“Hannah Brackenbury has been described as Victoria Wood and Tim Minchin’s lesbian love child. She’s more than that. She’s Hannah, and her songs are both bloody funny and beautifully touching.”…..Vicky Nangle (Latest 7)
Eric Pages catches up with local funny lass Hannah Brackenbury in a rare moment of quiet in her busy showbiz schedule.
When did you come out? At 14 I knew, I didn’t feel anxious about it. I went to Derby University at 18 and went to the LGB society meeting and there were people from my course and that was that… I shaved my head, pierced my nose, bought some combat trousers and away I went! I told my parents in the summer holidays, it was no great shock to anyone; I’d always been such a tomboy!
In 2009 after living in the Midlands, I took the plunge, handed in my notice, sold everything and moved to Brighton. It was the best decision I ever made. I was born by the seaside so being back by the sea just felt right and the LGBT+ scene added to that.
What makes you laugh? Sketch comedy, I adore Saturday Night Live, and obsessed with Kristen Wiig! Her performance in Bridesmaids makes me cry with laughter. I regret never seeing Victoria Wood perform live. She is my biggest inspiration and I always assumed that one day I’d get the chance to see her live. My favourite comedy sketch is the Two Ronnies ‘Swedish Made Simple’, they are in a restaurant pretending to speak Swedish using english letters to sound the words. It’s a simple idea, so clever and funny. Cracks me up every time! I love word play.
When was the last time you cried? A few days ago, listening to a Scottish folk song called ‘Caledonia’ by female country duo Ward Thomas. It’s the most beautiful, simple song, piano, acoustic guitar and two-part vocal harmonies… really tugs at the heart-strings. The lyrics talk about moving around and friends coming and going which really struck a chord.
What was the highlight of your recent tour? Oh I had so much fun! This was my first solo show on tour, a huge undertaking as I did everything myself. Norwich – the closest date to my home town of Great Yarmouth – was a room full of my family and friends! My mum hired minibuses to bring as many family members from Great Yarmouth as possible! That was a riotous night and my personal highlight.
What makes you angry? I don’t have much of a temper, I take after my dad who is the most laid-back man you could meet, I have a few pet hates, people eating with their mouth open, noisy eaters! Makes my blood boil!! KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!!
What do you sing when no-one’s around and what gets you dancing? Songs from old musicals, classics like Oliver, My Fair Lady, and The Sound of Music… films I grew up watching. I am besotted with Julie Andrews. ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ by Queen. Never fails to get me moving, and it’s always my first choice karaoke song!
Where’s your favourite place in the city? Nothing beats a spot of people-watching from a window on St James’ Street! The sights you see! I’m a keen cyclist along the Undercliff Walk, especially early mornings in the summer months. It’s beautiful and so peaceful there at sunrise.
Bran or Brandy? Do you lead a healthy life? I try very hard to be healthy but my sweet tooth beats me! Vodka for me, not brandy. I wrote a song that ended up as the title track of my last album – Jumbled (The Vodka Song).
What makes you proud to be LGBT+? I’m very proud to live in a city with such a liberal outlook; it’s easy to forget how difficult so many LGBT+ folks still have it. I’ve loved being involved with the Rainbow Chorus and I’ve found the gay community in Brighton to be welcoming and inclusive, and gay women naturally make up the majority of my audiences. It’s nice to give something back; I now run a monthly women’s social night called Indigo Club which offers quality entertainment for gay women.
What’s an overrated pleasure? Having a massage. I always come away aching more than I did before or feeling that it just didn’t quite hit the spot!!
Can you whistle? Yep. But I firmly believe it’s NOT something that should be done in public! Another pet hate is when older men whistle a really ‘showy’ tune and add a little vibrato-like wobble on the notes! I always end up behind one in the supermarket, you can hear them all the way around, there’s no escape!
What’s your favourite rhyme?
There once was a man from Bengal
Who went to a fancy dress ball
He thought “Yeah I’ll risk it”
“I’ll go as a biscuit”
But a dog ate him up in the hall
Up and coming gigs? I host a women’s social night at Latest Music Bar called Indigo Club. A mix of live music, comedy and cabaret then a dance party till 2am with a different music theme each month! The 80s themes have been very popular!
Next Indigo Club nights:
Friday August 4 – Pride Special
Friday, August 25
For more information, click here:
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