Litmus Test 3 Released

After six years, I have finally released the third and final issue of my Straight Edge zine, the inaugural publication under the Last Syllable banner. It feels like a big deal to me to be finally putting it out. Three issues feels like a good run for a Straight Edge zine and given that as of this year I’ve been Edge for 15 years, it feels like a good milestone to finally release the thing.

I’ve wanted to do this for a long time; I never meant for issue three to take six years. Honestly the biggest factor that slowed me down was the desire to do something big and extravagant for the last issue. I dreamed of being able to do a comp 7″ with the last issue but that just wouldn’t have been feasible, economically or temporally so I figured that I should just do the best possible zine I could given the circumstances and just put the damn thing out.

It was a rough process. Working on a collaborative project is always rough, as anyone who ever did group work in school can tell you, but this project was made much harder for me by a number of factors.

As much as I still love the Straight Edge, I have been unhappy with hardcore, especially in Richmond for years now. Hardcore experiences the same kind of market conglomeration that the economy does. Hardcore in Richmond used to be a very regional, tight-knit affair where bigger, “cooler” bands still had to work hard to earn a following or get a good reaction from kids at a show. In recent years, it has felt like Richmond has abandoned its own sense of self in vying harder and harder for recognition and attention from farther away places. Out of town guys in “cool” bands can bully native Richmond kids with impunity, and people are more concerned with what is trending nationwide than what is going on in Richmond.

Additionally, it seems like hardcore is just as disenchanted with me as I am with it. The first issue of Litmus Test was exceptionally long because I requested more help with art/photos/interviews than I expected to receive, and when everyone said yes I was burdened with an overabundance of material. Working on the third issue I was discouraged by how many people in hardcore who I used to call friend were totally unwilling to participate in the project. People in bands that used to mean so much to me started treating me like they were rock stars and couldn’t be bothered, even though real, actual rock stars somehow easily found the time to help me out with it.

The other issue that made the work so much harder was that I was also working on the second issue of my Shakespeare zine at the same time. Both zines were enormous jobs and possessed unique challenges and trying to navigate them simultaneously was a recipe for a lot of sleepless nights.

However, all in all I’m proud of the finished product and I’m happy to be ending the run on this note. It was great to be working on the third issue with Lee who worked on the first two, and Simon who did the cover for the first issue. Mary wrote an article finally; it wouldn’t have felt right to finish out a Straight Edge-related project without her.

I addressed veganism a lot in the first issue and feminism in the second issue, I feel like the last ‘ism’ that matters to me is atheism. So I tried in this issue to address the harmful nature of religion as much as I could and I tried to solicit interviews and articles from people who share my views on religion.

I hope that you get a chance to pick up a copy.

Stay real, stay sharp, stay true.