A little while back we were lucky enough to organise a zine trade between Queensland, Australia and New Zealand. As promised, here are the reviews of the zines we received from Queensland. Copies of the following zines have been posted out to NZ participants, and a second copy has been donated to the Auckland Libraries Zine Collection (housed at the Central City Library, Lorne Street, Auckland CBD).
If you are a NZ participant, your zine has been donated to the Transit Lounge Caboolture Zine Library as well as traded with a corresponding Queensland-based zine maker.
As promised, here you can find part 1 of 2 of the reviews of the NZ participants, via our friends at Paper Cuts Collective in Queensland.
The zine reviews below were written by ourselves and friends over the course of a couple of weekends.
She’s the Girl You Want
The primary coloured felt cover caught my attention. While it’s filled with doodles of large headed nymphets in a tank-girl style which is not necessarily something I usually like, I did enjoy the tromp l’oeil elements of the zine. There are nice decorative touches, occasionally with stamps and graceful floral borders. This zine wraps up modestly with a blush “this was attempted by…” Ends with felt.
In Defence of the Axolotl
This has a neat cover, which caught me immediately – I have a ‘thing’ regarding Axolotl’s. The book proclaims Ax’s are vegan… despite fact checking I am still highly sceptical. The off-handed delivery is cute; none of it seems planned which I can appreciate.
Bird Habitat is a poetry/literary zine interlaced with intricate drawings. It uses a bird theme to cohesively tie together the subject matter, and subtly or not alludes to bleak or dark subject matter. I really enjoyed the “Dream #” part of the zine – whether real or fictional, I think it provides an insight into the mind of the author that I appreciated as a reader – it had that intimacy of a zine that I have come across less and less in recent years.
This is jam-packed full of content – it is literally full to the seams with reviews, articles, art and random shit. Though it states on the cover that it contains “the best, the worst and stuff that never made it”; after reading a few pages it seemed to me that there was a lot of new content – most of which felt like a posthumous tribute to the zine and the good times that were – this is my only gripe to the zine. The Bizoo book is a good crash course into the QLD zine/music scene, and after getting stuck into it for a few solid hours I have definitely come away with a strong desire to head over the ditch and check out Brisbane/Towoomba soon.
Imagine Create Inspire
This is a full colour zine featuring artwork by youth living in OLD, as part of Youth Week – Australia’s largest celebration of young people in their communities. Also it seems like fun and that there is exciting shit happening in Queensland, this is definitely a zine with a specific time/place to it. Zines like this are a great expose of artwork/culture, but unfortunately have a limited time frame for relevancy. Luckily there is a website to go to view more content that didn’t make it into the zine – imaginecreateinspire2012.tumblr.com
Walk In Our Shoes
Another zine made for National Youth Week, AUS. This is a zine featuring anonymous teenagers sharing their experiences in life, focusing on hard times and their struggles. It deals with short stories of depression, mental illness and bullying, and features a list of places and resources that young people can go to for support. Each story also features a “tip” for those who find themselves in similar situations.
This is a hand-written account of racism in recent times from a woman living in AUS, and the affect it has had on her life and those around her. The conversation is sparked by a sticker put up around the town (one of them has been ripped down and adorns the cover of the zine). From a white, middle-class perspective sitting on my vintage couch in Eden Terrace, Auckland I found reading this zine uncomfortable. The descriptions of blatant, constant racism that is encountered and the natural reaction to it (violence) really got me thinking, and I thank the author for this. “If me, my brother or family member were called ‘nigger’ for no reason except being in a public place then it was called for a busted mouth!” An honest and stark account of discrimination – this is definitely a thought provoking mini zine that I would recommend to others.
A mini art zine featuring intricate drawings that cleverly disguise what are traditionally considered loaded/offensive words.
Wasted Opportunities, Spring 2011
This comes across as a very earnest zine from a self-proclaimed ‘talentless hack’. The author interviews bands via Skype. The first interview starts and spends several lines discussing the time difference between the interviewer and interviewee. A long discussion follows about playing James Bond’s “Golden Eye”. To be honest I found this zine hard to penetrate and get my teeth into, but it’s still a good effort all round.
“Super Sized Scandinavian Special” – lots of full colour content to sink your teeth into. This’d be a good zine to sit down with one afternoon. It features recipes, band interviews, CD reviews, live photos, roller derby, artist profiles, comics etc. At first I was confused as to the motivations to have a Scandinavian special (Scandinavian ancestry/ visited recently), but in hindsight a zine called Vague probably doesn’t have to answer to much. My favourite parts were how to tell a cute boy that your favourite candy was Swedish fish and ’10 Finish Words You Shouldn’t Say In Front of Your Grandma’ (probably the best way to learn a foreign language?)
An art zine featuring collaged drawings/paintings cut and pasted together with typewriter written poems and phrases. I got the impression that this was selections from a sketchbook of an art school project, and I really enjoyed the contrast and cohesiveness that the black and white photocopier gave to all the pieces. This is visually dense and explorative – the artist flirts with various mediums throughout the course of the zine, which keeps it fresh.
A comic/art diary featuring cute drawings of bug eyed girls. I’m told that the artist also illustrates for Frankie Magazine, and what is contained in this collection of pieces is more of her ‘rough’ work. This is very well put together and I liked it a lot – it has the intimacy that a zine allows an author to share sporadic insights and thoughts that might be otherwise reserved for a diary or blog. “Hip culture currently: dress pretty, be bad”.
Dave Is Hairy
‘Dave Is Hairy’ is written as a reply/thank you letter to a man named Dave. This is less about Dave and really more of an insight into the author’s life as a student/post student life. It has the mix of spilling your guts/offering opinions on seemingly trivial things that makes it read like snail-mail correspondence between old friends. Although I like the way it is written, I found myself constantly trying to piece together who this Dave character was and what his connection was with Eloise. We can assume Dave is a foreigner. “Guide to AUS feat. tips on Vegemite, thongs, homebrew, Crocodile Dundee, and racism (which has been censored in hindsight).”
Another art zine featuring graffiti/tags interlaced with aphorisms: “Arts (sic) kinda like dreaming/sorting out/problem solving”.
To be honest, the storyline of this comic ended up confusing me so much that I actually stopped reading ¾ of the way through. The unexplained characters increasingly agitated me, despite the artwork being pretty fantastic. I particularly thought the repeated use of black and white chalkboard was the best and most effective.
I Am Very Busy and Important
IAVBAI features “more colour pages, fewer reviews, just as much heart” – it’s full of live music photos, band interviews, thoughts, musings, and even an article on her friend trolling a Facebook support group for ghost fiends. I found this well written and an enjoyable read – happily read cover to cover.
From the get-go this zine is completely up my alley – “a zine about DIY, recipes and frugal living”. It contains heaps of vegetarian recipes, advice on where to find cheap/free plants for your home garden, lists of where to find free books, workshops, food, etc. One thing I learnt reading this zine was that a mulled wine bath is apparently great for your skin and helps to boost circulation! Directions – add one cup mulled wine to the bath water, sit back and drink the remainder while the hot bath does all the hard work.
Featuring both real and fabricated letters sent to companies. Both the letter and any response are published. Though not an original idea, I found it amusing nonetheless. Since reading Complaint Letters, I have found myself daydreaming about a letter I might write when I feel ripped off about something… Hey Columbine tights, your pantyhose are completely shitty and you can expect a letter from me soon.
Faces of Nippon
A photo zine by the prolific Jeremy Staples (that’s his real name). It’s a nice slice-of-life into Japanese alternative sub-culture via the portraits that Jeremy has taken. Made as part of a relief effort to help the Japanese Tsunami/earthquakes 2011.
See visual review.
Things that I liked about this zine:
- interesting band names in the gig guide
- aside on bread
Things that I disliked about this zine:
- the part about periods
- the over use of adjectives
All in all I find Slubs to be engaging and interesting in a semi pretentious/amusing manner.
FRANNIS – I’m still wondering who the audience of this zine is. Except for some tips on ‘summer lovin’ I don’t think I really…
ALFONZ – I think the point of this zine is to provide a platform for youth expression. In this task it succeeds, although it bears similarity to the kind of…
F – Not sure where Chihuahua’s come into it but maybe the photo of one on the cover is probably supposed to incite the feeling of ‘quirkiness’. I would actually like this zine more if there were more dogs in it.
A – I refuse to read what Frannis has written above… for me, this as a zine lacks content and direction. A doodle in the park…
F – I’ll take you for a doodle in the park.