Issue 08 | MAY 2013 www.ausm.org.nz
Issue 08 | MAY 2013 Directory p6
reception City Campus Level 2, WC Building 921 9805 Mon-Thurs: 9am-5pm Fri: 9am-4pm North Shore Campus Level 2, AS Building 921 9949 Mon-Fri: 11am-1pm
Photograph by Clark Little p22
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Aspen Bruce | Augustus Bloodworth | Connor McLay | Che Crawford |Fiona McIntyre | Jamie Barnes | Kieran Bennett | Mays Shalash | Mike Ross | Nigel Moffiet | Rachel Peters| Scott Yeoman | Shilo Kino
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PMP Print Ltd. 5 Editorial 6 Chromacon 2013 8 Artist of the week: Clarke Little 10 ARTICLE: Madrid 11 INTERVIEW: Clarke Little 12 A Memorandum Auckland's Got It Going On 13 Prez Sez AuSM Updates 14 The Girl On The Fridge 16 The Grammar Nazi
19 Maori Boy Genius 20
AuSM all rights reserved
From Nature To Trash 21 Westboro Baptist Church 22 COMEDY: Brendon Green 23 COMEDY: Josie Lang 24 COMEDY: Idiots of Ants 24 University Pet Peeves 26 MUSIC: Mali Mali 27 May Calender 28 Mothers Day Recipe
17 Social Media Highlights
30 Deep Sea Creatures
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by Matthew Cattin Hello! It’s sure been a big few weeks for New Zealand and unless you’ve been living under a homophobic rock, you will have noticed that on April 17, our fine country took a big step towards equality. It truly was a beautiful moment – tearful smiles, marriage proposals and a strong waiata breaking out at and around parliament as the opposing party snuck out to await the hellfire and brimstone. Naturally, Twitter and Facebook went absolutely ape shit with support with the bill (on my feeds anyway…) and it seemed even the critics were rainbow hushed into submission. I get the feeling they knew that to express their opposing views on such a celebratory occasion would have been social networking suicide. Emotions were high – nobody was about to let the haters get a hand hold on the moment. Amazingly, the following morning saw the sun rise as per usual and apart from the rainbow flood in the press, it was just another day for the majority of New Zealanders. I’m sure there were lots out there with an extra spring in their step (or if they were lucky a ring on their
finger), but for heterosexual folk, well, nothing much changed. And that’s the thing that vexed me from the beginning – if you’re straight, the bill won’t make an iota of a difference to your life, your relationships or your marriage. If you’re gay however, it has potential to make a world of difference. I saw on Facebook a lad’s status that said something to the extent of “good, now government can start focusing on some real issues”. It’s an angle of criticism I have seen before and never really known how to respond to but a commenter responded beautifully. What they said really resonated with me as a point of view I hadn’t really pondered upon, something along the lines of “anything that helps to reduce depression and suicide rates in the country IS a real issue”. Brilliant, and so spot on. To the majority, the bill is ineffectual, a news item to discuss, to love or loathe. But to those it applies to, it is a matter of being treated the same (well… one step closer anyway) as every other tax-paying citizen, a matter of individual rights being established, and a matter of being able to marry the person you love.
Another position held by some critics that left me dumbfounded was the “if the bill goes through, then what’s to stop me marrying my dog?” The fact anybody is comparing homosexuality with bestiality is downright offensive and in my opinion the same as asking why “if consensual sex is okay, then what’s to stop me from committing rape?” Well the answer to both questions is consent for those that don’t know - any form of legal marriage, or sex, requires consent. Marrying your dog and marrying a consenting, loving partner of six years are apples and oranges people, apples and oranges. In saying that, if anybody can get a dog to sign its name legibly on the marriage documents, don wedding attire and verbally commit, then I will eat my apples and oranges. To quote Ben Haggerty, “A certificate on paper isn't gonna solve it all, but it's a damn good place to start.” A belated well done New Zealand, Matthew
Chromacon 2013 Allan Xia
Chromacon 2013 by Matthew Cattin Chromacon is an independent and completely free illustration and comic arts festival that you can check out on May 12 at the Aotea Centre. With 60+ artists from all over New Zealand, Chromacon is a community focused event that lets the art speak for itself. Organiser and artist Allan Xia caught up with debate to paint a picture of the event and how it came to fruition. “As an illustrator myself, I’ve been going to a events and conventions like this in the past few years and I felt that not just Auckland, but New Zealand in general really lacks an event that is just about the artists and original artworks. We have quite a few that are more pop cultural or entertainment focused, or perhaps targeted towards specific cultures or specific genres but I just wanted one that was embracive of all styles, genres and mediums. I waited for years for someone else to start one but nobody really did so I thought I’d give it a try,” says organiser Allan Xia. “I spoke to a lot of artists and it turns out they were on the same wavelength and once I approached everyone, they were really keen for it,” says Allan. “It’s about engaging and connecting with the wider community. I feel like artists are being segregated into our own little communities and I wanted the wider community to be able to come in and see what the illustrative and comic scene in New Zealand is.” If that sounds like a bit of you, head along on May 12 to check it out. It’s completely free and by the look of the website (www.chromacon.co.nz), the displays are going to be mind-blowing.
Henry Christian Slane
REAL GROOVY Adam Tan
ARTIST OFof THE WEEK Artist the week
Artist of the week:
Check out page 11 to read an interview with Clark Little!
You can check out more of Clarkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s inspiring images & products at www.ClarkLittle.com
MADRID by Rachel Peters
When my Italian flatmate pointed out that perhaps the title of the city that never sleeps could be moved from New York to Madrid, I thought he was probably exaggerating, but it only took me a few nights out in the vibrant city to retract my initial judgement. After 30 hours of flying and waiting in terminals, I was happy to finally arrive to do a semester there as part of the AUT exchange programme. The time over there was the opposite meridiem from ours, which meant I didn’t really have to worry about jetlag as it’s a city where nobody even thinks about hitting clubs until 2am. It was time to start living nocturnally. Getting home at 6am is standard and you have siestas from around 4-6 to compensate. I got teased by my flatmates for having dinner at 8:30pm as this is far too early to be considered kosher in Spain. The main club Capital is a seven story club with different genres of music on each floor but if you want to meet Spanish locals, it’s a good idea to go straight for the house music - the Spanish love to dance. Initially it was a little hard not knowing anyone over there, but the Spanish people seem to be the definition of extraverted and are always keen to go out for a bite to eat and something to drink. And why not - with their absolute abundance of restaurants, cafes and bars, and glasses of vino for as cheap as 1.50 euro? I also soon found that the other exchange students at Comillas Pontifical Universidad were in the exact same boat. Most of them were also very keen travellers, always trying to round up other students to jet off to Barcelona, Granada, Portugal, Paris or Rome for the weekend if their budgets would allow it. Most people in Madrid are friendly but their English is limited to greetings and common phrases. Having a more advanced knowledge of Spanish would have been an advantage and there were some aspects of their culture that I found difficult to adjust to. I would advise you resist
the urge to go to the traditional bullfights. These are pretty cruel and hard to watch. Madrid also has amazing museums and beautiful monuments and parks. It is so rich in history spanning back thousands of years. I was lucky enough to find a flat right outside the royal palace and woke up to a beautiful view every morning and a great suburb to walk around in. Although Madrid is known to be a haven for pickpoketing and thievery I felt pretty safe there as it really comes alive at night and the streets were packed with friendly partygoers. To any students at AUT I would definitely recommend looking into the exchange programme, it is an amazing opportunity to travel and you still pay NZ fees. The tutors at my University were very good and the classes were challenging and engaging. I took a paper on Art in Museums of Madrid which was a great opportunity to see the works of masters such as Picasso and Salvador Dali. I also took a paper on Geopolitics in Europe which was a good overview of European History and Geography that seems to be not covered so extensively in NZ curriculum. It also gave us insight in the current financial problems currently pressing on Europe, Spain and Greece particularly. Of course the other great advantage of studying abroad is personal growth. Being so far away from family and friends is a great chance to become independent and learn to balance socialising with work. It’s an opportunity to broaden horizons, meet new people, make friends from all around the world, learn about other cultures, and really push you out of your comfort zone. I also had a new-found appreciation for New Zealand when returning. Even though it is challenging at times, it is well worth it. Give the exchange programme a go, you will not regret it!
By Matthew Cattin In 2007, Clark Little’s wife asked him to take a photo of the ocean to decorate the bedroom with. A long-time surfer of the dangerous Waimea Bay shorebreak near his home in Hawaii, Clark decided to try for something a little different with the photo. He bought himself an underwater camera, headed to the break and immersed himself in the waves, snapping photos down the barrel of the massive tubes. What he came out with was a completely unique and stunning perspective of the powerful Waimea waves, some great photos and a new journey in life. Since that day, Clark’s one time photo shoot became a way of life and his results are truly stunning. His photographs have travelled the world over being picked up by Apple, Nike, Nikon, Starbucks and Toyota amongst many others. He has also been featured in the National Geographic, Daily Mail, The Guardian, debate (booyah!) and The New York Times to name a few. Clark was kind enough to tell debate a little bit about his unique passion – catching the moments that nobody else dares to witness. “Each wave is so different, depending on the sun angle, cloud formation, wind, swell size, swell direction, tide and sandbar conditions. It is like photographing snowflakes. What I also like is that I am able to be in the ocean and swim around while doing this. It’s a rush and great way to get exercise. The ocean is my second home and I love to spend as much time as I can in it. To be able to do this as a job is incredibly lucky.,” he says. Being in the danger zone of the tube is a spiritual experience for Clark and judging by his description, it’s easy to see why he is hooked. “It is the same state of mind any surfer knows when they are in the tube. Things quiet down and slow down - time starts to warp. You are in your own world and surrounded by water... And still able to breath
since there is an air pocket. Maybe it is like being in your mother’s womb? There is something very deep about it,” he says. “The feeling is so addictive; it keeps me out shooting for two to four hours at a time when it is good. I will go out five days a week or more. Surfers travel the world and sacrifice everything just to keep getting in that tube.” Most of us will never be lucky enough, or skilled enough, to view a wave from within so it’s lucky Clark has devoted his time to capturing the precious moments that few dare witness. “The waves are beautiful when you stop them in a photo but behind lots of those waves is power. Nature can be quite deceiving – what may appear beautiful and tranquil can be deadly. A number of people die or get seriously injured each year on the stretch of North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii that I photograph. I think the number of serious rescues is around 150 each year. You do have to be on top of your game and not lose focus,” says Clark. “Is it worth it? Of course it is. Anything worth doing in life has a risk attached to it. To be able to get shots where most people would never be able to view something, is well worth it to me. All of the support and encouragement I am getting keeps me going too. Seems a lot of people are digging these shots, so I am out to get more.” The future for Clark sounds as spontaneous as his entry into photography but like any surfer, he’s keen to just go with the flow. “My goal was never to become a photographer, but here I am. It is hard to set any specific goals, since tomorrow can bring something I never could have imagined. It happened to me before. My broader goal is to keep harnessing the passion that I feel for my work and keep doing it until I am ready for the next thing. As long as there is fun and passion, I will do it. When it starts to fade, I will do something else that sparks my passion.” You can check out more of Clark’s inspiring images at www.ClarkLittle.com where you will also find a sweet collection of art prints, books, calendars, t-shirts, iPhone cases and more all available for purchase. Enjoy! www.ausm.org.nz
VICE PREZ SEZ Kia ora AUT! This is the first time I have had the chance to write for debate but for those that don’t know me, my name is John Kingi. As your Vice President, my job isn't really to be the glamour face of the student body - I leave that in the capable hands of our president Kizito Essuman and the cool kids in the Fashion school but we will see how this goes! There is not much time left in the semester now and this time is crucial for making sure we knuckle down into our studies and limit those midweek excursions to the viaduct - however tempting $5 handles are! (Vesbar is better!) With this in mind here's my list of do's a don’ts in the lead up to exams. 1. Do make sure you get a heap of sleep now. Because in a few weeks you won't have the luxury. 2. Don't start any new relationship within three weeks of exams. The honeymoon phase really eats up a huge amount of study time. 3. Do make sure you've identified 'that' friend. You know, the one who you have nothing in common with, never see outside uni but who has alllll the notes. 4. Don't think that cramming will be sufficient to pass. At least not one day. Aim for two to three cram days minimum. 5. Do continue the odd social time out. Just not involving Russian vodka. That stuff makes you forget things. Follow these tips and you'll be assured academic success. My five years
of study have proven that had I followed this I might not be a student anymore! Here at AUSM we are busily preparing for our annual general meeting and making sure things are ticking over for all of you. The AGM is an important part of our processes and it is where you as the student body can look over what AuSM has been doing and hold us accountable. There is also free food. So look out for more information about this! Please make sure you access our services which you pay for and utilise the opportunities we have for you. We offer a range of service including advocacy and support, job opportunities through student job search, free feeds, competitions and loads more. Like us on Facebook to keep up to date with all the goings on. This is an important time for some with upcoming graduations in August. My warm congratulations if you're one of the lucky few who get to leave the warm insulated halls of AUT for the plethora of jobs that await. No sarcasm there. But seriously graduation is a time to celebrate your achievements and to look forward to a new future that awaits you. I'd also like to remind you all to get involved with student clubs on campus. They are a great way to form new friends and explore new interests and AuSM supports clubs with grants throughout the year. Get involved and make your uni experience unforgettable. With that I say adieu and look forward to seeing as many of you around campus as possible. Nga mihi and regards, John Kingi
CAPTION CONTEST Pool Competition – Heat 1
Caption: image source: flickr
Updates AuSM will be running a pool competition at Vesbar this Wednesday 12pm-1pm. Free entry – email firstname.lastname@example.org to enter or turn up on the day (limited spaces). Great prizes up for grabs!
Battle of the Bands – Heat 1
Get ready for an epic battle of AUT’s best bands! The first heat is this Thursday night at Vesbar, 7pm. Spectators welcome! See you there. Check our Facebook for more info @ www.facebook.com/ausm1
I know it’s early, but it’s always good to plan ahead! The AuSM Lodge at National Park still has some sweet dates available! Make sure you book early before all the good dates are gone. Find out more or book now at www.ausm.org.nz
Name: Email: Campus: Drop your entry into your nearest AuSM office, or the box on the side of the red debate stands, or email debate before 12pm Thursday. What’s up for grabs? Two “squawk burgers” vouchers for Velvet Burger on Fort St, Auckland CBD. Issue 5 Congratulations to...
City Campus who scored two Squawk Burger vouchers!
Caption: Go home Dorse!
MEMORANDUM By Scott Yeoman
Memorandum [mem-uh-ran-duh m] -noun, pl. –dums, -da 1. A short note designating something to be remembered, especially something to be done or acted upon in the future; reminder.
Don’t forget about Woody – he still has the ability to keep you distracted from the bigger worries in life.
I thought I would start back after the break by being reassuring...and by offering you someone else’s advice. For most, this second half of the semester is going to be non-stop and annoyingly stressful. It’s going to be full of assignments, exams, colder weather, rain, and probably a good chance of more Warriors’ defeats. But when it gets too much - when the rings under your eyes get deeper and darker, when cold sores break out, and negativity breaks in – turn to Woody. For some, this could be Woody from Toy Story (he is surprisingly comforting) but for me and you, this is Woody Allen. His movies are all about distraction and, most of the time, that’s all you need to get through another week. Here’s some advice of his to get us started:
“You start to think when you’re younger how important everything is and how things have to go right – your job, your career, your life and your choices and all that – then after a while you start to realise that eventually you die and eventually the sun burns out and the earth is gone.” Okay so maybe that doesn’t help, but you have to look past the extreme way he carries across this idea and look at the way this mantra shapes his movies.
The latest one to hit cinemas You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger starts with Shakespeare’s famous Macbeth quote about life being “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” And that’s what this film is – for 98 minutes you watch the plot unravel in bursts of colour, action and constant complication only for it to suddenly eventuate to nothing, no closure what-so-ever. But never the less you leave the cinema saying to yourself, “Well I guess I was entertained and distracted for over an hour and a half” (the same can’t be said while watching certain sports teams these past couple of weeks). The characters in his films are so damn interesting yet at the same time they are often easy to relate to and this keeps you watching. He casts great actors and his genius scripts bring these characters to life in front of you. He has won four Oscars and has been nominated for over 20. So he may be telling us it’s not worth stressing over anything, but this level of movie-making shows us that this doesn’t mean give up or stop trying - it simply means let it be your way to keep busy and distracted. If you are busy and not thinking, there’s no time to be stressing. But here’s a list of his Oscar winning films to get you started anyway: Hannah and Her Sisters (Writing) Midnight in Paris (Writing) Annie Hall (Writing and Directing)
AUCKLAND'S GOT IT GOING ON by Mike Ross
Back once again with the ill behave-ya! Returning to university in the midst of New Zealand Music Month and the Comedy Festival is pretty suck, but find solace in the fact that classes end at 4pm (at least for communications students anyway), so there's plenty of time to cause some after-hours trouble.
Whenever you dang well please Covo, Richmond Road and Fort Street
This will be the second time I've repped an Italian restaurant in the inner city area, but there's not many things I love more than a good pizza and Covo does some of the best. I've only been to the Ponsonby outlet, but I highly recommend the X-Large pizza: for like $33 you get two massive rectangles of pure pastrytopped-with-tomatoes-and-meat-and-shit goodness. Seriously good value for money. I'm unsure whether it's BYO, but just roll in with a couple of bottles and see what happens.
All Week Long
2013 NZ International Comedy Festival
of missing out on seeing a show. Some of the best are actually the cheapest - just because someone's an up-and-comer doesn't mean they're not worth seeing. For the full lineup of shows head to comedyfestival.co.nz.
The Nark Collective & NZMM present: Totems, 1885 Britomart Everyone's favourite student club night, The Nark Collective, has partnered with New Zealand Music Month and will be showcasing some of NZ's best live talent each Wednesday during May. Last week Jetski Safari absolutely blew the roof off the place and this week is set to be no different with experimental producer Totems taking to the stage. DJs are on from 8pm, there's $5 Heinekens and $10 pizzas, and entry is free. What's not to like? Say yes. For more info about this week's events and some hot travel deals: www.google.com
On until the 19th, please, please don't do yourself the disservice www.ausm.org.nz
“Lillian Nakabiri your school fees haven’t been paid. Get out of here!” At the age of seven Lillian fetched the water each day. This involved walking four miles carrying 25 litres which would then need to be sterilised. “Oh it’s just so easy to draw water here!” Lilly exclaims. “When I got to New Zealand I just turned the tap on and off in amazement.” She was taken to a Compassion registering centre when she was nine years old. The photographer told her to smile as they were going to take her picture but she didn’t know why. Her family then sent her to an orphanage where she was left to fend for herself. She was given a mattress to sleep on but no blankets and was so poor that she would put salt in her tea to avoid the shame of not having sugar like all the other girls.
The Girl On The Fridge by Fiona McIntyre To most of us Kiwis she’ll be just another picture on the fridge; a picture that we pay little attention to as we grab the milk, ham or butter. So familiar will we become with this faded picture that her will dissolve to a blur. It will be camouflaged with the magnets and memos scattered on the fridge and little thought will cross our minds about her, who her family is, or what she spends her time doing.
The man removed her from the orphanage and reunited her with her family. However it was made clear to her that, “you’re only living here as the household help”. This meant that she did everything: the cooking, weeding, hand scrubbing the washing, and fetching the water. She was the Ugandan version of Cinderella except in this story it was school she got to attend if all her jobs got done - not the ball. At the age of 16 she was told, “Lillian we no longer love you, get out of this home!”
So what will happen when this little girl grows up to become a beautiful woman and is standing right in front of you? Not only this, when she is standing there thanking you for saving her life? You go a little dizzy. You may stare in disbelief. Like me you may have to pinch yourself as you get a wee dose of reality reminding you just how blessed you are to be living in this country.
“The abuse was always there,” she whispered, “but I thought they’d come around. They chucked everything I owned in the gutter.” Eventually the reality hit that she was homeless. She attended school but didn’t tell anyone of her situation and slept in a tree. With no clothes, no food, and nobody who loved her, Lillian soon came to have had enough of life.
I’m sitting listening to former Ugandan sponsored child Lillian Nakabiri share about her life. Dressed in a dark purple wrap-around dress patterned with gold specks and wearing dangly colourful earrings that match, Lillian is a stunning woman. Her tightly braided hair is neatly pulled back with a gold brimmed band and her flat strappy sandals don’t disguise the fact that she towers above everyone else in the room. Her eyes sparkle as she attempts to say the word ‘sheep’ which comes out as “ship” or “sheeeiip” as she tries to correct herself. Moreover her native Swahili language enriches the Kiwi language with lots of “rrr’s” added in.
The local church had taught the village people how to make beads out of spun paper which could then be sold. So she had a little bit of money saved – enough to buy her some poison.
“I neverr drreamed of coming to New Zealand to see you beautifurrrl people,” she says with her smile stretching from ear to ear. But thanks to the aid of Compassion International and Tear Fund New Zealand she is here with Kiwi musician Julia Grace on The Beautiful Survivor Tour. “I am no longer a problem to our country. I am a solution to our country,” Lillian says proudly. The fact that she can stand here telling her story, a gripping drama of poverty and the search for love, whilst singing praises to this crowd of “beautiful” people who live in a land of prosperity, is simply humbling. Orphaned at the age of one, Lillian’s life didn’t hold much hope. Her father was kidnapped during a civil war when she was just three months old and her mother, who was one of six wives, died soon after. She was then passed from one relative to another. Growing up Lillian quickly learned that life wasn’t about making the right choices - it was a matter of survival. There’d be days on end where she’d go hungry; she would become the girl who scavenged for food in the trash. Education was a rare privilege. Every now and then she would get to go to school but faced public humiliation often. Standing in line the teacher would yell out,
Each year someone would come to the orphanage bearing bad news that a relative had died. It was always a heart-wrenching ordeal. But one day a man from the Compassion International project came for her. He said that he had been hunting for the little girl in the photo for months. At the age of 10 Lillian got her first hug.
Armed with her weapon of choice she went and sat under a tree ready to rid herself from her loveless life. But it was in that instance that Lillian remembered the letters her sponsor people had sent. “Each letter I read was love,” Lillian said with tears in her eyes. “Oh Lillian we love you; we love you so much; we celebrate your birthday; we pray for our Lillian every day.” “It was like my life started coming back. I walked with my poison and went to the Compassion centre. When I reached there I was in tears. I told the lady I was homeless and they took me in straight away. I saw my life be picked up from trash to leadership”. Lillian’s life was transformed after that. She attended university and studied a leadership programme sponsored by Compassion International which built up leaders who were going to help transform the country. “I am no longer hopeless; I am the helper helping the hopeless.” By sponsoring a child we are helping an entire community. Standing here before me is this walking testimony of hope that brings reality back into perspective. It is now me who is humbled to realise that every time I open that fridge, I am privileged to see a beautiful survivor who can help transform the people around her. For more information on The Beautiful Survivor Tour please visit: http://www.tearfund.org.nz/beautifulsurvivor/
Don’t Dream it, Be it! AUT students are an outgoing and creative bunch. Across all faculties our students are constantly finding ways to apply their diverse knowledge to identify new business opportunities, but translating those ideas into reality is often a daunting step for the budding entrepreneur. Creating a viable business plan, identifying the correct markets, and of course finding the money to get going, are real problems. The new Kickstart competition of the AUT Venture Fund starts this year to help overcome those hurdles – offering winning ideas feedback, support, and seed funding. Previous Venture Fund winners have included ideas ranging from technology products through to t-shirts produced for sale in scuba dive shops. In 2011 business student Nick Barrett and his business partner Paloma Ozier received $7,300 for their Create a Story Picture Book app, which allows children to follow a sequence of pictures to create their own unique story. 2012’s top $10,000 award went to Sean Hinton for another app, Spinbox. Runners up also receive support. In 2012, inspired by her desire to help tackle the growing problem of obesity, Chilayne Barratt received $3,000 funding to develop her idea for nutritional snacks by working with The Foodbowl, a centre that specializes in helping develop food concepts through to commercial pre-production. Also in the food nutrition area, but inspired by his love of outdoor pursuits, Andrew MacDonald was awarded $8,000 to fund his Absolute Wilderness company’s high performance outdoor freeze dried meals for athletes and tramping enthusiasts. If you have a good idea, entry to the Kickstart competition is simple, and this year the new Kickstart competition allows individuals or teams comprised of current students or recent graduates to enter, with a prize pool of around $30,000. The competition this year will be launched by Business School Dean Dr Geoff Perry and the Kickstart competition coordinator Associate Professor Simon Mowatt on Wednesday May 8 at 12:00pm in WF214. Further details can be found at the Venture Fund website. Maybe this time next year that dream you have will be a reality – good luck! www.aut.ac.nz/study-at-aut/study-areas/business/ student-opportunities/get-involved/aut-venture-fund
ARTICLE: The Grammar Nazi
The Grammar Nazi
by Connor McLay With our phones and fast digital communication, we like to compress information. Long stories told with 100 characters or less can be found all over the internet, and in the modern world of texting, vowel elimination and phonetic writing has resulted in paragraph-length speeches squished down to a single line. The last decade or so has seen the systematic murder of everyday spelling and grammar through neglect. More and more it became acceptable to simply pass over time honoured patterns of writing and structure in favour of creative acronyms and emoticons. But in a world where points are awarded according to the most imaginative way to butcher the English language, there are those who fight back. There are those who still grit their teeth whenever they see the incorrect use of there, they're or their. Who howl with rage when some preschool level linguist clearly doesn't know what the word 'literally' means. There are those who brave the inevitable backlash of the internet swagfag legions to deliver a righteous punch in the name of literary justice directly into the face of the dreaded misuser of the simple apostrophe. They are called the Grammar Nazis, without an apostrophe and capitalised. According to urbandictionary.com, which as we all know is an infallible source of completely reliable scholarly information, a Grammar Nazi is: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Someone who believes it's their duty to attempt to correct any grammar and/or spelling mistakes they observe.â&#x20AC;? There are no oaths, there is no doctrine or set of written ideology, there is only that group of English enforcers who cannot help but comment on every Facebook status and scrutinise every celebratory tweet. We bare the name of Grammar Nazi as both an imposed curse and a badge of pride in our unwritten, unsung heroism. But there is a fine line to tread. At any given moment those who walk the path of punctuation purity are a step away from losing themselves' to hate and becoming consumed by the dark side of the dictionary. There are those that fall into hypocrisy and become internet trolls. Ah if only you knew the power of the dark side. At all times there lies the temptation to mislead the naive forum bloggers and Facebook posters who write those insipid and poorly punctuated 'inspirational quotes'. Like a shepherd who leads his or her ever trusting flock over the nearest cliff for only their own sadistic pleasure. So how can you join the proud ranks of the Grammar Nazis? If you noticed the three very deliberate mistakes leading up to this paragraph without needing to search, then you are already half way there. If seeing those mistakes has caused your blood to boil with rage, your teeth to clench and your hands to wrap around my imaginary neck before you to squeeze out the very hypocrisy I warned you of, then whether you like it or not my friend, you are one of us. Be wise in your judgement, beware of the dark side, and may the syntax always be with you.
#social #media #highlights
Lyndon Hood @lyndonhood People leaving NZ because they can't stand the idea of homosexuals marrying each other. Colin Craig says a risk; I say a bonus. Guy Williams @guywilliamsguy I'd give Colin Craig a blowie.
by Matthew Cattin and Nigel Moffiet The marriage equality bill’s third reading was the biggest night of the year for Kiwi social networkers with Twitter and Facebook absolutely going off. I don’t think I’ve seen such a buzz since the Rugby World Cup final – it was massive. Opinions have been polarised from the get go but on the night, it seemed even the haters were holding back and allowing the supporters a precious moment to bask in the big gay rainbow. Here are a few memorable moments from Twitter.
In a more downbeat tone, Labour MP Parekura Horomia died and there were the tributes from friends and colleagues who described him as a generous man. Fellow Labour MP and friend Shane Jones had this to say: "Some people often poked fun at him because he was a jumbosized guy, but despite his king-sized approach to life, believe you-me he covered the miles and he really did want to advance the prospects of his people." G @A_Gaayathri I am sorry to hear of the passing of Parakura Horomia a man who understood the links between compassion and politics
Ellen DeGeneres @TheEllenShow It's a big day for Kiwis! New Zealand's marriage equality bill passed! Also, Portia just made me a tropical fruit salad. George Takei @GeorgeTakei Congrats to NZ for passing marriage equality. Time to celebrate! #LetsHaveAKiwi Macklemore @macklemore New Zealand has just passed same sex marriage! Beautiful... Congrats to everyone that has been working towards equality #samelove Martyn Bradbury @CitizenBomber If only we cared about feeding the kids as much as we cared about Marriage Equality Guy Williams @guywilliamsguy This is better than that time that we invented climbing Mount Everest! #marriageequality Call Me Katie @wecanpartthesea As excited as I am about #marriageequality, I'm also disappointed by those suggesting that this is some sort of endpoint for LGBT rights. Kim Dotcom @KimDotcom #MarriageEquality is all about live and let live. My P.A. named Jay is openly gay and that is OK. Hurray! Hurray! Joseph Moore @josephmoore1: So many pets giving me the glad eye right now. They know what's coming next! #marriageequality The Civilian @TheCivilianNZ Marriage destroyed forever Colin Craig was of course less than impressed with the bill and furthermore seemed to become the face of the opposition of marriage equality. Naturally, he copped a lot of flack online but it seemed to die down after a few days. But we were still yet to witness the second coming of Craig, going on to sue satirical newspaper The Civilian for defamation. Classic Colin. Colin Craig @ColinCraigNZ The day of reckoning is still to come. Frances Cook @FrancesCook Colin Craig walks into a bar. There's no punchline, for legal reasons. David Farrier @davidfarrier Stop publishing Colin Craig. It's not like we give Westboro Baptist newspaper inches. Write him off. Kids and stupid people read papers.
Dominic Harvey @DomHarvey This is a bit sad. he was one of my faves from Parliament. RIP Parakura http://ht.ly/kvP19
Lastly, we pay our respect to those killed and injured in the Boston bombings. An incident that has put many Americans on edge and had the Twitter feeds rolling. In today’s world, Twitter is at the forefront of breaking news and this is how the whole thing played out on the Boston Police Department Twitter feed. Boston Police Dept. @Boston_Police Boston Police confirming explosion at marathon finish line with injuries. #tweetfromthebeat via @CherylFiandaca 7:39 AM - 16 Apr 2013 Boston Police Dept. @Boston_Police 22 injured. 2 dead #tweetfromthebeat via @CherylFiandaca 8:02 AM - 16 Apr 2013 Boston Police Dept. @Boston_Police Despite reports to the contrary there has not been an arrest in the Marathon attack. 6:33 AM - 18 Apr 2013 Boston Police Dept. @Boston_Police During a shift change, a BPD supervisor told officers, "When u get home tonite hug your kids once & then hug them again. That's an order." 8:36 PM - 17 Apr 2013 Boston Police Dept. @Boston_Police #WANTED: Updated photo of 19 year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev released. Suspect considered armed & dangerous. pic.twitter.com/pzps8ovJTb 1:32 AM - 20 Apr 2013 Boston Police Dept. @Boston_Police #MediaAlert: WARNING Do Not Compromise Officer Safety/Tactics by Broadcasting Live Video of Officers While Approaching Search Locations 5:14 AM - 20 Apr 2013 Boston Police Dept. @Boston_Police CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody. 12:58 PM - 20 Apr 2013
by Aspen Bruce Friend zone. We’ve all had some personal experience in this great area of life. Whether it was at school, by a close friend or in kindy, when your crush said he wouldn’t kiss you because you were too ugly…Oh you didn’t have that problem…? Okay, just me then. Needless to say, each of us at some point in time has had the honour and heartache of making it into this grey area of a relationship/friendship. But why is it such a wishy-washy, rarely spoken about topic? Now as a girl, friend zoning is simple. There are two categories: • Definite ‘Friend zone’: A guy who is totally a friend, there is no attraction whatsoever, and never will be. This is a guy who, if he made a move would get a right old slap across the face, or be deeply scarred by the repulsed look the woman may give him. Guys in this friend zone are safe, because us girls know we don’t have feelings for the guy and so therefore it means he won’t have feelings for us (naïve, I know, but it’s just what we do.)
spot friend zone.’ Every woman has someone in this category. I imagine by now you’re reading this, shouting at the magazine…”Say what?!? There are two types of friend zone?” Yes, yes there are. I have yet to discover others, so for this period of time I am concluding that these are the dominant two. After discovering this you can imagine my shock when one of my guy friends said last night, that: “As soon as a guy thinks he has been friend zoned, he will never go for that girl again.” This statement obviously took my girl friends and I by surprise, with the initial response being “Crap, but I’ve got plenty of guys who I’ve put into the ‘other friend zone,’ and now you’re telling me they may misinterpret it as DEFINITE FRIEND ZONE, and there will never be a chance…ever!”
And then there’s the,
So I’m here to clear the air. Men all over the world (well, probably not the world…I don’t if this magazine has been that widely distributed yet...but who knows what the future holds) regardless, listen to these little things about women I have discovered.
• Other/Potential ‘Friend zone’: This is a tricky one. A girl may say ‘you’re just friends,’ but this doesn’t always mean it’s definite. She may just be experiencing attraction towards you and in order to cope with this, puts you into zone which looks, feels, sounds just like the friend zone. It is SIMILAR to the ‘friend zone, but isn’t the DEFINITE friend zone. This is almost like a POTENTIAL, or box for the guys us girls have a ‘SOFT SPOT’ for. This is why when we play Truth or dare (because we’re all mature young adults) and are asked ‘who we like’ everyone hounds, “saying surely, there’s someone.” Yes there is someone but they are in this ‘potential/soft
1) Women are complex (you’ve probably already figured this one out on your own, but let it be confirmed.) You will never know everything about us. Besides, we don’t even know everything about us. 2) Now this is a toughie, and not to be applied to every situation, but after to talking to a few girls, they have agreed on this too. If a girl asks for advice about guys, not always, but sometimes this can be a signal that, men, you are NOT FULLY in the friend zone. It does however mean that she trusts you. DON’T JUST ASSUME HER TRUSTING YOU MEANS YOU HAVE BEEN FRIEND ZONED.
3) The best tool you have as a guy is your own instinctual discernment. Men, regardless of what society and media tell you, you are smart and logical! You have a good sense of what’s up, trust your head…but also trust your heart! When you mix the two together you’re unstoppable…well…maybe not unstoppable…oh you get what I mean. 4) Sexually attracted to her=check, and you like her personality, then why not go for it! What’s the worst that will happen?!? The girl will say no, and if she can respect you enough to be honest with you, then that in itself is a testament to why you were attracted to her. Cliché: If it’s right it WILL work out. 5) And finally the best advice I have probably EVER (yes big claim to make) been given! Don’t be someone else’s “No.” eg: “I won’t ask her, cause I know she’ll say no.” What makes you think that? You haven’t even asked the girl yet, how do you know she’ll say no? You don’t! So stop beating yourself up, you’re better than that, and instead of pondering whether she likes you or not, just hang out with her or ask her on a date and see where it leads. You’re awesome! Believe that! 6) The more I get down this list the more I realise how outlandishly hard it is to compact the woman feelings and thoughts into an easy, step by step guide. Before I go, one final thing: Men, friend zone to a woman is not the same as friend zone to you. You are not out of the game yet, unless you have asked her and she has openly expressed her feelings, or you’ve tried a move and turned you down. If anything, just get to know the girl. Be her friend, (but don’t friend zone her, just because you assume she has ‘friend zoned’ you,) who knows what could happen from there! Peace and blessings, y’all! Peace and blessings.
MAORI BOY GENIUS By Matthew Cattin
Kiwi film director Pietra Brettkelly talked to debate about her latest feature documentary Maori Boy Genius – a film that highlights the life of a Gisbourne teenager teeming with potential. In the great Kiwi way, director Pietra Brettkelly first heard the name Ngaa Rauuira Pumanawawhiti through a friend of a friend who came across it in the local rag. Intrigued, Pietra flew down to Hawkes Bay to meet the teenage local. “I thought a 15-year-old New Zealand boy isn’t going to have anything to say – I mean teenagers aren’t generally that chatty are they?” says Pietra. “I hadn’t committed to the film at that stage so we flew down to meet him and his Dad for lunch and I met this remarkable, very charismatic, very confident young man. It’s really important for me if I decide that I’m going to make a film that I like the person, or there is something about them that intrigues me so I can spend a lot of time with them; because I never shoot anything quickly – I take months and sometimes years over things.” Maori Boy Genius is a coming-of-age profile of the Gisborne Maori lad during his 16th year. With the expectations of his iwi upon his shoulders, Ngaa was prophesised to be a leader from birth and has thus far grown up to meet these aspirations; charismatic, intelligent and wise. Already signalled to be a future New Zealand leader, Ngaa’s 16th year saw him head over to Yale University for a year of study. The film focuses on the struggles, the growth and the future of not only young Ngaa, but the Maori culture. Initially concerned about Ngaa’s situation, Pietra says she wasn’t interested in making a film about helicopter parenting where parents hover and live through their child – but says she quickly discovered this was not the case. “While he had this huge expectation on him from his iwi and his hapu and his whanau, these dreams and ideals are his as well. He wanted this, he wanted this education path, he wanted to be a leader – these were his dreams,” she says. “His awareness has shown from a very young age. He was either a sponge of everything or he already had this knowledge beforehand which they believe – that he was handed down this knowledge.” Pietra and the crew filmed with Ngaa on and off for 16 months, mostly during his 16th year. I asked Pietra if it was nerve-racking to invest so much time into a project that could flip on its head at any given moment. “That’s the beauty of documentary – it always happens. Life changes, plans often come to nothing. But I suppose I hope that’s when my skills kick in,” she says. “And I kind of hope that happens – it’s great to have a big surprise. I suppose the greatest fear is that nothing will happen – that what you predict at the start is how it will end. In that instance, I just carry on filming because I believe stuff happens in our lives. I’ve spent years filming,
waiting for something to happen and it does. The minute that I turn up to film something, I have changed the situation. So it’s naïve to say that we are cinéma vérité, that we just observers of life – we are not observers of life, documentary film makers – we definitely change things. You try to change as little as possible but that’s the nature of it.” The documentary was put together by award-winning editor Molly Stensgaard, a long-time collaborator with director Lars von Trier. The connection with Pietra was made at Binger Filmlab, a film school in Amsterdam where Molly was tutoring. “One night at drinks I said to her ‘can I be so cheeky as to ask you to edit my film’ and everybody was around and they were like ‘oh bugger! We were gonna ask her,’” says Pietra. The footage was flown to Denmark where it was edited – an experience Pietra won’t soon forget “She bought out themes and ideas that I hoped were in the material that resonated internationally. Ideas of going beyond statistics, making the most of your life, knowing who you are and from that foundation being able to achieve lots of things,” says Pietra. The film is subtitled Volume One – not because Pietra has planned a second part, but rather as an allusion to Ngaa’s undeniable potential for great things. “Young Maori males have the worst statistics in the world. Sixty per cent of prisoners are made up of Maori, 51 % leave school without any qualification, huge youth suicide statistics, drugs gangs everything. It’s not a level playing field. And for him to have those statistics and push on through that well… He’s never been ashamed,” says Pietra. “He’s at that place where he’s thinking he may not be New Zealand’s first Maori prime minister – maybe that isn’t the way to lead. There may be another way –but certainly he will be a significant leader. I believe it. If you were ever to meet him you would see it too – there’s something quite remarkable about him. It’s really exciting.” Ngaa is 19-years-old now and working towards a PhD in Maori language and politics. No matter where he ends up, Maori Boy Genius will serve as a snapshot of a teenager with the world at his feet, a boy who gave Pietra a lot of faith in the country’s future. “What is a genius? What is the measure of a genius? Traditionally it’s an IQ measurement but surely there are other forms of a genius? An artist or a musician or in his case, his culture, his language, his knowledge of history is extraordinary – but what is the measurement of all of that?” she says. “To know yourself is the greatest foundation for whatever you want to do.” www.ausm.org.nz 19
MUSIC: Lisa Crawley
From Nature to Trash by Rachel Peters In F. Scott Fitzgeralds novel, The Great Gatsby, Carraway describe Daisy and Tom as care less people, “-they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money of their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made." This is, in my opinion, a perfect analogy for the modern western world. When I briefly studied economics, one of the first things I learned was that there is limited demand vs. finite resources. It is a bleak and harrowing fact that is becoming ever more evident as we face our unsustainable future. The resources are running out. We demand too much, and consequently, we throw away too much. We do not think enough about the consequences of our actions. We are the only species that creates waste that nature has no way of disposing; in particular our non recyclable plastics. The ocean holds all the ugly traces of careless days at the beach. Coke bottles, plastics bags, cigarette butts and bottle tops linger in the water. Unable to fully decompose, they leave the ocean a thin layer of plastic soup. Sure there are other people, other countries who may outdo us in terms of pollution, but we can’t deny some contribution. The pollution, the toxic chemicals, are being absorbed by plankton unfortunately affecting the seafood we eat. The sea is rife with waste and chemicals; there are high traces of polychlorinated biphenyls most commonly referred to as (PCBs). They are man-made pollutants that are likely to have been consumed by bottom feeders such as prawns or mussels, stingrays and smaller fish and orcas and dolphins. These chemicals bioaccumulate- this is get exponentially worse
each time they are consumed, and create serious health concerns for animals at the top of the food chain. This is affecting the fertility of orca whales as well as their lifespan. Soon, if not now, a dead orca could be labelled toxic waste. I recently watched a documentary called Trashed and it was an eye opening account of what is happening with our rubbish. There were images of turtles malformed from bottle rings. Beautiful creatures such as seals and penguins, caught in nets and plastics bags; seals with their mouths jammed in plastic cartons, clueless as to why their home is no longer safe for them. Looking at the image of this bird’s stomach show that things have gone too far. It is one thing for us to load up on chemicals and harmful foods, we are capable of making decisions as to what we put in our bodies. Animals on the other hand are becoming victims to our casual consumption. It is of course a worldwide issue, but even if one person doesn’t make a big difference, there are small things we can do to at least try to contribute something, even if just for a clean conscious. Take for example pump bottles, these bottles are not supposed to be used more than once, especially not if they have been in the sun. Metal ones on the other hand, keep your water cold all day and will save you money as they will last much longer. More than 40,000 plastic shopping bags are dumped in landfills every hour in New Zealand. That is a shocking statistic and it is completely unnecessary. The cotton ones that can be purchased at the supermarket are around 20cents, they can be reused, and you can fit way more in them! You don’t have to
worry about that heavy bag of cans stretching the bag from the sweaty grasp of your fingers. Another one is watch out for takeaways and takeaway coffee. If you’re not in a rush why not take the time to sit down and enjoy it, it’s also proven that eating on the run is linked to added weight gain so it’s really a win-win situation. Think about those little unrecyclable plastic sushi packs. If you have the time, use a plate. It is sad that pointless consumption, continuing as it is, may cause an erosion of the planet. It is important for the environment, and also for your bank account, to really think about what you are buying. Is it needed? How is it made? What will become of it when you are finished with it? There is an old Greek proverb that I am rather fond of- “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” It’s so important to recognise that what we do will bear fruit on the society that the younger generations will grow into. If you think we live in a crazy world imagine trying to be a happy and healthy citizen in a highly polluted environment full of mutated animals and beaches to dirty to swim in. When I was young I was always watch Captain Planet. I was very upset that we were not using energy saving light bulbs and would constantly update my mother with eco friendly tips. Flash forward 15 years- as awesome as Adventure Time is, it is a shame that there is not more on an environmental slant in programs today. Planeters, where are you today? It is up to our generation to make it a priority to assess the planet we have and throw ourselves in to looking after it for the future. As the Captain himself would say “The power is yours.”
An Ode To Childhood
Southern-Bred Hate Westboro Baptist Church
By Matthew Cattin Like any man, what the Westboro Baptist Church lacks in size, it sure makes up for in attitude. At only a few dozen members strong, the WBC has made an international name for itself by being the most vile, aggressive, inappropriate and hateful excuse for a congregation since the KKK. Their specialty is picketing – standing outside buildings, concerts, churches and funerals with signs preaching their unconventional take on Christianity. The messages they brandish cover a pretty extensive range of abusive slogans but some of the more common include ‘God hates fags’, ‘Thank God for 9/11’ and ‘Thank God for dead soldiers’. Perhaps my favourite however is the all-encompassing little gem “God hates you”. Charming. The church describes itself as following Primitive Baptist or Calvinist principles – so in other words they are old school. The church is led by the 83-year-old creeper Fred Phelps who looks a lot like a smiling skull made of wax and tissue paper. His nasty offspring make up the majority of the church and in 2011, they had 40 members. How many they have now I do not know but I imagine with ideologies like theirs, conversion rates are nothing to write home about. Let’s just hope their mating season doesn’t come around often.
Standing outside a soldier’s funeral with signs that read “God killed your son” is probably not the ideal way to express your views and have anybody take them on board... Fortunately for New Zealand, the WBC hasn’t yet bred internationally but you can definitely check out one of their websites for some light reading. You can find them in all their controversial glory on their primary website godhatesfags.com, or one of its many sister sites godhatesamerica.com, godhatescanada.com or priestsrapeboys.com amongst others. Add them to your favourites yo! For all their hating however, members of the WBC claim they are driven by love. To them, to love thy neighbour means to warn them of God’s wrath before it’s too late. Which is fair enough – many churches would agree that’s a worthy cause. The problem however is in their methods. Standing outside a soldier’s funeral with signs that read “God killed your son” is probably not the ideal way to express your views and have anybody take them on board. Where are the Christian morals of compassion and love when the WBC leeches onto tragedies as vehicles of self-promotion?
When the Newtown shooter murdered 28 people including schoolchildren, teachers and his mother, there they were capitalising on the country’s grief, picketing signs that said “Thank God for the Newtown shooter”. After the Boston Marathon bombings, there they were again, tweeting it was God venting his anger for America’s leniency on homosexuality. In their eyes, their minute congregation is the only church preaching the right message and all other denominations are going straight to hell. Therefore whenever a tragedy strikes, the WBC condemns the legitimacy of the church or governance in the immediate area, claiming the incident to be God’s punishment – a lesson – for not doing things by the book. I’m not a church-goer myself but it seems to me that to worship a god who murders children in front of their classmates to teach a lesson is not the best god to spend a lifetime preaching about. As I mentioned above, the WBC is not a fan of other ‘spineless’ denominations. On their website, the WBC states this incredibly broad generalisation that sums their intelligence up in a nutshell; "Priests rape boys" is indeed an air-tight, three word case against all of the mainline "christian" churches – their preachers and members, without exception. They are all going to Hell!” Wow. They also believe that Barack Obama is the Antichrist, forming an unholy trinity with Satan and Pope Benedict XVI. But that’s not all they have to say about Catholicism… Oh no. They refer to Catholic priests as vampires who suck semen from male children’s genitals the way a vampire sucks blood. Just typing that sentence makes me want to wash my hands… Way to go WBC. Every cloud of course has a silver lining and you’ll be happy to know that for every member of the WBC there are one hundred thousand haters who would like nothing more than to beat them back to Westboro with their picket signs and burn their wicked nest of hate to ashes. And it’s not just average Joes either - many celebrity figures have joined the fray (chill – I don’t mean the band). Russell Brand, Michael Moore, Jeremy Kyle, George Takei, Louis Theroux and Foo Fighters have all done their bit to make life a little bit harder for the WBC. YouTube their efforts if you feel like a laugh. Like cancer however, the WBC are notoriously hard to get rid of. When their soul intent and purpose is to offend and frighten, to damn the world to hell, there’s not a lot you can do to quieten them down. Tim Stanley from The Telegraph has a pretty good solution however; send along a good-looking fella to their Sunday services. “I’m sorry, but any organisation that frets that pathologically about homosexuality has got to have some serious closet cases hanging around. So let’s send in a man with blonde hair and a tan and see what hidden passions he can stir up. Fred Phelps may be 83, but it’s never too late for him to elope to Miami – and then we’ll be rid of this nonsense forever,” he suggested in an article. I love it! Would be nice to see old Phelps getting a bit of love from thy neighbour.
The Will To Dream
BRENDON GREEN by Matthew Cattin
Never have I been so plagued by bad luck as the day I interviewed Brendon Green. After hiking up to St Benedict’s Street on a hot April day I realised just how much of a bad choice chinos were. I finally reached the café where I tiredly sat down, wishing my sweat patches away. A young ginger man who had just knocked off his shift walked past me, frosty Corona clutched proudly in his hand. I was jealous. He sits down, cracks the top off and *pssssh!* “FUCK!” I chuckled inside as the beer trickled between my feet and he went to fetch a broom to sweep up the mess. Brendon Green arrives, cheery as can be. We order a smoothie and a milkshake to combat the sweat patches and we head upstairs to a cool, air conditioned paradise. Brendon says he might have had a bad lunch and carries on to the bathroom, saying he might vom. He doesn’t, but as soon as he returns, looking a bit pale, off goes the fire alarm. We head out to the street, the drinks arrive, and I start the interview just as two fire trucks arrive, sirens blaring. “Basically my life is just very dramatic – this is just another day,” says Brendon. “This actually just happened last Thursday,” he adds as the firemen walk past. The first thing you notice about Brendon is his chronic tendency to smile all the time – a trait that sets him apart from much of the stand-up comedy scene. “If you think of stand-up, you think bitter, old, white men – that’s the stereotype. Some horrible, messed up psyches that just vent all of their frustrations on stage. Whereas I keep that hidden. Ten years down the line though, I’m gonna blow. It’s going to be one of those headlines where people say ‘he was so quiet… Just so nice... I never picked him to be the one.’” In a YouTube interview, Brendon told David Farrier that he often had nightmares leading up to his gigs – a vulnerability it was my duty to try and exploit. “I wish you didn’t bring that up,” jokes Brendon. “I had one recently where everybody stayed silent for the entire hour and then they recited the show back to me. And it sucked. And I had to sit there and listen to
it. And then I have sex with all the audience and it’s awesome. And Farrier is there and it’s amazing. He’s just watching – sitting there watching… And judging. Because he knows what he’s doing…” Brendon started out like a lot of you readers, studying a bachelor or communications here at AUT, “along with 80 per cent of everyone else in the world it seems,” says Brendon. He majored in TV production, graduated and then let the rest of his class get jobs in the industry while he sold shoes at Rebel Sports. “Of the 16 of us that got into the major, I let the other 15 get jobs in television and then they started hiring me – it’s a good way to do it,” he advises. Nowadays, Brendon works for umusic by day and does stand-up comedy by night. But I’ll let him tell the story. “I got a new job title this year. I am technically the promotions and consumer communications communi… No coordinator – shit I should get that right. I should read my business card again… I do online promotion and I run the social media network for umusic. So basically I get paid to Facebook. And Twitter. And Instagram. And Tumblr. That’s actually my job…” When it comes to comedy, he seems to have that pretty sussed too - his unique mix of comedy songs and stand-up won him the Best Newcomer Award at the Comedy Festival last year. “It was unexpected but super nice! I was secretly gunning for a nomination but I didn’t tell anyone cause with your first show in the festival, you just want to survive. You don’t expect to break even, you just want to survive. SO I was freaking out, I did five shows, they sold out and I broke even,” he says. The explanation? “I’ve got really good friends,” he says. “Last year was – I don’t want to say easy… But I had all of my material ever to choose from. And now I’ve used that, I have to write an entirely new hour in one year. It’s daunting but it’s super fun to have a challenge!” he says. “My show this year is slightly happier than my show last year which was called “everything is meaningless and nothing matters… Lol! And I forgot the LOL in most things. I’m quite cynical. It’s me learning to be more positive about things and then it’s just a bunch of new songs. And it’s about love…”
Sounds delightful. With all the talking we were doing, it took a while to finish the drinks so we flipped from topic to topic and no topic was left un-tarnished. Here are a few gems from the conversation, gloriously out of context and hilariously un-PC. On being ‘too nice’… “I don’t think I’m too nice! I say some terrible things. But people say ‘oh but he smiles afterwards! And he’s SO self-deprecating.’ But I hope I’m not too nice… I am who I am and that’s all that I am, said a great man – Popeye. I think… Citation needed.” On hecklers… “To deal with hecklers, I just be super nice to them, get the audience on my side, and then afterwards I fight them in the car park.” On New Zealand’s drinking culture… “I’m gonna get a little bit political here. Our drinking culture – it worries me. I think it’s serious. I don’t really care about the broken families, I care about the comedy industry. That’s the real victim of our drinking culture. Can I say that??” On the Feelers… “I want people to come to my show, but I will also be honest and say that I am a massive Feelers fan.” On Fall Out Boy… “Fall out boy took influences from the Beatles and the Stones and just made them better.” On Nickleback… “Off the record, I totally liked a Nickelback record back in the day. Off the record… I hate myself.” On Nikki Minaj… “She’s got songs where you listen to them and you don’t know whether it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to the world or she’s a genius.” On Justin Bieber… “Who would have thought that I would come to a time in my life when I am almost 30, and I’m a genuine fan of Justin Bieber.” On his sex life… “Can you have sex nightmares? Man, any sex for me is good sex… Wow… that was a bit too personal.”
JOSIE LONG Debate caught up with British comedian Josie Long ahead of her new stand-up show Romance and Adventure. You started stand-up at 14 – an age I could barely string a sentence together. How did you get into the scene so young? And do you think you would find 14-year-old Josie funny? I was quite lucky that there was an arts centre nearish to where I grew up and they had stand-up comedy classes on there, and my mum got me a place on them for my 14th birthday, and I just loved it from the start. I honestly don’t know what I’d think of 14-year-old me performing now, I used to do really weird stuff. I think I’d be into it just because I would be like “what is this child DOING?!” You’re often labelled as a political comedian. How do you feel about that title? Would you still be doing stand-up if you didn’t have politics to stand up for/ against? Ha I don’t mind it one bit, I am very interested in politics and I do talk about it a bit onstage at the moment. I do think that as a stand-up people really want to put you into a box and say “that person is only like this or like that” and actually I talk about all kinds of things- everything that I go through and that I think about or find silly so I think it’s always
more broad than just one thing. I want to keep doing stand up and writing until I am an old lady, and to try and do as much varied stuff as I can. It’s very cool genre because it’s so broad, you really can do anything! What pisses you off the most about the media? (hopefully I haven’t yet fallen into that category) Haha no not at all! I think I get most stressed out when people use the word “comedienne” like gender means you’d need a special word??! And I obviously want to shoot myself in the head out of boredom anytime anyone tries to tell me there aren’t any women comedians or that gender somehow affects potential or talent. Booo! What are your impressions of New Zealand? Do you look forward to coming back? I love it, I’m stoked to be coming back. I really hope that I get to swim in some kind of hot volcanic water, eat superb Asian food, just look at how pretty Wellington is and say “choice” and “bro” a lot, that’s my dream. What sort of topics will you be working with at the New Zealand Comedy Festival?
My show is about how much I like posh adventure sports and how bizarre that is to me, a bit about social justice, a bit about me pretending to be a kind of Godzilla, a bit about things to do before you’re 30 lists and a bit about the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. Something for everyone! How much planning goes into a show? A lot, I spend about three months solidly writing and tweaking the show- trying to make sure that the narrative works and that it feels coherent and good enough, and then while I’m touring it I still tinker with it every day pretty much. You were also a writer for Skins – how much fun was that?! Yep, I loved it. Those guys are my homies 4 lyf. I’ve had peek at your comics too – are you just a creative machine? Haha you are far too kind! I try my hardest but it’s never enough! What don’t you enjoy about putting yourself out there in front of people? I guess I hate it when people are mean about my body and my looks
on the internet, that’s a bit hard to deal with. And sometimes I worry that I over share and maybe if life forces or souls do exist that I’ve given mine away. But mainly I don’t worry about that as it’s silly. Inequality and feminism are things you talk about in the media and in your shows – what are some things that people need to know about inequality, but don’t? That a lot of wealthy countries are far more unequal than most people who live there think. The whole 99% thing that the occupy movement coined is a really important thing to rememberthat most people do not have anything compared to the top 1% of psychopath hoarders! Oooh, and on a more upbeat note- that anyone can affect change and have an influence, and that the only way to do that is positive and focussed action! How do you spend your time off? I love any kind of outdoor sportsswimming in the sea/rivers/ lakes, skiing, hiking, climbing, and running outside! I love it! When I found out in New Zealand you had a subject called outdoor education I was SO jealous. I am the chubbiest athlete in the world! www.ausm.org.nz
Idiots of Ants – One Long Stag Night. By Matthew Cattin Bringing the hangovers our way for this year’s Comedy Festival, British sketch group Idiots of Ants is looking forward to stealing complimentary items from a hotel near you. “We do have the best jobs in the world. We treat a tour like one long stag night. That is why we have aged 10 years in the last two. We go to new cities - stay at hotels and steal shampoos and sewing kits, then we sell them to subsidize our boozing,” says Elliott Tiney. Based in London, the comic quartet (Elliott Tiney, Benjamin Wilson, James Wrighton and Andrew Spiers) have been performing their unique sketches the world over since 2007. They’ve also achieved huge success on YouTube and the BBC with their brilliant sketches ‘Facebook in Real Life’ and ‘Wii Breakfast’ which you have possibly stumbled upon whilst on a YouTube binge. If you’re wondering about the name, Idiots of Ants is a play on the French ‘idiot savant’, which means ‘the fool in the know’. “We started as a group six years ago. We got addicted to creating our shows pretty early on and since then we have tried to make each one bigger and better. It took up more and more of our time until suddenly it was a career! Thankfully recently it has started to pay the bills too!” says Elliott. “Like all sketch comedians we started out as unsuccessful actors,” he says. “That’s how it works. You start as an unsuccessful actor, then you do sketch comedy and then, if you are lucky, you might get a job as a waiter.” The Idiots were lucky enough to avoid that fate and make it in the big time - but it hasn’t stopped Elliott from pulling some ridiculous jobs to subsidize his stag lifestyle. “I was once hired to dress as an ‘angry bird’ at a hen night. I was chained to the bride to be in a bar in central London for three hours. She was convinced that I was the stripper and kept trying to undress me… I had to try to stop her, but I wasn’t allowed to speak… only make bird noises.”
Amongst other things, the Idiots of Ants have discovered that being naked together is a great way to come up with new material. Elliott explains… “We just try to keep our sketch comedy brains churning all of the time. Sometimes we sit for hours on end staring at a blank computer screen - sometimes we are having a shower and an idea will arrive fully formed and ready to go. That’s why we have taken to spending more time in the shower together.” The lads received excellent reviews on their New Zealand comedy debut last year and with their new show Model Citizens in tow, this year promises to be just as acclaimed. “Expect to laugh, cry, scream, be titillated, tickled, tantalized, and, if you are lucky, milked like a naughty goat,” says Elliott. “New Zealand seems to have a similar sense of humour and similar cultural reference points to the UK. The one thing we did learn last year is that audiences there are really game for a laugh. Sometimes audiences at home are a little standoffish but there was a wonderful atmosphere in our New Zealand theatre last year and it was brought by the audience,” he says. “The only problem we have ever encountered abroad has been the references. You guys call ‘sweets’ ‘lollys’, ‘crisps’ ‘chips’ and ‘marmite’ ‘vegemite’.” One aspect the shows have been particularly praised for is audience participation – New Zealand audiences beware. “We do like to involve audience members in our show. However, we really don’t like it when an audience member is made to feel uncomfortable or ridiculed. We hope that the people we pick on leave feeling excited to have been part of the show,” says Elliott. “Okay… perhaps they will feel a little uncomfortable. And just a tiny bit ridiculous,” he adds.
UNIVERSITY PET PEEVES by Jamie Barnes
1. Sitting on stairways. Stairs are WALKways designed for two rows of people; those going up and those going down. By blocking one row you are creating congestion from people too polite to tell you to move, who switch lanes and hold up the people on the other side. There are hundreds of square meters in this university to sit PICK SOMEWHERE ELSE.
2. Using the elevator to move 1-3 floors. Unless you’re disabled, carrying something awkward or coming up from the basement in WT there is no logical argument to this. “I’m in a hurry” -Factoring in the time it took for the elevator to get here you would probably be on your floor by now. “I’m too tired”- If you’re so unfit you can’t take the 20-30 steps to haul yourself a few floors, you need the exercise fatass.
3. Using the university computers for Facebook. Your assignment is due in half an hour and you just need to do a quick spell check, print it and submit it to turnitin but lo and behold every computer is in use. Some people are actually using them for work, that’s fine, but the other third are just sitting on Facebook or playing video games. Your degree does not depend on you making a perfect status update GO HOME.
4. Being accosted during orientation week. “Dude I am eating. No I am not going to make any financial decisions while I have remnants of a ham sandwich in my mouth. No I do not care about 0.01% higher interest rates I am trying to make sure I don’t starve.”
5. Showing up late with coffee. For god sake if you’re going to show up late at least ditch the cup before you come in. I understand that sometimes through reasons beyond your control you can be late, I also understand that sometimes you need a pick-me-up for those long 8am lectures. But if you have time to pick up a latte you have time to get in on time. I suppose jealously plays a part since they have coffee and I don’t, but also because the rest of us put the effort in to get in on time yet that person didn’t. Simple prioritizing.
6. Running out of money. Yes, this in particular is one of the worst because you have no-one to blame but yourself. You carefully calculate how much money you have in your account yet just as you finish punching in your pin number and ‘declined’ pops up, you remember that thing you convinced yourself you needed before your lecture yesterday and that you have nowhere near enough money to pay for what you want. Of course you never forget when buying a chocolate bar or item you can just put back on the shelf, you always forget after the person has made your subway sub or your remarkably specific cup of coffee. Then there is the very valid question of “well what do I do with this then?” which only multiplies the awkwardness because you know the whole time your futilely explaining, you’re holding everyone up. www.ausm.org.nz
by Matthew Cattin
One of the many perks of my job is receiving albums in the mail. However, much like Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, you never quite know what you’re going to get. Usually, it’s rubbish. I’ll put it on, listen for 20 seconds, and donate it to the drawer for the next editor. So it was with trepidation that I slipped a newly arrived disc into the desktop, opened up media player and put on Mali Mali’s record Gather ‘Round the Gooseclock. To my pleasant surprise, midway through the first track I found myself scanning the attached press release to get in contact with Mali Mali – for once the free music is worth writing about. I caught up with band leader and singer/songwriter Ben Tolich a week later to chat about his influences, laying down his first LP and plans for the future of Mali Mali. At 25, Ben has already had considerable experience in the New Zealand music scene. He’s played regularly with Kiwi folk heroes Great North, Farah Loux and Lydia Cole and has toured both here and internationally as part of Avalanche City. Tolich says Mali Mali’s development was hugely influenced by his association with the folk community he describes as “a bit incestuous” but recently, he has been busy working on his first full album Gather ‘Round the Gooseclock. “I’ve been going through a big songwriter phase. I love my bands like Radiohead and The National and Sigur Ros but I’m going through a really basic song phase at the moment. Artists like Leonard Cohen, Bill Callahan and Bob Dylan. Stuff like that always seeps in to my writing,” says Ben. “There’s something cool about being able to capture someone with just your voice and guitar and it can sometimes be more moving than a massive sound.” The name Mali Mali springs from Tolich’s Croatian heritage where mali means ‘little boy’. It was an affectionate term from Grandfather Tolich to Ben and it reminds him of the vulnerable feelings of childhood. “I was 17 when I decided to use the name Mali and originally, that was what we were called – just Mali. But we found out
that there were other bands with the same name,” he says. “I like the idea of feeling small and insignificant and I was having those sorts of thoughts at the time. And it had a nice ring to it! But I keep finding out different things that Mali means. It’s Tongan for smile - that’s cool! And the country Mali – its independence day is my birthday.” Gather ‘Round the Gooseclock was recorded at the North Queensland home of The Middle East’s multi-instrumentalist Mark Myers. A long-time fan of the now separated Aussie band, Ben was totally chuffed to have been invited over to make the album. The collaboration came to life when Ben’s friend gave Mali Mali’s EP Brotherly to Myers to have a listen to. He obviously liked what he heard because a month later, Ben got the email. “It was pretty surreal for me to be recording with him. Just the fact that he liked the EP was crazy enough,” says Ben. Without the support of his regular players, Ben said making the album was quite a scary experience but after two weeks and many hands chipping away at it, Ben left Oz with a beautiful collection of songs and a whirlwind adventure. In case you were wondering (like I did) what a gooseclock is, Ben filled me in with the story. “My band keeps changing around so Gather ‘Round the Gooseclock is a way of remembering the band I had when the album was made. It was me, Pete and Joel at the time and we had this in-joke. The gooseclock is an actual clock in their old flat that we used to sit under and have intense conversations about girls and deep stuff like that. Every time we needed to get something off our chests we’d say ‘it’s time for a gooseclock’ and we’d go and talk it over. The album was a way of remembering that time.” With the album hitting shelves on May 10, music-minded folk will probably see Mali Mali pop up on your radars over the next few months. As a special treat, Ben played a new song for us which you can check out on debate magazine’s Facebook. Make sure to check it out.
MOthers day recipe
Lemon Berry Surprise Cupcakes If ballet tickets and Michael Buble albums are out of reach this year, try surprising Mum with these delicious cupcakes that you made with all the love you have for her. By Mays Shalash.
Cupcakes 1/2 cup plain white flour
1-Preheat your oven to 200째C.
1/2 cup white sugar 1/2 cup softened butter or margarine 2 large eggs 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence 2 tablespoons milk Raspberry (or your preference) jam Lemon Drizzle 1 large lemon
2-Line a cupcake tin with paper liners. 3-Throw all your ingredients together and mix until you have a very smooth consistency (no need for electric tools - a wooden spoon will do just fine) 4-Spoon your mixture into the cupcake liners. 5-Add half a teaspoon of jam to each cupcake. 6-Bake for 10-15 minutes or until tops of cakes are golden. 7-Prepare your lemon drizzle by squeezing as much lemon juice out of the lemon as you can and add the sugar to it, the consistency will be runny but if it is looking watery and thin add more sugar.
3 tablespoons sugar
8-Once cupcakes are golden take them out of the oven and let them cool for a few minutes.
Makes 12 Cupcakes.
9-Poke holes in the top of each cupcake and top with the lemon drizzle. 10-If you are feeling particularly fancy, add a mint leaf to each cupcake.
GOT A GREAT BUSINESS IDEA? Tell us about it and together with the AUT Venture Fund it could become a reality. This year, as part of AUT Venture Fund umbrella, the new AUT Kickstart Competition has been established to give you a kickstart in the establishment, or operation, of your own business, and to enhance your learning experience. Winning business ideas are eligible for funding. Individuals and teams can enter. The AUT Kickstart Competition is open to current AUT students and AUT graduates* *terms and conditions apply
TO FIND OUT MORE ON ENTRY DETAILS, VISIT: http://www.aut.ac.nz/study-at-aut/study-areas/business/student-opportunities/get-involved/aut-venture-fund
Venture Fund Advert_Debate APRIL13.indd 1
29/04/13 10:52 AM
DEEP SEA CREATURES Compiled by Che Crawford
It has been suggested that more is known about the moon, then the deepest parts of the ocean. The term â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;deep sea creatureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; refers to organisms that live below the photic zone of the ocean where light is unable to penetrate. No light means no photosynthesis, meaning no plant life. Because of this, scientists once assumed that life that far down would be sparse, but the opposite is in fact true. Creatures found in deep sea live with very harsh conditions. Apart from getting energy sources elsewhere, they have to survive hundreds of bars of pressure, small amounts of oxygen, and extreme cold. These factors lead to some interesting and amazing creatures, such as these:
WOLFFISH The Atlantic Wolffish has some impressive teeth, used to crush mollusks, shellfish, and sea urchins. Existing at 600 metres, Wolffish produce a natural antifreeze to keep their blood moving fluidly in very cold habitats. The longest specimen of this fish ever recorded was 150cms. Although they look fearsome, Wolffish are only a threat to humans when defending themselves out of water.
VAMPIRE SQUID The vampire squid is an ancient animal that shares characteristics with both squids and octopods. Vampire Squid lack the feeding tentacles used by many squid for capturing prey. These deep-sea creatures instead use long, retractile filaments to passively harvest particles and marine snow, sinking from the waters above. Vampire squid have the largest eyes relative to body size in the entire animal kingdom.
FRILLED SHARK Humans rarely encounter frilled sharks, which prefer to remain at depths of up to 1,500 metres below the surface. Frilled sharks bear many similarities to ancestors swimming the oceans at the time of dinosaurs, and so they are often referred to as living fossils. This particular shark was found in Japan, and died shortly after being caught.
FANGTOOTH FISH While named for their disproportionately large teeth, Fangtooth Fish are actually quite small, and harmless to humans. To cope with the pressure of deep sea, many fish are rather miniature. The average Fangtooth fish reaches around only 18cms. They are most commonly found between 200-2000 metres, but have been found up to 5000 metres
GIANT SQUID It seems fitting to end on the elusive giant squid, which is one of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest animals, growing up to 20 metres in length. Very little is known about these mysterious cephalopods but there are many interesting stories. These animals are carnivores, and in World War II, stories from survivors of sunken ships tell of tentacles reaching up and eating shipmates during the night. There are been reports of tentacles pulling men off boats. While unverified, these stories paint the picture of a powerful predator. www.ausm.org.nz
Fault in our Stars
Based on the book by Isaac Marion and directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50), Warm Bodies is a lighthearted rom-com film with an interesting zombie twist.
John Green (Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns) has done something not many writers do, he’s written a book about a girl with cancer. It isn’t, as it’s been incorrectly called, a cancer book, but the story of 16-year-old Hazel Lancaster and the trials that cancer brings to everyday life. The story is narrated through Hazel’s eyes and this is fundamentally important, it is her story and through first person it remains her story.
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer and John Malkovich Director: Jonathon Levine Rating: Reviewed by Shilo Kino
The beginning of the story is all too familiar. A zombie apocalypse has taken place and now humans are fighting for their life. However, the twist in Warm Bodies is that zombies have feelingshow cool is that? This is shown through R (Nicholas Hoult) who has fallen for a human girl, Julie (Teresa Palmer). They form a special bond and join forces in bringing the zombie and human race together to live in peace. Interestingly enough, their love story is based loosely on Romeo and Juliet, ‘R’ standing for Romeo, and Julie meaning Juliet. Nicholas Hoult is easily becoming the breakout star of 2013, finally stepping out from the shadow of his Oscar winning exgirlfriend Jennifer Lawrence. His performance as a love struck zombie is done well, most notably his awkward but loveable expressions that will make girls swoon. His love interest Teresa Palmer, who could very well be Kirstin Stewart’s doppelganger, has great chemistry with Hoult, and this shows in their on screen relationship. James Franco's younger brother Dave Franco costars as Julie's boyfriend Perry (and may I say he gives his brother a run for his money in the looks department!) Warm Bodies is kind of a zombie version of Twilight, mixed with a bit of The Walking Dead with the added humour of Zombieland. It’s not a film that I will remember in a month’s time nor will I discuss intellectually with others, but it is a charming flick that you will find hard not to like, especially if you have a thing for Zombies.
John Green Rating: Reviewed by Augustus Bloodsworth
The book, The Fault In Our Stars (FiOS), is an incredibly important text, and one that doesn’t get much recognition from the adult audience as a contemporary story of importance. It deserves a place alongside Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Goulding’s Lord of the Flies as an examination, not only of society, but the grit, literal blood and tears that come along with being terminal and counting the days until death. Hazel’s mother does this, in a much less sinister form - she celebrates an additional birthday for the months Hazel hasn’t died. A large part of FiOS’ brilliance is the way John Green is removed entirely from the story. Salinger-esque, we have nothing but Hazel all the time, including the most grim, the most awkward, and the most uplifting moments. The writing isn’t contrived, it feels real, it feels raw and feels as though it is coming from the eyes a dying 16-year-old, who struggles with the things all teenagers do; a girl who deals with life much less abstractly, and delivers you with the ever powerful and confronting notion of death. Hazel calls herself a ‘grenade’ and says she’s eventually going to explode. “I’m a grenade and at some point I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimise the casualties.” FiOS is more than a young adult novel, it’s a first-hand look at life as a cancer patient (there is some controversy around where the idea for the novel came from. John Green met a fan called Esther who was terminal and died before FiOS was written). And this cancer patient is marvellously human and there is something grippingly beautiful and poetic about Hazel’s struggle and the intimate and awkward moments that come along with having a portable oxygen tank. John Green deals with the realities of a brutal and horrifying disease that the late Christopher Hitchens described as waking up and feeling “as if I were actually shackled to my own corpse. The whole cave of my chest and thorax seemed to have been hollowed out and refilled with slow drying cement.” FiOS is honest, it’s heart-breaking, and as a text, it is an important beacon in the direction of young adult fiction. A beacon that should, by every means, be guiding the next wave of adult fiction, showing empathically how existence is both painful and beautiful. It is not, as many young adult novels are, fiction designed and written solely for teenagers but is a story that deals with the complications of life and death indiscriminately and most importantly inclusively. This book traverses ages, the language is simple and effective, evocative, and if you’re willing to have your heart broken, and your eyes reddened with tears, this is a novel anyone can pick up and immediately begin to read.
Iron Man 3
If we are to pay any attention to the title of The Strokes’ latest album, Comedown Machine, and have a listen to the songs, you know the band is trying to tell us something.
I’ll cut to the chase and be honest with you, if you didn’t like either of the previous Iron Man films, you won’t like this one. Iron Man 3 is essentially more of the same in the Iron Man series and the Marvel film universe overall. And is that entirely a bad thing?
Comedown Machine Rating: Reviewed by Nigel Moffiet
Many of the songs on this 40 minute album have a sad quality. It’s contemplative – both in the lyrics and vocal delivery. You’ve never heard Julian Casablancas sing like this before. He struts his stuff in somewhat sentimental ‘80’s fashion. His vocals on this album are falsetto and soulful –unlike the deadpan and brooding delivery from the band’s heyday. Brian Ferry-like even. Or is this comparison too much? The point is The Strokes’ sound has evolved. Critics keep yearning for the likes of Is This It?, the band’s celebrated, rowdy 2001 debut. I’m more forgiving with this latest effort and I feel like the band is reflecting. The first few seconds of this album squeals to life with a distorted solo on the track Tap Out – then jumps into a clean funk groove with, you guessed it, synth. So many bands are embracing synth again and it’s not such a bad thing. The sound has matured beyond a cheesy, novelty dose of futuristic high-fi and The Strokes use it here with good subtlety and effect. It’s always there but sometimes unnoticeably so. All The Time is a track with a more traditional sound– familiar guitars, drums, and a nice shout out loud chorus: “You’re livin’ it up, You’re livin’ it up, You’re living too fast, You gotta pray for the best.” Yet the next track One Way Trigger flies in your face like a vibrant, energetic insect on a hot day. Trying to swipe it away, it keeps coming back and gets annoying. Thankfully this is not the case for the rest of the album, and at times there are soothing moments. The track 80’s Come Down Machine is slow, soulful, and almost electronic sounding. A song about moving on and urging the past to “run away”. Similar in lyrics and sound is the track Chances. Again, slow and soulful but just a little more brooding. Casablancas sings of hurt and being played the fool. Once again he demands the haunting past to be done with: “Get on your horse and be gone. I will not wait up for you anymore.” Comedown Machine is an engaging album with some memorable songwriting. On the whole it feels like the band is on a bit of a downer and they use this to their advantage. The slow burning, falsetto tracks are interspersed with some familiar uppers, the kind of tracks fans are more familiar with, but it’s the soulful approach that leaves the biggest impression here. What is the band trying to tell us? Simply that they have moved on. Apart from the odd fizzer this is an enjoyable listen.
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr. Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle Director: Shane Black Rating: Reviewed by Kieran Bennett
Taking place a few months after the events of the spectacular and geek-gasm heavy Avengers, Iron Man 3 sees Tony Stark suffering from panic attacks, insecurity and a general lack of direction in life. Purpose comes knocking however when terrorist leader ‘The Mandarin’ begins to attack the United States in what is a poorly disguised parallel for Al Qaeda. The film does well balancing the ever growing threat of The Mandarin and Tony Starks mental and romantic problems. The narrative bounces back and forth between the two, affording each roughly equal attention and the moment that one becomes a bit too much, it swaps. The exception being around the middle of the film where Tony gets plenty of screen time to recuperate in a small Tennessee town and have an encounter with the bad guys, arguably slowing the film down considerably in exchange for some decent character development. The emphasis placed on Tony Stark and his struggle with PTSD and his romance with Pepper Potts does take a prominent role within the film, but I feel at the expense of everything else. The start and end of the film achieve a balance, showcasing the classic hero/villain struggle that is key to so many comic book films. However in the middle almost nothing is heard from The Mandarin or really anyone else and as a result the end of the film feels a little rushed with half a films confrontation squeezed in. The saving grace of the film in face of a somewhat shaky structure and plot is (as with the previous two) the casting. Robert Downey Junior once again takes the character of Tony Stark/Iron Man and makes it his own fully and completely. Charismatic, funny and compelling; Downey Jnr gives one of the best superhero performances of the past five years. Don Cheadle is also in fine form, turning out a solid, if hardly ground-breaking performance as Iron Patriot. Cheadle seems to calm the scenes that he is in with Downey Jnr, giving the right amount of contrast and banter without falling into buddy-cop cliché. However special mention and complaint must be made of Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin. Kingsley threw his all into being The Mandarin, providing a larger than life performance that steals any scene he is in. But there’s just not enough. Kingsley does an amazing job but doesn’t really get the opportunity to go anywhere with it or show it off and seems like a wasted opportunity. Iron Man 3 is one of the best superhero movies to come out in a while and even though it's the third in the series, it doesn’t feel old. It's exciting and full to the brim with quips, action and excellent performances, even if it could do more of some of them.
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