Cislo Dvacet-Sest, boasts the cover of the latest edition of long running Nottingham zine Shadowplay which I am guessing is 26 in some foreign tongue. Alex Lawson has been producing these A5 booklets for a fair while indeed and 26 is no small feat for a zine maker (coming from someone who has never got past 4 issues of any particular zine). And the experience is worth it. Alex is a journalist by trade and him and his gang of international contributors are united in their love of writing, alternative indie music and cinema. This issue sees Alex apply for a much coveted researcher job on the Trisha show, a report back from Barcelona’s Sonar music festival and an interview with Micah P. Hinson amongst other things. There are contributors from Bogota and Bordeaux covering topics as widespread as giving up smoking to Jeffrey Lewis soundtracked love stories in Newcastle.
The highlights though in my opinion often come from Alex himself and still make Shadowplay a sort of perzine/fanzine hybrid. There is obviously a passion for music and for writing and for writing about music, which all comes through reading each piece, a snapshot of his likes and his life. There’s a really nice piece about Czech photographer Miroslav Tichy, a reclusive debatable-pervert that was borne out of Alex’s visit to the Pompidou Centre in Paris. There’s also an example of his short story writing in the middle with a tale about a woman’s life-drawing exploits, with grim results, and a really nice page long introduction to his 3-month stay in Czechoslovakia. The only criticism I might have of Shadowplay is it’s a bit thin. I’m always left wanting to read another issue straight after, and it would be nice to read more about that Czech visit as well as the overall arching theme that ties the issue together, the demise of the Tinsley Towers in Sheffield, which in some way ties up two ends of Alex’s life, as they stood as a beacon when he first arrived in the Steel city. Mirroring this is the timely demise of Sandman, the Sheffield free music zine he wrote for. These events allow Alex to reminisce slightly about the town and it would have been nice to read more about his route from Notts to Sheff to Czech and back again via a whole lot inbetween. Maybe I’ll just keep reading.
Alex Lawson, 28 Warwick Road, Mapperley Park, Nottingham, NG3 5ES