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9 June 2009
Shame, shame, shame

Steve Gray and Peter Lloyd: Pink Paper

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After 12 successful years, Duckie are to host the final Gay Shame festival in July.

he annual anti-Pride, hosted by writer and TV presenter Any Lame, has this year billed itself as “an arty farty party for the clitterati” and sees attendees rebelling against the traditional scope of mainstream Pride festivals.

Hosted by Duckie, the Olivier award-winning and acclaimed independent arts outfit, Gay Shame has enjoyed major success in its 12-year tenure but comes to an end on 4 July.

Participants are asked to let their guard down and embrace the theme of femininity, a direct contrast to last year, where masculinity was the name of the game.

Simon Casson, Gay Shame’s producer, told Pink Paper that the party will feature a total of 100 artists and is expected to draw 3,0000 attendees.

Last year’s celebrity quota was high too, with Rufus Wainwright, Russell Tovey and Donna Air all in attendance.

When we asked him what people can expect from this year’s bonanza, he said: “The unexpected. Shame is a creative rebellion against the banalities of the mainstream gay
Pride festival and a satire on the commercialisation of our community.”

So, despite its continued success, why is this the last ever Gay Shame? “It was a moment in time,” he adds. “We were born out of gay scene apathy in the 90s when clubs like Popstarz and duckie started emerging. Now, we’re aware that – eventually – we’ll become as predicatable as what we’re fighting against – and we don’t want that to happen.”

But, that said, is there a financial element too? “Yes, the Arts Council generously give us £70,000 every year, but the condition for that is to keep pushing the envelope. There’s been no threat of that ending, but at some point it will. We want to go out on a high - and leave the others alone to oil their pecs in the pages of QX!” he smiles.

There are over 35 specially commissioned interactive sideshows at Gay Shame, featuring an array of traditional feminine crafts and skills. From breast feeding to the beauty parlour, from slimming to soaps, from factory work to the femme police, from yummy mummies to yoga, from the women’s institute to the womyn’s movement, from the horrors of the hen party to the empathy of the embroidery circle, it’s all there for the taking.

Gay Shame 2009 will take place at the O2 Brixton Academy. Tickets cost £15 and are available at or via

Hotline: +44 (0)20 7737 4043

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