Sassy by name, Sassy by nature, I write to explode the myths which surround the lapdancing profession - standing up for the clubs, the girls and the customers. Its not always drinking champagne and playing with my tits - it can be hassle, hustling and hangovers. At heart I'm just a regular twenty-something posh cockney living in London who likes taking her clothes off...
It’s a Friday night, and I’m about to meet the London Strippers taking over Shoreditch’s Party Scene. Exotic dancers in London are democratizing striptease with a monthly club night that aims to bring feminism and stripping together. Based at Club Aquarium, they are relaunching on the last Friday of the month with the ladies producing over 3 hours of live shows and DJ sets before opening up the hot tub/pool out back at midnight.
Run by the East London Strippers Collective, a group of ‘feisty, articulate, and fiercely independent women’, since 2014 they have been slowly building a cult following. Starting off in a small community space in Bethnal Green, they have graduated to a monthly residency at ‘Club Aquarium’, the biggest venue in trendy Shoreditch. With a large stage, 2 super tall poles, an LED video screen and their own, female resident DJ Dopamina, they can create a sizzling atmosphere.
People begin to arrive from 9pm, nursing their first drink and gingerly spending a tenner on tipping dollars from the jug of a local East End lapdancer. The first lady, a bendy blonde, comes out at 9:30 to some thumping rock, and an audience begins to gather around the front of the stage. By midnight, the club is full and eager to make it rain on the dancers who come in all ages, races and sizes. Previous performers have included bike-porn activist Poppy Cox, Trap Queen and Authentic Pole winner Kitty Velour and Miss Sink the Pink herself, Georgie Bee. Other artists mix stripping with comedy, drag and contortion, whilst at midnight lucky punters are invited up for a group lapdance that raises the roof!
The girls relish having their own creative space. Each party is themed so that both the audience and the performer can play at dressing up. Unicorns, sequinned lingerie, leather and latex mix amongst the bright prints and beards of East London hipsters. Unlike a normal stripclub environment, it’s a safe space where both men, women, and queer can party together.
“I learnt to tuck my dick at ELSC parties” says female drag artist Bambi. She has performed at several shows, and keeps on begging to come back.
With a cult following in Shoreditch’s party scene, the ELSC were so busy performing over the summer that they had to take a break from their monthly parties. The girls performed at several Edinburgh Festival shows, Boomtown and pole dancing expos in America, as well as continuing to hold down their stripping 9-5’s in clubs across London.
“By producing these club nights we learn new, transferable skills, so if I ever need to get a ‘normal’ job I won’t have to lie on my CV. I’m not just a stripper – I’m a performer working in event production and PR.” explains Sassy, who also writes the londonlapdancer.com blog.
With dates already lined up, the ladies of the East London Strippers Collective are already devising their costumes. They relaunch in September with a Back To School party, and have Zoe Trope bouncing around as a cheerleader and a male stripper in detention. Things get spooky for October with ‘The Blair Witch Project’ with naughty witches and evil Mistresses casting a spell. In November we will be causing a riot and making punk dirty again in ‘ELSC presents Never Mind The Buttocks‘.”