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London Zine Symposium 2009

July 10th, 2009 · post by Edd · 1 Comment

All photos by: Imelda

The main room at 2009's London Zine Symposium

The main room at 2009's London Zine Symposium

We arrive. We’ve arrived early this year. With three extra people too. That gives us five people and three hours. Three hours to be ready before over 60 distros show up expecting to find a beautiful room laid out as though we might be putting on a zine festival. Four hours until 1,000 people start showing up.

We arrive though in the main room to find you can only see half the floor. An interesting concept when we need the whole thing. We do what sane humans do, which was to run around hysterically for ten minutes before calming down and getting on with it. I now wish I’d taken a photo to prove the amount of work we all did.

When the first distro arrives I’m fairly certain we convinced them everything was under control. Miraculously it stayed that way for the rest of the day.

Five years

Looking round the main room at LZS 09

Looking round the main room

This year we celebrated five years of holding a zine symposium in London. Each year it seems to get bigger; and this year was by far the biggest yet. Over 60 different distros, creators, writers and artists came and set up stalls and many, many, many more came to purchase their wares.

It’s difficult to write a review of the day. My mind has reduced to a fuzz of ‘hellos’, frantic checks that donations were being collected, random interviews and accidentally insulting people’s artistic abilities in workshops (sorry Gav!).

I spend the first hour of the day stuck behind the Last Hours stall trying to peer above everyone’s head to check no-one had set anything on fire, or some other misadventure. Thankfully, despite the amount of flammable material, no-one was tempted and my first chance to escape was after an hour to get the first workshop up and running; a talk by zine librarians from Barcelona, London and New Orleans. Unfortunately I couldn’t go, and the dictaphone I cunningly left to try and record proceedings managed to last all of five minutes before promptly dying.

Wandering around the Symposium

Arty zine making a sale

Arty zine making a sale

I took the opportunity then to quickly wander around the main room and sample some of the flavours on offer. The room was a cacophony of colour and people everywhere. In the corner a dad and two kids were busily reading their latest acquisitions on a conveniently placed sofa. On the opposite side of the room Mark Pawson had set up a deft display of his signs and trinkets on some old wine crates he’d gathered from the pile of stuff in the corner. Next to this a line for the toilets had already started, one that didn’t diminish for the whole day. Moving round the room I discover illicit alcohol for sale – bringing the crust punk element back to the symposium – a quarter of the alphabet in zine form, not to mention some seriously fancy table decorations along the way.

In the back Footprinters co-op had started their ‘Zine in a Day’ project with the first pages starting to roll off the press. I felt slightly shame faced that I hadn’t produced anything when I saw the quality. In front of Footprinters Andrew from Corndog was doing a roaring trade in some very excellent comic books. Beyond him a temporary exhibition of screenprints had adorned the tiles on the wall, whilst further along Jon Active had put up his always popular badge sheet.

People reading Rocket Science at the symposium

People reading Rocket Science at the symposium

By the time I made it round to where Alex Wrekk was selling her new edition of Stolen Sharpie Revolution the room was rammed with barely enough space to breath, let alone walk. And it was around then that Roger Sabin and Teal Triggs gave a fascinating talk about the changing politics in comics and zines over the past thirty years; looking at how political figures, that once featured so prominently in the alternative press, are now simply ignored. For some reason I’d been asked to contribute by being asked a series of questions by Roger. I managed to avoid falling flat on my face by insulting the SWP and pretending to sound knowledgeable. It was an interesting talk, with some incisive questions and comments from other participants after we’d all finished talking. Shame the dictaphone wasn’t working!

Blinking back in to the sunlight I discovered that all the programmes had run out, meaning at least 750 people had shown up, which by any person’s account is pretty good going. I went outside to bask in the fading sun and for managing to put on another fairly successful event. It was at that point that Natalie found me and plonked me back behind the Last Hours stall to try and sell some more copies.

More photos

Apricot studio filled with sun

Apricot studio filled with sun

People listening to Alex Wrekk and Emma Jane Falconer during their workshop about Etsy

People listening to Alex Wrekk and Emma Jane Falconer during their workshop about Etsy

Those anarchists are mysterious

Those anarchists are mysterious: Now or Never and WAG on sale

People browsing Active Distribution's buttons

People browsing Active Distribution's buttons

Zinesters looking at the temporary exhibition

Zinesters looking at the temporary exhibition

Fancy table cloth offerings at this year's symposium

Fancy table cloth offerings at this year's symposium

Zinesters being fed by the Anarchist Teapot collective

Zinesters being fed by the Anarchist Teapot collective

→ 1 CommentThis entry belongs to the following categories: Columns · Live reviews · Photos

1 response so far

  • Edd posted:
    Jul 10, 2009 at 8:10 am. Comment #1

    Sorry, that this took over two months for me to write! I’m not sure what happened there!!