Though it may be a time long past, Klozet once was Malta’s most renowned LGBT+ friendly club located in the heart of Paceville. Originally having closed more than half a decade ago, Klozet hosted a rebirth party in 2019 to celebrate a newly re-branded version of the club.
Yet, those who remember Klozet’s older days will most likely have all sorts of memories of the venue – whether they be fond, steamy, drunken or a mix of them all.
The highlights of Klozet’s height of popularity was recently showcased in a podcast hosted by K Anderson: Lost Spaces. The interview-based podcast highlights lost queer venues from around the world and has been described as one which “mourns the death of queer nightlife.”
In episode 60 of the podcast, Anderson highlights Klozet and interviews Chucky Bartolo – a drag queen, stand-up comedian and writer who, whilst currently based in Glasgow, Scotland, frequented Klozet at the time when he was slowly coming to terms with coming out as a gay man.
“The first time I went into Klozet, I was alone – I had ran away from my friends,” Bartolo says, recalling his first time visiting the nightclub. Originally deciding to only go inside for the bathroom in Klozet, he changed his mind after listening to pop music.
“It was literally lying to myself the first five times,” Bartolo admits, “It was such rubbish. Such rubbish. The amount of pride I had from not being ‘gay-gay’ was insane.”
Lovin Malta reached out to Anderson who explained that this particular interview brought back a lot of memories for him personally. “I’ve actually been to Klozet before. So, it was lovely to get the opportunity to ‘revisit’ the bar but also see it from a local’s perspective.”
Anderson also raised his desire that he wishes that Klozet could still be open so that he could “visit and dance all night!”
When it comes to a local perspective, Bartolo offers key insight into what it is like to be someone that has grown up in Malta and experienced the drag scene present on the island. He highlighted that in Malta, even if you are not brought up as a Catholic, you tend to live in a Catholic environment and culture.
Bartolo credited this to one of the reasons that many in Malta do not understand the true art form behind drag. Instead, most see it as simply something from the panto or carnival – something that is only really for comedy.
Whilst yes, Bartolo does consider himself to be a ‘Comedy Queen’, it does not mean that he is unable to at least try and be more high-end fashion in the drag community.
Yet, there is a status quo that is perceived and expected – even by those in the community.
“People want you to fit neatly into a box.” Anderson notes, stating that people “want you to be one thing […] So if you are more than that, then it gets a bit confusing.”
In recent years, LGBT+ venues have closed around the world as rents skyrocket in big cities and rising popularity in the use of dating and hook-up apps to meet each other typically lead to less of a demand for ‘queerer’ venues.
This is seen even more as our society shows greater strides towards acceptance each year and thus, a greater mixing of people in what would otherwise be traditionally heterosexual venues.
These factors alongside the impact of COVID-19 are likely to change the clubbing scene in general, with the future of our nightlife yet to be seen.
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