Tweety Bird

A meme with a black background with transparent red hearts, overlaid is an image of tweety bird, a small cartoon yellow bird from Looney Tunes. They are wearing a red bandana, a white vest, gold necklace and baggy blue jeans with black and white sneakers. Their facial expression and slouched body gives the impression that they are confident. Their left arm is on their hip and their right hand holds up a smoking gun. At the top of the image is bold capitalised shiny text with a white background that says 'OK BOTCH CALL THE COPS'. At the bottom of the image is capitalised fire flame writing that says 'I'LL HAVE SEX WITH THEM'.
Tweety Call the Cops Meme

Tweety Bird, whose gender was intentionally ambiguous in the original Looney Tunes cartoons, is one of the first and only examples of a non-binary character in mainstream media that I really relate to. I even have them tattooed on my arm with the word ‘LADETTE’ (see below).

I love how Tweety’s persona has continued to develop outside of the cartoon narrative in memes, one of my favourite being the one above, although I can’t find the original creator to credit them. Does anyone know? 

A close up image of the side of my arm. On it is a medium sized tattoo of Tweety Bird, a cartoon bird from Looney Tunes. It is a black outline tattoo. Tweety is wearing a hoody and large trainers, in their left hand they are holding a tinny and in their right hand a smoking cigarette. They are winking their left eye. Over the top of their hooded head it says 'LADETTE' in old school tattoo style writing.
Tweety Ladette Tattoo

In the cartoon, Tweety survives constant harassment and attacks from Sylvester the cat, all while being a physically small and sometimes unassuming creature, although a crafty and clever side is suggested. Proof that it takes more than hyperable physiques to survive the energy vampires of this world. Looney Tunes played with the ambiguity and fluidity of gender with many of their characters and it was never targeted at a specific gender audience which I think is unusual for a lot of children’s mainstream entertainment.

I made a little Tweety meme myself below using some of the vast collection of images I have of unofficial Tweety costumes.

A meme with a grid presenting nine different unofficial tweety costumes. At the top it says 'which tweety are you today?' and  I would describe the costumes as follows:
1. Floating walking tweety with an elongated head and smiley face.
2. A flat faced tweety with a surprised look and hands raised.
3. a box head tweety
4. A squishy faced side eyes tweety.
5. A creepy slightly angry tweety with a comb over.
6. A cute bulbus unassuming tweety looking down like they are a bit embarrassed.
7. an intense but also somehow expressionless tweety waving one hand.
8 a smiley tweety with a long thick neck.
9. a man with a yellow onesie on and the hood is a bulbus slightly angry looking tweety head ontop of his head. He has his hands on his hips.
Tweety Meme

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Nurse Stimpy

The Ren and Stimpy Show: Nurse Stimpy Episode

I really love cartoons a lot, especially how malleable bodies and environments are. Sudden and drastic changes can occur in a short space of time which I think is a lot like the experience of being chronically sick. There is a predictable unpredictability about it. The morbid comedy of having a body is captured so well in cartoons. It also offers a world to escape into which doesn’t feel too exhausting to consume on low energy, because it’s fantasy, a playfully cutting reflection of the real world.

I have been totally drawn into this episode of Ren and Stimpy recently which highlights perfectly the ridiculousness of medical care, as well as the importance of caring for carers and the need for interdependent support systems.  

You can watch the episode in the embedded video above. It doesn’t have closed captions unfortunately but I found a transcript of the episode here.

I have included some screenshots below that I think are just SO beautiful for their colour palette and the way they illustrate the feelings of being sick, which I so strongly relate to. I love these images so much that I used them as my new website theme and I hope to turn them into memes about the sick experience one day..  

A screenshot from the cartoon The Ren and Stimpy Show. Ren is a small and hairless chihuahua dog with beige skin, pink eyes and floppy long pink ears. Stimpy is red/orange Manx cat with a white tummy and hands, wth a round blue nose and a pink tongue often hanging out of his mouth. In this screenshot is a close up of Ren's red nose and pink skin, the nose has a glistening liquid flowing from the right nostril.
A screenshot from the cartoon The Ren and Stimpy Show. Ren is a small and hairless chihuahua dog with beige skin, pink eyes and floppy long pink ears. Stimpy is red/orange Manx cat with a white tummy and hands, wth a round blue nose and a pink tongue often hanging out of his mouth. In this screenshot we are stood over Ren's bed, his eyes are yellow and bloodshot, with many bags around them and his face is turning greenish with some drips of sweat flowing down from his left eye. Stimpy's white hands are just visible at the edge of the shot as if they are our own, peeling and stuck down blue bedsheet from Ren's face.
A screenshot from the cartoon The Ren and Stimpy Show. Ren is a small and hairless chihuahua dog with beige skin, pink eyes and floppy long pink ears. Stimpy is red/orange Manx cat with a white tummy and hands, wth a round blue nose and a pink tongue often hanging out of his mouth. In this screenshot we see a side profile of Stimpy on the left wearing a nurse's white cap with a red cross on, he is holding a wooden stick on Ren's tongue. Ren is on the right with his face stretched and his mouth open beyond what would be physically possible in our human realm.
A screenshot from the cartoon The Ren and Stimpy Show. Ren is a small and hairless chihuahua dog with beige skin, pink eyes and floppy long pink ears. Stimpy is red/orange Manx cat with a white tummy and hands, wth a round blue nose and a pink tongue often hanging out of his mouth. In this screenshot we see Stimpy on the left wearing a white skirt and a white nurse's cap with a red cross on, they are holding the tube from a blood pressure testing machine, the strap is around Ren's whole body. Ren is sat on a patient
A screenshot from the cartoon The Ren and Stimpy Show. Ren is a small and hairless chihuahua dog with beige skin, pink eyes and floppy long pink ears. Stimpy is red/orange Manx cat with a white tummy and hands, wth a round blue nose and a pink tongue often hanging out of his mouth. In this screenshot we see the back of Ren's head, his eyes and ears are bloodshot and veiny and red, he has red spots on the crown of his head and he looks sad and fed up.
A screenshot from the cartoon The Ren and Stimpy Show. Ren is a small and hairless chihuahua dog with beige skin, pink eyes and floppy long pink ears. Stimpy is red/orange Manx cat with a white tummy and hands, wth a round blue nose and a pink tongue often hanging out of his mouth. In this screenshot we see Ren's back, he is wearing a backless white hospital style gown with his protruding spine and bum crack showing, he is slumped as though he is fed up and has no energy.
A screenshot from the cartoon The Ren and Stimpy Show. Ren is a small and hairless chihuahua dog with beige skin, pink eyes and floppy long pink ears. Stimpy is red/orange Manx cat with a white tummy and hands, wth a round blue nose and a pink tongue often hanging out of his mouth. In this screenshot we see Ren sat on a metal hospital trolley looking sad with no energy and not fully present, he has a bright metal spotlight lamp over his head shining down on him, in front of him is Stimpy in their white nurse costume with red crosses on smiling and raising a large pointed finger as if they have just the answer to all Ren's problems.
A screenshot from the cartoon The Ren and Stimpy Show. Ren is a small and hairless chihuahua dog with beige skin, pink eyes and floppy long pink ears. Stimpy is red/orange Manx cat with a white tummy and hands, wth a round blue nose and a pink tongue often hanging out of his mouth. In this screenshot we see Ren submerged in a freestanding white roll top bath with blue water and pink bubbles, only his eyes and feet are visible out of the water and he looks a little annoyed. Looking over him is Stimpy looking down on them intensely but also lovingly with their hands clasped and smiling. In the background on the right is Ren's skin hung up on a towel rail.
A screenshot from the cartoon The Ren and Stimpy Show. Ren is a small and hairless chihuahua dog with beige skin, pink eyes and floppy long pink ears. Stimpy is red/orange Manx cat with a white tummy and hands, wth a round blue nose and a pink tongue often hanging out of his mouth. In this screenshot we see a pink skinned Ren being held in Stimpy's white hands, half out of the water with his body curled over. Stimpy has a big yellow sponge which he is scrubbing Ren's back with. Ren looks simultaneously relieved and embarrassed.
A screenshot from the cartoon The Ren and Stimpy Show. Ren is a small and hairless chihuahua dog with beige skin, pink eyes and floppy long pink ears. Stimpy is red/orange Manx cat with a white tummy and hands, wth a round blue nose and a pink tongue often hanging out of his mouth. In this screenshot Stimpy is lying in bed with his eyes sagging and his tongue hanging out of his mouth on the left side. He looks frazzled and tired.

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Our Prop Mud by Joseph Noonan-Ganley

Around ten rugby players during a game, all covered in mud so that their kits colours are no longer visible. On the right hand side of the image, the beginning of a scrum is occurring with some players bent forward and locking limbs, on the left side players lean towards the scrum, some look as though they are reaching in. It is a mess and tangle of muddy limbs in a field.
Muddy rugby players on a pitch via hartpury.ac.uk

This text was suggested to me by Linda Stupart, who is also currently doing a residency with Vital Capacities at the moment. It’s written by Joseph Noonan-Ganley and it is titled, ‘Our Prop Mud’ and you can read it in full here. It’s about rugby and mud and gay feelings. I could really relate to these contemplations on sports and queerness and the consumption of bodies and their public personas. 

Here is an excerpt that I really like,

‘The scene that stopped me was the Cardiff Park Arms rugby match from 1970, transformed by the unrelenting appearance of mud. Ironically, mud allowed me to see clearer. The scene clarified and exposed some of what I was interested in in Gareth Thomas. Mud’s addition messed up rugby’s conventional surface and allowed a view onto the base material composition of the game: people’s bodies in relation. These kinds of political derivatives seem far more generative and uncertain than Gareth Thomas’s recycled admissions of guilt and fault.’

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FOUL Vol II

A portrait format image of a person kneeling on the floor with their head in their hands. You are stood next to them looking down at their tensed up body from a side profile. The person has dark brownish auburn hair which is flopping off their head, their face hidden. They are wearing a black unitard with some holes in the bum and leg, over the top is a lilac gym tank top with some lime green text on it visible from the side. The person has white skin with some black line tattoos scattered around their body. Their floor is a deep blue carpet rug with a dusky pink and green dragon on which looks like it is curling around the person and looking straight at them. In the background is a stack of vinyl records leant against a grey wall, a small wooden stool is on the left and a purple fleece blanket on the right.
Lulika keeled over on their knees, head in hands, on their living room floor.

I wanted to be in the studio more over the past days but I got hit with a pain and migraine flare up. This usually involves at least three days of me lying in various positions, looking like I’m the slow-motion action replay of a football dive or foul. This image shows where I spent some of Saturday. It was FOUL.

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Pissing Contest

An infographic image with a photo of two lobsters in what looks like a white tank with their pincers held shut by red and green rubber bands. They are facing each other. Underneith there is white text on a black background which says, 'Lobsters pee out of their faces. Their bladders are located in their heads and they urinate through nozzles under their antennae. When fighting another lobster, they'll pee in the face of their opponent.'
Lobsters pee out of their faces via reddit.com

As someone who has to catheterise themselves regularly, due to my disability, I’m understandably quite into anything related to piss and urinating. I often use cardboard hospital bedpans in my work and simulate pissing in live performances.

A pissing contest or pissing match, as many probably already know, is an idiom that describes a situation where two or more people are competing with each other to show superiority, usually pointlessly.

I was happy to discover that pissing contests also exist in a literal sense where participants compete to see who can piss the longest, farthest, highest or most accurately. There are even Guinness World Records held in the sport. A woman in Italy is the current world record holder for the farthest piss created a 30 foot golden arch, although I can’t find her name.

Not only that, during combat, lobsters accompany their largest blows with a large squirt of piss out of their faces. Their bladders are located in their heads and they have nozzles under their eyes and antennae, where they release urine to communicate during mating or fighting.

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Dunk League

Season 2: Episode 1 of Dunk League. Closed Captions are available on this video.

I’m interested in why some sports are considered posher than others or more worthy of being featured in large sporting events.

I can’t understand why basketball dunking competitions aren’t in the Olympics. Not that I really like, care about or follow the limpics, but I feel strongly that dunking is underrated in comparison to other sports.

Dunking is an impressive and breathtaking combination of long jump, high jump, basketball, gymnastics and choreography. I could watch the high-definition slow-motion replays on Dunk League for hours. I wish they’d make another series.

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Oddy-Body

A portrait format edited image and meme. In the background a houseparty is happening, people are dancing, smiling and drinking washed in purple light with green neon twinkly lights dotted around. Central is a poorly cut out image of an unofficial Elmo mascot. It is large, red, furry, saggy and slumped slightly to one side with his eyes gazing up vacantly and his mouth hanging wide open. Over the top is some arched white text with black background which says 'feelin more oddy-body han body-ody'.
Oddy-Body Elmo Mascot Meme by Laura Lulika

A long-term enthusiasm of mine is mascot costumes. I have a collection of images on my laptop and phone of my favourites. I especially like Tweety for reasons I will explain in a later post.

I like mascots because they are a non-athletic and often surreal comedy presence in an atmosphere which is otherwise very focused on sporting physical ability. Their bodies are so jarring and out of place in these arenas of polished flexing muscles. They are often wrinkly, misshapen, oversized and furry. Anonymous. ANONYMOUS. Hiding in plain site. Now there is a sporting body that I can relate to.

They sometimes race each other to raise money for charity and dance to motivate the crowd (especially in the US), but the focus is still on the humour of their costumes and characters. Most are animal or human-like characters but my favourites are the more surreal choices like, Boiler Man of West Bromwich Albion and the angry looking sunburst, Kingsley, for Partick Thistle, both pictured below.

A green football field with a goal net and some fans in the stalls visible in the background. In the forefront is a person dressed in yellow trousers and a large mascot top which looks like a giant sunburst with a slightly angry cartoon like facial expression. It is holding a large red and yellow chequered flag and is giving the thumbs up with it's other hand.
Kingsley, the Partick Thistle mascot via ptfc.co.uk
A green football field with busy stalls filled with fans in the background. In the forefront is three mascots walking together, on the left is an orange dinosoar with a white shirt on holding a charity collection tin, in the middle is a white boiler with white arms and legs and red football trainers, on the right is an eagle with a white and navy blue striped football kit on.
Boiler Man mascot via thesun.com
A town square is visible in the background with some planting beds and hedges. In the forefront is a person dressed in yellow trousers and a large mascot top which looks like a giant sunburst with a slightly angry cartoon like facial expression. They are chasing four children who look like they are around eight or nine years old, they look excited and slightly scared to be chased at the same time. They are all wearing red and yellow Partick Thistle football kits. Their arms are flailing up in excitement as they run.
Kingsley, the Partick Thistle mascot via dailyrecord.co.uk

Head over to my studio to see some more mascot oddy-body memes I made, like the one at the top of the page.

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FOUL!

Youtube Video: Best Soccer Fake Injuries and Dives

I find the theatrics of men’s footy and ‘time-wasting’ simultaneously irritating and comical. It’s not surprising that in the less popular and historically less lucrative Women’s footy, the players spend less time pretending to be hurt.

Youtube Video: WHY men stay down 30 seconds longer than women after a foul
(closed captions available for this video)

The performance of ‘being fouled’ reminds me of the need to perform disability in certain situations. This is something that we shouldn’t have to do but are sometimes forced into so that we are considered worthy of the care we need. Of course the circumstances and reasons are wildly different to the multimillion pound ‘beautiful game’ but the ridiculousness isn’t so far apart.

In a system that is constantly trying to catch you out and take away the very limited and basic support and care you’re entitled to, sometimes you have to show them what it’s like on your worst day. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is known for spying on disabled people and wrongly accusing them of fraud, taking them to court, siezing their property, rejecting appeals for support in their unfair ‘Fit to Work’ assessments and causing thousands of deaths of sick and disabled people every year. Sick and disabled people live in fear of being not disabled enough or the wrong kind of disabled. Either too scared to apply for any support in the first place or living in fear of having their support taken away.

I wonder, what do we have to do to be believed? Should I throw myself on the ground and weep in front of you, my face in my hands, grasping at every part of me that hurts? It’s foul!

A front facing photo of a football from the waist up, wearing a neon tshirt with a small black lion logo, he has a Britney or call centre style microphone attached to his face, he is balding with some grey short hair around the edge. His face is tensed and wide eyed and his left arm is outstretched as he angrily points at something or someone not visible in the picture. In the background is a very soft focus football crowd.
Football Referee

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Hyper-Able

Several rows of men on a stage at a bodybuilding competition. They are all in tiny tight pants with bulging muscles all over the bodies. They are very oily and shiny. The front row of three men have their hands on the hips in fists to accentuate the muscles in their torso and arms. The two on the left and middle are smiling, the one on the right has his cheeks puffed out as if he is straining. The rows behind are stood more casually waiting their turn. The layers of bodies and muscles in the picture blend together making it difficult to differentiate between each person. Their backdrop is plain black.
A row of body builders from the website spotmebro.com

Did you know that when you look up synonyms for the word ‘athletic’ it suggests; ‘frail, weak, infirm, delicate’.

Antonyms include, ‘muscly, well built, strong, fit, healthy’ and… ‘able-bodied’..

As if to suggest that disabled people could not also be athletic or hyperable at the same time, that they are mutually exclusive. Of course we know this not to be true but we rarely see examples of this in mainstream media, unless it is for inspiration porn.

This is why I have chosen to use the term, ‘hyperable’ instead of the word ‘athletic’. Too often this body type is considered the norm, the average or what is considered ‘healthy’ in our Western society and media. Everyone else’s experiences of their body, who don’t fit into this category, are somehow deemed less than. I want to highlight, through the language and terminology that I use, that all body types are of course valid and that being athletic or hyperable is a choice to push your body into a form that is in most cases, beyond what is necessary to survive. You have made yourself, in some way, ‘hyper-able.’

Bodies are more complicated than the binaries of athletic or weak, fast or slow, healthy or unhealthy. They are soft and leaky, strong and vulnerable, uncooperative and reliably inconsistent. They contain emotions and memories. We can adorn them with the symbols of who we are and connect with ourselves and others through them. Where are the celebratory arena sized events for these bodies? The non-normative normal bodies.  

Besides, the word athlete comes from ancient Greek words that mean, ‘one who competes for a prize’ so in some sense we can all be athletes if we really want to be. I won a goldfish on the fair once.

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Body Builder

A photo of an old printed photo which is very crumpled and worn, with fold marks and a dogeared corner. The printed photo is from a front perspective and in black and white. Centre is a teenage man standing, visible from the ankles upwards. He is wearing only a pair of tight black pants, he is posing in a bodybuilder stance, with his fingers hooked together and his arms turned outwards, to show the extent of his arm muscles, his skin is slightly shiny as though it has been oiled. His head is tipped upwards and he looks off into the distance. He has a fluffy dark head of hair in a messy quiff style. He looks calm and confident.
Ray Jones, circa 1964, 14 years old

Ray Jones, born 1950 on a council estate in Derby, a saxophonist, a freemason, an enthusiast of obscure experimental films and a collector of strange art prints, a Body Builder, a statue frozen in time, a mystery.

My deceased Dad, who died of a heart attack when I was almost 3 years old, is where I think I can mark my first awareness of hyperable bodies. They’d lift weights together my Mum told me, they’d run up and down the flights of stairs in their highrise apartment building my Mum told me. I still have a couple of his gym tops she gave me.

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