Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Making Stuff & Doing Things: A Collection of DIY Guides to Doing just about Everything

edited by Kyle Bravo
(Microcosm Publishing, 2006, 240 pp, RRP £5.86)

The best thing about punk rock kids is that they like to get their hands dirty and figure out how to become more in control of their time and money, whether out of idleness, anti-capitalism, fun or creative expression. This collection of 115 scraggly, hand-written how-to guides gives the low-down on making life as self-sufficient and commodity free as possible. Wanna make soya-milk? Blend beans and water, heat, sieve through a t-shirt, and make soy-burgers with the left-over pulp. Fancy getting crafty? This volume offers a hunk of inspiring tips; from making books, A-line skirts, protest puppets and sex toys to candles, bikinis, rubber-stamps and duct tape wallets. Not just a guide for the eccentric whimsy of amateur culture lovers, Making Stuff also offers solid instruction in the realms of gardening, cooking, building and health – from making solar-box stoves and bike trailers, to beating your cunt’s yeast infection and brewing home-made beer. Edited by How2 Zine writer Kyle Bravo, cover illustration by Greenzine’s art darling Cristy Road, and published by those brilliant can-do activists at Microcosm distro, this enterprise helps spread underground folk knowledge about getting handy with limited tools and resources. An empowering compilation of unprofessional advice aimed at folks who like experiments in living, thriftiness and occasional rants against the system. Don’t expect photographic step-by-step instruction, true to form, this is more bare-bones zine style than glossy, pre-digested DIY manual.

Reviewed by Red Chidgey.

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