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Jarvis: Zine Scene (radio documentary)


Documentary exploring the history of fanzines, presented by Jarvis Cocker.

Jarvis' introduction to part one:

Years ago I formed a pop group. It's quite a complicated story and it's been pretty well documented, but none of it would have happened the way it did if I hadn't met a man called Russell Senior, who made his own fanzine. It was called Bath Banker, and in it he reviewed our first concert at The Leadmill in Sheffield. He sold me a copy at the fish market where I was working, and we became friends, and then much later he became the guitarist in Pulp.

I don't know if he expected doing a fanzine to lead where it led, but pop groups struggling or otherwise have for a long time experienced close links with fanzines, or zines, as they are frequently called nowadays. Because, in their purist, form fanzines are magazines made by fans, done DIY, out of sheer enthusiasm

BBC programme info:

Jarvis Cocker investigates the development of the fanzine, from the Thirties to the present day, meeting some of the wide variety of people who've made them, and delving into their ever-inventive content.

Anyone can publish a "zine", anyone, that is, who possesses dedication to the task and access to a cheap mode of publication. In this two-part series, Jarvis looks back as far as the Thirties, when extreme science-fiction enthusiasts encountered duplicating machines, and comes up to date with today's diverse range of publications on paper and on the web.

Zines specialise in a wide range of subjects, including music, sports, politics, film, fringe culture, fashion, personal diaries ("perzines"), religion, health, sex, literature, art, board games and beyond. Some are made and distributed by organised teams of people, but many are solo efforts. Some run for years, but lots only appear for one or two issues. All zines seem to, at some stage, struggle to cover their costs, but a few (including the British publication I-D) eventually succeed in becoming established magazines, or "prozines".

Many zine makers become professional journalists, designers or business people - but the majority prefer life on the margins. Jarvis finds out why zine makers do it as well as how.

In the first programme, Jarvis covers the period from the pre-war American science-fiction fanzines up to those produced in the Seventies which he remembers himself. Contributors to the programme include makers of music zines Jon Savage (London's Outrage), Liz Naylor (City Fun), Tom Vague (Vagu fanzine) and John Robb (Blackpool Rox).

In the second programme, he looks at how, in the last 25 years, zines have diversified, gone global and survived and transcended the rise of the internet.

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