Tag Archives: zine review

there better be a better Blak future

zine: Blak Blow: The Blak Women’s Edition (#40, Dec 2018)
drink: Nature’s Organics beetroot latte mix with honey
music: Alessandro Cortini & Daniel Avery, Illusion of Time (2020)

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I can’t in good conscience charge for this Patreon for post so it’ll go live on my blog (eatdrinkstagger.com) at the same time as Patreon folx can read. Patreons are getting a keg-load of content this month anyway 😉 I started writing this way before the TLB…’stuff’ emerged, so please don’t crucify me. I took ages to read this issue to do it justice. And don’t judge me – that beetroot latte mix is delicious! * * * visual descriptor: 1. a blak woman, illustrated, sticks out her tongue on a pink magazine cover that says ‘Blak Brow’ 2. a black ziplock packet of organic beetroot latte powder mix 3. a quotation on the back cover of the mag 4. the ingredients lists at the back of the beetroot latte powder mix * * * https://eatdrinkstagger.com/there-better-be-a-better-blak-future

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You don’t often realise that a year, a month, or a week is going to be the best or the worst of your life long after you’ve survived it.

Or haven’t.

Going to the The Lifted Brow issue launches are always a…how to put it? Someone like myself never quite feels at place. It’s too cool, everyone is talking about what they’re working on (but not giving away too much) and pretending. Or perhaps that’s just me.

At the Blak Brow launch, I met people who I had no idea would become part of my life thereafter. Footscray Community Arts Centre was packed: it was different, being in a crowd where bodies of colour were the default. It was still socially daunting, due to the number of folks there, but not ‘I urgently need to find a blank corner to sneak a diazepam and lack of stimuli’ threatening.

I am terribly slow reading periodicals, and I find TLB hard-going generally. This time last year, I lost the ability to read as my body began to unravel seemingly not in sync with my mind. Though I thought the worst year of my life (2016) was behind me, at least I’d had the luxury of hospital and specialised care. Last year, I was irresponsible and put a job before my health. I figured if I could afford my medication (some of which is expensive – as of Mar 2020, one is $140 AUD for a month’s supply), took it diligently, everything would improve. I was stubborn and didn’t go to hospital. I feel that ultimately cost me my job this year.

However, I met people all through 2019 who I could not have imagined would hold me together, just long enough to do things I didn’t want to do but had to. Sure, it’s become almost cliche to give space and voice to minorities, to those we would hardly have heard or seen even fifteen years ago.

Some voices should never have had to fight to be heard in the first place. My voice is not one of those. The ancestors of some of the oldest voices in the world reside in this part of the world (this still knocks me for six every time I think about it) and for so long, were silenced through genocide, invasion, erasure or ignorance. So grab a large mug of tea, sit down and get ready to read about Blak voices, finally being centred.

The works show the complexity of Aboriginal women’s lives and shows up the wooden and pedestrian one-dimensional narratives that blast out of Sunrise ‘talent’ and other purveyors of White Australia (can we please ban commercial television from hospital waiting rooms – it’s bad for our health).*

from the editorial of the The Blak Brow Women’s Brow Collective

There’s a really moving interview between mother and daughter called ‘The Walk and Talk’ with Rosie Kalina and Paola Balla – they have the sorts of conversations I can’t even have with cishet or queer white friends, let alone my mother. It just feels like a really surreal concept. Anyway, another quote:

Dort: …All these bloody plane trees aggravate me.
Mum: Isn’t it full on how colonisation not only stresses us mentally, but literally irritates your skin and body?
[…]

Dort: Migrants and settlers have been sold the lie of the lucky country. It overrides what we have been fighting for.
Mum: Multiculturalism is a planned construct too. The plan has been to breed us out, assimilate us, destroy us or silence us.
[…]

Dort: Where’s the outcry for the violence against our women? Painted to be a race thing, but where is the outcry for our women?
Mum: We know the horrible truth that white women’s lives are more valued in this country. My nan used to say, “If you’ve a pink split, you’re right.” She knew what the reality was for us. White feminism’s liberation was not tied up with ours.

The interview even goes as far to document how Western doctors want to sterilise Blak women, while white women were/are for fighting for the right to choose to have terminations. Dort’s mum adds that:

…Also, our sons and cousins and nephews need to know if they have kids with a non-Aboriginal woman, that we want those babies to come into the world with the same (birthing program) support.

Yugambeh poet and author Ellen van Neerven and her mother Maria van Neerven-Currie also get to chat in ‘Because of You I Can’, and it’s about how Ellen has inspired Maria to explore and extend her own creativity and its potential outlets. Also maybe don’t talk to me if you haven’t read Heat and Light or Comfort Food. I always get so nervous whenever I bump into her at readings or festivals and am chuffed she has a new poetry collection out!

Of course I’m going to be biased but this issue is so lucky to have poetic contributions from Evelyn Araluen, Natalie Harkin (worth reading her Dirty Words published by Cordite), Vicki Couzens, Jeanine Leane (whose book you can also get from Cordite), and Charmaine Papertalk Green (who cowrote False Claims of Colonial Thieves with John Kinsella…I still don’t know how I feel that a white man was partially involved in this project but that’s another issue), and Lisa Bellear.

However, I’m going to quote from a work by a Badimaya/Yamatji woman who wrote a poem called ‘Fractured Souls of Angels‘, whose work I was not initially familiar with.

A glistening blade, a dangling noose
Density of the tempting pills
Calling you to a secret place
(…)
We whisper “help” while shouting “go away”
To make us feel better

‘Binak’ by the Koorie Youth Council is absolutely a standout piece that I reckon high school kids should be reading, and is most definitely enhanced by Jacob Komesaroff’s comic panel illustrations.

I know this is getting long so now I’m just going to be listy, sorry. Other excellent standouts:

  • ‘Creators and Colonisers ‘Naarm City Lights’, (2008) a description of Savannah Kruger’s installation depicting the decay invasion has wreaked upon the stolen land (at Footscray Community Arts Centre), and her poem towards the end of the issue
  • ‘Blak To The Future Statement’ by curators Rosie Kalina and Hannah Morphy-Walsh, as well as Walsh’s separate statement ‘Blak To The Future’ immediately following
  • all the Pop Quizzes!!! They’re feisty as hell, and rightfully so
  • Timmah Ball’s ‘Imagining Lisa: Dreaming In Urban Areas‘ about Naarm (inner Melbourne)
  • Celeste Liddle’s take on Trevor Noah being an arsehole (he is; he still hasn’t apologised for his demeaning jokes about FN women)
  • Lidia Thorpe’s speech full stop
  • lastly, ‘A Room With A View’ by Vickie Roach which should be made required reading to anyone who is not Blak. I do not say that lightly. The way this country treats its Indigenous folx, one of the oldest races in the world, and pretty much world treasure given that status is more than shameful. It is proof that so many of us still are devoid of both sympathy and empathy, and paints a bleak picture of the future to come.

But here I sit, a queer nonbinary British citizen, Australian permanent resident of Spanish-Filipino and Indo-Guyanese heritage (if you try to tell me that a. I’m South Asian Indian and/or b. South American, I will kick you in the fucking ‘nads; fair warning), with a blanket covering my legs, typing away on my 2012 Mac Book Pro, chugging down organic beetroot latte mixes with equally ethically produced milk in my Red Hill Brewery beer stein from the comfort of my couch and more than adequate sharehouse as I read and wrote this.

The multicultural dream my family were sold are part of the problem. We still are. We are never going to know what it’s like to be arrested for being drunk, die in custody due to the endemic negligence of ‘the people supposed to protect us’, and many of us ‘settlers’ and ‘migrants’ (euphemisms for invaders) will cling onto the fairly achievable dream that if you work hard enough, even from nothing, you can succeed in this shitty capitalist world. Even I am not without my privileges. My retired father pays for me to have private health insurance so I will never see the inside of a public psychiatric ward. He has worked most of his life in one (England, and here) and jokes that the private ones these days are as plush as hotels.

WE ARE STILL ON STOLEN LAND. SOVEREIGNTY WAS NEVER CEDED. I PAY MY RESPECTS TO ALL WURUNDJERI FOLKS, PAST, PRESENT, EMERGING, AND ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I AM PART OF THE SYSTEMIC TRAUMA OUR FIRST NATIONS FOLX FACE AS A ‘SETTLER’ OR ‘MIGRANT’. I WILL DO MY BEST TO KEEP DECOLONISING AND TO ELEVATE FIRST NATIONS CAUSES AND VOICES WHEREVER POSSIBLE BEFORE MY OWN COMMUNITY OF COLOUR.

*omg why is it that whenever I have ECT, I NEVER forget Sunrise being on in the waiting room and I’m always last to be treated? IT. IS. ABSOLUTE. HELL.

**full disclosure: I’ve performed with Savannah Kruger before, so knew her, but hadn’t known Hannah Morphy-Walsh, who I now also consider to be a friend and have done and will do activism work with

NB. Fri 10/4/2020: it pains me to have to disclose this but it is essential to you, the reader, and as respect to all previous contributors, interns, and staff at The Lifted Brow. Please note that this not reflect my personal opinion on the matter as I am not privy to enough information.

Many thanks to fellow disabled creative Pauline Vetuna for her feedback prior to publication of this piece. I met her at the Blak Brow launch, and consider it a privilege to now call her my friend and colleague, as well as someone who always has my back.

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drunks never stay sober with a metaphysically broken ‘heart’

zine: Beers Never Get Drunk in a Sober & Blasphemous World by Patrick Moore (limited run by Analog Submission Press, Cape Town SA & Yorkshire, UK); no longer available. 

drinks: 1. Pillow Fight (6% ABV, 440mL, can) brewed by Tallboy & Moose (Preston, Vic, AUS) 2. How Now Brown Cacao? (6% ABV, 440mL nitro can) brewed by Moon Dog Brewing (Abbotsford, Vic, AUS) in collaboration with Metisto Artisan Chocolate

venue: The Catfish, Fitzroy, Melbourne (they’re playing some killer Britpop at the moment and it’s RAD)

*Patreon-only content*

After being shafted by some skeezy bartender over a period of a few months, for whatever-the-hell reason, I thought it’d be good idea last Monday (7/10/19) to turn up to their place on employment (on their day off, natch) for drinks with someone else (there was one beer I was dying to try) after my work shift. I guess if you’re brought up Catholic, the self-flagellation desire never truly leaves you, wink? Here’s the first of the quartet – Hop Nation‘s Fool raspberry sour. The beer I was chasing was Stay Puft Imperial Salted Caramel porter by Tiny Rebel Brewing Co).

Four tulip glasses later (fark, I forget how expensive Beer Deluxe is?! and how sloppy *some* bartenders are with pouring?!) with excellent company, and insisting on taking some of my night meds which were probably best left avoided after getting home (it’s okay – sometimes I can do that), given that one completely caused me to forget that our bathroom/loo switch is outside the door, not inside – absolute hell when you’re dying to empty your bladder.

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Last Monday, started a new Patreon post, which means the previous one is now free on my blog: https://eatdrinkstagger.com/shitck-life-stuff-happens/ But here’s the current Patreon one’s reviewed goodies (also how good is coworking?! especially now there’s wi-fi at ye olde Catfish!) visual descriptor: 1. a tall beverage can with a pink body lying on a pillow on label and ‘Tallboy and Moose make beer’ to can’s right, a glass of a mango juice coloured liquid. 2. tall beverage can that says ‘Moon Dog: How Now Brown Cacao – cold brew cacao cream ale, nitro charged’ with a clear, dark honey coloured liquid in a glass to its right. 3. an off-white mottled zine with the title ‘Beers Never Get Drunk in a Sober & Blasphemous World’, with author Patrick Moore’s name at bottom and an illustration of barflies at a bar on top of a colourful, larger zine

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Immediate beer consumption the following day wasn’t exactly on my mind for the following day, but I’d had a coworking sesh organisised at The Catfish with my poet mate Connor, who is doing a much better job of poeting at the moment, while I’m halfway through the poetry zine I purposefully chose, and hope to have two tinnies with rather than just the one.

*Patreon-only image & content here*

First of all, the first poem reminds me of aforementioned skeezy bartender (but seriously, who is the fool in this situation? Why the hell was I so naive? I do not like that I cannot put the two dot diacritical on the ‘i’ in ‘naive’) called ‘It’s Our Almost One Week Anniversary Together’ – I’d like to type the whole poem, but I’ll just do the beginning and the end:

you want a love poem?

go asphyxiate yourself


[…]


you’ll get yours

after I’m done

dry heaving

in the toilet

I feel personally targeted by this because I spend a lot of my time dry heaving (chemical nausea, and I don’t use the toilet for that shit, what do you think bathroom sinks are for?!) and I also don’t write love poetry*. Perhaps ones about my cats count, but they’re safe, aren’t they? And they do unconditional love way better than humans do. I don’t really think humans are truly capable of strictly unconditional love, just like physics error calculations have to be done because we don’t live in a vacuum. There’s too many extenuating forces that can affect, say, the skimming of a pebble on a pond’s surface. Anyway, I digest (sic)…It was quite the scuffle with bedclothes (and clothes generally, let’s be honest) to get to The Catfish on time after an unintentional tasting sesh last night. I really wanted a Bloody Mary! The beer. I’d been wanting to try this one for ages and for some reason thought it was a collab? After last night’s…antics and despite scoffing down a mushroom Philly cheesesteak with extra cheese at warp speed, I wasn’t looking forward to drinking more beer (gasp! flap your kerchiefs, ladies).

*Patreon-only beer tasting notes here*

Pillow Fight is weird – at first it seemed too bitter in keeping with its IPA kin, then at other times, it tasted more like a textbook NE IPA (freshly squeezed orange juice without too much sweetness or mouth-pucker sourness). It also looks like slightly diluted mango juice, and has very little carbonation. It’s a good-sized can so I took my sweet-not-sour time drinking it. Probably one you’d be best off drinking on tap and super-fresh? My can had some hardened orange oat/lactose that eventually melted but yeah wow, the bitterness just stunned me into sobriety (don’t worry, it won’t last). I’m very grateful for the second beer How Now Brown Cacao?, which is one of those beers that doesn’t taste like beer at all (confirmed by my mate Connor) and is just freaking delicious – think a liquid that looks like a pint of a pale with a foamy, creamy white head that tastes of subtle chocolate, caramel and fudge.

*Patreon-only beer tasting notes here*

It was needed for the second half of Moore’s chapbook. I hate giving negative reviews of things, but there’s a lot in what I’ve read so far that’s extremely problematic: ableism (in particular regarding mental health, though some with people who have unusual appearances, such as bearded ladies), implied misogyny in the killing and successful concealing of ex-lovers (like, seriously? this isn’t the 1990s?). One of the ableist mental illness poems I’ve quoted below, but chosen very carefully what part to quote:

nothing matters when 
you’re the rightful proprietor 
to a broken mind
— ‘Toothpaste on the Stairs. With Ghosts’

Some of us don’t actually have a choice over having ‘broken’ minds. Sometimes people ask me if I’d rather never lived with any mood disorders, but would I be the person I am now if I didn’t have them? Who’s to say I wouldn’t have grown up mean, a slave to capitalism, not caring or wanting to imagine how others might feel in given situations (empathy is a fucking curse with my type of depression; for some time I have to fake not giving a shit in certain situations before not giving a shit, and that’s usually for my mental health in regards to toxic, draining people).I absolutely fucking HATE writing negative reviews of ANYTHING, however, I think the weakest poem in this chapbook is ‘The Writer’. It feels riddled with phrases and concepts that are designed to shock, and also ignores that people have different experiences at different times in their lives. The poem instructs people not to bother experimenting with recreational drug use if you haven’t before…so at what stage is one supposed to contemplate that? At 10? At 50? At 25? It just seems like a passive-aggressive prescriptive ‘suggestion’ borne of accumulated lived experience or life wisdom that doesn’t really read as such.
The one poem I did connect with as a reader was called ‘The Wrong Bar’ (which I dare remind you, I most certainly am not at!).

if you’re the drunkest one at the bar, 
you’re at the wrong bar
— ‘The Wrong Bar’

We’ve all been there. No judgement if you haven’t, or don’t want to, or are still waiting for your wrong bar.

Also, cheers Connor, for confirming that I wasn’t being overly harsh when reading the reviewed chapbook. I’m the kind of reviewer that can always find something positive to say about someone’s creative work because it’s a bloody risk, putting aspects of your self out there that aren’t as, say, risky as they would be in a corporate/professional setting.

I think I’m going to have to start asking C to nag me to get the veg or vegan cheesesteaks though (my fave is the mushroom one, every freaking time, that sucker is so good with the melted cheese!), and though I don’t eat much meat, I should probably make more of an effort with preparing vegan meals?

And drink less booze. Ironically, been drinking a tad more since the skeezy bartender incident, bad bad bad.


*not entirely true; I have dedicated poems to lovers of great personal significance, especially as they were likely not to be listening or paying attention. Some have even been published. Shh! Don’t tell anyone I have feelings.

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s(h)i(t)ck life stuff happens

content warning: self-harm ideation (body horror), mental illness (depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder), eating disorders, health issues related to being assigned female at birth


zine: Cooking With Baggage (& Verve): Lessons From An Ex-Vegan Ex-Chef by Cher Tan (find them on Twitter here. Check out their other zines here.

drink: The Matriarch New England India Pale Ale (NE IPA) (355mL can, 6.5% ABV) by CoConspirators Brewing Co.

music: Ghost Stories For Christmas by Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert

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This is kind of confusing because a new blog post is live on my blog, but that means a completely new one is up on my Patreon. patreon.com/posts/s-h-i-t-ck-life-29478582 ($) Anyway, latest free one: https://eatdrinkstagger.com/sick-life-happens/ Latest Patreon one is @coconspiratorsbeer ‘The Matriarch’ and @palindrome678’s zine ‘Cooking With Baggage (& Verve): Lessons From An Ex-Vegan Ex-Chef visual descriptor: 1. a green beer can with a caricature of a rich old white lady, right to a filled glass of beer, hazy orange-amber. At forefront is the black & white zine, illustrated. 2. The green beer can with caricature of old rich white lady and filled glass with beer, side by side on a wooden chest of drawers.

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I know I’ve been in worse situations before health-wise, but a fortnight ago (edit: mid-Aug 2019), some equally amazing professional stuff happened, and some pretty awful health and life stuff did too.

I don’t know what will happen with the life stuff and its resolution, but I need to learn to deal with that. I’m more worried about the health stuff. I’m officially in a depressive episode again (it’s been a while, so it’s okay, we’re old predictable mates), but the premenstrual dysphoric disorder treatment is just…it’s not killing me, but even when your shrink in absolute sympathy tells you it’s still a bloke’s world, what do you do? Oestrogen patches, epic nausea (again), and menstrual blood that’s not even supposed to exist. It makes me hate being assigned female at birth, why can’t I be saved from my own body?

I’ve been getting a bit more public about identifying as non-binary, and I’ve no intention of changing what I like to call the ‘sack’ I’ve come in…unless my PMDD symptoms are extreme. One recurring fantasy I have is of cutting off my breasts with an amazing Japanese culinary knife (because they’re known for their sharpness and quality, there’s no cultural misappropriation shit happening here), even though it’s the menstruation that brings on these gruesome desires.

Perhaps presumptuous, but I consider the zine author a good friend and colleague. We’re very similar in the kind of ‘Asian’ that we are…we don’t tell our immediate families everything, we’re kind of considered weirdoes by them, and Cher is also infinitely more talented than I am as a writer. Uni education can’t teach you some shit (don’t get me wrong, I’m really fucking grateful for spending my undergrad time reading books I fucking LOVED), and Cher is living proof of that. I wish the Australian writing would get over itself in terms of its love affair with academia wank and just…I dunno, adopt a rescue pet, maybe?

Cher and I also listen to a lot of music that is coded as that meant for white people. We don’t do this deliberately, we just listen to music that moves us?! Isn’t that what music is for? So yeah, they’re also in a punk/noise band, and can’t wait to see them perform in a few weeks. If you can’t already tell, I’m a pathetic fanperson for Cher.

An old joke, but I love dangerlam‘s drawing of me, Cher, and Sonia Nair here because we look like a badarse power metal trio. I was freaking terrified the first time I met Cher, and was having severe impostor syndrome about what the hell EWF was doing programming me with a critic like Son!

Sadly, upon reading Cher’s zine intro, I realise we have a lot of really shit things in common. Yeah, yeah, all Asians are supposed to love food! (sarcasm) Asian parents aren’t exactly the first to pick up on the fact that disordered eating can stem from:

  • a. it feels like the only aspect of your life you have control in (if your family unit is controlling/strict)
  • b. as an Asian child, you’re expected to be fucking perfect at fucking everything – this can bleed into the way you start to look at food; abstention from the ‘pollution’ of consumption looks like a way to emulate perfection, or reaching it?

For me, meals at my house as a child till I moved out of home were sheer hell. I can recall this even from my London childhood. Because there was no choice over what I ate or portions thereof, I somehow got really good at being a closet pseudo-anorexic: just restrictive enough to not register as having an issue. In Year 9 (when I had my first year-long major depressive episode), I got my arse kicked for hoarding sandwiches with SEVERAL layers of ham in them, rotting in my school bag. I got picked on so much for lunches I didn’t even want to eat. I was too scared to throw them out at school, and knew there was no way I could throw them out at home. I didn’t exactly have a lot of spatial freedom – till I started uni (thank god). As a teen, I also developed irritable bowel syndrome: just another way to piss off my mum because she didn’t exactly take well to the suggestion that it’s stress-related. To be honest, neither do I. I wanted to be tougher than that, so I ignored all my mental health issues because that was what strong people did. I would grow up strong.

Not that it mattered. My mother was too angry at me for x, y, z to register that I even had major psychological issues start early (anxiety, depression, possibly PMDD), and my father worked too much to notice…anything. For them as psychiatric nurses, mental illness didn’t hit people you weren’t treating. She isn’t big on empathy (she no longer calls as my health issues are worse than hers).

Also like Cher, I learnt to cook pretty late in life – maybe at 19, when I first moved out in second year uni, from Marie Claire cookbooks before Donna Hay got famous, authored by her! Yep, I’m that old. Sometimes, I’d return home to try and cook for my parents. My father once took a look at a chicken pilaf I’d made, shook his head and pursed his lips and said he wasn’t eating that. I was gutted, but not surprised. My parents are not people to pay me compliments.

Cher once cooked for me and it was fucking fantastic. Nothing fancy or major, but it was about the setting and experience: sitting on a balcony, drinking tinnies, sitting on milk crates. I scarfed down my serving of her dish.

A far cry from the human who didn’t learn to really enjoy food until I was put on an antipsychotic called quetiapine (Seroquel). In smaller doses, it’s great for chronic anxiety (which I now realised was the sort that came with PTSD) and hoo boy, did I gain weight taking that med! To the point where cholesterol levels were an issue. You will not have any control over what you crave. My main ones were rich fatty foods, meat, cheese, lots of beer. Decent cheeseburgers. Why didn’t anyone tell me food could taste this amazing?!?!

Mirtazapine, an antidepressant also great for chronic anxiety, can do the same thing. My main craving for that (which was also depression eating because I was in an abusive work environment for the first half of 2018) was matcha flavoured icecream. Hit me up with all the tubs.

I love that Cher isn’t into any of that ‘authentic’ bullshit and, like me, just embraces when something tastes damn good even if it’s not part of the recipe. Likeomg, you mean you can change or adapt recipes to your liking?! No fucking way!

I want to try making Hainanese chicken rice (no way can I pull that off, unfortunately), the palak chicken paneer on cauli mash (because I am the world’s worst South Asian Indian diaspora kid ever that actually wants to cook Indian cuisine. My brother, I’m sure, wouldn’t give a hoot about learning *wink*), and the Singaporean-Malaysian-style chicken curry because roti c(h)anai is the fucking flavour bomb.

Seriously, reading the zine, I’d forgotten about my beer, but I did make tasting notes before starting to read, so we’re all good. I constantly harp on about how I have no formal training when it comes to beer tasting because a lot of me does feel like a fraud in that respect. Having said that, I’d LOVE to take the cicerone (beer sommelier) exams now that they hold some sessions in Melb/Aus, but it’s just another dream. It’d be great to write more eloquently on something I love so much but would I stop writing in a way that communicates my love and wants to share that love with you readers (for which I am grateful – for every single one of you, don’t you dare forget it)?

Check out the above IG embed for the photo of The Matriarch and the full (!!!) beer glass next to it, mmm-hmm. I can’t move it. It’s stuck there (ie. it’s too tricky, soz!).

I love The Matriarch. It’s a beer I’ve demolished many a of tinnie of, expect to demolish more of, even on tap. It’s not going to kill your palate with bitterness so it’s a great intro to folks who say they hate beer but are willing to give something new a go because…they’re ace and not coeliac (I have a wonderful mate who is, and it breaks my heart that I can’t wax lyrical on amazeballs beers with him. Gluten-free options exist, but they’re slim). Clint aka. Pocketbeagles is an amazing designer and all-round fab human (he was once super-nice to me when I was crying in public at a Froth launch) but I don’t have the guts to suggest to him to maybe do a non-white CoCon character…I’m a coward. A burnt-out one.

*Patreon-only tasting notes appear here*

As a queer person of colour, however, there are a couple of things about the brewery that I try to ignore (seriously, this lot cannot put a foot wrong with the beer they make) or when I try to be vocal about, guess who isn’t listening? Um, only the entire cishet white beer industry. Why the fuck does no one ever talk about 2 Brothers?!?! No really, whitemansplain it to me! Is it ’cause they’re Azn bros? Their Kung Foo rice lager is a killer accompaniment to a wide variety of Asian cuisine.

Doctor’s Orders Brewing (on hiatus at present) do this thing where they don’t brew from a set, fixed location all the time and they refer to themselves as ‘cuckoo’ brewers. Cuckoos (cheeky bastards!) lay eggs in other birds’ nests!

CoConspirators Brewing Co. frequently refer to themselves as ‘gypsy’ brewers. Unfortunately, most of the Australian beer media industry doesn’t give a shit that this is considered pejorative. In parts of Europe, it’d be like saying the ‘n’ word to someone from the African diaspora, but Aussies love travelling! If they don’t see or live this, then is it really true? I had to block an Anglo-Aussie male on Twitter who got into this very discussion with me. Never mind that I was fucking born in Europe.

I’m tired of shutting up about these issues. I got emotionally flogged by various folks as a result of giving a speech at the launch of the Shifting The Balance report led by Diversity Arts Australia. This was one of the few times people were paying attention to this small feminine-presenting creative of colour and it wasn’t something to be forgotten after the event. So yeah, I know the (Anglo-)Australian beer industry don’t give a hoot for my opinion, but damn, it breaks my heart that I’ll never see a face like mine on the cute CoConspirator can labels or tap badges. I try to laugh it off, but it hurts.

I’m also going to assume you know my choosing a beer called The Matriarch isn’t unintentional. It stands for a lot of things that oppress me, in society, and culturally. My personal protest is to never become one. That’s all I can do with my brand of intersectional feminism.

The music choice? It’s because Christmas isn’t warm and fuzzy for everyone. I recently tried to explain this to a gorgeous woman I matched with on Tinder. She unmatched me when I told her that Christmas and family dynamics were stressful for me. I’m not surprised, but phwoah, it stung! White queers don’t really like me (or the ones I’ve been on first dates with like to pas-ag or neg on me).

I’m so sorry this was so long! If you got this far, thanks so much for reading (and you Patreon lot, I am bear hugging you in my mind’s eye). Corny but true: en route using a ridic expensive pool rideshare, I thought to myself “Gem, every second, minute, hour, day, week, year you survive is triumph. Try to focus on surviving second by second, then minute by minute. The rest might start to feel a bit more doable.”

P.S. oh okay, there was this one time a person of colour featured on a CoCon beer… and let’s face it: West Indian rum is pretty fucking special.

If there’s any breweries that want to make a beer called ‘The Poet’ and put my ugly yellow-brown mug on it, let me know! People of colour have dreams too, y’know.

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