Jerianne, Ed.
ARG, A Readers Guide to the Undergound Press
Murfreesboro TN: Underground Press

Imagine a world where people really care about what strangers have to say. Not famous or notorious strangers just average people from all over the country (and some parts of the world) who take the time to publish in what ever simple form a magazine, a chapbook or a pamphlet. Add to this equation some 20 volunteers who plow through all this material and write a review of each and every one. It’s amazing. It’s hard to believe. This is the world of ARG, A Reader’s Guide to the Underground Press (formerly known as Zine World).

For the last six years the editors and volunteers now totaling some twenty five people have put together a review magazine to tell you what’s out there in the way of free speech. There are roughly 350 reviews per issue of zines with titles like Air Guitar, Readyset…aesthetic! or I Hurt My Knee (issue#3). Many, maybe too many, are punk zines and most I’ve never heard of before but Shame On Me. This is what’s out there and I feel like I should know, I want to know!

Each issue starts with some articles focussing on free speech issues but there are also handy DIY articles like How to Make a Valuable Stash-Safe out of an 8-Track Cassette. Then come the reviews. Each one states the size, cost, time they spent reading it and how to order it. The reviews are quite funny. And even if you don’t buy them all (there is no way you could) the reviews themselves are worth reading. They are honest and straightforward. The thing that I liked was that they were critical without being discouraging. A lot of the reviewers are themselves zine producers so they know how difficult it is to put something together with no funding. ARG itself is funded by its readership as their publishing notes state, "This is an all volunteer effort put together by poor people and we’re doing it without any grants sponsorships or trust funds." To order check out their website or by regular mail, four dollars an issue cash only.

A Reader's Guide to the Underground Press
PO Box 330156, Murfreesboro TN 37133-0156

-- Sarah Anne Cox