I received my copy wonderfully unsolicited, you can get yours through correspondence, American cash/stamps or zine trade:
PO Box 5291 Richmond VA 23220 USA. Be generous.
A zine reviewing zines, but also an artform unto itself given the letterpress production and vintage graphics.
The small print: you have to have a postal address to be considered for review. Otherwise you’re just not a serious zinemaker.
What I imagined this zine would look like: some kind of little spiral bound notebook with lined pages and field sketches of small marsupials.
What the zine really looks like: a club newsletter from the late 50s, double-sided pages stapled on the right top corner and folded so it can be posted ‘as is’, envelope size. It’s all done on letterpress, which is a big deal, because it’s not a small arts project with a few strategically placed decorative letters. The entire publication has been painstakingly prepared offset and rolled through inking rollers. I repeat, every letter of every word has gone through a manual inking roller and maybe you can feel the applied pressure left ingrained in the paper afterwards, or maybe you’re imagining too hard. Any slight mechanical perfections are unique. Welcome to the romance of letterpress.
The best thing about this zine is: It is die-hard. The labour of love that goes into producing the zine is immediately obvious. Just so, in reviewing others’ zines the writer highly prizes considered writing, production values, pleasing layouts and thoughtful content. There’s a strong solidarity amongst those who cherish pre-digital printing forms and keeping old technologies working. I think I stumbled upon the papernet! Also, these people don’t like centralised government.
The kinds of titles that get covered in this zine: tend to share similar philosophical outlooks, with socialist or punk leanings. A lot of mail art and cool obscure titles are covered, as well as titles by zinemakers with PO Boxes who actively circulate their works for reviews and so become familiar players.
A review of the zine-review review style: The reviews are essentially concise, sometimes a simple description with an endorsement, other entries might include long excerpts from the zine itself, intricate analysis or personal digressions.
The letters section is: out of another century. And print tradition. Zines don’t typically have letters sections, but they are definitely part of an older amateur press/ fanzine format tradition and it fits within this zine logically and comfortably. It illustrates an active prison population readership and other die-hard print fans, all keen to discuss old typewriter models and, in this issue, photoengraving. Mad. Brilliant. And totally an Old Man thing. Not that the zine is intentionally exclusive in the passion for old skool methodologies, it’s absolutely not, but it does have a Old Man vibe. It’s the demographic I guess. (not a criticism, an observation).
Now that you’re into letterpress: check out ker-bloom from Pennsylvania, United States