29.9.14



Goodbye Sydney, Hello Melbourne

My final day in Sydney was epic! It was my birthday weekend so Kelli Jean took me to Coogee beach to eat kangaroo... and it was amazing.



That evening we checked out The Bearded Tit - a cocktail bar / performance space with a caravan in the garden 'for intimate gatherings'. This space really personifies Sydney - all encompassing, community minded, open space for booze, free love and performance.

It's worth knowing that Australia is currently fighting against the government's lock down laws. These enforce restrictions on when and what alcohol you can buy and more strangely the registry of everyones I.D. on government computers when they enter licensed venues  (and re-enter after a fag) in certain neighbourhoods. I wonder if this will effect the performance and cabaret scene here? Control seems to be the word of the moment.

This isn't just about making sure people don't get too drunk. The government seems to be extremely paranoid that the world is going to eat it. Central station in Sydney is on a higher state of alert so you need a passport to get in, a man walked through automatic doors in the wrong direction in Sydney airport so the terminal was shut down and yesterday a politician during a TV interview actually said "...we're worried that foreigners are going to take our jobs" - these feelings are not shared by any of the people I've come into contact with.

I really enjoyed my time in Sydney - everyone I've met so far is really warm, welcoming and I've made even more friends on the other side of the world!

After missing my flight and scoffing a sulky sausage roll my hangover was cured and it was time to say hello to Melbourne! I arrived at my antipodean home Theatre Works to drop off some equipment and get ready for The Worst of Scottee's return to Melbourne.

I am doing a four performances whilst I'm here as part of Melbourne Fringe (you can book tickets here) so this morning I did a line run on the beach - if any of you have seen this show you'll realise that the gorgeous back drop of St Kilda beach is a strange one considering it's content.  The last run was so well received I'm anxious about bringing it back. This week I have interviews with a few radio stations, some key Melbourne venues and some performers - perhaps they'll settle my nervous.



Last night Daniel Clarke (AD of Theatre Works) and I downed 13 glasses of champagne to see in my 29th year on the planet and talk about our plans for next year. Today I'm regretting the 13th glass but really excited about what the future holds here. Theatre Works and Daniel are really championing both Bryony Kimmings and I - their support is proving invaluable in getting audiences to see us, opening doors and making sure the right people are on board. 




Today I'll be mainly sitting in Theatre Works whilst people play with the lights - hard life this theatre malarky. Melbourne... do your worst.

Things I've noticed today: 

1. Melbourne is the cultural capital of Australia - there's a lot more spaces, festival and opportunity here but Sydney shouldn't be written off - they both have bite.

2. There is a lot of plastic on the beach and I feel angry about it. 

What Next? There's lots to do and I don't know where to start. I'm thinking a lot about how exciting next year will be - New work in NYC and London, Camp and Fraff tour UK, gigs in Tokyo, returning to LA, and more of everything in Australia!  




26.9.14


Sydney is a tough nut to crack! I've been here three days and again feel like I don't want to leave. Since my last blog I performed at Voguey Bear at Tokyo Sing Song in Newtown - if you're if planning a trip to Sydney and want to meet some gorgeous folk then head to Voguey Bear. It's a sort of queer, performance, laid back social with cocktails fronted by the Stereogamous boys. 
When I was last in town the boys made sure I was fed and watered and enjoyed my first experience of Oz - this time was no different with pre-show dinner and 'french champagne' at Matt Format's home.
Since then I've been in every Uber and on every train this city has to offer. I've been meeting makers, producers and curators to sell my wears and start conversations. 
From meeting with artists Zoe Coombs Marr and Phil Spencer, producers Virginia Hymn and Rosie Fisher I've been creating a better idea of the cultural climate in Sydney (which I think is a really important thing to do before trying to get stuff off the ground anywhere that isn't home). What's quickly becoming evident is that Australia loves international work, often elevating its above home-grown work but the platforms to present work are few and far between - making Sydney a beautiful, welcoming community that's extremely competitive. 
Funding is difficult to come by, space to present in is expensive and audiences won't cross into other neighbourhoods that don't have parking or a train line! I'm currently firming up a tour in February and March 2015, it's becoming apparent a creative approach to funding it is needed - part commercial, part subsidised, part educated risk and then getting everyone to contribute to the air fare - flight sharing is big here! 

I suggest any performer or artist arriving in Sydney reach out to Carriage Works (via the extremely wonderful Rosie Fisher). An amazing space not too far from the centre of Sydney it's a sort of mix between the Tate, Battersea Arts Centre and Summer Hall. A multiplex of spaces for shows, installations and film in a series of converted train sheds - it's glorious and their programme is really exciting. Tip: pop down to their cafe, it's cheap (for Sydney), some of the art is free and you're likely to bump into someone like Richard DeDomenici or Kelli Jean Drinkwater. 
After a few more cabs and carriage rides I made my way over to the British Council. Now, I didn't really know what the British Council did (apart from help fund this trip) but the answer I think is really useful for any British or Australian artists wishing to make work or tour in each others country. British Council Australia can facilitate you meeting the right people, be signposted to the right organisations and put you in direct contact with key players. Effectively they are pro-active advocates of culture and cultural exchange and the girls in the Sydney office are uber helpful! I recorded a podcast with them about my hopes for building an audience here - I'll let you know when it's up. (Check out the picture of their toilet sign!)

As someone who makes socially engaged work I can't help but find the stuff that is less attractive about a place. I've been having lots of uncomfortable conversations with people about Australia and racism. I'm currently dreaming up an idea for a production with Roundhouse on the same topic and feel increasingly it could be an extremely important piece to develop here too. 
Things I've noticed today:
1. Lots of women work in construction! On the face of it this is wonderful but look closer and these young women only hold the stop and go sign and often wear a pink polo as opposed to the men's yellow and navy ones.
2. People stand on the left on the escalator. 
What next? Get packed for Melbourne. Thank the people who've given me their time. Have more uncomfortable conversations 

25.9.14


Why isn't your show in Sydney?

Early this year I visited Australia for the first time. During my season in Melbourne with Theatre Works I received lots of good reviews. My Ozzie producer (the wonderful Daniel Clarke) and I thought we should build on this success and develop more of my work here. 

As soon as I got back I applied for a grant called Arts Council International Development Fund (AIDF) run by Arts Council England (ACE) and British Council. AIDF's aim is to support English artists in getting their work further afield, developing new territories, encouraging us to meet other show offs, producers and venues that could support work in the future - isn't it brilliant they do this?! 

I was successful in my application to ACE so over the next three weeks I am in Australia making work, meeting artists, showing work and starting conversations with venues and makers ...but everyone I meet can't seem to grasp why I don't have a run in the towns I'm visiting - my answer is as useful as Facebook relationship status 'it's complicated'. 

People imagine booking a show is as easy as just asking. Unfortunately it's a lot of coffee, ground work, red tape and visas not to mention the fact you need to find those willing to take a punt on you. Getting your work to new audiences means you're effectively starting over with a new crowd of people you need to impress before they write you off as foreign muck. Then being able to fund it is the next hurdle.

Over the next four days I'm in Sydney working towards getting projects like Camp, The Worst of Scottee and new work, specifically for Australian audiences off the ground. Today I started my mammoth adventure to see if any of it's possible.

I'm excited to be here and want to make work here - why? OK the obvious stuff about the weather, food and beaches helps but during my last trip I really did find a queer family / identity in Oz not to mention to keen-ness for my work to exist here.

While I'm here I'm meeting some key makers who I think are the best thing since sliced bread. I want them to be a mini cultural exchange so I've aptly titled them 'Tim Tam and Tea'. 


Today I met my first art crush - Kelli Jean Drinkwater. Those of you who are old enough to remember my club night Anti-Social will know Kelli Jean as our infamous 'Fat Grace' poster girl. 

Kelli Jean is a brilliant artist, film maker and director. She's fat and makes work about it... can't see why we get along?!

Over looking the harbour we spoke about where both of our countries are at - we painted a bleak picture of less public funding but that creating more excuses to make work. We also chatted about our love for the Sydney queer family (namely the Glitter Militia) and the need to make something together.

Through osmosis Kelli Jean and I are making shows, at the same time, on opposite sides of the world with similar themes without realising it. We're exploring the world of fat politics through contemporary dance! Kelli Jean's production debuts at the Sydney Festival in 2015 (info here), mine opens in the UK in September 2016 (you can see R&D here).

Our government subsidised tea session was a success, we're going to collaborate on a project in late 2015 and I'll be performing alongside her collective during Mardi Gras in Sydney - this AIDF malarky is really working!


Tonight I'm off to do a few small turns of the dance floor at Voguey Bear - a weekly performance art piss up. On paper we're calling it audience development, in real life it's a chance spread some love and sew some seeds.

Things I've noticed today: 

1. Working class people are easily identified in Australia as everyone who works in service industry or construction has to wear a yellow and navy polo top - I'm intrigued by this idea of 'working class uniform' and what it means. Perhaps I will have a sequin version made to make the middle classes aspire to dressing like us, the working class thus creating a statement about cultural appropriation - DEEP! 

2. There are a lot of VIP bars in Sydney - does this mean there are lots of very important people or does it mean everyone is equally important therefor making the VIP redundant?

What next? Sort out new work. Great ready for tomorrow. Be excited for the year ahead.

21.9.14

The UK YouTube Elite

YouTube is the home of cat videos and other procrastinating virals but would you be surprised to hear it has its own cast of celebrity?

Many of you will have no idea who Zalfie is or who starts all their videos with 'Hello Best Friends' but the YouTube elite are some of the most famous torsos in the UK (and they're making a mint doing it).

Why don't you know who they are? their fans are aged between 14-24yrs old making you/us old and extremely uncool.

Here's a quick and complicated guide to whose who...



Zalfie - The King and Queen
Alfie aka PointlessBlog and Zoe Sugg aka Zoella are undoubtedly UK YouTube biggest names. They share 14 million subscribers across 5 channels and are of course a couple. Both have daily vlogs that consist of them selfie-ing their entire day. They live in Brighton in a rented flat that costs almost £3k pcm (so my friend, their neighbour tells me). Alfie has just released his first book whilst Zoe's book is out later this year, quickly followed by her cosmetic range and Simple Skincare sponsorship - BOOM! Zoe makes videos about skin care, feeding guinea pigs and her anxiety. Alfie makes videos based on YouTube tags (Cinnamon challenge, Chubby Bunny etc.) and gaming.



Marcus Butler & Naomi Smart - The Perfect Couple
Marcus is an established name on YouTube, like Alfie he makes tag videos for his 3 million viewers and has built his audience through collaborations with other YouTube names. He lives with his girlfriend Naomi who since meeting Marcus quickly seized the opportunity to have a slice of the YouTube pie. She's newer to the game with only 780,000 subscribers and she's a bit dead behind the eyes. Marcus and Naomi are blond, thin, have smelly candles, shop at Waitrose and work out with each other - its a little sickening. They live up the road from Zalfie, you can often watch the four of them daily vlog at the same time in the same room - meta.

Jim and Tanya - The Less Perfect Couple
Jim plays the role of YouTubes camp straight man and opens all his videos with 'Hello Best Friends'. Tanya his soon to be wife is bessies with Zoella and often pops up in her daily vlogs, Tanya also has anxiety - who knew?! I prefer Janya over Maomi because they are less perfect and probably shop at Sainsburys.

Louis - The Adventurer 
Fun for Louis is a perfect cliché of white people breaking the rules - he has dreds, probably smokes the green stuff and travels the world trying to find himself and others. His videos however are fun - he wonders the planet trying weird things for the amusement of his viewers. On the surface Louis looks less worried about the commerce of YouTube but dig deeper and you'll find he's just as monitised as the rest and a good business man!


Louise aka SprinkleOfGlitter - The Mum
'Hello Ha Sprinklerinos!' Louise is plain speaking, silly and a Mum. Her videos are about her daughter Darcy, her love of make up and hauls. If you've never seen a haul video before its where the presenter shows you the contents of their shopping bag - its weird. Louise is my favourite YouTuber - she plays the game but never willing to comprise her privacy or politic. She's often left out from the clique but she's the up and coming Oprah of the gang.



Dan and Phil - The Geeks
If you'll know any of these names its likely to be Dan and Phil. They've had the most commercial success with a weekly Radio 1 show. They make videos together and separately and are following the current trend of BoyTubers by setting up a gaming channel. Dan and Phil's brand is based on them being socially awkward, a bit weird and slightly derogatory towards anyone they ever meet - I've met them so can back up this claim.


Casper and Joe - The Lads
Casper is a South African YouTuber whose content is far more risqué that most - he's done Q&A's with pornstars and DJ'd at Bestival. He lives in London with Joe aka ThatcherJoe whose also Zoellas brother and Alfies brother in law - are you keeping up? Casper and Joe are YouTubes lads - their videos are prank-ish, silly, boy stuff but I like them. Casper isn't as an astute as Joe (although he is learning!) when it comes to comic timing or presenting but together they make a nice double act.

Jacks Gap - The Power Twins
Jack and Finn are twins and until recently they sat above Zalfie in the ratings but it seems that they want more than a legacy of Chubby Bunny videos. After a summer of no uploads JacksGap returned with a message of change. Since then they've gone a bit arty and made some cliched indy flicks. They are currently making a series of documentaries for Skype. Interestingly JacksGaps parents are BAFTA award winning producers and writers.



Sam Pepper - The Dick
If you watched Big Brother before it went shit / went to Channel 5 you might remember the series that followed the 'Jayde Goody the Bully' in which Channel 4 let 12 under 25's into the house - Sam Pepper was one of these 25 young hopefuls. Sam quickly ran away to LA and set up his YouTube audience. Sam hires gangs of men to kidnap his friends or enter their apartment with baseball bats. Sam is a dick.
Today #ReportSamPepper is trending after he posted a film of him pinching girls bums. 

Ben, Steve and other minor characters
Former athletes, celebrity stylists, sisters of the YouTube elite, the woman that looks after the elite - there's an audience for everyone and money to be made! 

Confession: I'm slightly obsessed with their lives. I'm interested to know what self promoted fame worth at 0.3p per play does to someone. I'm intrigued that they've made their own reality TV soap operas from the slightly mundane lives they lead, manufactured relationships, dropped out of education and curated their lifestyles for the internet.

I also think its strange they are all a big clique of real life friends - straight, white, middle class people who live in the south east. 

Does the elites fame echo what England is actually like - who knows?! What I can tell you is that I spend one hour a day catching up on their lives and I think this is going to affect the work I'm going to make. I'm critical of it and sucked in at the same time.

If you like a bit of bite in your procrastination here are a bunch of YouTubers I think you should be paying attention to...

1000 Londoners - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-nqdhxQneIrElN9WRmd5_g
The Orphans - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmpA12VldRgqj2H7TaGIOSw
Charlie Hides TV - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeVj9kbm3NxKq5MGsHNtaoQ
Paul Kindersley - https://www.youtube.com/user/thebritisharecumming
Jayde Adams - https://www.youtube.com/user/jaydeadams
Mr Heavyhand - https://www.youtube.com/user/heavyhandedvlogs

My Channel - https://www.youtube.com/user/scotteescottee

18.9.14

(Not) Lyn Gardners Theatre Picks

I haven't done one of these for some time folks - SORRY! I like doing them but I've been caught up being popular. Awkward.

If you are new to this blog - HIYA! This is my irregular list of things in the next coming months I think you could pay attention too...

The Boy Who Climbed Out of His Face
Shunt shows are always full of mystery, fear and that panic you might be asked to do something. This show is no different - awkward and with the added fear you might fall in the Thames.
http://www.shunt.co.uk

Anna Nicole The Opera
Every time the Arts Council make their decisions on who should get what funding the Royal Opera House get slagged off BUT with seats at £5 for operas with 100+ cast I tend to think they sing for their supper. Anna Nicole's the 4th production I've seen at the ROH this year and by far the best. Imagine a disco ball, above a 50ft mattress with a fat girl signing "I'm gonna rape the American Dream" and you are close to how epic this genius production is. Laste few dates so RUN! 
http://www.roh.org.uk

Dead Boys
James Unsworth's show finishes at Ditto Gallery next weekend. It's full of pictures of monsters, decapitated heads, shits and cartoon characters having it off with each other. The show is to celebrate the launch of his second book (his first has been banned by Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles - FOR REAL!).
http://www.dittopress.co.uk

Chewing the Fat
Selina Thompson is one of those artists who deserve medals (or Blue Peter badges). She makes complex arguments into simplistic, messy polemics. If I had some sort of power I'd say she was 'one to watch'. 
https://www.cptheatre.co.uk/showTickets.php?show=577

Backstage in Biscuit Land
I interviewed the wonderful Jess aka Tourettes Hero on Radio 4 a few weeks before her Edinburgh run - she's the best person ever! She stole the show up there with her near perfect show about her tourettes. Go see it and stop moaning about your life.
https://www.bac.org.uk/content/33848/see_whats_on/shows/shows/backstage_in_biscuit_land

1000 Londoners
OK so it's on the internet but I think it warrants some of your attention. This brilliant web series introduces you to all the amazing people that make up Londoners - from the man who lifts Tower Bridge to the man who walks the sewers! I am hooked!
https://www.youtube.com/user/1000Londoners

17.9.14

Australia... I'm back!

I'm so excited to be heading back to Oz next week. After a storming success of The Worst of... I'm back with another run!

This time I'll be showing off at Theatre Works in Melbourne as part of Melbourne Fringe! You can find out all about it here - http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/the-worst-of-scottee/

My main reason for visiting Oz this time is research. I was awarded a AIDF grant (Google it if you're that interested) earlier this year to meet with Australian artists, producers and venues and build on the work I've started to do out there. During my time out there I'll be blogging about what I find, who I meet and where are the best places to go!

Sydney heads - I'm doing a turn at Voguey Bear on Wednesday 24th! I love Stereogamous - I think they are my favourite Australians of all time...ever. Catch me doing a special Oz inspired turn!

I'll be posting regularly whist I'm away just to annoy you! 

See you down under.

2.9.14

Fraff
Many things annoy me: people who spit on the street, people who describe their work as ‘immersive’, the cast of Hollyoaks – but nothing bothers me more than spoken word.
I’ve always thought poems had to rhyme, that was until I was 15 and my youth club booked a couple of performance poets to entertain us for the evening. They did serious wordy rubbish about the sky. We gave them a hard time because for some reason when they performed they stopped talking posh and tried to sound like they were from our estate. Weird.
Poetry, sorry spoken word is rife with middle class folk trying to convince an audience they know what JSA is. The objectification of working class slang gives you credit and somehow validates your shitty poem about London or the recession.
Clearly I had some anger issues towards the world of rhyming words, but then at the grand age of 23 I shared a dressing room with John Cooper Clarke at a music festival. Now I could try to convince you I knew who he was and we hit it off but in the spirit of not pretending I smiled at him and ate his cheese platter. Later that day I watched him perform and my performance poetry baggage was left in a portacabin at Leeds Festival.I guess I hate any sort of performance that pretends to be something it isn’t – I feel the same way towards actors, I want to slap them round the face, tell them I know they are lying and their career is one big game of ‘let’s pretend’.
Since then I’ve discovered a world of non-poncey poetry and weirdly sort of fallen for it – I stumbled across artists like Polar Bear, Luke Wright and Ross Sutherland and I’d be lying if I didn’t confess my love/hate relationship for Pam Ayres but my beef with poetry voice remains.
At the start of the year (under the pretence of being an artist) I locked myself in my Mum’s attic to write some new material – I thought I’d write some gags, at the end of that week I left with 3 half written poems, a piece that can only be described as a dyslexic mess and a poem that has only two words “Cunt Nash”.
I began to trying to find an outlet for my new material but apparently self aware, half written, half baked, funny poems for drunk people, said in your own voice don’t have a home so I thought I’d invent one.
Fraff is my new (sort of monthly) poetry knees up. It’s a piss up for my non-poet showbiz mates to try out unheard material. One rule – no fucking poetry voice. If any of the acts start talking funny the audience have the right to throw scrunched up paper at them.
What do you call a poetry night that’s embarrassed by its peers? I opted for council slang in line with poetry’s glorification of my birth lingo. Fraff means to chat shit, which seems fitting because ultimately bad poetry is fraff, whilst the good stuff tells us the truth by fraffing.
Fraff is at RichMix on 12th September. The line up includes Bryony Kimmings, Hunt & Darton and Jonny Woo.

It's that time again! New Years Eve is just around the corner [insert 'where has the year gone?' clichés here]. We have 50 tickets available at the discounted rate of £15 quid

We have a massive headliner! Lots of surprises and many a treat in store!

Check out the micro site and get it sorted!

16.8.14


We're having a studio sale next Saturday from 10am as we are moving to a new HQ! Lots of plus size vintage, fabric, sequin-age, accessories, party stuff, paint, tinsel wigs, lightbulbs, shiny sh*t, merch, art, badges and Scottee cast offs! All under £10. Email studio@scottee.co.uk for the info if you fancy popping down!