BolloksCraft Xine Vol. 1
Editing Crew Chipotle Pear Soup… pg 12
Sadlad Salad… pg 20
Baby Faces… pg 25
Dance Pants… pg 28
Moderate Violence… pg 7
Celebration… inside back cover
Rebecca Jones-Howe Far from Home… pg 26
Wistrec… pg 6
Artist Feature B… pg 8
The Rose Tree… pg 30
Snowy Branches… pg 4
Footsteps… pg 5
Dead Sea… pg 31
Crap-Free Laundry Soap… pg 15
Haiku… pg 19
Haiku… pg 24
Migraines… inside cover
Artist Feature A… pg 8
Ears Out… pg 22
Tricked Ya… back cover
Tooth… pg 18
Infinita Postcard/Download… pg 32
Designers Jessie Kobylanski Frank Luca
Front Cover Ross Angus - Photo Marlaina Buch - Mask/Model Jessie Kobylanski - Design See page 8 for Artist Feature
BolloksCraft Xine Firstly, What is Bollokscraft? Bollokscraft is a lot of things: it’s a collective, a music label, an events co-ordination spot, a distribution point, some folks just hanging out, a hub for makers, and above all, a place for people to connect. We’re a developing community aimed at facilitating open and diverse projects. Bollokscraft is all about collaboration and community. Working in good faith with others to gain new perspectives, fill in gaps, learn new things, and just have a good time are tenants we strive to foster in our ventures. While working on ideas under the Bollokscraft umbrella we encourage thinking beyond in-built expectations, embracing new views and practicing new creative methods. We want to tear down the walls between “artists” and “audiences” to nurture an inclusive doing/ being community of folks who want to collectively produce and share works that are greater than the sum of their contributor’s particular skills. Participation at Bollokscraft is the process of celebrating the experimentally positive in all ways possible.
Bollokscraft produces, publishes, distributes, organizes events, and connects people and points.
How Does a Zine Fit Into Bollokscraft? Our Xine combines the best elements of a classic zine with newspaperly publications. It contains the love for underground, the artistry and the casual creative awesomeness of a zine, but has the consistency and approachability of a newsletter or traditional magazine.
Why Xine? Our really cool X is a crossing and a meeting of different avenues and as such it stands for the freely associated convergence of the principles and values of many forms of publication. Our plans for the Xine don’t fit in the usual templates, but allows us to set our own course through that infinite fractal of print media, information and opinion.
The Bollokscraft Xine contains a wide variety of article styles and content; from album reviews, to art info, to rad DIY projects, to blurbs on the awesome and inspiring, to comics and illustrations, to tear-out pages of art/photos/origami and more. If you can think it and make it 2D, we will always work to accommodate it. This Xine monster is maintained by some key people who inexplicably feel compelled to go above and beyond in putting in hard work during their free time (and sometimes even their not-so-free time). However, this Xine is nourished by a community of various kinds of people who submit their art, media, thoughts, insights and considerations for print. The Bollokscraft Xine is a tangible nexus to showcase ideas from the Kamloops doing/making community and beyond!
Submission Guidelines Submitting any work to the BolloksCraft Xine means that you understand and agree with the following: You have labeled the document with your name or pseudonym, email address and phone number, title, medium and any special notes (preferred in colour, is time sensitive, contains valuable/delicate material etc.). Text should be sent in a word.doc. If images are to be included, please send them separately as jpeg, tiff, png or bmp files that are labeled with the image title and your last name. Ideally images will be 300 dpi. If you’re unsure about any formatting specifications, please just contact us. We are more than happy to help! Your work will probably see publication. If so, you will be notified by email or telephone. If the editing party thinks changes are required, you will be contacted (if you’re not there) and asked to modify whatever needs work. If an agreement cannot be reached, we will withdraw from working with that piece, but in no way discourage you from submitting other works.
If you submit something to us, say a short story, and in the mean time you have also submitted it to a major publishing firm and they decide to publish your piece with exclusivity, it is your responsibility to notify us so we can pull it. We want to keep this legal and easy, so please keep us posted. The Bollokscraft Xine is free and contains zero advertising. With that in mind, you won’t receive monetary compensation but rather radtastic street cred and the chance to work with some great people. For any further clarification, please see the mandate/guidelines at bollokscraftrecords.com
Submit Works To: email@example.com or mail it to: BolloksCraft Xine 406 Nicola Street Kamloops BC V2C 2P8
For more or other information and a steady stream of updates, please visit bollokscraftrecords.com
Stuff We Like Wistrec These folks produce beautifully assembled, non-traditional albums and books for sale on their site wistrec.com. Self described as “an environmentally friendly, independent label dealing in short form, handmade music. As the monetary predominance of music is lessened, the importance of DIY music has grown more & more essential in framing new ways of listening.” Wistrec’s latest release, The Woodlander’s Index EP by Depatterning is a very charming collection of: a “woods of the world” fact card, a tree film slide, clattering words from Philip Larkin, a DVD with visuals by Joshua Rogers, and a free digital download for the Forestry Lessons EP. Plus, every copy sold means a tree will be planted in the Atlantic Forests of Brazil as part of the Nature Conservancy project “Plant a Billion Trees”. Wistrec is a group of people with an ethos after our own Bollokscraft heart: handmade, sustainable and experimental. Check them out and support a great community with a positive vision of making and distributing art, sound and words.
Artist Feature Bollokscraft on Marlaina Buch Often when artists have serious social or ecological views they wish to discuss, their insights can get lost in the clamor of politics and the blur of controversy. When Marlaina Buch writes and raps as Hunter Rapper, however, audiences are exposed to her intriguing ideas and philosophy without being battered by them. Similarly, most of Marlaina’s work that is showcased on her website (marlainabuch.com) reflects the kind of easy-going social attitude which is so central to the character of Hunter Rapper. From her vibrant foamworks to her weird and wonderful paintings and drawings, Marlaina’s art constantly exhibits a savvy sort of personable and exploratory wit. Whether she is performing quirky rap songs about eating hunted meat, coordinating public programs at the Kamloops Art Gallery, or high-fiving nature, Marlaina maintains an ethos of enthusiasm and a dedication to artistic authenticity. Having moved here only six months ago Marlaina has yet to unleash Hunter Rapper on Kamloops audiences. During our interview, however, we got the impression that it won’t be long before she is back in the performance-fray. We began our discussion with Marlaina with talk of what the early developmental stages of her career as an artist were like. While attending art school Marlaina was compelled to set
up shows and start her artistic career prior to graduating. “A lot of people are waiting until they’ve graduated to feel comfortable to show and get things going and I was like ‘No, no, no, I’ve got to go now!’” Marlaina pointed out that this urgency of activity may have been in part attributable to her preference to have artistic
to have always been a major part of her art-making history. Marlaina recalled how unusual collaborative projects of her past, such as coordinating a synchronized skateboarding team, exemplifies her outlook on group works and on artist identity in general: “[some people] might not necessarily think ‘Oh, I’m a skateboarder’ but you have one in your home so lets just see what you can do. Like, what can you do, what can’t you do? You won’t know until you do, so just do it!” This kind of creativity goes a good number of miles to explain the transformation of Marlaina Buch into her alter-ego rap persona Hunter Rapper; the decision to develop the rap persona and produce the Gittin Cosmic Bout Death EP was of natural spontaneous inspiration .
ventures take shape socially; “[as an artist] I’m kind of hyperactive and I think that solo practice is not enough. I like the kind of hysteria of group events and the way things can kind of mushroom and just how collaborating offers so many other different perspectives.” Marlaina’s inclination to encourage people who might not necessarily identify themselves as artists or performers to nevertheless cooperate creatively seems
“[The Hunter Rapper project] was just sort of a ludicrous expectation to set up for myself. I had some performance experience, so I wasn’t really worried about being a fool. I think that [the fool is] an important social role because you do things that other people can’t. You enable them to imagine themselves as [whatever you are being] but with a safety catch.” With a working body of lyrics set to beats and melodies put together on Garage Band, Marlaina ploughed her way through the preliminary writing
process. However, after some self-review she says she found herself thinking, “these need to be beefy! They’re a little tepid and they need to be beefed up.” Marlaina’s penchant for collaboration steered her toward DJ Final Report, a musician, who at the time happened to be living in a neighboring suite. “I asked Thomas (DJ Final Report), ‘I want you to take these [tracks] and make them obese, make them so fat. Take out all your bells and whistles and your silly tricks; all the stuff you’ve been scared to do… give me all your stupid, help me write this stuff…’ I wanted Thomas to have free reign, I really wanted him to play and that’s more how it worked. I guess that a history of collaboration helped me to be like ‘don’t zig-zag.’ That’s part of hip-hop too: the improvisational and the releasing of your big fat ego and working with someone else to make stuff happen.” As a result, Gittin Cosmic Bout Death is a cohesive comingtogether of various creative elements: Marlaina’s lyrical interests, opinionated style and taste for the aesthetics of the ridiculous mixed up with DJ Final Report’s musical know-how. Beyond the unabashedly quirky and often wacky production of the album, the most potent quality of Gittin’ Cosmic is the lyrics. Well aware that hip-hop is a genre that has a distinct background of writing from
adversity, Marlaina kept in mind how the degree of legitimacy in actually coming from hardship is intrinsically tied up with the credibility of the raps. Moreover, a large part of her decision to write lyrics that are focused on omnivore issues came from an interest in the subtleties of this concept: “I’m interested in authenticity: what’s appreciation, what’s appropriation, and how
do you walk those lines? How do you negotiate that stuff?” Recognizing that she has not led a life of strife from which to draw influence, Marlaina gave a voice to Hunter Rapper by extrapolating her memories of growing up in Northern Ontario. In a culture where hunting game for food wasn’t just the norm but also a positive and responsible activity, Marlaina’s views on food production, cultivation and consumption were informed and reaffirmed.
During our interview, Marlaina very generously gave us two issues of a meat-centric magazine that offers readers insights into how cultures around the world view and utilize meat: a good indicator of her wellresearched ideology. She also clarified her personal standpoint on consuming flesh, “[I] try and avoid ‘dirty meat’ and I really do think that the majority of factory farming stuff is dehumanizing on so many levels.” For Marlaina, more traditional approaches to meat cultivation - like hunting and fishing - are “truly worth while because they come attached with this huge body of knowledge and understanding. It’s a whole process; it’s not this crass negating of life just because you can.” Despite writing from a proomnivore standpoint that could easily be misconstrued, Marlaina said that she has received more positive than negative feedback. Most of the backlash has appeared in the anonymous venue of website comment sections where without transparency and personal accountability there is no opportunity for constructive discussion. Although the impact of this kind of negative feedback and the anti-social context from which it stems is not pleasant to cope with, Marlaina observes that it has its value: “It makes you really reconsider what you’re doing… [but] it’s good to get those cross-checks every once
in a while because you can be in this little art silo where you’re producing and I think that that kind of harsh reflection is really important.” Although many of the opinions she shares through her work as Hunter Rapper are rooted in a genuine and serious perspective, Marlaina succeeds in cutting much of the possible tension by keeping her sense of humor intact: “I don’t take anything too seriously, that’s always sort of a starting point, almost to the point that I almost need to turn that flippancy around!” Marlaina’s desire to have her art stem from her history and heart has gone a long way to helping her overcome any genuinely malicious naysaying. Furthermore, this dedication to artistic authenticity seems to have benefitted her on the more professional side of her work as well. When we were wrapping up our interview and preparing to leave, we asked her about how she balances her challenging career within art gallery bureaucracy with the demands of having a creative personality. Marlaina’s departing remarks in response were excellent: “I think that it’s just [about] trying to be creative so that the majority of the time you’re doing what you want to do, which you should be doing anyway. So I think it’s like ‘integrate as much as you can’ you know, be stubborn, say ‘this is what I’m doing!’”
Bollokscraft Gits Cosmic w/ Hunter Rapper Gittin Cosmic Bout Death could be a lot things. Gittin Cosmic Bout Death, an EP by Hunter Rapper is a lot of things. It’s a stance. It’s the audio experience of oscillating super neon patterns fused with consumer ethics, attitudes and misconceptions. It’s saucy. It’s cheesy. It’s beefy. But there ain’t nothin’ fishy ‘bout Hunter Rapper. Think Chiquita Bananas lady, cut with MIA, getting it on with Dick Proenneke (Alone in the Wilderness survivalist/naturalist guru. Really, google him) and making a hunter rapper baby. That baby is kicking and screaming to the tune of “Carrots aint holy / That’s what I’ve deduced /And everything suffers when it’s mass “produced” / Give props to the trappers and Rednex /Cause it all makes sense in context.” Context is probably the single most important thing in perceiving any creative process and outcome. In this case, Hunter Rapper, a psychedelic masked redneck spittin’ out verses about the complexities of eating. Surely with lines like “Cheatah cheatah, pumpkin eater / Won’t eat meat / Cause it makes you weep-ha” could easily pigeonhole HR as hating on vegetarian or vegan
life styles, but this simply isn’t so. Hunter Rapper, despite, or possibly due to the gooffactor, delves into some pretty complicated issues concerning the consequences of eating in the western world. Though all of the songs on GCBD contain a pro-omnivore perspective, it’s important to note that the omnivoreness comes from a back-to-basics principle. There’s nothing lazy or ignorant about these raps. While the omnivore is loud and brash in Hunter Rapper lyrics, like with any rapper or performing artist, we know to take it with a grain of salt (as it enhances the flavour). A stage persona almost needs to be huge and hyper and overwhelming, which I can honestly say that Hunter Rapper is all of those things plus a bit more. Not only an MC, but a spectacle decked out in handcrafted (by Marlaina), hummingbird-attracting foam masks and bling (I’ve even seen a photo of a gold glitter boom box!). We be talkin’ foam swag here!
It’s undeniably weird. The notion of natural processes like killing and dying and eating manifesting in a highly synthetic and human-manipulated way. Electronic beats and sounds under filtered vocals busting out of a foam/spandex/polyblendclad HUNTER RAPPER! Who ever heard of such a thing?! Ah, but that’s where hip hop culture comes in. Here is well-executed (though some could argue butchered if it’s not to their taste) appropriation. The over-thetopness of glam hip hop and rap acts as a fantastic forum for these sorts of ideas and opinions. Ego is king or queen on the throne of authenticity, dolling out awesome to spite adversity. Aesthetic and attitude matter. You gotta walk the talk and drive it home. What is Hunter Rapper driving home? That choosing to eat meat or not is a complicated and convoluted idea that isn’t actually as simple as yes or no. There are luxuries and privileges and consequences and downsides on all sides of the dinner table. Either way, “you gotta high-five nature!” Check it: hunterapper.bandcamp.com
Chipotle Pear and Roasted Squash Soup
This is a thick soup. It is the kind of soup that you have to be careful with when it is on the stove. It is the kind of soup that makes “plop” sounds as it bubbles. It is the kind of soup that you need to keep a lid on when you reheat it, and then hold that lid in front of you like a shield when you stir it. Otherwise you may end up with a searing hot glob of soupy deliciousness in your eye. If you think you can handle these safety precautions, forge ahead for a very belly-warming experience. This is a soup I made without a recipe, and so writing it up as a recipe has proven challenging. I tried to measure. But many measurements are just rough approximations and you really just need to add things “to taste”. I always taste as I go along and then add a little bit more of this or that until it tastes how I want it to. If this is a cooking method you are not familiar with, a soup is a great place to start. It is hard to mess a soup up. One of the only ways you can go wrong is if you add too much of something (salt comes to mind) but even in such a case you can add more liquid and dilute the flavour. Just remember, add a little, taste, add a little, taste. The squash I used are all winter squash, but they are wild hybrids that emerged from our compost this summer. They all had different tastes and textures and looks. They are the franken-children of cross-pollinated Hubbard squash, Kabocha squash, Buttercup squash and more that I can’t think of. So basically you can use any kind of squash for this recipe!! Have fun!
Turn the page for instructions
Chipotle Pear and Roasted Squash Soup 6 cups roasted squash olive oil 2 medium onions, diced 3 stalks celery (or 2 tsp of ground celery seed) 5 large potatoes, washed and diced 1 tbsp of ginger, finely chopped or grated 4 large pears, cored and chopped 1 tbsp ground cumin 1 tsp nutmeg 2 heaping tbsp of chopped garlic (or less for the faint of heart) 2 tsp ground chipotle pepper (or 2 or 3 chopped chipotle peppers and some adobo sauce) 8 cups broth (veggie, chicken, beef, whatever you like) salt and pepper I used about 4 medium squashes which came to measure about 6 cups of squash once they were roasted. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Cut your squash in half, scoop out the seeds, peel the skin off, and then dice the flesh into about 1-2” pieces. Toss all your squash pieces in olive oil and then put them on a baking sheet and roast them until the are soft and golden brown in spots (about 20 min). While your squash is baking, get out your big soup pot and put it on the stove ring at about medium heat. Glug in some olive oil and then throw in your diced onions, ginger and celery or celery seed (I used celery seed because I didn’t have any celery). Let this sauté for a little bit. As the onions start to get glossy, toss in your diced potato (again, 1-2” squares, roughly, and you don’t need to peel them just cut off any nasty bits and make sure they are clean), and your diced pears (same size as potatoes, and they don’t need to be peeled either, but you can if you don’t like peels). Toss in your cumin and nutmeg and chipotle pepper. Let it all sauté together, periodically adding a little splash of your broth to capture all the sugars caramelizing on the bottom of the pan. It should smell very nice. Once your squash is ready, take it out of the oven and add it to your soup pot with the rest of your broth. Give it a good stir all together. Bring it to a boil and then turn it down and let it simmer gently until your potato pieces are soft. Now here is a good time to start tasting. At this point I add salt to the soup. Add a little, taste, add a little, taste, until I like it. I also add garlic. Yes, garlic at the end, more or less. I like garlic a lot, and the less it is cooked the healthier it is. But if you aren’t into strong garlic taste, throw it in in the beginning when you are cooking the onions and ginger. This way the taste will be much milder. Now whiz the soup up with a hand blender and add a bit more cumin, nutmeg, chipotle pepper and black pepper to taste (or not if it already tastes pretty good to you). If it is too thick, add some more broth, or some cream or milk. If it is too runny, let it simmer down for a little while. This is where you make the soup how you like it.
WINTER SADLAD SALAD Amid these cold, slushy and short-on-daylight winter days, do you feel like something is missing in your life? It could be the warmth and love of a loyal pet. It could be the joy and exuberance of a seriously funky dance party (see Dancey Pants at a Glance for some solutions). Or it could be the fresh crunch of a salad. Yes, we are in the heart of winter here, and you may have found that you are drifting past the salad greens at the grocery store. Why? Perhaps it is because you know, in your heart, that they are world-weary lettuce heads. You know they are far far from home, and they are exhausted from their long cramped journey in a shipping truck. Such sad, tired and homesick greens may not call out to you in the grocery store. In fact, they are probably emulating a “keep on walkin’” sort of vibe. Let us wilt away in peace. So how can we experience some fresh salady goodness in our land of winter without dragging poor leafy greens across the continent? Well…make a salad out of seasonally appropriate veggies, of course! Root veggies are seasonally appropriate for winter because they store well. So theoretically, you could use locally grown veggies that have been happily snoozing down in nice cool root cellar. Check out the Farmer’s Market in Sahali Mall, or grocery stores like Heartland Foods or NuLeaf to get your hands on some local roughage for this winter salad. Or better yet…if you have your own root cellar or cool storage, you can dig out some of your own garden grown rooties! All that being said, the dressing calls for lemons and oranges…not local, obviously, because they don’t grow here. To me they add a very yummy zing, but if you want to really stay seasonal, replace the citrus juice with ½ of apple cider vinegar + 1 tsp of maple syrup or honey. - Put all your grated veg together in a bowl. Take a moment to enjoy the beauty of the colours. - Combine all the dressing ingredients together and whisk, or shake up in a jar, to thoroughly combine (especially the little glob of miso.) - Add dressing to the grated veg and combine. The beets will take over with their ruby hue in typical beet fashion. - Allow it all to sit together in the fridge for at least an hour so that the flavours can really stew and develop. - Top with toasted nuts and/or seeds and enjoy! Sprouts are a great topping too, and you can grow them in your sunny winter window!
Salad 2 c grated carrot 2 c grated rutabaga 1 c grated beet (cabbage is also a great addition!) Âź c of toasted almond slices, sunflower seeds or whatever little bit of crunch you fancy
Dressing Juice of one lemon Juice of one orange (if you donâ€™t have any oranges, substitute another lemon + tsp maple syrup or honey for a little sweetness) 1 tsp lemon zest (make sure you only use organic!) 1.5 tsp grated ginger 2 tbsp of diced green onion 2 tbsp of grapeseed oil 1 tsp of miso 2 tsp of sesame oil (optional- it adds a bit more of an Asian spin)
EARS OUT on CREAM JUICE In terms of sheer definition ‘Cream Juice’ may be interpreted in several different ways. The listener might assume the phrase to simply mean ‘the juxtaposition of the thick white or pale yellow fatty liquid that rises to the top on raw milk, often used in cooking with the liquid obtained from or present in fruit or vegetables;’ sort of a ‘complete-breakfast’-type situation. Alternatively, (and more interestingly, I think), one might read ‘Cream Juice’ as meaning ‘to work the liquid obtained or present in fruit or vegetables into soft and smooth butter or paste;’ to me, this sounds incredibly appetizing.
When the phrase ‘Cream Juice’ is used to describe a musical project, however, its meaning becomes all the more appealing to the sonic appetite. Thanks to Giant Claw (a.k.a. Keith Kawaii/ Keith Rankin) and Henry Dawson (a.k.a. Seth Graham), we listeners of sonic sounds are engraced with an entirely new and deeply dynamic definition of ‘Cream Juice’ to savour. This is to say that on January 6th, 2012 Rankin and Graham (Brooklyn denizens, both) firmly established the new official definition of ‘Cream Juice’ to mean ‘getting the best of both worlds.’ With their eponymous debut, Cream Juice brings together the frenetic beat/melodies and synth-lunacy showcased in Giant Claw projects with the dense warfare of hypnotic synths and roaring noise which often typifies the sound of Henry Dawson albums. Both elements are humbled and tempered in concert and the final product exhibits the kind of experimental brawn which is simultaneously understated and confident; a rare combination.
For the seasoned noisesynthnoodlery listener, ‘Cream Juice’ is a listen of ease. Across 13 untitled tracks, this duo tosses out hundreds of synth experiments while never leaving the audience out of breath. Instead of the overarching tone of urgency which would normally accompany a project containing so many qualities of noise, melody and atmosphere, Rankin and Graham infuse their tape with a good-natured ease in which each movement is seeded, developed and cultivated in an otherworldly groove.
Cream Juice, indeed.
Staying at a harmonious distance from the territories that either member treads when producing material alone, Cream Juice is a gallery of synthesized dreamscapes articulated in a paradoxical ‘best of both worlds’ manner: this tape sounds nearly aleatoric in compositional feel but each movement remains undeniably patient and under-control. Stick your ears to the full stream at orangemilkrecords. bandcamp.com, and then buy the beautifully designed cassette from Orange Milk Records - I did this, and I was cooler for it! These puppies are from a run of only 50 so don’t miss out!
(Also, Seth and Keith are highly active as co-founders of Orange Milk Records. Besides bringing together fantastic sounds from all over North America and pressing it to really aesthetically pleasing cassettes, this excellent label is diligent with regard to responding promptly to email inquiry and orders. Judging by the liner notes on a few of their releases, I get the impression they foster rewarding relationships with the folks they distribute for too. They’ve got some sales on right now, so support ‘em!
Far From Home
By Rebecca Jones-Howe The campfire crackles, warming the bare spot on my hand where my wedding band should be. My fingers tense. Then I remind myself that my ring’s not lost. It’s just gone. “You mind if we join you?” The young vagabond couple walks up to the fire. They arrived this morning, a shaggy-haired guy and a freckled girl who drove into the resort with their dog. The guy holds up a six pack and offers a can to me. “I can’t turn down a beer,” I say. The guy tosses me a can and pulls up a chair. “I’m Dale,” he says, “and this is my wife, Sunny.” “Sunny?” I ask. The girl nods, beaming a smile that matches her red hair. She walks up and holds out her hand. “My parents used to call me Sunny Sammie, but I never liked sounding like a boy.” “Eli,” I say, reaching out. “It’s nice to meet you, Eli,” she says. Her small hand fits in my palm, warming it momentarily before she pulls away. The dog barks. He isn’t on a leash but he walks up and sniffs around my thighs, his tail still wagging. Sunny guides the dog back beside her and laughs. “We almost forgot to
introduce Hershel,” Dale says. “Hershel is our trusty travel hound,” Sunny says. She leans down and scratches the dog behind the ears. Her red waves spill over her shoulders, framing the cleavage revealed through the deep neckline of her dress. She’s got small tits, but they’re perky tits. Carrie used to hate that I used the word tits, but that wasn’t the reason I left. “I haven’t had a beer since I got here,” I say, cracking open the can. “I’ve been watching all my sunsets sober.” “It’s like life’s thrill,” Sunny says, chuckling. “Doing all the simple things over alcohol.” “So what do you think of rondavel-living in Lesotho?” Dale asks. “Huh?” “Rondavels are the huts,” Sunny says, pointing to the row of circular huts that line the resort. “This isn’t the Africa I had pictured in my head,” I say, taking a sip from the beer. “I think of elephants and giraffes and grassy plains, but I couldn’t afford to go on a safari. I just needed a getaway.” “From what?” Dale asks. “What does anyone need to get away from?” I ask.
Dale looks at me and then back at Sunny. She adjusts her dress. It’s the long billowing kind that Carrie used to wear the summer she was pregnant with Thomas. I used to tell Carrie that I wasn’t into the hippie look. I just didn’t find the dress all that flattering on her. “It’s wanderlust,” Sunny says. I look over, making eye contact for too long. “It’s not about getting away,” Sunny says. “It’s about being somewhere else.” I take another swig and stare out into the valley. The beer tastes flat and dull. The valley is quiet, the sky clotting into a deeper shade of red. Even now it’s still hard not to hear the sound of Carrie’s voice cracking, her words becoming sobs. I told her that I couldn’t do it anymore. She asked me if it was because I’d found somebody else. I swore to her it wasn’t. “This place looks sort of like home,” I say. “The valleys, the foliage. It all looks a bit similar. My house is built on a hill. The living room overlooks the valley. We have big windows. You can watch the sun set right from the couch.” “It sounds lovely,” Sunny says. I finish my beer and Dale asks me if I want another. “You know my one and only weakness,” I say.
Dale passes me another can. “So how long have you been here?” “It’ll be a week tomorrow.” “What have you done so far?” he asks. The beer tastes stale, worse than the first. It’s lukewarm. It’s hard to swallow. “I went fishing the other day. Didn’t catch anything.” “They offer pony rides through the valley,” Sunny says. “There’s a stable just down the hill a bit. There’s also some great hiking trails.” I shake my head. “Those things don’t interest me much, to be honest.” “Oh, come on now,” Sunny says. “You can’t go on holiday and do nothing.” “We’ve been touring South Africa for two years now,” Dale says. “It’s definitely been an experience. We barely even knew each other when we first started.” Sunny nods. “We got married in Botswana last year. Just us and the official. It was so spur of the moment.” She leans over to pet the dog again. “We adopted Hershel just a few days later. He was a stray. Life is hard for stray animals over here, but we gave him a chance. Now he’s the third member of our trio. He’s a kindred spirit. He’s such a loyal soul.” I take a long swig from the beer.
Sunny smiles, still looking down at the dog. She’s sentimental, just like Carrie, saying too much. After Thomas was born, Carrie always introduced him as our “little gift from God”. She wasn’t even religious. It made Thomas seem so inhuman. “We’d like to make a bit of a business out of it,” Sunny says. “Our goal is to empower local African people through opportunity as opposed to charity. We plan on trading goods with traditional communities to sell online.” “We’ve found all sorts of artisan crafts,” Dale says. He shows his bracelets and his wooden beaded necklace. “Sunny’s dress is handmade as well.” “My wife used to wear dresses like that,” I say. “Is she not with you?” Sunny asks. “No,” I say, rubbing at the bare spot on my finger. “We’re separated.” Sunny frowns. “I’m sorry to hear.” “You gotta take things in stride,” I say, shrugging. “That’s true,” Dale says. “Life is the whole package, mate.” “Maybe things will work out,” Sunny says. I shake my head. “I’m not holding out hope or anything.” The red in the sky clots over,
turning purple. All I can hear is Thomas’ newborn wail, the sound of Carrie singing, trying to get him to sleep. My head throbs just like it used to on all those evenings I spent watching the sun set from the couch. “It’ll be dark soon,” Dale says. “You should come for a hike with us.” “What, now?” “The sky is clear tonight,” Dale says. “It’s the perfect night for star-gazing.” “I don’t know.” I stare out into the valley again, taking another swig of beer. “My shoes are kind of shitty.” “I’ve got a torch in the Land Rover,” Dale says. “The terrain isn’t that bad.” “I’m just, I’m really not into it, you know?” “Oh, come on, spoil sport!” Sunny stands, picking up the rest of the beer. “You need to let loose, let yourself be surprised. What are you going to tell your mates when you get back home?” I look up, still rubbing my finger. “I’ll just tell them that it wasn’t what I expected.”
BolloksCraft Records All My Evils – The Rose Tree Released on July 1, 2012, as BCR 004, The Rose Tree is the result of an opencall collaboration effort started by All My Evils (R. McGrath). With the aim of producing a collection of short ambient tracks, it was composed using only the ‘Pink Noise’ and ‘Tone’ generator tools in Soundforge’s freeware recording program Audacity. Simultaneously surreal and visceral, The Rose Tree is an immersive experience. ‘Pink Noise’ might be best described as the soft hiss of a tape running its margin at the end of a side, as the sound of ‘the ocean’ heard from within a shell or even as the roar of heavy rain on a tin roof. To order/purchase your own copy of The Rose Tree, visit bollokscraftrecords.com or head on down to The Art We Are (246 Victoria Street, Kamloops). Inside is a hand-butchered, one-of-a-kind non-audio cassette with a digital download card. http://allmyevils.bandcamp.com/album/the-rose-tree
Mail this album to someone whose ears need some tender lovinâ€™
For your good deed, have a listen here: http://zemlya.bandcamp.com/album/infinita