‘I’ll quit the drag when I’m putting my drag on’

Alan Amsby, Ireland’s best known drag queen, was formerly the MC at Mr Pussy’s Cafe on Suffolk Street in Dublin. It was opened by Bono, Jim Sheridan and Gavin Friday but is now a sandwich shop.

He is currently running talent shows in Dublin in aid of Temple Street Children's Hospital.

"The smoking ban is a good thing really because I know in the mornings after being out smoking, the chest is vile. But it's going to be a struggle because I do like to have a cigarette while I'm drinking and one in the dressing room before I go on stage.

"I'll quit the drag when I'm putting my drag on. I think I'll have to start going to the theatre and into plays where the actors have a cigarette on stage.

"If I go out for an evening, I go out around seven and don't get back till seven the next morning. There's always a cigarette lit."

"Those sort of things annoy me, it's a bit like a police state, but it is for health reasons, so it's a good thing. I don't like the idea of being told what to do but if it's in a public place and it's the law, you have to go with it. I prefer it the way it was.

"I always have mad parties anyway, I'm known for that. The house is full of people, Lily Savage, Danny La Rue, U2, all of them come so it's mental. We'll have one big ashtray in the middle of the room.

"But like everything, I think it will affect us for a couple of months and then everyone will be back to going out again.

"I was very sick coming up towards Christmas I had bronchitis and I gave up cigarettes for six weeks. I felt wonderful. But once the old body got back into fighting form again, the first thing I did when I had a drink was say: 'give us a cigarette'. If anyone sees me with a cigarette in my hand, knock it out.

More in this section

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on
www.irishexaminer.com/podcasts

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence