A festival of fanzines Zinefest

A few of the members of the collective organising the Dunedin Zinefest (from left) are Mark...
A few of the members of the collective organising the Dunedin Zinefest (from left) are Mark Currie, Abby Flemming (Baby Flem), Motoko Kikawa and Carmen Norgate. Image by Carmen Norgate.

In the world of fanzines, passion and a photocopier spells a license to print, writes Shane Gilchrist.

Inspired to write, edit, print and distribute Garage, a fanzine of musical life in Dunedin during the mid-1980s, journalist Richard Langston recently commented that if his magazine were to spring into life today it would be as an Internet blog. However, it seems the rise and rise of digital media still cannot silence the passion of a new generation of fanzine aficionados.

Dunedin graphic artist Carmen Norgate is one such example. Inspired by fanzine festivals in Auckland and Wellington, and feeling like the South was "missing out a wee bit", she has organised the inaugural Dunedin Zinefest, which will be held in the city next Saturday, August 6.

Norgate bought the former FINK title two years ago, resurrecting the entertainment guide as 'INK, which has been published weekly since February 2010.

Why commit to a publishing project for which there is little (if any) profit? The reasons are both altruistic and personal.

"Where else can local bands promote themselves on the cheap?

Being a struggling artist myself, there are not that many outlets where I can get my work printed. Obviously, every week I try to get local artists to submit work, be it art, poetry or whatever," Norgate explains.

"I guess in the last two years, there has been quite a big uptake in self-publishing in Dunedin. I think 'INK might have helped encourage a couple of other people to start their own fanzines. One of these is Marrow. Then you've got the Dunedin Comic Collective, who have been producing a couple of nice wee publications, including Dud. "There are lots of people involved in these small publications, which come out at various times, from every week to every month or quarterly.

"Making zines, I believe, involves no thought of profit. It's not to make money; it's just to get your work out there and you hope to sell it for as much as it cost to produce it." A highlight of the Dunedin Zinefest will be guest speaker Bryce Galloway, whose long-running Wellington publication, Incredibly Hot Sex with Hideous People, is regarded as a leader in its field, so much so that a book comprising highlights of the publication will be launched at the festival next weekend.

Co-organiser of Wellington Zinefest, Galloway is a lecturer at Massey University's School of Fine Arts. In fact, he used his fanzine as the basis for a master's project.

Galloway, who has been self-publishing his own music since 1985, turned to the fanzine format in 2002. Incredibly Hot Sex with Hideous People, which began as a monthly project before time demands prompted Galloway to change to a quarter-yearly schedule, documents Galloway's domestic life as mortgagee, husband and father-of-two, although it occasionally picks up on other themes.

"I put a zine out to promote a CD I'd done for which I couldn't attract any mainstream interest.

I thought I could print something that had an interview with me. I was attracted by the cheekiness of it.

"The first few editions were really filled with lots of arts info but then I enrolled in a masters of fine arts and wanted to keep doing the zine so I thought I'd turn the concept into an actual artwork," Galloway says.

"It became quite playful: one issue I interviewed Wellington drummers to try to get to the bottom of the myth that drummers are oversexed and stupid. But what the master's supervisors didn't appreciate was the lack of consistency.

"Now that it's no longer a masters project, I can insert more playful elements back in. I don't have to have what they call a 'methodology'.

"The actual talk I'm giving [at Dunedin Zinefest] is ironic because my fanzine is being compiled into a book. I say ironic, because fanzines are usually modest DIY publications, involving photocopies and staples.

"There seems to be a politic in the zine community that it is not a stepping stone to some 'higher' publication. Zine makers don't have to service advertisers; they don't even have to be consistent to an audience; if you want to turn on the head of a pin, you can.

Dunedin Zinefest will be held at None and Glue galleries, 24-26 Stafford St, on Saturday, August 6 (10am-6pm) and will feature talks, workshops, exhibitions, stalls and live music. Food is also available.
For more information, visit: www.dunedinzinefest.org



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