Summer 2019 adventures

Posted by Catherine Elms on August 29, 2019 Blog posts | | No comments

Over the Bank Holiday weekend I performed a guitar set at the Pride Cymru fringe event Big Queer Picnic in Sophia Gardens, Cardiff!

I used to be a guitarist primarily, and played in a few bands, before I moved over to the piano at the age of 17 and stopped playing the guitar. I love playing the piano, but it’s less portable than a guitar, and requires mains power, which isn’t always possible at pop-up events like BQP. Last year I played a ukulele set at Pride Cymru (my first uke set ever), and this year I tried the guitar, emboldened by my recent guitar performance at my friend Kirsty’s birthday party, which was the first time I’d played the guitar live in public for almost 12 years. Anyway, as terrifying as it was to play a new (ish) instrument in public, it was lots of fun – and the fact that it isn’t my main instrument means that I feel a little less pressure to get it right. It’s more fun and breezy. I’m still primarily a pianist, but it’s good to have the guitar as a back-up option for impromptu informal gigs and occasional jams.

Earlier this month I performed guest lead vocals with Zed Motel during their Bowie tribute set, as part of the Swanisphere Festival. It was the first time I’d performed in front of an audience without an instrument, and I had an absolute blast!

In July I tabled at Swindon Zine Fest with my fellow Swansea Zine Fest co-organisers Kirsty and Morgan. It was great to hang out with so many zinesters, meet new people, trade zines, and arrange future collaborations. I also got so many great zines! I used to get frustrated with myself at zinefests because I always spent more money than I earned through sales, but I’ve recently decided that for me, zinefests are less about turning a profit, and more about hanging out with folks, meeting new people and getting to see and buy work that I might not hear about otherwise. I also got to catch up with Nina from Echo Zines, who tabled at Swansea Zine Fest, and published this AMAZING drawing of the zine fest in her latest zine! We look so cute (and so gay)!

The ReWatchers fanzine cover

New zine alert: The ReWatchers: a Marvel fanzine. Reviews of all MCU films, plus comments on gender, race and sexuality in the MCU, Easter eggs, props, casting, visual effects, trivia, & more! It’s 26,000 words long (!!) and I’m super proud of it. Buy a copy on my shop page.

I also published the 19th issue of my perzine, Here In My Head, at Swansea Zine Fest. This issue features writing and artwork on mental health, growing older, learning how to make peace with my regrets, things that make me happy, frustrations when getting tattooed, and thoughts on organising my first zinefest. Buy a copy on my shop page.

Brixton Academy exterior at night

I saw Bikini Kill live at London in June and had a whale of a time – also got to spend the afternoon with some zine pals, which felt fitting given Bikini Kill’s relationship to zine culture. Read more in my blog post here.

I went to London in June to see Rachel Bloom perform live, and honestly it was the most fun I’ve ever had at a live gig! Rachel Bloom is the creator, writer, and star of the TV musical-comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and the show featured songs from the show, some of her own material, and some unexpected covers. The audience were very femme and queer, and the excitement throughout the show was palpable. Easily one of my favourite ever gigs!

My hometown Llanelli hosted its first Pride event in August – as someone who grew up queer in Llanelli, it was powerful to see this little valleys town hold such a big LGBTQ celebration that explicitly featured trans organisations and trans inclusivity statements. More photos from the day on my Instagram.

Upcoming gigs

I’m excited to be performing at the Swansea Fringe Festival this year – I’m playing in the Songwriter’s Circle event on Friday 4th October, 5.30pm in The Vault, Swansea. Further details TBA – join the Facebook event to keep updated.

I’m also supporting the lovely Zed Motel at The Duke in Neath on Friday 20th September – free entry and all welcome. I’ll be on around 8.30pm. More details here.

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