$4 A5 36p 47g
In the proper tradition of fanzine writing, Vanessa brings us Fern Zine, which is all about her amateurish love of ferns. Vanessa runs through her fondness for ferns, giving an account of pteridomania, the fern mania which gripped our Victorian forebears, as well as her own discovery of ferns and some tips on how to keep them. And as if the title wasn’t enough, the whole zine is littered with fern related puns, which I will leave for you to discover. Of course, you needn’t harbour any affection for ferns at all in order to enjoy Vanessa’s writing.
$1 A6 24p
“In the nine years since my last zine I’ve moved house nine times; I spent five years working in a bookshop; I got a Masters degree; I lived in America for three years; I went through anorexia and three years of therapy; I had a romance that lasted about four months; three friends died within the space of twelve months, and I wrote two books but I destroyed one of them…” Those of us who read Anwyn’s zines in the late 90s and early 2000s have waited a long time for this. I’ve written somewhere before – perhaps to her – that Anwyn’s writing could punch holes through walls. This zine was made to coincide with the Other Worlds zine fair. The five short pieces of writing – which are separated by five postcards – are personal reflections on class, and more.
$6 A5 100p
“I don’t have a career or property or even a PhD. I don’t have a partner or a child or solid plans for the future. I’m 32 years old. I don’t have much to say when strangers or old friends ask what I’ve been up to. I have boxes of paper. I have postcards of places I’ve been, photos of distant friends, pictures of monsters. I have stories I mostly forget. I have small stubborn convictions and less and less sense of how to act on them. Here are bits from zines I made between 2000 & 2007… It’s a very personal history of a very particular time.” This zine is a compilation of zines that Lou made in the early 21st century: Post-Consumer Waste, Please to be restful it is only a few crazies who have from the crazy place outbroken, Flightpath and Mute as Bottles. Everyone who was around at the time knows that these are among the best zines that were made in Sydney, or Australia, during that period. If you haven’t read these zines then you’re missing out on an essential secret history of Sydney, a history of resistance. It’s not at all fair on the other wonderful zines we stock here at Take Care, but let’s put it unequivocally: this is currently the best zine in the Take Care catalogue. Sometimes people ask us to recommend zines to them; to them we say, unhesitatingly: this one. You actually need a copy of this zine.
Hello Sadness: An annotated bibliography of sad boy songs, Vol. 2
$4 A5 32p
“It’s apparent to me now, looking at myself as a child, adolescent, and adult, that I’ve always been drawn to sad stories. Stories of desire, longing, hitting walls, and falling into and emerging from dark places… This is not a depression zine. This is not a call for help. This is me playing with sadness, both my sadness and a bigger, cultural sadness – a sadness that bleeds into the existence of everyone who feels things when listening to songs and other stories.” This zine is a follow up to the wonderful Sing me to Sleep, which you can find elsewhere in this catalogue. Sing me to Sleep was more straightforwardly about the songs, but Hello Sadness, which has a longer word count, goes deeper; further into the songs and further into the personal. And while it shares the same subtitle as Sing me to Sleep – ‘an annotated bibliography of sad boy songs’ – the sad songs in Hello Sadness are by boys and girls, suggesting that the sad boy of the subtitle is the author of the zine.
Hole in the ground
$3 A5 68pg 90g
Hole in the Ground is a long and wonderful zine about a certain Syd Terminal’s temporary adventures living in the Blue Mountains, which lie about two hours west of Sydney. The Blue Mountains are a misty and, to those who’ve always viewed them from down in Sydney, almost mythical place of escape and natural beauty (as well as hippy shops and weekenders for wealthy Sydney-siders.) Syd writes about his complicated feelings towards his hometown, Sydney, a place that seems to change without warning or permission, leaving behind those who have no other place to call home. The move to the Mountains is a short respite from having to worry about what unfaithful Sydney is up to. Syd’s zine is a flow of associations: discussions on the nature of home and distance; things he liked about living in the Mountains; a garden map exploring the history and some of the myths behind the plants in his temporary backyard; a story about trying to hunt down Mountain Devils; train diaries, and more. Distance helps Syd clarify his love/hate relationship with Sydney, and the zine ends with an essay about the nature of development that is as critical of the ‘greedy developer’ as it is of the ‘green’ response that very often puts the worst part of conservatism into ‘conservation’.
Huffin’ Textas: A Secret History of Dexter Fletcher
$5 A6 100p (gocco printed cover, image may vary)
Dexter Fletcher is an English actor who played the character Spike in the late 80s children’s television program Press Gang. Dexter Fletcher is also the name of a mysterious Sydney-based art gang, membership two. The principle interests of this gang are: Press Gang; communism; anarchism; the repeated consumption of caffeinated beverages; the struggle against alienated work and relationships; feminism; pop music; zines, and Blu-Tack. Huffin’ Textas is an epic 10 000 word autobiography about the influences on Dexter Fletcher’s ongoing art practice. It’s about the Manic Street Preachers and the Mekons; the 1984-85 UK Miners’ Strike and the 1811-12 Luddite rebellion; the Ken Loach film Kes and gang dreams; collaborative art and friendship. Stick with the gang of one!
I am a Camera #14
$5 A5 44p 55g
“We are sitting at the kitchen table and talking about motivation. It is part of my struggle against torpor. Of late I feel as if I am trying to swim out against a tide, and the incoming waves are full of debris: golf club bags, donut makers, novelty foam hands. All these things are coming towards me and not only are they obstacles that threaten to knock me in the head, their waterlogged uselessness drags my spirits down further…”
I am a Camera #15
$4 A5 36p 47g
This is an excellent issue of I am a Camera. I know that Vanessa has developed something of a habit when it comes to making excellent zines, but let’s not get complacent about it. This issue is about taking a trip to New Zealand and visiting Dunedin, a little town on the east coast of South Island that a few decades ago was home to a thriving music scene that revolved around an independent record label called Flying Nun. The zine documents some of the adventures Vanessa (and companion, Simon) have in the town and her efforts to unearth information about Flying Nun and the bands associated with the Dunedin scene, with visits to the local library, bookshops and music related landmarks. One of my most prized possessions – a live recording of my favourite band, The Fall – was released on Flying Nun, so I personally found this zine very fascinating and entertaining, and you will, too, if you are remotely interested in indie music. But fear not if that is not the case: Vanessa’s writing is always very accessible and she has included a helpful index so that you can navigate your way through the zine if you’re not so familiar with the sounds and scenes she describes. One of my favourite zines this year, without a doubt.
I am a Camera #16
$5 A5 36p 50g
“I struggle with the bags, carrots, camera and the frenzy of paws and snouts that has overcome me…” Another unmissable issue of I am a Camera is with us! This issue is about a trip that Vanessa and Simon took to Japan. It focuses on a trip they took to a certain island in Japan called Okunoshima, or ‘Rabbit Island’.
I am a Camera #17
$8 A5 24p (plus 3 A3 fold-outs)
Description coming soon.
I Am Natasha
$4 A5 24p 34g
This zine by Tamara Lazaroff (Briefly, Birds; House) is about Natasha, whom Tamara imagines as another version of herself, living in a ‘concrete mouse-hole’ in a grey, Communist era block of flats in Macedonia. A lot of Tamara’s writing is about breaking out of places, memories, histories and ways of thinking that confine the spirit and prevent us from being properly free. This and Prison in Macedonia (see catalogue page P – T), another of Tamara’s recent zines, draw on experiences of visiting Macedonia and re-learning the language. ‘Inspiring’ is an overused word but it is definitely applicable in the case of both these beautifully written zines.