Who and What We Are

Xerography Debt is a review zine for zine readers by zine writers (and readers). It is a hybrid of review zine and personal zine (the ancestor to many blogs). The paper version has been around since 1999. This blog thing is are attempt to bridge the gap between Web 2.0 and Paper 1.0. Print is not dead, but it is becoming more pixelated.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Jumbly Junkery

Jumbly Junkery #3 and #4 by L. Nichols
$5 each, though the Etsy shop

When I was at MoCCA recently, I picked up the two most recent issues of L. Nichols' Jumbly Junkery. What drew me in, of course, are the cool covers; one's silkscreened (#4) and the other looks spray-painted (#3). But as I read, I was pulled into stories that have to do with gender and identity, and existing in a world where you don't quite fit but at the same time don't really want to. Usually they're autobio work, aside from one story in #3 (an issue that includes some really cool color work; generally these collections are in black and white). I'm glad I read them in sequence; it seems like the newest issue is evocative of so many larger issues--growing apart from people, gender bias, and so on--that the issue before it doesn't spell out quite as directly. They're there, of course, but somehow the newer issue felt more cohesive.

Anyway, it's a long way of saying they're worth a look.
(and, of course, a nudge if you're anywhere near Massachusetts: think about coming to see some rollerderby?)

Friday, June 20, 2008

The New Yorker Says I'm a Professional

Today in the mail I got something from the New Yorker offering me a year long subscription for $25. You know what they call this? The professional discount. I'm not terribly interested in the New Yorker (Not for any particular reason. I've just never read it) but I'm thinking of subscribing just so if someone sees me reading it and says "Hey, i see you're reading the New Yorker" (which is pretty unlikely) I can reply "Yeah, it's not my favorite, but I read it because I get a professional discount." I don't know where they got the idea that I'm any sort of professional writer (considering I've literally never made a cent via my writing. Gotten tons of free zines which are great, but until I can exchange them at the super market for Hot Pockets I don't consider them earnings.) but who am I to argue with the New Yorker? What the hell, I figure calling myself a professional writer based on what the New Yorker subscription department says is better than just proclaiming myself a professional writer based on whim.

First person to point out that this is likely a calculated attempt on the New Yorker to boost subscription rates by appealing to the egos of anyone they find via a Google search of "small time writer" gets a slap in the face.

I should have some reviews posted here in the next week or so.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Reviews from Gianni Simone : Picaresque and Sundogs

A few years ago, while doing some business with the mighty Tokyo-based Wasabi Distro ( http://www.wasabi-distro.com/) I discovered Picaresque, a zine from Australia. I got issues #7 and #9 and I was hooked after reading one page. The idea behind the project is very simple: Brendan Rocks writes his memories, from his childhood to the present. The memories, though, are numbered, and distributed randomly, each one usually being only a few lines long. For example, one issue may start with memory #75, then continue with #102, #13, #28, with the lower numbers representing the older stories. It's a clever enough device, actually quite engaging, but what makes the zine really good is Brendan's writing, his understated sense of humor, and the matter-of-fact approach with which he tells both funny and sad stories.
I recently mailed him at brendanrocks@hotmail.com to check on the zine's status, and Brendan was kind enough to send me his latest issue, #10, that unfortunately seems to be the last one of the series. However he still seems to have plenty of back issues. You'll better get some of them before he runs out of stock
Picaresque, 20-40 pages, $2.00
Brendan Rocks, 17 Mayes St, Stawell, VIC 3380, Australia


I have the pleasure to introduce you my friend and fellow expat Adam Pasion's new zine Sundogs. It's a diary in comic format, with Adam drawing daily strips and commenting on his life in Nagoya. So far he's managed to complete four months worth of strips (i.e. two issues) without burning out. The zine is very well done (much better than James Kochalka's, which doesn't really mean anything) and differently from other similar stuff where the author entertains us with utterly boring, uninteresting, navel-gazing-type stories, Adam actually writes interesting, funny, even thought-provoking stuff. If you want to check it out yourself you can contact Adam via e-mail at biguglyrobot@gmail.com I guarantee you won't be disappointed. In the meantime, you may want to have a look at his interesting web site http://www.biguglyrobot.net/
Sundogs, 20 pages, $2.00

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Librarian666 chimes in with June reviews

Oh brave new world. Here is my first online post. In most other areas of technology, I am all for that thar Internet. Somehow, I feel rather attached to the paper world of zines and have some trepidation over what a world without them will be. My fears aside, I hope that you find this online format pleasing and that these reviews help guide you in your entertainment pursuits.

Read responsibly.

-- Librarian666

The Juniper #9: the meager words of a gentleman farmer.
Winter 2007/2008
Free or stamp by mail
Dan Murphy
P.O. Box 3154
Moscow, ID 83843

If Thomas Jefferson ever had a vision of what he hoped the future of America would have been, it would have been summed up in Dan Murphy – Dan is a self-described dabbler and worker of the Earth. He is curious, willing to experiment and to examine how closely his actions match his values. The founding fathers would have been pleased with him, and sad that the rest of us are WalMart shopping, master consumers. Dan’s passion for “local economies, seasonal consumption, decentralized government, personal responsibility, community involvement, debunked materialism, DIY” are Jeffersonian ideals in a nutshell.

This zine is a breath of fresh air, and a good read for the non-committal gardener, biker and tinkerer. It’s inspiring because it is a gentle reminder of what “ordinary” folks are doing to connect to the Earth and her inhabitants by simply digging in the dirt and letting nature take its course.

Watch the Closing Doors, #40, ca 24 pp.
Subscribe: $10 for 4 quarterly issues
Payment in cash only to:
Fred Argoff
Penthouse L
1170 Ocean Pkwy
Brooklyn, NY 11230-4060

As an enthusiastic traveler, this zine appeals as a travelogue and as an amusing expose on mass transit all over the world. I enjoy it now as much as the first time I had the honor of reviewing it.

Train hairies will love it as there are pics of subway cars from all over the globe. Take a gander at the Singapore ones and you’ll see how far behind the US is in terms of mass transit.

Writing and layout are clear and easy reading. Text examines the quirks of systems and their users with humor and interest.

Optunia 64.1 B, Jan. 2008 (Book Reviews), 16 pp.
$3 if cash (for US readers), or trade or trade for letter of comment
Dale Speirs
Box 6830
Alberta, Canada T2P 2E7

Always an interesting and revelatory read, Dale’s interest is focused on the esoteric details of history that are intensely personal and have profound impacts on society at large.

An example, in this issue (which is focused on book reviews, other issues vary in content) Dale has chosen the book, Postal Age: the Emergence of Modern Communications in Nineteenth Century America. Sounds like a snoozer, right? Look deeper. In it is an explanation of how high postal rates after the Revolution affected letter-writers and communication in general. Rates were so high that folks sent newspapers to distant relatives and friends as a way of keeping in touch. The postal rates had a profound impact on how people communicated with each other. It is mind-blowing to think about and how dependent we are on cheap communications nowadays. Although it makes one wonder on the depth of thought we give to what we say to each other since it doesn’t cost us much.

Dale has a marvelous eye and ability to discover the crucial detail and how it affects us all.

Maximum Rock n Roll #295, Dec 2007, over 100 pages?
$4 per issue, 6 issues for $24, 12 issues for $38. Californians and outside US, see website.

This zine takes me back to my youth! Substantial, newsprint format, look and feel of a City Paper, but 8.5 X 11 size. Contains music reviews, letters to editor, personal and interesting essays, zine reviews, ads and all sorts of info on bands in US and around the world. Put together by a huge number of contributors, this mag hangs together well, is well organized, but still has a free-for-all spirit. So worth the money if you want to re-connect to the music scene or are looking for more info in general about rock-n-roll.

Eaves of Ass, #6: the music issue, ca. 38 pp.
$3 or trade
Craven Rock
1627 16th St
Oakland, CA 94607

Kick-ass collection of essays and anecdotes on friendship, the state of our society, and personal connections to all kinds of rock and roll. Makes me think about how deep the connection is between music (which is today’s version of poetry) and memories of youth and things past.

Includes great quotes from lyrics that support the text. Makes you want to read more of Eaves of Ass, call a friend and listen to CCR again.