INSTEAD of lower fat, slightly salted crisps, there were baskets and baskets of shiny, pink Quality Street chocolates lined up along the bar. As they pumped up the music and served up the beers, large girls sporting carefully sprayed beehives, and wearing ostentatiously tight Lycra clothes covered in beads and bows, minced voluptuously through the punters, handing round cardboard boxes of cream cakes.

'Welcome to Planet Big-Girl,' said the disappointingly slim woman, as she shoved the pink ticket through the glass grille at the entrance to Equinox, in London's Leicester Square.

This was the second time that the monthly Planet Big- Girl, founded by Creamy Clare and Missy Miss, had opened its doors to the oversized clubbing community. These two larger-than-life females had become so fed up with people staring at them on the dance floor that they set up their own event, where large women could do their thing without feeling embarrassed or out of place. Dressed in black latex that hugged their bodies like a second skin, they wafted around, dishing out the chocolates and making sure that the few size-10 Twiggies who had sneaked in were well and truly overshadowed.

On the dance floor was the ubiquitous group of clubby drag queens straight from the catwalks of Kinky Gerlinky. Decked out in red leather bustier tops and black Wonder Bras, they romped and frolicked, flicking their wigs and kicking up their platforms, much to the delight of their entourage.

A group of large women, clad from the outsize department of a chain store, nestled in the velour sofas. A symphony of spots, rayon and elastic, they sat staring at the drag queens, nursing their cans of Red Stripe lager. 'Look at them]' screamed a drag queen, adjusting his blond wig and Minnie Mouse ears. 'They look like they've taken a coach trip into town from Ruislip or Bermondsey. I've no idea what they are doing here.' He rushed back to the dance floor to pout at himself in the mirrors.

Melanie, in a long black dress and with a full-feathered peacock on her head, had come with her blond, skinny flatmate from south London. 'I'm his landlady,' she corrected him. She was big, and proud of it. This was her first time at Planet Big-Girl. 'I think it's a great idea,' she smiled. 'You can be fat and beautiful.' Her tenant interrupted: 'Doesn't she look great? I'm here to check out all the fat girls. I think fat women are wonderful.'

Melanie wandered off to talk to a large woman in a black dress with her hair piled high on her head. She looked familiar. 'You might have seen me on TV,' she admitted. 'I was on Blind Date, and now I spend my time talking about weight and going to fat events.'

Vikki was skinny and trussed up in a red bodice. She thought that a club for fat people was a difficult thing. 'There are loads of people who don't want to admit that they are fat, especially in public. It's easy for Missy Miss because she flaunts it, but it's much harder for others.'

At midnight, the floor show began. Two boys dressed in leather, suspenders, wigs, false eyelashes, collars and leads were dragged on stage by a large woman with a large pair of breasts, shoved skywards. Rearranging her long black hair, she settled down on the stool and began to sing songs reminiscent of Cabaret. As she belted out the 'Mein Herrs' the boys goose-stepped, barked and massaged their buttocks. A leather-clad Aryan, complete with peaked cap, thigh boots and a revolver, marched the length of the stage, firing into the air. The boys whipped off their wigs to reveal an attractive pair of hairnets. As the crowd whooped, they were dragged off stage.

Back came the disc jockeys and the drag queens monopolised the dance floor once more. A few of the less flamboyant women put down their lagers, ventured off the sofas and stood in pairs, gauchely wiggling their hips.

Small groups of men lined the walls, sipping their pints and watching. Some, wearing shiny suits, with dark shirts and pale ties, were obviously waiting to score, others looked as if they had mistaken the club for some fun wine bar.

As the evening wore on, a little snogging and hand holding went on, but most people left with the group they had come with. 'It's great to go out,' puffed Caron, pulling down the sleeves of her spotted frock and slipping on her coat. 'I've had a dance with my mates, the music's great and look at me, I'm sweating. You can't get more positive than that, can you?'