5 minutes with Bez

Who are your three dream dinner party guests and why?

Firstly, Grace Petrie, because she’s absolutely amazing. She’s a protest singer with a punky, folky vibe. I love her stuff, particularly her songs ‘Farewell to Welfare’ and ‘Black Tie’.

I’d also invite Josie Long – a few years ago, I was on a Q&A about rent caps with David Lammy, and she did a comedy set about housing which was lovely. My dream would be to support her as a comedian.

Zoë Coombs Marr would be my third guest: she’s a gay Australian comedian and she’s got so much energy which I’m trying to copy.

What is your desert island book, film and album?

My book might be Animal by Sara Pascoe if only for the chapter on consent which should be compulsory reading for everyone. It’s brilliant.

Amélie is lovely, kooky and hilarious. I also really like Made in Dagenham – I love Sally Hawkins.

Recently, I went to an improv show and saw a group called The Concept, whose thing is to make up albums. They chose my suggestion – Sexy Elbows by Beckdazzle – and performed an improvised album based on the artist and title. But if it wasn’t that, it’d probably be Grace Petrie’s album, Queer as Folk.

What is your day job?

I’m a Helpline Adviser for a charity, advising single parents on benefits, family law, childcare, child maintenance, a bit of housing and finances. And signposting them to relevant other organisations, eg, charities for domestic violence survivors or for bereavement support.

Like improv, you’ve got to be prepared for everything – you don’t know who’s going to call, what they want to find out or what they are going through right now. It can be quite emotionally draining as I’m very empathetic. I’m hoping to move onto web chat more soon.

I have a German degree – my best subjects were Medieval German literature and translation, and I didn’t really feel like a useful human, so what I love about advice is that I’m useful!

My mum was a single parent to my younger siblings, so I just think it’s really important, especially with policies like the Benefit Cap which are penalising single parents. I love my job! ❤ ❤ ❤

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