WE PEAKED AT PAPER: AN ORAL HISTORY OF BRITISH ZINES by Gavin Hogg & Hamish Ironside
138 x 216mm, 432 pages, Black & white printing, Perfect bound, Hardcover, 2022
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.