Saturday, 14 January 2012

What is the Fattylympics?

Listen in on our little conversation and find out more about the Fattylympics as we begin planning the event.

Charlotte: What do you think the Fattylympics is going to be like?

Kay: Hopefully a lot of fun. I'm imagining a day that looks a bit like a party in a park with sunshine and silly games and people laughing and holding their sides! What about you?

Charlotte: Yeah, a weird kind of school sports day, a queer reclaiming of that. We're doing this in relation to the You Know Whats, which have had a really overwhelming effect (and not necessarily in a good way) on East London where we live, so there will be some satirical aspect as well. I imagine an afternoon that has people performing, and things you can join in with, and stuff like stalls and activities, things to look at, and a party-hanging-out kind of atmosphere as well. I think my dream for it is that it's like a funny community get-together. What do you think?

Kay: Yes. I'd like both planned and unplanned performances to be taking place. I want there to be an opening and closing ceremony, anthems and songs, medals, fashion, music and art. I'd like people to take inspiration from stuff we've got happening and make there own things there too. We've got a massive park to play with, as well as the indoor space so I hope people will just go for it. I want to be really flexible in the interpretation of 'sports' as well. Like I had an idea there could be a best outfit event with a live outfit blogging booth.

Charlotte: Yes, teehee! I want to add that the Fattylympics is obviously about fat, but in a way that anyone can join in with, you don't have to be fat, or feel that you must be a fat activist, or even know what that's about – although it's great if you do – it's ok to feel unsure but still want to take part, we won't be policing people on their views though at the same time we won't support fatphobia or any other oppressive behaviour. Should we talk about where we got the idea to do this event? How did it start?

Kay: I can't really remember how it started, maybe you can say. Obviously the idea is to respond not just to the effect the You Know Whats are having on our neighbourhood, but all the fat-shaming that goes along with it, which came up almost as soon as the bid was put in. I think we both noticed stuff being reported presenting the You Know Whats as an answer to the 'obesity epidemic' and thought it would be good to satirise that in some way. And also to have an excuse to do some fun and demented activism locally.

Charlotte: I don't know how it started either, it feels like we've been talking about this forever. Who do you think will come?

Kay: Our friends and friends of friends. People who want to see what its about. People who stumble across it. People interested in fat stuff. People into queer stuff and performance stuff. Artists, musicians, office workers and layabouts. And kids too. I hope it'll be popular and that loads of people will come.

Charlotte: It's important to me that we make the Fattylympics as accessible as we can. It's free to attend, held in a space that is accessible by public transport, with parking nearby, and flat surfaces and accessible loos for wheelies. I'd love to see people bringing their friends and folks with them. We're doing it in a community space, I hope people from round here come too.

Kay: Yes, accessibility was number one for me too when looking for the space. I think the place we've got is ideal really. Also, I should say it's free to come because the money we made from the Big Bum Jumble has paid for it so I should say thanks again to everyone who gave their time, skills, money and clothes to make that events such as success. And Jumblers, you should know that there is totally scope for there to be a clothes swap or a fashion show at the Fattylympics if anyone wants to make that happen. Speaking of which, should we mention that we need volunteers?

Charlotte: Yes! We need volunteers! People should use the form to contact us about things they'd like to do. Should we say a bit about who we are?

Kay: OK. I'm Kay. I was the chief organiser of the Big Bum Jumble which was a fat clothes jumble sale that took place in August 2010. I'm a fat dyke and I live in Forest Gate within 30 minutes walk of the site of the You Know Whats, and a mere five minutes walk from the huge police muster station that will be built to house Olympic troublemakers. Convenient!

Charlotte: I'm Charlotte, I've been doing fat stuff for about twenty years, lots of writing and publishing and scholarship around fat and also lots of activism. I'm a large lady, as they say. Is there anything else you want to add before we wrap this up?

Kay: Get in touch. Especially if you are not hindered by fear of making a fool of yourself. But even if you are shy, we can still use you!

Charlotte: This is going to be a fun and memorable event, much better than the real You Know Whats.

Kay: Yes, and we are doing it even if it rains. You can't stop the Fattylympics!

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