Legendary avant-guardian David Hoyle returns to the RVT for a strictly limited run of four brand new genre-defying evenings of love, protest, comedy and live art from next Thursday. Here he explains the idea behind his new show series, Exobiology.
Hi David, for your new set of shows at the RVT, you are looking to the stars for inspiration… Is that because life on Earth is too depressing right now?
Yes, very much so. But what I’m really trying to do is raise consciousness – from some of the things that I think really aren’t that important, they’re just presented as they are. I do feel that at the moment all of us are being encouraged to live as if we’re microbes dwelling beneath a microscope. Whereas I’m more interested in something more liberating. I think a lot of us have been medicalised and pathologised, and we need to go somewhere else now. I’m reading a lot of Doris Lessing at the moment. The Grass Is Singing’s revelations about white, working class life in southern Rhodesia are quite startling I found. Incongruously translated into the veldt. As of course we all know, as readers of Boyz, Doris Lessing was a member of the illegal underground communist party of southern Rhodesia. Before I read this I thought all the whites had a detached property and a swimming pool; I had no idea this caste of characters existed. But then I’m interested in everybody’s experience. I think that what really does it for me is about the relationship between a personality and a geopolitical zone. Like life itself. Insightful and empowering. ‘Don’t watch television, read Doris Lessing’ is my new mantra. The weirdness of these people being transplanted and they’re the people you’d recognise from a soap opera, or On The Buses, like they’re doing the housework, ironing their antimacassars. But of course even there, really the antimacassars were being ironed by people of colour, paid 15 shillings a month. To watch television is to be insulted, whereas to read is to be educated. They’re serialising one of her works on Radio 4 at the moment, it’s called The Good Terrorist.
In a time where some people are retreating behind walls, is it important to still be stargazers?
Very. Very important to retain stargazing potential. One thinks of the masterpiece by the artist Maggi Hambling, of Oscar Wilde in the Charing Cross vicinity of London, with its wonderful quote: ‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.’ I can remember being encouraged to look at the Moon, but never through glass.
Life is so varied and abundant on Earth, do you believe that there must be life elsewhere in the Universe?
Yes, I do. What we have to remember is that we’re all prisoners on a planet of perpetual war. War, which is organised mass murder, is normalised, and therefore evil. I have to believe that there is an enclave of commensurate goodness and benevolence out there somewhere. I have to believe.
People have believed for thousands of years that the stars and planets control their lives, do you think it is possible, or are we responsible for our destiny?
Yes, I do think it’s possible. OK, the moon is a planet – is a planet? It’s an astronomical body. And it affects things like the tide and people’s menstrual cycles, so obviously there’s a lot of power there. I am no stranger to La Lune.
Is it possible for someone to really embrace both faith and science?
Yes it is. I don’t think that there’s a natural disconnect between spirituality and science. And no scientist actually can answer every question. There are mysteries. But scientists are trying to understand where we came from. What baffles me is the original matter that exploded, and from which we all hail, where did that come from originally?
Are there any other things in particular that you will be talking about at the RVT over the four shows?
Yes. I believe that we are encouraged to dwell on unimportant matters. Exobiology will provide an opportunity where we can transcend such boring and banal bullshit. Nick Blackburn has curated the shows with a focus on performers who will take us beyond.
Can you talk us through your special guests?
It would be my pleasure. For the launch night I’m very excited to get to work with Feral Is Kinky, a phenomenal MC and total artist whose track Fever is currently really high in the UK dance charts. Feral appears alongside Benjamin Butch who recently blew us all away at Bethnal Green – I was hungry for more! Then in Week 2 we have Sarah-Louise Young, one of the most powerful of our musical stars, guest starring with Eva Wonder, a real talent who has to be seen to be believed. What can I say about the third week? That’s Lucy McCormick of Triple Threat who I also got to work with in Uncle David 2. She’ll be alongside the one unt only Travis Alabanza who just burns brighter and brighter, and will just have finished starring in Jubilee at the Lyric Hammersmith. I cannot WAIT for these shows! Then there is the grand finale, which I’m hoping will be our biggest yet. Though as to our finale guests I’m sworn to secrecy…
And Pam, could you explain her role in your shows and your life?
Pam… is a mystic. Who I believe, the Powers That Be, gave to me. Pam came to me when I was in need; she came from the ether, via The Gambia, where she is very well connected. Pam, is a witch. She’s obviously a member of the esoteric community, while also serving as a jolly member of the WI. Whether she’s making jam or juju, it’s all the same to Pam. She does it with the same wholesome, community-minded spirit. At the end of the day, she’s a great stylist, and she’s steadfast. Pam… I’m a bit uncomfortable talking about Pam, as she appears to have some sort of strange hold over me. I know for a fact that she has magic powers. Which she kind of keeps to herself… Could we move on to the next question? Let’s just put it this way: I have an awful lot of respect for Pam. She is with me now…
In a dangerous Universe, the RVT is a safe haven for many of us – what does it mean to you?
To me, the RVT is a condensed psychospiritual area. It is an entity, it is timeless, transcending time and space. It is Tardissian, it is holistic. It is the epicentre of all creativity.
Is there a message you would like to send from the people of Earth into space?
Yes: hurry up and set us free. You fucking bastards.