Tag Archives: libraries

New Zealand Zine Review 1

Zine Annual Issue One 2013
newzealandzinereview (at) gmail (dot) com
I got mine from instore at Sticky, NZ $2
available: email directly

A zine annual that’s wonderfully ambitious, capable and professional. Includes zine reviews as well as extended critiques, interviews with zine librarians, ‘zines of years past’ and a directory of NZ resources and zine fests.

The small print: It’s just an educated guess, but while they encourage zines to be submitted for review, I’m thinking that only includes New Zealand titles.

The appearance is: Clean, minimal, professional. Curiously, instead of regular double-sided copying, each page is from paper folded back on to itself. Normally it would seem wasteful (It doubles the paper volume), but in this case it gives the issue a bit of bulk.
The clip art was a dubious aesthetic call.

The first thing that struck me was:  Wow, a national, annual, round-up of zines! That’s so inspired and amazing!
Furthermore, the annual accompanies an website updated weekly with new reviews. It’s all pretty epic, and a brilliant endeavour, but an undertaking framed in this fashion could prove controversial…

The danger with a project like this: Worst case scenario specific to an ‘annual’: you run the risk of only representing a particular scene within the zine culture (despite the best of intentions), effectively creating an ‘other’.

The types of zines reviewed are: A mix of arty visual zines and some interesting sounding personal zines.

The review style is: Positive and energetic. There’s good things to be said about everything and not much by means of actual criticism.

I was slightly alienated by the fact that: This zine takes advertising. It’s negligible and just for zines and artist stuff, but it’s the first thing you see, and it’s not like a free listing or classifieds, they’re actual ad spaces. That’s kind of weird.

The other thing that weirded me out a bit was the ‘news’ section. Do the zinemakers really consider a library, relocating its zine section opposite the Arts, Music and Literature desk on the second floor as… news and/or gossip. What, is this zine made by librarians?

My favourite part of the zine is: The section where various people of the scene are asked to talk about their favourite zine. Zines are so ephemeral, that once they’re out of circulation they cease to exist, period. So it’s great to hear about zines that may be from several years back that excited people, and what they were about. So good.

The best thing about this zine is: The annual contains not only a whole lot of reviews, which are giving exposure to zines I would not otherwise come across, but it also contains two ‘feature’ critiques which are full and thorough write ups, like mini essays. I love that kind of indepth attention being given to zines, especially one included that is completely visual and somewhat abstract. Visual zines don’t usually get reviewed at all. Big time salute.

No matter what you think: you have to be impressed by the commitment, presentation and ambition of this little compact publication. It’s a valuable starting point to engage with NZ zines and get a feel for the active players in a twelve month timeframe. It’s great documentation, and, combined with an active online presence with current reviews, a fantastic contribution to zine culture in an overlooked corner of the world.

Now that you’ve checked out the nz review siteCheck out a similar UK zine review site  ‘Spill the Zines’


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.