It's been a week of endings, so in this spirit let me announce : I'm finishing the most regular & longest-running of my fanzines.
Opinionated Geordie Monsters Review the Local Band Scene will have reached issue 10, a nice round number to move on to something new.
I started it as a way to record my thoughts about the gigs I went to, and because my memory is awful and I was constantly saying 'did I go to that gig?', 'have I seen them before?
Previously I used to sketch local bands playing, for the same kind of reason (to fix the memory in my mind), but I sometimes felt that was a bit offputting to some performers. Also people look over your shoulder & I don't like being watched drawing something badly (being watched, in fact, tends to make me go wrong).
So, "ANYONE CAN DRAW A MONSTER" I thought, and made the geordie monster zine open to anyone to contribute. I started off pestering the people around me to contribute, and with reluctance, several friends did. Most didn't, for various reasons, one that sticks in my mind being "as a musician, I see reviews as the equivalent to a dog pissing on a lamp-post, bands being the lamp-post".
Then I kept doing it, printing between 100 & 200 copies every 3 months, well beyond the point that most people thought 'why?' & 'haven't you got anything better to do?
But drawing monsters is fun, and trying to express how you feel about a gig you've been to is a positive challenge. I never make a LOT of effort to describe the sound or experience, it's just whatever comes out of the pen while at the gig or on the day after. I haven't got any better at it either - not gonna become a music journalist!
So in addition to the pleasure of drawing monsters, the satisfaction of recording a memory, and of making an ongoing contribution to free zines and paper culture, there have been two great positive things about doing this fanzine:
- one - stapling a great big pile of paper, often roping in a nearby friend, and seeing this mound of pretty random amateur 'art' or free expression or what-have-you appear. A physical THING that, if I was wandering round the pubs, I would LOVE to find a fellow dweller of the city had produced. No computers or software were used in the production of geordie monsters!
- two - getting monsters through the post, or reviews by email, or these random snippets of strangers' thoughts and experiences sent to me. Thankyou to you wonderful unknown people, you are whatever the opposite to a 'clique' is, and you have one more chance to share a monster review!