LOVE love love this NY photography project, Downtownfrombehind, which captures people riding their bike on every street, avenue and lane below 14th. From behind, like it says. The folks at DFB are into design, sustainability and nice bums from the looks of things. WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE?
I received my first twitter death threat yesterday. Perhaps it is a sign I am going up in the world? Anyway, this was in response to me tweeting about the Bike Train in Brighton, which is a super cool way for me to get to uni in the mornings. Safe cycling with a group of people on a very busy road, with jazz being played on the speakers! Very civilized. So I was kind of bummed to think someone was so incensed by this sensible approach to safety that they would want to run me over and potentially shoot me. I reported it to twitter and the police though
because I am completely overreacting to teach him a lesson. So there.
ANYWAY, in the spirit of safe cycling, here is an AMAZING retro video abut hi-vis vests I found over on the Otesha blog. As the nights draw in, get yourself seen!
Dawn is my first blog friend! We haven’t met yet, but we have a mutual appreciation of each other’s blogs. Please go and check out her blog, 101 wankers, which catalogues all the wankers she encounters when riding her bike (and believe me, there are many). It will have you in stitches.
Website: I blog about idiot anti-cyclists at http://101wankers.com but I also write political things at http://fforphistine.wordpress.com, collaborate on http://waronthemotorist.wordpress.com and tweet (and swear) a LOT at http://twitter.com/dawnhfoster
1) What do you do and why?
I get revenge on people and motorists who think they’ve got a right to shout or abuse me when I cycle, by documenting and making fun of them on my blog. When I first started cycling I used to get furious whenever it happened, and my philosophy in life is, if something makes you angry, make a cup of tea and turn it into something positive, whether it’s a campaign, a comic strip or a blog post. I’m interested in how we relate to our environments too, so using maps appealed to me, and appeared to capture a lot of people’s imaginations. It’s become hugely popular, I think in part because a lot of cyclists (especially women) can relate to it, and there’s a certain localism to it. Part of the “why” is also because I am bolshy, and if I ever think people have slighted me in part because I am a woman I won’t let it drop until they are either embarrassed or angry at me for exposing them. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, and if a few people might think twice before being uneccessarily rude to women in future.
2) Does being a woman affect your work in any way?
Definitely. My politics are based on a belief that equality and ecology are two of the most important things to be protected and as a woman, this is particularly true. And being a woman is the core of why I started 101 Wankers, to basically say that I wouldn’t just accept the abuse that people shouted at me because I dared to be a woman on the road on a bike. The sense of camaraderie I’ve had from the women who’ve contacted me has been fantastic as well, though I feel terrible that I haven’t physically had time to respond to the hundreds of emails I’ve received since starting the project.
3) Are you a feminist?
Most definitely. I first came across the concept when I went to university, and it was a real “Eureka!” moment for me. I felt a lot less alienated, and it really gave me a lot of confidence, to be able to challenge a lot of the behaviour that was directed at me, and the inequality and unfairness I saw day to day.
4) What are your future plans?
I really want to expand the website to include articles on cycling for women of all abilities, as well as interviews with women cyclists on why they cycle. I worry that the site might put some newbies off, when I want everyone to love being on two wheels as much as I do! I also want to work more on writing more on local and environmental issues: I think community’s hugely important and I’m nostalgic for the days of housing cooperatives and genuine neighbourliness. I’ve been reading recently about the eviction of the residents of the Clays Lane Estate Cooperative to make way for the London Olympics, and it made me furious. As someone who’s recently moved to London, I’d like to start getting involved in my local community, through campaigning and writing.
5) Tell us one cool thing we don’t know already:
I tend to think of myself as a misanthropist but can’t help but lapse into grand philosophical moments of loving the world, my friends, fellow campaigners, this city and thinking that sometimes everything can get a little bit better.
Amazing! A load of London bikes (that’s what I’m going to call them – not Boris bikes, not Barclays bikes!) got yarn-bombed this morning. Wicked. We’ve been ruminating at Otesha what kind of portable contraption we could come up with that people could use to cover up the Barclays logos. I think the end result could be quite complicated since they are COVERED in logos, but you’ll have to watch this space to see if we think of anything.
Someone had an admirable go at subvertising them below though – just maybe not with the friendly twist I’m looking for…
Do you have any ideas?
Last Friday night I went along to ArtCrank to support Laura from Otesha who was organising it and to purchase some posters! It was at the very hipster bike cafe Look Mum No Hands, so I didn’t feel too much of a plonker getting my camera out and taking these pics.
The guy in these end pics is the Director of Milltag who make very exciting jerseys, such as the one he’s sporting here. Much better than what’s at Evans, innit. Wish they made them for girls though… hint hint!
If you are in London this week then let me point you in the direction of these two wicked events. Laura from Otesha is helping organise Art Crank, “a poster party for bike people” at super cool bike cafe Look Mum No Hands in Old Street. Um, yes please. Posters are all limited edition and priced from £20. Take a sneaky peek at one below, although I’m not sure if personally I could deal with seeing a bloody knee on my wall every day, but that’s just me.
Next up, we’ve got ‘Craft for justice with the Craftivist Collective‘ at Paper Dress Boutique, 114-116 Curtain Road, Shoreditch on Thursday. It’s from 6.30-8.00pm, entry is free but a donation of £3 is encouraged! You’ve already met Sarah from the Collective in the Girl Swoon series where she laid out her plans for craftivist world domination, and she’s at it again with this event…
“As part of our ongoing commitment to exposing social injustice, the Collective will be contributing to Norwegian artist Lise Bjørne Linnert’s current project, entitled DESCONOCIDA UNKNOWN UKJENT. The project uses the art of embroidery to highlight and protest against human trafficking and femicide, specifically in the city of Ciudad Juarez on the Mexican border. Since 1993, 800 women have been brutally murdered in Ciudad Juarez and hundreds more have gone missing, while the Mexican government turns a blind eye. Prostitution in the region has increased 400% in the same time period.
We will be embroidering the name of one murdered woman on each label alongside the word “unknown”, in remembrance of the hundreds of unidentified victims of similar crimes worldwide. The project is a mass act of solidarity. So far, 2100 individuals in 27 countries have embroidered more than 4000 labels. The Craftivist Collective will add to that figure and help to spread awareness of these atrocities.
The venue is a lovely vintage clothes shop/cafe called Paper Dress Boutique. So come and support a local business by crafting in her cafe with a cup of tea or coffee.”
I’ll be at both so pop along and say hello!
I made it! I am alive, in Brighton and successfully finding wifi access in my new, absolutely wicked local, The Open House. Hoorah. So here is my sweet selection of favourite things from this week.
1. A homage to my home for the last 8 months, Flat Irresistible, that I’ve been sharing with Anna Collins. It’s been grand. The late night chats, broken windows, listening to Miike Snow on repeat, the too-many-bikes in the hallway, the smell of spray paint, even the horrible boys upstairs – I will miss you!
2. And onwards to my new home – Brighton! Yay. I don’t think it’s going to sink in that I’m not just on holiday for a long while yet. I’ve been wandering around the North Laines today with my family and it’s all just rather… AMAZING.
3. General bike lovin’. Check out this beauty I saw when popping out for lunch earlier this week.
4. My mum is a big Michael Ball fan (and if I’m honest so am I, hello, he was in the original cast of Les Mis). So when my friend Cress said she was working on his new chat show and could get us tickets we jumped! We sat right in the front row and saw Richard & Judy, Dom Joly, McFly, one of the Corr sisters (just one), Simon Callow to name but a few and it was hilarious. Clapping and whooping nonstop for 3 hours was a bit less hilarious, but we threw ourselves into it as you can see (that’s my mum, brother Jamie and sister Lauren).
5. I already blogged about the video I made with Josie Long but I didn’t tell you how much I loved doing it! She is ridiculously nice and game for anything, even filming in the pitch black at the very top of a possibly-structurally-unsound-rhino-siege-tower with a police cordon round it and a bike light flashing in her face. So thank you Josie!
6. My friend Lewis (the one that isn’t Tom Hanks) was my saviour yesterday. As one of only two Brighton based friends, he picked up my house keys yesterday, helped me unload the van when I arrived, and then took me out to an amazing 80s night. It had some choice tunes, Big, Back to the Future and The Breakfast Club playing on a projector and vintage clothing stalls. Note to self: do not go vintage clothes shopping again when drunk.
7. How weird is that?
Picture from weheartit