by Hogg, Gavin, Ironside, Hamish | The arts
Published 11/10/2022 by Boatwhistle Books in the United Kingdom
Hardback | 456 pages, 60 black and white photographs
Increasingly, as we come to terms with what a cesspit the internet really is, there has been a revival of interest in various artefacts once thought obsolete: vinyl records, analogue photography . . . and zines. With some zines from the punk era now selling for hundreds of pounds on eBay, and the study of zines a burgeoning field of academic interest, We Peaked at Paper appears at a propitious time.
The book consists of 20 in-depth interviews with current and former editors of zines. Authors Hogg and Ironside (themselves former zine editors) travelled across Britain to carry out the interviews face to face over a period of five years. In doing so they sought to examine the widest possible range of publications, from the science fiction zines of the 1930s right up to the present day, in the form of a thriving Bristolian zine begun by a ten-year-old editor during the Covid pandemic. Other case studies include legendary zines such as Sniffin’ Glue and Ablaze!, as well as lesser-known zines about football, feminism and crisps, among a host of other topics.
This is a volume that celebrates amateurism, and will be cherished by those who favour the local over the global, the home-made over the mass-produced, and Melody Dog over Ed Sheeran.
‘Great read – it had me reaching for my Stanley knife and glue!’
‘A rich, detailed and charmingly besotted account of the golden age of fanzines and the felt-pen-and-Letraset pioneers who wrote and lashed them together. I loved this nostalgic and affectionate tribute.’
‘A tender, loving celebration of DIY dreamers, and the magical worlds they made.’
‘In this curated collection of insightful interviews, Hogg and Ironside show us that zines still speak volumes. Zine-makers tell of their inspirations, late nights spent over a photocopier, and why non-design was really design. A must have companion to any library of do-it-yourself independent publications.’
‘Seemingly ephemeral, fanzines often provided the means to transform lives and incubate creativity. We Peaked at Paper takes us on a journey through twenty such stories, allowing erstwhile zine-makers to speak for themselves and once more offer their opinion. The book is essential reading for those, like me, who see fanzines as important historical traces of youthful ingenuity. But it is also brilliantly evocative for others who followed similar paths and spread the teenage news.’