Author: Forrester, Amber
Date published: January 1, 2012
Compilation Zine, Toronto Zine Library,
292 Brunswick Avenue,
Toronto ON, M5S 2M7
The first thing that 1 noticed when picking up this zine, created by the volunteers at the Toronto Zine Library, is its size: full-page with cardstock covers, then bound with staples and thick tape. I think that the zine could benefit from a more compact half-size or even halflegal format; 1 don't know many people who enjoy the feel of a full-size zine in their hands, not to mention the added difficulty one would have shoving it into a bag for reading in transit.
Another thing the zine could benefit from is giving the writing a little more direction. The piece by "Patrick" on accountability within the "zine community" is particularly lackluster. He starts the piece by writing about the ongoing accountability issues surrounding Microcosm Publishing and their choice to continue to keep someone with an admitted history of emotional abuse in the collective, in a frankly lazy manner. His article mostly rehashes a thread from zinester message board We Make Zines (WMZ) and does not include a link to this thread. Then he moves on to a discussion of UK academic Teal Triggs' coffee table book Fanzines (a book that includes reprints of artwork from numerous zines, many of which were used without permission from the original authors). Again, he tells the story by rehashing a thread from WMZ, pronouncing which opinions he considers valid (not those of the creators whose works were published in the book, apparently), then summing it up by essentially saying: 1 think the book is pretty, therefore everything is okay. It was a difficult article to trudge through, and probably entirely nonsensical and uninformative to anyone who wasn't already aware of the controversy surrounding both of these issues. Toward the end the author himself admits that he'd made an unsuccessful attempt to tie the two issues together. While 1 believe that it is extremely important to talk about accountability within the zine scene, 1 hope that we can do it on a level that is both informative and productive, and this piece certainly misses the mark.
Volunteers also write about their frustration with the current situation at the Toronto Zine Library, which they feel is underused and underappreciated. In an attempt to gather knowledge and promote similar spaces in other locations, interviews are conducted with Sarah Evans of the Anchor Archive in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Erin of the Arrow Archive, which recently moved from Hamilton to Guelph, Ontario. Other highlights include original artwork by zine library members, as well as a piece by Rachel Chepesiuk on the relationship between zines and punk culture. I'd like to see what volunteers come up with for future issues. (Amber Forrester)