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Saturday 10 October 2009

Peter Taylor, living legend

Posted in: Hall of Fame
By David Herkt sets the questions - 15th August 2009

Peter Taylor is nothing short of a living legend.

The owner and proprietor of Dot’s Sister, the most petite gay bar in Auckland, the former owner of Surrender Dorothy which was a cornerstone of Ponsonby life for a decade, Peter has also been a horse-rider, coach and trainer in a 24 year equestrian career which has taken him around the world.

When he was at the Barcelona Oympics he was infected with a rare disease through a sandfly bite. It is usually fatal within two years, however Peter has set the benchmark world record by surviving the illness and more than 13 years of treatment. It has left him profoundly deaf and partially blind – not that you’d even remotely guess it.

He still does drag as Vera at Dots. And, as he puts it, the only reason he doesn’t ride horses anymore is because he works seven days a week and ‘doesn’t have the time.’

He’s just celebrated two years of owning Dot’s sister so we put Peter through the Q & A challenge.


What sort of changes have you noticed in gay Auckland over the last few years?

There is more of a merge of genders and sexuality now especially with the younger people mixing with their straight friends of both genders. I have also noticed that the prejudice and stigma is strong even among our own community. There is a struggle for some older men to accept any other genre within our tribe - for instance a leather man discriminating against a drag queen. It’s all drag whichever way you look at it. I wonder how far we have really moved on. I also wonder how long the Gay community will last as the next generation do not see sexuality as an issue. There will always be gay people, but the changes are rapid, 40 years on from Stonewall.


What is the strangest incident that has happened to you as a bar-owner?

I don’t think that anything is strange any more as our bar attracts a diversity where no gives anybody else the ‘Hairy Eye-Ball’. However, at Dot’s Sister, we were invaded by a bus load of Polynesian women having a party, about thirty in all. They looked colourful but with bad boas, leaving the place looking like a major chook kill at the end of the night. In the fury of one song, the largest girl decided to get up onto one of our small cafe tables to dance. I stopped her knowing she would fall but as she sat on it the central steel rod bent like a limp stick of celery. She slid slowly to the floor and the table was ruined.


What is the secret to running a successful bar?

Great hosting skills, a consistent product, and an eye to detail.


If you were to be reincarnated as a cocktail, which one would it be? Give the recipe.

 I would be a Chocolate Martini. 45 mls good vodka, 15 mls white Crème de Cacao, stir over ice pour into martini glass. Then pour 5 mls of dark Crème de Cacao down the inside of the glass . It will lie on the bottom. Add a maraschino cherry to garnish and 2 cocktail straws.


Have you a  very practical drag-hint to give to share?

When glittering your lips, add lip gloss over the colour, apply glitter, then set with hairspray  which you spray onto your finger and dab on over the glitter. You can drink, eat, etc and it will last for hours.


Have you a favourite street? Why is it a favourite?

I have always enjoyed High and Lorne Streets. They have interesting speciality shops, great eating establishments, and remind me of living in Europe.


If you won Lotto, what would your first purchase be?

A world cruise.


 Do you wear a cologne or perfume? What is it? Why do you wear it?

My cologne at present is Dunhill. It is all smoky, leather and spice.


Who is your hero? Why?

My boyfriend, Rodney. He is an amazing , intelligent and gifted man.


If you could give a young gay man one piece of advice, what would it be?

Be true to yourself and be an ambassador of fabulosity.

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David Herkt sets the questions - 15th August 2009