“[Factsheet Five] is dead and for all
practical purposes has been dead
longer than it was alive. GET OVER
-Davida Gypsy Brier, Xerography Debt #29
If there is a down side of doing a damned good job and
having just enough perceptive to walk away at the top
of your game, it’s people who endlessly bitch about
your departure….even over a full decade later! R.
Seth Freidman’s five year tenure at the zine review
publication Factsheet Five (F5) is such an example. To
give fair credit, Mike Gunderloy started F5 in 1982, but
when Friedman took it over in 1992, he and the rest of
the zine universe were about to hit its stride….big time.
Freidman and his dedicated staff worked hard and well
represented zines into a climate that was ripe for an
explosion. Categorizing zines based on their subjects (Music, Sex, Fringe, etc.,), quick and easy reviews, its magazine format, frequent publishing schedule and expanding its distribution to include major outlets like Tower Records and Borders helped pulverize zines in general into the realm of the mainstream. There were the usual securitization from the mainstream press and many zinsters who resented the attention this title was getting, but F5 was a well made regular package that did an effective and honest job of ‘representing’ far better than magazines and newspapers. There were a few skirmishes like Andrew Roller using the F5 name for his R-rated zine and the mess over old zine stalker Robert DuPree, but as a whole, the publication thrived….and, as a result, so did zines.
It was in 1998 when Friedman announced his departure. The
F5 success got so huge that the workload, full-time job
included, got too much and he needed a break. This wasn’t
good news for many zine readers and makers who largely
relied on the magazine for their commerce and community.
However, by this time, there was another whiff of change
blowing through zines and it was the internet and blogs,
which took out many motivations of producing any further
material on xeroxed paper and staples.
As many feared, soon after Seth handed over F5 to another and made his exit, the magazine disappeared. One could suspect that the daunting task of continuing this title in its current levels might have been too much for the new guy as well. To this very day, F5’s web site is updated only once every few years, announcing that it will come back “next year”. We shall see...
For the latest where-abouts of old Seth, you can got to
HERE, though it looks like it's been awhile since he has