Two new zines

I’ve got two new zines out. Both are £2/$2.80/€2.30. UK postage is free. Available here.

Ynfytyn 30- Oxbridge or bust?
About failing to study at Oxbridge, and then the miserable experience of working there. How do you continue a system of closed doors and in-group privilege (and keep the riff-raff like you and me out) in a tertiary education system where all universities are public and charge the same tuition?

Baffling interviews
Rigid hierarchies
Strange social structures
Terrible posh people
Racism and classism a-plenty
“Oxford is the city of closed doors”
My friend H’s depressing years at Cambridge

Ynfytyn 31- Croatia/Slovenia split issue

A split zine about a last-minute to holiday to Croatia this summer, and then a work trip to Slovenia two weeks later.

The beautiful Dalmatian coast
Game of Thrones location mania
The joy of the humble burek
Hostel life
They really do love Iron Maiden in the former Yugoslavia

Slovenia, the land of Žizek, potica cake (and sadly Melania Trump)
Slovenia is very underrated
Metelkova autonomous district in Ljubljana
Ljubljana Biennial arts festival
Lake Bled and Austria by train


Margate Zine Club

I moved house last week back to back with coming back from Germany, and am exhausted, but here I am organising events. A little zine meet up in a lovely local cafe/record shop/yoga studio- plenty of vegan and gluten-free options. Free entry, and step-free, but sadly no disabled toilet (the toilets are upstairs).

Find out more info here.

Three new zines

I’ve got three new zines out . Each one is £2 (roughly 2.50 in USD or Euro) and available here.

Fanzine Ynfytyn 21
30 page 1/4 sized perzine on green paper

Going to Paris when you are broke, and managing to do it while the Charlie Hebdo shootings are going on.

  • Free Eurostar tickets
  • Walking miles and miles
  • French music magazines
  • €30 a night central Paris hotels, whose colour scheme can only be described as “depressed Willy Wonka”
  • Père Lachaise, Montmartre, Canal St Martin, St-Germain, Quartier Latin, Île St Louis, Jardin Luxembourg and a convenient view of the Eiffel Tower
  • Accidentally getting caught in a march of 1 million people
  • Zazie dans le Métro and other French film recommendations

Fanzine Ynfytyn 29
24 page 1/4 sized perzine on yellow paper

About Northern Italy. Travelling for work, and a last-minute trip to Lake Garda. You can see my photos of Lake Garda here.

  • Italy in the 90s
  • Getting sent to the wrong side of Italy by my job
  • Legnago, the most boring place in Italy
  • The joys of Italian electrics
  • Lake Garda then and now
  • The Name of the Rose
  • Catullus and an impromptu Latin lesson
  • Shadows of Fascism on Lake Garda
  • Invisible Cities

Film Photography 101
24 page 1/4 sized zine on green paper teaching you all the basics of film photography in a friendly jargon-free way.

  • Vintage camera types
  • How to fix common issues with second-hand cameras
  • How to clean vintage cameras
  • Lenses explained
  • Film types and sizes
  • Cross-processing
  • Uses of filters
  • Aperture explained
  • Shutter speed explained
  • The Sunny 16 rule
  • Exposure and EV rating
  • Tips for portraits
  • Tips for landscapes
  • The Rule of Thirds


August Zines-25% off

I‘m back in the UK until Weds, and able to send out zines again. However I can only do the small selection I have already printed up- new print runs will have to wait until my permanent return in September. With a bonus 25% off. Here’s what I’ve got:
Best of Fanzine Ynfytyn collection of articles from issues 1-12
Fanzine Ynfytyn 16– Weird grandparents and people I wanted to be when I grew up
Fanzine Ynfytyn 18– 80s video machines and spinach lasagne
Fanzine Ynfytyn 21– A trip to Paris when I’m totally broke, accidentally co-inciding with the Charlie Hebdo attacks
Fanzine Ynfytyn 22– Foxes and working on the ticket booth of Hampton Court Maze
Fanzine Ynfytyn 28– Three weeks travelling round Japan by train
Being Editors 1– Essays about children’s writer Diana Wynne Jones, author of Howl’s Moving
Little Whisper Smoke Signs– colour photography mini zine
Colouring Book zine– Have a guess
Snail and tree badges– vintage plastic brooches from the 1970s

Callout for articles about CS Lewis

Anyone thinking of writing an article for the zine should probably read this article I wrote first, to make sure we’re on the same page

Being Editors Issue 2 is on its way, after a long gestation. Issue One was about Diana Wynne Jones (and will soon be re-printed and available again). Issue Two is about C.S. Lewis. It was initially going to be a split issue about Lewis and Philip Pullman because I had too much malicious glee at putting those two together, but then it got too large and Pullman announced he was releasing a whole new series, so I’ll address him some other time.

I’m afraid I can’t pay for submissions– running a pseudo-academic zine about children’s books really is not a money-spinner, but you will get free copies of both this zine and some others as a sweetener. I also reserve the right to turn down articles or request changes to make a certain level of quality is maintained- (I haven’t had to do this so far with the great submissions I received for the previous issue, I should add)

I’ve got three Jewish contributors of varying religious/national backgrounds now. I would love to hear from Muslim, Hindu or Sikh contributors, and people who grew up in fundamental/extreme Christianity which they have now rejected.

Here’s a summary of the article outlines already in place and some topics I’d love to cover. If you can see a gap that you’d like to cover, please email me with a short summary of what you want to write about!

Rough deadline for articles is the 30th of September.

CS Lewis:

  • In which I re-read all of the Narnia books as an adult
  • The many ways in which The Last Battle is a hateful book
  • In which I re-read the Space Trilogy as an adult and realise how bizarre they are
  • That Hideous Strength as a guilty pleasure
  • Endless butter, bacon and Turkish Delight: Food in the Narnia books in the context of WWII & 50s rationing
  • Why don’t they teach logic at these schools? Wading through the terrible glut of “academic” literature about C.S.Lewis churned out by evangelical Bible institutions
  • The problem of Susan and Jane: Sexism in the Narnia & Space Trilogy books
  • King Arthur and C.S. Lewis
  • Re-watching the 80s BBC show, and comparing the Disney Narnia films
  • A.N. Wilson’s biography and Jack-a Biography, compared with Surprised by Joy & A Grief Observed
  • Can I really bring myself to read Mere Christianity without throwing it against the wall? (Update- no.)
  • CS Lewis and E.Nesbit- the dinosaur influenced by the radical
  • CS Lewis and George MacDonald
  • Narnia in Israel- (by Gili Bar-Hillel)

Articles I’d particularly like to receive

  • Racism & Orientalism in the Narnia – from a contributor with Middle Eastern or South Asian background
  • Growing up with Narnia in a hardcore Christian upbringing- from a contributor – did you grow up in ultra Christian surroundings where secular entertainment was banned or strongly discouraged?
  • Growing up with the Narnia books in a Muslim/Hindu/Sikh context- from contributors

I’m open to other article proposals for CS Lewis, but there’s so much material out there written from a totally uncritical evangelical American Protestant viewpoint. I’m not interested in that kind of article. Read this introduction I wrote to understand my own standpoint a bit better.

Here is the list of topics for future issues of Being Editors

Please get in touch if you’re dying to write an article about any of these authors. (I’m not covering Harry Potter – check out Sonorus for feminist perspectives on Harry Potter)

3- Edith Nesbit
4– Oliver Postgate
5- Tove Jansson
6– Susan Cooper, Alan Garner and Jenny Nimmo
7– The Phantom Tollbooth
8– Forgotten Classics
9– The Wizard of Oz

Zine orders close for summer 21st May

I’m going to be away a lot over the summer, so I’ll be closing my online shop down (until probably September) next Wednesday the 21st of May at 3pm GMT. This means that if you want some zines you need to order this week or wait several months. It also means I can only really do trades within the UK. As well as zines I’ve also got various badges, patches, prints, lengths of vintage ribbon etc. You can find the shop here. There are also wholesale prices available for distros.

What I currently have:
Being Editors 1– essays about children’s writer Diana Wynne Jones
Best of Fanzine Ynfytyn– collection of articles from issues 1-13
Colouring book zine– guess what? you colour it in
Keep It Clean– low stress cleaning/household tips
Film Photography 101– does what it says on the tin
Fanzine Ynfytyn 14– Vienna- all the schnitzels and dumplings you can eat
YF 15– Pointless board games and bad French jokes
YF16– Grandparents and their weird habits and people I wanted to be when I grew up
YF 16.5– 24hr zine about El Topo and Sedmikrasky and hometown boredom
YF 17– Why Mr Frosty sets are disappointing as an adult and lists about J.Mascis and cats
YF 18– 80s video hire and a delicious lasagne recipe
YF 19– Bulgaria and glasses wearing
YF 20– North Korea (a place I have not visited) and winning competitions
YF 21– Paris on a low-to-no-budget
YF 22– Foxes and being in charge of a maze
YF 23– Illness and trying to avoid “wellness culture” bullshit
YF 23.5– 24 hour zine about bees, quilting and modular synths
YF 24– Mirena IUDs in combo with PCOS and Prednisone
YF 25– Our Maxim from Almaty, and exploring the world of the ceiling
YF 26– The strange world of French campsites
YF 28-Japan on a budget
YF 29– Italy in the 90s and today

Diana Wynne Jones zine

I have a zine of articles about children’s writer Diana Wynne Jones (of Howl’s Moving Castle et al) I wrote this zine in 2011, also managing to interview her before she sadly died (you can also read the interview online here). The original edition was 1/6 of an A3 sheet, made on a Risograph machine. This was great when I still had access to an A3 Riso machine, but after I didn’t it was very expensive and difficult to reprint, so it went out of print. Recently I did a new edition, with all-new illustrations, in a much more convenient standard A6 size.

The zine is available here on its own for £3.50 (currently around US$4.50 or €4.20) or as bundles with my Japan zine or a Fire and Hemlock inspired print.

Read more

Polly’s reading list

fire and hemlock website version v2

(Fire and Hemlock print available here)

Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, based on the folk tale Tam Lin and Eliot’s Four Quartets, is one of my all-time favourite books. The gifts of classic books that the protagonist Polly receives from Tom, the other main character, are an important part of the plot, but not listed anywhere in the novel. I made this reading list of the books for the zine of essays about Diana Wynne Jones that I made. You can find it here. You can also read my interview with Diana here, and my account of attending her memorial service here.

The books Tom sends Polly are an important part of Fire and Hemlock. Tom tries to hint at his situation through the choice of books (in particular East of the Sun, West of the Moon; The Golden Bough and The Oxford Book of Ballads) but also inspire Polly’s imagination, and teach her about magic, the difficulty in knowing what you want and being careful what you ask for, heroism and fighting injustice. The physical evidence through the gift of books that someone cares about Polly, and the love of reading they incubate in her keep Polly going through her difficult childhood, and help to give her the strength of character she needs when she’s older to save Tom (your mileage may vary as to whether cynically created by Tom as a calculated lifeline or not). Even Polly’s tutorial topic, Keats, continues the themes of the book, and Ode to a Nightingale sums up her feelings at that point:

“My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,  
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains”

(The Belle Dame Sans Merci would also be pretty appropriate here).

Fire and Hemlock is a book of patterns. Themes and events cross over from beginning to end, and patterns shown in the stories of the books Polly reads and the poems the book is based on are inverted and turned round in the main narrative of the story,

I’ve read all of these that are possible, except Henrietta’s House. The books in brackets are entirely fictional. T.S. Eliot is mentioned nowhere in the novel, but his Four Quartets are as much of an underpinning to the story as Tam Lin or Thomas the Rhymer. I have listed the books in the order they appear in the story. As well as linking to the books on Goodreads here, somebody else has also made a list of the books on the site.