Some of Rory's zines.

Fanzines should be a dying art- what with a little thing I like to call the internet, blogs and suchlike being a free, easy and instant alternative to photocopying, stapling and small distribution figures. That doesn’t, however, seem to be the case at all. I guess it’s less to do with just cold hard information distribution and more to do with making something nice to have and look at, even if you only make a few.

Rory Gleeson makes fanzines -weird fanzines that look like websites, have letters from his sister in them, or are just things he’s drawn off of Google Image searches. Recently he’s been making films and he’s just about to graduate from fanzine to proper magazine with the release of Eternal Truth, a proper thing with loads of features, pictures, a lovely layout and some photos of Hawkwind taken by his dad.

All he’s let anyone see is the front page but it’s pretty eagerly anticipated, so I thought I’d go and talk to him before it came out to get an idea of what to expect. Then I got to his house and I saw he had a lot of cool stuff, which I took photos of, because he wouldn’t let me show the the work in progress magazine.

How did you first come across zine culture?
Through being into punk when I was a teenager. I remember thinking how mysterious a zine was when I first got hold of one, I’d heard of none of the bands, could hardly make out what any of the photos where of and was presented with a hefty collection of columns, quite a shock and definitely an aesthetic and feeling I feel I try to get into my own work.

What compels you to create zines?
When I started making them it was the easiest way I knew of producing something that I could distribute quickly and cheaply. My introduction to graphic design was through zines and flyers when I was younger and involved the world of hardcore punk. I just continued throughout college making them, looking at publications from other eras and finding influences in those. It seems the idea made sense to a lot of people, there are so many zines and interesting pamphlets/booklets/pages about these days.

Tribal Messenger is an old hippy zine from 1980's West London, lots of adverts for free festivals and celtic pattern spot the difference.

What is it about zines that you think are so great when there are blogs and things?
I just prefer to have a physical object that I can look at whenever, and then when I’m finished i can put it with my other zines and admire my stash. Not that there’s anything wrong with blogs and websites, I also enjoy sitting down at my desk and opening up a few tabs and checking out my favorite links too. I don’t prefer one to the other really, I’m quite interested in one becoming the other, I once made a zine that looked like a website someone had printed out.

What do you think about the community around them?
Publishing zines and books is a labour of love, so you know the people involved in it are doing for reasons other than money, and this make a good environment to be around. I went to a great art fair at Spike Island in Bristol which definitely restored my faith, I swapped my stuff for loads of good zines produced in a variety of interesting ways, not just your usual photocopied affair. There are loads of places in London with zines for sale too, like the Chapter One gallery, which has a vibe which I think sums the whole thing up.

What work/zine are you most proud of so far and why?
The nights at the ICA I put on with my friends as Crystal Vision, I’m very proud that I got to do that, it was a great experience. Also the Crystal Vision exhibition at Jaguar Shoes was something that I’m very proud of.

What’s your fave zine you’ve made?
The first thing I made after graduating was a zine called Pressure Eyes, it was for a zine fair in Bristol. It’s a collection of family stories and memories. There’s a sorry note from my sister to my mum and a story of a flasher I once saw on Wandsworth Common. I’m proud of it because it was the first thing I made as a non student, I really thought about what I wanted to be doing with my work and tried something new, it was a step in a new direction.

What’s your favourite zine someone else has made?
Gaylord Phoenix by Edie Fake is a comic I picked up in New York, it’s a homofantasy story. Other publications I rate are Raspberry Zine, Pin Up magazine, Tribal Messenger, Pablo International Magazine, Rollo Press, Fantastic Man and the Hawkwind Log Book.

What are your influences?
I really like the graphic design of movements, organizations and groups when they are in their infancy. They need to communicate something they feel strongly about, quickly and most of the time cheaply, the outcomes are most of the time pretty special. Not the best example, but the National Democrats logo is a very crude gif image. Other things I enjoy are Tangerine Dream records, Rene Daumal stories, Moccasins, Bart Simpson, Charles Bronson’s style and movies and uplifting house music.