Monday, 5 November 2018

ISSUE X AND BEYOND

This is the end. I think.

Since before #4 went to print, I'd planned for that to be the last issue. I've been writing zines since 2004. Twenty issues under four different names. Over six hundred reviews, sixty interviews, and tens of thousands of words of my disjointed thoughts on music, DIY culture and everything else besides.. and to be honest, I think I'm done. Damn near fifteen years at the bat isn't half as long as some of the zine old-timers I've looked to for inspiration in the past, but it's enough for me. I don't think I can maintain the enthusiasm for repeating the same old shit over and over. Eventually you kind of say everything you've got to say. And that's fine. 

When I've read back over each issue I wonder if I've slowly tipped right over the line from "balance of enthusiasm and cynicism" to "outright cynicism and apathy". Which, believe it or not, is not the intention. I'm a huge fan of music. I don't think my passion for the stuff I love has really dulled - though I'd say the stars are currently misaligned in terms of what appears to be popular and what I want to hear - which can be frustrating to say the least, and undoubtedly comes across as chronically "unposi" to the more rainbows-and-moonbeams Bright Young Things currently basking in their scene "salad days". What can you do? At the same time it's easy to forget that I didn't have to do any of this a particular way. There's no rules, no remit, no criteria for 'zine writing - which is why they rule so hard - and censoring yourself for the sake of avoiding occasional awkward encounters with people who don't "get it" is not the way to go.

Cheers if you ever bought an issue, or took the time to tell me you liked it. It mattered. 

Alex

P.S. Never say never and all that, but for now I'm saying "I'm done" so I don't beat myself up over not having done a new one. I'm going to continue taking pictures of bands though, because that's fun and free (and I only just bought a new flash). I usually post some of them on Instagram, but I'll probably post them on this blog too. If I took any of your band and you want to use them, get in touch and I'll send you the original high quality files.


YOUR WISDOM, OUR YOUTH (OR VICE VERSA)

The problem with the passage of time is that you might not feel like you're any different, or that your perspective has changed, but it doesn't mean that others wont view you in a certain way based on your age, or their perception of what that age means. My girlfriend helpfully pointed out recently that a mate's ten year-old son he brought to a show was probably closer in age to the average attendee than I was. Ugh. Now I know I'm not ancient or anything, but in my mind I'm still a young upstart, interested in questioning things that I see about the music I love. But when I think about how I saw the guys who were my age when I was in my late-teens and early-twenties, it's horrible. Dudes over thirty were "old". They saw bands I liked play when I was still in primary school. There was an implied deference to their knowledge of music - not only because some of them were legitimate walking libraries of punk and hardcore facts and lore - but also simply because they had been around all that time naturally absorbing it.
I don't think of myself as any kind of authority on music, nor am I saying age should come with deference. I've written my zines with no perception of being the definitive statement on anything besides my own opinion, which people are naturally free to disagree with. And do. I know what I know solely based on that same principle of just having been going to shows since I was a teenager, and slowly absorbing not just the music but also the cultural and social ideologies of those around me. Verbally, through message boards, and perhaps most influentially - through fanzines.
It's one of those unfortunately persistent situations whereby the young want to disregard the status-quo, and the older want to preserve the good thing they've spent so much time creating and energy maintaining. Both points of view are valid. This of course is complicated endlessly as one group slowly becomes the other, and sees themselves cast in the other role by the next generation, whether they like it or not. (Consider this your warning, people-under-twenty-five reading this: it'll happen to you too).
But, it's why people still need to explain seemingly obvious things like "no sexism, no violence, no racism, no homophobia" etc at DIY spaces. Or feel like wearing patches or shirts saying the same is still required. It's why kids turn up and either quickly pick up the acceptable behaviour of that community, or get shunned/ousted. It's entirely normal, and necessary, and frequently applauded in those instances. To a certain degree - getting "staunched/schooled" by the scene "elders" is the natural order. It happens at work, in society in general. Why not in a music community with strong stances on things? It sure happened to me. Not in a mean way either - but in a "this is how we do things here", or "this is an unvarnished honest opinion, take it or leave it" way. (Shit, even the term "elder" shouldn't really imply age. Just experience.)
Some people don't like that though. They want a "participation award" type of scene where nothing matters beyond the doing, which in of itself deserves applause. Equality of outcome, not of opportunity. I heartily disagree. That approach mostly leads to scenes of subculturally inept bands ensconced in a self-validating bubble, terrified of encountering an outsider's opinion. I absolutely do not subscribe to the "that'll do", "half-arsed is good enough" approach to creative output whilst expecting uniform praise for the effort. If you can't be bothered to push yourself, it shows. I don't want to watch badly made films, or read poorly written books - I sure as hell don’t want to watch sloppy, un-practiced bands with no charisma and poor ideas. Who would? But for some reason, the idea of saying anything even constructively critical has become some sort of unbearable, unforgivable "micro-aggression". It's absurd.
It's a sign of the times that the only "music journalism" that occurs now for the most part is transparently compromised, musical status-quo aligned, ill-informed butt-kissing in the "street press"; The people who can't give honest opinions if it's going to upset the labels and promotions companies who buy precious ad space. Ironically, when someone writes a glowing review, people fall over themselves to share it and hype the concept of reviews and "criticism" - but if anything less sanguine should appear, all of a sudden it's "not the point", and you're being told to "leave your negi vibes at home". Err, no. Are you lost? This is hardcore, punk - outsider music (in theory, if not entirely in practice). I'm standing in a poorly-lit room surrounded by people dressed in black.. their shirts and jackets caked in patches and badges sporting images of war, death and violence, profane slogans and other ugly stuff.. enjoying intense, loud, pissed-off bands screaming about the same things. This isn't exactly a tambourine-and-good-feels hippie love-in. Why don't YOU leave your posi vibes at home?

(The title is a reference to a song by a long-defunct punk band from Leeds UK, discussing the possibility of scene unity between the scowling old-timers and the fresh-faced young guns. At the time I strongly identified with the sentiment, but from the youngster point of view. Time makes fools of us all).

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

ISSUE FOUR




52 pages (A5). Long interview with Brian Gorsegner (NIGHT BIRDS), a write-up about great records with even better early versions (SUBHUMANS, CRO-MAGS, YOUTH BRIGADE), BLOODY GEARS, SPRING ROLLS (an old band from Darwin), and another big batch of local/national gig photos. Plus the usual salty editorial and a load of live and record/tape reviews. 

Review from Scanner zine:
"This Australian zine is rapidly becoming one of my favourites. It’s got a great attitude; editor Alex has plenty of knowledge on what makes Punk Rock good and vital and writes with a direct bluntness and honesty that’s refreshing and very readable. The last 20 pages or so of this are taken up with photography with a multitude of bands cranking the jams live in Perth. They’re clear, up close and the print reproduction is good. Elsewhere there is a rather epic interview with NIGHT BIRDS (11 pages), a great (and thoroughly deserved) retrospective on BLOODY GEARS, a bunch of gig and record reviews, a bit of a dig at CAREER SUICIDE who fucked about with an interview, a look at re-recorded albums and their superior predecessors (SUBHUMANS (Canada), YOUTH BRIGADE, CRO-MAGS) and probably my favourite part of the zine, Alex’s editorial. I said above his writing is direct and very readable and it’s here that it is strongest. Printing is good, text is done on a typewriter but the layouts remain sharp and crisp. Recommended in every way."
 
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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

ISSUE THREE




52 pages (A5). Interviews with Daniel Lupton (SORRY STATE RECORDS) and TERRITORY, a short run-down of some Tokyo record shops, plus lots of Perth show photos, a rambling editorial and loads of record/tape reviews.  

SOLD OUT

Review from Sorry State Records: 
"Latest issue of this Australian zine from the former editor of Jerk Store. For No Exposure, Alex is clearly taking things a little more seriously, growing by leaps and bounds as a photographer, layout designer, and writer. This time around you get a lengthy interview with ME! I write way too much in response to Alex's excellent questions, and I'm honestly surprised that he found space to reproduce the entire thing. In addition to that, there is also an interview with crust band Territory (who I think might be from Alex's home base of Perth, Australia), a ton of well-shot and well-reproduced photographs, a journal of Alex's recent record-shopping trip to Tokyo, and a healthy reviews section focusing on just the kind of stuff that Sorry State seems to cover. I think it's fair to say that if you're a regular Sorry State viewer / customer you're going to be right in the target audience for No Exposure as well."

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

ISSUE TWO


44 pages (A5). Interviews with Joe Lachut (SEVEN INCHES TO FREEDOM fanzine), MISCALCULATIONS, a history of DISSENT, plus Maggot Fest photos and record/tape reviews. E-mail for wholesale rates and multiple orders.

SOLD OUT

Review from Sorry State Records: 
"Latest issue of this Australian zine, and I have to say that this issue pretty much places this firmly at the head of the pack as far as I'm concerned... this is exactly the type of zine that I want to read. Not only is the music coverage very much in line with my personal tastes (nearly everything Alex writes about is stuff we carry at Sorry State), but the writing is great as well. I mean, I guess this is kind of a "zinester's zine" in that there's a depth here that very few other zines achieve. When I say depth I don't mean pretension (*cough*Distort*cough*), I mean that Alex seems to actually think for more than two minutes about what he writes down, and furthermore figures out the best way to put that idea on the page and get it across. The writing is straightforward, direct, and feels like it's actually communicating something, which is something that I really strive for in my own writing (particularly on my blog) and admire when I see it done well. As I noted, the stuff he writes about is really cool, but the writing is so good that I'd read this even if it were a personal zine about choosing the best brand of toilet paper. Highly recommended."

Sunday, 11 January 2015

ISSUE ONE




32 pages (A5). Interviews with Jeff Burke (RADIOACTIVITY), HELTA SKELTA RECORDS, COFFIN CUT RECORDS, plus local gig photos and record/tape reviews. E-mail for wholesale rates. 


SOLD OUT