What does one say about UK performer David Hoyle? He’s been called everything from a comic genius to a decomposing Liza Minnelli and in many ways, both comments ring true. He’s relatively unknown in Australia, although that’s all about to change. David’s coming out to Sydney and is bringing his show S.O.S. with him as part of the Mardi Gras Festival, and if you’re expecting it to be a nice, pleasant evening in the theatre then you’d better think again.
“I believe every show should be a collaboration between performer and audience,” says David. “I loathe theatre, the way the stagnant moment keeps being triumphed. I don’t understand how night after night the same dead moment can be presented to living people. It takes life for granted.”
David calls a spade a spade. He was once well known throughout the UK as the Divine David, a character who gained a real following and carved out a unique niche within London’s queer cultural scene. Intensely passionate and opinionated, he would viciously lament the narcissism within mainstream gay culture through singing, dancing, painting, spoken word – just about anything.
Over six years ago however, just as he sat on the brink of mainstream success, David Hoyle strapped on his ice skates and killed off Divine David at a UK Ice Arena in a spectacular final show. It was his departure from showbusiness, he says ‘it was about the right of an artist to destroy their creation before it destroys them.’
“Yes, six years ago I killed off the veneer and now I have decided to return as David Hoyle and take full responsibility for my actions,” he says. S.O.S is that return.
“S.O.S can mean Save Our Souls or it can mean Show Of Shows. I think there’s a bit of both in there. Hopefully people will find something in my show that they can relate to… and if they all start having spontaneous orgasms in the aisles then – great! S.O.S. is a big two fingers up to the gay orthodoxy. The gay community is nothing more than a white niche market, it doesn’t equate with peace, it doesn’t equate with equality.”
David Hoyle calls mainstream gay culture ‘the biggest suicide cult in history’.
“They’ve targeted us, we’re a niche market. White, middle class men. It’s all about capitalism, the pink pound or the pink Australian dollar. When you look at it, so many gay rights activists are essentially saying that all along, all we have ever wanted to be are compliant, obedient, fully committed parts of the capitalist machine, burdened with a mortgage, working nine to five. We are not [copies] of heterosexuals.”
So what is David Hoyle then?
“I’m not gay, I’m queer. Gay is a construct. It plays into that man and woman dichotomy. To say you have to be one or the other – it’s peevish. Sure, you have external genitalia, so what? This so called masculinity has been iconographied, almost deified within the gay community. I tell you, Hitler’s dream is alive and well. Nazism didn’t die in 1945. It’s been percolating and we’re living with it now. There is a lot of imagery used within the gay scene that he would approve of. When you look at gay culture in Australia, do you see the eroticisation of a naked indigenous person, or do you see a blue eyed, blonde, masculine man? Hitler’s dream is alive – it’s youth focused, white focused, blue eyed, blonde haired, nazi garbage.”
David’s brutally honest opinions have polarised communities and gained him a real following by those involved in the anti-gay movement. According to David, mainstream gay culture is not at all liberating, but is oppressive, built around conformity, insecurity and money.
“Why are we obsessed with a culture that is intended to appeal to pre-pubescent young girls? I say this as a 44 year old man. Some of us need more. I mean, lets get real – we know what’s happening in China, we know what’s happening economically. It would be nice to spend my time obsessing about the career of Kylie Minogue, but I’m more interested in what’s happening economically, how India is doing, how China is doing. In many ways, [the mainstream gay community] are less than teenagers.”
If this really is the case, if the gay community is a homogenised world that doesn’t support those within it, what future is there for us?
“We will triumph,” he says, “when the scales fall from our eyes and when we realise that we’re not here to get married and have babies. That is not what we’re about. We are about producing art and awareness.”
Regardless of where David sits amongst gay and queer culture, he is very excited about being invited to be a part of Mardi Gras.
“I am excited about coming to Australia, it has an amazing history, an entire society created through human cruelty. I’ve also been told it’s very beautiful, and I really respond to beauty. I think Mardi Gras is very potent it’s special – I feel so amazed and blown away to be involved, and to be coming to perform at the Sydney Opera House, it means a lot to me.”
Don’t try and compare him to any other performer out there. And don’t try and call him a celebrity or a leader of a movement either.
“My motto is never compete, never compare. I hate celebrity… Celebrities are insecure, egotistical twats. You know, I really find it hard to give a shit about anything in this business. I hate showbusiness. I think a cleaner doing his job in a hospital has more glory than another gurning celebrity. What a load of shit. Celebrities work for the government – they take the attention away while they bomb innocent women and children.”
If an hour on the phone is anything to go by, David’s show is likely to be a confronting, life changing night. He strives to find the truth and beauty in a flawed, dishonest world.
“I don’t know what you look like, or what your body’s like, but you probably think that if you don’t go to the gym and look a certain way no other gay man will love you – that’s the gay community. You sound like a beautiful young man. George Bush and Tony Blair make decisions every day that result in the deaths of beautiful young men. Men like you. They sleep well at night, why can’t you?”