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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Misses the whole point of Fanzines, 28 Sep 2013
This review is from: Fanzines (Paperback)
I came across this book entirely by accident, which is somewhat surprising considering one of my fanzines is featured in it. I can only speak to the punk era of fanzine production but a graphical design view point misses the point entirely of how constrained production was by resources and knowledge and simply not caring how something looked in preference to getting it published. Type cut from newspapers, had written notes and botched screen printed covers were accidents not deliberate design decisions - though to the press and public increasingly fascinated by punk T shirts and Album covers it might have seemed so. Because of this central misapprehension I'm not sure anything useful can be gleaned from reading this book, though I can certainly understand the temptation for an academic to try to string and argument together many years in hindsight.

A much better alternative to this book would be to pick up any old fanzines on auction sites and online and read what the authors themselves say about about the production process (you might be surprised by how often this type of discussion is part of the actually published work).

As far as I can tell a large proportion my friends publications from my era have been used without permission. It might have been hard to track some publishers down after all this time, though my address appeared in each and every issue of my Fanzine so there isn't really any excuse for not trying. I can't say many of them would care about that from a copyright point of view (fanzines ripped of stuff all the time) but you can bet that if asked most of them wouldn't want their work included in a poncy art book at 20 quid a pop. My guess is that realising that they wouldn't be given permission is could be why the author of this book never asked for it. A commons strategy in publishing is to obtain permission to use something when it's by a professional publisher, but avoid asking amateurs precisely because they might refuse. Ethically that's condemnable.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Jan 2014 14:28:05 GMT
lizziefen says:
Really intrigued by this comment as i am citing some content from this publication in my writing, and particularly interested in the constraints of the production process and how this materialised to become a recognised design aesthetic. What was your fanzine called?

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jan 2014 15:47:55 GMT
C. Makepeace says:
To be honest I'm not suggesting anything too involved. The DIY ethos and immediacy of punk meant production wasn't really something that anyone spent much time on or felt was important. If we wanted larger type on a record sleeve, poster or fanzine then the only options we had were marker pens, stencils and 'ransom note' newspaper cuttings. We didn't normally have access to reasonable photographic equipment so we cut pictures from the music press or copied record sleeves. We didn't have time to re-type copy, so hand notes, ugly tipex corrections etc featured in every piece. There was no editor, so contributors each had their own style and skill (or lack of) contributing to the overall montage type-style. This is all in contrast to earlier science fiction fanzines (for example). So my central point is that not caring how something looks is not the same as designing to a particular style.

This isn't to say that there wasn't any artistic design input into punk culture (say by the likes of Linder Sterling) or that this book might not have something significant to say about other eras of fanzine production. It's just that 35 years ago (when I was helping produce NN4 9PZ, one of my fanzines feature here) the idea that the end product had any design significance would seem laughably ridiculous. :-)
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