Leafing through the pages of Crooked is like being in a time warp and a bad acid trip at once. The “fagazine,” edited and published by Montreal writer Jordan Coulombe, is an homage to the glory days of pre-internet 1980s and ’90s punk zines. It’s a damn cool read.
“When I was a closeted kid in the early ’90s, I used to collect gay magazines and other gay printed paraphernalia in a box hidden in my bedroom,” Coulombe recalls. “These magazines were my first connection to other fags, and to some extent I learned what being a fag was all about from them.”
Crooked features naughty pictures, essays about “fag punk” identity and a diatribe against the Quebec government’s anti-homophobia campaign (not so surprisingly, Coulombe thinks it’s far too assimilationist). Coulombe says a big part of his motivation for creating Crooked comes from how mainstream so much gay media had become. “I had been trying to get my short stories published and felt like there weren’t many places left that were interested in publishing transgressive queer writing. I began to formulate a plan to start a publication that would put some of the original sleaze back into queer print.”
Coulombe followed up with a visit to the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. “I discovered some really militant and hilarious writing, which helped shape the direction I took with Crooked . . . The result is a sort of hybrid of creative writing journal and platform for political manifestos, crossed with a dirty smut rag. The writing ranges from deliberately confrontational political pieces to more confessional personal stories. I’ve always believed that confessing personal stories, especially common experiences that people usually keep hidden, helps validate queer experience and helps people overcome shame, and I hoped that Crooked could be a platform for that process.”