Tag Archives: hitching

Tour de Croc

or Cycle Touring from Cairns to Cape Tribulation with someone you wish would be your girlfriend

I got my copy for AUS$3 from Sticky
you can get yours there too or by contacting the zinemaker

A zine of practical travel tips as well as a personal account of cycle touring with a non romantic companion in northern Australia for a month.

Three ways to interpret the title:
Tour de Croc: A cycling tour whereby croc shoes are being worn or sighted.
A cycling tour whereby crocodiles are being sighted. (and who knows maybe also end up being worn, aka Romancing The Stone).
Or a cycling tour de crock. As in a piss take of tour de france and crock of shit.
All three work for me.
In retrospect I realise the title probably refers to crocodiles. Northern Queensland and all.

More this and less that: The zine is a hybrid of ‘renegade camping’ travel advice for cyclists following this particular route. AND,  its a personal story of getting out of Melbourne and leaving heartbreak behind while entering a new kind of awkward love dynamic. It’s not as deeply personal as what I was expecting and its much more practical: Like a lonely planet guide but by zinemakers with a post colonial political slant. I wasnt really taking notes for the best sleep stops or the estimated kilometres per cycling stretch. Instead I was turning the pages for the personal dynamics and travel descriptions; like the occasional encounter with the local population which absolutely involves some kind of culture clash or mythological aura. Theres a list of things to pack and advice about drinking plenty of water. Even the slang that gets mentioned comes with an asterick and an explanation. The only thing missing is a free rubber tyre patch with every issue. I like that about this zine. You feel like the maker is going to reach out and smudge some sunscreen on your nose in between pages.

Makes you proud to be an Australian: A highlight of this zine is that
the classic ’80s australian beach bums nudie girls postcard that gets sent through the post is later restaged by the zinemaker and travelling companion, their own butts also sent though the post as a diy photo postcard. Celebrate that butterfly tatt!

Aesthetic: A scrap book approach of travel photos, maps, signs, found images and vintage bits and pieces all presented in the classic cut and paste mix of typewritten and desktop publishing.

Fantastic terms I learned from reading this zine:
Post-couch: Describing an evolved lifestyle that has moved past traditional domesticity and involves having a mattress on the lounge room floor.
Mansplainers: Men who feel compelled to explain things to females assuming they need help or would benefit from well intentioned intervention, a female who may not realise she needs advice and is getting it anyway. Being a member of the fairer sex and all.
Crank arm: A cool term on the bike diagram at the back.

Cheap Toys #13

xtramedium (at) laposte.net
I got my copy at sticky instore, AU $2
prix libéré ‘pay what you can’
available: http://busstoppress.weebly.com

Scholar punk travels internationally on limited resources (financially and philosophically) playing gigs and chronicling adventures. Self described “punk tourism”.

Bragging rights: being bilingual. Cheap Toys is equal parts English and French (the zinemaker is French). There’s a certain mystique that accompanies the novelty because part of me always wonders if the stories are a little different in French – a little more candid for the native readership? A few extra reveals in French that the English readers miss out on? Such are the tantalising mysteries of the bilingual zine.

Punk cred: High, given Cheap Toys is always, always priced decently. Some zines are a few itsy bitsy pages and they’re three dollars, this zine is always full of condensed type (or feels like it), is thick and it’s in two freaking languages. So you get bang for your buck. On his distro site, the zine is ‘pay what you can’.  The subject of pricing is also a favourite ranting topic of the zinemaker. In fact this issue opens on the topic.

This is probably my favourite issue so far because: Usually I find Cheap Toys a frustrating mix of interesting and irritating;

It always interests me because the zinemaker leads such a radically different life to mine and I love that it’s beyond any of my own personal points of reference. He is steadfast in his political passions, intense, and consistently criss crosses global terrain, nimbly moving through punk networks.

But I get irritated because everything is such a whirlwind of passing associations, community spaces, gigs and squats that the writing becomes almost a retrospective schedule than a sharing of personal experiences. And not being worldly, or punk, it all turns into so much transient euro slush to me.

But this issue is my favourite because the zinemaker shares a minute fraction of his love life, his favourite foreign sodas, and ultimately, reveals how he has supported his international lifestyle over the years – a small section at the back modestly titled “How I got ten thousand euros in the first place”. I guess how we fund our lifestyles is half our personal story – and for the zinemaker to share this aspect of his existence makes ‘Cheap Toys’ more holistic, somehow. Or at least provides some kind of broader context I always felt it lacked. It also prompts questions about capitalism and transactions that may or may not be punk ethical issues, but that’s something to muse about in your own time.

Comes with: section on travel games to play to fill in “awkward pauses”.

Countries featured: Australia and the Balkans.

Disclaimer: I shared time with Giz while he was in Australia; a weekend roadtrip to Canberra, the nation’s capital. I wrote an entire long-winded zine about the experience (here). In this zine, spanning the same time frame, Giz records his impressions of Canberra with a few sentences and the weekend barely rates a mention. From this we may come to two conclusions: One, it’s against nature to write an entire zine on Canberra as there is not much to the city; and Two, Giz has an infinitely more interesting and fast-paced life to chronicle.