November Zine Reviews!

Posted by blatantblithe on November 22, 2010 Blog posts | zine reviews | Zines | | 3 comments

Telegram Ma’am #19: The Winter Survival Issue
Maranda, Canada – schoolformapsATgmail.com
As we’re well into our horrid British winter, I thought a review of this zine seemed rather apt!  This issue is a short but sweet zine, listing 27 tips to help you survive the long winter months, particularly focusing on how to survive SAD (Seasonal Affection Disorder).  Some of the things Maranda suggests include knitting your own scarf, burn scented candles, write letters, go for a long walk, and build a blanket fort!  I found many of the tips suggested (e.g. setting yourself small goals such as going outside every day) really helpful, as I suffer from SAD and can find the winter really difficult to get through too.  Highly recommended.
(Maranda has now released Telegram Ma’am 19.5, a longer version of this Winter survival zine.  I’ve yet to read it, but you can buy a copy at Maranda’s Etsy store if you’re interested!)

Edgy! #11
Star Blue,  US – edgystarATgmail.com

A half-sized perzine from the US, Edgy #11 contains an interesting combination of serious contemplative content and fun, silly stuff.  Star Blue includes her thoughts on wanting to be a larger than life character, wanting to make her own reality, aiming towards bodily perfection and being happy with her body,  her experiences of racism as a white mexican girl, and some well-written poetry.  There’s also some fun comics on dreams of kissing Owen Wilson, adventures at her job in Box Office Video, and thrifty summer fashion, as well as written pieces on male celebrity crushes, cute things her boyfriend does that she loves, and an awesome rap about Angelina Jolie – “angelina – tougher than xena – on the cover of a magazina“!  Some people will undoubtedly enjoy the variety, but personally I felt that by jamming the serious stuff and fun stuff together in one zine, it kinda detracted from both aspects, making the zine feel disjointed and lacking impact.  I would’ve preferred one or the other, as both the fun content and the serious content was enjoyable in itself!  But that’s just my personal preference.  On the plus side, everything is well-written, with an attractive layout and a colour cover (I love colour covers!).

Fight Boredom With Girl Love!
Edited by Amber, Canada – amber.norreanATgmail.com

The fifth issue of Amber’s boredom-busting compzine,  Fight Boredom with Girl Love is my favourite yet.  In the intro, Amber explains that this zine has a strong focus on riot grrrl, as jealousy and girl-hate was a frequently discussed topic among riot grrrls.  As well as some brief background info on the riot grrrl movement, the zine includes discussions on female jealousy and competitiveness, the emerging culture of women hating each other instead of supporting each other, internalized sexism, reclaiming sexist language, the problem with rape jokes, feminism in the 90s sitcom “Roseanne”, and ways to deal with jealousy.  There are also a few pages of thoughts on riot grrrl and the supposed revival from a number of well-known zinesters including Ciara Xyerra, Maranda Elizabeth, and Ocean Capewell.  The zine is presented in Amber’s signature typewritten and cut-and-paste visual style, which is gorgeous to look at.  Near the end, Amber features the usual zine reviews, some feminist book recommendations, and the inspirational original riot grrrl manifesto (which you can read here).  I think every woman should read this zine, because it features all those themes of girl love that we should be encouraging in our fellow sisters, and at 34 pages, it’s an entertaining and pithy read.  If you don’t already own this zine, get your hands on a copy, and share it with your girl friends!  Spread the virus!  <3

Licking Stars off Ceilings #17
Clementine Cannibal, Canada – lickingstarsoffAThotmail.com

The thing I love about this zine is how Clementine’s writing develops and improves with every issue. I’ve been reading this zine since #4, and the content just gets better and better.  Issue 17 is the latest in the zine series, and is by far my favourite issue of LSOC!  Clementine describes this zine as “a zine about making changes, making choices and figuring out who i am and what i want”, which I think sums it up pretty well!  She writes about dealing with relationship problems, overcoming alcoholism and being sober, how the meaning of love has changed for her recently, her bisexuality, violence against women, and grrrl zines.  My favourite piece was her fascinating discussion on psychiatric medication, where Clementine argues, very respectfully, that we should seek political answers to our problems rather than chemical answers.  I gotta say, this really rings true for me.  These ideas of community, mutual support, friendship and self-love seem to obvious, yet the medical authorities always go for the “easy” option – drugging us up.  It’s something I think about a lot, as a medicated depressive who has to pay for every month’s lot of pills.  You hear all these stories of people with depression where they say things like: “I have a great car, a great boyfriend, a great job, lots of money, lots of stuff… so why aren’t I happy?”  Maybe there is a chemical cause, who knows.  Or maybe we’re allowing captialism to define happiness and contentment for us, when in fact they’ve got it all wrong.  I think Clementine’s onto something when she argues that symptoms of depression are actually “symptoms of living in a soul-denying profit-driven capitalist racist misogynistic [society]“.   She writes in such a powerful and inspiring way, and it really makes you think about these issues in a way you may not have considered before.
As well as the longer written pieces, there are some lists, some girlVIRUS flyers, drawings, and more little goodies.  The layout is great too, with handwritten and typewritten pages on interesting patterned backgrounds.  Thoroughly enjoyable, as ever!

3 Comments

  • Hello Amber! said on Nov 23, 2010 10:30 pm

    Thanks for the review of Fight Boredom! I just wanna make a quick note on something. I noticed this phrase immediately: “There are also a few pages of thoughts on riot grrrl and the supposed revival from a number of well-known zinesters including Ciara Xyerra, Maranda Elizabeth, and Ocean Capewell. ” I feel like referring to them as “well-known zinesters” (as opposed to say, just plain zinesters, or feminist zinesters, or perzinesters, or longtime zinesters) might encourage something of a zine hierarchy, where people either resent them for their success, or place them on some sort of a pedestal. I personally have dealt with the effects of both (as I’m sure they have), and it’s not a lot of fun. I just hope it’s clear to everyone that I think that the contributions by not-so-well-known zinesters (and those who’ve never made a zine at all, as is the case with several of the contributors) are just as important. Not trying to be nitpicky, just wanted to throw the idea out there.

    • Catherine said on Nov 24, 2010 10:08 am

      I didn’t mean to make it sound hierarchical; “longtime zinesters” would’ve represented what I was trying to say better. I guess I just listed those well-known zinesters for people who might follow their work, and might really want to read what they have to say on riot grrrl.

      I hear what you’re saying about a zine hierarchy, but I don’t think acknowledging that certain zinesters are well-known is the same as saying that those zinesters are better than others, and that definitely wasn’t what I was implying. I mean, Paris Hilton is a well-known actress, but that doesn’t mean she’s at the top of the pile, so to speak. Am I making sense?
      That’s just my take on it, and why I went with that wording. I didn’t mean to cause any offence; I’m the last person who’d want to encourage a zine hierarchy! Want me to change it?

      • Hello Amber! said on Nov 24, 2010 10:21 pm

        No, I didn’t think that you were meaning to say that they were better than others. I guess I just feel that deciding that their names are more worth naming than those of the other contributors sort of contributes to the hierarchy, even if one doesn’t mean for it to. Again, this might just be me, but when I hear the “well-known zinester” term put to my own name, it makes me cringe a little bit, but I’ve probably even used it on others without thinking it through first. I’m not trying to criticize you or anything, so I hope you’re not taking it that way. No worries about changing it, people will read it and interpret it in their own ways. It was just something that I wanted to make a quick note on.

        Also, cool that you met Melissa Auf der Maur! Oddly enough, I think I saw her at the metro station a few weeks ago, but I wasn’t quite sure.

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