After a mere six days since I was surrounded by wonderful people in wonderful surroundings, I found myself back at my favourite place in Birmingham – the Impact Hub. Alas, this time did not entail boxing gloves (confused? Read my S.A.S.S. Masterclass post here!) – it gave us the opportunity for a different kind of fight technique. This was Brum Zine Fest 2018.
The History of the Zine
I know what you’re thinking.
Nati. Glueing the corner of a magazine cover onto a piece of paper and writing on top of it isn’t going to help you in a fight, let alone win a fight.
Well, you know what?
The person you’re up against might actually stop fighting you out of pure confusion. Instant victory.
Zines were initially created in the 1960s by a bunch of edgy hipsters who wanted to make a difference in the world. Think: bearded and tattooed barista working in an independent coffee shop but in the 1960s and probably not bearded, tattooed, or working in a coffee shop. I’ve just realised this simile was useless. Moving swiftly on:
The changes they were fighting for were too controversial to be published by the media. Enter: the humble yet ethically untamable zine. Printed in a range of styles, colours, shapes and sizes, each zine was created with love and a point, be it satirical or satanical (other styles of zine are available). Yeah, that’s right. Folded paper with threads on it just got badass.
Fast forward to 2018, the social climate is something we need to challenge and so the zine is making its Birmingham comeback thanks to a wonderful group of talented creatives at the Impact Hub, who want to give a voice and platform to anyone and everyone.
Count me in.
The entirely flawed image of a 1960s independent coffee barista guy stuck with me en route to the event (yes, I only really thought about its invalidity whilst writing this post) and lo and behold, the anxiety-riddled inner monologue made its return.
I don’t even know how to pronounce zine. Is it zine as in, ‘vine’? or zine as in, ‘magazine‘? People that make zines are way cooler than me and probably vegan, so the plant-inspired ‘vine’ comparison is logical and probable. However, zines are basically mini magazines, so maybe that’s the link. I’ll just try to avoid saying ‘zine’. Wait, this is Brum Zine Fest. That’s not going to be easy. People will be able to tell I’ve never zine-d – can I use it as a verb? – and they’ll be able to tell I’m not vegan, too. That’s what’s going to build the biggest barrier between the edgy, artistically gifted and politically revolutionary people at Brum Zine Fest and, well, me.
First of all, I can confirm: it is pronounced ‘zeen’.
Secondly, as it turns out, ‘zine people’ – as I had previously grouped them – are not intimidating or too cool to chat to me. They’re actually amongst some of the most chilled yet vibrant people I’ve met, who use their creative inclination to voice whatever’s on their mind.
It was the latter part that resonated with me – I use my blog to do exactly that. I created Life After Coffee so that I would have somewhere to voice whatever I’m passionate about in the hope of either helping those with shared experiences or finding those with common interests. Zines are like tangible blog posts. Mind: blown.
Brum Zine Fest 2018
Arriving at the Impact Hub was as lovely as always – it was so great to spend the day getting to know likeminded creatives with the opportunity to support (and take home) their work! I was even gifted a beautiful Brum Zine Fest tote bag, which was definitely filled up throughout the day!
One of my favourite parts of the event was the zine library; there we could find zines that had been sent over from all over the world – the juxtaposition of styles and thoughts was absolutely fascinating. Reading someone’s zine – much like with a blog post – is like getting a little peek into who they are and what they believe in (and, often, their sense of humour!).
The Impact Hub’s coffee room was, this time, filled with freshly baked sweet treats, each of which were suitable for vegans (I told you)!
I got a freshly brewed cappuccino and a lemon cupcake which was genuinely the best cupcake I have ever eaten. So of course, I bought another.
It was absolutely lovely to get the opportunity to spend time in such a warm and relaxed environment with likeminded people. Everyone talked to everyone and we all had something in common – a love for self expression through creativity.
My First Zine Workshop
Before I knew it I was making my way upstairs to the Impact Hub’s workshop to create my first zine! The session was run especially for those who were zine-curious, as such, with no previous experience in the wonderful world of zines.
Welcomed by zine extraordinaires Megan Boyd and James Wilkes, we were shown how to fold and cut our paper to create a little booklet to get started. Each table was adorned with creative tools, from pens and pencils in every colour to magazines, glitter and stencils. We folded the foundation of our design and just went for it. No rules, no directions, just butterflies in my stomach as I was stared back at by a blank piece of folded paper.
I saw a magazine with Beauty Issue written on it, which inspired me to create a zine about the issue with how ‘beauty’ is portrayed to us and the way in which a multitude of businesses run on the instilling of insecurities on women and, as a result, monetising of it.
An hour and a half later, my first zine was finished and I’m really, really happy with it! It was so lovely to be given the opportunity to play and experiment, creating something tangible which expresses something that I want to change in the world.
Thank you so much to The Impact Hub and to the wonderful people at Brum Zine Fest 2018 that made the day such an incredible experience by creating a space to connect with others through our creativity.
Now to get started on my next zine!