Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Zine Reviews: May 2012

Your Pretty Face is Going Straight to Hell #16
Tukru, Kent – tukrulovesyouATgmail.com
Inside this long-awaited issue of long-running perzine 'Your Pretty Face...', Tukru spends much of her time focusing on future plans and taking stock of her life on the cusp of her 30th birthday.  The main part of this zine is dedicated to listing things Tukru wants to do before she turns 30 – these include joining a band, organising a zine event in Medway (which she managed to do after this zine was published!), get tattooed, finish writing a big zine about her favourite band The Ark, and doing more craft projects.  Tukru also writes about her long term relationship with Carl, rollerskating, zinefests, her lucky number seven, and letter-writing.  The writing is in Tukru’s signature stream-of-consciousness feel, and the zine looks as gorgeous as ever – lots of fun fonts, negative images, and cut-and-paste collage-style layouts.  Tukru’s best creation yet!

Not Growing Up #1: Surprises & Not Growing Up #2: Write
Jessica P, England - www.notgrowingup.com
'Not Growing Up' is a half-sized zine full of tasks, challenges and inspiring words that aim to encourage the reader into affirmative action!  Issue #1 is all about the element of surprise; inside, Jessica encourages you to surprise yourself by pledging to do 3 things you’ve always wanted to try.  She also lists nice ways of surprising others, e.g. “buy a child a balloon”.  This issue feels more like a workbook than a zine, with a few pages left blank for the reader to fill in with their ideas.  Issue #2 is subtitled “write”, and features writing tips, an introduction to NaNoWriMo, thoughts on poetry and short stories, a piece on the benefits of keeping a journal, and lots of writing prompts (e.g. “think of your least favourite colour. Now imagine you woke up one day and your hair was that colour! What would you do?”).  We also read a poem and a short story written by Jessica, as well as some poetry written by guest contributors (points awarded for including a poem by Tony Harrison!).  Both issues have full colour covers and attractive interior pages that have clearly been well thought out, with imaginative use of fonts and images.  I would even say that some parts of the zine look more like a professional pamphlet than a handmade zine.  While I love the idea behind this zine series, I didn’t find either issue particularly inspiring.  The suggested tasks weren’t particularly creative, and some were just a bit silly - though perhaps some people will enjoy trying some silly tasks!  I also found that much of Jessica’s advice and tips/techniques were obvious - advice such as “always have a pen and paper with you” and “pour your heart into your writing” just seems like old hat to me.  Having said that, perhaps I’m not the right audience for this zine, as someone who writes fairly regularly and reads a lot about the creative process (you won’t go far wrong with ‘The Artist’s Way’, by the way).  It seems that this zine would be enjoyed by someone who hasn’t written or read much about how to write before - my young teenage cousin springs to mind as someone who I think would really enjoy this zine.  

Larry #5
Lee, West Midlands - dis_connectedAThotmail.co.uk
Now that I’m a dab hand at devouring perzines (and have encountered many perzines that feel too similar for my liking), it’s rare that I encounter a real page-turner of a perzine that draws me in from the beginning.  'Larry' is one of these rare zines!  It’s packed full of short reflective columns about recent events in Lee’s life, such as meeting a preachy Christian on the bus, dealing with annoying customers at work, and trying to stop worrying so much.  We read some longer pieces on the perils of smoking, feeling awkward at zine fests (me too!), social networking as the “desire to assert through technology that you exist”, and ethically sourced food and clothing.  There’s also an interesting how-to guide on practicing line drawings.  Each written column/article was just long enough to tell the story in depth, but not so long as to be self-indulgent, or a chore to read.  I identified with so much of Lee’s writing – he seems like a thoughtful, politically-minded chap with a lot of interesting things to say about the world around him.  I also loved the artwork inside the zine – Lee is an illustrator, and every page is decorated with his distinctive scratchy-lined hand-drawings, sometimes as background images and sometimes as illustrations to accompany his written work (an example page can be found here).  Each copy of 'Larry' is hand-tied, numbered, and has a little window cut out of the cartridge paper cover revealing a cute hand-drawn squirrel - I love little personal touches like that. This is one of the best zines I’ve read for ages, I highly recommend it!

Punching Dough #1
Sarah, Newport – iamatomatosardineATgmail.com
A quick fun perzine, 'Punching Dough' touches upon lots of diverse topics, including why the author loves London, her feelings about her home city of Newport and her favourite places in the city, her love for comedian Stewart Lee, thoughts about blogging (written by a guest contributor), and some of her favourite blogs.  We also read typical perzine staple pieces – a recipe for caramel croissant pudding (yum!), lists, and some zine recommendations.  Very scruffy and personal, full of stickers and cut-and-paste text laid on magazine clippings, which I like; I only wish it was longer!

My Zine #4 & #8
Written by the daughter of Mr T, owner of Lights Go Out zine distro, 'My Zine' features Elyssa’s colourful and creative hand drawings.  I’m not even sure what most of the drawings are, but maybe deciphering them is part of the fun!  #8 was my favourite of the two, as it included a cute self-portrait, and a frankly scary drawing of three bears who loom menacingly over Goldilocks sleeping in their bed, baring their pointy fangs!  I showed these zines to my mum when they first arrived in the mail, and we both spent a good few minutes cooing over them.  So cute!  

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