I was invited to SW Zines' picnic in Lucas Gardens, Camberwell on Saturday 21st June by Fliss, who wore an adorable homemade badge that said "queen bee". It was a really nice day for it, and we broke out the wine, strawberries, and cake. Zines were hung up on a washing line and pouring out of boxes and being passed around over the Doritos. I spotted zines about The Cure, mental health, diaries, etc, and Michael gave us a fantastic reading of a zine his eleven year old daughter had made - a typewritten and illustrated story about a hamster from Hamsterdam. It was the cutest thing.
I also wrote a talk about why I like making zines and what influenced me to start making them, which is as follows:
Hooray for zines!When I was little I always wanted to write a book, but zines are a cool compromise because instead of writing a novel, I can just draw ten pictures of Jeremy Kyle holding a hedgehog, or write fan fiction about One Direction going to Venus on a rocketship. I can do things with zines that would make publishers want to cry into a gin and tonic. I can make my zines whilst holding a gin and tonic. I’m the queen of my own creative universe. When I was little, I loved reading more than anything, and now with zines I’m making my own world in my own little book, and people can take a piece of that world with them, and that’s kind of amazing.The first zine I ever made was a music zine called Orange Peel, a fruity reference to the fuzzy voiced radio wonder, John Peel. I was 16 and fascinated with the creativity and self-determinism of 70s punk. I read about the punk fanzine Sniffin’ Glue and I thought, “Why not make my own?” So I did. I gathered eight a4 pages, crudely stapled them together, and on them I wrote reviews of albums by The Damned and Scritti Politti, and I drew a comic about a policeman beating up a hippie (because basically I thought I was Rik from The Young Ones). I distributed this mostly to my science teacher, who hopefully appreciated the anti Kylie Minogue aside I threw in just for him (he kept a picture of her in his register and I found that distasteful).Despite my initial ambitions to make Orange Peel an ongoing series, I didn’t make another zine for about four years. It wasn’t until I had seen lots of zines floating around and gaining some popularity with creative young people through stuff like Girls Get Busy and Rookie Magazine that I decided I wanted to make a zine again. So I found out about making tiny zines so I could make two zines from one piece of paper, and I decided to go for a month long sprint, making one new zine every day. When that month was over I knew a lot more about making zines, and whilst the zines I made in that month were total rubbish, I had sparked a serious interest in zines.Looking back on the first zine I ever made is a little embarrassing but it’s so nice to be able to look into my 16 year old mind, even if it seems a bit empty and a bit fixated on Captain Sensible berets - who am I kidding, I’m still fixated on Captain Sensible’s berets.Zines, really, are little pieces of me in time and that’s pretty special. Other people’s zines are so fun to read. They tell me so much about someone or a certain interest they have. It’s fascinating to be let into someone’s world like that and being able to leaf through something they’ve made so lovingly.I grew up wanting to be a journalist or a magazine editor and now I’m a blogger and a zine-maker and that’s almost the same thing, only you don’t have to worry that your think piece comparing Nigel Farage to a potato is gonna have to sit next to a story speculating on whether or not Kim Kardashian has travelled backwards in time to steal Queen Victoria’s leg.In conclusion - zines are amazing, thank you so much to zine makers and creative folks everywhere for sharing your lives with me through them, and Kim Kardashian is not a time-travelling leg thief, and if she WAS going to steal a dead queen’s legs, I’m pretty sure they’d be Mary Queen of Scots’ legs.