Tag Archives: my crappy job

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.

To here from Naivety number 6

Pete
wodenpete(at)gmail.com
I got my copy from the zinemaker, you can get yours by contacting them directly.  That doesn’t mean it’s free. It means you can contact them and make enquiries.

A personal zine of stories from the zinemaker’s life and odds and ends (cut outs, comics, articles)

Get this zine for: The opening article/account of the zinemaker of being a ‘workshy’ teenage pizza delivery driver in the 90s, driving his dad’s car around the suburbs of Australia’s capital.

I, at least, have an endless fascination reading about deliveries to suburbs which are later bulldozed. In his first job, the zinemaker learns the mechanisms of the adult workforce. Highly functional (and non functioning) potheads keep the local economy turning. It’s a culture where the most successful driver is also the most ruthless, where your boss will and does take advantage of your meek nature, and where it takes a coworker back at the shop to alert the zinemaker his tyre is flat – he’s been driving around all night blissfully oblivious, immersed in his own depression.

Then there are the delivery addresses: suburbs of unemployment, housing commissions, drugs and ominous baseball bats – areas that other pizza places won’t risk sending their staff. The zinemaker’s coworkers are either said residents of these areas or former teen criminals, who have staged hold ups with steak knives and tried to escape on their BMX bike.

It’s all poverty, eccentricity and… survival. Depressing and amusing at the same time. The environs and stories are more predictable than unpredictable, and more banal than sensational. And that’s the point, that’s the environment. It’s perfectly captured.

The other highlights: ‘Jimmy Waterford Fucks Out On Drugs’. Firstly, great title. Secondly, funny story from the 90s of a guy who thinks he’s dying from a drug overdose. Spoiler: he does not die. And it’s OK to laugh when you read this because it’s pretty funny and I love the insights time allows. Plus, it’s historical! Esctacy was a new drug to Canberra at the time.

Also, the ‘Great Moments in in Canberra Times History’ section. It only consisted of four clippings but they did deliver.

The rest of the zine: The interview with a punk guy who the zinemaker admires is really only of limited punk interest. There’s a write up about the American baseballer who is credited with starting the high five phenomenon which was cool, short and sweet and there’s two comics thrown in to the mix, which I found pretty average.

Aesthetic: Standard fare. Times New Roman, on plain white, nothing too crazy, no real effort to experiment with design. This is fine because the contents are where it’s at, and everything is simple and legible. Garden variety desktop publishing does the job.

Criticism: This zine is maybe a few pages longer than it needs to be. There’s a lot of spaces which felt conspicuous for being empty or just carrying super big font or unneccssarily enlarged material. I couldn’t help thinking a bit of tighter layout could make the whole thing more compact and none of the contents would need to be cut to achieve it.

You should also check out: I first discovered this zinemaker through ‘Better Things To Do’ which is a great docu-read about the Canberra punk scene  in the 90s.

-E.P

Piltdownlad #10

Behind the Wheel: A Lyft Driver’s Log

Kelly Dessaint
piltdownlad(at)gmail.com
PO Box 22974 Oakland CA 94609 USA
kellydessaint.com/piltdownlad
I got my copy from the zinemaker, you can get yours online here or by contacting the zinemaker directly.

A zine about ridesharing for Lyft in San Fran from the perspective of a driver.

You need this: Because it’s interesting to know about ridesharing in San Francisco, what it’s like to move to a new city, cram new street configurations into your head and open your car door to facebook profile thumbnails on the street. And how the zinemaker hopes nobody will puke in his car. And how he tries to, you know, make a living in the new millennium. And keep his average online rating above 4.8 stars. And be nice. There’s a lot going on. And it’s all thoroughly engaging.

Aesthetic: Smart graphic cover art with strong font choices. It’s a text heavy zine, but nicely broken up into sections with screen grabs and cool street grid maps with carefully typewritten nomenclature. It’s beautifully done.

Not included: The crazy price (and culture) wars currently being battled out between Lyft and Uber at the time of writing this. But the zinemaker has you covered, because he’s reporting from the front line from his blog ‘Behind the Wheel: A rideshare confessional’

You may miss: Subtleties of the culture of ridesharing apps (specially for someone like myself outside the U.S).

There are some little things referenced in the zine but not necessarily spelt out. For instance, the zinemaker mentions giving an obligatory fistbump to one of his passengers as they leave his car. He doesn’t mean ‘obligatory’ in a social exchange hipster kind of way. He means obligatory because, as a Lyft driver? it’s protocol. I seriously thought the zinemaker was just trying to politely reciprocate. Not so. #branding!

The zine also mentions prime time surges. Not understanding it won’t detract from your enjoyment of the zine, but for those who are curious, check out this great explanation from Planet Money’s podcast, it seems to be a unique aspect of ridesharing.

That’s awkward: San Fran is a city of tech start ups and programmers. The zinemaker romanticices a former San Fran that no longer exists and resents the changes that have displaced the locals, the same changes that have forced him to rent in Oakland (the consolation prize address). Of course, he’s a newcomer as much as anyone else and is earning his living off a rideshare app developed by the young professionals responsible for all the gentrification. The irony is not lost on him, but it’s still a messed up dynamic without any kind of…resolution.

But maybe this is the new common working man: Someone who wants what everyone else has. A new millennium petite bourgeois. And the zinemaker does genuinely struggle as a casual driver living from one ride to the next, resenting those rewarded by the new economy. This is the new class war.

Read it for yourself: If nothing more it’s great voyeuristic reading, and personally I love this zinemaker’s writing. There’s the sociological scratching there if you want it –  either way, it’s an endless stream of observations and passing streetscapes and ducking and weaving traffic. This is a story still evolving – and a promised ‘part two’ to this zine. Watch this guy. The whole Piltdownlad zines series is highly recommended. Cannot reiterate that enough.

-E.P