Friday 18 August 2017



There's always that one guy; bitter, ambitious, charming, yet untrustworthy, unsatisfied, and incapable of realising that the rules apply to him. With an eye for the main chance he is ready to push himself forward at the right time and leave his friends in the dust, breaking every taboo in the process, all with a smirk and a wink.

Yep, there's always a Lestat.

One of the many charms of the movie adaptation of 'Queen of the Damned' is that it lays this tart narrative down flat. There's actually very little of the divine or the profound or the despairing in this version, no furrowed brows and painful eternities, none of plush gothic romance of 'Interview with the Vampire', rather a very simple driving force – one man and his ego.

Lestat is an aristocrat, a nobleman, probably destined for great things in the French society of the absolutist Sun King and undoubtedly a libertine bourgeois of the highest order, yet he is plucked by Marius into obscurity, out of the limelight and into an eternal anonymous gloom. Unable to walk the earth in the light, unable to be a public figure due to the vampiric code, unable to even perform a violin duet on the beach and ultimately deserted by Marius himself, he is left for centuries to stumble along alone trying to find kicks wherever he could find them. No wonder he ultimately decides that the sleep of ages is preferable – rather than 'the prospect of eternity' being unbearable, it's really the prospect of an eternity of boredom that makes Lestat disillusioned. A congenital show-off, dreaming of being a major figure, adoring his reflection yet condemned never to seeing his nor his reflection in others, the lack of external recognition leaves his unstimulated and eventually hollow.

So Lestat ultimately feels denied; denied his rightful place in the world, denied the fame and fortune he was born into, and denied the endless adoration of millions which would pour into the bottomless pit of his ego. His next move – 'a bold move', as he puts it – is simply to call everyone's bluff, go for broke and come (un)clean. His subsequent rise to global hyper-mega-stardom echoes that of every unwordly demigod of rock & roll, from Bowie to Prince to Marilyn Manson (whose voice and influence is everywhere in the film), using every trick in his armoury to become the world's most high-profile vampire. Lestat gets his wish – and he is known, after all.

Of course, in doing so Lestat infuriates everybody; all his peers who he has basically scabbed on and betrayed and sold out, catapulting himself to stardom at their expense (who of them would want to follow him, and be dubbed a 'Lestat Mk2'?), baffling and tantalising the experts and the occultists and Talamascans, and all the while taking his fill of all the 'sex, blood and rock & roll' he can stick his fangs into. Yet even when he is at risk of being dismembered he arranges his biggest public event and goads his attackers on. The consummate diva, he simply cannot help himself – he has to be the centre of attention, even in death. Maybe especially in death.

Even the thrill of being the lover of the greatest vampire of them all in Akasha soon runs sour – not for any primarily moral reasons, but because her plans for a universal apocalypse of all life on earth has no subtlety. Lestat's fear of 'a world of corpses' is simply because there will be no one to see him, and he would be alone – and bored – once again.

So yes, he's a tart. But is that such a bad thing? What is wrong with demanding, or even commanding, the attention? Haven't we all secretly yearned to break the last taboo of our social circle, play the winning card and to the devil with the consequences? Lestat may be a diva, but he's not entirely misguided – like a glam-vamp heretic, a Byronic hero, an old ham making his last bid for glory, he channels the spirit of the whistleblower, the supergrass, the tell-all memoir, and the lead singer's debut solo album. A destructive force, it can nonetheless be creative – what's important is how it's done.

And looking good in a tight top.

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