Disco Derek

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Disco Derek is a glitter covered vaginal lip syncing sensation. He was born in the Marlborough Theatre in Brighton, where he first performed at a cabaret night alongside his good friend Foxy and Husk. Since then he has performed at the opening party of Fierce Festival 2014, performed at Steakhouse Live Tits and Tinsel where he dueted with another good friend Richard Dedomenici, performed at the Into the New closing party at Stereo in Glasgow, and he dueted with his friend and carer Eilidh MacAskill at Dark Behaviour at the Arches 2015.

When I was asked to write a statement of artistic intent by a venue who were worried about the explicit sexual images within Disco Derek’s performance I said:

The whole point in Disco Derek is to present a vagina in a completely un-sexualised way, to alter our way of looking at this part of the body as an act of female empowerment. The audience is confronted with a giant image of my vagina projected up onto the back wall, being manipulated by my hands to look like a mouth singing to a disco track. I’m giving my vagina a voice and some agency, and asking us to look at it doing something for a relatively long period of time. The vagina is active and speaking out, not inactive and having things put into it. To suggest that just because there is an image of a vagina it becomes a sexually explicit performance, is exactly the attitude I am trying to challenge. I have often been surprised by the fairly extreme reactions to the performance, people either finding it totally disgusting, somehow going past the limits of what they are willing to witness, whilst others feel totally exhilarated it. A lot of people don’t see vaginas very often, and it is rare to see such a graphic image of a hairy vagina. For me, it is incredibly important to open up our ideas about the vagina, for women to feel empowered by that part of their body, for people to challenge themselves not to be disgusted by it, and for diversity to be more widely represented. For women to be seen as more than just sexual objects, perhaps we need to start seeing the vagina in new modes. I believe we must keep pushing for a naked body to be allowed in a performance space without fear, and for a bunch of fully grown adults to be able to look at a giant singing vagina without it needing to be labelled as sexually explicit.

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