So it's a wonder why it took me so long to get into zines. One of my roles at my job is to look after a fairly extensive zine collection. An outreach project involved a lot of work with this collection and I got a taste of how to produce a zine. I have to admit: I rather enjoyed it. The sheer beauty of zines is that they can be about anything you want to write about. Many zines do have their roots in alternative culture that is not featured in mainstream culture. However, I'm sure if someone wanted to write a fanzine about X-Factor then they could. Let me know if someone has.
Zines are great to stick in your bag and read on the bus home from work. They can range from having a professional finish (which is becoming more common) to being a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy. My personal favourite has to be the per-zine genre, where people write zines about their everyday lives. It's very intimate peeking into someone else's thoughts and zine provide that personal connection that you don't get with blogs. Someone has gone to the effort of arranging the page layouts, writing the articles and standing over a photocopier until their back spasms, to create the very zine you are holding in your hands.
To my delight, July marks International Zine Month. IZM is the brainchild of Alex Wrekk, a leading voice in the world of zines. Each July zinesters (those who make zines) and zine fans join together in the celebrations that take place. You can have a look at the daily challenges handed out below:
So I suppose I should attempt today's challenge Top 10 reasons why you love zines:
1) Every time I read a zine, I learn something new. Whether it's a new way of looking at the world or a great recipe, I pick up a little tid bit of information.
2) Each zine is unique. It reflects the personality and character of its creator(s) which you certainly don't get with mainstream publications.
3) Making a zine is a labour of love. Many zine makers lose money when they produce zines. Yet they still keep making 'em.
4) Zine culture is inclusive by default. You want to write a zine about your partner's dog's friend's weird desire for eating stale cookies? Then go right ahead!
5) People that make zines like to talk to each other. There's even a special social network designed for people who make zines that like to talk about zines called We Make Zines.
6) Zines forced me to realise that I missed being creative and that I should make more of an effort in this area of my life.
7) Zines are so great that they even have their own libraries. Have a look at the Salford Zine Library or even this blog post about the collection I work with. Yay!
8) Zine makers love mail art. I like to imagine it's the work of zines that keeps the post service operating - hey a girl can dream!
9) Zines can make me laugh so hard one minute and make me cry the next.
10) Zines are that amazing you get an entire month to celebrate them. Go forth and be zine-tastic!