Singer-songwriter piglet told David Hennessy about his new EP, the inhumane treatment received by the trans community and Graham Linehan and JK Rowling should not have targeted a marginalised community.
South London based Belfast songwriter and producer piglet has just released the EP called seven songs.
piglet is the solo project of Charlie Loane and the new EP deals with issues such as mental health, substance abuse, affirmations of self-identity, trans experience and friendship.
Now living in Deptford Charlie says he is ‘very cosy here now’ after several years in London.
“I came over here when I turned 18 to go to uni,” he says.
“I’m 25 now so I’ve been here about seven years now, all within the same square mile,” he laughs.
“I love going back to Belfast when I can but there’s quite a good music scene here and I’ve found a really great community of mates and musicians and people I share politics with and stuff.
“So I’m very, very cosy here.”
New single to you tonight is a love song that tries not fall into the “pitfalls that love songs can often fall into”.
Charlies says: “It’s definitely the poppiest song that I’ve made with this project.
“That was the last one I wrote for this record.
“I feel like, all together, there isn’t loads of happy fun bits on it.
“I really wanted to write something that felt like things are good- It’s not all doom and gloom.”
The EP does address some serious and personal issues.
It isn’t fair is Charlie’s response to the mistreatment faced by trans people attempting to access NHS gender services.
It was written five years ago when Loane was going through that.
“It’s absolutely shocking,” he says. “The level of healthcare and support of the trans people over here.
“I just sat down, and wrote the whole thing pretty quickly, which is really rare for me.
“But I think when you’re just really feeling something, it’s a bit easier to put it into words.
“Pretty much everybody in the trans community’s had a very similar experience: You need health care relating to affirming your gender and just not f**king getting it.
“Even when you finally get there, it’s just pretty degrading to be honest, the way the doctors get onto you and stuff.
“We laugh about it but it is absurd.
“Some of the things they say is laughable but it’s also like, ‘I shouldn’t have to really laugh about this. This just shouldn’t be happening’.
“Obviously, some of them (nurses/ doctors) are great.
“I mean, some of the nurses are amazing.
“I remember one experience in particular that I think kind of sums it up.
“I’m on hormones that mean I take a testosterone injection every three weeks- I’ve started just doing it myself because it’s easier, it’s just too much hassle with the nurses.
“I went in and they literally just needed to give me an injection.
“That’s all it had to be.
“But she was like, ‘Oh, I can see on your file that you had surgery on your chest recently. Is it all going okay?’
“And I was like, ‘Oh, that’s nice of her to ask’.
“’Yeah, no, it’s all fine, healing up well’.
“And then she sort of pointed towards my crotch and was like, ‘And what about..?’
“And I was like, ‘Ah, I’m not really here for that. Can you just give me the injection?’
“It’s just a degrading question really.
“And it just didn’t feel like it was related to my medical treatment whatsoever that I was there for.
“And then she said all this like very strange stuff.
“She was about to inject me and she was like, ‘So do your family still talk to you?’
“And you’re just like, ‘Ah Jesus. I’m here for something so simple. I just need you to give me an injection. I don’t need all of your preconceived notions of trans people to be tested out on me right now. I’m here for a very simple exchange.
“It’s just stuff like that really.
“And then also pathologizing transness, and thinking that being trans is in and of itself a problem because until very, very recently, it was like a mental disorder.
“I was diagnosed with transgender dysphoria.
“And when that happened I was like, ‘whoop’ because it meant that I was able to access treatment that I needed.
“But I don’t have a disease. It’s f**king absurd.
“It’s the same thing as saying to be gay is a disease.
“And then just the way that the press has been on a mad one recently particularly over here in England, I think it’s bled into the way people see trans people.
“It’s just a lot of people thinking they’ve never like met a trans person before and being like, ‘Oh my god’.
“You definitely have though. The person who served you coffee this morning could well be, the person who delivered your post.
“People just act weird.”
It seems like the trans community has been dragged into the news for one reason or another constantly over the last few months.
What is that like for someone like Charlie to live through? “Well, I just don’t really read those papers anyway.
“It’s not like I’m waking up in the morning and checking the Times website.
“That is not a part of my day.
“I feel like a lot of this started when Teresa May proposed reforming the gender recognition act.
“The idea of reforming the gender recognition act is a good thing.
“I don’t have a gender recognition certificate.
“Under the current system, I’m not going to go for one.
“If I could just do that, that would be really great for me but in terms of the shopping list of things trans people want and need right now it is about number seven or number eight, these are not the big issues that are facing trans people.
“These are not the things that are actually affecting trans people’s daily lives.
“The GRC is really important if you are convicted of prison time.
“If you get married, I think it would only be useful if gay marriage was not allowed.
“Basically, it doesn’t affect whether I can enter a bathroom or not. Nobody ever asks you for your passport or your birth certificate.
“But it ended up making everything so much worse, because then it was contorted into this argument about bathrooms, which actually it doesn’t pertain to whatsoever.
“It has no effect whatsoever whether anybody can go into a toilet, but it somehow conjured up this culture war over toilets which demonised specifically trans women as a danger to cis women which is not accurate.
“Men are dangerous to cis women, but their argument was that trans women are men, they’re being allowed into the toilets.
“And it was just all so fabricated, made no sense whatsoever.
“Trans women have been using the toilet this whole time.
“There’s been no instances of there being any issue but they managed to make it part of political discourse and it just got so hateful and continues to be a massive issue in the press.
“It’s about the way people treat us.
“It’s about the way that our rights are called into question in parliament once it’s become a public issue for so long. It’s about how the culture war affects us, not what one writer on one occasion says.”
But there is one writer who has opened his mouth on numerous occasions.
Charlie likes Graham Linehan’s work. The writer has been behind comedies like Father Ted and The IT Crowd but he has been making more headlines in recent times for speaking out against the trans community.
Charlie wishes he had stuck to the comedies.
“What is his f**king angle?
“And then he goes on the telly crying that his partner left him because of trans people telling them to shut up on Twitter.
“I don’t think that was the problem there.
“It was his obsession with shouting at trans women.
“That’s his life. It’s none of my business. That was a bit cheeky of me to say but, honestly, what is going on?
“Why have you chosen hatred of a marginalised community as the hill you’re gonna die on? It makes no sense to me.
“And it’s things like that that are that are damaging us really, that bleeds down into how somebody treats you if they have absorbed it.
“It affects us in these tiny little ways, all these various things.”
JK Rowling is another one who has found herself denounced for her comments on the trans community.
“You have so much power, money, platform. Your voice could be doing so much good sh*t. You could be making a f**king difference in a positive way.
“What on earth possessed you?”
Although apprehensive beforehand, Charlie has been delighted by the response to the song.
“I was quite nervous about putting it out, because it’s obviously something that a lot of people experience and that is a very marginalising aspect of being trans, the way you’re treated.
“You just worry that maybe people will be like, ‘This isn’t what it feels like’- Not that that matters, everybody experiences things differently.
“But quite a few people sent me messages saying like, ‘I’m really glad I have a song when I’m f**ked off at this thing’, which is really cool.
“I really love that.”
Charlie remembers being interested in little other than soccer as a child.
But when she (as she was at the time) reached a certain age, she could no longer play with the boys and there were no girls’ teams.
It was the start of a realisation that she was not sure of where she fitted in or what she was going through.
“I remember feeling like it meant something and I’m not sure what.
“I think as a kid, I didn’t really think about it.
“My parents were happy to let me play football.
“There was some contention obviously over clothes, I always wanted to wear trousers, stuff like that.
“But I didn’t think about it when I was kid, you know?
“As I grew up, I just started to feel like, ‘There is something going on and I’m not sure what it is’.
“Things have changed a lot over the last five to 10 years, which is brilliant in many ways, but there was just no dialogue around trans men in particular at all.
“You wouldn’t have known trans men existed really so if you don’t see what you are in the world reflected back to you, it’s very easy to feel isolated.
“And you don’t know what’s going on.
“There’s nothing you can look at and be like, ‘Oh, sh*t, maybe that’s what I feel like’.
“It’s just this very strange, jarring feeling that I had not heard other people describe or didn’t see other people experiencing.”
Charlie has been in bands such as Speed Training, the pop duo he formed with Caitlin Power, who he’s been writing with since childhood.
He has also been in the bands Leather.head and Great Dad.
His first EP as piglet, Alex’s Birthday, came about when his friend Alex asked him to play some songs for a birthday party, encouraging him to properly go for the solo stuff.
He has also released singles mill, dans note and oan.
“My friends really encouraged me to go for it a bit more,” he says.
“Before, I was always prioritising the bands, and I wasn’t thinking of the songs I wrote on my own that didn’t fit into what the other bands were doing.
“I didn’t think like, ‘Oh, I’m going to do something with these particularly’.
“A wee bit, yeah but I didn’t focus on them or have a big plan particularly, just sort of threw some stuff out on Bandcamp and then did a couple of shows.”
Asked to describe his sound, he says: “I’m so bad at describing it.
“We were playing at a festival and one of the people was like, ‘Oh, what kind of music is it?’
“And I was like, ‘I don’t know, soft rock?’
“And then the band all had a massive go at me, ‘What are you talking about?’
“I don’t know. It’s me playing the guitar, I don’t shout or anything very often.
“One of the things that some other people hear and I’m like, ‘Yeah, that makes sense’ is Sparklehorse who I’m a very big fan of.
“That’s kind of like lo-fi guitar-y, keyboard-y, song-y stuff.
“I don’t know. Again, terrible with the descriptions there.
“But I’m a fan of a lot of very different types of music.
“Frank Ocean is one of my favourite artists, and I listened to so much Belle and Sebastian growing up.
“That’s a big influence for me as well. I love their lyrics.”
Seven songs is out now via Blue Flowers.
The single to you tonight is out now.