Punk Faction BHP ’91 To ’95 By David Gamage (Earth Island Books)

Punk Faction BHP '91 To '95 By David Gamage (Earth Island Books)

If you were somehow involved in subcultural activities during the nineties and eighties, there’s no way you missed the zines. Zine culture is still strong and many longevous zines continued by publishing columns, news, reviews, interviews, and other features on the web. Webzines are now ruling the world, but a couple of decades ago, you would probably stumble upon xerox printed underground publication covering politics, arts, music, and other similar topics.

Before Engineer Records, Earth Island Books, Couch Potatoes, Rydell, Come The Spring, and The Atlantic Union Project, David Gamage was heavily involved in the punk rock/hardcore punk scene as a zine maker. He published nine issues of BHP zine from 1991 to 1995, which is more than impressive considering how lazy some zinesters may be. I know some zinesters who do it for decades and only have a couple of issues printed, so nine publications in four years is prolific in the fanzine world.

BHP Zine was an excellent publication with many good columns, reviews, and interviews, and it carried all the news about gigs and new music in a pre-internet era. It was a crucial medium, especially to those hardcore punk enthusiasts from Kent, since David was located in Kent back then. Now, everyone in the zine world probably knows how much effort it takes to operate all the activities surrounding making such a publication. It’s a long way from planning the content, scheduling interviews, and corresponding with collaborators/artists/bands via snail mail to writing, typing, assembling, and printing everything. You had to have nerves of steel to preserve sanity and do it all by yourself in the end. Hats off to David for that.

After collecting and reading zines for 25 years, I must admit BHP is one of the better ones I stumbled on. David caught the essence of the early nineties global punk rock scene by covering everything in these nine editions. You will stumble upon interviews with Pseudo Hippies, Schema, Unpolluted Air, Ramones, ALL, Pennywise, Green Day, Alloy, Quicksand, Rancid, Sugar, Shelter, Down By Law, Jawbreaker, SNFU, etc. I mean, there are so many UK, and US bands covered that I can’t even remember. There are news, reviews, scene reports, gig reports, columns about politics, political activism, vegetarianism, animal rights, animals in circuses, animals at zoos, the article about the importance of sleeping, and so many other topics that you usually don’t stumble upon in contemporary zines anymore.

This anthology showcases the beauty of the old-school underground publications, and BHP serves as an appropriate example of how the underground scene in Britain operated back in those days. I like how every volume has been done in copy/paste and xerox technic. It looks like beautifully organized chaos, and you can only appreciate it if you grew up reading zines like this one. Also, this paperback edition will come in handy if you hate regular zines because the aging of regular paper spoils the reading experience (or maybe not). Earth Island Books did a tremendous job, and I love how they put everything together. This paperback edition embraces love for literature, punk rock, and subculture in one place. What more could one ask for? Head over to Earth Island Books and grab this gem.

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