zine, [zeen] noun. 1. abbr. of fanzine; 2. any amateurly-published periodical. Oxford Reference


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Headwinds - Issue #1

A4, 24 pages (23 black and white pages, colour front cover).
 £1.50 (+£1 p&p)

Headwinds… refers to things blowing in the opposite direction to the one you’re moving in,” explains Mike G in the introduction to his fanzine of the same name. This theme of pushing through mainstream culture persists throughout the first issue, which contains comics, band interviews and reviews.

The layout of Headwinds is immaculate; it looks less like a zine and more like something you’d find in your local newsagents nestled between NME and Mojo. The time invested in its quality makes it a pleasant read – there’s no text disappearing into the centre crease or dodgy photocopying going on here.

Whilst aesthetic appeal is important, it means nothing without compelling content. Luckily, Headwinds is as interesting as it is pretty. Given that the zine only costs £1.50 (£2.50 online), I was surprised by just how much content there was – a couple of lengthy interviews, comics, articles, and tons of underground gig reviews – and how decidedly different the items were from those typically seen in mass-produced magazines.   

I particularly enjoyed the interview with Emma, lead singer of The Natterers, which covered topics such as world environmental issues, the perks and dangers of living in a digital age and the declining bat population in the UK. It was weird, and I liked it.

Stranger still was Mike G’s retrospective account of the Treeworgery Tree Festival, which he attended in the summer of 1989. Waiting 28 years after the fact to write about an obscure festival in Cornwall doesn’t make sense. It just doesn’t. But it was so well-written that I found myself filled with nostalgia for a place I’d never been, and for a time in which I hadn’t existed. I found myself feeling increasingly wistful for hitch-hiking, serendipitous friendships and weekend tickets for £20.

Headwinds feels like a relic from the past, but it doesn't come across as dated. Perhaps it’s Mike G’s unabashed enthusiasm for the stuff he’s writing about that gives the zine a fresh, current feel, or maybe it’s down to its overall polished appearance. Who knows? The one thing that’s clear is that it’s very tricky to write about underground culture in an accessible way, and Headwinds is an excellent example of how to do it correctly.

To keep up with Headwinds’ latest updates, you can follow @tblastzine on Twitter. You can get a copy of your own through PayPal by emailing tblastzine@gmail.com.

Review by JL Corbett. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Cheeky Monkey

16.5cm x 24cm, 32 colour pages, colour cover.

£3.50 p&p

One of the great things about zines is that they can be about absolutely anything. Having said that, I was rather taken aback recently when a guy approached my stall at Leeds Zine Fair and handed me what appeared to be a zine geared towards children.

Cheeky Monkey follows its eponymous character and his raccoon sidekick on their bizarre, occasionally psychedelic quest to uncover the truth about unseen character Ali-Ra-Ra, and why he’s pestering the entire jungle community for avocados. The story manages to be zany enough for kids to enjoy, whilst remaining sufficiently wholesome to keep their parents happy.

The creators (Fred Morris and Dominic Linton of King Louie's Lab) have clearly done their homework with Cheeky Monkey. They’ve borrowed devices from kids’ television programmes and made them work on the page. The narrative voice is reminiscent of the speaking style from currently popular cartoons such as Peppa Pig or We Bare Bears, and the main characters pose on the back cover like they’re in the opening credits of a kids’ TV show.

It’s a good effort from the South London zine-makers, especially considering that they’re treading new ground in marketing their zines to children. With luck, Cheeky Monkey could be a gateway for younger readers discovering the world of zines.

Cheeky Monkey is available for purchase here.

Review by JL Corbett.

Friday, September 15, 2017


Charlie Haggard and other artists

40 Pages
Size: Digest
Cardstock - bound with staples
$5.00 + Shipping

Charlie Haggard comes back with a punch with the second issue in the BEARQUEFT series.

Digest size and bound with cardstock and staples, Haggard manages to bring back his darkly humored (in a good way!) comics while also showcasing some new artists to look out for!

While this is a more collaborative work than the first, Haggard does an amazing job at finding artwork that strongly fits in with the overall theme that this comic strives for.

The phony ads and original characters of the first did not disappoint, and added some light to where the series is going.

That being said, I am looking for to seeing other collaborative works in this series and trust Haggard will do an amazing job at reeling it all together.

Purchase a copy here!

Also, check out the review of the first issue here!

Review by Daniel Peralta
Complete on 09/15/2017; 2:45 PM EST

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Dr Faith's 5 minute therapy - Coping Skills

Dr Faith's 5 minute therapy - Coping Skills

by Faith G. Harper, PhD, LPC-S, ACS

10.5cm x 
14cm, 24 pages, cardboard cover.


Because Sometimes Life Is Some Serious Bullshit

We life in a society that is always on, always demanding attention - we're always thinking or doing. And because we rarely get chance to switch off, to be calm, to reflect, our brains and bodies are over-stimulated and over-stressed. 

So how do we turn this situation around? Dr Faith once again steps up with some seriously practical advice on how you can actively regain some calm, some focus, and some energy. In her trademark style - you know - funny, friendly, compassionate, non-judgemental - Dr Faith lays out ten key ways to help you cope with what life throws at you. 

Like others zines in the Five Minute Therapy series, Coping Skills is published by Microcosm in a no-nonsense style. Small enough to fit in your pocket for those moments when you just need a helping hand. 

Buy Dr Faith's 5 Minute Therapy on coping skills direct from Microcosm Publishing

Check out Microcosmpublishing.org for other zines in Dr Faith's series. 

Review by Nathan Penlington

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Twilight World #23 [August 2017]

Don Fields, 266 Ramona Avenue, Grover Beach CA 93433, USA + oddlystupid [at] yahoo [dot] com + donosdump.com + "somewhere at Etsy.com"  Price: $3.00, or 'the usual'; Size: 8.5" x 5.5" Page count: 20 

The quest to find a zine that includes an even vaguely nice or positive thing to say about the 45th President of the USA continues, since in Don-o's intro the second paragraph begins "Then there's the very recent shift in our political direction into Downtown ShitsVille USA." It begs the question - if Trump actually [God forbid] did something right, would anybody admit to it? I gotta say though - that cover by Marc Schirmeister showing Abraham Lincoln busting up an out-of-control argument between Donald and Hillary is so funny, I'm almost inspired to call it "Hillary-ous"!

Anyway, that's cool. I'm not like those anti-Trump crybabies who - and this is just one true actual real-life example - overheard somebody in their store admit to being a Trump voter and promptly demanded they leave.

I love Twilight World! There's even proof in this issue! Don-o reprinted my diary comic strip of Wednesday 4 January 2017 in which I drew myself gladly having checked my mailbox to find a copy of Twilight World #8, the American Splendor issue.

Right after the intro/editorial we get six pages of albums from 2011 to the present day that Don-o still likes. A few pages into this I see that I've underlined "I listen to a lot of rain recordings for relaxation." What a great idea! It's true now that I think of it - the sound of rain is extremely relaxing!

Next up, 'My [Other Parts Of] L.A. Part 1' - five pages of photos Don-o took of "old haunts, streets and alleyways of Redondo Beach and small parts of the South Bay I didn't have room to include in the last TW issue." My favourite, and one that Don-o calls "probably one of the two best pictures I ever taken" is this message on a Torrance Boulevard bus stop bench: "REPORT ALL U.F.O. SIGHTINGS. THANK YOU."

Finally, five pages of 'Reviews o' Stuff' including the book Los Angeles In The 1970s: Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine edited by David Kukoff [2016; Barnacle Books/Rare Bird Books], immediately followed by a review of another LA book, the MYSTERIOUS 'Watch Channel 38 Every Night Until Jesus Comes: Southern California Photographs' by Ralph Coon. "Mysterious" because the book contains virtually no information like price, or address, and the only text to be found is some "VERY basic information and a quote from a Stan Ridgway song called Stormy Side of Town".

Don-o perhaps saves the best until last since the final three pages contain zine reviews, including one of Mark Strickert's Mark Time #116, which I mention because in another Twilight World I found myself inspired to send one of my zines to Mark in hopes of a trade, but it came back a month later "Return to Sender." I'll try again now, because I'm not the kind of person who can be easily discouraged. And I LOVE a good MYSTERY!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Local Vocals - your guide to kick-ass karaoke

Local Vocals - your guide to kick-ass karaoke

by Kari Tervo

20 pages, 14cm x 21.5cm 


If you are alive at this point in history, reading this, and you haven't ever been to a karaoke night - I have to ask - what the hell have you been doing with your life?

Karaoke is the most inclusive form of performance there is. If you can't sing - it's for you. If you can sing - it's for you. If you can't dance - it's for you. If you are a natural performer - it's for you. If you have never been in front of an audience before - it's for you. In short, you can be a brilliantly terrible off-key mess and still nail the best performance of the night.  

Local Vocals is a zine designed to help prepare you for karaoke stardom. It takes you step by step through karaoke keystones, how to pick the right song, a field guide to karaoke singers, and the merits of a karaoke bar vs a karaoke booth. There are also notes on the care and feeding of a karaoke audience, how not to be an asshole at karaoke, prepping a kick ass performance, and a series of advanced tips to enhance the entertainment value of your performance. If you're a karaoke regular, novice, or virgin, you'll get something of value from this fun, well observed, practical, and nicely produced zine.

Go and buy and copy, and then go and kick-ass with your karaoke.

Visit Kari's Etsy shop to pick this zine - and many more: etsy.com/listing/547344061/local-vocals-your-guide-to-kick-ass

Review by Nathan Penlington

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Wasted Land 2

Wasted Land 2

by Adam Void

21cm x 27cm, zine fold into 7cm x 10.5cm mini zine. 

$/£: trades encouraged

A mini-zine by prolific artist and zine maker Adam Void, creator of the great Nirvana Rules zine reviewed a few posts back.

Wasted Land 2 is a collage of found images, additional drawing, and handwritten text. It's absurdist in the tradition of dada, and it's DIY culture in the tradition of punk. It's the kind of thing you want to leave in bars and bookshops to be discovered - no wait, it's the kind of thing you want to find in bars and bookshops.

If you want a copy contact Adam at adam_void (at) yahoo (dot) com - trades are encouraged. If you ask nicely he might also send you some other goodies. 

As I said in my review of Nirvana Rules Adam's been making zines since 2003. Check out his past publications page: adamvoid.com/index.php?/ongoing/publications - now THAT is a zine maker.

Review by Nathan Penlington

Friday, September 8, 2017

Dr Faith's 5 minute therapy - Dating

Dr Faith's 5 minute therapy - Dating

by Faith G. Harper, PhD, LPC-S, ACS

14cm x 2.5cm, 12 pages, cardboard cover.


Dating - It's Not Relationshipping (And That's A Good Thing)

We're all been there: single and looking. But in the last few years the revolution in dating apps has made it so much easier to be 'single and not really looking', 'single and in it for the hook ups', or 'single and staying the hell out of it'. Dating has become stressful and emotionally bruising, and that's even before you get to the actual meeting someone face to face. 

This is where Dr Faith steps in to help once again - offering no nonsense, zero bullshit, friendly, funny, and practical advice. Reclaiming dating as a fun activity, but avoiding the traps of being addicted to attention, or annoying the F*@k out of your friends and family, is easy when it's broken down into ten steps of things to consider, remember, or act on. 

I've become a big fan of Dr Faith's zines, I think they succeed in ways self-help books don't. Whether you need a shot of life coaching, or you have a friend that needs a jolt of common-sense therapy, her zines are a cheap way to help deal with a specific area of need. 

So - stop swiping, start reading. 

Buy Dr Faith's 5 Minute Therapy on Dating direct from Microcosm Publishing

Check out Microcosmpublishing.org for other zines in Dr Faith's series. 

Review by Nathan Penlington

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Butt-Rag Mag #13

J-Hash [Editor], contact via the ButtRagMag Facebook group for Price/Trades info; Size: 8.5" x 5.5" Page count: 16 

Wall-to-wall bums and farts and cocks and balls, here's one for the butt/fart fetishists.

This issue - or 'tissue' [it even comes with a couple sheets!] - is the "Bum Luck" 13th and features a buttfull of fartists paying homage to the keister. I don't know how J-Hash does it, but every page has a dirty, sleazy feel that uncannily convinces you that you're perusing this publication while standing in a funky, sticky-carpeted XXX bookstore at three a.m. And the pages seem actually DIRTY dirty - I mean grimy, as though you just found it in the gutter. After flipping through just a few pages I had the strangest urge to wash my hands!

You know, it just occurred to me that GG Allin would have LOVED Butt-Rag Mag!

[Soundtrack - GG Allin - 'Bite It, You Scum']

Someone Stranger #5

Someone Stranger #5 - The Silent Pen Issue

by Zippity Zinedra

14cm x 22cm


Someone Stranger is a zine by Zippity Zinedra - "a 45 yr old bald-headed Non-Binary Queer weird-o zinester". 

Issue #5 takes an unusual angle to the self produced, self edited, and self written zine - by hiring a ghostwriter. What makes it particularly unusual is that the ghost writer in question is ghosting themselves. 

The 'ghosting' idea is fun - and allows the fictional pieces to follow tangents, themes, and styles, outside the form of Zippity's usual writing. The stories include encounters with tumbleweed, how to fight a shadow, taking a trip on a flying windmill, and what to do with a personal chef. The zine is illustrated throughout in cut & paste style - the collages also contributing to the humour.

You can buy a copy of Someone Stranger #5 from Etsy - and while you are there pick up another zine or two - so you can check out Zippity's non-ghosted work too! 


Review by Nathan Penlington

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Blank Expression - Issue 3

Blank Expression - Issue 3

by Nathan Sands, Jess Bhikha, and team

A5, 16 coloured pages.

£: Free where stocked, donations encouraged

Blank Expression is an alternative music / DIY culture zine representing the scene in and around Coventry (for non-UK readers of SZR: Coventry is the 12th largest city in the UK, located in the Midlands, about 20 miles from Birmingham).

Issue 3 includes gig and EP reviews, a DIY fashion feature on taking inspiration from 70s subcultures and going your own way, and an interview with the mighty Sleaford Mods. Yes, the actual Sleaford Mods! 

Interestingly, not only does Blank Expression exist to shine a light on whats happening right now, it also delves into the zine and music culture of Coventry of years gone by - rightfully being proud of the art produced by the people of the city. An interview with Martin Bowes, who was responsible for the Alternative Sounds zine which began in 1979, raises interesting points about DIY culture - past and present. 

Blank Expression is a nicely produced zine, with full colour illustrations and photographs throughout - many taken by Nathan and Jess. It is clearly written with enthusiasm, and that enthusiasm spills over - in fact it sent me scrambling to bandcamp a few times. If one of the aims of zine is to shine a spotlight on new music, it is certainly doing its job! 

The zine is free where stocked (try the local HMV, Fargo Village, and Blue Banana) - but if you'd like a copy all you have to do is contribute £1 towards stamps, or for £5 you will be sent a mystery bundle that includes a tape and CD. If you're into alternative music you won't be disappointed.

The Blank Expression shop is here: blankexpressionzine.bigcartel.com/products

Or check out the digital editions: blankexpressionzine.wordpress.com

Review by Nathan Penlington

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Heap

The Heap

by William Periwinkle / Readers Digress! #17

A5, 16 pages, cardboard cover

£/$: exchange encouraged, and/or stamps to cover postage. 

The Heap embodies the spirit of Albee and Ionesco - not only is it written in short play form, it wouldn't be out of place on the stage alongside much of their work.

At the centre of the inaction is a compost heap, which is is blocking the only road to the train station. What follows is a dialogue between self-entitled businessman Pickering and Binky, the builder of the heap. But what is that sound coming from inside the compost? Is it really music? 

This is yet another surprising work from Readers Digress!/Bubblegum Dada - which always manage to uphold their tradition of wearing influences proudly while creating something new. 

Readers Digress! is the former incarnation of The Bubblegum Dada Corporation - a curiously offline enterprise based on the coast of England.

If you'd like a copy of 
The Heap you can now contact them at their newly acquired email address - bubblegumdadacorporation (at) gmail (dot) com - with offers to exchange creative endeavours, or an offer of stamps to cover postage.

Please say we sent you. 

Review by Nathan Penlington

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Node Pajomo 2.2

PJM, Contact: Post Office Box 2632, Bellingham WA 98227-2632, USA; Size: 8.5" x 5.5" Page count: 24

I'm not sure how many issues of Node Pajomo I've missed since the last one I received back in March 2013, so suffice it to say how glad I am that it's still going.

NP is an essential zine resource since not only does it feature zine reviews, but reviews of independently-released musical projects [genres like experimental, noise, ambient, folk, metal, etc] and even 'ephemera' that other zine review zines would not touch, since they could not be defined as 'zines' - what I mean here is, for example, single-page 'newsletters' like those Truman Bentley Jr. made [I wonder if Truman is still creating these? Truman! Wake up grab a brush and put on a little make-up! and please resume communication! I must know >>> How are your Self-Improvement lessons going?]

Node Pajomo also includes Mail Art Listings. It's good to know there are still people doing these through the post, because as PJM observes: "This used to be the core of the zine but the tantalizing glow of digital social media has changed the way that the majority of mail artists interact with each other..."

Finally I'll note PJM's appealing writing style, which is fresh and incisive, and perhaps best of all, is his readiness to challenge a zinester [see scanned page above] - quite rare in zinedom these days. Why does it seem impossible in 2017 to find a zine reviewer who is not terrified of saying something even remotely negative? Too nice. Too boring.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Unbridled Enthusiasm - Vol 1, No 3

Unbridled Enthusiasm - Vol 1, No 3. Summer 2017. 

by Matt Gholson

14cm x 21.5cm, 28 b&w pages.

Single issues $3 or trades

Unbridled Enthusiasm is a really engaging perzine - it draws you effortlessly into someone else's town, interests, and relationships. Like many of the best zines, Matt is someone who is making a zine simply because he wants to make a zine, and draws upon his life to fill it.

I loved the interview with Matt's wife about her passion for Post Crossing - the postcard sending website; 
the Mysterious Battery and the Spoon Thief are like the best stories in a local newspaper from a place isn't your own town; Stories From My Dentist might encourage you to get your teeth checked more regularly, if only for the storytelling; Matt's honesty about swimming and his interest in inkjet printers is both sweet and endearing; and the photography project that revisits the same small town locations, with a better camera, 13 years later is right up my street (it reminds me of some of the projects the French writer George Perec carried out). 

If you have an interest in the technical aspects of photography there is something extra here for you too - both in the discussion about using film in 2017, and the details of the cameras used for the photos that fill the zine. Unbridled Enthusiasm is nicely put together, and the b&w photos really pop out of the page. I look forward to reading future issues.

Contact Matt mattgholson (at) gmail [dot] com to buy a copy or to arrange a trade. Matt runs a great website that catalogues zine trades he's made - it's that spirit in the zine world that I'm utterly a fan of. 

Check out photozinetrader.com for more info. 

Review by Nathan Penlington

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