Six of the Best: The House of Love | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The House of Love is a heady combination of effervescent drag trio Bonnie and The Bonnettes, scintillating singer-songwriter MXYM, Newcastle queen Vol-Au-Vent Love, and burlesque babe Mama Rhi. 

On the cusp of them exploding onto several stages across the region over the next month or so with The BonBons Cabareta glitter-fuelled riot of a thing rooted in the North East and dedicated to championing the very best dangerous, alternative, and queer performance work, we catch up with the shimmering sextet to uncover their picks for the best queer anthems of all time.

The BonBons Cabaret comes to Alphabetti Theatre on Saturday 30th October, Middlesbrough Town Hall on Sunday 7th, Laurel’s in Whitley Bay on Saturday 13th November and Alphabetti Theatre on Friday 31st December

Mama Rhi: In the Middle by Dodie

I consider In the Middle by Dodie to be one of my favourite Queer anthems, because number one, Dodie is a bi-con and number two, in my opinion it perfectly encapsulates the awkwardness and taboo you can experience with the topic of sexual expression – feeling those urges but not always necessarily acting on them with an underlying worry of feeling left out. Also, at the end of the video for In the Middle, Dodie makes a lovely speech beginning with “have you tried the cake” and lists off the reasons you may not have tried the cake. The gist of the speech, I think, is to challenge yourself to follow your gut and stop talking yourself out of doing something because you worry about how it will make you look. That doesn’t matter; what matters is how something makes you feel. However, the overall reason it’s one of my favourites is because it is simply a fun bop. 

Becky Love: Slumber Party by Ashnikko feat. Princess Nokia

This is one of the songs I sing along to, really loudly and badly in my car. Ive been a fan of Ashnikko for a good while now, and Im obsessed with their energy and approach to sexual freedom and the openness of their lyrics. She says in a lot of her songs, I’m so shy, which is, of course, tongue-in-cheek because they are not. This is the song that got me listening to her, so I owe it all to this pick, really.

I really struggled coming to terms with being a lesbian when I was younger. There was a lot of shame and internalised homophobia which fortunately Ive been able to work through. I just keep thinking how amazing it would have felt to hear this song back then. Ashnikkos confidence and openness in her attraction to women, using the scientific word for the sexual act – theres no getting away from or misunderstanding what shes talking about in this song. Of course, genitals arent an indication of gender at all, and as a genderqueer artist, they talk about that a lot, but there isnt a verse that isnt full of energy and cheek. Theres something really empowering in hearing it; they love women, and being able to sing it really loudly in my car on the motorway makes 18 year-old me really happy.

Bonnie Love: Last Dance by Diana Ross

Because it does exactly what it says! Its normally that part of the night – around 3am, youve tactically moved onto the water because youre a sensible, strong, independent adult, and youve got a meeting in the morning, but you tell yourself, I’m not going anywhere, not yet! Ive still got one LAST DANCE left in me!

Those opening, iconic, ethereal chords of disco play, you point to your best friend and declareLAST DANCE, LAST CHANCE FOR LOVE!

Brandi Love: Rainbow by Kesha

Kesha’s Rainbow is my go-to summer album and is what I put on whenever I need reminding that Im a badass, queer woman!

In the track of the same name, Kesha sings about finding light at the end of the tunnel, proving your own strength to yourself and reminding yourself that you are enough. Its a song that manages to speak to me through any time Im going through and has been a particular comfort to me when Ive been figuring things out about my own queerness.

If you know someone fighting against their beautiful queerness or generally going through a difficult time, send them this song to remind them they are enough, they are beautiful, they are wonderful and that they should always be unapologetically themselves.

Vol-Au-Vent Love: Pageant by MXYM

So, my queer anthem is the iconic Pageant by queer icon MXYM. It’s a bop, it’s queer, and it’s just a cracking song. Oh, and don’t get me started on the music video. I’ll mention it because that’s the point of all this; it’s absolutely stunning. MXYM and TJMov absolutely smashed the visuals that went with this song. If you haven’t listened to Pageant (what rock are you under?), go stream it now. And that’s why this song just had to make the list.

MXYM: Rock ’n’ Roll Never Looked So Beautiful by Semi Precious Weapons

As the young weird little punk rock queer kid, it was really hard to find a spot at the table in the very masculine rock scene, but I also didn’t quite feel comfortable going down to disco with Donna Summer just yet. Then along came Semi Precious Weapons, who opened my eyes to a whole new understanding of what rock can be. Fronted by the unapologetically queer Justin Tranter, donning glittered stilettos and still being the most outrageous punk I’d ever seen, Semi Precious Weapons literally told me it’s not one or the other; you can be flamboyant, glamorous, and dirty all at the same time. This song is the ultimate anthem to being the most beautiful creature the world has ever seen.


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