With a new show coming to the Roundhouse, we natter with a very open and honest Scottee who, despite a troubled past, has no problems airing his dirty laundry in public.
G’day Scottee I believe you’re currently in Australia. I hope it’s providing much inspiration?
Yes, but not in a Priscilla Queen of the Desert kind of way, more in the fact that actually there’s a queer community here, I think in the uk we have queer people. Ive been invited into people’s houses who don’t even know me, who’ve thrown dinner parties. People have been driving me around everywhere. In short queer australians seem to be very open and generous.
Now the first question I have to ask, ok so it’s actually the second, who cleans your shirts?
I have a stage manager called James in Australia and in the uk I have my wonderful producer Rachel, so yes she gets to have the glamourous jobs. We have to keep on using them otherwise it’d be too expensive.
Would you describe yourself as a messy performer?
No I wouldn’t. I would just describe myself an honest one. I think life is full of mess. Life is blood, sh**, p*** and everything in between. I don’t use those fluids but I guess I’m definitely renowned for throwing sh** over myself. I think I do that because it’s about my difficult relationship with food, so I use food a lot in my work.
Your new show at the Roundhouse is called The Worst Of Scottee. What can an audience expect?
I guess brutal honesty! I got a psychotherapist to get in contact with 10 people, who no longer talk to me, to find out what they thought of me and why they don’t talk to me. I think an audience are going to change their minds on me or their opinion of me in more ways than one. ooooh cryptic.
Would you describe it as a very public form of therapy?
Yes I would, (laughs), and I think in some circles, mainly The Rooms, I think this is called step 4.
Whilst making the show, was there a particular person from your past that you really didn’t want to meet again?
Yes. Out of the ten that we got in contact with only four came forward, and two of those people were quite adamant they wanted nothing to do with the project so we have to bleep their names out during the show. So this is still very live for a lot of people. I bumped into one of these people outside of Pret A Manger and we didn’t really know what to do so we just stared at each other and walked past.
Stealing at aged 10, arrested at aged 14, are there any parts of your life you don’t lay bare to the audiences?
No I don’t think so. Im brutally honest and I think that’s why people come to my shows or I think that’s why this is a strong piece, if I can be bold to say, because I think when you’re an artist you’re supposed to go to those places, I guess to educate and inform to help an audience get to that place themselves. I’m only being honest and I don’t think that’s a difficult thing.
Have you now made friends with your past because of this performance?
No. I wasn’t allowed to have contact with these people. We were really cautious about how we went around this and so the psychotherapist and my producer got in touch with these people. I wasn’t there at the filming and I wasn’t allowed to have their contact details and stuff, which is fine because a lot of these people don’t want to be contacted by me. They’ve made the decision not to be a part of my life or for me to be a part of theirs.
What would be the Best of Scottee?
I think this is the best of me. The best of me is to be honest, to be open, to be upfront and to rid myself of shame. There’s a particular story in the show which I carried around a lot of shame for years and now I don’t, so maybe the irony is that this has actually become the best of me.
Performer, director, artist, writer and broadcaster. What’s been a personal career highlight so far?
I really love doing the radio. I love being on Radio 4 because I think it’s just bizarre. I think it’s weird that I pop up on Radio 4, ‘And today I’m going to be interviewing Lisa Stasfield.’ Which I love. (We have also had a chin wag with Lisa and you can read her interview in the Feb issue!) The reason why I’m a performer, director, artist, writer and broadcaster is because I just like working and making art, performance, entertaining all of it. Although a personal highlight would be throwing cake at Rihanna on the X-Factor.
Looking through your website gallery I’m reminded of Leigh Bowery. Do you have a life inspiration?
I guess I get compared to Leigh quite a lot. Mainly because we’re both performance artists, although I don’t call myself that, and we’re fat and we wear funny clothes. A lot of his friends are very good close friends to mine and they kinda don’t think that I’m like him, which is good. I’ve got nothing against it. I guess growing up more of my icons were people like, Dawn French, Les Dawson and Hattie Jacques. So I guess those would be more of my inspiration, light entertainers who were on the telly when I was a kid.
Where can folk learn more about the great Scottee?
Well on my website, I’m all over social media because I love it. The internet is the best invention in the world.
The Worst Of Scottee is at the Roundhouse from the 4th – 15th February 2014. for tickets visit here.
Do check Scottee out what at www.Scottee.co.uk
or for the latest ramblings follow him on Twitter @ScotteeScottee