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Various Artists

Punk Faction: BHP '91 to '95

Review by Gary Hill

If you were ever a reader of fanzines, opening up this book will be a familiar pleasure. There was always something special about fanzines that just can't be replicated on the internet. I have always been a fan of the format. In fact, one site I write for (Wormwood Chronicles) started as a fanzine, and I wrote for them when they were still published that way.

This new book gathers up articles from the UK British Hardcore Press fanzines. Rather than alter that kind of format, they reproduce them as they must have appeared in those zines. That, I think it one of the strengths of the book. If you are like me, you'll open the book and immediately feel right at home. I know it put a smile on my face as soon as I cracked the cover.

Obviously, I never saw these when they were published as they were British publications. The scene transcends those borders, though. You don't need to have been part of that to appreciate it. The whole fanzine concept is a unifying factor, really. It is almost tribal in some ways.

This book contains short stories, the kind of reviews you expect from punk zines (often humorous, and generally irreverent), interviews with acts like Rancid, Green Day and more, and topical treatments.  For those of us who missed these the first time, this is a great collection. I would bet that most of the fans who had the original zines have lost them or they have fallen victim to the inevitable entropy. For those fans, these will probably be a welcome blast from the past. Either way, I definitely recommend this. It's done particularly well, and is just a lot of fun.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at:

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