Agony Shorthand

Monday, May 02, 2005

You might say I used to be something of a fanzine reader in the 80s and early 90s. Man, I'd even buy the shitty ones like JET LAG, PUNCTURE and SUBURBAN VOICE if it meant someone might be talking about my scene, man, my scene....and I suppose I can admit that the very non-shitty ones like FORCED EXPOSURE, CONFLICT and even FLESH & BONES were formative in many ways. If I wasn't learning about it from friends or college radio, it was via the vast maw of underground 80s zines. Crybaby reactionaries have been bemoaning the fading of the fanzine for several years now, ignoring that the genre has quadrupled and exploded online, and when the cost to produce this blog = $0 vs. the hundred of dollars and months of time I used to spend on my own unread fanzine, well, selecting the digital option wasn't a difficult road to hoe. Still, finding a poorly-produced, tiny-edition print fanzine still out there that made me laugh like hell was a real treat this very afternoon. I read it on an airplane and hid the porn references from the sweet elderly lady sitting next to me.

That 'zine is NIGHT MOVES, and the only reason I'm calling it that is because that's what BLASTITUDE, who hipped me to it, calls it. There's no title on the magazine -- at one point they refer to themselves as "Gompers", so whatever. Anyway, so much of this thing is less than serious that it's not exactly the place to find out about hott new rokk bands (particularly since the bulk of the writing appears to be from 2002), but if you want to laugh almost as hard as you did at Motorbooty's "Hardcore Reenactment" or Flesh & Bones' jokes about heckling Kira from DOS by yelling "Kira's got the 10 and 1/2" at her, or posing as Springa from SSD, this is a good place to start. Some of the writing is that of the preposterously stupid rock and roll innocent, out on the town for a partytime night of heavy metal and extreme blood-curdling experimental noise. Other pieces are slightly more conventional -- a tribute to MONOSHOCK warmed the dark ventricles of my heart, particularly since Mike McGuirk, the mag's editor, interviewed me for that piece something like four years ago (and still used nothing from our chat). A terrific piece on the microscopic but brutally important music genre called "Panic Rock" by Anthony Bedard must be read multiple times & memorized as well. McGuirk and Will York, who appear to be the two guys behind this, write for what may be the single worst alternatively weekly in the United States, the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Their allegiance to the smallest slices of uber-underground shit rock has led to some pretty strange coverage in that paper, stuff that no one reads nor cares about, but which has been popping up every week in a mass-circulation weekly for something like five years now. The fellas up the ante in their zine, using some curse words, cutting and pasting the articles as if they were on mind-altering chemicals like Shermans, and generally carrying on like a couple of crrrrazy nutballs. I recommend it highly, particularly when it costs only $3 via Paypal at this web site.