Sunday, 22 June 2014

Zine Reviews, June '14

photo via Stephanie Male

Seymour #1
Written by Kimberley, England –
This new perzine lies in the centre of a venn diagram of things I love reading about – mental health, personal collections, and Ghost World!  The zine is named after a character in Ghost World who obsessively collects old stuff and cannot connect with others around him.  Kimberley writes about her OCD and how she swings between collecting and living minimally.  There’s also some smart discussion of the relationship between collections/hoarding and class – i.e. that wealthy people will cultivate collections purely to show that they have money, or conversely will keep a decluttered house so as not to ruin their pristine show homes, whereas less wealthy people can’t afford this luxury, and must stock up on special offers and fun things while they can afford to.  She also discusses her own anxieties surrounding her financial situation and how this relates to her relationship with collecting.  This zine is short, smart, and gave me a lot to think about.  Highly recommended!

Different Times: Drag, Life, Rock n Roll
Written by Simon/Mona, London –
Different Times documents the author’s time in an all-drag punk band called Six Inch Killaz, where he played fuzz and feedback guitar under his drag name Mona (taken from a Bo Diddly record).  Simon also discusses the broader context of where the band was situated – the drag scene in the 90s, the crossover of underground drag culture into the mainstream, the wider drag and queer scenes, DIY and zine cultures, sex work, the ups and downs of being in a band, and the complexities of their relationships.  It’s very detailed and emotionally honest, littered with Simon’s emotive illustrations of people, posters, and zines, which adds a really personal touch to this memoir-esque zine.   Different Times was such an interesting read; if you’re interested in the intersection of punk music and queer/trans issues then I can’t recommend this zine enough.

Ten by 10 #2
Edited by Christina, England –
This is an interesting concept for a zine series - every edition revolves around one single theme explored through ten interviews to ten people, each consisting of ten questions!  This issue is subtitled “Young Creative Professionals”, and features ten young artists discussing their education, early career paths, their inspirations and their aspirations.  Ten by 10 toes the line between zine and magazine – while the distribution size would class it as a zine, and the concept is quite ziney, the interior has a clean slick design that would not feel out of place on a newsstand.  You can download the free digital version online at the link above, or purchase a print copy.

Shelf Life #1
Written by Stephanie, Somerset –
This short half-sized perzine (pictured above) is Stephanie’s first, and was conceived after she read Alex Wrekk’s amazing zine manual Stolen Sharpie Revolution!  I always love reading about people’s “aha!” moments when they realise that they too can make their own zine!  We also read a long piece expanding on the zine series title, where she writes about feeling as though she lives her life on a shelf, gathering dust.  The content is largely your typical perzine fare (which is no criticism, as I love perzines) – there are some musings on identity, regrets and insecurities, a piece on her experiences with roller derby, all rounded off with a page of favourite things.  The layouts are really cool too, cut and paste sentences and words laid out over dark patterned backgrounds.  A lovely quick read.

Bi Community News #123
Edited by Jen, Manchester -
I have nothing but good things to say about BCN.  It’s the UK’s biggest-selling bisexual (maga)zine with lots of great resources on offer including local group listings, news, upcoming events, national bi organisations, and publications of interest.  Alongside the regulars we read some longer articles and opinion pieces; this issue features writings on the experiences of bisexual women, stereotypes and stigmas attached to bisexuality, gender and sexuality in Doctor Who (as a queer Whovian, I bloody loved this article!), Tom Daley’s coming out video, and addressing biphobia in UK schools.  Seriously, if you’re a bisexual zinester, get on this and buy yourself a subscription (they are so cheap for what you get!).  Also, Jen is always looking for contributors, so do consider submitting something for publication (

Sam Russo’s Euro Tour Diary May 2013
Edited by Rob, UK -
This half-sized music/perzine is a 38-page, 11-part tour diary written by singer-songwriter Sam Russo on his European tour in May 2013.  Each section focuses on a city he visited, including Geneva, Salzburg, Vienna, Berlin, and Hamburg, where he writes about the gig itself, as well as the journey, the sights of the city, and various funny/interesting/noteworthy interactions and occurrences.  It’s a clean layout of black text on white plain background, featuring photos from the tour.  Check out Sam’s music and more at the link above.

p.s. want more zine reviews?  Check out my previous review posts here! 

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