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‘I saw Daddy kissing Santa Claus’: The Divine David spreads a little festive cheer
12.18.2013
02:35 pm
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It was the first week of the new millenium that The Divine David Presents first appeared on British television (Dangerous Minds own Richard Metzger’s TV series
premiered immediately before it on the Channel 4 network). The show was the creation of performance artist David Hoyle, who each week offered up a choice selection of his alter ego, the Divine David’s thoughts, views, and takes on life, sex and everything in between. It was bitingly satiric, often indulgent, regularly offensive, but ultimately a show that hit like an earthquake and left hundreds of after-shocks that continue reverberate all these years later. As the press fumed at the time: “there had been nothing like seen on our screens!” And sadly there’s been damn few things like it ever since!

Hoyle was born in Blackpool, the seaside town famed for its bright lights, shows, candy rock, its kiss-me-quick hats and its Tower. As a gay child, living in Blackpool was “horrendous.” Going to school everyday was like “was like walking to your death on a daily basis. Knowing that you were going to get assaulted, knowing that you didn’t have anybody to talk to.” As he told The Times there was no one to turn to, even his teachers were unsympathetic:

“They would watch as my bag was emptied out of the window, three storeys up. They would allow it because they believed that by subjecting me to violence it would make me heterosexual. Your life is a nightmare but you can’t tell them why, because what you are is so massively wrong that what people are doing by assaulting you is the right thing. You should be assaulted for being a homosexual. That’s what was going on in my mind.”

Hoyle coped by turning his pain into comedy. At 17 he made his stage debut at a working men’s club, the Belle Vue.

“I created this character who was the illegitimate offspring of the Duke of Edinburgh and Dorothy Squires. His name was Paul Munnery-Vain, taken from the pulmonary vein in your heart.”

From such beginnings Hoyle progressed into creating The Divine David who satirized the lifestyles many of his audiences held dear—gay-community narcissism, the chauvinism of drag artists, sexual politics, celebrity culture and sex. Hoyle was not just mining the world around him, but using up large chunks of himself—and it came at a cost.

His Channel 4 TV series brought him some mainstream success, but Hoyle became “mired in drink and drugs,” and to save himself, he decided to kill off The Divine David in an ice-show spectacular at the Streatham Ice Arena in London. He moved back to Manchester. “At the end I was pretty burnt out.” Then Hoyle had a breakdown that left him contemplating the wallpaper: “Just rocking to and fro, you know, the days merging, the seasons coming and going.”

It took time, but the fragile Hoyle recovered and in 2005, he appeared as Doug Rocket in Chris Morris’ comedy series Nathan Barley. He then wrote and starred in a series of shows including Magazine (2007), Dave’s Drop-In (2009), Licking Wounds (2010) and a night of musical entertainment, Unplugged (2011). Hoyle also co-directed and starred in the film Uncle David in 2010.

But let’s go back and have a look at Hoyle as his alter-ego, The Divine David, spreads some Christmas cheer.
 

 

 
More Divine David, after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.18.2013
02:35 pm
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Ninety minutes of the Divine David

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Can you handle it?!

This 90-minute film is edited together extracts of the Divine David’s late 90s Channel 4 show The Divine David Presents, produced by World Of Wonder

At the time this show originally aired was one of the most out-there things on TV, and you know what, it’s still pretty damn bizarre and hilarious. Thanks, of course, to the wonderful stylings of the Divine David himself, who now goes by his real name of David Hoyle and regularly performs in London and Manchester. 

If any one person was responsible for kicking drag square on the backside and, erm, dragging it into the 21st Century, it was David Hoyle. You could even say his look goes beyond drag, as it’s an over-the-top parody of a form that is already a parody, and which coupled with his pissed-and-paranoid English gent persona can lead to belly laughs simply from a knowing glance or a flick of the wrist. It can be grotesque, yes, but I dare you not to laugh the laugh of wrongness.

‘Til this day David Hoyle remains criminally neglected outside of the UK, and under-rated even in his homeland (except to comedy nerds that is - Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker personally selected Hoyle for the older rock star character in Nathan Barley.) His strange comic genius is as relevant as ever, and needs more exposure - so please, PLEASE World Of Wonder, don’t yank this off YouTube!
 
The Divine David Presents - the Collection:
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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03.16.2012
01:01 pm
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It’s Christmas, The World is Burning, Let’s Masturbate: The Divine David Hoyle

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The cost was a nervous breakdown - contemplating the wallpaper: “Just rocking to and fro, you know, the days merging, the seasons coming and going.” It’s David Hoyle talking to London’s Time Out magazine back in 2006. Hoyle is a performance artist, actor, and writer, he was talking about the cost of being The Divine David - his caustic alter-ego.

“In a way the Divine David became the patron saint of decadence and nihilism and all the rest of it, and it’s hard for that not to affect your own actions,” Hoyle recalls. In the end, he felt, the character was doing him more harm than good. “As much as I used to say, ‘Oh yes, you have to be very sure of your identity to be doing all this business,’ I don’t think I actually was. If you’re used to creating aliases and camouflage and all that sort of palaver, eventually you have to peel it all away and work out who you are.”

The Divine David Presents first appeared on British TV screens in 1999, and offered a series of his thoughts, views, pastiches and whatever came into his head about lile, sex and everything in between. Television was never to be the same again for The Divine David pushed boundaries and challenged perceptions - wait, that description is the kind of media cliche The Divine David would hate - let’s just say he fucked with his audience, and sometimes he fucked with himself, as he once explained to Joe Coleman:

DD: I’m very suspicious of actors and actresses… anything that I do as Divine David is not acting, it’s being. When I say something like ‘I’d like to stab you in the neck’, I really mean it. I said I wanted to rip people’s spines out so they could make attractive pendants and earrings…

IW: David has done a performance where he tried to rip his own spine out on stage…

DD: I just decided ‘I’m gonna do it’, I had Siouxsie and The Banshees singing Through the Looking Glass: “even the greatest stars dislike themselves in the looking glass”. I was laughing my head off. I broke a glass and thought “I’ll shove in it my back and try to rip my spine out”, so I just got it and shoved it in… there were people being sick… it challenged their ideas of themselves to such an extent. But I think that, ultimately, can be quite liberating.

His TV series on Channel 4 brought him some mainstream success, but Hoyle was “mired in drink and drugs,” and to save himself, decided to kill off The Divine David in an ice-show spectacular at the Streatham Ice Arena in London. He then moved back to Manchester, “At the end I was pretty burnt out.” And that’s when the breakdown happened.

Hoyle was born in Blackpool, the seaside city famed for its lights, its shows, its candy rock, its kiss-me-quick hats and its Tower. As a gay child, living in Blackpool was “horrendous. Going to school everyday was like “was like walking to your death on a daily basis. Knowing that you were going to get assaulted, knowing that you didn’t have anybody to talk to.” As he told The Times there was no one to turn to, even his teachers were unsympathetic:

“They would watch as my bag was emptied out of the window, three storeys up. They would allow it because they believed that by subjecting me to violence it would make me heterosexual. Your life is a nightmare but you can’t tell them why, because what you are is so massively wrong that what people are doing by assaulting you is the right thing. You should be assaulted for being a homosexual. That’s what was going on in my mind.”

Hoyle coped by turning his pain into comedy. At 17 he made his stage debut at a working men’s club, the Belle Vue.

“I created this character who was the illegitimate offspring of the Duke of Edinburgh and Dorothy Squires. His name was Paul Munnery-Vain, taken from the pulmonary vein in your heart.”

He was a success, and you know the rest was…as they say, and started Hoyle onto his brilliant career.

Then in the 1990s, Hoyle developed the Divine David, a “queer cultural terrorist,” who satirized the lifestyles many of his audiences held dear - gay-community narcissism, the chauvinism of drag artists, sexual politics, celebrity culture and sex. Hoyle was not just mining the world around him, but using up large chunks of himself - and it came at a cost.

Six years after Divine David’s death-on-ice, David Hoyle returned to “straight” performance, and world domination with more brutal, brilliant, emotionally charged and bitingly funny shows. As the writer Paul Darling recently commented, “David Hoyle is a political/comic/philosophical/poetic GENIUS and we’re lucky to have him.”

And here’s where it started with Hoyle as The Divine David.
 

 
More Divine David and Bonus Clips of David Hoyle at home after the jump..
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.14.2010
07:19 pm
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