LOW LIGHT MAGAZINE

LOW2Pinch me hard. Page after page of Poetry, Prose, Photography & Journalism. I knew Low Light Magazine would attract some furious talent but this read has gone way beyond my expectations. The cover itself, its layout, represents for me a beautiful industry of minds inside. Smokin’ hot and ready to share and encourage the creative factory that is Hi Vis Press.

Now Hi Vis evolved from a nicked paper, scissor fun, sensibility. Hand Job Zine was brilliant and brought together a plethora of underground writers fit to burst. I was sad to hear that Jim & Sophie were moving on from that, but new collaboration with co-editor Ben Williams and the pooling of ideas has spawned a brilliant monster.

To truly understand what is out there, you must investigate the darkness as much as the light

The contrast in these pages is gobsmacking and beautiful. Sophie’s Pitchford‘s design and style is a standout. The index page itself a work of art. This shows the care and love these guys have for their contributors. They know the drive of unheard voices, their work complementing each other as each page is turned. Even the paper stock is class, with a font size fit for these old birds eyes is perfect. I haven’t touched a magazine so intimately in so long.

Murmaid’s Purse by Anneghem Wall is the first poem to dwell inside. Instant transportation, salt and a seadog’s smirk. Nieves Mingueza’s photography is fascinating at every angle. It’s not until you get your bearings within the dream do you turn and see the truth, mesmerizing. Whitehawk by Jack Fleming is a photographic series exploring masculinity, incorporating inspiration by the recent works of artist Grayson Perry. With memories still fresh in my mind from Grayson’s My Pretty Little Art Career here in Sydney, I see the tapestry of connection, the same faces glazed on vases in the semi gloss of black and white.

Jamie Thrasivoulou‘s recent poetry collection was an excellent read a few months back so it is a great pleasure to find him here with a short story that returns me to his way of seeing. Stevie Slash And The Party Tricks isn’t a new band from Derby, it is a story about glass tables, glassy eyes and a night of violence via the rip-snorted oogled brain of Mr Slash who takes down some toffs and shares his charm amongst the party of shocked onlookers. No lessons here, just a slice of night via a drug fueled rampage. You can find a copy of Jamie’s The Best of A Bad Situation through Silhouette Press.

I have watched JJ Fiction’s photography evolve from the sidelines for a few years now. These shots chosen and interspersed throughout the mag compliment the aura of low light. Jesus on the wall is an evocative image, I can hear J’s gasp when he found it, CLICK! He gets another shot in, this time through graffiti smears into the night. Check out Jason’s blog and twitter for more outstanding words and images.

Cover shot honour’s went to the amazing A Routine Search’s Alex Brown. More work through the flicks reveals Happiness, a noir suburbia of angst that pierces through the page. This work is breathtaking in its everyday minimal realism.

Joy of joys, Joe’s back. A Little Bit Of Soap is more travel yarns from one of my favourite underground writers, Joseph Ridgwell. Complete with another batch of pirate acquaintances, in another paradise lost. Business is bad and the “long hot night of oriental futility” has lost its sheen. This seems like a quick bite, a deep fried cricket, not the Royal feast I’m used to when it comes to Ridgwell. His book Burrito Deluxe available through Leamington Books is on my classics shelf and hope more gems like that will materialise in 2018.

Low Light Magazine offered some nice earners with submissions. A tantalising boost that will surely stand them out and inspire contributors for future issues. Best Poetry Prose inside this here goes to Brenda Birenbaum for her extraordinarily woven reality of family, addiction and truth with Obituary. Nieves Mingueza sits side by side within an haunting friendship. Ewan Waddell takes us on a longer journey with his story about hitchhiking with his mate Ollie from Burgas to Plovdiv. Being a bit of spontaneous, not quite thought out madness, they find themselves stranded with little hope of getting to their destination without spending the night in unfamiliar territory. He soon finds out that a moment with the cosmos can remove ones thoughts from the negative and materialising an angel. The black & white holiday snaps adds even more beauty to this wonderful travel yarn.

There is a sprinkling of Henry Miller love in Prey by Raif Mansell. Stored writing influences can manifest into a fresh way of thinking. I knew I would dig his way with words. Paula Chatterjee’s Terraced House is compact and yet deceiving in size “in big houses words slip and sink into the sofa” surprised by how this piece had me lingering down the whole row. Three Poems by Hannah Whitlow shares a certain sense of youth, with a smattering of social commentary, short sweet and gets their points across. Terence Corless is back to taunt and haunt again with more from the 18th Weekend, his style easy on the eye, his mood persistent and in search of some way out of the funk of life.

There is a powerful burst of poetic reality that guards the stark textual depths of Rob True‘s story inside a psychiatric hospital. King Of The Mad Men‘s mania is relentless. The fight out of his own “irritable bone cage” is all engaging. If this is a taster of what Rob is releasing in 2018 through Burning House Press, I am all eyes.

Huge highlight for me is The Dead Queen Of Bohemia, an interview with Jenni Fagan. I’ve been living under some rock cause I’m new to Jenni’s writing and will need to rectify that soon. Once I started delving into her work I discovered Jenni has way more then just books on her mind. A beautiful artists eye, delving in photography, art and film. Though Hi Vis editor Sophie Pitchford‘s questions aren’t terribly probing, what they achieve is a respectful discussion, giving Jenni full reign to talk about her achievements, passions, goals and motivation with a kinda perfect ‘tips for young players’ feel. Splashed with Jenni’s own photography and info on where to discover more of her work, this piece evokes a gentle mystery instead of the usual author pic. Unlocking all the keys passed out through this piece to discover more from this encouraging writer, ultimately a most inspiring encounter.

Jenni talks alot in Scottish colloquial but no one has done it better for me lately than A.G Kayman with his Scots laid thick to dance on yer tongue. Once you start The Procedure you cannot leave until the whole yarn is complete. Kayman draws you right in, in his own wry kinda way, as if any minute it’s gonna go arse over tit into an abyss of furphy. Loads of blagger bites and ya cannae believe how well he sucks you in. Not all light, he does still manage to start internal conversations on ethics and debates of the mathematical kind. A real fave storyteller of mine.

I breathe again and flick to see an astonishing photograph of age, hardship and strength from photographer Chris Ward. Colours that match the most perfect dreary, natural and evocative which acts as a companion to Milk by Hannah Bradridge-Jackson . I Can Be Anything Me by Amber Agha fills me with instant warmth, her power lines follow, her fight defiant.

Photographer Jim Mortram‘s focus inside Small Town Inertia is the documentation of life in his local community and insights on when one becomes the sole caregiver, in this case to his mum. In the UK and in fact all around the world, care givers feel more like they are being “punished for that love” and “paid a slave’s wage” instead of being praised. Society is a very different place as extended family, sense of community, compassion seems to have left us. This interview reminds one to look around you. Selfless acts in their true meaning don’t want to be recognised. But what can be acheived is the spark that this piece triggers, to look around yourself, to help others and the realisation that your creative drive can still be explored no matter where your life takes you. Extraordinary document, Small Town Inertia is stark and beautifully emphatic. Sophie Pitchford’s understanding as a fellow photographer shines here with intelligent and probing questions.

Poet Gareth Culshaw Memorial Days and No Man’s land sits powerfully side by side. The beauty and comparisons of life on the felt from youth to our end of days. Glove Lit Zine‘s very own Ian Cusack whips us up into a frenzy with Hard Brexit. Tony and Linda are deep in the mire of struggle street, his thoughts mixed up in nationalistic politics hers with the embarrassment of it, their future quite frankly fucked.

More accolades, this one for Best Photography/Journalism goes to Jamie Sinclair and his documentation of friend and hoarder Brendon. It’s not a matter of just grabbing a gang to help clear and clean. There is also the psychological pain of parting with memories. Jamie hopes to raise funds to help Brendon get back on track.

I was emotionally drenched by Sarah Evans story Versions of You. Her characters life time struggle with self image, self esteem and the chance to not let the pain and behaviour be passed onto your own next generation. A few more poets, Florence Lenaers Untitled Beet Poem skats wonderfully through the supermarket of her mind while Yahoo, I’ve Been Hacked by Christopher Iacono takes computer security questions to its ultimate level.

I see Low Light Magazine continuing as the messangers of those new projects, collaborations and other literary happenings that share their ethos. That same passion to explore and promote more authentic voices within the creative community. Disappear Here written by Adam Steiner is one of many artists involved in the Disappear Here project which combines poets, video artists exploration and response to the concrete monolith which is the Coventry ringroad. Next to it is a full pager that I think belongs to the Disappear collaborative is just mesmerising. Milk Teeth cuts in and through the high rise and terraced rows of words on the page. You read and swirl above it with an angelic advantage, a bit of brilliance, author or authors unknown but somehow feels so familiar.

Hopefully a regular contributor to Low Light Magazine will be its Lit Zine Round-Up. In this issue there is an informative blast of six of the best currently spied by ‘Professor of Zineology’ and publisher at Paper & Ink Zine, Martin Appleby. I will surely be dipping into a few that may have missed these peepers in the future.

Hi Vis Press hopes to continue to be “a platform for under-represented artists. The press has been born out of the ethos of authentic voices and doing things differently“. For submissions, advertising and general enquiries you can connect with Low Light via contact@hi-vispress.com

You can purchase the latest issue here while stocks last.

LOW 1

image Alex Brown via Low Light Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#photography Burning House Press Glove Hand Job Hi Vis Press Jamie Thrasivoulou Joseph Ridgwell Low Light Magazine Martin Appleby Paper And Ink Zine Poetry Silhouette Press Zines & Journals

GLOVE 2

DKfTiilV4AEcPF6Ian Cusack’s Glove smacked onto the zine scene harder than a Gilly’s ton.  This second slap of fightin’ words has initiated another pen duel. To tackle the work presented here and inform the word insatiable’s why Glove is the kind of publication you should support.

Firstly, my favourite conch Holly Watson takes out the honour of setting the story bar high. I have been frothing at the mouth over Holly’s work in other zines and whenever I get an opportunity to share a new blog post or story of hers, there is never, ever any trepidation re the quality and humour that will appear. I seriously want a rainy weekend, a packet of penguins and her back catalogue of adventures all in one place. Someone please tell me that is happening soon. I cannot fathom why this writer is not being snapped up and shared. Her stories are straight out script like, I see the movie, I see the franchise, call Mike Leigh! In this story, Holly needs the help of Nanny Pam’s keen eye and style to procuring a fancy dress outfit to knock all the other Spice Girl wannabes for six. This diarised table of events is a funny, tender and tragic tale of growing up in Holly’s world. Superb as always.

There is no real order of placement in Glove. It’s the kind of zine thats style comes from  random fits and this works well. Dani Devotchik’s Alcohol found its place, tucked in the bottom of the page, though stands out strong with its message. Wes Cooke teases his way through Art Brute, Roy MacBeth’s aka ‘The Finsbury Park Fauve’s’ latest exhibition. Major crack ups to be had here as Wes sets the scene with its tantalising mockumentary approach. Bloody brilliant.

Little poetic breaks are our light refreshment but Between Wear and Tyne by Jason Jackson is by no means lightweight. This is a wonderful reminisce of life before being born, womb memoirs and catching ‘more distant, future notes‘, its message lingering and magically pondered.

Hands Thegither is written in Scots and lilts with a brilliant pace. The story builds from an encounter at a play, when a non applauding punter riles him up triggering a wave of words and emotion. “See, the world’s been pissin me oaff for a while noo an Ah dinnae really ken whit tae dae aboot it” The applause is loud from me, adored this story from A.G.Kayman.

There is a perfect calming inside To spend an evening easy by DS Maolalai every stanza filled with the ordinary, imagery of a simple evening, drinking beer with an old friend. Spine tingles a plenty when I read Mary by Carl Taylor, with his flash of great style and suspense, taking me to my own dark and warp to fill in the gaps and ending.

When I was last in the UK, I was held like gunpoint to watch my uncles favourite show Pointless. With open mouth I tried my best to fathom the concept. To win, one must choose the least correct answer that a group of people would choose on a given subject, like lets say Medieval Popes. Firstly, you gotta be up on your popes. Secondly it is seemingly unavailing, surreal even, hopeless, but my rellos love it, laughing between brews, crumbs spat everywhere. PJ Smith uses this televisual phenomenom as the backdrop for his captivating story on family, drugs, the need for connection and the cult of personality. Bonza stuff.

Half way in now, and surely you can see the value. Time to get word winded by the brilliant and prolific Ford Dagenham. I threw out my jogging shoes today does the collapse under the weight of his strange everyday. Gwil James Thomas is back inside my eyes with Solitude. The life of a writer, torn up with the need, but craving the other. Lucky punters get a good taste of a favourite. Here is a choice cut from Billy And The DevilBy The Time I Get Through The Shop Door by Dean Lilleyman. This barney between Billy and his boss Norris whose head is “jut-jutting like a fuckarsed chicken” has his sights set on stuffing up his day. This story kicks bottom. If all these literary licks have finally tantalised, look out for the exorcised release via Hi Vis next year.

If Terence Corless is testing the waters for content for his novel, the 17th Weekend better be part of it. In just five paragraphs he took me just to the moment of boredom and as I thought ‘what’s he up to here then?’ THWACK! Take romance, tragedy and a cliffhanger in a shot glass and light it! The chills down my shoulders still reverberating. As does Deborah Baird’s Victim and the nasties endured during break ups.

Onto some bloke called Cusack who goes full on nutjob at the barbers. His inner rant cathartic, funny and borderline real. Adam Steiners Jellyfish surfaces with beauty to then plunge into silent bubbles of truth. Walter Otton is a clever manipulator. His story Supermarket Samaritan has you questioning heroes in an instant, its plot lingers. Tim Baldwin’s Letter De Cachet is rich and evoking. Myself imprisoned by its imagery, read over and over, an architectural possession of thought.

Joseph Ridgwell’s silver tongue can’t help flickering. Too Old To Pull It Off is the stark truth re an old flame and bonus piece The Female has him climbing family trees uncovering ironic tragedies. Ridgwell’s style is blushingly honest, no skeletons in his back catalogue, though he will add extra meat to all his bleached bones, Ridgwell is what he is, upfront and delightful. All the rewards of his closed doors will hopefully be revealed in the new year.

You Should Be by Steve Campbell is chilling. When Hypnopompic meets Hypnagogic the terror is tantamount to post traumatic stress disorder, so real and excruciating, as it takes turns entering in and out of husband & wife. Really chilling, emphatic to its horror. Jamie Thrasivoulou’s The Best of A Bad Situation is still sitting on my desk, and re read. So it is a delight to bump into him here. Bin Day/Autumn/Terraced Streets is a fitting contribution for now and anytime really. His eyes and ears attuned to what’s going on around him, in the moment, a polaroid of his suburbia.

The pages have thinned now, but I know Michael Keenaghan will be fat with menace and reality. But instead I see a welcomed vulnerability but still very real. When your guard is down it can invite good and bad. Our futures prepared, Michael flashes black and white from “a hell of mistakes, regrets, disease” to “the funfair sounding across the green“. The secrets we keep exorcised for all “the dirty dark secrets of mankind”. The same reactions, same scenarios, the healing begins.

Little word stompers are all through this issue. Joseph Albenese’s What We Offer, the defiant fearless ecstasy of Scott Wozniak A Final Bit Of Romance, the evocative unease of Jared Carnie’s list of New Things in the House, Ally May’s mindfulness in Westgate Road, Jim Gibson’s mind trickery of Mottled & Katie Lewington GB, who has us questioning is it people or place that shapes identity.

What a great batch of writers, bloody brilliant.

Only a few issues left of Glove #2

Glove #3 is OUT NOW

£3 UK, £4 EU & £5 R of W

40 pages of outsider prose & poetry by 32 writers – PayPal to iancusack@blueyonder.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review Dean Lilleyman Ford Dagenham Glove Gwil James Thomas Joseph Ridgwell Reviews Zines & Journals

Worse Things Happen At Sea

selected poems by Martin Appleby

There was a moment of disappointment when I missed the first run of Martin Appleby’s Worse Things Happen At Sea. An extra five poems in this special edition though has me feeling right chuffed and glad I got in on the second chance run instead. Martin has been slogging away with his lit zine Paper & Ink for many, many issues now. Ten if you’re counting. In fact, he has cemented himself well and truly inside the ‘lit zine trail blazer’ category. It is still lo-fi, full of real heart and unique edge skaters of the literary underground. It has been such a pleasure to get each issue all the way down here in Sydney, opening up the great curtain to new writers and friends all over the world.

Martin has a coy approach to selling himself, though proud and strong when championing all the new voices in Paper & Ink, but he shouldn’t be worried. This is fun, straightforward and passionate. A few of the poems here have snuck inside some P&I classics, so it is a treat to get this cache of thoughts in a well stapled bundle. Dedicated to all ex girlfriends, past and future, After You Left is a fitting start. Stale cigarette smoke and yearning. There is loads of chat on cider, his dreams, regrets, bands, his love of Bukowski, the perils of being a vegetarian via his classic poem Don’t You Miss Bacon and of course boxing.

There are hints of unresolved childhood melancholy but that only seems to have shaped the writer into the strong, resilient man he has become, that strength revealed in Everything. Martin is a rebel who quickly senses the rebellion in others, especially writers. Half way through you start to feel some of the accumulated years of experience shed and drop to the floor. Ten Years is a ripper of regrets he would never have missed. Martin’s humour is dry and honest and extra cute at times with gems like Poetry Is Hard With Kittens, Rejection, Shit Jokes and another fave I’ve spied before Dreams.

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There is the awkward beauty of Nights Like Those about ‘silent sex so that my parents didn’t hear‘ that just makes you smile and reminisce in the wake of similar scenarios. The title poem means a lot to Martin. You can tell, ’cause it’s permanently inked on his wrist, Self deprecating, a reminder, its meaning he will never outgrow. There’s been plenty of rumbles like Why Is Your Moustache Shorter Than The Rest Of Your Beard, another story in his ‘war against myself‘. The one poem that truly reaches me and makes me so happy to have had Martin cross my path is the wonderful The Only Religion I Need. “I have danced on sticky floors, in shitty pubs with bands playing solely for me” mate, we pray at the same altar.

Worse Things Happen At Sea is available here. Check out the back catalogue of fine releases while you are browsing the shelves. Look out for calls for words for the next Paper & Ink Zine release, one that will surely be up many of your dingy back alleys, PUNK! Get scribbling. Submissions here.

Martin Appleby Paper And Ink Zine Poetry Reviews Zines & Journals

LOVE SPELLS

I have a powerful zine in my hands. Love Spells by Lillian Cuda or Lilly C as I was introduced to her at the Sydney Zine Fair. Voted by me as cutest stand in the multiverse, Lilly stood out in in a blaze of black and pastels, an emanation of beautiful energy, honest and humble. Her work is from a personal perspective, what has worked for her. I bought these to pass on to some younger family members but actually can’t seem to part with them. Still get a kickin’ buzz and inspiration from her work so haven’t had the heart to hand them over just yet.

czjj5okuoaapft9Hand drawn and coloured crystal identification charts starts our first lesson. Red garnet is an amazing stone as I discover ‘it is the embodiment of love and when worn it helps to revive feelings, stir sexuality and aids to control anger and self destructive behaviours’ – look out! Kunzite is fascinating as it is a mending stone for us broken ones. There are drawings of Flowers For Love, Spells for Self Love. This page includes some fascinating steps from writing  ‘I deserve love’ in beetroot juice and holding blooms of Ranunculus when you doubt your awesomeness. This zine comes with a double page of hand drawn stickers to pop on things as reminders of positive love energy. We can bend, mend and banish love in simple steps. This zine is a gem for just that. Her shop for Crafty Witches & Magical Babes can be found here with links to all her ‘awesomeness’.

Reviews Zines & Journals

Pancake Batter

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I caught my local king of glue, paste up artist Mike Watt, at this years Sydney Zine fair. His ugly portraits are brilliant and it was a thrill to catch a glimpse of the face behind the paper faces that we meet in the back streets of the city. Big admiration for this guy, I’ve been photographing his pieces for years. He enlivens the deadly dire, loneliness and walls that edge into hubs of us socially minded. I was happy to snap up his contribution at the festival, the superb Pancake Batter. Hard stock, black & white grittiness. Really impressed by the gallery of paste up stars, floss man, matthew, free wifi man, touches of Shu/Monstery & Me (another great street illustrator) but also the way they have been photographed is artful in itself. The backgrounds almost feel wheat paste based, an urban set, but they are real surrounds for his work to blend into. The bonus ‘Paste Recipe’ on the inside back page encourages one to get their hands sticky.

I wonder at the lengths that people go to get a bomb piece high in the sky. The best thing is size is no obstacle, one has the luxury of planning pieces before hijacking the night. The more extension poles you have the better, that’s what makes many pieces amazing. Adrenalin rush is part of the job. It’s not legal, though these days councils and shops are embracing the art and doing call outs for masterpieces. They are ephemeral, I have photographs of paste ups that are now paper mache in the drains, specks of white dandruff between the mortar. If you dig the art form, take a peek of Mike’s work via his website.

 

Tonight’s indulgence and Mike Watt connection

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Movie poster illustrated by Mike Watt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graffiti Mike Watt Zines & Journals

GWIL vs MACHINE

I wanna wanna wanna make a fanzine…

 

Damn catchy that. Trapped in my head now. That’s the kind of thing that happens when I search round for any info on my review subjects. My latest, man of mystery, punk poet and original member of the ‘muy guay’ underground band, ‘Irreparables’, Gwil James Thomas.

So delighted to see the many places his work has appeared. Loads of zines, articles online, backs of doors, loads of personal journals and finally, through the stapled and bloody deft fingers of Martin Appleby. This is another fine release from ‘Paper&InkZine‘ Towers and chance for a brief encounter with this compiled work written between 2013 & 2016. This will surely be a warm up for some meatier compilations. As an admirer of his thoughts – reviews in Zines & Journals like Push, Paper & Ink & Hand Job – one won’t be deterred by time. It will come when it comes and so, for now, get treated to this compact taster, Gwil vs Machine.

gwilFirst I dig the typewriter offset and obscure mentions of dead punks. I also want to ‘bring back free toys in cereals’. Absolutely. My growing pains have become ink, completely sold me and I’ve just turned the first page. I have read a few of these before, enjoying them again as I did then. A jack of everything, this guy lists them all out for us in The Mule’s Early Retirement, finding worth in all the pain and crap one puts up with slugging it for ‘delusional power hungry cunts‘. With Gwil, there is a delightful poeticism in his straightforwardness. Lots of poems breeze through nature, poems for ants, where he has been or where he is heading. A traveller’s bag of stories, side of the road laments. Absolute freaking solid beauty like San Sebastian Poem, you are there, and for a moment you too want to find a similar fate. The Man Who Wasn’t Feeling Himself delves back to a childhood memory and with the years of that image returning formed into a fine memorial, understanding what really happened, interpretation far from truth. Humans hide so much away from each other, they make light and life moves on.

Gwil rides his imagination through the night, you can tell these are the poems that helped him sleep, that cleared a restless mind. There are poems that also black and white it. Reflecting On Everything That I Loved About Your Art Exhibition, don’t want to give the poem away, but two words say it all. Gwil loves the sea, the words wade just like a swell at times, a shanty, beautiful rhythms to cause a sigh. It has been a wondrous glimpse and the more times I read the louder his voice becomes. We all need to fight the machine.

Now for the bad news. This one has sold out! (boo goes the crowd) but I hear there may be a round two soon. Just contact Martin if you are interested in a copy.

 

 

(intro line lyrics by The Irreparables /featured image introduction by Gwil James Thomas)

 

 

Gwil James Thomas Poetry Reviews Zines & Journals