Monday, July 29, 2013
If Nothing Else the Sky
By Dave Roche
PO Box 221041
Chicago, IL 60622
Okay, so I have a confession. Before I stayed at Dave Roche's house during the ALA conference in Chicago I'd never read any of his zines. Sure, I knew who he was, I knew what On Subbing (his book about being a substitute teacher) looked like, I might even have read the back cover when my brother distroed it, but I'd never (knowingly) read anything he'd actually written.
But after meeting him, talking to him, and hearing him read excerpts from his zines I realized I really wanted to read his zines, and was excited to start his newest one, about his travels in SE Asia and Australia.
I really like travelling (I'm sleeping on my friend's floor in Kentucky right now!), and I spent a bunch of time living and travelling in Australia and SE Asia a few years ago, so I was excited to read about Dave's experiences. Though while there is definitely the appeal of "I've been there!" and "I slept at that place!", the true appeal of this zine is Dave's writing style: humourous, informative, and a little bit self-deprecating.
Dave worries that he might be getting too old for the punk rock sleeping on strangers' couches style of living and travelling. At what point does he stop being that cool zinester guy, and starts being that weird old guy with a beard? (Clearly the answer is "never!".) Dave also has to deal with realizing how incredibly privileged and rich (at least comparatively) he is in SE Asia, mandis and squat toilets, getting bitten by a penguin in Australia. Dave goes on tour with a punk band, stays with an anarchist robotics scientist, tries to explain why he isn't married yet, and has lots of other adventures. There's a lot of content here, and I can't describe every story, but there are a number of excerpts on his website and you should check them out!
If Nothing Else the Sky is huge for a zine. It's almost a hundred pages (perfect bound), mostly text, and will take a while to read, but thanks to Dave's DIY-punk ethics/terrible business sense, you can order it for just $5. If you liked Dave's earlier books, enjoy travel stories, or just like reading zines by funny/kinda weird people, it's definitely worth checking out.