North West Zine Fest- 2015

Myself and Sarah Fordham two parts Penny Club CEO's and girls who like a good picnic sandwich visited NWZineFest on the 30th May. Held at The Star and Garter we were very excited to 1- Finally meet, 2-realise that we weren't made of plasticine and 3- visit lots of internet people, pen pals and an actual real life zinefest. My friend and pen pal Ingrid who is also a Penny Club CEO created the whole thing along with Steve and Liz from Salford Zine Library and Cherry Styles from The Chapess and Synchronise Witches. I boarded the new electric train service to Manchester Victoria and was very pleased at the spacious carriage, the soothing hum of the electric line and the beautiful purple livery. I don't use the train much anymore so to me it was a like a small personal charabanc and I even stood on an unmentionable substance whilst disembarking like a proper party. Victoria station is very fast now and with ticket putter inner machines and new stairs. I know these machines are probably at lots of stations these days and they also have new stairs but after passing through Victoria for so many years and it being not so good, it was very nice to see all the building work going on, use the putter inner machines and then walk quietly to the tram stop. After a short trip through town I saw a man holding lots of balloons outside Primark. One of the bigger balloons he had made a break for freedom like something out of a Werner Herzog film. I said 'oh' but it was too late and off it floated towards Old Trafford.  

Arriving at Piccadilly I broke out a sandwich as I just couldn't continue. My belly was mixed with barley sugars from before the trip started, tea and nerves. A Dairylea bap was devoured and I then felt ready to proceed to the mini WHSmith by the escalators. After much texting like back in 1999 when texting was new, Sarah arrived and we made gleeful noises and happily went to the park for our dinner of baps, twisty tomato based twists and Kits Kats. After admiring the view, chatting very fast to fit everything in and eating our small picnic we made our way to The Star and Garter.

I had convinced myself I had been there before in a previous life. The Smiths pub with the round bar. As we got nearer I didn't remember it or rather I couldn't remember, but 'so what' I said 'your going now!'  We entered and were firstly greeted by the lovely Liz from Salford Zine Library and Young Explorer. Liz had a lovely dress on that had faces on it. I felt like I should have said more about the dress but you don't want to go overboard on first meetings in case people run away so Liz, I really liked your dress! Also I asked if I could put my immensely heavy bag down under the table for freedom of movement and also so I didn't hit anybody in the face with it. Liz pointed me to the under the table bag storage area which was very good. We then saw Ingrid who I have written to for over two years now and immediately purchased her new zine. I had briefed myself and with Sarah that we wouldn't spend anything, only look and admire and maybe have a small drink with our few pennies but within 30 seconds after my Ingrid purchase and Sarah's Ingrid purchase we couldn't stop. We then met Sarah who gives very good hugs and makes nice badges and I started to get overwhelmed at how many things my eyes were catching. 

Moving round the room with purse in hand I started to recognise people who I had seen in internet land and I just couldn't speak and my lip got stuck on my braces and then I got hot and started to try and fan myself with my purse, but it is not a fan so I put it away and then got it straight back out again.

We came across the table of Jan Hopkins who had a machine called a text miner who printed out a condensed unique version of Women in Love by D.H Lawrence. Sarah and I were very engrossed and impressed by this and it just kept coming out. A tiny till roll of data. I definitely need one as it was like magic, in fact it was magic! Jan is a very nice lady and she gave me a sticker with a typewriter on. I liked it all very much.

I got these two lovely zines from Tukru who runs Vampire Sushi Distro. I admired her necklace as it was a stunner as well as herself and it said 'Trust No Man'. She had also been up very very early to arrive there so my half past 8 start moaning earlier on was totally unnecessary compared to her incredible journey.

After a small break outside eating Kit Kats and taking outside pictures we ventured upstairs to see loads more tables and it was here I met Kate who is also my penpal! Kate also gives good hugs and her hair is so soft and I bought two zines from her- Spikey Pals and Fuzzy Food. Its nice to meet in real lifes. 

Up on the stage we spotted cat zines and then met The Common Swings. I wanted all of the things and all of the cat things but with £3 left I was getting weak and had visions of asking the barman did they do cash back if I bought some crisps. I purchased a tiny mini cat zine which is now unfurled on my cat shelf. My older sister liked it when I showed it to her and I think it would have gone up her sleeve if I wasn't so quick to get it back.

Moving away from all the lovely cat bits I came across Bruise. I have the first issue of their zine and I sent in a submission for their next issue which was all about knees. I didn't hear or see any more about it until I opened up the first page of volume two and there were my knees! What a lovely treat and I knew one day I would be famous and my knees in their lopsided glory have finally done it! The bright lights and big city beckons!

We then stopped for half a Guinness and a posh lemonade and regrouped our thoughts. We had small bits of monies left and we had seen things we liked. We wandered over to the Shape and Situate table and I held their zines in my hands for longer than normal. I liked this one, I had pennies and I bought it. Job done.

After a good few hours walking round and a visit to HOME where we got free tattoos out of a mystical machine and many leaflets to cut up it was time to go home as we had Stitch Club the next day-More on that later!

I was staying at my sisters and I had heard there was pizza and spaghetti hoop's for tea so I needed that urgently. So many people so many things and I had a lovely time meeting real life people and chatting and visiting and eating picnics in the park. I hope Zinefest carries on and on and next time I will speak more, bring cake and bring more pennies for spending.