This Sunday, May 26th, I have a stall at the MCA zine fair, with a new zine to debut – it’s a split with Katie Haegele. She’s one of my favourite zine makers so I’m very excited to have made a zine with her. It’s called Summer Here/Winter Here (or Winter Here/Summer Here, what is the split zine naming etiquette?), a reference to our living in, and corresponding between, opposite hemispheres. Here’s a sneak peek at the northern hemisphere version on Katie’s etsy store. I’ll be getting out the blinding flashbulbs of the gocco to create the southern hemisphere version this week.
On the same day I’ll be switching my zine disguise for my blog disguise, and heading over to the Museum of Sydney to talk about city blogging for Vivid Ideas. The session is called We Blog the City. Come to hear stories of me observing library eccentrics and being chased by irate giant soap bubble-blowing buskers, and to hear tales from Louise Hawson of 52 Suburbs, and Violet Tingle of My Darling Darlinghurst.
Beyond this Sunday, look out for the launch of my book, Ninety 9, in August, the ZICS festival in Brisbane, and a special split YOU zine launch at Sticky in late September, and, based on my Mirror Sydney blog, a talk about creative cartography at Critical Animals in Newcastle during TINA. Just thinking about all that is sending me in the direction of the teapot. I am writing this under the seasick influence of jetlag, the product of adventures I will be soon to write about once I’ve consumed enough Russian Caravan.
Yes, the rumours are true, I have written a book about my life as a music-obsessed teenager in the 1990s. It’s called Ninety9 and is being published by Giramondo Books. There are some details of it on the publisher’s website here. It will be in stores in August, and I’m starting to think about a launch – any ideas are welcome. Where is the most 90s place in Sydney?
It has been a long time since I’ve made a split zine. The last one I made was in 1998, a Perth/Sydney, Tim/Vanessa collaboration called By the Jetty/Velodrome I Sat Down and Wept. I went to the Camperdown Velodrome every day for a week and wrote about what I did and thought while I was there. Soon after the velodrome was demolished, and nowadays the area that was the velodrome is now a dog park, which I visit sometimes, but always in a half present, half past frame of mind.
My new zine, so new in fact I have not yet seen the completed version, is a split with Katie Haegele from The La La Theory. I posted my half of the zine off to her a few weeks ago, and she finished it in time for the Brooklyn Zinefest. It’s called Summer Here/Winter Here, a reference to our opposite hemispheres, and how it is to write letters to someone who is in the opposite season.
The master copy will be returning to me here in Sydney sometime soon, and I’ll take it to be copied so it is ready in time for the MCA Zine Fair, which this year is on May 26th, 11am – 4pm.
That very same day I’ll be talking at a panel for Vivid Sydney, about blogging the city, about Mirror Sydney and writing about cities, with Louise Hawson of 52 Suburbs, and Violet Tingle from My Darling Darlinghurst. It’s from 4pm at the Museum of Sydney, more details here.
What does the moon have to do with all of this? Well, in my other life that is not making zines or making blogs, it was my birthday and I had a moon-themed party to celebrate this.
These pages are from the Reader’s Digest Repair Manual “The Complete Guide to Home Maintenance”. This book has all the information you could ever need in order to fix things from bent knife blades to the drive mechanism of your lawnmower. While I one day might repair the handle of a sports bag, or fit a new bulb into my iron (wow, just by leafing through this book I feel more handy), the most useful pages so far have been those on typewriter repair. Here they are for those who want to take typewriter repair into their own hands.
A few tips from my own amateur typewriter repairs: 1. The reason why your typewriter keys get stuck or jam up is probably because of grease and grime – clean all the type bars with something like methylated spirits. Be patient and careful.
2. Don’t use oil! It’s tempting to as it seems like the right thing, but in fact it attracts more grime and the mechanism will get stuck again. The pages below suggest using oil on certain parts of the machine, but if you do this, don’t use it anywhere else, it is tempting to start oiling everything when you’ve got the bottle in your hands.
I made a new zine about a very important connection:
Those lucky enough to be at Paper City last month might already have one, but for those who haven’t yet read about Morrissey and the End of the World (what is the connection?), and you’d like to track down a copy in person, make your way to Canberra for the Canberra Zine Emporium fair on Saturday March 23rd. The fair is on from 11am – 4pm and there will be plenty of zine stalls from Canberra and elsewhere, including distros like Sticky and Take Care, and I’ll be there with multiple Morrisseys. There are also copies on Etsy and you can always write to me to trade etc. But if you are near Canberra, do come and say hello.
Now is a good moment for me to show you my Cockington Green tray – I have never been to Cockington Green, although miniature villages are exactly my thing. All that has happened in years past is that I have gazed out the window wistfully while passing by. This will probably happen again this year, though I at least have the tray – with Bunty, giant cat.
The day before Paper City I had the usual list of things to do one has before going away, sensible, administrative things I’d been putting off all week and practical things like plant watering. But instead of doing them, I spent many hours packaging teabags into band t-shirt themed packets.
They included Riot Girl Rooibos, Pennyroyal Tea, Space Odditea, Fear of a Black Tea, I wanna be Sedated (camomile), Ok Camomile – as I packaged them I tried to guess which would be most popular at the tea party: hands down it was Space Odditea, the genmaicha with David Bowie on the packet.
Paper City is Sticky’s annual zine festival, and this year all the events were compacted into a long weekend, beginning with the launch party on Thursday night and ending with the zine fair in Melbourne Town Hall on Sunday afternoon. The band t-shirt tea party was at noon on Friday and the first of an afternoon of talks and launches: I was curious, what band t-shirt would people wear? I was wearing my special occasions only Huggy Bear shirt, made by my friend Natasha in the 1990s: you can still see the Esprit logo underneath. Thomas from Sticky wore his ultimate band t-shirt – good for every band:
There was a good showing of iconic band t-shirts: The Smiths, Radio Birdman, Einsturzende Neubauten, Nirvana, and a very cool four year old wearing a Grinderman t-shirt. When given the choice of teabags, he too went for David Bowie.
I read a few stories from Band T-shirt in the doorway of the shop, as people going back and forth from the train station paused and stared to try and determine what was going on. I read the story of my first band t-shirt, The Cure, a bittersweet tale of never-followed love and a Mudhoney t-shirt, and a tale from the goth days about my Alien Sex Fiend t-shirt.
After the tea party, Elouise and Jeremy spoke about their campaign to fund a pop up DIY workshop bicycle trailer (successful! hooray!) and following that were more readings and discussions, and the day ended in a sugar bomb of macarons and creaming soda for the launch of the follow up zine to Macarons are not Macaroons, Ganache is not spelt Ganash (or “gnash”, as one of my students spelt it last year).
On Saturday I went for a tour of the State Library of Victoria zine collection, which is the largest public zine collection in Australia. There are thousands of zine packed away in grey boxes, some of which had been selected for us to browse through. These zines have been collected from Polyester Books and Sticky since the 1990s, as well as from donations of individuals’ zine collections. I saw a fair few of my old zines emerging from the boxes, and in fact during the zine fair on Sunday someone said they’d gone to the library specifically to read old zines of mine. While I was flattered, I was also a little worried what past version of Vanessa they might have met in the archives.
Archives investigated, I returned to Sticky for the launch of Sex Industry Apologist #2 by Nine, for which as many people as possible squeezed their way into Sticky to listen to a discussion about sex work issues and readings from the zine.
After this was the launch of Veganistan #2, the second issue of the zine of vegan recipes from the Middle East. I have already cooked a meal entirely from Veganistan 2 and highly recommend it (it has also got me addicted to pomegranates).
As I was exclaiming over the greatness of a Badimjan Borujuglari (eggplant roll) and declining a sip from a jar of vegan Baileys I noticed that the most recent issue of You zine came wrapped around a stick. I appreciate a good stick, but didn’t think I’d be allowed on my plane back to Sydney with it.
The final day of Paper City was the zine fair held in the town hall, a grand room with huge sunflowers decorating the ceiling and an imposing pipe organ behind the stage. I was debuting my zine “Morrissey and the End of the World”, and it seemed to be most popular with bearded men. Such a clean-shaven idol for such bearded men!
I brought home a big box of zines which I bought and traded for at the fair, which I shall survey in an upcoming post. For now, thank you to Sticky for organising such a great festival. For those who couldn’t be there, here’s a spy camera shot of the zine fair I pinched from the Sticky blog: