Zines

I’m no longer a child and I still want to be, to live with the pirates.

Because I want to live forever in wonder.

The difference between me as a child and me as an adult is this and only this: when I was a child, I longed to travel into, to live in wonder. Now, I know, as much as I can know anything, that to travel into wonder is to be wonder. So it matters little whether I travel by plane, by rowboat, or by book. Or, by dream.

I do not see, for there is no I to see. This is what the pirates know.

There is only seeing and, in order to go to see, one must be a pirate.

– Kathy Acker





I discovered zines in the mid-90s, when I was a suburban teenage punk living with my mum in Earlwood, on Gadigal country. The first zine I made was called Judgemental Bitch. It was a booklet of A4 photocopied pages stapled together along one edge, with ultra-limited circulation (shared only with my friends at Kingsgrove High, even the one who called me a judgemental bitch in the first place. He may have had a point, but that’s another story). This would have been 1995 or 1996, when I had a picture of Courtney Love on the cover of my school diary. (It was the picture of Courtney sitting on the ground drawing a big heart between her outstretched legs, with the words ‘PROPHET PROFIT’ in the middle). There was only one issue of Judgemental Bitch. Next I made a zine called Telly Narcosis. The cover of the first issue had a photo of then-Prime Minister John Howard scratching his head, with a monkey-ish expression on his face. The pages were full of collages and rants of the sort you’d expect of a suburban teenage punk at the turn of the millenium. By the time I got to #4 of Telly Narcosis I’d developed a style I was proud of, and which has informed my art ever since. I’d spend hours and hours cutting and pasting text typed on an electric typewriter then reduced or enlarged on the photocopier at my dad’s work in Marrickville. Twenty-odd years later I still make zines. I imagine I will keep making them till the day I die, or photocopiers cease to exist, whichever comes first. The images above are cover scans of a small selection of the zines I’ve made over the years.

© Emma Davidson 2021

I live and work on Gadigal and Gundungurra Country.
Sovereignty was never ceded.