Sunday, 18 March 2012

Zine Reviews: March '12

Xyz #4 / C-Section #1
I was originally going to review this zine in my zine review vlog, but I had so much to say about it that I couldn’t fit it all in!  This is a great split-zine, as both sides deal with the overarching theme of trans and genderqueerness, and both make reference to each other rather than remain entirely separate.  Will’s section is as informative and fascinating as ever – we read about the concept of bodily autonomy and its relation to medical care, the Feminine Apologetic (“the performance of socially approved models of femininity as a form of penance for behaviours considered unfeminine”) and The Patriarchal Bargain (when “those who would not otherwise succeed under patriarchy agree to accede to its demands in return for whatever small amount of personal gain they can take from it”), how to avoid menstruating, cis privilege, what oestrogen and testestorone do, and lots of other interesting gender goodness. I love Will for hir ability to write about difficult concepts in a clear and interesting way, and it's clear that ze has really done hir research.  'C-Section' is much more perzine than 'xyz', and deals almost entirely with Chloe’s story of coming out as a trans woman – how, when and why she came out, what it's like to be come out to, and the positives and negatives of coming out.  There’s a particularly interesting piece about children’s reactions to visibly trans/non-binary people, and some thoughts on how parents can or should respond to their child making tactless comments like “THAT’S A MAN!”  Finally, there’s a great section in the middle where both writers discuss their friendship, and a middle page spread of cute notes and facts about each other, e.g. “Will is a bear because… ze is very protective of hir cubs”.  I learned so much from both writers - this is possibly the best zine I’ve read this year.

Elderflower Tea #1
Sarah, Staffordshire –
At only 18 pages long, Elderflower Tea is a fluffy perzine that makes for a quick and cheerful read with a cup of tea.  It has a romantic and whimsical theme; the author discusses daydreaming, friendship, love, flower picking, and her favourite book “The Perks of Being A Wallflower”.  We also read a love letter to Miranda July, and a list of things she loves.  The layouts are neat and pretty, with some doodles, though the typewritten text is fairly messy (not that it bothers me – I think it adds to the charm - but it might bother some). The cover is really cute too.

Sweet & Tender #1: British Gloom
Ariane explains in the introduction that she decided to write about British gloom when she realised that her grumpiness and loneliness made her feel like a cliché - she realised that her fulfilment of this cliché gave her a sense of connecting with a wider community, and that this turning suffering into belonging is a very British thing to do.  She begins with a geographical explanation of British gloom – London has Jack the Ripper and Oliver Twist, while Northern England has 'This is England' and 'Jane Eyre'.  There are UK-wide gloomy things documented too, including BBQs ruined by rain, and angsting over the Daily Mail!  Ariane goes on to discuss the gloominess of charity shops, the gender implications of Wales being called “The Land of My Fathers”, and female misery icons, such as Anne Elliot from Jane Austen’s 'Persuasion'.  My favourite piece is a funny hand-drawn guide to Goths, including “history-loving Goths” and “trendy modern Goths”!  While this zine is not very substantial or focused, it’s an entertaining read nonetheless, packed with drawings, interesting collages, and cut-and-paste text. 

Financially Hard Times #10: Feb 2012
Tom Casson, London –
My favourite issue of 'Financially Hard Times' so far, the February issue offers us a glimpse into a totalitarian future where Facebook, Tesco, Subway, and Apple are the world superpowers, politicians are elected by winning reality TV programmes, one’s Facebook Timeline becomes their gravestone (so passers-by can “browse through pictures of happier days in ‘Malia 09 Babyyy’”), and Middlesborough becomes a holiday hot-spot due to its balmy post-global-warming weather.  Brilliant!  You can buy a copy at Tom's Big Cartel store.

Mythologising Me #4
Ingrid, Oxford –
The fourth issue of Ingrid’s perzine focuses on more positive (and mostly grown-up) topics than the previous three – we read about budgeting and dreaming of being debt-free, thoughts about job-seeking and careers, trying to start 'Couch to 5k', positive things that have happened since she moved home, and her favourite TV shows at school (I loved 'The Racoons' too!).  Her writing style is quite casual, as if you’re having a chat with a friend.  A messy, cut-and-paste interior, with mostly typewritten pages, and a few handwritten sections. 


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  2. Great reviews, the zine on "British Gloom" sounds hilarious! <3