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Slow Songs For Fast Hearts: A rant about people

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A rant about people

Just looking around the internet on my break at work today, I discovered this post by Tobi Vail regarding the book that’s just come out called Fanzines by Prof Teal Triggs of the London College of Communication.

I actually saw this book in Rough Trade the other day, and considered it as a gift for someone, but after flicking through it, I felt pretty bored by it, it was just covers of zines past and present…kind of felt a bit dead on the page without more context and writing about the zine creators and their zines. Well now, I’m really glad I didn’t buy it, not only after reading Tobi’s post about it, but also Hello Amber’s, which was extremely articulate while also being very heartfelt.

Basically Prof. Triggs has used a whole bunch of zine covers without permission, and only contacted the makers after the book was published. And in Amber’s case, she got a lot of important stuff wrong, including her name, because she made no effort to contact her before using her work. I mean, come on! people in the DIY scene are actually PEOPLE with lives and feelings and suchlike, and a good working knowledge of their rights which privileged others are quick to take away because they think it doesn’t matter.

I’m so tired of hearing about people who do DIY stuff getting ripped off, misquoted or taken for granted. People who use and abuse squatted spaces, or get all huffy when the people who’ve put the effort into keep the space going don’t have the newest flashest equipment for their little “punk” event, or who trash the place, or complain about stuff in general. Or take photos/film events in squats without permission of the organisers, cos it’s “just” a squat event, without thought for the kind of troubles they could be causing. People who just think they can photocopy people’s zines and put them in a book and make friggin MONEY off it without asking their permission first. That’s the thing that pisses me off, people who make MONEY and take CREDIT for stuff that other people have put their heart and soul into.

This is not a rant about copyright, that’s not the point.

The point is more privileged people, i.e friggin professors at London Colleges who do this kind of thing for their own reputations or advancement.

When I used to run a queer feminist comic book shop with my friend Tui in Auckland (it’s still going by the way – Cherry Bomb Comics), we’d always be in need of volunteers & helpers; it was a not-for-profit store, which we juggled along with our part time jobs. We had loads of help from amazing friends and the community we were in and we totally did it for the love, despite the fact it was difficult – no one was forcing us to, we wanted to. But what annoyed me was that occasionally we’d get art school kids in who wanted to use the store to off load their 1 and only zine that they’d made for school, or film/write about events in our “quirky little shop” for credit. And kind of imply they’d help us out in various ways, and then obviously once they’d got their credits/degrees etc, they disappeared into the ether. What is that about?

I noticed a while ago 56a info shop has a very blunt and pointed message to journalists & students who want to interview them about their volunteer work there, to make their articles or projects or studies seem “cool” or “edgy” (scroll to the bottom of their page). The message is a little harsh, but also quite fair, people seem to think you’re gonna bend over backwards to have your “weird life” promoted in their mainstream book/magazine, and have no intention of actually understanding the world where you and your work & art & words are coming from. It’s not a lifestyle choice, it’s our life!

I wonder what people think about the fact that Ladyfest Ten in London could potentially cost them £75 if they wanted to do everything that was on offer that weekend? That’s far more expensive than any Ladyfest I’ve ever been to. Odd, considering London has a wealth of free/cheap venues that other promoters seem to find to put their events on. I don’t buy the criticism that putting events on in these kinds of venues (i.e squats and the like) makes the event inaccessible and cliquey or privileged. I think making tickets expensive does that.

Ok, enough ranting.

Posted Nov 3, 01:03 AM | By Melissa |
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