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

 

All Neon Like

Here’s a selection of instagram photos I took in Tokyo. I felt I was giving it short shrift only having one post with a few photos. You can see more in the Japan category, and also read about the trip in the zine I wrote.

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 That’s the famous scramble crossing in Shibuya. It’s not scary in real life though, because you get a lot of time to cross. The building on the right photo is pretty much love hotels on every floor.

photobooth

Some great work here on the part of the photobooth marketing people. A lineup of hosts to pay to flatter you. A surprisingly large volume of letraset screentone on sale in an art shop.

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Tokyo

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I took a lot of photos in Japan, and it’s taken me a while to sort through them. I’ll be spreading out the posts over this week to avoid having one giant pile of photos at once. I wrote a zine (available here) about the trip to Japan as well, so I’ll save blog posts for the pictures (which you will be able to find under the Japan category).

These are from Tokyo. I didn’t actually take that many DSLR photos in Tokyo, mostly film and phone photos. You can see the phone pictures on my Instagram account, with all of the neon skyscrapers you’d expect from Tokyo. The gate above is in Taito, an area further out of town where we stayed.

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Offerings of sake at the Meiji Shrine.

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Stalls surrounding the Senso-ji temple at Taito at night.

Gute Reise

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On Thursday I go off to spend 6 weeks in Central Europe. One week in Brno in the Czech Republic, then five weeks in various places in Austria teaching. Then in March, I’m off to Japan for two weeks.

So I will closing the shop from 3pm GMT on Weds the 18th of Jan. If you want zines or ribbons or badges, this is your last chance until April.

I’m going to Japan

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(Image- Chion-in Temple Gate at Kyoto by Hiroshi Yoshida 1935)

This March I’m going to Japan for two weeks with my friend Vicky (also of Pen Fight zine distro), co-inciding with her 30th birthday.

A little while ago, I won a competition I’d entered at a food fair run by Japan Centre food halls.The top prize was two flights to Osaka courtesy of Air France KLM, five nights stay at the Hyatt hotel in Kyoto (way, way out of my normal budget), and a free tour of the Gekkeikan Sake Brewery. The runners up got free sake. I’ve entered this kind of competition before, but only ever won the free booze at best, so I was astonished to hear that I was the winner, and didn’t quite believe it was real until the whole trip was firmly booked yesterday. So a big thank you to Kim at Japan Centre (and also for the delicious free lunch at the company’s restaurant when I collected the prize).

japan map

(Map we have been making of travel ideas)

It seemed a shame to go all the way to Japan and only stay for five days, so we are going for two weeks. Five days in Kyoto are firmly booked, and some time in Tokyo, Osaka and Hiroshima is in the works (probably via a train pass). One of my school friends (hi Sarah!) lived near Hiroshima for a long time, working as a teacher, and she has a lot of recommendations of places to go, and I have quite a few other friends who have been to Japan before and who have recommended places. Top of the list are the temples and old buildings in Kyoto, the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo (if we can get tickets), and the rabbit island near Hiroshima. Oh, and eating a lot, and taking a lot of photographs.

So this isn’t just my travel plans, here’s some books from Japan I’ve read lately:

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Sanshiro by Soseki Natsume

A pre WW1 coming of age story by Soseki Natsume of I am a Cat fame. Sanshiro comes from the countryside of southern Japan to study in Tokyo and is baffled and overwhelmed by big city life and women. I particularly liked how a standard love-triangle storyline was set up, and then deflated at the end by the fact the the woman in the triangle actually had her own life going on and had arranged to get married to someone else without the two men even noticing seemingly.

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In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki

A strange but interesting little essay from 1933 about the aesthetics of Japanese buildings, taking in toilets, why electric lights are ugly, and why gold looks better under candle light. (As it’s from 1933, there’s also a weird self-hating racist bit, which made me sad).

You can read the whole thing for free online here:
http://dcrit.sva.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/In-Praise-of-Shadows-Junichiro-Tanizaki.pdf1

thelife-changingmagic

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Mari Kondo

The famous book about decluttering and tidying (and possibly the only book I’ve read on the topic written from a Shinto-influenced viewpoint). Mari Kondo focuses on getting you to only keep the things you really want. A useful book for me, as I’m about to spend three months abroad after Christmas, and have been going through dejunking my things before putting them into storage. (I shamefully have 80+ unread books).

Fanzine Ynfytyn 26

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24 page 1/4 sized perzine on green paper

This one is about the experience of growing up holidaying in a caravan at French campsites. A typical holiday for British people, but probably weird and exotic for those from further away. Available for £2 from my shop (includes UK postage- international extra)

  • Ocean-going glamour of cross-channel ferries
  • Family arguments about putting tents up
  • The wonders of the French hypermarché
  • Wholesome Dutch people
  • Rubbish circuses where the attractions are one dog and one llama

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Low stress travel on the cheap

colorine

I love to travel, but I don’t have much money. Although long-haul flights and luxury holidays are out of my reach at the moment I’ve managed to see a fair bit of the world for not very much, and perhaps my budget limitations have meant that I’ve seen some interesting places I might have otherwise missed out on.

I find online budget travel tips not that great though. They seem to swing from “save money by only eating ityereal bars and sleeping on trains on your trip” to “cram in thirty museums in one day with this special ticket” to “get this special Air Miles credit card only available in Florida, and book your flights at 3am on Thursdays Alaska time”. I want to eat nice food from the cuisine of the country in question; sleep in a clean, safe and comfortable hotel room in a convenient location; and get a chance to explore and see things properly, not treating sights like a tick list to complete as quickly as possible. I don’t want to be cold, hungry, exhausted, or put myself in danger; this is supposed to be fun. I just don’t have a lot of money to spend.

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Mont St Michel

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I went to Mont St Michel last week for the first time in years. It’s a medieval abbey on an island on the border between Normandy and Brittany, about an hour’s drive from my mum’s house in France. We went there a few times when I was a kid, and the last time I was there was in the late 90s on a school trip. It has dramatically changed since then.

There was something a bit seedy and cynical about the place in the 90s despite the spectacular town itself. Buses and cars drove over the causeway to the island, and parked in a decrepit carpark on the shore, which had a tendency to flood. As you made your way up through the snaking medieval street to the abbey at the top of the peak, there were endless shops selling cheap replica hunting knives, saucy postcards and boxes of firecrackers. It must have been a nightmare for teachers supervising school groups.

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Øredsund Rundt

orseund route

Here are some more (long overdue) pictures from my Scandinavian trip in the summer. You can see the previous ones here. I was staying in Copenhagen, but the Swedish region of Skåne is a very short distance away, and so Sweden beckoned. In fact the plot of the ultra-popular detective show the Bridge relies on how close together Copenhagen and Malmö are while being in separate countries (if you haven’t watched it, you definitely need to- the first two series are here on Netflix). I discovered that the local Swedish train company does an Öresund Rundt ticket, which costs around £20, and gives you one bridge crossing, one ferry crossing, and unlimited train travel along the coasts. This seemed like a bargain (and you can split the journey over two days if you like).

You have to decide whether you’re going to travel clockwise or anti-clockwise. I decided to go by bridge, and return by ferry, as I wanted to go to the Lousiana Art Museum in Denmark on the way back, and they had late opening that day, and I’d heard catering for vegetarian food was better in Sweden (I was a little sick of the Danish tendency to slather everything in bacon and remoulade at this point). I’m not going to write in great detail in this post, because I’m also writing a zine about the trip.

Copenhagen

Due to the ticket being issued by Skånetrafiken in Sweden, I couldn’t buy it from the machines in Copenhagen Central Station, and had to track down a tourist information shop. The ticket was easily bought though, and I was soon on my way to Sweden, armed with some pastries and an elderflower slushpuppy. I was expecting spectacular views for photographs, but I forgot of course that the train runs under the bridge (I don’t know how I forgot, seeing as the first series finale of the tv show featured it heavily). I also crossed in blazing sunshine on a summer’s day, and didn’t encounter any murder victims. I didn’t have the incomprehensible lyriced theme song to listen to either. I soon arrived in Malmö.

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The Bridge also gives the impression that Malmö is a gritty industrial city full of modern buildings, I guess to give some contrast with Copenhagen. The city centre itself is actually quite historical, with a harbour area, some big squares and a pretty old town area.

Swedish design shop sm

I had a look around this really nice art/design/book shop in a gallery in one of the historical buildings. I couldn’t afford to buy much, but I bought a few postcards. Summer 2015 turned out to be a good time to visit Denmark and Sweden. I was getting 10 Danish krone to £1 and 12 Swedish ones, but the normal exchange rate is more like 8 & 10. This meant that everything in these normally expensive countries was reasonably priced, and also easy to work out the exchange rate. I even ended up buying a pair of shoes in Malmö because it was cheaper than home (I paid about £25 for a natural coloured pair of these). I decided to move on to Lund, a university town on the route, because I thought it would be a good place to get vegetarian food. On my way out, I used the toilet in the station and was slightly amused at how it was decorated with IKEA furnishings.

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