Things Are Meaningless
by Al Burian
Looks like we have both existentialism AND minimalism right here in our hands. Al Burian began publishing those odd little things generally known as ‘zines when a friend in a print shop decided to steal as much of the boss’s blank paper as possible. This ‘zine has no particular ax to grind, but simply documents a quirky, internal monolog about the dullness of life. It’s not a complaint, exactly, and not a celebration, either, but just a matter-of-fact documentation of a young man living life in a sort of hovering fuzzball of nothingness. Most of us go through this phase, and either end up with typical middle class lives or dead in a ditch from general unpremeditated stupidity.
There are maybe a dozen short stories in this little book, each primarily supporting a series of crisply-drawn B&W panels of ink on paper. The events are mundane — getting coffee, watching power plant lights flash, visiting New York, being mistaken for a blind date. The effect is strangely attractive — no sense of foreboding or hostility enters into the read, you just groove along with Al’s life as basically nothing happens. When you get to the end, you flip back and look at a few images, and remember what they illustrated, and even that begins to disassociate in your mind. Not bad. I think a cup of coffee would taste good now. Starbucks, or Dunkin’ Donut? Yeah, fine. Let’s go.