May 30th, 2008


Bucatini with prawns

Last night's dinner was spicy prawns with bucatini followed by a fruit salad. Here is the recipe for the main dish:

Bring a pan of water to the boil. While it is heating up finely chop a red chili and two shallots. Add bucatini (or another long pasta if you prefer) to the water and bring it back to the boil for nine minutes. Meanwhile, heat sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil in a frying pan with the chili and shallots and a crushed clove of garlic. I use the Merchant Gourmet brand; you could use Fruttibosco, which already has chili in the oil but I find the fruit too chewy. When the shallots are transparent add a handful of peeled king prawns and heat those through. Drain the pasta, remove the frying pan from the heat and toss the pasta in the oily pan with the prawns and tomatoes, a squirt of lemon juice, and cracked black pepper. Serve in a warm bowl.

Mrs Noggle

About a month ago I was watching LiveJournal Aquarium when I saw the phrase "some of my zines are on sale in my etsy shop". The word zines pinged my radar so I caught the text and followed the link to mrsnoggle whence I followed another link to jolie's etsy store.  Here I found grab bags of past personal zines by Jolie Nunez-Noggle. They looked intriguing so I bought a bunch.

Last week a box of zines arrived from Ohio. They were all half or quarter US folded and most of them had been handwritten and typewritten. The first out of the box was Tick Tock Biological Clock; a mini zine about approaching thirty without having children. It was emotional, personal and powerful. There were dozens of zines in the box and I expected to roar through them. I thought that they would be punky froth that would give me a nostalgic trip back to my zine days. And, in a way they did. It is more than thirty years since I first got involved in zines.  Before Jolie was born I was handwriting my zines and writing long letters of comment (LoCs) and articles for other people's zines. I always admired the way that Norman Herrington, Steve Whitaker, and others could put together fluid collages of text and imagery. I soon learnt that they in turn admired my detailed neat tightly hand lettered productions but I always wished that I could create that casual look without simply looking inept. Jolie's zines evoked that same admiration.

It is probably fortunate that my first exposure to her writing was the mature self-analysis of Biological Clock.  The box contained zines going back over ten years and, since many of them reprinted material, I had writing from as early as her fourteenth year.  Those early zines were amazing indiscreet emotional rants about her boyfriends and schoolfriends. The story of her adolescent relationships were repetitive because so much was reprinted and because her relationships were so cyclic.  Because some of the zines were notionally about poetry or music they were not all heartsearching but the early interviews with short-lived local bands hold little appeal to a reader so distant in time and space. And the cumulative effect of the same and similar stories was surprisingly alluring. For me, over a period of mere days, Jolie matured and developed the boundaries that would have protected her during her adolescence.  For her, it was a long time coming. Even in her mid twenties her attitudes and behaviour were adolescent; her maturing was hindered by abusive relationships and her real healing began when she started to see the man that she came to marry as more than a best friend.

If I had read these zines as they were published, I think that I would have tired of them. I would have lost sympathy with their writer. As it was, however, I found myself engaged with her journey and becoming charmed by her openness and her warmth.  I have grown to know Jolie better than I do some friends whom I have known for years. And I like what I find.

Today she announced that Mrs Noggle 12 is available. I have sent my money and I can hardly wait to get it.