Tuesday 31 May 2016

Slamdunk Festival 2016

My first ever Slamdunk festival, I went to on Sunday, 29th May 2016. It was at the NEC in Birmingham, and the que when we got there was HUGE. It looped around the green outside the building. After queuing for 40 minutes to check into our hotel, which we were then told we were not able to check in until after the festival, this sucked. We shared a taxi with some people we met at the hotel, Joe and Matt, who were also going to Slamdunk. Cheap taxi fair, excellent. We eventually got our wristbands and got into the venue, got a free mini can of Desperados, and then queued for a further 40 minutes for the cashpoint, (error in preparation for the day). While we were queueing to get cash, Roam were playing on stage and also a couple of acoustic acts.

AJ and I grabbed a beer and wondered around some of the merch tables at The Key Club Stage and then we headed to The Impericon Stage. It was so busy and a struggle just to make our way through crowds towards where the stage was. It was overflowing with people who wanted to see Chunk, it was one-in-one-out. You were only able to make out what the music was from familiarisation of the sounds. Some guy wearing a black trilby pushed through everyone, he got called out "you are literally pushing through everyone" and trilby said "yeah pretty much" and carried on. As we were there, a lot of people left to catch other bands and we eventually got through into the stage to see Chunk finish performing. 

Checking out the merch table in the room, AJ bought an Every Time I Die shirt with Buffalo NY on it and a photo printed on it from one of their gigs at the White Rabbit in Plymouth. Which, as a fan who has seen them loads, she probably definitely attended that exact gig before it closed down. After a quick toilet break and a couple of Krispy Kreme's, we stayed at the Impericon stage to see Gnarwolves. After this I think we went back around and into the big room where The Key Club Stage was to get some food, while Real Friends were playing on stage. I really liked one of their t-shirts that had a skeleton on said "Growing up is giving up." A hotdog and beef rice pot later we wondered to have a look at the merch tables, collecting free stickers and stuff (goodies yay), then sat down while we ate our food and heard Yellowcard performing on The Main Stage.

Then we went outside and caught Capdown just as they started, they were so fun I really liked their songs a lot. They are a ska band. Everyone seemed to have a really great time dancing and jumping around to them. Mosh pits were encouraged at the front of the crowd, rainbow dreadlocks and superglued mohicans playfully battling it out. The sun was bright and everyone's clothes/various band shirts e.t.c were all so colourful it was so nice! On stage at the back you could see who I assume were friends/family members of the band just hanging out and enjoying the show, little kids wearing ear defenders and holding their hands over the speakers haha cute.

After dancing around to Capdowns funky tunes and saxophone riffs, we wondered over to look at the merch table to find it was nearly all gone or packed up. I heard my name called and it was my friend Jenny from Plymouth who I haven't seen since I lived in Plymouth like 12 years ago! Cool! :D 
Outside we stayed to see Zebrahead, on stage there was a guy in a hello kitty onesie at a table just chilling and making drinks haha. While another guy in a pikachu onesie was having a good time on the other side of the stage. 

Back inside we caught some of Four Year Strong at The Key Club Stage, before heading to The Main Stage for the first time of the day to see New Found Glory. Four Year Strong were difficult to hear as the guitars were so loud, I couldn't make out their singing very much. So as a new listener, I cannot tell if I like them or not. At the main stage we stayed until the end of New Found Glory's set as we would not have been able to see The Beat at The Desperados Stage like we wanted, because The Key Club Stage was at capacity at the time, and this was the way through. It was cool to stay nearby though cause we wanted to see Panic At The Disco later. New Found Glory called a fan on stage who was singing along to every song, it's something they've been doing at their gigs lately. The guy was obviously a huge fan but couldn't choose a song for them to sing as they had already played his favourites, and he was put on the spot. They got someone else to choose, and let them both be on stage for a song or two. The guy who chose the song "The Promise" was originally misheard as "hummus", but they worked it out and performed "The Promise" much to the singers playful strop about it. 

We paid stupid amounts of money (lots) for some water, and a Sprite and once a huge crowd had left The Main Stage area, we went back in to sit down and wait for Panic At The Disco. It was nice to relax for a few minutes, our feet were achey but we were glad to have lasted this long before getting tired, ha! We stood up and moved more towards the front as more people got ready to see Panic. They opened their show with their song "Don't Threaten Me With A Good Time", it was so exciting and the lights were amazing. When Brandon spoke we realised he has a lisp! Which is quite endearing. He sounded great and definitely had the best time performing, even though he said he was kind of spaced out from jetlag and performing in Exeter for BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend. I only know Panic's new songs from their new album, Death Of A Batchelor, and it was so cool to sing along to them in real life, a nice change from singing to them in my car while in busy Oxford traffic. The lights around the stage were actually incredible i loved all of the colours and patterns so much, and the flames! Even the songs I didn't recognise were still awesome. 

There wasn't actually seating available at The Main Stage but staff started letting people up in the seating areas to see the show as the room was at capacity. We left Panic early to try and catch the end of Every Time I Die's set, back at the Impericon stage. We made it in and put earplugs in for the first time of the day, it was loud. As we got there they were playing their song "Bored Stiff." Every Time I Die are a metal punk bank I am not familiar with but it was a good show and I'm glad AJ got to see them again. During their last song a guy from the crowd climbed up and danced around a support pillar, security guards quickly gathering on the floor around him. After a while the excited fan jumped off and into the crowd, lasting about 2 seconds there before 3 security guards BRUTALLY removed him from the building. It was shocking to see how they manhandled him, it freaked me out, I think it was way too harsh and uncalled for to be so aggressive. Every Time I Die's set finished with the guitarist Jordan, crowd surfing amongst the fans holding him up while he attempted to still play his guitar.

Headed outside and to the exit of the festival, hopped in a taxi with two others heading to the same hotel (cheap taxi fair again, brill), finally checked into our room, and ate our third donut of the day. 

Pretty much all of the bands I saw at Slamdunk were new to me apart from Panic At The Disco, haha but it was still so fun.


Monday 2 May 2016

Late At Tate 2016

I wanted to go to Late At Tate because I saw the event on Facebook and it seemed really cool. I wasn't sure if I would be able to go but I kept it in mind. Also it was free. Towards the end of the week I thought fuck it... might aswell try and go. I got the Oxford tube bus to London after work and google-mapped my way from a bus stop near Victoria coach station to the Tate Britain.

So before I read about this year's Late At Tate I had not heard of or seen Tracey Emin's artwork, My Bed, which is what the night was themed about. However after reading more about it and the discussions around the artwork, involving themes like sexuality, relationships and gender, I knew I'd be interested in whatever was happening on the night so I had to go and check it out. Also I had never been to Tate Britain.

Performance artists Liv Wynter and Travis Alabanza collaborated on a poetic response to Tracy Emin’s bed. I like Liv Wynter from previous things she has been involved with and I saw online that she would be performing something for Late at Tate and I really wanted to see it. Luckily I got there literally just as she began performing at half 7. I walked in and asked someone where the spoken word stuff was happening straight away and I'm glad I did cause it was right at the back and I would have missed it if I started wondering around looking for it from the entrance.

"Travis Alabanza and Liv Wynter: Spoken Word Performance
Tracey Emin’s artworks are often provocative, raw and emotional, drawing on experiences from her personal life, from her sexual history, abuse and abortion to gender and relationships. Performance artists Travis Alabanza and Liv Wynter deliver a poetic response to Emin’s My Bed exploring some of these themes. 
Travis Alabanza is a Black, queer, non binary performance artist who uses live poetry, visuals and sound to create art centred around race, gender and class. Liv Wynter is a queer female artist who uses an anarchic and punk exploration of language, rap and poetry performance to bring attention to issues such as trauma, recovery, abuse, sexual violence and identity to challenge the idea of intimacy and without compromise."

It was a really great performance and I feel like Travis and Liv speak so clearly about the difficult and confusing stuff happening to us, stuff that I think feels really lonely and contained in our minds cause the feelings are so messed up. They absolutely call out the crap that people they date try and pull, which is so powerful to hear spoken so honestly, like, it hurts and it's not okay. It's not okay to be like, "if you just change this or do that, or be more 'normal' then we MIGHT be cool." It's difficult to hear that shit over and over in vulnerable relationship situations, especially in the queer community, and remain confident and strong without being overwhelmed with self-doubt. It's so satisfying to hear words completely capturing those uncomfortable, horrible, awkward and unfair messed up bullshit feelings that are confusing in relationships. I really liked it, I want them to be everywhere and heard more.

I don't have a video of Travis and Liv's performances from the evening but this is a video from youtube of Liv Wynter's spoken word performance, Body Apologies.

I met Daniel there, who i met at the Polyester zine launch party I went to in February. It was really cool to hang out with him again, he is awesome. We walked around the Tate Britain with a beer and he showed me around. There was loads of cool stuff going on, I wish I could have got there earlier to see everything properly, and had time to play at the Zine Making Workshop. I can't believe I haven't been to a zine workshop yet, I always hear about them too late or they are too far to travel to with short notice.

"Laid Bare: A Zine Making Workshop 
This drop-in workshop with artist Rudy Loewe invites you to create a zine exploring your own truths around gender and sexuality.
Rudy Loewe’s practice includes drawings, comics, illustrations and prints. Loewe uses satire and comedy to explore a wide range of social issues including racism, sexuality, gender, disability and mental health."

Exploring more around the exhibition we could see something being set up and people all gathering onto a huge white duvet on the floor, looking at the programme we saw it was the Bedfellows performance/discussion about to start and decided to stay and watch.

Bedfellows: SEX TLK MTG 20:15-21:00

"Fluid Sharing: Sex education with Bedfellows 
Part performance part guided conversation, artist collective Bedfellows will tackle some of the themes in Tracey Emin’s work. Sit down with Bedfellows for a guided discussion and share resources about sex, desire, consent and relationships. Through various material and performative means, the conversation is guided from large group conversations to smaller one-on-one interactions or little break out groups. Bedfellows is a sex education research project led by artists Chloe Cooper, Phoebe Davies and Jenny Moore and born from the personal, the political, and the professional."

We joined everyone on the duvet. What happened was Bedfellows showed us something projected onto a white duvet cover they held up, and then they asked everyone to discuss how we felt about what we saw with whoever was surrounding us, referring to the questions on the designated sections of the flyer. Looking at the Sex Talk flyer, the questions were encouraging.

The first thing we were asked to discuss was the question, "does gender exist?" Daniel and I talked about the existence of gender with the people around us, and it was interesting to hear their opinions. There were some disagreements and mixed thoughts, a thought that came up a few times was something like: "if you just don't learn about the harm surrounding gender identities and the possibilities of gender queerness e.t.c, then is it really a problem?" I expressed that I felt the opposite to the idea, meaning that if I personally had had the opportunity to get to know myself better while growing up, and learned that gender and sexuality are not the same thing and can be lots of different types e.t.c, I would not have been so lost, or sad and confused about everything. I would have had the chance to feel less alienated and felt more comfortable with myself, trying less to fit in to what i was told was the right and only way to be, feeling less like i had to conform to the 'correct role' to play. 

Having a safe space to discuss and learn about these things from a young age is so important, and I am so happy that LGBT+ spaces are existing more in schools. It is more harmful to show one specific way that life 'has' to be, to all young people. 

A peice of text by anonymous was read out loud. The text was extremely thought provoking and made me mad with whatever douchelord of a person made the person who wrote it feel this way. Sad thing is, the voice in the text didn't sound so unfamiliar, as I don't think those thoughts are uncommon.

Why are boys allowed to squirt?
What is pleasure and how does it manifest?
Who sets these parameters?
And is it different depending on gender?
What/who tells us when we are good or bad at sex?

These questions got us talking about loads of stuff, including the way different people view sex, depending on different sexualities, porn and other things. It was cool to hear everyone's thoughts. We discussed the parameters around sexual situations and how consent is the most important thing. I think everyone agreed that being comfortable and communicating with whoever you're with is just always a good idea when being intimate.

Wondering around the Tate Britain after the Bedfellows stuff, Daniel and his friend Monika showed me around which was really cool. I saw Tracey Emin’s bed and as I leaned in to take a couple of photos, an alarm went off. I didn’t realise there was an alarmed square area around it. The security guard found it funny though, I appologised for not knowing about the lazer beams, ha, they then told me that earlier in the evening Travis Alabanza had ran and gotten onto the bed and that was funny.

I love anything that is made from old televisions, or screens and old technology and wires and stuff! Sadly I can't seem to find the artist name for this one, I will add credit when I find it. It was so nice to look around the Tate Britain. Gutted I did not get to check out the gift shop cause the it was closing at 10:00pm, a member of staff politely asked us to leave when we were wondering around. Here are some photos of some artworks I liked.

Paula Rego. Nanna, Small Bears and Bogeyman. 1982. Acrylic on Paper.

Rose Wylie. Pin Up and Porn Queen Jigsaw. 2005.

Antony Gormley. Bed. 1980-1.