Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Panda Pop

Ace flier by Alex Creep

My band Panda Pop are playing our first gig with Tuff Love courtesy of Unskinny Bop in April. We have 5 songs so far and we can almost harmonise on one of em. We sing songs about irn bru, class war, and urinary tract infections from bath bombs. Come see us!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Lots of things to do today, revolt in my cunning way

Remember that time I had burnout for a whole year and didn't make or do anything? Well it's all over, thank you Gilmore Girls, you have cured me! I'm ready to make things again and I feel so excited I could burst.

This weekend was a massive posi kick up the bum which was ace. On Saturday I got to see all my favourite people and had a pretty quality time at the Onsind show at Power Lunches. I got to see Leesey be damned amazing with Nick and perform as Joyless Fucking who were fucking wonderful and made me feel dead proud and happy.

Jesus and His Judgemental Father made me so happy because I've missed them now about a billion times now and it's just getting ridiculous. And I got to see Onsind who are always wonderful and I'm an awful shy person who never really tells them that I love their shows, but I really really do and there's usually at least one point during an Onsind show which makes me teary eyed in the best way.

Then Sunday I headed to Brighton to table at Brighton Zine Fair. It was an ace day full of ace people and despite it raining and it being a sunday, some pretty awesome people made it out of the house to come on down and look at some zines. I had some dead good chats with people about Bruce Springsteen, dancing, and PCOS, and gave away copies of my zines to nice people who couldn't afford them but genuinely loved the shit out of Bruce Springsteen. I met someone who laughed at my crappy drawings in my crappy diy commix, and another person spilled their coffee all over my zine table and laughed and then walked away. But  despite that and the super small amount of queers there, I had the best time.

Pic by Lucy Sheehan

I've got 4 zines on the go at the moment and I'm writing songs for new bands and I'm organising some awesome zine stuff at work in my library and I couldn't be happier. So sorry burnout, I think it's time for me to move on. There's dancing and fun to be had and things to make!

It's likely that only one of my zines will be ready to take to Sheffield Zine fest next month, so if you love Irn Bru and want to contribute to my irn bru mini zine then put down the orange stuff and get in touch!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Pancake day

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Happy pancake day!

This is my favourite holiday, even over Halloween, because pancakes are my favourites. I usually host a pancake party each year serving up different types of pancakes with a billion different toppings, but as I’m between homes at the moment I can’t have a pancake party!

Pancakes are my favourite because they are cheap. During times when I can’t afford to feed myself properly I live on a diet of noodles, bread, and pancakes. All filling, all cheap, and all starchy white carbs. It’s easy to get sick of bread and noodles if you have them a lot but I can never get sick of pancakes!

I’m much more of a savoury pancake person. Growing up we would always have a mega thick pancake sitting underneath a stew or a casserole and it soaks up all the amazing stew flavour and goes quite soggy and absorbs all the flavour. My other favourite childhood pancake is a plain pancake with branston pickle. Nobody in my family knows where this came from, but it’s still my favourite to this day. I also like pesto pancakes with pesto, cheese, and tomatoes which is probably just the middle class version of a branston pickle pancake.

Spot the branston!

In lieu of my pancake party this year here are my 3 things to do with pancakes:

Stick stuff in the batter
Pancake batter is easy peasy pumpkin peasy. You don’t need to strictly follow a recipe and it’s dead easy to make it gluten free or vegan. I’ve faffed around with egg substitutes for vegan recipes before but unless you are trying to make fluffy American style pancakes, there's really no need. Just take out the egg and use soya milk and you’ve got yourself a vegan pancake. It will be thinner than normal but genuinely as yummy. Also if you run out of milk you can add half water to your recipe which is what we did all the time growing up cuz we were poor and watered down milk does the job just fine anyways. Honestly, I don’t care how you make your pancakes, they all taste the same when you get the toppings on.

You can stick anything in the batter – blueberries, chocolate buttons, mushed banana with cinnamon, mashed sweet potato, cheese and garlic etc. Stuff in batter pancakes are best done with American style pancakes as they grow thick and the bits in your batter won’t burn as much.

American pancake batter
200 g self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
300 ml milk
1 pinch of salt
30 grams melted butter

Mix the dry ingredients first, followed by the milk and the eggs beaten together, lastly add in the melted butter after it has cooled, and stir in well. Then fry em up!

Hot dog pancakes

I love hotdogs. I love pancakes. And yet it only occurred to me at last year’s pancake party to put these two loves together and substitute a hot dog bun with a thin wrapped pancake. This works best with a thin crepe style pancake and I made meat version and veggie versions last year. Once the pancake is made I like to spread ketchup and American mustard on it then wrap the hotdog tight in the pancake, and you can use a cocktail stick to keep it altogether.

Crepe style pancake batter:
200g plain flour
2 eggs
300 ml milk
Pinch of salt

Mix the dry ingredients first, then the egg and milk beaten together. Then fry em up and wrap em round a hot dog!

Irn Bru pancake

My one true love

Due to my frying pan being in storage and not having a permanent home at the moment I haven’t been able to try this amazing pancake recipe yet, but I am dying to! While I was researching for my pancake zine (I take my research super seriously) I discovered the cola pancake. Coca cola is added to the batter before the milk is added and the bubbles in the pop react with the baking powder to create more bubbles and a super light fluffy batter. The pop also slightly caramalises while frying and is supposed to leave the pancake with a bit of a shine and an ever so slight crunch to the top. I’m sure you can achieve this in other ways like by adding sugar to the batter when it’s in the pan, but the idea of substituting cola with irn bru in a pancake sounds wonderful!

I haven’t tried this yet so I can’t fully approve the recipe below, and believe me as soon as I get my frying pan out of its cardboard box and into my new kitchen I’m gonna be making this pronto!

Irn Bru pancake batter

275 g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
200 ml milk
175 ml irn bru
1 pinch of salt

I haven’t made this yet but the recipe says to mix the dry then mix in the wet. You might not need the full amount of irn bru, so mix that in last and slowly so you aren’t left with a sloppy runny irn bru mixture. I am hopeful that this is the pancake of dreams.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Zine of the month

I don't shout enough about the zines that I love and I'm reading some super awesome stuff at the moment so I thought I'd rectify this with a Zine of the Month! Will I keep this up every month? Who knows, I'm mid-way through an epic X-Files re-watch so my schedule is pretty tight.

As I missed January I'm doing two Zine Of The Month shout-outs. Also the zines I'm giving props to came out a couple of months ago, but I'm basing it on when I got hold of the zines and read them. We are on Casio time now.

Queer Sailor Moon Fanfiction Saved My Life - Lily P. Dec 2014
Available from Zine Puppy etsy shop for £2.35 + p+p

This is a perzine by Lily P. who writes about immersing themselves in fandom as a coping strategy and for validation and for fun. I love fandom. I bloody LOVE loving things and I always like to hear other people who write so well about the benefits of fandom. Especially things which are dismissed as teen girl fandom because they are silly or trivial or not real. Lily P talks briefly about childhood trauma and the ways in which they sought comfort and escapism in pop culture. They then talk about their love of queer Sailor Moon fan fiction, how they used to copy extracts from the internet into their diary for safekeeping, and how they aspired to some of the queer family love in that show. Spice Girls fandom is also mentioned , with extracts of Spice Girls fan fics and tales of obsession over a grainy image of Emma and Geri kissing. The whole zine is sweet and funny and sad and waves the fandom flag proudly. But it's also a great zine about self care, about finding whatever coping strategies work for you and not being ashamed.

Black Women Matter Vol. 1 - Underground Sketchbook Dec. 2014
Available online for free
Available in print from Underground Sketchbook for $5 donation + p+p

Black Women Matter is an illustrated zine by the artist collective Underground Sketchbook, based in Austin, Texas who create social justice art. This zine was produced to remember the lives of Black women murdered by police in America. Probably the most brutal aspect of this zine is that it is titled vol.1 meaning there are likely more issues of this zine to follow. The zine includes drawn portraits of each woman with their age when they were murdered and a short description of events with the introduction reading: 'Know their names, See their faces. Remember their stories.' The zine serves as a memorial as well as a form of resistance in sharing histories and images that are otherwise made invisible through mainstream media. It's a poignant and sad and brutal zine and a reminder of how powerful and important self-made documents of  lives and communities can be.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Zine fun in 2015

I'm attacking 2015 with all the irn bru fuelled energy I've got!

Things are already looking up what with all my 90s dreams coming true with the return of Sleater Kinney, Babes in Toyland and L7. Even My Mad Fat Diary is coming back for a 3rd series proving that 90s pop culture is just the best and motivates me to dance and write stuff and make stuff like nothing else.. Thanks 1990s, you are the best

I worked my fat ass off toward the end of last year getting a draft of a book chapter ready for submission for a book on Bruce Springsteen to be published this year. While the editor of the book has been super supportive and has made every effort to include my chapter, the academic publishers are less accepting of non academic scum types like myself, so I'm waiting for final confirmation to see whether my hard work will end up in the book.  So I'm preparing myself for a response of 'no way in hell'.

But that's the brilliant thing about zines, because if that email does come back with a big fat 'NO' then I can cut up my words, stick them with some super copyrighted pictures of Bruce together that I have absolutely no intention of seeking permission for, and making it into a zine instead. No waiting for a publisher to release it towards the end of this year, no spell checking, no wishing I'd paid attention to grammar at school, and no over-priced hardback edition. Just lots and lots of pictures of Bruce Springsteen kissing Clarence Clemons' face and 20 pages of my queer interpretation for a quid. I bloody love zines.

I will have all my zines plus some new stickers and badges and stuff at some upcoming zine fairs this year.

First up there's the Zine Fair in Brighton, Feb 22nd at Unitarian Church Hall, New Road, 1.30pm - 4.30pm.

I could only go to one half of the Yorkshire zine weekender last year, so I'm super excited I get to go to Sheffield Zine Fest this year! Sheffield Zine Fest will be held at Electric Works, 14 March, 11am - 6pm.