15.4.14

Those of you who are shoved a Time Out on a Tuesday at your local tube station will know that earlier this year the institution chopped off their cabaret and LGBT arms. This morning I received an email from a punter saying "I've only just seen that you have Hamburger Queen on, we didn't see anything on Time Out". I thought this might happen.

Timeout cabaret brilliantly showcased the sort of culture that sat between live art, performance, cabaret and fun thanks to the lovely Ben Walters and Simone Baird. With the abrupt axing of the section audiences who like their acts in slap and silly clothes are a bit lost.

Here are a few places you can find out what is going on in London that isn't a nightclub nor a play but potentially a play in a nightclub...

Run Riot
From it's humble beginnings as a group email to the mega site it is today, Jamie and his gang showcase events big and small. Check out their guest editor mailer each week, sign up to their mailing list and you won't have to go looking.
http://www.run-riot.com

Exeunt
Exeunt uses words I often have to Google. It's the thinking persons webspace for the more thoughtful side of culture. The site mainly showcases theatre productions but it is no stranger to the murky world of live art and cabaret.
http://exeuntmagazine.com

This is Cabaret
You'd know if you ever met Franco, he's louder than me. This is Cabaret is an extension of his Londonist column. You can pitch ideas for interviews, catch up on gossip and be kept in the loop about the cabaret happenings within the M25. Live art? Not here.
http://www.thisiscabaret.com

LADA Mailer
Live Art Development Agency have a monthly e-shot thats full of live art happenings, opportunities and then some. Sign up!
http://www.thisisliveart.co.uk

Lyn's Theatre Tips
Aunty Lyn's theatre tips always include people like Bryony Kimmings, Hunt & Darton, Victoria Melody and even myself. If you like your performance in art spaces across the UK then check her weekly round up out
http://www.theguardian.com/stage/theatreblog

QX
The gay-er end of the spectrum but none the less they have a cabaret section and its well used.
http://www.qxmagazine.com

Not Television
The aforementioned Ben Walters new blog space - not much on there. Stop dragging your heels Ben. 
http://www.nottelevision.net


If all else fails follow, like, subscribe and stalk me - that way you will be inundated with my projects:

Twitter - http://twitter.com/scotteescottee
Facebook - http://facebook.com/scotteeisfat
Youtube - http://www.youtube.com/user/scotteescottee

Mailing List - http://scottee.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=a0acef7017ae855dcf8971626&id=00124daaa8

I will be starting up my affectionately titled '(Not) Lyn Gardner's Theatre Tips' blog series again soon too. The death of Time Out cabaret will not be the death of us. 

See below for Scottee endorsed tips this weekend! 


14.4.14

Hey Kids,

It' Easter - what better way to spend it than stuffing your face the night before Good Friday and drowning your sorrows in time for a killer hangover on Easter Sunday?!

I've sorted your weekend... you're welcome.

Thursday - Hamburger Queen
Come get stuff and watch our final heat contestants battle it out for a place in the final! We have a SUPERSTAR judge this week joining Gemma Cairney, Charlie Hides TV and Paul A Young! Come on down! 
http://hamburgerqueen.co.uk




Saturday - Cliché
Party magic from Bestival, Jodie Harsh and I! A nightclub full to the brim of karaoke, line dancing, pub drag, sexy soho-ites and a bunch of fancy dressers, dressing fancy. Sort it out and buy a ticket.
http://2014.bestival.net/news/bestival-announces-hot-homo-party-cliche




See you on the other side X

9.4.14



Day two and our final day of rolling about the floor discovering what this project can / could be. I realised that making this sort of work needs a lot of time, space and thought. It's not the sort of thing you can whack out and shove on stage of the tavern. It's careful, think-y, long days of questioning. 

I think I'm in love with Lea Anderson, we share the same sort of approach - instinctive, messing about. 

Today: I put the girls in front of a mirror to see what would happen - this lead to some lovely subtle bits of movement that provided the theme of the day. We shared our ideas with the Scottee inc. family, collaborators and interested parties. 

My notepad says: "I can't look at it [belly], it makes me emotional". Pulling, tugging, twitching and fiddling. 

I think: We are on to something. It's hard to think of fat people in show business who are not funny.

Where next: More time with Lea in a room to research fatness, shame and historical and cultural references. Find some money for the aforementioned.

Lotta love to Tamsin, Wendy and all the South Bank team for making this happen!

Video documentation of our two days at South Bank Centre will be online next Tuesday.



News: Today we set up TextGiving. This means if you like reading this sort of stuff, want to support research or would like to see more of the community engaged productions like Camp (on the Estate) and Hamburger Queen then you can give us a few pennies by sending a text!

Text FLAB14 £5 or £10 to 70070

8.4.14


When I've asked you, the punter what you'd like to see more of you've always wanted to see more of the making, or what some might call 'the process'. Since the inception of Camp whenever I start a new project I blog down the early ideas.


This week I am rolling around the Royal Festival Hall with Lea Anderson and a gang of chubby artists acting as test bodies. We are developing an idea called Morbid Obesity. 

This project has been in the pipeline for some time - a fat movement piece about fat shame. We have questions about how to do this and why to do this. The next two days are about working that out.

Today: we pretended to be Laurel & Hardy, made abstract versions of the aforementioned without quite knowing it. Moved our offal and fucked up a Bob Fosse number.

My notepad says: Formation? Shame? M.O.R.B.I.D, What is morbid obesity? Is this a show about BMI? Can big be small? 

I think: Fat people look strange lying on the floor. The finger snap stuff is the strongest.

Where next: Mess, fighting, mirrors, name calling, punk, disco, more finger snapping.


More tomorrow. X

20.3.14


Over the next few months I’m trying to move away from doing variety stuff that I sort of know will work, I’m going to try to be dangerous and potentially fail – spoken word and storytelling is high on the agenda.

I’m putting ideas and projects to bed, moving on and starting some new ambitious projects. I’m going to be in rooms with makers doing stuff funders call ‘research and development’ – yes, I am that person.

The Scottee inc. team will also be locking themselves away over the summer to work on some exciting new work that involves fat people, the sea side, Essex Mum’s, gay people over 60 and drag queens.

I am looking for residencies to run away to. I’ve constantly made work for 5 years and I need some time to think. God I’m a wanker.

I am going through a / the change. Don’t worry I / it / stuff will continue to be pretentious, political and full of pouncey references to light entertainment and my awkward relationship to the arts.

There is a lot of stuff on that I want you to know about.
Here is that stuff…

Bourgeois & Maurice’s new ‘try it out’ night.
I’ll be doing a story and a string of half written poems.

Part of West Yorkshire Playhouse’s Transform festival.
I’m going to do a few favourites and try out a thing about hanging on.

This year is the last – if this is news to you then you haven’t looked at the website. Tap troupes, fat films, celebs and a lot of cake.

It’s a nightclub, it’s a disco, it’s a drag bar, it’s a karaoke lounge. It’ll be the best super club you’ve ever been to courtesy of Bestival, Jodie Harsh & I

I’ve curated Roundhouse’s late night dyke-y, faggy, gender bending variety night as part of CircusFest.

This is a new digital piece I’ve created for Pink Fringe and Brain Lobel using their performance app platform Performr. Keep an eye on Pink Fringe for how to see / do this.

After this we will be finally getting my Grandad’s project up and running - we’re gonna need your help.

In May I go to LA as an invited guest for Brit Week – what to see and do? Suggestions please. This is followed by a pit stop in Vegas to see my favourite live artist Britney Spears.

‘The times they are a changing’ – someone said that but I’m not well read so its sort of pointless to quote it. Lets make some proper art and fuck those off who think walking around a warehouse with unpaid actors, fresh out of drama school is edgy and interesting.

10.3.14

My Moral Obligations to Non-exstent Debt

When I was 18 years old I found myself wanting more than what I had or what was available to me. I had recently been maid redundant from a job flogging West End theatre tickets and had become attuned to a lifestyle of posh coffees from the recent explosion of Starbucks outlets and Asymmetric haircuts from Toni & Guy.

Whilst applying for jobs on Reed I was sucked in by an advert offering me a credit card. £1000 could be mine and I was broke. Could this be my route back into a life of cheap shots and overpriced jeans from Topman? I clicked on.
I was asked questions about my income, assets and hobbies, I lied and thought they would find me out. Before I knew it I was in nightclubs paying for rounds of drinks with a credit card I didn't know how to use and pin number saved in the address book on my Nokia 3210. I quickly became popular.
Soon after I suffered a mental breakdown, I ran away from home and quickly became addicted to alcohol. My credit card ran out and I was left homeless, jobless and poorer than I started. My details where passed on to debt collectors but because I was AWOL nobody could get in touch with me to make me pay back the copious rounds of drinks in central London lesbian bars (don't ask).
Fast forward 10 years and I am well and truly back on my feet. I had blissfully forgotten the fact I owed a grand to a bunch of men in suits, until last month when my real name was published in a Melbourne newspaper.
After a 24 hour flight back to the UK I was greeted by two letters - the first was issued on lovely blue paper, it told me I owed £932.62 and I was to call them straight way or they'd have to tell some nasty men who would probably come to my house and take my Orla Kiely lampshade. The second printed on angry red paper explained that I hadn't contacted the nice blue men in time and the £932.62 had to be paid now! The date on the red letter was earlier than the one on the blue letter.
I did my research and found out that the law of this land states after 6 years of having no contact with people like me who run away from their debts, creditors must write off all debts. With this I Google'd both creditors to find out they run from the same office in West Yorkshire. In fact companies house confirmed they were the same business.
I called the nice blue people first with my NatWest debit card in hand and was immediately asked to give all of my contact information over - I complied and the telephonist asked me how I'd like to pay. I nervously said 'I don't legally have to pay this do I?' her response was '...but you have a moral obligation to pay don't you?', I responded 'let me have a think on that'.
A credit card company who advertise on job seekers websites issue a credit card with no background searches to an 18 year old. They sell this debt on to a company who buys out-dated debt who then send letters to people's homes asking them to fess up. They then orchestrate a good cop / bad cop situation to scare gullible folk into paying a debt that doesn't exist and then inform you about your moral obligations. This is from a company whose slap line is 'ethical, transient and compliant... we like to do things better'.
Now I'm aware some of you will be thinking that I should pay the money back regardless whom its too and I sort of agree. That working class chip on my shoulder is the reason I'm writing this - I don't like owing people money. Yes I did spend that money, I did get pissed and probably do have a moral obligation to pay it back but something about this picture doesn't look right.
I'm being asked to pay back £1000 to a bank that has reportedly contributed to the national, if not global financial crisis, a bank who sold dead debt to profit from it. Who has the moral obligation to payback?
After a short pause I made my decision 'No, I won't be paying'. I was put on hold and as Katy Perry sang '...do you ever feel like a plastic bag?' the telephonist hastily told me the debt had been written off and I'd receive no more contact from them.
Two weeks later I receive another letter from both the angry reds and the nice blues saying I owe a new sum of money - £352.90. Their ring tone has been engaged since then and I'm left with the dilemma - do I have a moral obligation to pay this debt back?
The decision is yours. Vote now.

6.3.14

Writing, retreats and records

Over the next 4 days I am locking myself away in an attic by the seaside to sift through the pile of writing I have been ignoring since Christmas. As someone who is a pretend writer I find the task daunting (not to mention the fact I need to find friends willing to sift through the dyslexia to take the repeat words out) but I like the sound of my own voice so it's swings and roundabouts. 

My Dad has cut a hole in the roof and put a window in, my 1970's red, formica turntable has finally arrived from Iceland and Benny Hill's 'Greatest Hits' are at the ready. Tea, sandwiches and KitKat's are in endless supply courtesy of Mum and I'm still finding twitter procrastination far more compelling than doing what I need to do. I think M. Scott Peck calls this self gratification. 

Since I last blogged a lot people have mentioned my blog space. Interviewers, drama students for their dissertation (awkward) and even friends who say things like 'but you said in your blog...' - it's only just dawned on my that people actually read this shit. Sorry.

I now feel I have the pressure to say things, valid things that are self righteous or pithy - I do both incredibly well. This blog is an anti-blog blog that'll teach you very little. 

Over the next 4 days I plan to get some ideas out of my brain, write a few pitches, sort some funding blurbs, finish a few pieces of 'spoken word' (rank), devise a list of questions for a film on fat people and sex and sort the final, yes FINAL UK tour of The Worst of Scottee.



Hamburger Queen has gone on sale and as you may have seen this will be the fourth and final year. I've had some grumpy emails from people as far as Sydney demanding the project live on but I'm afraid I've made up my mind and I'm a stubborn queen.

I started Hamburger Queen when I was angry at the telly for telling me my body was embarrassing and I wanted to make something that helped me make sense of my relationship with food. I've made my statement, helped over 40 people give fat performance a go and now I'm artistically ready to move on. I think the next major Scottee inc. project will be about fat shame and this I guess is another reason to move on - they would contradict each other in a messy way.

To celebrate the end we are throwing everything at it - in house tap troupe, short films, regional heats - the works. Come down and say goodbye to the fat bitch!

http://hamburgerqueen.co.uk




5.2.14

The Arts (and reasons not to get involved)

It's a time of national debt and major cuts to the arts from our beloved Tories, where the roofs of West End theatres are caving in and where another posh person is waiting in the wings to take over at the National Theatre. It makes me wonder: should I really be writing this, encouraging a career in the arts to the next generation?
I have a difficult relationship with my chosen career path; every morsel of my being recoils when passing through the world's border controls, forced to state "artist" as my career. My dad carries lead up a ladder each week to get the same wage I do. I spent last month in Australia touring my solo show, The Worst of Scottee, for the same he would earn in a month. In turn, I carry around a feeling of working class guilt for earning a living without a proper job.
I got into the arts in via the back door. Expelled from school with no qualifications, I've had to earn my place in a sector obsessed with class and academia – as such, I've developed a rather facetious outlook on the state of the arts. For those of you set on "giving it go" and waiting for what mums up and down the country call your big break, you'll need to understand the economics of showing off your creative side. This is the sort of stuff your careers adviser will never tell you.
First, the arts business model is flawed, and always has been. Since time began, rich people have thrown money at other people who used to be rich (before getting into the arts) just so they are able to eat. The death of Queen Victoria and the wars that followed saw patronage grind to a halt and ever since artists have struggled to keep afloat.
Today the only people buying visual art are the multinational financecompanies in London's illustrious Square Mile. City boys want work that "looks a bit Banksy" for their waiting rooms. This has already begun to affect the type of work being produced by young artists. In 100 years' time, the Antiques Roadshow will be overrun with cheaply-made street art and historians will forever think we liked this sort of thing.
What else? Audiences in the UK do not pay the real-time cost for a theatre show. In the US and Australia, the average ticket price for my show is $35 (about £21), but audiences will pay a maximum of £15 in the UK. This means artists are often open to exploitation; they are often overworked and underpaid (if paid at all) – all of which is deemed okay by the sector.
Those of us who are desperate to escape poverty (or in Jamie Oliver's world, to buy a plasma screen TV) play the National Lottery, the generated income of which is given to Arts Council England anddistributed to artists who are then able to roam about the country freely expressing themselves. I spend most of my working day begging for this money in 2,000-word pleas to the Arts Council; this makes me sound like a spoilt brat but I honestly believe that this invention of generating money for the arts is genius and it's possibly the only reason we still have culture in the UK.
Culture needs to be subsidised. Unlike many millions on this great isle living off state benefits, artists are not penalised for living out of the public purse, but essentially we are no different; most artists, including myself, are directly or indirectly living off the contributions of tax payers. As well as funding you, the state will want to make sure you make work that isn't threatening, so you'll need to make sure you're okay with being silenced when push comes to shove.
Ladies, the sector struggles to give a balanced voice to women so you'll need to fight extra hard for your place. Straight white men currently lead on the proportion of broadcast time; if the arts does anything well it's theatricalising life's injustices. Nepotism is another pandemic rife in the arts; you may be the best person for the job but it's likely the gig will go to the sister, best friend or cousin who has more Twitter followers than you.
My last piece of advice is that you'll only be as good as your last show. People with notebooks will sit in front of you and judge you, and then they'll be allowed to publish their thoughts, which will determine your rise or fall. They'll grade your work with the use of little stars that will ultimately destroy your self-confidence. Sweet!
The arts are essentially a namby-pamby life of stealing Wi-Fi, cheap coffee, waiting tables and overpriced weekend workshops in improvisation that leaves you, at times, financially and mentally unstable.
If this rant has put you off a career in the arts then maybe the arts aren't for you. But if you've seen through the facetious rabble-rousing, ignite that fire in your belly and enjoy the best job in the world – one that allows you to play out your every fantasy, gives you a political voice and enables you to look at the world objectively.

28.1.14


I’m a feminist…let me in!

Being called a man insults and infuriates me. It’s hard to articulate why but being left out of playing ‘choo choo train’ with the boys in lower school meant I never really fitted in with those I had to share a toilet with. Being labelled the thing you where never allowed to be a part of is unfathomably frustrating.

To this day masculinity continues to alienate me, although nowadays it’s very much a mutual exchange of alienation – I don’t really like men let alone the gay ones. I’m too fat and camp to be considered attractive by faggots, too faggy to be considered a bloke by men and neither camp can quite get their heads around the fact I wear ladies clothes and don’t tell jokes about women’s vaginas.

Since being that ostracised fat kid left in the playground’s equivalent of no man’s land I’ve found solace in hanging out with the other sex. Girls didn’t mind the fact I gesticulated when I was telling them overly dramatic stories about my Mum’s preparation of my packed lunch – at 6 years old I knew I had found my people.

My Mum raised me with books like ‘Fat is a Feminist’ issue on the kitchen table as she battled with her bulimia. I was encouraged to sit with her friends and listen to them talk about class, I was sent to Costcutter to buy sanitary towels and encouraged to understand women with long chats with my Mum as she sat in the bath and told me what it was like to be alone, in a hospital in 1985 after giving birth and handed condom’s to stop ‘future mistakes’. I was raised with the intention of becoming the first generation boy-feminists.

My friends question my right to be a feminist  ‘…because you like women it doesn’t make you a feminist Scottee’. Wrong – I don’t like women - I relate to them and understand the injustice of misogony. I shun this idea that the reason women like gay men is because we have good taste in shoes.

I recognise that we share a similar place in society – we’re marginalised for being something that is out of our control, we have to fight and lobby for equality - its not given and we are oppressed by the same oppressor – we understand each other.

As my political voice becomes more astute and feminism becomes more pop, a strange thing is happening – I’m increasingly finding myself on the sidelines of a world that promotes equality - feminism. I’m often overlooked and left outside feminist festivals and events because I own what certain echelons of the femme movement call a penis, this somehow defines me and my stance on women’s rights – could you imagine if I made the same presumption with the vagina.

I am the proud creator of Hamburger Queen – a talent show that explores fat pride and body liberation. It has a big femme following and most of the contestants are of the same persuasion. Being fat and proud has meant the project has received a lot of press attention but when these high profile feminist festivals and broadcasters approach me to find a spokesperson for the project they all declined when I put myself forward. Of course what would I know about being a fat woman? I’ve only organised a major, non-profit arts project for the past three years that gives women a platform to explore their fat freedom.

This session is very much about hearing from women in relation to size, otherwise I'd ask you to be on there, obviously.’

As Jackson Katz brilliantly delivers in his TEDtalk on violence against women – feminism, domestic abuse and rape are men’s issues. Women know these injustices its men who need to take ownership of these issues and not switch off when they hear ‘women’s issues’. Ultimately, as painful as it is, gender equality will only be reached when men come on board.

But last month I received an email from Feminist Times asking if I would come and talk about fatness in the context of feminism – For the first time I feel like I’m allowed to be apart of the gang and this time I don’t have to pretend to like Thomas the Tank Engine.

This evening I’ve spent my jet lag recovery period watching Catlin Moran talk bollox about 'How to be a Woman' and why she’d like to wear highheels but feels oppressed by them (try the wider foot at Evans, love) and reread the string of trans phobic diatribes by Suzanne Moore and The Julie’s. I’ve come to the conclusion that us feminists have the ability to be just an gender phobic or trans phobic as the best / worst of them but if you look in the right direction you’ll find your own version of feminism that suits you.

Bryony Kimmings’ version is my light at the end of the tunnel –
Do you believe that women and men are equal? Yes? OK then you are a feminist.

Dear fellow feminists, I’m a feminist faggot femme and if you can’t get your head around that then it’s you who doesn’t believe in gender equality. 

Hamburger Queen is looking for entrants for 2014 contest - https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1TtSUip3TXCELNaYPEjfzreBvdeP-bYdNAhNC80iNC-E/viewform

Is Fat still a Feminists Issue? hosted by Feminist Times is this Thursday - http://www.feministtimes.com/events/

24.1.14

Goodbye Australia...

My time in Australia is almost up and tomorrow when I board my plane and prepare for a marathon 24 hour flight home I'll be leaving with a heavy heart. I've made some wonderful friends in the short time I've been here (see previous blogs for Sydney adventures) - I've swam in the ocean, ate kangaroo's and copious Tim Tam's, drank 'French' champagne, danced with the local dress ups and enjoyed my own company.

Most importantly I'm chuffed that The Worst of Scottee has been really well received here...

'Remarkably honest, confronting & magnificent, The Worst of Scottee is Melbourne’s first must-see production for 2014' ✮✮✮✮ Arts Hub

'As riotous as it is devastating, this Midsumma standout is one of most unforgettable stories of sexual discovery you're likely to hear' ✮✮✮✮ The Age

'A very impressive debut: a disquieting fragment, undoubtedly moving, emotionally heightened, but full of perilous uncertainties and disconcerting lapses.' ✮✮✮✮ Time Out Melbourne

'One of the best shows you will ever see' ✮✮✮✮✮ Toorak Times

'Worst of Scottee moves the audience with an earnest truthfulness that is a marvel to witness' Star Observer

(Not to mention the gratuitous twitter love from the punters)

Thanks to Daniel Clarke and his team at TheatreWorks for bringing me to Oz - without sounding like a posh twat on his gap year it really has been a trip I'll always remember.

Another highlight from this trip (if you could call it that) was visiting Leigh Bowery's grave. Leigh was a brilliant artist that has of course inspired my practice but I didn't visit because I was a fan. Some of my nearest and dearest are his nearest and dearest and out of respect I made my way to Macedon with the help of Josephine Shaker and paid my respects. I bought a plant that towered 3 feet over the rest in the most garish colour I could find - symbolic? I cleared some weeds, washed her head stone and said hello from Aunty Sue.

Granted it's a bit strange to take pictures of graves but I imagine some of you may never get to visit Leigh's grave - its not the easiest of locations to get to and I was raised a Roman Catholic so this sort of maudlin activity is normal.




As I pack away my fancy summer shirts and head for colder climes I know its time to prepare myself for the London run of The Worst of Scottee. These shows are especially poignant as London is my home - I want to impress you all. I know the London performances will be very emotional for me as the Roundhouse is situated right in the middle of where these stories took place but as I remind myself every night, sat in my photobooth, waiting for the audience to settle down... these stories need to be told.

Goodbye Australia, Hello London.

The Worst of Scottee, Roundhouse runs from 4th - 15th Feb | More info here