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The Continuing Misadventures of Gurgle MacLeod

This zine just took me on a crash course down memory lane. The Continuing Misadventures of Gurgle MacLeod is a story that tells of an imaginative narrator and assigns you the role of assistant director. Your task? You are required to make the narrator’s decisions and therefore ultimately decide where the story goes. So, with that said, would you help the talking fish? Yes? Then turn to page 38. No? Then turn to page 19. Maybe some of you recall the Choose Your Own Adventure books from your grade school days. This is very much like those, but with a whole lot of unconventional fun in between: for starters, there are really interesting and colourful lino prints on some of the pages. On others, there are messages telling you that the page you want has been moved to a whole other location. Also, sentences may take up multiple pages: screaming across seven pages in large typeface is “Please get back to where you once belonged (turn to page 6).”? Aside from the oddities within the text, the scenarios are also quirky, and sometimes hauntingly descriptive: There are prayer flags strung across the ceiling of my bedroom. When I wake they are moving. As if there is some faint and invisible wind. There is an aura of dreams about the room, fragments that I cannot catch. When I walk to the piano and press my fingers against the ivory the music comes out broken. Everything shattered. When I walk into the kitchen, there are puddles all over the floor. You stare. On the counter is a big bag of Gummi Worms and a travel magazine. One the cover is a picture of Loch Ness. Do I A. Decide that the midnight storm has been the source of my unease, and rush to work. I’ve got a meeting at 9:00 (Turn to page 45.) B. Sit down and eat the Gummi Worms. (Turn to page 6.) (I totally went for the Gummi Worms.) The look of the zine itself also has considerable appeal; bound simply with two staples in its spine, the zine’s cover is folded textured paper. Overtop that is a cardboard slipcover, hand-cut from a box of no name ice cream cones (each cover is therefore one-of-a-kind). At first sight, you honestly have no idea what you’re getting into. The slogan for creator Kera Willis’ publishing company is “Tiny books in costume,” I cannot think of a more suitable characterization of her work. Check it out. (Amy Greenwood) (613) 761-6429

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