Today on the blog, the next edition of our special Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival Arts and Film Festival series, Illuminations. Please note this series contains a frank discussion of struggles with mental health and and may act as a trigger for some readers.
Throughout the SMHAF Festival in October, TYCI will share art, film and writing, by and of women, reflecting on their personal experience of mental health. This contribution is a blog post by Lisa-Marie Ferla that first appeared on her blog Last Year’s Girl.
Lis Ferla speaks to the women behind literary cabaret duo Rally & Broad.
We’re in a coffee shop in Glasgow, and poet and performer Rachel McCrum is telling me about the time that she berated a journalist for calling her “feisty”.
“A bit of copy had gone out describing us as a ‘feisty duo’, and I just wanted to eat my own face,” she says. “We’ve had ‘literary lovelies’ as well, which I was also quite offended by. It was interesting though, because it then sparked a conversation on what words did describe us. Scrappy, gobby, political … spiky.”
Sleater-Kinney are back. And Lis Ferla is really bloody excited.
So, where were you when you found out that Sleater-Kinney were getting back together? I was at my desk, in an office directly across the road from the one where, eight years ago, I found out that my favourite band were calling an ‘indefinite hiatus’. The idea was never that the trio were breaking up: rather, as singer / guitarist Carrie Brownstein put it in an email to her sometime colleagues at NPR, that the band was never “something you can do half-assed or half-heartedly”.
Lis Ferla’s entry in our nostalgic series from the ladies behind TYCI.
I really like your new haircut.
It was only when I sat down to write to you that I figured out that I am twice your age, so I figure you’re wondering whether it all came together? Well, I did in fact become a journalist, although not in quite the way that you would expect – and the law degree, as confused as you feel about it now, was the right decision. I work for a big firm, but I still get to write about bands so basically I’m a music journalist who can afford to buy a house. I have a husband, and two cats. I never changed my mind about kids.
Lis Ferla talks to Team Girl Comic, a Scottish all-female comic collective.
When Glasgow comic artist Gill Hatcher decided to found her own women-only comic collective, she wasn’t setting out to make some sort of big political statement. ‘I just thought it would be quite fun to make a comic that was all women,’ she explains. ‘After I left school I was inspired by people I was involved with in the Glasgow comics scene to make my own little photocopied zines and start selling them locally, but at the time it really was a bit of a boys’ club and I felt like my stuff didn’t fit very well alongside a lot of the comics that were getting made at the time.’
Four years later, Team Girl Comic is now a thriving, financially sustainable small press with stockists across the UK. The collective is about to publish its eighth issue, to be launched with a circus-themed extravaganza at Glasgow’s Plan B Books this Friday. The collective is almost thirty members strong according to their website, but new contributors – of any skill level – are always welcome. As long as they have a story to tell.
Brooklyn’s Aly Spaltro, who makes music as Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, is easily my favourite musical discovery of 2013 thus far (you may even have heard me rave about her on a recent TYCI radio show). There’s nothing about her story I didn’t like: Spaltro began writing music while working in a DVD rental place in her native Brunswick, Maine. She’d record by night and hand over free CDs at the counter, never letting on that the music was her own.
Ripely Pine, Spaltro’s debut album, was recorded professionally after she moved to Brooklyn but it hasn’t lost any of its rawness for that. It is at once both frantic and contemplative, packed with half-crazed guitars and horror movie imagery. She’s already visited the UK to support Sarah Blasko and will be returning next month with Canadian americana goddess Neko Case for a one-off show in London. I’m chewing my lip in anticipation already.
In my mind, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper is a Victorian character sort of defying the standards of her time, completely fictional!
Lis Ferla catches herself asking ‘What would Carrie Brownstein do?’ twice a day on average.
The increasing trend amongst my fellow arts critics to slot the word “polymath” into articles as a tricksy way of establishing authority/expertise gives me rage issues. If your journalism needs its own dictionary, it’s not journalism guys – not least because it’s unlikely that dictionary would come illustrated with images of the multi-talented Carrie Brownstein under the “p”-word. BECAUSE OF SEXISM.