Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Women in Focus festival

I'm hosting a free zine making workshop at Poplar Union as part of the Women in Focus festival this Saturday 10th March.

We'll be making zines dedicated to our favourite women heroes, artists, activists, and fictional characters. It's free to attend and all materials are provided. There's also a bunch of really fun workshops and performances throughout the weekend for you to attend too.

I also learned that if I ever do pursue a career as a wwe wrestler that I will never be able to cut a decent promo if my excruciating discomfort filming this is anything to go by:

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Queers on the edge of town

It's finally here, Me and Bruce #4 : Queers on the Edge of Town is out now!
Me and Bruce 4 photo 4 Me and bruce_zpsq1qljw4f.gif

Queers on the Edge of Town is the latest installment of my Me and Bruce zine series, chronicling my long life obsession with Bruce Springsteen.

Queers on the edge of town is a queer look at Springsteen, describing how weird it can be breaking out of the queer bubble to attend a Springsteen show as well as exploring gay teenage loneliness through Springsteen lyrics. The zine also imagines Bruce as the hot butch girl of my dreams, but most importantly documents the history of Bruce and Clarence Clemons making out.

Originally this zine started life as draft version of my chapter in the book Bruce Springsteen and Popular Music which came out last year. The zine is way longer than the original chapter and goes into more detail, as well as including a 6 page comic set to the lyrics of Backstreets, and lots of other copyrighted lyrics and images which wouldn't have fit in my book chapter. 

You can also get a special edition of the zine which comes with a 4 postcard set and pull-out poster of Bruce and Clarence making out. 

You can find the rest of my Me and Bruce zine series in my zine shop, or come find me at Glasgow Zine Fest in April. 

Monday, 19 February 2018

Coming soon

Me and Bruce is a zine series  which chronicles my obsession over Bruce Springsteen. 

Me and Bruce #4 : Queers on the Edge of Town is coming soon! out now

Here's a little preview

Friday, 16 February 2018

We were The Potentials

Hiya we are The Potentials and we are were a Buffy the Vampire Slayer themed band.

We saved the world a lot

After 3 ace years of playing together my Buffy punk band The Potentials broke up last month and it was heartbreaking. We made 2 records, went on 3 summer tours, made some music videos, recorded songs for compilations, put on all-dayers, played at Buffy themed nights, organised our annual Slayerfest halloween parties, and we played with a lot of wonderful bands and mates. And also Kate Nash once played Extra Flamey on her radio show with Amber Benson aka Tara as her special guest and they said we were cute. So that's as close to getting on Top of the Pops as we're ever gonna get.

Thanks to everyone who ever came to see us play, anyone who put us on and let us sleep on their floors and made us food. Thanks to everyone who drove us on tour, did artwork for us, interviewed us, played our songs, and supported the things we made. It's been the best.

I haven't really talked about it since it happened, but leaving the band was honestly one of the hardest decisions I've ever made and it felt like a breakup. And I was so worried I'd lose my identity once the band ended. I've been playing music since I was 17, who am I if I'm not in a daft novelty themed diy band? 

But in the last month I've seen my mates in real life on the reg, I've been able to plan day trips and make future social plans without worrying that it's gonna cut into tour/recording/practice schedules. And I don't have a constant stomach ache of worrying that there's something wrong with me for not being able to cope with being in a band.

My daft little Buffy themed band weren't even that active compared to other bands. We all worked full time hardcore jobs which left us exhausted and time poor, we were limited to touring in school holidays or when weren't working, and we all did a billion other creative projects outside of the band. I'd often look at my mates who juggled being in 2 or 3 different bands and wondered how they did it. 

I always struggle with burnout, I even made a zine about it. But I feel like I'm getting better at reclaiming my time and not worrying about having to do a million different things in order to keep my identity in tact. It turns out that when I'm not burning out I'm a pretty fun person to be around and that making pancakes, watching wrestling, and having weekends off is pretty great.

I'm sure I'll play music again and I'm sure I'll see burnout again, but for now I've got plenty of zine activities to organise and keep me occupied outside of my day job, and I now have free time to be a better friend to the people I love. 

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Zine Making Workshop

I'll be hosting a free zine making workshop at Poplar Union for Women in Focus Festival Sat 10th March

The workshop is free and open to anyone and all materials are provided.

Come and make a fanzine and celebrate women artists, activists, family members, musicians, writers, and unsung heroes

Sunday, 31 December 2017

I'm just tired and bored with myself 2017 round up

It's the end of the year, we made it! This has been a hard year for so many of us and while it can be useful to look back and think how much you've achieved this year, sometimes it's enough just to know you survived it all. 

Soz, usually I'm much more posi for my usual end of year round up, but this year has been wonderful and sad all at the same time. I lost some people, my mental health took a battering, and I'm just tired. But it's useful for me to document what I did this year, big or small, because sometimes my bad brain can make me forget or dismiss the things I've done. So here goes:

I made a bunch of new zines including Cool Schmool #2 my diary comic about being sober, ocd and mental health, eastenders, meeting Bruce Springsteen, and friendship breakups; Taking Up Space a  comic zine about being a fat girl and taking up physical space;  Queering the Art Library a mini zine about the problems regarding cataloguing, classification, and subject headings of queer titles in libraries. Oh and I made a super limited Nikki Bella zine which was honestly the most fun thing I've made all year.  

I did zine workshops at Tate, Barbican, and Sunday zine club, and also tabled at some pretty ace zine fairs this year including Leeds Central Library, Glasgow zine fest, DIY Cultures, Sheffield Zine Fair, Bent Fest, Weirdo Zine Fest, and Leeds zine fair. 

Pic by Chiara Gambuto chiaragambuto.com

I played gigs and went on tour with my band The Potentials. It's been a quiet year for us but we played Slayerfest, went on tour with Charmpit, and played at a singalong Buffy screening helping audience members cheat on the Buffy quiz. 

My chapter 'Is there anybody alive out there? Growing up queer with Bruce' was published in the book Bruce Springsteen and popular music which is out now! This is 3 years in the making and it's been so exciting to have my contribution in print, I feel super lucky. 

My zine series Me and Bruce was also added to the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University, NJ. I swear I'm getting closer to Bruce day by day. 

Barbican Art box teacher resource zine
I started working on the Barbican Art Box project as zine artist and workshop facilitator, working with some incredible artists and a brilliant creative learning team. The project is only halfway through and in the new few months I'll be compiling some zines with the selected schools for the project and can't wait!

My display of queer zines at Tate Britain June - Aug2017
I organised a series of queer show and tell events at Tate Library in response to the Queer British Art exhibition and compiled the queer collaging zine produced at Tate Modern. And I was really excited to be able to organise a display of queer zines at Tate Britain which ran throughout the summer.

I hosted the UK and Ireland zine librarians meeting and also compiled the online directory of UK and Ireland zine libraries. 

Nia Jax makes everything better
I also got into wrestling in a big way. Top tip: if your mental health is shit and you can't leave the house I highly recommend watching wrestling all day. I even went to my first wrestling training session and although I couldn't do a forward roll I did learn how to do squats while another girl was flung over my shoulders. Bring on Royal Rumble!

But most importantly, I grew out my fringe, had amazing friends, and muted every group chat I'm currently in. Thanks to everyone I saw this year at zine fairs and gigs,  thanks to my queer family for absolutely everything, and thanks to Bruce Springsteen as always.

New year = new zines and more naps.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Making zines at the Barbican

Earlier this year I started work on super exciting zine project with the Barbican's creative learning team, collaborating with artists Paula Varjack, Rhiannon Adam, and Maki Suzuki on the 2017 Barbican Art Box project.

The Barbican Art Box is an annual project where artists are partnered with young people via the Barbican and provided with a box of materials and ideas culminating in a final piece of work. This years Barbican Art Box is in response to the Barbican's recent Basquiat exhibition and sees schools taking the idea of Basquiat and his work to create art pieces and creating a final zine at the end.

We are now at the halfway point in the project and I just delivered my final workshop of the year and I'm so excited to see what zines we can all make!

The creative learning team's teacher resource zine 

We started out by meeting the teachers from each school, introducing them to the exhibition and the three artists involved, and looking at ways to interpret some of the items inside the box. I then gave an intro to zines and zine making, exploring different types of zines from art zines, perzines, political zines, fanzines, and getting stuck in and making zines with teachers and artists. Other Barbican box projects have culminated in much more 'proper' publications like slick photobooks and I wanted to get everyone used to the idea that zines are shoddy looking, full of collage, cut and paste, using diy tools and ideas. It was a fun afternoon of zine making!

Some of the zines made during the teacher CPD day

Then we started introducing groups from each school to the project. Each school came to visit the Barbican and had an amazing tour of the exhibition. I then gave an intro to zines, drawing comparisons between fanzines and tumblrs, perzines and instagram, and getting everyone to think about diy self-publishing in relation to Basquiat. 
I brought in zines from home and asked everyone to pick a zine and summarise: What is the zine about? Why did someone make this? And how did they make this?

Some of the zines we looked at in the workshops

We then did some zine making, with each group making their own mini zines. These could be fanzines about their favourite things, or perzines about their lives, or art zines featuring original collages and art work, all inspired by Basquiat in some way.

We split each group in two so that while one group looked round the exhibition the other group were learning about and making zines with me, then we'd switch. It was interesting to see the differences between both groups. The first group who hadn't yet seen the exhibition nearly always wanted to try and replicate the zines we'd looked at as examples of zine aesthetics, and the second group who had come directly from viewing the exhibition seemed to be more in tune with Basquiat's style, dropping in symbols, graffiti, drawings of crowns, and text as part of their zines.

In the last 3 months I've run the same Basquiat inspired zine making workshop at total of 15 times and each time has been completely different. Everyone has their own take on zines: some are very personal and raw, some are just about cats, and some have been directly inspired by Basquiat and his art. In the 15 workshops there have been 8 football zines, 4 slime zines, 4 makeup zines, an Ed Sheeran zine, and at least 2 zine have made me cry.

Collage workshops with The Garden School

Rhiannon, Maki, and Paul have started visiting the schools to get started on some amazing making, and I can't wait to see what each school comes up with. I'll be back to do more visits with them at the end of January and through February to pull together their art works into a collaborative zine, as well as creating some smaller mini zines. The final zines will then be launched in March and everyone will get to see what each school has been up to.

And that's why I haven't made a zine of my own in a while.