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Monday, January 10, 2011

From the Library: Zine-O-Rama January 2011

Hey kids! You may remember my last zine review post from last month. If you forgot, zines are like the "blog" of the pre-Internet age. While you "young-uns" (remember: I must fulfill the role of Retro-Grouch) might think that it was hard to distribute ideas before the days of Book of Face, you are correct in believing that it was harder. But it wasn't impossible, as we had this thing called the "Postal Service". Remember them? So this gave the whole zine thing more of an "underground" vibe to it. So one can, say, put in new "naughty" text into appropriated Family Circus comics, and circulate it without worry.* On the internet one could (and did) do the same thing, but then could (and did) get served "cease and desist" letters from King Features (and even tense phone calls from Bill Keane himself!)

Ah, those were the days!

But despite the hoi polloi saying "Zines are Dead" since around the time of the folding of Factsheet Five (R. Seth Friedman, we miss you!), they are still very much alive. And this installment has two zines I have checked out from the wonderous Multnomah County Library. Zines in the public library? The 1996 Shawn Granton would be catatonic with joy at the thought!

Please note that these zines could be a few years old, so I don't know if they are still being published. Best to get in touch with them and see.

The first one is the very nice and basic GUIDE TO STEEL BIKES, published by the Boing! Collective out of Salt Lake City. It serves as a basic primer to bikes for those interested in buying a used bike. Most of the advice is sound, though I will take them to task with two things: considering mixte, step-through, and "girls" frames as interchangeable terms** (which they are not), and considering a Centurion LeMans frame "the same" as another Centurion model (they may have the same geometry, but used different steel in the construction.) The layout is very cut-n-paste, reminiscent of many a punk zine of the past.
Boing! Collective, 608 South 500 East, Salt Lake City UT 84102

And the other zine is STEAMPUNK MAGAZINE #2. I'm not much for steampunk, but this issue features an article by Johnny Payphone of the Rat Patrol Bike Club of Chicago, who demonstrates how to build a "Penny Fakething", a pseudo Penny Farthing (or Ordinary, or high-wheeler) using a regular sized bike frame. Pretty neat, even if you'll never build one!

And hey! Do you have a zine you'd like me to check out! Send it here!
P O BOX 14185
PORTLAND OR 97293-0185

*A '90's zine was not complete with li'l Billy dropping the f-bomb. Seriously.
**this REALLLLLY pisses off April, by the way


  1. this REALLLLLY pisses off April, by the way

    That's because mixtes are unisex frames. They were designed to be step-through frames that had the same strength as diamond frames.

    And girl's frames? Not ladies'? Not women's? Hmph.

  2. Yes, they actually say "girls" frames. Which is interesting since this zine is from a collective!


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