Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Monday, 5 October 2009

Winners and other notices

Congratulations to all the competition winners!

Best Jam: Mike
Best Chutney: BJ
Best Decorated Cupcakes: Phoebe
Best Cake (Fancy): Kay
Best Cake (Teatime): Lenna
Best Vegetable Monster (Junior): Max
Best Vegetable Monster (Senior): Suzanna

The Diet Box of Doom is to be donated to 'Dr' Gillian McKeith. More about this later.

Thank you everyone for coming, for supporting us, and for making this event such a fantastic success.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Thanks to all the fatty queers

Pic by Emli Bendixen, see more of her incredible photos of The Fat of the Land.

Thanks to everyone for making The Fat of the Land such a rip-roaring success! Special thanks to my co-organisers Jason, Naz, and Bill, and all the volunteers, stall-holders, and supporters. Nearly 200 people came, we pretty much ran out of cakes and savouries, and the tea and squash flowed from the time that BJ cut the ribbon to the last of the Morris dancing. Everyone seemed to have a great time and we made enough money to cover our expenses. Thank you all!

A couple of things:

There's a Fat of the Land page on Facebook, and you can become a fan if you are so inclined. Just click the "Become a fan" button.

We would love to see your own pics and videos of the day, you can upload them onto the Facebook page or link to them there, if you are a fan, or get in touch with us via this blog for us to upload here (more people see the blog than the Facebook stuff).

We'd also love to keep the discussions and the community going, so please chip in on the blog or the Facebook page with thoughts, recollections of the day (check out what Crazycrone said), ideas for how we might all take the good feeling from yesterday onwards, perhaps into future projects.

Ok, tired now.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Phew, they arrived, just in time

Everyone who comes to The Fat of the Land will get a free badge, a bit like the ones in the poorly executed photograph here.

Harvesting veg this morning

Kay and I went to the outrageously lovely East London community vegetable garden What Will The Harvest Be? to harvest some veg for a hamper for the Fat of the Land Raffle. We picked celeriac, celery, carrots, some spuds, amazing kale, chard and squash, some herbs and greens, beetroot too. Yummmmmmm and thanks to Chris at the project and everyone who's been growing things there over the summer.

It's tomorrow!

It's going to be amazing! Do come!

Here's a map:

View Larger Map

There will be some planned engineering works on the underground tomorrow, so it might be worth using the Journey Planner to find a good route to us.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Sublime and ridiculous

DIVA are going to be at The Fat of the Land: A Queer Chub Harvest Festival this Saturday. they've made a cut-out cover of their current fat issue for you to poke your head through. You too can be a glamazon lesbo high femme magazine cover chubber. Amazing.

Fat of the Land Schedule

Our Guest of Honour BJ will open The Fat of the Land.

* Art, activities, conversation, displays, eating, information, marvelling and mingling, poetry, tea-drinking and our wonderful stalls.
* Buy yourself a spot as a guest judge in our competitions
* Enter your home-made jams, chutneys, decorated cupcakes, cakes (fancy and teatime) and vegetable monsters into the competitions. These will be judged at 4pm.
* Buy raffle tickets and win amazing prizes.
* Donate unwanted weight loss paraphernalia to the Diet Bin of Doom.

Competition judging

Competition, raffle and silent auction winners announced.

Entertainment provided by The 123s, Scottee, and Chopin. Singing of the Fat Queer Harvest Hymn.

Special guests The Blackhorse and Standard Women’s North West Morris will close the event with some dancing.

A crazy lady from Oregon sends her love

Dear Fat o'the Landers:

After sending this e-mail out, I am shipping myself to you inside this enormous pumpkin so that I may arrive in time for this incredible Queer Chub Harvest Festival. Please handle with care. It has seen better days.

Then I will pop out spitting pumpkin seeds into carnival games and giggle and chortle and pull carrots and eat Chubster jam with my orange-stained hands. I'll try not to set the barn on fire.

What can I say, I am flat out gleeful that this is happening, bereft at not being able to attend, and no doubt will have to celebrate by baking a gigantic slog* in your honor and sharing it with the fat queers of my own community to celebrate in solidarity.

With mad love,

* - Not cakey enough for a buckle, slump or grunt, I've coined "slog" to describe a wet fruit crisp that runs over with juice and becomes irrepressibly soggy

Charlotte says PS, one of our raffle prizes is a giant vegetable growing kit, don't forget to buy a ticket, you too could hide yourself inside a massive pumpkin

Wanna be a Judge?

You Could Be Fat of the Land Competition Judge

It's not just the official judges who will be judging the Fat of the Land competitions, there are some special guest judging spots up for grabs too. You could be a judge! You could have first bite and first taste! Here's how…

There are seven precious and exclusive guest judge spots for sale. You will be judging competition entries alongside our official fat of the Land judges.

The guest judge spots cost £10 or £5 concessions.

Once these seven places have been sold, they are gone forever.

You can notify Charlotte, the competitions person, beforehand if you want to be a judge. Send her an email: mail@charlottecooper.net

Or you can offer your judging capabilities and cash on the day.

Judging will take place at 4pm sharp, and winners will be announced at 4.30pm.

Please let Charlotte know if you have a preferred category.

Best Jam
Best Chutney
Best Decorated Cupcakes
Best Cake (Fancy)
Best Cake (Teatime)
Best Vegetable Monster (Junior) – aged 12 and under
Best Vegetable Monster (Senior) – aged 12 and over

Please note that people will know if you are both a judge and a competition entrant, and if you judge your own entry to be the winner it will be deemed bad form!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The Fat of the Land is taking over the media one magazine at a time

Oh look, we're a Critic's Choice in this week's Time Out.

NB The harvest festival runs from 2-6pm, not 8 as listed.

Monday, 28 September 2009

The Fat of the Land is taking over the internet one website at a time

Oh look, an interview with me on Gaydarnation.com, boast boast.

Here's more boastage, care of Anglofiles and Londonist too.

How to Enter Fat of the Land Competitions: A step-by-step guide

The competition categories are:

Best Jam
Best Chutney
Best Decorated Cupcakes
Best Cake (Fancy)
Best Cake (Teatime)
Best Vegetable Monster (Junior) – aged 12 and under
Best Vegetable Monster (Senior) – aged 12 and over

1. Make some stuff that fits those categories, use whatever judgement and recipes you like.

2. Remember that you can enter more than one competition and, if you're really enthusiastic, you can enter competitions more than once.

3. Bring your makings to the Fat of the Land before 3.30pm.

4. Tell the competitions person (Charlotte, most likely) if it's okay for the Fat of the Land to sell or auction your entry to help us cover our costs. Winning entries will be auctioned in aid of the harvest festival, runners-up will be sold at a price you agree.

5. Write your name, contact details and, if relevant, a price, on a sticker, which will be generously provided by your harvest festival organisers.

6. Stick the sticker underneath your entry, so the judges can judge each entry anonymously.

7. Place your entry on the space provided for harvest festival goers to admire.

8. Judging will take place at 4pm and winners will be announced at 4.30pm and will receive their winning certificates.

9. If you are neither auctioning nor selling your entry, you may take it away with you after 4.30pm.

10. Good luck!

Kay's Jammy and Karrotty Thrills!

Kay 'Butch Husky' Hyatt has been busy this weekend making two dozen jars of Chubster jam as well as getting her Krazy Karrots game ready. The jam is made from damsons from the tree in Kay's garden and will be for sale at the Fat of the Land. You'll have to wait until next Saturday to find out how the Karrots work. Will the harvest thrills ever end?

The Diet Box of Doom

I remember going to harvest festivals when I was a kid with a tin of some unwanted food to put into a crepe paper-covered box for 'the needy'. This was usually some random group of old or disabled people who hadn't asked for our somewhat stingy charity and who would have been better off with civil rights than a dusty can of rice pudding from the back of my family's cupboard.

But a harvest festival is a festival of giving that comes from being glad of what we have, yet also slightly condescending to those whom we perceive to have less than us, and wanting them to be grateful for our beneficence. We want to uphold this tradition at the Fat of the Land, and give to those who are less well-off than ourselves, the somewhat tragic, the people and organisations who just don't get it.

We're going to be giving some queer chub action back to the diet industry.

The Fat of the Land will feature a Diet Box of Doom, a place where you can leave unwanted slimming ephemera, as well as any other non-perishables you'd like to donate. This will then be given to a weight loss multinational, or an odious diet guru voted for by people at the Fat of the Land.

What to bring:

Diet books and magazines, calorie counting accessories, weight loss recipes, tape measures, diet scales, weighing scales, defaced slimming advertisements, laxatives, personal accounts of dieting, stories of body fascism, pictures, poems, food diaries, videos and DVDs, diet sheets, clothes that you bought to slim into but never managed to fit, anything that you'd like people who profit from dieting to know or to have, or whatever you think should go into a Diet Box of Doom.

What will happen:

When we have voted for a recipient, Charlotte will package up the box nicely and deliver it by hand to the company's UK CEO or guru at their headquarters. This will be documented on the Fat of the Land blog.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Stalls at the Fat of the Land

We've got some amazing stalls at the Fat of the Land, with stuff for you to buy, stuff to eat, stuff at which to marvel, and displays of crafts and activities that are close to our queer chub hearts.

Not only will you be able to buy zines, but there'll be a zine display and you'll be able to make a zine on the day too. Naughty and Nice Cakes are likely to be popular, and Anna Small is bringing her crafts – double pleasure whammy. Blackwells are bringing a selection of Fat of the Land books for you to snap up (they accept plastic too) and DIVA mag, whose Fat issue is now out, are going to be doing the tombola. We've got displays of stonemasonry and quilting, there will be Yay! Scales for you to try out thanks to the crowd from Health At Every Size UK, a Krazy Karrots game, and some mad things that don't have a name yet. And we've got a lot of tea that needs drinking.

Simon 'Weasel' Murphy has been busy making the Chubuzzer which will receive its inaugural outing at the Fat of the Land (see pic above). Homemade fat queer electronics projects! Yay! Dare you pit your wits against its buzzery goodness? How fiendishly difficult could it be? There'll be prizes for those who make it to the end.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Three Cheers for BJ, Our Guest of Honour

BJ is doing us the honour of being our esteemed guest at the Fat of the Land. She will cut the ribbon to open the event at 2pm sharp.

BJ! One of my fat queer heroes. The first time I met her I knew I'd never forget her. Dawn French was making a programme about fat and art for the South Bank Show in 1994 or thereabouts. A bunch of fat oiks, including BJ and I, were roped in to give the programme some colour. This involved swimming around Dawn F in formation around the beautiful Marshall Street Baths, just off Carnaby Street. We were kept pretty separate from Dawn, she was clearly out of our league, but I remember BJ clinging to me with her legs because she wasn't a strong swimmer back then. Thrills!

Like all the best people, BJ manages to straddle high and low culture. In 1997 she won the inaugural Miss Lesbian Beauty Competition at the Café de Paris, organised by Amy Lamé. Some people were really upset that a big fat dyke could steal the prize from under their noses, there were letters of complaint to The Pink Paper about it! But BJ won fairly and squarely, and she deserved to win too. She's been a muse to Vivienne Westwood, photographed by Del la Grace Volcano, and the award-winning artist Sadie Lee's painting of BJ, entitled Pinky, has shown at the National Portrait Gallery (see the pic above).

If BJ was the type of person to appear in the Sunday colour supplements, she'd likely be described there as a living legend or an institution. Raw, brave and fierce, my favourite memories of BJ include the sight of her throwing bottles of champagne around a dive bar, strutting in a bikini at London Fields Lido, and flirting as though it were an Olympic sport. She's bad to the bone and impossible not to love.

Anyway, you'll get to meet her on 3 October at 2pm.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Get your laughing gear 'round this, fatties

Sachi is making cakes for us. Yummy yum yum yum.

Naughty and Nice Cakes.

Love and Thanks to Our Fat of the Land Raffle Sponsors

We're having a raffle and we're giving away some fantastic prizes. Big fat thanks to the following people and organisations who have generously donated their stuff:

In alphabetical order, applause for:

Allyson Mitchell, for goodies from her artist's studio.

Becky Sanchez for the beautiful sampler.

Bill Savage, Unskinny Bop's most talented poster artist, for donating original art in mini-form. Swoon.

Charley Stone, the brilliant musician and mainstay of more bands than you've had hot dinners. Charley will record a Classic Cover of your choice in her own inimitable style.

Katie D, for gorgeous fat zines and knitted treats.

Katy 'Chanko Nabe' Hathaway, for genuine sumo stuff!

Lady Lucy, for a really blimmin' lovely drawing. It's ahem, of me (blush) and it's all about fat and queer activism.

Me, for pinching a spare goodie bag from the Beth Ditto for Evans launch back in August (you know, the party where Beth sang karaoke with Kate Moss). The bag contains promo copy of Gossip's Music for Men, a limited edition domino print scarf and a bunch of other bits and pieces, plus a mint condition copy of Love magazine, with extensive coverage of Beth, our patron saint.

Me again for donating a kit for growing giant vegetables, which includes assorted giant vegetable seeds (some for Clive's Giant Cucumber! oo-err) and an instruction booklet.

Raw Nerve, for a copy of the excellent Fat Studies in the UK book, featuring a bunch of people who are going to be doing their thing at the Fat of the Land.

Re/Dress NYC, the world's best plus-size vintage/ second hand clothes shop and queer fat social enterprise, who have donated some fatshion for one lucky winner.

Substantia Jones at The Adipositivity Project, an incredible photo project that documents fat people's bodies. Substantia has donated some covetable merch.

Susan Stinson, writer extraordinaire, for signed copies of her gorgeous novels Venus of Chalk and Martha Moody. Extra special bonus prize: an ultra rare copy of her poetry chapbook, Belly Songs.

Tom O'Tottenham, our favourite stonemason about town, who will cut you a plaque with your initial on it. Unique and rare!

Unskinny Bop, for donating a one-of-a-kind mix CD called Hey Kids, It's A Podge Pop Party…with Unskinny Bop. According to DJ Ruth, "This will feature lots of amazing fat pop stars in the vein of the first ever UBop at Ladyfest." Yeah! The lucky winner also gets free tickets to The Bop.

What Will the Harvest Be? A lovely community vegetable garden in E15, for donating a box of veg, fresh out of the ground!

You can win these prizes, yes, you you you! And look, there are loads of prizes so you have a really good chance of winning something excellent. All you have to do is come along on the day and buy a raffle ticket.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Unskinny Bop: The Posters

Unskinny Bop is a nightclub that started out from the dregs of Ladyfest 2002, an event where many of the people I think of as my friends first clapped eyes on each other. In the intervening seven years, The Bop has been home to an evolving bunch of misfits, club kids, cool people, and their mates. My happiest ever dancefloor moments have been at this place, Ruth and Tamsin can keep you dancing until you're begging your feet to stop.

One of the amazing things about The Bop is the artwork that's displayed every month. This is the work of Bill Savage. By artwork I mean the posters that decorate the venue. They show that pop culture, politics, music, a queer sensibility and dancing go together very well. Bill's work is absolutely beautiful, you may have seen some of it in the current edition of DIVA magazine.

Anyway, she is going to be exhibiting her posters at the Fat of the Land, and has donated some original art to the raffle. Be sure to show your appreciation.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Ooh look, a shout out from Shapely Prose

Fatosphere superstar Kate Harding gives us the nod at Shapely Prose. Thanks all!

And there's more support from our Fat of the Land friends around the world:

Golda Poretsky of BodyLoveWellness.com writes:

If you're like me, you probably attend events like The Fat Of The Land and feel buoyed up and empowered by the queer-positivity and fat-positivity, and then, a few hours, days, or weeks later, the gorgeous sheen of that event starts to wear off. You talk to a friend or a colleague who doesn't understand it, you read a queer hating or fat hating news article, and the idea of changing society as we know it starts to feel overwhelming if not impossible.

So, I want you to know that you don’t have to convince anyone to change. You only have to acknowledge, embrace, and enjoy the change in yourself. The best thing we can do, as fat people, queer people, activists and advocates is to model what it is to be in love with our bodies and accepting of ourselves. We need to “be the change we wish to see in the world,” as Gandhi said.

In other words, being happy and fat in public is a revolutionary act. Being a woman who loves her body no matter its size is a revolutionary act. Being a person who is not thin but decides not to diet is a revolutionary act.

Therefore, living your best life is not a selfish act. When you are able to love yourself, take care of your own needs and stand for who you want to be in the world and how you think the world should treat you, you invite others to do the same.

The revolution needs you, right now, to embrace who you are and to do so in public. Whether you’re ready or not, I will keep standing for you.

And 'becca of Brooklyn sends a shout out too:

hello londoners!

i was just there visiting in august, and i'm so sad that i can't come back for your festival! but i will think of you all being fully in your bodies, creating big beautiful supportive community, and maybe (maybe?) savoring a little clotted cream on my behalf.



And another cheer!

As a queer US fattie, I am so encouraged to hear of all the fabulous fat queer culture going on in the UK. Truth be told, I'm a little envious of the rad fatties I know from the UK, the activists, artists, scholars, and the community as a whole is vibrant, fab, and creating an authentic and vital fat queer culture everyday. You all are so lucky to have venues like the Fat of the Land Harvest, and I hope you are raised up in pride and joy as a queer fatties or ally, after your attendance at the festival. Life really is more wonderful when we all embrace our mutliple selves without shame, and if you're still struggling with how to live in a fat-hating, homophobic culture as a queer fat person, please know we've been there, and we can assure you life is nicer when we dropped the shame. Have fun today, and be a queer sphere with pride!

-Julia McCrossin

And Marilyn Wann chips in too

We can choose to anticipate scarcity (of civil rights, love, sex, fun, medical care, life, respect, etc.) or we can choose to anticipate a surplus of everything we desire. For me, being a rad fatty involves refusing to believe in false scarcities and insisting on creating surplus for people of all sizes. (Also: relinquishing my envy of thin privilege as a necessary part of dismantling fat oppression!) I want every body to live humanely and free from alienation from our own embodiment. Big fat belly bumps to my fat/queer brothers and sisters of all genders and sizes at Fat of the Land!

So does Val Langmuir

Have an amazing time. Celebrate abundance! Banish scarcity! Be visible! Be proud! You ROCK!


Love to The Fat of the Land

We've been getting messages of support for Fat of the Land from activists and allies people around the world. This is from Susan Stinson, celebrated author. If you love what she's written here you'll be excited to hear that she has donated some of her beautiful books for the raffle, don't forget to buy a ticket.

Last night at the Three County Fair, I took a break from what a sweet-faced young man near me in the crowd of those who hadn’t paid extra for a seat in the grandstand happily called “demolition derby at its finest” to wander past the beer shed. There I watched as a fat woman, a fat man and a thin man threw themselves into complicated dance moves that had the men doing a Fred-and-Ginger turn cheek-to-cheek. In the Exhibition Hall, I noted that the winner of the scarecrow contest was a broom with blonde braids, a green boa and a Viking hat. A second prize cabbage head had a string bean smile. There was an exhibit on the benefits of earthworms in the rabbitry. The winner of Best in the Show in Youth Needlework had made a sinister figure in a fuzzy suit with a cravat and half a facemask, which suggested a cross between the Phantom of the Opera and Edgar Allen Poe. I note these details in your honor, celebrants at The Fat of The Land. I was a fat dyke alone at the fair, but I danced in the music tent when a rock band came on. The rough-throated singer wrote songs about little girls turning up the amp. Guitar, drums, bass. I stomped around the tent pole, bringing in a harvest of sweat. I turned everything loose. I thought of you, so far away. I thought of you.

Susan Stinson
Northampton, MA

Monday, 21 September 2009

Allyson Mitchell is Showing at the Fat of the Land

We are delighted to present an exhibition of Allyson Mitchell's work at the Fat of the Land.

Allyson is an artist and activist who lives in Toronto. Her incredible body of work includes Deep Lez and Lady Sasquatch, not to mention film-making and community performance. She is a whirlwind of brilliance. I can't begin to explain what she does, the best thing is for you to go to her website and immerse yourself in a world of fur, big-eyed dolls, strangeness and macramé.


Saturday, 19 September 2009

More about competitions at the Fat of the Land

I've been making the certificates today for the winners of our competitions. They look great!

You'd better get baking and making if you'd like to be in with a chance of winning one of them. I should warn you at this stage that I have made some extremely delicious Pear and Ginger Chutney that I shall be entering, if it remains uneaten for that long.

Here's a reminder of the categories:

Best Jam
Best Chutney
Best Decorated Cupcakes
Best Cake (Fancy)
Best Cake (Teatime)
Best Vegetable Monster (Junior) – aged 12 and under
Best Vegetable Monster (Senior) – aged 12 and over

Please bring your creations with you on the day for judging. Winners will be announced about 5-ish. We are leaving the definitions of categories up to you, and you are free to use any recipe you choose.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Lady Morris dancers will be in the house at The Fat of the Land

Say hello to your new friends at The Blackhorse and Standard Women’s North West Morris, they've been dancing for nearly 30 years, and they're going to be making a special appearance at The Fat of the Land. Thrills!

The Blackhorse and Standard Morris do a kind of traditional English dance which originated with north west mill workers in the 19th century. They wear distinctive outfits, including the clogs that working people wore back then, and accessories that reflect what was to hand at the time, like garlands, bobbins and sticks. The Blackhorse and Standard perform a mixture of old and new dances, with names like Beauknot, Grenocide and Walthamstow Market. Have a look at their Flickr stream for photographs.

Make sure you don't miss them on 3 October!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Vegetable monsters

What Will the Harvest Be? is a beautiful community garden in E15. They've been growing a mass of vegetables all summer and on Saturday they held a Harvest Festival which involved harvesting, cooking and eating some of what they'd grown. Lovely!

There was also an impressive selection of vegetable monsters on display. Watch and learn, Harvest folk. Details of how to enter your own vegetable monsters to our competition will be posted shortly.