I am very busy and important Issue 11

“Things I kept from the internet” issue 11
I got my issue from: Sticky for $4

Best title: Both are – the name of the zine AND the title for this issue. Anything that claims to be off-limits for the internet?immediately piques my attention. If something needs to be withheld, then I want to read it. The zine screams “too hot for facebook”. Stuff the zinemaker doesn’t want friends to see? I’m in!

Quick’n’dirty: The zine has been put together fast and furiously, or at least that’s how it looks. It’s folded and stapled as an A5 booklet but the layout is on a 90 degree rotation so it’s closer to reading an A4 newsletter format that could have been stapled in the corner rather than through the middle. The manual typewriting feels immediate, has transparent edits, and you can see those photocopier shadows of it all being stuck down. The final two pages are large scrawled handwriting of music listened to while writing the zine and thank-yous.

I am very busy and important, myself: And, because of this, and getting overly excited at the ‘too hot for net’ factor, I picked this zine up on the fly (along with a bunch of others). I got home and realised it was a flimsy 8 page zine that I had unwittingly paid $4 for, with the last two back pages looking suspiciously like filler. Two folded sheets of paper. $4. Was I impressed? No. I was not. Would this fact impinge on my enjoyment of the zine? Yes. It would.

Random: The zinemaker bumps into her ‘first love’ (read, unrequited teen crush, not sure if that classifies) in the city after five years. These are her subsequent reflections. There’s a lot of deep introspection and the zinemaker writes with a brave, candid personal insight as she describes how her once-best-friend in high school changed. How her friend changed from someone she knew and related to (and had a crush on), to someone who assumed a different  name, changed sexual identity, and whose disposition differed. Her best friend becomes a politicised trans guy. The zinemaker calls bullshit on the transformation, dates a dude with  dyed blue hair, and their friendship disintegrates.

Courage: It took a lot of courage to write this zine and acknowledge past insenstitivies. Trans stuff can be challenging and hard core and so delicately ideosyncratic from person to person, friendship to friendship, and all the broader circles of interconnected relationships in families and communities.

I don’t recognise you anymore: The zinemaker and her friend find themselves on the wrong tetonic plates that now move, grind, and press in conflicted directions, leading to a social continental drift. (Do you like that metaphor? I love it). It’s described well. New articulated personalities, frustrations, desires, and pulls of identity create a new unfamiliar landscape of dynamics. Hurt is involved.

Don’t be a jerk: I love how the zinemaker owns her adolescent behaviour, and points out that while we all want to be considered politically astute with superior interpersonal skills, we are not always these things and there’s definitely been some point in our lives where we’ve been unschooled in discrimination and ignorance and perpetuated hurt ourselves. And that it’s okay, because we’re always learning. Cue an Oprah moment.

Closure: So – the zinemaker was able to spend time as an adult with her estranged friend, and while the bond is different there’s respect and common ground. The zine closes on a more recent romantic trans encounter and finishes with a satisfying sense of wisdom and worldliness.


A zine covering the everyday adventures of an American expatriate in Spain. This particular issue is an anthology calling itself ‘the best of’ Chorrada issues 1 to 6. Includes personal writing, correspondence with readers, historical tit bits, interviews and reviews.

Where I got mine: Sticky for $5
Where you can get yours: Send US$5 or 5euros to:
Kris, Calvo Sotelo 13B, 4B, Plasencia 10600 Caceres, SPAIN
or paypal to lolalucio(at)gmail.com
and it has an online presence here.

How hard is it to invest in a long arm stapler? Very- apparently. Looping jute string around the fold is an inferior and annoying substitute for binding. Just putting it out there. I was amused to see I was not alone on this one, either.*

The Pros
The zinemaker, an American living in Spain, writes about various events and experiences. Even though he has a Spanish wife and has presumably been living in Spain for a while, it feels like he is a perpetual tourist. Maybe that’s what life is like when you are an ex patriot. It’s interesting to read about Spain through an American zinester’s eyes.

The Cons
I feel like I’m reading someone’s travel blog. The writing and the stories are amusing but in that pleasant extended family way where nothing personal is really revealed. The zine is full of fascination for quirky lives and events and times and places in history and intricate details about the zinemaker’s shoes for chrissakes, but I don’t feel any rawness? honesty? real personal connection? with the zinemaker.

My confession:  So, I didn’t realise it at the time of buying this, but as mentioned, this zine is an anthology. I immediately felt cheated. Whenever I think of anthology zines I think of ‘best of’ albums. I don’t have any issues with reprints of zines, but I draw the line at anthologies. Why would you be collating ‘best of’ bits from previous zines when you could be writing a new zine? Why do people do this? Is it to demonstrate how awesome the partial bits of previous zines were? Why wouldn’t you just write new stuff?

The counterargument: Actually I really don’t know what the defence IS for doing zine anthologies. I kind of understand if it’s a celebration of a long run of issues and you’re putting it out as a glossy book for a wider reading audience who may not be familiar with zines and find this cool book which turns out to be a compilation of old issues, or reproduced parts of. See, I do kind of understand that. I don’t think it’s in the spirit of zinemaking – but I understand it’s a way of preserving an art form in a more robust and commercial medium for a wider population of readers or maybe a new generation. I don’t get it when it’s just you re-doing bits of old issues with jute string.

The context: Turns out the zine is not a ‘best of’ but it’s actually a complete reprinting of all six issues: Kris has written, “It’s the 1st six issues in their entirety. Each issue is an 8 pager, corner stapled, and very Dad style (what can I say, I’m middle aged). I put them all together to share with the world at large outside of my little circle of a couple dozen regular zinesters that I trade with.” Makes sense! Reprinting zines I get!

The papernet: I don’t see this a lot in Australia (if at all), but there are American zines out there that reprint various bits of zine correspondence from readers and include an editor reply. It’s interesting to see who is writing from what zine or sharing what information and it’s also a way for the zinemaker to promote other people’s zines and encourage general correspondence. So here is another entry point to the papernet. It’s alive. And full of the usual suspects. (after a while, you start recognising the same names).

The best part of this zine was: reading about how the zinemaker scores an illustrated and anecdoted reprint of George Borro’s account of travelling around Spain and Portugal in the early 1840s. From the zinemaker’s enthusiastic descriptions, it does make me want to score a copy myself. The zinemaker genuinely gets excited about various eccentric pursuits like dulcimers, and if you have any kind of interest in things, like dulcimers, then instant gratification awaits. (Dulcimers are probably the next Ukuleles for hipsters). The zinemaker is basically a fan of cool, interesting and obscure stuff – kind of like an amateur historian –  as well as a fan of interesting characters he comes across, like the dudes running the Chamber Pot Museum across from the cathedral, or the transient guy who he comes across every now and then who is an ex pat like himself but living in a cave with a weird skin cancer wound on his arm. I found myself skimming various bits and pieces in this zine, mainly the interviews and book reviews, finding some parts boring or just getting lost amongst too many obscure cultural references I didn’t get (so couldn’t appreciate). I’m not complaining about this – it’s just that I found myself easily distracted as a reader with no real entrance point to some of the content.

Kind of to be expected: The zine is text heavy, obviously. While there is an inclusion of photos and reprinting of historical images, it’s very much a Dad style desktop publishing aesthetic: half columns in times new roman. Clear and easy to read. Functional. It won’t break your eyes but it won’t razzle dazzle them either.

I’m guessing people who like this would also like (and vice versa): Anything by Chris Mikul – the zinemaker behind the glorius Bizzarism and intense biblio-curiosa, stuff by Ken Baseurt, DJ Frederick aka Frederick Moe, stuff by Adam Ford and  zines by the powerhouse behind The Zine Explorer’s Notebook.

Overall: I’m left lightly entertained and marginally educated but kinda ambivalent.


The zinemaker comments on Blackguard’s review in defence of the string decision, which I didn’t read when I first linked:
“Yeah, the string binding didn’t work too well. But my long arm stapler wouldn’t go through that many pages… After destroying a few copies trying to staple them I turned to the string. -Kris”

He just needs this.
Screen Shot 2013-03-23 at 1.34.46 PM
(Greece’s entry in Eurovision, 2009)

Kris is looking out for stapler recommendations. He has a Kanin which is crap.

Trabant No. 5

Trabant No. 5
October 2012

A zine covering several years in and out of circus school battling gravity, health and self doubt and kicking butt.

I got mine: as recommended reading from a friend. On a post-it note on the front of this zine he scribbled, “The writer’s a little hippi woo, but the circus”

You can get yours: Well, the email is still active [megan (at) somethingsbegun.com] but the zine is now out of print. I know, right. What’s the point of reviewing an email two years old that nobody is likely to get their hands on. I need to reassess my life choices. The zinemaker hasn’t done any other zines since this one, either, but never say never.

Rookie mistake: It’s quite funny, I thought this zine was called Rabant. It wasn’t until I tried to google it that I realised this zine name had a T in front. As in German car, as in satellite.  So don’t be fooled by the cover art.

Initially dubious: I start the zine and it’s all about a day in the life of circus school, cool, but my interest immediately wanes reading how the zinemaker washes her hair at 7.10am with baking soda and rinses with vinegar. And how she’s making eggs topped with local salsa and store made guacamole (my care factor has dropped another two points) and how she’s whizzing protein shakes (care factor now close to zero). For a second I wonder if this is going to be one of those zines that meticulously document every meal the zinemaker has. I remember a David Roche zine like this about every felafel ball he ate in Australia. And I swear sometimes Giz’s zines can be entirely devoted to chronicling fregan meals retrieved from dumpsters and what dandelion leaf he ate on what day of the week in what European city. Even on the telephone to my mum I’m not that interested in hearing what she had for dinner. Is this going to be a food-porn zine about eggs fried in bacon fat in cast iron skillets, hand grinding coffee beans and adding half tea spoons of spirulina to shakes? Well,the zine does involve a beef stew recipe, but it’s okay. Keep reading.

How Does It Work: You know, this zine is super ambitious. It covers three genuinely epic years of the zinemaker’s life and it can move in and out of different time frames in the writing, but damn, it’s done with so much craftmanship that at no point was I confused or having to backtrack. In addition the zine hones into each year, which have their own sections. The structure works perfectly.

Aesthetics: You can’t go wrong with a touch of handwriting, plain arial generic font and some stuck down photos. And of course a dash of manual typewriter to break it up a bit. The whole layout is nice, simple, and easy on the eye. I was kind of expecting more line illustrations to appear within the zine, to kind of connect the cover to the contents, but it’s not the case, so you could argue the cover is a bit disconnected. Across the body of writing some pages have little ‘break out’ grey rounded boxes of self contained reflections with their own little headings which also introduces new fonts.
Maybe that’s introducing one style element too many – maybe the break-out text boxes could have just been done in handwriting – but this is me also just me overthinking it. Summary: Great, clear layout dealing with massive amounts of text, while still feeling personal.

Precarious: When your whole life’s purpose and mission is CIRCUS and getting up in the morning to down those protein shakes and manipulate your body to do cool stuff and…your body breaks down.

Yep, it’s largely a zine about chronic illness, I guess, but it’s unfair to categorise it as such because the scope feels so much broader. The writing is pragmatic, non hysterical. There’s evident sadness and frustration but never in a wallowing ‘poor me’ spectacle. The zinemaker describes a ‘lost’ year and what’s most apparent to me is the sheer determination to recover.

You read in this zine about the utterly consuming dedication to circus training and how, deprived of health, the zinemaker has been robbed; and as the reader? you feel that investment, that absolute commitment. And things do gradually reassemble: Yoga, running, a girlfriend, easing back into recreational circus classes, then the joy of returning to circus full time.

You’re excited but you share all the zinemaker’s trepidations: can she recover her fitness? Will the sheer intensity grind her fragile health back down? will she reclaim her passion and thrive or will there be some horrible disaster to break her spirit? Damnit just the sense of pressure to succeed had me holding my breath as I turned each page. Circus is hardcore – and it could apply to any kind of discipline that requires athleticism and performance elements.

Resilience: More than about illness this is about recovery, management and truces. There’s no brilliant happy ever after resolution to the zinemaker’s story, but just the hardness of circus life. A life where one is most successful as a performer at honing their attention, learning and listening to their body – but without obsessing over it. You don’t blindly buy into alternative medicine anymore but you’re also no longer affected by the hopeless sense of despondency western medicine can make you feel.

The hippi woo factor: You know what, it’s pretty low on the hippi woo levels. The spiralina word count starts and pretty much stays at a single mention. In fact it’s a happy middle ground the zinemaker arrives at between unorthodox tricks and supplements (hot and cold showers to shake up your body toxins, taking glutamine) and following prescriptive medicine. And there’s a sense of acceptance that while western medicine isn’t perfect, it is based on science, and sometimes science is the only thing you have left to surrender to when you’ve been willing to try anything and everything from the sales bin of the food coop store. (results may vary). The only other option is the reality of uncertain diagnoses by specialists who don’t know what exactly is wrong with you, but are okay in saying that to your face, and sometimes, uncertainty is the only certainty you have.

Suspense: Yes, there’s a return to circus school and there are the worst possible scenarios: injuries, scans, tears, depression. And yet, also: doggedness, determination, creativity, experimentation, pride, artistry, performance. Honestly, the drama and anticipation in this zine pisses all over dance movies and the best soaps because fuck it, it’s all so real and so effectively written.

You will enjoy: If you can get a copy, read it. You don’t need to be an athelete or performer to fall into the all-consuming world of this zine. You don’t need to ‘get’ chronic illness to care about what happens next and you don’t need to be into food porn. This is just, hands down, an amazing read. It’s honest, courageous, open, grounded and insightful.

– E.P.


Rainy Day Trash Flowers Fun Pack

Rainy Day Trash Flowers Fun Pack

I got my $$$ copy at the Sticky Zine Fair, Melbourne half a year ago.
no contact details.
You can get yours by: being in the right place at the right time with the right coinage. This clan can be hard to pin down.

A fun pack of three individual comix in the classic fortune teller format. All written, drawn, measured, folded and trimmed to perfection by HTML Flowers, (the yellow zine) Jmke (the pink one) and one of Tasmania’s best exports and New York darling Simon Hanselmann (the green one).

Exotic: As advertised, the zines/comix are designed to be rotated, unflapped, folded, unfurled, refolded and opened out. The fortune teller format is now boycotted by comic crafternooners. Life is worth living again.

Genius: The utilisation of the fold. Each zine has been carefully designed to address the design challenge of a format that doesn’t have regular pagination. Hanselmann’s zine excels: each folding pattern forms its own narrative device: in ‘Werewolf Jones TM and Sons’ the first layer of folds makes up a rotational ‘exclusive hat prologue’. (I’m won already). Underneath each triangle flap, a character cycles the perimetre of the main centre comic, ‘Megg’s Will’. On the reverse side you get ‘Megg, Mogg & Owl’ which in turn opens out to a complete flattened sheet of Megg freaking out about not having a bulk stash of weed on hand and making that face that kids make when they’re about to burst into tears. Hanselmann is the master of expression and rendering puffy cat faces.

Heartfelt, Sad, Saddening: The anxiety of financial survival as told in ‘Little Needs A Job’ where you need to negotiate the folds through the numbering system. In this comic, Centrelink payments are cancelled, hospitalisation means you save money on food and the back up plan includes dealing or stealing. Dreams are for those who can afford them, as is peace of mind for someone with a terminal condition. Lots of hospital references and watching the character drink alone. I found this highly affecting.

Spacey Existential Gaming Reality Jamming: This untitled zine revolves around two computer game players and the internal game world which comes complete with visual computer glitches and repetitive imagery. Kinda works as a pisstake against gamers but also drawn in affection I suspect. Contains Kantian and Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen references.

To accept this challenge: You have to find the balance between sequential and non sequential story telling. You want the comic to work at different angles.

Success rate: 2/3 zines in the funpack didn’t need to rely on numbering. All are self contained little comic worlds in their own right. And you get to play with them in your hand. Awesome.

– E.P



Jutchy Ya Ya #48


free & open to trades
PO Box 99 Chewton VIC Australia 3451
adamford [at] labyrinth.net.au
I got my copy from Sticky by the doorway

A long running, free eight page zine. It’s now in it’s fifteenth year circulated around the place with all back issues available online. The zinemaker describes it on his site as “…a bit random at times, but it’s well-meant” (which is rather endearing).

The format: Simple, conservative and consistent. It has a literature magazine feel on the inside, but the masthead font gives it the playful child-like feel to indicate it’s not as formal as it appears.

The title: I feel like I have read in a previous issue or something what it’s all about, like it was a random thing the zinemaker’s child said while learning to talk, something like that. Whacky. It’s not some obscure pop culture reference. I’m pretty sure it’s not meant to mean anything.

Confabulation: Well, that was me making shit up.
Fact from zinemaker in their own words:  “The name was nicked from a David Nichols comic in his Distant Violins zine that has a little bear in love sing a garbled version of “Lady Marmalade”.  Thanks, Adam!

It’s free: Few zines are ever free. It’s kind of hard, in a sense, to review a free zine, because the zine has totally dodged that sense of obligation to meet any kind of set expectation – there was never any transaction involved.

But being a zine, the transaction is as simple as picking a copy up, and you’ve instantly entered someone else’s world who is open to communication and trades and wants to share carefully articulated ideas with you.

Free zines are their own special category. And somewhere out there is a photocopier that’s getting some extra love outside work hours. At least, that’s what I like to think.

The praise is the criticism: I feel conflicted about this zine because it never hurt anyone or did anything stupid and is just a Nice Zine but it still annoys me. Everything that is positive about the zine is also the exact reason I object to it. Let me explain.

The praise: This is a light hearted, funny, often geeky, satirical look at the modern world around us with all its inane advertising, technology fails, funny human nature moments and cultural misconceptions. It’s thoughtful and observant and well informed and usually involves self motivated research. You get to have a little laugh at the whimsy and absurdity of life and then pause philosophically as the final credits list everything from the fonts used, to the traditional custodians of the land the zine was written on. So courteous.

The criticism: It’s light hearted. It’s funny but in a tittering-laughter kind of way where you hold your hand over your mouth with a napkin. It’s thoughtful and observant and well informed but I never feel like anything is ever pushed enough, somehow. I want something more. I want to be genuinely challenged. Jutchy Ya Ya is a little ‘out there’ but never ‘too’ out there. It’s quirky – the worst word I could ever use to describe a zine. It’s irreverent, but the kind of irreverence you would get in polite, genteel company.

For instance: The cover of this issue is a photo of an entrance that has been boarded up and graffitied. Not quite sure where else to go with that except, you know, it’s a funny little irony. It’s an old entry to a former department of forensic medicine. Oh, absurdity of modern life. Hashtag. (Not, ‘urban exploration’ – hashtag). There’s also a promotional graphic promising a free DVD-book if you find a gold pyramid. (random!). And a funny byline beneath the zine title. So it’s got the whole zany thing happening, right here right now.

Inside there’s an article about Beowulf and how it fits into the canon of western literature and how really all these ancient texts are about fighting dragons and epic supernatural phenomenon which is not so dissimilar to the amazing spider man (except of course Beowulf etc is of a much higher calibre). (That’s a direct quote). But you know if this was more widely known then more people would get into it, like the zinemaker’s teenage self. Plus JRR Tolkien’s thoughts on the matter, etc. You can see the geek appeal.

The other writing was a small piece on the etymology of the name of ‘Bendigo’, a regional town in Victoria. Plus a history of the town’s namesake. So all very pleasant and intellectual. And this is intermixed with funny page footers of invented words which often rely on some lame pun, and graphics like a google map screen capture where regional Victoria roads are mapped but then suddenly stop and there’s a “Sorry, No Imagery Here” blank zone. Hilarious. Sigh.

It’s complicated: There’s just something intrinsically safe about this zine that irritates me. And weirdly, somehow and sometimes, the humility of the zine also feels like its smugness. All the positives of this zine are what frustrate me.



Secrets of the Photocopier vs. Jutchy Ya Ya #48

I love this title! The ultimate smack down?! Well, it’s not what you might expect. The zinemaker writes a great response to this review, you gotta go read it immediately

Check it out directly on his site, the Other Adam Ford.
Plus he’s kindly allowed me to reblog, so Secrets Vs Jutchy Ya Ya lives on here. (Thanks, Adam!)


Don’t Listen to Them – Smoking Won’t Kill you that fast!

compiled with help from
Vidha Saumya
Ali Akbar
Joey Behrens
I did not get mine for $10 from sticky

I refuse: I fell in love with this zine immediately. I was so into it. Then I looked at the back and my heart broke. Ten bucks! This is like a bunch of pages run off on a black and white photocopier. It does not contain gilt edging, perfect binding or painstakingly carved pop ups or laboured hand tinting. Sure, it’s stitch-bound. But not by hand-woven llama hair hand dyed hand by indigenous incas.

But it’s sooo good: – it’s sassy, scrawled, spacey, straggly, subversive and arty with super cool hilarious cut and paste graphics with portrait photos and fantasy vox pops. Here in Australia smoking is a health hazard and consumers are constantly reminded of this with big warning messages on cigarette packs and tv campaigns showing you a doctor poking a dead smoker’s shrivelled lung, etc. So I saw this zine and it was already making me laugh and I’m not even a smoker.

Get It Or Regret It: It’s a mash up of cool collage and line drawings, quotes and one liners, complete with ‘clouds of hope’ and ‘you chill. it kill’. It’s got a genius media and advertising sensibility all through it, a total punk attitude and kick arse carelessness.

…Or Forget It: I had to walk away from this one. Ten bucks. I just refuse to go there. I would pay more like $3. This is an awesome zine, so I’m a little heart broken. I suspect it’s been made by serious artists/freelance illustrators who have a completely different approach to pricing than zinemakers. Which sucks. It’s a bunch of pages through a photocopier, not a precious acid-free, limited edition snowflake off a gallery wall.

Message to the zinemakers:  make more stuff. make it accessible.


Accidental Polyamory

no contact details
I got my copy from the zinemaker

A personal account of the zinemaker finding herself in a polyamorous relationship with her long time girlfriend and a new mutual girl friend. The zine talks about the experience and what it all means.

Aesthetic: A basic hit-the-ground-running kinda look. It’s all handwritten, roughish layout, simple cut and paste with a found pattern cover and stencilled writing. It’s a zine at it’s most pure and raw.

Not pretentious: Whenever I hear the word ‘polyamory’ I groan because it’s such a ridiculous word (and/or concept). This zine, however, is written simply and isn’t trying to be anything profound or posturing to some some manifesto. It’s just one person’s account of what it’s like to find yourself in a situation for which there’s “no blueprint”. The zinemaker writes about how it all happened, how the new dynamic was negotiated, and how, three months in, it’s going successfully. It’s just a personal ‘so, this happened!’ kinda story.

Repeat, not political: The zinemaker doesn’t feel defined as a polygamous person in the same way that, say, her lesbian-ness defines her. She doesn’t romanticise polygamy or brand it as some awesome brand new lifestyle everyone should check out. Nor does she think polyamorous relationships are inherently radical, but open to flaws and dysfunction as much as anything else.

Curious: Definitely, polyamorous relationships have that mystique about them because they’re not the society norm. And they must surely be emotionally challenging. It would be cool if the zinemaker did a zine revisiting the situation in twelve months time and then, say, 24 months time to see if the new configuration of the relationship is working, if it’s failed, and/or how it’s informed her ideas on relationships generally. I’d love to know the challenges and how you introduce your two girlfriends to your mum. Are there other zines like this about polyamory out there?

This zine could be better if: Nothing. It’s not trying to be anything it isn’t – this is just personal writing, copied and stapled. This is how you make a zine, people. Unmediated. Honest. Perfecto.


Tofu is not vegetarian Volume 2

Jeanette de Foe & Friends
I got my copy for $7 from Sticky Institute, 10 Campbell Arcade, Degraves Subway, Melbourne VIC 3000. I’d link you to their site but in the last few months it’s remained down and/or hacked and/or virussy.  Stop by the shop or maybe approach the zinemaker direct about obtaining a copy.

A personal zine-slash-anthology of accounts and essays about the ethics of vegetarianism – and veganism.

Wow: I found this zine to be truly radical. And I was not prepared for it. I’m not vegan or vegetarian, so when i saw the title of this zine start with the word ‘tofu’ I’ll be honest, my mind wandered and my eyes were already on the next zine. I had moved on. Oh no. You don’t walk on from this title. It’s hammering out so many interesting ideas.

I never expected: to read former vegans call out veganism. This zine is not anti vegan, not at all, but it does call the practice out on a lot of its shit. Which is challenging and provoking and really refreshing in any activist scene. Well any SCENE, period.

Whats right, whats wrong? Make up your own mind. The zinemaker doesn’t want to tell you how to think, it wants to tell you how to question. It’s not militant and it’s not looking to pick a fight.

Here is a zine coming from a genuine desire to create greater discourse. The zinemaker makes that clear right at the beginning: “..I wanted this zine, like the previous things I’ve written, not to be the final word on the topic, but to be starting/continuing a respectful dialogue. On some things I have a resolved position, on others I don’t and maybe never will…”
So reasonable! so moderate! and I like the sense of humility.

The zine itself is kind of an anthology but it really feels like a personal zine that happens to open with mini essay contributions or editorials. Because of the chaos of the layout, they all kind of bleed into each other so all the voices get kind of mixed.

My eyes hurt: the zine itself has been printed on a rizzo with cut’n’ paste text printed in blue ink throughout. There’s cute little line drawings of tofus or mushrooms etc with googly eyes. All good. But the text is cut and pasted against multiple jarring background patterns which are too intense at the scale they’ve been reproduced. They are just hugely distracting, changing with every page and constantly breaking your concentration. I had to visually claw from one sentence to the next, fighting daisies, knives, forks, polka dots, feathers, geometric shapes, corn cobs, carrots, tractors, pigs, geese, and baroque wallpaper designs. It was painful. Let me make this clear to the zinemaker.

Things you’ll be left thinking about:
The cultural meaning and emotional role of food in your life, your friends and family.
How a restricted diet can not only be socially isolating, but isolate those who prepare foods or culturally significant meat-centric meals that cannot be shared with you- (Are you staying true to newfound political ideals or rejecting your own culture? can the values be reconciled or are they inherently contradictory? is this an embodiment of racism?).
Are all indigenous cultures with meatcentric diets necessarily cruel, exploitative or disrespectful to animals?
What do vegan and vegetarian lifestyles set out to achieve and how successful is the practice on a practical level?
Is boycotting effective and does it imply a certain judgement of others? (fairly or unfairly).

You’ll also be thinking about also another element: That of health. Is a restricted diet something that can be done safely amongst all individuals or is it irresponsible to promote a vegan lifestyle as a ‘simple’ healthy alternative?
Are supplements adequately addressing your bodily requirements and is ‘adequate’ good enough for your particular body and needs?Even if you are doing everything right, is your health suffering as a result of your political choices?
And should you politely be excused if you can’t commit to a restricted diet? As if you contain a personal flaw or defect. How do you fit, then?

The zine draws from many stories of life in political activist circles, specifically events or conferences which have involved separate food preparation and eating spaces where the question of tolerance and cultural sensitivities has come into play. In some of the zinemakers experiences, these have lead to open conflict and hostilities that have been poorly managed and ended up creating hurtful divides.

Plus: Theres lots of other aspects to vegan and vegetarian culture and its stereotypes that get explored by the zinemaker and contributing writers. Everything from the assumption that vegetarianism is exclusive to white culture, to reverse cultural appropriation, food hygene, food affordability, sustainability, animal rights, capitalism, and common misconceptions. Some of the arguments are problematic and flawed, some wonderfully articulated, defended, and fully convincing. I guess the important thing is the diversity of the opinions as much as the convergenance of perspectives found here. An utterly refreshing read even for those of us who normally pass up tofu titled zines.

What was Volume 1? I haven’t seen the issue to read it (from 2011) but there’s also a thinner zine by the same maker called ‘Veganism, Racism, Culture and Identity’ still in print. So there’s further reading out there and possibly a volume 3 sometime in the future.


To here from Naivety number 6

I got my copy from the zinemaker, you can get yours by contacting them directly.  That doesn’t mean it’s free. It means you can contact them and make enquiries.

A personal zine of stories from the zinemaker’s life and odds and ends (cut outs, comics, articles)

Get this zine for: The opening article/account of the zinemaker of being a ‘workshy’ teenage pizza delivery driver in the 90s, driving his dad’s car around the suburbs of Australia’s capital.

I, at least, have an endless fascination reading about deliveries to suburbs which are later bulldozed. In his first job, the zinemaker learns the mechanisms of the adult workforce. Highly functional (and non functioning) potheads keep the local economy turning. It’s a culture where the most successful driver is also the most ruthless, where your boss will and does take advantage of your meek nature, and where it takes a coworker back at the shop to alert the zinemaker his tyre is flat – he’s been driving around all night blissfully oblivious, immersed in his own depression.

Then there are the delivery addresses: suburbs of unemployment, housing commissions, drugs and ominous baseball bats – areas that other pizza places won’t risk sending their staff. The zinemaker’s coworkers are either said residents of these areas or former teen criminals, who have staged hold ups with steak knives and tried to escape on their BMX bike.

It’s all poverty, eccentricity and… survival. Depressing and amusing at the same time. The environs and stories are more predictable than unpredictable, and more banal than sensational. And that’s the point, that’s the environment. It’s perfectly captured.

The other highlights: ‘Jimmy Waterford Fucks Out On Drugs’. Firstly, great title. Secondly, funny story from the 90s of a guy who thinks he’s dying from a drug overdose. Spoiler: he does not die. And it’s OK to laugh when you read this because it’s pretty funny and I love the insights time allows. Plus, it’s historical! Esctacy was a new drug to Canberra at the time.

Also, the ‘Great Moments in in Canberra Times History’ section. It only consisted of four clippings but they did deliver.

The rest of the zine: The interview with a punk guy who the zinemaker admires is really only of limited punk interest. There’s a write up about the American baseballer who is credited with starting the high five phenomenon which was cool, short and sweet and there’s two comics thrown in to the mix, which I found pretty average.

Aesthetic: Standard fare. Times New Roman, on plain white, nothing too crazy, no real effort to experiment with design. This is fine because the contents are where it’s at, and everything is simple and legible. Garden variety desktop publishing does the job.

Criticism: This zine is maybe a few pages longer than it needs to be. There’s a lot of spaces which felt conspicuous for being empty or just carrying super big font or unneccssarily enlarged material. I couldn’t help thinking a bit of tighter layout could make the whole thing more compact and none of the contents would need to be cut to achieve it.

You should also check out: I first discovered this zinemaker through ‘Better Things To Do’ which is a great docu-read about the Canberra punk scene  in the 90s.


Piltdownlad #10

Behind the Wheel: A Lyft Driver’s Log

Kelly Dessaint
PO Box 22974 Oakland CA 94609 USA
I got my copy from the zinemaker, you can get yours online here or by contacting the zinemaker directly.

A zine about ridesharing for Lyft in San Fran from the perspective of a driver.

You need this: Because it’s interesting to know about ridesharing in San Francisco, what it’s like to move to a new city, cram new street configurations into your head and open your car door to facebook profile thumbnails on the street. And how the zinemaker hopes nobody will puke in his car. And how he tries to, you know, make a living in the new millennium. And keep his average online rating above 4.8 stars. And be nice. There’s a lot going on. And it’s all thoroughly engaging.

Aesthetic: Smart graphic cover art with strong font choices. It’s a text heavy zine, but nicely broken up into sections with screen grabs and cool street grid maps with carefully typewritten nomenclature. It’s beautifully done.

Not included: The crazy price (and culture) wars currently being battled out between Lyft and Uber at the time of writing this. But the zinemaker has you covered, because he’s reporting from the front line from his blog ‘Behind the Wheel: A rideshare confessional’

You may miss: Subtleties of the culture of ridesharing apps (specially for someone like myself outside the U.S).

There are some little things referenced in the zine but not necessarily spelt out. For instance, the zinemaker mentions giving an obligatory fistbump to one of his passengers as they leave his car. He doesn’t mean ‘obligatory’ in a social exchange hipster kind of way. He means obligatory because, as a Lyft driver? it’s protocol. I seriously thought the zinemaker was just trying to politely reciprocate. Not so. #branding!

The zine also mentions prime time surges. Not understanding it won’t detract from your enjoyment of the zine, but for those who are curious, check out this great explanation from Planet Money’s podcast, it seems to be a unique aspect of ridesharing.

That’s awkward: San Fran is a city of tech start ups and programmers. The zinemaker romanticices a former San Fran that no longer exists and resents the changes that have displaced the locals, the same changes that have forced him to rent in Oakland (the consolation prize address). Of course, he’s a newcomer as much as anyone else and is earning his living off a rideshare app developed by the young professionals responsible for all the gentrification. The irony is not lost on him, but it’s still a messed up dynamic without any kind of…resolution.

But maybe this is the new common working man: Someone who wants what everyone else has. A new millennium petite bourgeois. And the zinemaker does genuinely struggle as a casual driver living from one ride to the next, resenting those rewarded by the new economy. This is the new class war.

Read it for yourself: If nothing more it’s great voyeuristic reading, and personally I love this zinemaker’s writing. There’s the sociological scratching there if you want it –  either way, it’s an endless stream of observations and passing streetscapes and ducking and weaving traffic. This is a story still evolving – and a promised ‘part two’ to this zine. Watch this guy. The whole Piltdownlad zines series is highly recommended. Cannot reiterate that enough.