Monday, 24 November 2008

cuz i'm not busy enough

As if I didn't already have a to-do list large enough to make me weep I've decided to make my own christmas cards this year... or, more realistically, make as many as I can (if I make it past 5 I'll have impressed myself!)
Bring on the pritt stick!
Oh dear!

In other news I finally got my act together and joined the world of Folksy as a zine-touting seller.
It's like Etsy's smaller UK cousin, but with exchange rates going haywire it seems more sensible for UK buyers to have the option of buying in ££ rather than $$ like is the case with my etsy store
My (quite unattractive and empty looking, at the moment) Folksy store is here

Friday, 21 November 2008

ribbons and paper and comix zines

Excitingly I recieved photos this week of the space I have to host the UK Women's Comix Zines Exhibition in at the Women's Library in London as part of Zinefest!

It may require imagination at this stage, but... Budge those tables out of the way (or even better cram them with distros selling kick ass zines, and supplies to make your own zine with), cover those bricks with banners of big, colourful, blown up comix pages, add a bit more fairy lighting, and get zines dangling down from those light fittings via streams of ribbons and I think it's gonna shape up quite nicely, and transform the space somewhat. I've got my creative hat on!

If you're reading this and thinking that you'd like to get involved there's still time to submit your comix zine or self-published comic, blown up pages from your comic/zine, create a comix piece espacially for the wall, or send in your how-to tips for wannabe comix creators.
Drop me a message for full details.

So far I have received submissions from the amazing Charlotte Percivil, Sarah Lippett, Rosie Brice, Lizz Lunney, Erica Akerlund, Lady Lucy, Carolyn Alexander, Jenny Linn-Cole, Liz Greenfield, Kate Evans, Flo Brooks, Kate Dickinson, and Karrie Fransman. With over 30 other ladies due to contribute within the next month too.
Exciting stuff!

Details of the whole shebang are...

Zine Fest!
Saturday 24th January 2009,

The Women's Library,
25 Old Castle Street
London E1 7NT


Distros, workshops, discussions, screen printing, hands-on, female comicx zine exhibition, plus more.
For full details of all events please check back...

More info at library website

Thursday, 20 November 2008

on the aspire...

The Bonfire Madigan UK tour I've been working on is now less than a month away and looking set to be amazing.

A rare rare UK tour from this avant-pop, chamber-punk trailblazer. Armed with dynamic vocals and innovative, self-styled cello virtuosity Madigan ignites the Bonfire with a shebeen of soul-art-string-sounds. Madigan has previously played with seminal riot grrl band Tattle Tale and is a founding collective member of the autonomous mental health collective The Icarus Project

‘Bonfire Madigan play baroque-folk punk grounded on frontwoman Madigan Shive’s soaring lullaby vocals and virtuoso cello skills. Shive, a master of tone and mood, crafts songs with raw, emotional melodies and powerful, unexpected dynamics.’ - New York Press
bonfire madigan myspace

*December 11th: LONDON
at The Barbican, London,
Cost: £13/18/22 subject to availability
Twisted Christmas featuring special guests including Bonfire Madigan Shive
Are you frustrated by the fey joviality of Christmas? Long for a sense of meaning and depth to be returned to our yuletide traditions? Then Twisted Chrismas is for you. Brought to you by David Coulter & the team behind ’Plague Songs’ this deliciously dark evening features an array of special guests performing their own versions of Christmas songs past present and future. Christmas with a twist - returning a little bit of darkness to light...

*December 14th: BRIGHTON
at Westhill
Bonfire Madigan, and Daniel Knox, + Lianne Hall.
8pm onwards.
Mulled wine and mince pies!!

*December 16th: MANCHESTER
At: The Black lion, 65 Chapel Street, Manchester
Lineup: Bonfire Madigan / mcwatt / march of alka malka, there will also be a festive buffet
£5 on door
Updates via: kaffequeeria wesite

*December 17th: LEEDS
At: Brudenell Social Club, 33 Queens Road, Leeds, LS6 1NY, Tel: 0113 275 2411, Brudenell website
£5 on the door
Supported by: Ray Rumours London) Ex- Electrelane, The Battys & Lesbo Pig myspace + The Seven Inches (Leeds) myspace

*December 18th: HULL
Adelphi Club, 89 De Grey Street, Hull, HU5 2RU Tel: 01482 348216, Adelphi website

*December 19th: LONDON
At: the Horse Hospital
The Mad & Strange / Strange & Mad Show
Starring Bonfire Madigan and Richard Strange (songwriter, storyteller, punk legend, actor: see him in Harmony Korine's latest film, Mister Lonely playing an impersonator playing Abe Lincoln)
+ Neotropic (a founding Future Sounds of London memeber)
DJing it all together. only £ 6-8
Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1HX
by tube: Russell Square, Piccadilly Line
buses: 7, 59, 68, 91, 168, 188

*December 21: LONDON
At: Royal Academy of Arts Bar/Cafe
Last gig of the year = on winter solstice = a special 3pm afternoon musical presentation in this beautiful high ceilinged space, presenting nearly all instrumental music.
Bonfire Madigan showcasing avant-classical cello and vocal work from her 2008 scoring commissions for the American Conservatory Theater.
Last chance to get the rest of BMad's merch directly + as solstice gifts (she can't take it back!)
Including the book Live Thru This that she will sign for your loved one.
+ a whole different set than Fri from Riz Maslen/Neotropic/Small Fish with Spine
In 6 Burlington Gardens W1,610,EV.html

* * * * *

For the Leeds date view the myspace event here and the facebook event here

BONFIRE MADIGAN SHIVE is a visionary cellist, composer, vocalist, performing artist, community activist, and international touring musician from the United States. Shive has collaborated onstage and in studio with artists as diverse and influential as iconoclastic music producer Hal Willner (Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull, Allen Ginsberg, Laurie Anderson), Joan Jeanrenaud (Kronos Quartet), David Coulter (The Black Rider, The Pogues), Kimya Dawson (Juno Soundtrack), Cat Power, Gossip, Fugazi, The Good, the Bad and the Queen, Jolie Holland, Slovenian industrial-music-theater artists Laibach, Finnish chamber-metal showmen Apocalyptica and Academy Award nominee Elliott Smith.
Shive's songs have been included in the films Better Luck Tomorrow, But I'm a Cheerleader, and Chain Camera. Commissions include the original score composed and performed for the American Conservatory Theater's 2008 production of 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, London's Barbican Hall 2008 Twisted Christmas program, prepared solo cello suites for San Francisco Grace Cathedral's 2006 Easter Vigil, as well as the score and starring role in the forthcoming experiMental silent film Transliminal Criminal. She is a contributing author to the recently released anthology Live through This: On Creativity and Self-Destruction (Seven Stories Press), sharing company with bell hooks, Nan Goldin, Kate Bornstein, and other creative pioneers. She is a founding collective member of The Icarus Project (, a grassroots support and media network led by people living with experiences commonly labeled "mental illness." Starting on cello at the age of nine, she began her composing career at fifteen in the Pacific Northwest riot grrrl scene releasing music with seminal independent record labels K and Kill Rock Stars. Shive has gone on to establish herself as a singular and trailblazing performer, blending folk, art, punk, classical and avant-baroque styles. Her albums include Sew True, ...from the Burnpile, Saddle the Bridge, Plays for Change, and the recently reissued I Bleed: a Decade of Song; she is currently finishing her sixth full-length album, to be released in collaboration with her label, MoonPuss Music.
Visit Shive at or

if the exchange rate wasn't so bad...

... everybody would be getting one of these beauties by Sally Harless for Christmas.

Welcome to The Ocean World of Sallee Cousteau.
Sallee has lovingly drawn various sea creatures for this calendar so that not only will you know what day it is, you can also enjoy a different underwater drawing each month.
These calendars measure 81/2 by 14 inches when unfolded. The covers are ivory cardstock and the inside pages are a thinner green paper.
These make really great Christmas gifts for children or adults!
$7 plus $1 shipping

How do you get one of these?
1. You send a check, money order, or well-concealed cash to:
Sally Harless
2836 S. Walnut St.
Bloomington, IN
2. You send money via paypal to
3. You see me in person and we go in the alley and seedily make the exchange.

Sally on myspace
Sally on etsy

Friday, 14 November 2008

some people are too nice

I was blogged about today.

Thanks MGU, I'm happy you liked the zine!

"I have trouble with boys voices"

Last night I went to see the only film on the Leeds International Film Festival programme that excited me enough to attend the festival, Who's Afraid Of Kathy Acker?
It was really great and I encourage anyone to see it if they get the chance (alas the screenings in Leeds have now finished)

The film is described here...

WHO'S AFRAID OF KATHY ACKER? is the first film to explore the outrageous life and times of the banned American writer, Kathy Acker, a woman who lived her life without boundaries. Named one of America’s original “outlaw writers” by the New York Times, Acker created challenging and sexually graphic fiction rooted in the same New York underground scene which inspired the worldwide punk movement. This first film, conceived & directed by the young Austrian Artist, Barbara Caspar, and co-written with English filmmaker Andrew Standen-Raz, covers every aspect of Acker's life, from her wild early years in New York City to her untimely death in Tijuana, Mexico, of breast cancer in 1997. Caspar's film is a multi-layered, artistic tour de force--a sophisticated mix of animations, graphic text and filmed reenactments of scenes from Acker's bestseller "Blood & Guts in High School", shot in NYC, as well as a host of interviews with leading figures of the time connected with Kathy, including William Burroughs, Kathleen Hanna & Bikini Kill, Richard Hell & the Voidoids, Barney Rosset and Ira Silverberg.

It kinda blew my mind with inspiration.

In the US the film appears to have been distributed by Women Make Movies, a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women.
How rad is that!

The last book I read by Acker was Pussycat Fever, (illustrated by Diane Dimassa) which I'm gonna dig out and re-read cuz I remember at the time being totally overwhelmed and confused and challenged by it, and in truth not getting much from it; so perhaps it's worth another shot, especially after learning so much about Acker last night.

Writing is what I did when I was alone with no one watching me or telling me what to do. I could do whatever I wanted.

"Women need to become literary “criminals”, break the literary laws and reinvent their own, because the established laws prevent women from presenting the reality of their lives."

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

typical girls... are emotional

There was one point during Ladyfest Manchester on Sunday that I felt myself welling up, on the brink of crying. Let me explain why...

I'd arrived in a car full of my favourite ladies and songs on the stereo of joy. I'd set up the distro with one of my best friends and sold zines and crafts to genuinely enthusiastic people keen to read words written by allies. I received more hugs-per-day ratio than in a hell of a long time, as everybody was in a terrific mood and happy to be sharing the space and the event with each other. I'd gone off to run a couple of workshops on independent publishing and feminist activism that some absolutely wonderful participants came to full of ideas and questions and wide eyes and advice and thoughtfulness and humour and articulation and ready to share knowledges and experiences and thoughts and suggestions. Some people went away expressing to me that they were inspired to make their own zines as a result of the workshop, while some just wanted to talk more, to spend time communicating. I met some really great people that I wouldn't have had the chance to were it not for me being invited to be involved with the festival. I sat with friends and giggled so hard I thought I would cry. I saw crafts and felting that flabbered my gast with its exquisite production and boundless creativity. I saw people I hadn't seen in ages, and enjoyed catching up. I saw a band that made my ache with love for their pumpkins and dollies and treacle toffee, and was overjoyed to turn to my left and turn to my right to see my friends beaming with happiness too. I saw three of my friends take to the stage and blow my mind with the most powerful and positive and inspiring performance I've ever seen them do, almost like the ladyfest energy brought something else out within them that we always knew they had, but that that stage and reception let them see it too and took over, creating something amazing. And the way Jenny talked on that stage about feminism still being necessary and important, and me looking up and seeing that notion in action in her face and in her actions to the point that a shudder of tingles surged up my spine upon her refrain to the audience to 'keep on keeping on'. And to be stood there watching that with these people, friends, and friends-in-spirit around me who *got it*. And riding on the wave of euphoria and excitement and pride of seeing friends achieve something so incredible, along came the slits. And they launched into 'shoplifting' and there wasn't a sullen face in the room. And I looked around to see a lady, a friend, an organiser of the whole event stood there in rapture after such a stressy weekend, if not months of organising. And to hug her and hear her express just how much it was worth it to have got to this, the climax of the whole ladyfest, with such happiness and presence of mind, and proud unrestrained female voices all around us singing along with Ari Up - that's what kinda started me off in welling up. I then began to look at my friends singing every lyric, every word of 'typical girls' and hearing ari speak of them, my friends, my acquaintances, my fellow ladyfesters being family, being revolutionaries, I was just overwhelmed with possibility and potential and happiness and I could feel the tears of pride coming. So I snuck to the front in time for some of my friends to take the stage alongside the band while I stood amongst those friends who mean such a great deal to me and hugged and danced and sung and shouted along with them in unison, all the while knowing I was part of something ridiculously important and hopeful and soul-nourishing.

Thank you to everybody involved.

Photos "borrowed" from Charlotte and Emma cuz it'll probably be ages til I get mine developed

(apologies for all the grammatical and comprehension errors etc. in this post, it was written in a stream of consciousness and giddyness while the ideas were fresh in my head...)

Monday, 10 November 2008

my favourtie photograph

My Gran gave me this photograph many years ago. My great-aunt Alice is apparently the woman on the right. I never met her, but think I'd have liked her!

free encouragement

Free Encouragement is a neat project I just heard about.
More info:

"There is just so much negativity all around us these days, have you noticed?
I don’t think I know of a single person who couldn’t use some encouragement, so here it is!
You can use this gallery to encourage a close friend or someone you just happened to pass by on the street. You can encourage a relative who may be ill or the girl who handed you your coffee this morning. You could even use this place to encourage yourself!

Keep your message fairly short. Say what you mean with as few words as possible (a general rule for good writing anyways).
Please send in your encouraging words via email to this address:
Your message will be displayed as a simple, anonymous, image in the gallery. Like this":

Submissions will be accepted until Friday, December 5th.

<< EDIT: The first batch of submissions are up here >>

Saturday, 8 November 2008

The Dream and the Nightmare

Mikhaela Reid

Originally from:

Join Mikhaela's weekly update list by sending a blank message to

I'm not personally advocating the need for gay marriage - in that from a queer perspective it's not exactly the top of my list of things to strive for, personally. However, that said, the rejection of the opposition of the ruling is blatant discrimination. Purely horrible, and has so many other impacts upon gay, queer, and alternative freedoms, rights, and respect.

doug martsch, will you be my favourite uncle? please?

I'm not much of a music reviewer. In fact I'm not much good at reviewing any sort of art, be it music, visual art, film, performance art, comics, theatre, etc. etc.

All I know is what I know.
All I know is what I love.
All I know is that feeling when my internal organs leap somersaults of happiness.
All I know is what I can and do truely engage with.

When you're stood at a gig and you forget to notice that your back aches from standing so long. When you're not drifting off and thinking about whether you left the oven on. You've got cheek ache from smiling as the band in front of you launches into another one of you all-time favourite songs. You see people in the crowd turning around and beaming at the people they came with as the opening chords to their favourite songs start up, and you can't help but join in the smile too. When you have a huge feeling of contentment and happiness and solidarity and *joy*. When you no longer feel self-conscious about going to the gig on your own because the band make you feel like you belong. When you're in your favourite tiny gig venue and it feels like you're at home in your bedroom dancing to your favourite songs. When the band seem so happy to be there. When the band love the venue and criticise all the bleedin' carling academy venues in this country. When you hear songs that bring back such fond memories and then forge brand new ones of you and the band and *this*. When the first note of a song makes you open your otherwise shy and timid mouth and sing along loudly. When tracks from all the bands albums are played with the same enthusiasm as the last. When nobody in the crowd is annoying you because you hardly notice anybody else is there. When nobody in the crowd is annoying you cuz they're clapping in applause, and dancing along, in time with you too. When you realise that half the band have facial hair that you're jealous of. When you never knew how joyful it was to hear the word 'brontosaurus' sung live. When the drums and the bass are so familiar that your body reacts to them instinctively, without restriction, without hesiataion, without thinking, by passionatley moving your head in response. When this live experience overtakes and overshadows every other time you'd seen the band. When this gig overtakes every other gig you've seen this year.

Built To Spill. I adore you.
That's what I know.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

getting my gig hands dirty again...

Weds 17th December, Brudenell Social Club, Leeds.
£5 OTD
Supports TBC.

A rare rare UK show from this avant-pop, chamber-punk trailblazer. Armed with dynamic vocals and innovative, self-styled cello virtuosity Madigan ignites the Bonfire with a shebeen of soul-art-string-sounds. Madigan has previously played with seminal riot grrl band Tattle Tale and co-founded the autonomous mental health collective ‘The Icarus Project’

‘Bonfire Madigan play baroque-folk punk grounded on frontwoman Madigan Shive’s soaring lullaby vocals and virtuoso cello skills. Shive, a master of tone and mood, crafts songs with raw, emotional melodies and powerful, unexpected dynamics.’ - New York Press

*Full UK tour update to come once I've made a poster showing all the dates!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

I just fell in love...

Breaking The Bell Jar

Once upon a time a girl took a guitar and tried to play it* she started to sing and write lyrics* and it made her get through the dark and sunny days of life*

Saturday, 1 November 2008

The World's A Mess And Yr My Only Cure

I had the pleasure of contributing to this new zine, alongside other wonderful contributers including: artist Enid Crow, Charlotte of Toe Curl zine, Julia of Manifesta and Vile Vile Creatures, Kandy of Knit & Destroy, Dottie's Fake DIY, filmmaker Nina Jones, Bunny of, Calvin Johnson (K Records), Lady Rouge of Suppedisne zine, Melissa Ann of She's So Very zine, Cara of Daisy Daisy Does, Ste Mc Cabe, Asbo a Gogo girls, Kelly Rose of Pulse zine, Ngombo Chansa Machile of Manifesta Leeds, Jenny Howe of Vile Vile Creatures, Nat and Emily of Fornax Records, Allison Wolfe of Bratmobile/ColdColdHearts/etc., Vanessa of Queer X, Skulleena of Kandy Pop, and a bevvy of others.

Plus amazing cover art from Nina Nijsten whose website is packed to the rafters with more great work.

About the zine, The World's A Mess & Yr My Only Cure editor, Em, writes:

'a zine focusing on feminist/queer DIY culture, focusing on inspiration, influences, motivation and celebrating self empowerment!
The zine features interviews with people i and others took and continue to take influence from, it also looks to discover the inspirations of these idols and also a look to the people carving new inspiration into the present and future.'

It's one of those zines that made me giddy and excited to read. That filled me with motivation and validation, and a sense of security to know that there's people out there making and doing, hoping and believing, creating and producing, and living their lives as a result of excited energies and inspirations they came into contact with.

It's a tremendously hopeful zine in that it acts as a view into the hearts of those active within DIY feminist cultures, people whose actions can only have positive consequences for, and impacts upon, others.

Also, it feels so good to read others writing with such passion about things/people/experiences that have and/or do still matter so deeply to their lives, and the way they continue to experience these lives as a result. Almost as if no body has ever cared to ask this question before.
To read such passion, such strong emotion and belief on a page is in itself tremendously inspiring.

The zine is available from various UK distros, and via paypal from the zine's myspace site.