‘ARE YOU MAN ENOUGH (TO BE A WOMAN)...?’
Punk throws up an outrage of vividly unconventional performers.
Wayne County - for example, first toured as front-man with the Electric Chairs.
Then - after the sex-change, her tour is a more flamboyant experience entirely...
Gig Review of JAYNE COUNTY
& BOAB DIDJERIDU at the ‘Duchess Of York’, Leeds
I had too much to dream last night... must have been something in that ratatouille I ate. I swear I saw Ianto Thornber in a ‘PIG LIBERATION’ sweatshirt playing electric didjeridu! A deeply rasping, sonorous, resonance. A growling vibrating that physically ripples striates of stagnant Club air into tumbling tribal images from ‘Picnic At Hanging Rock’, Croc Dundee, Fosters Lager ads, Rolf Harris... you name it. If this is what they mean by World Music then it’s from some world the ‘Voyager’ space-probe has yet to reach. It creates hypnotic mantras of mythic intensity dredged from some primal race-memory sunk fathoms deep in the subconscious to shimmer in unearthly spirals. Ianto - from Wales, and part of the ‘Knock On Wood’ ensemble, plays his own “Why Don’t You Ask”, attacking Australian white oppression of Aborigine lands and culture, and it’s stunning. It’s then that things get REALLY odd!
Joan Rivers on acid? Jayne (nee Wayne) flounces through storming tape-machine distortion, a blonde TV outrage in pink negligée and flowered tights, an out-take from a Warhol Factory movie auditioning for televisions’ Grey-Power Sit-Com ‘Golden Girls’. She opens with a statement - “Are You Man Enough (To Be A Woman)...?”, making it comic self-ridicule, but also a tackily defiant lyric manifest, “I am what I am / and I don’t give a damn”. Last time she played Leeds, supporting U.K. Subs, she was canned off. Tonight, she’s irresistible. ‘Let me look at you’ she teases, ‘let me see who I’m playing to. Um, yeah... trash! That’s who I’m playing to - TRASH!! But that’s alright. I’m the Queen of Trash!!!’ She is too. Her take on the Swingin’ Medallions’ acid-punk classic “Double Shot (Of My Baby’s Love)” rips your head off, then a taped Armageddon roar leads into more tease and camp than ‘Performance’-era Jagger or ‘New York Doll’ David Johansen ever dared, more convincing than Divine or Sylvester ever dreamed of. She follows “Xerox That Man” with her ‘bit for Glasnost’ - “I Fell In Love With A Russian Soldier”, done in her ‘political dress’ of whore-red chiffon. Jayne, a survivor of New York Punk, the Electric Chairs, and a sex-change, scored cult hits with “Toilet Love”, “Bad In Bed”, and the cause-celebre “If You Don’t Wanna Fuck Me, Fuck Off”. Tonight she’s a seamless dream on a video screen. ‘You look like a roadie for Gary Puckett’ she jibes, cruising the audience, before dedicating the Barbarians’ “Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl” to a truckload of Southern Rednecks who tried to shoot her up in 1966, taunting ‘you can NEVER keep up with a Trannie’ as a parting shot across the years. Eat your heart out Debbie Harry, Tracey Tracey, and Wendy James.
Stepping out into the Leeds night afterwards is like waking up. Must have been something in that ratatouille.
BY ANDREW DARLINGTON