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PREVIOUS TRANNY GUIDES
Richard O'Brien' - From 10th The Tranny Guide
RICHARD O'BRIEN' By Vicky Lee
It was a sleepy Sunday
morning when I received a phone call :-
O'Brian here - You may not know me - I am best known for
writing The Rocky Horror Show".
If you have read my 'Rocky
Start' article you will understand why I turned to jelly.
O'Brien's Rocky Horror Show, has provided the opportunity
for thousands to put aside inhibitions and dress up without
fear of, (too much), reprisal.
wanted to discuss a charity fundraising project with me.
We met in London at The Groucho Club after watching him
perform in a preview of the very excellent Chitty Chitty
Bang Bang at The London Palladium:
- I was thrilled to get your call and I am looking forward
to helping with your charity projects. How did you know
about me ?
O'B - I keep track of the TV scene and have bought
various editions of The Tranny Guide over the years -
Vicky you're famous.
Lee - You talk on the phone to me with the
phrase "We TVs" how much do you relate to the tranny experience
that I describe in my 'Tranny Journey'?
O'B - As a child growing up in the 1940's, I sometimes
found myself wanting to be the fairy princess. I quickly
realised that it was not something you said out loud with
brothers in earshot. To wear a frock very often leads
people to jump to the conclusion that one is homosexual,
or bisexual. Both of these terms are repugnant to me as
they are limiting and tend to ghettoize people. I'm (as
I see it anyway) a member of the wonderful tranny human
Lee - Is that where the iconic themes for Rocky
Horror came from.
O'B - A strong centre to Rocky comes from my own sense
of being who and what I am. By default much of it is lovingly
and gratefully pinched from many populist areas. For instance
"don't dream it - be it". Was an advertising slogan for
Frederick's of Hollywood under which were the most delightful
drawings of angular (trannies?) women in very sexy underwear.
Lee - I saw the stage show in the Kings Road
- would I have seen you in it?
O'B - Yes it was first performed in The Royal Court
Theatre in Sloane Sq, and then moved into an old cinema
on The Kings Rd where you must have seen it in '73. At
that time I was playing Riff Raff, (I wanted to play Eddie
but I was talked into playing Riff Raff), along side Little
Nell, Pat Quinn and Tim Curry. In fact the cast that went
on to do the movie. It was so outrageous at that time
to see Tim Curry perform that statement, "I'm just a sweet
transvestite". I like to think it was ground breaking.
Richard refers to himself as a TV and loves to "frock
Lee - If you wanted to be the Pink Fairy why
didn't you play Frankenfurter?
O'B - Oh I have, since, (but in my own choice of lingerie).
I am well known for frocking up. I get invites that say
'Black Tie' written over with "Not you Richard". To prove
the point actress (Little Voice) Jane Horrocks visited
our table and said to Richard "Did you go to Liza Minelli's
wedding Richard", Richard explained that he was otherwise
engaged, "Oh what a shame I imagined you there in your
best frock", said Jane.
Lee - So is it a fancy dress kind of experience
O'B - No more than wearing a suit is. It helps me
to be or more rightly "feel" as though I am more whole,
more complete. I like the elegance and glamour. I like
feminine fabrics. I hate those geezers that wear false
eyelashes 3 foot long glitter and eyelashes. Its another
form of misogynism
Lee - You have a strong top to toe image, have
you designed and maintained that? As we might understand
for example, Madonna creates ever changing personas.
O'B - No I am just me, Now 60 but still with the body
of a 59 year old. Long before 'Rocky' I would be asked
for autographs just because I looked and dressed "different".
However it was scary when I first did 'Crystal Maze' as
this was the first time I could see "me" in public being
me. Previous public performances were in costume, and
behind make-up. Crystal Maze was me in the raw.
Lee - You broke new ground on that show with
a style of contest presentation that pre-empted that now
used by the likes of 'Anne Robinson', (Weakest Link).
I think you did in it a much more fluid natural way almost
as someone from another world.
O'B - Yes but at the time we had no idea what we were
doing. My little asides to the camera, which at times
were a little acid, were originally just out takes while
the game was being played. To be honest they were edited
in when the games appeared a bit long-winded. I asked
my eldest son to watch the first Crystal Maze with me
and we both fell about laughing at my first asides. It
was then that I realised it might work and could relax
Lee - I believe that you are a patron of the
Wallness Charity. What is this charity all about?
O'B - The Wallness Children's Charities current project
is to raise money for a children's Bone Marrow Transplant
Unit within Manchester Childrens Hospital. A Marrow Transplant
is often the last hope for children for whom chemotherapy
has not been successful. Unfortunatly even with a suitable
donar the technological equipment is in short supply and
Lee - How did you get involved with the Wallness
Charity and why did you choose to support that charity
O'B - I first contributed, for a charity auction,
a water colour painting I'd bought some years before and
then got asked to do more and more. There is no better
cause than to raise money for equipment to save a child's
life, suffering from such an unfair illness as Cancer.
Great Ormond Street has a lot of support and publicity
as London's glamorous Peter Pan hospital. The Manchester
children's hospital tends to be the Cinderella, but it
is just as important and serves a vast area throughout
the north of England and Ireland.
Wallness Charity, Sorrel
Bank House, 25 Bolton Road, Pendelton, Salford M6 7HL
Tel 0161 737 1203 / 2929 fax 0161 737 1034 attention of
Charmaine Owen administrator / fundraiser.
Lee - After meeting Richard I would like to
report that he is as warm and nice a person as he is eccentric,
(and we like eccentric).
The official Rocky Horror
web site includes exclusive video clips I recommend a
visit to this excellent site www.rockyhorror.com
The Rocky Horror Picture
Show is available on video picture disc CD and tape. But
best of all it is available on DVD with hours of extras
Cult movie The Rocky Horror
Picture Show plays in movie houses world wide & The stage
show plays around the theatres world wide catch it when