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What’s it like spending all your savings on drag?
How could your parents not realise you’re gay when your they world’s biggest Mariah Carey fan?
I found the answer to these questions (and more!) when I caught up with drag queen, stand-up comedian and writer Chucky Bartolo to reminisce about Klozet, a beloved lost gay bar in Malta.
Make sure to follow Chucky on InstagramTranscript
Chucky Bartolo 00:00
So it’s just a reflection in that Malta’s queer scene is, is very prone to self hating. Because of the way we’ve all been raised and continued to be raised. And Klozet reflected that that sometimes it was the its place. Sometimes it was like, How embarrassing that you would go there. Some nights were incredible. And some nights were like, I was weak or bad. But then at the end of the day when it’s closed, and it’s gone, everyone’s like, oh, Mrs. Mrs. babes. So, yeah, it’s that and that’s we don’t really know what we want, until it’s gone from us. And then we’re like, Well, shit.
K Anderson 00:41
Hello, 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, their memories are created there and the people that they used to know. Jackie Bartolo is a Maltese drag queen stand up comedian and writer currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Before packing her bags for a freezing climate, she spent time on the Malta scene and no bar was as legendary as a Klozet, a small nightclub in the mecca of Malta’s nightlife Paceville. We caught up to talk about that drag TV show what life is like for queer people in Malta, and Jackie’s undying love for Mariah Carey.
Chucky Bartolo 02:06
It’s also like a social experiment in that sense, because I can say the same things in and out of drag and get very different responses. Like my stand up comedy is now that I’ve moved to a country where stand up is a known thing where Malta like it was known, but no one really liked it, I realised that my setup is mostly roast comedy. It’s a bit more on like, there is anecdotal funny stories and stuff, but like my strength is in like, humorous and cheeky digs. And you get away with much more if you’re in like two meters of hair of makeup. So you know, it does have and people it kind of relaxes people in a sense when you’re in drag for some reason. I like I think I’m quite an approachable person out of drag because like, you know, I will have like sharp Angular cheekbones or like an evil joy around persons
K Anderson 02:58
with Angular cheekbones or you
Chucky Bartolo 03:00
know, there’s nothing wrong about being less draw, though. They feel like intimidated. And when I thought that my face invites people like to come and speak to me out of drag, but in drag they do and out of drag everything I say that like to be mean and when he said that I’m like, man.
K Anderson 03:20
Ah, that’s really fascinating. And then on the flip side, are there some people who just do not engage with you in drag? Yes, it’s like that’s a gay thing.
Chucky Bartolo 03:30
So in more thoughts, that’s huge. Right? in Malta? anthropologically speaking, we’re deeply Catholic, Ireland, and even the non Catholics, including myself have a very strong Catholic upbringing, which is very hard to shake. Right? It’s it’s very inbuilt. The deep set Catholic guilt is a real thing. So a lot of people, they just don’t engage them. They just don’t like it or On the flip side, which kills me. They laugh at me instantly thinking everything I do in drag is funny, and I’m just like, no, this is high fashion. I spent a lot because they’re literally their version of dragons clown panto, yeah, you know, campy Dame and so they think that it’s complimenting me by literally seeing me in the street and laughing and I’m like, No, I look, I look odd today. This is my good look. Not my funny look out there. So it’s like a very interesting thing. But yeah, some people like it’s been a huge consideration of mine as a comedian. Like, I want to do stand up comedy as a career right? And then more that I can do that because it’s a different environment that I can like make my own shows and because I have some D list celebrity there I can sell my show was quite happily. But do I want to be the drag queen stand up comedian here or do I just want to be a comedian who does drag and it’s like this whole question because I do lose on a massive audience, potentially who don’t like drag at all or think they know what drag is and just decided they don’t like it? Yeah, but then a niche is always a good place to start because coming into Glasgow As a drag queen means that people who like drag will come to my shows and then find out. Oh, he’s also funny.
K Anderson 05:05
Yeah. But it is that really hard thing because people want you to be to fit neatly into a box, don’t they? They will be like one thing that they can be like, Oh, I understand this. I know what this is. And so if you’re more than that, then it gets a bit confusing. And people get a bit like, yeah, distract. It’s,
Chucky Bartolo 05:24
it’s very real, even like within the drag community, right? So are you a comedy queen? And I’m like, Yes, but that doesn’t mean I don’t do high fashion. Good. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to, like I don’t manage, but I try to, you know what I mean? Like, it’s, it shouldn’t limit and the fact that we’re limiting ourselves with these categories means that other people as an audience are definitely going to do it because we’re in the know, and we still accidentally do it, let alone people who just come pay for a ticket, and then leave, you know, like, it’s not. It’s not, it sucks. But it’s also like, I get it, because as humans, we’re inclined to box everything just to make our brain more organised.
K Anderson 06:03
And there’s that thing about drag, like drag having its moment at the moment. And so there are lots of people who love drag indiscriminately in indiscriminately. Because they are like, well, this is the cool thing to like. So I love drag, and I just, I’m just gonna love you, even though you’re probably terrible, but you’ve got to work on so it’s great. You and then yes. And then there are people in the scene as well who are doing drag because it’s like a cool thing to do at the moment. And so there’s all this kind of weirdness in it, where it is becoming a bit less edgy and a bit less exciting. And the people that are involved are not there because of love. They’re there for like other reasons.
Chucky Bartolo 06:47
Yeah, so that’s, it’s a very sensitive topic, because drag is an art form. So the old bitter Queen, policing people on what is and isn’t drag is never a good look. And why definitely. And it’s, it’s a knee jerk I have. And it’s okay to have frustrations that people are doing it for the wrong reasons in inverted commas. But then who are you? Yeah, exactly. Right. Exactly. Like Personally, I, I love, I love drag, I love what I do. I love what many people do. So when it is the end goal is just to end up on a television show, then I’m a bit like, frustrated at that as a concept because it’s not. But that’s my outlook on all kinds of art. If there was a fine art painting, television competition, and people are only doing fine art because they wanted to come on the show, it would frustrate me as well, because I, as an artist, I’m sure like it’s gonna sound arrogant to non artists, but two artists are going to get it. It’s not just work. It’s my life, right? It’s it’s in everything I do. So I pour everything I have into this because I want to ensure I would love to be on set television program and charge ridiculous rates to show up at clubs, it would be great, but it’s not the be all and end all I would be happy if I could sustain my career in art. And just keep doing what I love. Even if I don’t make millions. You know, that’s, that’s just my take on it, though. So I can’t be like, you are wrong for doing this. And realistically, the massive platform it’s getting right now means I’m getting a career there’s a liner, it doesn’t trickle down as much as we’d like. To stop it just huge. Yeah, like from 1000s of pounds bookings per night to like, 10s of pounds to local. There’s a huge jump, but it’s still a possibility. So there is still something to like, be thankful for in that sense, you know? Yeah, yeah.
K Anderson 08:36
Yeah, but but there is that like 2030 years ago, the only people that were drag artists were doing it because they loved it because everyone was getting those 10s of pounds.
Chucky Bartolo 08:46
Literally, there was a there was no way to do that’s why I kind of also love I will say drag scene in Malta, there isn’t much the five drag queens. And I’m very proud of
K Anderson 08:59
Chucky Bartolo 09:01
We actually have a group Facebook chat. Does that backwards that we do Facebook. But like when I started I’m very proud of myself in that respect, cuz I never thought I had a chance of being on the show. The UK version didn’t exist. So I never thought I’d get to America. And even when the UK version happened, I hadn’t even moved up yet. So I did drag because it was something I really wanted to do. And I’m glad that that was my introduction and now like even if I feel like maybe Oh, is this like selling out and I’m doing Am I just doing it to get like the bookings Am I just doing it to get like reshared on this post. At least I know that my intentions for starting the
K Anderson 09:38
work. I might have settled out but I started from a pure place. I can always reminisce back when I had artistic integrity. I mean, it’s overrated. It’s Yeah, it’s overrated. And but so it’s really interesting what you’re saying about Malta because you know frequently Malta I guess I get much Like Scotland, the laws and the protections are really great for lgbtqi people, but it doesn’t always translate into their everyday life. So, without being like, tell me everything about Malta? Are you able to kind of just give him a bit of a flavour of kind of what? Yeah, living in Malta is like for a queer person.
Chucky Bartolo 10:23
So it’s again, it’s a it’s one of those things where the trickle down happens. So the laws are in place. And I cannot sit here and pretend that the laws haven’t made a difference because even the fact that gay marriage is a law. That means that my grandmother has to discuss it even if she has to say I hate it. She can no longer ignore it. It exists. So there obviously it is positive to have these legislations but when I see Malta as the number one ranked for LGBT plus rights in Europe, I’m a bit like, Okay, what now but I still had shit thrown at me in clubs, I still feel unsafe walking in drag. Yeah, I still been follows because I was walking in drag multiple times. So it’s, it’s a bit like questionable, especially because controversial for anymore to be promoted listing the last government or the current government. But the last leadership in the government was extremely corrupt in all, all levels, including like names in the Panama Papers, a journalist murdered in like, during their 10 years, there were like loads of horrific. And every time a scandal happened, they were like, here’s something else for the gays. Here’s another one for the gay marriage. Now you can have kids. So it’s always felt a bit disingenuous. Because the gays were so starved for rights were like, yes. And then when they ran out of things to give gay people, they were like trans rights. Let’s move on. So they like it’s always felt
K Anderson 11:48
a little bit of cynicism here. Justice, Justice justice mentioned. Yeah.
Chucky Bartolo 11:54
And it’s hard to be angry at getting more, right. It’s very difficult to be like, thank you, fuck you. Sorry, if you have to censor swearing, but you have a drag queen on your show. So I’ll try and store it down. So that’s that’s one thing. So obviously, because of this, or let’s say, I’m wrong about all of that, no matter how you spin it. They were rushed. Right. They weren’t publicly consulted, which is good on the one hand, because the majority should never vote for the rights of the minority, but also because they didn’t get an understanding of how people felt properly about these legislations. There was no incentive to teach people what it really means. There was like an official, yes, we will definitely have these books in schools to tell people about alternative families. But I know many teachers who have had to do their own research messaged me and asked me, Hey, I have a kid of gay parents. What do I do for Mother’s Day? What do I do for Father’s Day? Do we do two cards? Or do one on one? Like, there’s these small things? That No, but how would you? Like No, no, but my answer is like, I don’t know what to tell you. The best I can tell you is, as a parent, what I would want is you to speak to me and be like, what do we do? Right? Because I have no clue what the parents want.
K Anderson 13:04
Like what like, as it says here in the queer scriptures.
Chucky Bartolo 13:09
I’d be like, I’d love to get a card that says Happy Mother’s Day. And it’s been a massive week. But some, some gay dads might hate that, you know, or, you know, so there’s just a sign that there was no planning accepted by the population. Right? So, so just
K Anderson 13:23
kind of gonna have all the white noise like, hey, go have this have this
Chucky Bartolo 13:27
and and as a gay person. I know those hate crime laws. But I also know that if I go to the police, do I trust them to be like, Hi, I’m a gay man. And here’s what’s happening to me. Do I think they’re not gonna laugh at me? No, I have that fear still. And I know it’s bad because I used to drive back in Malta back when I wasn’t, I could drive on the road because I wasn’t scared of them. Like I am in the UK cuz there’s ice here. I’m
K Anderson 13:50
driving to these tiny little roads in Malta.
Chucky Bartolo 13:53
I’d rather the shitty roads and water. Literally, I can’t, because we have rules of the road that are different to the ones in the book. Alright, okay. So when I’m driving, I was like, if I am in an accident, and the police like where you have to the fact that I don’t know whether I should say to my boyfriend’s house, because I’m scared of what they would say shows how backwards it all is. Because I’m too afraid to admit that I’m off to my boyfriend. I could just say I’m going to my friends, you know that it defies I even had to consider that is mad. But would you would I mean, would that be any different in the UK? weirdly, I feel like I would trust the trust in the police is a big question like as a concept, but like, I feel like I hear the concept of gayness at the very least has been around for longer than it has in Malta. And like one thing I was discussing with my boyfriend He’s like, I went to like this corner shop here. And the guy who like was behind the counter was a bit like rough looking, let’s just politely call it that and and i was like oh, I’m gonna be hate crimes because in Malta sort of person is definitely going to be homophobic right because in Malta there is such a lack of education that when you’re slightly perceived a slightly rougher then then there’s no chance that you’re open minded about these things. Okay, well then here he was super nice when I was like oh because gay has been around for so long that just because you’re not University educated you look slightly rougher bla bla bla doesn’t mean you automatically hate gays while in Malta, my perception is quite, it’s quite scars, because these people who are very, very homophobic for a lot of my life. Yeah, it’s a very strange one. Well, it does, like a phenomenon of an island where it’s like, nothing makes sense.
K Anderson 15:43
Well, everyone says that about their country, don’t they? And they’re okay. So but but you were saying that, you know, as a result of these laws as a result of more public conversation, things are changing.
Chucky Bartolo 15:58
Yes, there there is a positive shift, which is very, very encouraging to see. And I think the most positive shift that I have seen is that I don’t think the number of people who are like queer allies has increased I think the number of vocal queer allies has definitely shut up before you would be like, it’s okay to be gay. And then your boyfriend says, oh, fucking queers. And and you’d stay quiet because you don’t have to pick a fight. But now the girls are like, no, this is not acceptable. We don’t do this anymore. So that has definitely increased quite significantly. And it’s encouraging to see like, I will obviously have a lot of work to do. But outward and directly harmful homophobia is definitely going down. And then we can start to tackle the like, in a Tama phobia. These like smaller, subtler British homophobia.
K Anderson 16:49
fashioned British, yeah, any kind of phobia, you know, you’re gonna feel hoodwinked. Literally, if it happens,
Chucky Bartolo 16:57
where you notice on your walk home and you’re like, that was that was homophobic wasn’t like the shop, but then you’re on the way home and you’re like, I just got hate crime.
K Anderson 17:07
I’ve just been gaslighted to hating myself shit. Again, nothing quite like it. And, and so then if we’re talking about Klozet, which is what we’re here to talk about, and finally, yes, we’re talking about and before anything else is like the spelling of Klozet. Is this. Is it in Maltese? Or is it just like a kind of like this will be zany and wacky let’s throw in a Zed Oh, okay.
Chucky Bartolo 17:41
So before the Kardashians did it was making curse sounds with a K. So the C in Malta is always a cheater. So, so words in Malta occur is the K letter. And because we’re like, the language is like a weird amalgamation of a lot of Arabic And then like other languages mashed in, we now take words and just spell them with Maltese phonetic sounds. So the zet is this is a sound as well as usually has a dog. Okay, so it was kind of I don’t think because we have a word for closet. I can’t think of it right now. Because I’m blanking. But like, we don’t use it in the same way as like, out of the closet. So I think they just took the English word closet and just Maltese defied it, but it’s always a need to put a little.
K Anderson 18:27
Okay, well, okay, so we’ve cleared that up. And so it was kind of like the longest running gay venue in Malta before it shot. And when did it do you know, when it opened?
Chucky Bartolo 18:40
It opened 2005 or 2006. Right? It was running for around just under a decade, I think before it closed. Oh, okay.
K Anderson 18:49
So that I mean, that’s quite a long time for any bar. Really? Yeah. When When did you start going out.
Chucky Bartolo 18:56
So I, when it opened, I hadn’t even done my own levels yet. So I was still a young child. So I literally caught it at the end, because it was. And it’s also in my case, I came out to friends close friends at the age of 18. And less close friends at 19 family at 22. So I literally only caught Klozet towards the end because I was so scared of being seen at a gay bar that that I only went when I was like super comfortable in the last year before the Klozet shut down. And I was like, well, this is my fault. I missed out on so many good nights. Oh, man I could have rubbed up against and all those lipsticks I could have stolen from the resident drag.
K Anderson 19:42
So let’s let’s just like unpack this a little bit more. So coming out to close friends at 18 and then less close friends at 19. Does that mean that you were kind of out in theory but not in practice?
Chucky Bartolo 19:55
So like I knew and then I would drunkenly tell one person and then wake The next day I have a stream full of messages from friends who’ve been told, like, well, they all pretend that they didn’t know, which is very nice. So yeah, that was it was just a slow process. That’s one other thing that has changed, like so my, my boyfriend is like, a few years younger than me Not much. But already his generation, like my generation average was 18 to come out his generation that average is 16 was 16. And I think now it’s even younger. So that’s another positive that you see happening. Like I came out late by normal standards. 18 is quite like, well, depends on how you look at it. But in the shows and stuff. They’re all out at, like 1516, and they want to go to prom with their like, boyfriend.
K Anderson 20:40
Chucky Bartolo 20:42
Like a troll, as though I look so great today. So yeah, so I quote, close it towards the end. But it was enough to know that it was an amazing plate, I still don’t get white shutdown, like it’s still it’s still a mystery to me.
K Anderson 20:58
And so then like so in that period between coming out to close friends and coming out to family. Where are you? Where are you practicing homosexuality?
Chucky Bartolo 21:09
Yes, I mean, I came out to my family when I had been with my boyfriend at the time for like, two years. And I was like, I can no longer just come to family events and see my sister with like her new boyfriend or her Oh, like and be normal and have to lie about my whole life. And I was like, You know what, if they don’t like it, they can deal with it. So
K Anderson 21:31
I’m gonna run into them on in Malta and this tiny island
Chucky Bartolo 21:34
so that’s what’s like, What’s so funny is if I managed to keep it secret for so long Well, number one, I was a Mariah Carey stand still and have been for ages. So how did they not see that one coming? I guess the large boobs distracted them enough that they could be possibly heterosexual. And so yeah, so it was a lot of like living my wild, wild homosexual life. I also traveled a lot because I used to work with the United Nations and the European Union and like, did all of this stuff. So I traveled a lot. I got all my games out for, like matches. I was like, sweet, little angel boy, just home, you know, playing my PlayStation. And so yeah, so there was a lot of a lot of lying, which is which I hated. Which is why I wanted out of it. Because you know, there’s only so many times you can like that was fun, not telling my parents my entire truth. Super fun.
K Anderson 22:23
At some point, you have to be open and completely evading questions about what you’ve got up to on the weekend and who you’ve been here, where are you with friends? You know? And say, I don’t know why I’m laughing about this. Sorry, this trauma. And oh, it’s fine. We’re gonna love a trauma. What’s the boy? So what? So what was it like coming out that and
Chucky Bartolo 22:46
to be honest, it was super chill, like, it’s just again, it’s one of those things that shows like my family are extremely supportive, very nice. My mother is a shady, shady woman, which is where I get it from, but she’s a very supportive woman. But the fact is that when I was ready to come out to them, I had like pre planned two weeks worth of who I can stay with, in case I get kicked out. Like, obviously didn’t happen. Obviously, my parents were like, We just need two days to process this. And then like whatever. And there was a lot of crying a lot of is very sweet stuff. But like, I still went into it being like I’m about to be homeless youth. And so it’s obviously like, was very scary. And scarring. Now I look back and think I’m the definition of a flaming homosexual. And my parents, I am very blessed, that are very sweet, very educated, very understanding people. Why was I scared? But at the time terrified, scared for my life, like very strange.
K Anderson 23:43
Okay, so firstly, just unpack this for me, what is the definition of a flaming homosexual?
Chucky Bartolo 23:48
It’s just a person who is okay with who they are, to the point where other people will look at you and go, Wow. You know, there’s many different versions. There’s people who have the like, homosexual list, there is the people who wear kilos of makeup when they’re not doing drugs. And then there’s me who’s just like, wearing a bright pink top talking about Mariah Carey nonstop and shamelessly, all flamers
K Anderson 24:16
and your parents still needed two days to process it.
Chucky Bartolo 24:19
There was a lot of like, Can we just have one more normal Christmas before and I was like, now deal with it, which is very, I don’t know, like very. But I had to come out to like seven people. You know, when you’re like tired of coming up to people and you’re just like, I’m gay. Any questions you have asked Google.
K Anderson 24:36
Like, admittedly, the FA Q’s on this website here.
Chucky Bartolo 24:40
The people who needed the most encouraging would be the older generation like my parents, so I should have maybe saved energy for them. Rather than being super encouraging with my like, 18 year old friends who knew what gay people are.
K Anderson 24:54
What even is a normal Christmas? They just mean like without your
Chucky Bartolo 24:57
like, without without, without you being a gay Yes, we are very My parents are very open minded but also very religious, which sounds contradictory, but like, you know now they’re like super chill witted. They love my boyfriend my grandmother sends my boyfriend’s birthday cards here like so we’re super fine with it. It was just a various bumpy transition period let’s call it that they were just worried especially because Malta is Malta. They’re worried was like but you’re not gonna have kids you’re gonna be bullied you’re gonna be hated your your career like their biggest thing was like, What about your career? It’s it’s a very like, we joke about it very openly. But Malta is an alien place. We got divorce, the concept of divorce was legal in 2011. And it was voted for by the public and one by 5%. Wow, divorce, right of the basic concept of divorce. Wow. When I tell you we’re backwards when it comes to these things. It’s real. It’s not like it’s mad. And there were billboards across the island saying Christ Yes. Divorce No, with like a crucified Jesus bleeding and crying on a massive Billboard.
K Anderson 26:10
No, no, it was heavy. And not even 10 years later, you can get gay, married and gay divorced
Chucky Bartolo 26:16
when I say it was rushed, rushed. This is what I mean. We’re like, no divorce. That’s bad and satanic. Also, now gays can get like it was just a roller coaster. That is why I’m saying like, I don’t feel bad for conservatives. I have no time for people who hate other people. For for sports. But from a purely practical perspective, rushing in so much shit without consultation or education is never going to work. Because there’s no way they’re going to change their mind from divorce is evil. Two, gays should be able to have kids in six years. That’s nuts. Like you can’t expect people to change that quickly. I want them to and as a homosexual, I’m like screw you get with the times. But from a practical project management perspective. It’s it’s impossible to
K Anderson 27:04
expect. First you need your interim outcomes. And then you need your long term. Yeah. Threat analysis. What’s the risk register for this? But okay, so I’m just still struggling with your parents not wanting you to be a gay at Christmas? What did they think you were gonna do? Like have a shrimp cocktail, then sack a few decks at the table.
Chucky Bartolo 27:27
I mean, now that they’ve come to my comedy shows, they might think back at the time, I just, they just didn’t want there’s they’re very sweet and simple, not in the like simple minded, but they don’t want much. They just don’t want to upset the grandmother. They don’t want to cause problems. They don’t want people to talk about me behind my back. They just wanted one last, like normal. in inverted commas. Chucky as he was just quiet and like living a normal life on a good path. His studying architecture is going to become an architect, make lots of money, build a nice house, settle down, have kids and they just wanted to live in that fantasy world. And I’m like, I graduated architecture, I am now going to do drag, gender performance enjoy.
K Anderson 28:16
It’s a kind of architecture with a course a lot more.
Chucky Bartolo 28:19
Yeah, the course it’s have a lot more strength than most steel bars, holding up our rooms. So let’s be honest.
K Anderson 28:25
Okay. So coming out to your parents was kind of the final.
Chucky Bartolo 28:31
Yes, that was my final one. And then after that, I was like, if you don’t know, someone will tell you Screw you.
K Anderson 28:37
I’m gonna take Mariah Carey up
Chucky Bartolo 28:38
even louder. You know, like Lich I was like, I’m never doing this. They were the last ones would like in my opinion deserved. Because they are my parents who I love. They deserve the proper conversation where I like gave them the time of day to explain very basic concepts about how I deserve to exist. And they deserve that conversation everyone else if you don’t like me, because I’m gay, build a bridge, I will help you design it and get over it.
K Anderson 29:02
You know? And so so then was it like sorry, like overnight like right now I’m out to now I’m going to close it every night of the week. That’s what’s like alien to me. So
Chucky Bartolo 29:17
I was going out to two bars like close or like just hanging out with my gay friends way before this is the same thing as a drag. I was telling you, I am the same person in and out of drag. I didn’t change my how my parents didn’t know the only thing that changed was my boyfriend could now enter the front door. That’s it. Like I was still the same the same Mariah Carey share quotes. Like I don’t know how they didn’t know. Like it was I didn’t change at all like I I always hung out with my gay friends. I defended my gay friends. Whenever someone in the family would say something wrong. I just never defended myself as a gay man. But I would always I was never like, you’re right. Queer suck. Oh, I was always like, No, we don’t say this. It’s not nice to them removing myself so nothing really changed like I just I just was more happy at home and our relationship got way better because when you lie about a boyfriend then you have to lie about where you went then you have to lie about the joke that was told and then you have to lie about what that funny
K Anderson 30:17
smell is, you know.
Chucky Bartolo 30:21
But I’d always like ripples so they knew nothing about my life everything was like either a lie or not told to them and because I don’t like lying to my parents, I just kept everything from them. So after I was out I could be like, these are my good friends who I met because of my boyfriend at the time these are the experiences I had because so it was just it was the only that changes that I got more open with them but with the world the world knew I’ve never kept anything from the world.
K Anderson 30:48
But okay, so at the start of this conversation you were saying that you didn’t start going to Klozet until after you came out?
Chucky Bartolo 30:55
I did after I came out but but yeah, but before so there was like a period between like I spent the year being very ashamed and telling all of my close friends and then when I started telling everyone else I started going to college because I knew I wasn’t gonna see my parents there Okay, and then it closed and I told my like it because it had already closed by the time I think I can see okay, because I think it was like well or roughly the same time it was close it close 2013 2014 i think i don’t know i’m not i’m not a historian and and that’s roughly when I go to my to my family so
K Anderson 31:28
Okay, so when you started going there you were in this transition Oh yeah, I
Chucky Bartolo 31:31
was in this like I hope I hope nobody from my family is secretly here but then if they’re here I’m here and then I know about them ah you know this like catch
K Anderson 31:40
but it’s not even that is it it’s that fear of going from the car or the public transport or wherever to the club and running into someone on the way there and being like Oh, where are you off to?
Chucky Bartolo 31:53
I’m off to this very strange bar Ivana and yeah, no but it’s it closes was a phenomenon because it was like in a very homophobic country there was just this literal space where it was totally okay and then you as soon as you left the front you went up the stairs left the front door and then you were like now it’s dangerous zone. Now there’s a risk Yeah. everyone follows us I hope no one like you know decides to be an asshole because we’re here. Very strange how like, it just shifts and then you go inside and it’s like, like a drag queen vomited all over the place. It’s just like streamers and tinsel and like, just campus Christmas.
K Anderson 32:38
Okay, so talk to me about this then do you remember your first time there?
Chucky Bartolo 32:42
The first time I went to the Klozet I I was alone I had run away from my friends and one of my many I was a dramatic teen right so I don’t you don’t know me you don’t love me ran away from my friends drunk. Malta By the way, just so you’re aware all the clubs and bars are in one space. It is beautiful and disastrous. And everything is free free entrance everywhere not the drinks are free but free entrance ever should
K Anderson 33:13
we talk about this as well? Like just so if anyone doesn’t know about Malta, it is a tiny island tiny tiny and and I looked this up actually it’s the world’s 10th smallest country? Yes, I don’t know where I live but
Chucky Bartolo 33:28
there’s like these fake ones like the Vatican is like as whole fake country. Yes, we are. We are a ridiculously tiny island very densely populated for the size of the island but still a very small population of like 450 to 450,000 people.
K Anderson 33:42
And so when Jackie says that all the clubs are remote place like it is like
Chucky Bartolo 33:46
it’s literally walk down three streets and all the clubs are in those three streets and then a street up all the bars are there I’m not and then they’ll obviously be like smaller boys in different towns and like pubs version, like pubs where like your parents would go for a drink in other places. But the like heavy drinking bars and heavy drinking clubs are literally in the same one kilometre squared like it’s it’s very packed. So when I say ran away from my friends in a club, I literally left and went to somewhere else ran away. I ran away from them. And I was like having a dramatic moment and I was like, oh Klozet This is the gay bar. Oh, I’m just gonna go down and pee. Like I just used literally convincing myself that I was only going to use the water. Well, I like pop music so I might as well stay. It was like literally lying to myself non stop the first five times.
I was like, Oh, actually, I
Chucky Bartolo 34:41
need to peep the toilets. That causes are so clean. I’ll go there. Like such rubbish. I was so ridiculous. Like the amount of pride I got from not being gay gay. was insane. Oh, okay, so
K Anderson 34:58
we’re gonna have to do some more than What’s a gay gay? Like,
Chucky Bartolo 35:03
I took that that a lot of a lot of us gonna say baby queens, I’m so used to talking in drag. I love to have, like new gays have pride that they’re not stereotypically gay. They’re like different and they can hang out with straight people, and it’s fine. And I was very proud of that. I mean, I had the same thing. I was like, I never want to watch drag race and my current boyfriend spent like years convincing me towards drag race. I was like, No, I’m not like the other queers. To feel a sense of like being special. And then I like went to London, Adele canceled on me, my good friend, Adele singer, she canceled the her fucking concert that I paid lots of money to go and see. So we’re we sadly went to a gay show. There was like a drag show, sorry, delegation. And there was an amazing queen in London called the night bus. Because nobody wants to ride her and she smells a bit like fried chicken her words off. And I was just like, this is marvelous. This is magical. And then I went home and my friends were with more like, you have to watch RuPaul drag race. Here’s one episode and I got hooked. So like it’s all bullshit was all this like bravado that I don’t want to go to gay bars. It’s so stupid. So not progressive to have a space for just gays. Oh, now I’m like, Why are there hatzis in this bar?
K Anderson 36:19
Isn’t that just yeah, Isn’t that fascinating? The way that you rationalise? It’s the same with like, with Yeah, drag as well. It’s like, yeah, I’m a gay but I’m a gay that just does not like I just don’t like drag and drop. Just not interested in there. I’m not really I don’t want to see this show. Because it’s just so silly and stupid and reductive. And I’m not like that at all. But meanwhile, you had tickets for Adele. I listen.
Chucky Bartolo 36:46
I love crying to curvy women belting on a microphone. Mariah Carey. Yeah, hello. You’re
K Anderson 36:52
not seeing a theme? Oh, yeah, just sexual. It’s all I had intrasexual passing down very straight. Well, I wasn’t.
Chucky Bartolo 37:00
I was like, very happy. I wasn’t happy. But I was also happy. I wasn’t the cliche gay, which is very stupid. And I was very childish. And I regretted because, like, I went into Klozet quite a few times. And I had openly fun night, I stopped pretending I was just there for the facility. I had to clean toilets. Yeah, for the exam. I wonder why they were so clean. Anyway, the like, the few nights that I got to enjoy it. And now I’m like, What an idiot. You could have had years of this, and you didn’t. And I also, like when Klozet closed, I thought there would be a replacement for it quickly. And there wasn’t for a short while. And then a gay club open called XM, which is the brand that there is in the UK, there’s like XM in Glasgow ironically. And like one other one in the UK. And, and it just wasn’t the same. Like it wasn’t filled. I guess that’s also why kloset might have had to go out of business because people, the more liberties people had to be themselves, the less they needed a safe space. And it’s important to understand that I don’t mean that they don’t need it. Actually, they just felt like they didn’t need it. And in Malta, I repeat, tiny island. So if people if 10% of your clientele drop out, you’re done. Because there’s no if you do the math calculation, there’s only so many LGBT plus people in Malta, which is already a very small number. And then of the age where they’re okay to go out and pay for shots and drinks, it gets even smaller, and then need a gay bar or feel the need for an LGBT safe space. That’s a club gets even smaller, you know, so that number was probably very tenuous for a long while. And the more people felt comfortable dancing with their boyfriends in regular clubs, which I still don’t know how they do it, because whenever I go there, I’ve had bottles and shit thrown at me, but maybe I’m just maybe my face is the problem, not the fact that I messed up. And so you know, so so like, the follow up clubs didn’t do as well, I guess, because they didn’t have the magic of Klozet felt like something created by gay people. For gay people within the Maltese community. And XM felt a bit imported. It felt a bit like you need a gay bar, you should go to the only one available to you, because you have no other choice. And then it was like No, fuck you. I’ll go wherever I want. Which, which XM also didn’t last very long and water and I think now we don’t. I think we might have like one gay bar, but like, it’s tragic. So So what has been found to work
K Anderson 39:33
around this rambling? No, no, no, no, that’s fine. So let’s stay in that first night. Yeah. So you go. You go in. You use the toilet
of your life. I
K Anderson 39:44
was there. Yeah, that’s the only reason you went in. But since you’d like to pop music you stayed. So I’m assuming you bought a drink. Did you talk to anyone worse. Did you do like No, no. I
Chucky Bartolo 39:59
quietly Like a weirdo, they must have thought I was like one of those creepy people planning some attack, because I just ordered my drink and my ugly jeans and bad t shirt and they were like this hat is here to judge looking ugly in the corner with his sad drink.
K Anderson 40:17
Was it a Mariah Carey t shirt though? No, it
Chucky Bartolo 40:20
was actually ugly. I wore ugly clothes like I was straight. Okay. I’m sorry to any heterosexuals listening to this. I’m just being offensive for no reason. Let’s go with that. I believe you can dress however you want, don’t worry, especially in bootcut jeans, that’s your prerogative. So I was sitting there very quietly adjust absorbing, just absorbing the insane queerness that there was, which was not, there was some of it on TV. I think I think Glee was airing at the time. So like, there was some I was still getting the essence of gay on the television. But in real life, never seen it before. So it was just like, waves of like, a very, I think that I don’t know if it was the first night or the second night, they were both nights, I just went into pee. So it’s fine. There was a drag queen Lexus, who was like the rest of them the queen, who put on like a show. And I was like, Oh my god, she’s just onstage, not singing and moving her mouth very well to these words, and looking incredible doing it. And there were like trans women who I had never had never had never met a trans person in my life. And there were trans women openly being like, I’m a trans woman to like, dude, like, cuz they were like hosting the night or like, or like, just I don’t remember if I spoke to that myself, maybe the second or third time. But it was the first time I had ever met a trans person. So it was just like, in two nights of being in inverted commas. I got this like, wave of queerness that didn’t exist in my world outside of that, like I had one or two gay male friends. But like that was it, you know, and that’s the curse of the gay man is that they only make gay male friends and don’t expand their horizons a bit more is the worst thing you can do for yourself as a queer person.
K Anderson 42:05
And so and so how did that make you feel then being exposed to that?
Chucky Bartolo 42:09
Oh, it was amazing. Like I said, I’m not gonna like for the person who obviously didn’t want to be associated with this. I didn’t have any qualms where I was like, No, this is too gay. I was like, This is amazing. I hope nobody knows I’m here. But I love it. So it was a very strange like, I wasn’t like, oh, maybe I should go back anyway. But you it was very much like, wow, this is incredible. Like I didn’t see myself fitting in though I didn’t see the drag queen and think I want that to be me. I never thought that I just really enjoyed being a part of it was a quiet part of it. Weirdly. It didn’t click that I could be so happy being that open. Because I thought if I was like them, I would hate my life. Even though I’m very happy for them. It was a very strange mix.
K Anderson 42:59
So let’s unpack that then. So why why? because there were so
Chucky Bartolo 43:04
yeah, because they were visible. And I was afraid that being that visible. I thought I was going to be the Jesus Christ of the gays who died on the cross for everyone’s sins by being the palatable gay that everyone would love. And by loving me they would love all gays, you’re welcome homosexuals. I save
K Anderson 43:22
this so you’d be very chaste and very pure. And, and
Chucky Bartolo 43:26
and not hashtag not like other games. Yeah, it was my like, and I wanted that for myself. because number one at the time, while not realising how queer it is to love a 90s, big breasted diva. And I thought that that was like my one gay ish Quirk. And so I was like, it’s fine, that will make me relatable. It was just a stupid complex, I wanted to be like, I’ve always wanted to work in fields like theatre or entertainment, where were my source of income or my like, work involved an audience. And I wanted to not limit myself or not limit my audience by being as palatable and plain as possible, like so. You know, I wanted to be the sweet, nice, gay boy, who everyone got along with rather than the obnoxious drunk drag queen, who shouts in sales calls her course that is hurting her, you know, thank
K Anderson 44:21
goodness you got over that.
Chucky Bartolo 44:23
No, I’m Sue like, and it’s, it’s, I try not to be too mad at myself for thinking so stupidly back in the day, like, you know, because it was just a defence mechanism. I was a fat gay kid in a deeply Catholic Island and I feel like now while I was a terrible role model then I didn’t have a following Thank God. And now that I do have a following I’m very careful and proud of the visibility I present now. Right so I think I make up for my like stupid, internalised homophobic thinking early on, I said was never actively like gay. Suck. But I just thought I was better than people for, for not being true to myself, which is such rubbish.
K Anderson 45:06
Yeah. And like no one here is judging you, obviously, like you’re kind of a product, you’re kind of, obviously you are a product of your environment. And everyone I think goes through that kind of phase of like, how can I make this work in a heterosexual world? or How can I make this work in a cisgender? world? I know what I’ll conform. And yeah, I don’t think there’s any shame in pedal.
Chucky Bartolo 45:30
And I think there’s loads of people who still need to conform now, even in Malta, and there’s no, if they happen to be listening to this, there’s no shame in conforming for safety for as long as you need to. Like if you still need to be safe like that. I want you to be aware that there is a better life out there. But like, if you need to do it for yourself, do it for yourself. Keep safe. It’s most important thing.
K Anderson 45:49
Yeah, absolutely. And so you never, that was kind of your first exposure to drag. But you didn’t get into drag until after the bar shut? No. I
Chucky Bartolo 46:01
mean, I’ve been doing drag two and a half years. Oh, I guess not that like not that long feels like a lifetime. Can’t imagine that. I didn’t do it before, considering I have like wigs hanging out of every square centimetre of shelving in this household. So fee is alien that I haven’t done drag since I was born. But yeah, I’ve been doing it for three years now, I think, professionally, technically a year really. But like
K Anderson 46:28
and so just on that, like, do you have to ration your spending.
Chucky Bartolo 46:36
And so I am a serial saver. And I had, I stopped I exited uni as a graduate in architecture, very proud of myself, I knew I wasn’t gonna do architecture instantly didn’t do that. And then I started with my person contacted me, who was starting a page called Love and Malta. And I became like the lead content creator. This was me and him in his kitchen. He was like the money and the journalist because he was an incredible journalist. And I was the like BuzzFeed style comedian, right? where I’d be like, what club from Portugal Are you or like Maltese softdrink bester. These stupid BuzzFeed things. This was like six years ago. And it really worked, because BuzzFeed was still relatively new. And in Malta, it was never heard of. So it took off. And so I spent two and a half years at this company, basically, since I was one of the since I was the original person there, I had a decent job, not a decent wage, but a decent job. And I had before he offered me this job, in my mind, I was like, I’m going to work for six months after uni and just fly to Berlin, and be the best gay version of myself in Berlin. So I worked like odds and ends jobs, just just to save money. So when I go to Berlin, I can become a writer in Berlin. And like, that will be my I know. So okay. That would be my like thing. So I saved for like six months, and I got this dream job. And I fell in love. So I ended up not going to Berlin. Yeah. And so then when I started getting a decent paycheck, I couldn’t be like, I’m just gonna spend it because I was like, I’ve already spent six months saving you don’t, you don’t have a crazy spend on your seventh paycheck, you know, it’s the first one or nothing. So I saved for years. And so now, I’m destroying those savings by trying to pursue my career in in drag, and I’m thankful that I’ve like, obviously COVID euro side because that was just an evil year. on normal years, I’ve managed to breakeven, I haven’t made the money I used to before but because I have a bit of clout in Malta IV, I’ve been able to get gigs that make me happy and aren’t a soulless desk, BuzzFeed job. And breakeven, right? I’m not living a good life, but like, the drag is now paying for itself, and I’m able to pay my rent. Ah, okay,
K Anderson 48:59
cuz he’s, like, drag. Like, it’s expensive.
Chucky Bartolo 49:03
Very, but. So it is very expensive. And especially the problem is at my point in my career now, yes, you can’t afford to look cheap and bad. The issue I have is that a lot of baby queens need to spend money to feel like they’ve done something. This is the issue with the show again, like you need to look runway ready at all times. And that’s not the case. Even in my case. I don’t think I’m like if I was costs on the show, and I ended up on an episode. I don’t think I have the prettiest but like a point of view is always more important, right? It’s why I kind of like the earlier seasons and the UK version a bit more. Because our point of view is much more important than a pretty dress and like I can sew and I can style here. Okay, I so much better lifestyle and I and I make jokes better than I so but you know, it is very expensive, but it’s also doable. Like if you have I’m not going to pretend you don’t need another job, especially at the start like I had another job. For four years, and I saved up, and I literally didn’t go out or to travel or anything like that just saves because I knew I wanted this career. And it’s a very, like, my whole life is every time I make money, I’m like, good. This gives me two more months of rent till I eventually am comfortable doing dry. And so it’s a it’s a struggle, where it’s like, good, I’ve very focused on my art, but also bad because like, all I do is hoard My, my, my earnings, just in case, I don’t have a gig next week, just in case COVID destroys me, you know,
K Anderson 50:32
as gay, and I don’t know how anyone does drag. you kind of need like, a new outfit every week. And you need like new hair, and you need makeup and you need like, you know, all this stuff. And I just like how does anyone have the energy for that?
Chucky Bartolo 50:49
It’s a it’s a labor of love. It’s a definition of a labor of love. Because it’s exactly you either need lots of energy or lots of money in my case without the like, endless cash to throw at with designers and stylist and I need to be like, willing to like blow dry the wigs restyle it into a different shape the next day. So when I would fit or customise a prime market buy into a new outfit, you know, it’s just, but that’s what I love that I can’t I really can’t complain. I complain, but I can’t because I do complain because I am a complainer. I’m Mediterranean. And everything is a bigger deal than it needs to be. And, but I love it like what’s like, that’s what drives me, right? So my comedy is very important to me. But if, if there is a theme, I’m coming dressed like the theme. If the theme is abstract, I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna even for costume parties for friends. If it’s a theme costume party, I am coming in a costume, I will be the only one in a costume. The rest will be like shirtless gay men with like, if the theme is like Diamonds Are Forever, they’ll have like one diamond glue to their chest, whether they’re short, and I’ll be like, head to toe stones, like crystals inside of my eyes. Just you know, making too much of an effort because I love a theme. So that’s
K Anderson 51:58
Oh, see? Yeah, and this is like, I will be the one who has the best intentions. But then a last minute decides I don’t have a question. So I’m not going to go on a T shirt. My is my diamond. Oh, yeah, totally like, Yeah, get me you get me. No, no, no, I just would be like, I’m either going 100% or not at all fair. So I’m gonna go not at all. Comfortable I will see the photos later. Yeah, don’t ask me to make an effort. Don’t ask me to make a choice. I mean, I’m not you know, like, I’ve been wearing this same jumper for the last three days. That’s how much I don’t like making a choice.
Chucky Bartolo 52:39
I mean, I’m not gonna, you know, because no, because I know the recording was gummy too. It’s just I haven’t had a reason to make an effort for so long. And that’s what that’s what I hate. Like, I’m, I’m a very motivated person. But when it especially when it comes to aesthetics, unless someone’s gonna see me, I’m gonna be like, I’m not doing this for myself. I’m happy with how I look. I need to make an effort.
K Anderson 53:04
What do you mean, you wash every day? What? Yeah. Okay, so do you remember hearing about Klozet closing?
Chucky Bartolo 53:15
I don’t remember. I don’t know if I’m, like, I don’t know if I heard about it. Or if I went and it was closed, like I have a memory of both. And I think it’s, again, the alcohol kicking in what I was just like, almost gone gone Klozet. And then it wasn’t there. And I was like, oh, guys, and I forgot to close. And I just said, Where did you play? I literally that was the bar had to go home? It was my bathroom at home. No, I do remember being like, whatever. Another one. Like I wasn’t upset at the time. I know, there was I think there was like, a massive going away or like closing party. So I think they knew what the end was nigh. And I didn’t even go to that. So I the kinship I feel or the like love I have for it is probably more now that I understand, like how much love and effort and money was pumped into this to keep it open. Because I know the behind the scenes of running a gay bar or show. So I think at the time I really took it for granted. And it was like it’s closing anyone will open next week. You know, I didn’t call it the arrogance of youth. If you when when I was like whatever. And then I think like I noticed its absence when like a month, two months at bars, and there was no news of like its replacement. Or like when when the first the first time I saw a sign for a different club. were that were close it was. So I remember those were more of the like, moments then like yeah, this is like because it was real. Yeah, exactly. And those were more. Number one, they happen a few months afterwards. So again, I The age of like, 18 1920 a few months is enough to change your perspective on a lot of things because you’re so you change so quickly. And you learn so quickly at that age that like, you know, six months is enough to be like, well, I really was an asshole pretend that I was just there to be Why? Well, I was thinking, I’m so so yeah, I guess I find it more and I didn’t notice how much of an impact it had. And it wasn’t just me until this like Recent Posts where they literally reactivated their Facebook just to tease something. And I was like,
K Anderson 55:32
Yeah, what’s the deal? What? What was this?
Chucky Bartolo 55:34
So So? So they’ve got our hopes, they did an incredible guerilla marketing tactic, which was like, just posting a throwback, and then being like, imagine if we came back lol, and all these like teasers. And then they were like, PS, we’re actually coming back. All of malls are lost their shit. And then they were like, oh, but it’s just for one night. And it’s like a one time party. And it was like, so there was,
K Anderson 56:01
was it in the venue? Or was it somewhere?
Chucky Bartolo 56:03
No, not even? No, no, it was like, it knows it was I think the venue was owned by another club now. And they and it’s, and I think there are people who wanted to come the venue was small, like, you know, it was it wouldn’t have fit everyone in it for sure. So I think it was like an outside pool venue. That was the revival party. But again, that was one of those moments where you go wow, I really, like there were a lot of people who are like really missing this. It’s just really hit me in the fields. And yeah, and it was like years afterwards where your head like this is fine. And then it’s like nerves.
K Anderson 56:33
Could they do this to me?
Chucky Bartolo 56:35
Especially because there was no or there was no good let’s say that mortar has no real queer venues or ones that none of them have ever managed to reach. Klozet’s normality of like a queer space right now when you go into I think there are a couple or one queer like clubs slash bar. And there’s literally nobody there. There is like the person who runs it a tourist towards stole it was a gay bar like and they went in expecting like heaven and they found like L and like the BB stuff, and that’s it. So like, and that was never the case of the place like Klozet. And ASM which followed it had more people but it always felt forced.
K Anderson 57:19
Yeah, and I was gonna pick up on that. You were talking before when you were saying about a exam that the difference was that it felt like an imported kind of queer mentality. Whereas clothes it was this kind of home grown and made with love kind of venue. I’m putting you on the spot by asking you this. But is there anything that’s particular to the queer Maltese identity? That meant that wasn’t translatable?
Chucky Bartolo 57:52
Well, I think something that is a particular queer Maltese thing is a bit of an underground scene it’s not normal for queer anything to be public or mainstream So shame So shame was a but like it was like while it was in the same city of clubs Klozet was round the corner on the left down an alley and there it was, so I accidentally ended up here to pee was obviously alive because
to get there
Chucky Bartolo 58:26
while this one was like on the main street, right, so you had a lot more happy couples were like let’s just go there. That’s how it started. Exactly. It started becoming a lot more of this like Americanised version a lot more Yes, Mama and a lot less our war. Which is like there was amazing a language lesson here.
K Anderson 58:47
Chucky Bartolo 58:48
was just like, Hey sis, whether it’s like the Maltese very, a lot less like a honey child. Yeah, you know, it’s a lot less geeky and a lot more like
K Anderson 58:59
oh, wow, an
Chucky Bartolo 59:01
hour or two days is perfect. Alright, once the flag hits, you know, you’ve smashed it so it’s just this like I don’t want to romanticise the keeping it in the closet and the 90s like secret codes and all this stuff in the 90s What do you know about like, you know, when they would be like with the like bandanas, meaning different things
K Anderson 59:24
back in the 90s
Chucky Bartolo 59:26
you know, what’s my perception of divorce 2011 All right, let’s not forget how new everything is. You know, when
K Anderson 59:33
the when the first gays arrived in 1999 on the
Chucky Bartolo 59:37
Mayflower like that Tom of Finland vibe is not to be romanticise but there was a sense of that authenticity in in Klozet in that like it was there’s this bar you know about you know about it you don’t you don’t while exam was like this is the gay bar come to the gay bar and Just Oh no, it just felt a bit more
K Anderson 1:00:03
wasn’t a respectable gay vibe like you were going for it
Chucky Bartolo 1:00:08
sounds so judged. It was fine. You know, you want to know what it is right? There’s this gay bar, I had a friend who was down from Brussels, who is a very, very camp gentleman who I love dearly. And he was like, Oh my god, Chuck, you have to go and ask for Lady Gaga. Right now I need Lady Gaga. So I went up to the DJ, I was like, Can you play Lady Gaga? He’s like, I’m sorry. I don’t have any Lady Gaga. I’m like, this is a gay bar. What are you doing? How is there not Gaga? anywhere? Just one song. She had three albums out at the time. Come on. So it was just a lot of this where you’re like, you say your one thing. But are you?
K Anderson 1:00:55
How did you even get a license?
Chucky Bartolo 1:00:58
How can you call yourselves a game? You don’t have poker face? Come
K Anderson 1:01:06
I kind of want to go to XM now.
Chucky Bartolo 1:01:08
Well, the one that was closed? The one in Glasgow is I think it’s alive. And well, like I think they do they do a number of shows. So and they have Lady Gaga, which is great. You know, they’re doing better than the Maltese.
K Anderson 1:01:21
But do they have a Mariah Carey? megamix.
Chucky Bartolo 1:01:25
If they don’t, I’ll give them my USB. Yeah, so XM felt inauthentic like that. That’s it, man. That’s what I meant. It was still
K Anderson 1:01:36
hang on. It felt inauthentic. Because they didn’t have Lady Gaga.
Chucky Bartolo 1:01:39
No, it felt it just, it lacked the authenticity, right? They were trying to do something by copy pasting rather than being themselves. And it didn’t really work out. I sound judgmental, and whatever. But I’d still rather have a gay bar that I don’t love, then not have one at all. I think it’s very sad that we don’t have at least one club, even if it’s a small hole in the wall, where when your friends come down from abroad, like let’s go into a gay bar, and you’re like, once a month, so make sure you plan your holiday. Well. You know, that’s a bit sad that we can’t take them anywhere. For the number one LGBT rights in Europe. Yes, I think, yeah, that there would be a place you can go and just be comfortable being queer. And not to have to, like worry about it or anything. You know, it’s that’s tragic. Really.
K Anderson 1:02:29
Yeah. But but then it kind of brings you around back to that question about like, do we need Yeah, bars anymore? Well,
Chucky Bartolo 1:02:40
I mean, I don’t know that was a rhetorical question. But my answer is, Yes, we do. But we should also be able to go to non queer bars and feel just as comfortable. But you still, sometimes you just want to be around queer people who like have lived similar experiences to you. And don’t ask like, how do you go down your way guitar?
K Anderson 1:02:59
You just want to be in? Wait, wait. gays don’t ask you that?
Chucky Bartolo 1:03:06
When I see a white twink approached me, that’s when I panic. And I know the questions are coming but beyond like, it’s less and it’s less invasive. It’s also on a same level question. Because you know, they’re gonna go home and try it, rather than they’re laughing at you and trying to like, fetishise or mock, you know, that the little campy Queen who’s like, how
do you get your eyeliner to do that
Chucky Bartolo 1:03:28
it was gonna go home, steal his mother’s liner and try it, you know? So there’s a, there’s a difference in the experiences there. And I think there should be a bar or a club or anything where you where you can just go and be full stuff without,
K Anderson 1:03:42
you know, and you want somewhere where the ratio of people that you can snag is much higher.
Chucky Bartolo 1:03:46
I mean, where you don’t have to worry if the person across the bar is making it because they want to fight or because they want to fuck or,
K Anderson 1:03:53
or like yeah, is there contact coming out to where they exactly did I take their shot? Like why? Did you ever go to close it? Well, if you did, I would love to hear from you. Tell me your stories and share any photos or anecdotes through social media. my user name on most every platform is K Anderson music. Reach out and tell me what you got up to. You can also find out more about Chucky by following her on Instagram. Using a name Chucky Bartolo. Last basis 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 playing underneath my talking right now on all good streaming platforms. If you liked this Episode I would really appreciate if you subscribe, left a review on Apple podcasts or just told someone else who you think might be interested in giving it a little listen to. I am K Anderson and you have been listening to lost spaces.