Monday 24 September 2018

WATCH: Panti Bliss delivers another powerful speech, this time at Edinburgh Fringe

Panti Bliss gives the 2017 Fringe Central Welcome Address
Panti Bliss gives the 2017 Fringe Central Welcome Address
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

If anyone knows how to deliver a speech with eloquence, wit and panache, it's Panti Bliss.

Ever since her rousing Noble Call at the Abbey in 2014 people have learned to listen when she speaks and her delivery of the 2017 2017 Fringe Central Welcome Address at the Edinburgh Fringe is worth a look.

Speaking about drag she described it as "inherently punk, inherently Fringe, and inherently political" and a "two fingers to convention, two fingers to society's expectation of how one should behave or how one should act, a two fingers to how a man should present himself".

She continued, "Sometimes I'll be in some gay bar somewhere and there'll be some young gay up on stage throwing himself around in a cheap dress from Primark and an even cheaper wig from eBay, lip syncing badly to Katy Perry's latest hit.

"He'll be living out his gay boy bedroom fantasy in front of us or in front of a bar full of disinterested homosexuals while his best girl friend is cheering him on with a Bacardi Breezer.  And I know that young queen has never had a political thought in her life but that doesn't matter.  Everything you put on stage becomes a statement and whether that little Katy Perry knows it or not,she's still saying something, something more than 'Baby, you're a firework'.

"Whether she knows it or not what she's saying is 'F*** you, f*** you and your rules, f*** you and your expectations about how I should present myself.  She's saying, 'I refuse to conform' and by enjoying herself she's exorcising all those times that people tried to make her feel bad about not being straight enough or butch enough or grey enough, exorcising all those times that people tried to make her feel bad for being too Fringe."

Check out the full speech below.  But we warned - the language is on the strong side!

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