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This zine came in a dark, chocolate-brown envelope, and that right there nearly won me over. I mean, it’s such a rich, beautiful colour, it just made me want to devour anything and everything held within.

And what’s held within? Chocolate! Just kidding. It’s a zine! An award-winning quarter-sized zine from Ottawa that’s been in circulation for nearly 10 years. Now that’s dedication.

Kissoff contains spare, often heartbreakingly honest missives from an aging punk rocker, documenting isolated moments of his life with wisdom and less navel-gazing than you’d expect. They often read as unfinished symphonies, never really amping up the drama, just the everyday observations of a traveller, artist and radical.

In one section, the author speaks of walking through Ottawa’s stately Parliament complex in the rain, in a stream-of-consciousness tone that doesn’t try to be anything more than it is: “I wanted some part of the landscape to wake up and speak to me. To give a hint, some direction, or at least some minor story to tell. But it didn’t speak a word. Instead the landscape stood still, almost defiant, as if to say, ‘you don’t belong here.’ And then all I could hear were those lights buzzing so loud.”

Sincere, muted and sometimes hauntingly sad in its mundaneness, it’s a keenly observed reflection of being lonely and disenfranchised in our nation’s capital, a place supposedly devoted to the people while leaving so many behind. (Mike Drach)

litzine, Chris Landry, issue 12, $3 PPD/trade, 902-264 Lisgar St, Ottawa, ON, K2P 0C8

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