Scottee is an artist whose work tackles issues of outsiderness: race, sexuality, class, age and gender. In 2010 he won the title of Time Out Performer of the Year and in 2015 Scottee was included on Independent’s Rainbow List as one of Britain’s most influential LGBTQI+ people.
Also, and quite conveniently for Hasler, he lives in her home town. So I guess I’m getting the train then.
It was my first visit to Southend, or more accurately Leigh-on-Sea, but it’s a place I saw pretty much every day growing up. I spent my childhood across the Thames estuary on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, and living on top of a hill I could see the bright lights of Southend whenever there was a clear morning. When I was young I thought it was Holland. As I grew older and learnt the basics of geography, it fascinated me. So close you could walk it if you set off early with a Thermos flask and some biscuits, but for the expanse of water that made it a 90 minute journey by car.
And it’s lovely. After meeting me at the station, Sadie took me down to the old town, with its fishing village vibe and beautiful old pubs. It reminded me of Whitstable on my side – the type of place that is probably bustling in the summer but has a beautiful emptiness on a Monday afternoon in December, and a lovely bygone feel.
After a brief pint we retired to Sadie’s flat to meet Scottee and podcast our little hearts out.
Scottee is lovely and I warmed to him immediately. To be honest going into this I had little understanding of what a performance artist was, with my only reference being via a friend who got dragged by an ex-girlfriend to a one-woman show in which a female artist told the story of the birth of Christ from Mary’s perspective. Over ten minutes was dedicated to her writhing on her back shouting “Fuck me harder God” as the creator of all humanity banged her on a stage above a pub in Vauxhall.
Hearing Scottee talk however, I got it straight away. He’s passionate about helping outsiders, and helping us understand each other, something this country definitely needs right now. His work breaks down us-and-them mentalities and shows us what we have in common, a beautiful cocktail of fun and serious thought provoking acts.
We asked him about how he, a working class boy from London who was excluded from school at 14, got into art and performance. We talked about how he put on shows in the early days, how it compares to now, and how he chooses what to pursue out of the many thoughts and themes that float around his head. We discussed fat shaming and body image and politics and I made some mince pies because it was Christmas.
Without a doubt however, the highlight for me was when Scottee remarked that he’d expected Sadie’s flat to be more “Essex”, and she properly lost her shit.
If you want to learn more about Scottee, or see some of his work, then check out his lovely and regularly updated website, or follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Or buy tickets to the previews of his new show Bravado, a study of the graphic nature of council estate maleness and the extent it will go to succeed. The previews are in St Helens, London and Colchester in February and March.
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Also, if you live in or near London, why not go and see Sadie acting in the play she wrote, Fran & Leni. It’s about punks and girls and friendship and has been reviewed favourably by people more intelligent than me. It’s on at Vault Festival in London’s Waterloo until Sunday.
Thanks for listening. We’re back next week with a drunken Thinky Thinky Make Make that I’m dreading listening back to.