Monday, 23 May 2016

She saved the world, a lot.

My new zine, Bite Me, is here! It's a Buffy the Vampire Slayer zine and includes pieces from the now out of print Slayerfest zine with some pieces on why I hate Xander, an ode to technopagans, and an extract of a Buffy/Faith fanfic I wrote when I was 17, as well as contributions from Megan Pickering, Polly Richards, Zak Kilburn, Sarah Broadhurst, Stef Bradley, Sofia Hicks, and Ingrid Boring. 

The zine was made to celebrate one year of being in my Buffy concept punx band The Potentials but as I'm in the middle of burnout to the max, it's a little bit late. Soz. You can get copies from me at Northwest Zine Fest next month or from my online zine shop here:

It's a year since we sacked off the Buffy rpg Shahnaz, Zak and I were supposed to be playing and started a Buffy themed band instead! 

I'm not in the habit of celebrating birthdays of bands I've been in but this one felt a bit special. I've always played keyboards in all the bands I've been in, and I think I've always just been dead scared of playing guitar because it is so unnatural to play and I really should have started when I was young and didn't give a shit rather than when I was 30 and anxious. My teenage guitar was beautiful but unused. It had a bis Starbright Boy sticker on it, and I used to download tabs for green day and hole in the college library, but didn't know how to use them and couldn't make my fingers do what I wanted so I gave up. It was a really nice bis sticker though.

So it's been a year since I picked up a guitar for the first time, and I haven't really gotten any better than that first practice, but I have stuck with it and had so much fun and played shows and written songs with my mates and played with lots of ace people. Diy punx have been dead kind to us in the last year and it's felt pretty special and I'm glad we got to throw a birthday party with some of our favourite people like Molar and Just Blankets and Junk. We played pass the parcel, got gifts to Lewisham Food Bank, and forgot how to play some of our songs. It was the best!

Apparently it has been 13 years since Buffy went off the air, and somehow a telly show I used to be obsessed with at school still means the world to me. Enough for me to be in a Buffy band and write zines about it. And while it's dated in some pretty bad ways and there are plenty of problematic aspects to pick apart, the show is still fully ingrained in me. I was at school when Buffy was, I went to 6th form when Buffy went to college, I came out as queer around the same time as Willow, and I'm a big fan of living in the past apparently. Last week I'd had the worst day at work and felt so angry and frustrated and tired to my bones and I came home and watched the season 5 episode Checkpoint so I could watch Buffy tell the Watchers Council to go fuck themselves. It's a security blanket and was exactly what I needed even though I've seen that episode a billion times and could quote it by hear. Who hasn't wanted to throw a giant sword in the workplace?

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Zine reading

I had the best time taking part in the pop up zine library and zine readings hosted by Salford Zine Library a couple of weeks ago. Here's me reading some pieces from my zine Me and Bruce (and my dad) #2 which is all about how I've appropriated the lyrics of Bruce Springsteen to be about my dad.

"My dad goes to way more hardcore punx shows than I do and thinks I'm ridiculous for liking My Chemical Romance"

You can see the full recap plus videos of readings by Steve Carlton from Salford Zine Library and Seleena and Em from Poor Lass here:

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Sheffield Zine Fest 2016

Zine weekender was a blast! The 4:30am alarm clock on Saturday morning was not. But after a mega early start I found myself back in Sheffield with a suitcase full of zines and a bag full of percy pigs for Sheffield Zine Fest

I got to hang out with these lasses all day
Babes of zine fest
And these two new zines sold out!

Cool Schmool is a mini comic about having ocd, playing in bands, failing to make vegan mac and cheese, and obsessing over Scully's hair in season 4 X-Files. It's a comic, which is funny because I can't draw, and I guess it's also kind of my first ever perzine in 16 years of making zines, as unlike all my other zines it isn't about a specific thing I'm obsessed with or a fan of, it's just about me and my life. 
I started it as a way to talk about ocd when I wasn't doing so great at the beginning of the year but couldn't really talk about it with anyone. I very quickly chickened out of being that open and honest about my life in a comic, so there's only about 4 pages dedicated to my ocd, and the rest documents other things in my life like moving house, fomo, fracturing my ankle, and the problems with shit sound guys at gigs.

My Mad Fat Zine is my first joint zine with Seleena since 2001! It's dedicated to My Mad Fat Diary, a telly show we became OBSESSED with. We used to text each other in different cities while watching MMFD live, quoting our favourite bits at each other and speculating what was gonna happen next. It was a show that meant so much to us and is one of the best portrayals of fatness and mental health I've ever seen. Plus there's just a lot of Longpigs on that soundtrack. The zine features amazing illustrations and a bloody beautiful cover by Emma Thacker and is Sharon Rooney approved! Well, she has requested a copy, we're not sure if she'll actually like it, but that's better than nowt. 

Seleena giving everyone the hard sell for My Mad Fat zine

Both of these zines completely sold out at Sheffield Zine Fest. And both of these zines feature some bad collating on my part with one page in each zine stapled in the wrong order. Maybe if I was the kind of person who ran a kickstarter to run a zine this kind of thing wouldn't happen. I'm doing a second print run today and I've updated my zine shop so you can buy both of those zines here

And the fun continued the next day as it was Sounds From The Other City fest (plus Seleena's birthday). We headed over to the Deli-Lama cafe to take part in a series of zine readings organised by Salford Zine Library. Steve kicked it off by doing a zine reading from his zine My Lil Rem Stadt
It was really fun to see the people in the cafe get into zines. As the zine readings kicked off you could tell that the people in the cafe were a bit wary about people speaking into a microphone reading from photocopied booklets about things they loved and hated, but by the end of Steve's reading everyone was mega into it and going over to the table of zines from the collections of Salford Zine Library. Zines can be a hard thing to access as you kind of have to know what zines are to begin with in order to find yourself at a zine fair or a zine event, so it was ace to see zines in a normal public space for people to stumble across and get excited about.

Seleena and Em from Poor Lass gave readings from their zines.

And I gave a reading from Me and Bruce #2

And then we headed over to watch Tacocat play in a church and Martha play on a stage that resembled Funhouse with a whole lotta fun, but no prizes to be won. Then I sped off to do a quick band practice with Yiiikes (I'm playing bass with em at Queer Fest Leeds) and then after we treated ourselves to a late night Toby Carvery and cured our zine fatigue with all-you-can-eat roast potatoes.

I have a new zine coming out in 3 weeks in time for my band's birthday gig so it's back to my desk and time to re-stock my pritt sticks. And then before you know it, it'll be Northwest Zine Fest!