So there was that push on back then to get everyone away from things. Not sure how I’m going to really set it all up. I need that villain – been searching for someone good and I think it would almost have to be one of those venture capitalists, then put someone behind him – so it would really be the big money behind him. That ‘s how it is should be. Also, we’re going to need someone else to get all of this going as well. Someone else as a sub character – another girl – perhaps the teacher can also have a Zine – or it would have to be another person out there starting up a Zine and show that little world as well. Hers would be the voice of the independent press being taken out by the proliferation of information. I went on a long walk the other day on my lunch break with a good friend at work – a person who is becoming at least, a good friend. He reminded me of the Zine craze at that time, so I’d like to explore that a little bit but can do so more with a character than with just more talk. Let’s get into that as well. What is her name going to be? I kind of like Sarah if you don’t mind. It’s two syllables and easy to get out. It would be cool to base her somewhere out of the midwest I think – Minnesota I think. Sarah Constance.
When most people meet me, they ask me about Kirby Puckett. I have no idea why people think about baseball when they think about Minnesota. I never watched much. I was inside reading most of the time and when I finished with whatever books weren’t library books, I’d cut up the pages and start making what I called book mixes where I’d mash up a bunch of the sentences to make one kind of story. It was fun mixing Buroughs with some trashy supermarket novel that was being sold at the Salvation Army for only a dollar. At first, I’d do it all for myself. The winters really let it all just be like that for extended periods of time. I was sick so much of the time, and the rest of the time things would just close down because it was too cold. There were those folks who just barreled through and went outside because they wanted to say that they did, but I just kept making these mash ups. I enjoyed San Francisco for that reason – plenty of Salvation Army Stores and thrift shops that has 25 cent books. For a Dollar, my entertainment would be taken care of for a month, but here, the west coast, I could sit in a cafe’ and cut things up – then, when they closed, I’d go to the most of magical places – KINKOs and start putting everything together. Free glue and paper. Awesome no doubt. Only thing was making copies, so I got a job working the late shift and was able to run off whatever I liked. It was amazing.
I was in school as well – going to San Francisco State – back when you could still go there for about 700 dollars a semester. I was able to work, rent out a room, and eat pretty good when I first got my paychecks then make them stretch towards the end. All the while, I’d just make up the mash up Zines. I wasn’t really interested in getting everyone around to read what I wrote. After all – why would everyone care about book mash ups? See, it was all about just developing this intimate experience between myself and the reader- allowing for small steps to be taken so I could know the people reading everything would be interested in what they were looking at. All of the zines at that point were in a huge bin at a few comic book stores and selective record shops, so it was the dig that was most important. When I went home to visit my folks, I slipped into old habits like saying nachos with an extended ahhhh – but I would always miss San Francisco for the place it was and the place it allowed me to become. I think the zine gained a pretty decent following – though again, I can’t say that I was concerned with any of it. I would get letters sometimes from people in North Dakota or some place in Canada I never heard off – those stamps we very cool.
Nobody ever paid much attention to what I was doing, so I found it strange in my interview with the folks at Pop Rock that they dug my style and wanted me aboard with them. I felt at ease because they were all in jeans and drinking bears – one of them was drinking a bear. How cool would it be to work in some place like that. The money they offered was – to me, amazing. I was making 4.75 and hour at Kinkos – so when they pulled out a number like 60 grand, my face nearly fell off. We started talking about the possibilities of the internet and how my zine could reach so many more people online. I paused for a bit – because reaching anyone was not why I did what I did, but that number, 60 grand – I could print up as many issues of Lit Mash Up as I wanted, plus not have worry about buying food AND I could wear jeans and drink bear at work. Didn’t take me long to say yes, and when I first saw Alberto Orca walk through that door, my stomach emptied out and found a place for love to exist. That’s a bit later down the road I think – can’t talk about any of that now. I still think about him. Anyhow, we’re talking about the good times – but these times, when we all gave up our little projects and gave up living on the edge of society to come on into offices – that’s how they lured us in you see. I didn’t back then.
I guess the villains of all of this are going to have to be the venture capitalists who were just throwing money around and luring everyone off the fringe to come into the world. Everyone who had a little punk band and worked in a garage could now run an advertising agency still rocking those black rim glasses and motorcycle boots. It was all taken care of and done so with an amazing amount of light touch. Things have to be allowed to grow like that without too much light. It’s a must. A movement must form slowly then burst onto the scene. Nobody else was doing this. Do you remember how the economy was? It was bordering on a major depression back then – everyone in the mainstream was looking out the window of their offices wondering who they were. People like Bret Easton Ellis had exposed the fraud of the 80s and nobody wanted to be that cliche’ anymore eating calamari while everything around them just crumbled and imploded on each other. George Bush who has existed so well and clever in the shadows of the CIA had miscalculated that power of collective thought and when he marched into Iraq for that first time, it was the end for him. We weren’t interested in war. Not at all. Wu Tang, Nas, The Pharcyde, Soulz of Mischief – that golden age of Hip Hop had wrapped themselves around the minds of most of the youth, because pretty soon, adults, not realizing they were adults, were quoting Public Enemy songs in the middle of meetings. How did we all find out about everything? It was word of mouth and mix tapes. You would spend much time on journeys for such things. The time was right for some type of change – a radical change of thought. It was all boiling there in San Francisco during that time. Just the like the early 60s – when people were following minds – Like Malcom, Martin, Jimmy Hoffa, A Kennedy, Bobby Seal – you name it. Then, the bullets or jail cells took them all and the country numbed out and though that just because they’d listen to some song about peace or protest they were doing their part. We became passive protestors and happy with ourselves for just getting arrested. Our heroes were removed from us and replaced with pop icons that later made it onto t-shirts. Now, in the early 90s, there was another chance.
What did we do with it? Instead of staying on the fringe and creating our own economy, we cam in under the guise of punk and hip hop and handing it all over again for fake titles and security. Nothing wrong with that. Nobody likes to starve. So many of us made children and when that happens, you’re level of tolerance to fight against a system goes down and your need feed your family becomes number one. Thing is, and here’s the kicker, the greater long term feed comes with staying doing what you love because you can control how hard you go and what results come from the effort. It was a beautiful plan put together – one that looked to be a melting of the alternative and corporate world – but it was just a veil put on to have you come in and taste that first paycheck. Once that happens, you rehearse when you can with your band and edit together your movies on the weekends, thinking that if you put them on the internet, people will eventually see what’s happening and you’ll be able to leave the job. Strange. You take a job in an industry that your sole goal is to milk until you can leave it. It’s like going to Vegas with your last 500 dollars and thinking you’re going to walk away with millions. That’s the story that so many of these waitresses and bartenders tell you happened to them – thinking they can beat the house.
How do you think the House actually become the house?