Hello and welcome to another probably profanity rant filled AbsolutQueer Photography podcast.
Today I’m writing it on a park bench, but will probably record it later. See I do script this shit people – I don’t just rant for no reason.
Going up on the website this week is as much as I can manage – this is at least the last two It’s a Drag Knock Out shows – with more Baby lame shit show and Mariah and Friendz as well.
This week is going to have to be the harbinger of my quieter workload and I’m going to rant about that later.
So what am I up to this week?
I am supposed to be in about two different places, Virgin Xtravaganzah, and Heels of Glory – I may not make either – simply because I need time to adult. You, on the other hand, may not need to adult and can and should go either to the Glory or to BGWMC and see fabulous shows.
We’ll I’m on an adventure out of London, out of London you say, why yes indeed, I am off to the light industrial area around High Wycombe (not that Mr Darcy owned High Wycombe) to a wrestling match. I love wrestling, because it’s live stunt fighting and it’s all pantomime and so much fun – and did I mention it’s live stunt fighting – these are real manoeuvres undertaken by people who are all shapes and sizes and yet all are bloody strong! The community around the wrestling differs with each venue and show, but it’s always enthusiastic about what’s going on.
Saturday is Eurovision – and there are so many options to choose from – Bloc Bar with Holestar, the Glory with Jonny Woo Ma Butcher and Sue Ellen, or you can ignore the whole contest and end up at Duckie.
I’m at the Final of Prides got Talent which is in a real West End theatre – well the Charring Cross Theatre but that still counts, eh? I’ve seen almost all the acts before, so am looking forward to seeing the finesses and updates, and the tweaks that come from performing more. I’m not a judge this time so I can bring my camera and have some fun.
If you are over Talent shows there is Sunday Mass at Bloc Bar, with guest star Blanche Dubois.
Monday nights, oh and I already miss Its a Drag knock out! Shall I rant for a moment? Yes I shall. Meth showed how a competition could be run along collaborative queer sensibility lines- yes there was a winner, but everyone involved got to attend the workshops, work as crew on a show, and build up a community of drag youngsters. I can’t wait to see more competitions like this – it’s building up everyone who took part, not just the finalists. This is how we get a strong performance community out there. Expect to see great things of everyone involved.
So where will I be? I’ll be at home adulting but you should be at:
The Hill Billy Moon Explosion – OMG I love this band so much they’ve got whole sections of my spotify devoted to them- so much great energy and insanity – something I am sadly having to give up on seeing live this time. So other than my music taste where should you be?
Well it’s a quiet night as far as I can see on the Monday, but the RVT has Gay Bingo with Timberline, which is a fabulous hoot and well worth a visit if you like bingo (or not).
So is it really a quiet week? Heck no!
This is where it all kicks off! I’m thinking of doing something, but it would break my new workload rules …
The Sex Workers opera, which I’ve mentioned before, opens at the Pleasance Theatre. Get your tickets and go and support this show. It’s wonderfully well done, excellently collaborative and just well worth the ticket price. That’s on until the 29th May and I will mention it only a few times more.
Also opening on Tuesday is the Chemsex Monologues written by Patrick Cash – which is on at the Kings Head Theatre – another brilliant show, well written and this is doing a short run until the 21st May.
And if none of that rings your bell, there’s more Dis Place at the Glory
Yet again I am stuck with adulting – boo hiss. You should be either
At the gorgeously wonderful House of Idiots out in Market House Brixton – with my favourite idiot Jonathan Richardson
At the next heat of Man Up at the Glory – Adam All and Jonny Woo bring you the best of Drag King talent.
I’m at a bit of a loss – as Thursday was my sociable personage night, with a trip up to Bloc Bar to see the family and hang out with everyone. But last week was their last Thursday as they move to Friday.
It’s the Double R club at BGWMC – something I’ve been planning on visiting for ages, heard so much good things about it. This week it won’t be possible.
Friday – it all starts again
It’s Shit Show at the Glory Hole London, and I’ll be there to cover some of the best crazy art drag which terrifies the audience, until they delight in the horror and laugh at themselves!
And on the weekend, I’ve another wrestling show to go to!
A recent advert by a supermarket chain suggested that an artist should work for exposure and reputation. Well if only our landlords or supermarkets accepted our whuffie or ocotcoin as legal tender. SO do you think anyone working on the scene is making a living with performance? Hardly – most of the people I know are working at least one day job to keep their heads above water – and for some of us it’s bar or cafe work, and for some it’s more corporate. It’s always murder on you, as you’re constantly running between jobs, trying to get enough time to put acts (or edit piles) together, and occasionally seeing a partner or lover and trying to maintain relationships when you get to see someone for less than an hour before or after the show.
You try and do this for too long, and you end up living on less than 4 hours sleep, caffeine, pain killers and adrenaline. You can’t get any better paid work because you need the time and flexibility to do your art. You’re so exhausted that eventually you break, because even the youngest and fittest of us can’t keep that sort of pace up.
Some of us have to step off that crazy grind and get a “proper” job sometimes. One where they will notice what time you arrive and if you spend the first two hours sipping coffee and groaning. I’ve had to do this, and I start next week, and this is meaning I have to stop shooting more than twice a week, and see my bed before midnight most days.
But my rant isn’t about me, its about asking things for free. ART COSTS MONEY TO MAKE AND DO.
Goddamnit people, you’re going out, you’ve got what £80 for drinks/substances for the weekend (I’ve seen you at the bars and how many rounds you get in)? Yet you’ll bitch about paying £5 or £10 to come in and ask for you and your mate to be on the guest list because you’re friends with an artist. Guess what? You’re taking that tenner from your friends pocket. So you’re really happy to see your friend who is a working artist work for 3 hours on a show (because guess what that 5 mins on stage isn’t all it is) for less than minimum wage, sometimes less than the cost it took to get there and home again.
It’s bad enough that companies like Sainsbury’s think they can do this, ask someone to do art for “exposure” and that devaluing of the work artists do is rife across our society. That expectation that art can be done for nothing, you can work a low paid job and make enough to survive and have time and energy to do your art, or that somehow you believe art pays enough to live off. It makes the time spent doing art under valued and not
If you appreciate art, pay for it! Yes we are all skint, but the artists are skinter than most – support clubs and bars, pay door fees, find artists online and buy their work, pay them for gigs, even tip them – buy them a drink or offer them something towards an uber home (because not having to do night busses is a god send post gig).
Because artists are working more than one job to survive, and still finding time to be fabulous for you. So appreciate it. Because if you keep demanding guest list, there won’t be any fabulous art to see.