If you’re here, there’s a likelihood that you are a fan of drag queens.
If you follow local drag queens, there is also a chance you’ve seen a notable list of Manchester based drag queens not on RuPaul’s Drag Race travelling the internet, mancunian Queens call it #Listgate.
However, Manchester is an eclectic city full of the most diverse drag artists in the entire country – no question. There will never enough time to give a nod to every notable artist that click clack down the cobbles of Canal Street.
Everyone loves drag artists for different reasons, and we all have our favourite queens, so take this post with a pinch of salt. But here it is, my ode to #ManchesterQueens who deserve more recognition.
I’d like to take a moment to thank Verry Cherry for entertaining me on Sunday nights when I worked Sugarpops at AXM (now Club Bloom). Her One Direction obsessed fan number kept me enthralled each week – no matter how many times I watched it.
If you;ve ever minced through the center of Manchester and visited a well-known supermarket chain, there’s a high chance you’ve seen this queen in muggle form.
Cherry is a phenomenal performer and is 100% one of the gems of the Manchester and Leeds scene. If you haven’t seen her in a Gaga number then click here, and tell me she isn’t fierce – I dare you.
If you look up “werk” in the dictionary then a picture of Cherry will appear as this is a queen that hustles. I’ll never forget going out and seeing her perform in several venues throughout the night, a different number each time.
Anyone who has ever come into contact with Cherry will agree she is a loving, positive soul with an infectious personality but she can cut a bitch too. I’ve seen her make men within with a single word and a glare – it’s delightful.
Annabelle Lecter is a queen I have known of since way before I started donning my fez and non-cosmetic glitter. Fast forward a few years and she truly is one of my favourite scene queens.
I’d love to say that like her name sake, she is a monster – but that would be a lie, she’s lovely. She also once cleaned up a queen who’s head I’d gashed open on a night out by accident after throwing them off a lampost (sorry Robbin Banks!).
She’s one of those individuals that will help you in any way possible at the drop of a hat, and is not afraid to take a queen to one side and say, “listen queen.”
There’s a song that reminds me of this cabaret queen, “My Vagina” because it’s both crass and highlight’s the St Helen’s native’s velvety tones.
My favourite thing about Philth is that he once tricked me into believing he was 47. No particular reason, I’m just gullible.
When I first saw him, he was gold, covered in feathers, aloof and famous. Now I know him he’s hilarious, lowkey dorky and he can PAINT.
When Philth worked on Canal Street he gained notoriety stealing the faces of local queen’s in #philthstoleyourface. Now he’s known for his YouTube videos, online looks and having ugly pictures of everyone he knows – and some he doesn’t.
I’d love to tell you what he’s like on Twitter, but he blocked me…
Did I mention that he turned himself into a present? An actual walking birthday present, complete with reveal – a gag.
Bonnie Bon Qui-Qui
Remember the little girl selling loom bands, this is her now.
Normally found skulking around venues shes been fired from multiple times, Bonnie Bon Qui-Qui is a controversial queen who snatched the first ever Kiki-queens title back in 2016 becoming a village staple with killer vocal talent.
Since then she has worked across Canal Street and would almost certainly pass for Predator in the right light, or Roz if you could only hear her voice.
Bonnie’s favourite activity is nursing a can of fosters, and telling straight people to “fuck off” down the microphone, but she’s the kind of queen that you WANT to pick on you – just don’t let her take all your cigarettes.
If you like to laugh, Bonnie is hands down one of the funniest queens I have ever encountered and regularly has tears rolling down my face.
Most recently she’s survived lockdown by making parody videos about everyone’s favourite teen wizard and hosting weekly online cabaret shows.
Despite all her skills and talents, I’ll always remember her falling out of a bin in Sub 101.
Beverly Tight Lipps
The funny thing about Bev is that her name would suggest that she knows how to keep it shut, but if only that was the case. If you’ve ever been to a Bev night you’ve probably heard “Fosters please” or “banana sambuca please” shouted down the mic.
Bev is an amazing queen, and has been entertaining the great unwashed during lockdown with a number of live online drag shows. She’s no stranger to snatching crowns when she puts her mind to it – she won the very first Dragtastic competition on Canal Street.
She’s one of those queens that has sung “Sweet Transvestite” so many times, that it’s now HER song – no-one else’s.
When she’s not having microphones thrown at her by village venue owners, she can be found lusting after bottoms and chain smoking excessively – that’s my girl.
I call her nana. Mainly because she’s older than me, but also because she has a cackle that could crack windows.
Renowned Vegan Queen and working class artist from Rochdale, Creeping Miasma grabbed my attention at Stockport Pride, hosting to the tiny town in the historic market. There was something appealing about hearing “iya love” shrieked over a microphone – it eased me.
She may seem nice but don’t let the nana looks deceive you, Miasma is a ruthless reader and is someone that’s not afraid of the roast – she scares me sometimes. She’s also all about community , which I love about her; we once nearly established a book club because she’s 60 and I wanted to read more.
If you think of the term, “as mad as a box of frogs”, that is quite honestly Miasma.
Are you a fan of Disney, take a look at Miasma’s, Yzma performance – it’s iconic.
Reene and Thorini
Imagine a shit soaked plastic bag drifting through the wind and getting covered in fag ash – that’s Reene and Thorini.
If you have ever stood on the cobbles and heard the screechs “ya dirty bastard” pierce the cold night air, it came from these two aged hagravens.
Now Reene and Thorini are like Ying and Yang, Good and Evil , Shit and Sugar – you don’t get one without the other. Prior to COVID-19 you could find the two ugly sisters travelling the length and breadth of Canal Street covered in fur, chain smoking, necking pints twatting tambourines as they flash their arse to passers-by.
Will you ever find this dynamic duo on those popular reality drag shows? Not a chance. RuPaul hates queens who lose their wigs, so Renee would be out instantly. If you want to encounter these two urban nightlife legends, travel down to Manchester on a Saturday and follow the smell of nicotine, kippers and mothballs – you’ll find them eventually.
On Canal Street you wouldn’t have karaoke without the King.
I also blame Wolfy for Oxxy existing. It’s all his fault. I once covered a shift at Churchill’s for him, and that was it. It turns out I had a knack for shoutig at strangers in the street, getting drunk and dragging people inside to sing power ballads.
If you’re wondering whether this is the same Wolfy off Big Brother – then yes. However, he’s funnier in real life.
He’s an electrifying live vocalist and I’ve not been able to hear “I Predict a Riot” the same since he performed it at the last George House Trust Ball of 2019 where everyone nearly melted to death. Wolfy also owns a boat, beard and loves booze – which means he was probably a pirate in a past life.
He’s a cracking drinking buddy too – unless given ovenproof rum – then it’s a write off. Everyone has flaws.
It wouldn’t be a list of Mancunians without this South-Asian beauty making an appearance. Val is known for sharing her diversity and culture with the masses, dressing in glorious gowns and jewels that make her look like shes fresh out the pages of a myth or legend.
I love someone who isn’t afraid to shout at people, and Val is certainly not afraid to stand up and say what she thinks – and if you’ve head her laugh, its infectious.
Val isn’t a one note queen as is slowly taking over social media, creating Podcasts and hilarious parody YouTube videos like this. She’s also the reason why I can’t think of PCD’s,”Buttons” without mixing in “Pooja what is this behaviour?” – Thanks, Val love.
There is no question that no-one loves sambuca like our Alexa. Don’t even try to keep up, you can’t. I have seen this queen literally rise from the grave and continue partying well into the night and end up fresher faced than most the following morning.
Alexa is no stranger to slaying a stage, performing to crowds of thousands across Manchester and hosting ladies nights citywide with many, many half-naked hunks. In her spare time, she is responsible for most of the hair colours rocked by a number of homosexuals native to Canal Street, and is one half of Mancunian LGBT Affleks Palace based apparel brand, ThiccPup Apparel.
Are you a dirty little piggy who loves a kebab? If you do, you could be a child of Mother pig herself, Julie Noted – so get on your knees and #Pray4Julie.
The former landlady of Void (RIP), I remember spotting Julie in the crowd at one of my first performances at Charlie’s Cabaret in Bandit, Mugger and Thief (now Canal Street No 1) because she was rocking the brightest platinum pussy cat wig imaginable, and she was surrounded by a gaggle of bottoms.
Fast forward to outside as I chain smoke post-performance, I will never forget Julie making a point of coming up to me and complimenting me on my performances. Any one who knows me, will know I’m an anxious mess about performances and Julie’s energy really settled me; “oh pig, you were marvelous – I bloody loved it” before she minced off down the street squealing and shouting with her litter.
The way to Julie’s heart? A 14 inch pizza, donna kebab, cheesy chips and a diet coke – because she’s on a health kick.
If you haven’t already, follow our Julie on her social media sites and follow her journeys of being a subway sinking, Greggs loving, meal deal connoisseur. She isn’t just a dirty pig, Julie is an acitivist and one of the loudest voices in Manchester.
She is unapologetic in letting the world know her opinions on racism, sexism, transphobia and generally shitty behaviour – If you fuck up, she will call you out only like your mother would.
I blame Aunty Ginger for lockdown. She asked, “what are you going to do, stay in?” and Boris thought – actually, yes.
Now I remember meeting this old tart in the darkness of Sub 101 at a small gathering of like-minded individuals called Cha-Cha Boudoir, and I remember that very night she declared she would be a star. My response, “not with those brows”.
So, what did she do? she lost the brows and went on to snatch the national title of Miss Drag UK, and thanks to COVID-19 she’s probably the one of the longest reigning queens considering she’s yet to relinquish the title.
Just don’t feed the cougar Sours after midnight if you want nearby twinks to survive.
If you haven’t heard Aunty’s newest earworm, head on over to her YouTube Channel to witness the madness that is Ginger in all her glory.
BBW and self proclaimed “fatty”, Melancholy is a Manchester based queen, and one part of Birmingham based drag collective, DragPunk. Mel makes this list as they stick shit through their face.
I’ve seen our Mel hypodermic needles through their cheeks and inject themselves with neon whateverthefuckthatwas. They also have an iconic number that lives in my head rent free where they dress Leatherface – esque and staple flesh masks to their face – beauty.
They once made an entire latex dress that looked like sewn together flesh – complete with nipple. They also hand-make GAG worthy bespoke chokers, that would be a ball-ache to get through airport security.
Mel may only own one black lace leotard that should be set alight, but they done some inspiring special effects work – see above photo.
If you hate talented people who can do it all – you’ll hate Melancholy. If you like dark, twisted, slightly damaged artists with a tendancy for self-destructive behaviour – Mel is your kind of queen.
Depending who you ask, Xander may be classed as a scouse queen, rather than a Mancunian queen, but only one thing is for sure – this queen makes an impact wherever she goes.
If you ventured around Liverpool a few years ago you probably ran into Xander dressed as a fire-breating, demonic dick sucking clown. If Manchester was your cup-of-tea she could be found climbing cherry pickers during pride and starting arguments online with three simple words, “go fuck yourself”.
Firm believer of, “chat shit, get hit”, Xander would have no issue ragging you round by the hair in full drag if she had to – she’s a true northern lass.
Sound intimidating? Nah, she’s actually a sweetheart. Whilst she is a chain-smoking gobby MF, Xander’s reputation is as big as her breastplate and she is known for turning looks, circus stunts and getting black out drunk in the street – facts are facts.
If you aren’t from the North of England and wanted to know what Wigan was like, just look to Gypsy Darling – that’s right, the one off Channel 4’s, Body Fixers.
There is nothing that she cannot do. She has travelled the country opening for Drag Race queens for years and is known for having a whole host of weird and wonderful skills including hosting 12 hour long Pride street parties in stilts, and constructing breath taking art with balloons.
It is no stretch of the imagination to say she can do anything with a balloon; from animals to inflatable ballgown creations and has been a face within Manchester for longer than most, hosting legendary clubnight, Poptastic amongst others.
She is course, crude and there is a strong likelihood that she will offend you in some way.
Outside of drag, this queen can be found pottering around plants, travelling canal ways and lurking around fairgrounds. If this clown offers you candy, say yes – no probably isn’t an option.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this list, Manchester has an extensive list of queens who deserve credit.