SCAM #6: In The Streets Of Buenos Aires / $3.00 / 85g
“Was there really a “revolution” to be seen in the spray paint on Argentina’s walls? If so, what kind of revolution was it? What did the graffiti, angry political slogans and lyrical stencil images, have to say about where Argentina was heading now after four years of political and economic crisis? I sought out Buenos Aires’ stencil artists to find out.”

SCAM #7: The Return To Miami! / $3.00 / 85g
“When I tell people I’m from Miami, frequently they respond by saying, ‘I’ve been there once.’ If a shadow seems to cross their face for a second and they appear to be involuntarily remembering the worst thing things they’ve ever seen, I can usually correctly guess that they went down there to attend the protests against the Free Trade of the Americas Agreement (FTAA) in November of 2003 and experienced the brutal and violent police attacks on the protesters. Otherwise, it usually turns out that they went to the week-long glitzy orgy of art, money, and celebrity known as Art Basel Miami Beach. Either way, they will usually politely say, ‘But I’m sure it’s not always like that…'”

SCAM #9: Damaged – The Story Of Black Flag’s Classic First Album / $3.00 / 90g
Description from Erick Lyle himself: “Here at last is the long awaited new issue of SCAM, the story of the making of my favorite record ever, Black Flag’s classic first LP, Damaged. Based on an expanded version of a story I wrote for the LA Weekly last winter to celebrate the record’s 30th anniversary, the zine includes primary interviews with Black Flag members, Henry Rollins, Greg Ginn, Chuck Dukowski, Dez Cadena, Kira Roessler and others around the band, including Mike Watt, Joe Carducci, Raymond Pettibon, Ed Colver, and Dave Markey.”

Sex Industry Apologist #1 / $2.00 / 30g
You may know Nine from her other zine, If Destroyed Still True. And if you’ve read that, then you know that she worked at a project supporting sex workers. In this zine, Nine recounts various arguments that sex industry abolitionists have presented, either through public speaking panels or newspaper articles, and follows them up with her own arguments, which are backed up with both published studies, and her personal experiences – sometimes sarcastic, always informative. Just make sure you play by Nine’s Rule: “Whoso maketh reference to the film Pretty Woman automatically loseth the argument.”

Sex Industry Apologist #2 / $2.00 / 40g
In this second issue, Nine continues to promote sex workers’ rights, to debunk myths about sex work, and to challenge the arguments of anti-sex-work feminists. Alongside short essays and an FAQ, there’s also a profile of a street sex worker in Scotland, and reviews of movies, a play, and a book that focus on sex workers. Much of the writing is specific to the UK, but it comes highly recommended by me no matter the context. An excerpt: “A feminist analysis that puts sex workers’ rights at its centre is not a new idea – it just doesn’t get as much exposure (at least in the UK) as the ‘violence against women’ refrain. It’s pretty depressing that a movement which has had such a positive impact in other areas continues to encourage its members to ignore the realities of peoples’ lives, experiences and wishes when the topic is sex work. It’s simplistic to reduce the issue to a debate about whether or not sex work is or can be empowering for individuals. Certainly, I stand with those who insist that people should be free to make their own choices. However, even when – especially when – sex work is someone’s last resort, they deserve the safest conditions possible. In this sense, it’s analogous with abortion. Feminists recognize that when abortion is illegal, it still happens – women are just put at greater risk. It’s crucial to recognize that the criminalisation of sex work (including when this criminalisation is focused on sex workers’ clients) does the same.”

Sinvergüenza #1 / $2.00 / 25g
“Struggling with real loneliness – like, the kind that fills you with anxiety and despair and an unreasonable fear that you will always feel that way – is a recent thing for me. I used to be very possessive about my alone time. I used to enjoy being able to do pretty much anything, with the exception of going to the movies, by myself… I used to like being at home by myself and working on stuff without having to worry about any distractions. But when you live by yourself, especially in the house where you grew up and used to live with two caring parents who are now very much deceased, you find that you have more alone time than you know what to do with.”

Sinvergüenza #2 / $2.00 / 30g
Pronounced something like ‘seem-bear-whence-a’, sinvergüenza is Castillian Spanish for ‘without shame’, or, as writer Jamie adds, “A derogatory term my Puerto Rican-born grandmother uses to describe any woman, especially a woman with children, who gets home after 10pm.” This issue continues on the trajectory that the first issue began – working through grief and loss, confronting things like shame, anxiety, internalized misogyny. It’s about friendship and self-care and family histories and going to punk shows. Like getting a long letter from a friend.

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Six Ans De Pouce / $3.00 / 80g
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Skinned Heart #3 / $3.00 / 40g
I’ve read this zine several times, most recently at my kitchen table on an autumn evening, with a cup of tea by my side. It’s one of those zines that you can spend a lotta time mulling over, you know? There are a few main themes in this one – female friendships, jealousy / competition, open relationships, and being a person of colour in a predominantly white punk scene. Really thoughtful and honest writing, with a cut-and-paste layout. Total favourite.

Skinned Heart #4 / 40g / $3.00
In this issue, Nyky documents her moves from Texas to Arizona and most recently to Seattle, Washington, while also navigating the complicated effects of colonization – including feeling like an outsider to both Mexican culture and to radical-feminist-punk subculture. Other topics include learning to take care of herself in regards to chronic illness, dealing with the fallout of being involved in an abusive relationship, and learning how to communicate within an open relationship. “They [the author’s family] had a lot and they lost a lot chasing the American dream. Slowly but surely we chased and assimilated to that American lifestyle in the Arizona desert looking for a life full of respect and status. This is where those cracks in my identity began, where there was a Mexican me and an assimilated me, where I began and learned to tolerate a life of duality.”

Skinned Heart #5 / $3.00 / 10g
In this issue of Skinned Heart, Nyky works her way through what she refers to as her current madness, which is coinciding with her Saturn return. She writes about feeling alone and unstable and learning how to work through anger and aggression. This particular issue feels very stream-of-conscious with a sense of urgency, and is peppered with both the vulnerability and the simple high-contrast collages that I’ve come to associate with this series.

Skinned Heart #6 / $3.00 / 30g
The cover of this issue was illustrated by Nyky’s father, and she begins by writing about her experiences with having a father who is incarcerated. She writes not only of the frustration, sadness, and fear that come out of this situation, but also critiques the prison industrial complex, the US’s “war on drugs,” and the way race and class figure into her father’s arrests and incarceration. She writes of the matriarchal family she was raised in, and witnessing reactions to women of colour’s expressions of anger – be it her mother confronting school employees when she was a child, or right now, her own anger when organizing with white feminists, for example. In Punkera Por Vida, she writes, “What I love most about being a punk is the access I have to other folks of color and gender marginalized people who are having the same experiences and finding creative outlets to live outside of the margins. I’ve met so many brujas, artists and musicians, writers, great thinkers and amazing inspirational people through punk.” She writes about calling white punks on their (our) racist bullshit – namely, white queers writing POC out of hard-femme culture – and also bringing her politics into her interactions with her family. She reminds readers, “Punk is not inherently white.”

Someday You Will Ache Like I Ache: A Zine About Internalized Sexism / $1.00 / 15g
Joan is now the third person to participate in the Fight Boredom Zine Residency in 2015. She visited us from Halifax and spent three weeks of April here with us, working on a zine about internalized sexism. She begins by writing about a relationship that she was recently involved in, wherein she was asked to be non-monogamous. This was attempted in different ways, and she wasn’t happy, but would always default to what her male partner wanted. She came to see this as one of the many occasions in which she would go against her own will or desires in order to impress men – not just her partner, but acquaintances, co-workers, etc. The first half of the zine focuses on these interactions, and the latter half is more about how she is confronting these attitudes within herself and unlearning these patterns – with the help of a few of my favourite writers, including bell hooks and Anaïs Nin. This is a really thoughtful zine, and a brave one to write.

Sour Puss #8 / Fergus #30 / $1.00 / 25g
This is a split zine on the theme of food; one half by Fergus, an omnivore, and the other half by Tee, a vegan who has medical issues that limit the sorts of food she’s able to consume. Each of them kept a food diary for a week, so what we get is an example of the kinda meals they typically eat, filled with stories of the day and memories around food. The side by Fergus sees her at the coffee shop at 6:30 every morning, musing on what it’s like to be a ‘regular’ – in that place where the barista fills your order before you’ve said it aloud, which can be lovely but also strips the writer of the anonymity she desires. She writes about airport food, her newfound interest in vegemite, having her home broken into, and a visit to the Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair. Tee writes a lot about childhood and teenage memories around food, the old fear of eating in front of people, and cooking meals for her family. She includes fun vegan recipes for all kindsa stuff, including burritos, basic scrambled tofu, pancakes, banana bread and more. She also recommends really excellent pizza topping combos, like pumpkin and spinach, and caramelized onion, mushroom and artichoke. Yum!

Spirits #1: Relationships With Alcohol & Drugs / $1.00 / 25g
Spirits is a zine that I keep coming back to. This first issue was compiled in the autumn of 2012 and features writing by five people – some sober, some not – on rituals around consumption, and their reasons for imbibing (or not). Of particular interest to me were the pieces by Spruce, who’s been sober for something like four (?) years, and Coral who has now surpassed a decade without substance use. Both write about their lives before and after quitting, their reasons for using, the ways their lives have changed, what their current coping mechanisms are. Amusingly, multiple people noted that their intake of sugary sweets has gone up – this is the same for me! (Spruce recommends loading up on proteins if you wanna avoid the sugar cravings). And of course, a newfound love for mornings. Life is a whole lot nicer when hangovers are taken out of the equation. Coral writes also about various art and community projects that she’s involved in, and ties this in to her commitment to throwing non-alcohol-focused events. I found the whole thing very inspiring and affirming. I’m writing this during the first week of 2015, and I’ve been feeling a need to re-commit myself to sobriety – to centre and prioritize sober pals, to be better at asserting my boundaries, and to continue creating a life that feels supportive and meaningful.

Spirits #2: Relationships With Alcohol & Drugs / $2.00 / 30g
This is an excellent compilation zine that is not just about sobriety, like many of the zines that I distro, but about all different kinds of relationships with substances. Much of this writing goes above and beyond binary of sober/drunk (or high) and instead explores habits, harm reduction, self-care, emotions, histories, and even poetry. While one person answers the question, “How do you stay sober?” with their complicated feelings about AA, another person writes about struggling with their own issues of addiction and mental health while working in the Downtown East Side of Vancouver, noted as one of the poorest area codes in Canada, and yet another person writes about the privileges that come into play with their decision to remain sober having never struggled with their own addiction. One thing that I found quite helpful was a list that Spruce included with their piece on achieving altered states without the use of drugs or alcohol, including meditating, gardening, and getting tattooed. Some of my personal favourites are going to shows (loud music and/or moshing can help me kinda turn off my brain and forget about the day, which is what I often looked for with alcohol in the past), getting tattooed, and working out or going for a long bike ride. Here is an excerpt from the first piece in this zine which really resonated with me, a conversation between two friends:

“You talked about Time earlier. Any thoughts on how alcohol and time might work together… or against each other?”

“…what interests me more is what alcohol does to the decades – how do the decades respond to more or less constant drinking? (and constant to me means rhythmical, whether that’s a little everyday or hard twice a week.) Are there hangovers for those? – waking up, say, from the 2010s with the shivers and the Fear and the headache and diarrhea of a ten year long night, thinking: what did I do last night, where have the 90s gone – and with them, their sense of possibility? Let alone hook up with that person for a night, why did I date them for so long? And why did I insist on seeing possible joys in sure sadnesses – and stay so long in places where love was at best a pale imitation of itself, nothing (much) more than the perpetual repetition of its own end? Was that booze’s fault? I can’t tell. But surely alcohol’s particular capacity to facilitate the abolition of feeling, and to be rid of the perennial encumberment of memory – has at times caused me to dissolve and ignore emotions that otherwise might have been radars for the worst, radars rather than obstacles to overcome.”

Support / $4.00 / 95g
It feels almost redundant at this point to be talking up Cindy Crabb’s zines (which include her long-running personal zine Doris, interview zines Filling The Void and Masculinities, and compilation zine Learning Good Consent), but Support is yet another must-read. This is a hefty compilation zine full of articles, comics, and worksheets on learning to support survivors of sexual abuse, and I really feel like it belongs in every home, library, and community space. From the intro: “This is a zine about supporting people who have been sexually abused. No formulas, no simple answers, just trying to peel back the layers – the heart of it, the hurt and fear and aloneness, the helplessness and failures and how we have pulled through, what we have learned, how we have grown, what we can teach each other. In my ideal world, people who weren’t abused would talk to each other and learn from each other ways to support and understand us; their friends & lovers who have particularly complicated bodies and thoughts. And us – we would not have to be so afraid to talk to each other about ways we’ve survived, ways we’ve grown. We’d see that growth is possible. That good communication (with ourselves & with our important ones) is something that we can let ourselves want, something we can work towards, & demand & even get (someday).”

Swearing In Cursive #3 / $2.00 / 20g
This issue begins with Mckenzie writing about some mental health stuff, from working toward overcoming her phobia, to details on her morning routine and how integral it is to taking care of her anxiety and depression, while also staying conscious of the difference between routines and habits, being the child of a recovering alcoholic. She writes love letters to knitting and gardening (grannypunx!), her yearly goals, and a great fuck you / fuck yeah on being a queer fat femme. Perfect springtime perzine.

Swearing In Cursive #4 / Summer / $2.00 / 20g
A split zine! Mckenzie is gearing up to leave her home state of California, and so reflects on this time alongside her friend Max, who left California for New York a year previously. Mckenzie grew up in Southern California, and writes about her teen years holed up in her cave bedroom repeatedly watching Martin Scorcese’s Bob Dylan documentary and reading gay male fanfiction, and her eventual online discoveries of zines and feminism. Max writes of a happy childhood living in a thick forest with their hippy parents, raised on music festivals, camping, and long days at the beach, but spending a miserable time at high school in Sacramento. Both Mckenzie and Max eventually moved to the Bay Area, where they found a community and chosen family, something they are now both learning to recreate in Boston, MA and Rochester, NY respectively. Loving this zine for its reflections on the importance of home, family, and community.

Swearing In Cursive #5 / $1.00 / 10g
Completed during the Fight Boredom Zine Residency in the summer of 2015, this issue opens with Mckenzie working in a high-end yarn and fabric store in Oakland, California. A customer asks her about how to make “flattering” clothes for larger bodies – thus provoking her to make this zine, all about existing as a queer fat femme. This zine features eight paperdoll-type illustrations highlighting Mckenzie’s wardrobe from the seventh grade, through high school and some major happenings included being made fun of for her body, and losing her clothing to a house fire, then on to college, as she comes out as queer, gets into fat positivity, learns to make her own clothes, and more. This zine is almost entirely handwritten, with a cut-and-paste layout featuring doilies and floral fabrics.

Télégramme #24 / $3.00 / 20g
Version française de Telegram #24, traduit par Lucas pour Mad Pride Montréal. Le thème général de ce zine pourrait être déclaré « le soin de soi » mais si vous êtes déja familièr.e avec l’écriture de Maranda vous saurez que c’est vraiment plus que ça. Yelle est un écrivain excellente et je suis de plus en plus étonnée avec chaque subséquent numéro. Ici, Maranda écrit sur le genre / être genderqueer, comment soutenir des ami.e.s avec des maladies mentales (incluant des ami.e.s qui sont dans l’hôpital), puis des trucs de soin de soi.

Voici une note sur la traduction: « Maranda insiste beaucoup dans son texte sur l’importance d’utiliser le bon pronom, pour respecter l’identité de genre de la personne dont on parle. En français, utiliser un langage neutre, c’est encore plus compliqué. Ça demande beaucoup de pirouettes linguistiques, et qui plus est, des pirouettes différentes à l’oral et à l’écrit. Mais c’est important de se pratiquer et de s’appliquer à les faire, ces pirouettes; le français est un langage profondément sexiste et cissexiste, et il y a beaucoup de travail à faire collectivement pour qu’il soit inclusif et respectueux de toutes les préférences et identités des personnes qui l’utilisent.

En français, quand on réfère à une personne, ce n’est pas seulement le pronom qu’on utilise pour désigner cette personne qui est accordé avec son genre, mais également tous les noms et adjectifs qui lui réfèrent. Il faut donc trouver une façon de dé-genrer les noms et les adjectifs, ce que j’ai choisi de faire dans ma traduction en choisissant des mots ayant la même orthographe au féminin et au masculin (ex. le mot “pote” plutôt que “ami.e”, pour traduire “pal”), et si c’était possible, en choisissant des mots ayant une orthographe semblable au féminin et au masculin (ex. le mot “cinglé.e” plutôt que “folle/fou”, pour traduire “crazy”) ou en joignant ensemble les deux formes d’un mot (ex. le mot “celleux” plutôt que “celles et ceux”, pour traduire “those”). Aussi, la langue française ne disposant pas d’un pronom non-genré (contrairement à l’anglais “they” qui est le pronom utilisé par Maranda), il faut en inventer: j’ai proposé à Maranda d’utiliser “yelle” pour traduire “they”.

Bref, j’ai fait de mon mieux, mais rien n’est parfait et j’ai conscience que certaines phrases sont un peu lourdes. Mais ça vaut la peine pour vous partager ce texte qui m’a beaucoup touché.e. »

Telegram #28 / 20g / $3.00
Description from Maranda’s Etsy: “Telegram #28 is all about home, tour, writing, & magic. In this zine, I write about what it feels like to publish a book, my thoughts & feelings during book launches, reclaiming & embracing “crazy” and capital-C Crazy as an identity, the irksomeness of people (often, friends) choosing to use oppressive language like ‘crazy’, ‘insane’, ‘psychotic’, etc. inappropriately, happiness as a process rather than a goal, breaking down feelings of self-hate, going on my first tour with Mend My Dress Press (we traveled from Seattle – Los Angeles), Witchy Punx Club & psychics & Tarot cards, my hatred of landlords and my need for a stable home, and my reasons for leaving Guelph.”

Telegram #30 / $3.00 / 15g
Description from Maranda’s Etsy: “This issue of Telegram is about tangibility and missing pieces, the disappearance of my belongings and my words, and summertime in Seattle. I flew to Seattle in July 2013 to see Courtney Love live, visit Kurt & Courtney’s old house and the Viretta Park memorial bench, etc., and while I was there, my backpack, which contained my diary, passport, & psych meds, among other things, was stolen. I was 27 & lookin’ for reasons to keep on livin’.

Telegram #30 also includes stories of how nostalgia is different when you have PTSD, trauma and growing up in poverty, unfun criticisms of middle-class white cis feminists & riot grrrl, found magical objects, Weirdo Parlour, crying in public, petals, vulnerability, illnesses, questions, boundaries, allyship as process and not identity, carrying experiences in my pockets… (& love letters to Patti Smith, Amanda Palmer, Courtney Love, & Kurt Cobain.)”

Telegram #37 / $4.00 / 30g
Description from Maranda’s Etsy: “I made a split zine with myself! It’s 12,000 words / 48 pages long! Telegram #37 (part A) is about complex-trauma, resisting & (re-)imagining recovery, creating new boundaries, abandoning identity, navigating the city of Toronto with a cane, the ways the body remembers trauma when the mind cannot, winter survival & disability, embracing the present while mourning the past, self-protection, & gratitude. (Content notes: trauma, chronic pain, inaccessibility). Telegram #37 (part B) is about learning how to stay present in my body, choosing compassion rather than empathy, learning about and practicing yoga, naming & learning how to embody my values, how MDMA made me want to stay alive, understanding suicide, & trauma recovery. (Content notes: psychedelic drugs, chronic pain, suicide, ableism, madphobia).”

This Is About More Than Who We Fuck #1 / $1.00 / 60g
From the intro: “This zine was born out of one part desire for a writing project and one part desire for there to be more writing out there about the place of personal relationships in the struggle (against authority, oppression, domination…). The things that destroy us aren’t just cops and prisons, but the models of relationships that are implicit, taken for granted and sap us of our ability to imagine something different. These writings, in different ways, attempt to lay out some glimpses into fights against the things the writers were taught about sex, love and close relationships.”

The opener of this zine is Dean Spade’s popular essay For Lovers And Fighters, which I’ve stumbled across many times over past years, and then we see some more personal writing by a variety of people on things like their first polyamorous relationships, being a non-primary partner, unlearning the toxic ways that we’ve been socialized to do relationships, and an outline from a workshop called Safer Spaces Means Attack (or: creating strength and courage within emotionally vulnerable relationships). Some really thought-provoking stuff here.

This Is About More Than Who We Fuck #2 / $1.00 / 40g
The contents of this second issue all fall into something of a theme on learning to do friendships and romantic relationships outside of social norms, and the complications that can come along with this continuing process. Some of the topics that come up include the difficult and sometimes awkward process of continuing a friendship after confessing to (unrequited) crush feelings, learning to express wants and needs without using manipulative behaviours, recognizing the ways that sex can be tied up in power and possessiveness, and an excellent essay called Open Relationships, Encrypted Emails, which touches on intentional communication, the limits of language, and the police infiltration of activist circles during the 2010 G20 summit in Toronto.

“One of the most important parts of open relationships for me has been that through more intentional communication about desires and expectations, the usual categories that relationships are assumed to fall into can themselves be opened up. So it’s not just that I’m open to having more than one partner, but that I’m open to redefining what is meant by the assumed categories such as ‘partner’, ‘friend’, ‘roommate’, and figuring out new ways of relating that fit our specific situations and desires, rather than fitting our relationships into the categories that we’ve been taught. In particular I have thought a lot about the ways that shared commitments to struggles against oppression are a defining feature of some of my important relationships. I want to validate and encourage feelings of love and support that are based as much on shared commitments as they are on intimacy or other forms of closeness.”

This Is About More Than Who We Fuck #3 / $1.00 / 35g
“Three years later that struggle continues. Every time someone tells us that what we’re doing makes no sense, won’t work or is some kind of phase we’re going through. Every time someone asks us when we’re gonna “settle down” and/or “grow up” and assumes we know what they mean by that. We say, ce n’est qu’un début. We say, continuons le combat. And all that.

This year we’ve been thinking about parents and family and explaining the way (and the why) we do things in a world that hasn’t really given us a language for it. We’ve been thinking about jail and building relationships over its walls. And of course, we’re still thinking about sex and what it means and friendship and what that means.”

Tomorrow’s Machine Today #3 / $3.00 / 45g
This is a zine of twenty vignettes that tell the story of Emma’s pre-teen and teenage experiences with music and gender. Opening with a story of unwrapping albums at Christmastime (Emma’s first: Look Sharp by Roxette), and leading us to first hearing Veruca Salt on the radio, borrowing Nirvana albums, and finally being sent a dubbed copy of Hole’s Live Through This by a pen pal. Some very classic 1990s coming-of-age moments, nostalgic but not cheesy. Emma writes also of some experiences that are still very familiar to me: hiding in oversized t-shirts, a total disinterest in dating boys, realizing the way that women and girls are socialized to be in competition with one another… Perhaps I’m into this narrative because it reminds me so much of myself. But ah, Emma has an excellent way with words, and can really set the scene. Check out Huffin’ Textas for more.

Tongueswell #1 / $2.00 / 15g
“All names but mine have been changed; all French is rusty but passable.” So begins the first issue of Tongueswell, a perzine about death, terminal illness, family, and queer stuff. Ever since Jen was a kid, she knew about her uncle who had “died of cancer”. His life and death were entirely shrouded in mystery, until her mother decided she was old enough to know that he was gay, and that he’d died from AIDS-related complications. Jen was in love with another girl at the time, a secret she’d kept from her family. She felt an affinity with her uncle, which grew the more she learned about him, the more she learned about queer struggles. Aussi, il y a quelques pages écrites en français – l’histoire de sa grande tante Lisette, qui est née en France et a vécu en Floride. Les deux ont s’écrit des lettres pendant des années, une tradition que Jen aimerait continuer avec ses ami.e.s. This is a zine that comes straight from the heart.

Tongueswell #2 / $2.00 / 20g
In the intro, Jen says, “This issue is about a few of my relationships: to my body, to others, and to myself.” She runs with three main themes and weaves them together into a tale that begins with growing up fat, thus being mistreated by doctors, and brings us into the present, with ever-changing relationships, anxiety, and a long-distance move. This is an entirely engaging read, and I’ll say that I was most into reading about her history with food and family (this is something I always want to read about, as someone who was raised by a broke single parent, so ate a lot of boxed, frozen, and fast foods), and found her outline of emotionally manipulative behaviour to be useful – again, as someone who’s been prey to emotionally manipulative people. Plus, there are some good OkCupid stories.

Tongueswell #3 / Dig Deep #7 / $2.00 / 20g
A common theme in past issues of Dig Deep is street harassment, and it comes up again here, as Heather recounts how the resulting fear has affected her to the point of avoiding being alone in public. This past summer, inspired by a friend, she began training to run a half-marathon – and of course had to learn to be able to run… alone… outdoors. She writes about the mental and physical processes of training, gaining both the physical strength and the self-confidence to exist alone in public, and does it in a way that is just so affirming and rad. In Tongueswell, Jen writes about another experience that can be common for women: working in the service industry. Dealing with entitled jerks, coming up with jokes and songs with her co-workers just to make it through the day. She uses an instance of overhearing a customer on the phone talking someone through the process of putting down a pet to tell the story of the adoption and eventual death of her own beloved cat. I love the way she weaves these stories together, and I’m so glad to see these two coming together for a split zine.

The Triumph Of Our Tired Eyes #1 / $1.00 / 10g
This is the zine that I completed as artist-in-residence at the Roberts Street Social Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It’s a quarter-size perzine, mostly typewritten, with a few handwritten phrases and sparse cut-and-paste details. I’ve written about accepting loneliness as an inevitability and staying sober in a world that seems to want me drunk or dead. Excerpt: “The heaviness on my chest, the fluttering in my tummy… they are always going to be there. It is time to stop searching for the remedy and to finally accept them as a part of me. I want to embrace my sadness without letting it keep me in bed for days on end. And if my anxiety keeps me locked in my apartment, I’d like to invite someone else over.”

SOLD OUT but you can get copies from Stranger Danger and Bus Stop Press.
Cheaptoys #10 / The Triumph Of Our Tired Eyes #2 / $2.00 / 30g
Giz and I made a split zine! In the second issue of The Triumph Of Our Tired Eyes, I’ve written about hitchhiking from Montréal to Halifax and the three weeks that I spent on Canada’s East Coast during the summer. Almost entirely handwritten (I have really neat printing, I swear) with simple illustrations throughout. If you ever wondered what a zine residency looks like, this is it. I stayed in the shed at the Roberts Street Social Centre for two weeks, then spent a few days in Sackville, New Brunswick for Sappyfest. Read along as I work through my syndrome de la page blanche and punch a dude in the face. I’d call Cheaptoys something of a punk-perzine, always full of tour stories and photos from various travels and shows. Giz begins by writing of his experiences in the suburbs of Monaco and Paris, and his desire to leave France for library school. Also documented are his adventures from presenting at an academic conference in Utrecht, Netherlands, to playing Plan-It-X Fest in Bloomington, Indiana (up the scholar punx!), plus an interview with an anonymous graffiti artist, and more. Il faut remarquer que ce split-zine est écrit en français-anglais, un mélange de langues comme on s’écrit dans nos lettres. (It should be noted that this zine is written in a mixture of French and English, just like we write to each other in letters).

The Triumph Of Our Tired Eyes #3 / $2.00 / 40g
I keep telling people that this is a zine about soda and karaoke, which is actually code for sobriety and learning how to build self-confidence. What began as a zine about my love of karaoke has turned into something more. In the summer of 2013, I went on tour with Bad Hex and Xtramedium, carting my distro along in a shoebox and doing zine readings at house shows, infoshops, and the occasional bar. I kept a tour diary and documented our way through the Pacific Northwest, the desert, the West Coast and back again. Included is writing on taking space from dudes at punk shows, fighting depression and self-hate, visiting Viretta Park at twenty-seven years old (next door to the last house that Kurt Cobain lived in), feminist boredom, how I built my self-confidence, and how road games turned the summer into a soda tour – I tasted 140 different kinds of soda! If you wanna talk about root beer, I’m your girl. 62 pages, mostly typewritten with some cut-and-paste details; a lovely piece by Kit (of Pinch Kid) on karaoke, friendship, and mental health; and a cover illustration by Giz (of Cheaptoys). Read a review here.

Truckface #16 / $3.00 / 55g
I’ve been reading this zine for years and years and always look forward to the latest issue – I was anticipating this one even more than usual though because I knew that, as an educator, LB would write about the Chicago teachers’ strike. Marching in the streets and trying to remain hopeful in the face of government fuckery and verbal abuse from passersby while out on the picket line. But ooohhhh there is this really sweet moment when a student makes a “fear this queer” button and it just totally warmed my heart. This is a super thick zine that makes for a great read.

Us Amazonians: a Kirsty MacColl fanzine / $3.00 / 25g
It seems Kirsty MacColl is best known for her backup singing alongside the Smiths, and her duet Fairytale of New York with The Pogues, and this is certainly how I first heard her name. But she also released five full-length albums before her untimely death in 2000, and with this fanzine, Milo (whom you may know from Rumpy Pumpy, Bananarchy Now! and the Queer Zine Archive Project) and pals are here to tell us about her fantastic music, her history with camp, and her simple kindheartedness – this is best illustrated in a piece by fan Tony Reay, with whom she shared demo tapes and began a correspondence. Musically, I’d say she has something of a dreamy-wistful 1980s sound combined with 1960s girl group pop sensibilities. I’m listening to her first album, Desperate Character, as I write this. This is a zine that might appeal to music nerds and Kirsty MacColl newcomers alike, and I felt most drawn to Chris Wilde’s reviews of favourite songs, from 1979’s They Don’t Know to 2000’s Us Amazonians, with sexuality being a recurring theme. Such a great read!

Vanity Zine / $2.00 / 35g
This zine was compiled by my housemate and sweetest pal Timmy, and is all about vanity, specifically within queer and punk circles. Often, we tell ourselves that we are somehow above vanity – we reject cultural norms, say by refusing to shave or to wear makeup, thus creating a new norm of what it means to be / look like a punk, and this norm can be inherently transmisogynist and femmephobic, as well as racist, classist, etc. So, this zine contains stories from eight people of varying identities about their own vanity, about navigating mainstream cultural beauty standards as well as punk standards (let’s face it, the norm of ‘punk’ equating thin, white, masculine, and dressed in black is a real thing). These stories are told mostly in the form of personal prose, but also in poetry, comics, collages, and several photos. For me, this is a zine that both affirmed some of my own feelings on fashion / beauty / appearances, and also challenged some assumptions that I’ve made in the past. Highly recommended.

We Don’t Go Nowhere / $2.00 / 25g
Clara completed this zine in December 2014 during her stint at the Fight Boredom Zine Residency. We threw a sweet little launch party where we served hot apple cider and she did tarot readings for people, and now the zine is finally available for all. Named for a Julie Doiron song and inspired by a particularly rough winter, this zine features eighteen illustrations showing many of the things that Clara loves about the season – breaking into ice rinks for a secret midnight skate, knotting someone’s scarf for them, refusing to retire summer dresses (layer ’em!) and more. She calls it a micro-document of hope.

What To Keep, What To Give Away #1 / $1.00 / 20g
This is the zine that Khristina worked on during her stay here at the Tulip Farm for the Fight Boredom Zine Residency. It’s an intensely personal document of recent relationships in her life, and how they’ve been affected by patriarchy, white supremacy, and other dynamics of power and privilege. Basically, she decided to remain celibate for a period of time and examine these relationships. The writing here comes from personal accounts of her sexual history, as well as knowledge drawn from essays by Audre Lorde and bell hooks. This is the sorta zine I would classify under the heading “radical vulnerability”.

What To Keep, What To Give Away #2 / $2.00 / 40g

This zine is so incredibly good. Continuing where the first issue left off, Khristina begins by writing about being a queer woman of colour who dates white cis men, and what this means as someone who is consistently racialized and sexualized by others, and as someone who is working toward decolonizing her relationships and desires. Drawing upon writing by various people of colour including bell hooks, Junot Diaz, and Audre Lorde, and lessons learned through therapy and The Courage To Heal, she examines these relationships and the violence that has been inflicted upon her, be it through romantic / sexual partners, or through childhood trauma. She writes about consent, about difficulties in verbalizing desires, about the negative patterns that she brings into relationships, and so much more. I really appreciate Khristina’s honesty and introspection, and I think that her writing can encourage us all to critically examine our relationships and desires. The zine ends with a reading list, and some thoughts that are brewing for the next issue – this conversation isn’t over.

Your Body Is…: Reflections on Supporting People with Internalized Fatphobia / $2.00 / 30g
I’ve been reading a lot of really excellent compilation zines recently, and I appreciate the hard work that goes into putting them together. This one was given to me right on time for the 2014 Montréal Anarchist Bookfair and is a collection of writing and art about internalized fatphobia and disordered eating (with a note that indeed the term ‘disordered eating’ can be problematic as it still pathologizes people and upholds ‘health’ discourse). Aside from the preface and a list of working definitions, this zine features nine pieces on the subject. Writers tell of their own struggles with accepting (or not) their bodies, and write about how their self-perception is affected by racism, ableism, sexism, etc. I’m going to let this excerpt from the intro to speak for itself:

“Bodies and weight seem to be two of those (many) things that almost everyone in this society seems to think about, but about which we are given very few tools to know how to talk about or address. Living in a world saturated by western capitalism and hetero-patriarchy conditions so many people to dislike, resent, even hate the skin they are in, the way their body is shaped and moves in this world. And our communities are trying to respond; we’ve come up with campaigns and supportive messages which try to remind our friends, lovers, even ourselves, that “our bodies are beautiful, and it is just society that is fucked up.” True. Every body is beautiful just the way that it is, and any person, advertisement, product, beauty or relationship standard, prescription pill, weight loss program, exercise machine, doctor, dietician, government sponsored address, mental or physical diagnosis, etc., that says otherwise is just a part of this fucked up construction of beauty that privileges certain types of skinniness and Otherizes and dismisses anything else.

But, yet, over the years, I have had many people close to me struggle with their body weight and image, with their eating and with their lack thereof. I have too.”

Your Secretary #10 / Dig Deep #3 / $2.00 / 30g
A split zine by two of my favourite zinesters! Heather and Jami each write about being librarians, but have very unique voices. Jami can offer deadpan sarcasm and bittersweet tales where Heather writes lighthearted amusing anecdotes and heartfelt tales and lists. Both sides have moments that can be laugh-out-loud funny, charming… or anger-inducing (the things dudes do in libraries!). Heather writes about libraries as a safe space, creating a zine collection, and working with teens. Jami writes about leaving Detroit, working in a zoo library, and teaching people how to use the internet. She also shares tidbits about all the libraries she’s known. This is a really sweet and fun read.

Zine Crush #1 / $1.00 / 40g
This is a compilation zine made in Portland, Oregon, featuring stories by fifteen different people about their zine crushes. There’s the classic zinefest-crush, then having a strange older man show up at your mom’s front door when you’re fifteen, moving in with your zine crush only to sabotage the relationship, and imagined zine babes not yet met. The stories run the gamut from adorable to uncomfortable, but it’s all-in-all a fun read.

Zine Crush #2 / $1.00 / 40g
Confessions of like. This zine is compiled anonymously in Portland, Oregon and contains fourteen stories of zine crushes – from a lonely cat waiting to dive into a box of zines, to best friendship, to the inevitable missed connections at zinefests – and my very first comic! I contributed a piece about two zine crushes and a postal scam. This is a pretty endearing read, and the creation of this zine has helped me to acknowledge my crushes and be less afraid of making myself vulnerable. Win win!

Zine Crush #3 / $1.00 / 40g
And here is the third issue of the sometimes-cute and sometimes-weird compilation zine about crushes. Although there’s still a lotta writing, I’m really into the move toward more comics. This time around, there are seventeen contributors, and a cover illustrated by Liz Prince. Some of my favourite stories include Tim Murphy’s piece about getting into queer zines in 1996 through reading Holy Titclamps, J.D.s, Outpunk, Mutate and more, Rachel Lee-Carman’s comic that tells a zinefest crush story but also shares drawing tips, and the anonymous zine editor’s illustrations of OkCupid matches who list zines as an interest on their profile.