Scene from the Sofa – 5 minutes with… Aiden Bex

June 11, 2020

Aiden Bex is the sassy writer, poet, and spoken word artist who has organised fundraising events for the Martin Fisher Foundation and is part of the El Geebee Tea Queue set. Graham Robson caught up with him to find out what’s keeping his clock ticking during lockdown and plans for the future.

Hey, tell us a bit about yourself…

My performer bio reads ‘both angel and devil rolled into one heavily-tattooed package’ which I believe sums me up rather well!

I started writing in 2017 whilst experiencing acute depression. My psychotherapist used to teach creative writing and she helped me realise how creativity benefits mental health. By 2018, I took things further and began performing. These days I can’t get enough of anything creative. My current focus is drag which I started this year. It’s the most challenging thing I’ve ever done and I can’t wait to get better at it.

On the flip side, I work full-time for the NHS in HIV/GUM clinical research. My background before that was in HIV health promotion which is something I am still passionate about. However, as much as I enjoy my work, I would love to phase out nursing and replace it with something more creative.

How have you been spending your time since lockdown began?

To be honest, things haven’t really changed for me as I’ve been working as normal. I’ve had to give up my personal trainer, pole class, and singing lessons. However, that has allowed more time to be creative in other ways. I’m now learning Photoshop and have just bought my first DSLR camera.

Has coronavirus impacted on your creative output?

So far, this year has been my most creative yet and I’ve never been happier. However, I feel that relates more to regained confidence and improved mental wellbeing than anything else. I just wish there were more hours in the day for me to get everything done.

Have you been watching much online? 

Mostly cabaret when I’ve had the time or if a friend has been performing in a particular show. There have been some fantastic performances and I’d love to see online shows continue even after the restrictions are lifted. The House of Grand Parade’s Lockdown show has been the absolute highlight so far.

Also, I performed my drag debut during lockdown as a pre-recorded set in the El Geebee Tea Queue online special. It was the first time I’ve been able to fully enjoy performing without feeling sick with nerves and the whole thing being a blur! The video is available on my YouTube channel for those who missed the screening.

What do you miss the most?

Ever since I moved to Brighton in 2010 I’ve been a huge fan of the Sunday afternoon cabaret circuit. Summer definitely won’t be the same without a cold pint on the terrace at Legends watching Dave Lynn causing chaos with the passing traffic.

Do you think lockdown is disproportionately affecting the LGBTQ+ community?

Obviously, the lockdown has been hard on different people for different reasons and this will have been exacerbated by their community dynamics and cultural norms. Though this may seem like a terrible generalisation, I do feel that the LGBTQ+ community may have found the lockdown much more isolating than some other communities as we tend to create our own families and rely on one another for support and acceptance. Being cut off physically seems to have left a lot of people struggling with loneliness and a desperate need for connection.

Will the LGBTQ+ scene will bounce back stronger than ever?

Definitely! I’m sure things will be hard initially, especially given the amount of vital fundraising opportunities missed as a result of Covid. And I can’t even begin to imagine how awful it has been for those with uncertainties over their income. However, I know that if we stick together the LGBTQ+ community will find a way to bounce back stronger. We’re far too fabulous to stay down for long!

What are your plans for when this is all over? 

I’m currently writing a one-hour show to present at next year’s Brighton Fringe and I’m planning to create content for my YouTube channel to focus upon creativity and mental health.

I also have plans to organise another fundraising event for The Martin Fisher Foundation, a local HIV charity which does exceptional work to increase testing and tackle stigma. The event was booked for July at the Funkyfish Club, who generously offered their amazing venue free of charge. Thankfully, I’ve been assured that the offer still stands post-Covid.

Any words of wisdom to see us through?

To paraphrase the Seneca quote tattooed on my left arm… Don’t let fear hold you back. Stuff only seems difficult because it’s new so get a grip and crack on! (Can you see why I’m a nurse and not a philosopher?!)


Instagram: @aidenbex

Facebook: @aidenbex

YouTube: Aiden Bex