Friday, 5 June 2015

Northwest Zine Fest

Zine fest season is over and I can stop my evening activities of folding and stapling and finally have a sit down and a cup of tea in preparation for the new series of My Mad Fat Diary starting in a few weeks. (Side note: If Rae doesn't discover riot grrrl/start a band/listen to lots of Kenickie or the 2nd bis album in this series I'll be miffed)

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The chaos is kind of over. With Brighton Zine Fest, Alternative Press zine takeover, Diy Cultures, and Northwest Zine Fest all taking place in May, it's been super chaotic and knackering, but lots and lots of fun.

calm before the storm

I tabled DIY Cultures the week before. Or at least I think I did, it all went by in a bit of a blur. While its ace that DIY Cultures is so busy and packed and well attended, it's the only zine fair I table at that can make me feel anxious and awkward and drained of all life. Under the hot hot spotlights in the main hall downstairs, while the PA speakers next to us amplified the talks all day long, I was in a blur of thousands of people. I got a migraine within the first two hours, and couldn't hear what anyone was saying to me, lost all ability to be social, and just felt knackered. Also someone came to my stall, picked up a zine, and asked me if this was the first zine I'd ever made and he'd be happy to email me some links on how to learn to make things using photoshop if I ever wanted to develop myself.

Hearing comments like this is kind of standard at some zine fests nowadays. The meaning of diy changes depending on what event you are at, and I've had HELPFUL TIPS from a number of attendees at diy cultures and Brighton zine fest and Alternative Press zine fair from well intentioned people telling me in various ways that my zines don't look professional. Kinda missing the point.

I loved the talks at diy cultures, and I loved the people I met, and as the only black-led zine fest in the UK DIY Cultures does stand out from the same sea of white faces you tend to get at zine fests,  but it was also just too draining for me to enjoy properly. The super packed crowds gave me anxiety and exhaustion, and the professional tips I received were a bit out of place.

Northwest Zine Fest acted as the season finale of zine fest season. Along with Sheffield Zine Fest, it's a really welcoming and fun and truly diy space for zinesters aka nobody picked up my zine and told me I should be using photoshop. Organised by a rad team including members of the Salford Zine Library, it was a brilliant day out back at the Star and Garter, a place I haven't been to in maybe 10 years. It still smelled the same.

The zine fest took place over two floors and it was a really nice atmosphere in the morning with the organisers and some early tablees helping set up the space. It instantly felt more relaxed and scruffy and diy and I knew it was gonna be a good un.

Workshops and talks were held upstairs in the Salford Library makeshift reading room, where attendees could sit and read zines belonging to the Salford Zine Library.  Oh and Salford Zine Library totally have a brand new website with a new catalogue for you to search through the zines which you should check out!

I tabled next to Seleena and Melanie. We sang along to Bryan Adams and Mel C on Melanie's phone, we took trips to get cups of tea, and had some right good chats. Over the day I got to see quite a few people I don't get to see that much anymore with living down in London, and it was dead ace to catch up with people. It was a nice steady flow of people and all the workshops were really well attended. The organisers did such a brilliant job and I really hope there's another one next year.

In the meantime I'm gonna bedroom dance, finish a zine for IZM coming up soon, and watch a billion hours of the food network.

I've also updated my online zine shops as a lot of things were out of stock before and zine fest season was chaos, so apologies to anyone waiting on an order for me, I'm sending all these out this weekend.

Right, time to bedroom dance.  

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