Monday, January 12, 2009

Tourism (1)

Because of "family issues," I don't have the chance to travel freely around the world and show up unannounced at the door of unsuspecting mail art friends (do not worry Keith!). That's why I'm very happy every time someone has enough balls (and money) to come all the way to Japan. One lady I'm particularly fond of is Jennie Hinchcliff of Red Letter Day zine and PodPost fame (the latter one is the dynamic duo she has started with partner-in-crime Carolee Gilligam Wheeler). Jennie-chan has an unhealthy passion for all things Japanese, and I've already had a chance to meet her in Tokyo not once but twice. In the photo below we are with her beau in front of Au Temps Jadis, a wonderful creperie in Shibuya (please note the fake European facade).

Every time we meet, Jennie never fails to bring some wonderfully weird present. This is a cute package she gave me the first time we met ("hajimemashite" means "nice to meet you").

When I managed to unravel the cleverly assembled combo, I found a bunch of nice envelopes she had made the night before in her hotel room by using paper she had picked up around Tokyo. I told you the girl is crazy.

Once in a while, she drags Carolee to Japan, and instead of taking it easy and visiting some nice museum, the two magpies roam the streets of Tokyo in search of used tickets, flyers, photos, cute-looking paper and other useful junk they later feature in their zines. This one is called Kimagure na dowa no hon.

If you want to have a look inside, you can check their wonderful web site out at You'll find many more delights.

Beware the Beat Motel

I have almost all the issues of this zine. This should be enough to tell you how much I like it. This is your typical punk zine, with lots of columns, zine and music reviews, and assorted articles, but as usual, the writing makes the difference, and the gang behind Beat Motel can write as well as anybody, beginning with boss Andrew Culture and his scatologically fantastic sense of humor. Or maybe I should say humour: I’m a sucker for British English – even though I’ve recently got so used to the American version that I often have to check my dictionary, or directly mail Andrew for directions. The latest issue #8 is an 80-page, 69,400-word monster featuring 18 columnists discussing the idea of ‘country’ and ‘nationalism,’, 67 zine reviews, 142 CD reviews, 10 live reviews, and a truckload of foul words.
The indefatigable Mr. Culture is also at the helm of Corndog Distro. Check out his web site and you will find more British zine delight.
2 pounds or $3 or 3 euros postpaid/Digest/52-80 pgs
Andrew Culture, PO Box 773, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 9FT, UK