Question of Taste: Clive Davis of Cork LGBT+ Pride Festival

Clive Davis is from Vicarstown in Co Laois, and has been chairperson of the Cork LGBT+ Pride Festival for the past 10 years.
Question of Taste: Clive Davis of  Cork LGBT+ Pride Festival

Clive Davis is from Vicarstown in Co Laois, and has been chairperson of the Cork LGBT+ Pride Festival for the past 10 years. Originally due to take place around now, this year’s event has been rescheduled for September 19-26. Clive lives between Cork and Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, with his partner Kery.

Best recent book: Angels and Demons. Dan Brown is a master of suspense, and the plot twists make his books hard to put down!

Best recent film: I recently watched The Favourite and adored it.

Best recent show/gig you’ve seen (in the pre Covid era): I’m a huge fan of Electric Picnic, not only for the diverse offerings of amazing music and arts that are served up to a hugely appreciative audience in deepest County Laois just a couple of miles from where I grew up, but also for the intangible X factor it has.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old): I’ve been listening to the album If You Wait by London Grammar a lot lately. I remember seeing them in a hot sweaty marquee at Electric Picnic several years ago, and Hannah Reid’s vocals were just amazing.

Of all the Cork Prides, pick one standout magic memory: There are many; the standout memory would be looking out at the audience from backstage at the very first of our big Afterparties on Grand Parade a few years ago; the sun shone, the atmosphere was just electric, and there was a sea of laughing, happy faces that went from the edge of the stage to what seemed like infinity. The following morning, I received a phone call from a lovely man from Clonakilty thanking the Cork Pride team for helping his teenage daughter come to terms with who she was. He said that she had cried on the drive home, but that they were happy tears. She told him that it was the first time she had felt part of a community, and didn’t feel alone in the world anymore. This is what makes it all worthwhile, and is the reason that we all keep on doing what we do.

First-ever piece of music or art that really moved you: I’ve always been fascinated by ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’, by Hieronymus Bosch.

The best gig or show you’ve ever seen (if you had to pick one!): For sheer spectacle, U2 at Croke Park stands out.

Tell us about your TV viewing: I’ve just finished binge-watching the entire four seasons of Queen of the South on Netflix and was hooked from the first episode. I was also hugely impressed with the fabulous Netflix series Hollywood.

Radio listening and/or podcasts: I’m currently listening to 1619, the story of black slavery in the USA.

You’re curating your dream festival — which three artists are on the bill, living or dead?

That’s a tough call, but Lady Gaga, David Bowie, and George Michael would definitely be a good start to a Cork Pride Afterparty billing.

You can portal back to any cultural event or music era — where, when, and why?

The last days of disco would be a fun time to go back to, and Studio 54 for all is contrived hedonistic excesses would definitely be fascinating to experience. Disco was the first time that gay culture really had become part of the mainstream, and the influence disco has had on music and dance is still felt today.

Unsung hero: Dave Roche, CEO of the Cork Gay Project. I worked alongside Dave for several years, and whilst he was a hugely respected advocate in the LGBT+ community during his lifetime, he really only got the credit for the breadth and depth of his community work after his untimely death in 2017. Younger LGBT+ sometimes don’t realise that the rights and freedoms they have were hard won, and that we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the trailblazers that went before, we are truly standing on the shoulders of giants.

If you could change one thing about organising events in Cork, what would it be?

Funding is a constant struggle, this year has obviously been the most challenging year festival organisers have ever had; however the Cork LGBT+ Pride Festival have been very fortunate in retaining many of our key partners, who have taken a bigger picture, long term view of the engagement. In the post-Covid landscape, perhaps people will hopefully also have a renewed appreciation for festivals and events, and the huge cultural, cross community, and economic benefits they bring annually. There also needs to be more equitable statutory funding for festivals and events, and more cross festival collaborations and lobbying to achieve this.

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