New issues of Rubbish FAMzine are a rare occurence. Produced by Singapore’s Lim family, it’s a team effort with parents Pann and Claire working with their two children Ren and Aira, now 15 and 12 years old respectively. They’ve grown up making their extravagant zine, and in this latest edition feels more like a group effort than ever.
Based on the parents’ love of eighties music – if the kids love it too, it’s via mum and dad – the issue can loosely be defined as coming in three parts. The magazine opens with a celebration of the sleeves and graphics of the eighties era, shot in full soft-focus glory reminiscent of the recent Buffalo Zine food still lives. Information is overlaid (literally) on the full-bleed images through bright, hand-applied stickers that recall those applied to record sleeves – the vital marketing info slapped across the artful designs of the creative teams.
A full-page quote from the Dire Straits song ‘Money For Nothing’ (‘I want my MTV’) launches a more detailed section highlighting the influence of music videos shown on the new MTV network, which is followed in turn by a series of notes about movie soundtracks of the eighties.
All of this is presented in typical Rubbish FAMzine style: brightly coloured Souvenir type, co-opted graphics and Memphis-patterned backrounds on different-sized pages and tip-ins. The front cover alone features die-cut holes to reveal pop star faces as they appeared on record sleeves; a fold-out reproduction of the Billboard Top 100 singles from 19 October 1985; and is both decorated and numbered using a Dymo label printer (above).
The second part of the printed magazine shifts gear to detail the preparation and recording of the family’s own song, their first musical outing together (above). They write and rehearse an eighties-inspired song called ‘Bright Eyes’, taking a lead from Bonnie Tyler’s eighties ballad ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’. As ever, the name of the band is a play on words: Rubbish FM relates to radio terminology but stands for Rubbish Family Modulation.
And on 10 June the family gather at a recording studio to record the song, a day photographed in detail in the last section of the zine (above).
But of course that is not the end of the issue; the whole thing has a hole drilled through it in order to bolt on a coloured 7″ vinyl recording of ‘Bright Eyes’ (it’s available in four different colours).
It’s difficult to express in writing just how special Rubbish FAMzine is, every new issue seems to exceed the last one. If anyone has any doubts about the continuing power of print, show them this magazine.
See the video for the song above.