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FOFFLE Magazine
– “for the discerning layabout”

Publisher: Ian D. Marks
RRP: AU$3.50

by Paul Culnane

Amateur fan magazines, or “fanzines” are a phenomenon peculiar to overseas, particularly in UK, where the genre flourishes.  Yet, with the exception of a handful of music-based specialty titles such as Ian McFarlane’s superb (yet now both defunct) Freedom Train and Prehistoric Sounds, the fanzine concept in Australia is relatively thin on the ground.  Foffle magazine has arrived to fill that void – this writer is not alone in regarding the mag as one of the finest of its kind.

A couple of years back the magazine’s editor Ian D. Marks and a group of mates began meeting monthly for a friendly game of cricket in a vacant lot near a long-disused railway line in the inner-north Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy.  Fearing the loss of this venue to redevelopment, the friends formed a kind of lobby group named Friends of the Fitzroy Line – F.O.F.L – and Ian began producing a pamphlet-sized ‘zine that documented the group’s cricketing exploits, along with topical issues and a bit of musical discussion. Foffle was born, and soon grew and transmogrified into the multi-faceted, 60+ page extravaganza of today.

It’s difficult to pinpoint the focus/philosophy of Foffle, such is the broad diversity of its subject matter. The casual reader thumbing through it may at first be reminded of the popular English comic, Viz, containing as it does some hilarious themed columns, regular fictional characters and a good helping of decidedly bent, yet extremely mirthsome, and often surreal cartoons.  There’s even a personals dating ad page and a column for the love-lorn, with Courtney Love (?) dispensing dubious advice under the moniker “Pissed chick in the dunny”!  Bad taste, kitsch, tack, and unashamed political incorrectness all have a proud home within Foffle’s pages, yet that’s only part of the magazine’s allure.

Attracting a core reading demographic of thirty/forty-somethings, the magazine has also presented well researched and written articles on such diverse topics as the excellent E.W. Cole story, a series on playwright Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell’s library book desecrations, the regular “L.A. Confidential” series which offers fascinating interviews with prominent film-makers and music legends, and the pull-out/pin-up “Musical Calendar o’Death”.

Yet it is the mag’s musical articles that may interest Milesago visitors most. Along with detailed and authoritative profiles on legendary and obscure bands alike; such as The Missing Links, The Wild Cherries, The Bitter Lemons, The Moods, The Elois, The Masters Apprentices and The Easybeats, to name but a few; Foffle presents regular comprehensive Oz-music surveys and polls.  Recent examples include the 50 greatest Australasian psychedelic tracks of all time (which came with a complimentary acid-tab!!!), the 200 all-time greatest Aussie albums, and a fascinating list of Melbourne’s top 1,000 all-time chart hits.  The issue carrying that latter feature came replete with a giveaway drink coaster authentically replicating the label of any of the 1,000 records.  Mine is a kinda Dali-esque facsimile of Ray Stevens’ “The Streak”!

That’s only the tip of the iceberg regarding the contents of Foffle. There’s just so much to absorb from every jam-packed issue.  Surrounding himself with a solid, reputable and dedicated team of experts, industry contacts and regular contributors like Nick Black, Craig Blair, Stuart Coupe, Pam Evans, David Jetson, Richard Kingsmill, Garry Marks, Ian McFarlane, Paul McHenry, Iain McIntyre, Greg Neighbour, Zbig Nowara, Helen Razer, Gavin Ryan, Glenn Smith, Chris Spencer and many more – the very congenial, generous, witty and extremely knowledgeable Ian D. Marks, now up to his 19th issue, has more than lived up to Foffle’s apt slogan, by producing a magazine “for the discerning layabout”!  And this writer is proud and privileged to have recently become part of that illustrious team.

- Paul Culnane

Ian D. Marks with Mike BradyRIGHT: Foffle editor Ian D. Marks (right) with former MPD Ltd member, multi-award winning musician, advertising guru and 3AW broadcaster, Mike Brady.  Ian himself can regularly be heard on Greg Neighbour’s “Choice Cuts” program on Thursday nights, 88.3 Southern FM (Melbourne metropolitan)

To order back issues and subscribe to FOFFLE (or to contribute):

$3.50 per issue (including postage); back issues $3.00.
Recent special bumper editions: Psychedelic 17 $4.50; Pop 18 and Play It Again 19 $5.00

Make your cheque or money order, payable to:
Ian D. Marks

c/- Foffle Subscriptions
8 Derrick Street
Lalor  Vic  3075

Foffle can also be found in discerning music and book retail outlets.

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