Exciting News!

We are pleased to announce two very exciting interviews that we will be featuring in the next issue of The Curiosity Cabinet. First off, we have an interview with award winning author, Matt Haig and we also have an interview with musician Shannen Bamford to coincide with the launch of her new E.P ‘Paper Planes.’  Can’t wait? You can wet your apetitie below:

Matt Haig

British Author and journalist, Matt Haig, has been described as “Delightfully weird” (Gerard Woodward, The Guardian) and so, will fit in perfectly within the pages of The Curiosity Cabinet. Author of ‘The Radleys’, ‘The Dead Fathers Club’ and most recently, ‘The Humans’, Matt has an ability to access the most delicate of human emotions with hilarity and warmth, as well as being a bit odd just to balance it out. He also makes lists, which in my opinion, means he’s a good egg.

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Shannen Bamford

Shannen Bamford is singer-songwriter from Liverpool, UK. This month sees the release of her first ever E.P. Shannen’s soft, lullaby vocals can be compared to the comforting pitter patter of raindrops on your window pane when you’re drifting off to sleep. Shannen writes her own music and plays several instruments as well as running a popular open mic night in Liverpool based in Central Perk coffee shop. A display of pure talent and dedication to her passion, we can’t wait to get our interview with the beautiful Shannen.

shannen

michelle

the cat’s meow – on university.

cat meow

This article on the Telegraph website caught my eye: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/student-life/10070315/Ten-things-to-do-before-you-graduate.html.

I am finished with university now, after 5 muddled years and around fifty grand of debt, and I can’t say I’m going to miss it. The library yes, the free access to ebooks and journals for subjects on everything from agriculture to zoology, those rare moments of vigorous intellectual debate, maybe even the Costa coffee kiosks everywhere you turn.  I wouldn’t say that I’ve had the most typical university experience, but let’s see if I can check any of these “ten things” off my list.

1. “Go on tour.” I have no idea what this means. Next.

2. “Get a 0%  student overdraft.” It’s nigh-on impossible to avoid this, even whilst working 20 hours a week. But, free debt is good debt, yes? Check.

3. “Gain a skill for free that you would have to pay for otherwise.”  Hmm. I learnt how to write essays to answer questions that I never understood, if that counts? “Blagging” is definitely a valuable life skill. Check.

4. “Make full use of your student card.” Oh yes. Ohhh yes.  Dorothy Perkins is the most generous I found, with a 15% discount, and AMC cinema lets you in for just £4 with this magical card.  Also, the student railcard thanks to Natwest; I can honestly say that it’s saved me hundreds of pounds over the years and I will miss it greatly when it expires in December. Check.

5. “Go to an all-student performance.” It never even crossed my mind, though I did consider joining the am-dram society (and quickly changed my mind after the first meeting). Next.

6. “Give an unlikely relationship a shot.” By which I presume they mean ‘date a geek/jock’ and not ‘your history professor’. Neither of those happened, I’m thankful to say. Next.

7. “Go to as many fancy dress socials as possible.” What is this ‘social’ you speak of? I spent all of my time studying and reading every single book on the reading list. Ahem. But really, I do love to dress up and university is the only time you can really get away with it; not getting involved in this sort of stuff is something that I only slightly regret. Next.

8. “Go to all your lectures and do all your required reading for a week – just so you know what it’s like.”  Highly recommend this one; do it for more than one week though, it makes those awkward seminars an awful lot easier to cope with. And y’know, that’s kind of the reason you’re there.

9. “Make an effort to get to know someone who has completely different interests from you and/or is from a completely different walk of life.”  My closest course-mate is/was (she’s not dead, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever see her again) a girl from Kenya, who had moved over here at 16. She spoke about 7 different languages and was probably the happiest person I’ve ever met. It’s truly amazing the variety of nationalities you will meet at university, embrace it!

10. “Speak to a careers adviser.” I suppose you could, or you could always just Google “careers after graduation” and get exactly the same information. Not that I’m a cynic, but there’s a limit to the advice Student Services can give when even you don’t know where you want to go next.

So that is it; the ten things that everyone should do before graduating. Personally, I’d add in a few more things like “get some work experience” and “hand everything in on time”, but then I’ve always been a bit of a spoil sport.  University is great, and yes you get lots of lie-ins and yes you get free money and yes you’re not in the ‘real world’, but it’s not easy.  My first year, like most people, I partied, put on a ton of weight, and barely scraped through. Then I realised that wasn’t really how it should be done, and so I worked part-time, knuckled down, spent an awful lot of time in bed watching Lost, and am finishing with grades I can be proud of.  Others party 4 times a week, join 27 athletics clubs and still manage to pass everything. Make it your own, do your work, and you can’t go far wrong.

 

Invisible?

invisible

 

I have felt invisible for a number of reasons in my life time. Recently I’ve been feeling it again. Mainly cos I’m in a new relationship with a femme, we’re both queer but I fear we are seen as a straight couple which sounds like I’m a massive heterophobe but I’m really not.

Let me explain, before I transitioned (for those of you don’t know I’m a trans* man/was born female) I spent 18 years going through life as a female and about five years as a gay female. For most of my life I was relatively happy, minus the whole trans* thing. It wasn’t until I started going out drinking around the age of sixteen and even though I was a gay female I was still verbally abused by cis gendered men and in some cases groped, which always confused me cos I was very masculine but with a baby face and it seemed to me that there was a lot of men with repressed homosexual tendencies. Now, to me there was two lot of invisibility happening whenever this occurred, one being that men were treating me like an object due to my gender and two that I believe this to be happening cos I was an ‘obvious’ dyke so clearly that meant I was going to fulfil some kind of boring straight boy fantasy. The one incident I remember was when I was in Walkabout bar (classy,I know) with a friend when someone we were with lent through her and someone else to grab my chest and squeeze it. I was so shocked that he did this that I just stared at him then called him a fucking arsehole. This to me clearly showed his lack of respect for women and he quite clearly felt he had the right to touch me.

I was openly gay and I got a lot of abuse from wankers in town on nights out, just the usual shouts of ‘dyke’ at me. I used to feel really vulnerable and isolated like my rights as a human being to be treated weren’t there from these idiots.

As I said above I embarked on my transition at the age of 18. Things are a lot different now to what they were like back then. I had a long two year wait before I decided to pay privately for hormones where my body and appearance would change in ways I’d of ever dreamt of. The early days of my transition consisted of still being seen as female trying to look as ‘manly’ as I could without compromising who I was as a person. I felt like no what I did I still wasn’t ‘passing’ (I really hate that term) which caused anxiety and really horrible feelings. It was like I didn’t have a place in the community I knew I belonged, even though before transitioning I was a gay female I was never part of the female community cos I lived in Burnley where there wasn’t much of a community so I wasn’t about to start doing something that obviously not what I wanted from life and the gay male community was like being fed to the lions. From my experience of the gay male scene everyone is looking at each other and when you are a pre testosterone trans* boy it is terrifying cos it was like every knew I was born female. Nowadays I don’t have any issues or questions relating to my gender as I’m coming up to three years on hormones. That is something I never thought I’d say but as much as I love being me now, I don’t like the male privilege that comes with transitioning, yes I like my new body/appearance but it comes with the normality that I am now going to treat women like that guy who grabbed my chest and that I’m going to join in with this general acceptance of misogyny amongst certain men, gay and straight. So I’m in a difficult position sometimes cos of course I hear this misogyny and I do tend to call men out, mostly cos I feel like I have to stick up for women regardless of whether I no longer identify as one. It can be hard in male environments cos I do like that I was born female and that I’ve experienced hurtful comments from men which I know sounds odd. I guess I don’t like my trans* identity hidden sometimes.

Present day, I’m in a new relationship with a gorgeous femme who I adore. It’s a weird thing to be in a relationship after years of failed attempts and general fun with men on the gay/queer male scene. I mentioned earlier that I felt out of place there but now I feel I fit in. We are in an open relationship, where we have promised to have fun with others,men/masculine identified people for me and femmes for her, but we are each others primary partners and we matter first above others. When I first started looking for a female partner I knew that after years of exploring my sexuality with men it would have to be an open relationship cos I’m still exploring and I like expressing that side of my sexuality. I like knowing my girl is happy because she is doing the same and it’s important to us to be able to do this. However when we go out and go to bars I feel like our identities are hidden, which yeah OK it’s not all about sexuality all the time but when we are in gay/queer bars it’s hard to be seen as a queer couple. Though I suppose it depends on the company we have.

I apologise for going off on a massive tangent.

J x

Logo Competition

We recently held a competition for our Curiosity Cabinet Logo and one for our ‘banner’ as well. If you missed it, we had some great submissions and ended up with two lovely winners.

AMY HASLAM: LOGO WINNER

Amy’s logo will appear throughout the magazine as as our profile pictures on our social networking sites. It will also appear on any flyers/cards and we are pleased to announce that it will also be our front cover for the re-launch issue of The Curiosity Cabinet!! We adore it. It pretty much sums up the magazine and it has a cat on it…so it couldn’t get much better.

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Here’s how it’ll look on the website

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BECKY SHAW BANNER

Our banner will be used throughout our social networking and across our website. The lovely Becky Shaw has been a great contributor to The Curiosity Cabinet over the past year and designed our fantastic Halloween cover. Again, sums us up perfectly. Cobwebs, typewriter font, ink stains and a creepy little bunny in a Victorian-esque frame.

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As you can see our readers chose well! The winners will be receiving a book each in the post soon from the Hidden Classics collection. Make sure you keep an eye out for these beautiful pieces of art in our magazines.

michelle