Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Anarchist New York 2010

By Michael Duckett

I really love traveling. Exploring other cities, going to events, meeting new people: all of these are fun (if scary) things to do, and I do them as much as I can (and then make zines about them!). When I can't, I like reading about other people's trips. I love looking at incredibly old guidebooks, and one of my favourite types of zines are those that are about other people's adventures.

I love seeing cities I've already been to through other people's eyes, and I love reading about people experiencing cities I haven't been to (yet), so I was looking forward to reading Duckett's zine about his trip to New York.

The first thing you notice when you open up this zine is that the extra piece of paper that tells you this is an (accidentally) interative zine. It seems that it got stapled in the middle (as you would expect zines to be stapled) by accident, and so your first task is to pry them out, flatten the zine, and then find something to tie the whole thing together using the supplied holes (I used sparkly ribbon stuff from a present or something that someone sent me).

While this format is certainly neat, it does create a few problems, namely that at times the text of the pages goes all the way to the edge, and you can't actually read everything without difficulty.

Of course the greater problem regarding reading comprehensibility is the journal style used by Duckett for this zine. The pages combine illustrations, hand written text, typed text, collages, and photocopied text and images from other sources. There's a lot of information here, and at times it can be hard to figure out who's talking, and what bit you're supposed to read next.

This is a problem I had with Duckett's last zine, where the haphazard way the material is all collected at times just confused me. This one is certainly more coherent, and the asides about anarchist history in New York are both relevant and interesting (though it does assume you already have some knowledge of who some of these people are and why they're important).

One bit I really enjoyed, and this is incredibly nerdy and stupid, was when Duckett just recounts the plots of various Marvel comics in between other pieces of history, treating them as though they really happened.

During a battle between the mutant team X-Factor and their enemy Apocalypse on board the Super Villain's flying head-quarters, the ship struck the Empire State Building, causing the building's antenna to fall off

Stellar! Overall Duckett's zine is definitely interesting, and gave me some new information, but I sort of wish it was laid out in a less cut 'n' paste style.

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