Diary of a Short Lived Drag King

‘I pick my way through the dressing room, stepping over debris from previous performances – a toy guitar, a picked-over sheet of stick-on moustaches, and a slowly deflating blow up doll. The front of my shirt is damp from where I tried to sponge out a pale purple stain from the Dark Fruits.

I slip on my coat, grab my umbrella, and make for the stage with what I hope is an air of masculine confidence.’


Emily Doyle has covered drag, cabaret and burlesque since 2017, writing and illustrating features for Birmingham Review on both the local scene and touring shows that increasing come through the city. But having sat safely as an observer for the past two years – hidden behind a pen, notebook and the rows of other audience members – Emily wanted to experience it as one of the performers on stage.

Supported by the very Drag Kings and Queens she once went to review, Emily made her debut as Philip Phallus at Birmingham’s Valley of the Kings ‘open mic’ drag night – adopting an iconic costume and song for her obligatory lip sync performance.

From her initial Dutch courage decision, through the agony of choosing a suitably unsuitable name, to dressing room jitters and the camaraderie from other drag artists, Diary of a Short Lived Drag King is Emily Doyle’s story of when she decided to man up and get on stage.

A 24 page A5 ‘zine’, featuring words/illustrations from Emily Doyle and photography from Eleanor Sutcliffe, Diary of a Short Lived Drag is now available to buy – released through Review Publishing with license from Old Bort Designs.

Click here to order Diary of a Short Lived Drag.