Zine and Heard?
Holl(i)y reviews a couple of fanzines

Beat Motel
issue 4 £1.50
beatmotel.co.uk, crap@beatmotel.co.uk
Eighty A5 pages with very little blank space on 'em; an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Ipswich scene; enough fanzine reviews to guide the most voracious zineophile through six months of reading material; some affectionately pointed digs at the absurdities of the scene; a healthy dash of toilet humour; a bit of politics; reviews and reviews and reviews and, to top it all off, a load of opinionated ranting on music, life, bad gigs and drunken farce. Beat Motel is an absolute corker of a 'zine, with all the right priorities, attitudes and passion hitched to a lighthearted refusal to take themselves too seriously. And there's so much in here: it's absolutely jammed with articles most of which are an enjoyable read rather than simply of specialist-interest value. Highlights include nine (count 'em: nine!) pages of 'zine reviews, Aunty Em's guide to inventive skiving, Is Your Child A Goth (clue 12: stays up late at night and/or drinks blood), a massive list of useful contacts for bands and, oh, too many fantastic things to mention. Well worth sending £1.50 of your hard-earned cash to 71 Rectory Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP2 8EQ - please include generously stamped A5 SAE.

Thee Humbug
issue 4 £?
Theespc.com tiffin@theespc.com
Another locale-based 'zine, this one from Sheffield and attached to that town's Mighty Mighty Sheffield Phonographic Corporation indie label. And it comes with a free 12-track CD featuring bands from Sheffield and beyond! Hurrah! It's good stuff, too - Forward Russia, Scaramanga 6, The Yell, Umlaut... Lots of fine rock'n'roll/indie/pop/Yorkshire noise.

Anyway, back to the world of the printed word. Thee Humbug proclaims itself to be "An Irregular Gazette of Sheffield Music" - and by crikey, that's what you get. I suspect that the "irregular" tag was meant to refer to how often it appears, but it applies just as well to the content. And I mean that in the very best of ways: Thee Humbug is a glorious riot of cut'n'paste collage, wonky alignments, reviews that take the form of cartoons, inappropriate juxtaposition and photo captions bearing such legends as "The Scaramanga 6 and an owl". A wry, affectionate and oft bizarre humour runs through the whole thing, from the Forward, Russia! interview to the retrospective piece on Phonographic stars of the 1880s. Other highlights include a Myspace artist of the month (an article with a lovely "yeah, it's irritating - but it delivers the goods" tone), a dice game which chooses two random genres for you to hybridise to make your band less boring (because, you see, "Your band is the most stale, safe and tedious band since Athlete" - although attempting to change that with a random game of chance seems a tad dicey to me), an article on long-lost Sheffield bands and a veritable wealth of interviews. Thee Humbug tends to sell out rather quickly, so you may've already missed it - but drop 'em a line at tiffin@theespc.com and, if all else fails, you can always pre-order your copy of the next issue…


Baah humbug about this review on our message boards here