Sunday, 21 February 2010

Lost to LimaZulu

There are moments in my life when I do wonder – what on earth am I doing here? With entirely good intentions, I will trek across London to the edges of the compass to see an exhibition opening in the evening – however tired, I will push myself to go. Thank goodness – I used to think, for the TFL travel planner, my fairy godmother for these missions across London; or so I thought. However, on Thursday evening the TFL journey planner and I had a fall out, and I think this time, I will hold the grudge. It all looked so simple to get from the Barbican to LimaZulu project space, just nip on the 141 bus for half an hour, few minutes walk, and we’d be there. Perfect. No, it wasn’t.

A rather crucial piece of information that was left out of this foolproof plan, was that the bus stop we needed to get off at, was closed. Brilliant. As we sat on the bus in our oblivion, the bus zoomed past our stop and took us to somewhere I cannot even name, as even two days later, I have no idea where we were. It was the last stop on the 141, this I do know. As the bus driver abandoned us with this news, we resentfully walked across the road to get the same bus all the way back again. These sort of moments do make me wonder – when I’m sitting waiting for a bus with a slightly irate friend who is trying not to question whether it was in fact me reading the TFL site wrong, in the cold and the rain with a bus promising to arrive in 10minutes for the last 15minutes; was this ever going to have been worth it?

With hindsight, of course it would have, had we got there, but a total of a two hour jaunt on the 141 did dampen my enthusiasm for that evening. Will try again next week to find my way to LimaZulu – but one thing I do promise myself is I will never take the 141 ever again and the TFL journey planner and I will no longer be working together.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Zines for Sale?

Zines! - a few pages put together of creative genius, (most of the time!) They are independent ventures, self-published, hand made - they don’t have to be glossy or designed to perfection; and it is because of this lack of expectation, that they are often beautiful and inspiring pieces of work. They can be made in the fleet of the moment, or carefully put together over time. Zines give the opportunity for experimentation, a chance for artists to question and explore, or even a moment for meaningless fun. With the zines, anything goes.

This week, the artist collective, Artinavan// have set up a zine shop in their pop-up gallery in the Brixton Village Market. I went down there to have a snoop around and we all got talking about the zine dilemma – should you charge people for a zine, and if so, how much? Zines are meant to be fun collaborations that are distributed as a way of sharing ideas and not a way of profiting; there is no hidden agenda. You swap zines, you hand them out to friends, you leave them in studios for lucky passers by. But on the other hand, the amount of time and effort that often goes in to making them should surely be recognized by some sort of fee – even if it is a small one at that? I will happily pay a couple of quid - but does this go against the tradition? No? Yes? We remain undecided.