Listen again: 21st October 2014

22 10 2014

The Paying GuestsRosie welcomes Catherine Hall, author of ‘The Repercussions’. It tells the story of Jo, a war photographer, who comes to terms with her past when discovering her great-aunt’s diary. Catherine explains that the inspiration for ‘The Repercussions‘ came from an exhibition at the Brighton Pavilion. It showed images of the First World War, when the Pavilion was used as a hospital. Catherine’s experience in Rwanda when she was working for peace building organisations also fed into the book. ‘The Repercussions’ is published by Alma Books.

Writer Sarah Waters offers us an insight into her latest novel ‘The Paying Guests’. Set in 1920s London, it portrays the impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, who are obliged to take in lodgers. Sarah talks about the research process for ‘The Paying Guests‘, which included reading books about the period and looking at newspapers and maps of the time. She also shares that it was a very ‘hard’, but ‘satisfying’ book to write. Rosie and Sarah also briefly discuss Sarah’s PhD thesis ‘Wolfskins and Togas: lesbian and gay historical fictions, 1870 to the present’. ‘The Paying Guests’ is published by Virago.

This year’s Polari First Book Prize winner Diriye Osman presents his collection of stories called ‘Fairytales for Lost Children’. The book features young, gay and lesbian Somalis who face the complexities of family, identity and the immigrant experience on their way to personal freedom. Diriye reveals that ‘Fairytales for Lost Children‘ was written at a time when he came to terms with his sexuality and embraced it. He recalls falling in love in Peckham, where he has lived for many years. He also describes his affection for the district and particularly its library. The author reads a poignant extract from the book that sums up what the book is about and has been cited by many readers. It starts with “Home is…”. ‘Fairytales for Lost Children’ is published by Team Angelica.

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

2) Neneh Cherry: ‘Spit Three Times’ from the album “Blank Project”

3) Rae Spoon: ‘Danger Danger Danger’ from the album “Love Is a Hunter”

4) Wallis Bird: ‘I Can Be Your Man’ from the album “Architecture”

 





‘Outings’ – Review

18 10 2014

27.-Outings-300x400

‘Outings’ was devised by Matthew Baldwin and Thomas Hescott and directed by David Grindley.

Theatre reporter Denholm Spurr saw ‘Outings’ at St James Theatre on 16th October, 2014 and shares his thoughts with us:

Outings, which transferred for two days to London’s St James Theatre after a successful run in Edinburgh, stages the real-life coming out stories of the LGBT community. Featuring four stand-up comics and a fifth special guest comedy star, scripts in hand and sat on stools along the shallow studio stage, the format is much like a comedy sketch-show like ‘Who’s Line Is It Anyway’?

We open with possibly the biggest, bravest (and to the gay community very welcome) verbatim outing, a recording of Tom Daley’s YouTube video released last year. We are immediately thrust into the present where the next major challenge is moving to a time when coming out is no longer a thing; boy, girl, whatever the conversation becomes: “Mum, I think I’m in love.”…. “that’s nice, Dear”.

What ‘Outings’ does successfully is take us through the history of LGBT acceptance, from the Wolfenden report right through to Rainbow laces for footballers. The comics recount the coming out tales with delicacy and honesty, particularly Zoe Lyons who’s story by a lonely wife gathering dust in her husbands “cupboard” was perhaps the most touching moment in the play.

It’s a shame this play follows in the footsteps of other plays that present issues of the gay community and also lacks a great deal of the B in LGBT; perhaps because coming out as Bisexual is still not a socially recognised or accepted thing but that very struggle was unfortunately unexplored. Otherwise Outings presents a very well balanced cross section of individuals and demographics.

I also question the casting of stand-up comics rather than actors, which to me betrayed a bums-on-seats commercialism; borne out of the struggle for audience numbers in Edinburgh perhaps. The performers made excellent work of the lighter moments, especially a hilarious re-enactment of an gay man disappointed by his mother’s unsurprised reaction to his big announcement,  but on the whole this was not a funny script and casting “actors” may have given the serious tones more variety.

Needless to say this is an thoroughly entertaining evening; a sharing of an important collection of stories from a minority group which has, in this country at least, come a long way along the road to acceptance in the last 50 years.

More about Denholm @DenholmSpurr.





Listen again: 14th October 2014

16 10 2014
Mark Farrelly playing Quentin Crisp

Mark Farrelly playing Quentin Crisp

Rosie speaks to filmmaker Veronica McKenzie who talks about her latest project ‘Finding Home’. Veronica  explains that she was asked by the Southwark LGBT Network to make a documentary about LGBT refugees and their experience in the UK. She decided to focus on five refugees in order to be able to follow their story in-depth. They come from different countries such as Spain, Hungary and Uganda. Veronica is also working on the feature-length documentary Under Your Nose about a community centre for black lesbians and gay men in London. She is also developing a film about Claudette Robinson, the first female singer signed to Motown. More about Veronica’s work can be seen at reelbritproductions.com. The screening Finding Home is on 31st October at the Southbank University.

Actor Mark Farrelly gives us an insight into his solo show ‘Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope’, which he has written and performed in. Mark remembers how struck he was by Quentin Crisp’s biography and points out that he took a philosophical approach when presenting Quentin, that is exploring his different sides. Mark says, Quentin’s main message was to be true to oneself. When devising the piece and portraying Quentin, Mark also lets a little bit of himself filter through it. Besides ‘Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope’, Mark wrote ‘The Silence of Snow’, a one-man show about author Patrick Hamilton. Mark currently works on a play about actor Frankie Howerd and on another play on the theme of therapy. After a successful run in Edinburgh and at the St James Theatre, Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope can be seen again at Greenwich Theatre on 23rd October 2014.

Rosie chats to artist Lisa Gornick who presents her Live Drawing Shows. Lisa describes these shows as ‘an intimate comedy storytelling show with live drawing, stories and revelations along the way’. The work is inspired by her grandmother and her family history. Lisa is also a filmmaker and her film ‘The Book of Gabrielle’ is nearly finished. Her Live Drawing Shows take place in October at two venues, one is The Rose and Crown in Kentish Town, the other The Betsey Trotwood in Clerkenwell.

Lisa also reviews ‘Lilting’, which is out on DVD. Lilting stars Ben Wishaw and tells of a Cambodian-Chinese mother who not only has to deal with her son’s death but also with getting to know his partner. Lisa very much enjoyed the film because it is ‘kind, mindful and deep’ but also because it deals with grief and love. She also appreciates it for its beautiful cinematography and the long shots, which allow the actors to develop their scenes like in theatre.

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) David Bowie: ‘Rebel, Rebel’ from the album “Diamond Dogs”

2) Clayton Littlewood reading an extract about Quentin Crisp from his book: “Goodby to Soho” (on the podcast)

3) Kate Tempest: ‘The Beigeness’

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





Listen again: 7th October 2014

9 10 2014

Next+Fall+posterRosie speaks to actor Charlie Condou who currently stars in ‘Next Fall’, Geoffrey Nauffts’ play that depicts a gay couple in contemporary New York. Charlie tells us how he got involved in the play and in which way it resonates with him. He says, he had his ‘fair share’ of relationship problems himself regarding the problems the couple in the play face, which include coming out, loss, faith and religion. He also shares that he doesn’t mind being ‘type-cast’ as a gay actor after having played the character of Marcus Dent in the TV series ‘Coronation Street’ for many years. He points out that, when offered a part, the character itself is more important than its sexuality. He points out that in the case of ‘Next Fall’, it doesn’t feel like a gay play as it addresses more ‘universal’ matters. He also explains how his Guardian column ‘The Three of Us‘ about gay parenting came about. ‘Next Fall’ runs at Southwark Playhouse until 25th October.

Writer Clayton Littlewood reviews ‘Single Spies’ at the Rose Theatre in Kingston. It’s a double bill consisting of Alan Bennett’s ‘An Englishman Abroad’ and ‘A Question of Attribution’, which revolves around the Cambridge Spies Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt. Clayton provides background information on the featured persons, including actress Coral Browne, and describes a scene with the Queen in ‘A Question of Attribution’, which stood out to him. He very much enjoyed Bennett’s clever dialogue and the strong performances by Alexander Hanson playing Guy Burgess, Michael Pennington playing Anthony Blunt and Helen Schlesinger playing Coral Browne as well as the Queen. However, Clayton found that the portrayal of the spies was lacking a gay sensibility. To someone, who didn’t know much about Burgess and Blunt, their sexuality would not have been clear from these performances. This is very much in contrast to James Fox’s portrayal of Anthony Blunt in the 1992 film version of ‘A Question of Attribution’. Apart from that, Clayton highly recommends the production of ‘Single Spies’, which can be seen at the Rose Theatre in Kingston until 11th October.

Clayton also presents a brief introduction to Nicholas de Jongh’s new play ‘The Unquiet Grave of Garcia Lorca’, which reveals the relationship Spanish playwright Garcia Lorca had to a younger man. It is at the Drayton Arms in South Kensington until 25th October.

Clayton himself anticipates the publication of a collection of his short stories as an ebook.

Sculptural artist Andrew Logan speaks about his 13th ‘Alternative Miss World’, a competition, which, this year, has the theme ‘Neon Numbers’. Andrew explains where the inspiration for the theme came from and what past events were like. The first competition took place in 1972 and on one occasion in the 1970s he even had to turn away David Bowie as the event was full. The competition includes day wear, swim wear and evening wear as well as a personality interview. The Alternative Miss World does not focus on beauty, but on transformation in a world where creativity, equality and the unique are celebrated. Andrew regards the competition as a surreal art event around family enterainment. The event coincides with the relocation of his London studio and an upcoming exhibition at Southwark Cathedral. ‘Alternative Miss World’ takes place on 18th October at Shakespeare’s Globe.

 

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) Marques Toliver: ‘Control’ from the album “Land of CanAan”

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

3) Jack Buchanan: ‘Who (Stole My Heart Away) from the album “Everything Stops For Tea”

4) O’Hooley & Tidow: ‘The Hum’ from the album “The Hum”

5) Marlene Dietrich: ‘Symphonie’ from the album “The Marlene Dietrich Collection”





Listen again: 30th September 2014

9 10 2014
Author Kelly Cogswell Photo: Uzi Parnes

Author Kelly Cogswell
Photo: Uzi Parnes

Rosie chats to poetry slam performer Anna Kahn. Anna explains that she suffered from insomnia while at school and only later when she started working in a supermarket, she started to write. The physical work at the supermarket left her brain unchallenged and she turned her thoughts into poetry. At the same time she also started to perform. She also recalls a performance at a loading bay at the Royal Albert Hall. Anna presents a poem in the studio, which was written for a festival about the Earth. Anna takes part in the poetry event Queer’Say at the Canada Water Culture Space on 2nd October.

Filmmaker Nathan Evans presents a selection of his short films under the title ‘Flash Forward’. They serve as a fundraiser for his first feature ‘The Grey Liberation Front’ to star Simon Callow and Nina Wadia. Nathan tells us about the films he has made since 1993. They include ‘The Significant Death of Quentin Crisp’ and ‘Rock’n’Roll Suicide’, which was inspired by David Bowie’s song of the same name. He has also worked with performance artist David Hoyle. For his feature he is raising money via Indiegogo. The screening of ‘Flash Forward’ takes place at Hackney Picturehouse on Sunday 12th October 2014.

American author Kelly Cogswell  introduces her book ‘Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger’. Kelly has been involved with the Lesbian Avengers since 1992 to bring attention to lesbian issues. She remembers the beginnings of the campaign and describes an event that let to the title of the book, ‘Eating Fire’. Kelly is also co-founder and co-editor of The Gully online magazine.

Actress Sophie Ward gives an insight into the play ‘Flowers of the Forest’ and her role Naomi, who lost the love of her life as a young woman during the First World War. Sophie talks about how she relates to the character and her work as an actress. She reveals that she gets very close to the characters she plays, which is not always easy for the people around her. Since she was recently nominated for the European Diversity Award in the category Inspirational Role Model of the Year, she and Rosie also discuss what it means to come out in the media industry and her experience as a gay parent. ‘Flowers of the Forest’ runs at the Jermyn Street Theatre until 18th October.

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) Rae Spoon: ‘Love Is a Hunter’ from the album “Love Is a Hunter”

2) David Bowie: ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ from the album “Lodger”

3) The Irrepressibles: ‘Ship’ from the album “Nude” (Landscape)

4) Frankie Trumbauer and his Orchestra: ‘Blue Moon’ from the album “Top Hits of the 1930s Vol. 1”

5) The Supreme Fabulettes: ‘One Night Only’





Listen again: 23rd September 2014

28 09 2014

SW94CoverGracey Morgan, member of the Southwark Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans Network, speaks about the Bi-Visibility Day and a panel discussion on 25th September at Southwark Council that brings together leading bisexual activists, writers, thinkers and community members. Gracey explains that her involvement is a result of having set up the Facebook Group ‘Promoting Inclusive Attitudes Towards Bisexuals’. On the panel are also writer and poet Jacqueline Applebee who’s writing explores age, sexual orientation, disability and ethnicity and Helen Bowes-Catton and Dr Caroline Walter who are both involved with BiUK, the national organisation for bisexual research and activism. The panel is chaired by Charlotte ‘Lottie’ Dingle, Founder and Editor of Biscuit, the online magazine for bi-women. Charlotte tells us what motivated her to create this magazine six months ago and what her plans are for the future.

Writer Paul Burston offers us details about Polari’s national tour this autumn. London’s LGBT literary salon host events in Brighton, Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester, where it features established and emerging LGBT writers and holds workshops. Paul points out that he was delighted to have been invited, for the first time, to a book festival, which was not a dedicated LGBT festival. The concept behind the Polari tour is that it is a combination of authors such as VG Lee who travel with Paul through the country and local ones from Brighton or Manchester, for example. Paul also recalls how the Polari Literary Salon started seven years ago at the Green Carnation as an interval entertainment between some DJ work.

American author Joan Nestle presents the latest edition of Sinister Wisdom, a multicultural lesbian literary & art journal. This special edition discusses the subject of lesbians and exiles. Joan has a very political approach and highlights that it is often a question of people who don’t fit into normalisation, may it be people from the LGBT community, Jews or people from another background. She also describes what life was like in 1970s New York, when Sinister Wisdom was founded and she co-founded the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn. She says, the butch-femme identity was the norm at that time in a community that was policed.

Rosie, Paul and Joan also discuss the film Pride, which revolves around the support the LGBT community offered the miners during their strike in 1980s Wales.

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) Bronski Beat: ‘Smalltown Boy’ from the album “The Age of Consent”

2) The Irrepressibles: ‘Ship’ from the album “Nude” (Landscape)

3) Amanda Rheaume : ‘The Strongest Heart’ from the album “Keep a Fire”

4) Christopher Owens: ‘Nothing More Than Everything to Me’ from the album “A New Testament”

 

 





Listen again: 16th September 2014

24 09 2014

CK Scott Moncrieff Rosie welcomes culture reporter Laura Macdougall who reviews the play ‘Breeders’, in which a lesbian couple tries to have a baby. Laura thought that the use of comedy to explore this difficult, complicated and emotional issue was good as it avoided the sense of ‘being lectured’. However, the downside was that some ideas, such as the one of collective parenting, were not explored enough. In the play, the key point is that the child should also be a biological part of the family and the brother is asked to provide the sperm. His girl friend is skeptical about the whole affair. Laura found her character particularly interesting and recommends the play. ‘Breeders’ runs at St James Theatre until 4th October 2014.

Author Julie Bindel talks about her book ‘Straight Expectations’, in which she traces the developments in the gay community in the last forty years and asks if actual progress has been achieved. Julie explains where the idea for ‘Straight Expectations’ came from and points out that society should change in a way that would allow people be themselves rather than the homosexual community trying to conform to heterosexual norms such as weddings. She considers, for example, the community being ‘straighten up’ by marriage.

We hear from Jean Findlay who wrote a biography about C. K. Scott Moncrieff called ‘Chasing Lost Time: The Life of C. K. Scott Moncrieff: Soldier, Spy and Translator’. He is best known for his translation of Marcel Proust’s ‘À la recherche du temps perdu’. Out In South London producer Sabine Schereck spoke to Jean about her great-great-uncle’s adventurous life. During her research, she discovered that he was not only a soldier in the First World War, but also a spy in 1920s Italy and a poet. She describes in which way his homosexual sensibility was of advantage to him when translating Proust – considering Proust himself was gay – and later as a spy. Scott Moncrieff was also a prolific writer of letters and having unearthed the exchange of letters between him and Vyvyan Holland, Oscar Wilde’s son, offered a new insight in his life. ‘Chasing Lost Time’ is published by Chatto & Windus.

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) Rufus Wainwright: ‘Tiergarten’ from the album “The Best of Rufus Wainwright – Vibrate”

2) Ani DiFranco: ‘Mariachi’ from the album “Which Side Are You On?”

3) Noel Coward ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’ from the album “Mad Dogs and Englishmen”








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