Jack Cullen

Gay Olympic Event

Polish Popstar Hunting

Every Polish man in London is harbouring knowledge of a gaytastic popstar from their homeland. So stop ignoring and start socialising, we've got blank CDs to fill.

I don't like statistics, but I've cross-referenced three convincingly authoritative looking websites (ones that end in dot gov, dot org and dot cotton) to establish that there are about 25,000 Polish people living in London. Going by that possibly-invented but relatively-educated wild guess of a figure, there are about 2000 gay Poles living here. That figure may be higher still when you consider that being gay can be a motive for immigration because England promotes itself internationally as liberal, accomodating and a right gay knees-up. It's a little known fact but Alexandra Burke has a weekend job that entails standing on a ferry ramp in Warsaw's docklands singing an acapella ballad rendition of Don't Make Me Start Without You while handing our Heaven wristbands.

Some Polish arrivals make it big time. You've got the politician Ed Milliband, his mother was Polish, or still is possibly. Then there's Arsenal's goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, saving goals around the clock for the merriment of racists. Then you've got that novelist Joseph Conrad. And of course there's Michal Marks who set up a department store in 1884 with his friend Thomas Spencer.
But more often than not Polish Londoners that English Londoners bother to interact with are the ones standing behind the tills in Nero and Pret. Those nice smiling folk who, like you, were potato-painting in primary school only a few years ago, but unlike you, they now live in a foreign country where they wake up at 4am and take a trickle shower followed by a Nightbus into town just so you can have the pleasure of scoffing at them because coffee machines operate in real-time not diva-seconds.

Don't worry. This blog post isn't going to be a needy diarhorrea stream of condescending socio-political mush. This blog post carries a powerful message, and that is this:
Every gay Polish man in London is carrying a P-Pop secret and YOU need to get it out of them.
That's right. A new gay sport has emerged. It's called Polémon. To play it you collect gay Polish friends, making an effort to make them feel welcome in this city because they're an essential spinal disc in its workforce, and then quiz them about Polish pop music searching for repressed memories of amazing low-budget Polish popstars that Simon Cowell is stopping you from hearing about. Here's an example...

P-Pop Files - Case Study 1:

Name: Artur S******rski
Age: 22
Lives in: Leytonstone
I met Artur in the smoking area at Popstarz in Holborn one night (the nursery slopes for all budding Polémon players). The first thing I did was get his Polish cultural juices flowing by asking Artur to recall his immigration story. When Artur first arrived here he had to share a bed with a gay man who wouldn't give up making advances on him in the dead of night until he finally got a job in a shop and managed to break free. He loves London's art galleries and parks, would like to write a collection of poems about London, and even carries a pad around with him for writing down things that he learns to help his progression, for example "a porch is the tiny little room just behind the frontdoor of a house."

Then I move in for the kill:

"Artur, are there any popstars in Poland that you miss?" (trying to look blasé)

"No, not really"

"Are you sure?" (Lightly raising one eyebrow, channeling Whoopi Goldberg in 1999's Alice In Wonderland)

(He mutters something that sounds like Borina)


"There is Marina"
"Marina And The Diamonds?" (Surely he doesn't attribute them to Poland?)

"No, Marina without any diamonds. She is different. Just called Marina."

"Oh yes?" (The P-Pop fangs are out, salivating)

"Look, I need to go, but I will quickly show you her Wiki-Media Polski page if you like" (It's Poland's version of Wikipedia. I heard about it during my PI5 training)

Artur shows me a picture of a beautiful girl with large, beseeching black eyes like tractor wheels. Marina Luczenko: Wokalista, Kompozytorka i Aktorka I save the information to photographic memory for imminent YouTube investigation.

"What does that mean? Wokalista? Like a sex worker?"

"No. That means Singer. Marina is a Singer, Composer and Actress."

"What does she act in?"

"Her music videos" (Of course)

"And what are her best songs?" (This is it. Here comes the prize)

"There are three. Glam Pop, Electric Bass and Pepper Mint. I am sorry but I have to go now. I've said too much already."

But it didn't matter, my mission was accomplished. The lustrous 22-year-old vamp Marina Luczenko has been added to my Polémon collection. Here are the songs...

PEPPER MINT takes a novel angle on the idea of being fresh. "M. I. N. T. - I'm a pepper mint". We know peppermint should be one word but the P-Pop dictionary was steamed long ago with a sack of chopped cabbage:

GLAM POP is a no-frills straight-jacket reinterpretation of Lady Gaga's Just Dance. Instead of Gaga pouts nobody in the video can stop laughing and the fake party crowd look realistic like, I don't know, Marina's just invited people to the recording via her Bebo status:

ELECTRIC BASS is Marina's biggest budget number to date and was the lead single on her album Hardbeat. She upgrades the spelling of her name here from Marina to MaRina, fully embracing her illegitimate auntie Ke$ha:

If you discover any rare Polish popstars yourself then please do share your findings with @GayTimesMag and CC in @jackcullenuk

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