grrrl zine network about rsources writing messge board contact

Lola and the Cartwheels:
"Boogie D.I.Y. Riot-Style !"

An interview with

Emma: Ms Ova Ree, Nicola: Queenie, & Charlotte: Toe Curl

from: Sheffield, England

by Haydeé Jiménez & Elke Zobl

February 2008


"We dare to tread, so do many others. Let’s see what we can do."


Can you tell me a little bit about your personal (age, place of birth and residence etc.) and educational background?
Em: I’m 21 and originally from Doncaster, which is just outside of Sheffield for University where I studied Film and Media Production.
Nicola : I’m 27 and am originally from London.
Charlotte : I’m 22 and originally from Nottingham and I moved for university as well, where I studied History of Art, Design and Media.

What are you currently doing, or involved in, besides your activities as Lolaand the Cartwheels?
Charlotte : I put out an illustration zine called Toe Curl, do general illustration work and DJ
Nicola: I promote nights under the name Change Yr Butcher.

Can you tell our readers about Lola & the Cartwheels?
Charlotte : For me it’s a collective highlighting and showcasing riotgrrrl/queer DIY activity.
Em: Lola is basically an arena for feminists/riotgrrrls/queers, basically anyone who wants to get together with a group of like-minded ego-free people to have fun, showcase their skills/talents/art and meet new people. We host monthly meetings for people to get together and discuss what they wanna see, wanna do, would like to learn or just to make good friends, really, as well as a monthly clubnight called Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases. The clubnight hosts three riotgrrrl/queercore/female oriented or influenced artists followed by a disco with guest DJs and a distro and craft stall.
We basically wanna re-address the gender balance in the Sheffield music scene and also celebrate the many different areas of DIY punk and riot grrrl such as zine workshops, diy DJs and performance art. We also operate on a not for profit basis, basically aiming to cover the costs of the artists enabling them to spread their word further as well as making sure all of the money we make goes to the bands themselves.

About your distro, what kind of zines do you distribute? How long has this distro been running? Where/how are your zines distributed? Who are your readers? What kind of responses do you get from your zines’ audience?
Em: Lola itself had it’s first event in October ’07 and started collecting zines then. We’ve recently established a varied distro with regular suppliers and are always looking for more cool zines to trade and distro! We generally have a stall at all our events and some other DIY events in the area, which is cool and are currently in the process of setting up a separate myspace page just for distro purposes and beginning our own collective zine: Riot Ghoul. We currently stock a wide range of zines, such as music fanzines, rant-zines, per-zines and art/illustration zines and welcome any types really.
Charlotte : It’s really nice to see so many people excited that distros are now getting to be a staple part of DIY shows, as they’re not around much apparently.

What inspired you to create this great DIY project?
Em: We were all influenced really in many different ways by the riot grrrl movement and the general DIY ethos and feminist politics behind it all. I decided to start up Lola after discovering a project in Leeds called Manifesta that really introduced me to the current riot grrrl movement and also the real need for ‘safe places,’ not for profit collectives and the ridiculous lack of female influence in popular culture and access to female arts.
Charlotte : Sick of having nothing good to do and an interest in riot grrrl/queer activities since adolescence.
Nicola: Manda Rin

How did you become introduced to the culture of zines?

Charlotte : Pg45 Comic book shop in Nottingham.
Nicola: Going to gigs and riot grrrl events.
All: Riot grrrl.

Hot Pants Romance

What do you hope to accomplish by making and distributing your soon-to-come zine?
Em: Our reason for creating our own collective zine is to illustrate the work we’re doing, have done and plan to do and make it available at all our events and others. When I discovered the club night Pussy Whipped hosted by Manifesta, it changed my life, I just hope we can reach the people out looking for this sort of thing and people that didn’t know it even existed. We’re really interested in the UK grrrl network and [in] helping bands in the North and South travel the country, spread their word further and also to ensure their safety and welfare in unfamiliar areas. We’ve spoken to so many bands that had travelled to Sheffield before and been ripped off by money driven promoters or played to a totally wrong crowd. We also wanna include artwork, writings, reviews and independent adverts of crafters, bloggers etc to again, help spread the word of independence and DIY self empowerment.

What do you love and find challenging about being a creative DIY activist, creating zines and organizing fun feminist/riotgrrrl/queer-friendly events?
Charlotte : The satisfaction in creating something - a night different to anything else in Sheffield.
Em: I know how grateful I am for all the riot grrrls before me, all the people who’ve influenced me, changed my way of thinking and passions and I just hope that in some way we can reach others and that’s what really drives me. What excites me is the fact we can cover the expenses of new bands to get them to travel further and play to new audiences, win them over and build their confidence and experiences as a band. I also love providing an arena to showcase these artists, to re-address the gender balance and to show people a new take on things that they may not already be aware of.

Ms. Ova Ree and Toe Curl

Which role does the Internet play for you?
Nicola: It’s a great resource and place for archive.
Charlotte : It’s so easy to network.
Em: We love myspace and that’s really how we book all our bands and performers and really run Lola, the bulletin function is such a good tool, saves on all the flyer/poster bills as well!! It’s such a great way to discover other activity and especially new bands.

Name some of your favorite zines.
Charlotte : Conquistador and Zeroten
Nicola : Toe Curl
Em: Colouring outside the lines, She’s so very, Sub Rosa, Suppedisne, Reassess Yr Weapons

Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Nicola : Of course!
Charlotte : Yes
Em: I’m proud to call myself a feminist

What do you think about feminism today? How would you explain what feminism is to someone who has no idea what it is?
Em: I think I mostly identify with the third wave feminism, basically it’s about self empowerment and learning who you are and realizing how you fit in and relate to the world around you and how that makes you feel. As a female, there are still many archaic and down-right wrong ideas still commonly accepted that we are faced with and feminism is really acknowledging them and then fighting them.
Charlotte : It’s not as simple as you’d think, it’s complex.

What are some of your personal wishes/visions/ideas/plans for the future, if you like to share them?
Nicola: To become a resource for people wishing to do something similar and develop ideas with.
Em: I wanna see a more diverse culture, a wider opening for independent musicians and artists and a mixed arena of opinion and passion. It’s a prime time for all of us doing DIY work; Beth Ditto, Miranda July and many others are all paving the way into the (almost) mainstream, and leaving a trail for others who dare to tread. We dare to tread, so do many others. Let’s see what we can do.

The Gang

Is there anything else you’d like to add?



Lola and the Cartwheels on Myspace

lolaandthecartwheelssheff [AT]




:: about :: zines :: resources :: writing :: message board::: contact

2001-2008 elke zobl