Tag Archives: zine review

late night tea and reflective reading

zine: Smut  ‘Day Dreamer’ issue 4

drink: Afternoon Australian Grey (Ceylon, bergamot, and Aus. lemon myrtle) by Madame Flavour

Wow, today was a very good day. I’m currently working on a commission, and today, I was adamant that I had to get the damn thing done so that I could print it out on paper (don’t judge me!), and finally call it finished. It’s been a work-in-progress for quite some time, and one I’ve agonised over in several drafts. It morphed a lot in those drafts.

Tonight, I deliberately picked up a super-short zine for the daily read, as a result of my brain being mush thanks to editing, Trying to read this zine after watching Thor: The Dark World (is it odd that I find superhero films boring? not counting Black Panther because that was fucking rad, you know it) to wind down still meant a shift back into poet-as-reader mode! And no music – just comforting late-night outdoor ambient noise. Is it weird to hear trains so near but find their sound reassuring?

Tea, time for tea.* It’s also been a while since I did a non-alcoholic post, and today has Melbourne in glorious cool change mode. This Australian take on Earl Grey I’m drinking is so damn fragrant. I’ve had it in my pantry for a while and the scent it leaves lingering is heavenly, and distinctive (the lemon myrtle).

Online hunting has revealed that Smut is a microfiction and poetry zine from Melbourne, and the ‘Day Dreamer’ issue is the latest one. Each contribution is numbered and has a reproduction of what look like vintage photos (of very white people…). My favourite ones were the very amusing one about a dog burning shared memories and recollections with a human onto CDs, and a poem about a sinister dream, blood, and reproduction (which, if you read yesterday’s entry, you’ll know has been on my mind very recently!)

The zine ends with a single word on its last page – ‘dream’ – another topic that’s been preoccupying me lately. I’ve been rewatching The Fall and one of the main characters, Stella Gibson, keeps a dream journal. I used to do something similar when I was on medication that on certain doses, gave me the most vivid, violent or downright ridiculous dreams (though sometimes it’s not the meds, it’s past trauma stuff). It’s funny because as a kid, I never had nightmares (probably because I found it so hard to sleep!). I’ve had a lot as a grown-up.

Venlafaxine in particular on high doses is notorious for night terrors, nightmares (that wake up everyone else in your abode but you), and sleep paralysis. Quetiapine just makes me you dopey as fuck, so the dreams tend to be good-weird and rambling. Zolpidem can give you even weirder dreams: it never gives me nice ones, they’re always regret-laden ones that make me feel sad and lonely upon waking. This is why it’s good to have a cat. My old cat Wolfie, was a fantastic grump and nightmare vanguard, and my cat now Fance is a huggy cat who’ll let me snuggle her like a soft toy (under quilt and all! if she’s not sleeping on my hair!) who’ll sneak out from under my arm when I’m just about to fall asleep again.

Sorry, not a fun note to finish on, despite feeling a really good kind of tired. The Bengal kitty I’m looking after likes me again (she’s been napping as I’ve been working my arse off today), and I’ve got another cup of tea to attend to that may have been left to brew for a wonderful-but-socially-unacceptable time…g’night.

*Nope, tea doesn’t keep me awake. I also find it comforting to have hot drinks before bed. Coffee is the drink that mess up my ability to sleep, upset my tummy, make me shake lots. It clashes a fair bit with my day med unless I’ve eaten shitloads. Boooo.

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

blueprint for a lifehack, zineful of wolfpack (sic)

For the first time in A MONTH I’ve finally woken up at a decent hour, got out of bed, stayed upright, had meds and breakfast/appetite. It’s not groundbreaking: good sleep is essential to survival.

When I started my new job, much like another writing pal whose work you should support (hi Ali!), I had this idea that I’d use my work days to only focus on getting ready for work (travel, be dressed and ready, eat well etc.), and on my days ‘at home’, I’d blog here, or write and edit poetry and works-in-progress and book reviews.

That hasn’t really happened. My sleep cycle has been pretty bad of late, as I either crash too early to avoid life, or can’t sleep at all even though I need to be up by a certain time the following day. Cut to today where I woke up this morning (like, early), was actually starving and spent a bit-lot of $ on a lifehack thing I do when I’ve spent a sad day in bed: wake up early the day after, get breakfast and lunch ordered on delivery services…

It’s a lifesaver for folks with a chronic mental health condition. I know it’s not socially very responsible, but it’s hauled my arse out more times than I count. The trick is to get two serves of food so that when you’re too exhausted to prepare anything for next time you feel awful (which unfortunately, will happen), you’ve got a reserve (an açai bowl) in the fridge!

zine: Woolf Pack #10

drink: NU Healthy Cafe ‘Honey Nutter’ smoothie

Confession: I kind of slammed down my smoothie so only had a tiny bit left when I started reading the zine. Probably because it had: chocolate protein (powder?), peanut butter, chia seeds, and honey! It was delicious, not too thick, and had that thing going where you keep drinking and keep going ‘um, just one more sip’ and then all of a sudden the whole thing is gone.

Your day is off to a good start when you’ve eaten and you’re reading an essay on fat pink Pokémon?! The zine starts off with an editorial (am assuming) from editor-in-chief Rebecca Cheers about feminism and #metoo in Hollywood (let’s not forget that it was created by Tarana Burke a decade ago), before a playful but thoughful piece by the zine’s visual editor Talia Enright. There does seem to be a fair bit of cute, popcult discussion on the queerness of Pokémon, more recently as detailed in this delightful Junkee article (initially viewed in the author’s Twitter feed). For someone who was just a tad too old to catch the initial Pokémon craze, it’s pretty gleeful to learn that queerness and Pokémon doesn’t have to be age-specific: they’re allowed to keep morphing to suit whoever wants to find them a source of joy and identity.

Talia also has a few illustrations in this issue, as well as an excellent recipe for soy and sriracha tofu which I’m dying to try!

There’s also an essay on episodes from Black Mirror by Humyara Mahbub which name-checks some theorists that make my brain hurt this early in the morning (ie. anything before midday) but must confess that while loving this essay, I still haven’t seen any eps from start to finish (and forgotten ones I have seen bits of). I try not to watch a lot of TV because it’s usually my time-wasting thing, or my starting-to-get-really-unwell thing and try to funnel that energy into reading instead (though recently have been a bit obsessed with Versailles and more generally music from the period à la Le roi danse because it reminds me of a happier, more productive period in my life most likely never to happen again).

I tell myself I don’t like writing fiction, but seem to enjoy reading it when it’s in an anthology or zine. ‘Love and Baked Goods’ by Helen Taylor is really cute and full of that unspoken longing that two people sorta-kinda-maybe mutually acknowledge but don’t do anything about, and ‘Dead Channel’ by Brianna Bullen invokes my empathy so much in that it probably reminds me a bit too much of life not that long ago despite its highly speculative element of accessing ‘memory labs’ to experiences others’ memories.

Bec Jessen (‘there is nothing you could ask or I could tell that would reveal a true thing about me’) and Rae White (‘Go and Gone’) are two Brisbane-based poets who I met briefly at QPF, and the work they have in this issue are loooooovely in that they both articulate intimacies and awkwardnesses that exist outside of gender and heteronormative constructs.

The last piece I’ll mention is Honor Webster-Mannison’s ‘Inside Problems’, sequential art about imagining the interior very literally (the house one lives in and one’s body), and the interior emotional lives of oneself and others. There’s also a beautiful bit of text:

…out is a world born by endless roads filled with cars with windows rolled down to shout ‘suck’. It’s filled with mothers with laser gun eyes, with fathers at home, with leaf blower limbs that they wish were machine guns.

Tried to keep this one short and sweet, in the spirit of GETTING! SHIZ! DONE!