Apparently, it’s one of those nights when I feel compelled to summon up the bygone days of 2002. Specifically, I’ve got Radio 4’s album Gotham! on the brain — and even more speciifcally, the song “Calling All Enthusiasts,” which always had a way of livening my mood. Around the time that album came out, I was still theoretically editing a zine; I was starting to write fiction, and I was doing a halfway decent job of going to shows semi-regularly. Enthusiasts? Yeah, I could relate.
The zines I’m looking at this week are firmly in that bold tradition of enthusiasts discussing topics dear to their heart. When perusing the tables at a zine fair at Public Assembly last month, a half-size zine with a distinctive illustration caught my eye, which is how I ended up with a copy of Allons-y, which collects writing and art about Doctor Who. The proverbial gamut is ranged here: there’s everything from fan-fiction comics to a discussion of what primal fears some of the aliens on the show are meant to evoke. The focus here is primarily on the show’s recent incarnation, though there are nods to Bakers Tom and Colin, and one nicely grim comic that borrows certain concepts from the show to set up a punchline about being unable to fly alien spacecraft.
One of the contributors to Allons-y is a writer named Joseph Carlough, who’s also the writer behind a zine called Record Collecting: David Bazan/Pedro the Lion. (You can probably guess whose music it’s about.) Carlough also works in glimpses of his life over the years described here — 2011 and 2012. As someone who’s also more than a little fond of Bazan’s music, I was reminded of the extent to which I first embraced Bazan’s music, as well as how well it’s aged. (Also: the two songs that came with the A Guitar for Janie book remain really, really good.) And I’ll admit that I was also pretty curious to see how someone whose first introduction to Bazan was his album Curse Your Branches found the rest of his music.
The references to Vintage Vinyl in here suggest that he’s talking about the one in Fords, NJ, which I spent a decent amount of time at when I lived in Jersey. (I spent even more time in the long-closed Ocean location, but that’s a story for another day; it involves a defaced Quicksand poster, and might also be about twenty separate stories.)
And then there’s the Washington, DC-based food zine The Runcible Spoon, which contains an interview with a fictional bear. Each issue has a particular theme: Spring 2012 was Mad Science, while the most recent issue focuses on breakfast. Highlights include recipes for the lazy — one, for curdled cereal milk, begins “I’m not sure why you would ever want to do this, but…” — a section on DIY bitters, and notes on making an omlette as you dream. (Gary Sinise might play a part.) As you might expect, the tone is irreverent and more than a little surreal, a quality aided by the full-color cut-and-paste aesthetic at work here.
As a heavy-duty coffee drinker, I appreciated the breakfast issue’s commitment to caffeine, from a recipe for coffee soup to a survey of bargain-priced cups of coffee at various DC establishments. And there’s a recipe for Earl Grey scones in here that I hope to try out before long. There’s probably a space out there for a zine entirely devoted to scones, when you think about it. And if not, I suspect I’ll find one available for sale before too long.