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Southend on Zine

Southend on Zine

by Graham Burnett, history and celebration of Southend's DIY culture. 2022

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With over 200 pages and featuring a wealth of interviews and dozens of beautifully reproduced full-page covers and original artwork, this book by Graham Burnett is both a history and a celebration of Southend’s often forgotten ‘alternative’ and DIY culture, as told through the pages of the fanzines, people’s papers and community magazines made in the town between 1971 and 2021.

Mention Southend on Sea in casual conversation to anybody that doesn’t live here and it’s not unlikely that the response will be a condescending snigger about Kiss-Me-Quick hats or else some quip about Essex Girls, White Van Man or reality TV show The Only Way Is Essex. But there’s always been more to Southend than the often grotesque caricatures of diamond geezers, wannabe gangsters, fake tans, white stilettos and tacky seafront nightclubs and boozers.

With interviews and oral histories covering seminal titles from the last 50 years such as Alive and Kicking, Alternative Estuary, Amon*Spek, Arse Oats, Avant, Bang, Cheesy, Flowers and Beads, Grrrl in Print, Hard As Nails, The Heckler, Iliad, Level 4, Managed Retreat, Mushroom, Naked Tongue, Necrology, New Clear Product, New Crimes, Noisy!, Precinct Press, The Scene, The SLAB, Strangehaven and Trawler, to name but a few, and reproducing a wealth of covers, artwork and photographs throughout, Southend on Zine is both a history and a celebration of ‘alternative’ Southend, as told in their own words by those who were (and in many cases still are!) there; the self-publishers, counterculturalists, community organisers, activists, agitators, punks, sussed skins, young folk rebels, independent promoters, street artists, jester minstrels, anarchists, feminists, avant garde festival organisers, graphic novelists, indie entrepreneurs, poets, film makers, mental health activists, MCs, free-jazzers, allotmenteers, Essex Girl Liberationists, bioregional explorers, riot grrrls, psychedelic dream makers and all the other change agents who have in one way or another been involved with Southend’s ‘peoples press’, and have contributed to the story that makes this town buzzing, diverse, innovative, radical and amazing…

“Capturing the creative energy and spirit of Southend on Sea – open,  can-do, ferocious – this book is a visual treasure and a rallying cry. Read it, grab the baton, start something!”

– Zoe Howe, broadcaster, artist, rock ’n’ roll witch and author of books including Dayglo – The Poly Styrene Story, Typical Girls – The Story of the Slits, Lee Brilleaux – Rock and Roll Gentleman and Wilko Johnson – Looking Back at Me

“A  fascinating dive into sub-cultural Southend, piecing together a history  from words scrawled on scraps of paper and sold for a pittance. Graham  is uniquely placed as he has the diligence and obsessiveness needed to find the story and is also in the story with his own publications and  memories of the times”

– Tony Drayton, editor of Ripped & Torn and Kill Your Pet Puppy fanzines

 “In Southend, culture is often so ephemeral it can be easy to miss, even at the time, and particularly now when the venues that once fostered it are knocked down, ripped up, or ravaged with fire mysteriously in the night only to be replaced with expensive flats (here’s looking at you, the Esplanade). But zines tucked away in draws or filed in cabinets live long after the venues disappear. Here they reveal an invisible republic built by passion, kinship and no little talent.”

– Tim Burrows, co-author of Radical Essex and writer for The Guardian, The Quietus, Vice and New Statesman

ISBN 978 095534927 0

Format: Paperback, 208 pages plus cover, dimensions 270 x 170mm

Forewords and commentary by Andrew Branch and Tony D Samson (Club Critical Theory), Tim Burrows (The Guardian,

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