Out of the Bedroom - Out of the Closet

The Canon’s Gait, Edinburgh, Tue 20 Feb


The acoustic musician is a sensitive soul, and according to James Whyte, who runs the Out of the Bedroom open mic nights, not all of them are writing love songs about the opposite sex. ‘Quite a lot of the regular performers at Out of the Bedroom are L, G, B or T - I’m gay myself. In Edinburgh and Lothian, there are good singer/songwriters going unnoticed, and a certain proportion of those will be gay and bisexual.’ Recognising this fact, the Out of the Closet special will feature LGBT performers and community supporters, and broadens its remit to include poetry, comedy and storytelling. ‘This is a slight diversion for us,’ continues Whyte, ‘and we want to reflect the diversity of what is available from the community.’

Started six years ago, and with alumni including ballboy’s Gordon McIntyre, Aberfeldy and Hannah O’Reilly, the Out of the Bedroom session was created as platform for original songwriters, rather than a place for part-time strummers to find an audience for creaky versions of Wonderwall. ‘So many people sit on the end of their bed and write songs, and nobody ever gets to hear them,’ says Whyte. The night is ‘usually your weeping heart, one-man guitar act, but sometimes people come along with a few musicians. It’s designed as a free-for-all: there’s folk, there’s country, there’s pop or rock, and a few classical-inspired people.’

There is, however, a problem with introducing queer themes into song. ‘As soon as you introduce a second person into songwriting, you’re faced with the choice, do I make the other person neuter?’ he wonders. ‘Do I out myself, do I say, “I love him” - and then suddenly it becomes a song about being gay, rather than a love song. You can use imagery and metaphors, and keep it so that only you know what it means. Certainly for me, it’s a way of getting stuff outside my own head.’

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