Tim Redfern talks to acclaimed bearded drag lady, environmentalist and now rock n roll star Timberlina about their new show FFS!! which comes to CPT 3-5 November, part of Shoot the Breeze two weeks of work addressing climate change and the environment.
As I arrive, Timberlina greets me at the front door in a houndstooth twinset and a pair of oven gloves.
Tim: Hi Timberlina
Timberlina: Oh hi Tim, do come on in. I’m just up to my elbows in marmalade, so let me just move the pan to the back of my geothermically heated Aga range. Take a seat, there’s tea in the pot on the table. Help yourself.
Tim: Thanks Timberlina. Tell me about your new show, FFS!! What’s it all about?
Timberlina: Well basically it’s about realising you’ve spent a lifetime worrying about the environment and the threat of imminent ecological destruction and that there’s not much you can do. All articulated through a bunch of pithy fun songs and joyous eco-banter.
Tim: Joyous Eco-banter? Sounds good. What can we expect?
Timberlina: Well frankly you have to laugh really, because the whole thing is so absurd and if you don’t laugh you cry. I wanted to explore the dichotomy of the person inside that worries alone versus everybody else in the outside world who probably feel the same but can’t really talk about it.
Plus I just realised that I’d had it up to here with this constant state of anxiety about the planet when let’s face it, on the whole people don’t care that much about it.
Tim: Why don’t people care?
Timberlina: Quite simply because we’re all too self obsessed nowadays. We’re not taught how to take proper responsibility, or undertake genuine guardianship of the world that surround us. We’re taught how to do marketing and be good consumers rather than to be great citizens. I think it’s morally abhorrent.
Tim: And this is a comedy show?
Timberlina: Yes of course!
Tim: I see. What moved you to create a show about this subject?
Timberlina: Well I’ve tried it before to be honest and it’s a tricky business to deal with (environmentalism) without making something that’s either excruciatingly worthy, or that preaches to the converted. It’s the massive elephant in the room, especially at dinner parties, but also in schools and in our everyday. It’s complex!
Timberlina: Basically the anxieties we have and the responsibilities we attempt to undertake to be green are nothing in the context of a global system that sets out to necessitate a perpetual cycle of consumption, pain and suffering.
Once you leave education and have to fend for yourself, you realise how so much of the minutiae of the everyday is detrimental to the planet, but at the same time one is swept along and forced to accept this is just the way it is. One might call it the hegomony.
Furthermore, if you don’t go along with it, then you’re chastised and labelled an outsider, a freak, a hippy, a tree hugger. It’s really rather calculated. And it’s this nuanced guff that needs to stop if we don’t want the world to end. It’s a blooming Pandora’s box! Once you’ve opened it, it can be quite hard to relax.
Tim: Is there any hope then?
Timberlina: Absolutely! There’s always hope and I think things are changing- renewables are giving fossil fuels and in fact nuclear a run for their money. The Elon Musks of the world are just so inspiring and make the Trumps, and frankly the conservative parties of this world, look rather redundant.
Tim: Where did the music come from?
Timberlina: Well I’ve been noodling on a guitar for as long as I can remember, but in the last few years of my self imposed semi-isolation and stoic subsistence I’ve finally learnt a few new chords and writing songs has been and continues to be a great way to deal with frustration.
Added to which I’ve also got to buy a great new outfit for the show.
Tim: What can we expect?
Timberlina: Well all I will say is that it’s a departure from my usual look and it’s fabulous. And I compromised my whole ethical principles on the shoes, but they look sensational and that’s what counts, right?
Tim: Er, yes, I suppose.
Timberlina’s hilarious brand new solo show, FFS!! about eco anxiety and other worries articulated through Rock n Roll, blues and joyous Eco-woe is at Camden People’s Theatre 3-5 November. Friday 3rd & Saturday 4th at 9pm, Sunday 5th at 7pm. Supported by Arts Council England.