Updated: Apr 19, 2020
Five years ago our long standing manager Simon Kilner upped sticks and flew to Hollywood. He's now working at downtown L.A. haunt Precinct which, like us, is shutdown for lockdown. He fills us in on life in Tinseltown. How does LA compare to London, or more specifically Vauxhall to West Hollywood? Two words… pool parties! It’s a big step up from getting your baps out on the Grassy Knoll on a weekend... People don’t seem quite as full on here. London likes to party - hard. I guess with 24hr clubs and the infamous weather the gays in London take it to the clubs and bars. That said, a lot of people think the L.A. gay scene is the polished, immaculately groomed world of West Hollywood but there is a whole other scene of dive bars and amazing down low warehouse and after parties. People visiting sometimes complain that they can't get a drink here after 2am but you can - if you know where to look!
Are you totally hamming up the Englishness for admiring Americans? I heard you’re the Judi Dench of Precinct…
HAHA - Judi Denture maybe! 95% of people think I’m Australian actually... maybe my accent is getting weird now I’ve been here a while. I still struggle to get understood when I have to say ‘bottle of water’ which for some reason the Basildon in me really comes through 'boh’ul ov wought-ah'. People look at me like I’m having a stroke or something much to the merriment of my colleagues.
What’s your biggest starstruck moment in Tinseltown? I think I feel starstruck everyday just living here. L.A. is like a big film set. I’m always recognising places from movies or seeing camera crews in the streets, there’s always stuff going on. I’ve seen a few A-list peeps just getting groceries or out getting lunch: Lady Gaga, Mark Wahlberg, Sylvester Stallone, Juliet Lewis, Diane Keaton, Tyler the Creator… it feels very normal here.
(Sounds a bit like Vauxhall to us? We've spotted Christopher Biggins in Coriander.)
You were known to frequent our local chicken shop (twice a day) while managing the Eagle. Have you gone all Master Cleanse or are you still a bit Adele? LOL!! You know I had to get my ten piece greasy wings meal to set me up for a shot fuelled night of Carpet Burn or Horse Meat Disco! I would love to tell you that I’m living on kale soup and cayenne pepper smoothies but this gunt will tell you otherwise! She’s been piling it on babe. Portions here are LARGE and you know I love a large portion! Fuck I miss British food, it has a really bad rep here but I miss it SO much. I would kill for a sausage in batter and chips with a side of curry sauce!
(Still Adele then.)
While sitting on Venice Beach looking at buff men and soaking up the rays, do you ever wish you were back in Basildon? It’s funny but no, not at all. Lol! I do miss Basildon people though and the Bas humour.
What’s been your most surreal experience since leaving London? I think anytime I’ve managed to somehow get invited (friend of a friend) to some big Hollywood Hills pool party with all the beautiful people I’m often like, 'What the fuck am I doing here? How did this happen??' I’ve had a lot of beautiful surreal moments in the desert, queer hangouts… one time I found myself around a firepit early morning in Palm Springs with Peaches - she was a hoot!
How do LA gays compare to London ones? A lot of gays come to LA to live the dream, they might be working at a coffee shop but they will tell you they're mainly working on their screenplay or doing stand up comedy or in a band or have an audition that week etc. There is a lot of ambition and big dreams here. There is also a huge Latin influence here which makes the scene very vibrant, them kids know how to have a good time. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t even know who the singer Selena was until I lived here!
Have we lost you forever to the Golden State? What do you miss about Blighty? L.A. definitely feels like home and I have no plans to come back to the UK right now, although never say never. I miss a lot of aspects from London and home. I miss the people, the humour, the culture...the food!!! (There she is again.)
I took a trip back to London for the first time in five years last December and was overwhelmed with how buzzing the city is, so much talent, creativity and fun! I have to admit I felt a little homesick when I got back to L.A.
You were shaping up to be the next Derrick Carter back here. Are you wowing the Precinct dance floor with your spinning skills? HAHAHA! No babes. No one needs to hear my car crash mixing! I do miss doing a turn at Carpet Burn though and playing all my nonsense to a crowd too drunk to care! My boss Brian at Precinct has hinted at me playing some tunes here, I dunno… maaaaybee.
What's your funniest, favourite, most ridic memory of The Eagle. I have SO many amazing memories from Sheagle! So many good times, so many eye popping jaw dropping moments... many of which I don't think can even tell! I have a lot of fond memories of working with Mark Oakley and having our meetings upstairs making stuff happen. We would do whole meetings in wigs and heels quoting French and Saunders literally crying with laughter!! The PA's we booked were always an experience too: Pete Burns having a soundcheck tantrum, looking after Martha Wash for the day as she was between gigs, and having Denise from Five Star perform for mine and Little John's birthday. I was a huge Five Star fan so when she was sound checking and singing the hits to just me I may of got a little emosh.
I also have a lot of stories from when Eagle used to do, let's say, more 'adult' themed nights. We used to put a curtain up for those that wanted to indulge in some adult action at the club. There would be gays, drag queens, 'straight' guys, trans people and everyone in there. Occasionally someone would get tangled in the curtain and it would fall down exposing the whole scene in the bright disco lights... it looked like a renaissance painting!! Ah - I do miss the Eagle!
And Simon, as a parting shot share your top ten tracks from your time with us.
OMG, I could list endless tracks... here’s ten tracks but there are SO many more that take me straight back there.
The Visitors – Abba
Serious – Donna Allen
Eveything She Wants – Wham
There’s Something Going On – Frida
Sugar Samba – Julia and Co.
Souvenir - Voyage
This Time I know It’s for Real – Donna Summer
Love Will Save the Day – Whitney Houston
Automatic - Pointers Sisters
Another Man – Barbara Mason
Every one a belter!
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