Monday, August 18, 2008

Publish and be Damned

I had a very enjoyable time at Publish and be Damned the other weekend. I couldn't go last year and I was amazed at how much it had grown in two years. It had spilled out into the couryard of Rochelle School, onto the lawn and up the stairs no less. And at 2.00pm on a Sunday afternoon in Shoreditch It was also rammed. So rammed the small far room was bottle-necked.

In case you don't know P&bD is the annual self-publishing fair and comprised some 80 participants for 2008 with output ranging from simple black and white fanzines to full-blown glossy colour mags with all manner of badges, scrapbooks, stickers and posters inbetween. Some of it funny, some serious, but all of it hardwon out of personal passion.

We saw some favourites like Transition's Arty and Garageland, Rachel Cattle, Sartorial's The Rebel, Laura Oldfield-Ford's Savage Messiah and Steven Willat's beautifully designed Control. Timothy Winchester was there with People Like Us, which was a nice suprise. He gave us free zines and stickers and Tomato Selleck badges. Tomato Selleck is a tomato with a Magnum PI moustache who has his own Facebook page and travels the world (one is encouraged to take photos of Tomato in foreign locales and post them). I also enjoyed Alex Zamora's Fever zine which I had not come across before. Sadly no Sarah Doyle this year (but I wore one of her badges to the fair) or Tangent, which is taking a rest while Tangent Projects gets up and running.

For the first time P&bD have published a guide to the participants. It sits on my coffee table and I'm picking it up from time to time. It looks like something challenging one might have bought from Compendium Books on Camden High St at the end of the 80's, or David Robilliard's 'Inevitable', self-published by Gilbert & George. I'm a sucker for black and white things in A5, with artful photos, perhaps a dash of red typeface and lots of Times New Roman.

Needless to say I left the fair with a tonnage of zines. I spent £25 and as most things are £2 or £3 my arms were flapping with papers in the rainstorm we got caught in afterwards. I think people are hungry for hand-made material. Perhaps it's a natural reaction to an overbearance of the internet.