So today is the last day of International Zine Month and I am feeling pretty guilty about my lack of participation after my initial burst of interest in 24 Hour Zine Thing, and then going on holiday for 2 weeks without giving it a second thought. So now I am making up for this by writing for you about my zine collection, my favourite zines, + the importance of zines to me. Then I need to get back to my very-last-minute 24HZ cos i've only got a few hours left!
At the top is a photo of my WHOLE collection which I keep stored under my bed. It all started on a visit to Manchester with my Dad if I remember rightly. I had dragged him into Afflecks Palace to look at clothes, and on the top floor we came across a new little unit - Good Grief zines. I'd only ever heard zines mentioned once before on Tumblr but I'd never seen one In The Flesh. I got excited and took anything that was free or under 50p. After that I went back a couple of times before it vanished I think and did the same routine. One I remember in particular was called the Indie Adventurer, but now I can't find it in my pile :-( It would have been nice to show off my first ever zine but now it seems to have vanished, and I don't remember any more info about who made it or anything- if that was your zine though, THANKS for getting me into them!
Whilst on the subject of Good Grief though, I have to say I got this ace print there of my hero Charles M Schulz which hangs proudly on my wall. I wish I could remember who it was by.
After that, I made friends with a boy named Joe who took me out to a zine fair in Fallowfield Trof in Manchester (home of a very good chocolate milk), which was a small and awkward affair. Sometimes zine fairs are like that. I felt so embarrassed looking at the zines in the confined space, all eyes on us, and guilty for not buying anything, I paid a WHOLE 2 POUNDS for this zine about BENCHES. It became a bit of a running joke after that.
Since then I have been to lots of zine fairs, notably in Salford and Victoria Baths (twice). The Victoria Baths fair is the best because of the scale and the beautiful building. The first time I went I was with my zine-sceptic friend, who I managed to convert with the introduction of the more high end, beautifully produced zines like Manchester's "The Modernist". The second time I got to help produce a page for the official VB fanzine, and meet the very lovely Young Explorer (though I was feeling especially shy that day, sorry guys) who produce some very lovely zines + bits and pieces.
My favourite zines ever are probably these 2 which I picked up at Imprint fair in Liverpool where my friend Fletcher was selling his NSFW photography zine Swnd. they are made by a 5 year old girl named Raspberry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Imagine that!!!! She was THERE sat with her mum, selling zines, postcards and original drawings. Her website is here and it is perfect. Raspberry did the drawings and then her mum would write next to them the story which Raspberry would attribute to each drawing. Here is an example:
Zines are so important to me because absolutely anyone can make them, Raspberry being a prime example, and they can be about anything, and it doesn't matter because you do it for the joy of creating, and that's the best. Even fancier zines that are closer to magazines like The Modernist are great because they give people access to a publication about a subject that matters to them that isn't catered for in the mainstream market. I mean, I make my own zine called 2nd Hand Zine because I LOVE rummaging around charity shops and car boot sales and I wanted to share that with people and it seems to have gone down well. I'm currently on the cusp of releasing my second issue, The Fashion Issue, ASAP. I sold my zines at Manchester Art Gallery zine fair at the start of the year, and that was great fun. I got some great books and zines there too, special mention to Sugar Paper Zine who I am beginning to have a whole special collection of. Selling there was a really fun and special experience being surrounded by like minded zinesters!
But you don't have to be in a place where fairs happen to enjoy zines. This is another great thing about zine accessability. The internet is a great place to share and collaborate! I have recieved loads of zines from my friends on Tumblr and the like, and I definitely think that if you want to get into zines, you will be able to find something to suit your interests on Tumblr, Etsy, or Google. And if you don't, make it yourself! It's easy.
(zines from the internet)
I'll leave you on something important/inspiring I read in a zine which I think is originally taken from Amy Stephens book "DIY: The Rise Of Lo Fi Culture": "If you can't find the cultural experience you're looking for, create your own alternative!"