In late 1994 I found a used photocopy machine behind an office building that had discarded it. Hauling it back to my bedroom in my mother’s basement—I was only 17 at the time, so it’s ok!—I decided to begin my professional writing career. Of course, by this I mean I started a zine. The first issue bore the unfortunate name of TRIPhukt, but only lasted an issue before I changed it to something more reasonable. Clutterstuff was born in the spring of 1995.
Zines were pretty big during the late 1980s through the mid 1990s. Think of them as do-it-yourself magazines. Or Stone-age blogs. Like blogs, zines covered nearly every topic known to man: music, art, poetry, tv, movies, Saturday morning cartoons, etc. Some were extremely personal, a bit like reading the diary of someone you didn’t know. Others actually achieved some mainstream success, moving into bookstore chains just to the left of Rolling Stone and The Source. Generally speaking, zine publishers did not make a profit. “Labor of love” generally fit.
At the time, Clutterstuff mostly covered alternative and indie music, with a couple of other random items from time to time. I typed up short articles and music reviews in WordPerfect or on an old thrift-store typewriter and literally cut-and-pasted them onto pages with art and photos from old books, comics, and magazines. Simple and anything but elegant. But I had a modicum of success (in zine terms): I talked a couple of high school girls into selling them at school, and, by trading them with other zine publishers, I managed to get them reviewed, leading to a few sales! I even got reviewed in Factsheet Five! (Okay, it was a big deal at the time.) [Another interesting fact: I received a review copy of Bloodhound Gang’s independently released EP Dingleberry Haze before their record deal was signed—maybe I’ll republish the review here at some point.]
Fast-forward twenty years. The world is very different. What better time to resurrect Clutterstuff than now?
I might talk about music from time to time, but more often I will talk about some of my other interests: comic books, television, movies, pro wrestling, and whatever else comes to mind at the time I feel like writing. Maybe I’ll republish some of my old articles or reviews from the zine days.
Hope you like it, but if you don’t … get stuff’d!