Thomas in Drag by Thomas Dolby from the Alloy Mailing List (07/24/2001)

In response to the one as-yet-unanswered question (from Crackers via Keith) "are there any pictures if Thomas performing in drag?"...

The answer is, I really don't know of any. And I so dearly wish I had one. It bothers me no end that this special moment in time was not recorded for posterity. It only occurred once (just the once, honest, yer honour!) at a single gig in a small club in LA. It's almost impossible to imagine that not one of the 500 people packed into Club Lingerie that night (circa 1987?) had a camera and snapped a few stills. And if that is indeed the case, I'm wondering whether we could somehow mobilize the Alloy network to uncover a photo or two and post it where anyone can see it, eg on FES? How about, for example, if every individual on this list picked one well-trafficked spot on the Net--for example another newsgroup or message board, an 80's music site, or a Yahoo Club--and posted a message requesting information about this gig, or better yet a copy of the photo. Perhaps something would come to light!

FYI it was the first-ever gig I performed with the Lost Toy People. This was even before we recorded "Aliens Ate My Buick." It was supposed to be an anonymous warm-up for a low-key West Coast tour, prior to going into the studio to record the album. We were under-rehearsed, it was my first live performance in a couple of years, we had only learned brand new songs (no hits), and I was extremely nervous. I agreed with the Lingerie owners that I would only appear if they promised to keep it quiet. Unfortunately KROQ anounced that morning that Thomas Dolby was doing an secret gig that evening at "a club in Hollywood with a sexy name".... and by the time I got there for the afternoon sound check, there was a line around the block.

I was very upset. Cancelling was not an option, because this new band needed to take the plunge sooner or later and "pop our cherry". So I had to step outside myself somehow... and then the idea hit me that I could come on stage, as it were, "incognito". A friend of Kathleen's, Victoria Jackson, a film makeup expert who had once made up the cast of Dynasty, lived nearby and so we went over to her house. In the space of an hour and a half, Victoria and I conjured up my new alter-ego: Brenda O'Leary, a crazed housewife from Beverly Hills, who had gone AWOL on diet pills and quaaaludes and formed her own rock'n'roll band. Back-combed blonde wig, tight leather bodice, seamed stockings, stilettos, smudged lipstick, the works.

(Down Crackers! Down Boy!)

In front of a packed and expectant Club Lingerie crowd, this bizarre creature stumbled onstage clutching an inflatable synthesizer (true!) and blasted through "Ferrari", "Pulp Culture", "Hot Sauce" and the rest... leaving the sweaty crowd stunned, bemused, and uncertain what it was they had just witnessed. (Screams of "Play 'Science'!" met with nothing but an ice cold glare and utter disdain from the gum-chewing Brenda.)

All in all, if it turns out there is actually NO documentary evidence of this event in existence on the planet, it would be quite poetic. Many an aspiring US presidential candidate would be very grateful for such good fortune! That said, I would love to see any picture shot that night, if only to prove I wasn't dreaming. So... any volunteers for posting a message online to see if we can't uncover a photograph?

All the best, TMDR