top of page
  • Writer's pictureJay


Updated: Apr 26, 2021

Another Neverland in Shadow cover that was great fun to design, but didn't quite emerge as a winner.


This effort was an attempt to copy the aesthetics of some of the music fanzines I bought (and have hung on to) across the late 1980s until around the late 1990s.

Fanzines, of course, have been around long before - and long after - that narrow period. But that's the frame of reference I'm familiar with, and so it was the one that inspired the cover above.

Fizzing with passion, and stitched together from the posted-out contributions of like-minded obsessives, the fanzines I knew were sold via small-ads in NME and Melody Maker. They were sometimes spotted also on the counters of local record shops. Rumours abound of zines being sold at gigs too, although I never encountered this.

Sunstroke, a fanzine created by Bristol's Sarah Records in 1989. Highlighting that label's respect for zines, Sunstroke was given the catalogue number Sarah 32 and is therefore an official release.

It's a bit like Fred, a cat who lived in the basement of the Hacienda club and is part of Factory Records' catalogue (FAC 191).


Typewritten, and often literally cut and pasted together prior to photocopying down the local print shop (or illicitly at work/school/college/uni), slanted, sliced-up type was common. So were flat, colour-treated images. This tone wasn't mandatory of course; some zines used type and imagery in a more professional - even conventional - way.

Smiths Indeed - the first dedicated Smiths fanzine - raised the bar for design as well as content. Lovingly put together, elements like photography, tinting and typeface (in an era of library and Letraset) were clearly considered.

Inside: typed articles and correspondence, each paragraph trimmed and glued against group photos or, more interestingly, cultural cues. These included films like Billy Liar and A Taste of Honey, British B-movie idols, 60s starlets: the universe that the band's own sleeves traded in.

With Smiths Indeed, the fanzine's editor, Bristol's (again with Bristol) Mark Taylor, really created something special across a run of twelve issues.


Whether devoted to just one artist or band, or more widely to a genre or scene, uniting each fanzine title was effort and enthusiasm, papercuts and Pritt Stick. And the magnetic pull to contribute to something that you love. Who knew you could fit all of these and more into just one stapled A5 issue?

A trio of fanzines from back in the day (the day being probably 1988ish), complete with rusted staples and dampening paper. Even the scanner obliged: adding to the DIY spirit by flatly refusing to scan these at proper right angles.

17 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page