I realised, the other day, that I have been making zines since I was about 8 years old. My first was a zine about dogs (for they have always been a love of mine), and I distinctly remember tracing over typography from other magazines for my titles and headers. A few years passed and I made more zines, about the Brownies (I had a three or four-week stint there as a child), Beanie Babies, and another one about dogs (I obviously really, really loved dogs as a kid)- the latter two I actually distributed amongst one or two friends, and I remember correctly, actually collaborated on one of them.
For a very long time after that, for the few years that punk rock didn’t exist in my life I forgot all about my stints as a self-publisher. However, under my feet as I type this is a cardboard box filled with notebooks and sketchbooks that I have kept all but continuously from the age of eleven; a personal history on paper.
When I hit fifteen or sixteen (my high school years were mostly a depressing blur so forgive my vagueness), the world opened up to me and it wasn’t just about how much my braces hurt my mouth or how, as a 12 year old, I thought Éowyn from The Lord of the Rings was a bitch; I started to record my travels and gig experiences in books full of photographs and cut-outs, rant on at length via journals and one-sided conversations in the school grounds about how whatever album I was into that week was amazing and everyone should copy it or buy it, because it’s just that great. I would write stories and draw short, stupid autobiographical comics for my own amusement and to vent my frustrations in my notebooks and although I was very tedious about people going through things so personal to me I slowly, reluctantly, relented.
Seventeen years old, and I fell in love with David Carson. As an artist, he is one of my greatest inspirations to date; his beautiful, unforgiving images that set the style and broke the rules of 90’s graphic design ruled my world through the second year of sixth form, and has continued to inspire me through my somewhat short-lived stint at university and then some. (This is all relevant, partially because I made a zine for an AS Graphics project, and partially because Carson’s just that shit-hot at what he does that it needs to be extolled wherever possible.)
The world of zines fascinates me incredibly and one way or another, seems to have always been a part of my life. Granted, it’s perhaps hard to compare our very own Two Beats Off with Sniffin’ Glue or Cometbus, it’s still driving that same message. We all have our paper histories, and in a world where it’s very easy to feel alienated, finding a common ground and sharing our stories is integral to our (sub)culture.