• Zine Reviews

    Zine Review: How To Be Alone 6.1

    How To Be Alone 6.1
    Bastian Fox Phelan

    I was not at all prepared for this zine.

    How To Be Alone 6.1 is a zine by Bastian Fox Phelan about Bastian’s life. This edition follows Bastian’s thoughts about the world, writing in different environments, the importance of a writing routine, and finding one’s voice – in more ways than one.

    Before I’d even read the zine, I’d jotted down the note that I enjoyed the visual pun on the cover – whether it was intended or not. How to “bee” alone, eh? Clever. Now that I’ve read it, I realise there is so much more depth and thoughtfulness in the choice and how much meaning it has to the content inside. Do I know if Bastian thought that much about it? No, but the depth of meaning in things is often left to be found by the reader rather than intentionally created by the author.

    Reading this zine was, for me, like listening to a song I’d never heard before. It lured me in with soft, beautiful melodies and made me feel comfortable. With that comfort, I let my guard down. When the crescendo of conflict of hurt and pain came later in the song, I was completely unprepared and swimming with different feelings that, even days later, I’m still sorting out. But, like a truly good song, and like a truly good tale reads, it all came back to the melodies it started with but now with a different view.

    Even when I am berating myself for not doing it, I do like to read about writers and their writing. I liked reading about how Bastian discovered the personal importance of creating and sticking to a writing routine (even as something deep within me rebelled at the thought of applying one to my own life).

    I love how easily writing about writing transitioned to finding one’s voice – an important aspect for writers that took on a new meaning when Bastian found the courage and the voice to confront those who are rude and mean just because Bastian doesn’t follow their ideas of what “should” be. It hurt to read about what other people thought was okay but was absolutely not. But those feelings were soothed by my admiration of Bastian for standing up in the face of others’ ignorance and cruelty.

    Though small in the grand scheme of things, it was also lovely to read that I am not alone in my occasional rescue of tiny creatures. It was also a lovely image to start with and come back to at the end.

    How To Be Alone 6.1 is, for me, a zine that requires more reading and further contemplation. Bastian’s writing voice is beautiful, and I will definitely be tracking down other zines in this series.

  • Calls for Submissions

    Call for Submissions: Postcards From The Mind Palace

    Calls for Zine Pieces Submissions

    ‘Postcards From The Mind Palace’ wants your real life stories.

    Everyone has interesting stories to tell- weird dating tales, holiday adventures that went awry, new jobs that didn’t go as planned, eventful family visits, drunken shenanigans, whatever. I’m looking for your interesting/entertaining stories from your past of whatever type. Just nothing too harrowing/disturbing please.

    Up to about 750 words. Deadline May 15th.

    Though as I’m not looking for any sort of literary masterpiece, why not just write it up right now. Tell it pretty much in the way you’d tell the story in person to somebody, and send it to ja.wilkinson@yahoo.co.uk in the body of the email.

  • Zine Reviews

    Zine Review: Friday Night in West Ealing #76

    Friday Night in West Ealing 76 Zine

    Friday Night in West Ealing #76

    This is one of those zines that I know I’ve had for a while, but I can’t really recall where or when I picked it up. Though I do strongly suspect Sticky Institute.

    Friday Night in West Ealing #76 is a strong representation for how a zine can work in true simplicity. The entire zine is a double-sided piece of A4 paper that’s folded, type on the inside and handwritten on the front/back. It’s purely words – written or typed – with no illustrations but for a few hand-drawn hearts on the inside. The experience of it is somewhat like a newspaper – opening it up to read one bit and then unfolding the rest to get the whole story.

    The “only words” approach in the zine world doesn’t seem like it should be that different, but it is enough for me to write this sentence saying it is.

    Sometimes I wonder about my luck with things – especially zine things – because other people might not be interested in slice of life type of reading that concerns moving from an old wallet into a new wallet with all the things that get lost and forgotten in old wallets. But for me? I love finding out what people have in their purses, wallets, bags, etc.

    What I love even more though? Fluid story writing. Writing that carries you along gently without you even being aware that you’re going somewhere. Writing that starts with a 22 pound umbrella and ends with putting the past away in favour of letting a new collection of wallet artifacts creep into your wallet over the years. There is something beautiful and wonderful about the small moments of a life, and I think that’s why this zine is on #76 and is still going.

    The yellow of the paper is actually a lot more pleasant than what is displayed in the photo above. I love my camera, but combinations of sucktastic lighting and my limited knowledge of whether it’s best to up the brightness or exposure (or something else?!) make for some poor visual translations.

    There’s certainly a mystery to this zine with only an email address on the back. It’s usually a bug bear of mine to have to go hunting for more details, but… I think it kind of works for this zine.

    Don’t point back to this post when I grumble about it on other zines, though, okay?

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