It’s always tough to write about zines without falling into self-referential piffle – we are afterall unsubbed and unvalidated – but events such as this genuinely does remind me why I bother, sporadically, to produce material. There were a number of events, including a gig featuring the wonderful Bobby McGees and a knees up at the Cowley Club, around the festival but I just managed to leg it to the London Bridge train down from London for the main Saturday sale the fest was centred upon.
Having been to similar events in Manchester and London, I had an idea what to expect but it never fails to make me smile how much passion, genuine excitement and creativity can be so immediately evident. Sure, there’s some of the old record shop intimidating-ness about the situation – where self publishing is involved, there’s always a level of pretentiousness and feeling you’re being judged – and there’s some awkwardness to studying, and sometimes rejecting, someone’s wares right in front of them.
But the overwhelming feeling is one of worth. The host of papercuts, the empty wallet, the lack of sleep – worth it to see people enjoy zines. Needless to say I bankrupted myself fairly quickly and there were many zines I would’ve loved to have picked up but the coffers didn’t allow. Of the massive pile I did pick up a number stood out. It’s great to see a new issue of Bubblegum Slut zine, a mere six years after I started reading it, A Call from Karl effectively combined simple drawing with gentle humour, likewise Joe Decie’s What I Drew while The Quick and The Dead was very affecting and tackled the issue of depression engagingly, the list goes on… Emma Falconer also gave an interesting talk on the difficulties and tricks of putting zines together which even opened my realitively zine-wisened eyes to a few things. Honourable mentions go to the lovely people at Shebang, Dead Trees & Die and Beat Motel’s stalls who are always a pleasure to see and I was particularly glad to see Gadgie has been put into a book in the form of Now Then Gadgie – which you can get hold of here
. Love to the zinesters, party for the fight to write, and write on…