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This following is a small review of the new issue of Twilight World:

8-Track Mind #101 $3
(no address given)

Can fragments of the old and obsolete of decades past like the 8-track tape format be seriously considered beyond nostalgia? It’s a basic idea a lot of people can’t get their collective heads around….much less know what 8 track tapes are.

I knew what they were, but until I found 8 Track Mind, I didn’t see much in them either. I’m not much of an audiophile to be violently allergic to the Track, but I knew of their shitty sound quality, the noisy motors in many of its players and pieces of tape and cartridge littered on the sides of roads like corpses in a biblical zombie movie. I personally got enough of that mess with cassette tapes, thank you very much.

After reading 8-Track Mind, I saw things differently and deeper….and a tad more political. Co-founder and editor Russ Forester had chronicled 10 years worth of fans, collectors and, more importantly, individuals who saw this fragile format as a tool against a rapid paced world of capitalism accelerating consumer consumption with relentless formats changes following right behind. In the face of all of this, the most potent political action you can do, much less protect your individuality, is to intentionally stay out of step and mind to your own immediate surroundings.

However, there were some influence of corporate-sponsored “progress” that were too large and persuasive to ignore in this community of Track lovers and protesters. Thus, with the rise of Ebay and the internet, Forester pulled the plug on the zine and said goodbye in 2001 with #100.

Last year, he picked up the pieces from his old Track tenure with #101 and found how things had changed and how it hadn’t. Using the issue’s theme of zines vs. blog as a framework, he found the same level of format changes and comparisons he saw with the digital vs. analog arguments in the old days. However, there wasn’t much bickering this time as many of the old guards and readers had learned their lessons and made reasonable adjustments to suit their needs.

Kim Cooper of Scram Magazine has shelved her famous zine to make way for a blog called 1947project, which haphazardly lead to doing bus tours through out the bowls of Los Angeles’ historical under belly. Former 8TM scribe Lucien Williams writes in interesting detail about a proposed Eight Track Merit Badge for the Boy Scouts (I wonder if she had seen Penn & Teller: Bullshit! episode on the Scouts? I suspect those mornons don’t like changes…even with the ones before the ones in the 19th century). Old Track hand Malcolm Riviera has a special mid-section where he dances on the grave of what’s left of the record industry (“Entropy is real!”).

Some joined the blog world, some haven’t and a larger number like Cooper had made peace with both worlds, both that equally leads to personal satisfaction: “But the fruits of a digital life are also sweet. It’s not a war, zines verses blogs, the old war eaten by the new, but what you do with the tools, available to feed you mind and soul. Whoever you are, whatever you love, I hope your tools fit your hand and are shaping a world you want to live in.”

Forester has been persistent about his idea of writing a book about his experiences and the people he has met through out his 8 Track Mind years. Should this idea take off and find some print, I’m sure that this fractured but lovable format will not be the only focus….and I look forward to experience it, too.

PS: This was produced and distributed last year and I JUST found out about it in a small scribe in Xerography Debt #30. Plus, as there’s no mailing address given, so I had to hustle to a couple of zine related web sites for more information. I finally got my copy at Quimbys.com with an additional 5 buck for P & H. Small warning for all.....

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