Karren Ablaze! produced music fanzines in the eighties and nineties, and was active in the riot grrrl movement.
Her first book, The City Is Ablaze!, was published in 2012. She currently runs Mittens On Publishing, writes about music, health and culture, and occasionally makes music. Some of her work is presented here.
Why start a fanzine? Why create a world?
2. IT WILL MAKE YOU MORE ATTRACTIVE.
There’s a guy or a girl over there and you really like the look of them, but you can’t possibly just walk over and start talking to them. They might think you are a freak! But if you have a pile of fanzines in your hands, now you have a legitimate reason to approach them and strike up a conversation. “Excuse me, do you want to buy a fanzine?” can be a great chat up line. It’s how I got most of my boyfriends anyway.
3. TO CREATE YOUR OWN SCENE.
So there’s nothing going on where you live – (let’s say you don’t live in Barcelona). Don’t just fucking moan about it! Do something! Start a fanzine for example. Before you know it you will be at the centre of a thriving independent scene surrounded by artists, musicians, and writers. And you will be inspiring them. After a while people will start saying that they want to move to where you are, just because of what you started.
Years after I stopped doing Ablaze!, a band started in a small town nearby. I thought they were really cool and went to see them and spoke to one of them, he was called Gary. He told me that he had been depressed because nothing was happening where he lived. Then he had found a back issue of Ablaze!, and reading it, he realised that it is actually possible to create your own scene. That thought made him start a band. That band is called The Cribs.
4. YOU CAN SAY WHATEVER YOU WANT.
You are not governed by advertising, you do not have to pander to their lame commercial interests like the mainstream press does. You are not governed by fucking Jagermeister. You can seriously say what the fuck you like. Have you ever heard of a fanzine getting sued? No, me either.
The legal principle on which this is based is as follows. You’re at a gig selling fanzines and someone comes up to you and starts asking what’s this, who are you working for, are you allowed to sell this here, and a whole stream of equally dumb ass questions. The answer – it’s a fanzine. I’m a fanzine writer. We do what we like. Deal with it.
And the haters? They’re just jealous.
This is an excerpt from “10 reasons to start a fanzine” which appeared on the Shookdown website. Read more