Sophie Powell Interview July 2013

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In what ways have you seen Derby change over the time you’ve lived here?

I’ve seen a horrifyingly ugly new shopping centre, the building of which some residents suspect resulted in a lot of fancy holidays taken by some city councillors, the ones driving the large shiny cars. Ordinary council workers – the ones still with a job- can’t afford large shiny cars to drive themselves to the airport to take fancy holidays. On the bigger plus side I’ve seen a lot of people work really fucking hard to make what they believe in count. I’ve seen and been involved with loads of amazing projects that have been a result of folk putting in the man hours and slogging their socks off to make good ideas work. I don’t necessarily think that’s a change, Derby folk always seem to be good at pulling it out of the bag and that’s down to them using skills in massively creative ways. And it always seems to happen on the barest of shoe strings, it’s amazing.

You’ve been a central part of making City-Zine happen over recent years. Can you tell us about your motivations for being involved and what it is you like about City-Zine or Zines generally?

I got involved with the zine because you (Jonezy) asked for help and I thought
I’d make it a bit more organised, run the odd spell check, work on the
design. However I’ve learned that no amount of organisation can
predict the last minute spanners that inevitably mangle the works.
It’s only my Zen like calm which keeps it all moving, you’re stuffed
without me Jones. In all honesty I love zines and anything really that
people produce themselves because they love it. And it’s so easy to do
when you love something, when it’s got it’s own soul. It’s even better
when other people want to be part of it too, then it’s everybody’s
pride at stake. What makes the zine great is all of the elements work
together, without anybody’s ego taking the credit. I’ve never heard
anyone involved describe it as ‘my zine’, it’s always held it’s own
autonomy.

What issues do you currently care about most and what would you like
to see change and how?

I care that a massive amount of vulnerable lives are being torn apart
by people who have no empathy with a situation which they are wholly
responsible for. What’s worse is people who were independent are
having that stability taken away and are being demonised for it. It’s
so much more complex than ‘poor people should work harder’. I’d like
to see those in power do their job and stop taking the piss. I’d also
like to see communities banding together, taking care of one another
on a bigger scale and developing a collective bravery to us get
through this together. It does happen, but the ones who make it happen
are so busy doing great things, it can be hard to get the opportunity
to shout about it and inspire other people to make a change. More
shouting about great actions, we’ve got some great tools to make that
happen with social media. I think that we need to use those tools and
protect them so that we can continue to use the internet for it’s
original purpose.

Summarise some of the highlights from being active in Derby from your time here.

In no particular order: spitting fire, dancing in carnivals, laughing
and making people laugh, giving away cake, being involved with some
incredible young peoples growth and change, learning a host of skills
and sharing them out, this zine cover, being kidnapped, the best
birthday ever, wild Derbyshire trips to look at the moon and I’ve only
been Briggsy’d once, thats got to be a record.

What are your hopes for life in Bradford? What do you want to happen?

I hope that I can use everything I’ve learned in Derby from the
amazing people I’ve met here, to do justice to that learning, to live
and work with confidence. I want to stay rooted in the community, keep
learning, stay focussed on what’s important to me and keep having fun.

What would you like to see more of happening in both Derby and Bradford?

I’d like the ‘alternative lifestyle’ to be the mainstream, I’d like
sustainable energy, using only what we need and a fairer less
stressful, more creative society being the ordinary, humdrum way to
be.

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