Christine
chris1slug(a)hotmail.com
PO Box 26632 / Richmond VA 23261-6632

Some Thoughts #81

    Things have been rather sluggish here around the S&L HQ.  Besides the changing seasons, and the predictable slowing down of energy which comes with the colder darker days, this issue found itself in even worse of an ad crisis than the last issue.  S&L is dependent on the advertising which balances the pages out and ultimately pays for the printing so that the zine can be free.  This formula has worked for years and I am thankful to those who have helped to make it possible.  The type is small so I can fit more content into the pages.  I could do a 50 page issue, or more, if I were to use a “normal” type size and include everything that I wanted.  But the cost of doing so is just not feasible.  Even adding an extra 4 pages to the usual 20 would throw off the weights of the postage prices which work out so well.  Having gotten used to the 20 pages, and barely being able to fit in all the reviews and photos as it is, this issue I found myself with only enough ads to finance a 16 page issue.  I can’t even remember when I last did a 16 page issue.  For whatever reasons, everyone seems to be strapped for cash.  Mailorder for punk distros seems to be slow these days.  Label are budgeting in a way they haven’t had to in awhile, and both labels and distros are just not getting enough orders or business to warrant many ads.  This is what I hear.  This has a direct result on this zine, sadly.  So I had to fight it out with myself on just how to cut the content down to fit and it just was not possible.  That meant I had to find more ads, and that proved difficult.  These past few months have been great for shows and punk tours and the hundreds, or even thousands of photos that I had from the Pointless Fests in Philly, and the other shows I’d been to were piled up waiting to be edited and printed in these pages.  Not being able to do so seemed a darn shame.  So in the end I decided, or S&L decided as it usually seems to have an entity of it’s own, which dictates my life, that we had to go with the 20 page issue and do the centerfold photo spread and lost several hundreds of dollars in the process.  So here you are, my gift to you from the depths of my pockets and camera, heart and soul.  I don’t know where the future lies exactly.  I would like to think that the zine will get itself back on track and that people will continue to support independent presses and record labels, and that includes those who support S&L.  I would like to think that paper will continue to exist and that the whole world won’t go digital.  People have asked me many times if I’ll keep S&L going for another 20 years, to which my answer is always as long as there is paper.  Now I guess I have to amend that with, as long as the finances are there—whether that be in advertising or benefits or donations or what-have-you.  I am lucky to get a lot of positive feedback and verbal support for this zine, and I thank every person who shares their thoughts, inspiration, energy and passion, and support.  I have always fueled S&L with my inspiration and the various places that I get it from.  And I have always liked to think that in turn energy gets shared and provides inspiration for others.  I really do believe in those ideas that we can make a difference.  That we can make changes great and small in our daily lives.  Sometimes the smallest things make the biggest difference.  One person “getting it” can make every thing worthwhile.  One person’s comment and support can fuel the fire for a long time to come.  This is why I have always encouraged people to tell people how they feel—whether you like someone’s words, music, art or actions—it’s not dorky to say so.  I think most people would be surprised how much the smallest bit of encouragement or affirmation can go.  And while I’m not attempting, in any way, to write an obituary, nor do some fundraising solicitation, I am trying to tell you all that things are changing and the future is unclear in many ways.  As for as S&L goes, I’ll keep on keeping on with things as I always have, and hopefully round up some new supporters and find ways to finance the printing of future issues.  If you can help, please do.  If you have ideas, please share them.  I feel like all of the foundations upon which much of my life is based, is currently built on sand.  Things I thought were certain are not.  Changes are coming from unexpected places.  As the leaves fall around me, the horizon shifts as well.  Many of my good friends have moved away from Richmond.  More seem to be planning to go soon too.  And all just as I find myself more comfortable and at home here than ever.  The punk scene that I have grown up in is changing around me.  The world of photography that I have dedicated years and years to is changing overnight. I seem to find myself constantly on that  cusp of change and I want to fight it.  Even though in many ways much of what my friends and I are dedicated to in life is change, change can also be hard.  I find that time passes so quickly that I can’t even get a grasp on things.  Days are weeks, weeks are years, and I realize that if I can’t get a letter to a friend replied to with in 6 months while it only seems like days, that  means my life is slipping by me and I need to get a grasp on it.  I have this tendency to reach out to people once they are far away, rather than being with them when they are close at hand.  I spend so much time in the past and in the future but not enough time in the present and I feel like it’s time to seize the day and make it mine, before it’s too late. 
    Yeah this has a somber tone to it, but what do you expect for November when Bush just won re-election, the leaves are dropping quickly from trees, the sun is setting before 5pm and the excitement of wearing tights and a sweatshirt has turned to sadness at having to wear them to keep warm.  I hate this time of year because I get SAD.  I don’t just get bummed, I fight off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) (depression) that comes with the colder darker days.  I have a light which mirrors the sun rays to give me more light (which helps) and I take meds (which help too) but I still feel the gloom and doom, and while I love the crisper air after the humidity of summer, and I love the colors on the trees for a brief minute, they fall too quickly and leave that barren darkness which is just plain depressing.  This is old news.  It happens every year, I write about it every year, and I continue to cope and deal and it gets harder and easier at the same time.  I realized recently that I’ve been seriously depressed every since George W. Bush took office in 2001, and I had really hoped that we could change that.  I have had this sinking feeling that I would not survive through another term of his.  I have also talked many times about escaping from the craziness of the world to my mythical tree house in the woods somewhere when I feel overwhelmed and unable to deal.  I have joked about moving to Canada or anywhere but here, cause I really feel overwhelmed at the conservative trends displayed by the mainstream in this country.  Well I probably won’t move to a treehouse, or out of the country, and I hope that I do live long enough to see George Bush leave the presidency.  But as these days get darker, I can only see more of that in the immediate future, which is pretty bleak.  I always look for a ray of sunlight and optimism, and I do have plenty of it buried deep within me, and it shouldn’t really take to much to tap back into it.  But man, it’s gonna be hard all the same, especially when everything feels like it’s rocking on that sandy foundation with nothing certain at all.  I really shouldn’t write my columns at this time of year on a rainy day, but I always write this as the last thing when I pull the issue together, so it goes.
    Looking back, on the past couple months that have fueled this issue take on a much more positive and manic note.  The Philly fest in August seems forever ago, cause really it was.  As always the gathering of friends and punks and favorite bands and people was awesome.  My total obsession with Hellshock was fulfilled in getting to see them twice (and yes, they were as good as I hoped and expected).  My camera failed me somewhat, breaking (during Hellshock’s set no less) and I later realized it had malfunctioned throughout the weekend.  Fortunately it was not the complete loss that I originally feared and I managed a lot of great shots after all. 
    There have been lots of other great shows, though few in Richmond, except for Avail, who I was so excited to see after such a long time that I got out of my mind crazy over the top crazy like in days past.  Flailing arms and hair, camera in hand, it reminded me of how I ended up in Richmond in the first place. I first visited Richmond, because of Avail.  Ended up going on a couple tours with them.  Got charmed with RVA and fell in love with a boy named Erik. And in the way that I have in recent years paired up my obsession with From Ashes Rise and Strike Anywhere, 8 years ago or so it was Avail and Citizen Fish.  Both were favorites, and when they toured together, I went along, the happiest girl on earth and it changed my life.  And so somehow it seems only fitting that within the same month of my Avail mania, I also got the special treat of seeing Citizen Fish in Philly. Even though the Subhumans tour got delayed with US customs hassles, they managed to start the tour off in Pennsylvania, and still had a day off in Philly where they played a sorta last minute and on the down low show that my peeps told me about.  I was sick with a nasty kind of chest cold that took my voice away, and really probably shouldn’t have gone anywhere, but for so many years my life revolved around seeing Citizen Fish, and even Erik knew I wasn’t going to miss out on this special event for any reason at all.  With my raspy voice I was carrying on about how Citizen Fish are my all time favorite band, much to the surprise of a few friends who didn’t know me back then.  “What about Nausea?” they asked.  Well of course they are one of my favorites, but it’s different. Nausea was short lived in comparison.  Not my obsession with them, they actually changed my life just as much as anything else.  But whereas Nausea put out one LP and were around for a couple years of my time in NYC, Citizen Fish started and kept on going during that same time, and I lived through them every year after like clockwork.  I never saw the English Dogs or the Amebix, so they’re in a whole different category. But the Fish were the band in the present that were my favorite, that I got to see every year.  All those other favorites were from long in the past and I never saw them, or experienced them in the present.  That is what I always appreciated with the Fish - it was in the now - and it was the best.  And it still is.  Despite being sick, I flailed in manic excitement and sang lyrics at the top of my lungs, even though I had no lung capacity to speak of. Apparently they played for a good long time, but it seemed too short to me.  Even if they played every song they ever wrote it’d probably seem too short to me. Before the Fish even played, Erik Peterson covered Civilization Street by Culture Shock and we danced like it was yesterday.  And speaking of dancing, I’ve been rounding up friends for 80s dance parties each week at my new favorite bar, and trying to get the new wave back in my personal revolution.  So really with all the doom and gloom, as always I can find a few things to get me crazed and manic.  Pumpkin beer, henna on my hands at a Festival of India, new colored plant tattoos on my leg, my husband home from many weeks on tour in Europe, a new Hellshock 10”, a new Cruachan CD, and World Burns to Death, Kegcharge, ATP and Immortal Avenger shows to look forward to all help pass the days with a smile. And I guess I could take the random tomato plant that sprouted up in the middle of my yard on Halloween as a good sign of things to come.  And there is always that stack of books waiting too.  So I guess that is my motto for today—find whatever is good out there, grab a hold and treasure it today, cause who knows what will happen tomorrow.
—Chris(tine) 11/04

A few more notes on this issue of S&L:
•• Several columnists are missing this time around.  Karoline will be back once the US Embassy stops messing with the Subhumans, Dave will be back once the viruses leave his computer, Sascha will return once he has finished his latest epic masterpiece and endless editing process, Candyce will come back when life calms down and Cindy will write again when I find her.  Krissi will hopefully be back with a column after the birth of baby Arrow.
•• The classifieds for the time being are done.  This may change, but space and demand have both decreased and they have gone to the back-burner probably to only resurface as announcements.
•• I can no longer guarantee that a trade copy will automatically be sent out with trade reviews to international addresses.  I can however email you the review.
•• I need feedback from international distributors, and people who get copies from the international distributors.  It takes so long for the copies to get to their destination (via surface mail) and sometimes I don’t even know if they get there.  I rarely hear from people who have picked up copies through these distros.  So give me some feedback.  Also I’d like recommendations of good distros globally who can dependable and regularly get S&L out there. 
•• I’m looking for recommendations on infoshops, independent book & record shops, distros, co-ops, etc. that would be interested in regularly carrying S&L and making them available to interested people.  If you know of such a place, please get in touch.