Tag Archives: sticky institute


Sun 22 June, 12- 4pm
Queens Hall, State Library of Victoria
328 Swanston St, Melbourne
Sticky Institute


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.

The Venue:

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).

Bagged ‘em:
‘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.

Thanks to:
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.


Sticky Zine Fair 2014

Sun 9 February 2014, 12-4pm
Melbourne Town Hall
cnr. Swanston & Collins Streets,
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Sticky Institute is a small volunteer run non profit artist run initiative that has supported, stocked and been a creation space for zines since 2001. The zine fair is now in its sixth year and is part of an annual celebration of all things zines, this year part of the Sticky biannual Festival of the Photocopier.

An excellent choice: The venue. The Melbourne town hall auditorium is a big, airy space with lots of room for tables and mingling. The space also comes with its own formally dressed gentleman standing out the front.

Extra points for: a location that’s wheelchair accessible, central to get to (unless you had a car) and, for those tabling, has a lift for that suitcase full of zines.

Refreshing: The attitude. And room temperature. The fair lacked any sense of self-indulgence wankery. People just seemed genuinely pleased to be out for the day, with their zines, around other people who liked zines too. Plus it was hot outside and inside was delightfully temperate.

Leaning towards unnecessary: The choice of live music. The acoustics in the town hall are a force of nature and the amplifier was turned up way too loud. If you’re having to do the ‘What? Huh? I can’t hear you’ yelling nightclub conversation to the person sitting next to you, it means that the acoustic trio is either standing too close to their microphones or someone got a bit handsy with the volume knob. The invisible DJ playing the background music was a good choice but I could do without the solo and trio performers. However…

Highlight: Brass band ‘Deep Vein Trombosis’. Amazing. On a Sunday afternoon in the middle of a Melbourne heatwave there is literally nothing that I would want to hear more than a thumping medley of Ginuwine’s ‘Pony’ and Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’ (as unlikely as this combination may seem). Book these guys to play the whole thing next year.

Most initiative demonstrated on the day: The person who stood up in the middle of the fair to yell ‘Someone’s lost a phone!’ It later occurred to them to hand the phone in and let the professionals make an annoucement over the PA. It was a Samsung.

Most awkward moment: Staring at the person sitting at the table opposite yours all day, on the same eyeline level, but them being a bit too far away to have a conversation, but just close enough for you to know that it’s awkward. For the whole time.

Most fashionable shopper: The young lady rocking a hooded, lime green leopard print shorts onesie. I wasn’t aware that such an item of clothing existed but it does and hats off to her for pulling it off. Also worth a mention, the Gatsby themed ensemble sported by the Love Secretary who takes valentines dictation at the typewriter.

Best deal: While I would normally cringe at the thought of paying five dollars for a zine that’s only a few pages long and copied in black and white, I was more than happy to pay $5 for Flynn Seward’s zine offerings. This pre-teen zine entrepreneur had his stall set up with a framed mission statement available for viewing and there even was a burgeoning side business starting up by his younger brother. Go Flynn.

Generally, the zines this year seemed to all be very reasonably priced which is nice to see (nothing irks a person more than an overpriced zine).

My Biggest regret: At the start of the day it was brought to my attention that there is a girl who made a zine every day for the whole of January and was selling the month’s worth in this ingenious bound-together-by-rubber-bands-but-not-in-a-tacky-way method. I wandered over to buy one but there weren’t any assembled yet and so I planned to go back but sadly, never did. I go on in hope that I will one day find out who this girl was and purchase her month of zines.
[Secrets: It was Georgie, but there aren’t any contact details in her micro daily zines, which you could buy separately as well]

Advice to next years visitors: Bring your own carry bag. Zinesters didn’t seem to be offering any bags to their customers.

Hot tip for next years tablers: A pack of paper bags does not cost much and saves your fans from having to cradle their zines in their arms as they walk around.

Totally out there/ ‘say what?': The waffle shop diagonally opposite from the Town Hall was out of waffles by the middle of the afternoon and were criticised by an irate person in the queue for failing their own business plan.

Best omission of the day: Mobile phones. In the town hall, for this one day, people were genuinely interacting. And if that meant that one person lost their samsung on the day, then maybe it was worth it.

Worst visual: Walking out of the Town Hall to see so many young zinesters smoking out the front steps. I get the whole ‘it’s my own body’ thing, but it’s not 1994 anymore. Put the cigarettes down and find a vice that won’t lead you to an early death. You could give yourself a few more zine making years if you stop now.

It gave me faith in humanity that: Everyone was welcome. Zines and art circles can be a bit cliquey sometimes just because you know the people who know the people and those people know you and so on. But it genuinely felt like everyone was welcome to come on in, have a look around and talk to the person behind the stall.

Best strategic decision by the planners: I initially wondered about why the fair only went for 4 hours. But then, but the end of the day I realized how much sense it made. Rather than having the entire day drag out with everyone exhausted and at zine saturation point by the end of a 7 hour day, 4 hours is time enough to do all you need to do. Starting at 12pm is sane enough for the difficulties presented by a Sunday morning and a 4pm finish allows everyone time to get a post-zine fair ice cream, go home, do laundry and prepare for the INXS telemovie they’ve been looking forward to all week.

Special Mention: Unlike other zine fairs, Sticky never charge zinesters for their tables. This is a BIG thing. It is very cool that Sticky stands proudly behind zinesters by not making them fork out upwards of twenty bucks for a table.

Maybe next year: The Love Secretary will launch her own zine of style tips and tricks for the uptown gal on a budget?

Thanks to: Sticky Institute and their volunteers for their fantastic zine fair, great Festival of the Photocopier and ongoing support of zines. And the city of Melbourne for making the venue an affordable option for the zine community.