Blog post – The Beautiful Ones

Good god, is this album really celebrating its 20th birthday this year?! Motorways whizzed by as I sunk into a deep reverie during ‘Picnic By The Motorway’, and my heart did a starjump at the opening riff of ‘Beautiful Ones’. It was a great escape for me, mentally speaking. One’s mind can only hold so much without tipping over into insanity. 

Suede is probably the only band that can sing about glorious, wasted outsider youths and depressed housewives without sounding like flogging the proverbial dead horse. And they also came up with the ultimate anthem for outsiders – Trash – before ‘outsiders’ became a fashion trend, and the ironic norm, in this day and age. I love the lyrics so, so much. I could rant about how amazing Brett Anderson’s lyrics are, but my brain isn’t functioning well enough to give a suitable explanation, and I might sound like I’m frothing at the mouth. I’ll just leave a video and the lyrics. 🌞 



Maybe, maybe it’s the clothes we wear,

The tasteless bracelets and the dye in our hair,

Maybe it’s our kookiness,

Or maybe, maybe it’s our nowhere towns,

Our nothing places and our cellophane sounds,

Maybe it’s our looseness,
But we’re trash, you and me,

We’re the litter on the breeze,

We’re the lovers on the streets,

Just trash, me and you,

It’s in everything we do,

It’s in everything we do…
Maybe, maybe it’s the things we say,

The words we’ve heard and the music we play,

Maybe it’s our cheapness,

Or maybe, maybe it’s the times we’ve had,

The lazy days and the crazes and the fads,

Maybe it’s our sweetness,
But we’re trash, you and me,

We’re the litter on the breeze,

We’re the lovers on the street,

Just trash, me and you,

It’s in everything we do,

It’s in everything we do…


Photo by Ananda Escudero Gomes

Pluck the thorn of deception,

Then peel a sliver of petaled decay

Down flutters a shy, buck-toothed roan

Where you’ll find the tenderest bud of them all,

Unknowing of its innocent deceit to the world

Where I placed it into a gilded locket,

And threw it as far as I could, into the sea

(If you’re up for another one, try this.)

© Zelda Reville



Then comes the moment again

When my hand grasps the pen



the absent spark

transmitted from synapses

that confounds my naive hand

The arm aches

But still I have not written a single word

…When will this ever end?

(Occasionally, something good happens once in a while.)

© Zelda Reville





Photo by Milo McDowell

Silver spilling onto the mantelpiece

Cradling a broken ballerina of porcelain,

Spinning a cracked pirouette

Elm trees resplendent in their powdered suits,

Creeping, slowly

Till the aged ribbon, intertwined with our fingers of

Navy blue, to the impermanence of time

The Spider

Anne Clopton – Spider In A Spider Web

Cobweb, or gossamer paintings, enlist the use of spider webs as the canvas, and one can trace their murky origins from the Austrian Tyrolean Alps in the 16th century. Less than 100 paintings are said to exist to date, and most of them are hidden away from prying eyes in private collections.

I saw a spider nestling fitfully in the
nook of a tired mahogany table

So I brought it home to nurse it back to

But the little spider grew and grew

And I couldn’t hide my pet spider so my mum
turned the poor arachnid out of our cozy home

and thought it
the last of the matter;

But I found it on my bed the next day where it had
increased in size

Then thrice

And quadruple

with every single day

Finally it burrowed into the flesh of
my back one night

Where it whispered blissfully into my ear,

“Finally…no one will come between us again,”

And I slowly found myself becoming


Each day

Sprouting several, spiny limbs
and leering, beady eyes

And then my mum turned me out in horror

When she found out that I had become
A spider

So now I forage for my own life in the
yawning wilderness

Spinning my own web of misery

Along with my




(Hello reader! Here’s another spider-related post, if you aren’t feeling too squeamish yet!)

© Zelda Reville


In my grandmother’s home, Time is a wholly different concept.

You see, Time goes retrograde when you enter her house.

It thickens like jelly and congeals into a sticky mess, much rather like a melted toffee sweet, and flows to a complete stop when you swing your foot gaily over the doorstep. The ancient aroma of the antiquated furniture mixes well with the stagnation of incense smoke from her praying altar that looms over the house, like a patient guardian deity. Or several ancient deities, seeing that there are more than one.

The Goddess Of Mercy.

Tua Pek Kong.

The Earth Deity.

The Kitchen God, nestled comfortably on a mounted altar in the kitchen.

My mum told me once that if the deities were “at home”, or said to be inhabiting the deity statues, the faces of the deity statues would be dust-free. So I would scrutinize their faces with a healthy curiosity. But the dim facade always ruined my inspection. So I never really found out.

Three sticks of incense in the incense burner.

I catch a glimpse of the scarlet moon blocks to the left of the candle holders.

I would sit down on one of her wooden armchairs, to which underneath my late grandfather had inscribed the date of purchase on the heavily ingrained wood. I picked out the rough-shod marks on the resting arms of the chair.

I remember scratching them in with a pink plastic knife when I was 5 and being precociously destructive.Then I would run my hand over the other marks, which I had no memory of. They must have come from cousins much more precociously destructive than me, and the ones before them.

The pink plastic knife was one out of many knives that would come freely available with garishly coloured birthday cakes.

In my mind, a plastic Pikachu figure seats itself proudly on a sea of whipped cream and sugary sponge. It has no intention of making space for the spindly birthday candles, and absolutely insists on making itself the center of attraction for a 9-year old girl, who beams at the camera. That shot must have lost itself in Time’s embrace, or a dusty photo album somewhere.

Slowly, but surely, Time squeezes its own eyes open, a slit of dark pupils revealing themselves. But it still cocoons us in its own peculiar time blip, separating her house from the outside world. I slide back in the armchair and soak in the sweet silence.

Someone once told me he found her house radiated creepy vibes, to which I could only shrug my shoulders.

Lunch is served in tin plates, sparsely decorated with resplendent cockerels and flowers. Porridge, salted olive vegetables, fried eggs with black soy sauce.

The television is switched on, and it whirls into life.

It is 10 am, which means that the usual Cantonese opera will be showing on Channel 8.

I proceed to close my eyes.


(Aw, how about another one more?)

© Zelda Reville



When you feel so


picking the knots

apart, over and over again

like the scabs you left on my skin




a constellation of self-pity, and regret

I’ve never seen a sadder creature than myself,

if carefree

existed in my dictionary


© Zelda Reville

Moodboard – Cocteau Twins

Cocteau Twins: (From left) Simon Raymonde, Robin Guthrie, Elizabeth Fraser

I’m taking a break from writing…or rather, I’ve got an idea for a story and I’ve decided to forgo a poem for today. It’s only today though. My mind is currently engaged in a spat between Reason and Stream Of Consciousness, and I’m not really sure where I should go. So I thought of doing a post that has absolutely nothing to do with my writing at all. Let them spar, I say. And the idea of doing a moodboard, where I talk about the inspiration behind the words, has been sitting in my mind for the longest. You know…I might as well, heh.

Ooh, where do I start with them? They’ve been a massive inspiration for me. Elizabeth’s voice frequently morphs from forlorn albatross to the elusive siren on the rocks, and then to the tender mother suckling her rosy child. She swoops and soars along with the dreamscapes their music evokes. Her lyrics evade the comprehension of the human mind. Think of their music as an eternal aubade, to the sunrise of euphoria. When my mind decides to fizzle out, I put on their music and go for a quick travel along the seams of my unfettered imagination. And then, magically, the internal knots disappear. Their music is a very comfortable vacuum of peace.

I love, love, LOVE their song titles too. How abstract can titles get? Very.

I think they would make great writing prompts. I don’t even know the meaning of most of their titles. I read somewhere that Fraser used to ransack really old dictionaries for the more obscure words, and she would string them together, like whimsical charms on a wonky bracelet.

Here’s a few:

How To Bring A Blush To The Snow

Alas Dies Laughing


Sugar Hiccup

The Spanglemaker

A Kissed Out Red Floatboat

Great Spangled Fritillary

Even the artwork is beautiful – the perfect match for their music. I’m besotted with their album art. Thanks to Vaughan Oliver, and the design companies 23 Envelope and v23, who did their artwork, and almost everyone else’s under the 4AD record label. Here’s an article where he’s interviewed about his deisgn principles.

The album art for Pearly Dewdrops’ Drops/ The Spanglemaker

And last, but not least: an essential Cocteau Twins mix!


刺青 (Shisei)

“All my old fears have been swept away – and you are my first victim!” She darted a glance at him as bright as a sword. A song of triumph was ringing in her ears. “Let me see your tattoo once more,” Seikichi begged. Silently the girl nodded and slipped the kimono off her shoulders. Just then her resplendently tattooed back caught a ray of sunlight and the spider was wreathed in flames.

An excerpt from “The Tattooer” or Shisei by Junichiro Tanizaki (1910)

Impaling myself repeatedly,

While subsisting on pleasure

I draw, I shudder, I plunder

From a hidden place of the veiled ocean

Softly shining, a pulsing maelstrom

I draw the knife at his marbled throat

While he grapples

With the birth of my existence

“How did I create you?”

“Why did I create you?”

The gluttonous spider on my back

Is the only clue

© Zelda Reville