Displaying items by tag: 1980s indie

Wednesday, 08 February 2017 11:10

Here be Tygres - my life & fanzines

Here be Tygres – fanzines and my life underground

I’ve been thinking about the impact fanzines have made on my life – and the result is this blog! Enjoy…

For someone who really was a Teenager in Devon (the poem isn’t an exaggeration http://www.rosiegarland.com/news-and-events/item/53-i-want-to-be-a-teenager-in-devon.html ), it’s hard to overstate the impact on a fifteen-year old geek girl of a let-off-the-leash long weekend in London.

Mid 1970s. Mum sets a friend and me up in a vicarage beyond the twilight zone of the North Circular. Every morning we take two long bus journeys into central London. My mate smokes cigarettes and swills cider like any normal teenager. I haunt Dark They Were And Golden Eyed, Atlantis Bookshop and the innumerable second-hand bookshops around Soho. It’s a four-day sojourn in a tatty oasis for the starved mind and spirit. As well as the books and comics I expect, I also discover fanzines.

They flick an entirely different switch in my imagination.
I’ve been making magazines since I was a kid, but now see I’m not the only nerd in the world to spend evenings with glue and a stapler. Even more groundbreaking, the zines cover interests I’ve learnt to conceal in order to limit my bullied isolation: horror movies, vampires, sci-fi, punk, weird illustration, weirder literature. The Gothic, in short. For the first time in my life, I see myself reflected. I encounter an underground community of the imagination. I know I’ll never meet any of these fellow-weirdoes, but I am not alone.

I return to the mix of beauty and soul-death of rural Devon (miles north of the artsy bit around Totnes), grit my teeth, make it to 18 and escape. In my new home, Leeds, one of the first things I do is check out the 2nd-hand / radical bookshops (a tip ‘o the pen to Austicks & The Corner Bookshop). As well as reviews in mainstream music papers such as Sounds, Melody Maker & NME, I now feature in fanzines that interview my band The March Violets (eg Rendezvous, Attack on B-Zag, The Angels are Coming, Whippings & Apologies – best zine name ever IMHO). We even produce our own Violets zine. High production values, or handwritten, it doesn’t matter. It’s all part of the vibrant build-your-own record label / indie scene of the early 80s.

Another hiatus follows when I quit the UK to work in Sudan from 1984-1986. In 1987, semi-fanzine independents Shocking Pink & Spare Rib inspire my move to Manchester where I find a thriving LGBT scene. However, it soon becomes apparent that being a dyke AND a Goth is a step too far. I have no problem making the connections between goth, punk and post-punk, fetish, feminism, queer, vampires and weird literature but I’m damned if I can find a queer pal who’ll go to The Banshee with me. As for my penchant for leather trousers, the less said about that the better. I can come out, but not about everything. However, late 80s feminism is a different blog.

It seems I can still feel isolated in a massive city, and I learn what it’s like to be marginalised within a marginalised community. I need help, and once again find it in the fanzines of the late 80s / early 90s. One particular pleasure is Dominic Regan’s graphic Dom Zombi story in AARGH (Artists Against Rampant Government Homophobia ) which drew everything together so succinctly. Others include: For the Blood is the Life, Bats and Red Velvet, The Velvet Vampyre, Udolpho and early issues of Skin Two (produced on Tim Woodward’s kitchen table). Listings of penpals, society meetups and clubs provide me with a flesh & blood community, not simply one of the imagination. All of it pre-internet, off the map, under the radar. I even meet a bisexual Goth.

Jump cut to the present day.
I’m excited and encouraged by the rebirth / renaissance of Xeroxed, glue-and-collage, passed from hand-to-hand zines. There’s a fresh new family of folk learning the liberating impact of turning off search engines so your keystrokes can’t be tracked in order to tailor more bloody advertising into your feed. To quote Keith Lowell Jensen: “What Orwell failed to predict is that we'd buy the cameras ourselves, and that our biggest fear would be that nobody was watching” https://twitter.com/keithlowell/status/347741181997879297

Only last year I met a woman in Athens, Georgia, who knew my work because she’d come across Pink Bomb, a CD fanzine produced in Manchester by the radiant Ste McCabe . Our words don’t need wifi to span the globe. And if you can’t hold something in your hands, it doesn’t really exist.

Fanzines are still there when the battery runs out on your phone. When some yellow-haired dictator decides you can’t Google ‘that’ article any more. Fanzines can’t be deleted at the swipe of a button. So - Buy that ancient typewriter. Get stapling.

© Rosie Garland 2017‏

Published in News

News and Events

  • 16.11.2020: Guardian Poem of the Week - Rosie Garland
    16.11.2020: Guardian Poem of the Week - Rosie Garland

    Thrilled that 'Now that you are not-you' is Guardian Poem of the Week!

    "A very modern, secular kind of elegy reflects on death with a surprising lightness" - Carol Rumens

    "This week’s poem is from What Girls Do in the Dark, the latest collection by the multi-talented Rosie Garland. It stands alone, while extending the narrative of the short poem that immediately precedes it, Stargazer. The setting of Stargazer is a hospital bedside, where the dying patient’s visitor must navigate “the vertigo tilt / of old words like spread, outlook, time.” That poem ends with the metaphors that will be reconfigured in Now that you are not-you. “Doctors / murmur the names of new constellations / - astrocyte, hippocampus, glioblastoma – and calculate / the growth of nebulae; this rising tide of cells that climbs / the Milky Way of the spine to flood your head with light.”

    Read the whole article here...

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2020/nov/16/poem-of-the-week-now-that-you-are-not-you-by-rosie-garland

    Written on Monday, 16 November 2020 15:28
  • 12.11.2020 - ‘What Girls Do in the Dark’ launch event – ONLINE
    12.11.2020 - ‘What Girls Do in the Dark’ launch event – ONLINE

    7.30pm GMT

    Join us to celebrate the launch of What Girls Do in the Dark by Rosie Garland, with guests Tania Hershman & Ian Humphreys
    About this Event
    Join Rosie Garland, plus guest writers Tania Hershman & Ian Humphreys to celebrate the publication of Rosie's new poetry collection What Girls Do in the Dark.
    Thursday 12th November 7.30pm (GMT)
    This event will be streamed live & can be viewed now, through the Nine Arches Press YouTube channel.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9Z7yq1Ey_U&feature=youtu.be

     

    Written on Thursday, 05 November 2020 15:48
  • Cover reveal for 'What Girls Do In The Dark' (Nine Arches Press)
    Cover reveal for 'What Girls Do In The Dark' (Nine Arches Press)

    I thought it wasn't possible to feel any more thrilled about joining Nine Arches Press
    - then I see the stunning cover of my new poetry collection, 'What Girls Do In The Dark'.
    Out October 2020
    https://www.ninearchespress.com/publications/poetry-collections/what-girls-do-in-the-dark.html

    Written on Tuesday, 14 July 2020 13:31
  • April 2020 - The Night Brother, Must-Read Manchester
    April 2020 - The Night Brother, Must-Read Manchester
    Manchester Confidential chooses The Night Brother as a must-read Manchester novel!

    Dystopian classics to modern crime - Nine must-read Manchester novels

    “Fantasy, romance, sci-fi, comedy…we’ve got a genre for everyone
    There’s a very good reason Manchester is a UNESCO City of Literature, as we highlighted before its bid to join the prestigious network in 2017. Innovative publishers, diverse bookshops and a lively events scene make it an unrivalled literary melting pot.

    Rosie Garland’s The Night Brother is our historical highlight
    Ever the entertainer, Rosie Garland sung in post-punk band The March Violets and now performs ‘twisted cabaret’ as Rosie Lugosi the Vampire Queen. But she’s also a literary maverick with an array of essays, short stories and poetry to her name (much of which she also reads at spoken words events citywide) and three acclaimed novels. Her latest, The Night Brother, navigates themes of gender and identity through two siblings in Victorian Manchester. Rich and Gothic, it’s a must for fans of Angela Carter.”

    https://confidentials.com/manchester/dystopian-classics-to-modern-crime-nine-must-read-manchester-novels

    Written on Thursday, 16 April 2020 18:18
  • April 2020 - The Night Brother - Best Northern Read
    April 2020 - The Night Brother - Best Northern Read

    An unexpected & encouraging piece of news!
    Northern Soul has selected 'The Night Brother' as a Best Northern Read

    Desmond Bullen, Northern Soul writer
    “In days that can seem desolate and uncertain, there’s a lot to be said for windows into a better world and, ultimately, joyfully, that is exactly the view that The Night Brother by Rosie Garland affords. Not that its window seat is cheaply achieved. Far from it.
    Rooted with disbelief-suspending specificity in Manchester at the end of the 19th century, Garland’s novel blossoms compellingly from the exquisite simplicity of its central conceit, one which owes the tiniest debt to the 1971 horror film Dr. Jekyll And Sister Hyde. Edie and her brother Gnome are joined in a very particular symbiosis, so that their singular sibling rivalry threatens to be the undoing of both. Themes that could be leaden in other hands emerge from the premise with a beautiful lightness of touch, developing into a persuasive fable of inclusivity and self-acceptance. This is a book that sings a rainbow at its end.”


    https://www.northernsoul.me.uk/books-best-northern-reads-part-one/

    Written on Thursday, 09 April 2020 15:26