Had to write a review for a job I applied for so I thought I might as well pop it on here ...
Neil Watkins – The Year of Magical Wanking
Project Arts Centre, Dublin (Dublin Fringe 2011)
The sold-out success of this year’s Dublin Fringe Festival, Neil Watkins’ The Year of Magical Wanking is a brave and brutally honest window into the private world of its author.
Contained within the stark set of a jagged white rectangle marked in tape on the floor, the semi-autobiographical monologue presents a series of snapshot scenes concerning issues of personal doubt, addiction, torment, shame and self-destructive behaviour. While not without its light-hearted moments, the piece is not afraid to confront the ugliness of life and give voice to the seldom-discussed nagging doubts and internal turmoil that plague many a lonely evening.
The play is written in loose rhyme and the discipline of the verse is a stark contrast to the unstructured lifestyle it narrates, as Neil acts out unsatisfactory encounters with a variety of characters while getting wasted at parties or attending therapy sessions. One of the chief examples of his acting talent comes during a heated confrontation with his drag alter-ego, Heidi Konnt, a part-Swiss / part-Nazi creation who won him the title of Alternative Miss Ireland in 2005. He has now retired the character and the two meet to exchange a ferocious battle of words, with Neil flawlessly switching between identities as they spar mercilessly, exchanging a quick-fire montage of insults, frustrations and rebukes.
Through the journey of exploration and discovery, the play ends on a note of self-acceptance and quiet optimism, with the viewer feeling cleansed, confronted and comforted. This is a truthful and revealing performance that deserves the attention of a wider audience.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Had to write a review for a job I applied for so I thought I might as well pop it on here ...
Sunday, February 14, 2010
I'll blog again soon, I promise. In the meantime check out my brand new PODCASTS. SCREAM!!!
This is an early evening set I put together for David Hoyle's 'Licking Wounds' at RVT in January.
And this one is highlights of my set at Pussy Faggot in NYC, 14 January 2010
Posted by redhairedqueer at 11:59 AM
Sunday, January 03, 2010
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Marilyn Manson – sort your flippin life out. I came to your show at Brixton last night expecting some serious rock THEATRE. I didn’t come to look at a wall of dry ice with some pretty lights flashing behind it.
We don’t care if you’re a bit old or a bit fat or whatever it is you’re so desperate to hide, we want to SEE A SHOW.
Someone I follow on Facebook went to see Alice Cooper this week and was talking about how he impaled a ninja with his mic stand and then got beheaded with a guillotine; then he strangled a nurse and got hung but came back from the dead for some more impaling. I’m not saying you should do the same thing but COME ON!
You’ve made a career out of creating amazing visuals - the Mickey Mouse ears were a particular favourite - and last time I saw you, you were ON STILTS and your band members were stood on raised platforms in big boots. There was a keyboard on a spring and at some point a huge pulpit descended and you stood behind it to deliver a sermon. WHAT THE HELL HAS HAPPENED??
Do you know what happened last night? PEOPLE WERE LEAVING - leaving in droves when we headed for the exit, stomping off to the bar down the road, their faces twisted with disappointment.
I’ve only walked out of a handful of gigs in my lifetime and YOURS is now one of them. The last one was Sisters of Mercy. You may remember my review 'Sisters of Murky' when I recreated an image of their stage set. I shall demonstrate it here for your reference:
Compare and contrast it with my artist’s impression of your show:
You see what I’m getting at? SLIPPERY SLOPE!
The last gig I saw was Psychic TV at The Tabernacle a few weeks ago. Genesis P Orridge is 60 in February but he doesn’t feel he needs to hide from his audience, in fact we could have reached out and touched him if we'd wanted to. His show was absolute GENIUS and I danced so hard it felt like an incantation. Watch this video, then use this man as an inspiration and stop wasting our time you silly bastard.
Posted by redhairedqueer at 12:01 PM
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Environmentalists – piss off. For years you have been moaning at me for taking a bath, then you started banging on about carrier bags, and now you’ve decided it’s ILLEGAL to buy a 100 watt light bulb. What the fuck is your problem? Some of us LIKE TO BE ABLE TO SEE PROPERLY and sitting in dim lights makes our eyes hurt and gives us headaches you silly twats.
Why the hell have light bulbs become such a problem? You want to save some energy? Fine – TURN THE FUCKING HEATING DOWN. Where? EVERYWHERE – on public transport, in office blocks, in the shops... I’m sick and tired of suffocating in over heated stores only to get to the cash desk to be told, “No madam, you cannot buy a 100 watt bulb because it’s bad for the environment ... and do you really NEED a carrier bag for that large print book you’re buying because it’s the only one you can read in the dark?” HELLLOOOO!!
Personally I think I should be allowed the bulbs as I am far too tight to have the heating on full time. My cat will testify to this and has been setting about making herself fat to compensate. Don’t you admire that cats can do that – make themselves fat in the winter to stay warm and then thin in the summer to be cooler? That’s a real talent - and one in the eye for the body fascists when you think about it.
Do you remember the olden days? People used to wear woolly jumpers if it was a bit nippy. It worked a treat and I don’t believe we’re suffering from a sheep shortage. Thousands of small children are being denied exploitative labour thanks to your insistence in running round in a t-shirt in all weather. Think of that next time you flick on the central heating.
I’m not taking it lying down and have bulk ordered a supply of light bulbs from eBay, so you haven’t got the better of me yet. I’m going to put one in every room, even that little storage cupboard in the hallway. My flat will be lit up like Blackpool Illuminations and there won’t be a damn thing you can do about it. So go and stick that in your recycling bin, I’m off to let a tap run.
Posted by redhairedqueer at 8:15 PM
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Reasons why I hate Paris and all known Parisians – and no, this isn’t racist, it’s because they let me down, ripped me off and done me up like a right kipper. Allow me to explain ...
I hopped onto the Eurostar yesterday for a little adventure en France. Paris was already being shady when I got there by DELIBERATELY making it rain, but I didn’t let that deter me. I decided to take a 25 minute walk up to Sacre Coeur, thinking this would give me a chance to stretch my legs and take in the sights and sounds of the city. Little did I know this path would take me through one of the most unpleasant neighbourhoods I have ever encountered. It felt like a giant, outdoor version of Primark on a Saturday afternoon. FLAWED!!
Got to the Sacre Coeur and it was beautiful and everything I hoped it would be. Idyllic, one might almost say, except for the high number of African males who were loitering in the area and, for reasons I didn’t bother to query, were intent of wrapping a piece of brightly coloured ribbon round my finger. Persistent little buggers they were, and far too touchy-feely for my liking. I humoured the first one, was polite to the second, barely tolerated the third but by the fourth I had ruddy well had enough of it. And where was a ‘gendarme’ to tell them all to ‘allez off’? NOWHERE, that’s where. DISGRACEFUL!!
I was going to be a lazy bastard and get the ‘Funicular’ up the hill to the actual cathedral instead of braving the steps, but there was a school party of very loud children waiting for it, which didn’t look like ‘fun’ at all, so I decided to walk it and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected.
So for the next hour or so I was lulled into a sense of FALSE SECURITY. The Sacre Coeur is very, very large and impressive - here is my picture of the outside, shot at a fashionable jaunty angle. The inside is breathtaking with sculptures and tapestries and an enormous, ornate and light filled alter. I walked around the entire room and was tempted to take a few sneaky pictures but it seemed incredibly disrespectful. It must be bad enough, if you are on some kind of pilgrimage or there to pray, with a load of slack jawed tourists swanning round without idiots like me taking photos.
From there I went to the charming little town of Montmartre round the corner, which is about as stereotypically ‘Parisian’ as you can imagine – dinky little buildings and narrow, winding cobbled streets where artists sit and draw portraits. The people of Montmartre are more laid-back and jolly than other Parisians, perhaps a little smug at living in such a lovely area. I had gone there to check out the Dali Museum, which is pleasant enough but there isn’t much of it. There’s some interesting un-wearable jewellery, the lips sofa and a rather nice giant snail, but all in all I didn’t feel it was worth the 10 euros entrance fee.
After that I needed a sit down so headed for Le Metro to get across town. Now here’s where the ROT started to set in as only ONE of the four train tickets I had carefully saved from last time was still working. What’s all that about? TEEF!!
So I got across town and sat having a pizza across from the Pompidou, musing at how excited I was to be going to see the Jim Hodges exhibition in the main galleries. On Sunday I had lunch at Heathrow with Justin Bond and Our Lady J, who are friends of Jim Hodges and had described his work as ‘amazing’ and ‘beautiful’. I was thinking that, if I was an artist, I would be DELIGHTED to have an exhibition on at the Pompidou...
So I trotted over to the tubular construction as fast as my chubby little legs would carry me and, to my horror, I was confronted with a closed door and a sign reading thus:
"DUE TO A STRIKE THE POMPIDOU CENTRE IS CLOSED"
Ladies and gentlemen, I was PISSED OFF BEYOND COMPARE. You total Parisian CUNTS.
I tried to be stoic and pretend it would be nice to have a few more hours to explore the centre of Paris, but it wasn’t. I hadn’t made any back-up plans and I wasn’t there to go shopping ... but do you know where I ended up, you work-shy French layabouts? GALERIE LAFAYETTE, that’s where.
I ran into Owen on Oxford Street last week and he was bemoaning the inadequacy of the Christmas lights and saying how Galerie Lafayette had done it so much better. Fair enough, he has a point. Take a look at this and then compare and contrast it to John Lewis’ pathetic offering:
But the real point is this: instead of admiring SERIOUS ART, the highlight of my trip became a window display of some cute animated bunnies frolicking in champagne glasses in an extremely well-thought-out-and-executed window display.
ARE YOU HAPPY THAT YOU’VE REDUCED ME TO THAT, Parisians? Yes, yes, I can see you all sat there SMIRKING.
And it doesn’t end there does it, you bastards? I decided there was only one possible solution – to buy myself a present from the clothing section. But OH NO, you’re a bunch of short-arses and there was no way you were going to stock clothing to fit around my ample frame was there? The only thing I could find to fit me was a SCARF. Now it’s a very nice scarf but I DIDN’T NEED IT it so now I have TOO MANY SCARVES and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT Paris. And you knew, YOU KNEW that the lights in the shop were making it look sage green when it is, in fact, GREY, God how I HATE you.
But don’t think you got the last laugh because you know that bottle of wine I bought at the train station? It was DELICIOUS. SO THERE. Ha ha ha ha ha.
Posted by redhairedqueer at 12:39 PM
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
That nice Joseph Galliano who used to run Gay Times has brought a book out, the big show off. It’s a collection of letters people have written to their 16-year-old selves. Justin Bond did his a while ago, so I thought I’d have a go …
So you’ve left school, dyed your hair black and bought those PVC trousers you weren’t allowed to have because they were “tarty”. A bold step forwards for the mousey teenager who used to worship ABBA … so why are you so terrified?
I know you were raised to think you had to grow up to be a wife and mother but believe me, that isn’t necessary. In fact, you don’t need to have a ‘partner’ of any kind if you don’t want one, pay no attention.
It’ll take you a while longer to sort yourself out than your contemporaries because first you need to go out and find ‘your’ people, but they are out there. There weren’t that many of them at school and there certainly aren’t any at that crappy job you’re doing, but you’ll find them. Stick with that job for now because it’s giving you a bit of money to go out and explore. You can worry about further education later.
Talking of school, you’ll find this amusing … in a couple of decades time there’ll be this new thing called ‘the internet’ (just go with me), you’ll look up the names of some of the people that the teachers said you should be like, and they’ll have done absolutely NOTHING. They’ll still be living in the same area, seeing the same people, married to each other and breeding kids. You’d rather die than do that wouldn’t you? Well, don’t worry, there’s no need.
I don’t really believe in doling out advice because you’ll figure it out sooner or later, but I will give you two big pointers:
1) Leave home as soon as possible, don’t be a fool like I was and stay there till you’re 23. You can do without the creature comforts – yes, it’s nice to have a video player and a stereo, but the sense of freedom you’ll get from having your own place is far more rewarding. Even if it’s just a little bed-sit – do it. For one thing it’ll stop those reoccurring nightmares; those black figures that try to choke you in your sleep are your parents. They’re good people but they’re holding you back, they don’t encourage you to express yourself properly.
2) On the subject of self-expression - the shyness. You’ve had trouble with it all your life and no one has taken the time to try and help. Later on you’ll self-identify it as high-functioning autism. Do yourself a favour, go to the library and read up about it; knowing what it is will make the world of difference.
Anyway, I’m not going to pretend it’ll all be plain sailing, you’ll have to take the rough with the smooth along with the rest of us, but ultimately it’s worth the while. You’ll meet some amazing and talented people who will support and inspire you.
You’re not going to take over the world, but you’ll have little victories, and you’re not going to allow the world to crush you either.
Posted by redhairedqueer at 3:07 PM
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Hallowe’en – it’s sort of like Gay Christmas isn’t it? If that’s the case then yesterday I must have been the gay equivalent of the harassed housewife as I put myself under a ridiculous amount of pressure to complete a costume and carve a pumpkin. None of this was completed until 6pm and I was starting hyperventilate. God help me if I ever had to do anything that was actually important.
I arrived at the Retro Bar resplendent in my new threads and clutching my vegetable topiary, to find that the efforts made by my fellow punters could only be described as POOR. I was, in fact, the SOLE entrant in the fancy dress competition and the only other pumpkin was provided by Gerald, who I had cajoled into entering on Twitter.
So the long and short of it is, Hallowe’en was a pretty profitable evening for the House of Right Nasty. Firstly the pumpkin competition was declared a tie, then my team won the pop quiz and was awarded a bottle of champagne. The fancy dress competition was CANCELLED, which annoyed me as I was expecting to compete for a cash prize. However, the cash prize was used for a creative writing contest and I won that anyway so HURRAH – EIGHTY QUID!! Fantastic!
We had to complete a story about what had happened to Joan Dairy Queen, who was the absent supposed-to-be-co-host for the evening. My tale involved me having a cloven hoof (a lifelong ambition) and turning into a wolf and eating him. I guess I forgot that I’m vegetarian.
If you haven’t already seen these on Facebook, my photographic highlights follow. The first is at home as I forgot to take any pics of myself at the bar.
The many and varied entries to the Pumpkins Carving Contest. Mine's the shit one on the right. I really felt Gerald should have won but I was happy with a tie as it meant I got two free drinks!
Our incomparable host, Ms Myra Dubois.
Jamie the door whore, who fell asleep on a pile of diamante.
Gerald with cock cake.
Alex working bearded drag realness.
Paul working 'jaundice'.
Lesley - attempting to hide behind a cobweb FAIL.
Skull and candles on bar top.
Posted by redhairedqueer at 6:59 PM
Friday, October 30, 2009
It’s the candle lit vigil against hate crime at Trafalgar Square tonight. I’ve thought about it long and hard but I’m not going, does that make me a bad gay?
I’m glad it’s happening and don’t get me wrong I AM NOT ATTACKING THE ORGANISERS, but there are just things about this event that don’t gel for me.
A group of people holding a vigil in memory of their friend, Ian Baynham, who was violently murdered in the Square a few weeks ago, that makes perfect sense and I have the utmost respect for it. But do we really think this action is going to challenge hate crime?
Come to think of it, why isn’t it to challenge HOMOPHOBIC crime? Homophobic attacks are on the increase but we still have to be limp-wristed and inclusive and campaign for ALL HATE CRIME. Why can’t we just stand our own ground for once?
Why can we not LET THEM KNOW WE’RE ANGRY? If there’s going to be a full-scale, organised event to challenge homophobic and/or hate crime, I’d rather march through the streets and have my voice heard – you know, an old-fashioned demonstration like they used to have. Back when Gay Pride was Gay Pride and not LONDON Pride. Back when Gay Pride was to challenge homophobia … but they tell us we don’t need to do that anymore don't they? It’s a thing of the past. Is that why we’re getting our heads in?
It’s all so passive, why are we waving candles when we could be kicking chavs? Queer gangs should be running amok around council estates intimidating people. Instead we have '2 minutes silence at 9pm' hmmm … the homophobes must be shitting themselves.
So while I support the people who will be attending the vigil, I will be sitting at home and silently seething with fury. I do my bit for gay rights walking round with a boyish haircut, flat shoes and a bag saying Pussy Faggot. Queer visibility all day every day, not a token gesture.
Posted by redhairedqueer at 11:34 AM
Friday, October 23, 2009
The guide booklet for the Ed Ruscha exhibition at the Hayward Gallery states: “There are no rules for looking at my paintings ... There’s no right or wrong way to approach my work, each viewer will come away with his or her own associations anyway. And that’s the way it should be.”
I like that a lot.
One of my biggest ambitions is to open a queer arts venue in that big space on Charing Cross Road –the building that was the Marquee for a while but is now a dreadful sports pub called the Montague Pike or something. One of the rules is that there will be NO SCHOOL OR COLLEGE PARTIES - nobody being dragged around by a know-it-all telling them what to think and what to feel when the look at the exhibits. How arrogant!
Instead there will be glittery sofas where people can relax and enjoy the works while sipping a finely mixed cocktail. There will be ambient music, tasteful lighting and a strictly no cunts allowed door policy. Sound perfect? Yes, I thought so, but let’s face it ... it’s not going to happen.
I lack the necessary drive or whatever it is to develop such fanciful notions. Try as I might, I can’t even manage to find my way out of a shite job in local government, never mind open up an elitist art salon in London. I was born into the wrong life, I’m convinced of it. My parents used to say, “I think we got the wrong one when we picked her up from the hospital.” Is it too late to go back and press charges?
Anyway, let’s focus, where were we? Oh ... ED RUSCHA, yes. After that auspicious start I was sad to find the show a little disappointing. It’s not awful, it just never really gets going. There’s no atmosphere and there's not really all that much to look at. Even though I like to wander round slowly and absorb all the pieces, I was still all done in about 30 minutes.
It’s hard to think that this is the same place that had the wonderful Walking in my Mind until a few weeks ago, where I spent ages visiting and revisiting each of the rooms, experiencing their individual magic.
There were two pieces I enjoyed a lot, my favourite was this one - Wen Out For Cigrets N Never Came Back.
I’m always enchanted by the suggestion of abandonment and the enormous sense of freedom that comes with it. I’m not sure where the streets below are but it reminds me very much of New York, and I love the romanticism of NY being the kind of place you can get lost in. Or of just checking into the Hotel Chelsea and never leaving, living among all that history and creating random bits of art.
The other one I loved was this – Not A Bad World Is It?
I think maybe I should buy a print of this and put it up on my wall at the day job, next to my pictures of drag queens and kittens – the things that remind me there is a real world out there when I’m having problems staying upright in my chair.
It’s kind of the antithesis to Banksy’s paintings where he will take an idyllic country scene and then put across a barrier of police tape or a surveillance system. They always make me smile.
I’m thinking of the Anish Kapoor at Royal Academy next ... or maybe Pop Life at Tate Modern. I’m put off by the fact it’s at Tate Modern though. Anyone been?
Posted by redhairedqueer at 5:40 PM