Chippenham pub backs down on Bambi’s ban
Updated 8:49am Friday 4th July 2014 in By Julie Armstrong, Senior reporter
A Chippenham pub owner asked a local drag queen to smoke out the back out of sight because he said his flamboyant appearance was putting off customers.
Nathan Tiley, better known as Bambi Violet, said he was “baffled” by the request from Giles Darby of the Buttercross Inn, after drinking there since turning 18 six years ago.
Bambi, who describes himself as an androgynous male and was Queen of Chippenham River Festival in 2012, said: “The thing that most upset me was I was still welcome, but only where no one could see me. Should I put a sack over my head when I go in?”
The former Sheldon School pupil, 24, is the designated premises supervisor at the Rose and Crown and is making a name for himself in the Drag Idol competitions, coming third in Cardiff last year.
Mr Darby, one of a group of partners to buy the Buttercross Inn in March, soon realised the error of his ways when his request provoked outrage in the community.
Regulars of the Buttercross Inn went to the Rose and Crown to express their disbelief and used Facebook to show support.
Bambi said: “This is what makes me happy. If I want to put a maxi dress on one day then I will. I realise that I’m a flamboyant character. This is my hometown and I have never had an issue before.
“I had so many of the staff and customers from there come to tell me how sickened they were.”
Mr Darby said he had made a mistake to think that Bambi, who has a penchant for piercings, mini dresses and stilettos, had lowered the tone of the establishment.
Mr Darby said: “I wrongly perceived that Bambi’s appearance was an issue.”
He said he had read disparaging remarks about their clientele on the Spotted in Chippenham website. “They said that after the refurb it was full of hope, but that the same old people had gone back and nothing had changed,” said Mr Darby.
“We were really disappointed to see that, because we’ve worked hard to change the image.
“I mistakenly, not being from the town, perceived that one of the issues was Bambi going out the front smoking and I did ask him if he would mind when he wanted a cigarette to go and smoke out the back.
“However, it was very clear from the reaction of the customers, I hold my hands up, that wasn’t a problem we’ve got, I misunderstood. Bambi is very welcome here.”
Bambi, who is off to Bristol Pride next Saturday, said all was forgiven and he would continue to drink there.
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