Category Archives: open to trades

Herding Cats/Dirty Kitsch

Herding Cats/Dirty Kitsch

I got my copy from the wonderful nature of belated postal zine swaps.
You can write to PO Box 123 Newtown NSW 2042 Australia

A motley assortment of queer raver memories: Share houses in Sydney. Nailing astroturf down hallways because you can. Dragging giant foam turds on to the steps of the church. Anarchy. Glitter. Living on the fringes. Questioning life choices. No regrets. Sharing advice on how to handle pepper spray. Being under surveillance. Dancing in Berlin.

Fave bit: So the zinemaker is setting up an abandoned warehouse for a party and he’s digging around on ‘decoration duty’: “At the back was a giant cylinder shape over a meter wide and about 1.6 metre tall. I thought it was an old hot water heater. I poked it with my finger absently, distracted by a cardboard box of xmas tree baubles…the cyclinder was soft to the touch. I’d found the biggest roll of bubble wrap I’d ever seen…” Seriously is that not the best singular sentence you could ever hope for from a zine: “I’d found the biggest roll of bubble wrap I’d ever seen”. (And you get the impression this guy has seen a lot of industrial bubblewrap in his time).  Gold. Lego is a good writer, I was kind of sad there wasn’t more of his writing in here.

Crazy: Lego talks about how a massive piece of foam made its way back into his ownership, having been transformed/sculpted into a giant turd in the meantime (long story). Anyway he puts it to good use and transports it to the church steps to farewell (then) Archbishop (now Cardinal) George Pell. Cardinal Pell is in Rome these days but this was his last sermon in Sydney. His leadership as Melbourne and then Sydney Archibishop has been considered complicit in concealing sex crimes and protecting sexual offenders over TWENTY YEARS or so. He’s since appeared before the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse – it’s second hearing– and. Yeah. Kind of makes the church look…indifferent? cold? corrupt?)

Anyway, our street hero is there protesting (because fuck silent Tuesday nights) and it’s Pell’s final Australian sermon. Scene set. It’s not much of a protest, just the enormous foam turd, a bit of media, folks standing around and a few elderly ladies (probably observers from the Royal Commission). A Parishoner scurries past them and there’s a brief exchange. The Parishner tells the ladies they should be ashamed of themselves and the zinemaker’s friend overhears them say “Well name one, name me one pedophile priest”. One of the ladies replies “I can’t, I signed a deed of agreement with the church over my claim for abuse”. Pow. One second you’re laughing about how the turd needed to be transported on a car rack and was bigger than a family-sized two-door fridge. Then the shock of an overheard conversation on the church steps. I was still thinking about this two second overheard exchange long after I put the zine down.

Aesthetic: I call this ‘bedroom punk’. It’s a graffitied/stencilled cover done on A4 computer desktop print outs that form the pages and have been stapled down the side. Its very old skool 90s zine format when everyone thought a zine had to be the same dimensions as a glossy newsagent magazine. Stapling A4 sheets is a crappy format for a zine, but there’s something nostalgic about it. Other friends of Lego have also contributed bits and pieces too which makes it a real shared year schoolbook kind of zine of sharehouses past.

Where it all began: I first discovered Lego through his very super great radical Coughing Up Legomen from the 90s.

Hilarious: I used to think Coughing Up Legomen was a reference to some kind of punk slang for phlegm. Nope, it’s a reference to capitalism and little plastic lego men. I still think ‘legomen’ is a little akin to ‘phlegm’ if you say it fast enough with the accent on the ‘men’.


Jutchy Ya Ya #48


free & open to trades
PO Box 99 Chewton VIC Australia 3451
adamford [at]
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!)