Angry Violist #5.5
Emma, Cambridge – http://angryviolist.wordpress.com
Angry Violist is one of my favourite UK zines – Emma writes about classical music and esoteric musical ideas in a fairly accessible way, and I feel as if I’ve enriched my mind somewhat after delving into her writing. This particular issue was created in 24 hours, so it’s a little shorter and messier than other issues, and is rather more personal and opinionated. The zine opens with a fascinating piece on the hierarchy of music, sound and noise, and how these 3 intertwine, illustrated with a detailed Venn diagram (who doesn’t enjoy a good Venn diagram?). We also read about the discipline of acoustic violin/viola/cello playing, and “the wilderness of exceptionally loud and distorted noises” that emerge when you hook your instrument up to an amplifier. My favourite piece was about the joy and vulnerability of making music with other musicians, and the danger of comparing yourself to other musicians. The layout is messy and cut-and-paste, though the focus of the zine is the words rather than the visuals. I adore this zine series - Emma strikes me as a knowledgeable musician, and her zines are always so vibrant and engrossing!
Girlzone #2: In Your Dreams
Edited by Charlotte Cullen, Huddersfield – http://project-babe.tumblr.com
This lovely half-sized compzine is all about girly sleepovers, an empowering practice of female bonding and exploration that are “an important part of any adolescent adventure”. We read tips for good sleepovers, how to build a fort, nail art ideas, a list of perfect sleepover films, and tales of sleepovers gone wrong. There are also pieces of artwork dotted throughout, and the centrefold is a big pink Ouija board! Printed in colour and bound with pink and green cotton thread, it’s a cute, quirky zine (though unfortunately due to the way it’s been printed, it’s a bit difficult to read in places). Highly recommended!
Light of My Life: Adventures in Low-power Lighting #1
Flo, Leeds – http://ledfantasticblog.wordpress.com
Flo, Leeds – http://ledfantasticblog.wordpress.com
Light of My Life is a cool half-sized zine all about LEDs, created by Flo while on an electrical apprenticeship. It’s packed full of info about LEDs, including the advantages of using them over other types of lighting (namely, you save around 92% energy!), how and where to work with them, and how to make a 12-volt LED circuit. There’s also a list of things Flo loves about their apprenticeship. It’s a short zine with a nice cut and paste look, and Flo’s enthusiasm for their work is really lovely to read.
Agua Pura: A Month on the US/Mexico Border
Kathleen, Leeds - agua.pura.zineATgmail.com
Kathleen, author of perzine ‘Scratch that Itch’, wrote this zine all about her experiences working as a paramedic providing humanitarian aid on the US/Mexico border. Every year, thousands of people from central America walk for days through the searing heat of the desert to cross the US/Mexico border, pushed to do so by “economic imperative, systematic violence and family ties”. Kathleen writes much about the experiences of the travellers – the exhaustion and terror, dehydration and frequent deaths along the way, the US Border Patrol’s overzealous hunting of travellers using helicopters, drones, ATVs and dogs, and Kathleen’s struggle to emotionally detach herself from the events in the desert. We also read about her personal experiences there – her colleagues, rattlesnakes, finding a dying traveller at the side of the road and being legally unable to drive him to get help, and hearing that a friend of hers died by his own hand while she was away. The layout is nice – mostly black text on white background, with illustrations, comic strips, and some handwritten sections. I also love the blue ink on the cover and centrefold. A very well-written and thoughtful story.
Her Kind #1
Amy Isme, England - herkindAToutlook.com
I picked this zine up for free at a riot grrrl night in Coventry called REVOLT, and it’s actually one of the best British zines I’ve read for ages! Her Kind is a half-sized perzine that features themes of queerness, sisterhood, illustration, erotica, feminism, and body acceptance. It’s quite disjointed, featuring lots of little things rather than any extended pieces – lots of illustrated quotes on the topic of eroticism and lesbianism, a sexy piece of erotic fiction (AKA “the one-handed read”), an illustration of her heroine Delphine Seyrig, an open letter to Amy’s school bullies, and some awesome feminist-themed illustrations! The zine closes with a passionate piece on the power and wonder of the cunt – I adore the whole thing, but especially the image of a turned-on cunt widening “as if trying to hook itself around the furthest-away stars in the galaxy, travelling further & further up into space, making all of the infinite BLACKNESS throb & throb”. Such beautiful imagery! Her Kind is intelligent, accepting, and affirming – it’s the kind of zine I wish I could copy and give out to everyone I know!