Wotever begin…

Wotever begin…

July, nothing is happening, plenty of lazy summer days are flowing past and I am horny, need a challenge, have separated and been to San Francisco got inspired, missing some flexibility and queerness here in London  and just celebrated my fortieth birthday…

Around this time ten years ago me and my friends Sam and Col was fired up by the prospect of doing an event, a night where we could invite all kinds of people too. It was important for us that we should be open for all people we liked, no matter if they were dykes, straight and/or trans*. We came from different set ups and with different goals and ideas, and me, as the driving force with plenty of experience from running events in Sweden def took the lead.

We had a name for the event ‘Club Whatever’ the name that came to me after me myself been called ‘Sir, Madame…..Whatever’ by a genderconfused barista. The idea behind the club was that some of us were a bit male and a bit female and walked the line from one gender to another as easily as we expressed our sexuality and love for a variety of people and genders…

We had a venue, two guys had opened up a winebar near where I worked at the time (Gay’s the Word) and they were keen to increase their attendance and bar takings a Saturday evening early August when Bloomsbury was quite and almost deserted. Nothing to loose for them, And nothing to loose for us. Invited DJ was Caroline of WANC fame, Wanc, this Women’s Anarchist Nuisance Café that ran various events and evenings for women was a big inspiration. I liked their politics and set up, but I have always felt more at home in a mixed environment. But, Carro is a mean DJ that I’ve know for a long time, so she was a given playing tunes our first events. Col and Sam did the door and I hosted and took care of the people who arrived…

At this point I was living in a shared house in Islington with a big garden, great for meetings and set ups, and we sat there and discussed what we should do and who should do what. I had no computer so we used the local internet café heavily. So heavy that the owner allowed us to install an early version of Photoshop onto one of his computers… and then we had to use this one for altering images and make flyers. Col, designer and computer wizard, came up with the more Aussie spelling of Whatever, so we became WOTEVER from the start…

Ingo & Jacq in Warsaw, queering up Le Madame

And the symbol that looks like a shadow figure with a hunch standing in front of the moon became our identity, our poster… No gender and with plenty of chances to show off my favorite color orange. And we used the font Curlz..

The first evening we opened the doors and truly enjoyed the plethora of people who turned up, we flirted, some had sex in the toilets, we danced and we had a great time…  The idea of a space where we could have plenty of Fun and Feel Free, crossing not only the general hetero-normative borders of what and with whom we wanted to flirt with, we even broke the Butch-Femme boundaries and became more, we made sure the gay and dyke separatist became friends and in the mix we were free to flirt with whomever and whatever we so wished.

After the first event we was asked if we wanted to do this again, and quickly I said yes. I liked it! Col and Sam agreed as both had enjoyed the attention they both got too… Working and being part of wotever have always been driven by lust, much more than hunger for fame or money. Lust and Politics are and have always been our driving force, so much that I almost bankrupted myself over it…

Already at the second time there were people there we had no idea who they were, ie people had heard about Club Wotever and word by mouth had made the rumor about our genderbending night spread across London..

At this second Club Wotever night we had the pleasure to welcome Josephine to our stage for the first time. She had arrived already at the first event with some of my acquaintances, and told me that she was a dancer, and would happily dance for us. And so she did, she did Gender Violence, the piece that has become her trade mark and given number whenever she ask me what I would like her to perform. Josephine also came with academic credentials and as a writer and word smith extraordinaire she have helped me so much! It was Josephine who drafted the manifesto we quickly made sure that we had. The manifesto who made sure we know why we do what we do and what guiding stars we follow whenever we need to reflect upon events and happenings. The manifesto have changed very little over these years, we still follow it and share it whenever we can, or feel the need.

Pride Parade Stockholm After our Queer All Stars float
Pride Parade Stockholm. People after our Queer All Stars float

Wotever have always been a organic bubble with various people dipping in and out when they have time, need or feel like it. Very early on Col decided to leave the set up and another year of Club Wotever events Sam decided to leave too.  I kept on going as with this little odd set up I felt I had a chance to share and create things I believed in. It was open, but yes it was open from my point of view and many times I think it have pissed people off. But as this was started and driven by lust, the idea was, join in, take part or if you want do your own events. London is free and very big! The luxury of creating these things in London is of course that there is such a mix of people around and it’s a flow of amazing people moving in, arriving, coming out, creating stuff and do things… so, yes Wotever is my baby. I created her, but she have def been brought up by many…. so many…

 

We have always loved to Dress Up!
We have always loved to Dress Up!

But how did we survive all these changes, all this chaos? With shitloads of power and happiness I would say. But, also with plenty of help from great collaborators. One person that I think have a key to why it survived is Zem, she came to that second event we did, a phd student in visual anthropology and she was looking for a project, something that tickled her and that she could do her phd on. She followed us for a year and she made the film Mirror Mirror, a historic document following and filming Wotever, me, and the performers Lazlo, Josephine, Maria and Jacq both on and off stage. Now in hindsight we have agreed that in hard times we sort of supported each other, ie I did Club Wotever so she had something to film. And because she needed to film I did Club Wotever..

But what are the key to surviving on no funding, plenty of voluntarily work and being so known out there in the world that many performing queers make sure they stop by at Wotever on their tour…

I pretty much have said yes to most things suggested, and this have created a very mixed set up – looking back on it I could wonder what my drive really was…  For me it was Education and Equality.

Wotever Sex Brilliant thought provoking shows from the best!
Wotever Sex Brilliant thought provoking shows from the best!

Wotever became more than just Club Wotever when we did Cabaret Wotever that toured in Stockholm, Leicester and Warsaw. That was when we travelled as a troupe with a set of great and amazing performers to said cities in the early days of 2004-2005…. We did big shows at Hackney Empire here in London and I started up Bar Wotever with Al. The idea of Bar Wotever, was to create a midweek event where LGBT and Queer artists, writers musicians and performers could show their acts and numbers for a LGBT and Queer Wotever audience. Back then London had no ‘middle range stage’ for this sort of  performances… Just image if you are mega big in your home country/city but do your first gig in London and have no audience, but you are queer and would love to sing/perform for an audience that gets you and your references…Over the years we have been very fortunate to work with many big names, amazing artists and Performers. We have seen people develop new skills and grow on our stage. And Bar Wotever is a community where many have leant new skills, shared their thoughts or community news on our stage, Given or heard one of our many Wotever Talks,  as well as eaten some nutritious and cheap vegetarian food from our Love Soup team. Bar Wotever have since 2009 been on every week at Royal Vauxhall Tavern. A venue that have won Best Venue Awards left right and center, a space where the setting is amazing and glamorous with music hall in their walls. It is perfect for this and it is a truly unique situation that we have access to this.

Australian Blow Waves get RVT dancing!
Australian Blow Waves get RVT dancing!

At RVT we have also created Wotever Sex events these last four years. These events are all about Sexual Education and Entertainment, with curated shows around a variety of topics. The last years we have done this during Hot August Fringe to reach out to pretty much anyone who enjoy this sort of things in London. We also set up our market stalls and invite people to our Queer Fayre, a daytime family friendly market where a variety of useful and beautiful things are sold, or eaten.

 

Sign of Love
Sign of Love

Wotever is my baby, and a few years back there was so many different things happening and I needed to create an umbrella name and Wotever World was born. Under Wotever World, me and the now around 30 people strong crew, create a variety of events in the spirit of Lust and Curiosity.

We do, Female Masculinity Appreciation Society, Wotever Stockholm, Queer Fayre, SWEAT, Various events at Ritzy, Hackney Attic and many other venues all over London and elsewhere.

BAR WOTEVER is as from NOW, under the umbrella The Queer Embassy. For the first time EVER we are a charity, we have a board board, so we can keep Bar Wotever a free entry event and open for everyone.

My baby is TEN, and she is just in the beginning…

Live and kicking, here is where you find us!

Wanna celebrate with us?

2 Aug Wotever Stockholm PARTY!

13 Sep Top Hat Party London!

See many performances, Talks and party films on our own YOUTUBE channel

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