Once, at a yard sale in Austin a few years ago, a friend of a friend wordlessly walked a collection of zines that had been put out back into the house and reshelved them. Her steely justification was there there were too many photos of friends and bandmates in them to possibly ever part with, let alone sell them to strangers for nickels on the dime.
Fast-forward to 2020. It feels like nothing matters, and yet I cannot go full Kondo and ritualistically dispose of all/most of my books, even though I would rather that than move cross-country (or beyond) with boxes and boxes of books and records again. I love books. I want to keep every book I’ve ever read and loved in the house with me, like a dusty old stuffed animal. This is not possible nor wise. A purge would be better, experts say.
So I looked on a shelf that has largely been untouched since I filled it back in 2008, when I moved into my home. On the shelf were zines. Zines from over twenty years ago. Sometimes with hand-written notes from the author!
Full disclosure: I put out a zine “of my own” in the 90s and 2000s with the help of many great collaborators and artists and bands and labels that were all incredibly patient and kind to put up with my inquisitive ass. It helped that I was a fan of whomever I was badgering to be in or contribute to my zine (it was called Process). I was also a culture writer for one of my city’s alternative weekly newspapers, and a few of the dailies. But the zine gig was, if not the most fun, the place where I was allowed to say whatever I wanted. And other people read it!
There is no comments section in a zine. They can be shared and talked about, but you have to read it first, then find someone else who has read it.
Hang on for some zine reviews.