Sun 15 February, 12-5pm
Melbourne Town Hall
Swanston Street, Melbourne, Victoria
This zine fair is organised by Sticky Institute, a small volunteer run non profit space that has supported, stocked and been a creation space for zines since 2001. The zine fair is now in its seventh year and is part of Sticky’s annual Festival of the Photocopier which includes a broader program of zine launches and events.
Hashtag the Stash: 24 years after the fact, all your friends have tons of photos in your news feeds of all the zines they’ve purchased from the day lovingly spread all over carpets and bedspreads with the hashtag “zine haul”.
Venue: Seriously, you cannot go past the Melbourne town hall when it comes to packing over 100 tables of keen zinemakers into one open, accessible, climate controlled space. It’s a shame bystanders have no idea of the free event going on when they are just walking along the street outside, but if you’re in the general zine loop you know where you gotta be.
Random: Intermittent PA announcements on the stage for the Golden Stapler Awards. Not the New York Times ones, these ones are for zine excellence. If you haven’t seen the ugliest tumbler on the internet, the golden stapler awards site may well be it http://goldenstapler.tumblr.com.
I never quite understand this award: it packages itself in a self deprecating way but apparently takes itself seriously enough to be worthy of an internet poll and formal trophy hand over. Because that’s all it is: an internet poll. Consequently it’s completely meaningless. At best: a strange side show of announcements to wheel out at a zine event where there’s a microphone. At worst: a misguided popularity contest.
Someone interstate called Justin or Michael won the “zinester of the year” award, which involved some unintelligible acceptance speech over speaker phone. I find the whole thing somewhat of an embarrassment to zine culture, and keep waiting for it to die.
I think the fair would have been just as enjoyable, if not more so, if someone had just gone to the stage and announced little known trivia about otters over the mic throughout the afternoon.
Other entertainment: The Moreland community brass band played some standards, but it was all a little muffled and lost in the hall. Despite promises that there would be no spoken word etc, someone managed to broadcast their interpretive singing (or whatever it was) albeit briefly – well done to them for their tenacity in managing to make it into the program.
Best trade: A zine explaining a zinemaker’s PhD in eight pages including atom diagrams. The title? “Free-Electron Laser and Synchrotron Spectroscopy of Fundamental Excitations in Ytterbium-Doped Fluroide Lattices”. When people ask her about her thesis in nuclear physics, she gives them the zine in way of explanation. Basically it’s to do with atoms.
You can ask her about it yourself, she’s very lovely: rosahughescurrie (at) gmail.com
On Trend: rainbow coloured hair
One of these things is not like the other: The ‘YOU’ zine table featured a book with very similar graphics to the zine on display as “not” YOU: Caroline Kepnes novel.
The YOU zine is beyond a zine, it’s an icon of stapled paper bags featuring a stamped inked title in capitals, and there have been issues of sprayed colour paint that look very much like the cover art of this book. The book even mimics the folded paper effect for texture and the same inky serif font.
I hope the YOU zinemaker appropriates the book jacket as a future issue. Read more about YOU from the Take Care distro site
The stuff of urban legend: The milkcrate stash of American and Australian zines from the 90s to early 2000s that was donated to sticky a week or two beforehand from a Melbourne squat. The zines were spread out across a table, not sure if they were being sold or just on display or for free, but total ooh-aaah value right there.
Made me smile: At the end of the day Luke from Sticky thanked everyone for coming, and everyone broke into applause. Then he requested everyone take their rubbish with them, and nobody clapped. See, I think that deserved a clap as well.
Thank you: Sticky Institute organised this event at no charge to partipants. This year’s event had over 100 tables and a lot of dazed punters suffering sensory overload, depleted of change and wandering back out to the heat of Swanston st with quality reading material you’d otherwise have to hunt down resourcefully.