In town to co-host the Foxtel coverage of the Mardi Gras Parade, Pineapple Dance Studios star Louie Spence met the Star Observer this week in the bar of his hotel, where we found him coyly picking at grapes for lunch.

“Just the one, dear, a dancer’s got to keep her figure,” he winked, before greeting this reporter like an old friend with two kisses and a big hug.

Spence had spent a fortnight in Sydney in the lead-up to Saturday’s hosting duties, wiling away his time “working out with the gays at the Oxford St gym” and attending the previous day’s Mardi Gras Harbour Party.

“It was fun, but I minced out when all the boys started to get a bit messy. I saw them all arrive fully clothed, and by the time we left, it was just fucking swimwear everywhere,” he cackled.

Suprisingly, Spence was unaware that his Mardi Gras co-host Charlotte Dawson and roving reporter Ruby Rose had engaged in a spat on Twitter several days before, sniping at each other over their respective contributions to the Christchurch quake relief effort. When told the news that his two colleagues might not be on the best of terms, he leapt from his seat for an excited, oh-so-gay twirl.

“Oh my god, I’m loving it! Babe, I’m fuckin’ spinning out! Oh, Ruby. Those lesbians, always up for a fight. She wants a bit of straight pussy, that’s what it is. She wants to get rough with Charlotte so they can have a fight and then she can give her a quick pokin’.”

With his impish charm and lovable lisp, it’d be hard for anyone to take offence to banter like this — it’s all part of Spence’s appeal, and what made him the breakout star of the ‘docusoap’ Pineapple Dance Studios (indeed, a second season of the show was jettisoned in favour of the follow-up, Louie Spence’s Showbusiness).

Pineapple first aired in the UK in February 2010, and by May, “everything had just exploded,” Spence said.

“It’s been so positive — people have taken to me. I’ve had straight men, builders on the street, coming up to me for a photo and pinching my arse.

They would’ve been the ones who might’ve previously called me a fucking faggot. I hope that if they do see another queen walking down the street, it may have changed their perceptions.

“I’ll do this for as long as I can, and if it all goes tits-up, I’ll look back on it and think ‘shit, who would’ve thought at 41, still doing my high kicks with a lisp, I’d become internationally well-known? And just for being me?’ ”

Not everyone on the show has been welcomed with such open arms though — we can’t imagine Pineapple’s deluded dance teacher and self-described ‘triple threat’ Andrew Stone would’ve been thrilled that much of the program’s air time is devoted to mocking his failed attempts to become the next Justin Timberlake.

“The thing is, Andrew is Andrew and what you see is what you get. He really wants to be a pop star, and he won’t stop. Some people laugh at him, but it doesn’t penetrate him. He’s got this goal and he won’t waver — he’s so passionate about his music that he can’t see anything else,” Spence sighed.

His comments about Stone were the only time during our chat when Spence paused to choose his words carefully — otherwise, his responses were peppered with all sorts of potentially libellous asides and salacious gossip. We learnt that he’s a strict top except for “birthdays and wedding anniversaries. All that douching! It is a palaver, anal sex, isn’t it?”.

And he gleefully reported that he’d recently joined the mile-high club — solo.

“I really wanted to come [to Mardi Gras] earlier, but my fear of flying stopped me. They flew me out here first class, which helps, and they put us in these little private hubs in first class so I turned on the vibrations on the bed and had a quick wank.

“No one could see me, so I thought I may as well bang one out while watching Joan Rivers.”

Now he’s here, the Mardi Gras virgin said he’s “looking forward to having his cherry popped” on Saturday. He’s also found time to wade into the political debate around gay marriage. Married to his own partner for three years, Spence said it was time Prime Minister Julia Gillard showed leadership on the issue.

“I’m surprised that for such a young nation, such a liberal nation, that it’s not accepted that gay people can get married. We make the world, us gays. We add the glamour and the style.

If she was to pass this law, I’m sure some queen would say, ‘Look, I’ll style you for free, bitch. I’ll sort out the hair and the bad beige suits’.”

“I say listen bitch, either marry your boyfriend or tell everyone you’re a lesbian, and pass this law — because no one’s impressed with you.”

info: Louie Spence hosts Mardi Gras on Arena from 7.30pm, Saturday, March 5.

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