Künstlicher - Laura Snapes
As I’m persuading you to embarrass yourselves with your teenage zine efforts, it makes sense that I should go first. This was not my first fanzine - that was Espionage, but it only exists on paper in my childhood bedroom so I’ll dig that out next time I go home. Künstlicher, however, was Espionage phase two, reanimated for my AS-level art coursework with a new name - it means “artificial” in German. And it sounds brilliantly rude (at least when you’re 16). I’ll never forget the very Christian one of my art teachers blushing a bit, and very tentatively positing that she didn’t think the name was appropriate for a school project. “I don’t know what you mean?” I replied, pretending to be confused, knowing that she wouldn’t try and explain what it sounded like.
Where Espionage was a purely bedroom vocation, Künstlicher was an empire in comparison. I wrote and designed everything, took all the photos and printed and distributed it myself. As well as a circulation of about 50 (god bless my dad staying late after work so I could use the photocopier), it had a blog and an advertising rates card. Even at the low, low rate of £15/full page - with bespoke layout if you desire!! - no-one took me up on this highly lucrative business opportunity. I can’t think why.
Künstlicher only ran for one issue as I soon realised that blogging was a lot less hassle, especially because (as you can see) I was completely rubbish at Photoshop. The cover had local post-LCD Soundsystem heroes I Say Marvin sweating it out in local Truro pub The Swan (but no feature on them inside, well done me), an interview with Lee May Foster from Bonbi Forest (that was the first time we’d met - she’s now Lee May Foster-Wilson and one of my best pals), and a completely bizarre article on babysitting. I’ve picked out a few choice excerpts below.
This is an embarrassingly bad review of one of my favourite local bands, The Bloody Tentacles, from when they came and played in the record shop I worked in. Note the wonderfully literal illustration. I think I was aiming for some kind of apocalyptic scene. Tis was written shortly after a parents’ evening where I asked my parents and English teacher, “Have you heard of that journalist Julie Burchill? Yeah, I want to be like her.”
Also: “cool-as-fuck sound”. Can you hear that? It’s the sound of me crumbling into a million pieces in embarrassment.
Here’s a guest article from now-Guardian Music editor Tim Jonze, who I think I repeatedly hassled on MySpace to get him to do this for me. And then promptly put blue text on a blue background so no-one would be able to read it anyway. Sorry Tim. I can tell what you’re thinking too - I really missed my calling as a magazine designer. Our art director is literally quaking in his boots having seen these pages.
Lastly, here’s a spread on local band Rosie & The Goldbug. I thought this was literally the apex of design when I finished it. Not that you can tell from the pictures I chose to illustrate the piece, but Rosie’s thing was wearing Dresden Dolls-style black and white shiny tights and playing the piano with her feet. The legs on the right are in homage to that - I lovingly cut them out of a Daily Mail spread on patterned tights, and scanned them in individually. The first line - “‘Kate Bush on crack’ and ‘the deranged older sister of Dorothy’ are two ways in which Rosie Vanier has been described” - I wrote both of those descriptions myself in the local newspaper. And the last line - “fortunately for Vanier, at the end of the yellow brick road seems only success”? She’s currently touring small pubs around the country. Never let it be said that I can’t spot ‘em early.