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...
Full body tattoos. Messy hair. Thrashing guitars – and naked women? Punk Strippers? Isn’t punk mostly men rebelling against society?
Orange tans. Blonde blowdrys. A room full of boob jobs and accommodating women – so how would a punk fit into the stripclub aesthetic?
Slowly two polar opposites have come together with fascinating results. The raw energy of punk is slowly taking over the striptease and pin-up scene. Was this as a rebellion against the homogenisation of beauty or have clubs simply wized up that their punters may want something a little different?
Stripclubs were big news in the 90s and noughties, filled with variations on the same theme – the Baywatch ideal. Flawless tanned skin, shiny hair in any colour as long as it was blonde, and slim bodies topped with fake breasts and push-up bras. When I worked in Spearmint Rhino just before the recession of 2008, only the waitresses had tattoos and colourful hair. We’d have up to 100 dancers working on the busiest nights, but with large tattoos frowned upon and even banned in most stripclubs, punks couldn’t even get a foot in the door.
But visit a stripclub today and you’ll find a much more diverse crowd of dancers. The Queen of punk strippers is Malice MacMunn, an award winning stripper from Cheetahs in Hollywood, who stands out with a Mohawk, fierce eyeliner and more tattoos than you can count. It’s an iconic look which has helped her gain over 100k Instagram followers.
From mohawked strippers to punky pin-ups, America may also be the birthplace of the ‘alternative’ look following the global success of the Suicide Girls. From humble beginnings in 2001 in Portland, the Suicide Girls website which features pay per view women who look like delicate angels lost in a mosh pit and beauty which 20 years ago would’ve shocked your parents but is now hipster. By promoting underground culture and individuality, the brand provides a lifeline to aspiring models and fetish lovers.
‘What some people think makes us strange, or weird, or fucked up, we think is what makes us beautiful.’
Suicide Girls tagline
Whereas once young women aspired to don bunny ears and become a Playboy Playmate, now the cooler kids are piercing themselves in intimate places and applying in their thousands to become a Suicide Girl. An American success story indeed.
But it’s not just America who has combined punk with stripping. I spoke to some of my dancer friends in the East London Strippers Collective who had fascinating tales of strippers-come-rock stars who played at Glastonbury. Gob$au$age was a punk band of misfits and rebels from London. Edie Lamort and Tree, pictured below, were jobbing exotic dancers around the strip-pubs of East London, as were some of Gob$au$ages’s backing dancers and musicians.
“When my rock band broke up I was distraught so Tree put me in touch with Mark and Susan who did this punk rock shock show called Gob$au$age. I started off as a dancer, as most of the dancers in the show were local strippers, and then played guitar with them. They had their own puck rock clothing label (Charles of London) so dressed the dancers in full slutty punk outfits.” Explained Edie.
“Gob$au$age was considered an amazing cultural phenomena by some (much to our amusement) and we were booked all over Europe. We were flown over to France, Italy, German etc by enthusiastic promoters and did weddings (wtf?!) and fancy fashion events in London. We played the Lost Vagueness field at Glastonbury each year, which was always mayhem. “
They did a regular night at Tom’s strip pub The Spread Eagle, which is now a normal bar, called Funny Farm. One of the Brazilian strippers who worked there ending up buying the strip pub and turned it into a normal drinking hole.
But who is keeping the punk spirit alive today? The rebellious and fierce grllz of the East London Strippers Collective of course!
‘ELSC presents Never Mind the Buttocks’ is a club-night which celebrates and showcases the punk aesthetic with the beauty and talent of local strippers. A party with a difference, ELSC nights combine performance, burlesque and pole with sets from their favourite queer friendly DJs.
Tickets for the party on Friday 24th November are available now on Billetto, and if you use the code PUNKASS you can get 25% off the advance ticket price.
The punk stripper line-up includes Tequila Rose, who I interviewed earlier this year about the opening of SPUN, a new pole dancing studio.
Here’s Tequila Rose & Foxy performing a special double act at a previous ELSC presents event.
I hope you feel inspired and want to see the punk strippers in action, spinning around the pole to some thrashing music!
Remember I’ve arranged a secret ticket link for a huge discount – only £6 instead of £10 or more at the door! Click on this link and quote PUNKASS to get this limited and very special secret offer