Dear Santa, I know it’s been three weeks since Christmas, but can I have a belated present?

May I please have a crystal ball to tell me if the world is going to erupt in nuclear war or unlivable changes due to (take your pick) migration crises, climate change, economic meltdown, global war. I’d like to know now if I should bother with this whole “getting on the property ladder” malarky and all that, or if I should just pack in all my big projects and just spend the next decade having fun and helping the homeless.

Just don’t want to waste my time, you know?

Also, if I knew I wasn’t going to live to be old, I would totally get subwoofers installed on my headphones, as hearing loss would no longer be a concern, and I’d gorge on all the awful things that are bad for your body but oh, so lovely.



Last year I wrote a feature for the BBC about “pirate spiders”, which don’t make their own webs but prey on other spiders and then steal their webs (“little bastards” my friend Peter remarked).

One of the scientists just emailed to say they’ve discovered a new species of “intertidal” spider from tropical Queensland, which they have named after Bob Marley because his song “High Tide or Low Tide” inspired them as the spider lives in a “high tide low tide” habitat.


Charming or what. They even quote Bob in their actual abstract:

“None but ourselves can free our minds.”

Bob Marley, Redemption Song (1980).

More scientists should be able to quote legendary musicians in academic papers. Just saying.


I’m finding it hard to contain the joy that this bit from Bojack Horseman has brought to my life.


Mr. Peanutbutter’s House [80s family sitcom] featured a pair of twins, Zoe and Zelda. Zelda was the sunny, fun-loving extrovert.

“Look at my pumpkin, Mr. Peanutbutter.”

“Pretty smile, Zelly-belly.”

Whereas Zoe was the smart, cynical introvert.

“My pumpkin’s throwing up because Halloween encourages excessive consumption of refined sugar at a time when obesity rates are sky high. Plus, Halloween costumes are a gateway to casual racism.”

“Why don’t I keep the knife, Zo-bo?”

Screen Shot 2018-01-14 at 22.31.34

Not only does Zoe’s disdain for Hallowe’en align with my disdain for Christmas, as a kid I always made a pumpkin that was either throwing up or oozing brains out the top of its head from a lobotomy. Always with a frowny face, never smiling or scary. Always with a frowny face, never smiling or scary.

One year I took it up a notch and deliberately picked one that had a rotten patch, which I used to create leprotic sores all over my pumpkin’s face.



Also, people have been known to call me Zo Bo.

This alignment of brainwaves brings me no end of satisfaction.

So, my friend Alexander Parsonage and I were watching an episode of John Oliver about Putin and Trump’s love affair, and we were astounded at the number of parallels between Russia and America:

– egomaniacal uber-macho leaders
– imperialist ambitions
– romantic attachment to nukes
– domination of country by super-rich oligarchy (despite both nations claiming to be a land based on the concept of equality)
– love of busty blondes
– have produced some of the world’s most amazing culture – think Russian ballet, American Motown, Russian classical music, novels from both nations – but have also produced some of the trashiest forms of music and television in human history; utterly sublime crap

So we thought, why not have a party to see which is the craziest country on earth??

Alexander’s description for the Facebook page for the event:

– – – – – –

So America has moved on. It was a ‘Special Relationship’ we had for a while, but they’ve decided they need space to explore new sides of themselves. Let’s be blunt, they just like it more rough than we do… but isn’t it great that they’ve got a new playmate to experiment with their new human rights BDSM fetish? Sure, we’d all much rather they’d agreed on a safe word before they started, but I for one think we should be celebrating their new found companionship with the Russian Bear.

So assuming we haven’t been incinerated in WW3 by then, let’s have a night of US-Russian inspired fusion cooking, cocktails and satire watching. As an inspiration for fusion dishes to bring:

– Putine (sauerkraut topped poutine)
– Stroganoff loaded fries
– Borscht burger
– Deep fried chicken Kiev
– Loka-her-up (potato latka pancakes with bacon and maple syrup)
– Trumpplings

Obviously Moscow Mules, White Russians, Manhattans and vodka-bourbon chasers will all be encouraged.

Plus, the photo for the event:


Essentially we made a feast of meaty American-Russian fusion food, loaded the bar with vodka and whisky, and ate, drank, and laughed ourselves stupid watching insane shit on Youtube. A perfect way to spend a cold January night if you ask me. I mean, if we’re all going to die imminently in a hailfire of nukes, we might as well be nicely sozzled to cushion the pain, and a bit fattened up to prepare for nuclear winter. M’I rite?

Behold our nuclear bunker comfort food:


Putine. Technically this is a Canadian dish, but I allowed it because Canada is the only country between the US and Russia.


Borscht Burgers, with ketchup made from beets and the patties made from pork, with sour cream (natch). Inspired.


KFC Fried Chicken Kiev – proper chicken kiev deep fried with a spicy coating using the actual Colonel’s secret 11 herbs and spices (which were leaked last year).

Hats off to my mate Dan Garber of Record-Play for bringing the most bizarre food of the evening: pickled herring and microwaveable French fries.



And for creating a truly bizarre music playlist: a Spotify collection of songs containing the word “Russia” or “USSR” or “America”. There’s some great stuff on there – Back in the USSR being an obvious one – but a lot of fucking weird metal. It was a good prelude during cooking to get us in the right mood for twisted humour.

Hats off to our mate Janet for bringing what basically amounted to an entire bar (only bourbon and vodka based drinks allowed).

And of course Alex and my flatmate Gwynne for spending what must have been two hours with the deep fryer.

And an EXTRA SPECIAL thank you to my darling friend Neon Kelly for sending us a special message, as he couldn’t be there in person with his Russian impression, which I adore.

Also, I guess we should thank Putin for orchestrating a global takeover of the world by the Russian mafia and getting the Orange One into power. You sure pulled a fast one on us this time!

I could have spent like 36 hours just watching weird crap from the world’s batshit crazy superpowers and eating myself stupid.

For your interest, here are some of the weird things we decided to watch.

We kicked off the evening with a couple of the majestic Samantha Bee’s bits on Russian interference in American politics:

Samantha Bee on Russian Thinkfluencers

Full Frontal is Scared: Masha Geesen Edition

Then we moved into the weird, the wacky and the truly terrifying.

Soviet Anthem on Eight Floppy Drives

The Donald Trump Cheerleaders

Hugh Laurie’s Song For America

CNN: A look at the snake handlers of Appalacia

Dash Cam Russia

John Oliver on Nuclear Weapons

Borat – Throw the Jew Down the Well

Worker and Parasite!

Happy Together: Red Russian Army

One Like Putin (he has his own pop song didn’t you know)

Russian pop star Vitas


And many more.

Honestly, we really did only scratch the surface of insane crap to watch from both superpowers. This bears repeating.


Here is a photo of me during my first Christmas in London in 2002.


And here’s a photo I took at 3.45 today.


From the 2002 pic, note the look on my face: a mixture of confusion and resentment. Confused that the grass in England is greener in winter than summer. What?! HOW. Grass dies and goes yellow in autumn – this shouldn’t be possible. What’s going on. Am I an in an alien realm.

And resentful because it was so blissfully warm. I can’t bear the cold, and though snow is pretty, growing up in Toronto was miserable for me during the winters – the cold (down to -35C for weeks at a time when I was a kid) always just sucked every ounce of happiness out of my body.

Christmas in England to me felt fucking weird.

And it still does – and it never will stop feeling so fucking weird. This pic of a slate grey sky, the streetlights coming on, children playing without sweaters, and electric green grass… none of it computes. Head hurts. THIS IS NOT WHAT CHRISTMAS LOOKS LIKE, my brain screams.

And yet… I adore it. England, my heart is yours. And always will be.

Happy Holidays everyone, from my lovely polite robust Canucks to my snaggle toothed drunken Pommies, I love you all.

You know how restaurants will have glossy B&W 8X10s of famous celebrities who have eaten there, with a swish signature to say “David Hasselhoff Endorsed” or whatever.

So, I live in Clerkenwell, about a 15 minute walk from Boris Jonhson’s house over in Islington. I just noticed that a barbershop near me has a flat screen monitor in the window with a shot of Boris getting his hair cut there. (It’s called The Bay Room if you want to go harass them.)

Now, I know his hair is famous, but it isn’t famous for being good.

I would cut off a toe to have been present when he gave the hairdresser instructions:

“Please make it look flouncy as though I’ve just rolled out of bed, windswept like I’ve biked twelve kilometres, and cut using a cereal bowl on top of my head, a la the proles, to hide the fact that I’m a racist, entitled, Bullingdon Club twat.”

Thought I’d share this visual treat for you all.




Growing up in Toronto, I had a golden retriever named Norton, who was the sweetest, most darling dog in the universe. I can’t imagine owning any other breed.


Every single winter when it snowed for the first time, he would absolutely lose his shit: because he had the memory of a dog, he reacted to every single first snowfall as though he’d never seen snow in his entire life. Even when he was 14 years old, he still went absolutely apeshit at the sight of snow, responding with a mixture of excitement, terror, confusion, joy, and befuddlement. He’d trot around the garden staring in awe at the white ground, not knowing what the fuck to do with himself. It was an annual ritual and it made me laugh my ass off every year.
Dear British people: thank you for reminding me of my lovely dog. Your annual response to an inch of snow is pretty much the same – especially the crippling confusion and inability to know how to react to the mysterious, otherworldly white stuff. (Tip: create an urban infrastructure that doesn’t grind to a halt when it’s 2C and the snow instantly turns to slush anyways.) It’s annoying the way you whine and crumble – but gosh darn it, it’s pretty cute.
Bless you.

PS This is what a real “snow day” looks like. It snowed five feet and people who didn’t have porches like ours couldn’t even open their front doors for a couple of days.





I hate Christmas – always have.

It features countless things I despise:
– shopping
– mindless consumerism
– garish advertising
– shitty music
– cold weather
– enforced time with family members I loathe
– hangovers (especially in the UK, where I refer to December as “let’s ruin tomorrow for a month”)
– weight gain
– needless expenditure of money
– religious undertones

However, I understand that a lot of you love this time of year, and I can see why (booze, friends, tasty food, rest).

So, in honour of your love of this festive season, I will refrain from being a grinch this December. And as a friendly visual signifier of my effort to take part in your joy, I shall wear green glitter as much as possible to display my acquiescence.

I would like to send a message back in time to 20-year-old me, at Glasto 2003, taking LSD for the first time (which I decided to do alone):

“Dear Zoe, it’s your future self. Don’t freak out – I know you’ve learned your lesson, that this is a treat best done with friends. But guess what: In 14 years, you’re going to do this again, and it’s going to change your life. Oh – and you’ll write about it for Rolling Stone. Love, 35-year-old Zoe.”


Note: 100% real photo of me from that day.

Hello everyone. Today’s magic words are…

Rolling. Stone.

… actually make that:



When it’s taken two years to make a feature happen, an expletive is well deserved. This is my first story for the magazine – and it’s about two of my favourite things: Music. And LSD.

It’s been a long journey. And a fun one. As a mate put it,

“Christ Zoe, you’re the only person I know who can put ‘TAKE ACID’ on their to-do list, and it’s legitimately for work.”

Note that I’m holding up the September issue and not the current one – but this is probably the only chance I have to get my face this close to Dave Grohl’s.