Can you tell me first of all a little bit about yourself? How
old are you, where are you originally from and where do you reside now?
I’m a South Australian gal, born and bred. My hometown of Adelaide
is often known as a quiet, boring city – but it’s also really
nice to live here. We have beautiful beaches, lovely weather, lots of
open space, good food and wine and comparatively cheap rent. So I’m
pretty content. I live in a housing co-operative, and my house is close
to the city and pretty modern. It’s a mezzanine apartment, which
means that my bedroom overlooks my lounge-room! It’s pretty cool.
I live here alone, but in coming months my boyfriend will be moving to
Australia from America, and he’ll be living with me. I’ve
just had my thirtieth birthday, and I’m a vegan Virgo!
What do you do besides your zine?
I work as a Research Officer for the South Australian youth affairs non-government
peak body. It’s my favourite-ever job. My four other workmates are
fabulous – incredible activists and gorgeous people, the sort of
people that you are friends with outside of work. Part of my job is information
management kind of stuff – organising our website, library, information
files, and getting hold of inew information, etc, and the other part is
about using the information we have to provide policy briefings and reports
on a whole variety of issues affecting young people. I’ve worked
here for nearly four years but I’ve been in this job for about six
months. I work full-time; aside from that other things I do include lots
of reading, a bit of baking, a bit of gardening, a bit of hanging out
and a lot of relaxing. I also have an old XY Fairmont that is wonderful
to drive around in; it’s a big, beautiful, glamourous, rusty car
(in my estimation) and I always feel like a bit of a queen when I’m
behind the wheel.
For how long have you been running your zine now? How many issues
did you put out until now? Are you the only editor or is there a team?
I started doing my zine in 1993. I’ve put out thirteen issues during
that time, and I’m working on the fourteenth. On two occasions I’ve
done a little one-off zine; one was a poetry zine called (from memory!)
More Than Ever,
which I did in the mid-1990s sometime. The most recent one-off I did was
produced specifically for the National Young Writer’s Festival this
year, and it was written to explore the idea that at some stage or age
in your life you are supposed to ‘grow out’ of doing zines.
It was called (Beastie Boys-style), You Can’t,
You Won’t and You Don’t Stop.
I work almost entirely on my own, zine-wise. The last issue of my zine
was the first time I did a collaborative effort, and that was because
the issue was like an anthology. I asked a bunch of women I knew (and
a couple I didn’t) to write something on the subject of inspiration.
Otherwise, it’s just me, myself and I.
What made you decide to start this project? How did you come up with the
idea and the name?
I found out about zines when my family moved to America in 1991. I was
about 18 then, and some kids in my neighbourhood did a zine called Rotten
Fruit. I had never seen a zine before but had often had thoughts
on my own about how I’d love to write my own little magazine. Before
I met the Rotten Fruit kids I didn’t know it was possible. So it
all fell into place for me – I got to learn how it was done! For
several months I thought Rotten Fruit was a kind of neighbourhood newsletter,
and I used to write a column that I thought was only being read by local
kids. The first time a letter arrived from interstate commenting on something
I’d written, I nearly lost my mind. I had no idea that Rotten Fruit
was being traded across America and overseas! I totally fell in love with
the idea that something like this could actually be done and made a promise
to myself that I would start a zine of my own when my family returned
to Australia. I had already chosen a name, A Show
Of Hands, which was the name of a woodworking store in Columbus,
Ohio, where we were living at the time. I thought it was a good name because
it implied something handmade. It also had a very active, ‘get involved
and give your opinion’ kind of a vibe – like when people are
discussing an issue and voting on it, and they say “Let’s
see a show of hands.” Apparently the band Rush also had an album
called A Show Of Hands, and when I began doing the zine a lot of people
asked me if it was in dedication to Rush. The short answer is: no. Absolutely
My family returned to Australia in 1992, and as usual I thought a lot
about doing a zine but didn’t actually do anything. Then in 1993,
I found out that one of my old friends from Columbus, one of the editors
of Rotten Fruit, had died. Matt had been diagnosed with cancer and passed
away within a year of diagnosis. He was about 18, I think. The night that
we found out about Matt’s death, I had a dream about him, and the
next day I began working on A Show Of Hands, I guess as a kind of tribute.
What topics are most often discussed in your zine?
I usually write about my own experiences, memories of growing up, things
that puzzle me, whatever. I find that I can make sense of myself and my
life that way, and sometimes other people are able to relate and use my
writing as a tool to think about themselves, how they might react in similar
situations, reflect on when similar things have happened in their lives.
I often do lists of things that make me happy – to remind myself
and also other people of the good things. And I’m not above getting
What do you hope to accomplish by establishing your zine?
I hope to be able to keep learning about myself and continuing to value
myself, as well as encouraging others to keep learning and valuing themselves.
And I want to always be able to maintain an outlet for getting creative
What does zine making (and reading) mean to you? What do you love
about zine making? What's the most challenging aspect of making zines?
Zines are independent, real, grass-roots, inspiring. Zines are one of
the goods things in my life that keep me rockin’ on. The best thing
about doing a zine, and also the biggest challenge, is in telling your
own truth, and sometimes in reading someone else’s truth!
Do you consider grrrl zines as an important part of a movement
of sorts? Do you think zines can effect meaningful social and political
Zines are important tools for getting individuals and collectives inspired
to activism. For that reason, yes, they have been an integral part of
the riot grrrl movement; but zines as activist tools can have a broader
application again – just in that they can effect change in individuals,
having an influence one by one by one …
What does the zine community mean to you?
The zine community is a means to trade and share ideas. I don’t
have a physical zine community where I live, so there’s no support
in that fashion, but the ‘virtual zine community’ (to use
a wanky term) provides a ready means of finding others to trade with.
What advice would you give others who want to start a zine?
Be as real as you can. Work honourably – send a trade if/when you
say you will – I’ve been so guilty of violating this one and
it’s not fair to others! If you can afford to do it, trade as much
as you can. Here’s a cliché – you’ll be richer
getting paid in zine trades than you will by only accepting cash or its
What are some of the zines you admire?
Vanessa Berry (She of Laughter and the Sound
of Teacups Zine fame) will always get a heads up – her zines
are unfailingly wonderful and she’s really prolific! The controversial
and now defunct Milkbar Zine by Richard Vogt
and Amber Carvan was incredible, as was Kane Barwick’s old Sure
Zine. Recently, I like Ianto Ware’s Westside
Angst Zine, Lee Tran Lam’s Speakeasy
Zine, and Adam Ford’s Jutchy Ya Ya
Could you please describe a little bit the grrrl zine community
in your country?
Not all young women doing zines in Australia identify as feminist, although
undoubtedly if questioned that would tell you that, yes, they do think
women have the right to walk down the street in a miniskirt alone at night
and not get sexually assaulted, and that yes, women should be paid the
same amount as a man when doing the same work. Which, frankly, to me,
means that someone who believes these things has basic feminist ideals.
Australia is a large country and to my knowledge there is no established
grrrl zine community, although there are young women with feminist beliefs
chaotically and sporadically trading zines with one another all over the
Do you define yourself as a feminist? What are the most pressing
issues you are confronted with in daily life (as a woman/feminist)?
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes … I’m absolutely a feminist! Pressing
issues for Australian feminists, I believe, centre on the human rights
abuses taking place right under our noses in this country. Aboriginal
people in Australia are still struggling to survive in a socially hostile
environment, and those who come from across the seas seeking asylum in
Australia are being locked up for months and sometimes years in prison-like
detention centres while their applications for asylum are being processed.
This means women, and more horrifically, it also means infants and children.
Australia is undergoing a massive social test presently, in that the generosity
and compassion of Australians is being scrutinised. As a country, will
we accept these human rights abuses? Will we accept that some people inherently
deserve lesser treatment, have lesser rights? Not everyone realises that
by accepting this, we signal our growing acceptance of the idea that governments
can treat some people as winners, and some people as losers. And not everyone
realises that just because you’re being treated as a winner now
doesn’t mean you won’t be treated as a loser later. Or your
children will be the losers. This nation will be so much poorer socially
if the general public accepts the brutal, inhuman treatment of others
as being deserved and politically justified.
Are you active in the feminist movement? How?
I have volunteered to welcome newly arrived refugees into the South Australian
community; I’ll be starting soon and I’m looking forward to
it. I’m not in any organised feminist groups per se, but I do hostess
a bi-monthly Ladies' Nite, which is usually held at my house. It’s
a networking opportunity for women to get together and just hang out.
I invite my close friends and encourage them to invite other like-minded
women who would enjoy this sort of thing and not feel too uncomfortable
about socialising without men around. It also gives us the opportunity
to exchange ideas, work together, etc. Everyone brings something vegan
to eat and something to drink, and we listen to music and hang out and
‘shoot the breeze’. I’ve only started this year but
it’s taking off slowly and surely.
What do you think about feminism today? Do you see yourself as
part of "Third Wave Feminism" and what does it mean to you?
I think that people, not just women, need to be aware of the fact that
the battle is not yet over with regard to women’s rights. Certainly
white, upper- and middle-class women have experienced some benefit from
the feminist movement, but Indigenous women, women of colour, women in
less-industrialised nations and their families still experience poverty,
discrimination and poor employment opportunities and practices. A better
place has still not been fully won for working class women, especially
with regard to employment prospects. And even for those who have benefitted
from the feminist movement so far, there is still work to be done in securing
equity in domestic and workplace settings. No matter which way you slice
it, there’s still a ways to go in improving women’s lot in
general, as well as the lot of their families. We all know this; I’m
not saying anything new.
Feminism to me is part of a broader outlook that might be called humanism.
Perhaps the idea of the feminist movement progressing in ‘waves’
is most appropriate when we think about the new battles being fought by
feminists to counteract inequity globally. By dint of my age and my political
ideals I identify as a third wave feminist. What this means to me is that
I recognise the new challenges ahead for feminism and for activists in
general and I am excited about using my life joyously in order to help
us get where we all need to be.
Which role plays the Internet for you? Does it change your ideas
of making zines and doing/reading zines?
The Internet has been an interesting networking tool for me, and it’s
meant that I have been able to see how other zine writers and feminists
are working. It has not much changed my outlook on how I produce zines
or how I read them, except that it has afforded me greater opportunities
to find zines that I may not have come across before.
Do you have any suggestions? Something you want to add?
Love your life, enjoy yourself, ask questions, be with people whose company
enriches you, be comfortable in both giving and receiving in balance,
be passionate in your actions, cherish and maintain your integrity, forgive
yourself, have fun.
Thanks! Kiss kiss.