Since February the femmes have been REVOLTING every other month at Sissy Scum. Scurrying up from the sewers of East London, Rodent has been summoning femme ferocity and revolting monstrosity to shake and wail and scream in the face of banality.
VFD's Phoebe chats to Rodent to discover what is at the roaring core of Sissy Scum:
Phoebe: What, or who, is Sissy Scum?
Rodent: Sissy Scum is a live art party and performance platform for queer femmes who aren’t interested in playing nice, being respectable or following rules. Honestly, I started the night for myself so that I could experiment more with club performance and my own arts practice in ways that might not work in other venues but then to also break that open to be a platform for other artists.
It’s also an absolute response to, and rejection of, cis culture and a refocusing of nightlife through a femme, trans non binary lens. It’s about celebrating difficult work and difficult bodies that don’t want to be made good, they just wanna scream and dance.
OMG YES!!! This month's Sissy Scum is all about the TANTRUM. What's got you raging?
I started thinking about Tantrums earlier this year as a response to how I felt I was being accused of being a bully or an unreasonable brat for taking up space and asserting myself as a nonbinary person. There was such a huge uproar in a particular pocket of London queer culture against “they/them” pronouns, and I was just baffled at the idea that myself and others were being labelled as the cause of the queer communities problems, making cis gay men feeling marginalised in LGBT spaces purely by existing and wanting to be recognised. Boo. Fucking. Hoo.
Tantrum is all about being that brat and taking it to an extreme to ridicule the idea that a bunch of disenfranchised gender fuckers are threatening cis queers. But it’s evolved since then to be more about coping mechanisms and trying to create a way to (un)successfully navigate all the problems in the world that are so vast and out of control.
Also, I feel like at the moment there’s a tendency in our society to shut down emotional outpourings and displays of sensitivity and vulnerability. “Snowflake” is the accusation de jour coming from the right against any display of compassion and emotional depth. “Facts not feels” they tweet, completely lacking in self-awareness as the right’s political machine completely deconstructs truth. So the tantrum is also about rejecting that and giving queer people a space to be an productively or unproductively emotional as they want.
Holy shit you're on fire, i'm so so into this. I literally don't know how to follow that...
I love that you're creating a space for queers to be both vulnerable and fierce, because we find ourselves often being forced into being one or the other - or even more often we're not allowed to be truly either.
Absolutely. I’ve been reading Maggie Nelson lately and in The Art of Cruelty she discusses artists making work out of their own issues and describes a way of making work that just loudly proclaims the artists personal issue without accusing the audience of being complicit or trying to wake them up to it. That’s kind of what I’m trying to do here as well. Emancipate the audience and the artists.
Oh I love love love that book. I think it's so important to think critically about cruelty. Especially as so much cruelty in our daily lives - from transphobia, homophobia, classism, racism, white supremacy etc. - is devastatingly accepted as the status quo. So when people to act up, or stand out, or perform something out of the ordinary they are often making visible that violence which can be shocking to witness but also emancipatory and empowering. Oh god you're getting me distracted cause I could talk about that book forever- but what I mean is that I think it's this idea that we're not singling out people for being complicit but instead recognising that these systems at work. However those systems are just people and we can disarm them by acting differently.
Maybe we should get back on track though!? I feel like lots of the joy, anger and filth of Sissy Scum erupts during the performances. I have so many favourite moments previous shows - like Ellis D spurting paint across the floor whilst trying to teach us to control the weather, johnsmith as wallpaper delivering a technomagic lipsync and you smashing a melon to shit with a baseball bat. What should we expect to explode this Friday?
I’m so excited about the lineup for this weeks party! A lot of artists are showing brand new material which is amazing. I’ll be workshopping how to have the most useless tantrum possible, screaming love songs to my sissies and whingeing whingeing whingeing. I’ve gone much bigger this time round with more live artists, two film screenings and two DJs joining the fray. It’s going to be a big amazing mess that I am just itching to roll around in.
Me too! So, if I was gonna rat-trap you in the Basement with 8 music tracks to keep you company - what would you choose?
I’m into this desert island discs moment! Right now I think it’d have to choose:
You can come to Sissy Scum this Friday 24th August! it's only £5 before 11pm (£8 after) and joining Rodent for a night of petulance and pleasure are:
Performances: RHYS’ PIECES // MYNXIE MONROE // THE NIGHTBUS // LUCIA DRACO // HERMIONE CALLOW
Films from: DANIEL COX // BENAISSA MISERY
Soundtracked by: FLIRTY.LOLLYPOP33 // ORNOGRAPHY
Door Queen: Ket Moss