Thursday, December 19, 2013

GIG REVIEW: Roo Shooter/Picnic Casket/Isolation Valve @ Land Of Promise Hotel, Adelaide (Sat., Dec. 14, 2014)

THE Land Of Promise Hotel has the best name for a strip club. It's also an awesome rock venue - where else in Australia can bands play while making use of a fully functional shower and two stripper poles? It was a fitting place to watch an eclectic night of Adelaide rock'n'roll shenanigans last Saturday.
I was in Adelaide to enjoy the 50th birthday celebrations of my good friend and veteran zinester/DJ/lounger kami. He'd got three local bands to put on a show and what a helluva performance they put on. Rough around the edges but never boring.
First up was ROO SHOOTER, two dudes "staring lovingly into each other's eyes" (as kami put it) while assaulting each other and the audience with electric guitar distortion. It was perfectly passable, and made all the more enjoyable by the fact that every song was preceded by the announcement, "This song is for kami." They finished memorably with a distorted version of GOD's My Pal.

Next came PICNIC CASKET, which was basically three quarters of legendary Adelaide punk/hardcore band Grudge. I believe this was only their second gig. They did a few originals but mainly stuck with deranged cover versions of a bunch of 70s and 80s tunes, including Stevie Wright's Black Eyed Bruiser (I think). It was some Stevie Wright tune (I was pretty drunk by this stage). Everyone was going nuts and dancing around throughout the gig, including several delightful well-aged sluts and the always-drunk Dick Dale. This set felt like it went on for 90+ minutes, probably because it did. Still, I enjoyed every moment of it.

Finally, came the headline act, ISOLATION VALVE. kami had already warned us that this eccentric trio - led by two brothers - were notorious around town for never doing the same gig twice. Playing a country music set at a punk gig was a mild example of what they were capable of - it seems the band's main aim in life is to piss off their audiences. They didn't disappoint us this night.
Firstly, they called the birthday boy over and proceeded to strip for him down to their (women's) underwear. They then did a set of acoustic originals that I don't know the exact names of, but I think two of the titles were There's A Volcano In My Living Room (a sing-along ditty) and I Sold My Little Sister On The Internet. All sung in an annoying, weedy voice by the lead singer who, as an encore, stripped naked and had a shower on-stage. Think Frank Zappa/Captain Beefheart/every annoying performance artist you've ever had the misfortune of seeing and you'd get Isolation Valve. They were BRILLIANT.
As birthday bashes go, this was one of the most memorable I've attended. I think more birthday beanos (and gigs in general) should be held in strip clubs.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Mixed emotions

I'VE always loved mixtapes - making and receiving them. Helen made one for us when Jones was born in 2007, to play in the car (yes, we still had a tapedeck in in the old Mazda 121) as we drove home from the hospital. We both cried listening to the songs that were the first songs our daughter ever heard.

Nowadays, I guess they're called mix CDs (or mix memory sticks or whatever). The nice thing about them is the fact that someone cares enough about you to share his/her musical tastes with you in the hope that you will like/love some of the songs they send you.

What's changed in this digital era is the ease that you can then get into a particular artist you hear on the mixtape: checking out a few videos by them on YouTube and, if you're impressed, buying a CD or two on eBay/Amazon/iTunes/wherever.

Recently, an old friend sent me a memory stick filled with a bunch of random tunes. We play it a lot in the car and the kids really got into the songs, the point where my 3yo demanded "track listings", so I had to make him a fake CD cover to read.

I was already into a couple of artists my mate included - The The, Lydia Lunch and Laura Veirs - which goes to show he and I both have great taste in music. But his gift opened my mind to a slab of indie artists - Lovers, Bailter Space, Imperial Teen, Kinski and Psychic Ills - and a legend, Neil Young, who I'm now getting into for the first time.

I went on to buy CDs for most of these bands off eBay (a great, cheap source for brand-new CDs nowadays), but to support Lovers (who I quickly grew to adore), I bought a couple of their most recent CDs directly from their website at Hey, might as well cut out the middlemen and give my cash straight to the band, right?

Y'know, the way we acquire new music may be changing as we exit 2013 and hurtle towards 2014, but the ways we HEAR about new music remains the same. For ezample, we'll always have friends who wanna make mixtapes to give us, and I think that's cool.

Long story short, thanks for the mixtape, Dames.

REVIEW: Space Monsters #2

THE thing I miss most about the zine/self-published magazine implosion of the late 90s (thanks, Internet) was the loss of so many cool mags about indy/schlocky/crappy/great flicks. Film Threat, Exploitation Retrospect, Gore Gazette, Ecco, SPRAK!...they're gone now and unlikely to come back, except maybe as a blog.
So it's nice to see new horror film mag Space Monsters - this one from the UK - being published...even if it's primarily as a PDF edition. Still, that means it's easy to receive via email, A4 in size and in full colour! (The print edition only has colour covers - with B&W interiors - and is A5.)
Issue three goes on sale next month, so I'm tardily reviewing issue two, which I enjoyed immensely, partly 'cos it features an article written by saucy British scream queen EMILY BOOTH.

Issue #2 focuses on space vampires, so there are articles on such goodies as the original The Thing, Lifeforce (I greatly enjoyed this article on the troubled Tobe Hooper film), plus alien bloodsuckers in TV's Space 1999 and Buck Rogers, and a look at the disastrous attempts to get sexy comic superstar Vampirella onto the big screen. And the proverbial much, much more.

There's a lot to recommend about this magazine, written with wit, passion and enthusiasm.

For more info and to order your own copy, check out:!/SpaceMonstersMagazine

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

REVIEW: Elementary Headcoats: The Singles 1990-1999

Elementary Headcoats: The Singles 1990-1999 starts off as fun garage pop with silly novelty songs like My Dear Watson and Hog's Jaw, before descending into hell with the harrowing Every Bit Of Me and the confronting instrumental Paedophile, both dealing with the abuse singer/songwriter Billy Childish experienced as a child.
From there, the CD seemingly changes tack with killer punk tunes that kick arse, summed up perfectly by the delightfully titled I've Been F*ckin' Your Daughters And Pissing On Your Lawns.
This 50-track, two-disc collection is essential listening for garage/punk fans. It's only taken me 20 years to get into Billy Childish and Thee Headcoats. About bloody time.

You can easily find Elementary Headcoats for sale cheap on eBay. I suggest you buy it there.

Friday, September 27, 2013


The Life Of Rodney…Year 64 #4&5: Send stuff to Rod (particularly zines) and he’ll review it in this unique perzine. The zine scene veteran is an ageing lumberjack in Canada, at times curmudgeonly but always interesting. You may not like his views, but then…he probably doesn’t like yours either. In the two latest typed issues he reviews a range of books and zines while cursing the weather, his dodgy typewriter and the lack of steady interesting mail. Help him out on that last one, eh? Rodney Leighton, #11 Branch Rd, R.R.#3, Tatamagouche, NS, B0K 1V0, CANADA (trade, 8M, :20]

The Kobb Log #5: This classic 80s-style movie zine kicks off with a brief history of aliens in Hollywood, followed by an eclectic bunch of reviews. I’ve seen Better Off Dead (a great weird comedy) and The Black Cat. The other reviews were cool but the one that really caught my eye was The Swimmer starring Burt Lancaster. I had to buy that sucker after the glowing review. Thanks, Kobb Loggers, for turning me onto a bizarre bit of 60s movie mania. Kobb Labs, PO Box 30231, Pensacola, FL, 32503-1231, USA (trade or write for prices, 24M, :20]

Biblio-Curiosa #4: Chris finds the craziest, most obscure books and authors, then writes about them in such loving detail that you feel almost compelled to seek them out for yourself. This issue covers the perverse movie tie-in novel (kinda, sorta) The Werewolf vs. Vampire Women, bizarre author Tiffany Thayer and more assorted weirdness. If you love strange fiction, then I order you to buy this zine. Chris Mikul, PO Box K546, Haymarket, NSW, 1240, AUSTRALIA, [AUD$5/email for overseas prices, 48S, :60]

Unbelievably Bad #10: A cause for celebration as one of Australia’s greatest-but-tardiest zines (next to mine) has finally returned for a long-overdue, long-anticipated issue. Don’t let the high-brow colour cardboard covers and quality printing fool you, though, this is pure low-brow trash kicking off with an interview with the kings of “grog rock”, The VeeBees! The never-ending chat with horror fillum director Herschell Gordon Lewis continues. Plus there are interviews with heavy metal legend turned stand-up comic Steve Hughes, Jello Biafra, Jim Keyes from Masters Apprentices and the proverbial much, much more! Get it, read it, love it! Unbelievably Bad, c/- Von Helle, 9 Ross Street, Dulwich Hill, NSW, 2203, AUSTRALIA [AUD$8 or e-mail for details if from overseas 68M 1:00+]

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Six feathers...a zine review

RAVEN MACK makes me jealous. Jealous and angry.
Jealous of his tremendous talent and his prodigious output when it comes to writing.
Angry because he makes me feel bad for not getting off my arse and doing more myself.
While I sit in front of the computer, prevaricating endlessly while playing another level of Plants Vs Zombies, he sits in his backyard in West Virginia letting his mind run free and putting magic on paper.
While I’ve taken two years to put out one issue of my zine Rogue (I swear #2 is coming soon), Raven’s already put out eight issues of One Thousand Feathers in less than a year. That’s just rubbing salt into the wound.
OTF is a paper zine unlike any other I’ve come across. Each four-page, cut’n’paste, text-heavy issue is different from what came before, even if a few have a running theme that Raven returns to from time to time. You never know what to expect from the issue that lands in your hands.
OTF #3: The Primordial Traditionalist II is about chickens. Chicken politics, chickens in the wild, dumb chickens vs smart chickens. I never thought I’d find philosophical musings about future KFC nuggets so interesting.
OTF #4: J.J. Krupert I is a discussion about songs and bands – Hank Williams III, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd and a handful of rappers I’ve never heard of. Maybe Raven could make me a mixtape (mix-CD?) one day so I can know what he’s talking about.
OTF #5: Freestyle Sonnets I didn’t grab me. But that’s because most poetry doesn’t grab me. Just me, I guess.
OTF #6: Naked Polaroids I is a mash-up of southern noir fiction with William Burroughs’ technique of cutting up a story, throwing the paragraphs of paper in the air, then randomly putting the story back together. Except Raven did this with chapters. Glimpses into the lives of criminals, cops and migrant workers are intertwined in this gripping yarn that jumps back and forth through time. I enjoyed it, but it’s not easy to read. But I suspect Raven didn’t want it to be easy. The reward comes with the perseverance and that satisfying feeling afterwards when you just know you read something brilliant. Grim but brilliant.
OTF #7: Recession Proof II (Buzzards And Eagles aka American Basboosa) will kick your brain like a foot to the arse. A powerful story that drew me into the broken mind and broken world of a mentally damaged Iraqi War veteran. Possibly the best thing Raven’s ever written.
OTF #8: Pissing In Babylon’s Wind I is a collection of Raven’s tweets. This left me cold. Tweets aren’t writing. Raven tries, but it’s just a bunch of random thoughts. And having a thousand or so packed into four pages made it bloody hard to read. I gave up. Sorry, man, but tweets aren’t writing.
Last issue aside, Raven’s zine is worth buying and supporting. He aims to put out a ton of them before he shuffles off this mortal coil. I intend to stick with him as long as he does. I know not everything he produces will be great (no-one can be that consistent, I know), but there’ll be enough pearls of greatness along the way to make it worthwhile.
For more info, write to Raven Mack, PO Box 270, Scottsville, VA, 24590, USA or go to his website at You can find him on Facebook by typing “Rojonekku” or on Twitter (@SSVa_Raven).
While you do that, I’m off to delete that fucking game off my computer and start writing again. Anger and jealousy are great motivating forces.


IT’S no secret that I’m a huge fan of Tamara Lazaroff…and more than a little bit jealous This talented writer creates some of the most achingly beautiful prose I’ve read in a long time. In a perfect world, she would be writing long novels that sell millions of copies and are required reading in high schools around the country. She would give talks at writers’ festivals and be invited onto on painfully intellectual ABC-TV shows about books. Until that day comes, her fans – of which there should be many – will have to make do with these brief-but-beautiful self-published tales. These were all sent to me in one batch.

Bunny Men is a very short chapbook detailing Tamara’s encounter with two old men collecting food for their rabbits. It is simple, raw, honest. Perfect.

Anti-Journey studies the little joys of a day spent with good friends doing carefree, fun things together.

Tonight, Everybody In The Street! is a harrowing tale – as told to Tamara – of a free-spirited Spanish woman’s refusal to let a brutal crime destroy her love of life. A tremendously powerful short story that ends on a powerful, uplifting note.

Walnuts, Almonds, Nuts is about a tourist’s in Macedonia, love, confusion, misunderstandings, anger…and nuts. Lots and lots of nuts. It’s odd, yet oddly sweet.

‘Well, That Was Weird’ collects “some very short stories”. And, yes, they are weird.

To order these zines (and others not reviewed here), write to Tamara Lazaroff, PO Box 6148, St Lucia, Qld, 6148, AUSTRALIA or email

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lisa Ann's first appearance (on Howard Stern's cable TV show in 1992)...

She was only 19!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

NORMALLY, I don't wildly sing the praises of zinesters, but TAMARA LAZAROFF is worth the effort. For some time now she's been sending me her exquisitely written, hauntingly beautiful self-published work and I feel privileged that she does so. It's rare to find a writer with such confidence and talent. I'm honoured that she considers me someone worth sending her zines to for reviews. I recently interviewed Tamara and her answers were as refreshing and intelligent as the writing in her zines. Please enjoy the interview...

1. How long have you been writing and creating zines?
I've enjoyed writing since I was kid. But I have only been creating zines for the last five years.  Pre-zines, I'd been wondering how and where I could share my stories in a way that felt comfortable to me, that fit me. And then I happened to be going to the Newcastle Young Writers Festival in 2008. I heard there was a zine fair. I booked a stall. I started putting together my first zine, Briefly, Birds. And that was it for me. It was love from the start. What I really love about zines and zine culture is the unmediated, intimate and equal connection that I get to have, as a writer, with a reader; and that a reader gets to have with me; and that I get to have as a reader with other zinesters. To me, the zine world is an open, egalitarian space. Anyone can participate.
2. What zines and zine-makers (if any) inspire/d you to self-publish?

One of the first zines I fell in love with was Giantess by Candace Petrik. There are ten issues altogether and they deal really candidly with being queer, internalised homophobia and coming out (as well as other things). Gorgeous to look at too, Giantess is still one of my favourite zines. I'm actually writing a homage zine, at the moment, for Giantess. (It's called Lezbianka.) But, anyway, this zine, Giantess, and countless, countless others, continue to inspire me to offer whatever I have to offer right now – writing-wise, and life-wise. I don't have to be polished and perfect.
3. What writers inspire/d you to write?
I'm always bursting with new ideas after a zine fair. I read lots of poetry and fiction and non-fiction. I like listening to people talk, tell stories about their livesconversation inspires me. But the first writer who inspired me to even think about maybe writing myself is Jack Kerouac. I remember the first time I read anything by him. I used to work in a nursing home and one of my co-workers, on his last day, gave me his copy of Dharma Bums. He'd been reading in the staff room and I'd been interested in it. I'd liked the cover. My co-worker wanted me to have it as a gift. I started to say, 'No, no, I'll post it back to you. I just want to borrow it.' And he just said, 'No. It's yours. Jack would've wanted that way.' Anyway, when I got home and started reading I was totally blown away. I felt as if this book had been written for me. Like it was a letter or something. Like somebody knew exactly what I needed to hear. I had no idea about the Beat generation. I thought Jack Kerouac was this obscure writer I'd luckily stumbled into. But that bookDharma Bumsat the time made me feel that if I ever wrote anything I wanted to write like Jack. Ha! That's a bit of a grand ambition. But he did inspire me. And I think zines are like letters of sorts.
4. Why do you choose hard-copy print as your prime medium? Why do you prefer that over the internet? And do you have an online presence (a blog, web site, Tumblr, etc)?
I enjoy the zine as objectmaking a zine, assembling, designing, the fact that I can hold a zine in my hands, turn the pages 'manually'. I also really enjoy the fact that zines are ephemeral objectsmuch more ephemeral than a properly bound, acid-free paper book or a web page. Sooner rather than later, a zine will disintegrate, disappear. There's something lovely and poetic and true about that. On a more practical note, I'm not very technological person. But I am thinking about a blog...
5. Youre doing something rather radical in 2013 (producing a hard-copy zine), so I have to ask are zines dead...or just coughing up blood?
Hmm. Zines are definitely not dead for me. I think there will always be people who appreciate the personal and handmade.

6. A lot of your zines deal with your experiences travelling overseas and meeting people from different countries and cultures. How have these experiences shaped you as a writer?
Well, about ten years ago, I decided to relearn my first language, Macedonian. I studied it formally through an old-style correspondence course at Macquarie University (I was one of the last students to graduate before the Department closed in 2010). Anyway, during this time, I had the opportunity to travel to Macedonia. I got to meet and speak with lots of people; I collected a lot of stories and experiences. I also got to see how I think differently in Macedonian. Embedded in the Macedonian languageany languageis a whole world view and way of being different to my world-view and way of being in English. This is something I've been trying to articulate in some of my recent zinesPrison in Macedonia; I Am Natasha; Bunny Men; Walnuts, Almonds, Nuts. There are still more coming.
6. Have you always been a keen observer of others, even as a child? That ability shines through in your stories.
Like anyone, I'm probably a keen observer of particular things. Growing up, as a kid, in a tight-knit Macedonian household and community in Sydney, I often felt like an anthropologist studying people and their behaviours, practices, rituals, customs. Both inside and outside the home, 'correct' codes were so vastly different.

7. Do you think all zinesters would benefit from travel to broaden their minds? Has travelling made you a better writer?
Hmm, Dann. I don't know how to answer this one. I enjoy reading adventures-at-home zines just as much as I enjoy travel zines. Adventures-at-home zines I like are: Incredibly Hot Sex With Hideous People (Bryce Galloway), a wry domestic/family-life zine; anything by The Sydney Exploratory Society; and anything by Michelle B. like her hilarious, observational The Joy of Public Transport. Overseas travel zines I like to re-read are: June Graveyard and Kingdom by the Sea (Vanessa Berry) which are about Vanessa's literary pilgrimages to the grave sites of Sylvia Plath and Janet Frame; and Homesick/Awaysick (Renata Joy Field); and One Week with Birds (Raquel Ormella) in which Raquel documents in beautiful pictures and words a week in the Tamar Island Wetlands in Tasmania.
8. What does writing mean to you? Is it self-expression, a hobby, an obsession, what?
I guess I think of writing as being mathematical, practical and personal. A story is something I can do with my thoughts, feelings, curiosities. It's a way of working things outlike a big, long algebraic problem being asked of me in a symbolic language I have to translate. Lots of x's and y's and pis and cosines and sines. There aren't any right answers. But it's enjoyable trying to articulate, in the simplest way, what seems inarticulable. To try to give a form to the blind spots in my psyche. At least that's what writing is to me at that momentwhile I'm doing these Macedonian stories. 
9. Can you (or would you) like to make a career out of writing?
Well, I used to make jewellery, one-off pieces, and sell them at markets around Sydney. Then, I used to feel that each piece was waiting for the one person to come along and collect and claim it. I feel the same about stories. Stories have their destination, their receiver or receivers. What I want for my writing, my stories, is that they have the chance to reach the people who would enjoy or relate or get something for themselves out of them. At the moment, I'm thinking about what I will do with the Macedonian stories that seem to be piling up. Maybe they would benefit from looked at by an editor. Maybe I will bring them together in one giant zine. Maybe I'll make an artists' book out of them. We'll see.

10. If there was one zine that you could hand someone and say,This is ME” – which one would you choose? Or is that too hard? Is it easier if I just ask which zine youre most proud of?
I still feel really proud of my first zine Briefly, Birds. Like any first anything, it's brave and rough and ready and naïve. But of my recent zines, I like Bunny Men best because it feels as if there is a ghost, a presence standing behind the story and I don't know what it means to say to meyet.
11. Give us your contact details. Where can people reach you to obtain your zines? Prices, whats available, etc...
Well, as I said, I am thinking about blog. But in the meantime I can be contacted by email:
The zines I have available, old and new, are: Briefly, Birds (2008) $4 (plus postage); House (2009) $3 (plus postage); Not Broken, But Opened (2009) $3 (plus postage); Poems I've Lived With (2009) $4 (plus postage); To Praise is the Thing (2010) $3 (plus postage); Prison in Macedonia (2012) $3 (plus postage); I Am Natasha (2012) $3 (plus postage); Very Briefly, Birds (2012) $2 (plus postage); Well, That Was Weird (2012) $3 (plus postage); Everyone Tonight In The Street! (2013) $4 (plus postage); Bunny Men (2013) $2 (plus postage); Walnuts, Almonds, Nuts (2013) $3 (plus postage); and Anti-Journey (2013) $2 (plus postage).