The all-women club night Venus Rising did more than just thrill me in parts of my body I didn’t think existed back in ’91. It changed my mindset, putting me in a path that was to be Shameless and full of regal passion. And it made me fall for the oh so hot soul of house music, the divas that ensured the b.p.m.’s were filled with desire and the basslines that would come to define my working life. Venus Rising had grabbed me where no other club night had. From the first frisk to the door entry to the bar lass to the cloakroom to the DJs to the toilets on the left-hand side of the stage that were for, well, you get my drift, it was everything I had hoped lesbian clubbing could be. And it changed the way I felt and saw the possibility of where a four-to-the-floor beat could lead me, thanks to Terri and Maxine and Vicki and the ladies of SW2.
Inspired by Venus Rising at The Fridge in Brixton fellow house devotee Tiz Cartwright and I would create Shameless Hussies as part of Brighton Pride’s 1992 Lesbian Strength programme. (We called ourselves Clit Lickers Productions back then – oh the confidence of stroppy queer youth). A club night I shall forever be proud of, it provided the queer women of Brighton with their first ever house music night, beginning at Fagans in East Street, then at The Reform in Ship Street, moving eventually to the original Concorde (home of Big Beat Boutique), then over to The Beachcomber, later to be The Honeyclub, and eventually to The Loft on Dyke Road. A fitting address for our sound lesbian adventure to end.
To a backdrop of sexy visuals, (well as sexy as you could get considering they were just poster paint on bedsheets) and upfront house music by DJs Vicki Edwards, Parminda, Funki G, Meesh Mash, Tiz, some pre-Wildblood woman called KTB and live house music from Xi-Xi, Shameless Hussies ran for over two years, saw the offshoot Housewife’s Choice clean up the mixed scene and deliver endless priceless dress-up moments.
It was also a time in my life when a certain bongo playing queen banged on the doors of my heart, forever changing my life. A lass with the charm and the vocals, her and Michele’s band Xi-Xi’s single Feel So Good is perhaps the most emotive of my #50tunesfor50years To have a moment in one’s life captured on a slice of 12″ vinyl by the love of your life has to be one of my greatest pleasures. A pleasure I can indulge in with just one play. Because when your history feels as good as this one sounds twenty-seven years on that makes me one very proud Shameless Hussie. Thanks to Queenie, Meesh, Tiz, Vicki, Dani and all the women who helped make it so.