ALTER EGO Q&A – Karen McLeod/ Barbara Brownskirt

0
358

Deadline at the Fringe are interviewing performers across the month, putting 20 questions to them – both as an artist and as their stage or performance alter ego.

Karen McLeod’s show, ‘Who Do you think you are? Barbara Brownskirt.’, features poet-in-residence at the 197 bus stop, Penge – Barbara Brownskirt. The audience is semi-welcomed into the bitter-sweet world of being an (unknowingly rubbish) lesbian poet in 21st century Britain.

Picture submitted

Karen McLeod

  1. First impressions of our fair city and, why are you here?

Every time I step off the train at Waverley I am filled with optimism and the energy makes me want to run up the cobbled streets. I’m performing this Fringe so I can present my comic poet alter ego to the International stage, and to have fun.

2. Does your time here bring on joy or dread?

I’m going to say joy. I choose joy.

3. Are you a happy soul or do the occasionally dreich elements make you morose?

I’m mostly an optimist as I see optimism as a political act, but like anyone I also do have my off days when I overthink my own psychology.

4. Where will you visit on your day off and why?

I’m going to have a curry at Dishoom then walk up Arthur’s Seat, but maybe not in that order.

5. Do you ever get jealous of other performers?

No, I try to be supportive. There’s enough room for everyone, surely?

6. Did you have a happy childhood?

Mostly, but I was quite a melancholy teenager with emotions too big for my body and everyone else so I’m told.

7. What does success and failure mean to you?

Success means getting to do what I want to do creatively and it working out. Failure is a necessary flip side to this. It’s how I cope with both of these things that’s the real lessons to be had. Both can be devastating.

8. Are you superstitious when it comes to performing?

Not really, I just know to focus beforehand and jump up and down backstage whilst getting angry about figures like Trump. But, say if a parrot knocked on my dressing room door and handed me a lock of hair from my dead dog, I would know that’s something’s afoot.

9. What is your biggest fear before going on stage?

That my voice will crack during a performance.

10. What is your favourite saying?

“Hope for the best, expect the worst” – Angela Carter said this and I think it has just the right balance.

11. What is your worst habit?

Sounding like my mother on the telephone.

12. What do you love/hate about the festival?

I’ll let you know at the end of August.

13. Tell me about your most passionate embrace.

It was 12 years ago when I met my partner and I did not want to ever let her go.

14. Do you wear knickers under your kilt?

Definitely not.

15. Most embarrassing moment?

Michael Jackson wanting to hang out in the galley when I was a long haul air stewardess. I turned to jelly and could not cope with speech.

16. Where is your favourite place in the world and why?

At the moment it’s Santa Fe New Mexico because it is where all the weirdos feel comfortable, and the desert is where I feel most inspired.

17. Who would you be if you were not you?

A cross between Alan Bennett and Su Pollard.

18. What Scottish delicacies do you enjoy  and, do any of them fill you with fear?

Square sausage sandwich with sauce. I have no fear of food!

19. What is your greatest ambition?

To write another novel, failing that, perform at Sydney Opera House.

20. How can we bring world peace?

Work out how to channel human violence into a renewable energy source.

Picture submitted

Barbara Brownskirt, the poet-in-residence at 197 bus stop Croydon Rd, Penge.

  1. First impressions of our fair city and, why are you here?

The hills are tricky with my boating pumps but I’m here to spread my poetry and bring down the patriarchy.

2. Does your time here bring on joy or dread?

I’m not here for a holiday – this is a revolution.

3. Are you a happy soul or do the occasionally dreich elements make you morose?

Weather is changeable – like my moods – but I’m mostly fluctuating between a wild sense of joie de vivre and anger.

4. Where will you visit on your day off and why?

The Scottish Poetry Library to see if they’ll let me in this time.

5. Do you ever get jealous of other performers?

No, I don’t really know about them.

6. Did you have a happy childhood?

One of my happiest moments was on the sofa with mummy while she slept. She would have her wine breath, and me a beaker of milk. We would spoon while Judi Dench in ‘As Time Goes By’ was on the TV.

7. What does success and failure mean to you?

Nothing. They are irrelevant. Poetry is all that matters. But some money would be helpful.

8. Are you superstitious when it comes to performing?

I have to have my lucky pen in my cagoule pocket.

9. What is your biggest fear before going on stage?

That the audience is too big and full of non-ladies.

10. What is your favourite saying?

I have a favourite word… envelope.

11. What is your worst habit?

Eating pickled onions after I’ve cleaned my teeth before bed.

12. What do you love/hate about the festival?

It isn’t all year round.

13. Tell me about your most passionate embrace.

It was while putting my ex-Susan in the recovery position in 1999 – nothing has topped that weight embrace since.

14. Do you wear knickers under your kilt?

I wear a brown skirt and yes, of course.

15. Most embarrassing moment?

When I walked into the lounge in my landlady’s house and found her upside down under the local butcher.

16. Where is your favourite place in the world and why?

Penge, it’s home to the 197 bus stop where I work.

17. Who would you be if you were not you?

No one. I would not be.

18. What Scottish delicacies do you enjoy  and, do any of them fill you with fear?

Square Scottish

19. What is your greatest ambition?

To finish my Epic Poem – I’m only 400,000 words in and I feel I have at least four more years to go with it.

20. How can we bring world peace?

Ban testosterone.

Show Information

Venue: Assembly Rooms – Front Room

Dates: 14th-25th Aug

Times: 18:20 (1 hr)

Tickets: £10, £11 Fri, Sat, Sun

Bookings: Here | 0131 623 3030 or Assembly box offices at Assembly Hall and Assembly
Roxy, Assembly George Square, Assembly Checkpoint and Assembly Rooms

NO COMMENTS