Tag Archives: zine review

just desserts on a lonely Saturday evening

zine: Tick Tock by Zoe Meagher & Eddie Edmends

drink: Henry Langdon vanilla chai latte (powder mix)

At the beginning of the year, I was housesitting near Castlemaine to try and get lots of reading and writing done (which totally happened!), and found this lush vanilla chai latte mix in a lovely tin at the town centre supermarket. Their newsagent also seemed ridiculously well-stocked in terms of lit mags!

Now that the weather is much chillier, I’ve been making myself these vanilla chai lattes (boiling water, top up with milk, sometimes flavour with maple syrup) especially when I’m feeling too sad to really eat anything substantial. It isn’t good form to miss meals when depressed, but I try to find something I know I will eat, rather than skip eating altogether. Tonight, that was Filipino cassava cake – reminds me a bit of a tougher, larger version of Portuguese custard tarts without the paper-thin pastry. The best bit is the burnt edges! Coconut milk, glutinous rice, slivers of cassava…blissful.

Interestingly, one thing me and my maternal grandfather have in common (aside from the obsession with music – he was a professional clarinettist, I did not quite make it there as much as I wanted to be profesh) is our love of burnt rice, which is called tutong in Tagalog. I had to look that up online because I never learnt to write Tagalog – only by ear when I lived there as a kid. It seems such a specific thing to love, but perhaps not to those who get it! Nutty, toasted…it smells so good if it’s not charcoal-burnt!

So yeah, dessert as dinner on a cold Saturday evening, chilling with my kitty, and reading an indie comic I picked up at All Star Comics a while back. The cover has a medieval gauntlet-clad arm, wearing a digital wrist watch. The back says:

A knight, a popstar and a qantasaurus walk into a bar.

Tick Tock is the only inter-temporal lounge destination officially sanctioned by the time-travel regulatory body.

Most time-travellers just stop by a for a drink or two. The unlucky ones (like Misty, Max and Elric) get trapped and have to pour the beer.

Eddie and Zoe collaborated on the story, then Zoe drew the pictures.

Okay, so they can do my beer drinking for me, for tonight, hehehe. The first panel is in the style of an Anglo-Celtic medieval tapestry – there’s fighting, looting, pillaging, and then a jump into a time portal. Elric happens on Misty, reading what appears to be a review of the Tick Tock bar loo, and they both realise he’s stuck. He doesn’t initially cope well with this.

Another trapped time traveller unable to return to their time of origin is not good for business. The landlords get called away to a spot that looks like Flinders Street Station (its clock, famous steps), and more adorable anachronistic hijinks ensue, like some sort of dino attack, and a cute bird that might be a dodo? The tale ends with Elric briefly evading Misty (we learn she used to be a singer/performer) to try and surf down escalators that you’d expect in Melbourne’s city loop train stations, and a flashback to the medieval scene where someone else is stuck in Elric’s time, in his place.

I really wish this story were longer, I’d love to read more issues! It’s hilarious, it’s smart and diverse without it feeling token or forced. Verily, it might be part of a series, whee-hee! Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot of about ekphrastic poetry, and how despite having written video game ekphrastic poems, I’m still not confident about how I’d do this for paintings in a gallery. Reading Tick Tock makes me want to try, but I think what I’d like to do is invent backstories for the people mentioned in this comic, or write an imaginary bar review for a poem of mine (it’s called ‘Red’) that I initially envisioned to be imagining what it’d be like to drink at a synaesthetic-laden bar.

One of the other reasons I’ve been thinking a lot about odd twists on concepts that already exist – which I think Tick Tock is a tantalising example of is that I’m a submission reader for an online speculative fiction journal called Syntax and Salt. I absolutely love reading speculative fiction, and short stories…but write very little of it myself (though I do try to incorporate it in my poetry. ‘Red’ is part of a much larger, probably lifelong work-in-progress). The very first longform piece I ever wrote (which took an age to find a home; wrote it as an undergrad) could possibly count as speculative in that it tries to be a very real biography/story about very imaginary-but-believable-in-our-world/time people. I mention this because it reminds me that speculative literature doesn’t have to be ‘longform’ or conventionally narrative — it could be creative non-fiction too, and most definitely poetry. There’s going to be a ‘staff’ issue and I’ve got a couple of ideas about what I’ll end up submitting but also think it might be nice to write newer work for it that doesn’t end up appearing too.

I’ve nearly finished my vanilla chai latte abomination (you can brew one with frothed milk as a treat – I just did half boiled water, half milk), so it’s time for this post to wrap up. This might sound silly, but though I don’t know Anthony Bourdain, his passing has hit me harder than expected. He sounded like a brilliant, generous, struggling human. I know I’m struggling with mental health stuff at the moment, but I’m going to keep reaching out to those I trust, and I’m never going to stop being grateful for having their love, friendship, support. Bourdain’s gone, but he’ll keep inspiring food hacks like me to revel in the few kernels of food culture I have. That’s also why this blog exists. Misfits finding or keeping their small spot in the world is never going to be easy — it isn’t.

 

 

everything’s gone not quite green

beer: cherrywood smoked rye Baltic porter (355mL can, 8.8% ABV) by Dainton Brewery (Dandenong, VIC)

zineThe Coelacanth Journal 4: the dream has gone but the baby is real by various contributors

So an old friend that is kind of the closest thing I have to a big sister sent this to me a ridiculously long time (it’s dated 2012) when I would have just started having ECT. Every so often, she’s sent me care packages, and is responsible for my love of pocket notebooks!

I’ve been looking at various stacks of unread books and thinking about assembling them by colour, but that’s kind of not entirely fair on me, as some are I guess what I like to think of as work-related. In the photo for this post, you’ll see:

  • Maggie Alderson’s Bluets: verse novel and particular poem sequence research
  • Vanessa Berry’s Mirror Sydney: reviewing for Plumwood Mountain
  • Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness because I don’t get to read enough speculative fiction
  • Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God because it was Teen Vogue’s first-ever book club selection

The above titles are definitely going to make up part of my winter reading stack, as is sipping darker beer styles! I was not at all prepared by how syrupy, rich and sweet the Baltic porter when I opened the can — I think I was expecting something with a thinner mouthfeel and, due to the smokiness, perhaps a bit more savoury. It does settle down a little, but the booziness has also really caught me off guard! That’s not a bad thing, I’m just out of practise? Also not a bad thing for my liver!

Let’s start reading: for some weird reason, I thought this post’s zine was from the US but it’s UK-based. The editorial is really on its way to hooking me in by starting with the quote “Poetry won’t get us to the moon!” — which I’ve been thinking about a lot after finishing a poem I started earlier this year which tries to marry physics and poetry. Why should it matter whether or not poetry could get us to the moon? Despite being a practising poet, I do find myself asking this question and defending responses to it very, very frequently.

This zine is actually quite heavy-going; the three standout pieces are one about crop circles (seriously fascinating shit!), a section of a theatre play about training to become one of the first cosmonauts, and one about an ugly-sounding fondue set and the council estate Thamesmead. The other submissions are somewhat dry though perhaps very suited to visual arts academics, and oddly show heteronormative bias within sexist remarks that could easily be skipped over (e.g. apparently the pregnant body is not sexual to which my first thought is well, if it’s pregnant it was perceived to be sexual, and I don’t know that that switches off at a given point in a pregnancy? Which then leads to questions and definitions of what is construed as ‘sexual’, sigh, soz). I think too that my lack of knowledge on cultural theory relating to fine art might be impeding full appreciation of the other contributions?

The beer is alternating taste-wise — one sip will be sweet and syrupy, the next smoky, woody and aromatic the way you expect burning an exotic wood might be. It’s warmed up a little and feels a lot more balanced than my initial sip-reaction, and it’s taken me about two hours to finish it and the zine above.

I’ll finish with a quote from the zine’s editorial that struck my fancy, because it reminds me that science and creativity are excellent bedfellows, and long may they continue to be.

Dreams are often the ‘innocents’ that become real in ways quite opposite to their germinations.

 

when beer and edible plants have existential crises

This week I’m doing it! I’m cracking open a tinnie and reading a zine, and both choices will reflect the struggle that is millennial life! Why am I joking and exclaiming so much when I had such a shitty last few days!

zine: what is a fruit? what is a vegetable? by Sandy, NSW

drink: Old Wives’ Ales Old Man Yells At Cloud NE IPA

I started drinking before reading, because I just got home from one of the places I source my booze, and been dying to try this NE IPA for ages – pop cult ref, tick. Juicy and hazy, tick. Smells divine, tick. Fresh! tick.

My cat’s wandered off as she tends to do whenever I spend too much time faffing about with books or on my laptop, but she also does this thing where if I’m a tad down, she’ll just stay close and occasionally meow at me to make sure I’m paying attention to life or something, or will get the odd demonic-type possession-craving for raw meat, so she doesn’t have to contemplate bloody fruit-veg epistemology!

Most of us end up learning that tomatoes are fruits (belonging to the deadly nightshade family)*, and that rhubarb is a vegetable, and that science is a very convenient knowledge bank to swim in when one needs to argue which is which. Fair point! But, as Mulder once made famous, a lot of us want to believe certain things, even though we most likely know it’s unlikely to be true. I’d die of shock if Nessie actually existed because…that’s some cool shit. I guess the Southern Hemisphere equivalent for me would be finding new thylacines, even though their jaws terrify the shit out of me.

Okay, the beer is still fucking delicious, and apparently the botanist def of fruit is ‘ripened ovaries along with their contents and adhering accessory structures.’ Like whoa, too much learning for an early-in-the-weeknight. Classifications are useful, but we know so little about our world, and my guess is that nature does ‘break’ rules we dim humans use because we can’t cope with anything outside the box. Come to think of it, this zine doesn’t really talk much about vegetables – only eggplant/aubergine (also a deadly nightshade? when not masquerading as its emoticon shorthand for large male appendages? size doesn’t matter, fools, it’s what you do with what you’re given! um, anyway…)

A lot of these zine reviews have really taken on a metanarrative quality supposedly picked up from the zine being reviewed, but to be honest, I’m enjoying my beer too much to really care about why vegetables are hardly mentioned in this ranty zine. Does it matter that I’m drinking it from a tumbler? Can I blame Bar SK for this (bad) habit? Will my Ralph-picspamming mate in Sydney forgive me for not buying him a can? (hey Trev, it’s best fresh and I don’t know if it’d be any good by July…).

It’s Tuesday evening…I’m feeling hopeful about the week even though I’m about to get metaphorically snowed under with a fuckton of reading. Good thing I like reading…

*I unintentionally made this sound like a cult thanks to blog tagging, but…yeah, it sounds like a cult, lulz!