Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Zines, zines zines, if yr looking for a good time!

Recently I have had quite a few people ask me about zines, what zines are, how you make them, what can they be about. So I thought I would write a (hopefully not too lengthy) post with all I know about zines!

I'm not claiming to be the holder of all zine knowledge, I just know I like zines a lot, I like to read them and I love to make them, in fact I've been making zines on and off for half my life!
I started contributing and making my own zines around the age of 15 and 15 years later I still contribute to others and make a whole host of zines of my own.
I sell at zine fairs, I read books about zines and zine culture, I give workshops on zines, this blog exists alongside it's namesake zine and I love to encourage others to make zines!
ZINES ZINES ZINES! I just love them, so here goes....

What is a zine?
To me, the definition of a zine is a self published magazine.
Self published works have begun even before the birth of printing press, but I believe some of the first zines to exist were in the '30s and were self published works by science fiction fans who wanted to share and tell their stories.
There was a big resurgence of zines in the '70s with the rise of punk, anarchic and DIY culture, using zines to talk about music, politics and rebellion. There was also a rise of underground self published comics and prose in the 70s, written by very politicised people. The second wave of feminism in the 70s also meant a lot of comics/zines/ manifestos relating to feminism were published around this time.
The next great surge of zines was in the '90s particularly related to the riot grrrl movement and the third wave of feminism that came with that. Taking ideas and inspiration from zines of the 70s and 80s, the punk aspect and DIY ethos, whilst mixing in with politics and feminist theory. This is where I discovered and learnt about zines.
A zine, is quite often unlike the glossy magazines mass produced and sold worldwide in that they have a DIY feel to them, especially zines coming from the 70s/80s/90s, where the cut and paste method came from.
The do it yourself, with the resources you have style came about as it was the only way you could get your zines made, no computer programmes or fancy equipment, just scissors and glue, words and pictures.
The aesthetic of a zine can obviously vary greatly, but to me it's essentially a little photocopied book of joy!
Just some of my zine collection!

What are zines usually about?Zines can be about ANYTHING! like anything in the world, you can write/draw/stick/say whatever you want to, it's YOUR work.
I have zines about all sorts of things, music, film, TV, being a fan, tea, countries, feminism, class, POC, art, crafts,fiction and more. I have made zines about; class, fake letters to celebrities, friendship books, fandom, jackets owned by Gerard Way(see ANYTHING!) Because zines can be about ANYTHING there are sometimes sub genres of zines you can use just to give people an idea of what your zine is about.
You might hear...

Fanzine: to me where the word of zine comes from, in the 90s this term was used a lot, especially with music zines and the whole Britpop boom. A fanzine is a zine written about being a fan of something, whether that's music, or a person or sport or whatever. I feel fanzines are not as valued as they once where and regarded less due to the nature of the content, but I feel fandom is awesome and should be celebrated and want to see the rise of fanzines!

Perzine: This is where you take a shortened version of magazine and a shortened version of personal and get perzine! A zine mostly about yourself! I have read so many from topics such as mental health, eating disorders to self care, sex, class, race lot's of things!

Art zine: this is exactly what you think it is, a zine that mainly contains art, be it illustrations, photography or more. The term art zine is often used to describe a more glossy high quality zine, compared to more cut and paste style.

mini comic: Again another self explanatory one, some people may refer to their mini comic as a zine others may not, but another self published work.

web zine: This is not a paper format physical zine, but often people say they write zines online. Some web zines are a continuation of physical format zines or something that started up just online.

all the zines I made in my teenage years/early 20s!

How do I make a zine?The following information will be about how to make a cut and paste style zine, as I am not technologically advanced enough to use computer programs and stuff to make zines ha!
Also the methods I use are accessible to most people and really fun to do, so the way I always lead zine workshops!
I always say if you want to make a zine and never done one before, the best place to start is with a one page zine. here is how to do one.....

The one page zine is great because, it's only one sheet of A4 so you won't get tired of making it! It is easy to photocopy as just ONE SIDE of A4, and no need for stapling!

Once you have mastered the one page zine it good place to go is an A5 zine. This is where you make it up on pages of A4 fold and staple it (or stitch or pin or tie yarn/ribbon, or don't even bother at all!).

I find the best way to make one of these is to make up each individual page on loose sheets of A5 and compile them at the end on sheets of A4. A good thing to remember is you will need to have pages that are multiples of 4 (each sheet of A4 paper has 4 sides of A5!).
Work out how many lose sheets you have, then divide that by 4, that's how many sheets of A4 you will need (remember to include a front and back cover!)
Hope that makes some sense.
Then you just need to either do it yourself or take it somewhere to get double sided copied!

Here are some handy tools and bits and bobs you might want when making a zine...

Glue stick: A cut n paste zinetser's (someone who makes a zine!) best friend is the glue stick.

Scissors: See above ha! who needs photoshop when you have scissors and glue!

Long arm stapler: If stapling is the method you want to secure your zine then the long arm stapler is what you want to go for. Can be found in most big stationers.
If you don't have a long arm, you can use a regular stapler. Place centre of the zine on a cork mat or at the very edge of a table, open up the stapler and staple the zine, using a ruler, flatten down the staples!

Dymo tape/Letraset: Dymo is great for headings and titles and just looks great! Letraset (transfer letters) is also great for this too.

Stickers: who doesn't like stickers?

Sharpies: and other brands of  permanent marker are great for lettering, drawing and much more.

Scraps of paper: Bits of paper make for great backgrounds, from wrapping paper, to inside envelopes. Save it all you may never know when you need it!

How do I distribute my zine?So now you've made your super awesome zine but don't know what to do with it! Hand them out to your friends. but if you want to reach further afield there are ways.
When I was a teenager making zines, I used to find out about other zines via pages in the back of magazines, Teletext, at gigs or in fact inside other zines. Mainly through post, good old fashioned snail mail, sending on fliers for my own and others zines, to penpals and people who buy my zine. Back then it was all about Sellotaping a pound to a bit of card and sending a SAE to send a zine back.
Now however things like webstores (Etsy, Big Cartel and more) exist so you can have an online shop to sell your zine.
Prefer to do it in real life, many cities host zine/publishing fairs and can get a table and sell your zine. If you don't have funds or enough zines to do this, many zine fairs have a communal table where you can leave copies of yr zine to sell.

If you don't/can't have an online presence or attend a zine fair there are such things as distros.
Distros are usually run by one or a few people and is their way of collating zines, music, art and more and selling it through one space. You can contact distros and ask if they would like to stock your zine.
They take them in a number of ways, several copies that they pay you for, or on a sale or return basis. Some distros ask for flat copies, this just means they want a copy of the zine unstapled or folded so they can make copies of their own, this sometimes proves cost effective for both parties involved!

Another great place to have your zine be seen by a bunch of folk are zine libraries. Zine libraries are exactly that, a library full of zines! Some places pay for a copy of your zine others don't have the ability to do that. Some zine libraries are static (in buildings, in actual libraries, in places of education) and some are mobile!!!

Useful links....
We Make Zines: a great zine community where you can talk zines, connect with other zinesters and more

Stolen Sharpie Revolution: A great site for news about zines, how to's, distro and libraries lists, zine fairs and stuff about International Zine month (which Alex Wreek, all round good gal of SSR was instigator of!)

List of  UK Zine libraries: My great friend Holly compiled this list of zine libraries, super handy.

Footprinters: based in the north of England, this co-op printers are not only really ethical BUT zine friendly so can offer you a bunch of hints and tips when it comes to printing your zine.

Fanzines: keep up to date with all things zine related.

Sorry that was A LOT of words, but hopefully of some use! The two important things to remember are,
1. zines are a labour of love, they are more often than not non for profit, so don't expect to become a millionaire through making them 2. making zines is fun!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Men Who Like Women Who Smell Of Their Jobs

Thursday saw us attend the opening of all round art babe Alison Erika Forde's new exhibition, Men Who Like Women Who Smell Of Their Jobs*

The show is part of Manchester Literature festival and is a collaborative effort from Alison and writer David Gaffney.
Alison took inspiration from some of David's short stories in his Sawn-off Tales collection.
It's really interesting to see her work using the imagination of someone else, characters that weren't born from her brain but yet still her interpretation of them and undoubtedly her style.
The work is displayed with each short story that inspired it and is housed in the beautiful building that is The
John Rylands library.
Opening night had electronic duo
O>L>A playing music inspired by both the stories and the paintings, and even the venue. And it was a perfect fit to browse the works in such a decadent place as they played!

Here are a couple of not very good pictures I took (sorry Alison!)

The show runs until the end of January so there is no excuse not to check it out (especially if you have never been in John Rylands!)

When: Now- 31 January 2015 (Sun-Mon 12-5. Tue-Sat 10-5)
Where: John Rylands, Deansgate, Manchester.

*I spent a lot of the night joking about how I am indeed a woman who smells like her job A LOT!(I work at Lush!)

Friday, 5 September 2014

There's no fear when I'm in my room

If you head over to the Cut out + Keep website you can get a tour of Kandy's craft room....

Even though I have been in this room loads, I've slept on the floor there many times, I still love having a nosey at it. I love looking at people's workspace, I'm really interested to see what they do or do not clutter their desk and walls with!

It's not just workspaces I love looking at, there was a time I LOVED looking at teenagers bedrooms! As I got older that shifted to just looking at any number of spaces people loved.
For years I've always wanted to do something, a zine maybe, on people's spaces.

I think maybe the fact I have spent the majority of my life in the same room; sleeping, hanging out, obsessing, creating, dancing, having emo breakdowns and so much more, makes me even more interested in other's spaces, whether that is bedrooms, workspaces, safe spaces, open spaces (actually probably not as interested in these as there are no walls to hang tat), basically a space that makes you think 'There's no fear when I'm in my room'.
I hope that one day I will make a zine or some project on my own favourite space and those of others, it may take me another few years of thinking about it, but if it's the sort of thing you're interested in, just send me a gentle reminder next year or something!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

August fuuuuuuun!

August is always a busy month over at Sugar paper HQ, as three of my oldest and closest friends all have birthdays (one of them is Kandy) so I try not to book anything in in August except fun stuff. And as my two oldest friends both turned 30 within 4 days of each other I knew it would be a busy one...

It all kicked off with a surprise party for Holly in the big smoke.
I've spoken about Holly quite a lot on this blog, mostly because she is awesome but also because she made the cool person I am today (I am totally cool).

We met via Teletext in around 1999 I think when she requested some information on Bis (later I found out it was a way to reach other Bis fans) and I sent a late rude-ish letter in reply, we became super penpals and gig friends and badass dancefloor mates, co-radical cheerleader, she told be about cool music, zines, books, comics, people and now half our lives later she is still informing me on cool stuff, being the best dancer I know and putting up with me being rude!
So when a surprise party was being arranged to celebrate her 30th I couldn't wait! It was a total surprise to her right to the moment we all jumped out and said SURPRISE/HAPPY BIRTHDAY/RARARARARAHHH which was great (I am a terrible person who would have tried to Nancy Drew that shit out!)
Lot's of dancing was had and I got to play our favourite grrrl/9t6/emo/pop anthems. so much fun!

The next day we went to see The cornershop, but the previous blog post was all about that, so go read if you want to know more!

3 days later on Holly's actual birthday Kandy and I were jetsetting with my highschool bff Katie (and her little sister) to Italy to celebrate her 30th!

Katie I met in year 7 of highschool, she was in my form, we didn't become great friends until around year 8 or 9 though, we bonded over the fact we loved to laugh. The moment I think we knew we would be friends for life though was when we were stood in my kitchen and almost wet ourselves laughing about all the Farmhouse (pre smart price Asda budget brand) and No Frills (Kwik Save's budget brand) food we have to eat due to being right poor.

More than half our lives later, we still only live a ten minute walk from each other and love to laugh about being poor!

I had never really though about going to Italy but I had a great time.
We flew into Rome where we spent a couple of days. taking in the sites hoping on tourist buses, eating great food.
We also managed to squeeze in two exhibitions. We saw Andy Warhol at Palazzo Cipolla and Frida Kahlo at Scuderie del Quirinale. The Warhol one was fun and super surreal to see works that have been printed on everything from greetings cards to t-shirts, in their original form. I think we mostly enjoyed the 70s polaroids though.
Frida was also surreal in the sense that I never thought I would get to see so many of her works up close and personal! So good!

We left the heat of Rome and took a scenic train to Naples and then onto the coast, to Sorrento!
We spent the next few days, taking in sites, having a beach day, going on the Amalfi coast drive, seeing Italian villages that inspired home of The Prisoner, Portmeirion. SO MUCH BEAUTY!

We saw lot's of lemon related products, ate tons of ice cream, bought cheap pizzas that were super tasty, had great service from friendly locals, caught a tan, stayed up late and had the best time!
We even managed to get free Champagne, chips and cake on Katie's birthday!

We got home after midnight on the Sunday and it was back to work for me at 8.30 on the Monday, but still had (other people's) birthday fun to look forward to!
Kandy's birthday was Wednesday where we had a birthday band practice and I made her a lemon and almond Yayoi Kusama cake!

awesome gifts Alison Erika Forde painted!

Then I had work and hanging out with my sister before we headed to Leeds fest for the day on Saturday!
I had every intention of going to Leeds for the day on my own but then when Kandy saw the line up she wanted to come to, so we decided it was a birthday trip!

I was little worried my obsessive fan tendencies had overcome and I made the least sensible decision, seeing as I'm not a festival person and the last and only time I had done Leeds fest was for a day back in 2000, 14 years later and I had a great time!

It only rained a few times, our friend Em ended up going too, we saw Gerard Way (yes my main reason for going), Jimmy Eat World (twice in one day!), Lizzo, Brody Dalle and Paramore. Had such a great day, everyone we saw made me smile lots. Highlights were giving and receiving a cheeky smile to Jim Adkins as he left the tent after Gerard Way's set, seeing Gerard Way on stage, Lizzo and drinking hot chocolate standing next to my mates watching Paramore under the night sky!
I might even go back again, see you in 14 years Leeds!

One more fun thing to do this month (another old friend's 90s themed hen do at the weekend) and then it's back to school time, which means back to work for me.

Had such summer fun, getting old is THE BEST!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

The Cornershop

Kandy and I were in London his weekend to celebrate our friend Holly's birthday. Whilst we were down there we knew we had to pay a visit to 'The Cornershop'.
The Cornershop is an art project by Lucy Sparrow, who has made over 4000 felt versions of your favourite snacks, newspapers, cigs and booze, cornershop food essentials and much more out of felt the housed them in an unused cornershop space in Bethnal Green!
Two things I love are felt and snacks, so this was going to be a treat for me. Also most of my own artwork is made from felt, and in fact I recreated some my favourite teenage possessions and exhibited them last year (Make a Cup of Tea, Put a Record On).

So this cornershop was right up my street!


All items are placed on shelves, in freezers, behind the counter, just how they would be in a real shop! And like in a real shop, all items are for sale!

The whole exhibition is really fun and easy to relate to, who hasn't been in a cornershop?!

all my faves; Snickers, Peanut M&Ms and Starbar.

Sadly, pickled onion Space raiders not my faves UGH (gimme beef!)

Lucy working the counter!

I papped Kandy dreaming about Hubba Bubba.

The fact that the shop space is used as opposed to a mock shop in a gallery space just added to the feel, made it feel more real and completely accessible. Placed in the heart of an East London community it lacked any of the elitism of a lot of art spaces!

If you are in or around London go see it, it runs until the end of August.

More in formation HERE.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Boyhood/I Am Divine

It's come to the point now where I leave the house so infrequently, when I do I feel it's blog worthy!
So today (Friday) I went to see Boyhood. I have a few days off work so thought what better way to spend this lovely warm day by sending in a cool dark cinema for a few hours.
This morning I was thinking about going to see Boyhood when I got the offer to accompany the lovely Suzy and see it for free, so I was all hell yeah!
I didn't know much about it before going in aside from it was by Richard Linklater and featured the same cast as it was filmed over 12 years! I waited outside the cinema and saw a girl I went to both Primary and secondary school with begging outside of Sainsbury's and thought 'what is life?!?!', so I was hardly surprised when I came out of the cinema a few hours later thinking I'm about to have an existential crisis!

I'm not going to review the film and say what happened cuz I am rubbish at that and I don't want to spoil it. But I'll say a few words.

Firstly I bloody loved it, I mean it was like 2 1/2 hours long! I come from the John Waters school of films, where 90mins is as long as I want a film to be (I think I do everything so fast I don't even like long songs and some of my favourite albums are probably no longer than 25minutes!) so for me to sit through a film for that long is a feat in itself! And do you know what, it didn't even feel that long, at no point did I think is it over? It should end soon.

Secondly, it kinda blew my mind! Like I knew they used the same actors, but I was used to coming of age films where younger actors are replaced and older actors are made to look younger/older. SO I was sat there thinking oh look Ethan Hawke looked still kinda 90s at the start and now not so much, or haven't they made Patricia Arquette age really genuinely, and I had to keep telling myself THEY AGED IN REAL TIME!!!!

This also made me feel like I was growing with the characters, like when you really get into a book and by the end you feel like you are friends with the characters and a few days after you missed them. like watching someone's home videos for over a decade.

I left the cinema with a lovely warm feeling, yet that cloud of 'WHAT IS LIFE' aforementioned existential crisis!
I turned 30 this year and feel like I'm having a second adolescence and as much as I love a coming of age story I sometimes get freaked out by them. I'm currently reading Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, which is about two sisters going away to university. Towards the end of Boyhood, there was a lot about going off to University.
I pretty much sucked at higher education, once a highschool student most likely to go to university, I ended up being a 4 time college dropout and never made it to uni! Whilst most of the time I don't regret my education choices it's when I see/read stories like these I do regret it.
I feel like I missed out on a lot of things! I mean those college/uni years I did do stuff, but with my fear of change and new things and my natural state being 'let's just stay holed up in my room' I start to panic and worry that I didn't have that chance to grow.
I'm just being dramatic and what's done is done, but it's how I sometimes feel and how the film made me feel...

Anyway enough about me, the point being Boyhood made me feel, whether it was the impending second adolescence I am possibly in or the warm feeling I got, it made me feel and that's good.

I said to Suzy she must have really enjoyed it as she is a mother and it focusses a lot not just on children growing but parents too. Something for everyone.
In fact anyone that has ever been a teenager or unsure of the world (which I think is everyone!) then there is something you can relate to.

Indietracks is on this weekend and I am of work and feeling sorry for myself that I wasn't stood next to some steam trains in Derbyshire watching The Blue Minkies kill it. So the next day (Saturday) saw me hitting the cinema again (filling my thrice yearly cinema visit quota already!) to see the documentary I Am Divine.
I didn't really have any expectations of this, I know a few people who had seen it but don't really know what the general feeling about it was.
Unlike Boyhood it was my perfect film length at just 90minutes! And I was engaged for the whole time!
It was your early years-rise to fame-mainting your career- sad sudden death kinda documentary with anectdotes and commentary from friends and family and co-stars (Divine's mum, John Waters, Mink Stole, Ricki Lake, drag performers, PA's, and more).
I enjoyed seeing how Divine's look came about, his work ethic and him enjoying life. I also totally loved seeing all his looks!
I really enjoyed it and it seems they managed to fit it all in there without feeling like they were repeating themselves or missing large parts out. I don't think I learned much but enjoyed seeing all the footage, my only qualm was some of the graphics used seemed a little cheap and not in a good way, but I am fussy!
I laughed, I cried a little but mostly I felt inspired. With Divine's closing quote about dreaming big, working hard and believing in yourself left me feeling like I could do anything....
So off I went to dream big (and even when my mood turned sour after a one hour wait for the bus home) and fulfil my destiny!

Brown Girl(s) 2/ POC I need you!

Yesterday was the 26th day of International Zine month, and that days task was to contribute to a compilation zine. I didn't do that, unless you count my own!

Earlier this year (I think!) I completed a zine about me and my experiences with being brown! I cleverly called it Brown Girl...

As soon as I got back from the printers I remembered how I wanted to write about my favourite Caribbean foods, I kicked myself for forgetting.
I have since sold out of the zine (and hoping to get my arse in gear to get some more printed soon) but I got lots of awesome feedback and made me think in order for me to write about my favourite food I should just do another. But not one filled with just my voice. A lot of the feedback I got was how other WOC would like to tell their story.

So.... in short POC I NEED YOU! I want your contributions for Brown Girl 2! You can write about anything, your stories, whether it's about finding your place, your hair or food! You don't have to write, you can draw, collage, photograph ANYTHING I just need your contributions!

If you are interested get in touch: