Review: Resist #50

Resist #50
Infozine, Mat Resist, 62 pgs, Resist Transmogrification Laboratory,, $5

I am not handy; I can do very little with my hands in terms of making, fixing, repairing. Or rather, maybe I can do these things, but I don’t know how and am too afraid or have too little faith in myself to learn. So, when reading Resist, a fascinating (and, honestly, intimidating) deep dive into DIY everything, I can’t help but imagine some mirror-universe version of me building my own world, my own home, chicken coops, cigar box guitars and sundry other projects for surviving and thriving in the Anthropocene. With this issue, Resist is officially 50 issues deep. That’s institution-level status. And like a kind of Foxfire book series for punks, Mat’s Resist documents an immense output of projects, ideas and exhortations to make and do our own shit.

I first encountered Mat Resist’s zine Resist in probably 1999 or 2000. I found issue 6 or 7 lying somewhere at a Christian alternative music festival, rife with DIY bike talk. The fest was held on the site of a former pig farm way out in American corn country. A faith-based Woodstock with no drugs. I suspect that for many of us there, fests like this were a safe place to tiptoe away from a stifling, sheltered evangelical subculture where thinking for oneself and trusting oneself were suspicious dispositions. We were sneaking toward some semblance of another subculture, a more interesting, more dangerous one with distorted guitars and safety pin earrings. And indeed that tiptoeing did lead somewhere: to an escape hatch. Mat comes from that world, too — a fellow escapee. But one with much more confidence today than I have: confidence to make, build, create, tinker, to try, to err and try again.

One of his pieces in #50 is about looking for old ska radio shows he’d taped off the radio, but to his disappointment, only finding old Christian punk cassettes instead. Analog detritus of where we’ve come from. The meat of this issue, though, is retellings of projects completed, biking adventures had, doing, producing — all in a context of an unquestioned DIY ethos. I can’t help contrasting Mat’s natural joy in tinkering, making and repairing with my fear of doing these things. There are parts of the lack of self-trust that I haven’t fully escaped. So I applaud Mat Resist on 50 issues, all the changes in life navigated and documented therein, all the projects, all the bike miles logged. Good on you, Mat.