I’ve been playing a lot of old punk records recently – perhaps inspired by the work I’ve been doing for Dykes Ink zine – and I came across one of my favourite pieces from that era. The Wall’s e.p. ‘Remembrance’ featured a cover that clearly left a big impression from its release in 1981: after seeing the artwork again I realised that I had based much of the appearance of the Spoiler (in the story of the same name) on the above photo/concept, around 35 years after the record was released.
Stand by for some publishing news and an update on Dead Unicorn Ventures.
Dykes Ink is now available from various outlets: by post via PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org, £3.50 + p&p: £0.60 UK, £1.60 Europe, £2.30 North America, please give your address in the ‘Note’ section), and from Freedom Bookshop, Whitechapel, London (also available from their zine fair By Any Zines Necessary, on right now at the shop), the zine fair on tomorrow to launch new lesbian magazine Lesley at The Horse Hospital, Bloomsbury, and News From Nowhere bookshop in Liverpool. Hopefully more outlets will be available soon. I’m currently working on a couple of art pieces for issue 2. The zine has been favourably compared to Valerie Solanas’ SCUM Manifesto, in terms of its humour and attitude. High praise indeed!
Now I have a little more time after the gig and zine launch I’m back writing fiction. However, I’m not sure that even the most outlandish story can compete with the political situation in the UK right now. We have sleep-walked into a right-wing coup. The good news is that people are on the streets protesting. I expected a civil war after the EU Referendum result but this is, perhaps, worse. What will happen next is something I hesitate to contemplate but I shall continue to swim against the tide in my own way, and hearing that Dead Unicorn Ventures has changed people’s attitudes and lives means I’m heading in the right direction.
Cat Astley and myself were interviewed by Cornwall Live about DUV and Swallow Your Pride, and the published piece admirably demonstrates our attitude!
It’s been a hectic couple of months.
First – a DUV update. Myself and Cat have been flat out promoting Friday’s event (Swallow Your Pride); a radio interview, a bit of local press, a lot of social media, networking and fly posting to spread the word. Oh, and some controversy, which seems to follow DUV whether we want it to or not! But we’re not worried about rattling a few cages. I’m confident that Swallow Your Pride will be a fantastic event – given the acts we’ve booked, it can’t be anything but.
Local radio station Coast FM have been very supportive and did an excellent interview, where we were able to explain what we’re about and why DUV was created and local newspaper The Cornishman gave a decent amount of space to our gig poster and blurb. At the time of writing we’re trying to recuperate before the event.
We then refocused on the zine, which was mostly completed and is, literally, hot off the press as I write. We’ve created something that’s pretty unique, I think, and the combination of old-school cutting and pasting physical images and writing, and computers/new technology, has worked really well. How it will be received is anyone’s guess but you can guarantee it will cause a stir, bearing in mind that people have objected to our ‘Unicorn Free Zone’ poster, the use of the word ‘queer’ and the proclamation ‘Diversity and perversity!’ Despite Penzance’s idea of itself as being arty and somewhat Bohemian, it’s clear to me that conservatism still rules. Time to shake the air!
I’ve managed to fit in a fair bit of fiction writing too, recently, and am immensely happy with new story A Cure For The Common Cold. 3000+ words in, it still has some way to go but I’m enjoying stepping away into the different world and headspace that writing fiction brings.
Design: Dead Unicorn Ventures
Work with Dead Unicorn Ventures continues – the zine is near completion but the focus has been on Swallow Your Pride. Our Press Release has now been sent to local press and radio, BBC Radio 2’s Folk Show and other interested parties. Promoting a gig of this scale is entirely new to me, and we’re determined to sell the venue out, so complacency is not an option. We’re in the process of designing more posters to help spread the word via social media and already have some interest from a local journalist.
I’m working on fiction again. ‘A Cure For The Common Cold’ is now 2000 words long and well in hand. It’s been hard work getting back into the headspace to write fiction, but I’m happy with what I’m coming out with. I’m also preparing to push my most recent collection, ‘We Are All Falling Towards The Centre Of The Earth’ a little more by taking it to a couple of local independent book shops in Penzance with a view to them selling a few copies, as well as trying to get Waterstones on board to sell some. Much as I believe in my writing, I continually fall short when it comes to promoting it and I’m trying to change that.
David Mathew’s forthcoming short story collection, ‘Panic Soup’ will include some back cover blurb from me. I was asked to do this a while ago and was very impressed with the stories, so it was a pleasure to do so. I’ll post here when the book’s published.
Text by Julie Travis, title from a lyric by The Glove
I was recently interviewed by writer Georgina Bruce for her website, Monster Soup, and the resulting piece was published on Saturday, 13 April. My thanks to Georgina for her interest in my writing. Her first short story collection, This House Of Wounds, will be published by Undertow in June and I’d highly recommend it.
It’s been a time of great personal upheaval and change.
The last six weeks or so have been utterly exhausting: I have ended the longest relationship of my life, moved house once and am preparing to do so again at the end of the week and realised that it’s likely that I have Asperger’s. Writing fiction has been next to impossible in this time, but my work for Dead Unicorn Ventures has continued, along with a doing a couple of interviews. My new abode is – for the first time – my own flat, in central Penzance. I have no idea what living on my own will be like, or even whether I can actually afford to do so, but an opportunity arose that I couldn’t turn down. It will mean that I will be able to write at any time, day or night, that I feel the urge/need. It will also mean that I’ll be able to try to work out what having a diagnosis for Asperger’s – which won’t happen for a year or so – will mean for me. It certainly makes sense of my moods and behaviour over my entire life. Every therapist I’ve ever come into contact with has tried to find a way to ‘fix’ how I am, has told me I have to be able to face crowds of people and big social situations.
I don’t need fixing because I’m not broken. I’m just wired differently to most people.
Not one therapist or doctor has ever suggested I might be on the Autistic spectrum.
As a result of what’s happened recently, I brought forward a decision I’d planned to happen after my death; after talks with Simon Costain of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, in Boscastle, I will be donating Jhonn Balance’s wand to the museum at the beginning of April. The wand was given to me by Ian Johnstone, but I knew I was only its guardian for a short space of time. This way, people will be able to see it and it will be cared for for generations to come. Obviously, as with all Coil collectables, the wand would probably fetch a large amount of money if I sold it. Money would be extremely useful, of course, but I promised Ian I’d never sell it. I feel happier having made this decision and am very much looking forward to visiting the museum again, and meeting Simon – a big fan of Coil – in a couple of weeks’ time. Photos and a report will be posted here.
Meanwhile, test pages of Dykes Ink have been printed. There have been some technical issues with riso print and DUV is discussing how to resolve these, but we’re still on course to get the first issue out in the Spring. We have been lucky enough to obtain contributions from some excellent female artistes and have enough material to fill a fair part of issue 2. More here as it happens.