THE BEGINNING

Danny Canter flicks through his fist Springzine and rather enjoys it.

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DANNY CANTER FLICKS THROUGH HIS FIRST SPRINGZINE AND RATHER ENJOYS IT

Sometimes a name is just too good. Like ‘Wannabe’ for a Spice Girls tribute act, or ‘Pleased To Meat You’ for your local (pervert) butchers. Calling a fanzine all about Bruce Springsteen a ‘Springzine’ is up there – the kind of name that sounds like it was thought up and then deemed too good to waste.

Matthias Scherer is a true Boss fan, though, and has been since he was 10 and living in Germany, where his dad would play his ‘Greatest Hits’ album too loudly for his mum. He’s not a guy who “loves Springsteen” but actually only loves ‘Dancing In The Dark’; he’s not got into Bruce because H&M started selling ‘Born In The USA’ T-shirts, as Katie Malco writes here on page 25; he’s not riding a retro fad that’s due to be replaced by Lionel Richie any day now (people who “love Richie” but actually only like ‘Dancing On The Ceiling’). Scherer is what he calls “a second generation fan” and Jungleland: A Springzine is an ode to The Boss: a “collection of essays, recollections, ramblings and short stories” from 10 or so fellow enthusiasts.

“The original aim was to find one or two things about Bruce Springsteen that we all (i.e. fans that discovered him decades after he first became big) find equally fascinating,” says Scherer. “However, every contributor brought completely different ideas and approaches to the table, and that made me realise that someone with a body of work as rich as Springsteen’s will always mean different things to different people. So in the end, you could say that I didn’t actually achieve the goal I set out for us – but I think that makes Jungleland a more interesting read than if it was something more prescriptive and definite.”

Jungleland is Scherer’s first fanzine, pointedly made in this format rather than “another tumblr that posts cool pictures every hour”.

“I enjoy those blogs, too,” he says, “but I liked the idea of collecting good writing, putting it on paper, and sending it out to people. It’s something you can sit down with, leaf through and think about, rather than post on Facebook with a pithy comment.”

It’s an opinion that is on the up as a resurgence in physical fanzines sees a growing number stapled together to provide a screen-break from the dominant blogs and news feeds. But perhaps you’ve never cared much for The Boss. Truth is, neither have I, although Jungleland is more than a mindless love-in. It’s pro-Bruce, of course, and with plenty of in-references for those who know their ‘Lucky Town’s from their ‘Born To Run’s, but articles like How I Learnt to Stop Worrying and Love The Boss (a look at Springsteen through the eyes of therapist) Order Manager (a poem by Sauna Youth’s Jennifer Calleja) and The Boss And His Girls (a dissection of the ladies in Springsteen’s songs) give sharp and funny insights that non-fans can just as easily enjoy. Hell, Nebraska: An Appreciation might even make you buy a record.

By Danny Canter

Originally published in issue 37 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. April 2012

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