South Yorkshire band, Hands Off Gretel, have released a 48-page full colour zine, which includes over 70 pieces of individual fan art. The zine will help raise funds for Brighton based anti-bullying charity ‘Ditch the Label’, which was chosen by band front woman Lauren Tate, who recently spoke out about the impact of years of bullying and online harassment.
The fan artwork that features in the zine was invited by the band as part of their ‘Lock down’ activities to keep fans engaged, as tour plans were cancelled due to COVID-19 . The band received over 70 submissions of fan art and prompted Lauren to create the fan zine.
‘We just couldn’t believe the standard of the artwork that came flooding in. I decided that we had to create something really special, so that we could truly celebrate all of the artwork together and I came up with the idea of a Fan Zine, The ‘quarantine Edition’ ‘
While Lauren set about narrating the zine she was subjected to yet another hateful public attack online, something that has been ongoing for 5 years. The perpetrator posting false personal allegations online and messaging other bands, fans, promoters and music journalists, hiding behind fake profiles to try and sabotage Laurens character.
‘On the one hand I was dealing with such amazing positivity from our fans receiving these wonderful art creations, at the same time as battling this hatred online. I had felt so powerless that someone was actively using the Internet to spread hate about me.
Everyone tells you its ‘Normal’, ‘just ignore it’, ‘haters gonna hate’, but unless you have been through it, you have no idea how much it messes with your head.
Receiving the artwork from all around the world really helped me so much during this time and the sheer positivity of this just gave me the confidence and the courage to finally speak out.
Creating the zine to raise awareness of the impact of bullying and supporting the anti-bullying charity ’Ditch the Label’ just seemed like the obvious thing to do, turning this into something really positive and doing my bit to help others going through the same thing.’
The lock down has led to a huge increase in bullying, harassment and online abuse. The bands chosen Charity, ‘Ditch the Label’, has seen a 158% increase in contact with their charity during the lock down. Each week, thousands of people benefit from the charity’s resources and digital one-to-one support. They have a team of digital mentors who are trained to help young people navigate through issues related to bullying, such as improving mental health, body image, coming out and building confidence and self-esteem.
‘Ditch the Label are delighted to be involved in the Hands Off Gretel fanzine, which will not only raise awareness of the prevalence and impacts of bullying and abusive behaviours, but will also raise vital funds. These funds directly help us keep our support services running – thank you so much on behalf of those we support.’ Sue Jones CEO Ditch The Label
The 48 page fan zine ‘Quarantine Edition’ which includes all the art submissions and personal accounts from the band around issues of bullying and self confidence is on sale on the bands website and will also be sold at the live gigs (when they resume) £5 from every zine sold will be donated to the charity ‘Ditch The label’.