Tag Archives: choose your own adventure

brexistential gothic in brunswick

I grew up in Melbourne, so you’d think I’d know not to rely on weather forecasts that are more than three days old.

Sadly, some of us are amusingly slow to get the memo, or perhaps just unusually optismistic about the wrong things. I’m catsitting for a mate, and wondering why I’m sweating buckets and why my laundry is dry as soon as it comes out of the washing machine. It’s 39 C. I’m thirty-nine. And still an idiot.

zine: Riz Ahmed Eldritch Erotica by Black Book Shoppe

drink: Australian Gothic dry hopped apricot farmhouse ale with wormwood (5.4% ABV, 355mL can) by Sailors Grave Brewing (Orbost, VIC)

music: Merrie Land (2018) by The Good, The Bad & The Queen (squee!)

There’s this series of zines called ‘Eldritch Erotica’ and they’re dedicated to men I embarrassingly hadn’t heard of till semi-recently. Actually, I had heard of Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame (thanks Shang Lun for singing the soundtrack back in good ol’ ADB days!), and recently learnt that Jason Momoa is a jerk but only seen pics of Riz Ahmed (phwoar, dishy…). Because he’s born in the UK, this zine is set in London (my birth city: its weather also being somewhat…infamous).

I’ve also saved my first listen of The Good, The Bad and The Queen’s new album (holy fuck! it’s been a bloody decade since their debut?!) Merrie Land for a proper listen. My fave community radio station had said that the album had been described as a product/example of ‘Brexistentialism’ (if you don’t know wtf is going on in the UK re. Brexit then you’re just deliberately ignoring the news) – a contrast to the debut which came out when England was all about expanding and being more connected to the north.

Of course I managed to muck up pouring the bloody beer into a glass, which I’ve had (and looooooved) before. The wormwood this time around isn’t as pronounced (to be fair, it’s been in a fridge for a fair few months) and has more of the slight sourness expected from a farmhouse ale. The first time I had it, it was a bit more floral and fragrant…which I guess was the wormwood (yep, the stuff that used to be in absinthe and made a fair few French 19th-century artists very, very unwell…).

I’m not really paying much attention to the lyrics on the album because it sounds like they’re using recorders or a recorder synth sound and it’s giving me British primary school flashbacks (in case you were wondering, they expected more from their students on the recorder than they did here in Australia. It was only really an aurally painful experience here). They also use the Welsh Male Choir in a lot of the tracks – it’s sad in a childhood flashback kind of way. I keep expecting Aled Jones to break everyone’s hearts with his ‘Walking In The Air‘ (seriously: how is The Snowman a happy Christmas experience?!?! It’s beautiful but it’s really bloody hauntingly sad – sorry, that was a long aside).

The zine. Like the Lin-Manuel one, it’s a choose-your-own-adventure and begins in London. The person you’re pretending to be is nice and awkward, and starts off with hot drinks, and autumn before progressing to tumbling in fallen leaves (I usually die or get to a dead end on the first go of these zines). The reason I love autumn in Melbourne so much is reminds me of England. It’s not too cold, it’s much easier for anyone to feign some sartorial competence, and the colours…

And it looks like I’ve spoken too soon: after an extended bout of affectionate shenanigans, Riz just vanishes?! Should I have fed the ducks in Hyde Park? Checked out the old building? I didn’t want to go shopping in the city, that’s boooooooring! Unless it’s for books…? Or clubbing, I’d just make a fool of my myself on the dancefloor, sob. I can already hear an uncle making fun of me for wearing ‘dem tum-byoy tups an’ dem dawk marten beutsss’* (I’m not taking the piss: that’s is exactly what he said to me the last time I was in England. I still have those boots, probably the longest long-term relationship I’ve ever had if you don’t count the one I have with my shrink).

Usually once I reach my second dead-end or read-through, I read all of the pages from start to finish, but the album I’m listening to is on its last track, and my beer is very, very patiently waiting for me to scarf it down.

*translation: them tomboy tops and them Doc Marten boots

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black and white and burnt around the edges

zine: Lin-Manuel Miranda Eldritch Erotica by Black Book Shoppe

drink: T2 crème brûlée black tea (with milk, and sweetened with maple syrup)

At the beginning of the year, there was a zine fair in one of the rooms at the State Library, and I bought a bunch of zines which I then packed goodness-knows-where but have recently unearthed as my unpacking and organising has gradually occurred over the months between bouts of transferring what has been read to shelves, and so on.

The ‘Eldritch Erotica’ zine series is one of a few available from Black Book Shoppe (though their online shop is closed at present). If you’re a Melburnian, I’m pretty sure you can find it at Sticky Institute, if you ask the folks there nicely!

So…you’re on a choose-your-own-adventure date with Lin-Manuel Miranda. You choose to explore an abandoned theatre. Being the orchestra nerd that I am, I can’t pass up the temptation to explore the orchestra pit in said theatre. There’s broken music stands around, and a very out-of-tune piano which we start to play together. It’s a pretty eerie, spooky setting, but definitely a memorable date! You slip into the wings ahead of Lin, and play hide-and-seek for a bit before kissing. We find a trapdoor, which he opens and we go down a ladder into a basement. He is humming loudly, and you join in, and he then seduces you. You try to ask about scars on his face, but you’re breathless.

You can’t seem to recover your breath post-passionate dalliance, and he comes close to you again, and you die swiftly.

***

I let my T2 tea brew for far longer than the 3-5 minutes suggested because I love ridiculously strong tea, but somehow have still managed to add too much milk! I used maple syrup instead of sugar because I didn’t want to wrestle with the honey dispenser, and the whole combo ended up smelling and tasting pretty damn delish. I would get tea flavour again! It’s good that they also seem compostible – sometimes, teabags have a staple or aren’t fully biodegradable. One mug feels like a damn tease, which incidentally fits the zine’s theme above pretty well!

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