Metalhorns With Baby Fingers

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Juggling being an active zinester artist with being a mother is tricky. But juggling being an active metalhead with being a mother is damn near impossible.

Whereas I can easily use my free mornings for zine-production every once in a while, the metalhead life is mostly a nightly deal. But my nights are packed to the rim with maternal duties.

Joy to the Jerusalemite Metalheads, Blaze Bar has reopened and is once again reinstating the occasional Sunday Metal Nights. But just like before, the problem for me is finding a suitable arrangement for my daughter. She doesn’t like strangers, so I can’t get a random babysitter to drop by and look after her. And also, she doesn’t fall asleep in a place or a room that isn’t her own, so I can’t drop her off at my mother-in-law while I go off to my headbanging life.

I can’t believe I’m actually considering taking her with me to the metal bar, but I’m fucking desperate. I miss my metal nights and I miss the guys. And I would really like to introduce her to the metal scene a bit more. She seems to like heavy music. Nirvana is her favorite, and she took to Arch Enemy almost immediately (she calls them Angela, of course she does, since the Arch Enemy of Angela is the real Arch Enemy).

But then, there is a slew of other issues to consider. For one, and the most problematic one, is the cigarette smoke that is prevalent in the whole place. Toxic, dangerous, smelly as fuck, and doesn’t ever leave your hair, your clothes, your skin… You go to bed smelling worse than your own child’s diaper after a bean-soup dinner. So exposing my daughter to that is just really bad parenting.

Then, there is the loud music. At home, she listens to Nirvana and Arch Enemy at a normal volume and happily headbangs to it. But at the bar, she would most likely need headphones, and even if I do manage to find a pair made for babies, could I be completely sure that she would even agree to wear them at all times? Hell fucking no. I’d be lucky if she agrees to keep a hat on her head. Which brings me to the next problem.

It’s October. Jerusalem nights have become cold. Very very cold. Even if I were to bundle my kid up in a heavy winter coat and a tuque and a scarf, I would still be worried about her catching a cold. This is the time of year when viruses become ravenous, and the young make easy prey. Exposing her to this fucking freezing air is bad parenting yet again.

Finally, Metal Night starts around 9:00 p.m. and gets really good around 10:00. My kid’s bedtime is 8:30 p.m. After that, she becomes cranky and miserable. If she goes to sleep too late, she has trouble waking up the next day, so we have to wake her up which means she will be cranky and miserable for the rest of the day. It’s her routine, and anyone disturbing it will ultimately know her unabated wrath.

But I miss my metal night. I miss my nightlife. And I miss Blaze, for fuck’s sake.

Peace, love and my neck needs a break, literally.

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Blaze of Gory

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When I moved to Jerusalem about 11 years ago, I went out of my way to find the metal community (among other things like the feminist community, the riot grrrl community, and the everlastingly non-existant zine community).

I found small-scale metal shows and metal nights in bars like Uganda, Scream, and Yellow Submarine, and went to them often in an attempt to find the extreme metal underground community – the people who you could always count on to make an appearance at such events.

It wasn’t until I met my husband, seven years ago, that I discovered the elusive nucleus of the Jerusalem metal community. The bar we frequented on a regular basis was Blaze – a rock bar in a narrow alleyway off a sidestreet crossing Shamai, a street in downtown Jerusalem. I would have never found it if it weren’t for my husband. It was that remote.

Before I conceived my daughter, we became regulars at the bar, as part of the nucleus. Over the past seven years, we went to countless metal nights and metal shows, continuing the ritual that was Sunday Metal Night, delightfully headbanging to tunes ranging from the relatively clean tones of old school metal to the brutality of gore metal.

The metalheads who were a permanent fixture in said bar automatically became our mutual friends. They threw a surprise engagement party for us after we got engaged, and we set up a special extra big table for them at our wedding. We even invited them over to our place on Independence Day a couple of years ago, for a BBQ and of course, lots of face-melting metal tunes. We drove in groups to metal shows in Tel Aviv whenever a popular international metal band came to perform, displaying a powerful presence of the Jerusalem metalheads.

Our place of worship was Blaze. Our Congregation of Desecration.

And now, woe onto us metalheads, this bar is two weeks away from its closing day. Blaze Bar closes on October 1. That’s right. My goddamn birthday. The only decent metal bar in Jerusalem closing its doors is a wonderful birthday gift for a Jerusalem metal girl, is it not?

Last night, the final Sunday Metal Night took place. Despite having a hard time finding a babysitter on every metal night since my daughter was born, I was sure I’d have no problem for it this time because as part of the nucleus, parent or no-parent, attendance was mandatory for last night. At least it was for me. I didn’t want to let the final call for metal go to waste.

Alas, my mother-in-law was indisposed. Even after we managed to convince her to watch our daughter after the baby falls asleep, of course she didn’t fall asleep (she never does when she is in a place that is not her room). Plus, our dog had resumed her regular bouts of seizures, which just served to stress us out even more.

I was forced to remove my metal gear and tend to my maternal duties. I told my husband he should go without me and apologize to our friends for my being a flake. He did, and the rest of the evening went by uneventfully. Back in her own crib, in her own bedroom, my daughter promptly fell asleep. I watched a couple of episodes of Wentworth season 6, and crashed.

The end to a depressing fucking night.

Followed by another seizure c/o my dog at 3 a.m.

Fuck this shit. I’m going back to Stephen King. Still the best way for me to forget about shit that depresses me.

Peace, love and Insomnia

Face-Melting Zine

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Metal flyer8

Other than filling pages and pages with endless piles of words, laying out a zine used to be one of my favorite pastimes before I became a mother. This is the most creative part of zine-production, requires little to no concentration, and can be done with loud-ass music playing.

I also used to travel a lot back then (it’s actually one of the things that I’m glad I’m not doing as much anymore because, I mean, airports. Am I right?). And whatever country I went to, I always made sure to visit places to satisfy my inner freak – metal fests, metal concerts, alternative clothing stores, metal bars, piercings/tattoos shops… These places always had the neatest flyers lying around. I collected a whole bunch and used them as backgrounds for any zine I made.

International Zine Month 2018 zine is soon to be laid out and I am in dire need of said flyers. But now that I am not traveling, and such freak locations and events are hard to find, I need to resort to the wonderful world wide web and search “metal flyers” or “punk rock flyers” to be used as backgrounds for my current zine.

I came across the most twisted and vile creations ever.

AND I FUCKING LOVE IT!

The logos and names of the bands written in font that nobody can read surrounded by skulls and skeletons, piles of decapitated corpses, zombies buried up to their hips in rivers of rotting flesh, blood gushing everywhere, not to mention the Goat of Mendes making its obligatory cameo appearance – this is the stuff that my perfect zine backgrounds are made of.

One of them also had “Death Metal till Death” written on it and I pulled my evil laugh with glee.

When I just started listening to metal, this was one of the aspects of the music that appealed to me and that really pulled me in – the gore, the insane amounts of grotesque imagery infesting the lyrics and the artwork of any respective metal band. Why did it appeal to me? Fuck if I know, and damned if I care.

We’re metalheads. We love our music loud and violent. And Satan help you if it’s not swarming with maggots.

I believe zines deserve to be just as wholesomely bloody.

Peace, love and visions of gore and death

 

Wake Up, Destroy!

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With absolutely no relation to the title of this post, my 31-Day Zine Thing project is coming along nicely. Although I’m writing some pretty mundane things, it encourages me to make my month slightly more interesting by planning every week ahead of time and filling my days with fun shit, so that I could actually have something worth writing about. My usual list of fun shit includes reading, writing, Tai Chi, sleeping, music and art. So I try to write mostly about these.

I wish I had more time to write on my typewriter though, but the only time I can do it is at home. I mean, I can’t very well carry my heavy-ass Rose Madder to work, now can I? Carrying my daughter destroys my back enough as it is.

This morning, after my Tai Chi routine, I thought I may have some time left to write, but then my stomach got in the way and I just had to make myself an elaborate breakfast, complete with scrambled eggs, fresh veggies, cream cheese, yellow cheese, whole wheat bread, and apple juice. I’m not complaining, it was great, but that basically meant I had to spend more time doing the dishes and have no time for anything else as a result.

Yes. That’s what it all comes down to. On a regular day, I actually have to choose between writing and eating. That is a very real decision that needs to be made on a day-to-day basis for me. I really did just say that. I wanted to write but my stomach got in the way. Pathetic.

Whatever. I hope I find time later on this month for both writing and eating.

Peace, love and when your toddler won’t stop singing “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, you know you’ve owned the whole parenting thing.

Crazy Ozzy

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Ozzy Osbourne performed in Israel last night as part of his farewell tour. The 70-year-old rocker kicked all fucking ass, and I was blown away by just how hard a 70-year-old dude can rock. He started off with Bark at the Moon which got me going right from the start.

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Before he came on, there was a performance by Orphaned Land which I had absolutely no interest in. Since they started incorporating Middle Eastern instrumentation and vocals in their songs, I was interested in them even less.

I was not surprised by the crowd, but it was still a great feeling to see that most of it was made up of old people. Many of the concerts we go to, I find myself surrounded by kids, adolescent kids, pre-army or fresh out of the army, and it makes me feel old. But last night, at the Ozzy show, gray hair was all around.

The Prince of Fucking Darkness kept encouraging the crowd to scream louder and louder, so losing my voice was inevitable, especially as I had spent the past couple of days coughing my lungs out for god knows what reason. And songs like Crazy Train, War Pigs, and Fairies Wear Boots got me headbanging till my neck felt like a limp noodle. The last song, Paranoid, even got me jumping around.

Due to my coughing fits of the last two days, I also didn’t get any sleep, and I was tired as fuck when we got to the park where the show took place. But Ozzy was so phenomenal that I forgot all about my exhaustion and proceeded to “going fucking crazy” as Ozzy is wont to say.

Also the light show that accompanied every song got me all woozy. At some point, I actually wished for a toke. I can only imagine what the light show coupled with the amazing music would have done to me if I was high.

The only thing I didn’t like about the show was the guitar. More specifically, the guitarist, Zakk Wylde. I mean, fine, he’s talented, we got that. But goddamnit, this was an OZZY  show, not a Zakk Wylde one and not a Black Label Society one. And his solos just drilled into my brain and I was getting bored and restless. Suddenly, I started wishing for Slash to go onstage and replace him. Slash played with Ozzy when we saw him at Hellfest in 2012 and that was amazing. Slash plays in a way that makes you say “WHOA” without him shredding the fucking strings and without using his teeth and WITHOUT TAKING OVER THE SHOW THAT BELONGS TO OZZY! Zakk Wylde, take note.

But besides that, the show owns.

I got home all sweaty, with the humid Rishon air still stuck to my skin. Said humid air also did a number on my hair and the headbanging just added to that number. I don’t know how anybody can live in the Center, seriously.

I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough so that I could bring her with me to concerts and show her what good music really is.

Peace, love and ALL ABOARD!!!!!!!!

Ink and Blood Are One

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Manson1For almost all of last week, I’ve been hardcore reminiscing. It was triggered by my plans to organize my DIY bookshelf full of my old diaries and high school agendas. As I was organizing, I found myself looking through some of them, skimming, reading, admiring the elaborate collages and drawings filling the pages top to bottom, left and right.

I kept on reminiscing as I was writing about it on my blog and in my zine and as I was reading my old posts. And it reached its peak on Thursday when Marilyn Manson’s cover of “Sweet Dreams” came blasting through my earphones. I flashed back to my confused wayward adolescence remembering how the freaky artist, the god of goth, the worst nightmare for parents worldwide became my ultimate salvation.

I was terrified and thoroughly disturbed the first time I saw the video for “Sweet Dreams”. The trashy smudged makeup, the different color eyes topped by no eyebrows, the crumbling run-down spot they chose to shoot the video, the close up of Manson’s scarred and slashed abdomen, all these elements scared me to the core, but I couldn’t turn away.

Manson6I tried to convince myself that this is something I should hate and ought to avoid. I tried. I really did. I drew Manson several times with the tagline “Check out that freak!” I watched his 1997 performance at the MTV Video Music Awards with my friend telling her “look at this freak. Who listens to that music anyway?” But when she switched the channel saying “Okay enough of this crap,” I regretted it. I wanted to keep watching but didn’t know why. If I hate it so much, why do I love it so much?

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Soon thereafter, I couldn’t avoid it anymore. I had fallen for the fallen angel. My list of favorite artists changed. Manson had vanquished the top spot and Michael Jackson was relegated to the very bottom with a resounding crash. The posters in my room had turned dark and morbid. I plastered the walls with Manson’s trademark eyes and lack of eyebrows. Every visit to HMV or Music World left me with one more Manson record in my repertoire.  First was Remix and Repent, then Mechanical Animals, then Antichrist Superstar, shortly followed by all the others. I squirmed with delight with every “I AM THE GOD OF FUCK”.

My parents were mortified.

Everything I created, all my art, my writings, my poetry also turned dark and morbid. Manson’s influence was undeniable.

This past week, as I was looking at my drawings and read my poems of ages past, I thought how sad it is that I can’t draw as easily and as perfectly as I once did. I lamented my lack of time to write anything of substance and depth as I once did. My mind, fueled by Stephen King’s On Writing, which I read recently, frantically searched for ways to make time and set up an environment for me where I could reclaim my long-lost sense of creativity and my flawless prose. Back then, all I needed to do to write something brilliant was close the bedroom door and let it all out – no rules and no limits. I could even do it during some boring class. Bury myself within myself and sprinkle the page with magic.

But now, I’m filled with inspiration with no means for release and no way to use it to my advantage to fight the motherfucking end of words. The end of words which was my biggest fear, even worse than death itself, has grabbed me by the neck and I simply cannot wriggle myself out of its grip.

Fuck. This just made me cry.

I need to fucking write. I can’t take this. Even if my prose sucks. Let it suck, I don’t care.  End of words be damned, let go of my fucking neck. I need my oxygen, my ink blood, my life force.

What the fuck am I gonna do?

Writing for five minutes a day is far from satisfactory.

Peace, love and suffocation.

Decompose It!

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Diary 1The other day I suddenly got inspired to resume journal writing. I’ve been keeping diaries all my life (see this post) but as it is with zine-production, it’s kind of hard to find time to write when you’re a full-time mom. I tried keeping a pregnancy journal, and I have, but all the entries were actually saved as unpublished posts on this blog. At that time, I didn’t really feel like writing by hand. I don’t know why.

But anyway, the diary I’m writing in now is one that my friend from Salem bought for me when I was there for the Boston Zine Fest. It’s a rather large one, with the front and back covers decorated with black-and-white drawings of guitars, microphones, amps, keyboards, and drums. On the front cover, it says “Decomposition Book – 100% post-consumer-waste recycled pages – Printed with Soy Ink”. Whether any of that is true or not is irrelevant. But I LOVE the “decomposition” part. Really jives with the death metalhead within.

I added the title “Fertile Myrtle” with the H logo when I tried to keep it as a pregnancyDiary 2 journal. Some of the first entries were in fact written when I was going through the IVF treatments and when I found out I was pregnant. Then a few entries when I tried to get back to journal writing again and failed. Again.

So the other day, when I got inspired, I wrote yet another entry about trying to get back to keeping a diary, and I really hope it’ll work this time. Keeping with the inspiration, I added a few stickers that I received from zinesters and penpals I traded with. Cool stickers and decorations really do encourage me to keep writing. So far, I only wrote two entries and they’re short. But I had a great time writing them.

I should really practice my handwriting. I’ve been typing shit for too long, and all of it was on the computer. I mean, if I were typing on my manual typewriter (which requires quite a bit of finger strength and may cause broken nails, bruises, and blisters) I wouldn’t be so hard on myself for not doing much writing by hand. But as it stands, the only time I write by hand is when I write letters to penpals (awesome) and notes for clients (meh).

It might be because of my condition that I get kinda lazy and opt for blogging. But fuck it. I’m done making excuses. Myotonic Dystrophy be damned. I love writing by hand. Diaries and letter-writing shall prevail!

Peace, love and wouldn’t it be so cool if my typewriter could accommodate diaries?