Tag Archives: Edinburgh

Love Substitutes

This week we interviewed the fabulous Kirsty Logan about her book ‘The Rental Heart’, her experiences being a queer author writing queer stories, and what the road to success looks like, sharing some top-tips for early-career publishing!

Kirsty Logan Mirror

Photo cedit: Monkeytwizzle

Me: So Kirsty, you’re a published author, which is awesome!

Could you tell us a little bit about your journey to this point: how you got here, how you got started, and how you became successfully published?

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Do you wanna hear a queer love story?

Small child reading book

Tiny Me!

Doing a degree in Philosophy completely ruined my love of reading. As a child I devoured books, reading 2, 3, 4 at a time. The library was my happy place. And then aged 19 I trundled off to University, where my degree required me to read incessantly and in time I totally lost my passion. But as time passed I’ve decided to give it another go, and this is where this story starts for me.

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Where them girls at? [girls at? la da de da laaaaaa]

I have a confession. I am not very good at films. ‘Sunshine on Leith’ was my idea of a life changing film and so let’s be honest, high culture is just not my thing. When the LGBT short films at the Glasgow Film Theatre came into my field of vision I was torn: I will basically go and see/do/dance at anything remotely queer, but short films sounded all a bit high-brow. What could I lose?

The Glasgow Film Theatre is super cute tucked away just up Sauchiehall Street and well worth a visit if you’ve not been. Big comfy seats, a cute (if somewhat compact) bar upstairs, but I would recommend taking your own snacks. It was Sunday night, which I personally think is the perfect night for peanuts and movies, but apparently Glasgow disagreed. The screen was very quiet, like  handful of people quiet. And men in abundance. Queer women: where are you?

The films were all finalists from the Iris Prize – an LGBT film festival in Cardiff (see I’m learning). As a total rubbish film-goer I was amazed at just how much could be conveyed in ten to fifteen minutes. And, as someone with quite a short attention span and a vivid imagination for filling in the gaps in quite sparse storylines – I loved it!

I won’t lament over all the details of the films, but as a quick rundown. A beautiful coming-of-age story about a young romance between two young disabled men in ‘For Dorian’; a heart-achingly personal story from Gustavo from San Francisco about his night-time transitions into Donna, and his inspiration: ‘My mother’; a surreal film, including an interpretive dance called ‘Gorilla’ about two young men defining their budding new relationship; and ‘Boys Village’ about the ghost of a child, trapped in time, watching the camp in which he died in destroyed by 21st century thugs as he sought out his first kiss across the boundary of life and death.

But it was ‘Burger’ that really struck me. Set in a chippie at kicking out time, ‘Burger’ provided a snapshot into the lives of three groups of friends. ‘Burger’ was incidentally queer, as opposed to explicitly so, but resonated as I am a habitual eavesdropper and often end up in a chip shop at the end of a night out. The setting reminded me slightly of Canal Street, and the combination of bright lights, dance-dishevelled clothes, and make-up coloured tears struck a chord with me – definitely worth a watch if you get the chance.

Iris Prize Tickets

I think it’s really important to support queer events, and I would go to the opening of a queer envelope. The positive portrayal of queer people in the media and mainstream culture is so few and far between that I want to support it when there is opportunity. But there was just one itsy bitsy thing that annoyed me: there were no women who sleep with women represented. Let me repeat that for you: no women who sleep with women. Five short films, and…

not one single woman who sleeps with women

Queue a train ride back to Edinburgh with me planning all the films I was going to shoot which would only feature women who sleep with women… The fact is I might have a fab imagination, but I can barely take a holiday snap on a disposable camera without causing a disaster, let alone make a short-film. However, you dear reader, you are probably far more competent at life than I and so if you are indeed a budding film maker and think you might have a fab idea (or even a vague idea) for a short-film featuring women who sleep with women, then please (please) check out: http://www.irisprize.org/submissions-guidelines/


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The Gay Agenda is Proud: Hazel

This week, in the lead up to Glasgow Pride, we decided to interview some of our writers to find out what Pride means to them!

What’s your name, age and where do you come from?

Hi, I’m Hazel, I’m 23 and I’m originally from London, although I now live in Edinburgh.

Why did you get involved in the Gay Agenda?

I really admire some of the fabulous blogs out there aimed at queer women like The Most Cake, Autostraddle, Fuck Yeah Dykes and Diva. They inspired me to want to be part of the amazing online queer community which has bloomed over the last few years!

What do you write about?

I do a bit of everything! But mainly I write about current affairs, collate and I edit.

What do you do in real life?

I currently work in inclusive education at the University of Edinburgh.

Mug cinema 2

Why is Pride important to you?

I have always been keen for Pride. I remember my first ever Pride in London, I met up with a friend beforehand and we stood at the side of the road and watched the march pass by. Although I only watched that year I felt part of a  vibrant community, had a wonderful day, and couldn’t wait to be a part of the march at my next pride. At that time I didn’t really understand the historical significance of Pride, but I knew it was about celebrating a community I could be part of, and that was good enough. It’s been many years now since my first pride, and I have learned a ton about queer history and have given a few talk on it. It is still important to me as an experience that can bring queer people together to celebrate our community, but it’s also important as a protest to the homo-, trans*- and bi- phobias that we experience every day.

What is your best and worst part of pride?

I love Pride for the space it gives queer communities to celebrate ourselves! It’s always been a happy day for me. The worst however, is the bit in between the march and the nightlife where there is not a lot to do, but no real point in going home.

What’s your must-have item for Pride?

A big bottle of water. I am a big fan of chanting in the march, and I always shout myself hoarse.

If you had a placard for Pride what would it say?

I have made a lot of placards, and it’s always tough to think of slogans! But I like something simple like ‘love is love’.

What’s you Pride soundtrack?

Best ever Pride you’ve been to?

Although I’ve been to lots of prides up and down the country, my favourite Pride is still London Pride. It was my first ever Pride, and I try and make sure I’m in town whenever it is.

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Mary Bourke: Muffragette

So I opened my festival experience with a show that sounded like fun! I imagined it being some sort of extra-special, all singing, all dancing lesbo-feminism which would right up my street. I had my heart set. After a lot of talking it up I convinced my girlfriend (renown to be a reluctant hero when it comes to politics / feminism / my ranting) to accompany me. Now this required an after work race down to the Stand, as the show is inconveniently (for Edinburgh residents) shown at 17.50, literally just after work with little room for travel time.

After all the persuading I then read the shows write-up in the Festival brochure (I know I got over-excited at the title) and began to worry that my gung-ho attitude had been a little extreme. It had one line that stood out,

‘feminism without all the boring preachy bits’

which made me worry that we were about to go and see the ‘I’m a feminist, but not really a feminist’ brand of comic.

However, I shouldn’t have worried. I left feeling like I had had a nice hot cup of tea in a cosy chair. Comfortable, cheerful, but my life definitely wasn’t changed. It’s a nice show that raises some contemporary feminist issues like the constant barrage of twitter trolls who attempt to rule the internet, and the number of magazines on our supermarket shelves that seamlessly objectify and degrade women. The latter was demonstrated impeccably by a young man who replicated a number of the delightful poses that we see in lads mags (if you can’t imagine it, some similar examples can be seen here: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jpmoore/men-ups-manly-men-in-classic-pin-up-poses). My only slight concern was the number of ‘Your Mum’ jokes which the comic admits to planning on behalf of one part of a TV presenting couple! Blame the man, not the Mam, for his bad behaviour Mary!

I had no complaints. The show was nice and feel good. I would definitely recommend it to those of you who have friends who are yet to realise their feminism.  It’s accessible, non-aggressive and a good introduction to the challenges faced by women in 2013. However, to anyone well versed in their contemporary feminism looking for something to challenge, inform or broaden their feminism, this is definitely not your gig.

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