Spencer Maybe’s publicity material cites an old Time Out quote claiming he is “so sexy it hurts”. So is he sitting comfortably at the moment? “I am in a bit of pain actually,” he laughs. “Maybe that’s the root of it!”
Whilst the ladies of burlesque are expected to be sexy, “boylesquers” seem to rely much more heavily on comedy. Spencer Maybe has been keen to redress this balance right from the start: “I watched the first heat of a male burlesque competition, and I wondered where’s the sexiness? I’d seen it with the women.”
The competition organiser offered to reimburse the cost of Spencer’s first burlesque lesson if he agreed to perform. “If I hadn’t been in the competition I’d have been prancing around a stage in Camden with everyone saying ‘Who’s that guy?’”
Spencer Maybe was, it seems, born to be a star. “From about 15, I could dance. I wasn’t shy. I knew I had that physicality, that sexiness and I was never afraid of it. And coming to burlesque later on felt like I was parodying myself. When I’m onstage, it’s a caricature.”
It’s not difficult to spot the aspects of Maybe’s personality which have been exaggerated as the basis for the protest singer (“I do want to get a message across, I believe in what I am saying”), the Devil (“In my twenties I took loads of drugs. I was a bit of a mess”) and finally God (“I had this vision, this is my life’s work.”), the three characters who make up ‘The Last Trilogy’.
“People don’t want to be told what to do, they are much more open to stuff if you make them laugh,” Maybe says. “I genuinely want to touch people, and make them think, and make a difference, as well as making people smile and have a good night out. But that’s possibly more than I can expect!”
So what sort of audience would Spencer like to see at his show? “People who are passionate about green issues but also interested in the hedonistic lifestyle.” He admits he is more likely to flyer women, because he can flirt. “Blokes like my music, but then they are sometimes put off by a man stripping. I’ve maybe made a rod for my own back – idiot!”
But of course it’s not all about hedonism and glamour. Maybe is currently sharing a flat with his girlfriend and his parents, struggling to balance the demands of domesticity with promoting and performing ‘The Last Trilogy’. “It’s hard work. And I’ve done my back. But when you give an amazing performance, that’s brilliant. And everyone around me has been amazing.”
Maybe is also putting his money where his mouth is. His sister runs a project in a Capetown school, bringing together green issues and music. Having been touched by what he saw in the township on a past visit, Maybe is donating proceeds from his CD sales to this project.
The future looks like a busy one for Spencer Maybe. In addition to writing a children’s book, recording a CD of love songs and completing the final album in his trilogy, he also wants to make a film of ‘The Last Trilogy’ and take the show on tour. And of course, save the world. In a very sexy way.
You can read our review of Spencer’s 2011 show here.