Mixtapes and magazines

90s pop culture collage

The hum of 9pm kicks in—a boiling kettle, the clatter of dishes in the sink, muted voices on the TV, an occasional dog. I click play. The Bangles’ “Hazy Shade of Winter” cuts through suburbia as I hunt for Teen Beat, flinging clothes and books helter-skelter. My futon is low to the floor. It’s a double but mostly I contort myself between books, pillows, clothing that’s somehow fallen off my ‘clothing chair’ in the corner to and on to edge of my bed, and other junk that takes permanent residence on top of and under my duvet. Anything’s comfortable when it’s your own. Some or other umpteenth Agatha Christie novel lands on top of Madame & Eve and my school blazer on top of that. Pens, a shoe, my Roxette tape plus Waking up the Neighbours, and oh, ‘Hello kitty. So this is where you’ve been hiding.’ She purrs as I gently scratch behind her ears. Before I amass a Mount Doom of bedroom clutter and am forced to attempt a journey into Mordor for my magazine, I spot Rider Strong and Will Friedle peering out from underneath my history book. It’s taken me all the way to “Eternal Flame” to find it—sheesh. I pay the Boy Meets World boys some attention and then flick open to my half-finished quiz on page 63: ‘He’s my crush because…’—no, yes, hmm – hanging with friends or reading a good book alone – both – tattoos (mom would kill me) – bring me flowers or write me a song (oooh) – song. Result: a sensitive badboy. Nice. Do I know any sensitive badboys other than Johnny Depp. Nope. One day, maybe…

…it’s 1999. My crush isn’t mine yet but in 6 months’ he’ll be playing his Ibanez and singing me songs. He’s sensitive. Some might call him a badboy (my mom definitely does). Tattoos? Not yet but one day. I’ve exchanged my futon for bed that I will be hiding under when my crush asks me out but right now, I’m dangling forwards over the edge, feet crossed in the air. My finger’s on the record button—at the ready. I know it’s coming. I’ve got “All the Small Things”, “Otherside”, “Heavy”, “All Star”. I just need “Teenage Dirt Bag”. And then I’ll have the perfect mixtape.

Her name…Click….is Noelle.


He’s mine and it’s just one of those days.

Break Stuff.


Author & Storyteller: Andrea Zanin

Andrea is a writer, wife, mother and dreamer; also the author of this website. She moved to London in 2006 to earn £s, travel, see bands and buy 24-up Dr Martens—which she did, and then ended up staying. Andrea lives in North London with her husband (also a Saffa) and five children. She loves this grand old city but misses her home and wishes her children could say “lekker” (like a South African) and knew what a “khoki” is.

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