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Archive for the 'books, zines, etc.' Category

Plan B goes digital

Posted: February 3rd, 2009, by Marceline Smith

Plan B have just launched a digital version of their magazine, so if you can’t find Plan B round your way, have no room for piles of old magazines or just prefer reading stuff on the internets, then this is for you.

It costs £17.50 for unlimited access to a year’s worth of magazines, which you can read, print and download. There’s a free issue up just now to let you see how it works and it looks pretty cool to me, though my broadband provider aready hates me enough without adding to my bandwidth usage.

Have a look HERE.

Zine-o-rama in Edinburgh: 4th & 5th February

Posted: January 22nd, 2009, by Stan Tontas

Saw a poster for a Zine-O-Rama to be held in Edinburgh at the Forest Cafe on the weekend of 4th & 5th February. It’s part of a wider event called Don’t DIY Alone:

The DIY (do it yourself) ethic refers to the principle of being self-reliant by completing tasks oneself as opposed to relying upon “specialists” to complete them. The term can apply to anything from home improvements and repairs to healthcare, from publishing to electronics. DIY questions the supposed uniqueness of the expert’s skills, and promotes the ability of the ordinary person to learn to do more than he or she thought was possible.

Why Do It Together? Groups of people can include a vast range of skills. By coming together and sharing our skills for free, we challenge hierarchies of knowledge and also the commodification of knowledge. By creating as a group, we can build networks and celebrate a different way of living.

What’s “Don’t DiY Alone”? A gathering in Edinburgh to share skills and have a good time, 5-8th February 2009.

How can you get involved? Contact us at diyedinburgh@riseup.net to organise a workshop, or come along in February and learn some stuff! Go to our online forum at diyedinburgh.freeforums.org and start organising now! Contact us for a copy of the posters to put up in your area.

UK DIY wants your zines

Posted: January 13th, 2009, by Marceline Smith

From the lovely folks at UK DIY:

Zine makers from across the UK are invited to send a copy of their most recent zine to be included in a forthcoming exhibition at Turnpike Gallery in Greater Manchester. The exhibition, UK DIY, explores the emergence of alternative, subversive, political craft taking place across the UK as a new generation reclaim and re-define craft, adding a distinctive tongue-in-cheek edge, and features craft that crosses over with music, science, technology, activism and street culture. The exhibition runs from 14 February – 25 April 2009.

Zines should be posted to UK DIY, Turnpike Gallery, Civic Square, Leigh, Greater Manchester, WN7 1EB. Please include your name and the town/city where you live. Please note that we are unable to return zines at the end of the exhibition.

Deadline for submissions: Monday 9 February 2009.

For more information please contact Louise Clennell, Gallery Co-ordinator, 01942 404469, email l.clennell AT wlct.org or visit www.ukdiycraft.com


Posted: November 24th, 2008, by Marceline Smith

Now that I’m a sadcase work-at-home “freelancer”, I never have time to skive about reading stuff on the internets any more. I am thus VERY EXCITED about The Morning News‘ new annual so I can actually catch up on all the good writings I’ve missed this year. diskant and The Morning News have been web buddies since around 1952 and their trajectory of impressiveness has only been slightly outdone by diskant’s descent into grand idiocy. To prove this, they’re producing a beautiful hardback illustrated book with 21 articles by their excellent writers, which will look suitably awesome next to your photocopied diskant 10 year anniversary zine. I wonder if they’ll be up for a swap? If not, it’s on my Christmas wish list for certain.

The Morning News STORE
diskant zine (only about 20 copies left! Act now!)

Zine Roundup

Posted: September 29th, 2008, by Marceline Smith

What have YOU done this Summer? Well, Alistair Fitchett (he of the Tangents website and Unpopular label) has made not one, but two zines. Both issues of Don’t Forget To Dance come beautifully designed with tracing paper details and free badges, and of course packed full of great writing. Almost defiantly self-indulgent, Alistair writes about whatever he damn well pleases, from indiepop to cycling to books. Luckily for us, his writing is always interesting and engaging regardless of the topic. Issue 1 has stuff on Glasvegas, The Kinks, George Pelecanos and Phil Wilson while issue 2 features Nestor Burma books, Pauline Murray & The Invisible Girls, The Playwrights, The Bomb Pops and Slumberland Records. Go get! Both issues are available from the Unpopular shop on Folksy for just a little over a quid each.

I got sent a copy of The Illustrated Ape magazine last week, as they’d used a quote from my Paul Cannell interview. I’d never seen it before and it’s an amazing looking magazine, as much about the illustration and design as the writing. This here is their Heavenly Records issue which was hugely nostalgic for me. As well as the article on Paul Cannell (Heavenly and Creation artist), there’s a great rambling interview with Heavenly founder Jeff Barrett, a group reminiscence session with all the key players of the Heavenly Sunday Social, poetry from Nicky Wire, a piece by Kevin Pearce and some lovely illustrations by the likes of Rob Ryan. There’s also a bunch of random oddness and fiction which verges on the self-indulgently baffling but overall it’s a great read. Have a look at their website for info on stockists.

I myself made THREE zines this Summer, get me. Okay, one of them was a compilation of some good bits of diskant and one was a print version of my Tokyo Shopping Guide but the third is an all-new telling of my fun times in Tokyo last year. If you want to read about everything I got up to during ten days in Tokyo, from kawaii shopping to sightseeing to eating everything in sight then this is the zine for you. You can get all my zines from my shop.

Have you made a zine recently? If so send it over so I can read and review it!

Not the famous Clash

Posted: September 23rd, 2008, by Stan Tontas

Apparently a Dundee-based music magazine is getting ~£230,000 public funds to fund its digital expansion.

the company also produces most of its journalism in London, in words of O’Rourke, carrying out “the nuts and bolts” work on the magazine and the website in Dundee.

It is an approach that has brought them wide plaudits, winning several industry awards and an exclusive interview with Paul McCartney on the release of his new album last year.

I’ve never seen a copy. Is it any good? (I mean by the standards of magazines that value exclusive Paul McCartney interviews in the 21st century….) Suppose its cool that there’s work there for typesetters, etc (though there seems to be a shortage of proofreaders if that Sunday Herald extract is typical) but what does this mean, “massive digital expansion of his brand”.

Yeah, I’ve seen a music website too. I could name a couple of people who’ll do you one for less than half a million and all.

Someone is missing the point, probably it’s me…

diskant rewind: Mild Head Injury #2

Posted: August 29th, 2008, by Simon Minter

(Originally posted December 2001)

Mild Head Injury by Simon Minter

Today’s lesson begins with some ramblings about an ACTUAL, REAL BOOK with words in it and everything. Because oh yes, I do more than just listen to records, I live a fulfilling and exciting life which occasionally involves reading and watching the telly. Anyway, this ‘ere book is called ‘The Creation Records Story’ and is a great big eight-hundred page mutha of a tome, covering the, er, Creation Records Story from shambolic beginnings in the early 80s up to becoming The Record Label Of Oasis. And along the way, of course, we meet all kinds of crazy pop kids such as The Jesus And Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, The House Of Love and Teenage Fanclub. It’s an interesting story not just because any sane music fan will and must own many of the records mentioned along the way, but also because in a proper in-depth kinda way it takes in the surrounding independent music scene which grew up from punk days, through the eighties, up to today, when ‘indie’ means something entirely different to the pop man in the street. It’s packed full of juicy little anecdotes and revealing insights into the machinations of the evil big business side of music, it if nothing else it’ll make you dig out some of those old 7″s in wraparound sleeves to remind yourself of times gone by.

But, no time for reading? Then let’s get on with talking about some records. Or CDs. (Much as I hate CDs, they don’t seem to be going away).

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diskant zine action

Posted: August 4th, 2008, by Marceline Smith

As the diskant party approaches, everything is starting to come together. I now have fifty copies of the diskant zine, a 32 page photocopied jaunt through the last ten years of diskant. It’s basically lots of short bits of writing that caught my eye as I trawled the archives but makes for a fantastically good read.

Here’s the content line-up:

Summer 2008 Catch-up by the diskant team (June 2008)
Bargain Bin Culture by Wil Forbis (April 2002)
– Honey Is Funny by Chris Summerlin (April 2003)
– Mild Head Injury by Simon Minter (July 2002)
– Some Kind of Monster by Dave Stockwell (September 2004)
Instal 05 by Marceline Smith (October 2005)
The Owls Are Not What They Seem by Alex McChesney (July 2006)
Magik Markers, twice by Joe Luna (May 2006)
Liquid Blue by Fraser Campbell (June 2005)
Super Quick Primavera Roundup by Ollie Simpson (June 2007)
– “Ladies and Gentlemen, we got him” by Ross McGivern (December 2003)
Slint by Chris Summerlin (April 2005)

The unlinked items are columns which we will be re-posting at some point in the future. However, you can read them NOW (or in a few days anyway) by purchasing a copy right here in my shop for a mere £1. You can also buy copies at the diskant 08/08/08 party of course.

If you’re one of the people involved in the above works of genius, email me for your free copy.

Summer catch-up: Zines

Posted: June 29th, 2008, by Marceline Smith

Seminal Aquacade
Seminal Aquacade fanzine out of Leeds is a good old-fashioned paper zine featuring the writing skills of Diskant’s own Daniel Robert Chapman who provides a very eloquent rant against Patti Smith in the issue here, as well as an interview with No Age and Yorkie Paul’s Friday night party tape compilation too. [Chris Summerlin]

King Cat Classix
I recently indulged and bought the hardback edition of John Porcellino’s King Cat Classix, a collection of the highlights of the first 50 issues of his home-printed King-Cat comix. Dating back 25-odd years, it’s an incredibly affecting collection – you find yourself reading his development from teenager to 40 year-old one man and the progression of his attitudes to life. Plus the strip about his daydream of marrying Madonna (circa 1991) is absolutely hilarious. Totally essential stuff. [Dave Stockwell]

I still love VICE MAGAZINE, it can be so wrong and so right all at the same time.  Not that it faces much competition in this category. [JGram]

Net magazine
It’s supremely geeky but I’m very much enjoying getting Net magazine every month, these days. There’s nothing like keeping up with CSS, SEO, AJAX and XHTML technologies. Admit it, everybody, we’re all getting older and rock and roll alone isn’t enough any more. [Simon Minter]

Feral Debris
Feral Debris is another excellent paper zine out of Nottingham by Sian and Rich that features occasional scribbles and some forthcoming writing from myself as well. It also comes with a CDR that features “smoking jams” from the likes of Throuroof, Family Battle Snake, Robedoor, Nackt Insecten, Blue Sabbath Black Cheer and others in the current issue. It has a blog and a Myspace – like it was a young emo girl instead of a zine written about completely random stuff by a bunch of old folks who like to chat and watch horror films. [Chris Summerlin]

Geezers Need Excitement
The latest zine from my friend April, a UK-obsessed American who I’ve been swapping zines with since ye olde teen-c days, is a split travelogue between herself and her comedy script writer friend Chip. It’s a hilarious jaunt around England with the experienced tourist (April) showing round the newbie. It’s always fun to see your country through someone else’s eyes – they get over-excitable about the smallest of things and hook up with April’s celeb friends along the way. A quick, fun read. Get it on Etsy. [Marceline Smith]

The Wire
As always I am enjoying the writing of David Keenan in The Wire which will probably morph into a series of noises or interpretive dance over the next year judging from the trajectory so far. Or maybe you’ll open The Wire up and his latest primer will come at you in the form of a smell. [Chris Summerlin]

Summer catch-up: Books

Posted: June 24th, 2008, by Marceline Smith

Daniel Radosh: Rapture Ready! – Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture.
I’ve always been partial to the writing of occasional New Yorker scribe and cultural critic Daniel Radosh ever since he penned some complimentary words about my website acidlogic.com.  My ears perked up when I discovered he’d written an analysis of the under discussed topic of Christian Pop culture in America.  I was particularly curious as to whether he could answer a long-running question of mine: why is Christian rock music so lame? Radosh does tackle that query (and actually points to some Christian rock that is really quite good) and surveys the totality of the modern Christian pop movement.  Those who view fundamentalists and evangelists* as part of a monolithic movement walking lockstep with itself will be surprised: there’s a lot of debate within Christianity itself as to how far it should embrace secular fetishes like television, comedy, rock music and wrestling to spread the gospel.  Radosh, a non-Orthodox jew bordering (in my opinion) on atheism, talks to Christians across the political spectrum and gives them a fair chance to express their beliefs while not being afraid to challenge them on points he deems questionable.  I found Radosh’s final conclusions on how the Christian and secular world can work to better understand each other a little murky, but that’s more due to the magnitude of this topic.  No doubt more books will be written exploring this subject in the coming years, but Radosh deserves praise for being one of the first through the gate.
* There is a difference between the two.  Read the book to find out what. [Wil Forbis]

Wil Forbis – Acid Logic
That would have to be Wil Forbis’ compendium of articles and columns. Truly great stuff, regardless of his exalted diskant friend status. His writing reminds me that there is real value in encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture and obscure things. He’s got that in bucketloads, along with a whole lot of style and inventiveness. [Simon Minter]

Slash – The Autobiography
Slash’s autobiography is an entertaining and often hilarious read. Value for money is low as I defy anyone to not plough through this in a couple of days it’s so unputdownable. The part where he runs naked through a plate glass shower door and out onto a golf course because he thinks tiny versions of the alien from the film Predator are attacking him is worth the cost of the book alone. Video.  [Chris Summerlin]

Daniel J Levitin – This Is Your Brain On Music
What is music? Why do we perceive certain collections of sounds to be musical and others not?   “This Is Your Brain On Music” attempts to answer these and other questions.  Levitin is a neuroscientist, but also an accomplished musician (and music fan), and handles the topic in an accessible and entertaining fashion without dumbing down the science. [Alex McChesney]

Al Burian – Natural Disaster / Wil Forbis – Acid Logic
Natural Disaster is the second volume collecting back issues of Al Burian’s zines – I got this a while ago but had to save it for my next holiday as it really is the best way to enjoy Burian. As expected, I pretty much devoured the whole thing on a 5 hour train journey to London last month. He’s a dangerous man, making a life of breadline loserdom, working in copy shops and hitching around the world sound like a totally awesome way to live. The chapter on the power of the non-stop party wagon to lead you on a fulfilling journey of crazy once-in-a-lifetime experiences is temptation itself. The whole book is hilariously funny and yet punctuated by some honest and thought-provoking incidents that round it out perfectly. It’s not unlike our own Wil Forbis’ excellent book, where absurd humour and outrageous claims only partly disguise his wealth of knowledge about underground culture. It’s your summer reading all sorted, right here. [Marceline Smith]

John Fante – Wait Until Spring, Bandini
I recently finished my first experience of John Fante, with his first book, “Wait Until Spring, Bandini.” You can really see the influence he had on Bukowski, but Fante’s style is so much more poetic, even when describing the most grinding of poverty and the basest emotions of men. Definitely worth investigating, if you can bear it. [Dave Stockwell]

The Damned Utd by David Peace
People have mocked and scoffed at me for reading this, referring to it as “your little Brian Clough book” but this is a truly crisp, albeit fictional, account of what it is to be an individual in management when working against your bosses, peers and colleagues.  Now why would this theme appeal to me I wonder????? [JGram]

Nabokov, The American Years – Brian Boyd
A fascinating insight into the author of Lolita, Pnin and Pale Fire. Includes details of how he sourced Lolita’s appearance and education, his hard-work ethic, frighteningly superior acumen and comic peculiarities. There is a great passage in the biography of how he collected bits and pieces which grew into one of his greatest characters, Lolita: ‘he took “one arm of a little girl who used to come and see Dmitri [Nabokov’s son], one kneecap of another”. He visited a school principal on the pretext of placing his little daughter.’ Probably not the most exciting read for a non-Nabokov fan, but for me this is massively interested as ‘Lolita’ is one of my favourite novels, and Nabokov one of my favourite writers. [Pascal Ansell]

Stuart Maconie – Pies and Prejudice
A love letter to the North from Britain’s treasure; It begins at Crewe station, where dinner is at midday, but is Burnley really the new Seattle? Following on from his rock memoir ‘Cider With Roadies’ Maconie gives us another pun based offering. Now Maconie writes a travelogue. He speaks as an exile, a Wiganer who considers supper to be a meal of milk and digestives eaten in a dressing gown but who now keeps his sun dried tomatoes by the cappuccino maker. Seeking to challenge regional stereotypes he rediscovers his own identity by taking a great train journey through Harrogate and Saddleworth taking in Wigan Pier and Blackpool Tower on the way. A whistle stop tour of the beautiful South leads him to the harder North of ‘soul, lights and rock,’ a landscape that changes at Crewe Station, where the ‘tarmac turns to cobbles. Maconie devotes large chapters to definitive Northern cities such as Liverpool, the ‘pool of life’ with its musical legacy and the Parthenon-esque St Georges Hall. Manchester ‘has fancied itself rotten for as long as anyone can remember,’ is home to Mark E. Smith, ‘the northern white crap that talks back.’ He writes of its blood red fiercely leftist past, and Working Class Movement Library in Salford. In a chapter about Lancashire dubbed, ‘Mills and Bhuna,’ the virtues of George Katsouris’s deli and Bury’s legendary black pudding are extolled. Wigan’s pie lovers hang out at Alan’s bike shop. Yorkshire gives us brass bands, and the Sheffield of Joe and Jarvis cocker. Leodensians include the old guard such as Freddie Trueman and Alan Bennett and new bands such as Forward Russia and the Kaiser Chiefs. While blue sky thinking from the late Tony Wilson led him to declare Burnley to be the new Seattle! The North of the screen from George Formby to Albert Finney is described with enthusiasm. Blackpool is The ‘Las Vegas of Europe and the Great North includes the architecture of Grey Street while Maconie’s love of the Lake District is touched on in loving odes to the Cumbrian Mountains. If you are on familiar terms with Greggs the bakers or rugby league you may see yourself somewhere within these pages. It’s nostalgic yet faithful to its subject matter and written with wit and passion. The author may have trouble working up the enthusiasm for a store cupboard snog with anyone who doesn’t love kitchen sink drama but he has clearly fallen in love with an entire region. [Mandy Williams]

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