Angélique Jamail, author and blogger at Sappho’s Torque, is one of my favorite people on the internet. As I said in my 2020 Blogging Valentines post, she has a delightfully eclectic repertoire, with segments ranging from dance-worthy music recs to subversively good recipes to non-obnoxious Christmas music recs to philosophical musings on the Grendels in our modern society.
So it took no convincing at all for me to sign up for her newest project: a re-incarnation of her totally grunge-era zine, Sonic Chihuahua.
Playlist: My Sappho’s Earworms playlist, an homage to the zine and to Sappho’s Torque, comprised of Angélique’s “Monday Earworms” music recs. It’s a work in progress, with 2.5 hours worth of the songs I’ve been able to find so far, including:
- The intensely danceable “Baghdad Groove,” by Petrol Bomb Samosa;
- The very 80s Eurovision-esque “Breath of Life,” by Erasure (the music video is the greatest, most adorably trippy adaptation of Alice in Wonderland ever);
- The road-trip-worthy and very timely “Birth-Day (Love Made Real), by Suzanne Vega; 😉
- The hilarious monster movie parody that is “Skullcrusher Mountain,” by Jonathan Coulton;
- and the head-boppingly melancholy “Blame it on Me,” by the Barenaked Ladies.
Coffee pairing: New section! For those Bookwyrms who like to fuel their rebellious reading sessions with a shot of arabica activism, I recommend anything by Durham, NC-based Counter Culture. My personal jam right now is their Slow Motion decaf blend — for when I want the shade-grown, Direct Trade flavor without the Jessie Spano energy. 😆
According to Angélique, she and two younger friends created Sonic Chihuahua one summer when she was in college and they in high school. The name was inspired by the grunge movement in general and by Ren & Stimpy in particular. It ran for three issues before Angélique started to worry that her friends would get in trouble back at school (a mostly legit but still eye-rollingly restrictive all-girls’ Catholic school that tried to ban students from doing things like attending a Madonna concert…apparently, they’ve eased up since then).
In any case, she always regretted ending the zine and, after a friend recently rebooted her own punk periodical — and (more fatefully) a hilarious adoption ad went viral for an endearingly(?) “demonic” chihuahua named Prancer who’s basically a “haunted Victorian child in the body of a small dog that hates men and children” — Angélique decided it was time to resurrect the project. See this post for the zine’s full origin story.
And so! To feed my own radical 90stalgia, I subscribed to the zine and was both highly entertained and delightfully educated by such devious content as…
- an excerpt from Angélique’s poetry collection, The Sharp Edges of Water (which features a character who “may or may not be a mermaid”?? 😀 ). “A Brief + Envious History of Particle Physics” is a wistful ode to the surreal landscape — both physical and emotional, natural and artificial, human and inanimate, fluid and stable — that is Los Angeles. She even adds a helpful handwritten note with the publisher info, including the ISBN number!
- a re-printing of her March 17th post, “The Year of Living Pandemically,” spiced up with doodles and more handwritten notes.
- a quick recipe for apple pie (the section is very 90s-ishly titled “Eat This”).
- an interview with long-time friend and author Sarah Warburton, who writes “psychological thrillers w/heart.”
- and more!
In addition to Angélique’s own doodles, the issue includes drawings by her friend Han — including the eponymous chihuahua on the cover. Fun fact: Han has a fictional concept band called Decoupage Cardigan, whose totally death metal album art you can see on the inside back page!
So! Have you ever read or written a zine, Bookwyrms? Did you have to keep it a secret from your parents and/or school admin? What’s your favorite rebooted 90s trend?
If you’re interested in re-living the zine scene yourself, reach out to SonicChihuahuaZine at gmail dot com! You’ll get two copies in the mail for just $5 a month. Tell her Nerija sent you!