PAPER AND INK #5
DAMN THE MAN
Editor Martin Appleby
Shitty Jobs. Our lives of revolving doors until something fits. Euphemisms, lies inside the classifieds. So lucky when one actually delivers the goods. We make excuses, until desperation wins. We take the abuse, the boredom, the pressure until we do a Peter Finch and the windows slam up.
Paper And Ink #5 dares to Damn The Man. What surprised me about this issue is just how many of the stories are about hospitality. I’ve never nodded so much empathy in my life. I have been in and out of the game forever, reviews I pop for shits and giggles. Anyway, love zines and this issue delivered.
Ffionn Purcell wakes us up lamenting the weekend, relishing the simplicity of preparing for the working week ahead. I often hear management parrot “they don’t fit into the culture of the place” They want machines in the name of productivity, another number. Megan Pattie’s Covering Letter 1357114 reminds me so much of this where one becomes insignificant. Soul destroying. It’s not long before I see his name. Joseph Ridgewell. Hey, I don’t care if I come over all gushy, but this guy excites. Pretty sure he saves his best for his ‘cult’ releases, but these amuse bouches he pops down our gobs are exquisite. I swear I have worked with his ‘Renata”. We all know the type and Joseph has her pegged quickly. The kind of person that finds “imaginary faults, making the job a thousand times harder than it actually was”. It is a bizarre personality trait, power trip, whatever. Joseph handles the whole scenario brilliantly. We get paid to do the strangest things and what better way to make up for any shortcomings in ones job, by breaking a rule or two.
Next, another great piece from Ford Dagenham. His is a picture of pressure that starts from above. A domino of bad mood, rules, screaming power trippers in a flailing health system. It’s not a pleasant place and would take a zen master to let it wash over. New name for me David Rosko’s Poem For A Failing Economy and I Was That Worker talk of structure and how basically all workers are fucked and the fantasies we all are prone to when we are in a job we despise. Equity by Lance Nizami and myself now connected. His poem sits inside my photograph that editor Martin Appleby placed so perfectly. It is a frame for his Marxist lament. Loved Dinosaur by Fikret Pajalic, great drama and dialogue inside a warehouse. John Dorsey, When Becky Was In Hollywood has a fun, bitter, bite and has to be a true story. Harriet Creelman has me searching for more of her work. I can tell I need to, just from those six lines. Jennifer Chardon, who I came across via an earlier Paper & Ink issue has an excellent piece called One Minute. Think she is having one of those days, existential angst without the rocking. Trying to feel present within the menial tasks and the frustration of believing that that might help, isn’t helping. Though writing wonderful pieces of literature like this certainly does.
Erica Plouffe Lazure thoroughly sprays revenge in her piece The Sauce as we head down to my town and microminimalist Trevor Crowe. Trev has a doctorate in shitty jobs. His hospitality rap sheet is worse than a council health inspectors clipboard and great fuel for his sad rainbows. Adrien Chen from Wired magazine comments on social media. Roy Moller’s Sex, Drugs and Key Performance Indicators is a breathless bombardment about the game of spreadsheets and graphs, a crescendo of excess and the question of what for? I really liked the layout in this issue. Each page has its own identity, which really suited Susanne Wawra. Susanne is a visual artist and poet from Dublin, her piece PLAY is in two parts and delves into how we lose our sense of play in our work. Meals by Mary Robles talks of the saddest jobs one can have, it is real and it hurts. So is animal rights activist Leane Bridgewater. She will definitely make you “think twice before you think your job is shit”
So happy to see Jose Arroyo’s art again as well as a quickie with his story Back To The Barter System. Pepe is the god of summer but with the vicissitudes of the seasons, only a great imagination can keep the pesos coming. I adored his story. There is more shared art and words on the page from Anggo Genorge, his poem stamped onto Sophie Pitchfords beautiful piece of derelict architecture. Eyes become bright again as I spy a name I know, Gwil James Thomas. The Mule’s Early Retirement says it all. Every line stings me with my own experience, what a poem indeed. Akua Mercy is back. Her words crush against oppression, the remedy – more than poetry. Like always I don’t want this Zine to end. This is my first read of writer U.V. Ray and if it has to end, Beneath Stars That Do Not Care is the best way to do it. With his great taste in music and world weariness, he has the final say “revolution is dead in the hearts of man, we have been battered into slavery”
Paper And Ink Zine and others from the UK like Joe England’s PUSH and Hand Job Zine are brilliant introductions to so many great writers from around the world. You’ll see many of these guys doing the rounds – the stories and topics just get better and better. Keep your eyes on submissions, the roll call forever changes. These compilers do all the hard work for us, finding the finest diamonds in the coal.
Find out more here
by Abbie Foxton
PAPER & INK #4
A LOSER A SINNER
Editor Martin Appleby
Places to read zines #1.
When you lose your kindle on holidays and you’re in a pub in Wales.
What a place to read a zine dedicated to Identity. Just outside this window is Conwy Castle. For those who have never heard of it, Conwy is a walled city on the coast of North Wales that was built to subjugate the Welsh. Edward 1 wanted them to be his subjects, he was a little upset, they didn’t recognise him as King, manhood issues etc. Anyway, amazing structure and strategies if you’re into that kind of thing. A kind of economic warfare existed. I’m more interested in the stone and lichen, days of bandits and bedlam, paths made between the trees. Trade came from the sea, so they picked a great location. Who are the winners? Identity. Language and culture is so strong inside these walls. Dragons hide in the beams. It would be fitting to just leave this zine here in this pub, in Conwy. Maybe continue its travels around the world, but I don’t want to have a gap in my collection.
Identity covers so many facets in life. Sexuality, politics, heritage what bands you like. We all need something to identify with even if it is nothing. In here, Joseph Ridgewell bangs the drum first, summoning the ghosts of family and bloodline. Susan Lelliott’s special coming out with Somebody’s Daughter is beautiful. On A Scale Of One To Ten – How Fucked Up Are You? Is damn good. Jennifer Chandon has an exploration of personalities and more to be discovered. Alice Ash’s You is a great study about identity, self esteem and the search for the one. Mark Safranko’s Rainbow Connection is a perfectly paced sense of self, life’s trials and sadness, comfort and joy. A strong elongated piece from Jared A Carrie and Lucas Howard’s, Name, Occupation – ‘we don’t even need a consciousness to exist in someone else’s dream’ are beauties.
Terence Corless held me. The Life And Times Of The Infamous Mario Botticelli, a skewiff air floats as he talks about his life, feelings and love. A glimpse in a round about way of what shapes us, what we are supposed to ‘like’ fed by media, his life static beyond a twilight zone. Rude Girl’s A Stream Of Conciousness Apparently reminds us just how alone we all are and how we all should be fine with that. Gwil James Thomas’ Nicknamed is a great giggler. His sense of humour regarding the basic form of our identity, ones name, is a right chuckle. Aptitude by Raef Boylan is a perfect example of identity re education. His story rises above the fear of not being good enough, his self deprecating epiphany, regret and identity seem to share a bench. The editor himself gets a stage as well. Martin Appleby finds himself in a ménage a trios of mistaken identity and a glimpse of what might be if he was the other Martin Appleby.
Some edgy pics pounce occasionally, Crystal Square by Alexander Bratell although dark, stills punches and Rebecca Snotflower on the back smells like zine spirit. Because is an excerpt from Dean Lillyman’s novel Billy And The Devil. A fitting piece because he seems so lost, his identity is onion layered, a great excerpt from an extraordinary book. Akua Mercy and Sonya Cheney sit side by side. Love lost and how it effects the self. Andrew Climance tells it in black and white, a snippet from the Squid Inc Publishers poetry collection ‘No Cans or Cartons, No Hot Or Smelly Food’. Lastly, a surprise for me. I know of Jose Arroyo’s artwork via the great literary zine PUSH. It was a joy to read his piece The Years Have Taught Me Nothing, killing time with a health check, his observations and unique look at the whole process and what it stirred in him was another standout.
Zines are usually limited runs, so you need to get in early. Hey, all available issues could have already been snaffled up. Just in case, check out Paper and Ink Zine’s website http://www.paperandinkzine.co.uk/ and look out for Issue 5 which should be out soon.
by Abbie Foxton