Tag Archives: geeky

Shitkicker

Gratitude and the Art of Diffidence Presents…Shitkicker: A tragedy.

Anon, but the ID photocopied on the back-cover reveals first and last name
No contact details
I got my copy at Sticky for $3

Shit: The zinemaker’s job. I love zines about the workplace, because a) I live vicariously through other people’s lives;
b) all kinds of confidentiality agreements are breached in writing about one’s job and
c) workplaces are endlessly fascinating. The personalities. The work culture. The power dynamics. The duties. The bullshit. And also? The fact that purely by holding down a crappy job, you’re invested in it. You bring commitment to shit. There’s an element of your person that you give to the job and your obligation to make sense of a world within set hours with a lanyard round your neck.

Aesthetic: Classic geeky wonky zine feel. A mix of handwriting, badly drawn comic illustrations, excellently bad stock photos of medical practitioners perfectly and non originally defaced, wonkiness, and text that is a font size or two too large for the page size. But at the same time it’s this nievete that makes the zine kinda cute and awkward. So it’s a geeky kind of aesthetic, which for zines? is awesome.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T: Give it to him. The zinemaker is an orderly at a hospital – a casual one moving from one section to another wherever he’s needed. He’s endlessly bossed around to clean up gastro, fill blanket warmers, transport patients and sort out needles in order of length. Nobody looks him in the eye when they speak to him. Apparently his name is not in big enough capitals on his ID because staff have no idea what the fuck his name is, and he seems to be vicariously known as Ben (His actual name is Vincent). When he’s not suffering this kind of indignity, his overly youthful 21 year old appearance means he’s equally at risk of being teased about whether he’s old enough to operate bed movers. The problem is, however, self deprecating humour and being a prat are not mutually exclusive either.

Six parts, two distinct moods: The zine is in six sections but more like in two progressive parts: It starts off very teen angst but becomes more tempered as it continues. When I started this zine, I couldn’t help but think that sure, the guy had a shitkicker job, but that’s what he’s paid for…he kinda sounded like a bit of a dick. (Actually, on re-reading, he still does).

HOWEVER, the time I got to the final pages, the spirit of the zine has done a complete 360. It’s a welcome turn, but slightly disconcerting. Like listening to someone in the differing degrees of being drunk, from obnoxious right through to likeable.

Resolution: Like a good episode of Dr Phil or insert talkshow here, we pull back from despair and grief and the zinemaker has a blinding flash of insight while sulking in a philosophy class which he feels compelled to share. Thank god, this zine could have gone in some horrible potential serial shooter direction otherwise.

Spoiler alert: The zinemaker discovers perspective. And it’s a cool perspective that I really liked.  He probably will never experience the wonderful universal philosophical principles he wants to adopt reflected back at him in the workplace, but it’s good to believe stuff.

Bonus section: The orderly hall of fame. Includes portrayals by Jerry Lewis, Dr Who characters and a guy from Scrubs. I highly enjoyed. There should be more in pop culture, really.

-E.P.

Jutchy Ya Ya #48


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free & open to trades
https://theotheradamford.wordpress.com
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.

Update:
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.

-E.P

UPDATE!

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!)