What a whopper of a review! Forgive my long-windedness!
Hand Job Zine Issue 6
Jim and Sophie (and contributors)
Sometimes you just know when you’ll like a zine. I do come into these reviews with a bit of naivete because I’m hoping for a good zine, but this one? This one I had a good feeling about.
Right away, I was taken to what I view as the more ‘traditional’ (not a bad word!) style. There are copied edges and smudges, different fonts and handwriting, pictures, stories… It rings true with cut and paste style. Seeing all this in my initial flip through had me eager to dig in.
I’m used to a table of contents of some sort in zine, used to being gently invited in to continue on reading. HJ6 doesn’t have a table of contents or even page numbers – but it works! It works to a magnificent degree with this zine because of the tone set on the very first piece – a poetic, melodic (in my mind) welcome from Jim and Sophie.
I have no idea who Jim and Sophie are, but I already think they’re pretty cool. The introduction is excellent in that I think you’ll know straight away whether this zine is for you. Either you put it down or you feel that ‘Boom. You’re here, so why not keep reading?’ that the intro really set the stage for in my reading experience.
Pull up a stool, have a smoke and enjoy.
The pieces including were all interesting and sometimes shocking in the way that a story can lure you in, calm you down and then slap you across the face, all while maintaining the same tone. I went back more than once to read a sentence here, an entire piece there. While that might be something that puts others off, I liked the feeling that written pieces were as much art as literature. (And all that without needing to read Jane Eyre!)
I can’t say that I’ve understood all the poetry, but I’ve taken enough English classes to know that I’ll come ’round.
While a zine maker who accepts contributions can only work with what they have, I feel like this zine was set up in a way that screws with my expectations. The aforementioned English classes could have me reading into it too much, but I found myself shocked out of my expectations more than once. ‘Him Upstairs’ was a slap across the face (at the end), followed by a picture, followed by another piece with something special about it (no spoilers), and so on. The review toward the end and the very last piece – a list – continued to take my expectations and laugh at them. A strange but enjoyable experience.
This isn’t a zine to sit down for a casual flip-through. There is a lot of content and a lot of room for contemplation, so you be so inclined.
PS. Hand Job Zine is calling for submissions! Be sure to click on their blog link at the top of this review and check out their blog.