Vlorbik's Diner

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Zine Review

Posted by vlorbik on September 16, 2009

The Aardvark: Ramblings from an Obscure Mammal (Issue #1 – Summer 09)

First of all, this is a zine (as my title suggests): a selfpublished (typically, as in this case, copied off on a xerox machine and assembled by hand) magazine. Everything in it is by “Art Vark”… whose style is suspiciously familiar to that of publisher Joe Smith.

“Joe Smith”, believe it or not, is the actual name of a longtime zine publisher. I used to trade with Joe… this is already sort of unusual since i did pretty small runs (about 120 copies of a first printing in my heyday); what’s even more unusual is that I’ve even met him face-to-face (at what but a zine show). Great guy.

Anyhow, in the zine at hand, we have excerpts from Art Vark’s reading journal (Camus’ Notebooks and The Heart of Thoreau’s Journals… “It’s not that I can’t appreciate [finished work]… I’m just more interested in the humanity of the authors I admire.”), a death-of-print piece (capitalists and their army of cheerleaders lie about the virtues of their expensive and hard-to-use ephemera; don’t listen), a charming “Meditation” on The Grasshopper and the Ants (an excerpt from a larger work; the grasshopper gets a bum rap in folk retellings), and “Machine vs. Human Values: An Introduction to the Against the Robots! Philosophy” (which “aims to prevent the technology we’ve created from taking over our lives and dictating how we live” [Paranoid? Maybe. Paranoid enough? Remains to see.]).

All cobbled together by good old fashioned xerography and hand-stapling with some total-beginner drawings and a can’t-see-enough photo and clear, well-edited prose and more heart than you’ll find in a complete run of most pro magazines: the “humanity of the author” shines through in this format much more readily (for me) than commercial work allows. There’s no price indicated and Joe comped me this one; a couple bucks cash is reasonable by the standard of back-in-my-day (Red Roach Press [evidently an imprint of Manual Publishing] still loses a little at this rate; postage alone is over a buck).

Red Roach Press\bulletPO Box 771\bulletCollege Park MD 20740\bullet http://againsttherobots.com.

One Response to “Zine Review”

  1. kibrolv said

    it occurs to me on rereading that
    more knowledge of joe’s
    scanning and printing procedures
    than i’ve actually got
    might seem to be implied
    by my (deliberately)
    careless use of certain
    language. no resemblance
    to any blah blah blah…

    some both-sides printer dealie
    as i expect on a moment’s thought.

    “assembled by hand”
    still looks pretty solid.
    joe’s prob’ly got
    a “long-arm stapler”
    (and uses it;
    mine’s gathering dust).

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