04 March 2010

The Camp Fire

Recently, I have received a few very thoughtful responses to Foulweather #3, just when I was considering throwing the whole project to the curb. I realize zines can be very ego-centric and self-indulgent but they also have the potential to serve as meaningful communication in these times of shrinking attention-spans, artificial communication and symbolic community.

I heard on the radio the other day that there is genuine concern in the publishing industry that hard copy is on its way out. One alarmist, worried that if all our great literature was in electronic form, it would be highly vulnerable to some form on huge internet sabotage or collapse. A part of me got excited about the potential spark that could arise from the vacuum produced by the destruction of all our literature. But really, I'd be more excited about how the end of such a tools as the internet and other forms of mass-communication would force real community and stimulate regional cultural diversity.

If you only had contact with 100 or so of your closest neighbours, you'd have more chance of being the town poet, whereas in this day and age, due to global interconnectedness, only an elite (fortunate) few people get to be.  The zine represents, a more democratic 'system' of publishing . You might only be writing for a few hundred people but your words are a bastion of resistance against one big global mono-culture, where everyone consumes the same shit.

When you travel halfway across the world to find people reading the same books, listening to the same songs, drinking the same coffee- it exposes how vulnerable human 'culture' really is. Like bio-diversity, cultural diversity, ensures an increased resilience to cataclysmic collapse.

When I follow this train of thought to its natural conclusion, I just want to delete this blog and drop off copies of Foulweather in all the bars, cafes, street corners, book shops and toilets within walking distance of my house. And then start a giant on-going camp fire, which as Joe Strummer said, is where communication is really fostered and 'culture' shared in an appropriate, direct, tangible and meaningful context.

 For now, our interconnectedness is little more than an unwanted  subscription to a largely offensive, meaningless and shallow monoculture but we can support cultural diversity within this insane context by supporting independently produced projects and refusing to consume all the mass-produced pap that is forced on us daily. In other words, many thanks for all the orders from Australia, Cornwall and so on...

Reccomended reading: "The Garden Of Peculiarities" by Jesus Sepulveda