dispatches from the zine fest – a-m

report on the zinefest:
oh what fun we had on saturday afternoon! thanks to red for her extraordinary organisational skills – she made it a super-special, spectacularly busy day with loadsa stalls, cakes-a-plenty, informative seminars and a gaspingly good comic expo (i liked carolyn alexander). when’s the next one??

me and phoebe helped to introduce the zine workshop at the start of the day. as ever, miss p was very well prepared and i wasn’t, and true to her word (see below), she got my back! phew. here’s some of what i wanted to say:

why make zines?
do you want to rant/ inspire/ make activism/ vent frustration/ use your free office facilities?

we were teens in the 90s – a time of camden britpop/ portland post-riot grrrl where every cool journo or singer had been involved in the zinescene on both sides of the atlantic. after the 2002 ladyfest that the brilliant bill pamzine (ancient link! not to be confused with pamflet(zine)) helped to put on, where the first zines for the women’s library’s archives were collected together, i knew that i had to do one. but still didn’t. until 3 years later.

zines are part of an alt-history, sending missives from the margins of gay, grrrl, punk, music culture. i subscribed to bitch – and later bust and venus – all of which had blasted out of the DIY zones of their respective US cities. so, informed by (first) melody maker, nme and this punk rag called fracture (1996-2000) and then the post-post-riot world (2000-2004) entered pamflet. it wasn’t some jumping on the bandwagon 15 years too late fashion thing, ‘this is cool, let’s do it’. for me it was there, always – i was always making up zine names during lectures and in school breaktimes, scribbling broken sentences on the back of my hand, keeping scrapbooks, many many scrapbooks… and then when p and i finally glued those first pages down (when she glued those first pages down!) all of the weird, stupid, girly nonsense things i’d written suddenly had a place to go where they might mean something.

zine/not FANzine
i’d first known these little journals as ‘fanzines’, dedicated to football or fierce panda or whatever, but for pamflet we chopped off the ‘fan’ bit and concentrated on the ‘zine’ side of production, keeping the template raw and the spelling sloppy and giving over a lot of space to not being fans of anything much.

reading pamflet you’ll notice the penchant for nostalgia and it’s in that same spirit of ‘if it ain’t broke…’ that we’ve rejected the internet (oops!) and er, desktop publishing (as it was known circa 1991) in favour of glue, blu tac and the photocopier. where blogger can be edited, zines are artifacts, like diaries or notebooks: permanent, tangible and then, ownable and exchangeable. as technology rolls out the changes daily, hourly, we’ll cling to our tippex and biros. it can all coexist, (see this blog) paper and plastic, happily in our handbags and on our laptops.

amf//26january2009

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"Vogue loves...Indie mags: Hogarthian graphics and modern feminism from Pamflet"

"It makes me feel less despair to know that somewhere deep inside the Jordanization of modern Britain there are still a few angry feminists out there." Zadie Smith

"Pamflet is the photocopy-quality soapbox for two young, sarky post-feminists from London who want women’s rights and the right to wear pretty things, and want it, like, yesterday." Sunday Times Style

"They’re funny and honest and write about fashion with feminism so I’m obviously all over it." Tavi

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