Grim Humour: Highlights and Lowlights 1983 - 1987 book
Grim Humour was a UK fanzine which existed for eighteen editions, between 1983 and 1993. It received good reviews and favourable attention from the outset, partly due to its often sarcastic or caustic tone (which became more pronounced with later editions) and its focusing on many groups who arrived from the post-punk music landscape that originated in the DIY sensibilities of the time. Although initially assembled by a group of friends whose passion for the music they wished to document far overrode their artistic or writing skills, the fanzine soon developed in every respect and even became (inter)nationally distributed to independent record stockists, resulting in larger print runs and, with the later editions, a more semi-professional approach that never once betrayed the attitudinal stance of the early issues. This collection is dedicated to re-edited interviews, reviews and suchlike from the first ten editions, reprints of a number of the original pages, bonus material and several contributions by those who were involved with the 'zine, championed it or were part of the very same enclave it pulsated in. Due to the fact many of the original pages had colour backgrounds or were brimming with text bashed out on barely functioning typewriters, the idea of simply rewriting many of the features took hold as a sensible alternative itself open to being expanded on and contextualised. The features include interviews with The Fall, Killing Joke, Crass, Coil, 400 Blows, Sonic Youth, In The Nursery, Head Of David, Virgin Prunes, The Damned, Nick Cave, The Ramones, Fool's Dance (featuring Simon Gallup of The Cure), And Also The Trees, Alternative TV, Portion Control, Big Black and others, plus many reviews, a couple of rants and far more besides. It is hoped this book illuminates a tiny segment of a culture now long gone and never to be repeated. Given just how many of those concerned remain active to this day in one capacity or another, this is far more than a simple nostalgia trip.
This volume will be a hefty softcover book, with over 340pp. This is why the postage is so much. Sorry, but the package will weigh over a kilo.
It is the first of two volumes, with the second planned to be embarked on sometime during 2021. It is the first venture for Fourth Dimension Publishing. Other ideas are also afoot as well...
As with all the releases on Fourth Dimension (and related), it will be distributed by Cargo. The RRP will be approx. £25.00 but the book can be pre-ordered direct for £18.50 plus shipping. It was published in October 2020.
Adventures in Reality book
ADVENTURES IN REALITY
Put together by Alan Rider, Adventures in Reality, was a fanzine from Coventry in the early 1980s that both fitted snugly inside the post-punk landscape of the time and did its utmost to avoid many of the tropes most fanzines were given to. Like most of them, however, each edition was produced with a youthful energy and passion itself manacled to an attitude only really emboldened by this cultural shift.
In between diatribes and a salubrious dash of humour, Adventures in Reality proved itself to be amongst the vanguard, running countless reviews, putdowns of the apathy dominating the city, and interviews with all from Attrition and Human Cabbages to Wah! and SPK. Somewhere along the way an excerpt taken from the lyrics of The Jam’s poignant ‘That’s Entertainment’ also appear, as indeed do cartoons, various lists and suchlike. Everything adds up to an intoxicating mix absolutely perfect for the time that spawned it.
Over the course of its 13 issues, plus a few other related titles originally published anonymously and designed to upset rival fanzine editors and their own supporters, Adventures in Reality proved itself to stand above its immediate competition so well it made a formidable impression not only nationally, but also internationally.
This compendium gathers all 13 issues in their entirety, as well as the other titles and additional ephemera, alongside insightful introductions to each of them, an interview with Alan Rider, a foreword by Matthew Worley, blurb by Nicholas Bullen (himself inspired by AiR enough to start his own ‘zine), and several other bonuses.
Collected in an A4 book similar in size to the Grim Humour one also published by Fourth Dimension, this makes for a perfect return trip to a time long gone still of interest to either those informed by it or those who wish to navigate their way to why it was so unique in the first place.
As Alan himself says, "Fanzines were never intended to form a part of mainstream pop culture.They were underground, counter culture, an alternative that existed to shine a light on new music in a way that commercial publications could not and would not. Wilfully obtuse, Adventures in Reality sought to seize that ground, breaking the mould of what a post-punk fanzine was expected to be and by doing so, adding an extra dose of subversive originality to the pool of UK underground alternative music culture "
“The seismic effects of the initial punk explosion continued to be felt in the late 1970s and early 1980s, particularly in the host of fanzines that flowed from the bedrooms of the inner cities, suburbia and rural hamlets.
In the vibrant local fanzine scene of the Midlands of England, Adventures In Reality stood out, combining documentation and interrogation of the post punk diaspora (from local soon-to-be-forgotten bands to national and international artists) with opinion pieces and editor Alan’s humorous asides.
Alan’s enthusiasm was clearly evident, not only in terms of content, but also in a design aesthetic that reflected his studies in art: layouts merged text embedded on dynamically patterned backgrounds with images from cinema reference books and the then de rigueur Letraset transfer lettering and extended to the presentation of the fanzine in a range of formats, all accompanied by a regular free gift.
Although Adventures In Reality was short-lived (as Alan’s focus moved on to his own record label and musical endeavours), it was well received and respected, and also had an impact: its energy and engagement played a part in inspiring my own first foray into fanzine publishing (Antisocial, written with Miles Ratledge in 1980).
This book will provide a valuable contribution to the ongoing reappraisal and appreciation of the fanzine scene of the period, not least in highlighting Adventures In Reality as an exemplar of the animation and vibrancy that characterise the finest fanzine productions.” (Nicholas Bullen)