Confessions of A Zine Reader

All I could think about was that I wish I had heard of zines sooner. I wish my teenage self knew about this medium and I wish I had used it.

Review of “Confessions of An Ex-zine Editor” by Cream Scene Writer, Lejla Demiri

Confessions of A New Zine Reader

Review of Confessions of An Ex-zine Editor

I didn’t know what zines were until I read these two issues. All I could think about was that I wish I had heard of them sooner. I wish my teenage self knew about this medium and I wish I had used it.

For some reason I became overwhelmed by a huge sense of relief while learning that the Author decided to start composing zines again after a lifetime of changes. This review will be very personal. I’ll tell you who I am as a sign of respect to the author who did the exact same thing. I find this transparency and openness to public fragility incredibly brave and honest. I am thankful that she decided to allow the viewers to know some of her thoughts. 

I was curious to know where the name Bubblegum slut came from. I think it’s a brilliant title for everything. Somehow it was quite avant garde for the time where being grunge and boyish was cooler. The word “bubblegum” has something so fragile to it. It should be completely out of place with the world of rock and roll, parties, drugs and teenage rebellion, but it’s a perfect oxymoron that ties up, poetically, both the topics talked about in the zines and the style and design of the zines themselves. Cut and paste, collage, foto-copie. It is a particular artistic technique that collage artists nowadays are going back to instead of good old photoshop. It’s authentic and it has character.

Reading about the Bubblegum Slut’s golden era made me wish I was there.

I grew up as a first generation child of immigrants outside of a village in Italy, surrounded by sunflower fields and summer heat. Music was my escape and as a precocious and curious child , and subsequent teenager, I hoped my life would be just like the one I am now reading about. Music and writing were, and still are, my outlets. Bubblegum slut would have been a bible back then.

Jumping forward a couple of decades, we see a completely different voice.

We witness the voices of experience and of those who were starved of their passion for too much time. Returning to something so beloved after such a long time is relatively impossible. I read the last page of ‘Confession of an ex-zine editor’ full of admiration. 

The first issue of ‘Confessions’ is divided into three acts.

We get to know the past struggles, we follow the rebirth of the idea and we discover together how her past life recontextualizes itself to the present.  

The big question was answered – Why did ‘Bubblegum Slut’ end? 

Like with most big changes and decisions, they follow a tragedy. But it’s not what we think, someone’s passing is horrific, but the consequences of someone’s eternal absence are what makes the tale turn tragic. I won’t spoil it. It wouldn’t be fair. 

We learn about addiction, we learn about coping mechanisms and about yoga. Normality doesn’t exist. What exists is how you appear to the person in front of you. Can you suppress your emotions well enough?

What happens when they come out and all the yoga in the world can’t calm you down?

What happens when even your friends don’t like you anymore?

What happens when you don’t like yourself anymore?

What happens when you can’t write zines anymore?

I’ve been following Herbs and Altars for quite a while now. I was curious about her life and grateful of her honesty in narrating it, what tied me to Dorian was the one about eating disorders. Dorian is in both issues of ‘ Confessions’. I was surprised in the most beautiful way. I felt like my instinct was right and that I could take the words written in these pages as a conversation between friends. We’re not the same but we.. just get it. Whatever ‘that’ is. 

The second issue felt like a natural sequel and the actual start of this new zine era for the author. Detaching from her story, she focused on interviews, book recommendation and just overall other topics that reference her style in ‘Bubblegum slut’ but of course in a new, modern and revisited way.

Overall I had fun, plenty of fun reading about nostalgia, playing the bingo games, reading interviews and reviews about nonsense, discovering new music.

I am insanely curious to read the next one.

Thank you Delilah Bon for being here for the women of the world, whether they appreciate it or not and thank you Allison for being back!

About The Bubble Gum Slut

Allison B. is a recovering zine editor.

About Lejla

Lejla is a thinker and creative. Her main medium is writing. Writing what she can’t say, drawing what she can’t write and dreaming that she can’t draw. Her main themes in her practice focus towards understanding her mind. As a Maladaptive dreamer she’s trying to share her vision with the world.

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