Sun 22 June, 12- 4pm
Queens Hall, State Library of Victoria
328 Swanston St, Melbourne
Tonerpalooza was organised by Sticky in collaboration with the State Library as part of a two day zine weekend program that included workshops and launches both within Sticky’s space and the library’s. It’s the second major zine fair to be organised in Melbourne in the one year.
We have to talk about: The event name. Keep brainstorming.
Emotional reaction: I’ll be honest, I was shocked and saddened walking into the Queens Hall. It was a once proud and dignified central hall of the library with all its elaborate gilt criss-crossed ceiling and ornate victoriana detailing from 1856. In the 90s when I was a frequent visitor doing Year 11 and 12, it was the creaky quaint arts section heaving with shelves jutting out of corners. Now: a completely unfurnised, decomissioned wing. There are even small partitioned spaces long locked up, with torn flooring and abandoned office junk. Peering through the internal glass, it’s something out of the soviet era. And Melbourne didn’t have a soviet era.
The Queens Hall has been cordoned off from the rest of daily library life for over a decade now, completely unknown to people outside its windows facing on to Swanston Street or those across the way in the domed reading room. (domed as opposed to doomed). Ever wonder what was up the grand marble staircases in the main foyer, cordoned off? Now you know. The hall gets occasional use for functions, but the marble stairs stay out of bounds forever. Cue: zine fair.
Practical evaluation: This is a long and narrow hall by modern standards, where multiple extension chords stretch across the extremely worn and pilled orange-brown carpet. ( There are not enough electrical sockets). The layout of tables in both wings and the landing was awkward. Everything was workable enough, if not slightly dim. I was in a constant state of dismay and emotional bewilderment and couldn’t shake it for the entire day.
That’s a lot of trestle tables: 100. I thought filling BOTH wings was a little on the ambitious side, but every table was snapped up. I was sceptical Melbourne could handle two major zine fairs in any given twelve month period. Again, I was wrong. Ziemakers had come from far and wide to be there. However,…
The turnout: Not great. I kind of expected this just because the venue has lots of complications. I think those who travelled interstate to have tables for this were probably disappointed. Some library go-ers stumbled on to the event by accident, which was amazing, because Toneropalooza may have been ‘open to the public’ but with no obvious signage or sandwich boards, it was like library users and passers-by were actively discouraged from finding us.
The punters: Intelligentsia and Indie 20-somethings. An old man in a beanie.
Is it really necessary: The live music slash performance art going on during zine fairs. I am a fan of music at zine fairs, I think it helps create a festive atmosphere, but there are limitations that include the volume level. I also draw the line at David Lynch inspired violin experimentation with synth machines on a Sunday morning when I’ve just popped some pandadol cold and flu anti-congestants. How unfortunate the sharp string noises articulated so perfectly the jabbing musical notation of a headache, the very one I was trying to suppress. At a zine fair I’d like the music to be…friendly. Not music that has been sound designed for someone suddenly grabbing your shoulder and gasping ‘Oh My God you have ants crawling out of your ear’.
I’m absolutely with DK when it comes to performers and zinefairs. (See the Cons of the Scranton Zine Fair, 2014).
‘Love, Truth and Honesty: A zine about Bananarama…and me’. I thought this zine was out of print forever and died with joy when I found this back in circulation at Take Care’s table. One of my all time favourite zines that I didn’t have a personal copy of. My life is now complete.
‘A guide to procrastination’. I discovered the zinemaker actually wrote this from two years ago and only recently printed it out. Perfect. [likim2 (at) yahoo dot com dot au].
I was also pumped to pick up Plunder 3.5 / Confessions of an SHS worker, a split zine on community and public housing [strikecuriousposes (at) gmail dot com].
And a super sweet zine on matchboxes and shyness, which you may need to write for (PO Box 60 Abbotsford Victoria Australia 3067).
Most dubious purchase: I was excited to see the latest issue (#59) of ‘Web:’ in twelve geographical paper structures. Instead of walking around with 12 cool looking things that would most likely get squashed, I walked away with the print outs and instructions on how to assemble. Hang on a minute. I just paid $5 for a few sheets of paper. I need to rethink this one.
Trade fail: A guy came up to me holding his zine and asking if I did trades. “Yes” I said and held out one of my own. No, he replied, he wanted to get THAT one – one of the zines from my distro. I apologised and said I didn’t trade other people’s works, only my own. He recoiled from my offer, asked how much the zine was that he wanted, ($2) and moved on.
Bless you: Apparently there was going to be a guided tour of the zine fair, but such a thing met with zero interest, so organiser Thomas walked around the tables by himself with a microphone coming out of a fannybag amp contraption, broadcasting his own running commentary.
Stars in my eyes: While talking about the Canberra straight-edge zine Better Things To Do, the guy standing at my table reveals he is one of the interviewees in the zine. He shows me his straight edge tattoos from under his tshirt sleeves. I gush.
Fashion Sighting: Guy with the most coiffured, spectacular upwardly swirled mohawk I ever saw in my life. Like a momentary vision, one minute he was there, the next, gone. There was also a mysterious young woman wearing a black cardigan with a white eye design knit on the pocket. When I remarked on it looking rather conspiratorial, she held up her hand and revealed the exact same eye tattoo on the side of one of her fingers. I freak.
Special mention: Braddock who turned up with a moon boot and crutches. He’d broken his leg escaping police while street-arting. You cannot top that kind of effort to attend. Or mere street cred.
Sticky, for being entirely volunteer run and once again organising a zine fair with no entry fee and no tabling fee, making the world a better place.
Thomas, for getting miked up for the tour.
The State Library, who made the space possible.