An Interview with Tahmina Begum from XXY Magazine

An Interview with Tahmina Begum from XXY Magazine

In 2019 mindfulness and self-care are buzzwords often thrown-around which might signal you to nod and smile blankly when thrown around in conversation, but these are actually quietly radical ideas that in troubling times can help us through.

Tahmina Begum, of XXY Magazine, often uses similar terms when posting on her Instagram (if you don’t follow her on Instagram then go do it and get yourself a daily dose of all things uplifting). The 23-year-old editor is a wunderkind of sorts, known for her thought-provoking takes on what it means to be female, Muslim and a creative in the 21st century and she certainly isn’t afraid to talk about things which others might deem to uncomfortable.

 Tahmina with XXY Magazine in print

We are excited to be hosting the What I’m Taking With Me event on the 13th of June in collaboration with XXY Mag and Good Girl Gang, for a day of workshops intertwining printing, zine-making and mindfulness. In all the noise of a constantly-changing, divided world we can’t wait to have a day to take ourselves out of this space and focus on what we can do to ensure our minds aren’t only filled with external problems.

Image from an XXY Magazine editorial

Ahead of the event, we spoke to Tahmina Begum to discuss what mindfulness, self-care and feminism mean to her.

First off, for those who don’t know, how would you summarise the mission behind XXY Magazine?

XXY Magazine is a community made up of emerging voices that tend to be ignored. It's talking about narratives that would have been forgotten otherwise through various ways of storytelling. We really honour artists and wordsmiths from minority communities.

Mindfulness and self-care are often confused and diluted, what do these terms mean to you?

Self-care can end up being another word Goop churns out and it can also be rather surface but I tend to go by what Audre Lorde said about self-care, that "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare" especially when you're a black woman, especially if you're a woman of colour, especially if you're queer, or disabled or disenfranchised from what's deemed as normal. 

I think in a time where anxiety is at an all-time high, whether it comes to the environment, politics, the ever-changing job market, being mindful and present is so powerful. It's essentially the first step in being hopeful. 

What about these ideas are most important to you and how do you practice them regularly?

In order for me to be either mindful, I need to take care of myself first and pour from my own cup first. I can't pour into anyone else or anything else if I myself am empty.

For me, it's trying to find balance and listen to my own voice, which can be difficult when I'm in a vacuum of voices but it's about taking moments for yourself. Sometimes, it's cancelling dinner. Sometimes it's making sure you're a good friend and you turn up to dinner. It's doing you, without being selfish all the time.

As someone with great style and a love for fashion, is there a way you mix fashion with self-care or do you think they are two separate things?

I have always dressed to my mood so what I try to do every morning, is dress instinctively and not for what I think I should be dressing for. I never dress for a person (or the weather which can be difficult when you live in the UK).

We’re really looking forward to the event on the 13th of June, what about this event do you think makes it a good opportunity for people to get to grips with the core ideas of well-being and mindfulness?

With being the middle of the year, I think it's a great opportunity to reset and unburden yourself with anything negative you've picked up from the past couple of months. This time of the year is odd because it's no longer new any more and I feel like everyone looks around, trying to work out what this year will mean for them. I think art therapy can be very powerful and community is also integral in being present so this event, where we're having purposeful stations to unwind, unlearn and just be, will help our readers to keep to the core ideas of being mindful and their best selves. Also, I can't wait to do a bit of screen printing, collaging and taking a new feminist book/magazine home!

 Tickets for the mindfulness workshop including screen printing, zine-making and feminist book swap are available here.

words by Eloise Gendry

The Great Escape 2018 at Beyond Retro Brighton

The Great Escape 2018 at Beyond Retro Brighton

After last year’s event was such a big hit, Scruff Of The Neck is bringing back The Great Escape weekend to our Brighton store with a whole heap of wonderful new bands! We promise it will be three days of incredible tunes, all for the hefty price of absolutely nothing. That’s right, this guaranteed good time is completely free!

In association with Distiller Records and Lagunitas Brewing Co. supplying the beers all weekend long!

Please see below for the event information and to find out more about the brilliant bands, and don’t forget to click attending on the Facebook event!


Beyond Retro Brighton, 42 Vine Street, Brighton BN1 4AG


Thursday 17th May - Saturday 19th May

1pm - 9pm

Alvarez Kings
Four lads from South Yorkshire who gleefully share their moniker with an infamous old-school South American gang, Alvarez Kings summon pop power through timeless analogue synth and guitar magic.
These alt-rock babes are known for their energetic shows, upbeat melodies and heartwarming riffs. Listen to their track Faults to see what we mean. 
Bloody Knees

This four-piece band hail from London/Cambridge, with a surf-pop yet very angry British feel to their music.
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China Lane
Electo pop act with intense melodic hook synths.
"Tipped as being the next big Manchester band" - Imagine FM
Cosmo Calling
Here’s another bunch of talented Mancunians jumping in their tour van to come and see us, well, they all met there anyway. Inspired by the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Foals, these pop-rock champions are bound to have you bopping along with a bevvy in your hand.
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Deco Band
Bright and breezy electro-pop in the vein of Two Door Cinema Club.
“Exciting new act” - About to Blow
“Ones to watch” - GetIntoThis
Demons of Ruby Mae
Surprisingly not the title of a horror film, this Manchester based duo create uplifting tracks and “sonic spaciousness” for anyone who is into alt-rock and folk vibes. Feast your ears on their latest track To Be Adored, which apparently was recorded in a French commune. 
False Advertising 
"Surely one of the most gripping examples of punk triumph over personal trauma" - DIY
Family Fiction
" Their emotionally-charged transatlantic-indie is a breath of fresh air" - SOTN
The Green Bottle Kiss
Bold, dark, sexy and funky all rolled into one. For those bored with the norm, The Green Bottle Kiss' piercingly new and raw sound is something that needs to be heard.
Island Club
“We wanna make people feel like they belong. We wanna make people dance. We want to change the world - even if that’s just one person’s world for three-and-a-half minutes.” That’s Island Club’s mission, according to frontman Michael Askew. “And we want to do it with damn catchy pop songs.”
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These four indie lads from Manchester promise to bring you some fabulously upbeat pop and potentially the most feel-good tracks of your Summer. Have a little listen to their single Something Beautiful to get you in the mood.
Marble Empire
If all the music in the empire sounds like this… then sign us up!”
- BBC Introducing - Melita Dennet
Submariner hems together ambient indie rock, emotive lyricism and an organic flair for earworm melodies.
 The Hubbards
 “The city’s biggest Indie Rock band” - Hull Daily Mail
The Opera Comic
 "Packed full of energy, laced with wit and intelligence... impossible to dislodge from your cranium." - Clash
Classic Indie rock with a 2017 vibe' - BBC Introducing
Voodoo and The Crypts
Offer a more complex approach to synth-pop characterised by colourful, shimmery guitar hooks and tropical melodies as heard on ‘Breathe’ - The Indie-pendent