When I first discovered zines that weren’t ‘fanzines’, that were written by single people and often didn’t even mention music, a whole world of viewpoints and stories was opened up to me. In one of those early bulk-buys from Microcosm Publishing in Portland was a little screenprinted booklet called One Way Ticket that along with some of the bigger zines like Cometbus, Scam or Evasion introduced me to a world of community history littered with punk shows, petty crime and train hopping.
Fast forward quite a few years and I’ve managed to escape my hometown and end up at a Defiance, Ohio gig where, like a magnet, I’m parting with far more than the entry price at the Microcosm distro table. Of the stack of zines in my hand is another A6 zine, the next issue of One Way Ticket. When I saw it sitting there it was like two parts of my life had been conveniently tied together. My life had changed a lot over those years and I was really interested to see how Julian’s had too. These odd connections between strangers worlds apart may seem inconsequential but I think Julian, author of One Way Ticket would appreciate it as it’s these connections, however fleeting or small, that seem to be as important to him as they are to me.
The zine starts off with a piece about Alexander Grothendieck, the influential mathematician borne of anarchist parents who inherited their radical leanings. Really interesting, but incomplete without the following piece that recounts the lift he got to New York while hitchhiking, and Peter, the mathematician who recounts Grothendieck’s story to him. It’s these connections between people, the connections between single events and wider society that sit at the heart of One Way Ticket’s honest but optimistic anarchism. A crazy few days of helping his friend to the hospital after she experiences strange crippling stomach pains spiral off into much wider questions of our relationships with each other, with the media, with violence, with responsibility when the hospital they are in becomes the delivery point to the victims of a school shooting and their terrified relatives.
There’s two reviews of punk shows, that boil over with sheer love and passion for getting caught up in the whirlwind energy of a house show, and the silent knowledge that most people just would not get this racket, how this music can make so many people so pumped, that there’s more to do in this living room than watch TV. There’s an open letter to Jeanette Winterson, reflecting on her writings influence on his notion of ‘love’ post-break up and in the midst of an unforeseen depression.
The final piece neatly concludes what the rest hint at, the idea of freedom and confinement. Written from the confined space of a medical research clinic where Julian is participating in drug trials that will mean he can afford to not work, to hitch-hike and train hop and be free. In contrast he chooses to be confined within a state of constant unknowing, where will he end up? Where will he sleep that night? Who will he meet? But somehow being stuck in a train or yard for days on end, or standing on an off ramp in the raging heat has its own freedom, peppered with interesting strangers and new connections.
Do you gamble?
Part of the article on Alexander Grothendieck, a radical mathmatician
‘On freedom and confinement’ article from One Way Ticket