"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence
ZINES, ZINES AND MORE ZINES
by John Weller
What makes a zine a zine, and why should you, stumbling on this
article in the very depths of ST NEWS, even care? Well, let's
start from the top...
A 'zine' is *not* an abbreviated magazine or fanzine. What makes
a zine a zine is its contents, rather than its form; if it
contains original, alternative or radical ideas then it's a zine.
If it doesn't, then it's a magazine that's strayed from the
mainstream, and should be hunted down with sharp sticks and put
in its place... The word comes from the SF fanzines that
afficionados used to (and still do) type and duplicate for other
fans. It implies alternative views and ideas that you *won't*
find in the glossy dross that litters newsagents' shelves.
A zine can take many forms. It might be a small A5 booklet, or
120 pages of the slickest DTP'ing you'll ever see. It might come
on a disc, or be downloaded from the Net. It might be prints,
postcards and texts in a decorated box, or a strangely wrought
fold-out. It can be anything you want it to be, any idea you want
to express, or any censorship you want to oppose. All that's
important is that it comes from the heart, and that you're not
doing it to make money.
The reviews below were written for the ByPass review zine (the
"British version of Factsheet 5"), which is published every three
months. ByPass is a non-profitmaking service that reviews any
self-published material, with the guarantee of a free copy of the
issue that the review appears in. All Bruce and Jame ask is that
you enclose a 36p stamp (or 2 IRCs) to cover the postage. ByPass
is available for £1.20 ($3 US) post-paid from: Box B, 111
Magdalen Road, Oxford, OX4, UK. The current issue (#3) runs to 36
A4 pages and has reviews of 264 zines, ranging from comix and
art, through to anarchism, hacking and just plain weirdness.
Expect the unexpected in ByPass!
SAE/SSAE = 'Stamped and Addressed Envelope'. Make sure that this
is large enough for the zine you're asking for, and has
sufficient postage. A dinky envelope with a 19p stamp *won't*
cover a 40 page A4 zine....
IRC = 'International Reply Coupon'; these cost 60p from any post
office, and are worth 41p of stamps in the country you send them
FREE = well, free of charge... But that doesn't mean they're
willing to pay the postage as well: enclose an SAE (and perhap a
few loose stamps or IRCs). When Dave Mooney and I ran the STEN
disczine (which was free to anyone who sent an SAE and a blank
disc), we used to receive requests with no SAE, no stamp or even,
on a bad day, no disc. It's funny how those letters always ended
up in the wastebin...
Richard can probably tell similar stories of time-wasters and
PRICES = *securely-wrapped cash or blank Postal Orders ONLY*.
Many zinesters don't have bank accounts and, at best, will simply
return any cheques sent to them. Coins can be wrapped in
cardboard (making sure they don't clink!) and notes can be safely
sent in a small envelope inside the outer envelope.
FEEDBACK = if you liked a zine, then let the author know. Most
zines are subsidised by the people producing them (especially if
they're free - see above), and there's nothing more depressing
than mailing your hard work into a void.... Go on, make someone's
day - it'll only cost you a stamp!
IRON FEATHER JOURNAL
#13. This is the 'puterzine we've been waiting for. IFJ covers
hacking, phreaking, raves and technical trix, but in a streetwise
way and with a funky cut-and-paste style that puts Mondo and
bOING bOING to shame. In this issue you'll learn how to adapt
your car to run on water (with full plans for a tried and tested
hydrogen generator), make your own nitrous oxide (laughing gas),
'learn to DJ', and improve your Ramsey FM-10 pirate radio system.
And that's just the main articles! The info overload continues
with items on blue-boxing, modem scanning, password cracking,
computer porn, DIY light shows, weird Japanese RC toys, current
drug info, phun (powder explosions!), rave and techno
info/reviews, plus the obligatory pages of paper and email zine
reviews. Add to this the letters, BBS lists and demo network
news, and you'll see why I'm so excited. IFJ uses 'illegal'
technology for human ends - control freaks and posers beware!
90 8" x 11" pages. $4 per issue (+ 3 IRCs) from stevyn, pob
1905, Boulder, CO 80306, USA. (Also available from Tower Records
in the UK for £3.)
Vol. 4 #2: "The Journal of Imaginative Trouble". And I think I'm
falling in love... This is the 'Intoxication Issue' of the
Seattle underground's free paper, but it's intoxication in the
broadest sense of the word; ideas and possibilities to put your
head in a spin for weeks to come! Antero Alli starts the theme
rolling with a mean editorial about the nature of addiction -
"Everybody alive enough to feel the craving at the core of their
being is an addict. Don't look at me that way. You are an addict
too." - and it's then expanded with poetry, quotes from
Baudelaire, and a perceptive article on 'improvised music as a
state of grace'. Jim Dekorne (the author of "Psychedelic
Shamanism") talks about naturally-occurring DMT (Ayahuasca +
Syrian Rue); Leary's 'Eight Circuit Brain" is given a double-page
spin; Jim Hogshire (the author of "Opium for the Masses") talks
about growing your own opium; there's an interview with a nark
(and some of his writing and poetry); "Fractal Video
Hallucinations"; relevant book reviews and some fine graphics.
Why not satisfy your cravings with a slice of the truth?
20 page tabloid, two-colour cover. Quarterly, $5 sample, 4 sub
for $20, airmail. PO Box 161, Port Townsend, WA 98368, USA.
THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO GROWING MARIJUANA IN THE BRITISH ISLES
This beautifully-produced booklet contains everything you need
to know to grow the 'erb superb in our not-so-green and pleasant
land. No author is credited but whoever wrote this is obviously a
botanist, or a person with a deep knowledge of plants and their
needs. The topics covered are: A Botanical Overview, The British
Scene, Preparing the Soil, Planting, Plant Care, The Perfect
Environment, Maturity, Harvest Time, Indoor Growing, and Advanced
Techniques. There's a lot of information here, but it's presented
in a very clear way, with full instructions for every stage of
growing your own stone; from the soil preparation through to
harvesting, curing and storage. Highly recommended!
45 DTP'ed A5 pages illustrated with line drawings and diagrams.
£3.50 + SSAE from: HEAD, BM Uplift, London, WC1N 3XX, UK.
#7 - January '94. This has got to be the most intriguing zine
that I've seen in a long time. Global Mail is a listing of 400
mail art projects, networks and contacts from over 30 countries,
broken down into various topics: Mail Art Shows, Actions,
Anarchist, Archive, Art Project, BBS, Boycott, Books,
Comix/Humour, Compilations/Portfolios, Distributors, Email,
Erotic, Exchanges, Gender, Misc, Newcomers, Networks, Penpals,
Performance, Politics, Resources, Stampings,
Tape/Sound/Compilations, Text/Writing, Video, and Zines
Requesting Contributors. If you're interested in mail art, or
want to find out more about it, then this is the place to look.
Here's a random sample from the hundreds of small-print listings:
"ART PROJECT 94-06-30 Help me to paint, or paint with me. Contact
me and I will send you a painted postcard to add to, alter and
return; or send me work to paint over. Doc and painting postcard
to all. Hans Braumuller, Stuckenstrasse 63, 22081 Hamburg,
Germany." "If you don't understand the concept of 'Mail Art' or
need more info on 'Global Mail', write and ask for the 'Info
handout'. Thank you!"
8 DTP'ed A4 pages. 2 IRCs for a sample copy, will trade for your
zine, or $9 for a year's subscription (3 issues). Ashley Parker
Owens, PO Box 597996, Chicago, IL 60659, USA. email:
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
#9, Sept - Dec 94. If art can be anything you want it to be,
then this is a Masterpiece. Mail art is a free and open creative
network where the only 'rule' is that your images, words and
photos are sent through the post to whoever can use them. And
that's where Global Mail comes in... This shot of inspiration
lists over 400 mail art projects, contacts and resources from 39
countries, with categories ranging from Anarchist and Erotic to
Video and Tape/Sound/Compilation. New in this issue are: Poetry,
Queer, Postage Stamp, Rubber Stamp and Conceptual Mail Art, plus
a reader survey that will guarantee you a year's sub. "Only
connect, and all else follows..."
8 DTP'ed pages, sample copy 2 IRCs or trade, 3# sub $9. "Free
sub for running ad or review." PO Box 597996, Chicage, IL 60659,
Also available for 50p (cash) and SAE (or 3 IRCs) from 51, St
Luke's Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH3 7LR, UK. (Liz and I are
distributing GM in Britain - feel free to write and have a chat
about art, computers, zines or any other obsessions.)
LCC INFO SHEETS
The times they are a changin'. The light that the Legalise
Cannabis Campaign lit in the sixties caught afire this year, with
senior police officers, the head of Interpol and other
establishment figures calling for decriminalisation of the 'erb
superb. But there's still a long way to go before you can enjoy a
quiet J without fear of the door being kicked in. The LCC info
sheets contain details on how to become a member, why 'Grass is
Green', and a good reading and organisations list. There's also
plenty of facts to use against the fools who still believe that
smoking dope is just one small step from being a junkie.
4 A4 sheets. FREE for an SSAE to the Legalise Cannabis Campaign,
BM Cannabis 2455, London, WC1N 3XX, UK. Tel: 071 585 1031
"The Bulletin of the Digital Underground" #1. "techNET seeks to
concentrate on 'techno' music, from electronic listening to
speedcore, and promote the music as central to the digital
underground - the locus of counter culture." They attend an
'Artificial Intelligence and the Mind' meeting of the Royal
Academy, and speculate about the differences between 'vague' and
Royal (or State) Science. There's also two pages of Techno
reviews, an article about an alternative Texan CB radio group,
and some thoughts on the potential of networking. "Future issues
will include linking up with the computer bulletin board Fast
Reactor and reports from the InterNET." There's a tad of
pretension in the writing, but the ideas are fresh and well-worth
8 half-A4 pages (folded vertically). FREE for an SSAE or IRC
from techNET, BM JED, London, WC1N 3XX, UK.
#2. "A bulletin of the digital underground." tN promotes techno
as the emotional and intellectual language of the counterculture
- a democratic and accessible soundtrack that offers glimpses of
the future. This issue contains a review of "Unnatural: Techno
Theory for a Contaminated Culture", a short profile of the Space
Works label, extracts from "Noise: the Political Economy of
Music", and short pieces on techno and the CJB, and the
meaninglessness of words. So far, so good, but what puzzles me is
why this has to be written in an 'intellectual' dialect that
confuses and alienates the reader. Perhaps I'm just not clever
enough to understand this?
4 page, A4, irregular. FREE for an SAE or IRC: BM Jed, London,
WC1N 3XX, UK.
UNDERGROUND CULTURE VULTURE
#2 Oh Yes! UCV is an audio zine of off-beat music and speech,
put together by C.M. James of Fantome Press. It's aimed at the
type of collector who haunts garage and car boot sales in search
of bizarre and exotic records, but it's just as eye-popping for
the rest of us. Side 1 consists of snatches of the cool jazz used
in 50's TV detective shows and strange mood music ("Leda sings
blood music"), while side 2 has extracts from the Hyena Hippies,
evangelist Harold Leak, Polish polkas and Brother Dave Gardner's
Southern humour. Catalogue numbers and availability details are
right there on the tape, along with C.M's tongue-in-cheek
comments and readings from the sleeve notes. "But what about the
album covers?" Well, that's where the gum cards come in... Each
one has text and a picture taken from the sleeves, pulp
paperbacks or publicity material - a fine collection of pulp
imagery. All in all, a strange and original publication from a
30 min audio cassette and 36 "cheaply printed" gum cards: $5
each (cash only), from: The Underground Culture Vulture, 408,
Washington NW, Warren, OH 44483, USA.
UNDERGROUND CULTURE VULTURE
#11. Oh, yaass! The Underground Culture Vulture (CM James of
Fantome Press) continues his trawl though "Rare, deleted and
unclassifiably weird music, spoken word & beyondment from 1903 to
now", But the hot news is that this superb audiozine is now
available from a UK address. The tape contains snatches from
bizarre nursery rhymes, Stan Lee and the Marvel Marching Club,
yodelling country music, Julie London with a languorous Coming
Through the Rye, strange sexual sounds, Mr Bones and Mr
Interlocutor of the Grand Minstrel Show, Bill Burroughs, a fine
Xtian rant from Jerry Lee Lewis's cousin ("I've heard him speak
in other tongues!"), and the Word of Gahd from a reformed junkie.
Jeez.... CM ties it all together with readings from the
sleevenotes and other waxed weirdness. C'mon, get those saveloys
outa your ears and tune in to the coolest tapes around!
C60 double-issues, £3 ("well concealed cash only"). UCV c/o
Jaspar Newes, 8 Rhes Victoria, Bethesda, Gwynedd, Wales, LL57
#4 Concerned Muthers is a queerzine with a difference. It's
written by and for queer teens (by Sina and Syd) and positively
oozes enthusiasm and high spirits - these people are having FUN!.
Issue 4 is more organised than the previous ones and is biased
towards comics. It includes short reviews of other queerzines (#3
had a full listing); some excellent reprinted strips from Robert
Kirby, Jeremy Dennis (excellent!), Matthew Wilkie and Matt Bunce;
plus an article on 'Homophobic Assholes in the Comics', 'My ABC',
the long-running 'Max and the Concerned Muthas' strip, and a
cover tribute to Derek Jarman. This is good. Get it!
28 A5 pages, cut and pasted. 50p + SSAE from Concerned Muthers,
PO Box 385A, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 7YJ, UK.
#5. The "Queer Teen Bible" gets better with every issue. Sina
and Syd celebrate their gayness with off-the-wall articles,
strips and letters, plus queerzine reviews galore. The 'Max and
the Concerned Muthers' strip comes to an end, and there's also
reprints of Nasty Biro's 'Grim Smith' and Howard Stangroom and
Ines Idaho's superb 'Hangin' on the Telephone'. This is one alive
and kickin' zine!
28 A5 pages, cut and paste. 50p + SAE: PO Box 385A, Surbiton,
Surrey, KT6 7YJ, UK.
"Tales of Menial Toil (the Reprint)." Forget the more polished
and pretentious comix- Lee Kennedy draws what really matters; the
ups and downs of her own life. The style is individual and
unpolished (and why not?), but what really grabs you is her
honesty, humour and insight. She draws the hassles (laid on her
by other people) of being fat, female and forty, and the sheer
hellishness of working as a stage door telephonist. I spent five
years as a BR telephone enquiry clerk and can swear that every
word of this is true: the stupidity and bloodymindedness of the
public, the dickheads you have to work with, the management/serf
mentality, the crazed winos in the streets - Lee puts her finger
on all of it. But I never had to put up with Donald, the workmate
from Hell... this section is truly horrifying and and a fine
example of how, just when you think that things can't get any
worse, they do. Buy this and set Lee free!
52 A4 pages. £2.50 from Slab-o-Concrete, PO Box 298, Sheffield,
S10 1YU, UK. Limited supplies are available from Lee Kennedy, 58,
Durrington Tower, Westbury, Wandsworth Road, London, SW8 3LF, UK
- enclose an A4 SSAE as well.)
LEE KENNEDY'S SKETCHBOOK
"These doodles go back years and years, some of them. I doodle
away compulsively on the slave-job, channelling some of my angst
and frustrated creativity." But they're much, much better than
doodles... These pages are a running commentary on Lee's life and
include sketches and portraits of herself, friends, 'Colleagues,
Punters and Luvvies', synopses of Stromboli' (but where's the
polecat?) and 'Voyage to Italy', 'Morons', 'Stagehands' and
'Cuties', and strange incidents and meetings. The style varies
from scratchy through to fully-worked, and reflects whatever was
on her mind at the time. Talented, funny and honest; what more
could you ask for?
48 hand-drawn A4 pages. £2.00 plus A4 SSAE to Lee Kennedy, 58,
Durrington Tower, Wandsworth Road, London, SW8 3LF.
#14/15 Jim McLennan only gets it out about about once a year
(jeez, let's rephrase that...), but the current double issue runs
to 104 pages of news, reviews and articles about the sleazy world
of trash culture. This is the Japanese issue and is mainly
written by Jim himself. It covers Manga, Anime, the different
'types' of Japanese girls, memories of the Scala cinema, a
Czechoslovakian holiday, censorship, a conspiracy theory about
who's really behind the IRA bombs in the City, zine reviews,
letters, Customs and Excise form CD 3331/N7(03/93) (= 'we're
keeping an eye on you'), a feature on Hayao Miyazaki (with full
TV and filmographies), reviews and updates on gore, sex and
exploitation movies, interviews with three 'martial arts
personalities', and much, much more than I can list here. It's
literate, slickly put together, and worth reading for Jim's style
and humour alone, even if you're not yet into the subject matter.
104 slickly DTP'ed A5 pages: perfect bound, glossy cover, and
all for £2.50 ("£4 gets you the next four"). Jim McLennan, 34,
Perran Road, Tulse Hill, London, SW2 3DL, UK.
October 1994: "The International Small Press Review and Monthly
Newsletter". 23 staccato reviews of zines, poetry, books and
comix, with a nifty rating guide: "Groovy, Cool, Mutant, Anorak
or Anal". Zine Kat's selection seems to be his current reading,
and why the hell not? This is well-worth checking out, as he
lists many zines that ByPass has yet to review. Rating: Cool.
Single A4 sheet, monthly. FREE for an SAE or IRC (£2.50/12#:
cheques to Tony Lee): Zine Kat, c/o SA Publishing, 13 Hazely
Combe, Arreton, Isle of Wight, PO30 3AJ.
#9. Well, lookee here - RM reprints just about every piece of
anti-weed propaganda that you're never seen! This issue's gems
are a Jack Kirby 'true crime' strip ("I killed 'em all! When I
don't get a reefer I go crazy.... crazy!""), pulp book covers, "A
Chronology of Marijuana in the U.S", "The Dope Den" (1931 short
story), "The Forgotten History of Hemp", trashy film posters, and
clippings from all over. Read, plunder and re-use; this is
ridicule used as a weapon - deadly!
28 A5 pages, £1 + SAE. Zephyr, PO Box 6, Liskeard, Wallasey,
Merseyside, L45 4SJ, UK.
v 7 #7, September '94. This snappy title comes from the Social
Responsibilities Round Table of the Minnesota Library
Association, and comprises a long list of books, zines,
recordings and resources. The rather dry and PC tone is a
reflection of their librarian and archivist audience, but don't
let that put you off. For every 'Nonviolence Workshop' there's a
'Lower East Side Class War Organiser' or an 'Autonosexual
Revolt', and it's good to see alternative ideas being taken
seriously by the mainstream. Why not send them your zine?
16 'A4' pages, $15 donation for a 10# sub. 4645 Columbus Ave.
S., Minneapolis, MN 55407, USA.
FOR THE CLERISY (THE LATVIAN EDITION)
#3 & #5, June, Oct. '94. This is for anyone who enjoys good
writing. It normally comes from the States, but Brant Kresovich
has been teaching in Latvia for the last five months and these
issues reflect that. Enquire within for anything from Latvian
customs and everyday life, to the difficulties of learning
Latvian as a second language. #3 also contains 2 pages of unusual
zine reviews, and #5 recounts a visit to the KGB Museum in
Vilnius, Lithuania, where prisoners were processed and tortured
before being deported to the labour camps; the parallels with
Nazi Germany are unmistakable. Brant's enthusiasm for literacy
and the byways of knowledge makes this a joy to read.
8 - 12 typed A5 pages. No back issues or subs. FREE for trade or
IRCs. "I'm dying for mail!" Riga Business School, Riga Technical
University, Skolas 11, Riga LV-1010, Latvia.
BOY CRAZY BOY
#2. A 'slice of life' from the prolific Sina! (Check out the
Concerned Muthers reviewed above) The hassles and joys of being a
gay teen are laid out with style and vigour in this very
individual comic, with storylines ranging from sexual confusion
on the K2 bus to aborted haircuts and a heavy come-on at the
Winter Pride disco. The graphic style is raw but effective, and
the sense of phun and involvement shines through on every page. I
liked this a lot!
16 A5 pages. 40p + SAE. PO Box 385A, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 7YJ,
#1. "Here to make your life HELL." Well, if you say so - I'd
call it just plain embarrassing. SC is a glossy and commercial
offering in which all women are "Bitches, whores and sluts", and
just about every star in the serial killer firmament is
interviewed and applauded. Yes, it's Serial Murderer Fanclub time
again.... Shaefer Jr, Gacy, Manson, Nick Bougas and John Aes-
Nihil all get their 15 seconds of fame, and the fun continues
with sub-Hunt Emerson strips ('L'il Hitler') and a detailed (tho'
illiterate) story of everyday abduction, murder and necrophilia.
Manheim Jerkoff's video reviews tell us that, "I hope her parents
and workmates see this explicit example, exposing her being such
a debased whore" (sic), and just about every page contains an ad
for their videos, T shirts and interview tapes. If you're into 13
year-olds being 'shocking', then this is the zine for you. I'll
just go and wash my hands now...
48 A4 pages, £5. Hypertonia Enterprises, POB 4307, Nygardstangen
5038 Bergen, Norway.
Well, did any of those reviews grab you by the eyes and jangle
your optic nerves? You might not agree with their contents, but
you'd have to be brain dead not to admire the vitality and
democratic spirit that fuels the zine scene. Anyone, but anyone,
can make their voice heard, without fear of censorship or the
"musn't offend the advertisers!" attitude that makes the
commercial mags so bland. So what are you waiting for? Fire up
that WP and put your money where your mouth is! You know it makes
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.