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IZM Interviews: Rose Sergent (Drawn Poorly)

Hi Rose! Happy International Zine Month! How is life going at the moment? For people who don’t know you, can you tell me a bit about yourself?

Hi Pen Fight! Things are okay thank you – I’m missing zine fairs and other DIY events that would be happening right now. I can’t wait till we can all be in those spaces again!

I’m Rose, I’m a Manchester based artist and maker. I love working on art projects that provide space for artists to try new things and develop new ideas. Making the arts accessible is prevalent in the work I do; art should be accessible to everyone. During lockdown, I’ve got much better at looking after plants and am doing loads more reading.

4 issues of Drawn Poorly. The front visible issue says "fear of missing out" on the cover.

I know that your main zine is Drawn Poorly, which is a collaborative arts project for those living with chronic illness, disabilities, and mental health conditions. How did that project begin, and how have you found the process of making it? What feedback have you had – both from participants and people who’ve bought the zines?

Drawn Poorly started as a means to give space to the experiences we have as ill and disabled people. Each issue has a broad theme giving space for people to submit their own unique interpretations of it. Whether newly diagnosed, searching for diagnosis or, living with a condition or disability a long time – it can be really isolating. It felt really important to create something that was a platform for people who identify with illness and disability and, a resource for anyone who wanted to connect with others who were going through what they were going through.

A lot of the amazing ill/disabled folk I know have come through this project and social media. Before, I didn’t really know many other people like me through other means. The solidarity in shared experiences can be so affirming and, also help us to support and advocate for other ill/disabled people.

People have been lovely about the project and, it’s down to all the creatives who get involved and share their work. The latest zine has just been released and one of the artists said ‘Being given an outlet to express myself at a scary time of no treatment has been such a massive boost’.

A copy of Drawn Poorly issue six - nature. It has a green cover with a nature themed collage.

Your most recent issue was on the theme of nature, and it’s also your longest issue yet. What do you think it is about that theme that really inspired people to create for it?

We floated the idea of making this zine about lockdown and it was mostly vetoed on a a Twitter poll. It was the right call from them because, it gave chance to focus on something broader and, more open to positive and negative interpretation.

Nature felt like a really good one to explore right now and there was a range of responses – some celebrating house plants, others reflecting on experiences in nature before lockdown, some examining their relationship to outside whilst shielding.

As well as making zines you’re also a workshop facilitator. From my experience of your workshops I’ve noticed that you really created a space where people didn’t just make zines, but also could talk openly about things that could be quite personal. Is that an atmosphere you intentionally try to make, or is there something about zine making that naturally brings that out in people?

Ah that’s really nice to hear thank you! Partly I think this comes with hosting a space specifically for ill/disabled creatives. It’s really exciting to know you’re in a space with other people who understand your experiences without needing to explain them. Zine spaces are open and supportive too and making a zine can be a really cathartic experience.

I saw on twitter recently that you plan to run some online zine clubs, can you tell me a bit more about that, and how people can take part, and support the sessions?

That’s right there will be zine clubs coming soon! I’m presenting them with Glasgow Zine Library over August – more details will be posted on social media soon.

The zine clubs will be a space for makers to get together virtually over the coming months. There will be some zine prompts and guidance on how to make mini zines for anyone who hasn’t made before. It’ll be pretty relaxed and an opportunity for people to chat and share what they’re working on.

As things are starting to reopen and go back to how they were, it feels important to still offer space digitally. In our last workshop with Glasgow Zine Fest, we talked a lot about how a lot of organisations and projects had been so much more accessible for ill/disabled people during lockdown. We want to make sure there is still that space.

You’re also an illustrator – can you tell me a bit about your work, and what your dream project would be?

I’m actually working on a project at the minute with Lost Robot Studios which is a real dream! With support from their micro fund, I’m exploring venues and accessibility. I’m a DIY punk fan and, often there are so many small changes that can be made to make spaces more accessible for ill/disabled punks. Our venues of course are struggling right now and, we’re living in precarious times for our DIY musicians – it does feel like a strange time to make this work. My hope is that, when they reopen, we can have these conversations and spaces will be more accessible than ever before.

Do you have any tips you can share – on making zines, or running workshops (especially in an accessible way)?

For making zines digitally: Clear fonts (Ariel or Calibri are good) for main bodies of text, size 14 font and above and decent spacing (1.5 works well!). I’ve heard of other zines creating audio described versions of their issues which is brilliant.

Workshops: If you’re in a physical space, be really clear to participants the accessibility of the spaces. If you’re making zines about potentially triggering topics, ask participants to check in with other members of the workshops to see if they feel comfortable with that being discussed. I like running short activities too to bring focus to the session.

Can you share some of your favourite things from the zine world?

Ah for sure! So obviously a huge Pen Fight fan, since getting into zines, Pen Fight has always had an amazing selection of zines to read. Also, the best badges (Straight white boys don’t own punk is one of my all time favourites).

I’ve just read Mixed Rage which is a brilliant zine sharing experiences of being mixed race and the frustration of feeling ‘other’. They’re looking for submission for their next issue.

A photograph of many zines scattered on the floor. Their titles include: "happy book", "things I wish I'd known I could say to a doctor", "working class sacrifice", "things I've cried about this week", "self love", "I can't relax", "my childhood in TV'.
Zines from This.Is.Your.Life

This.Is.Your.Life.Zine is another I’m reading a lot. They share these beautiful mini zines on their Instagram page featuring so many topics including M.E diagnosis, chronic fatigue, solo dates and otters just to name a few!

There are so many zines, distros and makers I love it’s definitely hard to choose. Some of my favourites are Holly Casio, Brown Girls Do It, Cath Garvey, Three Paws Press, Hidden Ink Child, Bear With Lee, Seleena Laverne Daye.

Do you have any recommendations you want to share? Things that inspire you, artists, books, or anything else you’re enjoying at the moment?

I’m really loving the art of Lou Lou Reed. Check them out for sure!

Ryan Courtier’s work was featured on the front page of Drawn Poorly Issue Six. He makes amazing collage work.

I’ve just read Revolting Prostitutes: The Fight for Sex Workers Rights by Juno Mac and Molly Smith and Sanatorium by Abi Palmer. Would recommend both of them for sure.

Do you have any projects you’re working on right now that you’d like to tell people about?

I’ve just finished some illustration work for Contact, for their The Lost Summer project. It’s a really ace opportunity to share responses to lost summers past and present would love to see some zine makers get involved: https://contactmcr.com/development/the-lost-summer/


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IZM Interviews: Cath Garvey (Job Haunting)

Hi Cath, Happy International Zine Month! How is life going at the moment? For people who don’t know you, can you tell me a bit about yourself?

Hi Vicky! I’ve been keeping myself busy, thankfully. I’m a Liverpool Illustrator who makes comics and zines on aliens, ghosts and self-help.

The zine of yours, Job Haunting, that we put out via Pen Fight Press, is a comic about a ghost who’s job hunting. What inspired that zine, and why did you make your main character a ghost?

My circumstances inspired my zine, I lost my job and went on Universal credit after University. I was frustrated and tired by how I was treated so I made short comics to vent. The character is a ghost because it was how I felt at the time and my state of mind. Also, constant movement and shakiness the ghost has  best shows how unstable the whole situation feels.

You recently adapted the zine into a short animation – can you tell me more about the process of creating the animation and the release of it?

I pitched the zine to BBC New Creatives to help me develop and offer funding to animate it. I got it, went up to Newcastle, met the other film makers who also received the funding and then I went on holiday. Because of Brexit.

When I got back from Holiday, I spent a lot of time on the script, which had 8 drafts by the end. I found it pretty hard to keep everyone happy, while also keeping my message honest. New Creatives introduced me to Fettle Animation, who were great to work with and taught me a lot. They animated most of the scenes, while I worked on the office scenes and graveyard.  

a scene from Job Haunting

The best part of making my animation was the voice actresses, I wanted my ghost to be played by a Liverpool actress. And it was really hard to find an actress that was from Liverpool. A lot of talent agencies don’t hire people from Liverpool and when they do, they’re encouraged to lose the accent completely. It took a while to find the right person, to the point I was certain we won’t find anyone. Then Fettle Animation found Katie George, who did an amazing job and was exactly the voice I needed. And I’m so so so glad I insisted on having a Liverpool voice, it really wouldn’t have been the same if I went with any other accent.

a still from the animation of Job Haunting.

After that it was 2 months straight of animating, which I was ill for most of it. Once done we sent it off to the BBC. The animation aired on BBC Four on a show called Get Animated.                   

You also teach comic-making workshops, what kind of responses have people had to being introduced to comic making? Have you been able to adapt to teaching in our current social-distancing time?

I love teaching and I love seeing what people come up with. I grew up with not knowing anything about DIY zine culture or even the suggestion that I could make money from art. So running workshops in my area for kids is really important to me. Often people are impressed by making mini zines, which is fun to see. I’ve been running workshops over Zoom the past few weeks, which I was really nervous about. I’m usually camera shy so running a workshop over video was daunting at first. But the workshops have gone really well and I can confidently say I will be running more Zoom workshops in the future.  I also want to keep them free, so applying for funding is the next step at the moment.

Money is one of the biggest barriers for people wanting to learn something new or even to have fun. I want my workshops to be accessible to everyone and it’s something I want to continue to do.

You’ve created a few stories about working class experiences and characters – do you find comics and animations a good medium for sharing those stories? Have there been any challenges to you as a working-class creative freelancer?

a page from Job Haunting.

 I’d say comics is better than animation- unless you have full control in what you animate. With animation things can be edited and cut, while comics are much rawer and you can go dive deeper into the subject.         

I found it/still find it hard as a working class creative.  After University, I desperately wanted to work in an animation studio. I reached out to numerous studios for work experience and none of them ever got back in touch. It is simply who you know and I didn’t know them. I ended up giving up on that approach and just focused on smaller ways I could make money from my art while also working in hospitality. I also got to the point where I couldn’t work for nothing, I needed income and internships/work experience wasn’t something I was comfortable doing anymore.

But I did finally get my first big art job running workshops over the summer for a gallery and I’ve been gradually receiving more and more work since then.  But don’t get me wrong, I applied for many art opportunities before then and I also moved back to my parents. Thanks to moving back home, I had time to work on my art practice and I didn’t need to be working a job I hated to keep a roof over my head. A lot of successful artists have savings to help them to develop their art and allow time for them to become established.

What inspires your work more broadly? What’s your favourite kind of project to work on?

I love comedy and I’m obsessed with watching Trixie and Katya at the moment, they’re both drag queens who have a show called UHNHhhh on Youtube. They are so so so funny. I find my sense of humour and timing to be pretty good and that’s thanks to the things I watch and the people around me. 

I recently worked on a gardening comic/guide for a local art organisation, Heart of Glass. I made a comic where a Bee basically bullies a person to grow plants. I love working on projects that I can give on odd spin on, whilst making it educational.

from Cath’s comic for Heart of Glass.

Do you have any tips you can share – on making comics or getting into freelancing?

You need to think out the box sometimes and be open to try new things. I’d say if you’re starting off you probably need to be working part time whilst freelancing as freelancing has its dry spells. Ultimately, be true to yourself, your beliefs and channel that into your work.

And finally, don’t beat yourself up for not getting regular work. It doesn’t make you any less of an artist or creator.-

Can you share some of your favourite things from the zine world?

Check out Rooted Zine! It’s a zine supporting Black creatives and they are really passionate. I met the Co-founder Amber Akaunu whilst in Newcastle, and turned out we are both Liverpool girls. They’ve just brought out a new issue so go support them!!!

Do you have any recommendations you want to share?

I’m working on growing food at the moment, I want to grow pumpkins so I can make my own pumpkin pie from scratch in the autumn. I advise people to give gardening a try, it really helps you mentally and it’s really rewarding to eat fresh veg and fruit you’ve grown yourself!

Do you have any projects you’re working on right now that you’d like to tell people about?

I will be posting a comic I’m working on with my sister in August. It’s a story about an alien fanatic and an alien in disguise. It’s a series that’s both funny and a bit sad at times. The comic will be posted on my Instagram, so go give me a follow.

Is there anything else you’d like to promote?

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter with the handle cath_garvey.

I’m available to run workshops, editorial work, animation jobs and comic work. I’m a jack of all trades. If you want to pop me the question here’s my email: catherinegarvey@outlook.com


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IZM Interviews: Russell Barker (Lunchtime For The Wild Youth)

Issue 2 of Lunchtime For The Wild Youth

Hi Russell! Happy International Zine Month! How is life going at the moment? For people who don’t know you, can you tell me a bit about yourself?

Life is good, but rather different than before! I live in Oxford with my family (wife and 2 kids). Oxford is a wonderful place to live, a small city with lots of creative stuff going on, but also close to the countryside. We moved here almost 20 years ago and I almost immediately immersed myself in the great music scene we have here. Over that time I’ve been a promoter, run a record label, written reviews, managed a band (poorly and briefly) and now I’m writing zines. I’ve also recently become a trustee of the Young Women’s Music Project.

Your zine Lunchtime For the Wild Youth is a music memoir zine that you make with your daughter on illustrations. How did you originally come up with making zines together? What’s the process, how do the two of decide what Robyn will be drawing for each issue? You’ve made an impressive number of issues already – do you have a favourite so far?

I’d been meaning to do one for a while, then finally got around to it. I loved the music zines I bought in the eighties and thought I should do something similar, just from a distance of many years. I decided it should be produced in a similar style to those old zines, so gathered the things together I needed. I already had a manual typewriter from Freecycle. So it’s a proper cut and paste affair. The notes are all handwritten, then typed up. The only bit of technology used is where I scan them into a computer to print off.

Initially I was going to make it on my own, but when I was writing it Robyn asked me what I was doing and went away and drew a picture of me listening to music. So that became the first cover. The first issue was all about albums from the eighties and I was going to be text heavy, so this gave me the idea to get some more drawings in there. I started fetching the covers of the albums I’d written about and asking her to draw them and it all fell together. Then we had to work out the commission rate, obviously. She’d have been 7 when we she did those first drawings, she’s almost 11 now. We’ve kept an old school cover price at £1 too.

The first issue of Lunchtime For The Wild Youth.

The name is from a song by the Chesterfields that features on an album in that first issue. The non-rebellious nature of it and the reference to youth made it seems perfect. Tales of a well-spent youth as I once called it.

Nowadays I get on with writing the issues and leave her a pile of pictures/album covers to draw. For the covers I sometimes request something, other times I leave it up to her.

The majority of the 28 issues so far have been about gigs I went to. I had a gig book with tickets in that went as far as 1998. I’m currently collating the list as we go since then, using ticket stubs, reviews and diaries. I’m sure I’ve missed loads though. We’ve also had issues on eighties albums, 10” singles, a colouring book, a Xmas special, an Australia issue, animal songs, lost nineties albums (featuring guest contributors), a split zine with Lights Go Out, gig programmes and badges.

I love the cover of the Australia issue, Robyn cut up coloured paper into a Walkman. It’s on the shirts we wear at zine fairs. That might be my favourite issue too. I’m currently writing issue 29, which is gigs from 2003. Starting to wonder if I was ever in. Having said that, looks like I went to even more in 2004!

Have you made other zines at all, if so can you tell me a bit about them?

Nothing before Lunchtime for the Wild Youth. There were two one offs in the midst of Lunchtime issues. Recovery Position was 4 pieces of writing I did, 3 of them fiction. In Loving Memory Of The Spam Obituaries was a collection of spoof obituaries that we did on a blog years ago. We’d take the names of senders of spam email, then write an imaginary obituary for them.

The kids both have their own zines. Robyn has a comic called Book Fountain, which has 4 issues. My son Joe, who is 6, has one called Ghost Zine, which has 2 issues. Lots of drawings of ghosts basically. He came to sell them at the shows we put on, he’s quite the hit in the Oxford DIY scene.

I’m guessing you’re a fan of music zines generally – do you have any favourites or fond memories of any particular zines?

Russell at Somerset house for Process! zine fair.

I’m lucky enough to be old enough to have bought some in the eighties, which I was reunited with a couple of years ago from my mum’s loft. So there were great things like Are You Scared To Get Happy?, Kvatch, Especially Yellow, Rox, so much good stuff.

Every now and then one would pop up for a short while, Wrap Yr Troubles In Dreams and others from the early days of Indietracks. Then I discovered the All Thrills No Frills Music Bill zine that Fliss did. It was fantastic, made me want to make zines (although it took me a while to actually do it!) and changed the way I write about music. It’s now much more anecdotal and personal than analytical.

There was a great one called Chisel Tip in more recent times. Really miss that one. Currently there is some great stuff being made in terms of music zines. Lights Go Out, Gadgie, Mazie, The Screever, Vinyl Dyke, Back of the Gig, Thirsty and Miserable, Chewn! Zine. Add to those Pint-Sized Punk, made by 10 year old Arlo in Bristol, which is ace.

Pre-Covid you were putting on all-ages matinee shows in Oxford. I’ve seen a growing number of purposeful all-ages and child-friendly gigs happening in Manchester too. Do you think there’s a growing thirst for all-ages shows at the moment? (I ask as someone who saw a fair bit of live music as a kid and in my teens myself, but after that lots of gigs seemed to be 18+. I can’t be sure if that was a general trend or if I was just going to different kinds of venues) How have your shows been received so far?

I think there is more of an acknowledgement that they are needed nowadays. I mean, why should kids not be allowed in just so the adults can have a beer? Ours came about as Robyn wanted to go to some gigs and there was a distinct lack in Oxford for all ages. And the ones that were didn’t finish until really late, so didn’t totally understand kids. One of the venues we went to an all dayer at, even has some bizarre rule that under 18s have to leave at 9pm. Nobody could explain to me why. Top tip – if you encounter this, stay in the room after the previous band finishes and sit on the floor at the front. Just before 9pm the room starts to fill up, security is on the door and can’t see you and you can stay. Anyway, I digress.

So, as usual, if something doesn’t exist, you make it yourself. Making them accessible for kids makes you consider other accessibility issues. So we needed a venue that was wheelchair accessible, had some seats if you needed them, a quiet room and toilets we could make gender neutral. And we found it in the wonderful Deaf & Hard of Hearing Centre.

We did 3 shows at the end of last year which went reasonably well and were good fun. Not so many kids, but I’ve not worked out the best way to market it to younger people. We made and gave away programmes for each gig in which we interviewed the bands and filled the rest with articles about good causes, such as Attitude Is Everything and Solidarity Not Silence.

As everything with 2020 it went a bit pear shaped this year. We had to cancel the 4th show, then they announced they were selling the Deaf Centre at the end of March, at which point Covid hit anyway. Hopefully we’ll be back, who knows when though.

Russell’s daughter Robyn at Process! zine fair.

Do you have any tips you can share – on making zines, or encouraging kids to get making them themselves?

The beauty of zines is they can be about anything, so just write about what you love. There’s always at least one person who will want to read it.

We ran a family zine making workshop at Brum Zine Fest last year. They asked me, I said yes without thinking. I don’t really like public speaking and had no idea what to do. In the end we just got lots of materials and started by telling people what we do, showing them zines, then we just got on with it. The workshop was supposed to last an hour, but it was probably twice that in the end we had such fun.

Think that’s a long way of saying, have a box of old books and magazines, pens, paper, pritt stick and scissors. Wheel them out for the kids and let them go for it! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes too. Talent isn’t necessary. I did some drawing on a flipchart at that workshop to prove that point.

Can you share some of your favourite things from the zine world?

I love the whole zine community! We did a lot of zine fairs in 2018 which I loved, just getting to meet lots of interesting people. It’s a very diverse community too, which is great for Robyn to see. Brum Zine Fest was just amazing, but every zine fair has been great in its own way. Big shout out to all the people who put so much time into running distros too.

We don’t sell many zines, but I actually enjoying trading them even more. If you see us at a zine fair and wonder if we will trade then the answer is always yes. I love reading anything. I’ve built up a lovely little network of friends, so every time I have a new issue I post it to these 10 or so people. It has the lovely plus that they send me theirs too and who doesn’t love surprise post?!

Do you have any recommendations you want to share? What inspires you?

Oh wow, where to start! Here’s a bunch of albums and EPs I’ve been loving and playing loads in recent months:

Fresh – Withdraw
Stella Donnelly – Beware Of The Dogs
Gia Margaret – There’s Always Glimmer
Arborist – A Northern View
The Humdrum Express – Ultracrepidarian Soup
Girl Ray – Girl
Aphra Taylor – The Night Dances
Fightmilk – Not With That Attitude
Junk Whale – Junk Whale
Max Blansjaar – Spit It Out

Hell Hath No Fury Records is an amazing label and has put out great stuff in recent times by Basic Bitches, Breakup Haircut, Peach Club, not to mention their fab compilations.

I saw Hollie McNish and Vanessa Kisuule do a great poetry show at the start of the year, so go and see them if you get a chance.

Aside from reading the zines I mentioned already, you should check out Same Heartbeats too. Ground is a really good comic I just discovered. If you fancy a beautifully made music magazine, then try Goldflake Paint.

I’ve taken over the box room as a place to keep all the creative things and make the zine. I’ve started decorating the walls with posters and pictures from gigs I’ve put on, events I’ve been part of and the like. So this is a good source of inspiration for when you’re working on something, reminding you that you can do stuff, and are surrounded by incredibly talented people.

Russell and Robyn at Process! zine fair

Do you have any projects you’re working on right now that you’d like to tell people about?

It’s mainly new issues of the zine really. There will be plenty more gig issues and issue 29 is a good way done now. I’ve just interviewed the guy who promoted the gigs at Kidderminster Market Tavern, so there might be a promoters issue. There is a list of other issues I hope to make at some point.  One about REM and my visit to their hometown of Athens, GA. One about band shirts. There’s a bunch of Idlewild and Wedding Present drawings that Robyn did ages ago that need some words. Two of the Idlewild ones are actually photos she took using me as a model, then printed off and drew on the pictures to make the album sleeve.

Is there anything else you’d like to promote? (could be your work, someone else’s, or a cause you’d like to bring attention to, and/or your social media or website etc)

You can buy the zines at lunchtimeforthewildyouth.bandcamp.com. Trades are very much welcomed too, just contact us via social media, see below. If you don’t have the funds, but would still like one, contact me and I’ll sort you out. Feel free to ask me via Pen Fight if it feels awkward to contact me directly.

Search for us on Instagram and facebook. We’re on twitter as well – @RussellBarker12

Do check out the other zines and causes and other stuff I’ve mentioned, they are all very worthy of your time!


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IZM Interviews: Kirsty (Forever Incomplete / Swansea Zine Fest)

A backlight sign with the text: "Forever Incomplete aka gay fangirl zines"

Hi Kirsty! Happy International Zine Month! How is life going at the moment? For people who don’t know you, can you tell me a bit about yourself?

Hello! Thanks for having me. Things are strange with *gestures vaguely* all this, but I count myself as very lucky to be able to work from home and to live with another human, which are both things which have really kept me going. Enough of thinking about the state of the world for a moment, anyway. I’m Kirsty, I’m 31 and I’m a lesbianish zinester, fangirl and Professional Nice Person (I work in the Third Sector and manage volunteers) originally from near Southampton but living in Swansea for the last almost thirteen years. I’m am both very much and sort of polyamorous, and I am getting into exercise after a lifetime of thinking there could be no joy in it for me because I am uncoordinated as all hell. I make the perzine series Forever Incomplete and I co-organise Swansea Zine Fest with two of my favourite people in the world.

First up let’s do an obvious one – what’s your zinester origin story?

I owe a large part of getting into zines to Cath Elms (of Here. In My Head. zine) who was responsible for introducing me to the existence of zines in like… 2011 or 2012? It was also Cath who I teamed up with (along with my extremely talented illustrator pal Emily) when I had the idea to start Sonorus: Feminist Perspectives on Harry Potter, which was sort of my way of dipping my toe into the water of zine-making. As it was a compzine I think I felt less vulnerable as my role was to put a thing together rather than create a thing entirely by myself.

I was reading perzines by this point and whilst what I liked about them was the fact that they were so idiosyncratic and mundane (in the most wonderful way), I still thought that maybe you had to be a certain kind of person to make a perzine that other people would want to read. The experience of making and selling Sonorus (including going to my first zine fair, Queer Zine Fest London in 2013), gave me the confidence to think that maybe I did have something to say, and I made my first issue of Forever Incomplete a few months later.

What’s your process when you’re making perzines? How do you decide what parts of your life to document, and are there things in your life you keep off-limit from sharing in zines?

It varies, honestly. Some things I know I will usually want to write about, like milestones and stuff. Other things happen and I find myself thinking ‘this would be good in a zine’ and I write about it, or I add it to the Word document I have of things I would like to write about (it is very long and there are topics that have been on there for years). When I am putting an issue of Forever Incomplete together I have usually written a few very current things about stuff that has been going on or whatever, and then I will look back at the list for inspiration about more general stuff I might want to talk about.

I try to keep the content varied in topic, length and format usually, although of course for some issues of Forever Incomplete and for the more focussed perzines I have made that has been a bit different. The single topic perzines have generally come about when I feel like I’ve got too much to say about something to put it in an issue of Forever Incomplete or because what I am feeling is to urgent to wait to go through the process of having a whole issue together – for example, my very short perzine So Unsexy is one of the most vulnerable things I’ve ever published and really came from a need to say the things that were going around in my brain. I’m not sure that if I had written it ready for my next issue of Forever Incomplete that I would have ended up using it. The zine itself doesn’t look like anything else of mine – it’s all black and white even before photocopying and is just text on a plain background. It’s very reflective of how I felt when I was writing it and it just wouldn’t be the same piece at all if it wasn’t its own thing.

It’s so interesting to think about what my boundaries for sharing stuff are! My instinct was to say that I don’t have any but that definitely isn’t actually true, which will be very clear to anyone who has read Forever Incomplete #11, which contains two pieces that are redacted to the point of being absolute nonsense. I don’t share explicit stuff about sex, broadly because I am embarrassed, but also because it doesn’t feel like it is purely mine to tell. I don’t talk about arguments or conflicts I have with specific people for similar reasons, I prefer to talk in more general terms about frustrations or difficulties. I don’t think I would cope well if something I wrote in anger about a loved one then existed indefinitely. That’s not to say I don’t think others can or should do that, that’s just a brain thing for me. I also could never share anything even vaguely related to illegal behaviour because of my OCD, but honestly I am too much of a goody two-shoes for that to be much of a barrier to my writing!

I guess my rule of thumb is that I don’t include anything in my zines that I wouldn’t be happy for my Mum or my boss to see, although I am very open with both of those people about a lot of things, although in different ways. (My boss very early into knowing me said “It seems like you’re a full disclosure kind of person” and I have rarely felt so thoroughly called out.)

Many of your zines talk about either mental health or polyamory – is working with those topics therapeutic at all, or is your aim more to spread awareness and share ideas? Or are they just things that come out more organically?

I guess to some extent writing about my mental health is therapeutic, particularly in zines where I have little revelations, like in The Common Cold, where I started to understand that being ‘better’ could look however I wanted it to at a particular time. There is an element of awareness raising with talking about mental health stuff but overall I think it is just organic – I’ve had OCD for like 18 years and it is so much a part of my life that it is too big to write about in isolation and is just kind of there in everything.

With the polyamory stuff, writing zines has definitely helped me to process and take stock of how I have felt about it at different points, though awareness raising and normalising is also a lot to do with why I write about it. I’ve wanted to take people along on my journey of understanding non-monogamy and my place within it, which I think happens quite nicely in Poly/Not Poly and Still Poly/Not Poly. Obviously there is an element of it which is organic too, like in writing about my life I will naturally write about my partners.

Fandom is another common topic through your perzines – have you ever made a more straight-forward fanzine?

It’s interesting that you asked whether writing about other topics was therapeutic because actually writing about the things I am a fan of is probably what I find most therapeutic of everything. I have had strong, overwhelming obsessions with fictional characters and relationships for as long as I can remember, I was imagining my own stories about characters I loved before I knew what fanfiction and fandom even were. Fandom is my safe place and is deeply personal and precious to me and having places where I can write unselfconsciously about things I love, like I can in zines, is really important to me. I’ve spent a lot of my life berating myself for not liking things ‘normally’ and whilst I am generally better at not doing that these days, being able to bask in the weirdness and share my intense fangirl words with others feels great.

Anyway, though, to answer the question – I have made a few straightforward fanzines. There are the five issues of Sonorus (we decided to take a break from it after issue five because JKR was starting to be a bit much on Twitter … little did we know that was the least of it), and me and Rebs co-edited Death Becomes Her, which is about gender and related politics in crime narratives, which actually started out as a way for me to do something with my Rizzoli & Isles obsession and the resulting rage but turned out to be a zine I am really proud of.

Me and Cath made an Orphan Black fanzine called Variation Under Nature, and I made a made a silly zine called Ways In Which My Girlfriend Is Like Bob Belcher, but after an early zine of Orphan Black fanfic I made got taken down from Etsy for copyright violation I haven’t felt confident to put anything in any way similar up on there so neither of those have sold many copies.

Booo Etsy!

You seem to be an incredibly prolific zine maker – what keeps you so motivated? Do you ever deal with creative block?

Honestly, a lot of my motivation just comes from obsessive determination – once I put my mind to something I can’t really manage if I don’t finish it, but I also know that my attention and interest can be a bit fickle so when I want to do a thing I usually feel compelled to make myself get going with it quickly. In life in general that is something I am trying to let go of a bit because it isn’t always healthy (I constantly have to remind myself that it is okay to do one thing at a time, even if that one thing is watching TV), but it can be helpful because it keeps me working on things.

I definitely get creative block when I’m writing – usually the longer I have wanted to write about something the harder it is to do it. In those situations I tend to try to write about something completely different and come back to it to see if I have any more success, which in all honesty I often don’t. I don’t buy into ideas of writing being this magical process, but I do feel like sometimes I’m just not quite ready to write about something at a particular time, like my thoughts aren’t organised enough, and I try to be okay about that.

A table at a zine fest. It is covered with roughly 35 different issues of zines laid flat.
Kirsty’s table at a zine fest.

What’s your personal favourite of all the zines you’ve made so far?

Oh, deciding on my favourite zine is hard! I think it is probably Forever Incomplete #10, which was an alphabet zine, partly because I like how it turned out but also a lot because I worked my butt off writing it! It took six months to write the text which is a long time for me – I’d say from deciding to make a zine to having the writing done it usually takes me a couple of months, and often much less time – and I had to keep myself motivated that whole time. There are others I like for different reasons, like Forever Incomplete #11 which is about my 30 things to do before I’m 30 list and Lipstick & Jellybeans which is a split zine I made with Emily about being best friends.

 You’re part of the team that runs Swansea Zine Fest. What’s that process been like in previous years? And this year you had to switch the event to being an online zinefest [due to Covid-19] – how did that go? Did it allow you to learn anything new that you’ll be able to take back to future IRL events? What does the future look like for SZF?

It is such a pleasure to organise Swansea Zine Fest, and I am consistently overwhelmed by how successful it has been. It started as something we just wanted to have a go at but didn’t expect to be particularly well-attended – our early plans assumed it would just be the three of us behind a couple of tables and that if even one single person we didn’t already know turned up we would count it as a success – but we have had around 40 tablers and 100 visitors join us on both years we have done an in-person event.

It was disappointing to have to cancel the physical event this year but we were really pleased with how the virtual zine fest went. We learned loads from it, as I think many people are learning from the necessity of doing things differently which has come from the situation around Covid-19. Our plans for next year’s Swansea Zine Fest involve having a physical day and a virtual day because what this year has definitely shown is that zine fests aren’t just one thing which can only be accessed physically. We’re also going to be providing two funded places including travel expenses for people of colour, with priority for one of the places being for a Black zinester, because we know this is an area we can definitely do better in. If you are interested in donating to that get in touch with us on swanseazinefest@gmail.com or on Twitter @swanseazinefest

Do you have any tips you can share on making zines?

Oh goodness, I definitely don’t feel in any way qualified to give tips! I guess the only thing would be to give it a go if you want to – the lush thing about zines and zine culture is that there is a place for every voice. I guarantee you that if you make a zine someone will read it and relate to it and know that they are not the only one who feels that way, whether that is about big emotional stuff or your favourite ice cream flavour or whatever!

Can you share some of your favourite things from the zine world?

I am just accepting that I will remember someone or something else once this is published and panic a bit! Aside from Swansea Zine Fest, the zines fests I have attended the most are Weirdo Zine Fest and Swindon Zine Fest and I’ve always had a lovely time. Oh, and Kansas City Zine Con in the US, which I have led my very people-averse girlfriend around twice and is just amazing (it is very hard to look cool at the same time as scrambling around with a bag of coins you can’t recognise quickly to pay the person whose work you’re buying).

For distro-ing I love Pen Fight and Vampire Hag Distro, and I have also worked with Neither/Nor Zine Distro who I met at KC Zine Con. I usually think of Rebs McCormick and Laura Price as my favourite zinesters, mostly because I read their perzines really early on in my zine reading (and before I knew either of them) and really loved them, but honestly the zine community is so full of talented, interesting people that it is hard not to just name everyone!

Do you have any recommendations you want to share?

Honestly, my brain is just Alanis Morissette lyrics and fictional lesbians, so like, listen to her new album when it comes out and give me a shout if you are the one other person in the world interested in The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco fanfiction recommendations.

Is there anything else you’d like to promote?

My Twitter is @MsKirstyFace, feel free to follow me! My zines are available on Etsy and at sonoruszine.wordpress.com as well as through Pen Fight.

Also, my platonic life partner and fellow Swansea Zine Fest organiser, Morgan, is currently crowdfunding for his top surgery. If you donate before 31st August and send me a screenshot on Twitter I will send you a free copy of one of my zines.

A screenshot of the crowdfunding page. There is a photo of a person (Morgan) sitting and smiling. The text on the rest of the page reads: We're raising £7,000 to Morgan's Top Surgery. They have raised 37% of their goal (£2,620).

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IZM Interviews: Lou Viner (Our Victory Line / Lincoln Zine Fest)

Lou is a 30 something zinester and zine fest organiser from Lincoln, UK. She’s been writing zines for around 10 years, and currently writes a perzine called Our Victory Line, and has put out a collaborative zine called Yr Faves Are Problematic. Lou’s zines are open and honest accounts of her life and her mental health, work, and losses, but also document the joyful things – like being a music fangirl, her travels, trips to zine fests, and fat empowerment.

Our Victory Line 5 (Lou Viner). A picture of Lou's zine. It is printed in bright pink ink, with an image of a woman in ancient-style dress looking out to sea, next to an anchor.
Issue 5 of Lou’s perzine Our Victory Line

Hi Lou! Most of the zines of yours I’ve seen have been perzines, what do you enjoy or find rewarding about making them? How did you get into zines generally?

I think the main reason I write perzines is because those were the only zine I knew of for a few years – the people who I discovered zines through mainly wrote perzines, so when I started, that was the natural path for me. I got into zines from Livejournal – someone I followed made a beautiful, full colour perzine with their words and photography. I was also part of a swap and sell community, and people on there were selling zines there too so I bought some and so it began. I googled and found some distros in Canada and bought some other zines, then found distros in UK and off I went.

I find them rewarding in a way I am not sure I can explain. I feel like writing my words down is cleansing and also validating. When people pass that pound coin to me over a table or press that ‘buy’ button on etsy, it does more for me than I think I know. People want to hear what I have to say. It’s a strange thing really.

A few years ago I saw you doing zine reading from one of your perzines at Northwest Zine Fest – what was that experience like for you? Is it something you’d like the opportunity to do more of?

Oh my, I remember that! Gosh, it was a weird experience. Everyone else who spoke before and after me read these amazing, happy and weird stories and I chose something really depressing, if I remember correctly, and told everyone to be safe and look at pictures of cats afterwards! That is the only reading I have ever done, for some reason. I would love to do more. I am a bit of a natural performer, but I think reading my own words always stops me from speaking. I much prefer people to read them in their own time!

Yr Faves Are Problematic (Lou Viner). Lou's zine, which has the title, plus an image of a snake, and the words "a compliation zine"
Lou’s compilation zine, Yr Faves Are Problematic, a zine about the complicated feelings people have over cultural products people love, but know have issues.

You’ve also made a collaborative zines called Yr Faves are Problematic, how does that compare to making other types of zines?

So far, there’s only been 1 issue because of how hard it is to do a collaborative zine! So many people so interest in writing for it, but life is busy. At this point, even I haven’t written anything for the second issue. But then it sells so well!

What kind of style do you have as an editor, do you try and push a zine in a certain direction or are you more hands-off and let it be dictated by the people taking part and their submissions?

As an editor, I try not to do too much; I did choose not to include some submissions to the first issue as after reading them, they went above being problematic faves and veered into just down right bad people! Also, one story was about a family member so I felt it didn’t really have a place in the zine. I didn’t have a huge amount of submissions though, so there wasn’t much editing to be done thankfully.

Your Faves Are Problematic (Lou Viner). Image reads: Call for Submissions. Your Faves are Problematic, issue 2. A zine about your faves being bad. Tell us your stories - from the slightly troublesome to the full on cancelled. Submissions to - thiswaltz@hotmail.co.uk by August 31st.
Call for Entries for Yr Faves Are Problematic, which is currently open for submissions.

Aside from making zines you also run Lincoln Zine Fest – can you tell me a bit about the experience of organising that?

It is a love/hate relationship! I had always wanted to do a zine fest in Lincoln and when I got wind that someone else was possibly going to be doing a similar event, I jumped at the chance to get in there first. I can be a bit controlling so I tend to do it all myself – with a little help from my partner and my pal Bettie, who runs Sheffield Zine Fest.

Images reads: Lincol Zine Fest. Underneath there is a cartoon illustration of 3 people. They are holding zine making equipment: a stapler, pens, scissors, glue in their hands.
Lincoln Zine Fest artwork by Emma Thacker

It’s tough, I’m not going to lie – it’s difficult when you can’t get funding so have to pay for everything yourself, which thankfully, in the past, I’ve had to privilege to be able to do. I asked for help from people in the local zine/art community but when they found out there may be a monetary aspect to it, they lost interest. It’s also tough not sharing the work out, but I’ve made my zine bed, so I am going to lie in it, you know?

I love it though, on the day, and after, when I see all of the work come together and with the support of both the local community and from those further afield. Lincoln has a growing zine scene, which is mixing with the growing arts, spoken word and music scenes, so I can only hope it continues to grow.

How do you go about making the zine fest accessible to more people?

I always ensure firstly, that the location is accessible, which I have been lucky with, in the fact that though Lincoln doesn’t have many independent venues, those it does have are accessible. I’ve also made use of the local library and arts building at the University, which are of course accessible as a requirement.

Regarding other aspects of accessibility, I’ve ensured that other than giving preference to people who are part of marginalised groups, I’ve also given preference to Lincoln and Lincolnshire zinesters and creatives over ‘out of towners’. This ensures that a bigger community is reached, and introduces new people to the world of zines. By embracing the arts community in the city, it brings people who may not know a thing about zines into a free space, where they can discover something new.

Like most events in 2020, Lincoln Zine Fest isn’t running this year due to Coronavirus, but can you share any news about what might be happening in the future for LZF? And if the sky was the limit – what would your dream future for it be?

LZF 2021 will be at a completely new venue within the city, where we are going to be working in close conjunction and partnership with the organisation. I’m not sure I can say much more at this stage but I am very excited to be working with them and look forward to the event! If the sky was the limit, I would have as many tables as I could fit in the biggest venue in the city, all for free, with visitors coming from far and wide, but alas, that is just a dream!

Over the past decade the biggest shift in zine making has probably been social media. Zinesters used to get their work out in very different ways – listings in other zines, pen-paling, distros, local activist centres and then later personal websites. How do you think this shift has affected zine culture?

I think it’s changed massively – both in a good way and a bad way. I miss reading the little snippets about someone’s zine, sending some pennies over paypal and waiting for a week or two for a zine in the post from a far away country. I often hate the way zines have become somewhat commercialised – every one is making a zine these days. There is a fine line between gatekeeping and protecting the community though and this is something I really struggle with personally. On the other hand, social media has opened the zine community up and let in people who wouldn’t have known about zines otherwise. It’s a slippery slope. I am not a brand, I don’t even really refer to myself as writer, even after all these years!

Can you share some of your favourite things from the zine world?

I could go on for hours about my favourite zines and zinesters but I’ll try to be short

Some of the best zines I’ve read, not by people listed above are: Fucked – on being sexually dysfunctional in sex-positive queer scenes, Working Class Queers, Pansy, and Telegram. I have over 100 zines in my collection so I would struggle to tell you all my faves! (I’m sorry if I’ve missed anyone! It’s not intentional)

What else have you been enjoying, or been inspired by lately?

I am a self confessed fan girl – with my main focus being the band Deaf Havana. Their music is a massive influence for me. I hear their lyrics and I hear the words of a perzine being sung to me. Other influences are my friends, their work, their lives – I try to surround myself with people who I am in awe of.

I’ve been reading less and less to be honest – with COVID19 and lock down, I’ve found it tough to focus. I’ve been working from home so after a day sat in front of a computer in my house, I like to just switch off and watch something that I can either completely focus on or completely lose myself in. I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries, mainly things like Anthony Bourdain – Parts Unknown and other food and travel shows. I’ve also been watching I may destroy you on BBC iplayer. Though dark, it’s absolutely amazing and Michaela Coel is faultless.

Do you have any projects you’re working on right now?

I have started writing my ‘Guys with guitars’ zine, my ode to my fan girl nature, but as I said before, sitting in front of the computer at home, whilst I’ve been having to do my job from home, has meant I don’t like to sit and write too much on my laptop. But it’s not going to be a rush job, I am going to take my time. I’ve written a few bits for the next issue of my perzine but again, I am letting the words come out when they can and not letting myself get too bogged down with it.

Where should people go to find find out more about you?

My zines can be purchased from Pen Fight distro or from my etsy shop – and my social media for Lincoln Zine Fest, which is on facebook, twitter and Instagram.

A graphic that reads: Brown Recluse zine distro. For and by people of colour. PO Box 22281 Oakland, CA 94623. BrownRecluseDistro.com. Snail mail and online orders.
Brown Recluse: a zine distro created to support and centre zines made by queer and trans people of colour. See more about them at brownreclusedistro.com

Any final words?

I want to take this opportunity to highlight the amazing zines and outreach people like Queer Zine Library, Tender Hands Press, and Brown Recluse Zine Distro, are doing right now. As with most communities, even the zine community has a race problem, a privilege problem, and we should listen to marginalised voices more, lift them up and give them the space they deserve.

Zines forever, Lou


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IZM Interviews: Janet (Brick / Barren / Someone Somewhere + many more)

This International Zine Month I’ve been interviewing a series of zinemakers so we can get to know them and their zine making process a bit better! The first one is from the excellent Janet of [too many zines to mention!]

Hey Janet! Happy International Zine Month! How is life going at the moment? For people who don’t know you, can you tell me a bit about yourself?

Hey Vicky! I’m currently living in Leicester – I was in the process of moving back home to West Yorkshire when Covid hit and everything got delayed. I’ve been making zines for 25 years (or rather, I started making zines 25 years ago and then had quite a long break in the middle before returning to them about 8 years ago). Outside of zines, I like books, cats, solitude and sunshine, so I’ve been managing pretty well with lockdown all things considered.

Janet’s perzine, Someone, Somewhere.

How did you originally get into zines? I remember you mentioning to me once that you made a lot of zines back in the ’90s, can you tell me a bit more about those? And what inspired you to get back into zine making? Do you feel zine culture has shifted much?

When I was 15/16 I got very into alternative and indie music, which made me even more of a weirdo at my Bradford comprehensive. Wanting to not feel so isolated, I started sending off for the music fanzines I saw advertised in the back of NME and Melody Maker and once I’d read a few, I thought “I could do this!” And so I did. It’s quite weird to think of how self-confident I was capable of being back then: I’d somehow found out that if you wrote music zines, you could get free records and gig tickets so I started phoning up the PR departments of record companies and asking to be put onto guest lists… and it worked!

I was this strange teenager in Yorkshire doing her A Levels and with maybe 30 people buying each issue of my fanzine, but London music PRs would be like “yeah of course you can go and see Ash for free, fancy interviewing them too?” It was every teenage music nerd’s dream, and I pretty much stopped working on my A Levels and spent two years going to gigs, meeting bands, and then writing about it.

Janet’s 90s fanzine, Venus

And in the meantime I also started a perzine, which in retrospect was mostly standard teenage whining about no-one understanding me. It was all done by post in those days (“those days” ha I sound like a right grandma!) so I’d put an ad in the music press or on Ceefax and then people would send their pound coin and self addressed envelope, and I’d send them a zine back. And quite often they’d end up writing back and you’d become pen pals; I met so many people that way who ended up becoming friends.

Then I went to university and gradually stopped making zines for various reasons, and it was only in my early 30s that I returned to them. I’d become friends with Laura through blogging and she’d made zines in the past and wanted to get back into it, and so the two of us were sort of “ok let’s do this” and planned a trip to Sheffield Zine Fest. We came home loaded down with zines and fired up with inspiration, and the following year we went back to table and sell the five zines we’d made between us in the intervening year.

One of the biggest shifts in zine culture is how the internet enables the promotion and distribution of zines, and also makes organising zine fairs easier. Maybe there were zine fairs happening in 1994 but I just didn’t know about them. But now that’s a central part of my zine making; going to zine fairs and meeting other zinesters. And perhaps it’s because I mostly made music fanzines in the 90s, but the scene seems much less male-oriented now. In the 90s it was pretty evenly split but now it’s predominately women and non-binary people who you see selling at zine fairs.

Your zines are often about very personal topics (your experiences with abortion, being childfree, being a child of immigrants and your family’s history). Are you generally an open book day-to-day or are zines a kind of outlet for that?

I am not at ALL an open book usually! While I’m happy to be open about having an abortion, for example (and in fact think it’s really important to do so to help normalise it), I won’t generally talk about the messy feelings that go along with it. Even with my partner or my best friends I can be quite closed off about my emotions, so I do think zines are an outlet for working through complicated feelings about important events or elements of my life.

Do You Remember The First Time? a compilation zine about virginity

You’ve also made a few zines collaboratively (like Mixtape and Do You Remember the First Time?) – how does that experience differ for you from making a zine on your own? I really love Do You Remember the First Time? in particular because the stories of people having sex for the first time vary so much, what inspired you to put that together?

Making collaborative zines is not my favourite to be honest! I was that kid at school who hated group projects because I like to be in complete control, so working with another editor, like I did on Mixtape, is a challenge for me. But totally worth it because the finished zine is different to anything I’d make on my own (which is sort of the point). I’ve learned that I manage better with a zine like Do You Remember The First Time, where it’s just me putting it together but taking submissions from other people.

And I’m glad you love Do You Remember The First Time, because of all the zines I’ve made it’s the one I’m most proud of. I can’t even remember what inspired me to start collecting stories, but I always had a really clear vision that I wanted the zine to examine the notion of ‘virginity loss’ and how problematic that is from a feminist perspective, from a queer perspective, from a trans perspective… It’s incredible that so many people were willing to tell their stories – the good, the bad, the funny, the sad – and I’m so pleased that it represents a variety of experiences and bodies and sexualities. It’s the zine that I always “talk up” at zine fairs because I love it so much!

You sent me your zines very early in my distroing days (and you were the very person whose work I printed other than my own too!) Before that we didn’t know each at all – and getting to know you online and chatting at zine fests since has been one of the highlights of starting Pen Fight for me. What have zines been like more generally for you as a means of connecting with new people?

Ah I didn’t know this! And yep totally agree that meeting you has been one of my highlights 🙂 For me, the people are what make the zine world so special. As a general rule zinesters are socially awkward, shy, anxious (and lots of us are neurodiverse too) so zine fairs, where we have to be sociable and talk to people about our work, are pretty weird. But I always have such a nice time catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. Most of my zine pals live in the north and so I’ve not always been able to hang out with people other than at fairs, so one of the things I’m most looking forward to about moving is being able to have IRL hangs with zine friends (well, that’s if Covid allows for it…).

Do you get people reaching out to you after reading your zines often? I can imagine it can be quite liberating for people to read your zines (in particular Brick which is a very open account of your getting an abortion). Is this something you had in mind when you were making Brick?

It’s something that happens a lot with Brick, but not with my other zines. I think because abortion is still considered a taboo subject, I’m often the first person outside of those closest to them that people will talk to about their abortion. It’s beyond humbling to have people contact me to say how much it resonated with their own experiences.

I always say that regardless of what I do in my career (I was a teacher, am now an education researcher), Brick will be the most important thing I’ve ever written because it seems to have that power to resonate with readers. Which was never my intention! I started working on it because the #shoutyourabortion movement was just beginning and I felt that talking more openly about abortion was important. And I also had some residual emotional stuff to work through, and making the zine helped with that.

The fact it’s so popular is really nice, and I get messages from people from all over the world about it. If I recall correctly, it was you who sent a copy to Mumbai Zine Library years ago, and Brick even ended up being featured in the Hindu Times newspaper!

Do you have any zine making tips you can share?

Oh gosh I feel like I’m such an amateur (which, I guess, is sort of the point of zines). I still make everything using cut and paste sheets of paper, rather than doing digital layouts! I think my biggest zine making tip is to just do it… don’t worry about it needing to look perfect or professional because to me that’s the antithesis of what zines should be.

Can you share some of your favourite things from the zine world?

Eek, I’m definitely going to miss someone important out! I need to shout out some of my favourite zine fests – Weirdo Zine Fest, @sheffieldzinefest, @nwzinefest, @lincolnzinefest, @overherezinefest and @bradfordzinefair and all of their organisers. Presses and distros I love include Synchronise Witches Press, Black Lodge Press, Easter Road Press, Vampire Hag Distro and, of course, Pen Fight Distro! I’m also really loving the output of Irregular Zines – the Sew Irregular zines are brilliant and their recent Five Things I Wish I’d Learnt At School About Empire is essential reading.

Do you have any projects you’re working on right now?

I’m currently seeking submissions for a zine about Joanna Newsom (to be called Heartbroken & Inchoate) so would love it if people got in touch with me about that at jbistheinitial@gmail.com


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Happy International Zine Month!

July is International Zine Month! Originally coined by Alex Wrekk (of Stolen Sharpie Revolution / Portland Button Works), IZM is a month-long celebration of all things zine and independent publishing. Every year Alex also writes a list of daily suggested activities, here’s the one for 2020:

(click the image to be sent to a print and text-readable version of this image)

I’ve got some new things planned to release later this July, but for now I thought I’d say hello in my first post in nearly 4 years (!)

December News

It feels like a long time since we last said hello in July – since then we’ve had tables at Hulme Is Where The Art Is, the Manchester and Salford Anarchist Bookfair, and 2 Poor Pals pop-ups, ran workshops at The Whitworth and Altrincham Library, and celebrated the distro’s first birthday ? ? !

   

    

NEW STUFF:

  
  

There’s also been some new additions to the catalogue, including – Brick: a zine about abortion, Forever Incomplete (issues 1 + 4), Poly/Not Poly, Lipstick & Jellybeans, a split issue of Say Hi & Wave 3 / Mythologising Me 12, and our anti street-harassment badges.

EVENTS:

We’re all done for the rest of the year now, but the 2017 zine-calendar is already starting to fill up with lovely things. So far we’re running a badge making workshop at Sale Library on January 14th + tabling at the Hull zine fair at Ground on January 28th-29th.


  

OTHER NEWS:

The Chapess had a great exhibition up at Salford Zine Library – sadly it’s over now, but in happy news another excellent one on Perzines curated by Ingrid Boring is now up in it’s place, and will be well into January.

July News

Thanks to everyone who stopped by at DIY Cultures or came and made badges with us at Northwest Zinefest! The badge making workshop was so busy it could have gone on all day – we’ll try and put on some more workshops sometime soon.

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New zines added: loads of new zines this time! Call My Name issue 1, Call My Name issue 2, Call My Name issue 3, Call My Name issue 4, Beatrice’s Inferno, Guan Yersel! Here. In My Head. issue 15, Here. In My Head. issue 16, Here. In My Head. issue 17, Mae Danger issue 1, Mae Danger issue 2, Tiny Doodles issue 2.

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Events: We’ll be tabling at this years Leeds Zine Fair on Septhember 10th at Left Bank.

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May News

Last weekend was both Sheffield and Glasgow zine fests – and they were lots of (exhausting) fun. As usual as I was way too busy all day to remember to properly document things but here’s a few snaps I took. Thanks to everyone who came and bought things, traded or chatted with me, it’s always lovely to meet zinesters in person & I brought so many ace new zines to read home with me.

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New zines added: Fanzine Ynfytyn 20, Fanzine Ynfytyn 23, Fanzine Ynfytyn 25, Our Victory Line 1, and A Whisper or a Shout 1

Events: I’ll be at DIY Cultures on May 29th at Rich Mix in London.

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Website updates: I’ve started making a google map of zine-y places but it’s kinda sparse at the moment, that’s on the zine resource page. If you know of any libraries, physical places to buy zines or wanna recommended your favourite places to copy/print your zines please let me know.

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