Karren Ablaze presentó ayer en Ultra-Local The City Is Ablaze!, el libro con el que se recopila la colección de zines Ablaze! que editó entre 1984 y 1994. El acto contó además con la actuación previa de Sictor Valdaña en acústico. Muchas gracias a toda la gente que hizo posible el acto, especialmente a Ultra-Local Records por su hospitalidad y amabilidad. Reproducimos a continuación el decálogo que Karren preparó para hablar del mundo del zine a partir de su propia experiencia. Más información sobre The City Is Ablaze y otras publicaciones de Karren Ablaze en su web oficial.
1. To make the thing that you can’t buy.
You can make your perfect magazine.
This might sound facile but the effects are wide ranging.
In this commercial world you are supposed to ask everyone else’s opinions before you do something – do market research to find out what everyone wants and how they would like it and what colour they want it in.
Fuck that! Fanzine culture means you make things solely determined by your passion and desire. You make what you really want to see.
2. It will make you more attractive.
There’s a guy or a girl over there and you really like the look of them, but you can’t possibly just walk over and start talking to them. They might think you are a freak! But if you have a pile of fanzines in your hands, now you have a legitimate reason to approach them and strike up a conversation. “Excuse me, do you want to buy a fanzine?” can be a great chat up line. It’s how I got most of my boyfriends anyway.
3. To create your own scene.
So there’s nothing going on where you live – (let’s say you don’t live in Barcelona). Don’t just fucking moan about it! Do something! Start a fanzine for example. Before you know it you will be at the centre of a thriving independent scene surrounded by artists, musicians, and writers. And you will be inspiring them. After a while people will start saying that they want to move to where you are, just because of what you started.
Years after I stopped doing Ablaze!, a band started in a small town nearby. I thought they were really cool and went to see them and spoke to one of them, he was called Gary. He told me that he had been depressed because nothing was happening where he lived. Then he had found a back issue of Ablaze!, and reading it, he realised that it is actually possible to create your own scene. That thought made him start a band. That band is called The Cribs.
4. You can say whatever you want.
You are not governed by advertising, you do not have to pander to their lame commercial interests like the mainstream press does. You are not governed by fucking Jagermeister. You can seriously say what the fuck you like. Have you ever heard of a fanzine getting sued? No, me either.
The legal principle on which this is based is as follows. You’re at a gig selling fanzines and someone comes up to you and starts asking what’s this, who are you working for, are you allowed to sell this here, and a whole stream of equally dumb ass questions. The answer – it’s a fanzine. I’m a fanzine writer. We do what we like. Deal with it.
And the haters? They’re just jealous.
5. To meet your heroes
So, you’re a kid. You want to meet this band – in my case, The Smiths. The best legitimate way to approach them is to ask if they will do an interview for your fanzine. Of course, if you ask that question in a particularly bratty way you may go home to a letter like this:
6. To be listened to
I was 17. No-one had ever taken notice of what I had to say. I made fanzines but I was too scared to print them. One day I mustered the courage to make a zine – it was two A4 pieces of paper, folded. I made 5 copies and handed them to my friends in the college cafeteria.
Then something really strange happened. They all went like this: (*reads furiously*)
And it had never happened before. No-one had ever taken my words seriously. It meant such a lot. And before long five copies became 5000.
7. To promote the underground
Shook Down likes to treat small bands exactly the same as they treat well- known bands. It’s their way of establishing balance, of undermining the corporations who are using The Vivian Girls to sell you trainers. It’s their socialism. Ablaze! did it too.
You do realise that a network of small press can potentially have a greater impact than the mainstream press? YOUR power is incalculable.
8. To help you get a job
The music press didn’t employ girls in the 80s. So I started my own music press.
Once you are the boss of your own magazine, you might find that you are more attractive to employers. In my case it’s had the opposite effect – it’s made me unemployable. I won’t do what I’m told. The structures of employment mean nothing to me, and I believe that the 40 hour workweek is inhumane. I might choose to work 100 hours a week, but that’s because I want to – not because anyone else is telling me to.
9. It’s romantic, like vinyl, and it’s more personal than the internet
There are lots of aesthetic reasons for starting a zine and lot more aesthetic decisions to make once you do start. It’s true that at the moment a lot of people are into vinyl and cassettes and we all know how nice it is to have these tangible objects. But really it doesn’t matter what medium you work in, whether you choose to mass produce something or make one-off drawings and leave them on a bus. It’s the intent that counts.
10. To create a world
This might sound like hippy bullshit but it isn’t. We all create our worlds. You created these records, these cassettes, these fanzines, and Ultra Local Records. You created your own networks and you operate according to your own principles. It’s bigger than this, it’s hard for me to comprehend, but we really are in charge of our lives – we just have to grab hold of the reins.
And a few more!!!
To play, because we are not alive in order to work for capital. We are here to discover who we are.
To follow your dreams.
To start out with nothing and end up with everything you ever wanted.
To make friends all over the world – and especially in Barcelona.
- TEXTO: KARREN ABLAZE
- FOTOGRAFÍAS: EDU MATÓ
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