DIY: The Rise Of Lo-Fi Culture
DIY dudes
“DIY: The Rise Of Lo-Fi Culture” by Amy Spencer (Marion Boyars Publishing)

DIY:  the rise of lo-fi culture cover

Amy Spencer is a former fanzine writer, record label founder & member of The Bakery collective. Amazingly, even though she’s in the middle of studying for a PHD in Contemporary London Literature, she’s still found the time to turn in this enthusiastic & highly readable guide to all things non-corporate. If you can’t find the cultural experience you’re looking for – create your own alternative (that rings a bell).

“DIY: The Rise Of Lo-Fi Culture” explores the origins of the DIY ethic from it’s inception - 1930’s sci-fi comics & the Dadaists - via the Beats, the Skiffle explosion, 60’s radicalism, the Punk Rock phenomenon of 1976/77, the zine revival of the 90s – right the way up to current exponents of the art of self-publishing.

Exploring the socio-political ethics behind the history of the fanzine & the industries surrounding it, Spencer builds an evocative argument for the case against mainstream publishing. Split into 3 parts: The Zine Revolution, The History Of DIY Publishing & The Rise Of Lo-Fi Music, “DIY: The Rise Of Lo-Fi Culture” is a veritable cornucopia of self-made worth. In the words of Bristolian promoter, Michal Cupid, this book is for people who aren’t ‘fixated with the promise of money – people who want to do something just to see it happen’. Sounds familiar.

These days the Lo-Fi approach is applied to many radically different art forms: music, visual art, film, craft, writing, political activism, social protest – but with “DIY: The Rise Of Lo-Fi Culture”, Spencer concentrates on the arenas of words & music – two fundamental disciplines within which the DIY ethic has both history & future.

The impact of technology has once again breathed new life into the spirit of DIY, & Spencer ably considers the implications & pitfalls of ‘the new’ on the ideals & beliefs of ‘the old’.

“DIY: The Rise Of Lo-Fi Culture” is a triumph from beginning to end – my only criticism being that Spencer spells Jean Encoule’s name wrong (Ecoule???). Mind you, even on a good day, Encoule often can’t even pronounce his own name correctly – yet alone spell it – so even that seems intuitive on one level! Highly recommended.

Guy Debored – tMx 19 – 03/05

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