Zines from Sticky Institute:
where blood, sweat and tears drip from the walls.
My early contact with Zines was mainly through Loser Magazine (Losercorp paraphernalia, “1987 and onwards”), as well as some great publications through SCAM press like How to Make Trouble and Influence People, and How to Stop Whining and Start Living. Both of the latter publications outlined protests, pranks, and happenings of subversion; they were well researched and curated and inspired the activist in us all. The was also the legendary New Waver, and one should not forget Richard Watt’s (3RRR) long time zine The Burning Times which resonated strongly with the local culture and market. They all demonstrated one thing; vulnerability.
Vulnerability is one of those things writers and producers of all strains need to possess in order to connect with any readership. Here in the world of Zines, it is delivered in packages of different shapes and sizes, in different strains and strengths. A Homo Healed contains the beautifully poetic, powerful, personal and evocative thoughts of a gay narrator comparing ideas of church and bias with an insightful and telling manner whilst Friday Night in West Ealing #38 is a well written, simple, utterly obsessive social narrative on things that are made significant simply by capturing them, and sharing them in writing. How to be Alone #3 again, is a personal, delicate thread exploring growth and the self. You, chapters a bike mishap in the middle of a busy road, whilst transporting zine material; something we can all identify with. Love & Other Indoor Sports was written “in order to consolidate my own feelings towards love and sex”, and is pseudo self-psychology, running through a scientific “unpack” of love and sex that throws open the vulnerable to the world, in line with issues of dating and romance. Clod Magazine #27 gives street art updates that include pictures and addresses, and there are some obsessed fans of Bananrama and Taylor Swift pumping their pride and effort into detailed tribute Zines.
This handheld hard yakka and TLC is a tribute to the fire burning within those who create Zines, and, a credit to their “can do” attitude. I remember as a self-published author releasing my first collection of short stories entitled Black. It certainly created a stir, receiving extremely crap reviews in mainstream press, yet attracting love and hate from peers, artists, writers, and the cultural landscape at the time. After distributing this in certain shops around Melbourne by hand and telephone, I caught a train to Sydney, (as you did in the early nineties) and placed this little book, Black, in two bookshops. Two weeks later I had a call from Rolling Stone Magazine and I had some national press. Black caused a reaction, and this taught me that in order for something to happen, you need to get your work out there, and not wait for the approval of a publisher in a 30th floor office sitting in a wing chair patting a white cat. Ultimately the release of Black snagged me a publishing deal, which was good and bad (the publisher spelt my name wrong on the spine of the book).
From the bedroom to the photocopier, then to the streets and the shop floor, we experience a range of emotions in the wonderful world of Zines and self-publishing. One thing I learned early as a self-publisher (Black, Snakeskin-Vanilla, Self Help and Other Works) is that you control things, and you are creating a market for your product, and nothing will happen unless you implement your ideas, and execute your vision. You don’t need permission. Subvert, I say, subvert! Sticky Institute is all about supporting these ideas. When you spend five minutes in the Sticky store looking at the breadth of subject matter, you’ll quickly realise that there is a reality, an obsession, a poignancy that covers off on life, and all counter cultures and micro cultures you can imagine. There is voice! All those readers, art lovers and culture vultures in our world, and there are many, who are interested in the grass roots, new ideas, subversion, alternatives, and digging for their cultural rewards are drawn to outlets like the Sticky Institute. Blood and sweat and tears drip from the walls of this little shop, and we need to keep supporting it, by creating and purchasing product. I look forward to reviewing more Zines through Sticky, in fact I can’t wait. All Zines mentioned in the article are available at Sticky now. Check all details for Sticky Institute here http://www.stickyinstitute.com/ .