Zine Wiki

Stumbled across (surfed into?) another Wiki today. It's the ZineWiki - the history and culture of zines, independent media and the small press. I loved zines, but not all of them. Music zines, personal trauma zines, political zines... none of these could hold my interest for an entire issue. Looking back, I see strong similarities between the zines I enjoyed then, and the blogs and websites I enjoy now.

They were personal, quirky and chatty, but focussed. At once, more and less than a journal. Dishwasher was a great example. This guy travelled the country washing dishes at restaurants, and writing about it. He shared his dishwashing experiences and his personal philosophy of life, as seen through dishwashing. I'm sure there was more to his life than washing dishes, but he spared us the gritty details. Donut Frenzy (not listed in the wiki... yet) was essentially an extended personal essay about the joys of donuts. Reading some of the personal zines (Amykins, for instance) was like receiving a long letter in November from a friend you met on summer vacation. You might not catch all of the references, might not recognize the band names, the movie titles, but there was just enough you understood to make you want to understand more.

And I guess that was the point. For me, zines, and the web, are a window into ways of viewing the world that are different from my way of seeing things. Fringe cultures, special interest groups, strange new philosophies... even today, I just can't get enough!

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