In 1994, when I was 16, I made my first zine. My mum photocopied it for me at work, I put an ad in the back of Melody Maker, and before too long letters with 50p pieces sellotaped to them were arriving through the letter box. My life as a zinester had begun.
A zine, for those who don't know, is a homemade booklet or pamphlet. They can be fanzines (zines, as the name suggests, about something you're a fan of - usually music. My first zines were Britpop fanzines), perzines (personal zines), comics or instruction zines. What they all have in common is that they're a DIY form of creativity: more often than not hand-drawn, photocopied, and either sold for a low price or swapped.
After making both fanzines and perzines for four years I stopped when I was about 20, and it wasn't until a couple of years ago that I felt like I wanted to get back into zines. In the interim blogging had become for me what zines once had been - a way of communicating, of practising my writing, of meeting people with whom I had a lot in common but whom I otherwise wouldn't have met - but within the last two years I've felt increasingly less motivated to blog. Instead, I decided, I would make some new zines.
My first new zine was about abortion, telling the story (largely through cartoons that could kindly be called naive, otherwise known as crap) of a termination I had in my early 20s, and it took me two years to finish. Luckily, I picked up the pace after that and, since the beginning of 2017, have written and made two more zines: Barren, about being childfree by choice, and a perzine called, like this blog, Someone, Somewhere.
Zines don't replace blogging for me but they do complement it, giving me a creative outlet that's about more than just writing, and a space to share things I wouldn't necessarily feel comfortable sharing online. The zine world is as wonderfully welcoming and diverse as it was when I was 16, too, and I've met so many brilliant people through making, sharing and buying zines. As the blogging world becomes increasingly mainstream, and often focused on people trying to make money, I value the truly DIY ethos of zines and the sense of being involved in something so firmly outside of the mainstream.
I'm now working on two compzines and would love contributions: Mixtape is a 90s nostalgia zine that Laura and I are putting together, and Cherry is about virginity - the loss of it, the concept, the problematically heterocentric nature of the concept, whatever! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to submit something for either zine.
You can buy my zines from a range of places: by emailing me for Paypal details (they all cost £1 plus 50p P&P), or alternatively Brick is carried by both Penfight Distro and Vampire Sushi Distro, with the latter also selling Barren and Someone, Somewhere).