Director, Producer, Creator and Star of ‘I Love You But We Only Have Fourteen Minutes To Save The Earth’ talks to The Gay UK. We find out about his love of Cabaret and his plan to save the earth by installing a guillotine in Parliament.
Tell us a little about I Love You But We Only Have Fourteen Minutes To Save The World
It’s a ‘creative collision’ of cabaret, live art and film: we previewed the show last year at Oval House in London, and at the Decibel Showcase in Manchester. We’re now returning to London with the completed show for a limited run at Soho Theatre before setting off to Suffolk for the Latitude Festival, and then on a national tour.
Where did the title come from?
I came up with the idea when I discovered the TED Talks, which challenge the world’s ‘inspired thinkers’ give the ‘talk of their lives’ in eighteen minutes. I was seeking a way to give artists a guiding time frame and concept to produce a performance when Dale Arden’s voice popped into my head hollering (as she does in the Flash Gordon movie and the Queen title song) ‘Flash! I love you but we only have fourteen hours to save the earth!’ and I had it, the title and the concept…
What can people coming to watch you at the Soho Theatre expect to see?
The show features three fourteen minute performances: one by Avant Guardian Angel David Hoyle, one by the reigning Alternative Miss World Fancy Chance and one by Eco Worrier Extraordinaire Timberlina, I shall be strictly reinforcing the time limits in my role as Ming The Merciless. In between the performances are cinematic entr’actes I created with Theatrical Radical Bette Bourne and Video Anti-Hero Kate Pelling.
If you were prime minister for the day how would you make the world a better place?
Install a guillotine outside the Houses of Parliament, preferably on a bit of a slope so the blood could drain into the Thames, execute David Cameron, George Osbourne, Nick Clegg, in that order I think, followed by all members of the current cabinet, and David Milliband whilst we’re at it, in fact the majority of elected politicians – most of whom no longer represent or even comprehend the lives of their constituents, then work our way up Birdcage Walk, have a bit of a round up in the palace and along The Mall, we’d do the Queen first, followed by Charlie, and then work our way through the entire family tree, and all those who represent the antiquated institutionalized privilege that persists in this country even in the twenty-first century, maybe stop off in Soho for a bit of late lunch and a mass gay marriage, publicly recognizing our collective commitment to humanity, consummated by mass orgy, pop in at Lambeth Palace to decapitate a few bishops, then head to the city, Barclays first, Bob Diamond’s head will be erected on a stick in Hyde Park, in fact we’ll put all their heads on sticks, perhaps arranged on some sort of mound like a cheese and pineapple hedgehog – it will be a work of public art to serve as a reminder, the day after, to those of us who are left to love each other, to be more rather just want more, and to try harder or at least fail better.
Is there a massive difference between cabaret & theatre?
No. There’s a permeable membrane between the two.
We see you’re performing at the Latitude festival, how do you create a show like yours for the festival setting?
Audiences who go to Latitude are there to experience art, not just to drink excessive quantities of over-priced cider and share epiphanies with strangers to a soundtrack of indifferent indie music in the middle of a mud patch. I think.
The Guardian said about you “A happy dose of queer cabaret” is there a difference between queer (which we’re assuming means gay in this instance) cabaret and straight cabaret?
No. There’s a permeable membrane between the two.
Do you see a difference between queer and gay? What is the difference if so…
Yes, I do. And sometimes there is no permeable membrane between the two. I’ve witnessed both the queers and the gays rejoicing in their own apartheids. Generally ‘gays’ tend to be more ‘ready salted’, and the ‘queers’ more ‘pick ‘n’ mix’. But it’s all semiotics. We are, most of us, human beings.
What boundaries can you push when working under the mantle of “queer?”
Do you know, I find all that stuff really dull. I’m not interested in ‘pushing boundaries’ whether queer or no. I just want to make work that’s honest, beautiful, entertaining and gets people thinking.
What got you into cabaret and theatre?
I started writing, directing and starring in my own theatrical productions age nine. There was a lot of opportunity throughout school and university and then, when I got to London, the opportunity slowly died, so at the age of almost thirty, sick of writing plays which no-one ever staged, I ran away from the theatre to join the cabaret and started writing, directing and starring in my own productions again. At Duckie. Duckie was a big inspiration to me.
Is there enough funding for the entertainments industry from national bodies like the Arts Council?
Generally, no. But the Arts Council have been very generous to me personally of late, which I greatly appreciate. The subject of arts funding is one on which I can pontificate for some time, but reducing my arguments to the marketplace, as most arguments have been reduced to the marketplace for the past three decades, the arts make a lot of money for this country, but it’s very hard to make money when working in the arts, ergo artists need to be supported or the economy is (even more) f**ked.
Thank you so much for answering our questions and look forward to coming to see you on the 4th at the Soho Theatre in London!
I Love You But We Only Have Fourteen Minutes To Save The Earth is on at the Soho Theatre from 4th – 7th July and then on tour. For more details visit: