[courtesy of: www.chairmanralph.com]
One of my favorite passages in Glen Matlock's memoir, I Was A Teenage Sex Pistol, concerns his take on the punk movement...that, for all the sociopolitical readings that John Lydon's /Johnny Rotten's lyrics got..."As a lyricist, John was always more Dostoevsky than Tariq Ali. He was just generally right out there on a limb, sending up notes from beneath his own floorboards."
What a lovely description, isn't it: "notes from the floorboards." Well, any DIY endeavor serves that purpose, doesn't it....especially 'zines, which seem to be making something of a comeback lately (the paper kind, I mean). It's reminiscent of the recent comeback of vinyl, as well, which the mainstream media is passing off as a fanatical clique's fancy -- though I suspect that it's more directly connected with a hunger for tangible objects to hold in your hand again.
Anyway, our co-conspirator, Chairman Ralph -- whose writing shows up here from time to time -- recently wrote in, asking me to review his new 'zine, Desperate Times. He describes it as "a mixture of music and commentary," which seems clear enough when you've got articles like "New York Dolls Stories," and "The Red-Headed Stepchild Says Something: Hanging With My Kind In Northwest Indiana," jostling for space with "The Secret Life Of Hemliga Bosse" (whom I've never heard of, but that's nothing new -- the indie and punk fields are crammed with the bodies of many, many little one-off savants).
I told the good Chairman that I'll hold off on a review, for now, as it's only the first issue..."so let's see how you fly," I wrote in my response, "and we'll go from there. If you've got a couple more issues, then it may even look like a trend." To give you a better idea of what he's playing at, here's all the basic info you need:
And here's a link, from what I gather, to a soundclip from that first issue itself (it's "The Secret Life Of Hemliga Bosse"):
Naturally, the Chairman wanted a review, but I told him this approach might get him in the frame a little bit faster...as Squawker and I have to spend so much effort focusing on day-to-day survival, we don't really have loads of time (or wherewithal) to become full-time reviewers...mind you, doing this blog takes a fair amount of energy, as well.
However, if that admonition encourages you to try, contact us, and we'll sort something out -- tell us what you're doing first, however, so we can see if it's up our street. If you read this blog regularly, you already have a fair idea of the drift, and what moves us -- so there you go, then.
All the preliminaries aside, though, it's great to see interest growing in DIY culture and products, whether it's chapbooks, music, 'zines, or what have you. I always think of it as weeds growing through the cracks in the sidewalk, no matter how hard anyone tries to stamp them out...or maybe it's just a case of notes from the floorboards. Time will tell. --The Reckoner