As long as I’ve been involved in small press publishing, I’ve had to endure pub lectures from smug 30 and 40 somethings about how horribly behind the times I am and how no one prints anymore. These people, who always seem to see new technology in terms of its destructive impact, contend that blogs will eradicate all forms of serious journalism and e books will piss on the skeleton of all printed books, which will evaporate from the surface of the earth within a decade. Meanwhile ‘the kids’ (whom these people always seem to claim to have a special knowledge of) carry on as if nothing is happening, reading both online and in print, listening to MP3s and vinyl and generally embracing both the old and new. After all, its no big deal to them, Granddad invented the internet and even social networking pre dates their pubes.
Anyone who doubts all this should refer themselves to ‘Whats New Pussycat’ swapped at the Alternative Press Fair with someone called Abi Palmer (who looked very young to me), this is a good old fashioned zine (complete with wonky cut out text and everything) about the work of Amazons 352nd top reviewer. This man who’s Amazon profile is enigmatically empty, writes in an odd, childlike, somewhat obsessive style, randomly peppered with sudden moments of profound metaphor and William Blake-esque vision. Palmer is drawn into his world and much of the zine is dedicated to her forensic analysis of every available clue to the mans identity. Having drawn a tantalisingly incomplete picture of this character we are then treated to some of his best reviews, which are dedicated entirely to the subject of LED torches and Cat Calendars. In the later area particularly the mystery man is a connoisseur branding mainstream calendars ‘boringly repetitive, with lots of less than cute cats/kittens, uninteresting poses, reused images,etc’ He longs to find himself ‘a really nice kitten/cat calendar to accompany me through 2012’ and bemoans the general deterioration of Cat Calendars in general, which he attributes to the financial crisis.
In the final part of ‘Whats New Pussycat’ Palmer elevates the mystery reviewers work to the area of high art by presenting his writing as poetry and using the Burroughs cut up technique to great effect. The man, who in other circumstances could have been an avant garde poet has found his medium and his voice in these reviews which, flying like dandelion seeds on the technological wind of the net have lodged themselves in Abi Palmers brain and caused this zine to sprout.
Its a real gem and an effortless and unpretentious piece of post modernism, proving that the humble zine has a bright future in the age of the WWW.
Speaking of which Abi’s got a blog!