Today’s activity came at a perfect time. I just checked my mail this afternoon and found the zines I ordered from Bottles on the Sill Distro earlier this month. I ordered a zine called Orange & Blue by Isabelle Bourret from Quebec, and got a complementary zine Katzilla which is apparently a zine from Germany about the Israeli punk scene. I’m somewhat reluctant to reading the latter due to the fact that I know the Israeli punk rock scene and am completely put off by the swamp of anti-Zionism that comes with it. Just skimming through the zine and coming across some of the extremely anti-Israeli names these so-called bands give themselves made me upset and made me want to read it even less…
Moving on! I just finished reading Orange & Blue, the Intro Issue. I ordered this zine primarily because it’s from Quebec, where I spent 15 years of my life. Reading any zine that comes from this province always makes me feel nostalgic and always makes me smile. Amber’s zines (Culture Slut) are especially powerful on that aspect because she’s based in Montreal, which was the city where I lived. She mentions things and places that I knew or have been to so many times throughout my high school, CEGEP and university years, and I can’t help but giggle with glee.
Isabelle, however, lives in a part of Quebec I’ve never been to. In fact, I don’t recall being anywhere else aside from Montreal, when I lived in Quebec. I think I was in Laval once, but that’s it.
In any case, she still mentions things that I remember from my years in Quebec. In one of the articles, she talks about French and French Canadian. She mentions words, mainly curse words, I haven’t heard in ages, and it made me laugh hysterically as I could just hear these words in my head the exact way they’re pronounced.
The Intro Issue of the zine is exactly what it is, and I don’t think I could have come across a better intro issue for a zine if I tried. She introduces herself and the little town she comes from, describes Quebec City and the ancient style architecture of the city. She talks about the important things in her life, her love for the colors orange and blue, her cat, her diaries, train rides and more. There are also some additions and updates she made to the zine since it was written earlier on. I love how she added those updates. It’s an aspect I don’t find in almost no other zine.
I especially loved the first few pages where she talks about how she feels alone with her zine as she has yet to find other French-language perzines from Quebec (Orange & Blue is originally a French-language zine), and has not managed to do so. I strongly identify with that feeling, maybe even on a larger scale because I don’t know of any zines (perzines or others) or zinesters from Jerusalem. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if you Google “zines” and “Jerusalem,” my zines will most likely be the only ones to come up. I even tried to look for Hebrew zines from Jerusalem, and found none. I mean there is Af magazine, but it can’t exactly be called a zine because it’s more of a magazine with sponsors and some other capitalist bullshit that has no space in independently produced publications. There are tons of other zines in Israel but all of them are based in Tel Aviv or wherever else. So yes, I do feel alone in my Jerusalem zine scene (or lack thereof).
Another thing I liked about Orange & Blue are the illustrations. The drawings are impeccable, and fit the subject matter of the respective article perfectly.
I loved learning about Isabelle’s charming little town of Levis, how she has a view of the St-Lawrence River from her apartment window, her 10-minute ferry-boat rides whenever she needs to go to Quebec City, which is practically every day.
I laughed again when she was talking about how some Americans have no idea what Quebec is, and how they think that Toronto is the capital city of Canada. She expressed exactly what I feel when people from outside of Israel think that Tel Aviv is the capital city of Israel. For those of you still ignorant on that matter, Jerusalem is the capital, dudes! Get it right next time!
The only thing that kinda bothered me about this zine, and I don’t know if it’s Isabelle’s doing or if the distro I got it from reprinted it this way, is that the order of the pages seems to be completely off. I’m pretty sure it was not intended, and it’s no doubt a mistake on the printer’s part, but reading the second half of an article on one page and finding the first half of it a few pages later kind of takes away from the pleasure of reading it.
Again, I’m not saying this was intentional, as I strongly doubt it, and it’s still a great read despite that glitch. And just in case Isabelle reads this, I hope she doesn’t take that to offense. I’m sure it was not her fault.
I highly recommend this zine to anyone who loves perzines.
I don’t know if Isabelle still produces this zine, or any other one she may have today (the edition of the intro zine I have is from 2004), but I will definitely try to get in touch with her. Maybe we could trade zines or perhaps share laments of our respective lacks of local zine scenes. It might make us feel less alone.
Peace, love and I love finding new zines that I enjoy reading!