Zines, blogs, and a gig update!

Posted by blatantblithe on March 14, 2010 Blog posts | Music | Zines | | One comment

I took a three-month break from the zine world this winter.  It’s been six months since I wrote a zine, but I was still trading and writing to zinesters up until mid-December.  I took this break because I didn’t feel I was a very good zinester.  I had been accused of girl-hate, I had been told I was “too negative”, and I didn’t feel at all happy with how my zines had turned out.  I felt like I came across as too strident and judgemental most of the time, and I’m really not like that.  So I took a little break from it all, and waited for my head and my self-esteem to sort themselves out a little before publishing any more self-indulgent shit. 
I continued to write while I was on my zine hiatus – I wrote in my paper journal, and I wrote some pieces for my zine  – I put together the text file for what nearly became Here. In My Head. #4 in January, but it didn’t feel right so I gave myself some time to think about it.  When I came back to it a month later, I realised that the text was full of self-pity and negativity.  When I wrote those words I did feel self-pitying and negative, but I’m glad I didn’t put it out because it wasn’t very nice to read.

Since taking a break from the zine world, my life has improved (for unrelated reasons).  I’ve had counselling and have attended some workshops that helped me deal with some of my issues.  I’ve been taking the pill since December, so my hormones have calmed down – my doctor wasn’t sure if it was my hormones that brought on the low moods and lethargy, but thought we should try that approach anyway.  I’m closer to my two best friends, and feel less isolated because of that.  I’m enjoying my course a lot more, and am making an effort to attend all my classes and put a lot of work into my essays.  I’m also still very close to Hank, even though the long-distance thing is a source of frustration for us both.
Since my life had changed so much in the past few weeks, I started writing Here. In My Head. #4 all over again last week (keeping only one of the original written pieces), and it’s shaping up to be much better.  I’m going to talk about jealousy and feminism, internet misogyny and my futile attempts to challenge sexists, music, friendships, and things that make me happy. 

However, for the past 2 months I’ve been regularly updating this blog, and the blog content looked very similar to my zine content.  So the problem that I needed to work out was this: what was the relationship between my blog and my zines? 
There are advantages to both.  Blogging is faster, easier, and brings a lot more feedback.  It’s also easier to generate a lot of readers, since people are more willing to read a free blog than a cheap zine.  But zines are fun to make, and the colourful layouts and backgrounds add to the experience.  The underground zine culture often results in a small, but somewhat loyal, readership.  There’s more potential to advertise your zine, and I enjoy the whole DIY/old-fashioned/not-for-profit ethos of the zine world.  Plus you can’t carry a blog around with you and read it on the bus.  I enjoy updating my blog regularly, but I also want to keep making zines.  So – here is my conclusion.  The personal kind of stuff that I originally wrote in my blog this year will be reserved for my zines.  This blog will be about events that happen in my life, music and gig updates, 101 Things progress, and zine updates.  I also considered reviewing zines on here, but maybe that’s too broad a focus for one blog.  Perhaps I should start a whole seperate blog for zine reviews.

So there’s a heads up for you.  I’ll try and keep this blog fun and interesting, promise. :)

Now, there is some gig news to be had!  Hank and I have made some rough plans for the summer – in the first two weeks of July, we are hiring out one of Leeds University’s recording studios, and are making the album!  We’ll be recording on an actual grand piano and using expensive equipment, so it will sound will be much better than the EP did.  Hank has joined a progressive rock band in Leeds, and the band members have agreed to play on my album.  We will try to play a full-band gig in Leeds a few days after the album has been made, with Hank and his musician friends as my ‘backing band’.  This is something I’ve wanted to do for years, but I’ve always been too scared to.  But recently, I’ve realised that there is no better time than now to pursue my dream.  I’ve been putting it off for years, telling myself that I can’t do it now, I’m too shy, I don’t know enough people, I don’t have enough friends, etc.  Well, I’m sick of my excuses.  I’m sick of resenting people who are performing live and making the most of the opportunities around them, and I’m sick of relying on a trickle of internet promotion to sell my music.  So I’m going to make the most of every opportunity from now on, and start being more proactive. 

When I come back to Wales in mid-July, Hank and I have decided that I should play a load of solo piano gigs with our mutual friend, Daniel Karl Morgan, who is a well-known singer/songwriter in our area.  It would be harder for me to play full-band gigs at home because we’d just need to find a decent drummer and guitarist – our drummer friend John, who drummed on the EP, lives too far away and is too busy for regular gigging.  There are also less venues for unsigned bands to play in Wales, according to Hank, so it might be difficult to find somewhere to play as a band.  But we’ll look into it anyway.  When I play solo piano gigs with Dan, I’d like to set up a ‘merch’ table to sell our CDs and some of my zines!  I was considering selling a few other zines that have inspired me, and try to introduce some more people to the zine world – ones that spring to mind are Culture Slut #20, Telegram Ma’am #15, Losing Our Minds #1 and Zine Making: An Introduction.  But perhaps that would detract from the purpose of the gig, so I’m not too sure.  Let me know what you think.  :)

101 Things Update: Failed a few, passed a few.  Check it out here!

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