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