Tuesday, 15 May 2012

You want them to notice/the ragged ends of your summer dress

My latest Guardian Blog: on Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! coming out as trans, the traditions of blurred masculinities in rock and how I found community via the LGBT punkrock scene as a young queer coming out in the early noughties. Predictably, more than one publication managed to fuck up on pronouns while reporting this, before rectifying with amendments and apologies. Here's to a (near) future where the press knows this ish inside out. The tireless and awesome Trans Media Watch have an accessible guide for anyone looking to school up.

I shiver each time I listen to this. For the guts of it, the heart and the honesty. Beautiful. And PUNK AS FUCK.

Friday, 11 May 2012

In a picture perfect world

The June issue of DIVA came out yesterday, and I'm proud to say it includes a hat trick of interviews I wrote, with Peaches (on her upcoming album, hybrid DJ act and opera project), Stooshe (on London pride and not being feminists *sigh*) and, best of all, my first ever front-cover feature, an 8 page spread with Beth Ditto and Hannah Blilie of Gossip.

I first met Beth in 2009, at a squat house in East London when Sister Spit were touring. I was there to buy zines, talk up Wears The Trousers first print edition, and watch Michelle Tea and her troupe do their thing, and ended up being invited to read on stage with them - my first public speaking event as a writer! 3 years on, after PLENTY of unpaid writing experience, I found myself commissioned to interview Ditto for the UK's leading queer women's print publication. To talk with Beth again, this time under professional queer journo circumstances, was wicked rewarding.

Figuring out what it is to be someone who operates at this weirdo intersection where lo-fi, non-profit, queerpunk ziney stuff meets with grown-up employment as a writer for respectable broadsheets and glossy queer magazines is a trip. It means having each foot in a different world, and finding a way to reconcile that in a way that works on a personal/political level. I'm still navigating it all, and unlike Beth and co, still very much on a salad days income, but I flatter myself that there's a parallel to be had between this and the way Gossip manage their success in the mainstream. I guess living and working compatibly with your politics is something that a lot of people strive to do. 

I asked Beth and Hannah how they maintain their queer punk feminist values in majorlabelsville, a sphere traditionally so patriarchal, heteronormative and corporate - not because I expected them to defend their success, but rather because I see their trajectory from tiny, fierce underground punk band to mega pop pin-ups as radical and inspiring, and I wanted to prompt that discussion. Gossip is a progressive, empowering force in pop culture, and I'd like to see more queerpunk bands succeed in this way, occupying the mainstream without compromising their values. Happily, they were both amiably receptive to the question, and, I suspect, glad to address it with a fellow queer lady writing for a queer women's publication. Hannah affirmed this when she spoke about how the majority of interviewers they encounter are either uncomfortable with or ignorant (?!!) to Gossip's identity and message/s as a queer political band. Context is everything, eh? Pick up a copy to find out how they answered.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

By the waterside, summer wading in sunder

A little something I wrote on Poliça's Give You The Ghost album for The Guardian here. I'm pretty certain  'Lay Your Cards Out' will end up on many a 'best of 2012' list come the end of the year. Also, I guested on The Guardian podcast to interview Northern acoustic punker Louise Distras, on protest music, DIY and raising a finger to political apathy.