Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Culture Slut #25


By Amber Forrester
fight-boredom.com

Recently I met Amber, the creator of this zine. I’d traded zines with her in the past, but we hadn’t really stayed in touch or anything. Just before Christmas she was visiting Halifax with a friend of mine and several of us got together and played Pirate Fluxx (as recommended by Alex Wrekk, super zinester gaming). We also went thrifting at a Salvation Army shop and found a book about feminist zines. We talked about reviewing zines (oh the hilarity!), which isn’t really a topic either of us get to talk about very much, and traded the newest issues of our zines.

Amber’s zine is a perzine, which, for those that don’t know, means it’s about her life. Sometimes when reading perzines I am impressed by the brutal honesty of the writer. They talk about incredibly personal things in their lives: their failures, their successes, their relationships, their problems. It’s kind of intimidating if you’re thinking about writing a perzine yourself, because you wonder what it is that you should be revealing in them.

In the last issue of Amber’s zine that I read she had just broken up with her boyfriend and moved to Montreal. This time (several years later), she’s just broken up with her Montreal boyfriend and is having a hard time. She’s dealing with her alcoholism (a pretty scary thing that definitely isn’t discussed amongst young people), her feelings of self confidence and self worth, and her times feeling suicidal.

It’s all pretty intense stuff. But the entire zine isn’t just about those things.

Amber also discusses her “job”, which is being a guinea pig for various medical experiments at McGill. These range from the banal (smelling things), to the downright bizarre (a test on genital pain, twice, during which she fell asleep), to the scary (all the pharmaceutical tests). She says that she’s not taking things that aren’t already on the market, but it’s still a bit scary nonetheless.

One of the things I learned while talking to Amber is that she writes and edits her text before she gets them ready for this zine. This may surprise some people who have read her zine, as the entire thing is either handwritten or done using a typewriter, but I think the extra effort really shows and makes Amber’s prose more readable.

If you're into perzines, or living in Montreal, Amber's zines are worth reading, even if there is a distinct lack of monsters and ray guns.

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