Friday, September 16, 2011

Get Badger Happy - Maxine Clarke on Badgers Dozen #7

The very Dadaesque Badger’s Dozen, a small oddball zine edited and compiled by Melbourne poet Timothy Train isn’t poetry. There’s poetry in it, sure, but not enough for it to warrant sneaking into the Overload Poetry Festival program to be launched at the Dan O’Connell Hotel tomorrow afternoon. Or, come to think of it, for me to really be reviewing on this blog. But then that in itself is somehow very apt, in a Badgers Dozen kind of way.

On the second page, after the usual badgertorial (so named), is an advertisement for Mal’s Mail Order Sexists. For $100, you can order Simon, who likes long walks on the beach and objectifying women or Jack, whose favourite pastime is muttering about how things were better when women stayed home. On page four is an important mock-Orwellian notice from the government: Do you exist? If so, you could possibly be infringing the regulations and rules of the Reality Department. The centrefold, headed A Page Suitable To Be Used As A Coffee Cup Placemat contains a circular dotted line, the dotted outline of a spoon, the dotted outline of a miscellaneous, splodge and the words (respectively) Place cup here, Place spoon here and place coffee stain here.

Issue 7 of Badger’s Dozen has various contributors, including Timothy Train, Eddy Burger, Elizabeth Tan, Emily Manger and Bronwyn Manger. The work is the zine is almost consistently bizarre, though there are some departures from the general absurdity. While Melbourne poet Emily Manger’s digital cartoon of a fairy stuck in a jam jar, headed Pickled Tink is very Badgers Dozen, the accompanying poem Valentine’s Cliche` by Bronwyn Manger, doesn’t quite hit the corny off-kilter factor needed to work with the rest of the zine’s mix. The poem itself works, but there are some lines, images, and associations that, dare I say it, are just too spot on for this publication:

...together neither of us are going to
be replete without the other
you hold me like a heatwave
holds a city still & when
you touch my hand I get a poem...

Scene from a future dystopia, written under the name of Georgus Huxwell, in the year 2084 is snort-out-loud-on-a-suburban-bus funny. For real, as I found out whilst snorting out loud on a suburban bus. How’s that for product placement? As future dystopia citizens gather for the compulsory Two Minutes of Masturbation, subliminal messages such as it’s okay to be that way and keep your room tidy flash between state sponsored politically correct non sexist porn.

That a zine such as Badger’s Dozen exists at all is poetry. Train’s wife Lexy reportedly illustrates the publication with trademark dodgy line drawings, and the $3 cover price funds gingerbread. That’s what the contributors are paid with. Literally.
Get down to the Dan O’Connell Hotel tomorrow to bask in the last few hours of Overload Poetry Festival 2011, read a pirate-themed poem on the open mic & get badger happy with Issue #8 of Badger's Dozen. If it sucks, you can always use it for a coaster. In fact, the editor so advises.