Europe and zines and Planet Rasputin
It’s been almost a year since the last Gupter zine…and a year since our last zine novels.
It was tough last time, distributing them everywhere. I don’t know how other small presses do it. I guess they just print the books and send them to places in the same country…don’t they?
To distribute, we had to go to most of the places in person and convince the owners to put our books there, even though they didn’t look as beautiful as most of the other books/zines they had.
Some of those other zines are done by design students, I’m sure of it. Most of the pages are covered in butterflies and comic strip pics and maybe a little strip of text in the corner. I jumped into the ocean and became a mermaid, it felt nice, stuff like that.
We put our books in London, Hong Kong, Ljubljana, LA, Brighton, Seoul etc.
London was tough. The places that claim to be open to all kinds of art are usually the places that reject us. Same in Hong Kong.
Then there are places that are more grass roots like 56a info shop, Housmann’s, Freedom Books, The Alibi…they always take our stuff.
Actually, a few of them might’ve taken our books because I told them they could take any profit they made for the store.
The new Gupter zine [Issue 14] will be printed sometime in the next month. It will include:
Tomomi Leung at Sundance
Vulcan Love Slave [an analysis]
Susan Sarandon and loose time
Michael from ‘Prison Break’
We’re gonna go to some new places in Europe this May/June and distribute in person…so far, I’ve targeted Berlin, Lisbon, Porto, Sevilla and Copenhagen.
…and we’re also gonna mail some zines too. There’s an art squat in Zagreb called Medika that looks decent, and another one in Paris…I went to both cities two years ago, but I didn’t see either of those places…too busy looking at the ground, I guess.
Or…no, I went to the Museum of Modern Art…that was it.
But you can’t leave books with those places…I don’t wanna call them snobs, but they do have rules…your zine needs to be approved by someone high up, and chances are she/he’s never heard of you so why would he/she take the risk?
I guess there’s the question of aesthetics too…a lot of the paper stuff in those museums of modern art look pretty…our zines do not…
It would be like putting a still from ‘Space Truckers’ in a Kubrick exhibition.
Can’t blame them…not really.
It’s a question of readership anyway…how many people who go to the museum of modern art really wanna read some weird shit about Steve Martin or Star Trek?
Better to target places where people like weird shit.
Or places where they’re bored and have nothing else to do but read what’s there…which will be our weird shit.
In short: Tattoo parlours, art squats/communes, indie cafes, bars, zine stores.
The plan is:
Print 800 copies of the new Gupter zine and put them all over Europe/Asia/USA.
Print 200 copies of our new zine novel [Planet Rasputin] and sell it at some of the same places.
The theory is: don’t target the bookstores, target the places I just listed above: zine stores, indie cafes, tattoo parlours and communes/squats.
It’s not a bad theory, I think.
Literature is a small circle these days…maybe it always was…people are more interested in art/film/music/tattoos…
If it works, we can start doing the same thing with 3-4 books a year.
Another thing is: new writers
Submissions are usually a waste of time…it’s better to hunt for people ourselves…
Zine stores are a good place to search…there’s a lot of shit to sift through, but the good stuff is much, much better than most of the stuff you find on lit sites.
Problem: The other ZP writers are busy/lazy/uninterested, and I’m in Hong Kong, city of no zine stores.
I’ve been looking online for good stuff, but it’s tough. Everything sounds the same to me. There aren’t many strong voices out there…
Or maybe I’m looking in the wrong places.
Don’t all lit sites publish the same kind of stories? Seems that way. Either gentle surrealism or extracts from twitter.
Maybe blogs are better…
Or maybe I could google contact info for someone from the 60’s/70’s…Rudy Wurlitzer? Harlan Ellison?
Ellison might be too angry…
If all this zine stuff gets too much, I’m gonna move to Slovenia with Jo and write a new series of Trek.
It wouldn’t be giving up or surrendering…it would be…different.
‘Never give up, never surrender’ – Tim Allen