Saturday, 26 February 2011

Fallowfield Zine Fair

Zine (n): Fanzine, by shortening.

Above Trof bar in Manchester's student housing town Fallowfield, there's an outlet called The Art Corner.

On 12th February a tiny hub of creative types converged to give us a zine fair, offering hand-made publications on a range of niche topics. As a bastion of the written word, I felt I should investigate.

Members of Manchester's literary youth offered design-based publications like Direction Magazine, which the creators had put together using the theme of “reality”. Their next issue will be woven around the concept of “atmosphere”. If you'd like to know more or are even ready to contribute, drop Ben and Ste a line on Ask them about their recent exhibition of work at Chorus Bar, around the corner from Trof.

Ask them for directions to Chorus well, as Google doesn't seem to know it.

The lovely ladies at Threads and Letters zine tempted me in with free cupcakes. Their publication covers the sewing together of literature and textiles. They have a blog too. Learn how to make your own bat puppet here:

Adding a graphic novel slant to the fair, Manchester blogger Fat Roland has reinvented Edward Lear's nonsense-poem, The Owl and the Pussycat in pictorial form.
Here's the original:

For more info, here’s Roland’s blog:

I applaud all of these trying to make this work, but I was dubious as to how successful zines could be in an era of the internet. There’s free fiction and journalism in abundance online, so I wasn’t sure that selling photocopied sheets under the guise of “zines” was going to take off, no matter how good the writing. With the rise of 4G mobile phones with masses of internet capabilities, could the zine scene thrive or will it be recycled?

Having asked that, a free copy of Shrieking Violet Issue 11 that I picked up shed some light. Covering events in Manchester, the zine is well-written and informative, although the tiny text in huge blocks was a bit of a struggle, even for a non-glasses-wearer. It also answered my above question- why make zines?

It’s the sensation of holding the paper in your hand,” says contributor Sam Bail in the zine. “I like the idea of people finding the magazine in random places, caf├ęs, record shops, and it makes it seem like a present.”

Well, in all fairness, I did read it cover-to-cover. Who does that with a blog-style online magazine with 200 posts? Not me.

I suppose the you could leave the printed zine in places that people with specific interests could find it- imagine fashion zines discreetly hidden in clothes shops (managers won’t be happy, but do it if you dare), zines hidden in printed magazines in WHSmiths, and cooking and recipe zines left in the trolleys in Tesco.

As opposed to dishing out your writing to other publications, making your own zine requires you to not only be a good storyteller / journalist, but to have a marketing brain as well. Where will you find the people who will listen to what you want to say?

The more of this blog post I write, the more I warm to the idea of making a zine. I was sceptical when I first walked into the Art Corner, but now the event, and idea of developing a fanzine, has made me a zine- fan.

1 comment:

Fat Roland said...

Ooo, I've just realised... I didn't do the Owl & The Pussycat. It was all the work of Vivmondo: I was just at the zine fair trying to look cool.