City Zine: Manchester blog The Shrieking Violet celebrates its 20th – in print

Natalie Bradbury

Natalie Bradbury tells us why she took her blog off digital and into the real world.

In summer 2009, I decided to take my blog, the Shrieking Violet, off the screen and bring it to life as a real life, hold-in-your-hands, printed zine which I could take out and about around Manchester. After leaving piles in cafes, shops and libraries, I hoped it would be stumbled across and read, then either discarded or handed onto a friend. Initially conceived as a guide to the city, covering subjects not written about elsewhere, the Shrieking Violet has featured all sorts of different contributors, from seasoned writers to people who just have a particular fascination, passion or obsession with something, whether it’s Fingland’s buses, television idents or wooden roller coasters. Similarly, the cover of each issue is designed by a different artist or illustrator each time, and is always a wonderful surprise.

Three and a half years later, and the Shrieking Violet fanzine has reached issue 20, which feels like something of a milestone, and it’s now branched out from focusing on Manchester, although many contributors are still based in or around the city. Over the course of twenty issues, certain themes and preoccupations have arisen, from food to fiction, and other recurring subjects include unusual architecture, public transport and public art. Issue 20 is no exception, featuring articles on Eduardo Paolozzi and Daniel Buren’s public artworks for Tottenham Court Road tube station in London, an appreciation of modernist sculptor Frank Dobson, a visit to Arizona architectural folly the Mystery Castle and a recipe for sebadas – a traditional Sardinian dish contributed by an Italian living in Manchester – all held together by a patterned cover inspired by Manchester’s weather.

The Shrieking Violet is still roughly photocopied and hand-folded – although I’ve gone to the trouble of providing staples for the last couple of issues so at least it doesn’t fall apart – but it can also be viewed online at Issuu for free or downloaded as a PDF.

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