Zine Review: Notes to a Further Excuse…

23 August 2007

Zine - Notes to a further excuse

Di’s handsomely constructed zine, Notes to a further excuse…, is billed as being “about the experiences and adventures I had moving from Australia to England, where I now live”. However, the bulk of it is made up of extracts from a tour diary, with brief and samey accounts of bus trips and art galleries and gigs and backpackers’ hostels.

This was quite disappointing, mainly because of the missed opportunity. Di’s style is friendly and open, and the non-diary portions are very engaging. Reflecting on her departure, Di writes:

The thirty minutes I spent before actually boarding the plane were some of the loneliest I’ve ever felt. I was really on my own, and there wasn’t any turning back. By midnight, I was so exhausted and emotionally drained that it was actually kind of a relief to be sitting in my seat on the plane.

If the zine had continued in this way, readers would have had a very interesting insight into the pressures and excitements of leaving family and friends behind for an adventure on the other side of the world. Instead, it gives way to “At the Tate Britain I saw some Turner, some Freud, some Bacon and some Emin. It was pretty okay.” Readers by and large don’t need to know these little details, when there are far more interesting things going on.

The entry about the London tube bombings was much better. What does it feel like to be alone in a foreign city at the time of a major crisis?

It’s one thing to watch news coverage from the safety of your home in Australia, and another to be near it, but still watching from safety. You still weren’t there when it happened, so it doesn’t feel real.

This section, along with a similar one about the people staying with Di in a Bristol backpackers, show how interesting Notes to a further excuse… could have been. A series of vignettes focussing on key people and events would be much more engaging than a list of bus rides taken and tourist traps visited.

There is a lot that could have been explored more fully. I want to know more about Di’s meeting Adam than “I met [him] yesterday at the house show” in Southampton, and I want to know how their friendship grew over the next couple of months, to the point where they were willing to move in together.

A topic for another zine, perhaps?

Di, Notes to a Further Excuse…, 1/4 size, 40 pages.
Available from Di’s Etsy shop.

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