Dirt: Fiddler's zine
Isabel Slone on a rare bastion of freakdom.
Billing itself as “art and magic for tea-drinking anarchists, convivial conjurors and closeted optimists,” Fiddler’s Green is an otherworldly quarterly that revels in the bizarre. Opening an issue feels like stepping through an enchanted portal to a completely different universe filled with wood spirits and warlocks: the literary equivalent of Brigadoon.
The magazine cover looks like a Dürer woodcut and each issue is filled with esoteric stories about theogony (tracing one's pagan ancestors) or scrying (the practice of divining the future using mirrors). Contributors include the “inventor of the propeller beanie.” The list price is Fiddler’s Fare, which founder Clint Marsh intones to mean “whatever you give to anyone that makes the world a happier and more magical place.” (Physical copies can be purchased on the magazine’s website for $15.) Recently, a set of out-of-print back issues sold for $400 on eBay.
Yet, despite its woo-woo leanings, Fiddler’s Green is less about literal occult practices than it is about finding the sublime within the quotidian. Each issue could be viewed as an instruction manual on the value of incorporating a magical sensibility into one’s everyday life. Fiddler's Green is hands down one of the weirdest things I've ever read, but also the most delightful.
In a world where most of the things one 'discovers' have been spoon-fed through an algorithm, Fiddler's Green feels like a truly unique and rare discovery. It's one of the last bastions of true freakdom the counterculture has left. — By Isabel Slone