Thursday August 13, 2020
Introducing AF Gang Mail.
We are so excited to announce that AF Gang Mail has officially launched and now everyone can take part.
We spoke to the team behind it, Craig, Jodie and Nads to find out more.
Let’s start with a brief introduction for those who don’t already know how fabulous you are. What is your name, where do you come from and what makes you, you?
Craig Anderson: I’m Craig from Melbourne in Australia but now living in Clapton, London. F*** what makes me me?! I guess I’m nice and friendly and love giving hugs when we are allowed!
Jodie Fox: Hi I’m Jodie from everywhere. What makes me me? Chocolate Hobnobs!
Nadia Saad: Hiya I’m Nads from Manchester originally but now living about 500 metres away from Craig – my nearest AF Ganger. I think I’m open and love connecting with people and hearing their stories.
How did you first discover IDLES and AF Gang?
J: I first heard 26/27 on BBC 6 Music followed by Queens in 2015/16 and then went to see them in a tiny little pub in the middle of nowhere. Can’t remember how I found AF Gang but think I found through searching online.
First time meeting in person was at a Joe DJ set in Bedford and I met my first AF Gangers.
I think it was Andy Wilkinson for first AF Ganger in the wild at a Shame and Fontaines DC gig.
C: I knew Michael Hall through mutual friends and he wouldn’t shut up about IDLES on facebook and encouraged me to get over the the RTE gigs for release of JOY.
On the way to the gig I was a bit nervous and went for a drink before heading there. Then spotted Helen Reade and Louise Hughes looking for directions and we headed to RTE together. They were so energetic and lovely and told me to join the AF Gang! Then I met loads of the AF Gang in the pub next door afterwards.
That was the best night that I had had in London up until that point and I was 100% sold from there.
N: Did I meet you in the pub that night Craig?
C: Nope – don’t think it was that night.
N: Ah – just wondered as that was my first AF Gang meet up. I was heading to RTE for the lunchtime gig and I’d messaged Brian Mimpress earlier to check if it was cool to come say hi as I was coming on my own and he replied straight away saying YES!!
I was well nervous walking down Brick Lane and nearly turned around as my anxiety was at a bit of a high back then. Proper glad I did go as I walked round the corner and there was Brian outside RTE with Stu Hey and I immediately relaxed and ran up to them for a big hug. The rest is history.
For hearing about IDLES, it was through Lammo’s show and first time live for me was Primavera 2018 – gig of the entire festival. Hooked immediately and then was searching like a crazy woman online to find out who, what, when, why and how!! Joined AF Gang while still in Barcelona!
J: Love that – when I heard Queens it was like a bolt and I needed more of that!
What is AF Gang Mail and who is behind it?
J: Well, it organically happened in the group just for the sake of putting a smile on someone’s face. At Christmas I thought people were down and that this is something we could do to help people not feel so sad and lonely at Christmas. So I set up a Secret Santa and called it Glitter Fest in 2018 and 2019.
The AF Gang has now grown so much since then that we needed something more.
N: It’s so ace getting mail from another AF Ganger as it’s so obvious just from the envelope! All Is Love – DGG – AF Gang Mail – the envelope is usually adorned that I’d be happy just that and an empty envelope!
I think that as you connect online and chat to people it takes it to the next level. It’s really inclusive and is so thoughtful.
It’s not about the money at all – it’s about the thought that counts.
C: I got involved by Nads asking me about building and running a site as she knew I’m a Web Developer.
I really enjoy creating stuff for people to use online. It was great to make it happen and I really hope they enjoy it.
N: We did a third AF Gang Mail during Lockdown and from there it became apparent that we needed our own bespoke platform to make it a more regular thing.
Where did the inspiration to start it come from and how has it evolved?
N: For me it’s all about being inclusive with anyone that wants to take part. Posts appear in the AF Gang of people receiving things and it’s so lovely that everyone will now be able to take part every month.
You can connect with people all over the world and the community grows.
How will the new platform work and how can people get involved?
The draw will happen on the 1st of every month and you’ll receive an email confirming your recipients name and address and it could be anywhere in the world.
We recommend to try and post something out by the 14th of each month. You log in and confirm when posted and you can also confirm once you’ve received your mail.
N: It’s very much the thought that counts. Please don’t spend loads or think you have to.
For the last Mail Exchange, I posted a book I’d just read that had been recommended me by another AF Ganger. Be creative, make something, draw something, send something you already have, write a letter – all is sent with love.
Anything else we need to know?
J: It’s so beautifully simple. We really hope it brings a smile to people’s face and allows people to connect.
C: Be patient. Your mail might be late, or very rarely it goes astray. Please don’t worry as the intention is there. The love and energy you are sending out is felt.
What is your favourite inspirational quote?
N: Maya Angelou and all she spoke. “Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you cannot practice any of the other virtues.”
C: I Love Myself and I Want to Try – says it all.
And finally marmite yes or no?
C: If you don’t have any Vegemite, then Marmite will do
J: Peanut Butter
N: No – beefy paste in a pot – NO
Head to afgang.co.uk to get involved.