• Zine Reviews

    Zine Review: Intimacies Volume 2

    Intimacies Volume 2
    Dara Idris

    Intimacies Volume 2 is a black and white ½ fold zine about Dara’s journey with physical intimacy, sex, and expectations told through a collection of short essays.

    Dara starts volume two not with an essay but with a snippet about separating sex and even romance from the need to touch and be touch. While it doesn’t state these things directly, I feel like it does a fantastic job of setting up the fine distinctions that are to come.

    Where I felt volume one was more about being unsure and contemplating the meaning of intimacy, I feel volume two is more what intimacy means and continues to mean after firsts are happening and growing relationships are explored. Simply put, there is a lot more kissing and sex in this one, but there are still questions to be answered as well as keenly feeling the difference in oneself after the firsts have happened.

    It’s nice to read something that give such gravity towards firsts and ‘small intimacies’. Each essay shares a moment or a conversation about intimacy, touch, and or sex, and yet each is granted the same amount of thoughtfulness and gravity. Each is respected as a moment of change.

    The only thing that got a little confusing was the use of ‘you’. I absolutely understand the use of second-person writing – especially to help with the identities of those involved, but the writing feels somehow less intimate with the reader despite the intimate writing because I’m not sure who you is from piece to piece. One might assume that you is one person, but it’s made clear in the first few essays that you is at least two different people.

    I fully admit that it’s a nitpick, though. It’s something that my editor brain is picking up on, and I don’t think that it takes away from the writing in a significant way. After all, this zine isn’t so much about who as involved as it is about what’s happening.

    Aesthetically, this is a text-heavy zine with very few illustrations. While you certainly won’t breeze right through it, it is possible to pick it up and put it down because of the shortness of the essays.

    On a side note: I looked back at my review of Intimacies Volume 1 and realised I’d already mentioned the copyright note on the back. Still, I think “Don’t be a dick is a good rule, isn’t it?” is worth another mention.

    I found Intimacies Volume 2 a tasteful and thoughtful collection of essays about intimacy, relationships, and sex. While I do think the volumes should be read in order, I think they can stand on their own if you can only grab one for any reason.

  • Zinewrimo

    Zine Review: Intimacies Volume 1

    Intimacies Volume 1
    Dara Idris

    Intimacies Volume 1 is a black and white half-fold zine about a personal journey with physical intimacy, sex, and expectations told through a collection of short essays.

    By and large, I experience zines within the realms of zines that tell me things and zines that share things with me. It’s a delicate distinction and one that may only make sense to me (and I love both types). The difference is telling zines come across as ‘this is an experience, and this is what I take from it’ whereas sharing zines run more along the lines of ‘this is an experience – make what you will of it’.

    With the exception of the introduction, Intimacies Volume 1 is a zine that shared experiences.

    Over the course of various short pieces, Dara shares experiences from the view of someone who desires things like physical intimacy but questions those desires and the timeline in which to have them imposed by the world and society. Through these experiences you get a picture of what it’s like from the view of someone who explores everything from sex fantasies to the gravity of one’s first kiss – all with the same thought and respect.

    Aesthetically, this is a text-heavy zine, with essays broken up by quotes in larger fonts and ‘new section’ tables of contents. I feel like this is a zine you need to sit down and devote your full attention to.

    The writing can get a bit confusing as people are named as letters, and the only people who seem to be consistent are Dara and ‘you’. I did get confused in the first piece as to who was speaking with whom and who Dara really was in the context of that piece.

    The ‘background’ details got confusing for me at other times, too, but at those points I was so engaged on the thoughts about sex and intimacy being written about that it didn’t stop me.

    This zine also had single lines that really stuck out to me:

    ‘And who knows what I want, except me?’
    ‘…we were taught to take care of so much, not least our bodies which were never, ever ours.’

    Though the first line in the copyright note on the back was more about the laugh it gave me:

    ‘Don’t be a dick is a good rule, isn’t it!’

    By and large, the writing is incredibly vulnerable and open about such intimate things like sexual fantasy and self-pleasure that it gives the zine as a whole its own kind of beauty. It’s a zine of exploring thoughts but not presenting you with conclusions.

    If you think that sounds like the zine for you, then check out Intimacies Volume 1.

  • Zine Reviews

    Zine Review: Pieces #13 on being a romantic asexual

    Pieces #13 on being a romantic asexual
    IG: @corridorgirl

    Pieces #13 is a black and white quarter-sized perzine “on being a romantic asexual” that also serves as an introduction to asexuality and the asexuality spectrum.

    I hardly know where to start with Pieces #13. It’s one of those zines that I absolutely devoured and that left me with so, so much to think about. I like perzines, and I like learning things. This zine happened to be an intense combination of both.

    Aesthetically, Nichole’s zines have always been appealing to me (as mentioned in reviews of previous Pieces reviews). I do so love a thick quarter-sized zine, and I like how the cut and paste style is fun but not overly distracting from the writing.

    Oh, the writing.

    Nichole manages to be frustrated, informative, vulnerable, and many other things, all within one zine. While the pieces do cut from one to another – the intro being distinctly perzine, the laments being vulnerable, and the FAQ/comments responses being a mixture of many things. Nichole doesn’t need to say the obvious because feelings come through so clearly in the writing.

    There is a section in the back where Nichole responds to questions and comments regarding asexuality. I felt so, so frustrated that people could say and ask those things. At the same time, I have to respect Nichole for addressing them anyway.

    I found the spectrum of asexuality absolutely fascinating. Like many (I imagine), I was part of the problem in that I only ever saw it as the ‘you don’t’ side of ‘you do or you don’t’ when it comes to sex. I had no idea that there’s not only a spectrum but that there are other names as well. Thanks to this zine, I’ve not only learned things about asexual people but may have clarified a thing or two for myself as well.

    I think this is a great resource not only for people who are still figuring out the facets of their asexuality but also for anyone who has even a little open mindedness in learning more about asexuality. It’s a zine I want everyone to know about because I know it’ll be valuable to those who are looking for zines on the subject (and more beyond them).

  • Zine Reviews

    Zine Review: How to Talk to Your Cat About Abstinence

    How to Talk to Your Cat About Abstinence

    How to Talk to Your Cat About Abstinence
    The American Association of Patriots

    I received this in an awesome package from my US friend, Black Wolf, but I can’t for the life of me find the post… Anyway.

    I think this is one of the few zines that I have heard so much about that it risked not living up to how much it had been built up in my mind. Turns out I had nothing to worry about.

    It’s hard to know where to start with this one because I want to write about everything at once. There’s just so much going on here.

    How to Talk to Your Cat About Abstinence is a guide for parents of cats to help them talk to their cats about the importance of abstinence. On the surface, anyway. In reality, it is a very cheeky poke at the view that ‘no sex’ is the only way to keep the youth of today safe. It addresses questions like:

    *Do I really need to talk to my cat about abstinence?
    *What difficulties do kittens born from premarital sex face?
    *What are other things I can do to safeguard the purity of my cat?

    I like how this zine is printed on glossy paper – just like the information pamphlets you’d find in the doctor’s office (or other professional offices). Is it possible to have an ironic use of paper? I think so. It’s even full colour, sparing no expense over getting the word out about your cat.

    Okay, so the obvious thing that I haven’t touched yet in this review is the actual content behind the content. Taking the topic of ‘abstinence only’ teaching with religious leanings is bound to get some people up in arms, and it’s not going to be nearly as funny to some as it is to me.

    I’m not going to get into the issue itself, but I do think that putting the issue in this form this way is an excellent idea. It’s accessible, non-threatening…

    And, if you want, you don’t have to think too hard, and you can get a good laugh.

    I so very much want to read ‘How to Talk to Your Cat About Gun Safety’ and ‘How To Talk To Your Cat About Evolution’.

  • Zine Reviews

    Zine Review: Sex Industry Apologist


    Sex Industry Apologist
    By… Sex Industry Apologist?
    nine@jinxremoving.org (I have no idea if this email still works)

    I was very excited when I saw this zine (and part two). The sex industry is something that I find fascinating (well, sex in general, really), but I don’t think I know enough about any of it to form an opinion just yet. So to see a zine taking the subject on was very exciting.

    The first thing I feel I need to say is that this is a zine where I had to remember that I couldn’t judge it entirely on my expectations of it. While it’s certainly fine to mention when expectations aren’t met, I think it’s still important to review a zine (and anything else) for what it is. If we all judged things and people entirely on what we think they should be, then we’d be even more miserable.

    I got right into this zine expecting – I’ll be frank – a bit of humour and memoir-style ramblings about the sex industry. What is actually in this zine are pieces about what it is like to work as support for sex industry workers and the kinds of prejudices that can be found there. After brief introduction, there is an article about the sex industry. But after that, there are pieces – some shorter, some longer – about events, people, and the industry itself. While it does get a little annoyed at times with the blatant ‘believe any figure quoted without checking’ culture that seems to be around with people who are dead set against the industry, it more tries to look at what’s really going on – both for the sex workers and for the people who think they know it all.

    It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing zine, but the zine maker even admits that. The large texts blocks could overwhelm the casual browser, but it’s nothing an interested reader wouldn’t move past easily enough. The content is thought-provoking in ways I could have never expected. And yet, the zine-maker’s voice doesn’t shove anything down your throat. No preaching is a definite plus to something with this subject matter.

    The use of references in this zine does make it feel like it leans more towards essays, but I think that’s a good thing. I feel like there is a whole ‘sub-point’ of the zine that quietly and calmly reminds you to check your facts before

    Even better, there is a reference section in the back for further reading! Love.

    All up, I think you really do need to be interested in the sex industry at more of a ‘passing interest’ level to enjoy this zine. This zine isn’t out to entertain, it’s there to inform. This is quite different to a lot of other media out there, so it can take a bit of adjustment. It’s still definitely worth looking into.

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