I miss zines. At the bookstore yesterday, I found a book that was supposed to be sent back to the warehouse, and it interested me so much that i rescued it from being boxed up so that i can read it during lunch. It was a slight book, so I’ve nearly finished it already. It was Zine Scene, and it was how to make and distribute a zine. It was fun, as it was zinish, but as a book it didn’t work, as zines are nearly intuitive. No one really needs a guide on how to make one. If it stayed as a survey of writings or interviews, that probably would have worked better.
I’ve worked on two zines before, first Plague in 1993 (or was it 1992?) and then Fugue shortly after that. Plague was really Damien’s idea, and since I was working on putting something together, he invited me to team up with him. We had grand plans of it becoming this insane collective, with all of our friends turning it into our full-time amusement. As we hung around his house, we indulged in all sorts of crazy schemes and jokes, and with so much creativity around, it seemed easy to make a zine out of it. While it was supposed to have poetry and opinions in it as well, by the fourth and last issue, it was nearly all comedy. It really came down to Damien quickly tossing off great gems of comedy, with me doing most of the editing and layout, while harrassing at least a dozen other people to submit the contributions that they promised and almost never delivered. When it came to my own creativity, I only had a few cartoons in each issue and hid behind some characters that Damien created, like the astrologer Father Magan and the advice columnist Dr. Langley. It did tickle me to see some people get furious at Damien for a few things that I wrote though. It was easy to target certain people that I knew would be reading the zine, and then dissect every ugly nuance of their character in a fradulent horoscope.
I didn’t feel comfortable writing in Plague though, as it never felt like my own creation. I wound up doing Fugue, which was a quiet personal zine that stemmed out of my obsessive letter writing. In a way, it was not very different from this webpage. While Plague was immensely popular in Hammond for awhile, as it skewered many of the locals (everyone feared that they might be in it, so they just had to see each issue,) Fugue only appeared in Factsheet 5 and Maximumrockandroll once or twice, and was traded to other people who wrote personal zines. The weird thing is that I nearly sold or traded as many copies of Fugue through the mail as we sold of the Plague in Hammond!
Plague was the coolest though, and while doing Fugue on my own helped stave off some of my insecurity, I’m most proud of the Plague, even though the best stuff was always Damien’s ideas. (“Fun with Turds” was the crowning achievement.) It’s hard to remember whether we just lost the energy to do it anymore or whether we ran out of money to print it, as everyone seemed to want a free copy. The Plague was retired after the fourth issue.
Doing the zines was a way of trying to stop writing absurdly long letters to a girl who wanted no contact with me at all, but told me to write her anyway. (I actually had to hound her to get her address in Alabama though.) After Fugue, I threw myself back into writing those crazed letters, although that cold girl was long gone. Some of the people who traded zines with me became penpals (Robert and Gretchen, most significantly) and we corresponded for a couple of years, until my battle with depression and antidepressants grew so black that I lost contact with them all. I think that I even pissed Gretchen off with some strange tantrum. Weirdly, as soon as I quit the antidepressants, the obsessive writing began to appear again, as soon as I had a regular email address on the internet. Come to think of that… I owe you a letter, don’t I, Vale? 😉
Anyway, somewhere under my bed is a white plastic garbage bag full of many of the zines that I collected. I hate to think of the ones that I didn’t get, the ones that might have been flashes of genius but no one thought to send a dollar or two to a certain post office box, and that person became discouraged, giving up on writing, not out of lack of talent, but because of lack of belief in himself. Maybe they just needed one fan to continue. This might sound absurd, but without the luck that I had, I quite possibly might have killed myself. Because of my passion for zines was entwined with an oppressively bleak period of my life, each zine quite possibly became a cry for help to my eyes. I would read the reviews looking for that strange mixture of pathos and hope, and then wonder if I should intrude.
Or perhaps there was a little too much projection in that.
A United Nations study says that the temperature might rise as much as 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century. This Salon article speculates on what the Shrub administration might do in answer to it. I’m not going to speculate. I’m just going to tell you…. Shrub’s people are going to keep telling us that we still don’t have all of the facts, and it’s most healthy for the economy if we keep burning oil.
Lots of water could have been on Venus and I’ll be damned if I know what that means. It’s obvious that there was water on Mars (and still is!) and almost certainly life, but even I’m left scratching my head on the possibility of life-sustaining water on Venus.
To hell with the Super Bowl! (I knew the Saint never had a chance anyway, as they are eternal losers.) The second season of Survivor starts tomorrow night on CBS! And yeah, I saw all but one episode last summer! My favorite Survivor was Greg, but i don’t see any weirdos like him in the new cast. I read all of the summaries here and then all of the speculation and spoilers on the message boards. There’s even a decent page devoted to the best bets on who shall be booted first. Yes, it’s an awful confession, but i even read the book that came out as a companion to the first season.
It’s funny to read yet another article about how lame Limp Bizkit is. After shaking some fo the cobwebs out of my skull, I now remember that there was a painfully awful Hammond band that presaged Limp Bizkit by six years!!!! They were called Loon, and they looked the same, they acted the same, and they sounded the same! Okay, so the Q article bashes them for being sell-outs, but my problem with them is that they are tired old hacks. Loon’s most hilarious lyric was “Get up and slam! God damn!” Quick! Somebody pass that one along to Fred Durst! At the time, I thought that they were just 311 ripoffs, but with all of their bullyboy posturing and insincere handpressing, their hokey rhymes and their silly skateboards, I now see their foresight to year 2001.
And I must admit my shame… despite being an obsessive Beatle fan, I don’t own any John Lennon or George Harrison solo albums on CD. Oh yes, I own Macca’s first few efforts, and play them frequently, but for some reason I’ve ignored albums like “Plastic Ono Band” just because I deeply loathe Yoko Ono (and not because I believe she’s responsible for breaking up the Beatles.) Now “All Things Must Pass” is being reissued yet again. Do I dare? Ah… probably not…
One more Q link… what the hell is this article about the worst album cover art? NONE of these are even runners up for awful album covers! I take this as a challenge. I will start looking for awful album covers, and almost certainly none of the albums that Q picked will appear on there.
Listening to NPR’s “Car Talk” right now, the Magliozzi brothers are reading an article on temporal dementia! They said that these people frequently lose a lot of capacity for abstract thought become obsessed with pop music! It all makes sense now! They also mentioned some old news about people who inexplicably develop thick foreign accents. Oh, shit! I think I have that too!