Thursday, 14 July 2011

Book: Doris - An Anthology of Zines & Other Stuff 1991-2001

Doris is the queen of zines; the kind of zine that you might pick up for a quick flick through before drifting off to sleep, and then before you know it you've read the whole thing (twice) and are manically digging out the next issue while your alarm draws ever closer to a rude awakening. It's the kind of zine that talks to you rather than at you, that questions and challenges and whispers deep, sometimes dark secrets to you from its photocopied pages.

Having always ended up with at least one copy of Doris after many a zine fair (usually thanks to the wonderful Marching Stars Distro), my collection was still left with gaping holes, and so when I spotted a chunky volume of Doris (feat. all issues of the first ten years of the zine, compiled into a very professional-looking book), I had to take a copy home.

Doris is the ongoing project of Cindy Crabb, a woman brave enough to share her most intimate and secretive thoughts and stories with readers, and encouraging of others to do the same. In her typewriter text and handdrawn simple sketches, she talks about her life, her friends, her family, her beliefs and values and her dog, written with all the wit and trail-of-thought chattiness of a pen pal you might have been in touch with for twenty years, rather than a stranger living across the ocean.

She doesn't lead a conventional life, and is all the better for it - her tales are of hitchhiking and living in a tree house, silly anecdotes about old housemates building boats and thoughtful passages exploring politics, gender, mental health, lifestyle choices, family issues and a whole heap of other topics that are glossed over in commercial magazines and kept quiet in our brains.

The Intro sums up it all up nicely-

"Doris is about finding a life worth living and creating a world that will allow us to live; Creating a world full of meaning, that we can thrive in, that we can come together in, where we will be heard, where we will be able to believe in ourselves, where we won't think our thoughts and emotions are crazy. A world where we will know for real that we are not alone"

Even now, twenty years of from the first issue, Doris hasn't become outdated and a lot of the topics pondered are still vibrantly impacting on our lives today, for better or for worse. And thanks to this blue book, we can all gain some perspective without sweating it over the many hush-hush subjects of life. Long live Doris!

Get your copy now at Microcosm Publishing and find out more at the Doris site.

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