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:

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Finding The Value

Friday night saw me taking a roadtrip to York for the opening of Finding The Value A group exhinition that features some new work by Alison Erika Forde.

The exhibition is made up of five artists(Andrew Bracey, Alison Erika Forde, Yvette Hawkins, Susie Macmurray and Simon Venus) and is in York St.Mary's, an old church that is an absolutely beautiful place.
Finding The Value see's the artists take items from the Madsen collection (which was left to Yorks museum trust by Peter Madsen, a collection full of paintings, sculptures, works on paper and much more) and create new works in response to those items they chose.

If anyone know's of Alison's work, you already know she loves to paint on found objects, old prints from charity shops, cupboard doors, whatever takes her fancy, so this was right up her street!
Alison did say she had never worked onto originals before so found it a little daunting.
Where she usually dreams up all manner of charcters, this time she incorparoted charceters from items she found in the collection, working on paitings, sculptures, tapestry works and an old scroll roll with a list full of ministers!

I know I am biased but it was all AMAZING! I love seeing everything she does, getting my face in her paitings, blowing my mind at how tiny she can paint and just getting lost in it all!

It's definitely worth a visit for her art, the other's art and the building alone!
Runs until 2nd November.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The zines I have made...

It's July which means it's International zine month. Every year I tell myself I'm going to participate in it somehow, but every year I remember how much of a procrastinator I am and nothing gets done.
This year is no different, I need to get my arse in gear as my to do list is forever full.
Anyway in the spirit of thinking about zines I ventured into my bottom/zine drawer that's jam packed full of letters, notepads scraps of paper and all the zines I have made pre Sugar Paper.
Any zines I made after and including Sugar Paper are accessible and not tucked away in a drawer as these are my 'more serious grown up zines' that I actually do reprint.
The ones in the drawer however, the half done ones, the never to reach the printing stage ones, THE TEENAGE ONES will forever remain in that drawer!
I flicked through some of the zines and I cringed, I mean nobody, NOBODY wants to read all their feelings from when they were 15! The zines are full of all different things, gig reviews, pop culture nonsense, and the 'totally just got into riot grrrl in the last few years' of talking sex, liberation and empowerment. Also full of all that teen angst, self loathing and mostly boredom.

Now why, if I find them so cringeworthy and am never going to print them and hope all copies are now non existent and no one will ever see them again, why do I keep the masters?
I don't know maybe to remind myself that not all the things I felt as a teen will be felt now, growing older is good, you change, you grow, it's weird. But I think it's to remind myself of all the zines I have made and how much I like doing zines and if I ever think what I want to write about is stupid or I think I'm too old to be making zines, I look back and go I've been doing this since I was 15 and I bloody enjoy it!

SO in short happy international zine month, enjoy zines, making or reading, either way enjoy them.

Here's to another 15 years of zine making!