Elouise

A night on the tiles with Big Dyke Energy’s club kids

As a response to the lack of dyke-friendly club nights in London, organisers Melody and Elliott threw one hell of a bash catering to the city’s dyke scene. Socially distanced, of course.

What do carabiners, motorbikes and Mel C’s early-00s spikes have in common? They all have big dyke energy. 

There’s an age-old myth that queer women don’t like to go out. That we get into relationships then stay at home with our cats. Well, quite frankly, that’s bullshit, and south London’s latest cult club night – Big Dyke Energy – dispels any stay-at-home rumours. Accomodating dykes, butches, lesbians and queer women, the club night’s DJ and co-founder, Melody, sets it, er, straight: Queer women want to party!”

And after six months going stir-crazy in lockdown, isn’t that what we all want to do?

Big Dyke Energy is at once a great party and so much more than that, responding to the queer communities that have been hit particularly bad throughout lockdown. Some of us hadn’t interacted with our people for months, and that can put a proper strain on a queer. After months of isolation, a dykey, socially-distanced rave could not have been more needed,” says producer and co-founder Elliott.

The no-rules rave in a sweaty south London warehouse had to, of course, make a few exceptions to keep everyone safe and socially distanced. But the buzz of being at a rave exclusively catering to the queer community made it all so worth it, with Elliott adding that they could hear party-goers share binder recommendations next to couples dancing the night away. The knees-up affair was as much about inclusivity, queer culture and visibility as it was about letting loose. But we’ve always known how to have fun, right?

To celebrate one of London’s emerging, and most exciting, queer nights, we hung out with the Big Dyke Energy organisers and attendees to get the party know-how.

Charlotte and Melody

Charlotte and Melody

What makes Big Dyke Energy special?

Charlotte: When you walk through the doors you slip into this void and it’s almost like you’ve shut the doors to the outside world. There are no rules and that’s what makes it fun. Everybody comes together and you have so many conversations with so many different people and end up making new friends by the end of the night. For me, that’s what makes it really special. 

The most recent Big Dyke Energy took place as lockdown started to ease. What was that like to organise?

Melody: It was quite tough. Trying to get people to social distance safely and party safely when you’re drunk is quite difficult, but it went really well. We made sure that everything was sanitised properly, and that it was all outdoors to a degree. Everyone was amazing and so understanding. 

Seeing what a difference that party made to people’s lives will make us do it again. Someone who is transitioning at the moment came up to us and said they hadn’t seen another trans person in six months and they said thank you. It meant so much because that’s the whole point of it – you’re meant to be with likeminded people. We’re a support network at the end of the day. 

Why do you think there is a lack of club nights for queer women?

Melody: There’s this idea that queer women don’t go out and they don’t spend money, and that the pink pound sits with white cis men. People don’t think that queer women want to go out and have sex, or want to drink and take drugs. People think queer women don’t want to be hedonistic and that’s bullshit. Queer women want to party. 

What does the word dyke mean to you?

Melody: The word dyke is a feeling. It’s an ethos. It’s about being strong, being independent, knowing your worth and it’s about being confident in your own way. It’s a spin on the phrase big dick energy – not only dicks have big energy, fucking dykes do as well and that’s so important!

Who has big dyke energy?

Melody: I do because I’ve got it tattooed on me! My grandma can sometimes have Big Dyke Energy, too. You wouldn’t think it but she is sass. 

Charlotte: Sarah Lucas [artist]. She’s not gay but she’s my biggest crush. 

Georgia

Georgia

What makes Big Dyke Energy special?

It provides something really important which is a community of dykes, dyking around in a warehouse.

What song will always get you on the dance floor?

I Feel Love by Donna Summer.

What’s your go-to drink on a night out?

A draft cider followed by a stiff glass of tap water.

What’s your clubbing curfew?

My husband likes to have me home by 10*.

Do you have any style rules for getting ready for a night out?

Ideally, I will be covered head to toe in hardware. 

*AM or PM was not disclosed – we’re hoping for the former.

Robin

Robin

What’s special about Big Dyke Energy?

It centres lesbians, dykes and queer women which is still very rare. In London, you have a lot of queer nights and queer venues of different descriptions but I do think a lot of the gay scene is centred around cis gay men, so I love it when there are things that aren’t like that for a change. The atmosphere was brilliant – it was a lovely space to be in.

Why do you think there are so few nights in London specifically for queer women?

Within the LGBTQ+ community, white cis gay men have had a few more advantages and are a bit more visible in the media. It’s an issue that seems to be the case in lots of different spaces. It comes down to getting funding, spaces and what they think will do well which, of course, is completely rubbish. There are loads of queer women and people who aren’t white gay men who want a good time but people don’t seem to realise that. 

What song will always get you on the dance floor?

Anything early-Lady Gaga. 

Nastasia

Nastasia

What was your first queer night out?

I took myself to Dalston Superstore by myself and I was so nervous and really scared. I didn’t have a lot of queer friends in London but I really wanted to go out and be around queer people. It was such a good night in the end. The night was astrology themed and the music was great. 

Who has big dyke energy?

Guy Fieri. The dykes in the street, and people at the parties. That’s where the big dyke energy really is. I don’t look to celebrity culture for it. It’s more like, what are the dykes on the margins doing? They are the ones who are inventing dykiness. 

What does the word dyke mean to you?

Chaotic good energy. My big dyke energy today is having my bike, being super prepared and wearing layers. 

Sana

Sana

Why do you think there are so few nights in London specifically for queer women?

Misogyny. I wouldn’t expect most nightlife spaces to really respect queer women as a community and as people that should be celebrated and should take up space, unfortunately. It has to be a for-us-by-us model. 

How was the atmosphere different from clubbing pre-coronavirus?

There’s this sense of not taking interactions with strangers for granted because we’ve spent so long isolated within our own bubbles, or within our own small group of friends. When you meet someone new it feels really special and it really feels like something worth cherishing. That kind of energy permeated the space and I was so happy to meet everyone there. I felt like I had really lovely chats with a lot of people there. 

Who has big dyke energy?

Queen fucking Latifah.

Do you have any style rules for getting ready for a night out?

Be a little bit more obnoxious than you think you should be. 

Theo and Emily

Theo and Emily

What makes Big Dyke Energy special?

Emily: The DJs are always insane and everyone is dressed amazingly. Clothes are a great way of getting to know people at the event. It’s a good way to bond. 

Theo: Big tunes. I think it’s hard to find that brand of techno and house. Genres are kind of weird and the sound there is quite experimental. It’s also quite old school. It feels very safe as well, and we always dress to impress when we go.

Do you have any style rules for getting ready for a night out?

Theo: When in Rome! It depends on the night out. For Big Dyke Energy we had to go ham with the big dyke energy. We had to gel that hair back.

Emily: We were both leather daddies. We’re trying to work on our dom so that’s what inspired that outfit.

How was the atmosphere different from clubbing pre-coronavirus?

Theo: The social distancing was strange. I hadn’t experienced a night out like that. They tried to do it quite well but it’s still such a shame because you just wanna dance to the music and make out with people.

What song will always get you on the dance floor?

Theo: Liquorice by Azealia Banks or anything with an early house beat.

Emily: Anything by Lil Kim and Missy Elliot.

What’s your go-to drink on a night out? 

Theo: If I was rich it would always be espresso martinis one after the other, but it ends up being Lidl gin and tonic. 

Emily: The cheapest pint!

What does the word dyke mean to you?

Emily: Embracing your butchness or your female queerness. It’s subverting femininity but still quite feminine. It’s changing what it means to be feminine. 

Theo: It’s quite a powerful word, and quite majestic. I’m imagining an oil painting of a queer woman wearing fur and holding a big rifle. That’s what comes to mind.

Elouise

Elouise

What makes Big Dyke Energy special?

It’s so nice to be surrounded by people who aren’t conforming to gender norms. It’s a very safe place. Going out, there’s always one dickhead but at Big Dyke Energy there’s usually less – and if there is a dickhead then somebody will probably say something to them. The music’s good, too, and it’s cool to centre people who are centred in other places.

What was your first queer night out?

The first night specifically for queer women that I went to was Butch Please. I remember walking in and just being like, wow. It was so nice – there were queer women of every age. There was such a big mix. I felt so part of something.

Who has big dyke energy?

Chris as in Christine and the Queens. They’ve got very big dyke energy. 

What’s your clubbing curfew?

I don’t have one!


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