underground since'89

send vinyl, tapes and zines for review to:

tobi vail P.O. Box 2572 Olympia, WA 98507 USA

email mp3's, links, photos and flyers to:


Saturday, October 30, 2010

In the Mail: Fanzines by Teal Triggs

This came in the mail today:

I got this email from the author back in August:

I wanted to let you know that I have included covers of your zine Jigsaw 5 and 5 1/2 in FANZINES (Thames & Hudson) which talk about the history of riot grrrl fanzines. The book in general covers a history of zines from science-fiction to present day. The book is due out in September an I hope it will help celebrate the work of self-publishers.

I do hope this is okay -

Usually people contact you ahead of time, you know to get your permission and stuff! This put me off a little, but I thanked her for writing and asked for a free copy. People always say "I didn't know how to get ahold of you" when they fail to ask permission for something, but really all you have to do is turn on a computer and type in my name and you can find me in about two seconds so I have a hard time believing that.

Anyhow, reading through the section on grrl zines, I immediately noticed a few blatant factual errors and thought the contextual framing was bizarrely off. Again, it seems like if the author (or editors or publisher) had just bothered to use the internet, they would have been able to clear a lot of this up. Example: Bruce Pavitt had something to do with organizing The International Pop Underground Festival? And of course Calvin Johnson is named too. But actually it was Candice Pederson from K Records who organized IPU. You can ask Calvin himself! Or anyone else who lived in Olympia or went to the convention. It made me not want to go back and read the writing on early fanzines. But I will.

I think there should be a way to contest "false information" in published works. Because once it's in a book, it's a "fact". People will use this book as a source for further writing on the subject matter. My sister Maggie had an idea for a website called Interview Regrets dot com, where bands can go in and clarify what they actually really said when they are misquoted, or even what they meant to say. Maybe we need something like that for history books too. Because once something is in print, it becomes an authority.

Fanzines is mostly full of primary documents-scans of fanzine covers and pages. So it seems like the author might have had a lot of time to research and fact check, since there's not too much original text in the book. It has a nice paper-back cover, but it's kind of flimsy and doesn't ship well--mine arrived with a severely dented corner so I guess I won't be selling it on eBay. The printing is a little color xerox-y in tone, but it kind of works for the subject matter. I will put it on the shelf to be reconsidered at a later date. Hopefully by then I won't have forgotten what actually happened and read it and think that Sub Pop had something to do with IPU!


. said...

Hey, my zine was used in that book without permission as well. I got my copy in the mail the other day, and though I haven't finished reading it yet, I've found plenty of factual errors. I'm super frustrated because, as you mentioned, a lot of it is stuff that would have been easily cleared up had she gone online and done her research, and actually spoken with the people she was writing about. I've written a few posts about it (links below) and will write a detailed review later on.



Anonymous said...

Likewise, my zine was used without permission, and I only found out about it because a friend told me. I just wrote to Triggs and her publisher to request a copy. Triggs pulled a 'oh, there was a mix up and we accidentally didn't contact you' line in her response to me, which is what she's been saying to a lot of people, it seems. It's just lazy, lazy, lazy. I would be pretty embarrassed if I were her.

mmc said...

This kind of thing is so violating. For years I've been building a collection of a particular kind of vintage small press/ephemera/art that is the only one of its kind/size in modern times. A few people have approached me with the same horrible attitude of wanting to use the material just so they can associate themselves with it, but not actually add anything meaningful or do research or provide proper context or even try to "pay their dues" in a basic sense of learning about what the fuck they're dealing with. And then I call them out on this and they don't respond!!! There was a time when the "kind" of people interested in punk/DIY/underground art/media understood a FRACTION of the values that come with that territory. Those days are over, apparently.

One of the people who approached me is, like Teal Triggs, involved in academia. Having spent some time in academia before leaving in frustration, I don't actually find it that ironic. Academia + underground never mix well. I wish someone had told/warned me before I spent 8 years going crazy there.

(I'm the one who left the anonymous thank you comment the other day)