The Fanzine Podcast
Ep. 11: A History of British Zines
THE JAMMING! FANZINE PODCAST is back after a year in exile, now as a Podcast for and about all Fanzines, though still hosted by former Jamming! editor/publisher Tony Fletcher. For this first episode of a new series/season, Tony interviews the authors of the excellent new hardbook book, WE PEAKED AT PAPER: AN ORAL HISTORY OF BRITISH ZINES, namely Gavin Hogg and Hamish Ironside. Before, after and when they could, even during the pandemic, they traveled the length and breadth of the British Isles to track down editors of fanzines dating back to the science fiction era that launched the culture, through the punk, post-punk, new wave, indie and Brit-pop eras of the music fanzines, stopping off to discuss a couple of football fanzines along the way, and ending up in the thriving 2020s world of perzines, compzines, and idiosyncratic little one-off publications in a variety of sizes and some with print runs in the single digits.
It's a fascinating, lovingly compiled, and highly professional book - and the interview covers a similarly wide range of subject matter. Tony, Gavin and Hamish date the first ever British 'fanzine' back to 1936 (Novae Terrae), they debate what defines a fanzine, the commonalities among the various editors they interviewed, the shift from the music press culture (including those of fanzines) as a 'men's club' to the current 'zine fairs predominantly frequented by female editors, the financial struggles experienced by most zine editors, those moments of recognition that make it all worthwhile. And David Icke.
Among the editors and zines referenced in this podcast that were also featured in WE PEAKED AT PAPER:
- Rob Hansen (Epsillon)
- Mark Perry (Sniffin' Glue)
- Mick Middles (Ghast Up)
- Mark Hodkinson (Untermensch)
- Pete Paphides (Perturbed)
- Karen Ablaze (Ablaze!)
- Siaân Pattendon (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
- Saskia Holling (Heavy FLow)
- Saleena Laverne Daye (Without You, I'm Nothing)
- Elias Nebula (The Hegelian)
- and of course
- Hamish Ironside (Soudade) and
- Gavin Hogg (Bag of Tricks and Candy Sticks)
WE PEAKED AT PAPER can be purchased from Boatwhistle books at https://www.boatwhistle.com/we-peaked-at-paper.
Gavin Hogg's podcast, The Giddy Carousel of Pop, is at https://giddypoppod.home.blog/
Tony Fletcher can be found at https://tonyfletcher.net/
Tony's latest music, writing and social media can be accessed from https://linktr.ee/TonyFletcher
One Step Beyond podcast is at https://shows.acast.com/onestepbeyond
The Best of Jamming!: Selections and Stories from the Fanzine That Grew Up 1977-86 is published by Omnibus Press
'The Jamming! Fanzine Podcast Theme' is by Noel Fletcher.
Logo by Greg Morton.
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Ep. 20: What Was The First Ever Fanzine?01:00:11What was the first ever fanzine?When was it published? In what country? What did it write about? Where can I find it? When was the word fanzine coined? By who? Where does it come from? What is a Gestetner? Or a Roneo? Where can I get one? Actually, why should I care?To help answer these questions, I am joined on Episode 20 of my show The Fanzine Podcast by: Hamish Ironside, fanzine editor, book publisher, and co-author of We Peaked At Paper: An Oral History of British Zines; and by Rob Hansen, fanzine editor, archivist, and author of multiple books including Then: Science Fiction Fandom in the UK 1930-1980.Please visit https://tonyfletcher.substack.com/p/what-was-the-first-ever-fanzine for more information, including visuals of the first ever fanzines, and links to Rob and Hamish's various publications. While there, please subscribe to the weekly newsletter. https://tonyfletcher.substack.com/p/what-was-the-first-ever-fanzine
Ep. 19: Postcard from Post-Punk Scotland with Bobby Bluebell & Alastair McKay01:10:32For an episode playlist, to see covers and pages of these zines, and for much more about the fanzine culture in general, visit Midweek Update #12: Fanzines are Alive & Kicking Edition.In 1980, in Glasgow, Robert Hodgens started Ten Commandments alongside writer Kirsty McNeil and photographer Robert Scott; after four issues, known now as Bobby Bluebell, Hodgens moved to London with his band The Bluebells and became, briefly a pop star.In 1983, between Edinburgh and Aberdeen, Alastair McKay started Alternatives To Valium. It lasted four years until Alastair, who freelanced for Jamming! during this time, set off to pursue his dream career as a full-time journalist.Both zines were resolutely Scottish in spirit, and each strongly influenced by Postcard Records, the independent label that called itself 'The Sound of Young Scotland.' In this conversation, Bobby and Alastair compare fanzine notes, share interview stories, and talk about how the Scottish post-punk scene shaped their lives. Alastair additionally talks about how Robert Smith told him The Cure were finished in a 1983 interview he took five months to publish, and why Paul Weller and Mick Talbot tried to punch him at a Red Wedge press conference.Among the fanzines discussed in this episode: Granite City, It Ticked And Exploded, Juniper Berry Berry, Fish Pie Tales, Jungleland, Slow Dazzle and more.Among the bands discussed in this episode: Orange Juice, Simple Minds, Josef K, Fire Engines, The Go-Betweens, Lloyd Cole & The Commotions, Altered Images, Defiant Pose, The Pastels, Positive Noise, The Fall, Echo & The Bunnymen, Another Pretty Face, The Waterboys, and more.Tony Fletcher’s weekly newsletter, long weekend read, and exclusive access to archived interviews, is at tonyfletcher.substack.com. By signing up, you avoid the algorithms of FB & X, and you also have the opportunity to support those creators you want to support.The Bluebells' wonderful new album 'In The 21st Century' is out now on https://shop.lastnightfromglasgow.com/products/the-bluebells-in-the-21st-centuryBobby Bluebell can be found on Twitter as @R0Poem and The Bluebells Instagram is @thebluebellsglasgowAlastair McKay's excellent memoir, published in 2022, is, Alternatives To Valium: How Punk Rock Saved A Shy Boy’s Life.Hecan be found on Substack at https://alastairmckay.substack.com,The Best Of Jamming!: Selections & Stories from the Fanzine That Grew Up, 1977-86 can be found here and signed copies are available in the USA direct from https://tonyfletcherauthor.bandcamp.com/merch/Theme music by Noel Fletcher. Logo by Greg Morton.
Ep. 18: Modzines and the Mod Scene with Eddie Piller01:08:16"No other youth culture or subculture centred on fashion or music, or both, has ever had as many fanzines dedicated to it as the mod revival." So wrote Eddie Piller at the start of his 2918 book Mod Zines (with Steve Rowland) and he should know: as editor and publisher of Extraordinary Sensations, Piller saw his 'zine sell a phenomenal 15,000 copies at its peak in the mid-80s, as many as legendary punk zine Sniffin' Glue had managed a decade earlier.Over the course of an hour-long conversation with The Fanzine Podcast's host, Tony Fletcher, former editor/publisher of Jamming!, Ed talks about some of those zines, about the success of his own zine once he brought in Terry Rawlings as partner, about the lasting allure of mod culture for him and thousands of others all over the planet, and especially, about his new memoir Clean Living Under Difficult Circumstances: A Life In Mod from the Revival to Acid Jazz. Published in 2023 by Monoray Books, Clean Living follows Ed's adventures through his East End upbringing to his West End clubbing, through trips to Australia and journeys round Europe, covers the violence of the era in gory details, ands with him founding the legendary Acid Jazz label, which is still going strong today.Additionally, as well as being a DJ, a podcast host himself over the years and an inveterate party promoter, Piller is the founder of Totally Wired Radio which since 2019 has broadcast DJs "who specialise in Jazz, Soul, Hip Hop, Ska & 2Tone, Country, Soundtracks and Library Music, Reggae, Film, Folk, Funk, EDM, World Music, Afrobeat, Latin, Gospel, Rare R&B, Poetry, Punk, Psyche and Garage, Disco along with Podcast Interviews." Oh, and he also co-wrote the book Punkzines, also published by Omnibus Press.Modzines referenced in this issue include Maximum Speed, Get Up And Go, Shake, Direction Reaction Creation, South Circular, XL5, Go Go, Shadows and Reflections and more.The Best Of Jamming!: Selections & Stories from the Fanzine That Grew Up, 1977-86 can be found here and signed copies are available in the USA direct from https://tonyfletcherauthor.bandcamp.com/merch/ SIgn up for Tony Fletcher’s weekly newsletter, long weekend read, and for exclusive access to archived interviews, including those from his Keith Moon biography, at tonyfletcher.substack.com. Theme music by Noel Fletcher. Logo by Greg Morton.
Ep. 17: Confessions of an Ex-Zine Editor57:49Ten years after she ceased publishing her 2000s rock’n’roll fanzine Bubblegum Slut due to the lifestyle it induced (i.e. drug addiction), Alison B. found herself producing a new zine about her old zine, the lifestyle it induced and the year she spent in limbo before getting clean. That zine is entitled Confessions of an Ex-Zine Editor and it is astonishingly original and entertaining. Partly a “trainwreck memoir” in zine format, it has the benefit of additionally being side-splittingly funny, what with its reviews of old clubs that are now train stations and of snail mail that no longer brings free CDs. With Confessions now up to Issue 3, Alison is also the first ongoing fanzine editor to be featured on this podcast.Alison is joined by Jane Appleby, who produced multiple different zines in the 1990s and early 2000s, including Jezebel, Bambi, This Is Our Truth, Pretty But Schizo, Pussy Rock, Jezebel, and Trophy F*ck. In conversation with Tony, Jane and Alison talk about their zines and the scenes from which they sprang, about sex and sexual stereotypes, about publishing and printing, about how the Manic Street Preachers inspired more zines than any other band of the era, about recovery Bingo and receiving explicit fetishist letters in the mail.Bands mentioned in this episode include Hanoi Rocks, Guns ‘n’ Roses, the Manic Street Preachers, the Glitter Band, Sheila E, Shampoo, and We’ve Got A Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use it.Franchises mentioned in this issue include Taco Bell and Trust House Forte.Plus, Tony learns a new word: Edgelord.Alison’s current Confessions of an Ex-Zine Editor and Bubblegum Slut can be found at https://www.instagram.com/bubblegumzinearchive/And copies can be ordered via:https://linktr.ee/bubblegumzinearchiveJane Appleby’s fanzine archives can be found at: http://pussyrockfanzine.blogspot.com/She is active on http://tumblr.com/jaynedolluk The Best Of Jamming! can be found here and signed copies are available in the USA direct from https://tonyfletcherauthor.bandcamp.com/merch/ For Tony Fletcher’s weekly newsletter, long weekend read, and for exclusive access to archived interviews, just visit tonyfletcher.substack.com. Theme music by Noel Fletcher. Logo by Greg Morton.
16. Ep. 16: James Brown & Mark Hodkinson (Attack On Bzag/Untermensch01:32:18(Sign up at tonyfletcher.substack.com to receive this podcast interview in unedited form.)James Brown and Mark Hodkinson both hail from the Pennine District in Northern England. Both ran fanzines in the 1980s (Attack on Bzag and Untermensch). Both stayed in publishing. Both now have successful memoirs out about their lives in the world of words.Beyond that, their paths have been different. James left Leeds for London, and after 10 successful issues of his fanzine, joined the NME. He then founded Loaded, which was selling 350,000 copies by the time he went to edit GQ after 36 issues. He's written about this - plus his addictions to alcohol and drugs and his subsequent recovery - in his memoir Animal House. Mark stayed in Rochdale, and started a small imprint called Pomona, which published books by people such as Bill Nelson, Barry Hines and Bob Stanley; in his memoir No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy, he explains how a boy who grew up in a house with one book ended up with 3500. Both memoirs are now out in paperback.In this conversation with host Tony Fletcher, the three of them discuss:Leaving home vs. staying putWhy Untermensch was a revolt against RochdaleThe joys of selling fanzines at gigs - or not.1980s fanzine culture with references to The End, Cool Notes, Idiot Stregth, Furious Apache, Raygun, New Youth, KvatchHow James could even sell a fanzine to a working policemanThe night that James, along with former podcast guest Richard Edwards, raided Tony's Filofax for famous people's numbersHow Loaded was James' ultimate fanzineWhy Pomona was a critical success but rarely a commercial oneHow Attack on Bzag got it wrong about The SmithsJames Brown is on Instagram and Facebook.Mark Hodkinson is on Facebook. The Pomona Books catalogue here Also discussed in this episode:'The Politics of Fanzines' episode with Richard Edwards can be found here'One Step Beyond Ep. 27' with Mike Peters of Love, Hope, Strength is here:'Tacky Tiger,' Sparks zine on a Gestertner, is here.The Dear Boys single 'Blink Of An I' can be viewed, streamed, or purchased on Bandcamp from https://linktr.ee/thedearboys.The Best Of Jamming! can be found hereFor weekly articles by Tony Fletcher, news of upcoming writings, books, events, podcasts, and for exclusive access to archived interviews, sign up for his newsletter at tonyfletcher.substack.com.Theme music by Noel Fletcher. Logo by Greg Morton.
Ep. 15: Miki Berenyi & Clare Wadd (Alphabet Soup/Kvatch)01:27:14In the mid-1980s, before she became known for fronting the band Lush, Miki Berenyi put out five issues of Alphabet Soup fanzine (“It may be crap but it’s only 5p”) alongside her then-bestie and future band-mate, Emma Anderson. Meantime, before she started Sarah Records, Clare Wadd put out multiple issues of Kvatch fanzine. This podcast, hosted by former Jamming! editor Tony Fletcher, marks the first time ANY of the three have ever had a conversation with each other. Over the course of an hour-plus chat the three of them discuss:Why Miki had a photo of Tony on hand should he randomly e-mail her introducing himself.Clare’s upbringing in Harrogate, Yorkshire, and starting a fanzine as a way in to the “independent” music world.Miki’s school years in Central London, following Culture Club and Haircut 100, and starting a fanzine as a way to combat shyness.The lack of girls producing fanzines in the early-mid-1980s.Miki’s “nuts” upbringing, how it created a “seize the day” element in her, and how that resulted in her and Emma doing Alphabet Soup.Being sexually harassed as a teenage girl selling fanzines.Alphabet Soup being “silly & smutty” vs Kvatch being “worthy.”The lack of competitiveness among fanzines. The network the editors created instead.Interviewing 1980s indie icons like Half Man Half Biscuit, The Housemartins, Xmal Deutschland, and asking The Wedding Present about apartheid because it feels like the right thing to do.Neglecting to press record on an interview and making it up instead.Sarah Records’ dedicated fanzine “releases” and how Clare’s contributions were more like the modern “perzine.”The sexism Clare encountered running SarahThe gender expectations/tokenism/sexism Miki encountered in a band and that Clare encountered running Sarah… and whether that has changed.Defending The Alarm.Other important ‘zines of the era: Attack On Bzag, Moving, Rouska, Jamming!, Viz Comics, Vague, Scared To Get Happy, Alphabet Soup’s fake Diary of a Fanzine Writer (the Bride Assistants). Miki Berenyi is @berenyi_miki on Twitter and IG, and is also at https://linktr.ee/mikiberenyi Her memoir is Fingers Crossed: How Music Saved Me From Success.Various Alphabet Soup bits are at https://standupandspit.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/alphabet-soup/Clare Wadd is @Sarah_Records on Twitter and sarahrecords.org.uk. The Sarah Records special zine releases are at http://sarahrecords.org.uk/texts/fanzines/Kvatch 5 is at https://stillunusual.tumblr.com/post/43093052386/kvatch-fanzineSupport this show via the One Step Beyond supporter page:https://supporter.acast.com/onestepbeyondTony Fletcher is https://tonyfletcher.net/and https://linktr.ee/TonyFletcher
4. Ep. 14: Bloody Revolutions with Toxic Grafity's Mike Diboll59:21Mike Diboll founded, produced and published the leading anarcho-punk fanzine TOXIC GRAFITY, producing six issues between 1978-82 "with various spin-offs." Never your typical band-interview-record-review zine, Toxic Grafity set about "to capture and express the ethos, attitude, aesthetics and politics of anarcho-punk using found images, collages, logos, slogans, ‘rant’, prose, prose-poetry, free verse, and essays." Issue 5 carried with it a flexidisc by Crass, featuring the especially recorded song 'Tribal Ribal Revels' which made that issue one of the best-selling zines of the entire period.After growing disenchantment with the direction of anarcho-punk, Mike withdrew from his close association with Crass and the other residents of Dial House. Following a period of addiction, near homelessness, and a surprise temporary conversion to religion (Islam), he finally embarked on Higher Education, taking a double first in Modern Languages (majoring in Arabic) and Comparative Literature, and graduating with a PhD in the comparative literatures of the British occupation of Egypt 1882-1956.This specialisation found him working and teaching in Higher Education in Bahrain in 2011, when the "Arab Spring" reached the small island nation, leading to a peaceful, carnivalesque uprising and then a brutal and bloody counter-revolution by State forces. Mike witnessed this deadly repression in person, and on this episode discusses the reality of a Bloody Revolution versus the ones we may all have fantasized about and idealised in our fanzine days. The horror also revived the memory of a life-changing incident riding a motorbike to school with friends at the age of 16. Please be warned: this episode contains graphic descriptions of death.In recent years, despite an ongoing battle against PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder, Mike has revamped Toxic Grafity online, both as a depository for his zine writings and as a public space for new ones. He contributed a chapter on 'Mental Liberation' to the 2018 book Ripped, Torn and Cut: Pop, Politics and Punk Fanzines From 1976, published by Manchester University Press.Toxic Grafity can be found athttps://toxicgrafity134567235.wordpress.com/Mike Diboll can be found directly at https://www.facebook.com/mikedibollThe Best of Jamming!: Selections and Stories from the Fanzine That Grew Up 1977-86 is published by Omnibus PressOmnibusPress.com Tony Fletcher can be found at https://tonyfletcher.net/Tony's latest music, writing and social media can be accessed from https://linktr.ee/TonyFletcherHis One Step Beyond podcast is at https://shows.acast.com/onestepbeyond'The Jamming! Fanzine Podcast Theme' is by Noel Fletcher. Logo by Greg Morton
Ep. 13: Ripped & Torn with Tony D.01:20:18Tony D. – Tony Drayton to his parents - was founder, publisher and editor of the archetypal, seminal, influential punk fanzine, Ripped & Torn, which ran from 1976-79. Tony F. – who prefers to go by his full name, Tony Fletcher – was founder, publisher and editor of Jamming, which ran from 1977-86. Remarkably, and despite both being so prominent in the London fanzine scene, the pair had never spoken before setting up this podcast interview. That will explain why this episode runs over an hour long, because there was so much to talk about. Included in the conversation, from Tony D.’s perspective:· Taking the Central Line out to Essex to interview Crass· Playing “Mods and Rockers” in the primary school playground· How Tony D. was perceived as Glaswegian but has an English accent· Growing up in a tiny fishing village· The mid-70s Scottish music scene· Tony D’s seminal trip to London to witness the punk scene· Mark P. of Sniffin’ Glue convincing him to start his own zine· Ripped & Torn graphics· Contributors Sandy Robertson and Slip Kid· The importance of Compendium Books and the Rough Trade record shop· “Can Rich Stars Rock?”· A night at the Roxy, circa height of punk rock· The Ripped & Torn v. Jamming! feud· Why Adam & The Ants were once the greatest thing ever, and whether we were fooled again by Adam’s ultimate sell-out· The Public Image cover: “John Lydon… you pathetic little puppet”· The perils of printing and distribution· And why Tony D. stopped publishing Tony went on to start Kill Your Pet Puppy and will be back on the Podcast in the future to talk about that zine and running away with the circus. In the meantime, the book Ripped & Torn 1976-79: The Loudest Punk Fanzine in the UK is available through Omnibus Press at https://omnibuspress.com/products/ripped-tornAnd you can find Tony D. on FB if you look for him under his real name.The Best of Jamming!: Selections and Stories from the Fanzine That Grew Up 1977-86 is published by Omnibus PressOmnibusPress.com Tony Fletcher can be found at https://tonyfletcher.net/Tony's latest music, writing and social media can be accessed from https://linktr.ee/TonyFletcherOne Step Beyond podcast is at https://shows.acast.com/onestepbeyond'The Jamming! Fanzine Podcast Theme' is by Noel Fletcher. Logo by Greg Morton.
2. Ep. 12: Archiving a City's Zine Scene57:50Back in 1980, Alan Rider started a fanzine in Coventry called Adventures in Reality. Over in Southend-on-Sea, Graham Burnett started his own fanzine called New Crimes. Forty years later, independently, without knowing each other, Alan and Graham both felt compelled to document their home city's thriving scene zine - Alan, with Tales from the Ghost Town: The Coventry Punk Fanzine Revolution 1979-1985 - and Graham, with Southend-on-Zine: FIfty Years of Voices and Stories from Southend's Underground and Alternative Press. Tony Fletcher, who started his Jamming! fanzine back in 1977, brought them together for the first time on this Zoom call to talk about their adventures in self-publishing, the thriving scenes they were part of. the ups and downs of running a 'zine back in the supposed heyday, why they took on the giant task of putting these compendiums together, and how the lessons they learned back then have remained applicable to this day. Artists referenced include The Specials, Crass, Dr. Feelgood, Attrition, Speedball, God's Toys, Eyeless In Gaza, Stress, the Sinyx and many more. Fanzines referenced include Hard As Nails, Alternative Sounds, Cobalt Hate, Anti-Social, Sniffin' Glue, Kill Your Pet Puppy, Toxic Graffiti and more.Tales from the Ghost Town and Alan's compendium of his own zine Adventures In Reality: The Complete Collection are both available from https://adventuresinreality.bigcartel.com/Southend-on-Zine is available from https://spiralseed.co.uk/product/southend-on-zine/, as is the Vegan Book of Permaculture and more. A short video about Southend-on-Zine is on YouTube here.Tony Fletcher can be found at https://tonyfletcher.net/Tony's latest music, writing and social media can be accessed from https://linktr.ee/TonyFletcherOne Step Beyond podcast is at https://shows.acast.com/onestepbeyondThe Best of Jamming!: Selections and Stories from the Fanzine That Grew Up 1977-86 is published by Omnibus PressOmnibusPress.com 'The Jamming! Fanzine Podcast Theme' is by Noel Fletcher. Logo by Greg Morton.