Sunday, June 9, 2013

Westside Angst 10

By Ianto Ware (this zine is like eight years old, so who knows if that email address works)

Huh, it's been a while since I've reviewed a perzine. So many comics! I went back to the UK to visit my parents at Xmas, and one of the things I did while there was look through a bunch of boxes of stuff I'd left with them. One of them contained the remnants of all of these comics that my friend Jen had sent me a few years ago. Clearly that would not do! I have to review everything! So I put them in my bag to bring back to Canada, and a fair number of the reviews over the last few months have been of those comics.

But this (despite being old) isn't one! No, I picked this up at the Roberts Street Social Centre because I thought the way it was bound with a giant metal clip, and designed with multiple layers of different cardstock for the cover made it look really neat. Weirdly, I ended up reviewing another zine earlier this year that was also by Ware and from what seems to be about the same time as this one.

This zine is designated the quarter-life crisis issue, and is split into two main themes. One is about gender and sexuality, and how being a straight white male is deemed "normal" in our society. It says some interesting things about media's portrayal of gender, and raises some ideas that I've thought of before.

The other section is the quarter-life crisis bit, and is about Ware being upset with his job (which he doesn't like), wanting a better job and career (despite also not wanting a job or a career), and how society pushes us towards certain ideas of what counts as "success". Ware doesn't want to buy into the system and have a career, but at the same time he doesn't feel like he's left with many other options. He'd rather spend his time working on his PhD, but to pay for that he needs to work, and his attempts to get a grant to pay for university have so far failed. (I had a realization that the amount of aid money most students want is pretty small, and even the debt many graduate with is basically nothing compared to how much rich people earn. Just another reason to dislike our economic system I guess.)

I think I've approached many of the same ideas that Ware has, but at the same time I found this zine a little...complainy? Bitter? I mean, I'm sure that I've felt/thought/said many of the same things, but I don't know if I want to read about them. Maybe the most important thing this zine made me think about was my own thoughts and actions. Positive thinking!

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