WILL YOUNG AND CHRIS SWEENEY ANNOUNCE THE RETURN OF HIT PODCAST ‘HOMO SAPIENS’
SERIES 2 KICKS OFF WITH WILL AND CHRIS VISITING JEREMY CORBYN IN WESTMINSTER
LAUNCHED TO ALIGN WITH LGBT HISTORY MONTH, SERIES 2 WILL SEE WILL AND CHRIS GO ‘ON THE ROAD’ ACROSS THE UK TO TACKLE A DIVERSE MIX OF LGBTQ+ SUBJECTS INCLUDING CHEMSEX, PrEP, LGBTQ+ LIFE IN RURAL BRITAIN, LGBTQ+ ISSUES IN MAINSTREAM EDUCATION AND MUCH MORE
GUESTS THIS SERIES INCLUDE ALAN CUMMING, JACK MONROE, TIM WALKER, MYKKI BLANCO, ASIFA LAHORE AND MANY MORE
‘The surprise hit of the summer…it’s a riot!’ – Evening Standard
‘Absolute podcast naturals!’ – Radio Times
‘The perfect podcast raconteurs’ – The Guardian
‘Will and Chris are at once both uproariously funny and unerringly discerning’ – ES Magazine
‘Hugely enjoyable listening’ – Financial Times
‘Begs the question…why didn’t anyone think of this earlier?’ – Mr Porter (#2 in ‘Podcasts You Really Need to Know About’)
‘Swings from touchingly candid to downright hilarious’
– The Observer’s ‘10 Best Podcasts of 2017’
Today, Will Young and Chris Sweeney announce the return of their critically acclaimed debut podcast series ‘Homo Sapiens’ – back for a second run, the hilarious ‘in conversation’ programme will return on 20th February, kicking off with an exclusive interview with leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn. In the chat alongside Gay Times, Will, Chris and Jeremy discuss LGBTQ+ heroes, bullying and LGBTQ+ education in schools, mental health and depression, homophobic language and the use of the word “gay”, Jeremy’s recipe for jam, how he tends to his allotment, how he stays ‘Monsieur Zen’ in parliament, Glastonbury Festival and much more. In ‘Homo Sapiens Extra’ to be released on Friday, Corbyn discusses Donald Trump, trans people in politics and homophobia on TV.
Elsewhere in the episode, Will and Chris discuss their hopes of a knighthood (when Jeremy’s elected Prime Minister, of course), their invitation to PMQs, what happened when they finally (!) appeared as guests on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Woman’s Hour’, Will tries to fix Chris’ boiler (to no avail) whilst he relives his nightmare rehearsal for new Baz Luhrmann West End show, Strictly Ballroom The Musical. To listen, please visit – https://www.acast.com/homosapiens/s02ep01-jeremycorbyn
Inspired by the aforementioned ‘Woman’s Hour’, the series will once again bring Homo Sapiens’ signature mix of wit and warmth to 12 weekly episodes, which see Will and Chris chat to a range of personalities, whilst touching on a variety of topical LGBTQ+ issues. All this comes with a healthy dose of random chatter about what is going on in their lives. For the first time, this new series sees Will and Chris take to the road to uncover stories that matter to LGBTQ+ communities across the UK. Stop off points included, Birmingham (to meet a gay teacher about LGBTQ+ issues in education), Manchester (to meet with an LGBT Foundation to discuss the effects of Chemsex and PrEP), Hebden Bridge (to report on LGBTQ+ life in rural Yorkshire), Northern Ireland (to visit the UK’s most remote gay club) and the Yorkshire Dales (to meet Francis Lee, director and writer of ‘God’s Own Country’) and many more.
Will and Chris said: “We’re beyond excited about ‘Homo Sapiens’ Series 2. The guests we have are truly inspirational and span the world’s of sport, acting, politics and music. Along with this, we went around the UK to speak to people outside of the main metropolises to hear about LGBT life across Britain. From homophobic abuse from a London bus driver as we set off, to unwittingly being booked in to unveil a statue in Yorkshire, we had quite a week…the people we met were funny and heartwarming and we can’t wait to share their stories.”
Will and Chris are longstanding friends, having previously worked together when Chris directed the music videos for Will’s singles ‘Come On’ and ‘Hopes and Fears’.
For more information please visit the ‘Homo Sapiens’ website / contact Murray Chalmers PR:
0207 361 0730
On jam and compost (17.05)
Will: I actually have got some homemade jam at home…
JC: Did you make it?
Will: I made plum jam for the first time and I made raspberry jam
JC: Plum jam is an easy one to make cos you’ve got the pectin, that is good pectin, raspberries are a pain!
Will: Yes! That was hard, you’re right…
JC: Raspberries are a total pain, you need either to mix it with apple or a lot of lemon juice
Will: How do you know all this? Where did you get your passion for gardening from?
JC: My Mum and Dad were very…. horticultural. Is that OK, to call someone horticultural? (laughs)
WY: …I have an obsession with compost!
JC: Let’s start the recording… on compost! The compost question! Do you turn the compost? … and do you put rods in? and do you water your heap?
WY: I wee on it!
JC: Well that too, well that’s excellent!
WY: That took you by surprise!
JC: No it didn’t at all! (Whispers) On allotments, everyone does!
WY: No! (Gasps.) Do you? Oh god I hope you do. I know you can’t say…but that would just make me like you even more..!
JC: Everyone in allotments does! Everyone does… but you know about allotments don’t you? The fraternity of allotments?
CS: Go on…
WY: Well there was a film wasn’t there..! A film.
CS: What an allotment movie? Was it a Bruce Willis vehicle?
On being ‘Monsieur Zen’ (18.37)
WY: Does that help ground you? Because I wanted to ask… as someone who is a pacifist, when I look at parliament it’s very combative, how do you deal with that because you’re not an aggressive man. How do you handle that?
JC: …Monsieur Zen! …You have to be calm, do what you believe in and think through what you’re doing…and also, try and think of the other person and what they’re thinking and what their ideas are. You only learn really by listening. People come from all sorts of traditions and you have to try and get them there. I want a world where there is greater respect for people, their diversity and their views. There’s a lot of hatred out there…you learn a lot from often the most unlikely sources.
CS: Will just learnt how to make jam!
JC: I know…is your jam really good Will?
WY: No no, it’s really shit! It was runny…
JC: Because you can re-cook it you know
WY: I lost interest
JC: Ohhhh! Oh come on, that’s shocking.
WY: I know, isn’t it awful. It’s really disappointing…really shocking I’ve got lines to learn..!
JC: I’m very disappointed! You lost interest…?
WC: Please, please, I can’t cope with your disappoint in me… would you use the strips of pectin? Or do you only use natural?
JC: (horrified)… strips of pectin? Oh, oh my god.. no no, I would use apples or lemon!
CS: If you want to lean over and hit him, you can if you want.
LGBT Education in schools, homophobic and racist verbal abuse, under reporting and the police (22.40)
WY: I want to ask about LGBT bullying in schools and I’m really interested in your opinion why it’s not being addressed. So for me particularly, it’s the use of the word ‘gay’ as a derogatory term. There’s so many stats, 98% of LGBT people…so many young gay men find it so disturbing. Language is so important in how civil rights have moved forwards and how people who are marginalised reclaim language, and I don’t feel like that’s happening (with LGBTQ+ language) and I get very frustrated why that’s the case…nothing is moving forwards in that area.
JC: I was at school in the 60’s and gay abuse was rife and common. Moods change, slowly, and a bit but you’re quite right. The abuse and homophobia is bad in a lot of places. Does every school challenge it? No… Some are very good and do challenge it, but if you’re a gay teenager in a school and you’re being put upon by your peers, who do you go to?
WY: I think that’s the problem. People can’t often go to their homes and I always think that education is somewhere where people can be nurtured. It’s the other family, racism, anti-religious rhetoric, chauvinism is all clamped down on, and rightly so, but you know, I called a poofter the other day by a London bus driver. I have a twitter account and got a call from the Mayor’s office…but I’m using myself as a model here and I just feel like people aren’t seeing the crisis that is unfolding amongst young people and I’d be really interested what you would do, how to solve that…
JC: You do it every day. By talking about it, by also making it a cause. It’s also about education, it is about the history of the struggle of gay people for their recognition. It’s also, I think, looking at the abuse of gay people. Oscar Wilde, suffered in prison and effectively put himself into exhile, then take it a few decades on, and you get Alan Turing, the most brilliant mind this country probably ever produced. Imagine he hadn’t died in the 50’s… what he would’ve achieved. He was chemically castrated and then committed suicide.
WY: Why do you mention those figures historically?
JC: They stand out as people who didn’t set out to promote gay rights, I don’t think either of them ever did. They were just themselves and were what they ‘were’ and wanted to be that…and couldn’t understand why everyone else couldn’t cope with it… those that were frightened to admit their sexuality because of oppression, which goes back a long way in history, is there in common parlance, it’s there in a lack of respect for people and what their sexuality is, and it can become very unpleasant and violent. You meet people in areas of the country you would imagine to be very relaxed, even Brighton… there’s a problem. I’d like to think it’s getting less so… but the past 2 years, there was a huge spike in total horrible violence against the person, racist, homophobic, after the EU referendum and police tell me locally that issues have come down a great deal, but there’s also a lot of under reporting. How many people who get racist / homophobic abuse actually report it to police? I suspect not that many.
WY: A lot people don’t know the laws are there. I think it needs to be highlighted more.
JC: Absolutely, I had a meeting with a group of women at the mosque in my community who had suffered the most horrible abuse, they didn’t feel that anyone would be very interested in it, didn’t feel that they should go to the police. The police did take it very seriously, did pursue it, and they did end up, after fair play, a good effort – with a prosecution. I asked the women, how many of them have suffered abuse on the street and every hand went up.
WY: I would say the police have been amazing with me. They make an appointment, they come round, they send a text, they have been really understanding. I think it’s just people need to know that they can… it’s got a lot better.
JC: I think in schools, we need to teach as far as we can the history and understanding and respect that goes with it. But also… the later years of secondary, maybe 14 onwards, young people need to understand what their rights are. What they can go to the police about, what you can make complaints about….
JC: It’s about celebrating each other’s festivals, understanding the commonality of a lot of faith. Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas…We need to teach our children to be inclusive, to be respectful, I won’t use the word tolerant because I don’t like it. I’d rather say respectful. But it’s also the models you give them in society.
Mental health (33.00)
WY: I’ve had very serious mental and physical health problems in my life, I have got a lot better by talking about it. Two days ago, I couldn’t go into rehearsals… but what’s brilliant is I have a workplace that really understood it. Have you ever had anxiety or depression ever and if you do, how do you deal with that?
JC: I feel very strongly that mental health is a huge issue in this country and we have to talk about it. We have to support people and we have to give them the help to get through a crisis and it isn’t always done by pharmaceutical drug therapy. I’m not saying there isn’t a place for that, but it’s not the only thing. It’s talking therapies and understanding that are very important… Have I been through crisis myself? I don’t think so. Although clearly, there are some days that are better than others and some days you feel more confident and positive…but I do feel that people don’t talk to each other enough. A long time ago a friend of mine committed suicide. A friend of mine who we thought we knew really well, we didn’t. None of us knew he was in clearly a very difficult place. He was the life and soul of the party, always helping, always supporting. I also remember another occasion, I was on a train with a man sat opposite me who was clearly agitated… and then he got up and went and opened a door of the train and jumped out. Fortunately he survived but it quite shocked me that someone sitting so near, didn’t feel able to say ‘I’m having a really bad time, can you help me?’
On Glastonbury… (38.00)
JC: Well I was astonished when I was first invited to Glastonbury by Micheal Eavis the previous year and I couldn’t go because there was a little local difficulty…(the second leadership contest!)
WIll: Favourite moment ever: Beyonce saying: it’s so great to be here in the London countryside!
JC: Well London’s getting bigger you know!
Will: it’s just brilliant.
WY: Were you worried that the message might get blurred because you were aligning with a different type of celebrity?
JC:I wasn’t concerned, because I think that with politics, if we want to create a society which has collective values and we genuinely value everybody then you’ve got to reach out beyond a straight narrow political message, because people’s lives are very different. I enjoyed it enormously…Everyone around me was deeply stressed by it, I was the man who wasn’t. My team thought I’d be late…! I’m late for all kinds of things.
On the most recent general election… (40.30)
JC: I always felt there was a lot of people out there who were interested in what we had to say if they ever heard it and, of course, as only when the broadcasting rules of the election kicked in and we got equality of time that we were able to get that message out there. I also felt that since we were saying something so radically different to what had been said in the past, and in a sense we were saying yes we will raise top level taxation, yes we will invest, yes we will do these things and this is how it’s going to be done. We did a combination of social media and outdoor activities, the social media reach was utterly enormous and we just went out on the road, doing meetings and rallies all over the country, I did 100 events during the election campaign, and the enthusiasm grew, so throughout the campaign after a while, the commentariat here in London had written Labour off, the story gradually became, actually Labour’s gaining ground, actually Labour’s getting support, actually you’re doing well, and we ended up unfortunately not quite winning it. I know it was a long campaign, I could have done with another week…There was a lot of physical stress and pressure on it because of the amount we had to do and the travelling and so on but it was still a lot of fun.
On relaxing during a campaign…(42.40)
JC: I read something else. That’s my relaxation.
WC: What did you read?
JC: At the moment I’m reading a book I was given about the lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley.
On his privileged position as a politician…(46.50)
JC: Parliament is a very strange institution and it can be very seductive of people, and I’ve seen the way it’s affected a lot of people. You’ve got to remember you’re here because somebody else put their trust in you to send you here, and you’ve got to be true to them and true to yourself.
On sticking to your principles…(47.30)
People who dreamt of a society where you have healthcare, you have housing, education, were treated abominably and abused. They stood up and we got a health service. Things change if you stand up for your principles.