Grace and Dignity #1

Last post we took a gander at a fanzine called Crush from a fella named Brian Berger. If you’ll recall, I had much to praise about it after lodging any reservations. After Crush ceased its 4-issue run, he published a short series of single-issue fanzines (I guess you’d call them) more or less in the vein of Crush, with names like Constant Wonder and Strange Affair and this one, late 1992’s Grace and Dignity #1. 

Maybe I ought to read them all in order, since I haven’t looked at any of them in thirty years, but I can barely grasp what’s going on with this particular thing. Berger appears to be a little drunk on his own relative notoriety and looking to double down. He gets an Iowa City peer to write a paean to how good his writing is – seriously! – and then proceeds to reel off a ludicrous amount of non-sequiturs, in-jokes, literary references without context, and even a little goy-baiting just for fun. Is it a music fanzine? I suppose it is. 

If I’m to understand what’s happening here, Berger is married with a child, and lives in Iowa City, IA. It’s difficult to grasp and not all that interesting to me whether that was true or not. He attended South By Southwest in Austin, and writes up a bunch of show reviews here, ranging from The Mekons to Claw Hammer to Surgery to Beat Happening. Then he writes up a bunch of record reviews, most of which have fake unfunny titles (i.e. Unrest’s Imperial f.f.f.r. becomes Imperial f.a.g.s.) and which savage the respective contents of each. Clearly this was a boy who’s mostly done with indie rock, or who was at least pretending to be. I’ll hold onto this just for completist’s sake, but this might have been the issue where enfant terrible crossed over into straight-up terrible.

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