$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.
Fly Away Bird #10
$2.50 A6 28p 23g
This issue reads from right to left and contains more sweet drawings of ice creams, puppy dogs and castles coupled with little snatches of writing that are about trying to be happy in the world and figure shit out. Helen’s zines make me happy – they make it feel like it is possible to hold onto your ideals, to defend them, and to support each other.
Haiku Ode to Papa Hemingway
$0.80 A6 postcard
What you see is what you get! A risographed postcard by the creator of Fanzine Ynfytyn.
Here. In My Head. #9
$2 A6 48p 31g
This is a great feminist perzine from the UK. At the time of writing it Cath had just finished her degree in theology, and this zine contains the sort of excited energy that you might expect from someone who has just been unleashed from university and is looking for a job, trying to figure out what to do and so on. Cath writes a piece about her self-described fear of technology and about the phallo-centricity of Western religions and the female gods that have existed in other times and cultures. There are also the obligatory (oh, but we love them so!) favourites lists and so forth, but my favourite piece in this zine is titled ‘Anti-Feminist Bingo!’ and is about a bingo game that Cath devised to help combat the ignorant and depressingly predictable comments you receive when you mention anything remotely to do with feminism. ‘The prize is a rage-headache and an evening of ranting on Twitter’. Brilliant. I mean, not brilliant, but funny.
How to be Alone #2
A5 24p $2 25g Temporarily sold out
“In my last How to be Alone zine I wrote about quitting Facebook and finished on a note of uncertainty – I had deactivated for over a year, but would I have the courage to delete my account? When I sat down to write my goals for 2013 I knew that I had to stop avoiding taking action and delete my account, permanently.” Bastian’s second issue of How to be Alone was written with one hand out of action due to a bike accident. Newly single, Bastian analyses what it’s like to be newly single, and writes a lot about their discovery of astrology and the influence it has on their life.
Hole in the ground
$3 A5 68pg 90g Temporarily sold out
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 that range from discussions on the nature of home and distance, to 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’.
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 Very Busy and Important # 5
$3 A5 28pg 38g
In this issue of her ace zine Sophie announces that she was made redundant from her job as a journo based in Toowoomba, resulting in a few work-place shifts. This zine shifts around a bit, too, and isn’t as focused as the previous issue, but the QLD floods were pretty compelling and had a particularly strong impact, so it’s understandable. That is not to down play the merits of this issue. I am Very Busy and Important #5 has the same home newspaperish/town newslettery feel about it, and that’s what makes it such an appealing zine. Sophie touches on her personal life in this issue, with a story about depression, but mostly it’s firmly focused on the outside world, with a story about the trials of being a coffee snob in small town QLD, an interview with photographer Pat Ruggles, zine reviews and a review of the Collected Works of H P Lovecraft (alright!), overheard conversations and so on.
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.
If Destroyed Still True #7
$2.50 A5 20p 28g
“This dude I crashed with near Byron Bay… gave me a travel notebook… It’s now February 2013 and I’ve finally filled the book up, with drafts of blog posts and articles, unsent letters, notes from lectures and various other bits and pieces. I used that book as the basis for this zine…” Subtitled ‘notes from the road’, If Destroyed Still True is Nine’s (Sex Industry Apologist) for-want-of-a-better-word travel zine. That is, it’s the travel zine of someone who is generally very thoughtful, and deeply suspicious of the whole notion of privileged people nattering on about all their wild and exotic travels as if they were doing something more authentic and challenging than anyone else’s everyday life. In other words it’s a really good travel zine.
Indie Kids #1
$4 A5 20 p 28g
A look at the lives of some indie kids, in comic form. Our protagonists wake late in the morning, eat children’s breakfast cereals, only just remember to fill in their Centrelink Participation Activity Record sheets, go to their friends gigs, try (unsuccessfully) to hit on said friends and buy mint condition Robert Crumb comics off eBay. It’s very tongue in cheek, but affectionate. This only contains the first section of the story, so fingers crossed the author gets his act together quickly to bring out issue #2.