Details of both events are below (click to enlarge). Come and see us!
I’ll be writing a much lengthier blog on the highly unusual story of how this zine came to be, but in the meantime…
We’re delighted to announce that, just in time for the DIY Space for London Zine Fest on Sunday July 7th, we’ve received our copies of Perdu sur le vaisseau spatial (Lost on the spaceship) – a photozine by an old friend of Colossive, JP Marsaud.
It’ll be up in our shop once we’ve got the weekend out of the way. In the meantime, here’s a sneaky-peek!
After Mum died in March 1995, Dad never went back to his job in a sports shop. He was heartbroken, exhausted and not *that* far off retirement age anyway. Instead, he began to spend more and more time out with his camera in London – taking countless photographs of the city he knew and loved. But he didn’t always think to mention where he’d been and what he’d seen. And I didn’t always think to ask…
Things My Dad Saw (But Never Bothered Mentioning) is a – sort of – prequel to How Graffiti Saved My Dad’s Life (At Least For A While). It’s a collection of Dad’s London street photography – Stop the War marches, performing budgies, naked bike rides and more – dating from the late 1990s to around 2012.
In compiling this book, I was once again faced with a huge challenge: which pictures to use from the many, many albums and memory cards Dad left behind?
Picture quality was a major consideration. Not all the negatives from the pre-digital shots survived and many of the A5 scans just weren’t good enough to make the final cut – which is why this one of the Royal Family on the balcony at Buckingham Palace ended up in the ‘overs’ pile…
There were also lots of pictures of celebrities: Gordon Ramsay running the London Marathon; Dawn French strolling through Trafalgar Square; and a delightful close-up of Rolf Harris at an art fair, taken back when he was a much-loved family entertainer and adopted national treasure, rather than… well… you know…
Quick! Let’s change the subject – here’s that nice Tony Hadley from Spandau Ballet…
Oh, and here’s another picture that didn’t make the book: writer and broadcaster Robert Elms interviewing a giant hamster…
Now, that’s something you don’t see every day.
All profits from Things My Dad Saw (But Never Bothered Mentioning) are going to St Christopher’s Hospice. Price £5, you can buy a copy online; at the hospice reception in Sydenham; at next week’s DIY Space for London Zine Fair in Peckham; or at the Northwest Zinefest in Manchester at the end of July.
After a flurry of surprise sales at London Calling Blog‘s Penge street art tour earlier this month, we had to order another print run of How Graffiti Saved My Dad’s Life (At Least For A While).
So I took the opportunity to add a four-page postscript with a couple of new images: Roo‘s lovely wall from the Anything’s Better Than A Blank Wall paint jam, which was dedicated to Dad, earlier in the year; and Airborne Mark‘s beautiful Raven, a tribute wall to Dad, just round the corner from our house. Both of these were organised by the tireless Steve at London Calling Blog.
When I was first compiling the book, I tried to include as many works as possible from Dad’s favourite artists. But I had 33,000 images to choose from – and that’s just the ones he’d put on Flickr! (I’ve since found hundreds more that were just in albums.) Inevitably, there were a few glaring omissions in that first edition. I would list some of the more obvious names here – but I know I’d end up forgetting someone important again.
I will say, however, that Roo was among those omissions. Dad was always pleased to see her, and she’d happily stop work to talk to him. We took him to see her brilliant work in Tower Hamlets Cemetery a couple of months before he died. So I’m very pleased she’s in this new edition.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to squeeze a few more artists into the next print run – and eventually I can rest easy, knowing everyone’s in there. I wonder if the world is ready for a 33,000-page book, though…
Hi all – sorry we haven’t posted an update for a while.
The tireless Steve of London Calling Blog held another street art tour of Penge the other weekend. We toddled along as punters, but it wasn’t long before Steve was telling one and all about Gordon and How Graffiti Saved My Dad’s Life…
We nipped home and grabbed a few copies, and after a few sales and some very kind donations, we had enough for our next contribution to St Christopher’s. Amazingly, that’s taken our total so far past £1,500. Thank you so much to everyone who has helped.
Hot on the heels of that, the good folks at St Christopher’s wrote a lovely feature about Gordon, Jane and our two books that are raising funds for the hospice. You can read it here: http://bit.ly/stcgraffitibook
We’ve said it before, but we’re amazed and proud that Gordon’s story and photos have touched as many people as they have. We couldn’t be more pleased that his legacy is living on and having such a positive impact.
That brings our total so far to £1,376.65. Thanks so much to everyone who’s bought a copy (or made a donation during London Calling Blog‘s street art tour of Penge in January).
If you’ve enjoyed either or both of the books, please spread the word so we can carry on raising funds for an amazing institution and getting Gordon’s work in front of more eyeballs. Bless you all!
It includes (but is in no way restricted to):
- the new titles we’re launching tomorrow at the Sheffield Zine Fest
- a bit of gratuitous nostalgia about the Odyssey 7 comic shop in Manchester
- and the SECRET ORIGINS of Ad Astra Per Croydon.
Tomorrow’s a big day – our second-ever zine fest, and the first that’s not a single bus ride from our house. If you’re anywhere near the Workstation in Sheffield tomorrow (Saturday 18th May), please come and see us!
We’re really pleased to be launching two new bits of work: 3:52AM, a perzine of words and photography by VJ Sellar about the experience of insomnia; and Things My Dad Saw (But Never Bothered Mentioning), a collection of Gordon Gibbens’ photos of the stranger side of London life. Plus, we weren’t sure we were going to be able to pull this off, but there’ll be a special treat for fans of Tracey Pitcher…
* Obviously this egregious display of mutual back-scratching will do little to allay the suspicions of those who think we’re part of the Secret World Small Press Government.
When I was cobbling together the first bits and pieces for Colossive, I struck up contact online with an energetic Brighton-based zinester (writer, artist, photographer, editor, designer, reviewer, organiser) called Iestyn Pettigrew.
Before long he had sent me a passle* of his zines, one of which was an uncredited little A6 piece called Emergency. At first glance, what catches your eye is some very attractive, clean, almost abstract interior photography. However, as you read the powerful text, you realise that there’s much more to this zine than a collection of Insta-ready snapshots.
Anyway, here’s how Iestyn himself describes it:
A zine conversation about the difficulties faced by parents of special-needs children with hidden disabilities, Emergency deals with a father managing his own shame and guilt whilst shouldering society’s judgements. Mixing photography and short personal essays, it breaks open this hidden and seemingly mundane world to discuss the emotional impacts and their personal way of coping with the pressures of living under judgement every day.
Having read it, I felt like I’d had the wind driven out of me. And I had the strange and sudden notion that I’d love to publish an edition of it – the first thought I’d ever had that Colossive might expand to publish other people’s work apart from our own.
Iestyn is one of those generous, creative, collaborative, productive and proactive people who make zine culture – and DIY culture more generally – what it is. I’m proud that he let me print an edition of his zine, and I hope you’ll feel inspired to pick up a copy (either from here or at the Sheffield Zine Fest on Saturday 18th).
* Yes. That’s the collective noun.
Guest blog by VJ Sellar, creator of 3:52AM
I took the photographs and produced the text for 3:52 AM as a way of passing time in the early hours of the morning, during a recent bout of insomnia. Although I’ve never been a brilliant sleeper, it’s got worse in the last couple of years – a side-effect of the medication I was prescribed when I was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of years ago. Any time between 3:30 and 4am is the worst time to wake up – too soon to have had a decent night’s sleep, too late for that still to be a prospect.
When I’m awake in the early hours of the morning, I generally pick up a camera (mind you, I generally pick up a camera when I’m awake, whatever time it is). Being awake in these dead hours is not always a torment. Sometimes I get the impression that the normal boundaries I exist within have disappeared. None of the pressures of being awake in the daytime (work, money, life…) seem to exist. It can be very liberating and allows me to find new opportunities for expression.
Of course, photography is not a recommended cure for insomnia. You’re supposed to distract yourself with something mindless and soothing – activities which don’t stimulate the mind – until you start to feel sleepy enough to go back to bed. Photography, on the other hand, provokes all sorts of questions, and by the time you get to the end of a shoot you might as well have had several cups of coffee for all it’s going to help you sleep. But it does take your mind off time passing.
All the profits from the sale of this zine are going to the Maggie’s Wallace Centre at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. Maggie’s Wallace is a brilliant organisation, which provides practical, emotional and social support for people affected by cancer, in a friendly and non-clinical setting. I visited them a couple of times a week for two or three months when I was recovering from treatment. Raising money from the sale of this zine is a very small way of paying back the help and support I got there.
3:52 AM will also be available at the Sheffield Zine Fest on Saturday May 19th.
For more of VJ Sellar’s photography, visit her Instagram page
It’s been all hands/paws on deck here at Colossive HQ ahead of the Sheffield Zine Fest on May 18th!
We’ll have a bit more on 3:52 AM in the next few days, but today’s exciting development is that we’ve sent Things My Dad Saw (But Never Bothered Mentioning) to the printers.
It’s kind of a follow-up to How Graffiti Saved My Dad’s Life (At Least for a While), drawing again on the incredible photographic archive of Jane’s late dad, Gordon Gibbens. However, rather than graffiti and street art, this is a look at some of the stranger things he encountered on his perambulations round the capital.
Jane has written an introduction, and we’ll be posting a few more teasers in the run-up to the launch at Sheffield. Keep an eye on our social media. We’ll obviously have it for sale on here as soon as possible, as well. As with How Graffiti Saved My Dad’s Life, all the profits will be going to St Christopher’s hospice in Sydenham.
In other news: sorry if you were waiting for the rumoured two-colour de luxe riso edition of Skating for Godot. It turned out to be a lot more eye-wateringly expensive to produce than I was anticipating. How do people afford to do a whole comic by riso? Thanks to Tracey P for being so characteristically stoical about the whole thing.
On the other hand, the bits have arrived to produce more copies of High Precision Ghosts 1: Incident on Dilke Street, so we’ve got a nice bit of trimming, folding and stapling ahead of us.