more zines

So, not a great day to fly to Berlin but at least I can sit out the delays at the airport by doing a bit of blogging (on a borrowed laptop I hasten to add). It makes me feel quite the sophisticated international traveller, I can tell you.

History Is Made At Night on Zines, Blogs and the Historical Record.

The issue of archiving is intriguing, digital information is supposed to be permanent but actually most people are only one crash away from losing pretty much everything. And matters are not helped by people deleting their old blogs (stand up heronbone and stelfox) because they feel they’ve moved on, or getting them hijacked by casino website spam (the original

Maybe knowing you can do that makes the writing more disposable as well, I don’t know. Sure you can catch glimpses of some things via or the google cache, but many things (especially pictures) are not picked up.

Having said that, I’m not sure zines are all that available after the fact either. There are things I have been casually trying to find for a while and either haven’t been able to or haven’t wanted to pay collectors’ prices. But as with vinyl, the search is something I enjoy doing in my own nerdy way.

As a callow twentysomething I was always bemused by DIY publishers who sent off their material to the British Library and the various zine archives which cropped up from time to time (and I always assumed were a way of people blagging lots of zines without giving anyone access to them).

Stewart Home was the master of archiving. He used to send everything, every press clipping, every newsletter, every copy of SMILE magazine he produced to the Victoria and Albert Museum for their archive. Apparently an intern there was once tasked with finding out whose archive was the most voluminous and Mr Home’s certainly weighed the most.

So I guess I should get around to sending some Woofahs to the British Library (but they can’t have my archive copies of issue 1, oh no).


Also: JamesR over at Soundtracks for Them with an interesting overview of the Dublin zine scene.

I like the title “Romancing The Photocopier”. It reminds me of the Mark Pawson shirt I used to have which had a big back print of a canon copier, and “I (heart) (toner symbol)” on the front. It generated a lot of confused responses from people who assumed I was into snooker, or thought I was a photocopier engineer who was very proud of his job.


  1. Hey John, it is worth sending to archives…. and I started doing it when I wanted to read stuff and couldn’t find it in places I was using like British Library, National Art Library and Tate Library back in the mid-eighties…. My teenage zines weren’t sent to these archives… but it amazes me that people are able to turn up copies of stuff I did in an edition of 100 and that I don’t have (although only odd issues there is no complete run)… The reason I don’t have them is that I covered Crisis a lot in the 1979/80 period and Doug “Dog-Poo” Pearce ‘borrowed’ all the masters for that coverage and never returned them… I found out years later he’d thrown away all the pages that didn’t mention him. narcissistic fascist wanker! So it is worth sending them off to the deposit places, and incidentally they’ve just changed how you do that… with everything going to Yorkshire now not just the BL stuff… I guess A. T. Smail has finally retired….. Trust you’re having fun in Berlin now and weren’t too delayed….

  2. excellent site, ticks all the right boxes, one small point – you can get to Berlin without flying, dont mean to sound petty/smug but these things matter

  3. Hi Skinner, glad you like the site. We had a discussion about flying vs trains and other stuff yesterday funnily enough. In this instance my flight was paid for by someone else, so there wasn´t really a lot of choice. Plus it#s not like i’m constantly jetting off round the world… but yes you a right and it is good to be reminded that the default option is not always the best one!

    Stewart – AT Small! I’d forgotten about that guy – when I worked for a book publisher in Euston I used to nip out and drop our copies off in person.

    Berlin has been completely wicked but more about that soon…

  4. i didn’t delete a thing. its still there.
    its just harder to access, which is bloggers fault not mine.

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