Punk fanzines in Portugal (1978-2013): a cronotopy
Though the emergence of the first fanzines had happened in the decades of 1920-30, associated with the sci-fi fans, truth is that the fanzines production, distribution and consumption only attained global relevance with the emergence of the punk phenomenon in the UK and US in the years 1970-80, coming out as a space of freedom of though and do-it-yourself (DIY) creation and as an alternative to the conventional media. Along with the bands, records and punk gigs, soon the fanzines would assume an important role in the ‘scene’ constitution, contributing actively to the creation and consolidation of a certain sense of community. The emergence of the first punk fanzines in Portugal happens in the final years of the 70s in Lisbon. That’s the case of the fanzine Desordem Total, published by Nuno Esterco, Luís Bosta and Pedro Merda with six issues published between 1978 and 1979 and the fanzine Estado de Sítio, published by Paulo Borges, member of the pioneers Minas e Armadilhas that published at least six issues of the fanzine during the year of 1978. In both cases, the publishers adopted a DIY aesthetics, based on a mixing of cut-and-paste techniques (cuts, design/illustration, texts written by hand and typed, photo manipulation) completely in line with the English and American punk fanzines of the same period. In a time where the punk movement in Portugal was still in a very-early stage, we found in these first fanzines essentially a sarcastic commentary space regarding the political and social reality, both national and international. Also frequent are the references to Anglo-Saxon punk bands (mainly through photos of the bands’ members, not always with available identification).
Following the development of the punk ‘scenes’ in our country, the 1980s was a time where fanzines proliferated, though always concentrated in the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto. In this period, it is possible to identify the punk fanzines Subversão (1982), Subúrbios (1985), Tosse Convulsa (1985), O Cadáver Esquisito (1986), Lixo Anarquista (1986-87), Suicídio Colectivo (1987), Anarkozine (1987), Post Scriptum (1987-88), Morte à Censura (1988) and Culto Urbano (1988-89). Even though there’s still an important socio-political critique, the musical issues gain some advantage after this period where the fanzines became a space for promoting bands, both national and international. Articles on punk and hardcore (subgenre that emerges in Portugal in the final years of the 1980s) bands became frequent, as well as some articles about international ‘scenes’ (Australia, USA, Brazil, Italy, etc.), first recurring mostly to secondary sources (newspaper articles, bands’ press-releases, etc.) but progressively incorporating original material, mostly interviews. From the design point-of-view, punk fanzines produced during the 80s reflect a certain maturing of its producers and in lots of cases a more careful, formal presentation, maintaining a great coherence with the DIY approach that always characterized punk culture.
Punk fanzines published during the 1990s reflected, in a certain way, a strengthening of the tendencies verified in the previous decade. Right away, it was possible to recognize a punk subgenres proliferation, allowing for a growing importance of the crust and the hardcore straight-edge and a boost in the openness towards other underground aesthetics (not only music genres as the hip-hop, the reggae-dub or certain electronic genres but also issues related to skating). Simultaneously, ethical-political issues related to an anarchist-libertarian ideology had also grown in importance, as well as women’s rights, vegetarianism/veganism, animals’ rights, homophobia, drug consumption, among others. In Portugal, the emergence of the computer also changed the graphic landscape of the fanzines edited in this period. The fanzines tended to get away from the aesthetics purism of the cut-and-paste that characterized the first steps of the punk in Portugal and abroad (recurring often to the artisanal photography manipulation, bricolage with different font types, handwritten texts, etc.). In this period, we have to highlight fanzines such as Mutante (1992), Grito de Revolta (1992), Crack (1992, 93 and 95), Vontade de Ferro (1994), Mesinha de Cabeceira (1994-95), Animal Abuser (1995), Golpe Baixo (1996), Global Riot (1996), Succedâneo (1996), Insubmissão (1997), Kannabizine (1997), First Step (1998), Out of Step (1996-98), Hope (1998), Bakuzine (1998), Se o «voto é a arma do povo»… (1998), Zona Autónoma Provisória (1999), Convicção (1999), Rebeldia (1999) and Spirit of Youth (1999).
Pedro Quintela | Paula Guerra