PILTDOWNLAD #9: $5, 8½” x 5½”, perfect bound, 57 pgs.

Sep 30, 2014

I really just want to pull block quotes from the first few pages of this zine instead of reviewing it in a traditional sense because when I opened this issue of Kelly Dessaint’s non-fiction zine Piltdownlad, I smiled a little bit wider with every single sentence I read. This must have looked really, really creepy to anyone who happened to see me on the train platform at that time. Issue #9, aka Pamphleteria: The Rise and Fall of Phony Lid, is part one of a three-part series about Dessaint’s adventures in small-press publishing and it is well worth the five bucks you pay to buy this thing. Within the first two pages—TWO PAGES!—the writer has told us that his now-defunct publishing business was basically driven by his “steadfast determination to take a crackpot idea as far as [he] possibly could”; that in his tenure as a producer and printer of the written word, he pissed off writers he published, writers he didn’t publish, and pretty much all of his friends; and that he was directly responsible for driving another publisher so deep into madness that they had to be institutionalized. He admits that he definitely, totally did not have any business ever being a publisher in the first place. I remember thinking, “Well, this is going to be a hard act to follow, this intro,” but it was not. Things got worse—destructive relationships, locksmiths used under false pretenses, family ghosts, roaches, and car trouble. And through it all, shit was getting done: issues were being published, submissions were being solicited. It’s just really inspiring to me to read stories of goals still being accomplished in spite of a life crumbling around the person who’s trying to accomplish them. This drama-riddled story from Dessaint’s real life is a cliffhanger (where’s part two?!) that I finished too soon. –Bianca (Piltdownlad, PO Box 22974,Oakland, CA94609; kellydessaint.com/piltdownlad)