1. What do you love most about working for Edinburgh Festival Fringe?
I travel quite a lot with the Fringe Society to let people know what it’s all about and how to take part. A couple of days before previews there’s a moment when the noise outside changes. When you can hear the drag of suitcases and sets as the acts arrive, ready for their set up and tech rehearsals. That’s the bit I absolutely love. When it’s all about to happen and the artists are here. Each year I get to support so many brilliantly inspiring creatives. Mad, funny, tortured and ambitions, all bringing their work to the largest arts market on the planet. They make the Fringe happen. They turn our tiny city into the cultural centre of the universe for 25 days in August.
I’m actually leaving the Fringe Society to run Civil Disobedience in a couple of months. I’ll be producing on the Fringe, so hopefully I can still experience it in all its brilliance – just from the other side.
2. Tell us about The Big C (The Big Comedy Gala). Will you be holding events in 2016?
Absolutely. I set up The Big C in 2011 after my sister Julie died from cancer. It’s a legacy event that raises funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. I’ve been massively overwhelmed by its success over the past 5 years, and the fact that people I idolise from afar are always so willing to support the gig. When we started it, I thought it would be a wee back-room fundraiser for a charity that mattered to me. That year it ended up being staged in a 1200 seat theatre at the EICC with Ed Byrne hosting and Sarah Millican popping by for a surprise set in a year when no one could get a ticket for her show.
This year we’re about to announce our biggest host yet. He’s someone I’ve been trying to get from year one and is absolutely incredible. I can’t say who yet, but needless to say he’s an icon in every sense of the word.
3. You are a busy man. Your blog LGBTicons.com celebrates LGBT people of achievement and has over 49,000 subscribers. How do you find the time to write and keep the content fresh amongst all your other obligations?
I have loads of guest bloggers! It’s been quite tough keeping the content fresh lately as work on other things has taken a load of my time. Saying that, I’m a hopeless insomniac, so often I find myself sitting on my sofa at 4am formulating opinion pieces based on the very thing that’s keeping me awake. That’s why most of my writing lately has been very firmly based in opinion pieces, while people like the brilliant Michael Burges provide reviews and profiles.
4. Out of all of your achievements, what are you most proud of?
Corny I know, but definitely my marriage. For two reasons. The first being that I’m an unstable idiot and that someone loves me enough to want to spend their life with me. On a daily basis I still think I’m in a grey Scottish version of the Trueman Show.
The second reason is a collective achievement. As someone who has campaigned for equality since I was 14, I am ridiculously proud to come from a country where I was afforded the dignity of being able to marry the person I love, regardless of what’s between their legs.
5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Eurgh. I turn 40 this week, so I imagine having another crisis around turning 50. But hopefully doing it in our townhouse in San Francisco’s Castro district surrounded by Great Danes while drinking Barolo.
And just for fun…
6. When was the last time you felt nervous?
Last week when I resigned from my job. I’ve been at the Fringe Society for 8 brilliant years so taking the leap into self-employment is daunting. Thankfully, the nerves quickly settled as the project offers started arriving.
7. If you could witness any event in the past, present or future what would it be?
I know that just now I’m supposed to say something really worthy like the Sermon on the Mound or one of Martin Luther King’s speeches, bit right now, the only event I really want to witness is Donald Trump standing down from his hideous campaign of hate and ignorance.
8. If you could wake up in the body of someone else (just for a day) who would you choose and why?
I’m torn between Donald Trump so I could step down from campaigning and Henry Cavil’s girlfriend. Let’s go for Trump because that seems less rapey. I’d also shave my head.
9. Tell us something about your favourite holiday destination?
I absolutely love New York and tend to go at least once a year. I have a load of friends over there and always have a great time. I’m hoping to get more time over there professionally this year as I start to explore my freelance career.
10. What is your favourite quote?
Until we are all equal, none of us are – Cyndi Lauper