Wednesday, 12 September 2018

There is power in a union

Hey everyone! August was a write-off because I sprained my ankle and was surprised with a hefty restructure in the library where I work and then experienced a scary mental health spiral.

I'm slowly replying to emails, I'm slowly sending zine orders back, and my zine workshops and events start up again at the end of this month. Thanks for being patient, please accept this crappy blog post in lieu of a 'apologies for the late reply' email which I probably owe you but cannot be bothered to send.

And most importantly, join a union. Restructures are absolutely no fun.

Things I didn't learn at library school zine

Monday, 23 July 2018

Things I didn't learn at library school

My new zine Things I didn't learn in library school is out now

As part of International Zine Month this year I made a 24 hour mini zine about the realities of being a library worker based on things I learned after library school.

Things like how academics never give you reading lists on time, the importance of joining a union, and how understaffing and underfunding libraries  directly impacts on your mental health every single day. 


I sold out of the print run this weekend at Process Zine Fest but I'm getting new copies back in stock this week so you can order now

Friday, 6 July 2018

Queer zines

It's July so it's International zine month and today is zine pride day: a day to read, share, buy zines by LGBTQIA people.

Quite a  lot of queer zines from my personal collection are on loan this month for various workshops and displays, but I raided my remaining zine collection to pull out some of my favourite queer zines through the years.


Some of my queer zines

I've been doing some zine talks and workshops recently with UAL and in each of those talks I've discussed why I started making zines. 
I started reading and making zines 19 years ago when I was a lonely queer and didn't have any friends and didn't yet have the internet. I read zines to find my people and I made zines to build communities. I'm not being dramatic when I say zines saved me. I was so desperate to find examples of queerness and zines were a physical dispatch from outside of my small town letting me know about queer writers, artists, punx, and activists. 

And even now 19 years later I'm still making zines for the same reason. I'm still always looking for my people, still looking to learn about new voices, still hoping to educate and challenge myself, still wanting to make connections. 

I wrote about queer lonliness in my most recent zine Queers on the Edge of Town






And so I'm forever in debt to the queer zines of my teenage years as they did what Bruce Springsteen sadly couldn't do, they gave me friends and connections and Team Dresch and Tribe 8 mix tapes. I came out to people through my own zines, and I found my own voice, my own friends, and my own communities.


Queer zines forever!


Queer Zines by Rachael House
(I love this so much!)





Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Me and Bruce at Graphic Brighton

Later this month I'll be talking at Graphic Brighton , a conference organised by University of Brighton. This years theme is comics and music. 


Hunt Emerson


I'll be talking about my comic zine series Me and Bruce which I created in desperation to justify my lifelong obsession with Bruce Springsteen where I explore my queerness, my family, class, relationships. I use comics, collage, and text to construct a mythical version of Springsteen which belongs just to me, creating space for myself as a queer woman in the Springsteen fandom.


Me and Bruce #4


Come hear me chat about all this and more at Graphic Brighton conference on Friday 20th July. It's free to attend but you'll need to book a ticket here.



Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Zine Cataloguing

I make zines and I'm a librarian, and I'm also a zine librarian! Some of you may know I'm part of the UK and Ireland Zine Librarians group and next month I'm hosting a zine cataloguing workshop at the Arlis Conference with Nicola Cook and Loesja Vigour from the Wellcome Library.


This will be the first in what we hope is a series of workshops/discussions/meet-ups around zine cataloguing in the UK and Ireland.
In our last meetup we discussed our goal of creating a zine cataloguing toolkit for anyone to use which would be free of library cataloguing jargon and accessible to all regardless of job title or professional status.
Our workshop will be a chance to share our experiences of cataloguing zines, the ethics of zine cataloguing, and discuss our hopes and dreams for a collaborative toolkit.
While there's lots of existing resources and guides on how to catalogue different kinds of library material, the idea behind a collaborative zine cataloguing toolkit would be to make this information accessible to everyone. What happens when library systems and cataloguing standards aren't equipped to deal with zines? How can we use our own subject headings? How can we catalogue without library management systems? And how can we make this work more accessible to zine librarians who aren't cataloguers?
It would be great to make this workshop and toolkit collaborative and so we want to hear from you! We’d really like to hear what your fears, concerns, issues (and successes!) are around cataloguing your zines so we can incorporate them into the workshop. And if you are coming along to the conference and would like to be more involved, let us know – the more the merrier!
You can reply via our email discussion list, our twitter, or to our email


Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Darkness on the edge of town


It's the 40th anniversary of Darkness on the Edge of Town album this month. If you like your Bruce songs painful and emo with some classic pop bangers then this is the album for you.





I write about Bruce Springsteen a lot. I make zines and art about how Bruce Springsteen songs make me feel, but I think it's fair to say that Darkness on the Edge of Town features the most in my work.





I wrote my first ever issue of my Me and Bruce zine in 2011, shortly after meeting Bruce Springsteen for a few very powerful seconds at a screening of a documentary. The documentary looks at the making of this album and talks about how hard it was to make, how Bruce was frustrated and angry during the whole process. Which was fitting as I made Me and Bruce #1 to get me through a difficult breakup where I listened to this album constantly. Meeting Bruce at the screening of this documentary felt like my life was starting again.




In Me and Bruce #2 I wrote about class, family, and small town claustrophobia in relation to Darkness on the Edge of Town. I talk about my dad and his life using lyrics from the song 'Factory' which is about Bruce Springsteen's own dad and his factory life.




I even changed the meaning of the song 'Racing in the Streetfrom the record to be about my dad and being working class. I did a reading from this zine at Sounds from the Other City fest last year organised by the wonderful Salford Zine Library but I'm also available to give TED talks on why this song breaks me.




And 2 years ago I visited New Jersey and drove down the actual real life road which inspired the song 'Racing in the Street' as well as seeing the very real but now defunct factory where Springsteen's dad worked. (these adventures will be in Looking For Bruce -  the next issue of my Me and Bruce zine series out next year)


Darkness on the Edge of Town is the kind of album I play when I'm feeling sad and want to lay down in the dark. The guttural raw howling during the intro of 'Something in the Night' is honestly the most fucking emo thing I've ever heard in my entire life. And I'm a My Chemical Romance diehard.

Thanks Bruce for giving me zines to write  and an album to obsess over my entire adult life. I feel like I'm still finding new things in this album to obsess over even now. I'm always finding new meaning, and I guess that means there are still more Bruce zines to come.



Saturday, 12 May 2018

Unskinny Bop


As part of the wonderful new show Fat Blokes created by Scottee, my fave queer fatties Unskinny Bop were asked to collaborate on a zine to accompany the show.





The zine is here and it's hot off the press! The zine features a comic from me about dancing and fatness and the time I saw Beth Ditto when I was 17 at Ladyfest Glasgow 2001.







Ladyfest Glasgow was probably the most formative experience in my life. It's amazing to be able to pinpoint the moment when everything in your life changed, and this entire weekend changed my 17 year old self for real. The Gossip played their first ever UK show that weekend. I was in the front row as Beth Ditto sweated on stage and eventually stripped down to her underwear. She yelled that there was no body positivity workshop taking place that weekend so her fat body on stage would have to do.

The following year I attended the first ever Unskinny Bop at Ladyfest London 2002. Dancing and sweating in a club night which celebrated rad fatties with a podge pop countdown was a dream come true and despite my very recent initiation into the stay at home club (thanks sobriety and bad brain), Unskinny Bop has continued to be a space for me and my fat queer friends to dance and it's so exciting to hold another unskinny bop zine in my hands after all these years! 

The zine features fat posi pieces on resisting psychic death, fat heroes, rad fatshion blogging communities, fat babes in bands, bears and queer spaces, fat trans bodies, dancing and of course agony aunt Dr Ruth. 

The zine accompanies the upcoming Fat Blokes show but I'm also really excited at the idea that these zines will  be distributed across queer venues, weightloss groups, infiltrating and taking up space with a celebration fat bodies and voices.

sneak peak of my comic contribution to Fat Blokes zine


The Fat Blokes zine will be available digitally very soon. But for now you can find the very first issue of the Unskinny Bop zine from 2003 here




I can't wait for Fat Blokes to come to London in November, but in the meantime you can see previews in Manchester this month.