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Zine-iversary: Psychobabble #1

February 5, 2016

Twenty years ago I sat down at my desk and started to make a zine. I’d been reading zines for years – music zines like Lemon, personal zines like Ms.45, the big American zines like Thrift Score and Murder Can Be Fun – but hadn’t up to this point felt brave enough to make one of my own. What would I write about? I was a teenager in the Sydney suburbs, with no particular claim to the underground world I so wished to be a part of beyond being an obsessive music fan. My whole life up to this point had been characterised by shyness and feeling as if I was on one side of a fence and the world and everyone and everywhere else was on the other.

Why did I make a zine in February 1996? I don’t remember what particularly inspired me to do it, so perhaps it was a spur of the moment decision. Maybe I realised that channelling my errant thoughts into a vessel would be a way of tethering me to the here-and-now, a place I had a fairly absent relationship with as a teenager. So I sat at my desk, a cumbersome flatpack contraption from Freedom Furniture, and wrote about some of these things:

Psychobabble 1 Cover

To find the zine now I drag out the heavy suitcase that has all of my old zine master copies in it and dig right to the bottom of it, though years of the zines that were to follow, I am a Camera, Laughter and the Sound of Teacups. The 1996 version of me would be surprised that I was still making zines 20 years later, and no doubt similarly surprised that her spur of the moment decision to write a zine would be one of the most defining decisions of her life, leading to a life of writing and making. Psychobabble #1 is of course acutely embarrassing for me to read, as anything you do as a teenager becomes soon afterwards. With so many years of distance it rather seems like it was written by someone else, though I suppose the me that had a fascination for religious pamphlets, B-grade movies and wondered if tearing sticky tape with your teeth ruins them is still in there somewhere.

Over the last 20 years I’ve lost count of the zines I’ve made (150 maybe?) and all the people I’ve written to and become friends with through making zines, but it has all been a great joy. Thank you for following me some or all of the way, dear readers.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2016 9:56 am

    You continue to inspire me to make a zine of my own. I’m thinking about a mini-zine, made from a standard-sized sheet of printer paper, folded and stapled to make a 16-page (including front and back cover) wallet-sized zinette.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Vanessa Berry permalink*
      February 6, 2016 10:16 am

      Thanks Joe – and those zine plans sound good! Have fun with it!

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