Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting GAZETTE NEWS to 80360, or email
It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to over my love of Morrissey
IF her idol Morrissey turns up to her show, Amy Lame won’t be happy. “Well basically he will ruin it,” she reveals, “but I don’t think he will.”
I’m pretty sure he won’t either, but you never know what the former Smiths frontman will do, and that’s part of his attraction – well for Amy anyway.
Her new show, Unhappy Birthday, is a kind of homage to Morrissey, icon for the bookish, bespectacled weirdos of the world.
In it she invites the audience to share her birthday as well as Morrissey, even reserving a seat for him in the audience.
Unhappy Birthday cracks open the cult of celebrity and fandom; probes the pains of growing up; and cross examines a curious nostalgia for a time that may never have existed except in the bedroom of our imagination.
Amy explains: “I discovered the Smiths in 1987 growing up in New Jersey.
“I bought a copy of their album Strangeways, Here We Come, and thought it was the best thing I had ever heard.
“At the time I also used to go to the local newsagents and flick through copies of the NME, which were imported from the UK, and the very next day after buying the record, I discovered they had split up. The lord giveth and the lord taketh away.”
That just increased Amy’s fascination with the band and, in particular, the man who fronted them.
“Oh, I was completely obsessed,” she laughs, “and that’s what the show is about, that obsessive dedication to an artist.
“One of the important parts of fandom is that you recognise that album wasn’t so good, or what they said wasn’t particularly nice, but you still love them.
“Morrissey is for life, whatever he does.”
Amy is bringing her show to the Colchester Arts Centre later this month which offers her, and director Scottee, a chance for a bit of an Essex adventure.
“I love Essex,” she squeals, “I’m from New Jersey and they say the state is the best of Essex and the best of Liverpool put together.
“Also my director, Scottee, comes from Leigh, so we’re planning a bit of a trip to the seaside, as well as some shopping.”
Amy moved to the UK 20 years ago with the intention of travelling around Europe.
“I suppose I thought it was going to be a bit like a Smiths record,” she admits.
It turned out to be better. She got a job in a gay and lesbian cafe in London and met a “great bunch of people”, including Simon Strange.
Together they set up the now legendary cabaret club night, Duckie, which is still running today.
“At the time, we’re talking the mid-Nineties,” Amy begins, “the performance scene was basically clubs, piano bars and cabaret spots, but nothing that mixed them all up.
“That’s what we did.”
Picking-up an Olivier Award in 2004, the club night soon made Amy a star in her own right, leading to presenting slots on BBC2’s Gaytime TV and the Staying In Show for Channel 4.
Amy also co-presents BBC London’s weekday afternoon show, with broadcasting legend Danny Baker.
“I’ve learnt so much from him,” she says, “and he’s a real dear friend. Danny was even matron of honour at my wedding.”
Amy Lame’s Unhappy Birthday Colchester Arts Centre Church Street, Colchester.
June 22. 8pm. £10, £5 concessions.