Mechanisms Of The Deep – Zine

image: Johnny Welch

image: Johnny Welch

Attracted to its black and white interior of mythology and dreams. Sydney film maker and photographer Johnny Welch has an interesting eye on life. I was lucky and thrilled to find it. Totally hidden under discounted astrology guides and comics in one of my favourite vinyl haunts. Mechanisms Of The Deep, found a home in my bag for a few weeks. Interesting thoughts live inside, four articles reveal what goes on in the unconscious mind. Let free, these ideas become vibrations that you can see. Conceptual nude photographs that stand out eerie and provocative. I get the sense that I am walking through a church or some private meditation. The rooms in which his model fills are empty. His mind illogical and irrational. His dreams infusing meaning. Stunning and dark images heal another cracked pysche. If you are lucky, limited edition prints or a hard copy of the zine might be found here.CNaz6bSUcAArGBk

Zines & Journals

James Knight

image James Knight

image James Knight

 

I am curious about the guy on the podium, he doesn’t look quite right. Cracking through my skin and bone to what’s inside. Dialogue randomly unmatching his dictatorial posing, a power poetic. It’s not long before his irreal plot forms. Slots in. Begins to turn and take shape in shadows and inner projections. More statements, yelled out like a comedien who’s ‘got a million of them’. All that’s missing is the cigar, the microphone and the fish. This is paranoid, frontal lobe processing. Things go on around him but all he sees is the primal chaos, what he is truly made of, reptilian complex of flesh and neurons, of pain and memory. You wouldn’t expect to smile at such things but you can’t help it. Each page becomes clearer. You become more absorbed and you breathe easy, you begin to laugh. Every part of him is unconnected, an outsider to himself. It is like a carnival of freaks inside a flapping tent, glimpsing scenes as the wind whips the red and white stripes from its pegs. His accompanying pictures more mutations than collage are brilliant. Words writhe inside his thrash scifi, clear messages about our lives, the creative process, where words come from, where images form. There is madness and then there is complete clarity. This is when the fun starts and the mirror people turn up and you start to understand that “smashing glass is the most beautiful sound in the world”.

The flies, the mannequins, the doorways. Like a fireworks display, a constant barrage of oohes and aahes.  There is Eve but no Adam. He has wonderful dreams. Though some would find them nightmarish, this is never mentioned. Spiders crawl out of mouths. Unexpected mind nasties he keeps hidden in jars. It is not really a story more echoes that pass uncomfortably. We form an unreal world to cope with what’s what, alter boy egos, and bad dreams. Scenarios that entertain him, that he can escape into. Mono is a coping mechanism. Mono is alone. Just when you think you are over a theme, James drags you back in for seconds. He cannot be killed, though he dies a lot. He never knows when to finish. This is perfect because the Bird King’s hell is just that. Forever trapped inside his dark mirror. James Knight is all his characters, the puppet master punched and duly showed. He is the oneirograph king. This is well documented. He steals your dreams. But don’t be scared it empowers. He stole mine, I adore his work. James isn’t into taking your soul, he knows our souls too well and has enough problems. So he hits hard. Words and visions smack the same way, straight into the kaleidoscope. This is not a story, more a book happening. His mind forever naked and we’ve all had those dreams, haven’t we.

You can purchase MONO here. James’s stories and more here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review
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Micheline Robinson – Artist

One of the places I frequently visit is New Zealand. North or South, these split islands are equally mind blowing in their beauty. Each so different. From the crazy thermal activity in the north, vineyards, glaziers to the stunning Remarkables in the south (so called, I gather, because they are just, ‘remarkable’). The beaches, long and lonely. Black sand to white winds, so much art on the shores. Weed formations, bleached bones, driftwood and stones. The land vibrates with energy, still growing and forming, so ancient and yet still finding itself. The rainforests, and rivers, Kauri trees, monoliths of wood oozing amber and stories of the past.

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‘Self Belief’ by Micheline Robinson

So there was something familiar when I first laid eyes on Micheline Robinson’s paintings. Originally from Ottawa, Canada then via the Wirral, UK, Micheline up roots and took the long journey to the Kapiti coast near one of my favourite groovy cities, Wellington. Outside the city, it doesn’t take long to find your own little wilderness. Micheline is absorbed in hers. Her studio a factory of her thoughts. Suspended glazed layers and mirrors of colour and emotion. She believes in focusing her perception on light and space. It is there she sees the patterns formed in the urban and the natural landscapes around us. You can see the curl of the ferns, the dense undergrowth, the sky and all the elements. Paintings that are maps of colour, the unseen layers she sees between the trees. It’s where you find her secrets.

Back when Micheline lived in England, she founded and organised The Open Studio Tour in the Wirral Peninsula, a collective that is still going strong today. Micheline now somewhat secluded is now stimulated by the gorgeous landscape that surrounds her.

Yes, my home, the landscape is enough to motivate me. I’m still in awe of everything I see and am happy to soak it all in then work away in my studio. I must admit I have become somewhat of a hermit since my move here.

The hermit life is very seductive, I am envious.

In the UK, I networked easily by going to art events in Liverpool, which I find a little trickier here, living that much further from an arts hub such as Wellington. However, I’m quite pleased with how things are, love that I can hop on a bike and see Kingfishers and horses then come back refreshed for a new day of painting. From the studio I hear the Tuis (which is a local bird with 2 voice boxes) and I am surrounded by trees. 

How bizarre, you wonder why one would evolve to need two voice boxes, and to have such colourful plumage. NZ is one of the kings when it comes to weird, exotic. I’ve seen those crazy Wetas.

When it comes to colour you use a huge palette, you’d think some of the tints in your landscapes are exaggerated. But if you have experienced the place you understand it is like a blending of things, the life that passes through as well. Like many visitors to New Zealand you must have felt that breathtaking awe, so much space and solitude, how did you react to the new landscape around you?

At first I felt the distance to the Northern hemisphere. It felt surreal to be here. I had never traveled so far South, let alone live this far away from my roots. I was in awe of how beautiful it was. I remember landing in Wellington and seeing all these white homes adorning little lush green mountains. The size of the palm trees and the colours in the landscape were things my brain had to absorb as part of a new reality. I was also struck with the rawness of the landscape in some areas. You can feel a sense of danger, of urgency living here. Perhaps it is the idea of being on a small island in the middle of an Ocean, the fact that trees are allowed to grow in a much freer way as they are living in conjunction with humans as opposed to being oppressed and tailored to human taste. The cliffs and the jagged volcanic type rocks adorning the sea coast of where I live

I always say it feels like the place could just stand up and start walking, it feels like you are on the back of an animal.

I still feel this experience as surreal. Some days I forget and am part of a normal society and then other days, it hits me. Especially when I walk at night and see the milky way (something I couldn’t see living on the coast in the UK). I feel much more connected to earth living here. Earth in the sense of nature but also of its place in our universe

Yes the Cathedral of stars just stops you in your tracks. You feel so minuscule. Besides yourself what artists adorn your walls and are close to your heart?

Artists that are close to my heart, quite a few. I would say Emily Carr was one of my first influences. Today I love artists that push the language of paint forward, artists such as Dil Hildebrand, Cecily Brown and Ibrahim Hussein. In my home I have mainly works collected from artists I have known personally throughout my life and images and books from artists that I have always loved such as Jack Shadbolt. I would love to own a Michael Abraham as he was a great inspiration when I started out in Vancouver.

Emily Carr, wonderful colour impression, her forest is a dark flow. I wonder if you have found or have always been drawn to the indigenous connection of place through your work

Yes, there seems to always be a recurring theme of nature in my work. As a child it was a place of solace as had often found humans to be quite complicated creatures. I love the urban but my work seems to be drawn to places that bring us outside of our circumstances. I do tackle political issues quite frequently in my work but often through a nature context. When there was the Lybia uprising against Gadaffi for example, I did a painting of an empty shell (broken regime) on top of a white blanket (in which he was wrapped). The whole scene was of a seaside but it was a metaphor for what was happening.

The curl of ferns, the dense undergrowth, wall of nature you are experiencing now is very different to The Wirral.

Yes, very different. I do miss the beach that went on for miles at low tide on the Wirral and the sound of the migrating birds in their thousands at take off, but the wall of nature is amazing in NZ and have tried to depict it in my newest works. The sense of urgency we experience when we are confronted with raw nature. This experience is for me in some way an antidote to our obsessiveness with the problems we experience between ourselves as humans. There seems to be a disconnect in societies between nature and ourselves. Perhaps why I focus on it in my art.

Another reason why it is appealing for me trapped in this big city. You make us forget what you have described as “geopolitical boundaries of our world that allows the viewer to connect, regardless of experience” I glimpsed only a few photographic explorations that you have done. Very different to your painting. Still bold in it’s stained glass of colour but more of an exploration of micro movements, beautifully abstract. Your sand looked as if you were going to blow away like a little tumbleweed. Sand and glass, I see your works as windows. You can just imagine the light changing them. So is photography something you might explore more of or have explored in the past or is the smell of paint too addictive?

I love photography. I have always loved it but have not as of yet had the money to properly invest in equipment. However this year am planning on getting a new camera (a bit of a debate between that and a Cubase type workstation as also compose music :)). Photography does feed my art. Not in a copying context but it allows me to notice things around me in a different way. It has helped in developing an eye for compositions and also allowed to get closer to the details of my subjects. I first invested in a better camera to capture the birds in flight on the Wirral. I do have the photography bug and am now ready for a more advanced camera that will have better resolution and really bring forth what I see. 

More of Michelines paintings and projects can be found here.

You can also connect with her on twitter

Art

PUSH zine

 

PUSH’s second anthology is now officially launched and ready to rumble. Many back issues of this brilliant lit zine are now out of stock, but these anthology’s are a great place to find some of the writers, images, poems and interviews that editor Joe England has put together over the years.

You can pick up a copy here

fLYER

 

Ahh Summer in England, memories of living on The Fylde. Seagulls so big they could carry a small child over the crear soaked fences and into the sky if they were hungry enough. Epic pub crawls from Lytham St Annes to Fleetwood. Local bus rides to Lidls for 9p beans and jars of Glabveh or whatever was on special and looked liked it contained something edible. I was broke but having fun. Trapped living, working and renting in England. I lasted all through winter hanging out for my Illuminations bonus. That was the year someone stole one of the horses from the giant Merry-Go-Round near Bispham. Something snapped my romantic notions of this old seaside resort that day. The place started to look a little tired, it felt like it was giving up. Even the fish and chips started to taste…different. I did love living there though. Spent loads of time in bars with carny folk and real characters. Usually runaways from all over. I met a girl called Juanita, wasn’t her real name, think is was Susan, all gums, very popular lass. So, why I am getting all nostalgic and rabbiting on about donkeys? Well may you CL3ZBxYUYAA89frask, but it’s cause this weekend PUSH editor extraordinaire Joe England has donned his ‘Kiss Me Quick’ hat and is strolling down the promenade as I type this. Joe’s been checking out some choice punk survivors and the new breed at the Rebellion Festival, Winter Gardens in Blackpool this weekend. This Rebellion festival has an epic line up this year. The Misfits, Sham 69, Buzzcocks, Hugh Cornwell, The Sweet for bloomin’ sakes. You wouldn’t have had to ask me twice to go to this local event.  Now back home in Sydney, I have my vinyl addiction to keep me company, getting my Brit Lit kicks through great zines like Joe’s PUSH. I hope to read all about his adventures on the Literary Stage where he was talking all things, well… lit, including his 2nd ‘Best Of ‘anthology PUSH 2 via East London PressfLYERI finished reading my PUSH ‘Summer Special’ ages ago. But I was waiting for this particular weekend to share it. The stories inside with the big bright red flashing Waltzer on the front cover will whip you harder than the wind from the Irish Sea. It has a great cover, makes ones eyes wide with memories. Mad times at the Pleasure Beach, honorary ‘Sandgrownun’ me, though think this one is from another time, another pier.

Regular PUSH contributor Michael Keenaghan’s piece is one big bender. The Death Of A Party centres around reminiscence, London brit pop, real stories, slight twists. All the biggies are there Blur, Oasis – remember that war. It’s about being in bands, and not quite making it. It’s about struggle and the roller coaster of addiction. Then there is Robert Chalmers Hot Dogs With Everything written with a beautiful brogue that cannae be described, it will leave you gobsmacked. I really enjoyed the interviews in this Summer Special that Joe has interspersed throughout the lit. Three interviews help you get your breath back from the insanity of the stories. Great meaty pieces, his relaxed style gets some decent star copy. Thurston Moore’s one, for me, the highlight of this issue. And right up there was the interview with Bluebagger, author of Ultraviolet, A Glastonbury Tale who shared the stage with Joe at the Rebellion festival. His book is more about “the unseen culture that only those who went to festivals in those days would know about”. There is also Ian Cusack’s great chat with long time acquaintance Johny Brown from The Band Of Holy Joy about his 38 years “involved at the margins of the music industry”. Cool to know and look forward to their album release next month. As per usual, PUSH, packed a nice little issue to wind out the lighter days with. Ending with the superb J Currie’s Locked Up and Mark SaFranko’s The Trouble With Cars, I know I am really going to be craving this excellent calibre of writing while Joe and PUSH zine are on a short (I hope) hiatus. Supposedly tackling other stories and his other love, West Ham football club. In the meantime, a few quid and a plane ride away, I have PUSH 2 anthology to purchase and read to keep the lit fiend in me satiated until its return. I know it will, I asked Gypsy Lee to take a look in her crystal ball.

 

PUSH

Literary Zine number 16

Keys, check.
Opal card, check.
Money, just enough.
Phone, charged.
Note book, yes.
Pen, you never know.
Lipstick, red.
Zine – Go!

PUSH number 16. West Ham’s latest pin up girl, Debbie, on the cover *drool* and in full colour, really brings out those sky blues. I see the fist and know Tim Wells is in the house. The Column Inches. Could be about a woman, could be about West Ham, either way love is confusing and his piece is solid and self knowing. Zines bring out the real in a sugar coated saturated mainstream. Nothing could be truer than when this harsh play by p.a.levy turned my gut one page in. A hard hit. “I’m electric, the ghost is cold” Someone so hurt, that their idea of love is a “far flung magical kingdom” shocked me in Deeds Not Words In Five Acts. Mesmerised by the pain, repulsed by the realities. For a few moments, I had to look at buildings, to stop the images I had just witnessed. Then I read it again. Compelling. I moved locations, and settled into the sun to see where else Editor, Joe England, would take us. CHVrlkIUYAAtNEO.jpg largeNo amount of light was going to save me. I was now resigned to the fact that I was going to be entering into these writers dark matter, this wasn’t going to be easy. Anette Roller’s maternal word beauty lifts her character’s predicament of lies and promises, pain and rage in Handsome Devil, when madness enters the room. I’m seeing a theme, or maybe not. All I feel is trepidation, like a curry, hot, the flavour too good to surrender from the heat of it, I continued. Simon Dent’s Gunships sad truth and Michael Pederson’s crazy pub convo in …Meadowbank, poignantly leads into Geraldine Quigleys, The Mark Of The Hydra. Religion, politics and grudges, how punk saved the life of a boy from Derry. This issue has a cheeky centre in Jenni Doherty. Strange String Fellows, a symphony of saucy poetics, gongs, strong. Onto Ian Cusack and one hell of a lucky bugger in Them That Are Carried. It is an excellent story of one man’s walk through life. Peter Burnett’s There Are No Apple Bastards In Larkhall laments sectarian songs, still fighting old battles that chant forever. Michael Keenaghan‘s Easy Money like a modern kitchen sink, dramatising the young, desperate and gullible. It left a sadness in my smile. I’m beginning to discover what a terror Dean Lillyman must have been or still is. Shenanigans written with his unique perspective is wonderful, misspent youth revisited. This issue is filled with ‘right dodgies’, and no better than characters Darren and Wayne in The Chain. This has Joseph Ridgewell‘s fingerprints all over it. A test of ‘just how fucked up can I make this character?’ which leads to ‘just how fucked up can he make my mind?’ as I hop on city rail home. Now, every face I see has a sordid secret and a soundtrack to go with it. Ford Dagenham’s Laugh Our Death Away, should be sung, so emphatic, so true. Then there is Amelia by Martin Hayes. Unobtainable and tragic, suddenly I see a theme again. Is this love? Once the cover closed on PUSH sixteen, its heartsick voice squeezed back inside its sleeve. Fifty odd pages stayed in my mind for a long time, a few more authors discovered, more words I must find.

A short note on images.

The cover photography of Hukins/Lilleyman. Individually they have their own fresh eyes, their passion for it shows. Jose Arroyo’s intricate woodcuts displayed in this issue in panels, a collage of deep emotion. The nicks in the wood, his heart shown. Always worth a walk and wander is the photography and work of Paul Talling and his love of derelict London.

Remember short press runs means get in quick!

buy PUSH issue sixteen here

 

 

PUSH

literary ZINE no.14

editor Joe England

 

unnamed 2Nuclear Medicine Facility. Two hours, waiting. Kandinsky’s poetry strokes the walls and the chairs are extra comfy. It wasn’t going to take me long to make myself at home. I flick through some airbrushed dreams and watch the conga of shuffling patients on their way to the zapping room. Arms high linked to vines of iodine, stilling me in a room of pings and Manilow.

I look up at a large sign. No Mobile Phones. WTF? I rummage in my bag for entertainment. There is an unopened bank statement, lip gloss, tampons and a yellow highlighter. I start to draw. Bored, I dig deeper – Salvation! Right at the bottom, packed up against a hardened single serve cup-a-soup is Issue 14 of PUSH. Brilliant! Requiring no electricity, I do a quick head check, tuck legs under and glimpse the nurses station just in case I’m breaking any other rules and open its stiff face.

That was my first taste of PUSH. The cover all urban beauty boarded & condemned, but with a facade you just know is still well lived in. It’s a compelling pic by Paul Talling and for this eye, derelict is very chic and close to my heart. PUSH was shoved my way when I stumbled upon the excellent review by Kit Cayliss on the Best of The First Ten Issues Anthology launch – Momentum And Memory: PUSH Magazine – Poetry At The Gates http://thequietus.com/articles/16959-push-literary-zine-football-west-ham-fanzine-joe-england. I was curious as to what I had been missing and especially keen not to miss out ever again. That ten issue celebration, bound in blue, is now on a plane heading my way http://eastlondonpress.bigcartel.com/product/push-the-best-of-1-10. That’s another beautiful quirk of a zine. Limited runs sell out quick. When they are filled with writers like these, you want to be ready to pounce. Now that I am addicted to the format of Literary Zines, I need the pure stuff, the original short runs that keep paper and print alive. A quick blink through the contributors info has me excited. Names I know, towns and football teams I can empathize with.

I’m eased into what looks like a woodcut print, two footballers by Jose Arroyo, which brings me to publisher and editor Joe England. Joe sells PUSH the old fashioned way, outside games and gigs, a tradition the likes of Sniffing Glue, When Saturday Comes and many other passionate’s championed. What’s left is offered online and word of mouth. There is a heart to PUSH that is rarely represented by the mainstream publishers, you won’t see this in digital format. This is all about texture, great writing you can easily dip in and out of, mark with tea rings and thumbprints. Mine is already a mess. I’ve pulled it out on trains, buses, in queues, and at lunchtime shared with co-workers whose quick skims have turned into “can I borrow this”.

No wonder. Writer P.A. Levy comes out with an early goal with The ‘We’ Lies. This couple is drifting. Its ‘West Ham V’s Simone Weil’ storyline is as beautifully real as it is poetic. Michael Keenaghan’s Cally Blues is as tense as the last kick in a penalty shoot out. Great drama, real banter which seems to be a common thread in a lot of these pieces. English poet Tim Wells’ Thai Crack Chicken Lady is a delight, warm as chilli fingers, his style has left my belly grumbling. Wayne Holloway’s epic King Bun flies with a montage of image. For me this has a touch of the ‘Shaver Mysteries’ about it, a forteana life of it’s own truth or fiction. Set in the 1930’s Georgie Boy Pallen is angry and might be a few sandwiches short of a picnic. His story is to be continued, an old style trick of serialisation that I love. Writer Dean Lilleyman’s Seventeen smacks ya. He mouths off fast leaving one breathless and smiling, gasping at the adrenalin rush of words that is magic. Another bonus of all these writers is finding all their other work, their own literary releases. Like Joseph Ridgewell. His submission 7/7 ‘s look at mass panic in the London underground, survival instincts and a first hand witness to tragedy gave me goose bumps and crystal eyes. Just another writer whose work I will investigate.

Paper & Ink Zine’s Martin Appleby’s piece is as quick and sweet as a Buzzcocks B Side lament. Paul Reaney has your life laid out in two pages. Jim Gibson pic derelictlondon.comintroduces us to a nasty piece of work called Skeb Again? Johno’s old friend, crazy as a cut snake, and on the streets, is a chilling read. You feel his anxiety and just know this ain’t going to end well. Punk Aesthetics now plagued by his “Creeping Nihilism” Gary Budden’s Up And Coming was another stand out. Last night at The Stockwell Arms, “standing in venues where the term shithole would be an aspiration”. Generations there for the send off, even those with “Jackets a bit too clean, badges yet to rust”.

The final pieces Gwil James Thomas’s Dick Head Poem I immediately loved and Ian Cusacks The Bogus Man. Bryan Ferry is god and the price of love is painful when pheromones are calling. Raymond Gorman’s Friends & Enemies sits centred and doesn’t budge with the strength of conviction. John Tait’s Snake Blood Shots broke my heart while Ford Dagenham did the summing up on life with his lyrical Living Jism.

PUSH 14 was well worth the fiver. My copy is already scarred from sharing an inch away from my knives, dogeared in battle, stained and shelved now. I sniff and yearn for England. Now over read and rough handled it makes a pretty addition to the words I found inside.

(this issue is sold out but will be included in future anthology) You can find all things PUSH via http://www.pushmagazine.co.uk/index.html

Connect w Joe England via twitter @JoeEnglandBooks https://twitter.com/JoeEnglandBooks

 

 

 

Zines & Journals

Remembering Hiroshima

Sadako And The Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr

When I visited Pearl Harbor Memorial it coincided with a naturalisation ceremony on top of the de-commisioned battleship USS Missouri – its upper deck the venue where Japan formally surrendered on September 2 1945 in Tokyo Bay ending World War II. You can see photographs, original paperwork and a plaque that marks the spot – atomic muscle proving to be a persuasive solution and as we know, leaving an aftermath of death and illness when Enola Gay dropped the ‘little boy’ on Hiroshima on Aug 6 1945.

The ship was a buzz of proud families, clicking candid moments as one hundred new citizens originally from places like Brazil, Benin, Germany, Kuwait, Russia, South Korea, Jamaica, Switzerland made the United States of America their new homeland. I heard a woman being interviewed, ecstatic, waving her flag and bursting with emotion. She said how happy she is to belong to the country that gave her all her opportunities. She now looks forward to elections, when she always felt like an outsider because she couldn’t vote – where she was born, people died for that right.

imagesPearl Harbor turned out to be a very reflective place for me but not for the most obvious reasons. Sure, include the bottom line – for those that died and all affected by that day. I can only imagine the fear and suffering of such an event and I am in a constant state of pained nausea if I let my mind wander to all the atrocities of war past and present.

The memorial itself run by the National parks trust is done with solemnity and respect. If you’re into the strategies of battle you will be satiated. You can take photos in front of missiles, straddle torpedoes, view planes and walk through an impressive museum that tells both sides of the story.

On my visit, I was taken on a different journey of war. In the visitors centre was a display highlighting a book for International Peace Day. Sadako And The Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr. Sadako, an original Hiroshima survivor was diagnosed with leukemia at age 12. To help gain courage, Sadako’s friend gave her a folded paper crane and reminded her of the Japanese legend – if a person is ill they will have their wish granted if they fold a 1000 paper cranes. Besides wishing for her own health, Sadako wished for world peace with every crane she folded.rainbow

So I purchased a copy and began reading the slim tome whilst exploring the grounds. Every spare moment between exhibits I read a few pages. This precious flower folded these cranes using whatever paper she could find, from medicine labels, newspaper and paper donated by friends, the distraction of it keeping Sadako strong as she faced her mortality – a heart wrenching realisation when someone so young and innocent is caught up in the mess of others. I read bits of the book on the park bench, in front of fat sparrows, I read more sitting on the grass as red faced finches hopped and feasted on some micro seed heads. More pages are turned sitting on a boat on the way to the water memorial, my concentration stolen by the most magnificent fully formed double rainbow as it framed the grey.

oil slickWhen you walk on the memorial itself, a silence takes over and you stare up at the black embossed names of those lost and interned in the ships grave. Over the edge the oil still seeps after seventy or more years, it’s old life’s blood forming an amazing colour spectrum on the surface of the water. Looking at the rusted bones itself nature has taken over. A new beautiful reef of coral, weed and fish shimmy distracting and easing the pain and enormous weight of grief of the Dec 7 1941 attack.

Tears streamed down my face as I finished her story. Sadako died October 25 1955 – she didn’t get to finish her cranes. This book caressed and stirred me more than any of the steely strength of ships and weaponry, code breaking, tactics and casualties could. You can’t sugar coat the realities of war, but now Sadako’s life story, however short, has become a beautiful symbol of peace and I am one the richer for discovering her message in such an unexpected place.

Book Review

Hand Job Zine

The Zine gods have been against me. A truly bizarre conspiracy. For months now, I have longed for a Hand Job, that lit zine that teased me from afar. John Cooper Clarke held his copy, I’d read the blog, all the accolades. The deal was set, it was on it’s way. Then one rainy morning around 7am there was a knock at the door. I opened it blurry eyed and see the guy from the share house down the road, holding an empty envelope. It was wrapped inside a plastic bag with a Royal Mail explanation printed in bold black ink on its cover. He, was all hunched, and not making eye contact. Holding it out to me by his fingertips, like it contained anthrax. “Think this is for 41 not 47” he mumbled and scurried off. Totally surreal. I closed the door and shook off the water, examining it like CSI whatever. Checked out some likely suspects and discovered yes, it was my zines. WAS! being the correct word. As it seems now they were strewn like decoupage in the bottom of a wet ER postbox somewhere in England. The Queen was very apologetic. So I broke the news to Hand Job HQ and a week later a new bundle arrived fresh and dry. Three issues from the vaults, a time capsule of how their style has developed and a who’s who of great British indie lit.

CLjvTS4UMAAWXL0The manifesto hasn’t changed ‘Anarchy and Freedom’ just no more cut and paste shadows or bright red hand stitching. Gone all ‘la-de-dar’ as they say. In doing so they have lost none of their edge, cut with a sharper blade it feels somehow louder. The layout by Sophie Pitchford is stunning, playing with space and alignment, making the read flow without effort. Her photography that I have seen is superb. Of course having great writers, artists and photographers to layout helps make the whole process feel like it just naturally falls into place on the page.

So, to the writers and Issue 7. All the best lit zines in Britain seem to have a Ridgwell up their sleeve. This first story actually sounds like a typical night in his company. ‘The young, hungry and rejected by mainstream‘ creating ‘the culture you deserve. We are the SHAMBLEISTS, Now Fuck Off!‘ Such a bitterly creative spleen vent. Frustration and anger turn into characters. Helter Skelter is a ‘right on’ table turner. A fantastic mad fantasy based somewhat on the truth of trying to become a writer. Great to see Joe has just added a few new releases to his shelves of limited editions. Ridgwell Stories via Bottle Of Smoke Press and Burrito Deluxe via Leamington Books are both well worth a squiz.

So back to HJ and I land inside Ian Cusack’s Universe Of Life. This feels like a sigh of intergalactic integration into the big lights of London. A grinning one pager that I really enjoyed.  Andrew Climance’s thoughts on his grandmother are as soft and comforting as a hug in her dressing gown. Recalling and really only understanding that day of grief years later through poetry.  If two snippets from Dean Lillymans’ brilliant novel Billy And The Devil via Urbane Publications doesn’t pique your interest, a quick look at his website surely will. Baby Sitting and Jack Is My Dad’s Dog attack all my senses. Specifically illustrated by Paulina Kalwarska, it becomes hyper real, beautifully ugly. Very much like the feelings the somewhat disturbing This Could Be A Good Thing by James Collin Kelly evokes. Each character speaking in turn. Each their own agenda. Three worlds and the collision in my mind cripples me.

3 Poems by Gwil James Thomas, titles that are poetry themselves, Things Shouted At A Full Moon Whilst Howling Like A Drunk, Rabid Dog – Poem Scribbled Onto A Sick Bag At Thirty Thousand Feet and my favourite Reflecting On Everything That I Loved About Your Art Exhibition… totally agree on the “bring back free toys in cereals” bloody nanny state! Paul Heatley’s 40p conversation is a well written piece straight out of the pages of experience. Mathew Williams saucy silhouettes compliments Neil Laurenson’s Under the Obscenity Act. Time, death and National Archives often reveal all sorts of what the’s? One no more bizarre then Maggie and her aversion to sex toys. Worried about injury, and inspired by the rants of crazy Mary, she wanted them all banned…just think she wasn’t using hers right. Which brings me to Suzie Cichy’s illustrations. Doodles of doodles and bottles of plonk – just hilarious. Like a nightmare of identikit images from a tv binge of Embarrassing Bodies, but it’s a nice little breather. There are some beaut pics in this issue, including some artwork which is best viewed on Hand Job’s website. The Plutocrat by Michael Powell focuses on the polarization of wealth. His annotation makes a powerful matter-of-fact statement on society. Then there is Mick Marston who, to me, had a touch of the Clockwork Orange‘s about this piece, not quite sure why it sings to me like that, maybe it’s the menace of a big eyeball. Farmers Market Of Organic Egos, well need I say more, Colin James says it all in an anaphylactic nutshell. Finally it’s time to Wander the dichotomy of dreams “Through peacocked feathered, Waterfallen beauty” editor Jim Gibson had me at ‘slag heaps’ a great piece and street scape to match. I now have a new boyfriend, his name is Magic Mike New Year, New Me.  But I think the only thing he strips is lead from church porches. Apparently he may be dead. Great Zine.

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Art Poetry Zines & Journals

No Time For Love

Chloë Sevigny zine

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It started with Larry Clark’s 90’s jaw dropper Kid’s, twenty years later and she never grows up.  Her dark doe circles and uber cool fashion sense, Chloë Sevigny, has seen her life in the tabloids. The ultimate page 6 girl. Who’s who and who’s doing who to who. Chloë seems to wear New York Post gossip like a badge of honour, especially when it comes to her personal life. So here she swings it back. Such a cute zine, like it was put together on a floor on a rainy day, No Time For Love is a collection of photos of the men she has loved through her life and secrets and mishaps via newspaper clippings. Personal photos from photo booths to polaroids, friends clicked images at parties and clubs, kissed, sweating, blurred and natural. Stickers hide the identities of Chloë’s heart, No Time For Love published by Innen Zines it is now part of an impressive list of artzines to be released by graphic designer and publisher Aaron Fabian. Zine heads be warned, this is high end in price and probably more for fans of Chloë. One thing though, you definitely get a sense that this comes from authentic hands.

Art Zines & Journals