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Good places to put zines in Hong Kong [No.6] – The Coming Society

July 19, 2013

Type of place: Book shop/art space

Where? Sheung Wan

Does Geena Davis know about this place? No.

Details:

There aren’t many places to put zines in HK – in fact, as I’ve said about 17 times before, there aren’t any places designed specifically for zines. I’ve written on this site about 5 other places in HK that will take them, and there are more places on top of that, but it’s always the same. They look at the zine like it’s the 2001 obelisk and then ask what it’s for.

Me: It’s not for anything. It’s a hobby. It’s lit. I don’t really know.

Place: Is it commercial?

Me: Nope.

Place: How do you make your money back?

Me: I don’t.

Place: I’m confused.

Me: Can I leave a few in the corner?

Place: Sure.

People in HK just don’t know what zines are, which doesn’t help fix its reputation as a cultural desert [it’s not that bad…there are bookstores and art spaces here. But it would be nice to see some zines].

The Coming Society isn’t a great place for zines or small press books, but it’s not bad either. They do have a decent selection – most of the books are old and second hand and philosophy branded. It makes sense, the owners are the same people who run HK Reader in Mong Kok, which has the USP of being a stronghold for radical intellectuals/people with long hair.

Stronghold?

Okay, it’s probably too tiny to be a stronghold, but they can fit around 40 people in there, which is about the average for radical events.

The Coming Society is about three times bigger, so they’re making progress.

Does it look good?

Honestly, no. Like most places in HK, the design of the place isn’t spectacular. Really, if you’ve seen the independent cafes and book stores and art spaces in South Korea, Japan and Europe then HK is light years behind.

Bare, green walls? [I remember them being green, I might be wrong]

I don’t really understand why they can’t ask some local designers to come in and make the walls look more interesting. Maybe it’s because of the landlord…maybe he doesn’t want to fuck up the ‘template look’ of the place and lose cash when he kicks out ‘The Coming Society’ people and rents to someone else. I don’t know.

[Edit: I just read an interview with these guys where they said they didn’t have much cash to design the place, so the above words might be a bit harsh.]

But this does mean…there is a still an opening for a really decent-looking zine/small press store in HK. And maybe within the next year or so we’re gonna try and do something about that.

What else?

Despite the sledging, The Coming Society is probably the best HK has of its type. There is a nice community feel to the place…one room is used for feminist books, another is used for small gigs…they even have a kettle to make cups of coffee/tea/hot water. And every time I go in, there’s always a group of people talking and eating around the main table.

And…

They took our zines and 10 copies of Planet Rasputin [I hope they don’t burn them after reading my opinion of their walls].

And x 2…

You have to give credit to the owners for trying to make this thing work, especially in a city where shitty design shops and shitty galleries run by rich kids rule the indie market.

Rich kids running galleries? Isn’t it good that they’re trying to use their money to help starving artists?

The artists aren’t starving. The art is shit. I’m probably biased.

Are you sure they’re rich kids?

Really, I have no idea. I just hear that American accent and start making assumptions.

Maybe they’re middle class kids that grew up watching Die Hard and CSI?

Could be.

What else?

It’s unrelated, but I recently read a comment on a forum by a guy who said he needed to get a story published and paid $25 for it as that cash would cover half his rent for the month.

$50 rent per month? There are tents in the Sudan that charge more than that. If you’re gonna pretend to be a poor, struggling writer, at least try to make it convincing.

Where to find:

Go to Sheung Wan MTR station, follow the trail of ex-pats until you get to a road that looks fatter than the other ones. Turn left, cross the fat road and check each building entrance until you see a little sign that says ‘Coming Society, 2/F’.

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