Tag Archives: zine review

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!

why be happy when you could just practise

A few weeks ago, I spent money I should be saving on book-and-tea subscription thing called Bookishly for three months. So far two of the packages have arrived (from England!) with everything sealed within a millimetre of its not-customs-breaking life with unusual older book imprints.

I’ve been saving the two teas for something special, and after an admittedly rough week (by which I mean, I’m glad my antidepressants are working because if they didn’t, I’d probably be crying everyday, but now am too numb and stressed to have the time to).

Just managed to sneak in a tea-and-zine review post…I feel like I should be more prepared for weekly blogging but it’s harder to make time for doing it when not feeling chirpy so a lot of the posts this year have been written when feeling pretty deflated, but isn’t this part of the problem with ‘high-functioning’ when you have a chronic mood disorder? Functioning highly in what? At sadness? Anxiety cooking bolognaise sauce from scratch, mid-week?*** This week’s tea and zine of choice…read below: http://eatdrinkstagger.com/why-be-happy-when-you-could-just-practise/ (short review: both were excellent) ***I anxiety cook and clean a lot! if you’re going to make bolognaise sauce from scratch, use a bottle of good red and simmer for eons.

A post shared by some beer hack (@eatdrinkstagger) on

I still can’t find my most recent passport (it’s not lost, it’s just packed away out of my reach at the moment), which means I can’t get a full police check, and hair started growing over my bald spot. While looking through my phone’s camera roll for Bloody Mary/Virgin Mary cocktail photos for one project I have to finish this year, I came across a photo of me with long, slightly wavy brown hair down to my waist. I’d like it to get that thick and wavy again but it’s weird…I feel like looking so…’regular’ would delete all evidence of how difficult the last three years have been mood-wise. It’s so much easier to hide how you feel with a thick curtain of hair, on both sides of your face. In three more months, it will have been a year since my last hospitalisation.

Anyway, this weekend, the sads meant drinking tea, impulse buying a (neon grass green?!) book (Carmen Maria Machado’s The Body and Other Parties) on my wishlist, and reading a very, very cute zine to end the week and squeeze in a review post.

zine: the adventures of Ruby & Mags II by Lilly Piri

drink: Jenier grenadine vanilla black tea

OH WOW. The loose leaf tea comes in those mesh pyramid teabag things which means you can compost them, and the tea is heavenly! Really subtle and smooth. You keep sipping, thinking the flavour will intensify, and then your mug is empty. It’s glorious.

Ruby & Mags II has come in a plastic sleeve with holographic gold heart and iridescent pink star confetti. Ruby and Mags seem to be a pink fawn and an tawny orange-brown cat who are besties? They’re illustrated enjoying painting, doughnuts, tea, pancakes, strawberries, and Pocky. There’s an unrelated centrefold with four-leaf clovers, a puppy, and unicorns with rainbow-coloured manes and tails. I don’t know if this is because Ruby and Mags hallucinated this after eating hash-baked goods? Dropping acid tabs? It might’ve been their Pocky? I feel like this is what drug-taking acquaintances would tell me, but I’m too sad-straight to have any personal experiences to confirm this. Naïve me thinks it’s probably just their other cute and colourful pals? I’m not debating the above to be funny – the zine is ridiculously adorable. It’s like someone just dropped the zine equivalent of a gorgeously decorated cupcake in my lap! What was R&M I like? Are there more?

Anyway, they cavort playfully with the two unicorns, and then the last panel is the fluffy kitty with strawberry Pocky. A brief online search has pulled up this website – you can see the unicorns! They remind me a bit of this one windowsill where I grew up in London, where a girl – clearly a few years older than me, judging by the size and display of her My Little Pony collection on her bedroom sill made me wish that one day, if I were patient, I’d get ones with wings, and horns! I didn’t treat mine as well as she did hers and also liked playing with my brother’s Masters of the Universe figures too. Mantenna’s pop-out eyes were pretty cool! My bro loved those toys, so it was pretty nice of him to let me play with them too.

Hopefully the coming week will be a bit better…I think my mood funk will finish up once I’ve finished reading this very underwhelming novel I’ve struggled with for a week…initially, I wanted to read it because it’s about a young Englishman who ends up growing up in Holland, and becomes a luthier, but starts to believe he’s a werewolf (he isn’t: he gets into a violent brawl and acquired head injury sets off frontal lobe epilepsy). I’m not starting to read any new novels till finishing it – it’s called Quicksilver by Christie Dickason. It’s like a very, very bad version of the very, very wonderful Music and Silence by Rose Tremain. How does anyone make a historical novel about werewolves, the Netherlands, lutes, and early modern medicine boring?! That should teach me to stay away from remaindered books for…the rest of my life.