirley Temple Bar 43:00
Yeah. And I think I met them twice. I don’t I have twice. I mean, they came to that place twice. And it was we definitely met them twice. I’ve been twice there. But um, you know, I know that I don’t remember any of the time because you were too adamant.
K Anderson 43:16
So Jerry is not on speed dial then. Oh, God. Okay. All right. Well, that jealous? I know what he is. Maybe once if they made me twice they know not to vote me on speed. Did you ever go to ham at pod? Well, if you did, I would love to hear from you. Please share any photos or anecdotes or stories that you have from that time. And you can reach me through social media. my user name on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook is K Anderson music. And you can also find out more about Shirley by following her on Instagram, under the user name Shirley Temple Bar. La spaces is not only a podcast, but a concept record as well. I’ve been writing songs about queer venues and the people who used to live their lives there. And we’ll be releasing songs over the coming year. You can hear the first single, well groomed boys, which is also playing underneath my talking right now on all streaming platforms. If you enjoyed this episode, I would really appreciate if you subscribe, left a review on Apple podcasts or just told someone who you think might be interested in listening to. I am K Anderson and you’ve been listening to lost spaces.