Tuesday, 16 July 2013

International Zine Month 2013: Days 8 - 15

I have a bit of a slacker this week. Most of my time was spent in a blissful Internet Black Hole in the Lake District. Temperatures reached 26 C which is a bit hot for my Scottish internal barometer. I battled through it by wearing a wide brimmed hat, drinking water (and the little beer here and there), lazing around in the sun, reading books like a contented cat. It was the first time in my adult life that I've come back from a holiday thinking "I really needed that time off."

So I'm ashamed to say that I had a week off from zine related activities. Sadly the little towns I visited in the area had no obvious zine links. However I did stumble upon this great little shop in Ambleside called detail that has such a lovely range of quirky stationery, cards, bags and other knick knacks. With a nod to the only IMZ2013 task I completed this week (see below), I bought a letter writing set with cute little stickers. I do miss Chronicle Books, whom I fell in love with on my visit to San Francisco last year.

Extra credit: I did complete task 9 which was to Write a letter to a zine maker that you don't know. I wrote to the brilliantly funny and perceptive Donna, creator of Tragic Boffin, which caught my eye many months ago at Vampire Sushi distro.

This week I am hoping to continue working towards creating my own zine *gulps*. To give myself a shove, I have been making enquiries about self-service photocopying in the Glasgow area. Now all I need to do is get the work done!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

International Zine Month 2013: Days 3-7

International Zine Month is a yearly celebration of the wonderful world of zines. There is a list of daily challenges that people can join in with. You can find out more by reading my post here.

This has been a fabulous week. I have developed a compulsion to check the #IZM2013 feed on Twitter to find out what everyone else is up to. As a wannabe zine maker, I've enjoyed seeing how zine makers develop their ideas. Here's what I've been up this week:

Day Three: Zine Distro Appreciation Day! Order from a zine distro 

I ordered new zines from Marching Stars distro which you can see below:

MarziNam #1
Cherry Bomb #1
How I Quit School #1
Ella Funt (which has a beautiful fabric cover!) #1

I am a sucker for any UK-based distros that specialise in feminist per-zines so let me know if there are any others out there. Vampire Sushi have an excellent catalogue to choose from, including my personal favourites Buy Her Candy, Here. In My Head and Tragic Boffin. You can also buy a sticker of what looks like Riannah making a very rude sign with her middle fingers.

Day Four: Reread your favourite zines 

A bit of a cheat but I dug out my well thumbed copies of Stolen Sharpie Revolution and Whatcha Mean, What is a Zine? to help inspire me to create my own zine project.

Day Five: Learn a new zine skill 

Inspired by a guide in What's a Zine? I had a go at creating a one page zine. This is a zine that is made entirely from one piece of A4 people. No stapling or collating required! I thought this would be a good first zine to attempt but I'm finding it really hard to fit what I want to say in a small space. As you can tell from my template, I need to practise measuring out pages. And yes, I was using a ruler!

I also completed an extra credit assignment by reading Agua Nora, a zine written by a British paramedic who spent a month working on the American/Mexican border. It's a very dark read with dashes of light relief, such as including music playlists the crew sang along to whilst looking for border crosses needing assistance.

Day Six: Add your zine or update your lists on ZineWiki.org

*ahem* You have to actually make a zine before you can complete this challenge so I skipped this one.

My package from Marching Stars arrived in the post so I had a happy afternoon in the sun, reading my new zines.

Day Seven: Make some envelopes or postcards to get ready for the week 

This afternoon was spent hosting a family visit. Whilst Him Indoors is catching up on the tennis, I'm parked outside writing up this blog post. Weather dependent, I might retreat indoors to make some lovely postcards. Or finish reading some of the zines that were delivered yesterday.

There's also a 24 hour zine challenge. This challenge is exactly what it says - you have to create a zine, from start to finish, in 24 hours. It sounds quite easy but something that many zine creators find difficult. There are a wealth of 24 hour challenge zines available from distros and many of them open with a statement talking about how hard it is! Unfortunately most of my weekends in July are booked up so losing a night of sleep is not an option. However, I might twist the rules and spend up to 24 hours working on a zine during July. At least it might give me a post to get one down and send it out into the big wide world.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

International Zine Month 2013

Over the past year I have become mildly obsessed with the zines and comics culture. I'm surprised it's taken me this long. From a young age, I loved reading girls' magazines like Mandy and Judy, Girl Talk and even the good old Bunty. Magazines and comics were just more items to add to my reading pile. Bonus points: they were easier to read when I was having my lunch. Magazines dispensed information, made me laugh and sometimes made me think a little bit. 

So it's a wonder why it took me so long to get into zines. One of my roles at my job is to look after a fairly extensive zine collection. An outreach project involved a lot of work with this collection and I got a taste of how to produce a zine. I have to admit: I rather enjoyed it. The sheer beauty of zines is that they can be about anything you want to write about. Many zines do have their roots in alternative culture that is not featured in mainstream culture. However, I'm sure if someone wanted to write a fanzine about X-Factor then they could. Let me know if someone has. 

Zines are great to stick in your bag and read on the bus home from work. They can range from having a professional finish (which is becoming more common) to being a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy. My personal favourite has to be the per-zine genre, where people write zines about their everyday lives. It's very intimate peeking into someone else's thoughts and zine provide that personal connection that you don't get with blogs. Someone has gone to the effort of arranging the page layouts, writing the articles and standing over a photocopier until their back spasms, to create the very zine you are holding in your hands. 

To my delight, July marks International Zine Month. IZM is the brainchild of Alex Wrekk, a leading voice in the world of zines. Each July zinesters (those who make zines) and zine fans join together in the celebrations that take place. You can have a look at the daily challenges handed out below: 

So I suppose I should attempt today's challenge Top 10 reasons why you love zines:

1) Every time I read a zine, I learn something new. Whether it's a new way of looking at the world or a great recipe, I pick up a little tid bit of information. 

2) Each zine is unique. It reflects the personality and character of its creator(s) which you certainly don't get with mainstream publications. 

3) Making a zine is a labour of love. Many zine makers lose money when they produce zines. Yet they still keep making 'em. 

4) Zine culture is inclusive by default. You want to write a zine about your partner's dog's friend's weird desire for eating stale cookies? Then go right ahead! 

5) People that make zines like to talk to each other. There's even a special social network designed for people who make zines that like to talk about zines called We Make Zines

6) Zines forced me to realise that I missed being creative and that I should make more of an effort in this area of my life. 

7) Zines are so great that they even have their own libraries. Have a look at the Salford Zine Library or even this blog post about the collection I work with. Yay! 

8) Zine makers love mail art. I like to imagine it's the work of zines that keeps the post service operating - hey a girl can dream! 

9) Zines can make me laugh so hard one minute and make me cry the next.

10) Zines are that amazing you get an entire month to celebrate them. Go forth and be zine-tastic!

Monday, 1 July 2013

Halfway there

2013 has turned out to be a rather spritely year. A late start to spring makes it feel like time is whizzing past, leaving little time for reflection. Of course being a naval gazer means it does not take long before I'm back, pontificating again.

This week I looked back over my goals for 2013  and laughed a little bit. It may come as no surprises to those who read this blog but most of my goals have fallen by the wayside. I am proud that I completed the Women's 10K in May. It was a hard slog and I didn't do enough training but by golly it was worth it.

There are some blog posts a-brewing in my head and I'm hoping to get some posted up here in the coming weeks. Hopefully these will contain the right dashes of pondering and self-deprication.