1980 Documentary on the Making of Punk Zine Guttersnipe in Telford, England


Councillor Mrs. Mary Potts described the magazine as ‘decadent’ and ‘utter filth.’

I can’t imagine a better compliment for a zine really.

This is a 1980 television documentary produced by the BBC’s Community Programme’s Unit which specialized in what amounts to local access television. This one is a very down to earth look at a small town British punk zine called ‘Guttersnipe.’ What’s great about this film is how it lets the people do the talking. It doesn’t make the mistake that a lot of television made back in the seventies and eighties when they tried to define the punk movement in rather stilted terms which only served to expose the terror of the producers themselves when faced with something they didn’t understand.

The young people in this film speak with honesty, frustration and great humor. They weren’t willing to accept boring so they made a culture with what was at hand. We can learn a lot from these Telford punks today when we seem so in the spell of technology corporations that it is hard to imagine ever creating a culture again. How do you ever feel unsatisfied when you have an iPhone in your hand and can read anything written anywhere on earth within seconds? How do you muster the energy to stop twiddling thumbs and print something? Or play a guitar?

Sure, I love computers as much as anyone else. I find them incredibly inspiring and empowering. Perhaps it’s really the Web that’s the problem. Not the machines.

The Web has become a nearly unusable up and down scrolling mechanism so burdened underneath the weight of endless and intrusive advertising that I personally dread visiting nine out of ten web sites. There is very little pleasure in browsing anymore. It’s not a nice environment. Things pause, pop into your face, jump around the screen, go inexplicably black, stop mid video, suddenly rewind, jump left, jump right, go totally blank and infect your computer. It’s basically hell. The Web as a reading experience stinks now. No question about it.

Makes one want a zine in one’s hands to sit back and read like humans were meant to read.

Enjoy the documentary.

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