Between 2009 and 2013, I was Time Out London’s cabaret editor, a position that gave me a ringside seat to the city’s most dynamic creative scene and unparalleled access to those shaping it.
As well as weekly coverage of the scene in print and online for Time Out, I’ve covered cabaret for the Guardian, Evening Standard and the Today Programme, chaired the judging panel for the inaugural London Cabaret Awards and co-created TO&ST, the Time Out & Soho Theatre Edinburgh Cabaret Award, which ran in 2012 and 2013.
In 2014, I began AHRC-funded PhD research into social applications of cabaret and related performance – or how to do things with queer fun – working at Queen Mary, University of London, with Catherine Silverstone and Duckie. I have also taught a module on cabaret performance alongside Marisa Carnesky at Central School of Speech & Drama.
In 2015, I conceived, produced and directed The Prime of Ms David Hoyle, an evening of thrilling pedagogy at Chelsea Theatre that returned for a two-week run in 2016. In 2014, I produced and presented two editions of a cabaret night called Come With Me If You Want To Live and a weekend-long Not Television Festival of interactive performance (or ‘shows that love you back’), also at Chelsea Theatre.
In 2010, I created BURN, the platform for moving images by cabaret artists. Showcasing standalone video and video-interactive live work by performers from the cabaret scene, BURN runs monthly at the Hackney Attic and has also taken place as part of the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (now called Flare), MIX NYC, the East End Film Festival, the Hot August Fringe, Mimetic, Mother’s Ruin and others.
With Gavin Butt, professor in visual cultures and performance at Goldsmiths, I co-directed the feature documentary This Is Not a Dream, about queer and alternative artists and performers using moving image since Warhol, incorporating video performances by Dickie Beau. Created as part of the AHRC-funded Performance Matters research project between Goldsmiths, University of Roehampton and the Live Art Development Agency, TINAD screened at the LLGFF, Dirty Looks NYC, Outfest Los Angeles, MIX Copenhagen and GAZE Dublin among others. It is available on DVD. I also co-directed with Ed Lawrenson the short observational documentary Vinegar to Jam (2013), about the final performances by Jonny Woo and the LipSinkers at Bistrotheque’s cabaret room in east London, which premiered as part of the London Short Film Festival. I also directed Cut To (2014), a short film about the time Tricity Vogue got her hair cut in public and became a boy.
In July 2014, my first ebook was published as part of the Guardian Shorts 60-Minute Masterclasses range. Critical Writing evolved from the in-person masterclasses I’ve given at the Guardian and looks at the changing role of the critic in the digital era, arguing for the role to be conceived less as a career than a vocation.
As a film critic, I have contributed regularly to Sight & Sound, Film Quarterly, the Guardian, Time Out (where I was deputy film editor from 2005 to 2007), BBC Radio and other outlets. My books include a short biography of Orson Welles, the BFI TV Classic on The Office and, with JM Tyree, the BFI Classic on The Big Lebowski. I have programmed seasons for BFI Southbank on Orson Welles, the Coen brothers and Bernard Herrmann. In 2012, I curated Swede Dreams, a two-day celebration of homemade (or ‘sweded’) versions of Hollywood movies, at the Roxy Bar and Screen.
Between 2007 and 2009, I lived in New York, writing about subjects such as the Kuchar brothers, Kenneth Anger, John Waters, Ken Jacob, Quentin Crisp and Penny Arcade, as well as Joe E Jeffreys’ Drag Show Video Vérité archival project, for various outlets, including a weekly column on NY film culture for the Guardian and pieces for Time Out New York, the Advocate and the New York Post. In 2008, I took a Masters in arts and culture journalism from Columbia University, New York.
I also hold a Masters in the history of film and visual media from Birkbeck, University of London, and took a double first in English at Trinity College, Cambridge. I got my silver swimming certificate on the first attempt, grade five piano on the second and a driving licence on the third.