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    DAMIEN ECHOLS has every right to be bitter – after all, he spent 18 years on Death Row for a crime he says he never committed. The fact that he isn’t twisted and full of hate is an amazing testament to his will to not only survive but to educate and enlighten himself, to rise above his soul-destroying situation and become a better man.

    Echols was 18 years old when he and two other teenagers – his friend Jason Baldwin and another local lad Jessie Miskelley Jr – were charged and convicted of killing three kids in West Memphis, Arkansas.

    The case was marred by an inept police investigation, dubious evidence, unreliable witnesses and mass hysteria around that time regarding teenagers engaging in Satanism and witchcraft.

    Echols and his mates were dirt-poor white trash: iIll-educated and antisocial. But were they killers? It seems the big problem in this Bible Belt town was that they were different. Ultimately, they were convicted of this horrendous crime because law officials looked at their dark clothing, long hair and love of heavy metal and decided they MUST have done it.

    In 1993, that was enough to get you tried and convicted. Baldwin and Miskelley were handed life terms, but Echols – the so-called ringleader – was sentenced to death.

    Luckily for Echols, the notorious case was highlighted soon after his conviction in a HBO documentary titled Paradise Lost, which caught the eyes of some pretty influential celebrities like Henry Rollins, Johnny Depp, Eddie Vedder, Marilyn Manson and director Peter Jackson, who took up the fight – along with many ordinary people – to get the case re-examined by the authorities.

    I’d been aware of the West Memphis Three case for many years – possibly due to zine coverage and the growing celebrity buzz about the case. So it caught my eye late last year when I read that all three men had been released from jail. Their defence lawyers had built up a pretty good case to get them acquitted, but the case never went back to trial.

    Instead, a deal was cut. The WM3 weren’t exactly exonerated – in fact, many local cops and investigators still believe the trio are guilty – but they could claim their innocence. It’s a wacky bit of Arkansas legislation known as the Alford plea.

    Echols now lives in New York with his wife and is making a go of his new life as a writer – starting with this new autobiography, Life After Death (out next month).

    And it’s a damn good (if harrowing) read. The author’s early life was one of unrelenting misery with fucked-up parents and a community steeped in fundamentalist religion and good ol’ ignorance. His life only went downhill from there. Really, the book is nearly 400 pages of unrelenting horror and degradation, but at least it has a happy ending.

    Echols comes across as intelligent and quite spiritual – he had a lot of time to study and practise a ton of religions on Death Row, particularly Buddhism – and his writing style’s achingly beautiful at times.

    However, I question the way he glosses over the period leading up to his arrest, the murders and trial itself. He basically says, “It’s all out there – go find the info yourself.” Which I think is lazy.

    Also, by not documenting a lot of what went on at that time – except what he was personally experiencing, which is hampered by the fact (and he admits this) that he really had no fucking idea what was going on while the system railroaded the three of them – it feels like Echols is whitewashing the more horrific details of the case. Was he guilty? Where was he on the night of the murders? Why doesn’t he want to talk about it? It left a nagging doubt in my mind.

    There are times when repetition kicks in and you’re treated to Echols’ endless complaints about the evil warders, the corrupt legal system, the grinding numbness of day-to-day life in jail and how much the man misses seeing the sky and feeling grass beneath his feet.

    This sounds awful considering the guy was horribly mistreated, but there are times when you wanna say, “Stop your fucking whining and man up, bitch!” But I guess you can’t blame Echols for feeling sorry for himself 24/7. He really was dealt a shit hand.

    So is this book a “stunning piece of work” and “a classic” as some of Echols’ famous fans claim? Not really. But it’s a must-read for those who want to understand the mindset of a man trapped in a living hell that he had no control over. It’s at times a very frightening insight.

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    Shaf de Pleu
    by Big Enjoyers

    What’s the guts? Power-pop with a quirky Todd Rundgren edge from two guys who know what the hell they're doing and have a lotta fun doing it. .

    Anything else? It's been 17 years between the duo's second and third albums - my God, has it it really been that long?! It's nice to see (and hear) that Big Enjoyers haven't lost a step in all their time away from the recording studio. Welcome back, fellas, we've missed you.

    They said it: Tom Neas: "Shaf de Pleu rocks just as hard as our other CDs." Which means it rocks mightily!

    Where to get it: It's on iTunes and Amazon and at

    Final word: Big enjoyment guaranteed!

    Meanwhile, check out one of the album's tracks HERE.

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  • 11/25/12--02:49: Review: Grunted Warning #16

  • Grunted Warning #16, Oct. 2012: There’s a little less lightheartedness in this new issue, with Stratu’s newspaper clippings focusing on some of the darker issues facing us in 2012. Racism in the armed forces, protests in Egypt, anti-Muslim/pro-Muslim ideology, child abuse and the insanity that is Uganda. Of course, there’s still room for the absurd, like the cousin of the Loch Ness Monster taking residence in London. Jaw-dropping, thought-provoking material as usual – now with colour covers! Stratu, PO Box 35, Marrickville, NSW, 2204, AUSTRALIA,, [AUD$1/stamps/trade/cool letter or postcard, 12S, :15] – Dann Lennard

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  • 11/30/12--07:27: Film review: V/H/S

  • OKAY. Normally, I'm not compelled to write DVD reviews, but I was greatly anticipating V/H/S, so when the DVD screener landed on my desk at work last week, I was very excited. And after watching it, my disappointment was so overwhelming, that it compelled me to write down my thoughts.

    Let it be said from the outset: V/H/S is NOT a good horror movie. Anthologies tend to be weak anyway, especially indie anthologies, and this is no exception. Sure, there were some good scary moments, a few scenes of innovative gore and some creative ideas, but the acting was bad, the scripts underdeveloped and I came away from V/H/S generally feeling angry and frustrated. This COULD have been a great little horror flick. The fact that it wasn't pisses me off no end. Maybe if there had been just three well-written, well-thought out longer segments rather than the six half-arsed ones presented to me, I might've enjoyed it more.

    NB: The people who made this film are presumably too young to have grown up with VHS. If they had, they'd know that VHS tape doesn't display any of the weird distortions and jumps that are regularly shown in this movie. DVD does, but not VHS. Also, when you tape over something, it doesn't occasionally drop out and reveal what was on the video before you started taping over it. Of course, if you stop recording, then you might see half a second of something else that was recorded (especially using an old video camera with those wonky "start"/"stop" buttons), but not the 30+ seconds that we see at several points in the main story. It's a minor point, but his shit also bugged me.

    Anyway, here are my thoughts on each segment in V/H/S and the pros and cons (of which there are many).


    Tape 56/Main Story Arc
    Directed by Adam Wingard

    SYNOPSIS: A group of Jackass wannabes get hired to find a VHS tape at a seemingly deserted house. When they arrive they find a bunch of tapes and a dead old man seated in front of a bank of TVs and VCRs. As they check through the tapes, we get to see what's on them, leading to the other vignettes. Meanwhile, group members disappear one by one until there's only the leader left. He finds a body of one of his chums, then is attacked and killed by the undead old man.
    THE GOOD: The shot of the second guy sitting down to watch a tape and the creepy realisation that the body of the old man is no longer there...the genuinely nasty footage the group are seen filming before the main story kicks in: mindlessly vandalising a deserted workplace and running up to women in public and lifting their tops to expose their boobs...actually, there are some very nice boobs on show in this segment.
    THE BAD: Why do a group of amateur film-makers agree to steal a tape on the say-so of a new guy, who automatically takes control and browbeats them into doing it? Why does the leader have such a pedobear moustache? How do they know which tape to steal (it's never made clear what's on it, so how will they know if it's the right tape when they find it)? Who gave them the job? And how did he know about these guys, who post their shit on line anonymously? Why do these guys agree to sit alone in a room with a corpse?
    THE INEXPLICABLE: Why are these guys filming everything they do? They're just robbing a house, so why bother? Are they gonna put their robbery footage on YouTube? Firstly, it's boring and, secondly, they're not wearing masks, so they could be easily recognised by law enforcement officials. In fact, why AREN'T they wearing masks? This whole scenario is utterly dumb. Also, the leader falls down some stairs at one stage and breaks his wrist. He's the SECOND guy in this movie to do that.

    Amateur Night
    Directed by David Bruckner

    SYNOPSIS: Three dudes - one wearing a micro video camera in his glasses - decide to pick up chicks and film them having sex without their knowledge. They think they've scored when they meet wild Lisa and painfully shy Lily, and take them back to their motel room. But things go horribly wrong when Lisa passes out and Lily morphs into a cannibalistic monster who kills and eats the hapless studs.
    THE GOOD: More boobs. And vagina! Hannah Fierman (above) is cute as doe-eyed, skittish Lily...before she turns into a winged, talon-wielding succubus.
    THE BAD: Why do the two surviving guys run to the bathroom instead of running out the front door while their mate is getting killed and eaten? And why does the last surviving dude run around with a video camera plastered to his face to film his flight from Lily? Never has Blair Witch Project/found footage filming been more shaky or annoying.
    THE INEXPLICABLE: What happens to Lily's friend Lisa? She passes out on the bed and that's the last we see of her. Was she a monster, too? Is she innocent? Does Lily go back to kill her? Also, the final dude falls down some stairs and breaks his wrist. That two different segments in the same movie would have an almost-identical scene is bizarre.

    Second Honeymoon
    Directed by Ti West

    SYNOPSIS: A couple, Sam and Stephanie, are on vacation near the Grand Canyon. They visit a Wild West-themed town and stay at a grimy motel. They film everything. That evening, a young woman knocks on their door and asks for a lift in the morning. Sam says no and is disturbed by the conversation. They go to sleep in separate single beds. Later that night, someone enters the room and quietly films the couple with their video camera. At one point, the intruder rubs a switchblade along Stephanie's panties. Walking into the bathroom, the intruder is revealed in the mirror as a woman wearing a mask. She steals money from Sam's wallet and sticks his toothbrush in the toilet. The next day, the couple argue over the missing money. That night, they go to bed and are later visited by the mysterious intruder. While filming, she kills Sam by slitting his throat. While cleaning the blood off the knife in the bathroom, the killer pans around to reveal that Samantha is with her. They kiss. The next morning, Samantha aks her lover, "Did you erase the footage?"
    THE GOOD: The scene where the camera films Sam, then pans to the other bed to reveal Stephanie is a big shock as it's the first time you realise an intruder is filming them. Nice touch. Also, I liked the mask the intruder wore. There's a subtle hint of tension in Sam and Stephanie's relationship when they visit the Grand Canyon. Sam hints that Steph has stolen from him before (possibly for drugs). It's the only hint we have that their relationship isn't solid. Sam's death is extremely graphic - he's nearly decapitated and the camera lingers for way too long during it. It reminded me of the prolonged decapitation at the end of Nekromantik 2. Yuk.
    THE BAD: In hindsight, none of this makes sense. Why does Stephanie get her lover to murder Sam ? Why film it? Why all the violence...wouldn't poison be simpler and less messy? Why the unnecessary drama of the first night where the intruder films everything and steals Sam's money? Speaking of filming, shouldn't a whirring camera and a bright light shining in one's face wake people up? It would wake me the fuck up.
    THE INEXPLICABLE: Like I said, the plot makes no sense when you think about it.

    Tuesday the 17th
    Directed by Glenn McQuaid

    SYNOPSIS: Four young friends go on a trip to visit the wilderness area where Wendy spent her childhood holidays. Once they arrive, Wendy starts acting weird and claims, "You're all gonna fucking die out here." She also talks about being the survivor of a series of killings by a madman, then pretends it was a joke. Two of the friends wander off and are savagely slaughtered by an invisible assailant. Wendy tries to seduce Joey, but he gets his throat slit before anything can happen. Wendy runs off and is pursued by the assailant, who gets caught in three traps. However, he escapes from them all and eventually murders Wendy. Before she dies, she warns everyone watching the video to never visit the area.
    THE GOOD: The way the killer is shown as a shadowy glitch on the videotape is clever. A couple of the murders are particularly vicious, especially Wendy's at the end.
    THE BAD: These people are "friends", yet none of them knew Wendy was the sole survivor of a Jason Voorhees-style supernatural killing rampage? Er...yeah. The way every single character is completely one-dimensional may be a "homage" to old splatter flicks, but I just found it irritating.
    THE INEXPLICABLE: When did Wendy find time to make all these traps to hunt the killer? She said earlier that she brought her friends along to act as "bait" to keep the killer distracted, but she surely didn't have time to make such intricate traps while they were there. She MUST have been in the area at an earlier date. If so, why didn't the killer just get her at that point?
    Also, after disembowelling Wendy, does the supernatural freak start shagging her? It kinda looks like it. If so, that's fucked up. If not, then *I'M* fucked up.

    The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger
    Directed by Joe Swanberg

    SYNOPSIS: Emily skypes with her doctor boyfriend James who is in another city. Emily complains about the lump in her arm and the fact that she thinks her new flat is haunted. After a few conversations over several nights, the couple are startled to see a ghostly child rush past the webcam. The next night, Emily sees another child in her living room. Later, she decides to confront the children. They attack her and she's knocked unconscious. James appears and it's revealed that he's been staying nearby all this time and not in another city. He turns Emily on her stomach, slices a hole in her back with a scalpel and removes a small foetus. It's revealed he's in league with aliens and the lump in Emily's arm is a tracking device. James asks how many more times must this be done to Emily. He then prepares to beat her up and make it look like she's been in a car accident. We cut to Emily a few days later Skyping James, who's still pretending he's in another city. She has a black eye and her arm in a sling. She says a doctor that James recommended to her has diagnosed her with schizophrenia, which she thinks explains why she thought she saw ghosts and also why she can't remember running in front of a car that night. Later, we see James talking to another woman on Skype. She's complaining about the lump in her arm.
    THE GOOD: The bare bosoms belonging to Emily (Helen Rogers)...the use of Skype as "found footage"...the scene where a slightly unhinged Emily starts digging into her arm with a kitchen knife to get to the lump (this was actually quite disturbing but it led nowhere). It's also creepy learning that James is running this baby alien scam with other women.
    THE BAD: The idea that getting your back sliced open with a scalpel and having an alien foetus removed can be written off as injuries sustained in a car accident. The fact that James reacted when the ghost/alien ran in front of the webcam, thereby showing Emily that she wasn't imagining things. This fact is ignored when Emily later says she's been diagnosed with schizophrenia and it's all in her head.
    THE INEXPLICABLE: Why? Seriously...why? Why is James - who has known Emily since they were kids - in league with aliens? And how is she having alien babies? And why are the aliens pretending to be ghosts? Do they enjoy fucking with chicks after they've fucked them? On an unrelated noted, who would transfer a Skype conversation onto videotape? It makes no fucking sense.

    Written and directed by Radio Silence

    SYNOPSIS: Four friends get invited to a Halloween costume party, but get lost and wind up in the wrong house. At first, they think it's been set up like a haunted house. There are ghostly figures, weird noises and, as one of them laughs, "hands coming out of the walls trying to grab us". They eventually go down to the basement where they think they're witnessing a fake exorcism of a young woman who's tied up. Turns out it's real. As they start freaking out, several of the dudes doing the exorcism are grabbed by an unseen force and sent flying towards the ceiling. The four friends flee the basement and make it out of the of them decides they should be heroes and go back to rescue the girl. They race back to the basement and beat down the one remaining exorcist dude, who's then grabbed by arms reaching out of the floor. The guys cut the girl free and carry her through the house. Things are going crazy - plates and cups are being thrown around one room. Hand prints are scorched into a wall and arms are appearing everywhere, trying to grab the friends and the girl. When the doors and windows seal up, preventing their escape, the group hastily rush down into the storm cellar and exit the house that way. They get to their car and take off. After a few minutes, however, the car stalls and the girl mysteriously disappears. She then appears outside and screams at them. The guys are trapped inside the car and stuck on a railway line as a freight train rapidly approaches...
    THE GOOD: The nice foreshadowing of the ending at the start of the segment when the friends are in the car sitting at the railway crossing waiting for a freight train to pass...the arms coming through the wall and the dudes thinking it's a Halloween haunted house trick, that was a cool touch.
    THE BAD: Seriously, this was one creepy-as-fuck house and clearly there was no party going on. Why would these guys just wander round there? They're at the wrong house, so just fucking leave. The ending was way too telegraphed - it was obvious the girl was possessed and was gonna kill them all.
    THE INEXPLICABLE: How hard is it to find a party in LA? It was 1998 - people had mobile phones back then. Just call someone if you're lost and need directions. A minor bugbear is the fact that this final segment starts at the end of the main story's videotape. Just before his death, the leader is filming on a used tape they brought with them...which leads into this story. You're telling me that those dudes never watched this video first before taping over it? Why not? It might have been an amateur porno or a celebrity sex tape and they could've made money off it. Why not check it out first, then see if it's worth dubbing over.

    AAAAARGHHHHH! I've had enough. It's 2.30am. I'm going to bed. In a nutshell, don't waste your time on V/H/S.

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  • 12/06/12--17:45: One quick review...
  • The Life Of Rodney…Year 64 #1: More reviews (mainly books and zines...and beans) and slice-of-life anecdotes in rural Canada from this literate lumberjack. Send him some interesting stuff and he’ll more than likely review it and send you a copy. I always enjoy reading Rod’s writings – his review of British wrestler Billy Robinson’s autobiography Physical Chess got me interested enough to buy it. Isn’t that what a good reviewer should do? Indeed. Rodney Leighton, #11 Branch Rd, R.R.#3, Tatamagouche, NS, B0K 1V0, CANADA (trade, 8M, :20] – Dann Lennard

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    Grunted Warning #16, Oct. 2012: There’s a little less lightheartedness in this new issue, with Stratu’s newspaper clippings focusing on some of the darker issues facing us in 2012. Racism in the armed forces, anti-Muslim/pro-Muslim ideology, child abuse and the insanity that is Uganda. Of course, there’s still room for the absurd, like the cousin of the Loch Ness Monster taking residence in London. Jaw-dropping, thought-provoking material as usual – now with colour covers! Stratu, PO Box 35, Marrickville, NSW, 2204, AUSTRALIA,, [AUD$1/stamps/trade/cool letter or postcard, 12S, :15] – Dann Lennard

    Amphetamine Wolverine Blues #1: At first, you think this cut’n’paste collection of found drawings and magazine articles are completely random. But then you start to see the connection – they all have something to do with radio and radio transmissions whether they be with the living or the dead. Suddenly, this issue’s subheading “The Ghost In The Machine” makes far more sense. This is about as close to free-form jazz as a zine gets. The issue also comes with a stunning CD soundscape by hausfrau titled #29 (Cowboy Dance). I play it often at work now. Kami, PO Box 278, Edwardstown, SA, 5039. AUSTRALIA, [email for price or trade, 12S, :10] – Dann Lennard

    Sprak! Vol. 2 #8 (Sept. 2012): Like a nose-searing fart that clears the room, Sprak! is back! Kami has lovingly compiled another batch of no-nonsense, in-your-face reviews of off-kilter, transgressive and downright weird flicks for ya, written in a style all his own. This issue, he covers South American horror legend Jose Mojica Marins’ 2008 comeback flick Embodiment Of Evil, Mario Bava’s A Bay Of Blood, and low-budget trash with intriguing titles like Zombie Christ, The Taint, Ultimate Death Match 1&2 and Brainjacked. Kami also reviews Kirk Demaris’ entertaining book Mail-Order Mysteries: Real Stuff From Old Comic Book Ads! There’s also a nifty two-page cartoon strip from Simon MacKie. Kami, PO Box 278, Edwardstown, SA, 5039. AUSTRALIA, [email for price, 32S, :30] – Dann Lennard

    The Kobb Log V1: A few good movie reviews – Macumba Love, Shalako, etc – some APA discussion…and then it’s over. The 14pt text didn’t help. Far too brief, but I guess you could say it left me wanting more. Kobb Labs, PO Box 30231, Pensacola, FL, 32503 (trade or write for prices, 12M, :10] – Dann Lennard

    Xerography Debt #31: The ultimate in ziney cannibalism? A zine review zine reviewing another zine that reviews zines. This is a very stylish publication, kicking off with several columns before launching into a large reviews section (mainly positive, which is nice). The only real hate here is directed towards Maximumrocknroll. Frankly, I was surprised that mag was still around. Davida Gypsy Breier, PO Box 11064 Baltimore, MD, 21212,, [$4 48S :30] – Dann Lennard

    One-Hundred Fingers Of Death: This one-shot began life as an article intended for Kung Fu Grip! #5, but Paco felt it was worthy of publication all by itself. The essay itself examines Paco’s love of martial arts films and wondering how many he’s watched during his life. After a bit of research, he works out it was about 100 (give or take a few) and he writes about them here. Oh…and not a Jean-Claude Van Damme film to be found. Paco’s only interested in what he considers authentic martial arts films. An interesting exercise. Paco D. Taylor, 7730 East Broadway #925, Tucson, AZ, 85710, [$1 or 2 stamps (trades & letters OK) 8S :10] – Dann Lennard

    Very Briefly, Birds: A Tale Of Mystery: A short tale about a woman and a messenger bird and a possible life-changing encounter. The author said the tale is a true story told to her by a friend. Email Tamara if you have any interesting bird stories. Tamara Lazaroff, PO Box 6148, St Lucia, Qld, 6148, AUSTRALIA, [E-mail for price 20S :10] – Dann Lennard

    Prison In Macedonia: While visiting Macedonia, Tamara gets talking to Alek who explains how he wound up in prison for being an illegal immigrant. Apparently, if you spend any time in a Macedonian jail, you should bring your own bowl, cup and spoon, as the authorities don’t supply them. A bittersweet tale told on a warm summer’s night while consuming homebrew. Evocative writing by a very underrated Australian author. Tamara Lazaroff, PO Box 6148, St Lucia, Qld, 6148, AUSTRALIA, [E-mail for price 28S :20] – Dann Lennard

    I Am Natasha: Love can be found in the most unexpected places as our talented author reveals in this compelling short story about forbidden passions set in an apartment block in Skopje, Macedonia. Tamara Lazaroff, PO Box 6148, St Lucia, Qld, 6148, AUSTRALIA, [E-mail for price 24S :20] – Dann Lennard

    Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dec. 10, 2012: CM Punk had knee surgery in early December. Who had the news first? Dave Meltzer, the editor of the world’s longest-running wrestling/MMA weekly news sheet (30 years and counting). There’s a reason why big Dave is so respected in the fight game community (some people hate him, too). He has all the inside contacts and all the gossip that no-one else can get. In this issue, apart from Punk’s injury update, you get an indepth report on New Japan’s recent tag team tournament iPPV and an extensive obituary on Buddy Roberts, one third of the legendary Fabulous Freebirds,  Wrestling Observer Newsletter, PO Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228,, [check online for prices, 16M, :90]  – Dann Lennard

    St. Büdchen Nachrichten #2: Graffiti Hamburg-style! Putting my philosophical negativity towards graffiti aside, Chill Phill is an amazing artist as this photo-heavy zine shows. Besides, I can’t stay cross with a guy who builds his own bar (or büdchen) out of cardboard, then opens for business in his living room.[€2, 36S :05] – Dann Lennard

    Transvestic: Wayne Gibson (nee RastaWayneo) celebrates men who became famous through cross-dressing. Divine, RuPaul, Holly Woodlawn and others are honoured with portraits. [email for price, 16XS :05] – Dann Lennard

    Blackguard #4: Between slick colour covers lies page after page of disturbing comics dedicated to FEAR. HP Lovecraft is quoted in the contents as saying, “the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.” There’s plenty of strong work here by the likes of Pteri Dacht-Ullman, Noah Van Skiver, SCAR, Glenn Smith, Chris Mikul, Ryan Vella, Doug Iannucci, Ross Tesoriero and Mike Diana. Another high-quality anthology not for the weak of heart. Stratu, PO Box 35, Marrickville, NSW, 2204, AUSTRALIA,, [$5/AUD$5 44S, :30] – Dann Lennard


    The Eccentropedia: Chris Mikul has been at the cutting edge of reporting on the weirder edges of society for more than 20 years. Whether it’s his endlessly fascinating look at our cultural underbelly in zines like Bizarrism and Biblio-Curiosa or his many books, the Sydney-based writer always finds the heart and soul in every subject or person he writes about. Sure, they may be freaks, but Chris respects them, even the bad ones. His latest book is filled with hundreds of eccentrics, lunatics and outsiders, some notorious  and many others who should be. In alphabetical order, Chris tells their stories in a way that both satisfies the casual dipper-inner and whets the appetite of those who would want to explore their stories by seeking more info about them elsewhere. The artwork by Sydney genius Glenn Smith perfectly complements Chris’s always entertaining writing style. [US$25.95/AUD$27.99/UK£16.99, 514M, :240+] – Dann Lennard

    Fatal Visions: The Wonder Years 1988-89: The hard-to-find first six issues ofMichael Helms’ fantastic trash culture zine of the late 80s has been collected by the editor into one stylish softcover book. Back when there was no internet, unearthing cinematic gems was an arduous task in Australia. Michael did better than most and his zine reflects his passions for everything from run-of-the-mill B-grade cinematic and late-night TV fare to the sickest filth that only underground tape traders could provide. Among the many VHS and movie reviews (some of which now seem quite quaint), there are reports on Melbourne porn cinemas and an extensive interview with splatter flick pioneer Herschell Gordon Lewis (back before that was the hip thing to do in trash movie zines). Fans of movie (and zine) nostalgia could do worse than getting their hands on Fatal Visions. Michael Helms, PO Box 1006, Thornbury, Vic, 3071, AUSTRALIA. [email for prices, 248M, :120+] – Dann Lennard

    Henry & Glenn Forever:This is a revised reissue of an older book of one-panel cartoons by Tom Neely, Scot Nobles and Igloo Tornado, exploring a world where uber-rockers Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig are lovers, living next to Satanists Hall & Oates. It’s strangely endearing, although Glenn seems way too obsessed with werewolves and Henry should stop writing to himself in the third person. Homophobic heavy metal dudes are advised to steer clear of this book. Microcosm Publishing, 636 SE 11th Ave,  Portland, OR, 97214-2405,$6, 66S, :15] – Dann Lennard

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    After much consideration I have decided to stop publishing Zine World.

    I announced in November my intent to step down ad publisher and head editor of ZW. At that time I had hoped to create a new editorial team to relaunch the zine. A few people stepped forward; unfortunately, we haven't been able to gain traction, and I can no longer continue as the zine's leader. My life has changed over the past few years, and I can no longer give the zine the time and energy it deserves.

    Zine World #31, released last summer, is our final issue. I will issue refunds to current subscribers, until funds run out. I have several dozen zines on hand that were sent in for review. If you want your zine(s) back, please email me at no later than January 31 to make arrangements. Otherwise, the zines will be donated to one or more zine libraries.

    I plan to keep the website active to continue providing resource listings for the zine community. I also plan to continue publishing and reading zines, so maybe I'll see you around the mailbox.

    I want to give a heartfelt thank you to all of the volunteers and readers who have shown support to ZW during the past 15+ years. Zine World would not have lasted as long as it did if not for you. Although I am sad to see Zine World end, I am glad that a decade and a half after Doug Holland started ZW, zine publishing is still going strong, with tons of creative, vibrant, and meaningful publications.

    Jerianne Thompson

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  • 01/10/13--18:44: But...
  • I'll continue to post my zine reviews on this blog.
    If you have a zine you'd like an HONEST review on, please post it to me at:

    Dann Lennard,
    PO Box A1412,
    Sydney South, NSW, 1235,


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    I AM a fucking slow writer at the best of times, but when the late, lamented Zine World sadly closed down earlier this year, my enthusiasm for writing zine reviews plummeted. Thankfully, I’ve finally snapped out of my lethargy and written some very long-overdue reviews. I apologise to the various creators listed for my tardiness.

    P.S. I’ve continued to write my reviews in the Zine World style because (a) It’s a good style that covers all the bases succinctly, so why change it?, AND (b) I’m lazy and can’t be bothered doing it in another format.

    - Dann

    Exploitation Retrospect #51: After far too long an absence, I recently received the newest ER and it was like 1992 had never gone away. Dan “Hangover Gourmet” Taylor has pulled together another love letter to classic exploitation flicks, including articles on Barbara Steele, Klaus Kinski, Bruno Mattei’s The Jail, Ozploitation and the surprising connection between porn and wrestling. And I’m only scratching the surface here. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait a bunch of years for issue #52. Dan Taylor, PO Box 5531, Lutherville, MD, 21094-5531, USA;;[US$4 or trade, 56S, :60+]

    The Life Of Rodney Year 64 #2 & #3: Grumpy, smart, lumberjack, mentor…these are the many tags I can apply to Rod Leighton, the man who inspired me to get into zining nearly 25 years ago. The Canadian is still plugging away today, occasionally producing this review newsletter. It’s as basic as a zine gets: several pages stapled in one corner, typed on an electric typewriter, no illos and photocopied. Rod reviews EVERYTHING: TV shows, fanzines, books, DVDs, restaurants… You may disagree with some of the things he says – personally, I thought the Bruce Hart autobiography was shit – but he writes with a brutal honesty that’s refreshing. Send Rod ANYTHING and not only will he probably review it, but he may even send you a copy of the issue it appears in. Rodney Leighton, #11 Branch Rd, R.R.#3, Tatamagouche, NS, B0K 1V0, CANADA (trade, 10M, :20]

    Grunted Warning #17: Where does MX find these stories? I know SOME of them are real, but SOME read like they’ve come straight out of the too-bizarre-to-publish drawer at Weekly World News! Doesn’t make them any less entertaining but I question their veracity. Anyway, Stratu’s collected the best of ’em in his latest issue. A great toilet read. Stratu, PO Box 35, Marrickville, NSW, 2204, AUSTRALIA;; [AUD$1/stamps/trade/cool letter or postcard, 12S, :15]

    Wrestling Observer Newsletter, May 13, 2013: Not every issue of Dave Meltzer’s long-running wrestling newsletter can be a winner. This week is a dull affair, detailing the WWE’s quarterly business details. Yawn. Elsewhere, he gives a brief overview of the career of Shane Carwin, the former UFC heavyweight champ, who’s retired due to injuries. Frankly, I don’t bother ordering hard-copy versions of this zine now. I just subscribe to the website and download each week’s edition. It’s way cheaper and more timely. Still a very valuable resource for all serious pro wrestling fans. Wrestling Observer Newsletter, PO Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228,USA;;[check online for prices, 16M, :90]

    Fil Barlow’s Zooniverse #1&#2: They’re sold out now, but Aussie comic legend Fil Barlow has already announced he’s doing a second printing of these delightful little collections. After many years in the States working as an animator, Fil’s returned to Oz and his first love: the Zooniverse (which had its own Eclipse miniseries in the mid-80s). Before launching into new material, he’s reprinted a bunch of classic strips that were first published 30-odd years ago in various local publications like Inkspots. I can’t wait to read his new work, but for now, these blasts from the past will do nicely. MY HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION. To learn more about what Fil’s up to and to order stuff from him, head to[contact Fil for prices, 44S, :30]

    Kamuke #4: This isn’t so much a zine as a labour of love for editor and serious ukulele enthusiast Cameron Murray. This issue features interviews with Benny Chong, Victoria Vox and places Arthur Godfrey into the Kamuke Hall Of Fame. What can I say? Uke can’t do without it.,[email for prices, 36S, :30]

    Biblio-Curiosa #3: The fiction of the obscure and bizarre are again analysed in entertaining fashion. This time round, Jeff Goodman writes a follow-up article on his good friend “Froggy”, aka eccentric sci-fi writer F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre. Elsewhere, editor Chris discusses the oddball short story collection The Ferocious Fern (1943), which he unearthed in a hotel library on the Greek island of Rhodes, and Swastika Night, an alternative history tale of a Nazi-dominated world written BEFORE World War 2. He also gives us an overview of the amazing literary career of Tod Robbins, who wrote the yarns that inspired classic horror films The Unholy Three and Freaks. Finally, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s outrageous novel The Cardinal’s Mistress is examined in great detail. This zine is an essential addition to the library of any fan of the weird and wonderful in the literary world. Chris Mikul, PO Box K546, Haymarket, NSW, 1240, AUSTRALIA,[AUD$5/email for overseas prices, 48S, :60]

    Bizarrism #12: If you dig Chris’s writing style, then you need to get your hands on his original – and arguably best – zine. His much anticipated twelfth issue covers such strange subjects as celebrity stigmatic Padre Pio, the decidedly weird Percy Grainger Museum in Melbourne, notorious literary thief Raymond Scott, the insane history of the Hare Krishnas in America, and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world and I’m glad Chris is there to compile the very best of it for us in this incredible zine, possibly the finest out there today. Chris Mikul, PO Box K546, Haymarket, NSW, 1240, AUSTRALIA,[AUD$5/email for overseas prices, 48S, :60]

    Pee #48: Modern punk and hardcore are front and centre in this long-running, classy Australian publication. This ish comes with free stickers, postcards and a free CD (which is pretty standard now with Pee). Articles focus on bands like Pennywise, Polar Bear Club, The Decline and more. Pete Pee, PO Box 238, Marden, SA, 5070, AUSTRALIA,,[AUD$6.50/email for overseas prices, 60M, :60+ depending on your interest in punk]

    One Thousand Feathers #1&#2: Late last year, I contributed to a Kickstarter campaign so redneck poet, thinker, rapper and all-round great writer Raven Mack could launch his zine project, One Thousand Feathers, and get the first six issues published. The first two issues –densely packed with text – landed on my front verandah in January and they were as brilliant as I had hoped. Issue one, subtitled “The Primordial Traditionalist” explains Raven’s aims and the pros and cons of using high beam on his vehicle at night. Issue two, subtitled “Recession Proof”, only features one yarn: an absorbing, at-times sinister short story about rural folk doing the best they can to survive in these hard times. I found issue two far superior to issue one, but both are pretty damn good and worth your time and money. For the full story on what Raven wants to do with this project, read his manifesto at Raven Mack, PO Box 270, Scottsville, VA, 24590, USA. Seek him out on Facebook or on Google by typing in “Rojonekku”. [email for prices, 4M, :20]

    Kapreles Artmailer, September 2012: A two-page thingy filled to overflowing with toons by talented Belgian underground artist Kapreles. Lovely “sick” artwork. Kapreles promised that his next issue might have more pages, plus B-grade film reviews. Y. Albrects, Postbus 100, 2000 Antwerpen 1, Groenplaats, BELGIUM; [trade, 2M, :02]

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  • 06/02/13--18:48: REVIEW: Grunted Warning #18

  • Grunted Warning #18: A dramatic pic from the new Australian sex'n'violence-filled drama series Wentworth (a modern reworking of the 80s classic Prisoner) sets a great tone for the new issue. Inside, there are plenty of bizarre clippings, including a special "made in Japan" section. Art from Ryan Vella is the icing on the cake. Mind-blowing. Stratu, PO Box 35, Marrickville, NSW, 2204, AUSTRALIA;; [AUD$1/stamps/trade/cool letter or postcard, 12S, :15]

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    Hungover, scraping

    lead paint in hundred-degree

    humidity, mad

    I'VE never been a fan of poetry unless it's being screamed at me from a stage by aggressive drunks. Normally, I find poetry too feeble, too twee, too pretentious.

    That said, I have a soft spot for Japanese haiku - mainly 'cos the rigid format (three lines: five syllables, seven syllables/five syllables) means it takes discipline to not only write one, but write a good one.

    And that's the beauty of Beerbox Haiku, Raven Mack's new collection of nearly 1000 poems - written during "a dark transitional period" in his life. In 17 syllables, he effectively and hauntingly captures working class life in modern America: the joys of family...the daily grind of manual labour...the sweet release of alcohol (followed by the inevitable "alcohol guilt")...the social intricacies of relating daily to others for whom the American Dream has failed them...the simple pleasures of drinking under a starry sky or watching an attractive woman walk by...
    These poems are earthy, raw, sweaty - not every haiku struck a chord with me, but some of them aren't meant to. They're deeply personal thoughts from a complicated Southern man who has the talent to articulate a way of life that others like myself can only imagine. But when you least expect it, a nugget of universal truth will hit the reader between the eyes.

    Raven's book is moving. It is beautiful. It is essential reading for anyone who appreciates the power of great writing, especially when it's displayed in 17 little syllables.

    Using a pay phone
    to say, "I'll be home after
    midnight, don't worry."

    * You can purchase Beerbox Haiku from Amazon. To keep in touch with everything that Raven Mack is doing, check out his website.

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  • 06/08/13--17:52: DVD review: "The Barrens"

  • Early thoughts on THE BARRENS (starring some prick from True Blood):
    1. If a dead deer with his intestines hanging out and horns removed jumped in front of my car, I would immediately turn it around and get the fuck away from the Pine Barrens.

    2. If I took my family to the Pine Barrens and heard stories about the Jersey Devil, I would put my family back in the car and GET THE FUCK AWAY.

    3. If I asked my six-year-old son to "fetch my knife" from the backpack, then saw him playing with an urn (which I happened to bring along for shit'n'giggles) before having horrific flashbacks and passing out......I would tell my wife to DRIVE US THE FUCK OUT OF THE PINE BARRENS...RIGHT NOW!!!!!!
    Or is it just me....?

    FINAL THOUGHTS: This was SHIT, despite Mia Kirschner looking quite hot in a MILFy kinda way.


    The real Jersey Devil?

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    After 18 long months, I've finally published a new zine about six-word novels. It's only six pages long, but I'm just happy to finally get the damn thing finished.

    Email me at if you're interested in a copy. ;)

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  • 06/22/13--07:46: Now on Tumblr. :)
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  • 08/11/13--08:16: Oh Suzanne......

  • THE main reason I watch Expo (the home shopping channel) is for this woman. Seriously, if I wasn't married, I would totally hook up with British-born NZ-based Expo host Suzanne Paul.
    In a perfect world, I'd invite the former NZ Dancing With The Stars winner to my home - after first cleaning it with my H2O Mop Ultra, iRobot Roomba and Swivel Sweeper Max, then purifying the house with my Oreck Air Purifier - and make her dinner using my Bullet Express and Stonedine cookware.
    Afterwards, over a glass of Nopalea, I'd make my move.
    Slowly, I'd peel off Suzanne's Cami Shaper and Slim & Tone Leggings. As they fell to the floor I'd lead her into my bedroom where the True Sleeper lay waiting. Lying her down on my My Pillow, she would gasp at the comfort and low, low price before she yielded to my manly charms and we made the beast with two backs all night long.
    When I'd finished making love to her for the fifth time straight, I'd pause and gently whisper, "But that's not all..."
    In the morning, I'd cook her breakfast in my Flavourwave Express ovens and offer her a work-out session in my living room with my full range of Tapout XT exercise DVDs.
    Later, I'd send her a bill for my services, offering her the chance to pay me only $29.95 in five easy monthly instalments, or $149.95 in one full payment.

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  • 09/04/13--08:06: Article 1

  • NORMALLY, I don't wildly sing the praises of zinesters, but TAMARA LAZAROFF is worth the effort. For some time now she's been sending me her exquisitely written, hauntingly beautiful self-published work and I feel privileged that she does so. It's rare to find a writer with such confidence and talent. I'm honoured that she considers me someone worth sending her zines to for reviews. I recently interviewed Tamara and her answers were as refreshing and intelligent as the writing in her zines. Please enjoy the interview...

    1. Howlonghaveyoubeenwritingandcreatingzines?

    I'veenjoyedwritingsinceIwaskid.ButIhaveonlybeencreatingzinesforthelastfiveyears.  Pre-zines,I'dbeenwonderinghowandwhereIcouldsharemystoriesinawaythatfeltcomfortabletome,thatfitme.AndthenIhappenedtobegoingtotheNewcastleYoungWritersFestivalin2008.Iheardtherewasazinefair.Ibookedastall.I started puttingtogethermyfirstzine,Briefly,Birds.Andthatwasitforme.Itwaslovefromthestart.WhatIreallyloveaboutzinesandzinecultureistheunmediated,intimateandequalconnectionthatIgettohave,asawriter,withareader;andthatareadergetstohavewithme;andthatIgettohaveasareaderwithotherzinesters.Tome,thezineworldisanopen,egalitarianspace.Anyonecanparticipate.


    OneofthefirstzinesIfellinlovewithwasGiantessbyCandacePetrik. There are tenissuesaltogetherandtheydealreallycandidlywith being queer,internalisedhomophobiaandcomingout(aswellasotherthings).Gorgeoustolookattoo,Giantessisstilloneofmyfavouritezines. I'm actually writing a homage zine, at the moment, for Giantess. (It's called Lezbianka.) But, anyway, this zine, Giantess, and countless, countless others, continue to inspire me to offer whatever I have to offer right now – writing-wise, and life-wise. I don't have to be polished and perfect.

    IrememberthefirsttimeIreadanythingbyhim.Iusedtoworkinanursinghomeandoneofmyco-workers,onhislastday,gavemehiscopyofDharmaBums.He'dbeenreadinginthestaffroomandI'dbeeninterestedinit.I'dlikedthecover.Myco-workerwantedmetohaveitasagift.Istartedtosay,'No,no,I'llpostitbacktoyou.Ijustwanttoborrowit.'Andhejustsaid,'No.It'syours.Jackwould'vewantedthatway.'Anyway,whenIgothomeandstartedreadingIwastotallyblownaway.Ifeltasifthisbookhadbeenwrittenforme.Likeitwasaletterorsomething.LikesomebodyknewexactlywhatIneededtohear.IhadnoideaabouttheBeatgeneration.IthoughtJackKerouacwasthisobscurewriterI'dluckilystumbledinto.ButthatbookDharmaBumsatthetimemademefeelthatifIeverwroteanythingIwantedtowritelikeJack.Ha! That's a bit of a grand ambition. Buthedidinspireme. And I think zines are like letters of sorts.

    4. Whydoyouchoosehard-copyprintasyourprimemedium?Whydoyoupreferthatovertheinternet?Anddoyouhaveanonlinepresence(ablog,website,Tumblr,etc)?

    Ienjoythezineasobjectmakingazine,assembling,designing,thefactthatIcanholdazineinmyhands,turnthepages'manually'.Ialsoreallyenjoythefactthatzinesareephemeralobjectsmuchmoreephemeralthanaproperlybound,acid-freepaperbookorawebpage.Soonerratherthanlater,azinewilldisintegrate,disappear.There'ssomethinglovelyandpoetic and true aboutthat.Onamorepracticalnote,I'mnotverytechnologicalperson.ButIamthinkingaboutablog...

    5. Youredoingsomethingratherradicalin2013(producingahard-copyzine),soIhavetoaskarezinesdead...orjustcoughingupblood?


    6. Alotofyourzinesdealwithyourexperiencestravellingoverseasandmeetingpeoplefromdifferentcountriesandcultures.Howhavetheseexperiencesshapedyouasawriter?

    Well,abouttenyearsago,Idecidedtorelearnmyfirstlanguage,Macedonian.Istudieditformallythroughanold-stylecorrespondencecourseatMacquarieUniversity(IwasoneofthelaststudentstograduatebeforetheDepartmentclosedin2010).Anyway,during this time, IhadtheopportunitytotraveltoMacedonia. Igottomeetandspeakwithlotsofpeople;Icollectedalotofstoriesandexperiences.I also gottoseehowIthinkdifferentlyinMacedonian.EmbeddedintheMacedonianlanguageanylanguageisawholeworldviewandwayofbeingdifferenttomyworld-viewandwayofbeinginEnglish.ThisissomethingI'vebeentryingtoarticulatein some of myrecentzinesPrisoninMacedonia;IAmNatasha;BunnyMen;Walnuts,Almonds,Nuts.Therearestillmorecoming.

    Likeanyone,I'm probably akeenobserverofparticularthings.Growingup,asakid,inatight-knitMacedonianhouseholdandcommunityinSydney,Ioftenfeltlikeananthropologiststudyingpeopleandtheirbehaviours,practices,rituals,customs.Bothinsideandoutsidethehome,'correct'codesweresovastlydifferent.


    Hmm,Dann.Idon'tknowhowtoanswerthisone. I enjoy reading adventures-at-home zines just as much as I enjoy travel zines. Adventures-at-home zines I like are: Incredibly Hot Sex With Hideous People (Bryce Galloway), a wry domestic/family-life zine; anything by The Sydney Exploratory Society; and anything by Michelle B. like her hilarious, observational The Joy of Public Transport. Overseas travel zines I like to re-read are: JuneGraveyardandKingdombytheSea(VanessaBerry)whichareaboutVanessa'sliterarypilgrimagestothegravesitesofSylviaPlathandJanetFrame;andHomesick/Awaysick (RenataJoyField);andOneWeekwithBirds(RaquelOrmella) in which Raquel documents in beautiful pictures and words a week in the Tamar Island Wetlands in Tasmania.
    8. Whatdoeswritingmeantoyou?Isitself-expression,ahobby,anobsession,what?

    IguessIthinkofwritingasbeingmathematical,practicalandpersonal.AstoryissomethingIcandowithmythoughts,feelings,curiosities.It'sawayofworkingthingsoutlikeabig,long algebraic problem being asked of me inasymboliclanguageIhavetotranslate. Lots of x'sandy'sandpisandcosinesandsines.Therearen'tanyrightanswers.Butit'senjoyabletryingtoarticulate,inthesimplestway,whatseemsinarticulable.Totrytogiveaformtotheblindspotsinmypsyche.Atleastthat'swhatwritingistomeatthatmomentwhileI'mdoingtheseMacedonianstories. 
    Well, Iusedtomakejewellery,one-offpieces,andsellthematmarkets around Sydney. Then, Iusedtofeelthateachpiecewaswaitingfortheonepersontocomealongandcollectandclaimit.Ifeelthesameaboutstories.Storieshavetheirdestination,theirreceiverorreceivers.WhatIwantformywriting,mystories,isthat they have thechancetoreachthepeoplewhowouldenjoyorrelateorgetsomething for themselves outof them. Atthemoment,I'mthinkingaboutwhatIwilldowiththeMacedonianstoriesthatseemtobepilingup.Maybetheywouldbenefitfromlookedatbyaneditor.MaybeIwillbringthemtogetherinonegiantzine.MaybeI'llmakeanartists'bookoutofthem.We'llsee.

    10. Iftherewasonezinethatyoucouldhandsomeoneandsay,ThisisME” – whichonewouldyouchoose?Oristhattoohard?IsiteasierifIjustaskwhichzineyouremostproudof?
    IstillfeelreallyproudofmyfirstzineBriefly,Birds.Likeanyfirstanything,it'sbraveandrough and ready andnaïve.Butofmyrecentzines,IlikeBunnyMenbestbecauseitfeelsasifthereisaghost,apresencestandingbehindthestoryandIdon'tknowwhatitmeanstosaytomeyet.


    Well, as I said, Iamthinkingaboutblog.Butinthemeantime I can be contacted by email:

    Thezines I have available,oldandnew,are: Briefly,Birds(2008) $4(pluspostage); House(2009) $3 (plus postage); NotBroken,ButOpened(2009) $3(pluspostage); PoemsI'veLivedWith(2009) $4(pluspostage); ToPraiseistheThing(2010) $3(pluspostage); PrisoninMacedonia(2012)$3(pluspostage); IAmNatasha(2012) $3(pluspostage); VeryBriefly,Birds(2012) $2(pluspostage); Well,ThatWasWeird(2012) $3(pluspostage); EveryoneTonightInTheStreet!(2013) $4(pluspostage); BunnyMen(2013) $2(pluspostage); Walnuts,Almonds,Nuts(2013) $3(pluspostage); and Anti-Journey (2013) $2(pluspostage).

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    She was only 19!

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  • 09/23/13--07:39: BUNNY MEN AND NUTS
  • IT’S no secret that I’m a huge fan of Tamara Lazaroff…and more than a little bit jealous This talented writer creates some of the most achingly beautiful prose I’ve read in a long time. In a perfect world, she would be writing long novels that sell millions of copies and are required reading in high schools around the country. She would give talks at writers’ festivals and be invited onto on painfully intellectual ABC-TV shows about books. Until that day comes, her fans – of which there should be many – will have to make do with these brief-but-beautiful self-published tales. These were all sent to me in one batch.

    Bunny Men is a very short chapbook detailing Tamara’s encounter with two old men collecting food for their rabbits. It is simple, raw, honest. Perfect.

    Anti-Journey studies the little joys of a day spent with good friends doing carefree, fun things together.

    Tonight, Everybody In The Street! is a harrowing tale – as told to Tamara – of a free-spirited Spanish woman’s refusal to let a brutal crime destroy her love of life. A tremendously powerful short story that ends on a powerful, uplifting note.

    Walnuts, Almonds, Nuts is about a tourist’s in Macedonia, love, confusion, misunderstandings, anger…and nuts. Lots and lots of nuts. It’s odd, yet oddly sweet.

    ‘Well, That Was Weird’ collects “some very short stories”. And, yes, they are weird.

    To order these zines (and others not reviewed here), write to Tamara Lazaroff, PO Box 6148, St Lucia, Qld, 6148, AUSTRALIA or email

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  • 09/23/13--21:40: Six feathers...a zine review

  • RAVEN MACK makes me jealous. Jealous and angry.

    Jealous of his tremendous talent and his prodigious output when it comes to writing.

    Angry because he makes me feel bad for not getting off my arse and doing more myself.

    While I sit in front of the computer, prevaricating endlessly while playing another level of Plants Vs Zombies, he sits in his backyard in West Virginia letting his mind run free and putting magic on paper.

    While I’ve taken two years to put out one issue of my zine Rogue (I swear #2 is coming soon), Raven’s already put out eight issues of One Thousand Feathers in less than a year. That’s just rubbing salt into the wound.

    OTF is a paper zine unlike any other I’ve come across. Each four-page, cut’n’paste, text-heavy issue is different from what came before, even if a few have a running theme that Raven returns to from time to time. You never know what to expect from the issue that lands in your hands.

    OTF #3: The Primordial Traditionalist II is about chickens. Chicken politics, chickens in the wild, dumb chickens vs smart chickens. I never thought I’d find philosophical musings about future KFC nuggets so interesting.

    OTF #4: J.J. Krupert I is a discussion about songs and bands – Hank Williams III, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd and a handful of rappers I’ve never heard of. Maybe Raven could make me a mixtape (mix-CD?) one day so I can know what he’s talking about.

    OTF #5: Freestyle SonnetsI didn’t grab me. But that’s because most poetry doesn’t grab me. Just me, I guess.

    OTF #6: Naked Polaroids I is a mash-up of southern noir fiction with William Burroughs’ technique of cutting up a story, throwing the paragraphs of paper in the air, then randomly putting the story back together. Except Raven did this with chapters. Glimpses into the lives of criminals, cops and migrant workers are intertwined in this gripping yarn that jumps back and forth through time. I enjoyed it, but it’s not easy to read. But I suspect Raven didn’t want it to be easy. The reward comes with the perseverance and that satisfying feeling afterwards when you just know you read something brilliant. Grim but brilliant.

    OTF #7: Recession Proof II (Buzzards And Eagles aka American Basboosa) will kick your brain like a foot to the arse. A powerful story that drew me into the broken mind and broken world of a mentally damaged Iraqi War veteran. Possibly the best thing Raven’s ever written.

    OTF #8: Pissing In Babylon’s Wind I is a collection of Raven’s tweets. This left me cold. Tweets aren’t writing. Raven tries, but it’s just a bunch of random thoughts. And having a thousand or so packed into four pages made it bloody hard to read. I gave up. Sorry, man, but tweets aren’t writing.

    Last issue aside, Raven’s zine is worth buying and supporting. He aims to put out a ton of them before he shuffles off this mortal coil. I intend to stick with him as long as he does. I know not everything he produces will be great (no-one can be that consistent, I know), but there’ll be enough pearls of greatness along the way to make it worthwhile.

    For more info, write to Raven Mack, PO Box 270, Scottsville, VA, 24590, USA or go to his website at You can find him on Facebook by typing “Rojonekku” or on Twitter (@SSVa_Raven).

    While you do that, I’m off to delete that fucking game off my computer and start writing again. Anger and jealousy are great motivating forces.

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