I hate paper cuts, but I love drawing a little blood when undoing staples. This is how I learned to publish anything, so it’s all I’ve got as a claim to anything at all punk rock. I only held a bass once, and the only instrument I ever learned was the clarinet. The closest thing I got to getting high was on rubber cement fumes, not any legitimately bad drugs. I actually paid for the zines I bought in Harvard Square. Stealing from girls is so wrong.
The first one I took apart had Jan Brady on the cover and it was called Teenage Gang Debs, and I guess it was the last issue. You could get it at this store on Mass Ave that also sold Xeroxed scripts for cult films and press photos of Kyle MacLachlan and Madonna and Italian movie posters as big as your bed and so in this way, it was like the internet, with a door that opened onto the street. I could not even pronounce the word “zine” when I bought one. That it was short for anything bigger was lost on me.
But I wanted to pull it apart and see how you did it. That was the first thing, after reading the story on Sassy and the pathologically accurate recaps of the last season of The Brady Bunch. I didn’t have any girl friends I could think to pass this on to. Taking it apart didn’t pain me any.
I laid each page out on my floor, and drew little sketches in my diary of how page 1 was backed with page 2, and then on the same sheet, page 23 and page 24. I reverse-indexed the whole thing. I ripped pages out of a notebook and taped them together in this order. I numbered the backs of them and scratched out the numbers when I got them wrong (which I did, a lot). I figured out that the images all came from photographs of television sets. Nothing in the layout was computerized at all, which was exciting: it meant I could do it with a typewriter (which I still had, the one I had since I was 8), and scissors, and cutting borders out in interesting ways to make negative space with only black and with white.
The Gang Debs reared their nostalgic head this weekend, in the form of a call-out in Marisa Meltzer’s Girl Power book. They were with me tonight when I called in the first quote for the production of the the book. I used a web form and drop downs and excited emails. My hands are subway dirty but that’s about it.