Tour Update: Leeds & Liverpool

It’s 5.30am and I’ve just woken up to birdsong and the dawn hum of street cleaners. I’m in an industrial park near Liverpool Airport (John Lennon if there’s more than one) after driving down from Leeds last night.

The second UK tour is going well. Leeds yesterday was pretty encouraging – thanks to everyone who’s been buying the zines there! I picked up enough loose change from sales in LS6 and Travelling Man to reimburse myself for the fuel it took to drive there and then managed to make enough street selling with the trolley to get to Liverpool. I’m really looking forward to going back next weekend for the Leeds Zine Fair (11am – 6pm on August 8 at Left Bank on Cardigan Road, LS6 1LJ). If you’re around do pop over and say ‘hi’! I’ll be wheeling around a turquoise trolley full of zines & feminist books and I’ll probably have short brown hair with bits of blue & green in it.

One of the really nice things that happened yesterday in Leeds was that I finally managed to find the arts co-op cafe Wharf Chambers. They’ve got the special queer edition of Shape & Situate zine there for £1.50, which was super exciting to see! Picked up a bunch of leaflets for anarchist meetings, poetry events, benefits solidarity and other lefty things and had some very good coffee (also for £1.50). Cannot recommend enough and so pleased it was open while I was in town.

Thanks also need to go to Alice and her boyfriend Ian who hosted me in Leeds! Alice showed me a hand powered letter press she’d picked up, with real lead letters and everything! It wasn’t big enough to make any zines (and I arrived a bit too late in the evening to get creative), but it was an honour to see one. I get so over-awed by analogue printing. One of the best things about working at the Evening Tele was the fact that they still had a working printing press in the building, and offered tours to members of staff. I can’t express how wonderful it is to see thousands of newspapers being printed; the deafening sound of the rollers and the train track conveyor belt on the ceiling carrying them around the massive room as they’re printed and folded and have adverts inserted and piled up for distribution. They even have some old letter presses on display, but the whole process is digitised now. What used to be a job for hundreds of… men (I don’t believe there were ever many female printers at DC Thomsons, but please do correct me if I’m wrong in the comments!), is now done by a team of sub-editors upstairs on the newspaper floor and a couple guys behind desks in the basement. That’s the only thing that depresses me about modern printing. One day I hope to make Artificial Womb without a computer, just postal submissions and ink and lead. Who knows – it could happen!

Anyway, it’s nearly 6am now and early shift workers are starting to arrive so I better move on or try and go back to sleep. I’ll hopefully be in the Community Market in St John’s Gardens today as part of Liverpool Pride (although the event may be ticketed – boo hiss – and so some bouncer avoidance may be required). See you there if you’re about!

Love and hugs in warm cozy sleeping bags!

Ana (Editor, Artificial Womb)