Thursday, 13 December 2018

2018 zines

This year has been a blur, and I'm sure once I've had a minute to catch my breath I'll do some kind of run down looking back through all my various zine activities this year. But honestly it's just much more fun to look back and hype up all the amazing zines I've been able to read in 2018. Thanks to zine makers, zine fests, and zine libraries everywhere for getting these fun and inspiring zines into my life.

Sapphic Angst Fest by Georgina Turner

This was the Broken Pencil zine awards 2018 winner all about Berena on Holby City because queer representation on telly is pretty much my favourite subgenre of zines.

Fat Blokes edited by Unskinny Bop

I'm a bit biased because I have a comic featured in this zine, but the whole zine compilation is a collection of fat positive stories and art, resisting psychic death and glorifying obesity published to coincide with Fat Blokes, the latest show from Scottee.

My fluffy son: comics about Bennie the cat by Siobhán Britton

A wonderful homage to the best cat Bennie featuring a collection of comics and drawings of Bennie's origin story, his fave things, and his nemesis.

Poor Lass no. 8: Identity edited by Seleena Daye and Em Ledger

The final print copy my fave zine Poor Lass ends on such a wonderful note. Featuring a collection of stories from working class contributers. The zine may have ended but lives on in the new Poor Lass podcast.

Reserve and Renew: the LIS mental health zine

This zine was a very timely and perfect companion to my own spiralling mental health as a result of working in libraries. I find it equally rage inducing and validating to read about other library workers and their experiences which are similar to mine. Strongly recommend this to anyone working in libraries.

Residency by Olivia Sparrow

A really raw and honest zine made during an art residency with Manchester School of Art. The zine discusses class and mental health and uses writing, images, and real emails sent between Oliva and the university.

We let our battles choose us by Ed Blair 

A really wonderful piece of writing in the form of a mini zine dedicated to wrestler Masashi Takeda. It's such a joyous zine about loving wrestling as well as some of the fucked up ways it can be problematic and difficult to engage with. For fellow wrestling and zine pals I also urge you to check out Ed's zine distro Holy Demon Army

Fuck what you love vol. 3 edited by Claire Biddles

A zine series all about popstars and crushes with contributions from women and LGBTQIA people. Popstar crushes is my other favourite genre of zines and this series is just so wonderful, personal, and earnest. (I can't find a link to the buy the latest issue but you can click through to buy issue 2 of this amazing zine)

 Glorious wresting apocalypse by Josh Hicks

  This is the third issue in the wrestling alliance series and while I was going to make a seperate post about my favourite comics from 2018 I really just wanted to squeeze this onto the zine list for now as it features my all time most relateable panel in a comic which I'm sure all zinesters can relate to.

Kinky zine

Everyone's favourite queer punx band broke up this year and instead of leaving us with a national helpline like Take That did, they've left us with this beautiful zine with lyrics, photos, and art work from their time together.

Queer Grief zine

A really powerful and hard to read zine about queer grief with contributions from queer conributors. This features some very powerful contributions and is a beautiful zine to read and share.

Lonely zine by Soofiya

A really lovely mini riso zine about times of lonliness capturing moments of isolation felt by someone who is visibly gender non-conforming and ace. I love that Soofiya's zines are small enough to carry in pockets and share with other people. 

Keep Going by Heena

I was so sad to have missed Over Here Zine Fest ths year but absolutely made up to get this long awaited zine from Heena in the post instead. Anxiety, depression, and bikes in Heena's new perzine and I'm hoping there is more to come.

Queer Crush by Melissa

Seriously pop star crushes is the best fucking zine genre of all time. I don't make the rules. This mini zine was made on the occasion of Melissa coming out and compiling a zine of old celebrity crushes. I love zines that deal with feelings of imposter syndrome and not being queer enough, and combine that with pop crushes then this is just perfect.

Sew irregular zine

Sew Irregular is a zine all about clothes and fashion including the Salvaged project, Janelle Monae as a fashion icon, embroidery and mental health, and drag. 

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.