Come and indulge in
Achey Breaky Heart Zine
Illustration Tales of Black Eyed Jack
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into zine making.
I've always been a fan of independent publishing, magazines and zines in particular. I was that teenager who kept scrapbooks of everything, forever ripping out photos from magazines and creating “inspo” walls with the likes of Brody Dalle; Karen O; and an array of grungy-looking male models, all tatts and unwashed hair. I hoarded gig tickets, exhibition leaflets, and free zines I picked up from my fave vintage shops.
I WAS SUCH A CLICHÉ – SOMEONE SLAP ME!
Anyway, despite this teenage creativity, I never actually thought to make my own zine until last year. My friends at Sister magazine were hosting their own zine fair, and I decided to set myself the challenge of creating my own. I had been recently broken up with, was still fairly heartbroken, and thought 'as this is such a universal life experience, why not make a zine about it?'
A lot of people don’t know what zines are; what is a zine?
Zines were created as a form of counterculture to provide a voice for anything/anyone not included in mainstream media. They're self-published, self-funded bodies of work, which can cover any number of subjects: politics, race, gender, sexuality – heartbreak! They can take any format: A5, A4, colour, black & white, glossy, cut & paste... As they are self-published, there is complete freedom in terms of both subject matter and aesthetic.
How did Achey Breaky Heart come about?
I describe Achey Breaky Heart as a feminist, heartbreak zine, which focuses on heartbreak, relationships, and love from a feminist perspective. As I explained before, I had just endured a difficult breakup and was in a pretty raw emotional place, and I wanted a way to work through those feelings whilst also creating something other people could relate to.
I was also interested in the dynamic between single women and society. I feel like heterosexual women experience a greater amount of societal pressure and prejudice than men in terms of being in a relationship and that this massively impacts their self-esteem, both in and out of relationships. I wanted to explore this. I wanted to create something that would inspire women to embrace being single and to encourage self-love, to encourage women not to feel pressured to stay in unhappy relationships because they're “scared of being single”.
Talk us through your creative process…
My creative process is super basic. I literally create my zine in a scrapbook. I collect images from magazines; I print content, cut it out, and stick it all into a scrapbook. I scan this scrapbook in and get it printed! Sometimes things are stuck in a bit wonky, edges aren't perfect, the images are sometimes a bit faded, but that all feeds into the aesthetic I want for Achey Breaky. I want it to feel very “Dear Diary” – the content is so raw, and I like that that's reflected in the overall style, too.
What do you look for in a good zine?
All zines are great because of the time, energy, and money that goes into creating one! I honestly fuck with anyone who has taken the time to put their ideas, feelings, and art out there. It might be fairly easy to do in theory, but when you're trying to juggle it alongside full-time work, it can be difficult and should not be underestimated...
As my zine is all about the feels, I look for similar in other zines. I love reading something and thinking, 'Wow, I’ve totally felt like that before' – reading something that's really open and honest is inspiring. Zines provide a medium for more authentic, realistic storytelling that you just don't get as readily in everyday media, and it takes a lot to be brave and put your experience and truth out there.
What would be your desert island zines? (Which 3 would you love to be stuck on a desert island with?)
I mean obviously my homegirls at Sister magazine, not just because we'd have an absolute LOL-fest on an island together but because they really did inspire me to make ABH. They work so tirelessly alongside full-time jobs, not just creating an amazing magazine but putting on zine fairs and events, too. They are the ultimate power huns.
I recently met 2 of the girls from BORN n BREAD at a zine fair – I’d been following them on social media for a while, and they're absolutely killing it. Plus, they DJ on NTS radio AND have regular nights they host in London, so they'd been guaranteed to turn the island into Party Island.
I'd love to be on a desert island with some of the illustrations from Sassify...now that would be a REAL party.
What motivates you?
Everyone who has contributed to Achey Breaky, anyone who has ever messaged me that I helped them with their own heartbreak, and anyone I have ever met at a zine fair who has opened up about their own experiences. I've honestly lost count. It's so touching to know I’ve created something that resonates with so many people. I've always stayed true to my own experiences – I want the zine to be honest, funny, sad, angry, and completely relatable.
I just want to keep creating, meeting people and hearing their stories, and continue to build this real depiction of strong, independent women overcoming emotional trauma and heartbreak.
What is sassiness?
Sassiness is a perfectly timed hair flip and an eye roll. Killer.
Tell us your best sassy story…
My first EVER MSN Hotmail email address was firstname.lastname@example.org. I was 12. MORTIFYING!
What was the last thing you googled?
Tori Spelling 90210. I can't even remember why now.
We are in a hot political climate right now; how can we urge people to vote?
Awareness, awareness, awareness! I remember as a teenager I didn't vote. I was so ignorant of my privileges, and I'm so ashamed of that now. I just didn't think my vote mattered because I was so young and I didn't educate myself properly. Equally, in my defence, politics wasn't taught at school, and it just wasn't accessible to me. I didn't really understand the ins and outs of each party. Of course, now I realise politics is deliberately set up that way – to keep certain groups of people in the dark, but it still isn't really an excuse.
Social media didn't really exist for me as a teenager, but I think today's younger generation have the benefit of that. Recent moves by artists like JME and the interviews he's done with Jeremy Corbyn are so great. We just have to break it down for people – take away all the political bullshit words and focus on facts. What do you feel passionate about? Is it affordable housing? University fees? Women's rights? The NHS? Find out what each party is promising to do for your chosen areas of interest and read up on it. We live in such a delicate political time. It really is true that every vote matters.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to publish a zine? When can we expect another issue?