Saturday 15th February saw a stunning line up of comedians take part in Sex Appeal 3. For the third year running, Brook Ambassador, Zoe Margolis organised a brilliant comedy fundraiser in aid of Brook with a line up to match any 'best of the fest' show I have ever been to. The inimitable and unbeatable Al Murray hosted the show as his alter ego The Pub Landlord.
The trouble with thank you's is that you will inevitably miss someone off the list, but here goes. Thank you Zoe Margolis for organising Sex Appeal 3 and her complete commitment to improving sex and relationships education for young people.
Thank you to Ava Vidal who gave comedic insight into the relationship between mother and son; to Bec Hill who wooed us with her modern pulling techniques; to Chris Coltrane who challenged the audience to think differently on bisexuality - after all you don't question someone so intently if they go out with someone with different coloured eyes, why different genitals; to David Mills who has ensured that everytime someone says gravity in our house it gets repeated in an American accent until the other screams for cover; to Kate Smurthwaite for being an all year round pro choice pro sex education campaigner and for ensuring our drive to and from the Brighton marathon the next day was filled with discussion about menstruation and pain; to Robin Ince who reminded the audience you must always have a different nose picking finger from your bum picking one; to Shappi Khorsandi for making most people squirm with talk of labour wards and cunnilingus; to Shazia Mirza for introducing a new word into my life - 'ramadanification' and to Vikki Stone for sharing her Brian Cox tune. Probably fair to say I guess you had to be there so if you weren't make a mental note not to miss out next year.
Every single person left with a big smile on their faces exactly as intended and I have had excellent feedback from so many people who were there, so thank you to all the comedians of them for making us laugh and for supporting our goal of ensuring young people get the sex and relationships education they want and deserve. Thank you very much to Love Honey for sponsoring Sex Appeal and to the Love Honey team who braved it in the mini bus from Bath and provided all the contributors with a box of goodies. Thank you CM Print for continued support for Brook and Sex Appeal; to Joy, Ginny and all the Brook and Be Sex Positive team Richard, Leah, Sally, Josina, Holly and Brogan who volunteered on the night; to the stage crew Kirsty and James, and the Bloomsbury Theatre tech team.
And finally of course thank you to Al Murray - the Pub Landlord - for hosting Sex Appeal 1, 2 and 3 and being simply brilliant each time. This year, a special thank you to Al for giving me the added personal pleasure of watching first my partner then one of my good friends squirm at different points in the evening with a little bit of audience participation. I watched from a distance with a satisfied smile and thought sometimes things have to be left to chance - I couldn't have briefed it better had I tried!
We asked all of the comedians to tell us why they are involved and want to support our work including our work to improve sex and relationships education. Here is what they said;
Al Murray - sex ed is incredibly important - you can't exactly make informed choices if you're not informed can you? Also two of my favourite things are sex and education
Ava Vidal - i was a teen mum and am pleased to perform at Sex Appeal to help raise Brook's profile so they can continue doing the excellent work they do
Bec Hill - it's important that every person grows up learning as much about sex as possible, so they are equipped with the knowledge to make the right decisions for themselves and those they share it with
Chris Coltrane - sex is brilliant. But enough of my boasting: Brook do such amazing work, giving young people the resources that everyone deserves to make sure they're sexual healthy. I'm proud to be supporting them
David Mills - regarding sex education - I'm all for it. And not just for young people, I'm for Continuing Sex Education'. If you still rely on the same moves you learned as a teenager it's time to go back to school. I'm all for skills sharing
Kate Smurthwaite - there is only one subject taught in schools where significant numbers of parents, teachers and politicians regularly insist that keeping children in ignorance is good for them. But ignorant children quickly grow up to become ignorant adults. The human body has an amazing capacity to experience physical pleasure. Every young person should be taught about sex in a calm and mature way that emphasises consent and safe sex and celebrates sexual diversity
Robin Ince - as a teen of the 80s I remember the terror, moral panic and misunderstanding surrounding the discovery of AIDS. For young people (indeed all people) it is important to be properly informed and advised, which is why I support Brook by saying some jokes
Shappi Khorsandi - as a big fan of sex and a supporter of young people, I think Brook does an incredibly important job and so I am glad to be part of Sex Appeal and support Brook's work
Shazia Mirza - I am doing Sex Appeal, because I might get a few tips for myself and I also used to be a science teachers so used to teach sex education all the time. All my ex-pupils will be disappointed if I don't do this gig
Vikki Stone - Teaching young people to make informed choices about the emotional and physiological minefield that is 'sex' is as important as teaching them maths or science
If you were at Sex Appeal 3 and enjoyed it and want to get involved with Brook, or missed this and want to find out more or get involved with Brook visit www.brook.org.uk/get-involved - we are always keen to welcome more people into the Brook family to come alongside us and campaign for young people's sexual rights including the right to good sex and relationships education. We have activities for everyone - join me and a team of Brookies walking a 100k in September or sign up and become a member from your arm chair - its just £10 per year and we would love you to join us in our 50th year.
Thanks again to everybody for making this happen.
I very much look forward to Sex Appeal 4.