Sunday, 19 June 2011

Zine Reviews: June '11

Fat Quarter #3
England –
I bloody loved this one!  I’d never read an issue of Fat Quarter until this month, but had heard plenty of good things about it.  My first issue did not disappoint! Subtitled “a countercultural ladies’ mag”, Fat Quarter aims to celebrate what women do, and discuss the issues that we really care about, with an emphasis on female creativity.  Fat Quarter is styled in a very similar way to mainstream magazines - it’s printed in full colour on glossy paper, and contains regular features including interviews, reviews, upcoming events, and advertisements (but all female-friendly, of course). The articles in this issue cover topics including virginity, female drag, alternative places in the UK to visit, and Japanese bento.  At 23 A4 pages, I would’ve liked it to be much longer, as I was enjoying reading it so much.  Apart from that, I loved it. Get hold of your copy at Marching Stars or from Fat Quarter’s website.

Tragic Boffin #1
Donna, Edinburgh – tragicboffinATgmailDOTcom
Some zinesters say that one’s first zine is always a bit shit (and I must say that this rings true for my perzine).  Others say that the first is the glorious issue crammed full of ideas that subsequent issues struggle to live up to.  While in my experience the former is almost always true, Tragic Boffin #1 was a rare case of an excellent first zine!  I loved to hear Donna proudly write about how much she likes the way her life is – spending the evening writing and sewing instead of out drinking, playing her XBOX, enjoying a bubble bath with a book, and her love for her pet rats!  There’s also a cracking comic by Billy Burg in the middle on the definition of “success”.  Other topics briefly discussed include her relationship with money, body image, how mindfulness is essential to wellbeing, and feminist book recommendations.  Mostly typical perzine fodder, but well-written and entertaining nonetheless. I must guiltily admit that I enjoyed this zine far more than I thought I would. Highly recommended!

Adventures in Menstruating #6
Edited by Chella Quint, Sheffield –
This is why I love the zine scene – articles about celebrating one’s period is something that I’d never find in the mainstream press, a place that’s saturated with images of women who are ashamed of menstruation, looking for ways to “outsmart” mother nature.  Adventures in Menstruating is a zine that focuses on menses with a feminist slant and a great sense of humour.  It’s reminiscent of a magazine, with its full-colour cover and neat interior layouts.  Inside, there are articles, poetry, mini-comics, product reviews, a short story, flow charts (pun not intended), and deconstructions of the advertising used for menstrual products.  It’s a zine about periods, what’s not to like, seriously? Every woman needs to read at least one issue of this zine in her life, so get your copy now!

Athemaura #2: The Library Issue
This is a zine written in March by a librarian campaigning against the government cuts (but annoyingly, the author didn’t include a name or location, just the email address above).  Inside, the author discusses how libraries have featured in their life, from insomnia-fuelled reading binges in childhood, to the present day, where they spent four years to secure their first library job.  We read about how they feel spending time at the library has had a positive effect on their development as a person, and how important the author feels libraries are for all members of the community.  There are also a few statistics on library closures, and some recommended reading on the topic.  Very messy, both in terms of its visuals, and the way it’s been put together.  Some may like that kind of look, but I didn’t, if I’m honest.  There are also random numbers alongside some paragraphs, and the meaning of them wasn’t clear.  However, despite some quibbles I have with the author’s approach to putting the zine together, it still features some well-written pieces that do clearly highlight the importance of libraries, so overall I have to give this zine a thumbs-up.  You can keep up to date with the author’s campaign updates here:

Not Lonely #5.5 / Sometimes I’m Dreaming #4.5
Hannah, Scotland – / Lisa, London –
Two of my favourite British zinesters in one lovely little zine – wonderful!  Both have deemed this a “half” issue, as it was written over the course of one weekend together, with lots of tea and Spotify playlists to fuel their writing.  Although short and quickly made, it’s still a gorgeous split-zine, with both sides equally entertaining and pretty.  The content was chosen by writing random topics on slips of paper, and picking them at random out of a large hat.  Hannah’s topics include life-changing experiences, videogames, and common misconceptions about her, while Lisa writes about childhood dreams, travel, her style, trash TV, and shyness.  Lisa’s side is more text-heavy and features more of her beautiful handwriting, while Hannah’s side has more large typewritten text and cut-and-paste imagery.  A fun little read.

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