A couple of months ago, I saw an advert for workshop event being held by two guys called Zineswap at the Amersham Arms. It was a Saturday morning, a sunny one at that and I left my house with a book on mountains, a scalpel and a cutting mat, and my friend India. I had heard of Zineswap but only because I have some sort of photographic memory and remembered their name from a flyer I picked up in December.
So I turned up on time, complying with one of my better traits, to see the gallery upstairs decked with tables strewn with hundreds of zines. Stapled, handstitched, folded, paperclipped. Black on white, white on black, red on yellow. A4, A5, A6, square. Paper, card, cd, photocopy. A comprehensive library of handmade publications and the epitomy of the resurgence of zine culture.
I approached the spritely blond one, sporting a heavy metal vest and animated limbs and introduced myself. He said his name was Gordon, his deft Brum accent trickling through his teeth. We happily conversed for a good third of an hour, he invited my to stretch my knowledge of the sub-cult.
Soon, the other one, suiting a slightly more sensible stripey tee, dawdled over and was introduced as Rob. He expained to me the birth of Zineswap, and I became increasingly excited to hear about their plans for the day and over the next few months. More workshops, applying for funding among other shit.
The way Zineswap works is: they request people to send in at least three copies of their zines about absolutely anything, then they put one in a library, hold one for the display table for their shows and put the remaining in a box which is taken to shows and are available for swapping with other publishers.
As more South London types began filing through the door, including some fine artists, events promoters and band members, the workshop began. The agenda held true two aspects of the brief; to make a live zine where anyone present could contribute, no matter their artistic lean, and to meet those with like-minds and talk to whoever caught your words. The interactive experiment was a success, a concoction of collage and a fathom of photocopies. Below are some of the double spreads put into the final PDF document (which is available for download from the zineswap website under past events.)
Here are some photos from the event.
Since meeting these fine fellows, I have kept in contact with them and helped them with a show a few weeks ago at the Albany Theatre in Deptford. They are currently doing the rounds all over London, spreading the Z word and building on their already impressive catalogue of publications, which is only going to grow in direct proportion to their popularity.
I am happy that I can associate myself with such an exciting project, and they have just confirmed that they will be holding their second workshop in the Tate Modern in September. So I suggest you remember the name (not that it's an easy one to forget) and get making.