Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Zine workshop at Pride

So it feels like the world ended.  I can’t watch any more rolling news, I can’t watch the bbc blame everything on Corbyn or talk about the working class like they are a different species. I can’t talk to my racist nan who voted leave. I can’t see another England flag in the streets waving it’s stupid nationalistic pride in my face. I can’t stand politicians that can't fucking engage with people outside of London or learn how to talk to people rotting away in poverty, and I can’t look away from the constant reports of the rise in racist/xenophobic attacks, abuse, and intimidation.

I’m angry and I’m scared and all the zines and music and writing I make feels so frivolous and trivial this week.

So Saturday morning was not a great day to get out of bed and go do a zine workshop. Honestly I just wanted to stay under the covers and put a sad Springsteen album on (probably Nebraska or Tom Joad on repeat) and not really face the world. It was London pride, but I didn't have any pride in a Smirnoff sponsored pride (I don't drink), with an RAF flyover (I have no pride in military), and if anything I'd hoped to scrape together enough energy to attend the queer picnic in south london led by qtipoc. But first I had a zine workshop to attend.

New zine I made for the workshop explaining what zines are and how to make them

Gosh comics very kindly asked me to co-host a zine making workshop for pride with the wonderful Rachael House, an artist and zinester I’ve long admired. One of the first zines I ever got was one of her Red Hanky Panky zines, so it was ace to be able to do this with her. The idea was to get people to stop for a bit and make an lgbt zine about pride, sexuality, gender identity, bodies, crushes, or anything at all. On a day like last Saturday I wanted to encourage people to come and make angry angry queer zines about Orlando, about Jo Cox, about the referendum, about being queer and muslim, about how QTPOC bear the brunt of the majority of LGBT violence, about immigration, about refugees, about feeling queer and European, about Smirnoff sponsored pride, to get out some of the anger we were all feeling.

I ended up making a mini comic about what it's like to not feel queer enough:

In reality a lot of people made much more positive zines, about hope, about love, and relationships, about what pride means to them, so maybe it’s good not everyone was as angry as me. Like this lovely person who made a zine addressed to their unborn nibling about being a cool gay aunty:

Some of us made angry and critical zines, but regardless of what zines we made we talked constantly as we made them, talking about the referendum, about racism and xenophobia we had seen, about Orlando, about Jo Cox, about corporate pride, about how scared and angry we were. We talked about the demonisation of the working class, about ageism, about not feeling queer enough. We also talked about comics and The Lord of the Rings, about fanfic, and about school, about music, about punk, about books, about clothes, about art. We shared our coming out stories, we talked about our relationships, we talked about bi-erasure, we talked about gender queer identities. We talked a LOT and it was so needed.

It was a small but lovely crowd, and lots of people made their first ever zines with us. 

My partner even came and made his first ever zine:

The first thing that nearly everyone said as they sat down with us was 'I don't know what to write' or ‘I can’t draw’ . Rachael had great advice that the drawing only had to be strong enough to hold the idea they were trying to show. It didn’t matter if you couldn’t draw, if you had never written anything before, making a zine was about sharing ideas and people really got on board with that. 

Sitting round a table in one of my favourite comic shops, getting angry and sharing ideas and making things with people was so needed. Staying under the covers and listening to sad songs is ok too, but I'm glad I was able to get out and make things and feel productive and talk and escape for a bit. 

Thanks to Gosh comics for having us, and thanks to everyone that came and made their first zines, they are all so rad!

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