We Make Zines

a place for zinesters - writers and readers

1987 was stupid.I don't think we could have fully grokked the concept of a zine store like Reading Frenzy.The only place you saw zines were at show's.They were sold out of backpack's.Maybe travelling punk rocker's would have a bunch of them for trade.They were mostly traded,or handed out for free.Occasionaly some zine person would make the jump,go get a page in Maximum Rock & Roll or Forced Exposure,but not often.Zines were mostly photo collage,wierd art and flat out stolen articles from newspaper's or music mag's.There was alot of trading through Factsheet Five,and really the whole scene was similar to Mail Art,and extremely loose.Zines were just starting to get sold in stores in 87.The world didn't get destroyed in a nuclear war like we predicted,so the punk art scene was coming of age,somewhat.A few zines were rising to the top of the heap,due to hard work by the publisher's,resulting in consistency and contribution's.Collective style zines were proliferating on varied timelines,which was good.Through the perserverence of publisher's and a need to be heard,some stores starting stocking rack's of the new underground press.When i say a need to be heard,i think it's necessary to put this in a proper cultural context;in the Eighties,there was little or no recognition or respect for alternative culture.Zines and creative youth culture were looked at as pale copies of the great sixties,vapid imitation's of a dead scene.The media mainly touted the assimilation of creative u.g. art,("it's buying in,not selling out"was a popular catchphrase)not the appreciation of it.Luckily,the fanatic devotion of a handful of people helped keep zines alive.Tower Records would sell them,and Comic Relief started selling zines in the back of thier store.That was where i first met D and went to one of the meeting's of the Puppy Toss collective,which was a group of cartoonist's who were just trying to get thier art out.The underlying theme seemed to me to be a desire to draw,and a knowledge that our art was as good as everything else out there-or at least as deserving of publication.The meeting's were cool,and an opportunity to network and shsre in the frustration's of dealing with an insider industry that professes little room for new blood.It was the one of the first times I felt truly appreciated as an artist,and D seriously gave me respect and encouragement that i had rarely got before that.It put in perspective how far i had really come,and inspired some cool new work.So much of that time is gone now,which i guess is the way life is.But as a pothead squatter living in a van,it really meant the world to me to finally impress someone,and have them be eager to get my work out there.I'll never forget that.Now it's different(and not in a bad way),and zines are easier and better and only a few click's away.But i think the struggle was part of the process then,and can't help but think something is lost when the drive is unneccesarry,and a mission instead becomes a hobby.

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