I suppose it's traditional for me to start the fanzine reviews by rambling on about what time of year it is... so without further ado... [but not without further editorial comment...]
Dateline August 1997...
Has it really been that long since the last batch of reviews? (Well judging by the age of some of the 'zines in the bag by my feet I guess it must be.....) Bearing that in mind, you'll have to take into account that some of the reviews below will (by the time you read this) be so out of date the 'zines will be out of print (But being the generous soul I am, I am willing to sell the copies I have at a highly inflated price...hmmm now that's an excellent way of making money... just say that all the fanzines reviewed are "Superb, must buys" and watch the cash come rolling in). So, don't look at the following as a guide to what you should buy (The very thought of someone reading this and saying "Hey, that Lino really knows his stuff -- I'm going to buy that fanzine" is enough to send me screaming into the night [and me into fits of laughter]), but more as a That Was The Year That Was of fanzines; a sepia tinged look back. Think of me as a Werthers Original sucking, white haired old Grandfather, pulling you up onto my lap and regaling you with stories of "How things were much harder in the old days, none of this computer doings to help me with my 4 page photocopied hand written Ingrid Pitt tribute fanzine". In fact, to use a phrase I haven't used since the old Creeping Unknown days: Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of Fanzines. (And if I have used that phrase since the old Creeping Unknown days, please let me know, you sad anal freak.....)
Of course, you didn't think it'd be that easy did you? You didn't think I'd just witter on for one paragraph (Or whatever is left after Jim, Warrior Editor has finished tinkering [getting less by the second...])... no, this is the part where I start asking for free stuff... Yes, while I know that it is futile to do so, here I go.... I want a DVD player. Me, me, me, now, now, now. I don't expect to pay for it, and I expect it to play Region 1 & 2 discs, hell, I expect a combo DVD/Laserdisc player. If anyone can supply me with one of those (Did I mention the word FREE) I will mention them in every paragraph of the next issue’s reviews. (So, ideally, they should have a stupid name too). Of course, I shall expect other people to supply me with FREE DVD's too: I don't care what it is, as long as I don't have to pay for it, and I can keep it. Pornography is very high on the list of priorities but, I can't be too choosy, so anything. Thanks then! While I'm at it, a widescreen TV would be nice too...and erm....someone to paint my house and erm...ohhh, one of those Churchill Stair Climbers that Thora Hurd advertises too...and a Craftmatic(c) adjustable bed... If, for some insane reason, I don't get at least one of the things mentioned above, I will have no alternative other than whining on and on and on until it happens; you have been warned. All offers of free stuff can be mailed either to the editorial e-mail address marked for my attention or direct to firstname.lastname@example.org. [I await the rush]
Where were we? [Editor restrains himself. Ducks in a barrel...] Aaahhhhhhhh yes, the reviews. Some of you might know that I've now started writing fanzine reviews for Harvey Fentons Flesh & Blood, but please, don't worry, because as TC now only appears as often as a Spice Girl sings live on television I shall continue to do both (That said, Harvey hasn't sent me any more fanzines, and when I spoke to him last he affected a German accent and went on to claim "Nein, Mister Fenton, nicht here... ist good ya?") Also, please don't think that I will be unbiased in any way, shape or form. I'm still very open to offers of bribery.
The problem I have is when I get the same fanzine to review for both: do I use the same review, or confuse people by slagging it off in one, and really liking it in another? Hmm, we shall see... (After all, I'm only here to fill space, I don't for one second think that people actually pay attention to what I'm saying!). [Sorry, what was that?]
You know, mentioning Creeping Unknown" has made me come [gratuitous editorial intervention for the sake of a cheap double entendre] over all nostalgic. If anyone remembers those heady patched together and photocopied days, you'll remember one issue that contained an article called "Lino on the buses" and in that article I spent what seemed like hours bitching about buses (like, duh!)... well since then, I've gone up in the world and now travel everywhere by minicab..... and you know, those minicab drivers are scary people. This is where Jim gets VERY paranoid and starts snipping company names. I always use a Wembley minicab company called "Global Cars" (Phone them for a quotation on +44 (0)181 903 4444). Bit of an odd name for a minicab company that takes a good two hours to arrive in Forest Hill from Wembley. God only knows how long it'd take a cab to turn up in Atlanta.
Anyway, one particular driver there, whom we'll call Danny, is quite insane.. and without doubt the biggest and best bullshit artist I've ever come across. [From Lino, high praise indeed...] The first time he picked me up, things were progressing quite nicely, then about 5 minutes into the trip, I made the mistake in indulging in some small talk (always a bad move) and asked him how business was doing. "Oh, not bad" he replied. "But, I only do this part time, the rest of the time I'm a British Airways engineer". At that point, I should have said "Great" and stared out of the window ignoring him. But I didn't. I said, "Really? Wow, that sounds like an interesting job." It was at that point that his eyes lit up and he began to explain what it was he did. "Yes, I design and test engines for British Airways. Do you know that I can strip and rebuild a Concorde engine in 25 minutes?" Alarm bells started ringing in my head. "Ignore him, light a cigarette and stare out of the window" was the mantra I was chanting to myself, but by then it was too late, he was in full swing, regaling me with tales of daring engine adventures, punctuated with the occasional cry of "Did you know that the average Concorde engine contains over 300 screws" (Please note that I'm *not* making any of this up!). I don't think I was ever happier leaving a cab as I was that night. He's picked me up since then, and has told me that he was a professional gambler ("Two thousand pounds last night mate"), raced cars for MG, and was seriously considering "jacking in cabbing to become a priest". What's my point? [Good question!] Well, I'll be damned if I know, but it filled some space on the page, and it means that I'll have to spend less time actually reviewing the fanzines. [No bad thing] So, that's one job done.
Right, now, what else can I talk about, let me see, let me see... Err, nope, you know I don't think I can think of anything else. So, without any more beating around the bush I'm proud to present: the 'Zine Reviews. (Please note that normal review coverage might be halted at any time for me to tell you something I might have remembered) And one more thing, if the tragic death of Princess Diana has taught us anything, it is that the woman had bloody bad timing, I mean, I ask you... getting buried on a Saturday? I'm missing Gladiators and Blind Date. Chances are if they'd held off till the Monday I would have had the day off! BAH!
OK, OK, don't panic, it's now 6th October, and as of yet, I've not actually written anything constructive [A rare moment of lucidity]. Jim has been on holiday and come back (please read boring holiday article somewhere else in this issue), and I've done nothing, nothing do you hear me! NOTHING!! Ok, good, I need an excuse, let me see, writers block...hmm it's crazy, but it might just... A combination of writer's block and pressure of work (This is starting to sound more and more incredible as it goes...).
You'll be pleased to know that my writer's block has lifted and my work pressures have eased too, so it's back to the bubbly, wacky, funny yet loveable Lino you all know and love..... Or is it!?!
[While you are eagerly anticipating the answer to that question, I’d like to take the opportunity to rail, in a particularly pointless fashion, against the obscurity of printers. Like every other article in TC, this was laid-out using a font known as ‘Souvenir Lt BT’, which worked perfectly, right up to the point where it came to print the masters out. Then, inexplicably, the bold bits came out as normal. Everything else worked fine. Every other font worked fine; just not the one I needed. Hence the need to re-lay this piece out, using Times New Roman, which has in turn led to me having to space-fill rampantly at the bottom... Thank you. We now return to your (ab)normal programme.]
Dear diary, Friday 14th November: still nothing written [you expected perhaps...?], and I'm sure people are talking about me at bus-stops. I will get around to writing the reviews today, I will. (The fact that Jim is now forever telling me that the new issue is ready to go, all he needs are the finished reviews, is probably the best reason I know to get them done [The only way to get work out of Lino is to lie. Repeatedly]). OK! That's it, READ THEM NOW!
REVOLUTIONS Issue 1 (Summer '97) -- A new UK fanzine looking at both PAL and NTSC video disc releases. The first issue has an interview with Alex Cox, well-written reviews of disc releases and more.... I was taken with the "DVD Nightmare" article, where a typical laserdisc owner rambles on at length about the "Horrors of DVD", oh, no, a new format, whatever are we going to do... Admittedly the feature was probably written before we all found out exactly how easy it is to get a DVD machine that has been "tweaked" to allow play of discs from any region, but the feeling of paranoia is still cranked a little too high... Other than that, Revolutions is well written and highly recommended.
BOMBA MOVIES (erm, no issue number). Now you see, these days everyone and their mother has got themselves a computer and are putting together easy to read fanzines...well, everyone, it seems, apart from the lunatics at Bomba Movies. But that's no bad thing, in fact Bomba Movies does stand head and shoulders over most of the other things I've looked at for this issue...totally review based, cut and pasted (literally) together before being photocopied. Mix in a bucketload of comic strip panels and pictures of "ladies" licking giant phallus's, and Bob's your uncle. The issue reviews films ranging from Traci Lords is Aroused down to everyone's favourite tubby, wig wearing Spanish uncle Paul Naschy...Excellent! (It scared me a little how I scattered the last review with phrases like "well written and highly recommended", so I'll add this, "Shitting great mate...")
KILL EVERYONE NOW! Fine, ok, give me a music 'zine to review.... because as anyone who knows me will tell you, my knowledge of the music scene is dictated purely on the basis of whom I'd sleep with. Consequently Kylie, Dannii and Alanis Morrisette (spaccy [spacey? spicy? speccy? You decide...] hand waving not withstanding) are always at the top of my personal hit parade... Anyway...oh, and Sheryl Crow, although that bird wants to eat some food and put some more meat on her bones... So...oh, and Simone Angel from MTV, yeah, I know she's a VJ but she did have a couple of terrible records out a couple of years ago so that counts in my book. Right, back to Kill Everyone Now! Erm, well I did spend a good 30 minutes leafing through it, but I was still none the wiser at the end of it, so I'll tell you that it features interviews with guitarist Mitch Mitchell of Guided By Voices fame (ok?), pages of reviews and bizarrely not one instruction to kill anyone. So, while it made the spot between my eyes go numb, you wacky student types will probably love it, and it's got nothing by Jimbo so it earns extra points there.
BOMBA MOVIES Ohhhh, bugger, look, I've just pulled another issue of Bomba Movies out of the bag, and you know what I was saying earlier about being all nice and stuck together and not generated by computer? (Pay attention it was only a few lines ago...) Well they've rasing [rising? rasping? racing? You (sigh) decide...] well gone out and bought a computer haven't they... hmmm will this change my opinion... I'll read it and be right back..... OK, don't anyone panic, while it's now totally legible, it's still as sleazy as you like, so that's one panic over... and anybody that devotes half the issue to WIP movies is alright with me... all that and the sordid little pictures are easier on the eye too! Excellent.... More please!
TOO CLOSE Chapter Two. Ohhh LOOK! I was promised I wouldn't have any more of these arsing home made drawn in the back bedroom anime "epics"... this is obviously some sort of joke... [no, just an administrative error. Giving Lino anime comics to read is like getting David Alton to review splatter movies. I thus handed most of these over to a slightly less prejudiced contributor - see later - but this one escaped the net. Sorry...]
HEADPRESS 13. Too Close = bad. Headpress = good. Now I don't know if this has got anything to do with the fact that I'm looking at Headpress 13 directly after leafing through the anime antics of Too Close, but if it is, then well done animeboy... Issue 13 comes in the form of a book, ohhh, nice, and it's priced at a mere £4.95, ohhh, nice... (Some people would have taken the new look as an excuse to push the cover price way up). Inside you'll find an 8 page article on Gregory Dark's Snake Pit, filthy pornography that it is, alongside the usual reviews (Hey, look, they like Bomba Movies too! See, I do know what I'm talking about). Look out for Phil Tonge's Cak-watch, a genuinely laugh out loud review of Traces of Death 3. Go buy a copy.
Since when, I’ve also got Headpress 15, and tend to agree with Lino...which may be something of a first. Everything from gang-bang queen Annabel Chong to Jerry Springer, through animal sex films and Gerry Anderson. Sublime.
FLESH & BLOOD 9. Marvellous, excellent, a smashing read from cover to cover, unputdownable, it changed my life, enjoyed everything from the Eurofest report to the incredibly in-depth fanzine reviews by Lino... No, it's no good, I can't review myself reviewing other people, it's too weird. It's like going to the doctors, being asked to cough, then being asked to bounce up and down for a while.... Unnatural... so with this in mind, I'll turn the issue of FAB over to Mr James McLennan for review!
[Thank you, Lino. I’d just like to start by saying that I hate Flesh & Blood. To start with, it’s irritatingly well-produced. Not just disturbingly glossy, colourful and shiny enough to slip off your coffee table, but annoyingly thick too. This’d be unacceptable on its own, but Harvey also insists on content that rarely falls into the "anal obsessive" school of writing. #10 definitely heads out towards more general cult movie coverage, bad news for all other editors. This man must be stopped. Now. But what has happened to Lino’s reviews? Enquiring minds want to know...]
MACHO PARANOIA You won't find this anymore... how do I know? Well, the phone number on the editorial page starts 071, there's an advertisement for Psychotronic Video when they were still in Hanway Street, and I don't believe the editor has any issues left... What did you miss out on? Excellent cut and paste antics, pictures of testicles, and a brown paper cover are the first three things that spring to mind.... I could of course be wrong, and there could be a huge stockpile of these things hidden away somewhere... if there is, and you find it, buy a copy.... And sell the rest for a tidy profit!
LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS 13. Always entertaining, always informative, always packed full of interviews with actors who appeared in Hammer movies... LSOH really is jam packed with information and interesting background on films which, by now, you would have thought everybody knew inside out. Issue 13 is a whopping 130 pages and yes, I read every one, and was spellbound throughout... More than half the issue looks at Hammers "Gothic Trilogy" Dracula Has Risen From The Grave, Taste The Blood Of Dracula and Scars of Dracula. Elsewhere you'll find articles on James Carreras (Including his part in the "Palladium Cellars".. Wow, I'd almost forgotten about those... I remember vividly going there as a bratty little 14yr old with some friends and finding the whole thing incredible at the time...) and lots more, so much more in fact that I could quite easily take up another 10 pages gushing on about how incredible the whole undertaking is (Including a mention of Ingrid Pitt...yuck...) Not much more to add. Very, very highly recommended, if you can still find a copy, snap it up.... Excellent.
MANSPLAT Issues 6, 7 & 8. Three issues, one review, no waiting. It's quite apt that I'm finishing with Mansplat, as it's an amalgam of most of the 'zine's I've already looked at (With the exception of Too Much).. it's got the cut and paste (in places) look of Bomba Movies, the laugh out loud funny pieces of Headpress and Minds Eye Comics, and it's got regular articles and reviews by Joe Bob Briggs (who in my opinion is very underrated... and yes, I know he isn't a real person, thank you very much!).
Repeatedly, no doubt. While the above was "in preparation" -- roughly translated, "lying in a bag at Lino’s work" -- a bunch of other stuff turned up. And there were also the ‘zines which arrived with "please do not give to Lino" written on them... So let’s have a trawl through the other things that have popped through the letterbox.
Mansplat 9 has...but we’ve given them enough publicity already. Oh, alright -- their second anniversary issue (yep, nine issues in two years -- rather than two in nine years...) has Xena drinking games, Edward Swiss-Army-Knife and La Femme Nikita (a series better in concept than execution, I reckon). Warning: few things suck more than spraying beer down your nose ‘cos you tried to laugh and swallow simultaneously. In Cinema Sewer, Robin Bougie of Mind’s Eye Comics (see above) turns his hand to movie stuff, with the same insane freshness that pervades his graphic works. Kekko Kamen, the GoGos video, Deranged, eye violence and the lamest 50’s monsters. Let’s face it, since you are going to send him money for his comics, you’d do well to get this too! And, hey, if it ain’t Cashiers du Cinemart, in which Mike White eases back on his anti-Tarantino jihad (QT is self-destructing nicely on his own, it seems), and yaks about life working in a cinema, Jackie Chan, Andre the Giant and his posse, plus Abba. Scooby Doo, and so on.
Caress 18 continues to
document the sound of things falling apart as our new government heads
down the road to further oppression, but has its optimistic moments as
well, and reviews books, videos, CD ROMs and other pieces of "adult
erotica" (as opposed to juvenile erotica, I suppose!). Looking round
the somewhat untidy room (there’s a floor here somewhere,
beneath all the discarded ‘zines), I think we have finally
reached the last item: Scattered Remains, a collection of short stories
from the realm of the disordered mind, by Paul Pinn. Think Hieronymus
Bosch meets William Burroughs for a pint or six; any book "in
celebration of 750 years of Bedlam" is alright by me!
Bomba Movies - (an SAE) Damned if I can find an address... Try Dark Carnival, I think!
Caress - (£2.50) Polly Publications, PO Box 2225, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 1QW
Cashiers du Cinemart - ($2) PO Box 2401, Riverview, MI 48192, USA
Dark Carnival - 17 Cottage Beck Rd, Scunthorpe, N.Lincolnshire, DN16 1LQ
Fetish Fantasy - www.fetish-fantasy.com
Flesh & Blood - (£4.95) PO Box 178, Guildford, Surrey, GU3 2YU
Headpress - (£4.95) 40 Rossall Ave, Radcliffe, Manchester, M26 1JD
Kill Everyone Now! (?) - Flat 6, 166 Withington Rd, Manchester, M16 8JL
Little Shop of Horrors - ($7.95) PO Box 3107, Des Moines, Iowa 50316, USA
Macho Paranoia - (?) Alex Smith, c/o Red Brick Rd, 88 Canfield Gdns, London NW6 3EE
Mansplat - ($2?) 2318 2nd Ave, Suite 591, Seattle, WA 98121, USA
Midian Books - 69 Park Lane, Bonehill, Tamworth, Staffs, B78 3HZ
Mind’s Eye, etc - Robin Bougie, 525 E.18th Ave, Vancouver, BC, VSV 1G2 Canada
Otaku Publishing - PO Box 9573, London, SE22 3ZF, www.otaku.com
Revolutions - (???) PO Box 4089, Hornchurch, Essex, RM11 3AW
Scattered Remains - (£7) Tanjen Ltd, 52 Denman Lane, Huncote, Leicester, LE9 3BS
Vex - ($4.95) PO Box 319, Roselle, NJ 07203, USA