Thursday, 6 February 2014

Zine Reviews: Queer Zine Fest London Edition!

In December, Spill the Zines tabled at Queer Zine Fest London, and had an amazing time!



Here is my haul of zines bought and traded on the day:





And here are some reviews of my fave UK zines I picked up on the day!



Pits Against Patriarchy #1
Edited by ‘Armpits for August’  - www.armpitsforaugust.org
This lovely DIY compzine is created by the people behind Armpits 4 August; if you haven’t already heard of it, A4A is a month-long charity campaign which encourages women to grow their armpit hair to raise money for PCOS charity Verity.  The zine features people who’ve taken part in Armpits 4 August, where they discuss their feelings on their own body hair, and the cultural beauty ideal of the hairless woman and how this has affected their relationships with their bodies.  All the articles follow the same structure - "I thought my hair was gross, I tried growing it out, now I love it" and focuses more on personal stories rather than critical analysis/critique.  The tone is positive and light-hearted, with a mixture of long pieces, short pieces, Q&As and artwork.  It was also good to see some trans and genderqueer voices featured in the zine, though I would've liked some more!  Not only that, but all proceeds are donated to Verity – what better reasons do you need to buy a copy?

Milk & Apples #3
By Human Bean Zines, Surrey – etsy.com/shop/humanbeanzines
Milk and Apples is a perzine that documents the author’s chaotic life with a mental health condition.  In the third issue, they write about having visits from the Home Treatment Team and the stress of attempting to discuss personal problems with strangers in your home, anger at hearing people talk shit about “scroungers” and people who claim disability benefits being too lazy to work or “pretending to be ill”, moving house every few months due to anxiety, paranoia, and leaving university, and how they cope with stress.  The layouts seemed more complex and interesting in this issue – lots of stamped letters, cut and pasted sentences, and collaged backgrounds.  Can’t recommend this zine series enough!

Weird At WorkAnon, London – librariesforsociety at gmail dot com 
This zine features 3 pages of vented frustrations about the author’s job on topics such as inane conversation, alienation, and feeling untidy next to the perfectly preened co-workers.  There’s also a little folded sheet inside listing her “panic travel kit” essentials.  It’s a small hodge-podge zine, but it packs a punch, and I could relate to her frustrations!  Get in touch at the email address above for a copy of this zine.

Bad Poetry For Pro-Lifers
By Charlotte, London – charlottecooper.net
This densely-packed minizine opens with an explanation for the creation of the zine – a few weeks previously, anti-choice activists 40 Days for Life protested an abortion clinic on the street where the author lives, intimidating and harassing the people accessing the clinic services.  Frustrated at her inability to “undermine the protester’s bulletproof piety”, she decided to channel her frustrations into a zine of bad poetry.  The poems are very funny, gently poking fun at standard pro-life arguments.  A quick fun read!

Adventures in Menstruating: Poetry/Comic Special (June 2013)
Edited by Chella Quint, Sheffield –
www.chartyourcycle.wordpress.com
This split special issue of Adventures in Menstruating is divided into 2 halves – one consists entirely of comics on topics including the feminine hygiene industry, unexpectedly early periods, and ways to brighten up your period, the other half features menses-themed poetry including ‘To The Leaking Girl’, ‘Song of the Mooncup’ and ‘The Ballad of “Bloody Beauty” Barbie’.  Very funny and period-positive!

Weak & Lovely
Anon, UK – weakandlovelyAThotmail.com
This half-sized compzine is about feminists with eating disorders, and feminist perspectives on eating disorders.  It’s such a good read, and incredibly well-paced – between the longer thoughtful pieces on their own experiences with ED, the author disperses artwork and comics; these explore feelings of anger, guilt, self-hate, pain, alienation, inadequacy, as well as larger critiques of our misogynistic culture which values thinness above all else.  The zine ends with a cathartic scene where the author, infuriated by subliminal sexist messaging, murders the anthropomorphised couple Patriarchy and Capitalism!  The writers take great care in unpacking the idea that “proper” feminists and political activists would never develop an eating disorder, and exploring the pervasiveness of the super-skinny beauty ideal that so many western women are hammered with on a daily basis.  I also adore the beauty magazine parody cover!

Ffwff #1
Edited by Heledd, Bangor - daldydinAThotmail.co.uk
This zine is AMAZING!  It’s a welsh language anarchafeminist zine (‘ffwff’ is welsh for ‘foof’, in case you hadn’t already guessed!), and features drawings, interviews, poetry and a long piece on anarchafeminism, including a profile of prominent figure Emma Goldman.  The layout is cut-and-paste, messy and typewritten (which as you all know I adore), plus it’s completely free!  If you’re a welsh-speaking feminist, you need this zine in your life!

Hard Femme #2
Edited by Kirsty, England – http://kirstywinters.etsy.com
The second issue of Kirsty’s perzine has a broader scope than #1, focusing not only on her relationship to femme identity but also issues of class, embodiment, and sexuality.  It mostly features artwork and articles by Kirsty herself, with pieces including her hard femme heroes, not having a “home town”, tattoos, exercise, poverty, and self-care.   There are also a few contributed pieces by other hard femme writers, who deal with issues including non-traditional femininity, internalised femmephobia, hard femme cycling, and gender identity.  The message of the zine is positive and strong, ending on an inspiring note to the reader about never giving up.  I love Kirsty's work so much, and this zine is probably my favourite find from QZFL!


Shape of My Heart #1
Vicky-Ann Smith, London – www.vickyannsmith.com
A beautiful mental health perzine written by the author of ‘Gravity’, an eating disorder recovery zine that was reviewed here.  Vicky talks about her history of anxiety and depression, her symptoms and coping methods, her relationship with work as a goal to keep moving for, the healing power of nature, and creating a new sense of self after recovery.  It’s very honest, with lots of personal touches including handwriting, simple collages, and personal photographs. She is very passionate about ending the stigma surrounding mental health and sexual assault, and I think zines like this are an incredibly useful tool towards that end. 

1 comment:

  1. hi, i think Weak & Lovely is from the Netherlands actually. Not that it matters. Love your blog!

    ReplyDelete