Thursday, April 08, 2010


Sticky Institute have a very good monthly newsletter. You can judge for yourself just how good it is from its title - 'Sporadic Correspondence from the Institute' - the regular updates 'From our Santiago correspondent', 'from our Perth correspondent', and the formatting (lots of '>' and '<' symbols, and frequent use of courier font). The other day I received my sporadic correspondence and scrolled down to the reviews, because I'd given them a copy of my zine to review recently. Sure enough, there was a review, but it wasn't exactly the sort that I'd been hoping for.
Tim Train

This was kinda stupid. It's a comic about an octopus trying to become a porn
star written in an attempted kinda Dr Seuss style. It's pretty harmless, but there's a lot of jarring repetition and poorly worded blabber that make for a fairly tedious read. And the jokes along the way, nor the overall story make up for it. The author needs to tighten up the writing and get more succinct.


Do you remember when you were a kid and you’d read books like Spot and Cat in the Hat and they’d all use that rhyming way of talking which when you were a kid made the books really fun to listen to but now that you’ve gone through puberty you just find annoying and patronising? And they’d use made up words like “doctorpus’ and ‘schloop’ so everything would rhyme? Now that you’ve been taken back to childhood and you realise how irritating that way of writing is, you’ll understand why I do not like this zine. The story of the octopus with a disability who dreams of being in a porno is, frankly, lame. This zine is trying to achieve that whole kids story in an adult form, much like what I imagine Madonna’s first foray into children’s story writing would have been like and, to a futher extent, how I feel about Alice In Wonderland being made into a fashion trend, namely regarding it’s influence on women’s lingerie.

Either way, we all have bad zine moments. I can’t say whether this zine could have been good if it was formatted differently, but all I know is that I don’t really like it. I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them, Sam I Am.
I'm not sure whether the entire review was written by Matt Ford and some strange mistake happened in the editing, or whether there was a second anonymous reviewer. Strangely enough they had almost nothing to say about the element that I thought might attract the most criticism - my crappy, faux-naive illustrations.

One of my old music lecturers, a fairly well-known Aussie composer, used to say that he collected bad reviews, and would fondly quote a review of one of his colleague's piano concertos: 'This is the sort of piece that gives A major a bad name.' I think that's a good idea, and so I'll be duly adding this to my growing list of questionable reviews, quoted on facebook:
"I'm not sure if I'm old enough to read this, or you're old enough to be writing this" - Baron Alexis of Prestonvillia

"It has a split infinitive." - Prestigious Editor

"Also, aren't octopuses molluscs, not crustaceans?" - The Same Prestigious Editor

"Um, thanks. It may not get reviewed." - Person at Sticky on receiving free zine copy

"... TWO dollars?" - work person
Well, I kind-of-sort-of-may-have asked the Baron if I could put that first one in, but the rest are genuine.


Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

No, I totally said, "I'm not sure if I'm old enough to be reading this." I say something similar most days. I'm not sure if I'm old enough to be reading this blog, for that matter.

Anyway, what a ripper of a review. My favourite line is "The story of the octopus with a disability who dreams of being in a porno is, frankly, lame." It's the frankly that kills me.

TimT said...

One should be Frank, if at all possible. But only if the other person is Ernest.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Actually, it was the lame that killed me. Is it meant to be some kind of ablist pun? Is "lame" being used as a derogatory term? In the presence of a seven-legged octapus?

TimT said...

I dunno, I think the 'lame' joke has legs...

TimT said...

Octapuses. You know them, they swim in the Specific Ocean. With the Jollyfishes. And the Sea Lines.

Tim said...

Many years ago (the old man said, scratching his ribs and hawking tobackee juice into the fire), my friend Jon and I made a zine and in this zine we ran a lukewarm review of another zine, and in the next issue of this other zine the other zine's authors declared that they would bash Jon and I if ever they should meet us. So maybe you should make a similar threat in your next zine. You could take it into Sticky and say: "Hey, here's a free copy of my zine. In it I threaten to beat you up."

Or not.

I think Matt Ford's review could be improved by being formatted differently, for instance with Matt Ford's name at the end rather than in the middle.

"The author needs to tighten up the writing and get more succinct."

Matt Ford also needs to stop using tautologies and using different words to say the same thing twice.

Steve said...

Not exactly on point, but I am curious about comments exchanges between the Baron and Tim. Do you sit in the same house and communication via internet? It reminds me all of a recent episode of The IT Crowd, in case you missed it:

Email: timhtrain - at -

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