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Punks Around Fanzine started in the summer of 2017 after Alex Herbert finished researching and composing his book What About Tomorrow?: An Oral History of Russian Punk from the Soviet Era to Pussy Riot (Microcosm, 2019)

Realizing that the oral history platform did not allow for any personal narratives and stories, Alex decided to create a platform to publish all the strange encounters and events that he witnessed in Russia’s punk scene over the course of five years of researching.

Originally, the zine started off publishing either long stories or collections of stories from a single author (#1-#5), but then it became clear that it was too difficult to require submitters to reach a 5,000+ word count to justify a new issue. It also became clear that the length requirement restricted certain people from submitting, especially if they had never written before.

By issue #6 the content expanded to include interviews and short stories. It also went from publishing disconnected narratives to uniting multiple forms of artwork under one theme. For example, #6 “Armageddon” contained three narratives of the history and thrills of record collecting in the Boston and Providence area, and then ended with an interview with Ben from Armageddon Record Shop.

Issues 1-4 were printed exclusively through Microcosm Publishing, which continues to carry and distribute back issues. However, by # 5 the decision was made to self-print in order to personalize each copy. Hence, each issue is now color coded and numbered on the back (usually 1-100). In the spring of 2019 we reached a deal with Minuteman Press out of Boston in an effort to keep the production localized and to improve the quality of the print, cut, and formatting. Finally, we also took on partial responsibility for distribution. Microcosm Publishing still carries back issues, but the initial first 100 prints are distributed in house across the country to record stores and book stores.

The first person plural “we” is used here because each issue is a collaboration with others who care deeply about the theme being presented. We are still looking for partners who have more digital and graphic design expertise, as well as someone who can help with formatting. If you are interested in helping, please reach out!

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