BY ANNABEL PRIBELSZKI
IMAGE BY EMMA BAILEY
Tabs Benjamin shares the story behind the London club night Butch, Please!
“Butch, Please! is a club night and celebration of butch, through music, art and performance. I started it because I felt that there weren’t any nights in London where I felt at home. I love that other butches, and lesbians of all ages, have also found a home at Butch, Please!”
Butch, Please! runs every other month at the Vauxhall Tavern, with pop-ups and specials at The Glory and other venues across London, from 8pm to 2am. It celebrated its second birthday, in January 2018.
“We attract a really diverse group of dykes, trans and non-binary people, which is in part because I’ve pushed hard to book a diverse selection of acts and DJs. We also have a really broad age range of people come too, which again is something I’ve actively tried to foster. For me, intergenerational connection is a really important part of being butch. “
Having no background in running club nights has not been an issue for Tabs, who’s done their fair share of going out. “I definitely feel like I have a clear idea of what works and what doesn’t. I hope people attending feel welcomed, attractive and free to be themselves.”
Tabs describes a typical night at Butch Please: “We start by projecting a classic lesbian film onto the big screen (with no sound) to get the vibes going. We have what I call the ‘skillshare’ section from 9.30pm, and that’s really a way of getting the audience engaged. So we’ve had all sorts of things: the kd lang lip sync competition, a self-defence class, a safe sex talk, talks from the head of Dykes on Bikes UK, and most recently Marai Larisai on the #timesup ad #metoo campaigns. We then usually have a music act – I love booking all-girl bands – and then a performance. The last few hours are DJs and dancing.”
It was a tough challenge for Tabs to come up with their top three Butch, Please! moments, but here they are:
1) Riding a Harley Davidson into the Vauxhall Tavern for Butch, Please! Dykes on Bikes.
2) When kd lang tweeted me, after seeing the kd lang lip sync video on Twitter.
3) The first ever BP – when I knew that I would never feel so alone in the world, now that I had been surround by all these amazing butch women.
If you’d like to apply to perform at BP, get in touch with Tabs on the Facebook page @butchpleaselondon.
Future plans include more club nights and a new merch range coming out in the summer. You can currently purchase badges, postcards and t-shirts, with the BP logo.
Tabs is also a talented singer/songwriter who recently wrote the soundtrack for a short film, Something Said (Dir. Jay Bernard), which premiered at BFI Flare 2018 and will be shown at various festivals across Europe later this year. Tabs has also written and produced a new EP, which will be out in the summer.