The Midlands’ Mag for Women Who Love Life
! E E FR here 1. 50 w
MULLETS VINTAGE FASHION GLADIATORS BIRMINGHAM LIFESTYLE
Plus! s r a W t e Secr
and much more...
A e l p m a
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t n e m e
AND THE REST
MEET THE TEAM
Kat Higgs (editor/ designer)
Natalie Chillington (writer)
lood Laura B ) (writer
“‘Live art’ or ‘performance art’ is where an artist creates a piece of art in front of audience.This experience gives the viewers some insight into the mind of an artist at work, which is very exciting and thought provoking.”Terry Guy – Monorex (Founder) It all started in March ’06 as a testing ground for artists to show the public what they can do and quickly evolved into a knockout style contest that now attracts regular crowds of 400+ people. Quite impressive for a street art competition spread only by word of mouth! Birmingham’s Secret Wars have been taking place in Digbeth at the Rainbow venues. On each night there are usually two battles and there is a prize of £1000 for the overall winner. The rules are as follows: •90 minutes on the clock •black paint only, on white walls •no sketches, no pencils •invisible middle line with an artist either side Each round is judged using a 3 point system - 2 guest judges and 1 crowd vote using a decibel reader. Secret Wars is constantly on the lookout for great artistic talent, if you think you have what it takes in a 90 minute art battle, then get in touch with your local participating city and supply them with some examples of your work.
PHILTH AKA Phill Blake is an artist, designer, illustrator and now Birmingham Secret Wars Champion of 2009. The 28-year-old from Bedworth just outside Coventry is very proud of becoming Birmingham Series 2 Champion. “I have been a fan of Secret Wars since the off and just love the whole concept. Plus I do a lot of live art at different events so it’s nice to be a champ in the field.” Beating Bristol’s Sam Bevlak in a two hour long grand final at the very fitting Rainbow Warehouse in Digbeth has certainly been a highlight in Blake’s career. He says he entered the competition
to give himself a new challenge and of course, for the exposure. Secret Wars is also a great place to network with other talented artists whilst listening to fantastic live music. Despite winning Birmingham Secret Wars which is primarily a graffiti art competition, Blake enjoys working in several different mediums. “I love to keep changing my approach to my work, it keeps it interesting but I’m yet to pin down my favourite. I want to try so many more!” Whilst his work has always been inspired by fashion trends and music, Blake’s style reflects influences from graffiti and comic books which he has expressed an interest in from an early age. “My main influence at this point in time though is female form and the female image in subcultures. Another side to my work is a reaction to the human condition and looks
at our impact on nature and vice versa. It’s deeply political and a bit spiritual.” Blake graduated from Coventry University in 2007 with a first class degree in Graphic Design and Illustration which he says got his ‘arse in to gear,’ but he claims to be mainly self taught when it comes to art and design. “My ambition is to keep doing stuff I enjoy with my time, and never have to work for someone else doing stuff I don’t enjoy just to eat.” The determined artist loves Birmingham. “There are loads of cool, creative people about and a good friendly vibe about the place, but I find it hard to make a living in the midlands.” Perhaps winning such an accolade will help with this matter. In the meantime, Blake is considering spending his £1000 winnings on updating his studio, but would also like to do some travelling and gain more inspiration for his work. To see some of Blake’s impressive work go to www.phillblakeillustration.co.uk
Nina Matsumoto has experienced the success and sheer luck that artists can only dream of. When Nina, known as spacecoyote, posted her manga adaptation of the Simpsons onto the web, she sparked an internet phenomenon and received a flood of job offers to boot. Although she already had her own online comic, Saturnalia, it was her ‘The Simpsonszu’ picture that got the 22 year old Japanese-Canadian’s talent noticed. Now an established comic book artist, Nina has drawn official Simpsons comics and has received many private commissions. Last November saw the publication of her own comic, Yokaiden, which tells the story of Hamachi, a boy who discovers and befriends monsters from Japanese folklaw. Melonz caught up with spacecoyote to see what makes this artist tick. Why ‘space coyote’?
I’ve always been an enormous fan of The Simpsons. Around the time I first went online, the season 8 episode “El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer” aired, which featured a talking coyote from space voiced by Johnny Cash in Homer’s hallucination. Homer later refers to it as “space coyote.” I thought it sounded neat so I adopted it as my screenname, and I’ve been using it ever since. It fits me well because I do love space and canines, and there are many urban coyotes where I’m from.
Have you always had a natural flair for art? How do you consider the ratio of talent/hard work to have contributed to getting you where you are today?
The people in my life would say I’ve always had a flair for it. I do believe in “natural talent” to an extent (like how I’m naturally un-talented with maths),
but I also believe being born without an artistic sense doesn’t mean you can’t develop one. At the same time, one can have artistic instincts yet never tap into it, and never reach their full potential. Because I aimed for a career in the arts, I kept practicing it and strived to better my skills, which is how I got to where I am. As for ratio, who can really say. Not me; I’m terrible at math.
When people find out that you are a professional artist, what kind of reaction do you generally receive?
Whenever I say I’m a comic book artist for a living I’m met with genuine surprise and interest . I guess it’s something one wouldn’t expect to hear when casually asking someone what they do. Fortunately I have interesting stories to tell about it (like how I got discovered), and I do work for at least one title everyone is familiar with (Simpsons Comics).
People are generally impressed when they find out I’ve had my own book published, and they feel like checking it out. It’s a nice conversation starter.
What inspired you to draw the original Simpsons picture that has led to global recognition for your work?
All I wanted to do was draw them in my style, really, especially since I’d never seen them drawn in a manga style. I knew the results would be frightening, and I often will draw things just to get a reaction out of my friends. Never thought the entire Internet would end up seeing it.
Why do you think ‘that picture’ become so popular?
For two reasons: one, it’s not just the family; a lot of commonly seen Springfield residents are in there (and I chose to base it on an existing official picture because I wouldn’t be able to pick and choose who to put in there) which makes it pretty eye-catching. Two, the Simpsons is known all over the world! Everyone knows who the Simpsons are and what they’re supposed to look like even if they’ve never watched an episode, so the picture has an extremely wide audience.
What do you find generates the most appreciation from your fans: the comic strips, or your standalone commission pieces?
The whole reason why I had a fanbase to begin with was my webcomic, Saturnalia. Back when I started Saturnalia, my artwork wasn’t so great, and I knew that, but I had faith in my ability to create characters and tell a story. So I focused on getting the story out there without worrying about the artwork too much. People got into it, and I was able to gain fans. I wouldn’t have been able to do it with my artwork alone, as it wasn’t my strongest suit. Eventually I became good enough to do commissions, and by then, I was fairly well known in the online manga artist community because of my comic.
How would you describe your drawing style?
Mostly manga, part western; more emphasis on lines work than colours; cultural and satiric; can’t decide what it wants to be.
The Simponzu: The picture that started it all
Are you influenced by any other artists?
My biggest influence for a good while was manga artist Fujisaki Ryuu, but I’ve been branching out. I’m influenced by all sorts of artists and will experiment with various rendering styles.
What do you consider the ‘next step’ for your art and career?
Getting more of my work out there and becoming known, I suppose. I just got my foot in the industry door and I’m open to various possibilities. I think it would be neat if I could become the “go-to person” for manga style art in North America.
What do you consider to be the ‘next step’ for your art and career?
Getting more of my work out there and becoming known, I suppose. I just got my foot in the industry door and I’m open to various possibilities. I think it would be neat if I could become the “go-to person” for manga style art in North America.
One receives the impression that you like to maintain a distinct division between your personal life and the ‘Space Coyote’ net persona.
I like to keep quiet about my private life. For ten years, up until Simpsonzu went up and I was contacted by the press about it, I stubbornly kept my real name a strict secret and used “space coyote” for everything.
For a long time, I preferred not to put up my gender or location or age -- if anyone asked about me, I’d say I’m a coyote from outerspace who needs money to return home and leave it at that. I don’t like revealing how I look, either, which is why I draw myself as a hastily sketched coyote. I still stick to my story for kicks; though my real name is out in the open now, my penchant for being secretive about my personal life still remains.
Finally, what do you do for fun when you’re not busy working?
I stargaze, wistfully looking towards the direction of my home planet. Interested in seeing more of Nina’s work? Visit yokaiden.com and spacecoyote.com. Yokaiden can be purchased from Amazon.co.uk.
A series of fortunate events
Thought there was no talent in Birmingham? Think again. Melonz’s Natalie talks to NME freelancer, promoter, DJ and founder of The Other Woman’s Club Cassie Philomena Smyth. I had arranged our meeting in the Bullring Starbucks café round the back of Borders to talk about The Other Woman’s Club. However, unbeknown to me, waiting was an endless list of impressive accomplishments by a young entrepreneur. 24-year-old Cassie was only too happy to tell me all about the many drunken escapades that have accidentally led her to becoming the relatively wellknown music figure head in Birmingham that she is.
Cassie Phi lomena Sm Journalist, yth pr omoter, D J
Gemma Qu a Jac Charlesworth Singer/Songwriterrterman Artist
It all began during a summer break from university one year. “I was bored over the summer, so I started writing because I went to see a lot of bands and I knew someone who was running a fanzine that was around at the time called The Media Assassin,” says Cassie. “I wrote a couple of reviews for that without thinking they’d be any good and it turned out they were alright. So when I came back to Birmingham, I started writing for them quite a lot and got myself well-ish known around the circuit.” ‘Well-ish known’ is somewhat of a modest description, Cassie knows pretty much everyone worth knowing in the second city, in the music industry anyway. Halfway through the interview, Cassie calls over a friend she has spotted and after a short discussion about how his new band are going Cassie invites him to an open mic taking place at her house at the weekend, I’ll explain more later. The first of several ‘accidents’ was at a Twang gig. “It was the last big gig before they got
signed and it was an absolute sell-out,” says Cassie. “I was very drunk and started talking to someone and it turned out to be the New Music Editor of NME! He asked me to send him an article the next day which I did and he got back to me a couple of hours later.” Just half an hour after the exchange of phone numbers, Cassie was offered a job on the spot! When I say ‘accident’, this didn’t happen out of sheer luck although just bumping into an NME Editor is pretty darn fortunate. No, this girl is incredibly driven, radiates personality and more than anything, is really pleasant to talk to – one of those rare, genuine
Hannah Fewtrell-Bolton Jewellery Designer
Ra Lea ch e d Sin g
lP lant of 'Th eH eat
and down to earth people with no fake front whatsoever which on a first meet such as this, counts for everything. True, the booze may have helped along the way. Whilst working as a freelancer for NME, the second ‘accident’ spawned out of drink occurred. “My Barfly job came from the promoter at the time being really drunk,” says Cassie. “I went to go and interview Photograp her The Long Blondes but the bouncer was being an arsehole, even after he’d seen me wave at the drummer he still wouldn’t let me in. So I had a big row with him and said I’m going I’m on a guest list for the fucking NME! I ended up bumping into a promoter that night who offered me some flyering work. Then a couple of weeks later someone didn’t turn up for their shift at a gig and I got drafted
Jade Sukiy a Freelance
elaney D e n n a ie r a M ' 'Mrs er Singer/Sonwrit
Anna Pa lm (aka Lit er tle Palm Singer/ ) So ngwrite
in and was working there for about 10 months running gigs and looking after bands.” Cassie still freelances but is primarily one of the main contributors to Fused magazine, an internationally distributed quarterly publication featuring music, art and fashion. “It’s not paid but the quality of the people you get to go and interview is ridiculous,” says Cassie. This job was obtained whilst sober – “I said I fancied doing a bit of writing and they phoned me up and said, ‘are you free tomorrow to interview Calvin Harris? and I was like, yeah alright!” I was jealous when she said it, I’m jealous still whilst writing this. Having fulfilled every music journalist’s dream, Cassie ironically prefers the less commercial side of the music industry. “I’m just a bit enthusiastic about my locals. Birmingham gets such a bad rap; apparently nothing ever comes out of here. It constantly feels like an up hill battle to get anyone noticed.” Cassie has dedicated much of her time to helping local artists promote themselves. She recently formed The Other Woman’s Club; initially a group of female DJs which has since grown into a creative women’s collective of photographers, musicians, designers, journalists, promoters and one man. The club has been going for just short of a year now and is aimed at providing a support network for
creative women in Birmingham. “We’ve got ideas about maybe putting on events and things like that but we’re not quite there yet,” says Cassie. Alongside promoting The Other Woman’s Club, Cassie works two days a week at a music college mentoring students on how to start making money from their
KieranaristD(Uuntffitlyed Musical Singer/Guit Project)
music and how to get freelance jobs. It’s a pilot scheme, and if it proves to be success, will be available from other such colleges across the country. “It’s a good job and I really enjoy it. There’s so much talent,” says Cassie with a huge amount of pride. She wants to put Birmingham back on the map. “Maybe it might take a while, but in ten years time I can say I helped that and people will want to come to Birmingham. Or I might eventually just have to get a proper job and work in an office; I might have to give up the rock ‘n’ roll dream.” Erm, no! With the amount of knowledge and passion I am sensing from this
Gemma Ho lz
DJ, Prom oter, Jewellery Designer
first meet, I can’t see how Cassie could possibly fail. Although currently downcast about most music in the industry at the moment, Cassie feels these are exciting times. “Record companies get too caught up in what other people are selling and try and emulate that and then we just become awash with the same old thing,” says Cassie. ”Someone else will break through, and they’ll be great and then record companies will do the same.” Cassie thinks that because of the way the music industry is going, power is shifting really quickly towards the artist and she is seeing this in front of her very eyes. “At college, all our ‘kids’ are like, ‘what’s to stop us uploading our own tracks and selling them ourselves on the internet?’ The kids coming up at the minute, are so clued up about the internet and record companies are already faltering, even before the recession,” says Cassie who believes record companies will become obsolete. “They’re in trouble at the minute and really playing it safe so what’s going out on the big releases is boring as fuck because they know it’ll sell.” Could the internet really allow for an industry free from constraints and the reflection of business expectations? Perhaps it is already. So what is there left for Cassie Philomena Smyth to achieve? “I haven’t actually achieved anything that I set out to, they’ve all been accidents. I would like to write about film, I’d like to actually write a film. I would like it to be like my love letter to Birmingham ideally because I love this city. In terms of ambition, I’d like to make people see what I see in Birmingham. All the beauty, the culture and just the people.”
Coffee and Cake Once a month in the living room of a Birmingham house takes place another wondrous creation by Cassie Philomena Smyth; Coffee&Cake Club. Everyone knows the smaller, more intimate gigs are the best but this is something else.
an’s Club Marianne Delaney and Envy and Other Sins front man, Ali Forbes amongst others. It was all quite surreal but made for a very enjoyable evening to say the least.
“I get a local band, well, now it’s developed into two bands, and they play a stripped back acoustic set,” says Melonz’s friend, Cassie. “They might be the heaviest band in the world, but they’ve got to strip back because I live in a terrace house.”
When we arrived, there were around 8 people sitting in the living room watching Ghostbusters, including Mr. Peel himself. Slowly, more and more people started arrive, mostly first timers who had heard about the club by word of mouth like me.
And that’s when the pressure gets to them, there’s nothing quite like watching an artist at their most vulnerable and still be bowled over by their pure naked talent. I’d describe Coffee&Cake as the perfect cocktail for goose pimples. The bands come along with their friends and it’s like a little Sunday evening chill. Cassie is a very welcoming host, and there really is coffee and cake to be had. Fellow Melonz writer Laura Blood and I attend April’s gig which presented Birmingham’s quirky folk singer Tom Peel followed by an open mic involving The Other Wom-
The coffee table was cleared out of the way to make room for a stool where Peel perched to perform. At this point, there were at least 20 people sat wherever there was space; on the arms of chairs, on the floor and in the doorways drinking coffee, smoking fags and slurping from cans. But this wasn’t the busiest gig Cassie had seen, “The most people I’ve ever had
in, is probably when I had Roses Kings Castles in January who is the drummer from Babyshambles, it’s his solo project. I think I had 45/50 people, we couldn’t fit everyone into the living room there were people stood in the kitchen and in the corridor.” What’s even more gratifying about these gigs is that it’s free in, the band also plays for free making it a really charming event for real music lovers. “It’s like nothing you can explain, there’s no other gig like it and it all started again by accident,” says Cassie. “Marianne had just started writing and performing her stuff and she was getting nervous about an up coming gig so I said to her, we’ll get a couple of friends round, we’ll have a little tea party it’ll be nice and relaxing then you can sing your songs and test them out on us.” Cassie suggested they should do it every month and Coffee&Cake was born.
“It’s like nothing you can explain, there’s no other gig like it”
“I made a MySpace and then without really thinking it through, added a few people and they got back to me asking if they could play. Before I knew it, I had the first 4 months booked up without having to ask anyone!”
he gave me his number,” says Cassie. “The next time he came to Birmingham I arranged to interview him for Fused because his album was due and he said he runs a similar kind of thing to Coffee&Cake in London at his house called ‘Welcome to our TV Show’.”
date was in March with The Other Woman’s Club very own Gemma Quarterman and Mike King. “We had about 30 people and it was just such a good atmosphere I can’t put my finger on why, but do you know when you’ve got a nice sort of glow after and everyone’s really happy and it’s just a really lovely time?”
Having had such Cinema Club a huge up-andcoming artist as Jeremy, I assumed this would have been the best gig yet but it gets better. “In terms of atmosphere, until last month I would have said Untitled Musical Project”. Cassie was impressed by how much this noisy band stripped back and reworked their sound. “Some bands are like no, I can’t do acoustic, but then you get other bands they’re just up for He was really lovely, I told him the challenge. I find that much at the end of the day that I was a more admirable, the fact that secret Jeremy Warmsley fan and they’re willing to give it a go”. However, Cassie’s favourite Coffee&Cake to
Cassie isn’t, and wouldn’t want to make any money out of Coffee&Cake Club. We hope it continues to gain the recognition it deserves for being so delightfully different whilst remaining exclusive and accessible to a lucky few. “Long may it continue,” says Cassie. “I have promoters asking me to bring it to a venue but then it would be like any other night so I’m quite precious about it.” Glad to hear it.
“More intense than eating a Mars Bar”
I was aware that an artist I particuDan: Sunset larly like, Jeremy Warmsley had played Coffee and Cake and so I asked Cassie what this gig was like trying not to sound too envious. She casually replied, “Oh yeah, he’s a friend of mine well an acquaintance.” Cassie was also a huge fan of Jeremy and was lucky enough to meet him when he supported Mystery Jets at the Barfly. “
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Melonz did a little rummaging around our local charity shops to show you how to look good- charity shop style. Each outfit cost under ÂŁ15, proving that you can save money on quality whilst helping others in the process- guilt free shopping! BUT before you go, make sure you take along a bag of your unwanted goods with you in exchange.
This economic downturn has not been good at all with redundancies, pay cuts, banks going bust and so on and so forth. Bad times. As we try to do our best to economize and pull those purse strings in real tight, it appears that more of you are trading your preferred retail destination of the high street for charity shops to feed your shopping habit. Whilst some high street shop profits begin to plummet it would be easy to presume that charity shops are basking in the extra custom but they too are facing the consequences of the economic crisis. Yes, in general charity shops have seen a rise in sales however as a consequence a critical decrease in both cash and quality stock donations. As money gets tight people are beginning to hoard and are holding back from donating to charity, proving the economic crisis is playing devil to charity also. Steve Wooldridge, Head of Property and Stock at Help the Aged told us that they have seen a significant decrease in donation volume compared to last year, with those made directly to shops falling by 11% and those picked up from homes falling by 5%. This equates to around 116,000 fewer bags of donations compared to last year and with each bag valued at around £30 that’s a sum of £3,480,000 that Help the Aged alone are missing out on. Steve said “with less items to sell in our shops, the less money in the long run we are able to raise to help disadvantaged older people. Continuing to receive quality stock donations is crucial to the continued success of charity shops in this economic climate”. Andrew Adair, Director of Retail at Scope also commented on their recent influx of trade during the economic crisis. “We have seen a noticeable rise in the number of customers visiting our shops as they search for a good bargain”. But again, with second hand goods proving more popular than new, Andrew states that they are finding it difficult to keep up with the increased demands as donations begin to dwindle. “With the
Donation Tips For furnitu
re and electrical good s- Call the British Heart Foun dation on 0844 412 5000 to arrange a free collection service.
Request a collection for large donations with Help the Aged. Call 020 7239 7583. Organize a ‘Donation Station’ with Cancer Research UK , simply organize a venue for people to meet and bring along bags of donations, ca ll 020 7121 6677 to receive a start up pa ck. economic downturn we have seen a return of the ‘make do and mend’ culture”. As the largest director in the charity shop sector, Oxfam has been using a number of initiatives to maintain their sales and volume of quality donations. For example, last year they struck a exchange deal with Marks and Spencers. For every customer that donated a labeled M&S item they would in return receive a £5 off M&S voucher that they could use when spending £35 or more on clothing or home-ware. This initiative alone has boosted Oxfam sales by £1.7m over the past year. Oxfam have also launched their own online shop (www.oxfam.org.uk/shop) which you can buy second hand clothing and other ethical goods as well as launching three Oxfam boutiques within London, consisting of designer label donations in a bid to boost their sales. However, like many other charities, they too are beginning to see the economic crisis taking effect. The demand for second hand goods is high, however the amount and quality of donations are dramatically decreasing. In a bid to boost the amount of donations charities are urging you to de-clutter your homes to help replenish their shelves and rails so that they can continue their good work helping others. Whether this be clothing, books, toys, CD’s or bric-a-brac, bag it up and donate to your nearest charity shop. If you don’t already shop at charity shops we suggest you start now, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what treasures you may find.
Melonz showcases vintage fashion inspired by the 1940â€™s working war woman
Photography: Amy Galloway Stylist: Abigail Wood
Jet- our heroine of the 90â€™s
GLADIATORS GlADIATORS Melonz readers: The Melonz team have spent many an hour reminiscing about the programmes we used to watch when we were younger. You know the kind- Finders Keepers,Thunder Cats, Fun House… we could go on and on. So when Melonz’ Laura got the opportunity to interview some of the heroes from her personal favourite, Gladiators, she was ecstatic to say the least. As a child I always wanted to be one of the Gladiators, I knew all their stats and facts, which still come in handy at the odd pub quiz now! I was a massive fan, some might say… obsessed? Believe it or not, this still hasn’t changed. When the new Gladiators arrived on Sky One last year, I found myself back in front of the TV, with the exact same feelings of awe and excitement that I felt 17 years previously. I spoke to Gladiators both old and new to finally ask all of the questions I’d been dying to ask them as a long lived, die-hard fan.
are you ready?! you thinking what I’m thinking? One of the most well known female Gladiators- Jet! Who is better known these days under her real name, Diane Youdale. Diane began her career as a Gladiator in the first ever series back in 1992. Quickly gathering notoriety for her incredible ability to tackle events with strength and skill, whilst at the same time creating a dedicated following of young men, she also came to be regarded as a bit of a heart-throb. Unfortunately, Diane’s career as a Gladiator came to a sudden and unexpected end in 1996, following an injury to her neck in the ‘Pyramid’ event. With this preventing her from competing at 100% fitness, she decided that it was time to leave and move on. So, for those who might have thought that this was a publicity stunt, you read it here first - it wasn’t. Diane grew up in the north east of England, where she took up gymnastics at an early age and went on to gain the title of ‘North England Junior Champion Gymnast’ for four consecutive years. When Diane turned 13 she traded gymnastics for dance, and continued to pursue two diplomas in Performing Arts and Fitness and Exercise. After completing her diplomas Diane began TV presenting, and through the contacts she made
Jet’s career came to a sudden end following a neck injury
If I think back to the original Gladiator legends, there is one woman in particular that stands out in my memory. Are
she was asked to take part in the Gladiator auditions. In her own words; “at the time nobody knew what it was and I didn’t think too much about it. I looked at the audition as a chance to have a go at an army assault course, and basically went along for the experience”. Little did she know that this audition would lead to the birth of a huge national phenomenon. Diane told me about the best parts of being a Gladiator: “I really began to enjoy it after I started to specialise in events such as ‘Hang Tough’ and ‘The Wall’ - and even though the routines were very demanding, I’d always get an incredible buzz from each show”.
“I’d always get an incredible buzz from each show”
When the success of the Gladiators escalated, Diane really began to feel the pressure. “When the show was at its peak it would pull in over 11 million viewers, so that was when things got quite tough. We would have to travel a lot and maintain our personal appearances through training whilst the shows were running, but wherever I was I’d always make sure that I’d manage to get outdoors to just run”. Despite the drawbacks that come with such an intense lifestyle, she still firmly believes that it was all a great experience. Since leaving the Gladiators in 1996 due to her neck injury, Dianne went back to TV presenting, hosting a number of shows such as ‘ ’Games-Master’ and ‘You Bet’- what a show! After a short stint in presenting she decided to embark on a new career away from the limelight, and retrained as a psychotherapist. Dianne, now 39, lives in Manchester with her partner Andy where she uses her training, knowledge and personal experiences to counsel others facing problems such as anxiety and stress.
also insists that I continue to do some of the gymnastic moves I used to do on Gladiators”. My goodness! Up until now Diane has kept a low media profile whilst concentrating on psychotherapy. “I’ve made the occasional appearance on TV shows such as ‘I love the 90’s’, and I’ve carried on doing Panto completing my 17th appearance this year, but I’ve only recently immersed myself back into the industry. I’m currently copresenting a daytime radio show for BBC Tees and I have a few more jobs in the pipeline”. I asked Diane if she had kept in contact with any of her fellow Gladiators since leaving the show, hoping that she might say that they regularly meet up in full Gladiator attire. “I keep in touch with Kate Staples (aka Zodiac), but it’s difficult to keep in contact with everybody as we all have different careers and responsibilities now. We did do a Radio 1 reunion in 2006 and I saw a few of the team when I was doing some filming for the new Gladiators website last year. It was great to see everyone”. Oh well, maybe my hopes were a tad far-fetched… but one can dream! So has Diane been watching the new show? “I haven’t been watching the show, but I have met them all and they’re a great bunch. They’re very athletic and more geared towards speed and endurance as opposed to the bulky “body builder” look, which I think is a good strategy”. And even though Diane has declined the offer of participating in the ‘Legends Strike Back’ to compete against the new Gladiators, given the opportunity to turn back time she said she would gladly do it all over again.
“I have a few more jobs in the pipeline”
Even with her new career, there is one part of the Gladiator’s lifestyle that she hasn’t left behind - the training. Diane still likes to keep fit and continues to work out in true Gladiator style. “My partner is a personal trainer and will train with me indoors and outdoors, putting me through some really demanding routines with lots of running and strength training. He
I must admit I was pretty dubious about the new Gladiators. Would they be able to fill the talented trainers of the past legends? Well, I’ve certainly not been disappointed, and yes by George the talent baton has been well and truly passed on! I spoke to Jemma Palmer
personalities musme that think of that?! Perhaps I stillthe couldhighlight for my 22nd (Birmingham born and and bred) about her fight to (?). She would watch the show religiously, andis becomephysiques one of the new of Gladiators cular ofgeneration the of being a Gladiator regularly attend the live shows in Birmingham. – Inferno: hot, fiery, dangerous and destructive. past female Gladiators, being part of a “team Afterwards, she would wait outside to get Jemma told me that even as a child she knew she hopes of characters of totally pictures with the Gladiators which that she wantedthat to she would put in a special scrap be a Gladiator. “I Inferno comdifferent personalities, “I used tell all of my book - now that is a true fan! used tell all of my doing something bines a mix friends that I wasof her late teens she took on a friends that I was going Inlifestyle going tostrength be one - I both similar to that of a bodyeven had a Gladiator with a demanding fitness and character. to be a Gladiator - I even builder; themed birthday regime that included a lot of wresparty at a told local ball Jemma tling in a bid to fulfil her dreams pool”. Now why didn’t I
had a Gladiator themed birthday party”
of becoming as fit and strong as one of her Gladiator idols. Her hard training paid off when she won a scholarship with Ultimate Pro-Wrestling in America, after which she went on to enter many competitions across the UK and the USA - taking away such titles as ‘Miss Maxim’, ‘Musclemania finalist’ and ‘WWE Diva’.
Inferno: looking all ‘Sin City’
Through her dedication to wrestling, eventually the opportunity arose to enter the USA Gladiators. However, after successfully completing the auditions and fitness tests, she was denied a part due to the fact she was originally from the UK. Despite this setback, with the USA Gladiator panel impressed by her fitness ability and her potential to be a strong personality, she was referred to the UK Gladiators and got offered a place on the show, taking the part of Inferno. Admiring the strength and dominance
Inferno combines a mix of both strength and character
of Shadow, and
incredibly unique and surreal”. Some of her favourite events on the show are ‘Rocketball’ (because it’s “like wrestling in the air”) and ‘Earthquake’ (even though she would prefer it she could throw the contenders off!). She also added that she enjoys ‘Duel Practice’ in which she admits she gets a few tips from Panther (Helen Madderson) to help improve her technique. “I love practising with her - she doesn’t hold back!”. Can you imagine? I’d love to be able to tell someone to call back later because I was busy practising a few moves with the likes of Wolf! Oh, the life of a Gladiator.
Wrestling Entertainment) has always been a dream of mine. I’m also training towards my Pro-figure card (recognition of natural bodybuilding success) and I also have a new TV show coming up soon. But at the moment, my main focus is on Gladiators, training hard for the next series”. I don’t know about you, but I feel quite exhausted just reading that back! Jemma is one very busy, and very talented young woman. The third series of the new Gladiators begins next January on Sky One, but if you can’t wait until then to see Inferno in action I suggest you sign up for Sky Player quick sharp to watch the repeats of her incredible performances in series two which ended in March.
“off season I will do about two hours of cardio per day, one hour of weights and climbing, wrestling or American football”
Although she loves being a Gladiator, she doesn’t deny that the training is incredibly grueling: “off season I will do about two hours of cardio per day, one hour of weights and then either climbing, wrestling or American football”. And leading up to filming for the show she starts to include sprinting, fitness work and boxing whilst keeping to a strict bodybuilders diet. “The schedule is really tough”. It sounds it! Having already achieved a lot at such a young age, I asked Jemma what else she was planning to do with her career. “I’ve recently met up with TNA (Top Non-stop Action) wrestling in Florida to continue pro-wrestling. That, and wrestling with the WWE (World
IInferno: making her ‘presence’ known.
...we'll show you how Here at Melonz we most certainly do advocate good times and therefore we have concocted a few cocktail recipes for you to try out over the next few glorious British summer months. However, they do come with a CAUTION: too many too strong can lead to temporary blurred Thunderbird vision, memory loss, regrettable text 50ml Southern Comfort messages, sickness 25ml Amaretto and a hang over from Dash of lime cordial Coke hell. But if you take Add the above in order, top them easy- blissful! with ice and voila Thunder-
After Sex 30ml Absolut Vodka 30ml Creme De Bananas Orange Juice Chill tall glass with ice, add vodka then Creme De Bananas and top with orange juice, stir and enjoy. Perfect for: Need I say.
birds are go! CAUTION: Too many too quick and you will be collapsing like a puppet.
Incredible Hulk 30ml Vodka 2/3 Bottle of WKD Blue Coke Pour vodka followed by WKD and Coke- Simples. CAUTION: Beware a few too many tall ones and you will be looking and feeling a little green.
1 part Vodka 2 parts Cranberry Juice Champagne to taste Add vodka and cranberry juice to a shaker with cracked ice, shake an pour into a glass and add a dash of champagne. Perfect for: Those sweetiedarling moments.
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30ml odka eur) u q li V n 30ml dori (Melo i 15ml M syrup Melon me in 1/4 Li ther e e g g o e t h l Nutm lcoho dash of t a e h Add t er, add a f the lime k o d a sha a sqeeze utmeg an n , syrup prinkle of to a tall s in and a well. Pour shake nd enjoy. nd of lady. a ki glass : Our r o f ct Perfe
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Melonz has been and road tested Newquay and returned with our verdict for you. Despite the rain and the loss of mobile phones we had fun and frolics with sun, sea and surf in the day followed by drinking, dancing and stumbling until the early hours of the next morning. So with our blurry expertise on Newquay we have constructed an essential guide to get the best out of your time there.
Where to stay
Melonz recommends the Reef Surf Lodge. We stayed here for 4 nights, Monday to Friday for £99 each. Its located slap bang in the middle of the town centre, the perfect location as the beaches, shops, restaurants, bars and clubs are within a reasonable walking distance. They have rooms with 3 to 8 beds, many of which come with en-suite, they are a little cramped, or shall we say bijou, but this all added to the fun of the experience. Everyone is provided with a key and there isn’t a curfew which was a God send as you find members of your group may stray throughout the night.
They also have there own bar that provides drinks, snacks and light entertainment which you can involved in, if you can sing, dance, play the banjo go ahead and show Newquay what you’ve got at their open mic nights. In all, a great place to chill out, have a laugh and a bevy before you head out. (www.reefsurflodge.co.uk) There are also many other similar lodge-style accommodations such as The Base, The Ocean and The Escape Lodge. (www.basesurflodge.com, oceanlodge.wordpress.com, www.escape2newquay.co.uk) Or if you’re adventurous enough, there is camping and caravaning.... Smugglers Haven offer caravans of 4-9 berth, prices range from £125-£160 per person, per week depending on the size of caravan you opt for. Smugglers is out of the town centre. However, they do provide a mini bus ride for £1 each way. They also have camping fields which cost only £12 a night,. Bargain. (www.smugglershaven.co.uk)
Car: This was our
transport of choice, and is probably the cheapest depending on how many people are sharing the cost and where you’re driving from. Passengers, make sure you provide the driver with sugar/ caffeine/ motivation and hydration, as well as a top quality mixed tape for in- car entertainment. If you don’t possess a satnav, Mapquest/ human intuition does the job nicely.
Coach: National Express
do coach journeys to Newuay from most areas of the U.K. Prices can be a bit hit and miss though, so check out: (www.nationalexpress.com)
Whilst your there its advised that you indulge in everything British, try Truscotts for good old fish and chips and Bunters for the ultimate greasy fry up and hangover cure. For cliché purposes, grab an actual ‘Cornish’ pasty or if want to be fancy, a jam and cream scone, you are in Cornwall after all, its what they do best and there are lots of shops and cafes catering for your scone-ralated needs. If your’re feeling exotic there are a number of Indian and Chinese restaurants, our favourites were the Maharajah, Indian Summer and Kaduna. And for the not so exotic moments, there are plenty of fast food restaurants to fill your face whilst wobbling home at the end of the night.
Newquay has several beaches, all great for different reasons depending on what your’re looking for. If its the waves and surf then Fistral, Whipsiderry and Tolcarne Best are your haven. If you don’t own your own surf board or wet suit you can hire both for under £15, this is something we suggest you do. One wet suit + body board= good times! Whereas Towan, The Harbour or Porth are the beaches you should head to if you want to unwind, relax and perhaps do a bit of body boarding. The beaches are also a great place to head at night also. The beaches are police surveyed but they don’t interfere with you having fun, they are merely there to make sure you keep safe whilst under the influence of a few too many alcoholic beverages.
Now were talking, where to get your beers and where to dance like its 2009.You are quite literally spoilt for choice, Newquay seem to have got fantastic nightlife down to a T. Our favorite places to start the night off were The Central, Walkabout or Chy Bar all of which lie in the town centre amongst the hustle and bustle of the roaring nightlife. After a few, its time to strut on down to the clubs. We suggest Sailors, Berties, and Red Cube. Newquay is a great clubbing holiday alternative if you’re short on cash and cant afford the med for good times and good memories. We’re still laughing at our escapades a year on.
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Feast your peepers on this ladies! Ben Seb Miller, 21 from our own turf is Melonz’ first Buff Brummie. As if Ben wasn’t already revealing enough in his boxers we asked him a few ‘serious’ questions off shoot to get to know him better.
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you know you want to...
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Birmingham City Ladies player and member of the Under19’s England team, Kerys Harrop talks to Melonz’Natalie about the inequalities present in women’s football. My ﬁrst words formed an apology for my ignorance of the game in general, never mind the segregation of women’s football. But this forms the focus of this article: despite the fact I don’t follow football, why can I name at least ﬁve male footballers, but not one female? 18-year-old Harrop from Halesowen has been playing football since she was six years old. “I played in the garden with my brother when I was younger, then I joined a boys team when I was eight. I had to leave and join a girls’ team when I was about twelve because the rules stop you from playing
with boys.” The girls’ team was Birmingham City Ladies, and she’s been there ever since. “I train once a week with my club,” says the central defender. “I’m on a training programme with the England team and train ﬁve times a week for that so it’s pretty intense.” Alongside her hopeful football career, Harrop attends King Edward VI College in Stourbridge, where she studies P.E, Exercise Biology and Psychology. “I still ﬁnd time to go out and stuff though, it’s not too bad,” says Harrop. And the £50 win bonus comes in
“The rules stop you from playing with the boys”
very useful for that I’m sure, but other than that, she doesn’t get paid. Another far cry from the way men are treated in the same job. Harrop is not disheartened by the inequality but fuelled with ambition and passion for the game. “I want to play over in America, they have a Pro league over there and you can earn a living from play-
It seems America offers the greatest opportunities to female footballers at the moment. Harrop has strong opinions on the current state on women’s football in the UK. “It’s obviously not as good as the men’s. They have loads of publicity, we don’t get paid but they get paid 100’s of pounds a week. It’s a bit biased in that sense.” A bit biased to say the least. The lack of publicity surrounding women’s football seems to be the main issue. “A lot of people probably don’t even know where a lot of these games are happening; we just need more awareness really.” To increase awareness you need advertising, and to advertise you need money which a lot of women’s team don’t have. “Some
of the girls’ teams get help from the men’s but at Blues, the men’s team don’t support us so we have to fund ourselves,” says Harrop. “They just don’t want anything to do with us, they feel like if they put money in to our club then they’re not getting anything in return, they’re not making a profit out of it.” So does the FA feel that publicising women’s football isn’t economically viable? Men’s football does seem more of a business than sport. But if the main problem is lack of awareness, how can anyone judge the popularity of women’s football when it’s so in-
“Blues don’t want anything to do with us”
accessible? I asked Harrop if she felt there were any differences between men’s and women’s football that warranted such different treatment: “Technically there’s not, it’s literally just pace. It’s a quicker game which makes it more exciting for the crowd. But technically we’re as good, people just don’t come down and see it. They just believe the stereotype that women’s football is crap.” I think some people don’t even realise there is Birmingham City Ladies team, or a ladies team for any other club for that matter it’s that badly publicised. “I think it’s going to get better,” says Harrop. “Hopefully eventually, women will be able to start making a living out of it in England because otherwise we’ll continue to lose some of the top players to America, and we want to keep them in this country.” It’s not all doom and gloom though, football has taken Harrop all over the world and provided her with many opportunities unavailable to the average 18-year-old. Harrop played for her country in last years Women’s U20 World Cup. The team got to the quarter final in Chile, where they but got knocked out by the USA, but they went on to win it. The next team up from Harrop’s is the U23’s and then it’s the senior England team – the goal so to speak. For more info on how and where you support Birmingham City Ladies, visit http://www. bclfc.com/
“They believe that women’s football is crap”
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Melonz are big fans of the mullet a.k.a business up front, party at the back! So if your anything like us, dicing with the idea of getting a one, who better to get a bit more info on the wonderful doo than from the King of Mullets himself- Pat Sharp!
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How does it feel to be a mullet icon? Interesting!!! Am I really? It’s strange how it has lasted so long in folks’ memories.
Don’t be so modest. So how long did it take to grow your mullet, any tips for those who aspire to have a mullet just as good as yours? It took a few years and my advice for others, don’t give up half way, you’ll get there if you’re determined enough.
How do you feel when you look back at photos of your ex-mullet? I don’t regret it but I don’t think it looked that great when I see old pics of it either. We think it looked great, why did you get rid of it? The mullet went about ’93, it was time for a change and Funhouse went on without my mullet until 1999. Would you consider growing another? Will it be making a return? Do you miss it? No & double no!!!!!
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Sample Issue One