In the wake of the coronavirus epidemic and shutting down of much of the UK's cultural life, we have decided to bring you a series of interviews with contemporary artists, writers, filmmakers and other cultural figures, conducted via Skype (so apologies for the diminished audio quality), about their practices, the political issues that inspire them and the socio-economic conditions that have shaped their work.
In the thirteenth of these Sessions, Juliet talks to writer, performer, and activist Mark Thomas. Born in south London in 1963, Thomas has worked on TV and radio, written five books and a New Statesman column, curated two art exhibitions, and written a show for the Royal Opera House. His work combines stand-up comedy, investigative journalism, activism and audience participation, has won numerous awards and led to legal changes and government ministers leaving their jobs. Juliet spoke to Mark about his new podcast, The Things About Us, his next work about the NHS, his work in Northern Ireland and the West Bank, his battles with Coca-Cola and Nestlé, how Bertolt Brecht and the Fluxus movement influenced his practice, his TV series The Mark Thomas Product (1996-2002) and how his relationship with Channel 4 changed amidst the start of the War on Terror.
Cover image by Tracey Moberley.
A full list of references for the programme, with links, can be found via our Patreon at www.patreon.com/suite212, and are available to $3 subscribers.