Discovering the unknown reads and lesser-known zines out there so you don’t have to, we’ve laid bare our favourites for you to ponder from the safety of your duvet – that is, before the Christmas Day madness kicks off. From a multi-cultural arts zine and feminist Riot Grrrl ensembles, to a trans male quarterly and a goth zine in a cassette-case that just wants you to have fun, seriously, these creative folk from London, Brooklyn and Washington prove that print is still very much alive and kicking.
Perhaps the title explains it but One of My Kind leaves no door closed, producing an array of ideas and opinions for whoever you are. Initially intended as a platform for Muslim creatives, the trio soon realised that, indeed, creativity holds no religious boundaries and promptly opened up submissions to anyone who has something to pen. With a focus on women, creativity and activism, artists, photographers and writers combine to create possibly one of the most diverse and inclusive zines around.
Polyester is the zine for those Riot Grrrl’s amongst us. Led by editor Ione Gamble, this colourful addition to the zine rack was started in an ode to the backlash against fashion’s minimalistic tendencies. Amongst the sparkling, rainbow imagery and photo shoots, Polyester reaches all subjects with a digital and feminist twist, nailing girl-power in their first drop – with digi-fairy Arvida Byström already a contributing comrade. With issue one selling out in no time, keep up to date on their website for now until the next issue is released in January.
2014 really was the year of the trans community finally finding the recognition it deserves, therefore it seems fitting for quarterly-released Original Plumbing to tackle the issue of self representation and celebration with editor Amos Mac asking; “Trans people are being seen in mainstream media more frequently, but how much of what we see is being created through a trans lens?” The Selfie Issue (launching 27 December) highlights include T Cooper discussing the Unselfie movement, trans guy web series Brothers and artist Wynne Neilly.
THE SERIOUS FUN FUNZINE
This seriously fun zine (sorry!) from disco goth Angel Rose and green drag-queen Oozing Gloop is the Rocky Horror of self-publishing. The Serious Fun Funzine arrives in a beaten up VHS box and the cover art – seemingly purposefully creased and flattened again – warns “Read it if you dare: serious fun”. Following years of partying together, the theme of the issue seeks to answer the question; “Why is having fun so much more fun than doing other things?” Calling bullshit on Buzzfeed and TfL, Rose and Gloop will certainly have you thinking and laughing your way to fun. Our tip: Keep an eye on Dazed Digital for more from this diabolical duo as they prepare to launch round two.
A magazine for cool girls made by cool girls, editors Bertie Brandes and Char Roberts started the magazine as a reaction to the gap for honest fashion magazines – and they’ve hit the nail on the head, respectively. In this long-awaited issue, fashion’s right hand man Tyrone Lebon shoots Grace Pickering in an intimate fashion story, there’s a sexy centrefold, a low-down of summer 2014 and an essential quiz so you can work out which ‘era of LiLo’ you are. Get in.
This clean-cut magazine’s humble beginnings sprouted in the form of a weekly newsletter; informing readers where to eat, drink, party and more, with the slogan “The next five days of your life. We’re gonna give it to you.” Now a fully-fledged print magazine, Issue 1 features photographers and artists alike – including nude explorations by Kostis Fokas, drummer of punk band Nü Sensae Daniel Pitout, and Justin Vivian Bond’s thoughts on gay marriage.
Victory Journal’s eighth issue aptly titled “Heroes & Villains” launches this month. Dedicated to the culture of sport that embraces story-telling methods both classic and the ‘not-yet-invented’, this issue explores the “ever-changing shades of grey where hated rivals transform into figures of admiration.” With a serious lack of football zines out there, Victory is certainly a unique read with subjects including bull-fighting, Thai-boxing, hockey and football, with covers donning the likes of Muhammad Ali and Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, and expect to see Liverpool FC forward Mario Balotelli on the front page of the latest issue.
For the Riot Grrrls out there, Manchester-based The Chapess brings the DIY punk zine format back with compelling photography, poems, essays and art – courtesy of editor Cherry Styles. With the slogan “You don’t meet nice girls in copy shops,” the ethos behind this must-have publication is to be self sufficient: to self publish, to self trust and to be independent. Taking submissions from women everywhere, no two of the heavily contrasted black and white pages are the same. Formatted much like a diary, the young voices behind The Chapess speak loud and clear about boys, sex, art, rebellion and thoughts on surviving in modern day life. A must have.
THE RUNCIBLE SPOON
This twice-yearly funky Washington food zine has enough sense of humour to – mind the pun – spice up the age-old food format, offering recipes and food tales from around the world. The latest issue of The Runcible Spoon – the longest ever – is the ‘cheap issue’, going as far as it can to save money on food – hence the free condiment packets recipe guide. Perhaps the best part, and quite uniquely, is that it’s put together by cutting, sticking and rearranging designs they’ve created, along with snippets from magazines. DIY at its finest.
Another quarterly and part of the Brooklyn creative scene, ALT CITIZEN is your pocket-sized filler full of the latest profiles on artists, writers, creatives, musicians and horoscopes that even come with song suggestions. Issue 3, due out in January, is set to see features with Julian Casablancas + the Voidz and Zola Jesus, along with poetry and art submissions. Can’t wait until then? Visit their website and keep you up to date on all things alt.
CHRISTMAS BONUS! HORRIBLE GIF
Horrible GIF made its way into print following the subtle success of their blog of the same name. Witty and always cynical, their comment on all things internet art is an entertaining read to say the least, making it a great present for your friend who’s Instagram is 99 per cent selfies. In the latest issue expect in-depth essays and questionable photoshops. And for some digital dessert head to their Twitter, a platform where the ‘intern’ talks and jokes about things on the net all day, ironically, in web-speak. Your Christmas present in all of this? You can read it online until 31st December.
Follow Lydia Morrish on Twitter here @lydmorrish