Author(s): Rory O'Neill
Biography | No Category
1968. In a small town in the west of Ireland, a beautiful baby boy is born. He enjoys an idyllic country childhood: privileged, carefree, surrounded by love - and pet sheep. Eleven years later, the Pope visits Ireland, and things will never be the same again. At the Pontiff's mass in Knock, the little boy has an epiphany that will set him on the road to become the biggest, boldest, and most opinionated drag queen Ireland has ever known. This is the story of Rory O'Neill's journey from the fields of a once homophobic, homogeneous Ireland, through Tokyo's chaotic underbelly and Dublin's burgeoning drag world, to becoming Panti Bliss, the voice of a brave new post-Catholic nation embracing diversity, all the colours of the rainbow and, most of all, a glamorous attitude. It's also the story of a misfit who turned his difference into a triumphant art form; of personal struggle and coming to terms with HIV; of political passion and activism; of 'Pantigate' and the Abbey speech that touched a million lives; and, importantly, of how to flawlessly apply copious amounts of make up. Welcome to the absolutely fabulous, hilariously funny and ultimately life-affirming world of Panti - adored, fun drunk aunt to the world - and her creator Rory, in their own inimitable words (with a little help from Dolly Parton along the way).
Drag artiste Rory O'Neill's alter ego Panti Bliss is considered by many a national treasure in Ireland. Panti Bliss became a force to be reckoned with when a video of her post show speech at Ireland's national theatre, the Abbey, went viral in 2014. In the speech, O'Neill as Panti Bliss spoke of the daily injustices faced by the LGBTI population in Ireland. It resonated with people around the globe. The character of Panti Bliss is smart, savvy, caustic, yet caring- and O'Neill's memoir is all those things too. His engaging story of growing up knowing he was different in a culture that was, at the time, quite conservative is tremendously moving. A perfect companion piece to the documentary The Queen Of Ireland, and a must read for those interested in Queer theory and LGBTI cultural history.
Nick The Book Grocer