Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Call for Submissions - Newcastle Zine Review 2009

Before 2009 is over, I wish to make a Newcastle Zine Review.

This will be a fuller version of what I did in August, featuring 2 sentence reviews of locally-made zines and small press things, with the odd photocopy or thumbnail pic of some of them. I'll print 200 or so copies and leave them out around toon over the next month.

Considering the v.brief timing (which is essential to me actually doing it, because I start my hated job again in January), this will not try to be a very comprehensive or beautiful thing but it will, I hope, be good in at least 3 ways:

1. It will include contacts and snippets of locally available zines, made available to random strangers who may try to get them, or even make their own.

2. It will put on paper some kind of ephemeral history, the non-published Newcastle, the zines that are out there then disappear. I would like to be able to add to this underground history in future, by discovering people's zine collections or being told about this and that.

3. It will be a call out to a DIY community. In a sense it will be an opener to a 2010 Newcastle Zine Review, produced in about a year's time, for which people can write articles on DIY events, send me their zines for review or write their own, etc...

There's probably a 4th good thing about it, that it puts me off the looming work-based existence that so destroys my spirit. And I like cutting and pasting and looking back on things, too.


Well, I start today so we'll see, but I anticipate:

1. The basic reviews and pics of zines and small press comics that went in the first one.

2. An account of my own zines, advertising the no-cost availability of some of them.

3. Reviews of a few DIY events of the year, probably: DIY Aye, Story Zine, the tribulations of local free festivals, Unsuitable Passport Photos, the Star & Shadow volunteer cinema.

4. I'll also invite a couple of people to write, although it's probably too brief notice, about things they've done and been involved in, like the pink-papered Feminist zines or CJ's house gigs.

5. Advertise one or two DIY things, like Wor Diary & Paper Jam & anything else I can find quickly!

If anyone wants to contribute something - anything - just email it to me, oldglen at gmail dot communism

Squeezing the last drip out of 2009's goodness - the world of zines is what kept me going this year.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Pythagoras Zine cut n pasted

Just a piece of idle frippery, really, but it brings my zine total for the year up to 12.
Plus 4 collaboration/contributions and 4 participatory events.

Which probably means I'm suffering from some sort of psychosis.

Photos suitable for Christmas Cards.

My house.

Winter Wonderland

Tree Snots

Even the phone lines had snow on.

Hardgoing underfoot.


My Street.

The people who deliver my great aunt Joan's newspapers.

Word on the Street.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Someone on Eastenders is shouting.

Here's some more pictures, of Wor Diary & the Christmas Zine.

Happy Mithras Day

The snow is still falling outside, and on the road it's hardened into ice.
Beautiful snow, almost unreal, like icing sugar.

Last night I finished and printed 100 copies of my Christmas Zine. I stapled and numbered them, and then in the evening I took them out on the bus. A pissed man sat in the seat behind me, and grabbed my neck. His hand felt horrible, and the sense of it on my neck lingered all evening.

Anyway, I dropped some zines off around the ouseburn - the Cumberland, the Cluny and the Star & Shadow. It was too cold to wait for a bus, so i walked into town, to the Dance for Peace & Solidarity, where I asked if it was okay to try flog some Wor Diaries.

I found Alice & Helen with a stall of feminist zines and they let me dump my stack with them and go and listen to the music. We sold some, I got drunk and danced a lot.

On the way home, the snow had settled and taken over the place. I was throwing snowballs all the way up Westgate Road and Brighton Grove. Then I had to get out of bed and vomit. Sorry.

Today we planned to go out to the hills and stay over, but by the time I woke up it was too late to walk, and the roads ain't open. So I've had a wonderful weak day at home with TV, posting zines etc..

I might still get the Newcastle Review Zine done before the year is out, and I've got a mini zine about Pythagoras to print, plus reprints of the Story zine we did at the Star & Shadow.
I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, 29 November 2009


I am not going to work tomorrow, I have a chance to sleep in, eat well, work through a head cold, & get creative! Any ideas, let me know.

I will certainly be at the Wor Diary launch & flog it round local gigs;
I will try to get out visiting bothies & sketching as I go;
I will be thoughtful about family & christmas presents;
I will work from a 'free to do' perspective instead of the usual 'this is expected' one;
I will fill an arthousecoop sketchbook & send it to their exhibition;
I will read the saturday paper & several books!
I will live cheaply, travel a little, visit ...

(pic of paper jam stall at the thought bubble convention, with a couple of mine in there)

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Wor Diary Launch - 1st December

Wor Diary 2010 is printed and somewhere in Newcastle (probably the sorting office..)

So the launch is on 1st December where the entry price is the cost price of a diary - which you then receive! Music and nonsense and quizzes and stuff. Star & Shadow Cinema, 7pm.


Monday, 9 November 2009

Thoughts for a Christmas Zine

November's threefold ceremonies of death have declared our ritual goodbyes to summer. Winter is arriving and soon it will be time to celebrate it. Town is getting busier at night - and bloody scary. Each small local gig feels snug and warm, a cave of drink and music in which, in little clusters of friendly strangers, we can shut out the cold black sky. Some of us will play guitar and share some songs. Others will drink, in honour of king winter.

On the no.12 bus, I see an Asian lady sitting with her legs against the heater, in an almost empty fabric shop. Each of my neighbours has the TV on, babbling in warm and golden moving colours - our substitute 21st century fires. Entering the house, I turn on the heating and the radiators clink and gurgle, in their own time and to their own tune. I put my legs under the duvet and write as I wait for the air to warm up.

I am looking forward to winter, and I decide that I will write a zine to celebrate it. If all goes well, then in your hands you will be holding it. I hope you're enjoying the Tyneside chill.

In the first ritual, we hid indoors or decorated our faces. We sent the children out in disguise, to knock on neighbours' doors and beg for sugar. The night is early, and we make sure they come in soon. The outdoors is carefully watched, a safe contained circuit of our closest streets. No woodland, no mountainside. We are not ready yet. Fire is contained in an orange pumpkin. I serve beer at a horror movie double-bill, a little dose of scared, in 1 1/2 hour doses. Moors and old houses on the screen, but nice red seats to back into, and friends whooping at the film. We take a taxi home.

In the second ritual fire is needed, to purify and scarify the detritus of summer leaves, of windfall branches blown in with winter's step. But this year it was just fireworks through the window for me. No Saltwell Park, no Samhain dance. All hail to the Fenham hippies, though ,who did their fire dance in Nuns Moor and in Elswick. Human fireworks, pagan movement, outdoors festival in the breathy black night. We stayed out a little longer this time.

The third ritual is the most solemn. The funereal march, the great vampires and good zombies wearing black. Guns saluting the fallen and the red hold of the poppy. A minute of silence - not the silence of the tomb, but the silence of a collective remembering. Like spores under the soil. Shared, and in sharing, we hear each others hearts, and our own hearts beat stronger.
Every representative of church and state, the war machine and long-lost colonies, are wearing black in London. The public ritual of ordered movement, filing into lines, into squares and facing the faceless monument. Names of dead squaddies scrolling down the screen, another unnamed one killed that morning. Every dead son. Missing father. Absent generation. Possibilities gone. We all are marching into the black, and today even the toffs remember it. There is a power in public ritual and in this third ritual of November, the full gravity and grieving of winter is remembered. This is the end, we have slipped into the realm of dark night.

And winter is here.

Hello winter.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

4 participations

1. Space Monkey
I put a piece into 'Space Monkey', the latest anthology from the paper jam comics collective, (and the only one suitable for kids!) Available from Travelling Man Newcastle for a bargain £3, definitely the best anthology they(we)'ve done yet, all glossy colour and careful formatting and stuff. And jokes! Not sure if there's a launch event for it yet, but I hope so.

2. Wor Diary 2010
I spent half of my half-term cutting and sticking Wor Diary 2010 together. (A quarter term?) So it's now with the printers down in Yorkshire and will be launched on Tuesday the sumthink of November (will confirm). Again, possibly the best one we've done yet.

All done by amateurs, all open - I'm especially happy that I don't know all the people who drew pages for it this year. It's progressed from a 'me and Joe and mates' affair in 2008 to a 'people who enjoyed it and their friends' in 2009 to an 'even strangers are involved this year' dooby in 2010.

Will be available (for anti-profit cost-price) in 2 weeks time from me in the post, from Travelling Man Newcastle's Small Press section, Roots Music, and assorted independent gigs and DIY events in the toon.

3. The Sketchbook Project.
A nice-sounding America-based thing where you send em a tenner, receive a sketchpad in the post, fill it up and send it back. They then trail it and a thousand other random strangers' sketchpads around different exhibitions. I haven't started on mine yet - I think I'll wait till I know if Im off work in december, and then if I am, I'll use it for a holiday/travelling sketchpad. Maybe a bothyzine 2! The deadline to get the full sketchpads back has been put back to January so you have time to join in too.

4. Lomo photos.
Just a wee exhibition at the Trent House coming up, but it says anyone's welcome to send in pictures so I'll stick a film in my lomo camera some weekend and see if any of them come out well. Ooh I've just checked the website and it's this weekend, so I guess that's 'stick a film in my camera some day this week', which will mean night shots cos I'm back at work for all the daylight hours. Well, we'll see.

Sending Unsolicited Gifts to Strangers

I've just put loads of bothy zines into envelopes to post off to 'officers' (volunteers) in the mountain bothy association. They haven't really asked for them or anything, but I found it REALLY satisfying to send them off, coz it's the kind of thing I would love to get.

I also got a strange satisfaction from their addresses, in Shap, Oban, really scottish sounding cottages, one guy just round the corner, another near where I work. It gives me a sense of connecting to this grounded geography, this network of real people, community I guess. Anyway, if you want a zine, send an SAE to the usual address ( on my v.first blog post).

And happy Samhain.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Story Zine & Hybrid Zine

Making the story zine was lovely. 8 people took part.
The ugliest breakfast in the world was made on my campstove. Phipps was looking after a friend's dog, which did a poo.
And inspired by some trashy hire-books from the Grainger Market we produced some rather racy page-long works.
Here's excerpts (we mostly chose to be 'anon' so I'll just number them).
See if you can work out which room each takes place in. The title of the zine became 'It happened in the star & shadow':

1 "Other than the omnipresent computers, the symbol of working life, there's the sort of multicoloured mess that you'll find produced by artists."

2. "lunges forward, lips targeting lips, face for face. The man swerves and puts his mouth to Barney's ear. 'Brains' he whispers. 'Brains. Brains.'

3. "Between her legs, there glittered, like a finely-polished sheriff's badge, the little brass plaque bearing her seat number. Well, if it wasn't number 15, too!"

4. "He started to rise, bloody stripes over his face, but then, unseen above him, and with a slow-motion tilt, a small black box marked with stickers and the name 'lomo 33STS', fell silently down."

5. "I wake to the sound of crying and I see her. A woman sitting looking at the floor, handkerchief pressed to her face."

6. "His soft lips traced the outline of her jaw forcing out a gasp of pleasure as they neared the soft skin behind her ear."

7. "A substance emerged, globular, from the small machine, flowing out, massively encompassing the space, filling every corner, squashy with soft form."

8. "Mac brushed his creviced hands over the dark plastic levers remembering a time they had touched the softer and yielding folds of a willing woman"

9. "It helped him straighten his back, take a deep breath, clean his face up and start walking, his face now stony and held in place, stiff. Quick out the door and no-one would notice."

1. Office.
2. Projection Room.
3. Cinema.
4. Office.
5. The wallpapered room opposite the darkroom.
6. Bar.
7. Foyer.
8. Box office.
9. Corridor between cinema and office.

Genres covered include Western, Erotic Fantasy, Sci-fi Porn and Zombie Romance.

It was such a fun thing to do that I can't wait to do something similar again. So as Anna gathers some girls round to make a Mills n Boon romance, I have booked a saturday slot in the Star & Shadow in January to make


this time we will turn up not with pens and keyboards, but with glue and scissors, to cut up some cinema programmes and mix the words up with a page from our favourite novel/yellow pages/rent demand/council report. See what nonsensical poetry we can create, what hybrids can be found by the intermixing of everyday text. All welcome, free, purposeless and fun.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Story Zine Writing this Saturday

Dear all,

One of the many low-key creative things that happen at the Star & Shadow cinema is taking place on Saturday, from 10.30am onwards for 2 hours or so. If you are free, please come and join in - all are welcome, it's free and there's no need to be an expert!

At 10.30 we will share a wee breakfast & coffee in the office (bring anything you want!), flick through some trashy paperbacks - a western, a crime thriller, a mills'n'boon lovestory etc.. - and decide who wants to go where.

Then we will split up, with a notepad and pen (or laptop or typewriter) each, and try and write a very short (300 words?) story. This could be a fragment of a zombie horror, a gangster shoot-out, an existential monologue or an erotic fantasty - absolutely anything you fancy! The aim is to include some particular architectural or recognisable feature of the building (& its environs) in your story - the snake above the bar, the cinema seats or the darkroom equipment - whatever! Together we will cover some odd nooks and crannies of this rather unusual building, & maybe help people see them in a whole new light!

We'll meet up again after an hour or so and share ideas, writings & any problems. Then a chance to finish off or even write a second mini-story before we collect up the writings and check they're readable. By 2pm I intend to be at a photocopier printing out 100 copies of our stories as a zine that can then be left in the zine box and given out to cinema-goers for free.

And that's it! Absolutely anybody welcome!
But remember - we only have 26 letters to choose from.

(do bear in mind that the Rimini boys will be cleaning the cinema and setting things up ready for the evening, so we will have try our best not to hinder them. I might even ask us to wear 'writer' badges or something so they know who we are!)



p.s. if anyone fancies a more active alternative way of looking at the toon, the CCTV treasure hunt is starting at 11am at the City library.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Just for Fun - 'collaborations' over the next month.

Here (once I scan them in) are a couple of things I'm contributing:

(1) A (rather maudlin and literal) Gentleman Ghost for Jack Fallows' killed-off character.

(2) Introducing the Newcastle Literary & Theosophical Society, which I've just drawn tonight sat in bed. Ideally I would have carefully planned it out and provided decent clues, but instead I just did it cos otherwise I ... er ... wouldn't do it. For the Paper Jam 'Kids' Anthology, hopefully not as controversial as the Oz 'Kids' Issue - should I white-out the blown-off head?

(3) Done my wor diary week, need to chase and give others theirs. www.wordiary.org

(4) And (drum-roll) a profitless day at the Star & Shadow. (Probably) the 17th October, all welcome, free (of course) and open and creative and nothing to do with the arts council or newcastlegateshead or any other such bullshit (word to the cartographers: newcastlegateshead doesn't exist, there is a space between the two places, and a fine river is running through it).

But anyway - what is this free and open and creative thing? Why a story-writing day!
I hate writing stories, or I would if I had ever attempted to write any, but I thought it would be a nice way for me and my housemate Anna to (ahem) 'collaborate' by joining two of our interests together. She writing me zines.

STEP 1: Turn up for breakfast at the star and shadow, no expertise necessary.
STEP 2: Chat and leaf through the paperbacks I'll have got from the Grainger Market stall (where you pay a deposit and get it back when you return them): westerns, doctor romances, horror, hardboiled detective, maybe some soft porn.
STEP 3: Go to a location in the cinema - roof, toilet, bar, darkroom, your choice.
STEP 4: Write a mini short story in your chosen genre, and try to combine the fixtures and features of that space with the story-elements of, for example, a zombie attack on the bar; an erotic fantasy in the cinema; a crime thriller on the roof...
STEP 5: Get back together and write, type or whatever our efforts up into a printable booklet, and print them the same day to leave as a free zine in the star & shadow. Unfinished pieces and fragments perfectly welcome.

If you're interested, drop me a line.
Or send me a zine if you want to swap some.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Photos You Can't Use On Your Passport, from 5th Sept 09 at the Star & Shadow

Here's some of the photos we took in the Star & Shadow Cinema.

Hair across eyes, outline of eyes, nose & mouth obscured, poor definition between face and background.

Something covering face, wearing a hat for non-religious reasons, too light, mouth open.

Frames covering eyes, face covered, eyes closed, mouth open.

Dark tinted glasses, shadows, eyes closed, non-neutral expression.

Blurry and unclear, partial head, eyes closed.

Facing sideways, shadows, mouth open, non-neutral expression.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Bothy zine goes to print!

The Roman philosophers zine (bit of a niche market, that one), is appearing in free spaces around the city this weekend - bus seat, shelf, star & shadow...

And I'm finishing the Bothy Zine off tonight, including the action-packed disastrous adventure that was our attempt, this week, to find Mosedale Cottage. Police! Rainstorms! 10-storey high waterfalls and being stranded in the pitch black night!

To get a copy, send an SAE to my address.

Having decided not to colourprint the cover, I won't now be using these photos that accompanied the bothy walks.

Seathwaite; and a Herdwick ram.

On the bus to Kielder; lichen; & a bum print in Skyspace:

Kielder infrastructure: cycle paths & rival forest signs (Newcastleton vs Kershope vs Kielder)

Kershopehead, upstairs room.

This page didn't make it into the zine, I forget why exactly.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Public vs Private

I'm going to go to Fenham library in a bit, where I'll probably queue for a while in order to use a scanner and printer. I'll be waiting for a thick and ugly boy on myspace, who squints up close at the screen to try and see as much flesh as possible on girls' profile pics.

I saw that advert for the £49.99 printer/scanner yesterday and had a think about getting it. It would make all this so much easier. I could scan when I like, without having to borrow,wait or limit how much I do. By leisurely re-doing and experimenting, I could become an 'expert' at using a small piece of domestic kit - an artisan of home-printing!

But I've always resisted getting my own private tools. I spend too much time alone already. And when you go to the library/wait for the bus/walk and walk to get what you want, then you do encounter other people in the real world. Including the ugly boy, and the library staff who totally fucked up the photocopier when it had an ink jam. At least the boy is doing his squinting in public. Being forced into the open reveals and reminds us what each other are like, ugly and all. I think that's a good thing.

Almost all of my zines have been done on public photocopiers. I've not even scanned any of them and I've never really got the 'hang' of any particular machine. This is why they're never neatly done, or of the same standard. The worst printed are the ones done cheapest, ones that I used to do on a duplicator in Gateshead, where I had to hide what it was I was printing from the other users of the building. I liked that experience of secrecy in public.

But the printing does suffer, and it takes so much time, and it used to add on about £5 to the printing just to get to Gateshead (metro and irn bru), and it often adds another day or two onto the making and finishing of things. It also makes you feel stupid and frustrated to spend your time going back and forth, not being able to do something then and there. There's an aspect of society pressure, too. Standing at a bus stop, I think of Maggie Thatcher's quote: 'if you see a man over the age of 30 at a bus stop, you know he's a loser'. Now I'm a little older, I tend to feel shitter about myself when I compare myself, (in these acts of doing pointless, unintelligent errands and repetitive, unnecessarily awkward tasks that end up coming out really bad) with some flash harry in his office and paid-up mac software doing it in a tenth of the time.

I don't even have microsoft office on this computer, and the laptop itself broke one week after its guarantee ran out. And things I do on it are incompatible with the systems at work.
Why do I make life so hard for myself?
The same reason I don't buy a car, and spend more money and more time gettting places on public transport?
I used to feel more confident in that decision, but lately I have just felt tired, and like I'm wasting effort. WHY have I never learnt how to use a software programme? WHY have I not, by this age, accumulated some useful tools?

I'm not gonna answer these old questions right now, but just pose this parallel:

Not having a car, I get a bus to get close to a place of beauty. I walk a few miles to get there, and it's raining. The route is not so beautiful, and there are cars passing me. By the time I get there, I am fed up and my feet hurt. A girl gets out of the back seat of her daddy's car and sucks on a can of pop. I hate her. But it's my own fault.

Friday, 21 August 2009

My Tour of the English Bothies (zine) has begun!

This week I visited the two most out-lying and far-flung English bothies and wrote & sketched loads, which I'm generally happy with.
(click on a picture to read my burbles...)

Sample scans from Pinkneys bothy visit (North Yorkshire):

Sample scans from Warnscale Head bothy visit (Cumbria):

And tomorrow I am setting off on the 6-day walk between the bothies of the Kielder kingdom, with nothing but my thoughts and a small radio (which may or may not have reception) for company.

Talk when I'm back from the darkest spot in England...