Leo Skilbeck talks ‘The Pervert’s Podcast’: “It’s wise to assume that ‘progress’ isn’t linear”

Presented by the award-winning theatre company Milk Presents and in partnership with Derby Theatre, The Pervert’s Podcast is a new queer audio cabaret exploring items selected from national queer archives, and featuring many special guest apperances including Campbell X, Mzz Kimberly, Georgoise Bourgeois, among others. Guillermo Názara talks to its host, Leo Skillbeck, about the past, present and future not only of this show, but of the people it’s bound to advocate for.

There was a time when all things queer were related to the underground. Now it looks as it’s exactly the opposite…

I’d say if you think it’s the opposite you aren’t looking in the right places! Haha no, of course queerness is so much more in the mainstream now, but I think it would be wise to think about what kind of queerness is most widely understood and represented, and why many other expressions and identities aren’t afforded as much dignity, respect and airtime.

There are still a tonne of thriving subcultures that are not (and my guess is don’t want to be) mainstream. I would also think about the difference between being ‘visible’ and being safe, the difference between being ‘mainstream’ and being welcomed.

Real (and iconic) queer people, in a queer tavern doing a queer show. Can we get any queerer?

I think George Bourgeois singing about being carried around in his lover boy’s rectum via a liquid gold enema gives it a good go.*

(see *Episode 5…)

What makes it different from any other LGBT-interview-oriented shows?

Not only is there chat, but each artist also prepares a unique act especially for the show – so you have these hugely exciting seminal artists, creating and performing something brand new, something they’ve made, something that didn’t exist before the show. It’s very special and unique, like an audio gift made just for the listener that only exists within the world of The Pervert’s Podcast , made for and by fellow perverts!

Also I haven’t heard many cabaret stars interviewed in iconic queer bathrooms but I guess it’s probably out there somewhere.

What I love about today is that information is so much more widely accessible.

Is it important to bring queer voices to the stage?

Absolutely – anti-queer voices can feel so loud and infiltrate the queer realities of day to day life, and so creating spaces to be loud and fun and silly, or to be emotional and quiet and caring – all of these are really important and I hope the podcast can, in its own way, counter that, and add to the noise championing queer love and thriving existence.

The title clearly references the homophobic treatment many LGBT people have received over the years. How far have we come from those times, in your opinion?

I think it’s wise to assume that ‘progress’ isn’t linear, and any gains made and fought for by our queer family before us, are not to be taken for granted.

I grew up under Section 28 here, which meant I did not have access to books, histories or cultures of queer experience, and that had a real impact on my life. What I love about today is that information is so much more widely accessible.

That been said, anti-queer hate crime is on the rise for LGBTQIA+ people and is also increasingly hostile for trans and gender diverse people right now – I think we’ve a long way to go yet.

Part of what this podcast does is to celebrate queerness, to celebrate otherness – it’s very fun, but we understand the backdrop against which we are creating and recording the show.

Is laughter a way to defeat hate?

Always! Seiriol Davies who wrote the theme song for the Perverts Podcast is a great example of this – their lyrics are always so hilarious and catchy – but used as a tool to reclaim or send up or subvert.

There’s been so many great guests during the show’s run. Which has been your favourite to this moment and why?

I couldn’t possibly have one – I have a genuine love for all my guests on the show – for real! Annie Siddons has this fierce intellect and instinct for mischief, Mzz Kim’s felt really personal and special, Shay Shay was a dream and their poem made from Grindr is a must listen! Ginger Johnson has this quick wit and carries the audience with her so beautifully, and George Bourgeois is the personification of filth and glamour! I adore them all.

Any plans of bringing the show to some other stage?

Yes! A couple of episodes are set to be recorded in Autumn in Manchester. Each episode takes a lot of care, love and time to create, so we are just doing a few at a time. Expect more perversions! Also filmmaker and activist Campbell X is set to host with me so – wow- yes I’m excited!

Why should we listen to ‘The Pervert’s Podcast’?

Come get your perverted fix of queer love as the world collapses around us.

The whole series of The Pervert’s Podcast is available on the following link.

By Guillermo Názara

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