#BrokenBeats with Shaun Ponsonby


My name is Shaun Ponsonby – I’m often the one in the corner making sure the spinning plates don’t smash and wreak havoc.

I am the co-creator and editor of the arts and culture website Planet Slop and the LGBTQ+ social Queer This – though both of these projects are currently on hold. In a past life I’ve put on festivals, produced innumerable hours of radio, written thousands upon thousands of words, been a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker. On Wednesdays, I wear pink.

My musical taste is varied, and pretty much anything could take my fancy. But I’ve realised something about the artists I love the most, and it’s best explained via an anecdote I once heard about Marlon Brando.

In the early 2000s, Brando was broke and needed to make a quick buck. He was advised to stage a number of acting masterclasses for a high fee, which would attract major celebrities eager to learn from one of the greatest actors of his generation, film the sessions and sell them on DVD.

The sessions did, indeed, attract the glitterati, everyone from Leonardo DiCaprio to Michael Jackson were there. When the first session started, Brando – not in the best shape – stumbled up on stage, looked around at the assembled superstars before him, turned his back to them, proceeded to drop his trousers and moon them, before sitting down to a stunned silence.

“And that’s your first lesson,” he said. “Always be prepared to look like a fool.”

The best artists always are.

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