contents. featured contributors
zen & the art of cramming
how to: prevent a cold
open letter: couples
open letter: toilet people
stuff you like
Editors: Galen Cuthbertson, Seb Tonkin & Emma Jones Front cover artwork & inside front cover artwork by Alexandra Stjepovic. Inside back cover artwork by Kyra Evanochko; Back cover artwork by Lillian Katsapis. On Dit is a publication of the Adelaide University Union Published 14/05/2012 Visit ondit.com.au, or hit us up on facebook.com/onditmagazine. Go on. You know you want to.
On Dit is a publication in a constant state of flux. Editors, contributors, and illustrators all turn over each and every year – be it through graduations, mishaps, political machinations, or simple loss of interest. It’s what makes us unprofessional, but it’s also what makes us worth having. Unlike some of our forebears, we haven’t really done the ‘themed issues’ thing so far. We didn’t mean to theme this one. But as we spent our time in layout, I found an unintended thread secretly linking our writers together. Why it happened, I don’t know. Maybe it’s the weather – the darkness encroaching on our early afternoons – or maybe it’s that end-of-semester recklessness. Whatever the case, this issue, On Dit is, at least a little bit, about rebellion. About rejecting unjustified authority, about sneaking around, about being heard, about beating something. Our rebellion is deep-rooted and non-discriminatory. Our targets: Queen and Commonwealth, a corrupt foreign electoral system, the
guards of an imaginary prison, customs procedures, and minor pestilences. Sometimes we’re a ‘movement’, and sometimes we’re just one unlucky person. Rebellion ain’t new, either. Turn to the back, and in our retrospective, we’ve found some stories from the 1960s that got in on the ground floor of a social cause that’s still being fought today. It makes us feel very proud to be a part of their long-haired and longrunning lineage. The mid-year break is a time to gauze our wounds, sharpen our pencils, drink, and see if we can’t fight our own weaknesses. For that, we need you. If, in reading this magazine, you like what you see: great. Help us make it. If you don’t: rebel. Make us better. Our email inbox is always open. Because above all, rebellion is about trying to improve the way things are. Love, Seb (and Emma and Galen)
Photo: Sia Duff
featured contributors Sam Crisp
(polygonal prison, p. 24)
(here’s looking atchoo, p. 32)
(zen and cramming, p. 12)
Sam is a second year Computer Graphics student. When he isn’t writing about video games, you can find him on his leather armchair, listening to classic vinyl records, wearing a velvet, mahogany smoke jacket. In the past he has been an actor, animator, writer, and game developer. He is currently looking wistfully into the distance, contemplating whether a video game will ever make you cry.
Holly writes converse prophecies. She wrote about how not to get sick while stuck in bed with a cold. Future articles may cover how not to get Ira Glass to fall in love with her, why too many coats are never enough and why living in Adelaide for the rest of her days is a viable option.
Bryn is a final year media student and is looking forward to being unemployed next year. He intends to spend most of his post-uni life rocking in a foetal position, listening to Iggy Pop. Outside of uni, Bryn’s interests include: listing his medical concerns, talking about starting a blog, vacuuming, writing self-deprecating biographies, and feeding his cats.
The On Dit editors would like to thank the following friends for their help with Issue 6... Walter, for inspiring the search that found a treasure trove of retro stuff. Molly, for her ‘contribution’. Our cleaners. Sam Young, again. The On Mit-dery. Jindi, for the cheese. The inexorable passage of time, for the midyear break.
in which an argument arises vis-a-vis musicals, and the state of the state. Dear On Dit editors, I’m writing in response to the article Maximum Musicals, featured in issue 80.5. I too am a music theatre lover. While the article was passionately written, I would like to clear up a few things. It is a fallacy to say that musicals ‘just aren’t too well loved’. In recent years, they have become one of the most expensive industries in Australian entertainment. The new production of Annie costed $3.5 million and about $550,000 to run each weekwith estimated earnings close to $8 million in Melbourne alone. To put this in perspective, the second and third most popular Australian films in 2011 each sold a nationwide total of a little less than $4 million worth of tickets. With musicals said to be the most popular form of live performing arts, is it any surprise that Red Dog will be the next film to stage adaptation (and with a much larger budget than the film’s original outlay)? It’s obvious that music theatre is a thriving industry in Australia, and in Adelaide. Last year we broke records during a 7 week season of the blockbuster musical Wicked. Wicked put bums on seats in Adelaide because, like all musicals, it was a completely immersive, unforgettable, live experience. In his article, Max Cooper laments big national tours overlooking Adelaide. I too sometimes get a bit teary, but with Adelaide audiences proven to sustain such events, perhaps it is more a question of the inadequacies of the available facilities.
described the Adelaide Festival Centre as ‘grubby, tired, no longer capable of staging an event’ and devoid of the ‘spunk of the 70s and 80s’. It’s true. Just from looking at the outside of the AFC, Blind Freddie could tell that it is run down and tired. Her Majesty’s Theatre is similarly heart-breakingly dilapidated, as are many of the smaller theatres about town. It would seem that interstate cities like Melbourne and Sydney thrive on culture and nurture it, but in South Australia we just don’t care. It is the State Government’s lack of commitment and investment in our outdated art venues that can be attributed to Adelaide’s absence from national tours. With this in mind, rather than convincing friends and family to tolerate music theatre as Max suggests (because there are far more music theatre lovers than he acknowledges), perhaps we need to address the issue of Adelaide’s inadequate facilities and convince those with the power to make a change. Sincerely, Ben Nielsen
Bursting to opine on something that’s in the magazine (or should be)? On Dit accepts your emails at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or get all social-media on our facebook page: facebook.com/onditmagazine.
The truth is the golden Dunstan Era is long gone. No government has cared quite as much about the vitality of arts in South Australia. Tony award winning producer and Adelaide’s own John Frost recently
Empress Queen Queen Mother Princess Dowager Grand Duchess Vicereine Archduchess Infante Duchess Princess Marchioness Marquise Margravine Count Earl Viscountess Baroness Freifrau Baronetess Ritter Hereditary Knight Dame Nobile Edler von
see diversions (p 46)
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24.
state of the union Photo: Chris Arblaster
with CASEY BRIGGS, auu president. It’s a good idea to reflect on some of the ways you can add value to your university experience. Here are some ideas to help you become more involved at uni and enrich your experiences while studying. In addition to the many campus-life experiences I’ve mentioned in previous issues (such as clubs, student media, and social events), I’d recommend that you try your hand at some volunteering, not only for your professional development but for your personal development too! As well as helping out an organisation or person that really needs your help, you’ll learn some valuable new skills that could come in very handy in future years, and it’s a great opportunity to network with a variety of industries. Volunteering experience also looks fantastic to employers, whether you’re looking for a part time job while you study, or a career once you’ve got your degree.
Finding a volunteer position is really simple, which gives you more reasons to give it a go. The AUU offers a great program by the name of VolunteerConnect, which is specifically designed to help link not-forprofit organisations with students seeking volunteering experience. Whether you’re looking for a once-off opportunity or something more long term, we will most likely have something of interest to you. You can register at www.vconnect.org.au or email auu. email@example.com for more information. It’s also worth reflecting on the ways that you can save some serious cash as a student. I know how tight a student’s budget can be, and the AUU’s U-Pass will literally save you hundreds of dollars each year. For only $25 you get discounts at over 1,600 locations across the country. Seriously, I’m not joking when I say you’ll save hundreds of dollars. This isn’t one of those discount cards that offers you discounts on things you were never going to purchase anyway. There’s fashion and beauty discounts, paintball, laser skirmish, bowling and other sporting game discounts, 2 for 1 meal deals at loads of restaurants all over the city, cheap movie tickets, a huge discount on membership to The Fitness Hub, discounts on holidays, and truckloads more. Plus we’ve now got a huge number of daily discounts at The General, our on-campus convenience store. You can also pick up The Advertiser for free from The General every academic day of the year. You can purchase the U-Pass online at www.lifeoncampus.org.au/u-pass, or from The General. Good luck with your exams and major assessments, and remember that if you have troubles with lecturers or need an extension badly, come and see one of our Education and Welfare Officers. I’ll see you back in these pages next semester, and in the mean time, feel free to get in touch with me about any of our services. Have a great mid-year break! Casey Briggs President, Adelaide University Union Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @CaseyBriggs
functions of the SRC is to represent students on the ridiculous amount of university committees there are. Anywhere from the Survey Reference Group, to the University Health and Safety Committee and all the way up to the Academic Board of the University. We are there and we are fighting for you.
Photo: Shaylee Leach
student representative column
with IDRIS MARTIN, src president. When we’re approaching the end of the semester, activity on the ground tends to die off a little bit as all students (regular, representative or otherwise) go into a self-imposed isolation to complete those pesky assignments and study for those impending assessments. Fortunately for you but unfortunately for me, I guess, where the activity on the ground dies off, the activity behind the scenes pick up. In my experience, the final few weeks of semester are when the SRC receives the largest number of complaints, comments, and general communication from students. It is like students have taken the semester to carefully asses their education and, towards the end of the semester, are ready to unleash their righteous educational fury on whoever they need to.
Recently, as you may or may not be aware, we have been encouraging students to send up examples of what they perceive might be cost cutting measures within their class rooms. I’m happy to report that students have been sending us the ammo we need to lobby the university, and the university is responding positively! We need now, more than ever, for students to send us their thoughts on their education so that we can use real examples in our discussions with university staff. Now, at risk of sounding like a politician, the SRC also needs to look at ways it can promote efficiency and effectiveness internally. To that end, the SRC Executive recently authorised the opening of submissions regarding reform to the following documents that determine the governance and procedure of the SRC: • The SRC Constitution • The SRC Casual Vacancy Policy • The SRC Standing Orders If anyone has any thoughts on this, whether it be on how SRC meetings or run or on who should comprise the SRC, I invite you to send me an email with your thoughts and the SRC Executive will compile this into a report based on these submissions. Finally, the SRC now has a Casual Vacancy: Ethnocultural Officer. If you identify as coming from a diverse ethnic or cultural background and have a passion for activism and representation, send me an email for more information and you could be the next Ethnocultural Officer! Other than that, what do you have to look forward to next semester? More events, more campaigns and even elections! Idris Martin President, Student Representative Council
And the SRC is more than happy to help you channel it.
In case you weren’t aware, one of the main
David, Astrophysics, Part-time 5th year
Carlos, Accounting, 3rd year
1. 2. 3.
I’ve got a bit of work to do - a tute to finish. 2. Green. 3. Wow, pretty heavy question. I’m not sure. I like the idea of independence, but I also think that our source of current government is stable. Why mess with it? 4. I went off medication some years ago and, as a result, I’ll have adverse effects for the rest of my life. 5. Do you think you’re psychologically stable? 6. (Previous question: Strawberry or Grape?) Both. I like both. But I do prefer strawberry.
I’ve got an exam tomorrow. Orange. No. Well, I don’t know much about it. But I don’t think so. 4. Probably studying here instead of in Europe. Australia’s nice, but Europe would have been nice too. 5. Which team do you think will win the 2012 European Cup championship? 6. (Previous question: Do you think you’re psychologically stable?) Yes.
Simon, (year 12) 1.
Get some homework done. It’s a quiet place to study. 2. Blue. 3. It doesn’t bother me. I don’t really care about that kind of thing. 4. Last night. 5. Why did you choose to study here? 6. (Previous question: who do you think will win the 2012 European Cup championship?) Chelsea.
In which On Dit asks six random students the following questions... 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
What brings you to the hub at 6pm on a Sunday night? What’s your favourite colour? Do you think Australia should become a republic? Why? What’s your greatest regret? What question would you ask the next person we vox pop? (the question that the previous person asked - in question 5)
Henrik, Mech Engineering, 4th year
Millie, Architecture, 1st year
Sherrie, Design, 1st year
Assignments. A presentation on Thursday. I just want to say: this is my first Sunday night here. I’m not usually in the Hub on a sunday night. The company is also great. 2. Blue. 3. I’m from Sweden, so I don’t really know. Who’s your Queen? Elizabeth? The same one as England? Really? Get your own! Our King’s really quite funny. You should get a funny King. 4. I’ve never regretted drinking. I don’t regret. I have no regrets. 5. Do you prefer a Queen from England or one from Australia? 6. (Previous question: Why did you choose to study here?) I’m only here for a semester, but it seems nice. Small, but nice for 6 months. Maybe not longer!
I’ve got an assignment due tomorrow at nine am. I’m going to live here tonight. 2. Purple. 3. I don’t think about that kind of thing. I just want to get this assignment done. 4. Leaving this assignment to the last minute. 5. Have you got a dog? 6. (Previous question: Do you prefer a Queen from England or one from Australia?) I don’t think it really matters, does it? One from Australia, I guess.
Assignment. It’s a group assignment. Otherwise I’d do it at home. Drinking. 2. Pink. 3. No. I think the heritage is a nice thing to have. 4. Not travelling as much as I should have. 5. Where do you think you’ll be in ten years? 6. (Previous question: Have you got a dog?) Yes. Her name is Molly, and she’s a Border Collie.
photos: sam young
words: joel parsons photo: sam young
barrister or barista?
Many law students float into their existences. While some initiate their degree with an intense desire to become well-versed in the intricacies of corporate insolvency, a great deal don’t really understand where they’re headed, and enter law school to ‘keep their options open’. They feel they should go to law school because they can. They’re not sure where they’re really headed at the end of it, but they feel like they can rely on it to take them somewhere comfortable. I frequently hear ‘Law is the new arts’. This has seeped into the school-leaver consciousness. Unfortunately, a career as a lawyer is no longer a sure thing. Rumors abound of a law school ‘bubble’. The gist of this bubble idea is that there are too many graduates leaving law schools and not enough jobs for them to fill. In the United States this is a wellestablished phenomenon. Prospective law students apply to college with perceptions of grandeur, only to exit with huge debt and poor career prospects. Since 2010, applications to study law have steeply declined in the United States because the issue has had extensive courage sufficient to dissuade applicants, and steer them in other directions. Nonetheless the glut of graduates continues to be an issue. The issue of a law school bubble is more controversial in Australia. We don’t have as inhospitable an economic climate as the United States, and claims of a bubble in Australia are downplayed. Law school Deans around the country have publicly expressed that they do not feel there is a current oversupply of law graduates. After
six years of hard-core law school, I would testify that there are more graduates and things are as competitive as ever. It is not uncommon to hear agitated whispers of firms receiving hundreds of applications for clerkship programs offering only ten places. Class sizes at Ligertwood seem to have increased over the last six years, yet asbestos levels remain constant. It doesn’t feel like there have always been around 25-30 people in seminars – when people attend. For there to be a bubble one would expect to see increasing numbers of graduates as well as factors contributing to the decrease in available opportunities. Let us ponder some ridiculous buzzwords, appropriate to this article, to guide us through some factors suggesting the surfacing of some sort of bubble.
‘Uncapping’ From 2012 the government is no longer restricting the number of government-supported places, and universities will be permitted to offer as many places in courses as the market demands. The policy aims to provide more opportunities for people to obtain tertiary education, though in concert with the factors discussed, more competition will see many graduates unable to secure positions in firms. It is also worth noting that the number of law schools in Australia has increased in recent years. In 1970 there were eight law schools in Australia and today there are over 30. In this state, the University of South Australia has begun offering law courses, contributing to the increase of graduate numbers.
On Dit’s anatomy of a law school bubble When adjusted for inflation, the economic growth of the US legal services industry has stayed about 200000 the same since the 1980s, while GDP has increased significantly. In short: the industry is stagnant, with fewer jobs and more graduates. Tuition fees have been increasing, since the ‘90s, faster than the salaries at both big and small firms. The US system is also heavily skewed, success-wise, to the 150000 top 14 (or T14) law schools. Head to a lower-ranked school, and you’ll still be charged up to $43k per year for tuition, have no HECS equivalent, and even worse job prospects. Going to law school in the US can be a pretty quick ticket to crippling debt and joblessness. It’s only in the past two years 100000 2005-6 2006-7 2007-8 2008-9 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 that students have taken notice. Check out this Source: lsac.org/lsacresources/data/lsats-administered.asp graph of people taking the LSAT (law entrance exam) in the past seven academic years.
I was quite surprised when I first came across the concept of outsourcing legal work to other countries. You’ve probably heard how the manufacture of your cheap consumer goods can be done for bargain basement prices on the other side of the world, but who would have thought big Australian law firms could send document discovery tasks over to India to have them done at a cheaper rate? Late last year Lawyers Weekly revealed that one of Australia’s biggest law firms Mallesons Stephen Jaques plans to send a great deal of legal work to an office in India staffed by 200 lawyers. It isn’t difficult to see how such move might affect law graduates. Surely with fewer tasks to be done, a firm has less demand for graduates, and those who do make it into a big firm, might not get the experience of completing those tasks that their predecessors had.
Deleveraging in the context of legal services refers to a drop in the ratio of solicitors to partners. Once upon a time a firm might have had say six solicitors for each partner, but that is being scaled back to three or four. This surely means a reduction in the number of graduate positions available, and higher competition for those that are. It should be said that these issues really only apply to graduates who actually want to practice law at a firm. A great deal, and this is often provided as a counterargument to the bubble theory, is that many graduates don’t actually plan to practice in a firm, but end up in government roles, or at consulting firms, and other places where law-talking people are begrudgingly hired. Lawyers sometimes burn out or become disillusioned with their trade, then quit their job to invest in a bed and breakfast or become a conceptual artist. Masterchef is a
prolific recruiter of lawyers who want to de-stress in a serener environment of public scrutiny, ‘plating up’ and stress. Why not skip over five potentially disappointing years at a firm and determine where you’re going, or at the very least determine whether a job in a law firm is what you really want? Start looking at work experience and clerkship opportunities. Not because that will be good for your career prospects but because it will help you work out if a law firm is actually a place you would want to be inside of. Once you get to about three years into a law degree it’ll be too late to bail on it because you a) will have already incurred a massive HECS debt b) you’ll need to pay that debt, and you believe that a career in law will be the only way to pay it :P and c) you have already built up a library of textbooks that you like to sit in front of while family members consult you, and for you to back out now would render that a sham. ◊
zen and the art of cramming words: bryn lewis art: irene easton
Well amigos/amigas, it’s that dreaded time of year again. Examination time. Toward the end of every semester when exams are imminent, many students (myself included) become acutely aware of the danger lurking around every corner: exams. The casual university atmosphere is replaced by a collective sense of impending doom. Like a crowd of people staring at an earth-destined comet, we don’t know how to prepare, so we just stand still, neck cocked upward, mouths slightly ajar, eyes toward the heavens... waiting. But this, of course, is just paranoia. Study hard and you have nothing to fear. Unless you’re me. Every time exams approach, I am haunted by painful memories of my Year 12 examinations. For that short period at the end of each semester, those omnipresent nightmares defined my pitiful excuse of an existence. I feel that through sharing my experience, this pain may be alleviated, right on time
for the coming exam season. What follows is a recollection of my Modern History exam. My Psychology/Home Ec teacher, who shall go by the name of Ms Hardie, addressed all Year 12 pupils prior to the end of year exams. Ms Hardie advised us that during exams, there was only one thing more important than our knowledge: our state of mind. We were warned not to spend the night before an exam studying as we would be too weary the following day. As a consequence, she argued, we would not be able to concentrate. And if we thought caffeine was the solution we were hideously mistaken, she added. Apparently, coffee would give us a temporary high followed by a debilitating low. Dietary and sleeping habits were somewhat of a specialist topic of Ms Hardie’s. If anyone underperformed on a test, she was quick to attribute lost marks to a lack of sleep or fruit/ vegetables (avocados and carrots in particular, but she was also fond of
strawberries; ‘it’s all about natural sugars!’). Her own diet was highly regimented and extremely healthy, a fact she was fond of reminding us on a daily basis. Why is it that teachers’ topics of conversation are exclusively restricted to the subject which they teach? I’m sure that Manson Family dinner-table discussions were not limited to planning heinous crimes. Charles was probably big on other topics like sports and pop culture. Following Ms Hardie’s speech I was under the impression that if I entered my history exam with a relaxed attitude, everything would be dandy. The morning of the exam: I drink two cups of green tea, do some yoga, and listen to Buddhist meditation chanting while riding my bicycle to the exam room. In this Zen state of mind I’m sure to pass. I just need to write a few pages on Stalin. The exam begins and I close my eyes. I feel like I’m floating in calm, crystal clear shallows on the shore of a
deserted Caribbean island paradise. Ok, so Stalin... I can see dolphins further out and back at the island I spot some exotic birds. Stalin... Who was he? What was his angle? Damn, I wish I could Google it. Need to write something. Shit! Maybe I should have gone with chamomile instead of green tea. The stillness of the water has been replaced by crashing waves and I’m struggling to keep my head above the surface. Where once a blue sky and bright sun shone down, ominous clouds have gathered. The dolphins have turned into sharks… wait, now they are killer whales. Orcas in the Caribbean? Who said my subconscious has to be geographically accurate? The birds have transformed into SWAT helicopters. Hot damn! This is getting hairy. My idyllic island paradise has turned into the shores of hell. Really need to write something. Perhaps I should have studied in
preparation instead of taking Tai Chi. Damn you Stalin! Maybe I could pretend to have an epileptic fit, it might buy me some time. Well the orcas have done some damage. I don’t appear to have the left side of my body anymore. The pack are having a jolly time fighting over my former leg and the SWAT team are filming the ordeal using mobile phones. I figure, the orcas will soon tire of toying with my leg and move onto the main course, but on the bright side I don’t have to worry about drowning anymore. Still need to write something. Why didn’t I do more breathing exercises during yoga? Who the hell was this Stalin guy? Need to write something… anything… an hour gone and zero words! Okay, bite the bullet. ‘Stalin was a maverick. He didn’t play by the rules but he got results. He was kind of like Gandhi but with a beard’. That was how I introduced my essay. So, what I’m getting at here
is don’t buy into all of that state-of-mind bullshit. Do you think that the Dalai Lama, in all his über peace-filled glory, would nail an essay on the Russian Revolution without researching relevant literature? My advice is to cram and then cram some more, and if necessary take some Valium. ◊
You only realise once you arrive at the border that you are you are in the middle of nowhere. You are all alone.
The bus stop is one kilometre from the border. A plain-clothes customs official enters the bus and yells at everyone to get out. Slowly, everyone is searched as they step back onto the bus. I am last in line, my money belt in one hand, my wallet in the other and my camera hanging off my back. He tells me I have to pay a camera tax. I politely decline the offer. He screams at me to get off the bus, and to give him the money in my wallet. I stand up and yell back, ‘first show me your identification’. He walks off the
bus, and I feel like I have had a small victory. I am wrong. After two minutes he returns to the bus with a soldier in blue camouflage, holding an AK47. I guess there is no need for identification when you have a Kalashnikov. ‘Now you come to interrogation,’ he says smugly. I am escorted by an officer to the interrogation room. The interpreter explains that I have broken the law. When you bring US dollars into Ethiopia you must declare all currency at the airport. You need to carry those declaration documents on you at all times. He then explains that I have only two options and uses his fingers to indicate each option. ‘One, you hold onto your money.
You spend the next week in prison until you go to court and wait for a judge to prosecute you. If you are found guilty, you will spend more time in jail. Two,’ holding up his second finger, ‘you declare your cash to us, and you go free now.’ Two great options. If I give them my US dollars I will have no money in Somaliland as there are no ATMs or banks. If I go to jail the officials there may take my side, but I’d miss my chance to cross the border; it’s closed, Friday being a Muslim holiday. Another senior official enters the room, says something in Amharic to the superior, and then all four men exit to another room. This may be my only chance. I
quickly open my money belt, heart racing, and stash my credit card in one sock and a wad of my cash in the other. Just as I am pulling up my second sock, the guard walks back into the room. I pretend to be scratching my leg and he doesn’t seem to notice. The translator asks me my choice. One or two, jail or cash? I hand over my US dollars. US $290. The official looks at me in the eye and says something in Amharic. The interpreter tells me, ‘if you have any more money on you – in your bag, or on your body, hidden – you will go straight to prison.’ I feel the remaining $400 crumpled up in my anklet sock, look him directly in the eye and decide to lie. ‘You have everything
I have. You have it all.’ He tells me that my luggage will now be searched. I worry that they can see my heart thumping through my shirt. The interpreter starts going through my stuff. My credit card is slowly slipping out of my sock, and I think about why I decided to wear anklets, why I didn’t get my money belt fixed, why I was travelling solo to Somalia in the first place. After one more hour, I am escorted back into the interrogation room. There are five officials looking at me in the room, with the boss behind the main desk. ‘You have broken the law, but this time we have chosen not to
charge you. Here is your money: you are free to go. If we catch you with this money again, you will go to prison.’ I say thank you insincerely and walk out of the building, into the toilet. A tin room, a shallow hole and shit. I do a wee and check my pants to see if I have crapped myself. I wander to immigration where my story has preceded me. The immigration officer tells me I only have to declare money if it is above the value of $3000. He explains that the customs officials are stupid, illiterate and just want money. He walks me to the border and I am glad to have his company, even if he is holding my hand. He says goodbye at the border and I cross the bridge into Somaliland. ◊
nic peterkin peterkinphotography.tumblr.com
bersih 3.0 words: idris martin photo: horng yih wong
A third round of protests for electoral reform took place in Kuala Lumpur on April 28, with solidarity protests held around the world. How does it feel to be safe while your friends face riot police?
Bersih 3.0 served to remind me, an activist, of the reality I face in Australia: being here is a pretty sweet deal. What makes me say that? Well, to start with, I’ve never been tear-gassed at a protest. In the lead up to April 28, 2012, which was the date of the Bersih 3.0 rally, a large number of friends I grew up with and went to school with in Malaysia started posting status updates on Facebook in regards to Bersih: ‘Remember: if you get arrested, don’t forget to save these numbers to call!’ ‘Wear padded clothing so that if you
get hit by the water cannon, there won’t be as much damage!’ ‘Drench a cloth in cider vinegar and keep it on you so that when the police fire tear gas at us, you can breathe through it until you get away from the gas!’ Status updates like those were the most common ones I saw. In contrast to that, activists in Adelaide usually post status updates not warning but begging their friends – to show their support and attend a rally they’re taking part in. In fact, I do this a lot myself. Malaysia is, we have been told by our media and our government,
a moderate country with a moderate government. They can’t be too bad, even if they upheld laws that allowed the government to arbitrarily arrest and indefinitely detain any citizen. Believe it or not, Bersih is not calling for anything drastic. It’s not like they were trying to decriminalise homosexuality, guarantee religious freedom or even eliminate economic privileges based on race. No, that isn’t what Bersih calls for. The Bersih movement – Malay for ‘clean’ – calls for free and fair elections in Malaysia. They have eight demands to achieve this. They want: 1.
The electoral roll to be reexamined and cleaned up. What they mean by this is getting rid of the literally hundreds of thousands of voters who are on the electoral who are registered multiple times, deceased, or even simply imaginary. 2. For Malaysian citizens who are not in Malaysia at the time of an election to be able to cast a postal ballot. Current estimates are that roughly 5% of the electorate are excluded from voting for being overseas. 3. For indelible ink to be used to mark voters hands to prevent them from voting multiple times, which happens a lot in Malaysia. At the last Malaysian general election in 2008, the Election Commission decided not to use indelible ink a week before the elections stating that it would be unconstitutional to prevent people from voting if their hands had already been stained by indelible ink. That’s right – they said it would be unconstitutional to prevent people from voting multiple times. 4. A minimum campaign period of 21 days. A party is only allowed to campaign for a period of time as allotted by the Election Commission. Last election, the campaign period
was eight days. Proportional and equitable media coverage for all political parties in elections. To put it bluntly, the state owned media spends a lot of time praising the government and criticising everyone else (when they actually mention anyone else). Enough said. 6. For public institutions to be strengthened such that they are truly independent. Currently, there are many allegations that the Election Tribunal are very much in the pocket of the ruling party, which has never lost an election in Malaysia since Malaysia gained independence. 7. To stop corruption. According to Transparency International, Malaysia is more corrupt than countries like Rwanda, China, Namibia and Saudi Arabia. It’s a bit of an idealistic goal but a nice one. 8. To put an end to dirty politics. By ‘dirty politics’, they’re referring to negative campaigns and the like that ignore policy issues and spend most of their time attacking the opponent’s character. If they figure out how to do this, they’ll have to tell the rest of the world their secret. Despite my reservations about a couple of their demands, all up it seems like a pretty decent set. Of course, the Malaysian government has decreed that Bersih is just a front for opposition parties to criticise the government and destabilise the ruling party’s hold on power. 5.
I’m inclined to agree with them in so far that Bersih does seem to be very opposition heavy. Of course, when the opposition are the ones calling for free and fair elections than I’m also pretty inclined to agree with them. The Malaysian government and police responded to the massive rallies held in Kuala Lumpur, which saw up to 300,000 people take to the streets, with force. The Malaysian Bar Council has reported that
the protests were peaceful until the police unleashed tear gas and used water cannons on protestors and began using excessive force on them. On top of that, the Bar Council further reported that the pattern that the tear gas was fired in seemed to try to box in protestors as opposed to dispersing them. When you add on that they were trying to stop anyone from recording their actions and that many of the police removed or did not wear uniforms or identification, it’s hard not to feel a little outraged. Our very own Senator Nick Xenophon had grounds to feel upset. Not only was tear gas fired at him whilst he was in Malaysia to observe the Bersih 3.0 rally, but one of the major state owned newspapers published an article on him that alleged he was anti-Islamic. They took one of his speeches on Scientology but replaced references to Scientology with Islam. The end result was not pretty. Meanwhile, Malaysians across the world organised solidarity rallies with Bersih 3.0 and I was lucky enough to attend one in Victoria Square in Adelaide. I was lucky, because even though I am from Malaysia, I am an Australian and do not have to worry about the Malaysian government revoking my scholarship for taking part in Bersih 3.0. Other students overseas on Malaysian government scholarships have been threatened. I continue to be lucky because I can attend a protest, I can shout and scream about my government and I know that I won’t be assaulted, tear gassed or arrested by the same people who protect me. Hidup Rakyat! Hidup Bersih! ◊
republi(we)can? words: georgie lawrence-doyle ‘We don’t need you and your bloody incest and corgis! We have much better teeth than you!’ After nearly two years of living in the UK and relentless convict gags, I’d cracked. The final straw was receiving a pair of fluffy red handcuffs on my birthday – I had absolutely had it. I got completely sloshed, lost the key to the handcuffs (while I was wearing them) and ended up in alliance with my bolshy Glaswegian friend, drunkenly pointing my finger accusingly at my English peers and shouting about being colonised by wankers. ‘But… don’t you think the Queen is nice?’ they asked, terrified. ‘That’s not the bloody POINT!’ I had roared, shredding apart a Union Jack beer coaster. Apart from frightening some girls from Surrey and forming a coalition with another colonised pal, I realised the gravity of our loss from the 1999 referendum. I was infuriated at the vacuum that all Australian Republican sentiment seemed to have disappeared into over the past decade or so. Fact: the Australian masses appear to have socio-political amnesia regarding Republicanism
in Australia. While The Australian Republican Movement (ARM) is alive and kicking, as well as its nemesis the Australian Constitutional Monarchists (ACM) the republican issue seems to have taken a back seat in Australian politics. The Australian public seems at best apathetic on the prospect of their nation becoming a republic. In fact, the most lucrative discussion I’ve heard of anything monarchyrelated recently is whose house everyone can get plastered at on the Queen’s Birthday public holiday (which, incidentally, isn’t actually her birthday). Or discussing at length whether Kate Middleton looked just a ‘bit too thin’ in that Alexander McQueen wedding dress. Not to mention the global sensation over her sister, Pippa Middleton’s, pert behind. As a nation, we have traditionally been cautious about proposed constitutional change—Sir Robert Menzies once stating that ‘to get an affirmative vote from the Australian people on a referendum proposal is one of the labours of Hercules.’ Surely a nation whose women don Australian flag bikinis and whose men brand their biceps with Southern Cross tattoos should be all for Australian pride and sovereignty?
What would an
Australian republic look like? According to the ARM vision and policy, a republic is the ‘final step’ in Australia’s movement towards total independence and nationhood. A resident Australian citizen would occupy the role of Head of State, selected through a process representing Australian values of ‘equality, fairness and democracy.’ An Australian republic also means having a constitution that reflects the sovereignty of the Australian people and is distinct from any British legislation.
What legislation of our colonisers do we still retain? The majority of Australians are unaware of the extent of our legal ties to the United Kingdom. Although we have had our own constitution since 1901, the text today remains almost exactly as it was originally enacted. Minor changes, and none since 1977, have occurred as a result of referenda. It’s pretty startling that there is still a provision enabling the Queen to annul any Australian law within one year of its enactment. Although this power has never been exploited, Malcolm Turnbull, shadow minister and
former head of the Australian Republican Movement, regards it as ‘extraordinary’ and ‘incredibly anti-democratic.’ This provision is a constant reminder of the ambiguity of our constitutional status, as well as of the remaining restrictions on Australian independence.
powers, the incident reminded the nation that many key and potentially devastating powers were held by a foreign figure. ‘Long may we say God Save the Queen, because nothing will save the Governor General’ continues today as a kind of refrain of Australian freedom—and its limits.
When did we become disillusioned with the Brits?
The 1990s, however, was the decade in which Australian Republicanism found its place in the limelight. Labor Prime Minister, Paul Keating, instigated the need for a republic in time for the Centenary of the Federation of Australia in 2001 and proposed a Constitutional Convention to discuss the issue. The Coalition, however, won the federal election of 1996, and although the Constitutional Convention still took place in February 1998, it lacked the support and advocacy it would have had with Keating still in office. The Convention debated the proposed methods of forming a republic: direct election by the Australian public, parliamentary election by a special minority, or appointment by a special council following prime ministerial nomination. A bipartisan ‘minimalist’ approach was eventually settled on by a majority of delegates. This model involves a candidate being elected head of state by a two-thirds majority of
Republican sentiments have been expressed in Australia since before federation. Infamous examples include the leaders of the Eureka Stockade revolt and the formation of the ARA following the fight to thwart imperial naval taxes. What really belongs in the Australian consciousness as an iconic moment of republicanism, however, is the dramatic constitutional crisis of the Whitlam dismissal. As most are aware, the Whitlam Government met a grisly end in 1975 when the Governor-General (then John Kerr) dismissed Whitlam and his entire ministry, appointing Opposition Leader Malcolm Fraser in his place. Questions were raised regarding the supposedly ‘symbolic’ office of the monarchy in Australian affairs. Although the monarch herself was not consulted in the decision to use the reserve
the Australian parliament. The Convention recommended to the Prime Minister and Parliament of Australia that the model, and other related changes to the Constitution, be put to the people in a constitutional referendum in 1999. The referendum on 6 November 1999 comprised of two questions. The first asked whether Australia should become a republic with a President appointed by Parliament. The second, generally regarded as less important politically, asked whether Australia should alter the constitution to insert a preamble. The referendum was an extremely divisive and frustrating affair: while for some years the opinion polls had indicated that the majority of the electorate favoured a republic, the question of a republic was defeated. It was not carried in any state and only attracted 45 per cent of the national vote. Lack of public engagement, sustained opposition from monarchist groups such as the ACM and debates amongst republicans on the method proposed for selection of the president were large contributing factors to the maintenance of the status quo. Oddly enough, the 1990s was not all tea and scones for the Royal family—this decade was rife with
divorces, affairs and scandal—yet our public failed to be deterred. Even putting up with Fergie’s toesucking antics and Bonnie Prince Charles’s desire to be ‘reincarnated as a tampon’ seemed preferable to achieving full sovereignty.
What are the advantages & disadvantages of cutting the old girl loose?
in 1986, we ended legal appeals to the Privy Council in the London House of Lords.’ He adds that, ‘one reform remains. We need our own head of state, someone who represents us, our national values, character and identity. The Queen does this for the UK but that is her full time job and she can’t ever
authority in one person. The power of the President in the United States to veto or ignore legislation that has been passed by Congress could be misused and impede the effective working of the Parliament.
Where is the Australian Republican “We are discarding the archaic view Movement that our head of state must be born into today?
a particular family, must be Anglican, must not be married to a Catholic, must not be illegitimate and can only be a female if she has no brothers.”
By removing our constitutional ties to the British monarch, we are discarding the archaic view that our head of state must be born into a particular family, must be Anglican, must not be married to a Catholic, must not be illegitimate and can only be a female if she has no brothers. It is fairly anachronistic to have a head of state that does not in fact live in the country and may not have Australia’s interests as their highest priority. Becoming a republic also seems a logical progression of a nation that has stood on its own two feet and operated independently for quite some time. It also means being viewed globally as a mature and autonomous nation. David Morris, newly appointed national director of ARM, expresses his confidence in the Australian public to step up to the republican plate: ‘Australia is now in every sense a nation, with our Parliament fully in control of our affairs at least since the Australia Acts of 1986 when the ability of the UK Parliament at Westminster to legislate for us was finally ended. At the same time,
really represent modern Australia and neither will her heirs, even if they so wished.’ Those not ready to relinquish our ‘British to our bootstraps’ heritage, insist that the current system is working well and has delivered stable government for a long time –the old ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ approach. Amanda Vanstone’s response, as a former federal Liberal minister and republican, is to tell them to ‘go back and watch bloody black and white telly then’— i.e. just because something works doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. Monarchists also argue that a Governor General is more likely to be free of party political bias than one nominated by the Parliament elected by the Australian public. Australians have also expressed concern over the term ‘president’ and what it entails: many associate this with the American presidential system and worry that it vests too much
The Australian republic issue has been off the mainstream political agenda since the result of 1999 reminded us that we still have a long way to go before we can sever the Union Jack off our flag. The ARM, as well as several state-based splinter groups, is aiming to achieve this goal and the debate is more lively than ever. Morris states that the lobby group will ‘ramp up its activities from mid 2012’ – just in time for Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee celebrations. More locally, young people can get involved in the Young Republican Movement SA and/or the Adelaide University Republican Association (AURA). The AURA was established in 2011 as a non-partisan club whose objectives are promoting republican values on campus and in the community. Luke Marrone, president of the AURA, acknowledges the destructiveness of apathy amongst the student body towards the republican issue—it was also, he claims ‘the cause of the failure of
the last republican club on campus back in 2005.’ After speaking to several students during O’Week this year, Marrone said most were content to maintain the status quo. One student remarked that Australia was already an independent nation and thus didn’t see the need to ‘go to all that bother of changing our currency and flag and all that shit.’ Marrone concedes that while this attitude is obviously disappointing, ‘all we can really do to combat it is spread the word of the republican movement, both on campus and in society.’ The club welcomes all students interested in republicanism and can join by either emailing email@example.com or joining up on their website http:// adelaiderepublic.com.
carks it before the republican issue can gain momentum again. The ARM need to stress that severing our constitutional ties is not synonymous with breaking our historical ties. We can still be a part of the Commonwealth and enjoy all things British – gin and tonics, dry wit, our fondness for Stephen Fry – but this does not mean we should be ultimately dictated by it. What I think is most significant about the possibility of a republic is our opportunity to form a government that is actually representative of Australia as a nation in 2012, as opposed to the 1800s. As well as embracing our Indigenous heritage, we should recognise that we now host a
What now? Morris questions why Australian Governments are so slow to assert Australian independence, as there was ‘no popular mandate for God Save the Queen, just as there is no popular mandate any more for the constitutional link to the British monarchy.’ Perhaps Morris underestimates the Australian public’s attachment to the UK—although we got an (admittedly awful) new anthem in the ‘80s, the idea of actually challenging the very foundations of Australian society is frightening to some people. PM Julia Gillard recognises this fact and claims that we should wait until the Queen
diverse group of people from all backgrounds and cultures and the highest office in the country should be an attainable goal for any Australian citizen. In a world where formerly monarchical nations (such as
the Republic of Ireland, the US, France, and more recently Jamaica) have formed their own republics it seems almost embarrassing that we are so weak-willed on the issue of our independence. Whether by direct election or a parliamentary vote of our head of state—in order to succeed this time around the ARM must provide a coherent argument that does not isolate the public, but unites it. Morris promises us that ‘when the republic does come back on the agenda, be sure that it will stick the second time around and within no time at all we will have forgotten why it ever seemed anything but inevitable.’ It’s either that or I’m bringing out the handcuffs. ◊
more than just churches? words: ben nielsen
While it’s true that a noticeable chunk of activity occurs at the beginning of the year, it is a fallacy to say that Adelaide is devoid of activity beyond Mad March.
When our very own Jules Schiller claimed that there was ‘absolutely nothing going on in Adelaide’ on Network Ten’s The Project, there was public outcry. Considering it was said over a year ago, maybe it is a little too late to express my own personal outrage about the comment, but honestly, I’m constantly infuriated that Adelaide is always at the butt end of such jokes. Apparently we’re just country hicks in a backward and conservative town.
there were some clashes between festivals this year (namely the Clipsal and the Fringe), to me it seems a wonder that a community as small as Adelaide can sustain so many events in such a short period. Proof that Adelaide maintains its ability to attract the acts and the crowds is the Fringe Festival’s 900 performances in 2012, and growth to over 1000 in 2013. While it’s true that a noticeable chunk of activity occurs at the beginning of the year, it is a fallacy to say that Adelaide is devoid of activity beyond Mad March. There is plenty to see us through until this time next year, and a number of exciting plans for the long-term evolution of Adelaide.
What with the summer months full of thriving cultural activity seen by Adelaide each year, comments such as Schiller’s seem all the more redundant. Okay, I’ll give him some credit. In Mad March, we are all pretty much forced to take a festival amphetamine. We’re bombarded by a condensed dose of activity, and then left to deal with the downer that is the seemingly stark remainder of the year. Brief though it was, wasn’t the 2012 season a blast? What with the Future Music Festival, Big Day Out, the Laneway Festival, Garden of Unearthly Delights, Adelaide Festival, Fringe, Writers’ Week, WOMADelaide, and the Clipsal 500. Pretty crazy, right? Mad March is, well, mad. It comprises the same number of festivals another city might hold over the course of a year. While
Throughout the year there is pretty much an event dedicated to anything you can think of, whether that be food, fishing or fabrics. We are, after all, the Festival State. If you’re like me and suffer from Mad March withdrawal, there are plenty of similar offerings. In my diary, May to July have already been filled by the SALA, Cabaret and Shorts Film Festivals - each of which are critically acclaimed and uniquely South Australian. The era of exclusion from national tours is nearing its end, with Adelaide playing host to an increasing number of big name acts, most notably the Spin Off Festival, Adelaide’s own
(and exclusive) mini-Splendour. Despite criticism about our own industry, we do have an equally thriving local arts community – from music to visual arts. Adelaide recently followed the lead of many interstate capitals, opening the doors to its retail outlets even on public holidays. Thanks to the State Government recently passing controversial changes in shopping hours, Rundle Mall and other shopping areas have become a hubbub of bargain hunters. Whether you like it or not, it is certainly a change from the barren wasteland that such retail precincts would usually resemble on a public holiday. If metropolitan Adelaide is not your thing, though, a trip out to the suburbs is definitely worthwhile. Recently they have been thriving with activity – Croydon’s Queen Street precinct is perhaps the pick of the bunch. A haunt for hipsters, it has a pleasant smattering of shops and eateries, breathing retro funkiness and attitude. Markets held each weekend are also worth checking out. It’s so easy to snap up a bargain, vintage knickknack or baked delicacy. I recently went to the Stirling Market and Bowerbird Bazaar, and always love wandering the aisles of the Central Markets. These are only a few tangible examples of the activity happening
. rri o ba ns sa az a pl k je ha
within the streets of Adelaide; if you look for it, you’ll find far more than I just mentioned. While we rarely hear about it, there are also several initiatives that look at the long-term evolution and livability of our city. While I didn’t think twice when I saw it online last year, the 5000+ initiative is making some encouraging progress into the development of our city. The nation-wide project is piloting in Adelaide and aims to develop a long-term strategy for the ‘redesign, renewal and reactivation’ of the city. The ultimate vision is defined by five principles (vibrant, moving, green, livable and leading), and is being achieved through a unique collaboration of all three tiers of government. The project spruiks an extreme level of cross-consultation between the community and industry professionals. Five public forums have been held so far, engaging a wide demographic – particularly children and young people. This openness and accessibility is admirable and refreshing, and it is certainly exciting that the
community can really contribute to the functionality, economic and environmental advances of the city that we reside. If you went to Barrio this year, you will know that it was the clear winner of the Festival. The alfresco bar transformed the usually bleak Hajek Plaza at the Adelaide Festival Centre into a labyrinth of different bars, food outlets, performance and music areas. Luckily, we need not wait until next year for a similar experience. In recent months, small dining areas have popped up in disused alleys and alcoves of the city, and street parties, food stalls and entertainment on street corners. Splash Adelaide is behind each attraction. It’s not dissimilar to the Renew Adelaide initiative (which has received a lot of previous coverage in On Dit), and is an Adelaide City Council and State Government project to liven the metropolitan area. As with Barrio, the Splash Adelaide pilot program has shown that utilising and refurbishing disused and derelict areas of the city is highly beneficial and successful.
Initiatives such as 5000+, Splash and Renew Adelaide spawn from necessity. It is exciting to see that due to such projects, Adelaide is in a constant state of evolution, matching the dynamic nature and the wants and needs of our community. Adelaide is a growing city, with a lively and diverse community, a range of entertainment and an exciting plan for the future. In the most recent statistics collected by Auspoll, Adelaide was voted the most livable city in Australia for the second year running. I’m definitely not a seasoned traveller, but of all the cities I’ve visited, I’m always more than happy to return to Adelaide. It won’t ever be the hipster-hive that is Melbourne or the industrially charming Sydney, but with its own quaint charisma it doesn’t need to be. Thankfully, having now written this, I feel I’m finally gaining some closure from the Jules Schiller induced anger. Oh, and Jules, it seems to me that there is in fact plenty happening in Adelaide; you simply need to open your eyes and look. ◊
polygonal prison words and screenshots: sam crisp
I am in a prison cell. A guard’s voice spits orders in the typical drone of an authoritative, Hollywood police officer. ‘When the cell doors open all prisoners will move to the bottom of the stairs and freeze upon arrival.’ I exit the cell and see my orange jumpsuit-clad companions filing down the steel platform and I follow suit. We’re ordered to line up in a large cage, facing the wall. The guard shouts some instruction that I don’t quite hear. I turn to the side to see what is going on. The sound of a gunshot pierces my headphones. All of a sudden I am watching my own dead body collapse to the floor, my blood splattered against the wall. In 1971, professor Phillip Zimbardo conducted an infamous psychological study – the Stanford prison experiment – in which Stanford University students were assigned roles of prisoners or guards in a mock prison in a
campus basement. Free to act however they wanted, the guards chose hostility and aggression. The prisoners suffered from intense emotional turmoil and anxiety. Both groups fully embodied their respective roles, seeming to forget that they were imaginary and arbitrary. The experiment went out of control, had to be shut down, and has since been criticised as unethical. Nonetheless, it’s still cited as a useful insight into how otherwise ordinary people can have their behaviour affected when put in a position of power or submission. I’m not in Stanford, and I’m not in prison. I’m playing Jailbreak, an online social experiment where each player takes the role of either a prisoner or a guard. It’s a video game built on the existing framework of the popular firstperson shooter Counter-Strike: Source. Jailbreak wasn’t made with the explicit intention to be an adaptation of the Stanford
experiment, and the similarities only go so far. Players move around and shoot each other using the same controls as they would in Counter-Strike, although this version of the game begins with the guards in a grossly privileged position. They have access to all of the guns and the controls to the prison. The prisoners begin with no weapons, alone in their individual cells, at the complete mercy of the guards. It’s akin to a game of Pong where one player’s paddle stretches the entire screen and the other’s is the size of a pea. While there are no in-game restraints stopping the guards from murdering the prisoners outright, there are extrinsic rules in place which players agree to follow to prevent the game from becoming a trivial, unbalanced slaughterhouse. Most importantly, guards may not free-kill prisoners for no reason. They may only pull the trigger on a prisoner if that prisoner shoots first, or if a direct order is disobeyed.
This leads to a dynamic of shameless ‘gotcha’ moments. They’ll do anything to get you to step out of line so they can justify executing you. It is tempting to extrapolate this as evidence of police brutality and abuse of power being inherent in situational positions of authority, but this wouldn’t be fair. Technically, the intrinsic rules of the game define that one team must eliminate the other team to win, a staple that is carried over from traditional Counter-Strike. The guards need to kill the prisoners to ‘win’; they just have this frustrating, artificial obstacle of good ethics standing in their way. No wonder they’re so cranky. ‘Simon Says we’re playing Simon Says. Simon Says I am Simon. Simon Says everybody go to the top of the cage without delay and freeze on arrival.’ This is a common game to play in the prison. It’s the easiest way to trick people into disobeying you. ‘Okay, everyone climb onto the top of
the cage.’ I get half way up before I’m shot. ‘I didn’t say Simon Says,’ the guard snorts. At this moment I remember that I’ve always hated Simon Says. It’s a way for smug people to blame you for their own cheap miscommunication (although, to be fair, I’d probably find it hilarious were the shoe on the other foot). In the next match, I fare a bit better. I diligently follow the simple instructions, making sure they are preceded with ‘Simon Says’. To my disbelief, I am shot anyway. I’m ready to plead foul play until I realise it wasn’t a guard who gave the order but one of my fellow prisoners, whose word carries no authority. The voice chat is an open channel and I hadn’t learned to differentiate the voices, blindly following the instruction without paying attention to whom it was from. Crafty bastard. The game might tell us we’re on the
same team, but it’s dog eat dog among the prisoners. This guy was either out for himself, or just out to be a jerk. I feel like an animal. The guards round us up like sheep and we’re herded into one of the various activities in the prison. There’s a recreational yard with competitive track-and-field events for prisoners to be pitted against, like some Japanese television game show. The guards seem to loosen up after a few activities. Once the weaklings have been picked off they begin to toy with their prey. With a bit of luck, I manage to survive for a few games, and the guards seem to get sick of organising events. We are granted free time and access to the pool. I’m overcome with a surprising sense of unburdening. Only then do I realise that I’ve been in a state of tension the whole time. This is the first time a gun hasn’t been poised with me in its crosshairs. I’ve been shot many times in a video game before. I’ve
played horror games where there is terrific, orchestrated suspense around if and when you are going to be killed. But the threat of being shot in Jailbreak is something else. I only notice this when I experience the shocking contrast of relief. The prisoners aren’t any less conniving than the guards. They are just waiting for the moment the guards slip. One of the quirks of the Counter-Strike engine is that multiple people can occupy the same space at once. While this doesn’t make any physical sense, it isn’t questioned in the game. It means that many people can stand in the same spot, which is great for hiding. If someone is misbehaving, or concealing a weapon, all they have to do is slip into a bunch of other prisoners, who all have indistinguishable in-game avatars. The guards must perform a balancing act in the way they organise the prisoners. They can bunch everyone together to keep track of the group, or have them spread out so to keep track of individuals. For them, it’s a game of crowd control. For us, it’s a game of rebelling against authority. The Jailbreak level design is a sprawl of hidden crannies and shortcuts allowing prisoners to slip out of sight, to other areas in the complex. The guards dictate which spaces are restricted and which are public. Like the card game Bartog, the rules are dynamic, and change on the fly. This means that while the architecture is static, the place never becomes entirely familiar. Eventually, a prisoner manages to sneak into the armoury and a firefight breaks out. Amidst the chaos, the rest of us score ourselves weapons and we turn the tables on the guards. The nasty, familiar, taunting stream of sexist and homophobic pejoratives from the voice chat isn’t coming from the guards anymore but from the other prisoners. There is one guard left. The hunters have become the hunted. A game of cat
and mouse ensues. The prisoners win the match. Most of the time, we aren’t so successful. As the numbers of surviving prisoners trickle down, there are fewer people for the guards to pick on and a smaller group amongst which I can try to disappear. When I’m the last one left, the focus is no longer spread. The amusement of the guards is my onus. One of them addresses me with my screen name. ‘Describe the last shit you took with the name of a film. You have twenty seconds.’ Oh no. Not this. There is nothing that puts me more on edge than having to tell a joke under pressure. ‘Ten seconds.’ I seize up. My mind is blank. I work at a video store, just name a movie title— anything! I type in the best I could come up with: Big. I hear the guard chuckle over voice chat. It wasn’t a great answer, but he’s a little bit amused and I’m a big bit relieved. I figured playing this game would be safe. It’s not like I’d be physically tortured, or actually feel any of the pain inflicted on my in-game avatar. I thought the game would be too divorced from reality to cause any psychological harm. After all, the guards can only parse what the game lets them see of the player: their in-game actions, their screen name, the in-game text and voice communication. It’s that last one that’s the kicker. What happens when the guards start asking for personal anecdotes? Or demand that you sing embarrassing songs over voice-chat? From Simon Says to Truth or Dare, it seems Jailbreak is a psychological experiment hellbent on taking childhood activities and putting them in a sadistic context. The guards’ influence isn’t limited to the walls of the virtual prison, and while it isn’t quite the level of deprecative influence the Stanford guards had, it’s certainly nontrivial.
I wasn’t keen on discovering just how far that influence would reach. Luckily, as it is a video game, the player has the freedom to quit any time they want. In Jailbreak, your safe-word is the ‘disconnect’ key, which at any moment can blip you out of existence and back to the silent title screen. Bizarrely, people voluntarily play this game. It has an active community. I had no trouble finding a full server of players to join. A friend of mine, watching me play, couldn’t understand why I would willingly continue to put myself in this role. ‘This is messed up,’ he pointed out. I agreed. Unlike the Stanford guards, these players aren’t receiving any monetary reward for participating. But, like Stanford, once players internalise these roles they stick with them. Most asymmetrical multiplayer games like this let the teams switch sides at the end of each match, but not this one. I never got a chance to play as a guard. In fact, there is a moderation process allowing only a select few to play as guards, while playing as a prisoner is open to the public. This is another important difference with Stanford, in which the roles were assigned indiscriminately. Despite the horrible scenario that the prison was to be in, I must admit it was a little compulsive. I don’t know whether this was Stockholm syndrome or whether it was a traditional video game-y compulsion to try and rebel against the guards and other prisoners alike. But despite that, it’s certainly not an experience I would recommend actively subjecting oneself to. The Stanford prison experiment was prematurely discontinued after six days. There are hosts which run Jailbreak servers every day, with no end in sight. Since this is not a scientific experiment, they don’t have any ethical responsibility to close them. But that’s okay. Because it’s just a game. Right? ◊
a beginner’s guide to...
r E D 1 R U M E R ie S T s Y m 1. eds note: This title font is called ‘cocaine sans’, but in our opinion it transcends the very concept of serifs.
words: stella crawford illustrations: gina chadderton
You’re on a train. It’s 10pm. 10:02, by your watch. But let’s face it, it’s fast. There’s a dead man in the corridor. There’s blood. A lot of blood. On the walls, and on the ceiling. The spatter pattern from the fan is particularly nice. Wait, back up a sec. Don’t panic. You seem oddly unfazed. You’ve come prepared. You’ve got a guide. That’s me. I’m your guide. What follows is a demonstration – you see, I’m something of an expert on the ins and outs of murder most foul. At the very least, you could consider me a ‘fan’ of the fictitious sort. And as fans are wont to do, I’ve developed a formula for predictive success. Not a great formula. But a formula, nonetheless. No detective on the scene, you say? That’s no longer a problem, not with this guide on hand. The purists would stop me here. And truthfully, to give you a decent overview of this bulging genre, I’d need more words and possibly even some honest research
under my belt. And here, I’ve got an under-abundance of both.
watching. Here are some of those things:
So in fact, the aim of this guide is to enable you to take a minimally-educated guess or a (more on-message) stab in the dark in the first, say, 15 minutes of any such televised or real life crime, and to have that stab validated.
To cap it off, I’ll help you make your guess in sight of other people. So you can be right. And get to show off. Which is important. The rules to this spectator sport are as follows: 1.
The murderer will be on screen at some point in the first 15 minutes of the show.1 2. The murderer will either not be investigated at all, or not be investigated seriously from after the first 20 minutes. That is, they will either have an alibi, or will be discounted as likely suspect due to unmurderer-like behaviour. To my shame, that’s all the universal rules an entirely unviable sample size could afford. Unfortunately, though, these rules won’t get you far unless you know a little about the specific show you’re 1. Actually, this doesn’t work if the program gets too long. A more accurate figure is the first 25% of the show, discounting any extended ‘introduction to the detective’ scenes.
Christie-drama features two detectives: the-persistentlychancing-upon-crime-scenes Miss Marple and the famous-and-hencemore-logically-at-crime-scenes Poirot, whom Christie reputedly hated.2 Be aware that Agatha was not above fucking with her readers. She reliably went with ‘least likely suspect’. She even, once, made a child the murderer, effectively violating the only code of ethics detective novelists abide by.3 No, seriously, it’s almost always the least likely suspect. Christie was too much of a fan of the big reveal; she occasionally declined to give her readership/audience the required clues, just so they couldn’t solve it beforehand. As a result, anyone that presents with a rock solid alibi within the time frame of 15 minutes should 2. She said publicly that she couldn’t understand why people liked him; that he was pompous and arrogant. As revenge, I suppose, along with killing him in his last novel, she also made him the murderer. For finality, I guess. 3. I’m not sure if creating wildly unlikely scenarios in order to introduce your detective to a crime is a valid ethical code, but Christie was a fierce devotee of it regardless.
shoot to the top of your ‘wildguess’ list. Add to that anyone who manages to establish seemingly good character in such a short time, as Christie normally chooses to expose the ‘goodies’ right at the end as well. Common motives in Christie plots are money, wanting to re-partner while the old partner remains inconveniently alive, 4 and the old ‘murder to cover up a secret’5 ploy. Miss Marple will always pick a young friend that she particularly bonds with. Such a youth is never guilty of more than a minor misdemeanour. Nine times out of ten, the person that the friend is romantically entwined with will also not be guilty of anything more than misbehaviour; Christie was clearly fond of the happy ending. Don’t pick either of them. Miss Marple, disappointingly, also never did it. When it comes to Poirot, remember this: nobody has truly 4. Watch out for Catholics, they’re especially keen on this one. 5. Often murder.
kicked the bucket until Poirot has seen them.6 Christie was super fond of the ‘fake alibi by messing with the time of death’ plot, and with Poirot this tendency often expresses itself in the form of bogus corpses and odd body temperatures. A safe guess is somebody with an alibi for the accepted time of death but no alibi for the hour before. Poirot periodically involves himself with the case before anyone has expired, by say, being on a train, or by being approached by a party to the imminent proceedings. The ‘approachee’ commits the crime fairly frequently, as this facilitates Poirot’s favourite habit: waxing lyrical about the murderer’s fatal flaw.7 However, the approachee is also often the individual called upon to shuffle off their mortal coil, muddying the waters somewhat. Equally difficult is the fact that the first 15 minutes might easily pass before anyone carks it, 6. And presumably checked their pulse. 7. Arrogance, ironically.
making your guess that much more in the dark.8 The strategy hence becomes ‘guess wildly’ or ‘argue for extra time’.
midsomer murders In Midsomer Murders, the man won’t be dead because he’s a tax lawyer, he’ll be dead because he was secretly married to the girl someone was promised for completing some weird cult thing. The show has a tendency to run two plots per episode; only one of which turns out to hold the clue to the murder. Often there’s a plot about money; someone being broke or blackmailed for it, and another that’s about family or village history. The more emotive the subplot, the more likely that it’s the motive behind the murder. The murderer will be introduced rather early on, and often they are the individual that we receive the most back story for.9 8. It’s always embarrassing when your so-called murderer is the first one to die. 9. Cunningly disguised by the writers as village gossip.
That’s all I’ve got to say on the subject of Midsomer, really. It turns out the only time Midsomer Murders is close to enjoyable is as a memory. Also, marathonning 90-minute episodes to collect data doesn’t work.
you’ve learnt considerably less about them than you’d like. As a bonus, though, the dead person is dead right from the start. Head start, right?
I’m aware that this isn’t even a proper detective series, surviving solely on the back of UST.11 However, it’s laughably easy to predict. Windfall!
You may not be able to teach an old dog a brand new trick, but that’s okay, because this show doesn’t have a lot of them.10 Its choice of assassin tends to be from the ‘innocent friend of the victim, just hanging around to see if I can be of any help’ category. It also goes for the mercenary motive time and time (and time) again. Look for the person that’s made it financially in the intervening gap between the death and the investigation; they are most probably a soulless, merciless killer. It’s probably also one of the harder to pick, regardless, because it tends to develop its characters at a constant rate, so by 15 minutes 10. But also, I love this show. The early seasons are non-stop rollicking good times.
The general arc of Castle goes: suspect, elimination of suspect, repeat twice, exciting new clue, twist. The twist will lead you back to someone who you’ve already met, and, given that the suspects are introduced and then eliminated in quick succession, it will lead you to one of the people met in the very first minutes. Often this is the grieving family member or partner, sometimes it’s the first suspect to be investigated. Picking the motive is almost impossible at the very beginning, but luckily, that isn’t our game. 11. Unresolved sexual tension. Acronym courtesy of the internet.
sweeping concluding statement Fade back to the train. Why haven’t you, carried away in the moment, stuck your hands all over the cold cold corpse? Because Poirot would be horrified, that’s why. The high-pitched scream you didn’t let out can’t act as a distraction; you will note the exact sequence of arrivals to the scene. This time, the murderer will not get away. In short, you’ve become the infuriating snoopy passer-by, craning your neck over the police line around your neighbour’s house. You are, in essence, Miss Marple. Still, there’s no shame in that, my friend. After all, she’s the only one to consistently get out alive. So sally forth in your investigations. Good luck, and may the force/ the odds be with you/ever in your favour. ◊
here’s looking PAGE
words: holly ritson art: lillian katsapis
In these last few sunny days of autumn, the idea of taking a sickie seems ideal. But you don’t want to be slaving over an essay in early June with a box of tissues by your side, nor taking supplementary exams while all your friends are off skiing because you caught an awful cold during exam week. So here are some tips to keep you healthy and sniffle free as the wintry months approach. And trust me on these, my brother’s a med student.
Look after yourself, well at least your immune system. That means lots of sleep, water and vitamin C, and no, vodka and orange juice doesn’t count, nor does marmalade on your toast.
Not only will doing all this help prevent a nasty cold, it’ll also keep you generally fighting fit to deal with whatever your lecturers/ bosses/friends throw at you. It also means not going out to town on a freezing, rainy night only wearing a t-shirt or a t-shirt sized dress. And as for some of those grandmotherly tips, such as not leaving the house with wet hair and always remembering a hat and scarf, while they may not prevent you from ‘catching’ a cold, they certainly will keep you looking cool.
Wash Wipe Cover, Don’t infect another. So this is a half rhyme. Surely the public health department could all get their heads together and
think of something more poetical. But this is the best they’ve got, and despite a lack of literary merit, it’s good advice. I don’t want to get all preachy on you, but geez, wash your hands. Colds are viruses that move around a little like this: nose to hand of person sneezing to whatever that person touched to your hands when you touch that thing to your nose. Ew. So wash your hands or carry around those dinky bottles of hand sanitiser, whatever works, just keep it clean. Same goes for shared surfaces because as soon as one person in your house gets ill, it’s pretty much guaranteed that everyone else in the household will get ill. And if you’re the sick one, and sneezing all over the place, try and cover your mouth when you do so. We’ve
OR: how to survive a common cold
all seen those disgusting slowmotion sneezing ads; it’s just not cool. And definitively don’t sneeze into library books. That’s just how to start a global pandemic in 50 years 101. And then there’s kissing. Just as you should tell someone you’re kissing if you have cold sores (really), you should also mention if you’ve been feeling a bit under the weather. It’s just polite. Then at least your kissing partner knows who to whinge to when in a week’s time they have your awful flu, and, as you’re the one who gave it to them, you must know how to make it better.
A little prick, so you don’t get sick.
If you’re working with kids, the elderly, other vulnerable groups, it’s probably worth considering getting vaccinated against the flu. Lots of workplaces will offer it for free, otherwise it’s only about $17 from your pharmacy. It’s also free if you’re Indigenous and over 15 years old, pregnant or over 65. Have a chat to your doctor or get in touch with University Health.
Cold and Flu ‘medications’. Don’t work. Well, they might help with the symptoms, but they won’t actually ‘cure’ your cold. Honestly, you’re better off taking a couple of paracetamol, a hot lemon and honey, going to bed and saving your pretty pennies for recovery
celebratory drinks. And I’m allowed to say all this now that I’ve stopped working for a pharmacy.
Chicken Soup. It really works. Or for you vegos out there, just some yummy, hot vegetable soup. Because mostly, getting better is about looking after yourself. And nothing says looking after yourself than lying tucked up in bed with Sex and The City and a bowl of soup that someone who loves you very much has made for you. Keep up your fluids (yes, tea counts! Win!) and embrace the chance to catch up on your sleep and you’ll be better in no time. ◊
aisle Open and adjust volume control; mute all. There’s a silence over everything as she mounts her first family gathering since the phone call. The deepening silence of a week of non-communicado. The death crackle of the cordless phone. Inhale. Inhale. Dorbell. Hinge. Smile. Everything hinging on the smile coming back through the fly screen. It’s a fancy fly screen, it’s really a security screen but I don’t think flies could get through either. Will it be opened for me? The professional section of The Weekend Australian lies on the glass coffee table – they’ve changed the rug. No graduate positions, brightest minds forced overseas, unlucky that Dad doesn’t have a job for you to walk into. Mine has one for me if I like. I could lay bricks. Wear a Bonds singlet – a wife beater- get a tan and hard hands, build some biceps and be a real dyke. Lift a bag of cement? I’m sure I could do that. If it were necessary. What is it that’s going on? Fighting for water. For the car trip to the supermarket. Meat. Fish. For longing. An expanse of desert. Of the gourmet food section. Artichoke hearts are flowers unfolding. In my arms.
stopping all stations by justin mcarthur The knight’s horse eyed the coming path with curiosity, as he wondered where his next journey should begin. His hair droops down his face like the long auburn autumn leaves of a willow, and his head perches like a roosting owl on his shoulders, a head with that owl’s same wise, inquisitive eyes. He’s wiry like a young oak, slender like bamboo, and yet he sits in the corner of the end of the train more like an ignored bonsai. And if he wasn’t writing, no doubt he would be quite comfortable expressing himself through such extensive and convoluted simile – but he is writing, and with great haste, too, scrawling wildly across the pages of his notebook as the train becomes indecisive about entering the train yard. Then he decided upon a course, and he voyaged forth towards the castle, on a noble steed, valiant and brave. His long hair whipped in the wind like the flags that heralded his arrival, and when he saw her eyes gleaming from the window of her spiral tower, he knew that this kingdom would reveal to him his destiny. Luckily, the train arrives at the decision to arrive this evening, so the green boy comes to be looking out the window, upon a lone lady, sitting and waiting for her own train, and no doubt for other things as well. Amelia Wright wasn’t always a simple creature. She didn’t always rush to work in the morning, and return home exhausted at night. To be honest, she always liked the idea of balloon sculpture, but, well, the glassblower’s has somewhat of a redeeming fullness to it, something fulfilling that seems absent from the rest of life. After all, in glass, bubbles freeze; in life, bubbles pop. If her life had had more bubbles and less ‘pop’, perhaps Amelia would have sculpted herself as a balloon, instead of moulding herself out of glass. Perhaps she would walk with a little more bounce, or
talk with a little more optimism; perhaps her schemes would be less about her, or her personality would be just that bit more… personable. But sure enough, all through her life, ‘pop’ went her aspirations and dreams, ‘pop’ went her love and her passion, and ‘pop’ went her chance of ever breaking free from the mould. Today, most of her lives on, or at least the outside of her lives on, but every time a bubble pops, a bit of her escapes; every time a bubble pops, she loses a little of her whimsy, her laughter, her beautiful cheerful air, and that air disappears to some other place that she has somehow lost the map to, some peaceful place where the real world stops. The rain beats down on the swollen train as it drags the night people upon the empty station. The doors buckle with the strain of a hundred passengers, buzzing, bustling, rustling drones, and then they pour themselves out upon the dark city, and Amelia sees a somewhat-familiar woman, wet grey hair running down her face, slowly sloshing to one of the benches; a green boy swaying in the breeze, blooming beneath a backpack laden with badges; and ‘Do Not Feed The Birds’, carved into metal, on the wall. And the station begins to buzz: ‘Bit of a space cadet?’ ‘Yeah, nice guy but…’ ‘…life goes on, man. It’s like that warthog said, hakuna matata!’ ‘It’s a needle! Of course it will…’ ‘…and she says to me all the time, “he says ‘I’m not proud of you’”, and I say “he is proud of you”…’ ‘…when they called you. So I’ll be home in like 20 minutes. Where are you?’ ‘Stop talking so much science.’ ‘Don’t think you’re just a special snowflake!’
‘Yeah, but if they’re really short, and show our legs, they don’t count…’ ‘…and if the ding ding ding comes down, I’ll just drive to the next station…’ ‘…and don’t start being smart cos it’s your birthday, you’ll still get a smack!’ PAGE
Amelia waits. The train is late. The train should have come. Why isn’t it here? Eyes down to her watch. 7:30. It was due at 7:29. It’s too noisy. The sun is too far gone. I’m tired. ‘Did you hear Lisa got fired?’ ‘Don’t be like that…’ ‘…she only got hit by the ugly tree a little while ago, and look, there’s the tree she fell out of, every branch is skinny…’ ‘…I didn’t know you caught this line! I thought you caught the 5:30!’ ‘Pears are better than the entire world. I can’t eat the entire world…’ ‘…and there were twelve on one train! Imagine!’ ‘My breath smells of Vegemite and cough medicine...’ ‘…so they’ve got that white box under the window…’ ‘…we better get you cleaned up for Dad…’ ‘…can you tell George to get the tofu out of the fridge?’ ‘The. 7. 29. Train. Due to depart. From. Platform. 5. Is delayed by approximately. 3. Minutes.’ Amelia breathes, steps back, leans against the rail, looks up. She opens up her handbag and pulls out a sandwich, made of crusty bread, smelly tuna, a sliver of lettuce; she stands, drops it for the birds, and sits back down, grinning. The train arrives, just as she remembers why the grey-haired woman looks familiar. And then our business lady is gone. You see, back in the summer, the sun was closer, but the train was still late, and the birds still flocked around. A slightly younger Amelia watched as a slightly younger but still old-looking woman sat with a similar old man and fed the birds, silhouetted by the setting sun, seeming as one. The birds, Amelia observed, grouped around the couple, becoming a horde, a mass, bloated and ugly and craven in the heat. Disgusting. Pathetic. Weak. Yet the couple could not see the little tweeting horrors that they had created, through their happiness in one another, and when the old stupid bitch looked up, she was fresh, anew, her age washed away, a wide smile across her face. Typical. Just typical. And the couple left together, and the fat birds waddled off. Now, the sun further away once more, we force
ourselves back to the present, where our Amelia is boarding a train, and the grand old grey-haired woman, cold, but warm with the world, is babbling incessantly, like the waters of some wise, wizened old brook, the same waters that have seen the majesty of the turning tides, only now returning with some gossip from the sea. She recites the day’s events with wicked glee: ‘See, I think I’m doing well for my health, Reg, and that’s what I say to her, I do, I say I’m 83 and have no false teeth, so I’m very lucky, and she says yes, but do you want to book an appointment, and I say no, I don’t need my ears checked, I’ll get my ears checked when I can’t hear the TV!’ Momentarily, her words are dammed by laughter, and the old woman pauses to eye Amelia softly, as the glass figurine boards the train. The old woman turns to her left. ‘She’ll learn, Reg. She’ll learn.’ The grey-haired lady ponders. ‘Still a piece of work, though.’ And then the dam bursts, and she overflows with words once more: ‘So then I called back later to make sure, and they said I’d made one for the 27th of January, and I said no!, the lady just booked it for me, honestly, she’s bloody useless, she’s the one that needs her ears checked! You should have been there Reg, it was ridiculous, the whole situation was completely outrageous, and I told Mavis about it, and she said it was outrageous too. You really should have been there…’ She trickles away, then she walks away. And when she walks away, she leaves an empty bench behind. The knight and the lady parted ways, and he had failed to catch her today; perhaps tomorrow would begin their future together. So there is peace, and the station is quiet save for the pen-scratchings of the green boy, his back wrapped like a vine to a light pole, his pack on the ground, fiercely writing into a tiny journal. He finishes writing his last sentence about the station, and sees no more to scribe, so he slinks off into the streets, so the lonely station can rest. A new day dawns with a tense and rushed Amelia, a weary business lady in a business suit and business socks. And as the business fox waits for the train to the city, already exhausted from her rush to get ready, there is silence. As she perilously plots and scurrilously schemes and deviously devises her day ahead, there is silence. An observer with a pen notes the silent suits walking into place and standing, manning an unseen fort, perhaps taking their places beside some invisible barrel of hot oil, or lining up an unperceivable bow and arrow on the ramparts. Amelia files onto the train, and the others file on silently behind her, including a mottled green observer with a pen eyeing the back of her head. And they are gone. She takes a seat next to the ticket machine. And then she feels the smiling eyes of a green boy
upon her, and she looks up, returning the smile. The knight bowed at the feet of his lady, and knew that, in doing so, he had brought some joy into her world. Through the leaves of the willow, the owl’s eyes search her for a sign of desire, of passion, as though she has rustled his leaves. Coyly, he peers through his hair, and when Amelia’s gaze flicks to him, he lingers for a moment, trying to catch it, waiting just long enough to register in her mind. He flicks his gaze to the ticketing prices for a few moments; then, when he estimates that she has looked away, he looks back towards her, still with no idea how much the tickets cost. The next time she looks back, he catches her for longer, and when she looks away again, he smiles to himself, feeling that he has ensnared her back, and now she is trapped in his own charm. She thanks him with a kiss, and he stands, and climbs onto his horse, and offers her his hand. He begins to drum a victory song upon his knees, at a quick tempo, matching every noise of the train as it races forwards. He goes faster, faster, faster again, as though it is he that is accelerating the train, as though he is steering it, as though it gallops solely for him. He looks up to see if Amelia is watching. She is. The horse rears up, and the knight and the princess charge together into the sunrise. He smiles, and stops drumming. The train jerks to a halt. She looks away from him and out the front window of the train. He looks down again, and his smile disappears. He lets his hair drop down further over his face, and his nocturnal eyes suddenly seem both more at home and more lonely than ever before in the newfound darkness. ‘What’s happening?’ ‘Watch out!’ ‘Is he going to jump?’ The world has frozen, the train hesitating just before a road crossing. Its comrade, which was headed out of the city, has also stopped, looking a little queasy. Uneasy, the boy is still watching Amelia, but Amelia is now watching out the front window, as the driver of the other train jumps down to the gravel, a couple of metres down. She follows his movement to the dislodged car barrier that has somehow come to be stretched across the tracks, blaring its lights like an alarm and blocking the passage of both trains. She watches him failing to lift it. He calls to the conductor of his train, who jumps down to join him. When they fail, the other conductor follows them. And when they fail, the driver of Amelia’s train gets out, clambers down, and races across to help out. This is getting ridiculous, and they’re all continuing to fail, and she’s probably late but… for some reason… Amelia isn’t too bothered. And she sees helpful passengers on the
other train begin to unfold upon the ground, and then less helpful passengers just jumping out for the sake of it. And she wants to join them, so she… she just joins them! And she feels a little bit of peace, a little bit of air, a little bit of bubbliness. And she is truly alive, in a place she might never be again, in that rarest of lost worlds, the stop between stops. The boy remains on the train, but his eyes follow her, as she spins, and whirls, and dances. ‘You okay there love?’ He looks down to see an old hand of blue veins upon his shoulder, then follows the arm up to a face with deep blue eyes framed by grey, and the world becomes the inside of a submarine, and her eyes are portholes to the sea beyond. ‘I know what it’s like to be left behind.’ She pauses, takes a breath, then restarts. ‘I got left on a train once, love, the train pulled into the station, and I couldn’t get up, and no-one helped me out, so I waited and waited and waited, and I ended up at the depot, and then one of the training drivers – driver training, for driver of trains! ha! they didn’t train him well – one of the training drivers found me there, and he apologised, and he helped me back up. It was okay when it was over, but it was scary then. The world’s full of scary things, love… and sometimes, you’ve just… just got to let go, you know, just let loose, and forget that you’ve been left behind. Come on, love, let’s go down there, we’re missing the fun!’ So they both walk to the door, and the boy climbs down. ‘It’s a bit of a jump! Are you sure we can do this?’ ‘Don’t worry, love! Just stand underneath!’ He stands beneath the doorway, as requested, and she leaps, and suddenly she is lying across one of his shoulders, and she is as light as a sea breeze, a laughing one, and then the laughing breeze is climbing off his shoulder and righting itself upon the gravel. The two of them, caught in relief at having jumped down successfully, laugh for a few minutes, joyful and at peace. They take in the world, and this happy new place, this strange and lovely stop between stops. Soon, the passengers and the conductors and the drivers have fixed the barricade, and they begin to climb back onto their respective trains, one by one, and as the boy watches Amelia climb, he realises with a start that the old woman of water won’t be able to get up. But she just smiles into his eyes, as though sending a small part of her internal water to him, and she hugs him, and then wanders off into the morning sun. So the boy climbs back aboard, a single wet teardrop running down his face, and the train keeps going with one less passenger. ◊
an open letter to: couples. PAGE
eds: we didn’t think we’d get to use this one again.
Dear Couples, Wonder why, for some reason, your friends, families and random strangers have all taken such a sudden dislike to you? Three letters: P.D.A (Public Displays of Affection for those who live under rocks, and can’t use the internet). Until a few days ago, I really didn’t care about ‘PDA’s’. But I started caring when I was sitting on my bus and this couple (couldn’t be more than 15 years old) started to ‘hook up’, as the kids say. It was a full-on, two-steps-away-fromunwanted-pregnancy, mouthhumping, tongue-wrestling, vomit inducing makeout session. It got to the point where the old lady sitting behind the couple asked them, very politely to ‘please stop’. These horned up kids replied (after separating faces, spittle leaking out of their mouths) ‘JUST DON’T LOOK! IT’S NOT OUR FAULT WE’RE IN LOVE!’
First of all; What? You in a lifetime movie? No one hates your love, they hate you. SECONDLY: even if you don’t look, you can still HEAR THE LOVE. It’s like the sound Dementors make when they are sucking the souls out of people in the Harry Potter movie. Or like, the sound The Mummy (from the creatively titled move franchise ‘The Mummy’) made when he sucked the souls out of humans to regenerate into a complete demonic being. Basically what I’m saying is that you couples are so disgusting that there is literally no way to block you out, short of becoming deaf and blind. And I think even Helen Keller understand what’s going on. You somehow have found away to make my bus rides worse than they already are. You make lectures (by the way, who makes out in a lecture? It’s not a cinema, everyone can see you) even more unbearable. You make everything
bad, and if it’s already bad, then you MAKE IT WORSE. I’m not saying this because I’m a sad person (well, not entirely because of that), I say these things to show you that EVERYBODY hates you. Your friends hate you, strangers hate you.... fuck it, your parents probably don’t like you either. There is a point where it stops being for the purpose of love and starts being the osmotic transfer of nutrients between two stupid organisms. If people can say that about you, you need to button your pants back up, put your tongue in your mouth and GO HOME.
Yours sincerely, Anthony Nocera.
an open letter to: the general public. PAGE
Dear General Public, Let me start off with ‘what the hell is wrong with you?’ I mean, really, what is actually wrong with you? I Just – I just – I don’t get it! Let me just start by saying that I’m just a humble university student, making my way through a higher education, just like everybody else. I have bills to pay, and food, books and stationary to buy. The list goes on, and on, and on. I’ve even been your faceless festival toilet girl at Womadelaide. That’s right, I’ve been cleaning your public toilets and port-apotties, and let me just say I am outrageously appalled by your lack of hygiene, General Public. I understand that it’s a hippy world music festival, and you just want to listen to exotic music and get your drink on, right? Well, can’t you do both of those thing’s and still manage to flush the damn toilet? It’s not hard, GP, I swear. You just look at the big ol’ black and white picture that we’ve placed on
your toilet seat for easy viewing pleasure. This magical and informative image shows the very simple system of flushing these toilets. You don’t leave your bodily fluids behind! You flush! Just as these easy to see directions show you. I may get paid to clean these toilets, but I can sure as hell assure you that it is not enough moolah to warrant seeing, and smelling your urine. This doesn’t even apply for just the Womad festival; this is for all public restrooms in Adelaide – in Australia – and heck, maybe even the world. Just because it’s not your home does not mean you have to revert back to your toddler ways, general public. All you need to do is push that button, or pull that lever, and watch as it swishes away forever. Don’t you hate having toilet paper on the stall floor, or walking into a bathroom that smells like someone stuck a dead rat up their behind? Everybody hates it! Don’t act like you don’t! This is
all because some lazy S.O.B. has decided to pee all over the place. Well, that is how everyone else feels, GP, when you don’t keep that shit in the toilet. So, PLEASE. Keep that shit in the toilet!
Lots of love, Toilet Girl
Got an open letter you need to send? It could be printed right here on this page. Send your open letter to anyone or anything to us: firstname.lastname@example.org. au. You vent that spleen. Vent it REAL GOOD.
stuff you like
home-made banana ice-cream: sam young likes this. Seriously, this stuff is the greatest. Imagine you could make banana ice-cream with little-to-no effort, and it wasn’t even bad for you. You totally can. Recipe is as follows: Freeze 6 bananas, peel, blend until smooth, add any extra ingredients (maple syrup is awesome), and refreeze for at least an hour. Makes 6 serves, but you might want to eat it all yourself. If you don’t believe me, try it. You should be able to get 6 bananas for $2.
the london 2012 olympics logo: the ‘sentimental bloke’ likes this. Have you ever looked at a logo and seen something more than just a logo? If you haven’t, than a glance at the London 2012 Olympics logo might be the best place for you to start. Surely, event organisers and marketers realised at the time of design that their logo looked like Lisa Simpson doing something very inappropriate. Call it crude, call it rude, call it what you will but you can’t deny that it’s there. As for those previously unaware, consider yourself now familiar with the logo that will be shown everywhere as of June this year. For design classes of the future it will serve as the quintessential example of how not to accidently incorporate a sexual allusion in a logo.
astretchyhand.com: elizabeth flux likes this.
trade unions: ben reichstein likes these.
your submissions: on dit likes this
Miss being a child of the ‘90s but don’t want to get off the internet? Well a certain fizzy drink factory has taken time out from its busy tooth-corroding schedule to help you overcome this. “Sticky Hands Toy” allows you to have the endless fun of the gummy slap hands of the ‘90s, without the crushing reality of dust, parental irritaton and choking hazards.
Do you like weekends? Overtime? The fact that you can get legal redress for being bullied at work or unfairly dismissed? Then you should probably like unions too. They’ve been getting a bad rap for quite a few years now, but it’s often forgotten that the basic protections for workers that make Australia a semi-decent society have been hard-won by Union members and officials.
Sharing is caring. If you like something, tell us about it here. Review anything at all, whether it sucked or blew your mind. You’ve got 50-100 words and our email address is this: email@example.com.
Unfortunately abuses still persist, so if you have a problem at work or want to secure decent pay and conditions give the Young Workers Legal Service a call and they’ll help you for free. 8279 2233 www.ywls.org.au
irrational irritations got msn? ELIZABETH FLUX is now online. It’s nine o’clock and I’m cranking Greenday into my headphones. Their lyrics speak to my anger and angst, and finally, at last, I feel as though I’m understanding politics. My hand moves to the mouse and I double click the icon. The two round figures circle each other, dancing. I watch, wait, counting down the moments until they disappear. Pause. Fade. Gone. The List appears. Green. Red. Available. Busy. I wait. I’m fifteen, and it’s a Tuesday night. Maths homework is done, and the test isn’t until Thursday. I’ll make notes tomorrow. My eyes scan up and down the list. He’s on. But it’s his turn. But he’s on. I shuffle my cards. MSN used to be a huge part of my life. It taught me to touch type, it taught me how to avoid real life social interaction while still keeping in contact with people, and it taught me how to endlessly angst over chat politics. It was a complex world, that the Facebook chat generation can’t possibly hope to understand. First of all you couldn’t just log in with your name. In the pre-status world you needed a bitching new screen name that changed regularly in order to ‘reel in the chats’, and break conversation ice that barely had time to freeze back over from the previous night’s ten-tilthree convo. Example A: little was gained from ‘witty’ OC themed spoonerism ‘Who’s obsethed with sess?’, but ‘Pascal’s triangle – actually a trapezium?’ gained much mileage. Much, much nerdy mileage.
In a similar vein, you needed a display picture. If you were a n00b, you’d simply put up a picture of yourself. WRONG. In order to fully demonstrate your full wit and maturity, you needed to have a regular rotating repertoire of pictures; maybe it would be the default msn icon with a moustache? How about a funny slogan like ‘if you stare at this display picture long enough, it will do a trick’ (sadly not a made up example)? Or, if you were feeling particularly emo that night, a picture you drew yourself in paint in order to fully express your tumultuous feelings. Finally, you then needed to demonstrate your awesome taste in music. MSN had a function which allowed people to see what you were listening to. My Chemical Romance or GTFO. If you weren’t already suffering a nervous breakdown by that point, you were doing well, because after that came the politics of conversation starting. Most of the time msn was used to debrief on the school day with people you had spoken to in geography. And physics. And PE. And Lunch. However, the rest of the time, MSN was all about lurrrrve. And by lurrrrve I mean severe, unadulterated angst. Being fifteen and knowing only two males, it was a big deal when you met someone and exchanged email addresses. Once you got a new contact, lunch time conversations would shift to in depth autopsies of the previous night’s conversation. Who added who first? It’s important because of the SYMBOLISM and IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE. Who started the first conversation? Have you started three conversations in a row? Because if so, it’s really his turn. OMG HE SIGNED OFF WITH A WINKY FACE EMOTICON? He totally luvs you. But the next week there’s only one ‘x’ where there used to be two. He suddenly goes offline, but doesn’t text to say ‘soz net dropped out.’ He has a conversation with your friend and uses a fish emoticon. Horror. Angst. Simple Plan. It might be because it’s year 10, but it’s probably actually because he hates you. You simmer and psychoanalyse. He doesn’t start the next ‘convo’. You say something passive aggressive. He doesn’t come online for three days. Have you…no…been blocked? :o Emotionally hurt by a digital snub, and physically injured from a literal ‘ROFL’ (seriously, don’t try at home. Hypothetically speaking, your chair might accidentally fling into a wall and send your parents running) you have nowhere to turn for answers except for the randomise button on your 512mb storage capability mp3 player. Uggh. Wake me up when September ends. ◊
maximum quality MAX COOPER doesn’t care if his tv is awful; it’s still fantastic. So it’s a general rule that you should watch, read, look at, and consume things of a high quality. Realistically, this is a general rule I do not conform to. I read stuff from the ‘literary canon’ and I’ve enjoyed classic movies, but I’m not a fan of letting quality determine everything I consume. I know I should probably read and watch only things that encourage creative and productive thought and engage me as a viewer. I also know I should eat healthily all the time, watch my money carefully, and exercise for at least 15-30 minutes a day. Despite this, I’m not always the best at these things. I do eat healthy, spend carefully, and exercise dutifully sometimes, but other times I just want shitty fast food, or a nice new shirt, or to do an assignment last minute instead of going for a run. In the same way, even though sometimes I consume media of the highest quality, I sometimes need the television or book equivalents of McDonalds. For me, that means trashy reality tv, awful movies, and bottom of the barrel young adult fiction. For others, it’s trashy romance, or soap operas, or crime novels. Jersey Shore probably owes at least half of its viewers to this desire for awful tv. Same with Harlequin Romance novels. They may not engage people on a lofty intellectual level, but they’re easy to digest, simple, and enjoyable. Even if you can’t escape the poor quality of something, there are still ways to enjoy it. You can lose yourself in the fun and become part of the horrible
disaster, as happens with the film The Room. This movie is so incredibly awful words fail to express it, but people will still go along to screenings that can be some of the most enjoyable cinematic experiences, because there is a system of audience participation that seizes on the worst parts of the film and by mocking them creates an incredibly fun experience. It’s a formal version of watching a crappy Rom-Com with friends and mocking it on the couch. I’m not saying we should stop making things of quality, or that stuff like America’s Next Top Model is the best use of time and money ever, but I think sometimes people should step back and evaluate if everything everyone watches or reads needs to be ‘good’. It’s understandable to want everyone to like what you like and not like what you don’t (I know I’ve been guilty of it), but it’s also a ridiculous want. Obviously there are exceptions to this, but as a general rule I’d prefer if a friend and I each got excited about two different things to if neither of us got excited because we were too busy trying to change the other person’s point of view. Stuff like audience participation, even if it’s just having a laugh at something you genuinely enjoy, love, and think is amazing can really enhance a reading/ viewing/whatever experience. And quite frankly, sometimes I’d rather just watch a crappy teen drama with friends to wind down after a long week than read philosophical treatise on Blah. ◊
agon-dit aunt How big does a guy’s penis get when erect? If it’s like 50cm, where does it all go during sex? Ashlee Dear Ashlee, The universe is saddle-shaped.
gotten yourself into a bit of a tight situation either way. Perhaps ‘loosing’ your best friend would be the best way to relieve some of the pressure. Hope this helps, AA
Hope this helps, Agondit Aunt
I just started to go out with my best friends brother i did not think about it too much befor i said yes but i like him. but now it is really efecting my friendship with my best friend and she told me that i had to choose between my best friend or my boyfriend i really dont no what to do i dont think my boyfirend will take it to well if i dump him but i cant loose my best friend HELP PLEASE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ katie, Brisban Oh ‘katie’ from ‘brisban’, Here’s hoping you and your boyfriend aren’t having unprotected sex, because anybody whose spelling and logic are as poor as yours should under no circumstances be procreating. It sounds like you’ve
Dear DOLLY DR, I’m 13 and I’m 150 centimetres tall. I was just wondering how tall I’ll get when I’m around 18? And what would make me get taller faster? Virilia Dear Virilia,
Dear DOLLY DR, As a joke, me and my best friend took pregnancy tests and mine turned out positive — but I’ve never even had sex! What does this mean? Could I actually be pregnant? Alice.
You will be 183 centimetres tall. You will be profoundly unhappy. The universe is deterministic. There is nothing you can do to get taller faster. Also, seriously, I think you’re emailing the wrong person. Hope this helps, AA
Dear Mary, I don’t know who you think you’re emailing, but if history is anything to go by, you’ll probably be okay. Wear more red and blue. Hope this helps, AA In need of advice, comfort, or the loveless embrace of cold academic explanation? Send your letters to ondit@ adelaide.edu.au. Agondit Aunt is here to help.
rank the ranks of royalty
Task: take this unordered, incomplete list of ranks of royalty, and, well, rank them. In descending order of power. Also: fuck the traditional european system of patriarchal land ownership. That shit sucks.
6. Edler von
19. Princess Dowager
20. Hereditary Knight
Volume 37, Issue 15, 1969.
On the 10th of May, 1972, George Duncan, an academic from the University of Adelaide, was drowned in the river Torrens in what is widely considered an act of homophobic hatred. Here, 40 years later, are two pieces that pre-date that death, from a magazine that was evidently unafraid to take a progressive stance on gay rights.
The rest of this feature can be read online at: http://bit.ly/KBBhdw.
(After some recent public discussion on the subject of homosexuality and the legal position of LGBTIQ individuals in society, we discovered the following article in On Dit Volume 32, Issue 11, from September 1964. We are reprinting it in full as we feel that it is still of particular interest.)
From Volume 32, Issue 11, 1964.
wilde about writing? contribute to on dit! stuff you like! open letters! short stories! poetry! columns! features! original artwork! photography! other stuff! email us your ideas and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll party down. firstname.lastname@example.org - for all your distractory needs.