As some may recall, from those wistful years of 2009 to 2013, I ran an online zine distro, Black Budgie Distro, selling indie projects from around the world.
I think I had more people asking me to sell their zine than I had sales, but that’s something, isn’t it? As I’ve turned back to zines a bit more in the past year, I’ve decided to resurrect Black Budgie, at least in so much as I’ll sell my own work (and maybe anyone else local, should the opportunity arise!)
And I’ve traded Blogspot for Etsy and, well, I guess we shall see how this all plays out!
Without repeating the zine itself verbatim, this zine is an extremely personal one for me. When my grandfather passed away in January, I inherited his (extensive) book collection, as I was the only other one in the family who could describe themself as a “book person.”
Books were the only thing Grandpa and I had in common so of course unpacking his library was how I worked through a complicated grieving process (if you ever actually work through a thing like that). And, of course, I made a zine about it!
I was invited by Aaron Moran to contribute new zines to Poor Quality’s BIBLIOCACHE exhibit at the Vancouver Book Art Fair at Emily Carr University. The exhibit runs this weekend from October 18-20, 2019!
Contrary to the alleged wisdom of Roget’s Super Thesaurus 1995 edition (what deemed it “super” the tome never explained): “poetry” and “prose” are NOT synonyms. Thirteen-year-old me did not realize this. I trusted the almighty power of the printed word. Old notebooks now hold embarrassing hand-lettered titlepages. Of course, by “hand-lettered,” I mean letters cut from Seventeen magazine like a ransom note.
The 2011 ART OF ZINES exhibition will run for four weeks at the Anno Domini gallery in the SoFA District of San Jose, California. Quoth Anno Domini: “Zines are one of the last frontiers for freedom of speech and creative self expression and we need it now more than ever.” This year’s zine exhibition will run in concert with the SubZERO Festival, a celebration of subculture artists, performers and musicians that begins June 3, 2011.
So, if you’re in San Jose this June, be sure to check out the gallery and my little precious artifacts of precociousness:
So, without even pretending to mask this blatant display of self-promotion, the second issue of Hacksaw is available! This issue is, dare I say, better than the first. This is good news, as people generally prefer the quality of something to increase. At least, this is what our rigorous marketing studies have shown. Just kidding. We don’t have a marketing budget. In fact we hardly have a budget. For this issue we argued the guy at Kinko’s down almost 50%, then spent a bit of what we saved on beer. This is how we kick it indie style.
I’m not entirely sure how a running commentary on the latest issue ended with a reference to a night at the pub, but that is usually how most things end around here. Anyway, I’m proud of this issue. Not only did we get submissions from all across the Lower Mainland and across Canada, but also from the UK and from Israel. It’s quite the globetrotting micro-adventure. I even worked wonders with a stamp carved out of a potato. Call me cheap/creative, but that was a fun night. This also means that each and every copy has a unique touch, which is part of what Taryn and I wanted when we originally discussed our unofficial mission statement in an evening of insobriety.
If you were interested, they’re going for $4 each, and you can get them from me (email me at email@example.com), or online here. Also, and this is not entirely confirmed (as we haven’t actually dropped them off yet), it will also be available at The People’s Co-op Bookstore on Commercial Drive.
I was reading an interesting article at broken pencil, called Zines Are Dead: the Six Deadly Sins That Killed Zinery, by Chris Yorke. While the article summarized and divided the great cultural change of the late-nineties into six easy-to-read words, each a harbinger of death for zine culture, I think the death of zines can either be summarized in one simple word (“Internet”), or it is so emblematic of an entire social landscape that it is impossible to define.
Whether works of art or frenzied outlets, zines came to encapsulate the look and feel of the postmodern age. They are full of contradictions: intensely individual, yet photocopied into oblivion; falling on any subject or in any setting, but always immediately identified as subcultural; each one new, original, unique, but always appearing as if composed of varying bits of pop culture dissected unapologetically with a hacksaw (hey, wait, that’s the name of MY zine!). They are timeless and timely, meaningless pastiche and meaningful art.
So by Saturday I was feeling marginally better. I was able to do something other than watch all of season four of Battlestar Galactica, and since that was all I had done the previous two days, I was also feeling undeniably creative. I don’t know. The impulse to create overtook me. I wanted to write, I wanted to draw; but I also wanted something more frenetic and crazy, with lots of scissors and glue.
I ended up taking a random assortment of things I had written in the last several years (going back to 2001 at the earliest) but never really did anything with, and compiled them into a quarter-page zine, fittingly titled: What I Did on Saturday Afternoon. I had most of it together beautifully, but realized that there was something poignant missing. I searched back through the darker recesses of my iBook and found some random passages of reflection that I compiled in the years after my grandmother’s death.
That miniature memoir, coupled with poetry, microfictions, a monologue, drawings, photographs, and photocopies of random things I found in the cupboard under the stairs (where I keep the photocopier), when assembled into a whole, went from what I intended to be an exercise in randomness to an interesting study of self. When placed together, these orphaned artworks of the last ten years of my life presented a fantastic collage of all the people I’ve been in that time. It was such a remarkable side effect of self-reflexivity and past/present/future that I feel somehow changed. Like this acknowledgement (or release even) of my past work will allow me to reconcile this different facets, let me put them behind me and move on artistically. When I first started, I had an idea what my back cover would be: a photocopy of a Joe Strummer quote that I had hanging over my desk for the last three years, that says: “The Future is Unwritten.” By the time I finished the zine, I handwrote under that: “only the past is written. and not very well.”
I recommend to any writer or artist with those little scribblings, half-started projects, and unacknowledged musings to do the same. You will feel exposed, vindicated, rewarded, and infinitely free.