Himanshu S sleeps with a new zine every night, and tonight his dreams are dedicated to singer Patti Smith, a reverie broken perhaps only by the flash of Robert Mapplethorpe’s camera. Pissing In A River (the Smith fan-zine) is among the many zines and self-published books you can thumb through at the Bombay Zine Fest next week, a love child event between Bombay Underground and Dharavi Art Room.
Himanshu is up in bed now, and Patti has done the walk of shame home, but the only zine that never leaves his bed is Drop Out!, “a manifesto on how to live”, a yellow zine thoughtfully placed between two pillows, like a primrose pressed between a favourite book.
In its first avatar, the Bombay Zine Festival will start out small, a sale of zines sent in from makers across the world, sold at the Bombay Underground bookstore, a Bandra garage space revived in June 2016, “when rent could be paid again”. Of all the ideas that start out in garages, a few lucky ones get to break out of the chrysalis and fly on to bigger things. If this were to happen with this fest – “You can help” - Himanshu knows exactly what those new things will look like. “A big festival where zine makers from around the globe visit; and the creation of a zine library, much like the very cool Salford Zine Library in Manchester.”
But wait. Let’s do this one step at a time. In fact, the team is doing a step-by-step workshop on how to create your own zine. It will mean though, that you will become a “zine-ster”, which in some sense could be just as bad as being a Bandra scene-ster. You decide.
The only zine that never leaves his bed is Drop Out!, “a manifesto on how to live”, a yellow zine thoughtfully placed between two pillows, like a primrose pressed between a favourite book.
At this weekend’s event, you can thumb through a mix of local and international zines that cover a range of subjects from feminism to fetishism and football, anarchy to anchovies and art. “There’s a zine dedicated to gender queer skateboarders; another to DIY addicts; people of colour and flora enthusiasts. Plus a bunch of fan-zines, including the one about Patti Smith,” Himanshu tells us, as his partner Aqui Thami chimes in to talk about their own productions.
“We’re doing a zine about menstruation called Period; another about homes tentatively titled Ghar Ghar; and we’re putting out a new issue of our art-based A5.” They will also stock works by La Cartel, one of the oldest zine makers in the world, based out of Spain. Self-published poetry and art will be available too. “We hope our work will help legitimise zines, not as radical historical footnotes but as valid literary works worthy of collection, preservation and study,” Himanshu says.
If you miss the Bombay Zine Fest from January 14-15, you can go on the road with them, the first stop giving you the perfect excuse to do the Kochi Biennale 2017 (again). After Kochi at the end of this month, they will head to Bangalore and Delhi in February, post which Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata may be scheduled for a zine darshan.
And if you can’t visit this fest at all, mail them a copy of this zine (our favourite title) about social anxiety: Sorry I Missed Your Gig.
Getting there: Bombay Zine Fest on January 14-15, noon to 7 pm at Bombay Underground’s shop, Bandra (W), see the Facebook event page here.
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