18 September 2009

Interview: Scottee

What do you do if you're fat and gay as a goose? You can take the Christopher Biggins route and embrace everything that is camp and larger than life, or you can be a bear. Scottee chose a different option: self-expression via the queer avant garde. This performer /designer /social scene must surely be the sweet nephew of our dearly beloved Leigh Bowery, Divine David and Vaginal Creme Davis, and he's still oh so tenderly young and precocious.

What can I say? Scottee is a delight, he brightens every stage and page that dares to host him, and his performance is provocative, imaginative and also sincere. He's obviously got a heap of talent and an extensive address book. From early forays into the club scene with Yr Mum Yr Dad, via his backstreet abortion and tapestry performance at Gay Shame, to new projects in fashion, and other collaborations, he's one to watch. Here's some more...

I've been reading interviews with you online and it looks as though you're someone who leads a fabulous life of performance, dressing-up and parties. How true is this? How do you pay the bills? Also, what are you?

I am what you see I'm afraid: a full time performer. It's lovely that I can just focus on this and pay the bills at the same time, I'm really fortunate.

Can you say a bit more about what being a full time performer means?

Well, let's take this week for instance. I constantly tidy my flat and trawl though loads of emails (I love doing emails, I'm quite shy when it comes down to it, so emails are the best with me). Then I had a business meeting with Patrick Wolf, I'm directing his new video. I filmed a short for The Pixies for their next tour with my friend Judy Jacob, and on Thursday I'm hosting Mika's album dinner. This weekend I've only got one gig at XXL with the Tenor Ladies, then Sunday I think I have rehearsals but I'm not sure. So it's quite a good job when I write it all out like this.

What's The Tenor Ladies?

Tenor Ladies is my concept fatty band I started with fellow chub Sami Knight. We are both performers and have a real love for music from the age, which drag queens bastardized with bad lipsynchs at the Molly Moggs pub throughout the 80s. We are really bored of where music is now, Kate Nash cutouts with mockney accents singing about their boyfriend's lack of penis and the like, so we started Tenor Ladies. We are all about big hair, big voices and big bellies singing big numbers. Its not avant garde in the slightest, but I suppose by default that makes it avant garde. We've got our big winter showcase at the end of this month which I'm really looking forwards to.

Who are the fat queers you most admire?

Hmm. I'm not sure there are many fat queers although I love Amy Lamé, she speaks a lot of sense, and is someone who I feel deserves a lot more gratitude. I think I'm more of a fan of the fatty per se. Dawn French is the best, of course, but that goes without saying. My ideal line-up would be Dawny, Hattie Jacques, Diana Dors and Mama Cass, all in 70s geometric print kaftans, eating my favourite Dors recipe 'Apricot Chiffon'.

What is Apricot Chiffon? I want some.

Its only Diana Dors TVAM favourite-on-a-diet classic. It's like a milky jelly, a blancmange with tinned apricots on the top. Who would have thought?

I'm aware of a trend in fat activism that's concerned with being poster children for healthy living and upstanding citizenship. I think this is to do with refuting ideas that fat people are greedy, lazy, ugly and the rest of it. What I love about the way you present yourself to the world is that you fully embrace a kind of fat grotesque, there's a lot of goo and wobbly chub and yuckiness in your performances, and genderfuck thrown in for good measure. What do you think? Are you consciously rejecting being a well-behaved fatty?

I used to be very uncomfortable with my body and getting it out, when I first landed on the playground/gay scene I got a lot of hassle form gay guys shouting abuse at me in Balans and the like, they made me fear my body but I don't really want to give them any more air time than needed. Us fatsos love to dwell when really we should be thinking about the finer things in life and living positively. If we give them attention they will flourish!

So it wasn't until I realised that if I use my body to my advantage it makes people listen to what I have to say. Usually people are more scared of my body than I am, when I learnt that there was no stopping me! Fat people don't have to be the shy geeks in the corner, we can be the liberated, loudmouthed, nuisance I've become! I want to reject all preconceptions that fat people are unhappy and unconfident, its time for fat rebellion.

What does fat rebellion look like to you?

Lady Gaga covered in custard and La Roux in batter. Eat them all and rid pop of slop!

Do you know Glenn Marla? I can't help thinking that you are doppelgangers and I'd love to see you collaborate or even just be in the same room together.

No I don't, but I've instantly befriended.

Who are your dream collaborators?

Dream collaborators would be Fenella Fielding, the age of the eccentric actress needs to return and she's genius in Carry On. Also, Lisa Stansfield, I do think she is the most beautiful woman to walk this planet and she sings like a dream. David Hoyle too, I could listen to the man talk forever!

I saw Fenella Fielding at Covent Garden Tescos about ten years ago. She looked exactly the same as she did in Carry On Screaming, except older. I like people who pick a look early on in their lives and then stick to it.

I saw her in M&S Covent Garden last year, I loved her three wigs and flash lashes – at lunchtime! She was buying vine leaves, I now buy them too.

Why is your t-shirt £40?

Well to produce XXXXL tees in the UK costs a packet, plus its an old French & Saunders joke: "Forty pounds for a bloody tee shirt, you must be mad!"

What are you working on now?

I'm working towards my solo show 19-21 November called Mess, at Stoke Newington International Airport. The show is about being afraid of our bodily functions and Jonny Woo, Dickie Beau and I will be spending December in Selfridges for a instore panto on stilts. Good huh?

What else would you like to say?

I've just read this back and I'm really old-fashioned! What 23 year-old likes Diana Dors!?

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