Shirley Confidential: Pam Ann


Our Shirley Temple Bar meets Queen of the Sky, Pam Ann ahead of her headline show at Dublin’s Vicar Street on November 13.

The last time I flew RyanAir, I ended up with post-traumatic stress disorder. I had neglected to read the details on my ticket, so it wasn’t until I was actually boarding the plane that I realised there was no business class. You can imagine my panic – the palpitations, screaming and so on and so forth. If it had been an Aer Lingus flight, perhaps I might have been handed a gin and tonic in a nice frosted glass to calm me nerves, but all the Ryan Air hostess could offer was a two-for-one on the scratch cards.

Whatever happened to the glamour of flying? Those days, when an air hostess had all the allure of a film star, and she handed you a moist, hot towel after take-off, which you hadn’t a clue what to do with? One woman who might know is my old mate, Pam Ann, who has clocked up more air miles than most people on the planet as she globe-trots with her shows. Her send-up of the airline industry is a first-class act that trolly-dollies love just as much as passengers, and her carry-on has also got the attention of security staff and celebrities fans alike. When I heard she was making a scheduled stop in Dublin for the first time in years to perform her show at Vicar Street, I nabbed her for a layover.


Hey Pammy! It’s been ages! Where the hell were you?

I moved to New York, Shirley. Then I changed my mind and moved to Miami. I met a guy on Tinder in Miami, so I moved to LA to be with him. But that went tits up, so then I moved back to New York. Now I’ve decided to come to the UK and Ireland for a couple of months, to calm the fuck down.


Are you sure that’s a good idea?

I love Ireland! I haven’t been here since that time I did a show at The George with you guys. I am so happy to be coming back, and it’s great to be able to bring the full show over. It’s a much different affair when it’s in a real theatre.


That’s the kinda shady shit Panti says these days. Speaking of which, is your gig still offensively filthy or have you toned it down for the theaytha?

It’s filthier than ever, Shirley. I do wonder whether we’ve gone too far this time. It’ll be interesting to see how these ones go down.


You’ve been flying the skies as Pam Ann for ages now, haven’t you?

It’s almost 20 years, Shirl. Can you believe it? Airlines have changed so much since I started. Nowadays we have Ethiad flying planes that have swimming pools and horse riding on board. But not everyone flies Ethiad, and we all have a
shit airline story. We love to bitch about it, don’t we?


You’re Australian, aren’t you? Do you get down under much?

Not as much as I’d like. My parents guilt-trip me into visiting home but, when I get there, they’ve got their own plans happening. I’m like, ‘What the fuck? I’ve just travelled thousands of miles to be here’, and they’re off out with their mates!


Sounds like my ma and da when I visit Ballyfermot. The bus journey takes seven hours from Dame Street!

The Irish and the Australians are very alike. We’re kindred spirits when it comes to the drink. Together it’s ‘Danger! Danger!’, but it’s also somuch fun. There are so many Irish in Oz right now. They come onto the beach at Bondi and they’re so fucking pale.


Speaking of pale, last time you performed with me in The G, you were shittin’ it before you went on. Do you still suffer with the nerves?

Every time, Shirley! To psych myself up, I drink loads of coffee and energy drinks, and then right before show time I have a crisis of confidence.

I’m practically weeping at my assistant: ‘Why do I do this to myself? I’m never doing this again. I’m not good enough’. She rolls her eyes and reminds me that I say that crap before every show. I’m exactly the same. Except for the part about having an assistant and giving a shit. I think all performers are the same. We’re addicted to the adrenalin rush. But that rush gets you so wired that you might need a drink – or a fucking Xanax – to calm you down


You have a huge gay following, don’t you? Do you actually know any straight people?

I used to say that the only straight people that I know are my mum, dad and brother… but on reflection, I see that my mother is actually trans and my dad is a bear. My brother is straight and I always tell him what a disappointment he is to me, so he’s trying to fix that.

Give me his number, Pam. I’ll lend him a hand.

Pam Ann’s Queen of the Skies tour is at Vicar Street on Friday, November 13.

Get tickets here

This interview originally appeared in GCN issue #311.

© 2015 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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