Listen again: 16th December 2014

18 12 2014

pi62fd7b913e406ec5@largeRosie has Green Carnation Prize winner Anneliese Mackintosh on the phone, who is in Manchester and offers us an insight into ‘Any Other Mouth’, her collection of short stories. Anneliese tells us that she originally wrote the stories for herself as she did not expect ‘Any Other Mouth’ to be published. It was a means to deal with the past and the first time that she wrote about herself. After having dealt with a trauma in a ‘painfully honest’ way, she now works on a new book, which focuses on keeping the newly gained balance in life. ‘Any Other Mouth’ is published by Freight Books.

Anne Crump and Isabel Toms-Whittle from the lesbian drama group ‘Not So Lovelies’ share how the group evolved out of their work at the Drill Hall, which is now a venue used by RADA. Having lost their performance space, they decided that they wanted to continue performing lesbian drama. ‘Tales of Love, Lost and Found’ is an evening of storytelling and their first production. They also discuss the lesbian scene in south London and by presenting the show in Croydon, they hope to enrich it. ‘Tales of Love, Lost and Found’ is upstairs at the Spread Eagle in Croydon on 7th February 2015.

Brendan Nash reviews Alan Cumming’s family memoir ‘Not My Father’s Son’. Brendan explains that Alan Cumming’s ‘Not My Father’s Son’ alternates between the year 2010, when Cumming was filming ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, and his childhood memories. Brendan highly recommends reading the book for its fantastic examination of life, but he also enjoyed getting an insight into the production process of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’. He describes Cumming’s tone of writing as subtly camp, very self-depricating, but also funny. He also says that we learn that Cumming is a survivor and that he decided early on in life not to worry about shame. ‘Not My Father’s Son’ is published in the UK by Canongate.

Writers Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper present their latest adult pantomime ‘Treasure Island – The Curse of the Pearl Necklace’. Jon reveals that they started working on the book in May and that they read R. L. Stevenson’s original in preparation for it. They also point out that this year it is actually a LGBT pantomime, in which lesbian, gay, bi and transgender characters are represented. For example, there is a transgender merman, who narrates the story. They are also proud that the show contains self-penned songs. ‘Treasure Island – The Curse of the Pearl Necklace’ runs at Above the Stag until 10th January 2015.

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For rights reasons the music is not on the podcast, but that’s what you could hear on the show:

1) Sheila Simmonds: ‘Sheila Simmonds’ Christmas in D Major’ from the album “Hashtags & Handbags”

2) Lea DeLaria: Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ from the album “Be a Santa”

3) Marlene Dietrich: ‘Candles Glowing’ from the album “Falling in Love Again – The Marlene Dietrich Collection”

4) Miss Hope Springs: ‘By the Fire’ from the album “Now It’s Christmas Time”

Listen again: 9th December 2014

12 12 2014
Comedian Iszi Lawrence

Comedian Iszi Lawrence with her show ‘The Z List Dead List’

Rosie speaks over the phone to playwright and producer Dylan Costello. Dylan is currently running an Indiegogo Campaign to support his play The Glass Protégé. The play is set in 1940s Hollywood and features a romance between two actors and the way it is affected by the Hollywood Studio system. Dylan says that he was inspired to write the play when he was living in Los Angeles a few years ago. The Glass Protégé is produced by Giant Cherry Productions, which focuses on LGBT matters. The play opens in April 2015 at the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park.

Cabaret duo Bourgeois & Maurice has teamed up with Scottee for their ‘Kristmas Karaoke’. Bourgeois & Maurice alias George Heyworth and Liv Morris share how they met Scottee in Soho many years ago and the work they have done with him since. They also reveal that their song ‘Make Life Better’, which they played live in the studio, was written for Scottee’s wedding in October. The duo is in the process of writing a musical and besides their ‘Kristmas Karaoke with Scottee’ at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club on 15th December, they also perform on 18th December at the new venue The Glory with drag artist Jonny Woo and his show ‘Hallelujah with Jonny Woo’.

Rosie discusses the challenging Christmas period with Psychologist Ronete Cohen with regards to coming out, loneliness and break-ups. Ronete advises to be prepared in the sense that it is good to know what can be expected during the season, to have someone to confide in and finding a diversion to steer away from subjects one does not feel comfortable with. Ronete offers more advice via her websites Ronete Cohen Therapy and Rainbow Couch.

Comedian Iszi Lawrence talks about ‘The Z List Dead List’, her comedy show about obscure characters from history. Iszi explains what motivated her to set up ‘The Z List Dead List’, which is not only a comedy show, but also a podcast. She also points out that her bisexual orientation is also addressed in her shows to avoid misconception and ‘disappointment’. Iszi’s next performance of ‘The Z List Dead List’ is on 14th December at the Camden Comedy Club at The Camden Head.

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For rights reasons the music is not on the podcast, but that’s what you could hear on the show:

1) Bourgeois & Maurice: ‘Goodbye Europe’ from the album “The Third”

2) Bourgeois & Maurice: ‘Make Life Better’

3) K Anderson: ‘New Year’

Listen again: 2nd December 2014

8 12 2014
Emlyn Williams' play 'Accolade' at St James Theatre

Emlyn Williams’ play ‘Accolade’ at St James Theatre

Rosie talks to director Tim Luscombe who revived Mordaunt Shairp’s 1933 play ‘The Green Bay Tree’ at the Jermyn Street Theatre. The play tells the story of a young man, Julian, who falls in love with an independent woman, but then decides to go back to his wealthy mentor Mr Dulcimer. Tim remembers when he first came across the play in the 1990s and that he couldn’t find a theatre that was interested in it at the time. He points out that despite the 1930s setting of ‘The Green Bay Tree’, the play is still relevant today as it portrays the battle between ‘romance and finance’. Besides that, relationships between older and younger men still exist today. ‘The Green Bay Tree’ runs at the Jermyn Street Theatre until 21st December.

We hear culture reporter Denholm Spurr in conversation with actor Jay Taylor, who currently stars in ‘Accolade’ at St James Theatre. Written by Emlyn Williams in 1950 ‘Accolade’ describes how successful writer Will Trenting is caught between his private life and the public eye. Denholm finds out from Jay, who plays Will Trenting’s friend Harold, what research he did for the play. As Will’s private life includes some wild parties in London’s East End, Jay discovered through photographs, films and people’s experiences what that specific party scene looked like in the 1950s and early 1960s. He also highlights that William’s play is autobiographical and that the author, as a bisexual, had to change a few elements to make it more acceptable to a 1950s audience. ‘Accolade’ runs at St James Theatre until 13th December.

Jane Traies from Sussex University offers an insight into her research ‘The Life and Experiences of Lesbians over 60 in the UK’, which was taken up by Diva Magazine in November. Jane reveals that the loss of friends and the failure to acknowledge their gay identity at funerals prompted to her to find out more about these women as they seem to have been invisible. She realised through her research that there was a lack of positive role models and representation of lesbians in the first place. In addition, when young, they were often told that their inclination was a ‘phase’. She also discovered, that for some, being a lesbian, was a political decision. She is currently working on a paper on butch-femme-identity, which couldn’t go into her research: She had found out that some, who would now opt for living as trans men, lived as butch lesbians. After that, Jane plans to turn her research into a book to make it more accessible.

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For rights reasons the music is not on the podcast, but that’s what you could hear on the show:

1) Rufus Wainwright: ‘Hallelujah’ from the album “Poses”

2) Caroline Trettine: ‘Statuesque’ from the album “Gay Demo”

3) Andrew M Pisanu: ‘Rufus Wainwright’ from the album “Collecting Diseases”

4) Perfume Genius: ‘All Along’ from the album “Too Bright”

Listen again: 25th November 2014

8 12 2014

The-Long-Weekend-Clare-Lydon-cover-640x1024Rosie  chats to performance artist Caroline Smith about her show ‘Birdwatcher’s Wives’, which explores this past-time and focuses on the character of Rita Grebe, a woman who wants to be a bird herself. Caroline tells us how this project came about and her challenging costume, which is half woman and half bird. She also shares her experiences of being at the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time, where she presented her show this year. ‘Birdwatcher’s Wives’ is part of the SACRED season at Chelsea Theatre and can be seen on 27th November.

Writer Clare Lydon is back and reveals what inspired her to write her new book ‘The Long Weekend’. It is about a group of friends who rent a house in Devon to celebrate 20 years of friendship, and of course, it is not as easy as it seems. Clare‘s own experience of a reunion prompted her to write ‘The Long Weekend’, but she admits that her reunion was much different to the one in the novel. She also has a short story published in the collection of Christmas stories called ‘Unwrap these Presents’. It features a relationship between two women of different generations. On 23rd February Clare will also be part of the Polari Literary Salon at the Southbank Centre.

Culture reporter Alex Goldberg reviews the film ‘The Imitation Game’, which portrays the mathematician Alan Turing, who broke the Enigma Code during the Second World War. Alex was very impressed by the film and particularly enjoyed the scene in which Turing’s future colleague Joan Clarke, a brilliant mathematician herself, comes to take the test to join the team at Bletchley Park in the 1940s. Alex merely criticised that the scenes in the 1950s, which picture Turing’s last years were too short. However, he and Rosie agree that it was good to celebrate Turing’s achievements and triumphs during the war rather than focusing on his struggles with the government in the 1950s caused by his sexuality. ‘The Imitation Game’ with Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley in the lead roles is now on general release.

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For rights reasons the music is not on the podcast, but that’s what you could hear on the show:

1) Patrick Wolf: ‘The Magic Position’ from the album “The Magic Position”

2) The Czars: ‘Drug’ from the album “The Best of The Czars”

3) Annie Keating: ‘Coney Island’ from the album “Make Believing”

4) David Bowie: ‘Sue (or in a Season of Crime)’ from the album “Nothing Has Changed”

Interview with Andrew Hodges

26 11 2014

theenigmaClayton Littlewood talks to Andrew Hodges, author of ‘Alan Turing: The Enigma’. Andrew’s biography forms the basis for ‘The Imitation Game’. The film is not the first portrayal of Alan Turing, the mathematician who broke the Enigma Code during the Second World War and developed the first computers. In 1986 Andrew Hodges’ biography had led to the play ‘Breaking the Code’, which was later made into a film. Both versions starred Derek Jacobi.

The tragedy of Turing’s life was that he was convicted for ‘gross indecency’ in 1952 and two years later he committed suicide.

Andrew, a mathematician himself and LGBT activist, tells us what motivated him to write the book and what experiences he made when doing the research. He and Clayton also discuss the Queen’s posthumous a royal pardon and ‘A Man From the Future’, a piece by the Pet Shop Boys, which is dedicated to Alan Turing and premiered on 23rd July at this year’s Proms. When producing the 45-minute-piece, the Pet Shop Boys also worked with Andrew Hodges and his book. Andrew offers an insight into Turing’s personality and the complicated factors that led to Turing’s death in 1954. He also recalls his time with the Gay Liberation Front in the 1970s.

Andrew’s 1983 biography ‘Alan Turing: The Enigma’ has just been published in a new edition in the wake of the release of ‘The Imitation Game’.

Click here to listen to the full interview

Listen again: 18th November 2014

22 11 2014
'Sheila Simmonds: Christmas Cracker' at Leicester Square Theatre

‘Sheila Simmonds: Christmas Cracker’ at Leicester Square Theatre

Baylen Leonard sits in for Rosie and chats to Supreme Fabulettes star Sheila Simmonds. Sheila presents her solo show ‘Sheila Simmonds: Christmas Cracker’, which includes original songs. She describes that the show is ‘how it would be if Sheila invited you to her house for Christmas’. In the show she interacts with the audience and has special guests. Hailing from Australia, she remembers her first Christmas in the UK in 1970s and reveals that she moved here four years ago because of its vibrant cabaret scene. ‘Sheila Simmonds: Christmas Cracker’ runs from 1st December to 3rd January at Leicester Square Theatre.

We hear Clayton Littlewood in conversation with Andrew Hodges, author of ‘Alan Turing: The Enigma’ and LGBT activist. Andrew’s 1983 biography led to portrayals of Alan Turing’s life on stage and screen: In the 1980s ‘Breaking the Code’ with Derek Jacobi as Alan Turing and most recently ‘The Imitation Game’ with Benedict Cumberbatch. Andrew tells us what prompted him to write Alan Turing’s biography and reveals what kind of man Turing was, who is best known for breaking the Enigma code during the Second World War. He also shares that in the wake of ‘The Imitation Game’, his book ‘Alan Turing: The Enigma’ has just been republished in a new edition. (That day’s show only aired an extract of Clayton’s interview with Andrew Hodges, the whole interview will be available on a separate post.)

Singer Alexander Geist is back in town and talks about his new single ‘When You’re Not on Drugs’, which is due out in February. Alexander explains that, despite the perhaps misleading title, the song is about love. He says that his performances are inspired by late 1970s rock theatre and that he very much appreciates David Hoyles‘ work, with whom he has worked before and on whose show ‘Illustration’ at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern he is a guest on 20th November. At the moment Alex is also busy preparing a world tour for 2015.

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For rights reasons the music is not on the podcast, but that’s what you could hear on the show:

1) Sheila Simmonds: ‘Sheila Simmonds’ Christmas in D Major’ from the album “Hashtags & Handbags”

2) Pet Shop Boys: ‘Odd Man Out’ B-side from the single “Thursday”

3) Alexander Geist: ‘A Woman’s Right to Choose’

4) Fascinating Aida: ‘Prisoner of Gender’ from the album “Charm Offensive”

Listen again: 11th November 2014

15 11 2014

logoRosie has LGBT activist Sue Sanders on the phone to offer us details about the pre-launch of the LGBT History Month, which, in 2015, is dedicated to coded lives. Sue presents Anne Lister, Hugh Paddick, Kenneth Williams, Frida Kahlo and Chevalier d’Eon as those who are featured during the next LGBT History Month. She tells us in which way ‘coded’ is defined and that one focus, among others, will be on Polari as a language. The launch takes place on 18th November at The Museum of The Order of St John in Clerkenwell.

Rosie chats to performance poet Anny Knight who specialises in gigs for mostly women’s and lesbian audiences. Anny’s work is described with: Despite her sad and tragic tales of a lost and lonely lesbian looking for love, there is comedy involved. She remembers how she started in the 1990s and performed for the lesbian group Kenric. Anny also recalls other gigs and reads two poems for us: ‘Disco Dyke Enigmas’ and ‘Green Eyes’. With her narrative poems, Anny is part of the Story Sessions on 19th November at the Café of Good Hope in Hither Greene.

Director Chris Goode talks about his projects ‘Longwave’, a comedy without dialogue, and ‘Men in the Cities’, which he presented at Edinburgh this year. Chris reveals that ‘Longwave’ had been produced already in 2006 and that it was quite a challenge to revive it as there was no script or recording of it. It was reconstructed from the memories the team had. He also tells us how ‘Men in the Cities’ came about, which follows different men and takes on serious matters such as suicide. During his research for the project he found out how difficult it is for men to say things, acknowledge or cope with problems. For him it is important to engage the audience and not to shy away from issues that are perhaps uncomfortable for some.

Click here to listen again

For rights reasons the music is not on the podcast, but that’s what you could hear on the show:

1) Annie Keating: ‘Coney Island’ from the album “Make Believing”

2) Caroline Trettine: ‘Statuesque’ from the album “Gay Demo”

3) Rufus Wainwright: ‘Going to a Town’ from the album “The Best of Rufus Wainwright – Vibrate”

4) Erasure: ‘Reason’ from the album “The Violet Flame”


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