Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tales From The First 5 Years

By The London Zine Symposium

"This isn't a zine!" the voices in my head loudly proclaim. "It has a spine! And we all know how spineless zines are."

But the introduction says that it's a zine, and I'm guessing they just ended up with more content than they anticipated and so got it bound into a nice little book, instead of something with staples. Oh no! I shall review it anyway.

This is a collection of writings, reminiscences, and ephemera from the first five London Zine Symposiums, created to be sold at the 6th symposium earlier this year.

There's some pretty neat stuff in here, and it's probably worth reading even if you've never been to the London Symposium, as the information about how the event was started could be incredibly useful to anyone who is interested in creating their own event (hint: just say you're going to do it, and rope other people in to helping you).

Edd Baldry (who does Hey Monkey Riot), writes a text introduction, then does a much longer (22 pages!) comic about how the event was started, and how it's grown over the years. The comic's setting is kind of bizarre, in that it's an alternative reality talk show. What I find weirdest about this is that Baldry has choosen to draw his characters just sitting and talking about previous events instead of showing them to us. I'll admit that the comic is probably more interesting to read than a just straight up account of what happened, but I really do feel that comics should try to stick to the "show don't tell" rule. Mentioning that the first several symposiums happened in squats, then just drawing people sitting around in a TV studio seems kind of strange. There is one actual event shown as it happened, and it's much more interesting in that you can actually see what was going on.

After that we have reprints of the posters from the first five years, and lists of who showed up to table, and what workshops and other events happened. It's neat to see how the event grew and changed over several years, and could be a useful resource for someone looking for people to invite or things to do at their own event.

Then there's a number of pieces from other people about their own memories of the previous symposiums. Some of these are informal emails, others are comics, and Isy Morgenmuffel's includes a falafel recipe! Yum!

Overall it's interesting to see what people remember from past years, and to try and figure out how the event will grow and change in the future. Hopefully it'll continue for another five years!

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