“Brilliant fun and wonderfully spontaneous. A fun and friendly whirl through traffic in a magic created world upon an open topped bus with laughter, joy and magic. Onlookers were seduced into viewing into an alternative world view whilst being reminded of a continuous and painful struggle. AIDS is not over was a clear message as well as the importance of preserving NHS HIV services and finally the duty for us all, collectively, to honour our past history with HIV/AIDS as a nation. We must create a tribute to HIV in London. It was the best AIDS show in town!” Ash Kotak
About the BANG BUS – World AIDS Day Special
On Saturday November 25th an open-topped double-decker bus draped in ‘Hands off Our NHS’ and ‘Tories Don’t Die of Ignorance’ drove around Soho as an immersive theatrical anti-stigma bus-tour journeying through the decades and places to bring the history of HIV+ in London to life. The Bang Bus exists to show gratitude for those who gave selflessly through challenging times, to demand a permanent HIV / AIDS memorial and to support the many minority communities face very specific issues that are still neglected. High-profile pop-star Lana Pellay, along with other celebrities, performers and dancers involved in HIV+ advocacy, nurses, doctors and healthcare workers shared and performed to the audience on the bus about life on the frontline of the National Health Service (NHS). Above all the BANG BUS – World AIDS Day Special was a sacred place for people to share love, loss, hope and solidarity to continue to weave our stories together and continue to strengthen the journey to end the HIV / AIDS pandemic.
Thank you to everyone who made it happen! Read more in the Bang Bus – World AIDS Day Special Press release here and here Blubbering with love for Dean Street Sexual Health Centre – Come celebrate at the BANG BUS.
All photo credits to Holly Buckle.
- QX Magazine – ‘Why I’m heading to Downing Street on an open top bus this World AIDS Day’ by Dani Singer
- Docs Not Cops – ‘Don’t F**k with the NHS’ for World AIDS Day 2017
- Open Democracy – We Survive – but AIDS is not over – a Bang Bus Special by Ash Kotak
- Gay Star News – ‘I dream of AIDS being over before I die’ – Why 80’s HIV-Epidemic victim’s eulogies went on a bus tour of London
- Hiskind Magazine – Return of the BANG BUS: ‘World AIDS Day Special’
” In the good old times of Gay Lib we talked a lot about having a retirement home for old acid queens, one with wide corridors we could whizz around on our electric wheelchairs hidden beneath our crinolines. But never in the plague years that followed did I ever imagine boarding a Queer Tours of London mince through time, AIDs Bang Bus, to visit those places where we said goodbye to so many of our nearest and dearest. A bus with Fabulous Hostesses to entertain us, play quiz games and encourage us to share our memories. A mystery tour that three hours earlier picked up a bunch of strangers, set down a group of friends.” Gay liberation Front activist.
“As soon as “For a Friend” bolted into the ether on the Bang Bus, salt water starts pouring down my face. That says much more than the kudos Jimmy Somerville deserves. I,seemingly, have not (may never) forget my life partner -John Mordaunt; one of England’s greater AIDS Activist, who died more than 22 years ago. Everyday is an opportunity to fight back against government inertia and closeted homophobia: increase access to PReP and more. Steve Anders, as he lay dying, grabbed my arms, and looked me directly in the eyes ” You are a witness to this “plague”. You must tell people what happened. We are counting on you. Please don’t let us down.” Andria E – M
“I support the ‘BANG BUS – World AIDS Day Special’ in memory of my friend Mark Ashton who did so much to make common cause with the victims of social injustice.” Sarah John Morris, singer with the Communards
“We’re so lucky to live in times where HIV is such a liveable condition, it’s easy to forget the sacrifices of our community in previous decades. The BANG bus took us on a journey back in time through the inspirational stories of people whose lives were affected by the AIDS crisis, while reflecting on the advances we have made through the incredible work of activists and people in the medical profession. Events like this are so important to educate and help fight the stigma and ignorance surrounding HIV that unfortunately is still a reality even in the queer world today.” Eric Phillips
“Spending all afternoon on the top of an open-roofed bus on a windy November day may have left my fingers and nose a bit frozen, but my heart was warmed on that colourful and quirky vehicle. The people I met greeted me with such openness and friendliness through the stories told, the poetry recited, the knowledge brought across, the historical context given, the songs sung, the laughter heard and the flexibility experienced. Thank you for an amazing day!” Luisa Bider
“The history of HIV is chaotic, it is full of fear, but it also contain moments of amazing solidarity, of new friendship, of laughs, and love. This afternoon in the Bang Bus was similarly full of ups and downs, from remembering our lost brothers and sisters, to dancing with amazing people with whom you just met. It is a memory I will keep and cherish.” Eden
“On Saturday I felt again the solidarity that saw us through the worst of the plague. Charming, anarchic and community based.
It felt like a hug. “ Eoin Whelan
“The freezing weather was chased away by the love and energy from an amazingly patient group of passengers. When the bus got stuck in traffic our little queer bang bus community raised their voices to those we loved and lost to AIDS as I led a good old fashion sing a long. Our version of TLCs Waterfalls was a particular triumph.” Alex Green. Singer/Writer/Activist