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TWENTY YEARS OF SUSPECT DEVICE FANZINE: 1984 TO 2004

For those who are unaware, SUSPECT DEVICE is a UK zine and one that stands as the definitive example of what a zine should be. This 88-page book celebrates 20 years and 44 issues of SUSPECT DEVICE, starting with the humble origins of cut ‘n’ paste issues filled with cartoons of Punks, through to the respected slab of informed zineage that it is now.

It would have been so very easy for Tony and Gaz – SD’s joint editorial team – to have made this one big ego trip, wallowing in nostalgia and eulogising themselves to be something ‘special’.  Thankfully, veracity and sincerity have always been key ingredients in the composition of everything the SD gang has created – and this is no different.

After a brief editorial from both Tony and Gaz, the book launches into an issue-by-issue run down of each SD.  Thankfully, to retain a strain of freshness, this is separated into 10-issue segments.  From there, columnists old and new contribute articles on how they met Tony and Gaz, or how they became aware of SD.  Other articles include an interview with Tony and Gaz, pieces on SD Tapes/Records, SD Distro and a run down of virtually all the contributors to the zine over the years.

For anyone who discovered Punk during those bracketed years in the title, this is a real trip down memory lane, especially during the issue rundown where names of many long-forgotten bands leapt from the page and into the memory – I for one made a dash for my POLITICAL ASYLUM discs after reading about issue #2!  Some of the recollections provide great insight into the founding years of SD; how each facet of this distinctly DIY venture has formed, changed and progressed.

It’s been lovingly laid out also, with band photos in the issue run down, various zine and tape/record covers dotted throughout the book and a number of photos of Tony, Gaz and the SD gang over the years.

The only real negative I had with the book was the interview with Tony and Gaz.  I didn’t have a problem with its inclusion – especially as Tony and Gaz seemed to debate its worth – it was just the fact I would have liked it to be more in-depth, double the questions at least.  Still, I minor bleat!  It’s a five-page interview and very interesting.

The whole book stands as a great document of what can be done within Punk Rock with a bit of determination, a heap of passion and even more integrity.  Twenty years of producing a regular zine is something Tony and Gaz should be hugely proud of, especially given SD’s high regard. 

This is an essential read for zinesters new and old; a trip down memory lane for us older heads and an insight of how things were back in “The Day”.  Definitely a milestone.

It costs £5 + P&P from Suspect Device, PO Box 295, Southampton, SO17 1LW, UK   www.suspectdevicehq.co.uk