Music

Tate Britain Exhibition: Queer British Art 1861–1967

On my first full day living (temporarily) in London, I headed on over to the Tate Britain for the first time, to view their current exhibition, and the first ever exhibition on queer British art. The exhibition is free for members, or £15 otherwise (or £13.10 for all you students out there), and is so much more than an exhibition. 

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I went in around half past six on Saturday, and left almost two hours later. The exhibition is split into six sections, with other events around the gallery including music and spoken word performances. It’s a real celebration, and I expected nothing less.

The LGBT+ community are very present at the exhibition and it was nice to see an institution like Tate open their doors so fully to a community, and to allow fun, bright and happy celebrations to occur. The art itself is fantastically interesting, and successfully tells a story of generations of writers, painters and inspirations whose impact carries through to this day; from varying feminisms to early drag, and even fashion.

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Although the art and its stories are definitely worth talking about, I am not an expert, or even as knowledgeable about art as I’d like to be, and I think the best thing about the exhibition was not the frames on the walls, but the people walking room from room, celebrating their pride and their own history, just by being there. It was the most unique and charming atmosphere I’ve ever experienced inside a gallery.

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When I neared the end of the exhibition, having slowly wandered room to room, reading every plaque, and admiring every painting, sketch and statue, I could hear the thudding bass of an ABBA track in the distance. In the final room, two doors seemed to be illuminated pink from the other side, and I could hear an assortment of Madonna, Lady Gaga and similar. Upon opening the door and leaving the exhibition, we left the history behind, and entered into the bright pink party celebration where love happens, now.

People from all over were just dancing together to great music, and I don’t think it gets much better than that.

 

The exhibition is on until 01/10/17, book here: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/queer-british-art-1861-1967

Words by Briony Brake
Images by Tate Britain and Briony Brake

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Playlist: Briony’s Summer Anthems

“Summertime is here again, and my hayfever is through the roof. Thankfully sitting inside and sneezing gave me an excuse to make up a new Anthem playlist full of excellent female tracks to listen to whether you’re out on the beach or hiding from the sun like me…”

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Click here to listen: Briony’s Summer Anthems

Playlist: Noughties Anthems

“I made this a long time ago and forgot about it. I found it recently and have been dancing around my room listening to my childhood in the form of Sugababes, Rihanna, Nelly Furtado and Christina Aguilera. I know I made it, but I love it.

These women made grunge and punk cool and normal, they have become staples of the decade and their style and music inspired thousands of girls who still listen to Crazy in Love at pre-drinks ten years later. Icons of girl power in the making.”

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Click here to listen: Noughties Anthems

Playlist: Soundtrack Anthems

“This playlist is an ode to all those cringey ‘chick flicks’ and teen films that actually stand nowadays as almost iconic; key to the building of so many young women. Not a month goes by that I don’t see a Snapchat of the Legally Blonde opening credits. It’s motivational. The girls like Elle Wood, Mia Thermopolis and so many others are girls that make me so happy, and genuinely are like a little heart-warming pep talk. 

So enjoy my Soundtrack Anthems with some very retro treats from films like Bend It Like Beckham, Parent Trap (the amazing Lindsay Lohan one), and the classic Wild Child. If that’s not your taste, I put a few golden oldies in the mix too…”

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Click here to listen: Soundtrack Anthems

Courtney’s Anthems: Eating Ice Cream and Loving Yourself

“Music has always played an interesting role in my life. Especially as my first female role model came from music. Now I look up to any women in the music industry because it’s not so easy when you’re a super talented chick. I’m also happy to say I’ve seen some of these women perform live! So put on this playlist, grab a dark chocolate magnums and love yourself.

Seriously, love yourself it’s better than hating yourself *blows kisses*”

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Click here to listen: Courtney’s Anthems: Eating Ice Cream and Loving Yourself

 

Why You Should Listen to Hinds

July 2016: a month of dancing, sun burning, friendship, disposable cameras, DIY punch, and gross toilets. Yep, it’s festival season and I decided to ditch England and travel to Spain for BBK and Benicàssim Festival. Although I could babble on about how wonderful it was to watch Kendrick Lemar, Grimes, Tame Impala, Mac Demarco, and so on, there was one band that really made an impact on me this summer, and their name is Hinds.

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It’s not a secret that the music industry is a boiling mess when it comes to female liberation. I’m sure we can all agree that music is an expression; we love it, we dance to it, and most importantly we relate to it. Relating to music isn’t just about the overall topic of a song, it’s also who is presenting this topic. I think it’s safe to say that alternative music is dominated by the white male.

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Hinds are an all-female ensemble from Madrid, Spain. Let’s just say they’re probably the most inspiring and authentic young female musicians I’ve ever seen. They want to be sharing their music with us, and naturally, Hinds smash the patriarchy by doing so. Not only are Hinds hella talented, they’re also hella smart. During my Hinds research, I found that they’re often questioned about being a female ensemble; “Why only girls? Is it because you didn’t have any other choice? Or was it the only choice?”

To which band member Carlotta Cosials replied, “It was because we wanted to and it was the choice we chose. We thought that it would be so different If the rest of the band would be boys, people would probably think that we’re just the faces.”

Hinds knew that including men in their ensemble would distort the way they are viewed as female composers. Although some of us don’t give a fuck about gender, and enjoy art for what it is, there are still many who will assume the worst because they are female. The same interviewer later questioned if they made music with a feminist motive, to which Hinds replied “We are females writing music so you can’t avoid that.” Which is pretty self-explanatory, but the interviewer acted as if Hinds were the only female musicians making their music automatically controversial, and more likely to be disliked because they have vaginas.

If you haven’t already fallen in love with Hinds, I’ll give you another reason to follow them on Spotify. Hinds refuse to be anything else other than themselves. Hinds are smart enough to reject the music industry’s misogynistic expectations, they’re not here to change the world, they’re here to be artists.

“I felt perfect in the world being a girl and suddenly in music you’re judged about everything you do, how you sing, how you pose, how you dress, how you write, everything.” Carlotta Cosials also brings up that there are a lot more women in popular music than alternative. If popular music is your cuppa-tea you know that only one type of woman is being represented, the idealistic woman. With alternative music being loud, dirty, and expressive, it’s encouraged to be loud, dirty, and expressive, but when you have a pussy, all of a sudden your behaviour is questioned.

Now before you go off to listen to Hinds on Spotify, I want you to do a small task for yourself. Go to your iTunes/Spotify artists section, and note down which bands/artists are female. Once you’ve done that you can share your results wherever, or just use them as a stimulation to listen to more female artists!

Here’s a cute photo of Team Poo Boy meeting Hinds at Benicàssim.

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Peace, Love, and Cacti
Courtney McMahon

 

Playlist: Briony’s Anthems – Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves

“I’ve always found music to be one of the strongest ways of feeling girl power. That’s what the Spice Girls were all about, after all. My playlist is a mixture of songs where I shout the lyrics at people, and can almost feel my lungs getting larger, or songs that I think are just kick-ass.

You’ll have to excuse the excess of Sia tracks, but I promise I cut it down from around 6 or 7 to just 3. I just want every girl, and to be honest, every person to be able to clap and shout to Dog Days Are Over and That’s Not My Name to their hearts content. You go girl xo”

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Click on the image, or here to listen: Briony’s Anthems – Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves

Playlist: Maxene’s Anthems

“I came to uni with about as much music knowledge as your average snail, and so this playlist almost entirely consists of some pretty amazing recommendations by some pretty fabulous people.

Whatever your music taste I’d say I’ve got you covered here with a wonderfully random assortment of songs sung by equally wonderful women. Take this opportunity to sing and dance along to your heart’s content, because really, how else are you going to truly appreciate the epic-ness of these songs and their creators”

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Click on the image, or here to listen: Maxene’s Anthems

How To Cheer Yourself Up When You’re Down

This post is an interesting one, because it’s not just me talking about my issues, it’s not just interviews with friends on similar issues, and it’s not just advice being passed on to you lovely readers. Instead, it’s all three.

The Personal

Since going to university (and generally just growing up some), I’ve become notoriously bad at looking after myself. It’s something millions of people struggle with, and it’s not something they teach you at school, but it is important to deal with. Often the worst part isn’t just feeling sad or upset, but feeling that way when you’re alone.

Everyone has friends, or partners, or family that they feel comfortable turning to, but sometimes these friends are asleep, at dinner, at work, or uni or so on. Sometimes, they can’t help. In some cases, people don’t want to reach out, or ‘bother’ their loved ones, but whoever you are within this mix, I’ve gone out to research what other people do, to help us both.

When I used to feel sad as a teenager, I would often watch YouTube videos and vloggers, or listen to my awful iTunes playlists, but I don’t really go for that anymore. These days I tend to light candles, carry on listening to music, don some comfy pjs and eat (and not just when I’m sad). It’s basic but effective. On better days, I’m smarter when it comes to looking after myself.

As a result, I’ve decided to ask what other people do. I’ve asked around and posted to social media to work out how my friends look after themselves when they only have themselves to turn to, and the results are all achievable and easy things to do. Seems only fair to start with myself…

The Interviews

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When I get down these days I tend to watch a classic Disney film like Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast, because they’re very uplifting. Alternatively I’ll stick on The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh – sounds childish I know but it’s so innocent and pure that it just makes me so much happier. Other methods involved adult colouring or dot-to-dot, and ultimately a cup of tea and an early night.

 

Next up, my housemate Nathan offered up his solution:anthemnathan
Most of the time I’d message a friend, but if I couldn’t do that I’d probably find a film or TV programme to watch. That always takes my mind off whatever is wrong, and I can just keep up with any current show I’m watching. If not, I try to get some fresh air and go for a walk. If all else fails, music can a God send, for me rock or grime especially – it’s a bit more fun and energetic.

 

What about fellow Anthem writer, Jess? She always seems to have wise words:anthemjess
To be honest, I do tend to just watch TV, or binge on whatever series I’m on currently and then I can forget about being down. Occasionally I’ll paint, bake or maybe cook a meal. A lot of it is mental, and so a lot of the time if I’m down I’ll sort of sit and take a moment to just redirect my thoughts to things that I know I’m lucky to have like family, my degree and so on. Something that always helps is going for a walk to look at all the lovely things that exist, and then I’m able to tell myself that good things have to mixed in with the bad so that we can understand and appreciate them better.

 

If you haven’t quite got the hang of the mindfulness skill yet, sometimes it really is quite simple to cheer yourself up. I asked my friend from uni, Jamie how he went about it: anthemjamkie
If I need cheering up, I’ll normally turn to a film and most of the time it will be Love Actually. It always makes me laugh and smile.

 

And what about my friend Amber? Well hers made me feel a bit better too:
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I had to think about this quite hard. It depends why I’m feeling sad I guess, and what kind of sad; like if I’m feeling defeated or shit about myself then I tend to write things down that are good about myself or that I have achieved. Sometimes I do something simple like having a nice long shower, or ‘mindful’ washing like really taking in smells of shower gel etc. which might sound super lame but it works. I have a teddy (judge me) and I cuddle that sometimes. If I need distracting, I watch Netflix or I’ll read. I like to go for walks as well if it’s a nice day and really take in my surroundings and tune out of my head if I can. A lot of them seem quite obvious but whatever works!

 

The Advice

So it’s not as hard as I (probably you as well) make it out to be sometimes. Just have a drink (tea/hot chocolate/wine) and some food, watch a film that makes you happy, binge on some TV, do some painting and colouring or writing. These guys are a great bunch of people who I consider quite happy people as well, so how can I be sure I can do this next time I need to?

I guarantee that a lot of time if I’m sad I’ll either text Jess into the night until I fall asleep, or moan at my friends and boyfriend until they tell me I’m probably being silly and should just have a cup of tea and calm down (which is correct), but when I’m alone it is harder to get happy again. Something that you, I, and generally all of us can do is plan ahead. I know it sounds stupid but hear me out. 

Blurt Foundation Buddy Box Depression Care Package

There are companies built entirely on care packages (see: BuddyBox, PinkParcel), but if you’re as skint as I am, then you can make your own, or be super cute and make one for a friend. The idea in this case is to make sure you have what you need to look after yourself when sadness strikes. You can either go full Monica Geller and set aside a box full of snacks, treats, books and fun things and DVDs, or you can make sure you know what makes you happy. Simple as.

Asking other people has been useful because I feel like I’m not missing something that everyone else is doing. It seems clear that looking after yourself is as simple as eating, drinking, sleeping well and making time for a walk, or bath, or favourite film. If I can just remember that there are good things and happy things then all I need to do is find them and make use of them.

What else do you think is important to remember? Let us know how you look after yourself!

 

Words by Briony Brake
Interviews with Nathan Oliver, Jessica Yang, Jamie Clarkson, Amber Berry
Photo by BuddyBox: The Blurt Foundation