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Mr Pussy’s Café De Luxe, Dublin (with Veda)

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Mr Pussy’s Cafe De Luxe was a cafe and restaurant dreamt up by Jim Sheridan, Gavin Friday, and Bono and hosted by old-school drag legend Mr Pussy.

Opening in 1994, the place quickly established itself as the place to be seen in Dublin, and hosted a number of record launches and after parties. But, just as quickly as it arrived it disappeared, closing a year after it opened.

I caught up with drag super star, singer and recording artist Veda to discuss her time working at the cafe and the adventures she got up to.

Follow Veda on Instagram.

Veda  00:00

She’s very glamorous in her ways. You know, like, I run into Mr. Posey, and we’re good friends. I’m just gonna emphasise that in town a couple of years ago, and she was wearing maybe tracksuit bottoms and some more kind of casual clothes and like a woolly hat or something. And because of that, she ran away from me. I want to speak to me. So I called her and she answered the phone. And while she was running away from me on Henry Street, she says, I’m not dressed here. I’m not expecting to see people. And she’s just running away from watching her go.

K Anderson  00:43

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. Mr. Pussy’s cafe Deluxe was a cafe and restaurant dreamt up by Jim Sheridan Gavin Friday and Bono from YouTube, and hosted by old school drag legend Mr. Pussy opening in 1994. That place quickly established itself as the place to be seen in Dublin and hosted a number of record launches and after parties. But just as quickly as it arrived, it disappeared, closing within a year of its opening. I caught up with drag superstar singer and recording artist VEDA to discuss her time working at the cafe and the adventures she caught up to

Veda  02:14

Mr. Pussy’s cafe Deluxe, it was on Suffolk street in Dublin in 1994. And I was in college with one of the managers there. And from the moment I heard about it, I knew I had to work there. Luckily for me, I managed to wrangle myself a job. And I would say it was probably my favourite place that I’ve ever worked in the best job I ever had. is a time in my life that was very special, something that you can never recapture. So it wasn’t the best job in terms of how glamorous it was because I was essentially just waiting tables. And it wasn’t the best paid job or anything. But it was so fresh as the concept. And especially here in Dublin because it was in drag cafe, late night bar restaurant, run by a drag queen on some rock royalty. So it had a very special flavour to it. You know, like Mr. Pussy is a legendary drag queen, English drag queen, but he’s been living here in Ireland for years. And she’s been swinging since the 60s. And she’s absolutely fierce and amazing. And she was in business with Diana’s brother, and members of YouTube and Gavin Friday, who is the lead singer of the Virgin Prince and a great artist in his own right. And that was the mix of business partners. And the place was art directed by Gavin Friday. So is incredibly camp, incredibly over the top, you have no idea. I’ve never seen anything like it before or since it was absolutely hideous, but in the best way. Anything that you could spray gold and stick to the wall, they would you know, and they were asking sheets of Cox everywhere they were Cox everywhere, and lingerie and boobs and feathers everywhere fish on string hanging from the ceilings, mirrored everything, Booth everywhere. It was really really camp but it still had it was quite edgy. And it still had that kind of thing that a gay man can do where it’s such extreme bad taste. And somehow it’s the height of fashion

K Anderson  04:39

background. Yeah,

Veda  04:40

yeah, it was very glamorous and really had a beautiful stage. Also, I think as musicians were involved, the stage was very nice and the sound system was very nice. The lighting was great. So it had just a very magic quality to it. And we used to sell booze all night long. It was Open 24 hours a day. And we would sell booze illegally in tea parts or in milkshakes. And, and other than that is really mostly like a breakfast menu, a really good greasy spoon Type menu and booze. But at the time rave was just really taking off here and club culture was just really growing exponentially. So the fact that it was an all night cafe was a sort of perfect storm. So it was a place especially at the weekends that would just be hopping all night long, with all kinds of DJs and clubbers, then, you know, party people, it was very hard to get into at the weekend. And it was just a really exciting theme to be part of. And to be honest, it really appealed to my ego as well as, as the other people who worked there because the managers were quite cool and savvy, and they sort of cast the staff as opposed to just employed them. They picked like very campy, very tall looking kind of what we would call go da queens, they picked Butch lesbians and, you know, exotic foreign girls and you know, just anybody who had a bit of flavour to them, like anyone with a turban or a headscarf or a tattoo, like yes, leave your resume here. That was a very eclectic and for someone young who grown up fairly sheltered and and queer and bullied and middle class essentially, to suddenly be thrown into this world that was such a mix of everybody from all kinds of walks of life. It really was exciting. And I hadn’t started performing in Dragon all at that stage, but it certainly is what started the whole thing for me. Mr. Posey was the first drag queen that I really came eyeball to eyeball with. And she opens her dressing room door just to crack and I just thought, one eyeball. And she snatched a gin and tonic from my hands. And she didn’t even say thank you, and she closed the door again. And I thought to myself, I’m gonna make her love me. I don’t care what I have to do. And we’re still friends to this day. I call her all the time we’re very close, but I just thought wow, like she is it too.

K Anderson  07:31

So So let’s talk a bit more about Mr. bossy and it said that she was the manager of the

Veda  07:38

CO owner. Yeah, she was the main act like it’s like it was a casual she was it was pussies cafe style, the big shows were hosted by her. It was her joints, really.

K Anderson  07:53

Ah, and then to how like hands on wishy in the day to day running, okay.

Veda  07:57

And what that would depend on the week like she would mostly fulfil her duties as in do her shows, she would definitely hang out at the weekends whenever anybody famous was there. And but you know, she she had licences to herself, as well. So, you know, she did her own thing. That was part of the problem. I’m sorry, pussy, but you know that the place didn’t stay open for even two years, I think a year and a bit. And part of it was that everybody was having just way too much fun. You know, it wasn’t being run as the business Really? And once the you to money, man realise that it wasn’t. They just shut it down. Ah, yeah, another

K Anderson  08:47

reason to hate them. Well, yeah. So yeah, let’s go back to 1994. Ireland was a very different place at that time. It had just been decriminalised. Was there any kind of scandal when the place opened?

Veda  09:05

Absolutely, absolutely. Like, I really took a little while, for example, from my parents to accept that I wasn’t a hooker. You know, just because the name of the place and because of their association with drag queens and rock stars or whatever. And they just kind of presumed that there was something more shady going on, but there really wasn’t, but it definitely had that air of scandal about it. But that’s also was part of the appeal and it was all painted black on the outside and it was still curtains up. You couldn’t see anything. And there was a doorman. You couldn’t just walk in off the street and all of that just made it just seem even more seedy and glamorous. He was you know,

K Anderson  09:54

and oh, and I wanted to ask for you said said that. The place was selling booze illegal. The teapots? Yeah. So if I came in as like a member of the public and I wanted to buy some booze from you what, what would I have to do?

Veda  10:09

Well, it was totally legal for us to sell booze for most of the day and night. It was only after I think, 3am that we weren’t allowed to sell booze. So you wouldn’t really be there at 3am. And last, you were with somebody who was in the know, and there was a reason for you to be there. You know what I mean? I wouldn’t get past

K Anderson  10:33

the door, man. So I mean, I wouldn’t be there. But

Veda  10:36

whether it’s basically a different set of menus, there was like these shady menus, and they had milkshake. They had milkshakes on them. And the milkshakes all had options to add shots. And then they had tea parts of what they would call things like Mr. policies, tea, or whatever. But that would either be like a tea pot of lager, or wine, or whatever, whatever it needed to be, you know.

K Anderson  11:10

And did you ever get into trouble for that?

Veda  11:13

And I don’t think so. I don’t think we ever got into trouble. We definitely had a few scares, maybe a couple of warnings, but I don’t think that there was ever any, any big problem. They’re very well connected. The boys like very well connected. That Oh, at that time, especially. You two were gods, you know. So that time Adam Clayton with daily Naomi Campbell, it was a particularly exciting time for them as bands to and a lot of that spilled over into the restaurant because all of those girls, all of the supermodels were in Dublin a handful of times that year, and they were in Mr. pussies. Several times just hanging out all night long.

K Anderson  12:11

So it was like to like definitely the place to be then.

Veda  12:15

It was bizarre. Yeah. Not always. But yeah, sometimes, you know, and definitely anybody big and gay, who came to town for any reason would be there. If it was Eurasia, or Boy George or whoever on any the Corps used to hang out there. anybody you know, was Irish and on the way out.

K Anderson  12:40

I love that you’re giving me a list of all these big gay acts and then you’re like, and then the Corps.

Veda  12:45

Funny thing is, like part of bonobos entourage really like the Corps and and you to look quite chummy at that time. Certainly Andrea core.

K Anderson  12:58

Yeah. And so you said at the top of the call that you were just just finished call it college at that time?

Veda  13:04

I was still in college. Yeah. Still in college. Yeah, by threads. But yeah, I didn’t finish college. I Well, I didn’t finish that college. But I was in college on my way to dropping out of college. And this was all part of my journey was answering club lines. And, you know, getting involved with promoting clubs and performing and doing all of that kind of stuff to work while studying business studies in Trinity College

K Anderson  13:34

at the time, and that just wasn’t doing it for you.

Veda  13:38

Just wasn’t doing it for me Wednesday and catch Mr. pussies. cafe Deluxe. I was like, yeah, let’s just get out of that.

K Anderson  13:47

So what else was then going on in your life at that time?

Veda  13:51

And, gosh, well, I was hanging out with a lot of queers on the scene, really. And they were very exciting clubs here at that time. Like there was a club called elevator which used to happen down and in an abandoned factory in the key on the keys, and some very big clubbing events and, and that whole scene was just blowing up here. It was just beginning to take off and new clubs were opening here like pod, which became a very big club and festival movement. And I actually met john Reynolds, who started open pod and was the owner of pod and started the electric picnic at Mr. pocius. I waited his table and he coached me essentially. And that’s how I ended up leaving college and leaving all that behind me basically says, you know, I’m opening up this new bar called the chocolate bar, and I want you to come and work for me, and I did.

K Anderson  14:54

Oh, because of your surfing skills.

Veda  14:57

Not really, I never thought I didn’t serve anything. In the chocolate bar, luckily, I was like a host, a host, which really meant giving away free drinks to super famous people, which is kind of what I was doing and Mr. pussies when I met him, you know. So it was just an extension. So I didn’t have to actually take orders and serve food to do anything in the chocolate bar, I just had to dress up a little bit more, and get this one around and get paid a lot more, and Swan around. Really, that’s the true.

K Anderson  15:35

And so then, you talked a little bit about kind of the status that comes with being involved in a venue like that, and being part of the staff and being specially chosen and having that kind of being Anointed One of the chosen ones. And what does that do in terms of your I was gonna say de card, but that’s not really what I mean. But like it, does your kudos instantly go up with people that you may.

Veda  16:01

I don’t know, you know, I think that’s his scales. Your kudos thing goes up here and it goes down. You know, some people I really think that Irish people enjoy, it’s part of our humour to begrudge people as well. So, you know, so for some people, I think, yeah, like, they might think I want to champagne. But most would think, yeah, Who does she think she is? And really, you know, does that get you laid? I don’t think any of that stuff really gets you laid, you know, it depends on who you are, and where you’re coming from. Like, I have friends who are fairly, like high profile, some of them really use that to get laid, or there’s downs. It’s not really a bad that people they’re meeting and sleeping, you know, who they are. Who’s getting laid most. Yeah, will be telling me, not me. But I just mean, you know, it is the thing is that thing, and I was never like, like that kind of person so much anyway. So, yeah, I don’t think it made any difference for me, if anything was probably more of a turn off, because it made me wear more makeup and be a little bit more outrageous. And I just the funny thing that happened, though in clubbing was for a while around ban. In a fun way, the more outrageous things were, the better, like there was a lot of bofur going on, there was a lot of belly tarps and glitter, you know, really outrageous fashion for the gays for all the gays you know, because clubbing had a real freshness to it. But then quickly, it turned into like the more straight acting theory needing to be seen to be more straight acting and starting to dress down. Second hand, American looking t shirts suddenly became the trend. And then the tide train or is or whatever. And the Queen’s were sort of segregated off into this zone. You know, vanished swear, or whatever. It was funny just before all of that happens, I think for clothing and for fashion, were really the glory days for me, because everybody was just like dressing up as fuck to go to the club. You know, everybody is straight, gay can straight acting whenever you don’t really see that anymore, that I have lots of amazing friends. They were bears. And I really admired the bear scene, for example. But you know, this summer in Provincetown, I went to an amazing club, bear party, but the theme really was to be so extra and so super dressed up. And every bear there was practically in a bikini and heels and wigs and makeup and they have never looked sexier or more beautiful and more interesting or whatever to me and it just really hammered it home to me that there’s something missing in that version of queerness for me, that when they bring it back it’s actually that heady mix of masculine and feminine it’s like the freedom that like the no fucks given that’s the exciting space for me those are the clubs I want to go to you know, rather than the kind of bruises sweaty hairy backs, you know, raw I Can I smell your ship pipe type club stuck, I’m just not that guy.

K Anderson  19:37

So like so on that so you were saying that you became more extroverted, I suppose, because of your surroundings and because of what was normalised to you as being part of that venue. But yeah, prior but prior to working there, were you also on that more glam side.

Veda  19:56

I guess I was getting there. I had definitely had all of those times. And sees but I was suppressed like super suppressed before I came out of the closet before I met certain key individuals before I ever entered the nightclub. I didn’t really know that world. But once I got into it I was very hungry for it and still and I really enjoyed the challenges back then of you know, I’ve really not having very much and wanting to turn a look at the weekend really wanting to look amazing. Like these pool resources, allow with friends share clothes, land each other things, buy vintage things make things it was a reduction and it wasn’t just all about you, you help your mates they’d help you it was a team effort. So you know, I love to all of that.

K Anderson  20:50

And importantly, there wasn’t like 300 photos of it the next day everyone gadget boy

Veda  20:57

Yeah, you’re lucky if you find my friend Susan. Every so often produces these amazing photos of raves because she had the wherewithal back in the day to take some photos develop them keep them and she just pulls out these photos of us maybe looking a little bit worse for wear but like an incredible outfit, you know, just lying around and out to parties wearing credible outfits that I had no idea where they are where they came from.

K Anderson  21:28

to describe some of these outfits to me What was your favourite?

Veda  21:32

Well one that we still talk about that we had a name for it was a big basically it was just a big long sleeve pink for jumper with extremely long for and we called it the I can’t jumper because myself and Susan like kind of made it together. And then when I put it on, it looks so crazy that I was like I can’t wear it. I can’t wear it. And they were just not involved in that lobbying. And of course I wore it I was like okay, I can wear it but it was one of my favourites because like it was such a stupid thing to wear to array I almost died of he it looked like something maybe kind of that would be around very Frou Frou Granny’s toilet floor in a way you know is very bathroom and it’s a static, but it was still fun and sort of Yorkie I suppose as well. And yeah, I guess that was one of my favourites. But and then also made for me, I T shirt of pink sequin, like that kind of fabric and a pair of pink sequin 70s. flares. Like all in the same pink stretchy fabric. That was also totally ridiculous. But I loved it. You know?

K Anderson  23:09

you’re one of those people that’s so committed to your outfit that even if you’re dying of heat exhaustion or heat, you don’t take it off,

Veda  23:17

I guess yeah, be fair to say if I need to. I’m not someone like he’s shy of showing my body. So it’s not like I would actually die before I would take off what I was wearing. But I would suffer a bit first before I take it off. I’ve worn a lot of latex, especially in drag. And that’s not fun. But it looks amazing. But I wore to the invasion and Fire Island a few years ago. Baby Blue sailor look and latex dress. And the photos are are amazing. But I had a river of sweat running down my hair back illusio. So really, really, really hot summer’s day, and it was just a really bad choice. But I’ll suffer suffer for the art for sure.

K Anderson  24:06

Well, I mean, no one can tell how much he suffered in the fire days. So yeah. Back to Back to the cafe. So you had left by the time that it closed?

Veda  24:18

Yeah, I within actually transitioning out of there. I think really we all knew we were going and john who offered me the job at paws knew I’m sure that something was coming. I think that he came expressly to look as over a couple of times, just before the shit hit the fan.

K Anderson  24:40

But do you remember hearing about it close like that it was going to close? To be honest. Yeah,

Veda  24:45

I don’t. I don’t remember exactly how I but I had already gone when it was officially announced. But definitely there was a lot of Norman who was one of the owners who was Banos Rather, coming in and out looking stressed. There was a lot of the managers like being really stressed out. I think the chef head chef was fired. Yeah, he was, allegedly, stuff like that, you know, there was just stuff going down. And john Reynolds came in and just sort of threw me a lifeline. And I just snatch it with both hands. I was like, I’m not here by. So I wasn’t there when it actually closed because there was no bad blood or anything, but it was definitely would be a bit raw for me to walk in. And go, but I’m fine. I’m up in the chocolate bar. Now living my best life, you know? Yeah. So I didn’t I didn’t actually go in in the last week or last few days or anything. Oh. It’s a shame. I didn’t get any keepsakes or anything. But I got Mr. pussy. I didn’t get any memorabilia. But I got actual Mr. Cozzi who I still have as my keepsake. So that’s

K Anderson  25:59

the biggest treasure locked in a cupboard somewhere? Is that what you said?

Veda  26:02

No. But like, She’s my drag mom. And that’s how you acquire a drag mom, really? And she’s, she’s hilarious and sharp as lip but. But yeah, it’s one of those relationships. That’s been really important to me. Yeah.

K Anderson  26:17

So let’s, let’s talk about it. So that you had the first meeting where she snatched a drink from you, and you were determined to make her love you? Yeah, obviously, you’ve achieved that goal. I worked on it. But well, you didn’t say that she was your drag mother. So she introduced you to drag.

Veda  26:38

She did because she was the first one that I really knew. And I got super inspired in San Francisco, you know, shortly after that, meeting loads of amazing queens and performing a lot in bars in San Francisco. And that really shaped my style. But I always think of Mr. Posey or speak of her as my drag mother, because she was the first one that I worked with, as in I saw her do her show lots and lots of times. And that’s really that’s imprints on you. In a way. It really does. And also, style wise, we’re not similar. But personality wise, we’re not dissimilar. We’re kind of similar people. And we definitely make each other laugh a lot. And I wore her down, I think she would chuckle about that. But she would kind of agree. Like I wore her down. She’s not that easy to get to know. And she, she didn’t really claim me as her darling daughter until I had made this success of it for myself. Did you know what I mean? So I always talk about there as the kind of drag mother who gives you up for adoption. You know, she is my drag mother. She had very little to do with my development. But, you know, we were reunited later, when I was an adult. Yes,

K Anderson  28:04

yeah. When the success came in, she started sniffing around again, Oh, she would take credit

Veda  28:09

as all of a sudden she’d take credit. She wasn’t taking credit when I was just fumbling around trying to figure it out.

K Anderson  28:18

So I always have this kind of image in my mind of drag mothers like shitting that drag daughters down and showing them how to draw an eye brow and do makeup II things. But it wasn’t like that at all. That was just like,

Veda  28:31

No, I never really haven’t seen that many relationships like that. I’ve seen a few YouTube does that now. But I would say that that is more like a drag sisters job. That’s not a mother’s job. Ah,

K Anderson  28:48

so what’s the drag mother’s job then?

Veda  28:50

I think it drives mother essentially whatever kind of thing you’ve got going on whatever kind of show or thing you’ve got going on for yourself. Essentially, the language that I like to use is you have a house, that’s your house, you know, it’s not really normal for the drag mother of the house to be sitting down talking to somebody about their eyebrows. The drag mother that has will be teaching you about eyebrows just by doing their own eyebrows. And if you’re smart and you’re watching, you learn, you know what I mean? But normally the drag mother of the house has a lot of other shit going on. lines running orders, lighting, management, whatever it is merchandise. It’s not really how I do it. I’ve never seen anybody really baby the children that way. I think what a drag mother does is encourage the children to help each other out. You know hmm

K Anderson  29:57

and to sorry to die all around the place. But you were saying before about how that? Yeah, that dressing up kind of helped you to explore and lead you to the path path of drag. Do you remember your first time in drag?

Veda  30:13

Yeah. Oh, gosh, I remember it very, very well. I have a friend who is currently living in New York. He’s a film maker and a really sweet guy. And he and I lived together in college around this time. And he started doing drag. His name’s Paul Rowley, and he had a drag character called Impala. He started doing drag while I was working in Mr. pussies. And I guess this is what I mean about drag sisters and drag sisters are the people who really help you out. So he was a, she was my sister. And I used to help her get dressed and drag jobs for gigs. And we would go together and hang out together. But I had never done any drag myself. But I was seeing a lot of dragging Mr. placees and experiencing it vicariously through Paul. And I really didn’t have a big ambition to become a drag queen. But I went to San Francisco to visit Paul after he had gone there to live. And so I went there to visit him and for fun, I agreed to perform with him. I am at a club called trani shock, which was a big swim scene there at the time. So I arrived in San Francisco, the day of the performance, and it was a Tuesday morning and we performed that night, Tuesday night a Chinese shark together. Our at our bands together was called the fashion the Olympics. And we performed I’m in love with the German film star. I don’t know if you know the song. Yes, yeah, there’s my first ever drag performance was with Impala doing that song. And I saw the rest of the show. And the rest of the show is what became drag queen. Well, that experience definitely that night, the whole night, but especially seeing all of these other drag queens. I had never really seen like a gender folk drag. I had never seen like ugly drag or, or a lot of things that I saw that night. I had never seen that kind of drag before I met that night on him a tronic from the band Scissor Sisters, and she and I are still very close to this day. We met that night and she was a bio queen. I was the term that they used at the time, but she was you know, a woman performer. And that blew my mind as well. Like Mr. Posey is amazing, but to go from Dublin, and that kind of cabaret environment where it was very much like Shirley Bassey inspires and very polished to this really rough, grungy kind of Nirvana drag that was in San Francisco was very exciting. But more than anything, one performer in particular performer called Steve lady, Steve lady, is the reason that I do drag that night, I saw Steve lady perform one song, and I i was there in drag already, but just participating as a friend really. But by the time she finished her performance, everything had changed for me. I was like I had seen the light. I want to be a drag queen, because I’d never seen someone look so amazing and androgynous and beautiful. And she lips things. David Bowie song rock and roll suicide which is one of my favourite songs ever. And most drag queens who lips things that I had been experiencing also lips things were man she was like lip synching a man. And she was very beautiful. And the kind of performance we didn’t have to do much she had so much charisma that she really didn’t have to do much to make the whole room go crazy. And and she did. She made the whole room go crazy. And that was it for me the lightbulb moment where I thought wow, like I really want to do that. I didn’t know I really wanted to do that. But yeah, Steve is the game changer.

K Anderson  34:29

That’s so interesting. Because you know, most you know, most people that you talked to were like, well, I always had this inkling because and I used to dressed up in my mother’s clothes when I was I did. Oh yeah. But seeing that hyper feminine feminine version of drag wasn’t appealing to you or was that more?

Veda  34:46

Yeah, it could have been some kind of like internalised homophobia, I’m sure I had lots of that especially at that time here in Ireland the maybe that was sick or or I think it was more like trying to find a truth for myself. Self, my own gender identity when there wasn’t a language for it. I think that’s really what it was, was that like, I am not a trans woman. I’m not a cisgender. Man, I have very deep and beautiful relationships with trans women and trans men. And we are sisters. And when we commune together, I don’t feel different to them. And I don’t think that they feel that I’m different to them. They don’t treat me any differently. And to me, that’s a kind of utopia. And I think VEDA as a character for me. The reason that she isn’t hips and boobs kind of girl and that she is in gown and diamonds kind of girl is really the Vedas been a vehicle for me to figure out a lot of those more complex things in and I think Steve lady was the first time I saw someone who seems to be all of those things in a package that that inspired me so much that I want to do that too.

K Anderson  36:15

Huh? So, so you’ve got back from San Francisco, and then, uh, you just gung ho about like, this is what I’m going to start

Veda  36:23

Yes. How, how crazy gung ho. And I was, like, in fairness, I look back and I smile about it, because I was so gung ho, and I really did quite well, you know, I’d like threw myself into it. And, you know, and then worked.

K Anderson  36:43

And given the scene, like the wider queer scene at that time was me was kind of in its infancy, let’s say, the drag scene in Ireland like,

Veda  36:54

what was great, like really beautiful about the whole experience was that I had made friends before I went to San Francisco with Rory O’Neill, who is panty bliss. We were already friends and hanging out together and all of that. And I know he’s seen a lot of Dragon Ireland and, and, you know, I’d been at events with them, but it just wasn’t in me yet. I wasn’t looking at it from that point of view, but I was definitely enjoying the rise. So when I came back the alternative mythos, Ireland was already you know, gearing up on my very good friend Shirley Temple Bar, was also experimenting the drag and getting used drag for the first time. And we the three of us, myself, Pantene surely had great chemistry together. And the rest of the drive that was going on here was Mr. pussy. And then there was a guy called Joe candy. There wasn’t really much going on and there wasn’t anything like what we were doing. Our stuff then was very edgy. And I think Paddy is such a great speaker and such a great Looker and her thing was very like your glamorous auntie. And surely thing is like your zany kid sister, especially then she was very zany and crazy and her performance style and a really fun way. And then my aloofness just sort of worked with broad this sort of darker sense of humour to it that’s a bit more rock and roll and a bit more aloof. So it’s funny because it was a funny time in Ireland, it was like Celtic Tiger days and queer was suddenly becoming Okay, queer was kind of in. So we were getting opportunities that before I don’t think would have been afforded to us. So for a while, we did all kinds of really bizarre stuff. We did a lot of clubs and things that we did ourselves and around steam, but we also did a whole load of Christmas cards and product launches and fashion shows and all kinds of stuff. And yeah, for quite a number of years. And the ice fell either that.

K Anderson  39:06

Why did the OS fall out?

Veda  39:08

Really the credit crunch? You know, okay. We stayed kind of like we separated a bit and all kinds of shading around lines and panty opened up panty bar. And I’ve been doing my own cabaret shows and stuff and Shirley’s Banga has been really successful. And, but, you know, I think everybody just kind of cruised along in that wave until the credit crunch. And then I think everybody had to work so much harder to get a crowd into a club, he just worked so much harder to make it work. But that wasn’t all bad either. You know, because that that kind of having to rely on yourself and your own resources, dig a bit deeper actually can make you happier. So even though I hated the recession for some, some of the things that came with it, there were some things that came with it that you know It definitely made me a better person.

K Anderson  40:02

Hmm. But I mean still. Yeah, shit. And it is Yes, it is. Yeah,

Veda  40:08

I guess I just mean as a drag queen, like, for a while there I would go out and buy something new buy something new to wear every single week without the thought. And then the credit funds happen and he was just like saying to doing something new every week. What kind of hold you I have in me? I had to buy something new every week. It’s ridiculous.

K Anderson  40:35

Yeah, okay. So yeah, gave you that opportunity to rethink your priorities. Yeah. And there’s another one coming. Sorry.

Veda  40:44

No, I’m ready. I’m done. Sewing Machine. I’m ready.

K Anderson  40:53

And and so telling your parents that you worked at Mr. pressies was like bowfinger in them made them a bit scared. What was it like telling them you were a drag queen?

Veda  41:05

Awful, as well? Yeah, awful. Really bad as in like, I don’t think either of them were into it at all in any way. It was like years and years later before my mom ever came to a show. And my dad associated I think drag queens and all of that with with sex work. I think trans trans people, drag queens, cross dressers, sex workers. Were all just one big hunk around on Big Love. Yeah. Yeah, totally. So that’s really what he saw. When he looked at me, and while I was into doing I think, you know, he was triggered by maybe thought as well that I was going to want to transition? Or? I don’t know, it definitely opens up anyway, a whole can of worms.

K Anderson  42:03

Did they like, want to explore that and understand it more? Or was it just a shutting down of

Veda  42:09

what actually happened was, I guess our relationship wasn’t brilliant for a few years. But But we stayed. We loved each other. So we stayed in touch in ways we’d have better telephone conversations than we would real life interactions maybe for a while. And but but then one night, in the high of our sort of gay drag queen glory days myself Pantene Surely, at Orci, our national broadcaster did gay night on TV, and panty House did all of the links in between the TV shows. And there were two documentaries on that night. A one of them was about the alternative Miss Ireland, which I won in 1999. And I’ve been involved in ever since. And the other one was about the phenomena of Shirley Temple Bar, which featured a lot of it featured a trip that we took to tiny shack in San Francisco together for the purposes of the documentary. But funnily enough, my dad was home alone, that night, flicking around the TV, saw Rory on TV, and sat there and watched a documentary about the alternative Miss Garland, which I won. Just saying that, like it’s quite funny, you know what I mean? That he watched on TV, and then a documentary about surely. And it was a game changer. It changed everything. I really tried after that, to be friends with them. And to be like, better with me.

K Anderson  43:51

And Joe, at that point did he had did he know that you had one? Or was was that nice to him? When he

Veda  43:56

Yeah, he knew he knew I’d won and he knew that my sisters and you know, that my friends were happy about it, that that knew or felt that it was a positive thing knew that it was a big deal. That you know, that was a big event. But and but he didn’t understand what it was. But then I think to see a documentary about it and have fun and fabulous was and also how big and glamorous it was, and also that it raised so much money for people affected by HIV. And, and also worries just a great politician as well. So she’s a great person to mediate between you and your dad via television. You see the good, really good represents that kind of stick out there in front of you, especially if you’re kind of a bit more aloof and maybe just a little bit more. I don’t know, militant. You know, she was when like vegetable base and dry and his own daughter so that she things really like a lot for the better.

K Anderson  45:03

So the lesson here is if you are struggling in your relationship with your parents can make it. Yeah. Okay. All right. That’s great. That’s great advice for people listening.

Veda  45:13

Or maybe that really the lesson is try and bring them with you. You know, just try bring them with you. Hi.

K Anderson  45:23

Did you ever go to Mr. Pussy’s cafe Deluxe? Well, if you did, I would love to hear from you. Please share any photos or anecdotes or stories that you might have. You can reach me through social media on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, under the user handle K Anderson music. And you can find out more about VEDA by following her on Instagram, feed a lady v da lady. 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 also 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 people who you think might be interested to hear it too. I am K Anderson and you’ve been listening to lost spaces.







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