11 August 2016

Watch the 1979 Fat Underground video

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about what it was like seeing the Fat Underground video.

A generous reader of this blog, who may or may not wish to be named, shared a digitised copy of the video with me. With her consent I have uploaded it to YouTube for others to see. Watch the Fat Underground video from 1979.

Edited to add: I watched the video at the weekend and realised that it is different to the video that I referred to in the other post. I suspect the other video that I saw at the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco in 2010 is Shirl Buss' original 1975 footage, edited and embellished here by Marge Dean. This begs the question: could there be other Fat Underground videos out there?! Meanwhile, it would be great to see the 1975 video digitised and made available too.

By the way, I am thrilled to notice in the credits that Kathy Fire is one of the chorus. Her album, Songs of Fire, is a classic of protest music, a favourite of Homosexual Death Drive, and still available through the Smithsonian Institution. It makes sense that she was also a part of early fat feminism.

There are some things to bear in mind:

  • The video might not stay there for very long. I have done a brief search for Marge Dean, the copyright holder, and will continue to look for her. I haven't been able to find her yet, but she may get in touch and she may want the video taken down, which I will do.
  • YouTube identified some copyrighted material in the film in the form of a song. I don't know if the film-makers cleared the right to use that song. The song owners have allowed its use on YouTube but it does mean that there may be ads, and also that other people can't embed the video on their websites. This is beyond my control. If the ads turn out to be weight-loss related or in any way fatphobic or offensive, I will remove the song and therefore the restrictions, and add some notes about that to the video's page.
  • I have turned off comments on the video because they are usually crap.
  • I have set it to unlisted to try and avoid random fatphobes.
  • It's a little glitchy because it was made from an old VHS tape.

I can't believe other fat activists are going to get to see this video now, after all these years. What will it spark?

Dean, M. and Buss, S. (1979). Fat Underground [video]. Available https://youtu.be/UPYRZCXjoRo

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