One thing to come out of lockdown has been time, time to do what we want, what we wish we had time for. One thing that we have truly noticed is that output has been somewhat higher and publications have been one of the most consistent alongside music and rug tufting. So today we have picked out some of our favourites to highlight and this will become a quarterly part of MUKA, so if you make a zine or know of someone that makes educational resources, any sort of publication, then let us know!
Other publications to mention from Manchester are Coronaverses Collective, PINK, Pink Noise, Drawn Poorly, Polyster, Rooted, Filler, YUCK, Brag Writers, GULP and Roots Mag just to name a few.
Unfortunately our team has been hit by a spell of the old Covid and this piece is a little late than expected so some groups have actually released a new issues since the one we have reviewed. To us that just means you've got even more to enjoy.
Let's get started!
Studio SCUM - Filth
“ “Filth” is just someone else’s ecstasy that got left in the wrong place. Decaying vegetation is the food of fungi and flowers , but is removed on sight if seen in an electric fridge. Filth cannot be destroyed. Moved from fridge to landfill, it transforms and enters into thousands of new bodies.”
So Studio SCUM state in their introduction to FILTH - an exploration of subjective mire, a rebellion against perceptions of dirty actions, filthy thoughts. It’s reads as an index of gruel, through photography of dental checkups, smeared mud upon the flesh, apoplectic artworks, poetry of stains in relationships, poignant thoughts on filth and creation within painting, words clogging up art pieces like erratic thoughts, like a tatted ratking of shed hair in the bathroom pipes. By the end of the zine, you are sure that filth is an edgeless void swarming, coursing through the veins, all veins, and blood is not a poison, but a natural process, as is the rot, the peat, the bog.
Studio SCUM’s FILTH, and your own recognition of the filth embedded within the flesh, can be purchased here.
Oliver East - Blocks
A playful reaction to the past year of our lives, with a direction upon the back to “minimise time spent outside your home, but you can leave your home to exercise. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.” Blocks is a cartoonised map of South Manchester areas, including Old Trafford, Whalley Range, Moss Side, Gorse Hill, Trafford Park and Hulme. Every page details the street the images are drawn from, and the compass direction, and Oliver East becomes a geometric, suburbanite Picasso locked in the flashed boundaries of a Google Maps camera. It’s evocative of the boundaries we draw for ourselves, the lines and spaces we exist within, how jarring they are cast against each other, but how familiar they are to us. In no way does Blocks give into a liminality that forgets the real. The streets are instantly recognisable, and the pathways of the walks are so built into us, that Oliver East may as well be drawing portraits of the people who have walked them.
Blocks is available for purchase here.
STAT - Issue 04
Born in Leigh, Greater Manchester, STAT is an anti-profit arts and culture zine. This issue focuses in specifically on the past, and includes graphite drawings from Matthew Wood, a look at the first five years of Preston based label Them There Records, an essay by Sarah Warburton, and an interview with the creative directors of The Fire Within (a Wigan project taken in by the Council, who asked them to develop a five year plan for their cultural strategy.) Exploring the culture of towns like Preston, Warrington, and Wigan, STAT is a representation of the North-West, by people in the North-West, taking the narrative beyond the veil of pies and cheap lagers and pigeon racing. It is effortlessly conscious in it’s desire to push people towards their inclusion in society, their part to play in their own community. Long may it continue.
Dance Policy - Vol. 3. Swelling of the Metropole
The third volume by London based Dance Policy is rooted deep in their philosophy, a gentler revolution in music reporting, and features interviews with Bristol based DJ - Manami, punk photographer Jude Kendall, DJ and member of collective All Hands on Deck - Abena, Gina Breeze from Homobloc, as well an article on the history of dancing by Jacob Negus-Hill, and a wide range of candid club photography. Concise and considered, it reads like an epiphany in the smoking area, those moments where you overhear something interesting, challenging, topical - a positively affirmed John of Patmos who see’s antichrists and Seven Headed Dragon’s carving up dance scenes for money, but instead of surrendering to the revelation, betters the culture in a sea of microscopic rebellions like a swarm of krill besting the belly, the insatiable hunger of the whale.
Dance Policy - Vol. 3 is available for purchase here.
Black Spring - Issue 01
Black Spring is a music zine, taking the form of essays and artworks made by and in response to being persons of colour, whether it be Meanmillion’s meditations on home through Bloc Party’s second album; AKA Jameela’s gorgeous Incidents of Travel in the Multiverse, two inversions of an original third piece that almost throb, alive, a history embedded in the page through buildings and spirituality and blossoming; or Clarkus_Dark’s beautiful and fractal examination of his own youth, how he got into music, how racism seeped through middle class, North Yorkshire school rooms like sweat through a t-shirt, proudly wrung post-thrash to Rage Against the Machine. The zine examines and challenges the whitewashing of scenes, and doesn’t take the political as a legislature of dross un-emotion, but the political as personal, and the heart of Black Spring beats, each personality full a page.
Black Spring - Issue 01, is available to purchase here from Wilderness’ website. All proceeds go to the National Black Arts Alliance.
Here is an example of some of the fantastic work on offer from the industrial city. We want to see what you make and the stuff that you love, please tell us.
When doing reviews we simply can't afford to buy everything so if you would like to send us anything to review then give us a message and say hello. One last thing to add is that we are currently creating our own archive of publications made in Manchester, if you have made one consider us as a place that can solidify your work alongside some other amazing donators including Ceremony Press, STAT, YUCK and Draw Poorly.