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).
(Iestyn also edits the Zine Love blog, and is offering a £10 subscription deal for six zines over the course of a year. Contact details are in his Instagram bio.)
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.
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.
We’re enormously grateful to the shop’s co-proprietor Jonathan Main, who is carrying our book free of charge to maximise our donations to St Christopher’s. If you’re within staggering distance of London SE19, roll up, enjoy the fresh air and support an invaluable local bookshop.
In related news, we’re currently hard at work*** on a companion volume of Gordon’s non-street-art pics – Things My Dad Saw (But Never Bothered Mentioning) – which we’re aiming to present to the world at the Sheffield Zine Fest on May 18th, also in aid of St Christopher’s. Watch this space!
** Although we still haven’t worked out why Margaret Atwood signed a book to ‘Dave’ when Jane met her at the Edinburgh Book Festival a few years ago
*** Gawping at the screen with a mounting sense of panic
As well as our Now Legendary backlist of goodies, we’ll be giving a public debut to 3:52 AM by our brilliant friend VJ Sellar. It’s another little gem of a zine, combining words and pictures to evoke the experience of insomnia. And all of the profits from it will go to the Maggie’s Wallace Centre in Cambridge, which provides free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends.
There’s not much to see here at the moment other than the Colossive Megaboutique, but it won’t be long until this is filled with fascinating facts and titillating titbits about your favourite Colossiveers.