I launched my new zine Sex Industry Apologist #2 at Sticky Institute a week and a half ago, as part of their Paper City zine festival. A whole bunch of people crammed into the shop and I read an excerpt from Taking Ideology To The Streets before handing over to a panel of local sex workers, including members of the Scarlet Alliance and Vixen Collective. An audio recording of the event might show up on the internet in a while.
picture from Sticky Institute
The zine includes a couple recent articles I published online, as well as background on sex work and feminism in the UK, with a focus on the effects of the Swedish model and ‘end demand’ approaches. It has a few reviews of sex work themes in films, books, and theatre, and a quick guide to spotting media bullshit. It’s also illustrated by the very talented Kazimir Lee Iskander.
Also currently available is the first issue of Sex Industry Apologist, which was originally published in early 2010. It kicks off with my essay Belle De Jour Is The New Pretty Woman, before sharing a bunch of reflections on harm reduction, feminism, and the media, all from my perspective as a former staff member at a sex work project. It also includes a list of resources on various issues related to sex work.
For ordering info, see jinxremoving dot org.
The story so far
I set up this blog with the intention of writing about my New Exciting Life In Berlin, which was just sort of okay, and then Berlin fucked up and I started travelling instead. It is now a year since I left Berlin, a year of just me and my rucksack and whoever I met along the way. And there are quite a few things I want to address in this blog post. Therefore, here is today’s agenda:
I. Where I have been and what is going on
II. The importance of balance, which I will attempt to outline without sounding overly self-helpy
III. Stuff that is good
Listing all the countries I’ve been to since July 2010 feels like a pointless exercise, because who really cares besides me (there are a couple maps in the sidebar, anyway), but the new ones were Lithuania, Iraq, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. In addition to these I pinballed around quite a bit. It’s all about cheap flights and creative overland solutions and whatnot.
I think it’s about time I mentioned that I’m not actually a wreck any more, okay? I mean with regard to the whole break-up angst that prompted my departure from Berlin. That episode left me with a couple of issues, such as: reduced faith in humanity (oh, the melodrama!) and newfound fear of rejection, but those have faded somewhat with time. However, it’s hard not to tell my story without referencing it to some extent, since it was the impetus that caused me to begin travelling.
Berlin remains kind of a no-go zone for me for the foreseeable future, apart from its airports, which are handy for Leipzig purposes. But I’m okay with this. A big reason why I left Berlin was because I didn’t have a support network there to help me cope with the break-up. Some people opt to endure unpleasant situations to prove they can do it, in order to ‘win’. Whatever. I won by taking back a little control and getting the fuck out. Berlin still makes me feel kind of weird and uncomfortable to think about, which is why I don’t want to revisit it, rather than for fear of running into my ex or something. But that’s okay. Other people can have Berlin. I have the rest of the planet.
I’ve been to ten or so countries since 2011 began. When people ask, I recite the list, but there’s one place that cancels out all the others. Their eyebrows shoot up when they hear the name. “Iraq! What was Iraq like?”
I have trouble answering this question. I don’t know what exactly they want to hear about, and maybe they don’t know either. I can’t fit all my experiences into a sentence. I think about the mountains and the call to prayer and the food. I think about walking in Dohuk at night, about getting lost in the park in Erbil, about the goatherds in the Zagros mountains, about the central square in Sulaimany, about the checkpoint in Kirkuk, about how my senses sharpened when we realised we needed to get out of that car, about the kindness of the family that hosted me, about the protests and about the friend who I feared might be dead.
Usually I just say “It was good”, or sometimes “It was mostly good.”
So I wrote If Destroyed Still True #6: Iraqi Kurdistan edition. It tells of hitch-hiking experiences good and bad, encounters with Kurdish and American soldiers, the kindness of strangers, being stranded, death threats, and the demonstrations in the region that have been largely unreported in the western press. At 28 A5 pages it’s the longest issue I’ve produced. It’s entirely handwritten, but fear not! My handwriting has frequently been mistaken for a font.
“sometimes charming, sometimes terrifying” – Sticky Institute
“has something to say and is perfectly astute in saying it. A must read” – Fulsome Prism
“beautiful, thoughtful, a testimony of feelings felt and questions asked” – Said The Gramophone
review in Fahrenheit C3100 podcast · review by Said The Gramophone
If you’d like a copy, visit jinxremoving dot org for information on how to order; and if you feel like telling other people about the zine, I won’t mind at all. Thanks for reading.
ACHTUNG! Your window of zine-purchasing opportunity has now closed. I have removed the donation buttons. I’m only keeping this post up for posterity, or something.
Okay, internet. Here is the thing. I made a whole bunch of copies of this zine, right? If Destroyed Still True #5. I put it together as part of Sticky Institute‘s Target 168 challenge, which was about the Eurovision Song Contest, so I was excited to throw in all my fascinating Eurovision trivia.
But it’s not just about that, either: it’s about my life in Berlin and about my travels and about bereavement and about chance encounters with strangers and about getting hurt and dealing with it.
Here are some reasons why you want it:
- Because other people liked it so obviously you will too!
- Because it will drag you away from your computer screen for half an hour!
- Because I stayed up forever writing and pasting stuff and therefore the world owes it to me to buy it!
- Because it’s really fucking cheap! Basically the price just covers what it cost to make. Not including the glue stick.
- Because I am leaving Berlin for good in less than a week and it is not coming with me!
- Also because the stuff about my life in Berlin is no longer current and makes me feel a bit weird to read over, so I’d rather move on. Take a copy off my hands, and you’re helping. Cheers.
Here is another compelling reason why you want it: because I am offering you two zines for €5 (if you live in Europe) or for €7.50 (if you’re further away), inclusive of paypal fees and FUCKING EXTORTIONATE German postage rates. Actually, you get three zines, because I’ll throw in another Target 168 Eurovision zine by somebody else as well, seeing as I need to rid myself of as much excess as possible before I leave town.
Which other zine will you pick? Choose from:
- If Destroyed Still True #3: bereavement, abusive relationships, family & travel (reviews at Broken Pencil and It’s Nice That)
- If Destroyed Still True #4: getting drunk, getting action, and, as ever, travelling (there was a glowing review of it online, I swear, but then the internet ate it!)
- The Collected Scathings of Ioana Poprowka: a trans woman on Dana International, the Ladyboys of Bangkok, transgender portrayals onscreen, and plenty more besides (review by Sandra Alland)
But hurry! You have less than a week to decide and place your order before this opportunity disappears forever!
Your challenge is to spend approximately thirty seconds on doing the following before your apathy or lack of attention span causes you to close the tab with a mutter of “oh, I can’t be bothered”:
- Click on the button that corresponds to your location!
- Type in a postal address!
- Add a note specifying which additional zine you would like – If Destroyed Still True #3 or #4 or The Collected Scathings of Ioana Poprowka!
- And we’re done! How easy was that? Okay, a little clunky, but well worth it. You will receive exciting stuff in the post shortly. Thank you for your custom.
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