Saturday, May 28, 2011

Rare Musical Gem: Beaches & Dunes by Peter Fulton

Wondrous & spirited music by Peter Fulton of Salem New Hampshire, self-released on cassette in 1982. This song is titled "On My First Leaving". Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Zine Review: Qwerty Pop

Qwerty Pop is an inventive concept that merges older (paper) and newer (computer) technologies in an ode to … typewriters!

Thomas created this zine to accompany his high-tech Qwerty Pop mixtape. And what an outstanding mixtape it is! Having recently fallen in love (again) with typewriting, Qwerty Pop comes into my life at the perfect moment. The zine includes insights and information into the great tunes in the mix which can be listened to online at Leroy Anderson’s familiar “The Typewriter” segues into a full blown Bollywood production number with Asha Bhosle, then on to new wave, techno, rockability, indie pop, and more. Exploring the interconnection between being a DJ, musical discovery & painting words on paper is a passion of mine. Unique zines like Qwerty Pop ignite that passion even further. Qwerty Pop should be a top priority on everyone's listening & reading list.

For more information check out

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Zine Review: Somnambulist #16

A few pages into Martha Grover’s Somnabulist Zine #16, I realized this was an issue about “place” … just not a very well defined place at first. However as the zine progresses, culminating in an essay called “The Road”, I could almost inhale the scent of Douglas Firs drifting on the breeze on Larch Mountain Road. Peppered with short fiction that seems to drift backwards and forward in time, short stories in poetic form and pen and pencil drawings, Somnambulist #16 won me over with its variety of creative content. My favorite line from the poem “Gresham”: Everything has its place / and even when it doesn’t / it knows where to go.” For more information contact Martha at

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Zine Review: The Gadfly Spring 2011

The Gadfly Volume 1.2 Spring 2011 is a publication created by students from Middlebury College in my neighboring state of Vermont. I am extremely grateful to have been gifted with a hardcover copy of this zine, it is a work of beauty. Students at Middlebury have been thinking about big issues and it shows in the articulate and passionate writing within The Gadfly. This issue ranges from musings on the nature of corporate educational control to food insecurities, dealing with the cops, resisting labels and questioning capitalism. I’m older and jaded and have wondered: where are the alternative thinkers on campuses today? They’re reading The Gadfly. I found myself nodding while reading all of the articles – for example how corporations cash in on the green “movement” and seem cool, hip and caring. How corporations do the easy thing that contributes to their profits. The latest “50 things you can do to be green” list will not save the planet, but it will make you feel better however temporarily, until the pain of climate change, deforestation, polluted water and nuclear radiation, etc hit home.


In this ultra conservative culture, people are called “radical” just for talking about creating an adequate health care system, ending homelessness, supporting liberty and personal rights or even suggesting that corporations should be held responsible for their actions and the damages they create to the environment and society. In reality, the “radicals” are people who think all social, economic and cultural difficulties can be remedied through “private ownership” of all resources, natural and capital. We are a long way from justice for all in this culture - it used to be a value, now its just some words we mouth at the end of an empty pledge. Ask any person who lives on the streets, or who lives in poverty, or lives with a disability and can not get even basic needs met how much liberty there is in Amerika.

One minor shortcoming of the writing in this journal is it is written from a highly intellectual perspective (what would one expect from academia?) However, when these thoughts translate into heart and action, this is how the world changes.

Print copies of The Gadfly are limited buy you can download them (and read new blog postings) from

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mixt Media Review: Earth Ecos

This is a cassette tape I first heard in the early 1990s and fell in love with. Homemade music from New Hampshire at its finest.

Kathi Sheer - Flute, Recorder and Vocals
Kathy Zimpfer - Violin, Synth
Barry Draper - Horns, Recorder, Pennywhistle, Harmonica
Paul Kelley - Drums
Paul Hubert - Guitar

Toe Jam Blues by Earth Ecos

Many thanks and much appreciation to Paul Hubert for this tape.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mixt Media Review: Lost in Laconia

Lost In Laconia is a documentary film by Gordon Dubios about the 90 year history of New Hampshire’s Laconia State School. The state school was an institution for the “feeble minded” – in other words, anyone that was unwanted by society. Conditions at Laconia for much of its existence were bleak – rows of cots, open bathrooms, showers where people were hosed down, Hundreds of Laconia “inmates” were sterilized in the name of eugenics, progressive genetics that weren’t much different than the Nazi quest for a superior Aryan race. Yet through this all there was humanity, and this is where the film comes up short. By not delving more deeply into the lives of the staff, who I believe were mostly compassionate individuals, and the lives of the survivors (the ones who are portrayed seem to be cast only in a victim role but that doesn’t tell us anything about them as people) the film remains mostly one dimensional. As a history it is far from comprehensive, but is a good introduction to a time when people preferred those who were seen as disabled (or just plain impoverished or without family or medical supports) were hidden away and treated like cattle.

One truly horrifying thought: the preamble to the film quotes George Santayana “those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. In New Hampshire (and other states) we are living in a fiscal and socially conservative era where essential support services for people are being thrown under the bus in the name of balancing the budget. For people who are not valued by the culture, the culture has decided we don’t need to worry about them any more. In New Hampshire (and elsewhere) there are politicians who think (and have even spoken aloud- to paraphrase Scrooge via Dickens) that’s what the prisons and workhouses are for.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Jesus Christ Superzine #2

Jesus Christ Superzine #2 takes up where issue #1 left off & explores more of Ariel’s very personal journey away from her childhood religion of Christianity. Arial writes that even as a young teenager she chose Christianity. I take issue with this concept because when children are born into a belief system, whether it is Islam, Hindu, Buddhism, or any belief system, you can not choose what religion you are indoctrinated into any more than you can choose the educational system of your school or the type of clothes your parents buy for you – it is simply all you know therefore you accept it is normal. The same is true if you have alcoholic or abusive parents – this is simply “normal” until your mind and exposure to life experience develops to a point where you see other possibilities and start questioning your own experience. Arial’s story is however one of actively seeking to experience life and find her own path, and it is story I can thoroughly relate to. It’s confession time: in my own childhood, I was leading bible studies in small groups, immersed in weekly prayer groups, speaking in tongues, and going on religious retreats well before the age of twelve. It was expected of me that I would be a good Christian and probably become a pastor. Then the fa├žade came crashing in quickly during adolescence. As I grew more aware of sexuality, and the dichotomy of feeling one way and being told those feelings are wrong, sinful, even evil, I thought I had become an evil person which lead to weirder thoughts of demon possession, darkness, and worse. I could write a whole book about my wrestling with the angels of Christianity until I emerged as a born again pagan in adulthood. You’re unlikely to find more authentic, soul searching writing in zines than Jesus Christ Superzine. Write to Ariel Birks c/o PO Box 2645 Olympia WA98507.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Mystery & Adventure Series Review

Once upon a time there were serialized children’s books that captivated young readers in the way that radio serials captivated their parents. The Mystery & Adventure Series Review is published irregularly by Fred Woodworth and promotes “still enthusiastic discussions of obsolete books fading in the twilight of a dying civilization.” The Mystery & Adventure Series Review includes histories of the books, notes on typography, and dozens of letters from zine readers. All of it is produced, like Fred Woodworth’s The Match on vintage printing equipment without computers. And, it’s free for the asking!

Write to Fred at PO Box 3012 Tucson AZ 85702.