6 weeks into our zine fair run-up,who would have thought it! This week we’re pleased to introduce one of our very own Lou Walker! She’s not only part of the Dublin Zine Fair Team but founder of the Dublin Zine Collective and does a few auld shifts in Milk & Cookies as well. An all round super zinester and straight up gal! We love her!
1.What are zines to you?
2. What’s your first memory of zines?
Seeing a distro table at a local gig and realizing that there were different ways to be punk (as fuck). Appearing punk (as fuck) was my main motivation to do anything at the time.
3. What was your first publication? Please describe.
I can now describe it in hindsight as ‘mortifying’. It was the first edition of Pepper Morrison and I wrote the majority of it when I was around 13. It actually had a pretty decent drawing on the back of an open mouth with a stripy tongue and a carnival with a ferris wheel right at the back of the throat. The front was some spirally design I had doodled on the back of a notebook, and I just ripped the doodled part of cardboard off and stuck it on the front of the zine with Pepper Morrison printed out stuck on top. The writing was all appalling teenage poetry that I’m utterly horrified about now. Some friends still have copies of it hidden away and occasionally threaten me with dragging them out to make an appearance. All the illustrations inside were print outs of Roy Lichtenstein pictures because I was going through a big phase and everything was Lichtenstein. Desktop background, bebo profile picture, myspace picture, various terrible home printer pictures stuck to my school journal…
4. Why did you start making zines/self-publishing?
To be punk (as fuck). Originally I think it was to feel like I was part of the much older punk scene that was developing around me at the time. I’m from a small village in Wicklow that for some reason became this weirdly cool punk hub, where loads of gigs were always on and loads of really deadly bands were formed. And a lot of people were writing zines, and I would buy them and having an insight into these older, cool kid’s lives was really weird. I almost thought of these 17 year old zinesters as like, celebrities and would get really nervous if I saw any of them around school.
But after I made around two zines, I think I started to see zines as a way to side step my anxiety and perfectionism. The 3rd and 4th zines I put out, I didn’t even proof read and every drawing I put in was the first attempt with no editing because it was an experiment to make just put shit out there. I was constantly writing and drawing but was convinced that nothing was good enough, that if I just kept tweaking it a little bit more, a little longer, it would finally be ok and I could share it then. But I eventually realised that I’ll never be finished tweaking, so creating a self-imposed deadline, where shit had to be put together and printed and stapled and put out there was my way to force myself to complete something. And zines are perfect for that kind of muddled, not quite there yet sort of drawing and writing.
5. What/who are your influences?
I’d say those older kids I was looking up to when I was 13 were a pretty big one. I really like loads of Irish zine heads that do amazing stuff, some of whom have the same flustering effect that those punks had on me in school, Philip Barrett for example. His stuff is incredible and whenever I talk to him my brain doesn’t work properly because he’s just standing there like a normal human.
More generally, I like straight forward writers like Truman Capote and Raymond Chandler, but I’m trying to be a little bit more relaxed about how I write and I’ve been reading a lot of Hunter S. Thompson and Gabriel Garcia Marquez to try to loosen up a bit. I think my favourite artist is my friend Rachel Fuery, who does these amazing graphic designy type pictures of women squished into small spaces and giant terrifying pornographic ones that even after hanging in my living room for weeks still shock me when I wander in half asleep in the morning.
And I really like morganmuffel as well, she has a lot of her zines online, highly recommend.
6. What is your favourite material or method (in making your publications)?
Just straight up black pen and paper. I don’t do anything fancy at all, and my zine 101 workshops are all about how you can make a zine using whatever limited materials and skills you have (and they absolutely don’t have to be perfect).
7. Do you have a favourite zine?
My favourite zine ever is called ‘My Life as a Liar’ by Caitlin Bailey and Gabrielle Moss. My copy of it is completely worn out, the cover has fallen off, and I’m considering framing it at this stage so it won’t be lost forever.
I also really love everything I’ve ever gotten off Jane O’Sullivan. She creates these beautiful art books and they’re just incredibly delicate and well-crafted and precious. She completely changed what I thought zines could be, and I feel like she shares something really special and personal every time.
8. What’s the best & worst things about making a zine?
The worst thing is pretty straight forward procrastination, at which I am a hardcore expert. But everything else is perfect, it’s engaging, it’s exciting, it’s uniquely satisfying. It’s the sense of having produced something, some weird artefact that you’ve given meaning to and then sharing with other weirdos who appreciate strange creations like you do.
9. How do you distribute your publications?
I usually just carry them around in my bag and if it comes up in conversation (which zines inevitably will because I talk about them constantly) I bring them out for a trade or sale situation. Or at zine fairs and the like.
10. Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to start a zine?
Stop thinking about it, just start. It will be amazing, I promise x