Zines: A Personal History by Michael McInnnis


In 1980, while serving in the US Navy, I embarked on a career in publishing. At the time if you had told me that what I was doing was embarking on a career I would have laughed, or more likely sneered. I was a punk gob, a pogoing squid, a sailor who loved punk rock. That love for punk and punk’s do-it-yourself attitude inspired me to publish a punk fanzine for what proved to be the ultimate niche market — other punks in the Navy, more specifically other punks on my ship, the USS Cook, a small fast frigate with a compliment of 240 officers and men.

1980年,當我在美國海軍服役時,我開始從事出版行業。當時若你告訴我那是我職業生涯的開始,我很可能會冷笑。我是一個熱愛朋克搖滾樂的水手,喜歡在朋克演唱會現場瘋狂舞動。這份對朋克樂的熱愛,以及朋克樂的DIY(自助)態度激發了我獨立出版了一本朋克樂的歌迷雜誌。這本雜誌獨有自己的讀者群:海軍中其他的朋克樂迷,更準確地說是我所在的軍艦USS Cook-一架有240名軍官與工作人員的輕型護衛艦-的其他朋克樂迷。

The audience for Punk Dia Logue, or PDL (the title was a play on the ubiquitous Pass Down Log found throughout the ship and the Navy) was myself and five others. Plans to expand the subscriber base for the second issue sank in the bilge of possible disciplinary action. I had printed PDL using the ship’s photocopier, a massive machine that hissed and spit out shiny, steaming sheets of paper. While pasting up the second issue, an officer threatened me with Captain’s Mast for unauthorized use of government equipment. I was not afraid of Captain’s Mast. After all, I had appeared at a few disciplinary hearings for various offenses, ranging from absent without leave to disobeying a superior officer. However, backing down from this threat allowed me the underground satisfaction that my publishing career had been suppressed. Unfortunately, all original copies of the second issue are lost.

pdlcover copy

“Punk Dia Logue”,或PDL(這本雜誌的簡稱與在海軍及軍艦中無處不在的 “Pass Down Log” 相同,以收戲謔之效)的讀者是我及其他五人。因為可能被紀律處分,我被迫放棄為擴大讀者群而出版第二期的計劃。我印刷PDL所用的影印機是一部在打印出熱氣騰騰的紙張時發出嘶嘶聲的大型機器。在我拼湊著雜誌的第二期時,一位軍官威脅要以「未授權使用政府器材」的罪名控告我。我不怕這個指控。畢竟,我曾幾次出席了犯罪的聽證會。這些罪行從無請假擅自離開到不服從高級軍官的命令。然而,我的出版生涯被公開打擊令我得到了出版地下刊物的資格,我感到滿足。不幸的是,所有第二期的原版雜誌都遺失了。

Six years later, I found myself embarking on a career in publishing once again. This time, I knew what I was embarking on, or at least I thought I knew. I published my second zine, Notes From the Underground, but instead of being about punk rock, I focused this zine on art and literature and called it a litzine. That zine folded after two issues over a rancorous split with a co-editor. Finding a new co-editor, I published my third zine, Nightmares of Reason. With each issue I explored new designs, formatting, typesetting and published Charles Bukowski and Allen Ginsburg among other lesser know writers and artists.

NoR3a copy

六年後,我又開始出版雜誌。這次我知道自己在做甚麼,至少我以為我知道。我出版了我的第二本獨立雜誌“Notes From the Underground”。這本雜誌不是關於朋克搖滾樂,而是關於藝術與文學的“litzine”。我與一位合作主編滿懷惡意的爭執導致這本雜誌在出版了兩期後就停刊。找到新的合作主編後,我出版了我的第三本雜誌“Nightmares of Reason”。在每一期我都探討新的設計,版式與字體排版。我也登載了查理斯布高斯基(Charles Bukowski)與艾倫根斯伯(Allen Ginsburg)以及其他較少人知的作家和藝術家的作品。

What I hope would be a quarterly eventually turned into an annual as publishing, for me, became a junkie’s dance of cop shoot cop: scraping up the money, gleaning good writing from the pile of ineptly scribbled manuscripts, publishing, waiting for the reviews to not appear, then abandoning the concept until I became junk sick, always believing that if I had a little more money then I could do it, I could become an underground Hearst, building an empire of litzines.

最初我計劃的季刊最後變成了年刊。我似沉迷毒藥一般逐漸迷上這個過程:我辛苦地湊錢,在一堆字跡潦草的手稿中蒐集好的文章,等待著不會出現的評論,然後放棄這個概念-直到我開始有戒斷症狀。我總是相信只要我有多一些錢我就可以出版,我就像「黃色新聞大王」威廉赫茲(William Randolph Hearst)一樣可以成為地下出版界的梟雄,築起一個litzine的王國。

Unable to find a distributor and tired of consignment purgatory at local bookstores, in 1987, I founded the Primal Plunge, Boston’s first bookstore dedicated to zines and alternative, independent underground books and publications. The store was an unqualified success if you disregard profit + loss columns.

我一直都找不到發行商,也厭倦了把雜誌寄售在當地書店的恐怖經歷。1987年,我找到了波士頓第一間專售獨立/地下刊物的書店Primal Plunge。若忽視它的盈利業績,這書店是一個不合格的成功典範。


Four zines that, to me, represent the best of self-publishing are ….

To continue reading please order a copy of LickZine#1

Michael McInnis is a writer and woodworker who lives in Brighton, Massachusetts, U.S.A. He established and operated the now defunct Primal Plunge, a vital outlet for zines and independent publishing in the Boston area, from 1987 to 1990. Michael currently operates the literary website Nixes Mate Review

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