Friday, 17 December 2010

Wor History Calendar ready


I've printed 50 copies of a calendar cut n pasted from old wor diaries.
It's strictly one for the participants and the fans, to remind them to get involved for next year.
It only cost £2 to make, so it only costs £2 to get (unless it needs posting).

Public Availability:
5 copies have been left in the travelling man comics shop on grainger st (at £3 cos their small press stand automatically adds 33%)
5 copies have been left in the new 'Made in Newcastle' shop, also on Grainger st, next to Greggs, which opens tomorrow.
5 copies also left in the Star & Shadow.

The rest have already been claimed by fans and participants of Wor Diary.

Deadlines in 2011 (taken from the calendar):

First Meeting for 2012 Wor Diary is April 1st in the Spital House pub, 7pm.
We hope to add a feature to the website by which you can choose a week to draw - the deadline for these bagsied weeks would be September 1st
On September 2nd the remaining weeks are distributed and on Saturday September 3rd we'd have a collective drawing/cut-n-pasting session for those who like the company.
Wor Diary 2012 will be available from 23rd October 2011.

How's that for forward thinking, eh?

Monday, 6 December 2010

Anti Digital December

I found I was spending too much free time on the internet, instead of staring into space.
So I have got rid of my laptop for the month and therefore will not be updating this blog so much.
There are, however, various papery projects that I am making happen:
1. The First Edition of 'Opinionated Geordie Monsters' is out. 20 pages, 7 contributors, and hopefully about to start a life of its own!
And while I could only afford to do a run of 90 copies, it seems that there is a major dearth of decent gigs in Newcastle this month anyway so I can't give that many out ( there are a FEW good gigs, but they're sold out or when I'm out in Northumberland).

2. Wor History Calendar.

I got a bug and had to clear the house out so my first start on this stalled. But I will do it for Christmas, and rather than doing it really thoroughly and distributing it to the geordie public, it will just be for the most keen fans of wor diary, to help tide them over till the next one which we will start next year, to be ready for 2012. If you don't know wor diary, it's a participatory radical local history project whose website is being resurrected.
3. Cartoon Diaries.

Spending a lot of the last month snotting out green goo in bed, I have at least written a few diaryesque comics that may end up making sense as a zine in their own right. They're a bit melancholy, so would fit a winter theme.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Post 3 of 3: Opinionated Geordie Monsters!

Opinionated Geordie Monsters Review the Local Band Scene



This fanzine is going to be a quarterly for Newcastle upon Tyne.

So far I have 4 pages submitted by other people (4 monsters, 4 reviews), and lots by me. My hope is that, over the next year, this fanzine will become a familiar and loved feature of the local band scene, in which not just my thoughts but the thoughts of all sorts of people are converted into the drawing of a monster saying something about a local gig.

It's not big, it's not clever. It's easy to contribute a monster review, so send one to me at

Post 2 of 3 - the Footprint Zine Fair

Last weekend, Leeds University Student Union, I did my first ever solo zine stall, yay! It was the first time I've ever asked for money for my zines, but it was a very loose thing and I still gave most of mine away.

I fashioned a stand out of a biscuit box, and borrowed my house's radiator hangers to help make my stall.

I made a series of 3 cut-out comics from a gaelic language guide (highlands & islands, not Ireland) , on the themes of drinking, women, and work and enveloped them up.

I was happy to be REPRESENTING Newcastle and the North East, with Mayday and Classwar Classix pamphlets from County Durham (sold a few, gave more away); anarcha-feminist zines advertised from Newcastle (several people copied down the details and I feel good that I've helped spread that); small press comics from Newcastle and Teesside, borrowed from the Paper Jam Comics Collective; William Pilgrim's latest and a few spares that I found left over, which people had sent me for DIYAye 2010 (Lather Rinse Repeat; ).

I also gave out some of the out of date mars bars that my housemate liberated from a skip, and had my collection of North East zines available for any real fans. Interestingly, I met a lot of people who at one point had been in Teesside and I learnt a lot about the shit that went down there in the late '90s, and how the DIY scene has recently re-emerged with a smile and youthly beauty, yay! I also realised I have NO zines from Sunderland. Durham, check, Ashington, check, Sunderland, no. Am I missing out?

(I did an interview for Dissident radio which is here, in which for some reason I totally misrepresent the guy who started the Wor Diary project, as if he was incapable and trapped in his house, when he so isn't. Beware mouths running away with themselves! Other than that I don't mind what i said, oh, except I also gave a way-too-low estimate of the costs of printing wor diary it's at least twice as much.)

I had some great conversations with other people at the fair, swapped contacts, got offers, got a load of zine and comic swaps, and then I did a comic drawing workshop.

8 of us drew a page each around the theme of 'making tea' and then passed our page to our left, giggled at what we saw and tried to do a follow-on page. Some of the random results are below, each page done in less than 5 minutes! Great fun.

Here's a page from one:

This one was called "Copper Tea is Theft":

This one went down a politicised surrealist avenue:

This one featured the adventures of Grannny Smedley:

This one featured the hero, "Random Dude":

And finally:

Post 1 of 3! - the clearout

Since my return from Siberia, I have spent a lot of time sorting through the piles of things boxed up and forgotten in bags in my room, attic, etc...

I have tried to get rid of all my spare old zines in order to clear a space in which to do new ones (and especially the anarchist pilgrimage mega-zine). Still my two bedroom tables are covered in drifts of paper but I WILL clear them this week, I WILL! The Footprint zine fair in Leeds was great and it let me give out, sell & swap lots of zines. Since returning from there, I have established that I have SEVEN copies of each of the following seven zines:

secret anarchist history of newcastle (spring 2008)
examzine (summer 2008)

george zine (2008?)

bothy zine (autumn 2009)
Roman philosophers (early 2010?)

beach zine (summer 2010)
mongolian cartoon diary (autumn 2010)

I also have dozens more of the bothy and anarchist history zine, but these are not intended for zine swaps and stalls. Instead, they will continue to be left out in the spaces which they refer to: bothies and newcastle. (Incidentally, I am glad it is these 2 that will persist, because they are the most 'weighty' of my contributions in the last 2 years, most of which are pretty frivolous!)

Also I had 8 copies of george zine left, but serendipitously Matt came round and said he'd lost his copy and did I have any spare. So good, down to the magic number 7.
I have a few extra exam and roman philosophers zines, which will continue to refill the free zine boxes (1 is permanent on the bar of the Star & Shadow Cinema, no.2 is roaming and comes with me to gigs, where I leave it in a well-lit spot for punters to go 'oh, free zines!')

So what about these SEVEN? Well, today I am wrapping them up into bundles, and I will be sticking a price on them. Not to make any money, but to ensure that they only go to someone who's new to them and keen to see them. So I hope they will remain with me for at least a year, and then at some stall in the future or some encounter with someone perhaps newer to zines, I will flog them for £3.50. I just made up that price, 50p a zine, sounds alright to me.

I reckon this blog post is about the most boring I have ever and will ever make, but it is somehow satisfying to put into words where I am at with this side of my life. I have got really a bit over the top at zines in the last year or two, and loved it, really loved it. But it means I've got loads of oddities and leftovers and I've got a bit lost in what I've done, so it helps clear up your mind if you clear up the debris around you. I'm also very happy that zines of mine have gone off to exhibitions and libraries in Denmark, Australia, New York and Germany. And Alnwick this week! Through my unbalanced enthusiasm, quite a few people have encountered zines for the first time through me, especially amongst bothy-users and people who go out in the evenings in Newcastle. If I stop now and find a new hobby, like stamps, I will still have done a little bit for zine culture and so today I'm feeling quite happy about that. Coz making zines is a beautifully pointless thing to do. People occasionally suggest I should do stuff 'properly', get funding or try and make cash out of it. But I've been doing it for the opposite reason: because I love doing stuff amateurishly without planning, without corrections, when my heart is urging me to do it; and because fanzines are about fandom, about enthusiasm, NOT about career-building or commercialism. It's this other side of life that I want to be part of. Love, outpouring, messy experimentalism, temporary collaborations, not knowing how things are going to turn out, all that 'lifestyle anarchism' stuff!

And if in future I return to look at this zine blog of mine, finding it all dusty and a part of the past, remember this Mr.Mike:

- in Wainhope bothy last month, during the 'any other business' part of the meeting, when you piped up and said "I did a zine about..." and the whole room turned round and said "It's YOU!" and gave such love and appreciation for it.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Opinionated Geordie Monsters Review the Local Band Scene

These are the posters for a new fanzine which I hope other people will contribute to.
Suitable for all ages and levels of artistic ability!

And here is an early example:

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

75th post: 2 new zines ready

24 copies of the 24 page 24 hour comic diary thing i did in Helsinki. Just musing about myself and coffee and home, mostly. Unthought-through but illustrated.

60 copies of the Mongolian Cartoon Diary, again drawn while travelling and without planning, so you get exactly what the title describes.

Both A6, both free in the post (to the UK) if you email me with an address to post to.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Another blog.


I am making most of my book collection available to users of the 'canny little library' (housed in the star & shadow cinema & open from 3 till 6 each Sunday).

I have opened a new blog, purely to list (by pictures) the available books.
There will be posts for each section I have books available in:

Global Struggles

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Home to Newcastle.

Today I happily got off the ferry from Amsterdam, found myself locked out of the house (of course) and drew a few things.

Tomorrow I hope to pick up 2 packages from the Royal Mail, that I sent to myself and which include the Mongolia comic.

I then hope to print the Mongolia comic (40 copies) and the 24 hour comic from Helsinki (24 copies). I found the town different but the same. Spectrum copyshop has closed down (as has my favourite bargain bookshop and the 'made in newcastle' DIY craft place), but I found the new one, Mailboxes on Clayton st. As these pictures also tell, I spent a happy time re-embracing this city that I love and reading the comics that people have produced since I was gone.

Monday, 4 October 2010

My 24 hour comic result = at best a draw.


Including the cover, I managed 23 pages in 24 hours, most of which were spent walking around the streets looking for stuff, and sleeping. So the actual drawing took place in coffee houses and pizza restaurants. I don't know if the results can really be called a comic, it's just reflections and my usual diary, with a couple of self portraits and pictures of Helsinki. I'll print it anyway, I LIKE my diaries, but it's really just an attempt and next year I will try and do a proper plotted thingamajig. As it is, I have a strong idea for a fiction-as-opposed-to-diary comic, which is basically political/historical porn. I hope I will make this happen when I return home, in 10 days.

I will stick a few pictures of the comic-zine here when & if I find a usb slot.
And it is odd to be writing a blog entry from the middle of the Baltic sea, but this Finland to Sweden ferry has an internet terminal. How odd.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Starting a 24 hour comic in Finland!

Hi, I have just realised that i have missed 24 hour comic day, and I wish I'd been with the paper jam crew back in Newcastle. But unless I got a plane up to Lapland I think I've just missed the local Finnish versions of it.

SO - with 2 minutes left of this internet station to declare it, I do declare that I will do my own 24 hour comic, starting from approximately one hour's time (after I've found a hostel and dumped my bag and got out a pad and pens.
I have no idea what it will be like, but it will be from Helsinki, and a day late but with the Newcastle crew in spirit!


Sunday, 12 September 2010

Cartoon Diary of Mongolia

Having come, for no great compelling reason, down into Mongolia, I have been writing my travel diary as a comic. I will probably produce this as a small run zine when I get back to the UK.

Here are most of the pages so far, all drawn on the move in the gaps when the minibus broke down / we stopped for lunch / there was 20 minutes with nowt to do. So as usual not professional or planned out, and not even in this case about anything in particular, but definitely fun to draw and fun to share with people (if you start drawing a cartoon, it isn't long before a shadow appears at your shoulder).

I'm in Mongolia for another few days so I'll probably pad it out with a bit more before posting the sketchpad back home (seen in the first picture being read by Travis, again).