RIP Katy Watson, of Shocking Pink
Jess McCabe // 17 September 2008
Katy Watson has died of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, aged 42.
According to a brief message posted by her father on her website, Katie “died peacefully in St Christopher’s Hospice, south London, with her parents Helen and David, her sister Anna, and friend Neil around her bedside. The previous week, she had spent many happy hours in the garden and art room of the hospice with her daughter Orla (almost 6) and son Joe (18 months).”
There is also a short obituary in today’s Guardian, which explains she:
was a key member of the collective producing Shocking Pink, a feminist magazine by and for young women, which tried to take on teenage magazines on their home ground, with photostrips and cartoons. She was also involved in two other feminist magazines, Outwrite, and, in 1992, Bad Attitude. Katy was inspired by the 1990s Riot Grrrl and Queercore punk bands, some of whom she interviewed for Bad Attitude. She took up DJing and played at lesbian and gay punk clubs, including Up to the Elbow and Sick of It All – the latter which she started with friends.
Her life was transformed by the birth of her children Orla in 2002 and Joe in 2007. Her happy parenting experiences informed her involvement with the lesbian mothers’ group, Out for Our Children. Her first book for young children, Spacegirl Pukes, appeared last year – she was proud that a book could be published in which a child had two mothers without the fact needing any explanation – and her second book, Dangerous Deborah Puts Her Foot Down, will appear soon. Her novel, High on Life, a fictionalised account of heroin addiction, was published in 2002. She is survived by her children, her parents and her sister Anna.
I used to buy Shocking Pink, which ran from the late 1980s until early 1990s. The content had a good mixture of politics and feminism though the style was cut and paste. It was rough around the edges with its montage art, photography, cartoons and drawings. It reminded me of punk fanzines, with its DIY stencil art. The front cover was indeed shocking pink yet it was quirky and funny but packed a political punch (I found it the antithesis of Spare Rib)…
So here’s to you Katy Watson, member of the collective of Shocking Pink, that zeitgeisty feminist magazine that inspired young teenage feminists like myself.
(See also this feature about zines, which includes some more description of what Shocking Pink was like)