Yuck ’n Yum is an art zine and collective that I’ve been involved with for the last decade, publishing zines and distributing art throughout Scotland and later the world from 2008 right up until now. The zine had started its life as as a quarterly missive from the badlands of the Dundee art diaspora, feeding back to itself the creative energy of a small Scottish scene. Over the years it grew into a… what, exactly? I’d always defined Yuck ’n Yum as an amorphous entity and I guess that will have to do us for now. On May 3rd this year we delivered the Compendium of all our zines that we’d published from 2008 to 2013, and on that same night we also presented the Interregnum exhibition at the SOIL Gallery in Seattle Washington, a show that included work by a few familiar names from this very blog. What follows is a skim through the compendium, a look at what happened at the associated launch events and a few musings on what, if anything, might happen next…
The first ever Yuck ’n Yum launch flyer, Dundee 2006
‘During its all too brief but glorious lifespan, Yuck ‘n Yum was the greatest zine in the world, if you ask me. It had everything a lover of art, writing, braininess, realness, irreality, and surprises could have wanted or even imagined, and, thanks to this much needed compendium, it still does.’ — Dennis Cooper
Letter from the editors
The Yuck ’n Yum zine is very much a product of Scotland’s art school system, coming into being back when its founder Andrew Maclean was studying a Masters degree in Electronic Imaging and embarking on his own independent self-publishing venture. Those early years had a bedroom lo-fi home printer aesthetic that was marked by the ramshackle wit and energy of its small pool of contributors. Dundee’s art scene has always been a close-knit, mutually supportive affair and the zine naturally thrived in such an environment.
Emboldened by his first successful run, Andrew applied for funding from the Dundee Visual Artists Award and in 2008 he asked fellow postgraduates Gayle Meikle and Ben Robinson to join him in forming a collective. Their Re-made/Re-modelled Summer 2008 edition was launched at Dundee’s City Function Suite to a capacity crowd. Ben remembers talking to one audience member who didn’t know what event they were coming to, they just liked the look of the poster. It was evident that the city’s art scene was waiting for something to happen but no one was sure yet what that might be.
Anna Orton consults the Salmon of Knowledge at the Spring launch, 2011
In order that the fledgling zine might carve out its own identity, the team decided to invite contributors whose output was of a consistently high quality to have a crack at being cover artist for a whole year. From 2010 to 2013, zine stalwarts Paul Jon Milne, Ross Hamilton Frew, Helen Flanagan and Cos Ahmet each designed four covers, lending that year’s editions their own distinctive style. The free zine featured collage, photography, poetry, recipes, drawings, comix, reviews, interviews and anything else the contributing artists could dream up. Yuck ’n Yum became a quarterly fixture of the Dundee art calendar and each issue was launched with performances by artists, DJs and musicians. Shout out to Bob Flambé & Steaming Turd, Pester and Rossi, the Salmon of Knowledge, Deliberate Crumbs, Beth Savage, Stephen Bloe, Conquering Animal Sound, The Hugs, and everyone else who played at a launch event. Be it Sleazy Santa’s grotto, Generator Projects, or an old Hairdresser’s shop, the launches always delivered an energy and lightheartedness that emulated our ethos.
Ben ‘Jack Your Body’ Robinson Yuck ‘n Yum spring 2010 launch DJ set:
In addition to publishing the zine, Yuck ’n Yum staged arts events across Scotland. These have included exhibitions, pop-up events, a car boot sale, gigs in local pubs and, further afield, appearances at the Glasgow Book Fair and the Word of Mouth Cafe in Edinburgh. The collective also participated in Cupar Arts Festival, Getting Up in Inverness and NEoN in Dundee. As a collective, we’ve given talks and lectures, published guest zines, hosted residencies and showcased our contributors at some major venues. In one fit of sponsored madness, Alex and Alexandra watched all 24 hours of Christian Marclay’s The Clock and have never been the same since. We made a concerted effort from the beginning to expand our events to cities across Scotland, and to venture further afield than just the Central Belt.
The 2013 AGK Champ Lewis Den Hertog’s karaoke video for Leonard Cohen – The Future
Of all the many events that Yuck ’n Yum has been involved in, the people’s choice has always been the famed Annual General Karaoke (AGK) that’s been taking place since 2010. Briefed to “think outside the box”, an open call invited artists to produce an original karaoke video for any song of their choosing, resulting in a yearly evening of FX-laden, lyric-subbed visual poetry and wild karaoke performance. Outliving the zine by a number of years, the mobile AGK is still going strong and has hit the road in pop-up format at venues from Aberdeen to Seattle.
One pivotal relationship is with the University of Abertay’s Hannah Maclure Centre (HMC). Since Summer 2009 the organisation has been a great supporter of Yuck ’n Yum, hosting numerous events, providing funding, and distribution. It was their support that helped us to keep the zine free. We collaborated with HMC in 2013 when Beatrice Haines undertook a residency with Abertay Forensic Scientist Dr Kevin Farrugia to create the exhibition Proof as part of the Impact 8 Conference and the inaugural Print Festival Scotland. When we decided to end the zine, HMC supported our Zine Idol project. This provided £500 seed money and our mentorship to a new zine: Aberdeen-based Collage Collective.
We started the Yuck ’n Yum zine looking to give opportunities to artists. From its initial roster of a handful of Dundee-based artists, the contributor base grew to over 250 people from all over the world. Yuck ’n Yum zines are now archived in various international collections and libraries including the National Library of Scotland. Each issue is available to read, download or print yourself at yucknyum.org.
Why Yuck ’n Yum then? Why Yuck ’n Yum now?
In the ten years since Yuck ’n Yum was first published from a humble home printer on Andrew’s bedroom floor, Dundee’s zine ecology has seen some major changes. In a city where the creative scene is strongly linked to its art school (Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design or DJCAD), more than two student generations have matriculated and graduated since the zine started. A new generation of artists and creative individuals are now getting out there and presenting their own zines, a phenomenon that could be seen firsthand when Yuck ’n Yum presented Dundee’s first ever Zine Fair back in 2012. Tables were piled high with zines from all over Scotland, numbers were exchanged and connections were made. Riso Soup and the DJCAD Zine Library have gone on to establish themselves as permanent fixtures, students and graduates are encouraged to make zines, and the city hosts a thriving scene. We’d like to think we’ve contributed to this legacy.
There’s been a vibrant energy in Yuck ’n Yum since its inception. From the start, we were filled with an urge to create, and to amplify others who we knew were making cool stuff. The very name Yuck ’n Yum encompasses the dualities we’ve searched for in our projects. The compendium is a snapshot of a particular moment in time. Not all of it’s pretty and the views contained herein may not always sit well with our mature developed selves, but for all its imperfections and occasional wrongheadedness it’s still a collection that we remain proud of. None of this would exist without the artists – dear friends and mysterious strangers alike – to whom we owe the greatest of thanks. If there’s a lesson here, it must be to just go ahead and force the hand of chance. Maybe that’s somehow inspirational but it wouldn’t be for us to say. In the meantime, bask in the grit, grime and good times of Yuck ’n Yum.
Ben, Morgan, Alex
On Thursday 3rd May Yuck ’n Yum launched its Compendium with an all star singing, dancing and performance art lineup at Dundee’s Generator Projects. On the bill that night were The Onion Club, Haystack Monolith, Bob Flambe and Lada Wilson, and we even had a live sporadic hook up via video link to our Interregnum show opening at the SOIL Gallery in Seattle.
Below are a few photos of what transpired:
The fevered highland acid of Haystack Monolith.
DJ Ben ‘Jack Your Body’ Robinson – Yuck ‘n Yum Compendium Launch Ambience Mix 03.05.18
Meanwhile in Seattle…
The show features exciting new works on from 10 artists on the topic of “interregnum” – a time of unrest between regimes. We’re in a transitionary period as a collective, and there is something very strange occurring in the places where we live. Brexit?! Trump?! Yuck ‘n Yum now looks to its network of artists to explore these times when normal rules no longer apply. Can people come together in this chaotic time to upend the status quo? A multitude of realities are seething and churning across the Internet and into the streets.
Excitingly, this exhibition doubles up as a launch party for the long-awaited Yuck ‘n Yum compendium. People have whispered of it for years, and at long last it’s a real thing that exists! Every issue of Yuck ‘n Yum zine (plus some yummy extra treats) compiled into one very hefty volume. It’s A5, black-and-white, and possibly fatal to drop on someone. The compendium is produced with the kind support of our friends Generator Projects, and we will be launching it at Generator at the same time as the Interregnum opening on the 3rd May. Soil in Seattle and Generator Projects in Dundee will be joined together via video link for this launch, in a display of international harmony that is, quite frankly, utterly uncharacteristic of these interregnal times.
THAT NIGHT AT DINNER
WHEN WE BOTH HAD TO COME CLEAN
ABOUT THE OTHERS
I CAN FEEL YOUR GHOST
I MISS YOU SO MUCH IT HURTS
CAN YOU HEAR MY WORDS?
WHERE WOULD WE BE NOW?
IF I’D CONVINCED YOU TO STAY
DO YOU FEEL THE SAME
I DID FUCKED UP THINGS
TO TRY AND GET YOU TO STAY
YOUR “GOODBYE” STILL HAUNTS ME
THE SADNESS WILL STAY
BUT THERE’S BEAUTY ALL AROUND
HIDDEN IN THE CRACKS
I FIND HIS ADDRESS
I WALK INTO A DARK FLAT
AND A STRANGER’S ARMS
HIDING FROM THE DAY
AN ANONYMOUS HOTEL
YOUR SWEATING BODY
CAN YOU HEAR THAT SOUND?
THAT LOW, RUMBLING EVIL DRONE?
IT NEVER LEAVES ME
I MET YOU LAST NIGHT
I’LL NEVER SEE YOU AGAIN
PLEASE DON’T FORGET ME
Thomas Moore – haikus
Scotland’s soi-disant premier arts zine Yuck ‘n Yum was published quarterly from 2008 to 2013. For the first time ever, we’ve collected every issue into one 600+ page volume.
The complete zine is faithfully presented in its original A5 paperback format, minus the staples. We’ve also included some extra goodies: the very first lo-fi issues of the zine, some special editions, and some new words from our friends too. Relive every high, every low, every Yuck and Yum of those halcyon days in glorious high-definition black and white.
Order your copy!
You can now order a copy of the Yuck ‘n Yum Compendium directly from us via Paypal using the link below. Compendiums cost £25 + postage, and we can deliver anywhere in the UK. We take international orders too, just send us an email to email@example.com and we’ll work out the shipping.
p.s. RIP Danny Kirwan. This weekend is a very special one around here because we’ll be celebrating the birth of ‘Compendium’ aka the collected issues of the mighty, influential, and much-missed Scottish art zine Yuck ‘n Yum, one of whose founders and editors is our very own Ben ‘_Black_Acrylic’ Robinson. The book is an incredible trove, as you can already tell by the post, and I urge you to not only get schooled in awesomeness this weekend but pick up a copy of the thing itself, which will fill, enhance, and more your reading days for a long time. So, there you go. Please, of course, talk to _Black_Acrylic this weekend in some fashion to give him your thoughts. Thanks, y’all, and ever so many thanks to you, Ben. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. I seem to be the only person on earth who’s never read or seen anything by or to do with with Anthony Bourdain, apart from one very vicious anti-vegetarian quote from him that made me think there was likely nothing in his thing for me, but RIP, and suicide is such a rough one. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Yeah, right? Killer album. Really glad to hear you like it so much. Ah, some weekend goodies from you! Everyone, Here are some reviews by Mr. Erickson to help you through the weekend. (1) His review of Snail Mail’s LUSH. (2) His review of serpentwithfeet’s SOIL. And (3) his review of HEREDITARY. The David Leavitt of gay novelist fame would never do anything to rock any boat, unless he has changed. He was beige as beige can be. ** _Black_Acrylic, Ha! Hi, Ben. Almost in person double-thanks for this amazing weekend birth event! Very happy and proud to have it. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi, Dóra! Oh, things are going pretty well. The rehearsals are constant, and ‘Them’ is improving day by day. The PGL script meeting got delayed, so we’ll do it when Zac gets here this coming week. He did meet with our producer to tell him that the script is coming soon, and now we have to write a bunch of irksome explanatory texts for the funding applications, which is definitely the worst part of the whole process. Yeah, right, about his writing getting lazy? For while, he was writing way too much, new books constantly. But I remember ‘Survivor’ being still charged. Oh, cool, about the drag queen re: SCAB. She’ll probably be into it, right? How strange that the drag scene is so paltry there. Why, do you think? Before I left Paris, I saw a bunch of little documentary type shows about Budapest. For some reason there were a bunch on TV all of a sudden. Definitely made me want to visit. What is the difference, if there is one, between the Buda and Pest halves of the city? Right now I’m mostly just rehearsing. I haven’t done too much else, but I’ll see two friends tomorrow, my day off. And I’m trying to get used to the apartment where they’ve put me up. It’s very overwhelmingly stuffed with kitschy crap and very impractical, and I sort of can’t stand it, but oh well. I’m stuck here. But things are good. And you? Are things proceeding beautifully? ** H, Hi! Thank you! Yes, yes, let me figure out my schedule. It’s a bit intense right now because we’re trying to get ‘Them’ where it needs to be, but I think it’ll settle quickly, so I’ll let you know. Today is work-filled., Tomorrow my day’s preoccupied by seeing two old friends uptown whom I haven’t seen in ages, but we’ll sort it. See you soon! ** Kyler, Hi. Ha! I’ll get down there at some point, you bet. Probably as a surprise. Have a fine weekend there and everywhere. ** Okay. You all thoroughly enjoy this big rich weekend that Ben has presented to you, please, and say hi, etc. to him, and have good weekends in general, and I’ll see you on Monday.