Introduction

If, over the last three decades, you’ve ventured into London’s nighttime netherworld then chances are, at some point, you’ve come across Princess Julia. Whether on the dancefloor, behind the turntables or holding court at the bar, she’s been at the epicentre of every cultural quake since punk first snarled at the nation through their TV sets. That historic moment – when the Sex Pistols caused havoc live on Bill Grundy’s Today show – aired on December 1st 1976 and 16-year-old Julia Fodor, watching over her dinner plate, was never the same again.

Within a year, she was blowing all her wages from a hairdressing job on bondage trousers from Malcolm McLaren’s Seditionaries shop. Next, she was at the birth of the New Romantic movement, arm in ruffled arm with her Blitz Kid family Boy George and Steve Strange (yes, that’s her in the video for Visage’s Fade To Grey); then in the thick of it at Taboo club, the deranged brainchild of shapeshifting performance artist Leigh Bowery; on the door at the Wag Club in the early 80s, occasionally throwing on some of her Amanda Lear and Donna Summer disco records; and, a quick name change later, in the DJ booth as the resident at Kinky Gerlinky, a dizzying Hi-NRG drag carnival that dominated clubland until its glittering doors closed in 1994. It was around this time that I had my first close encounter with Julia or, more accurately, with her eclectic music selections – it would be a few more years before we were finally introduced one night at the Coach & Horses pub in Soho.

Fast forward to 2019 and, true to her mantra “if in doubt, go out”, Julia is still the reigning queen of after dark London; in fact, she claims she hasn’t had a night-in for decades (if so, there must be a portrait hidden in an attic somewhere). You can find her spinning at clubs like The Dalston Superstore and Anal House Meltdown, hosting cabarets and quiz nights around East London any given night of the week. She’s a force of nature, a one-woman cultural phenomenon, a master of Madonna-like reinvention and mother hen to a new generation of club kids and fashion talent. She’s still curious for the next thing, still fabulous with immaculate make-up, skyscraper heels and an infectious Carry On cackle.

Tasked with creating a new mix to soundtrack Chained Girls, Julia dug deep into her sprawling, unique library. “I tried to add some modernistic and pacey drama,” she explains, “in parts a reflective mood with music from different eras and artists. Some iconic role models such as Dusty Springfield and Mx Vivian Bond; club dance tracks and some experimental soundscapes. I was interested in the presence of the artists’ energy and sentiment.” And what, I wondered, did she make of the film? Here is the quickfire email she sent after viewing:

“I approached it with a certain amount of tongue-in-cheekness. It's a kitsch piece of propaganda warning the public about the ways of lesbian life as seen through the eyes of supposed male academics of 50s/60s America. All the female characters are parodies warning heteros to be on the lookout for any signs of deviance! As if it’s not enough being a woman but a gay woman on the prowl! Oh my gawd... It's like some fearful and fetishistic world has been uncovered in the imagination of man (not so) kind. I confess I've never been to a party like this where straws are pulled in order to see who gets first dibs on the new girl in town!... On a serious note, though, we can look back at films like this with an element of humour and fascination but I think it's important to not only see how far we've come but how much there is still to do in the gay community regarding freedom and rights.”

Chained Melody Mix

Tracklist

1. Dusty Springfield – The Look of Love

2. David Bowie – Low

3. Patrick Cowley – Mockingbird Dream

4. Bagarre – Lemonsweet

5. ESG – UFO

6. Lil Louis – French Kiss

7. Justin Vivian Bond & Nath Ann Carrera – Planets of the Universe (Live)

8. Young Marble Giants – Colossal Youth (Full Album Version)

9. Avenue D – Do I Look a Slut (Original Mix)

10. Tyree – Acid Crash

11. Throbbing Gristle – Discipline (Live)

12. Nina Hagen – Fever


Princess Julia has created runway soundtracks for London designers including Louise Gray, Ryan Lo and James Long. Away from music, Julia is Culture Correspondent at i-D magazine and writes the weekly column #JuliaSays for QX magazine. A muse and model, she is represented by IMG. She lives in East London with her King Charles spaniel Bubbles.