IT'S BEEN A WHILE: As with any other year, 2010 has swept past us at an incredibly speedy rate. And an incredibly busy rate – just take a look at my Environmental Impact of Printing Jobs Statement. Trees
0.574% of a tree since Jan 28, 2010
4.0 kg of carbon dioxide since Jan 28, 2010
Equivalent to running a 60W bulb for 130.9 hours
If my printing alone consumed enough energy to power a 60W bulb for 130.9 hours, then the energy required to actually do the work that was printed must surely be of heating-the-entire-solarsystem proportions. And I'm only in year eleven. And during this period of collectively consuming (0.574 x 9 regular members) 5.166 trees, we at Cannonball witnessed a less than pleasing rate of publication. Yet, in those the few issues we managed to put out, we were able to cover a truly diverse range of issues – Lady Gaga’s gender identity, Art vs Science’s meteoric rise, the “f” work (that being feminism), the philosophical applications of Uno, and life according to a Shamwower. Good times, people! But with 71.9% of the original Cannonballers graduating, a new era dawns. Yen Pham’s ridiculously amazing work in founding Cannonball has left a great legacy, to be continued by this issue’s exploration into the breeding patterns of Nathan Dignam’s pet ferret, and a celebration of Bu Mara’s bowties, among many other trivialities we here at Cannonball take probably a bit too seriously. It ain’t sounding too flash on paper, but, I believe, it’s the most fitting way to display our gratitude, Yen. Matt Traeger on behalf of the Cannonball team
CANNONBALL #4 Contributors:
Jury'sdiction come exam time The Tea Party Movement
The Inspiration Situation Bookshelf Introducing Bu Mara PLP Crossword
Antonia Di Troia Charlie Hamra Isabelle Kimber
Keeping Up with the Dignams The Approval Matrix
Louise McCabe Roger Parnis Patrick Stobie Letti Sweet Matt Traeger Laura Zubreckyj
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Cannonball are those of the authors alone and are not necessarily representative of those of the publication or St Ignatius' College as a whole. Consent has been obtained from all teachers and students mentioned within to print the respective articles. Cover design: Antonia Di Troia Pictured photo: from a random year twelve’s facebook.
Exam Revision with Maria Do THANKS TO: Mr Coffey and Father Davoren Better than Beckham for their ongoing support, our interviewees and article victims “Let Me In” for being so good-humoured , the outside of the Dear Mr Henze Morrisey
boys' changerooms for providing such a hospitable meeting environment, paint.net for being a viable and much cheaper alternative to Photoshop, and of course you lot, for (hopefully) reading past jury'sdiction!
Jury’sdiction Don't fear, valued readers. We wouldn't revive Cannonball withour reviving Jury'sdiction, which, as we all know, is the only reason you picked up this magazine. And so, here we are, that time of the year when our year twelves farewell the College. And farewell Alex Jury did. Alex Jury would like to comment on how tommorrow is the last school day for year 12's, but would much rather reference the fact that year 11's have to go through everything* we did this year. I have been waiting for this day for a long long time. Alex found himself very moved by the year twelve blessing at their final Rector’sassembly… Alex Jury Felt a brief wave of nostalgia at mass when I recieved the Nazi salute from a bunch of peeps. And was missing school already… Alex Jury Better start this homework......OH WAIT A MOMENT, I DON'T HAVE ANY! WOULDN'T IT SUCK TO HAVE TO DO HOMEWORK AS WELL AS ANOTHER YEAR AT SCHOOL? Alex Jury I'm bored, can a year 11 type something so I can lampoon him for not doing his homework? Alex Jury Hey, since it's been a while, can someone remind of whether or not it is a school day tommorrow? Because if it is, I would be so angry* if I had to go to school, you know at like, 9 in the morning as opposed to waking up when I feel like it. Barack Wahabzada you sleep? sleep is for the weak Alex Jury cool story bro, now why don't you go and do your homework like a good boy
Alex Jury oh no*, school tommorrow. Oh yes, I forgot, year 12's don't do school anymore :)...oh no*, English Studies exam tommorrow. Oh yes, I forgot, I did English Comms :) Despite his misery, Alex still had the energy to indulge in some political advocacy… Alex Jury when you take your shot at life, make sure its Tony Abbott * expletive replaced
A (largely subjective) introduction to
The Tea Party Movement By Matt Traeger In many ways, the recent Tea Party political movement emerging in the US is similar to the Canadian folk/rock band, The Tea Party, – both full of angst, voicing apocalyptic sentiments with a somewhat fantastical twist. Before I touch on the dark arts – what exactly is the Tea Party movement? Arising over the past two years partly as a result of the Obama administration's bailout of banks, the Tea Party movement is a far-right, grassroots (we'll see about that) political movement, somewhat of a faction of the Republican Party. Though it's emergence has caused something of a divide within the party, it's brought a fresh set of faces, and a whole lot of publicity, to a party which Time Magazine declared “endangered” after the 2008 election. And the Tea Partyers are a rather angry mob, preaching that federal spending, deficits and taxes are too high, and the role of government too large. But this foundation upon which the movement is built doesn't seem, in fact, to be very much of a viable, well, foundation. The Tea Party-backed Republican nominee in New York's race for governor, Carl Paladino, stated on election night: “We are mad as hell. New Yorkers are fed up. Tonight the ruling class knows. They have seen it now. There is a people’s revolution. The people have had enough.” Apparently you're allowed to talk about a people's revolution against the ruling class in American politics, so long as you're a real-estate millionaire running as a Republican. And that's where the problem lies: it's hardly a grassroots movement built on any public outcry of dissatisfaction, but, rather, (forgive me) an Astroturf collective of some of America's wealthiest in order to maintain the focus on tax cuts for the rich, built up by the donations of such institutions as Koch Industries, one of the world's largest private companies, and FreedomWorks, a conservative activist group, which spend US$10 million on the recent elections on paraphernalia alone. Furthermore, it's got to be said, the movement's candidates are, well, kinda kooky. Perhaps most lunatical of all is Christine O'Donnell, who ran for Delaware's Senate seat. She lost – thankfully, the Delawareans were somewhat hesitant to vote in a woman who began her television adverts by stating, “I'm not a witch.” Yep, apparently that's something she had to clear up with viewers before she could advocate for any particular policy message. See what I mean? As far as working class, grassroots political movements go, the whole thing really does seem quite comical (Astroturf puns included); yet, there's something slightly more comical than the Tea Party's general existence: the fact that, as a result of the mid-term elections, the movement is now represented by over forty members of the House of Representatives. But we'll see how they go: saying what is wrong is easy. Doing what is right is a little bit more difficult.
Keeping Up With the Dignams by Kerryn Dignam When life is busy, assignments seem to be multiplying, and Facebook is a nightly necessity, it’s often hard to find a moment for yourself. Frequently when arriving home from school, all you want to do is lie in the sun, or sit at the computer, preferably without the pet ferret crawling through your hair, or music from Wicked being blasted from the lounge room by your older siblings. Life in a family of ten is never quiet, never empty and definitely never dull. Considering statistically that the average amount of children per family is two, it appears that my parents were very determined to do four times the necessary work. For all those prospective parents out there, here I present to you both the benefits and the disadvantages of a family of ten. Pros (in no particular order) 1. At the conclusion of dinner, Whirly Bird may be instigated by any member of the family, and continue for up to half an hour. 2. Older siblings as baby sitters means fun fun fun! May involve trampolines moved into the pool area, knives, matches, and Nathan as ‘bait’ – all prepared for the unlikely event of a robbery – and staying up late watching the ‘naughty movies’ way past your bedtime. 3. Christmas presents! 4. Christmas dinners: each family member selects a favourite meal to eat, generally meaning we have four different meat dishes, seven different salads, three kinds of soft drink, three brands of wine, and plenty of Bakers Delight bread. 5. Photographers thinking Mum and Dad are our Nan and Pop. 6. Always having someone to blame. 7. Family fights, often ending with one family member extremely upset and everyone else extremely satisfied. 8. Help with homework is never an issue, with engineers, law students and medical students easily accessible.
9. Should Australia go nuclear? The environmentalist versus the miner. 10. Family stalking sessions, predating upon your siblings’ latest boy/girlfriend. Cons 1. Having a brother so confident and comfortable around his family that walking into the kitchen completely naked is common. 2. Throwing the only accessible piece of clothing (the crocodile costume) at your brother simply so he will cover up. 3. The homework hierarchy: year 10 PLP homework doesn’t even rate up against Year 12 exams, engineering exams, fifth year medicine exams, and law school. 4. Younger brothers getting a ferret for their birthday. 5. The ferret having a baby. 6. The smell of two ferrets. 7. Tripping over two ferrets whilst trying to walk down to the table with a bowl of corn flakes at breakfast time. 8. Winning family trips for a family of four. 9. Spending money on Christmas presents. 10. Doing school assignments on ‘my family’ and having to write a paragraph on each family member. 11. Being forced into cardiovascular, knee joint, appendicitis and Thyroid disease examinations simply so your older sister can practice for medical exams. 12. Wanting a nap on a Sunday afternoon, only to find a certain sibling asleep in your bed.
In her role as Mrs Mertle Merkle in “Bye Bye Birdie,” Kerryn was sure not to have eight children.
Patrick Stobie, with emoticons and all, tells us how to…
wing it to success with the ADFC For too long the Australian Defence Force Cadets (ADFC) has been classed with inferiorities such as the Scouts, with their knot-tying, ‘koombaya’ fire sessions and scarfed uniformed ways. But in comparison, the ADFC is the SAS x1000 in comparison to the Scouts. The Scouts quote that they “do it all” (in context), but really they barely scrape the surface of our vigorous, selfdisciplined military training. Sure, they accomplish some respectable things such as tying knots, selling cookies and learning how to orienteer (in an open field) but let’s correlate these almost pansy-like ways to the nature of the ADFC. For little green men in uniforms, they’re pretty dead-set on saying that they “do it all” – but do they get to carry and draw swords? Rifles? Even the prestigious Queen’s Colour? Nope. In the ADFC, drill is an essential part of our training – instilling the values of self-discipline and good teamwork, improving our reflexes and response times, and improving our posture (which, as youths, we never pay enough attention to – it is vitally important to stop us turning into decrepit, hunched old men). So, parading once a week, the ADFC Drill standards are as such that it is permitted to carry weapons on parade. These include swords, rifles, banners and much more. Can the Scouts do this? NO – boom.
Also, the ADFC find it a valid point and are obligated to raise and train with the respective mindset of their individual service: Navy- water fare; Air Force – air power; Army – land stuff. And so, the AAFC are very keen on informing and instructing their cadets on the art of flying (which mind you, is a sport – Red Bull Air Race? Yeah). They offer scholarships of up to $5000 to cultivate your skill in flight through training; they even enter you into a National Competition called ANFLY (Australian National Flying Competition. To top it off, once you have attained a proficient level with your flying, the ADFC award you with “wings” – for you who are not aviation-minded, “wings” is essentially a prestigious take of a full license to drive. So I ask, do the Scouts do this? Well, yes, they have the occasional air experience flight – but! They sure don’t offer full training and scholarships ;). Moving on to a more captivating enterprise, which is a highlight of participating within the ADFC: shooting. Yes, shooting; fully instructed by the Australian Defence Force, you are trained to become proficient and qualified on a range of firearms, from the standard F88 Steyr, to the .22 Long Rifle. What makes the whole phenomenon even more grandiose is the fact that it is a nationally recognised qualification – Booya! ;). And before you contemplate to ask, no – the Scouts would never dream of doing this – primarily because they’re too busy sleeping together in tiny little tents. “Bunk up kiddies!” While the Scouts are using their inquisitiveness to stay warm, we are braving the fierce cold and harshness of Australia’s landscape – adapting to it, camouflaging ourselves within it, and racing against the enemy to save ourselves. NO – they don’t do that either. So, in conclusion, I would like to leave you with a philosophical increment of knowledge – if you wish to pursue a career in the Defence Force or seek to develop into a finely tuned GI Joe: don’t join the Scouts, join the ADFC :)
The Inspiration Situation By Letti Sweet
“Inspiration” is a concept we can never escape, especially in the school environment. Supposedly this is because, being impressionable young people, we need additional inspiration so as to become the next doctors, lawyers, builders, blacksmiths, ballet dancers and underwater demolition experts. This attempted inspiration that is encouraged so greatly here at Ignatius tends to be a combination of two things: assignments that document “inspirational” people (thankyou, Year Six Notables assignment) and “inspirational posters” that feel inclined to show some form of sizeable land mass exploration, complete with an extremely wide border, and a single word along the bottom for emphasis. A classic example: that lovely visual decoration in BE311, portraying a silhouette at the top of an absolutely enormous sand dune, complete with the word CHALLENGE spread across the bottom in size 175 type. And a ragingly mad black border. Yet, I find that these posters tend not to stir me, let alone inspire me to do something magnificently productive with my life; but, for some, such a striking visual might be exactly the thing to get them jumping out of their seat and climbing Mount Everest. That’s the most intriguing and confusing thing about the word “Inspiration” – it has no boundaries and no strict definition. [Editor’s note: to relate this concept back to the thematic focus of the cover, that being Dr Heatley’s (temporary) departure, one may describe the word “inspiration” to draw “ambiguous connotations”]. Inspiration that appeals to some might not even cause others to blink. So, with this article, I have decided to attempt to document the examples of inspiration that I have come across throughout my sixteen years of existence. Visual Inspiration: We’ve all seen them, and BE311’s wall adornment is no exception. My favourite variety of those that talk about individuality. They shout at you: “Be an original!” “DONT BE THE SAME AS OTHER PEOPLE!!!” usually with some sort of mammal and/or flower smiling out at you. I am a proud owner of such a poster, inherited from Great, Great Auntie Sylvie. She was a nice lady. Musical Inspiration: There are so many songs out there that just truly inspire and affect you after just one listen. Whether you might be inspired to take a long journey (Thousand Miles – Vanessa Carlton), to embrace a love of the cheesy and overblown (Apricot Stone – Eva Rivas), or feel a sudden urge to indulge in a good ol’ fashioned crusade (Holy Grail – Hunters and Collectors), this medium of inspiration is highly effective and incredibly easy to access.
Inspiration via Example: So many figures in our community inspire us to follow in their path, and, well, to put it simply, be exactly like them. And when your inspirational figure heads are people like Mother Theresa, Marie Curie, Yeah Mull, Bindi Irwin, or even Ignatius of Loyola himself, I say go for it! Inspiration via Failure: There is nothing that inspires you more than a reality check. Whether it be an epic failure in a Quadratics test, missing out on being picked for something, or even just missing out on the last choc chip muffin at the tuckshop, an event in which you fail is only going to make you try harder to succeed. Inspiration via Light bulb: This is the stuff of fairy tales, people! Literally. Well, the Cartoon Network type of fairytale, ie Looney Tunes cartoons or Jimmy Neutron. This is the most thrilling type of inspiration in my opinion, the kind “where you’re just like BAM! IDEA!” (in the words of the great Isabelle Kimber). If this type of inspiration is good enough for Bugs Bunny, it’s well and truly good enough for me! Well, there you have it folks – there lies the inspiration I’ve come across in my time. One of the greatest things about inspiration is its spontaneity – one never knows when it will choose to pop its happy little head into their life. Perhaps this article itself has inspired you to seek some inspiration in something inspirational.
Literarily-minded? Artistically-minded? Absent-minded? There’s a 99.9999 recurring percent chance that
WE WANT YOU! (Because Jury’sdiction can’t sustain this magazine forever) Shoot us an email at email@example.com
What’s on the shelf? By Isabelle Kimber “The Bush: the Past, Present and Future of all Things Rural”, “The Scarlet Pimpernel” by Baroness Orczy, “The Knife of Never Letting Go” by Patrick Ness, “The Dark is Rising” by Susan Cooper.
“An Abundance of Katherines” by John Green, The Harry Potters by JK Rowling, “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson, “How to Make a Bird” by Martine Murray, “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” by John Green and David Leviathan. “On Chesil Beach” by Ian McEwan, “The Messenger” by Markus Zusak, “The Simple Gift” by Steven Herrick, “Northern Lights” by Philip Pullman, “Liar” by Justine Larbalestier, “Summerland” by Michael Chabon. “The Miss Marple Collection” by Agatha Christie, “The Rough Guide to Toronto”, “The Slightly Bruised Glory of Cedar B. Hartley” by Martine Murray, “Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank.
Email your riveting bookshelf snaps to firstname.lastname@example.org!
An introduction to...
Bu Mara! By Louise McCabe Tell us a bit about yourself. I was born in Adelaide in 1960. I did all my schooling here as well as university and Teachers’ College. I lived in Italy for approximately 9 years from 1988 to 1996. I moved back to Australia for family reasons with my 2 daughters who were at that time 3 and 6 years old. I previously taught at St Joseph’s Mildura , Victoria. St Mary’s Adelaide and St Paul’s as well. Why did you move to St Ignatius? What have you been enjoying about Ignatian school life? I had been teaching in the same school for almost 14 years so I felt I needed to change my working environment. I am enjoying the structure, the variety of activities, the challenges of a more academic approach to learning. What subjects do you teach? Italian, Indonesian and Religion. What does the future hold for you? I am not sure. If there is a position to continue working at the school I would be prepared to apply. Perhaps there is a chance of me applying for new work in a new school at the end of my contract at St Ignatius. What do you like to do in your spare time? Walk, jog, meet friends over coffee, read novels and the paper on weekends. If you could do anything in the world what would it be? Travel, spend considerable time on a quiet beachfront in Indonesia. Learn another language and resume my French as a student. Study again and make sure I complete my studies in order to gain acknowledgement.
The Personal Learning Puzzle By Charlie Hamra How well do you think you know your Personal Learning Plan or "PLP"? PLP is not to be confused with PLS, or this PLP for that matter. This PLP is a puzzle to test your knowledge of the other PLP. From goal setting to job interviews, from Jane Lomax-Smith to Mrs. Kingsborough, PLP is an all encompassing enigma which could only have flourished in the stagnant masses of the Senior Secondary Assessment Board of South Australia. Much like the rise of Nazism in Germany, Personal Learning has sown its seeds. Where it shall take us, we'll find out in the years to come, but for now, satisfy yourselves with this PLP crossword. You will be marked in accordance with the assessment rubric. [Answers at back]
Exam Revision with Maria Do By Roger Parnis
It’s that time again! All around the school, students are hysterically running about campus with colour co-ordinated ring binders and their copy of Malcolm Borg’s revision notes, asking anybody who will listen what the redox equation for fermentation is, or what could possibly ever be in a Drama exam. That’s right folks, it’s exam revision time, and what better way to revise for exams than by receiving advice from the Queen of Exam Revision herself, Maria Do? Through this article, we will watch as Maria frenetically revises for her Chemistry Exam. By the end, you will be ready to ace any exam that comes your way, and if your exams are already over, it’s never too early to start revising for 2011first semester exams! An Exam Timeline: 12 weeks in advance: Frantically ask Mr Chirnside when the exam revision guides will be up. 5 weeks: Visit the library each morning, and continuously refresh the P Drive, in the hope that the revision guides have gone up in the last millisecond. 3 weeks: Revision guides are up! Run up and down your year level’s hallway proclaiming this in giddy excitement, then immediately proceed to type up revision notes. The key with note writing is to make sure you do not write too much; if your notes are longer than your textbook, this is a sure sign you have written too much. 2 weeks: Remember to ask incessant questions about the exam. Yes, it may be of vital importance whether the teacher would prefer the exam to be written in blue or black pen, or if the exam is on duplex or single sided sheets. These questions
must be asked, and if you fail to inquire about such issues, chances are no one will. There is no such thing as stupid questions, only tedious ones! 1 week: One week before the exam is prime freak-out time. This is when your nerves should be at their highest and your hysterics through the roof. Articulate to everybody in the class that you will fail, and assure them that, despite your near perfect test scores, you don’t know anything about chemistry. While it may be unclear why this is an exam revision technique, it definitely seems to work. The Day of the exam: When you arrive at school, waiting to go into the examination room, frantically ask every single person waiting outside random questions and repeat loudly “Oh my God I’m going to fail”. When you are called in the room, let out a tiny scream. In the exam: Check if your paper is creased. Creased paper is a bad omen foreshadowing your failure. Demand new, smooth paper. After the exam: Survey the year level as to the answer of part (a) of Question Seven. Once all your exams have finished, you may feel that your life is a little bit empty, but don’t worry! By the time next schooling year starts, that feeling will be right back! Ps – under no circumstance whatsoever do you reveal your exam marks to anyone. Ever.
Your hair should be as disoriented, and general disposition as pessimistic, as philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer’s during exam revision time.
“Better than Beckham” -AMBIGUOUS CONNOTATIONSCharlie Hamra and Isabelle Kimber, by way of the Doc himself Dr Heatley graciously declined to be interviewed for this cheerio in anticipation of his long service leave in the first half of 2011. Instead, he proffered the following low level riddle: what is the association between Dr Heatley, a star footballer, and an anaesthetist? Answer: Dr Heatley’s celebrated assertion to a Year 8 class some years ago that he was “better than Beckham,” a claim that he continues to justify as essential imaginative augmentation and a child-like delight in alliterative embellishment; the second aspect of the riddle relates to his confidence that he has put far fewer of his clients to sleep than any competent anaesthetist. The use of the intriguing headline also enables the authors of this cheerio to secure the widest possible readership for their initiative. Can you imagine the linguistic blandness of “Dr Heatley goes on long service leave”! Many people in the loop (cliché phrase, sorry Doc) know Dr Heatley as a relative recluse, and many would not know him at all, owing to the former. But Dr Heatley’s office on the third floor – yes, as many would not know, Dr Heatley has his own secret office – has seen more essays than we’ve seen hot dinners. He’s something of an enigma at Saint Ignatius’, serving at the college for an undisclosed amount of time (but undoubtedly for quite a while, as he’s admitted to occasional second generation of students). He is rarely seen (apart from the occasional trek to BE312 to pick up a print out), and then there’s the rumour that he once played football for Liverpool. But those stories could be compiled into a hard-cover book, and are too numerous to be elaborated upon in this article. We’ll all miss Dr Heatley’s “ambiguous connotations,” and wish him all the best until his return on Thursday 28th July, 2011.
“LET ME IN” by Isabelle Kimber – Or don’t, if you’d like to escape with your life. Coincidentally, despite this movie’s rating (MA for strong horror themes, thank you very much) I found myself sitting behind two members of the Saint Ignatius’ College community who I know fall significantly short of 15+. They shall remain nameless, but if they happen to be reading this… I know what you did. But I digress. This horror film is an American remake of the Swedish Let The Right One In, and it’s basically Twilight on steroids. Owen, a bullied 12 year old boy, finds himself strangely attracted to Abby, a newcomer in his New Mexico town, even though she’s clearly hiding something from him. That something being her tendency to kill innocent members of the public, drain their blood and then drink it. But anyway. At the same time as Abby is sucking the life out of New Mexico’s youths one by one, Owen is being bullied by his classmates. This isn’t just a movie about vampires; set against the chilly backdrop of winter in New Mexico, it’s a comingof-age story about a troubled boy who finally finds an unlikely friend. Don’t see this movie if you’re squeamish about blood. Let Me In involves a few gruesome scenes, including multiple deaths-by-throat-slitting and this bit where a lady, possessed by a demonic force, tries to eat herself. Apart from wanting to slap Owen’s mother throughout the whole film, I have to say I kind of enjoyed it. It was almost unbearably grim – I don’t think any of the characters smiled once – but the friendship formed between Abby and Owen was surprisingly personal, and it’s far better than most horror movies churned out recently. The lead actors (Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz) are very good, and it has its fair share of sudden scares. I haven’t seen the original, and so with nothing to compare it to, I found it suitably chilling; it took me an hour or two to pluck up the courage to walk to the bathroom alone. This will appeal to a range of audiences – from horror movie junkies to those who like a bit of personality with their terror, because it has the appropriate amount of gore, as well as being a story of great friendship.
“Dear Mr Henze. I object to you asking my son to play a dog in the school play.” FICTION by Charlie Hamra
____________________________________________________________________________________________ Dear Mr. Henze, I object to you asking my son to play a dog in the school play. Timothy is a very gifted actor and I could confidently say that he is above the playing of a dog. This is the equivalent of asking him to play a tree. It is belittling to him and to me. I am shocked and insulted at your presumptuousness in doing so. Is it because you were never recognised as a good actor as a child? If so, I don’t believe you should be taking out your own failings on innocent children. It is very immature of you. I hope that this complaint will not need to go further; I will have no hesitation, however, in doing so. Yours, Marianne Poolsworth. G’day mate Now, the old lady’s been buggin’ me mornin’, noon and night to get on the blower to yer ‘bout Dazza ‘n’ yer play. Sheila’s as cross as a frog in a sock, all up in arms with ‘er knickers in a knot about my bloody son and his bloody play. What does she think, that I want ‘im poncing around in a bloody play?! I knew he was telling porkies when he said he was going to footy practice. Sheila says you lot have gone right ahead ‘n’ made him a dog. He’s takin’ after his Mother, he is! Well he certainly aint takin’ after me; I been flat out like a lizard drinkin’ layin’ all these bricks, while he got nothin’ better to do than learn how to be a bloody dog. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that if yer gonna cast him as a bloody dog, then don’t bother castin’ him at all! Sincerely bloody yours, Trevor Bruce. Dearest Mr. Henze, Being of the theatre, and knowing of such things, I would normally think it unwise to question a director’s casting choice, however I have now been placed
in a position wherein I must question your decisions as director. You see, it is an absolute travesty that you should overlook my Victoria’s potential as an actress. Having spent much time in the limelight, I know what it takes, and I can see that my Victoria has got it. I have enclosed a photo of her, just in case you had her confused with someone else- someone with a more canine appearance, perhaps? I have also enclosed a tape of her performing a monologue (that I wrote myself); in case you didn’t attain adequate exposure to her prowess on stage. She is much like I was when I was younger (but not that much younger, Mr. Henze) and she has the commitment to be more than a dog. Just so you know, Victoria can also sing, tap-dance, jazz-dance and dance the ballet (as I outlined in my letter to you pre-casting- I wonder, did you receive it? I didn’t get a reply.)- Talents that it would be unwise to waste in a production by casting her as a dog. Yours sincerely, Dame Alexandra-Rose DuRevenier. Mr. Henze I trust you have received as much mail as I have regarding the situation with the school play- what on earth are you doing man?! Pull yourself together; give these parents what they want, stop mistreating and miscasting their sons and daughters and set this thing right. The show must go on, Mr. Henze. Warm Regards, James Sheffolden, (Headmaster) Mr. Henze, We are not amused with your cheek at casting our son as “Spot” the dog. As major benefactors to the School’s trust and building funds, our wallets are not very amused either. As an established family, with seven generations of Brokenshires attending the school, and generous benefactors (of which we may cease to be, if you are not very careful, Mr. Henze), we were expecting a human role at the very least. This is an outrage! We Brokenshires travel in prestigious social circles Mr. Henze, and should our reputation be tainted by “Spot” Brokenshire and his part in the school play… Well you could say goodbye to any donations to the drama department, that’s for sure. M. & S. Brokenshire
Dear Mr. Henze, It is a blessing and a curse that I have been given a son who has a passion for drama: it is a blessing that he is so passionate and happy with it, but I regret to inform you that he is a method actor- playing a dog, no less. Could you please rectify the situation with urgency, as we are running out of dog food and I am starting to fear for the postman’s life. The looks I’m receiving when I take him out on a leash are most unnerving, and I haven’t yet taught him any obedience tricks. Please Help, Karen Phelps HENZE! Just now, a boy came up to my car on all fours, raised his leg, and proceeded to urinate on the wheel of my Ford Focus. I suppose this has something to do with you and that darned play- a student protesting against being cast as a dog, perhaps? I tried questioning the student, but all I got out of him was barking. For heaven’s sakes, can’t you just remove any canine roles? They can’t be that important. Expecting results, James Sheffolden, (Headmaster) To whom it may concern, The title of this year’s musical is “Dogs” and is Off-Broadway’s answer to the musical “Cats”. The reason you have all received letters informing you that your children have been cast as dogs is because the characters in the play are all dogs. I apologise to any parents, headmasters, people of the theatre, benefactors, bricklayers, and method actors for any anxiety, distress or damage to 1994 Ford Focuses caused by the casting of students as dogs. You should all be very proud of your children. Sincerely, Anthony Henze (Director) _________________________________________________________________________________________
“Dear God, Please Help Me” By Laura Zubreckyj
Steven Patrick Morrissey rose to fame in 1982 as the lead vocalist of the alternative rock band, The Smiths, and, having later pursued a solo career after the band's split in 1987, was labelled by NME magazine as "one of the most influential artists ever" . In April 2006, Morrissey wrote a song entitled ‘Dear God, Please Help Me’. With its sexually explicit lyrics, orchestral musical arrangement and theological subtext, ‘Dear God, Please Help Me’ perfectly exhibited Morrissey’s personal anguish and ongoing struggle with his homosexuality, which conflicted so intensely with his Catholicism. Born into what he called a “quite absurdly Catholic family”, Morrisey had identified his homosexuality at a very young age. Recognising the homophobia inherent in his local community and even, to some extent, his parents, Morrissey chose to stifle his sexuality, a contributing factor to the crushing Catholic guilt he would feel for most of his life. As a youth, Morrissey was deeply unhappy; he felt as though a critical part of him was being denied, his parents separated and four family members died, all becoming catalysts for Morrissey’s intense emotional and physical isolation. In his teenage years, he developed a severe depressive disorder, confining himself to his bedroom where, in his own words, he “literally would not leave for three to four weeks”. The solitude and isolation he had imposed on himself in these years would render Morrissey virtually socially inept, though it is most likely that this is the origin of his poetic and lyrical genius. On what Morrissey referred to as “the bedroom years”, Morrissey biographer, Simon Goddard commented, “If they were the incubation of Morrissey’s written genius, they were also the incubation of his irreversible paranoia, mistrust and unapologetic misanthropy”. It is from this time that Morrissey evolved into a dark, troubled and deeply cynical individual – “When I'm lying in my bed I think about life and I think about death and neither one particularly appeals to me.” For many years, Morrissey was fearful of public stigma surrounding his closeted homosexuality and “rousing the depressing voice of latent homophobia amongst his critics in the press”. He told journalists his sexuality was irrelevant to his music, and when asked about the topic, provided evasive, ambiguous responses. For many years, like everything else in his life, the issue of Morrissey’s sexual
orientation was highly interpretive. However, as time passed, Morrissey found himself maintaining a dim view of organised religion and came to believe, rather ardently, that in order to finally find the personal happiness, freedom and truth which had evaded him for most of his life, he had to break free of the bonds of his Catholic faith. At the time at which ‘Dear God, Please Help Me’ was written, Morrissey felt as though Christ was to blame for instilling him with physical needs and desires which his Catholic guilt prevented him from realising. In an interview in 2009, Morrissey commented on how empty and unfulfilled he’d felt when he realised that his life had been spent “entirely void of love”, because he “hadn’t felt as though he deserved it,” calling himself the “loneliest man who ever lived”. Although the writing of ‘Dear God, Please Help Me’ facilitated Morrissey’s search for personal truth and sexual freedom, it did not assist him in his pursuit of love. He seemed to believe that either he was unworthy of love, or that love did not love him. One could attribute Morrissey’s lack of faith in human relationships to his belief that he was simply incapable of one: “The few times when I tried to build relationships...they never worked out for very long, so I gave up”. Most heartbreaking of all, despite Morrissey finally finding comfort in his homosexuality after so many years, the love that he believed would give his life meaning was always just out of his grasp, and that “whether it’s a man or a woman, nothing seems to go well with me”. As the final line in ‘Dear God, Please Help Me’ suggests, perhaps, in coming to terms with his homosexuality, it was enough for Morrissey’s heart to indeed “feel free”. ‘Dear God, Please Help Me’ is a deeply personal song, filled with the anguish, unhappiness and heartache of a man who felt as though he needed to compromise his own happiness in stifling his homosexuality, for a life without love. Morrissey was, once again, able to utilise his creative genius in order to generate a song so beautiful, tragic and musically understated in order to allow his listener a glimpse into a life which he’d previously described as “just full of pain”. In delving deeper into the nature of ‘Dear God, Please Help Me’, I gained a new appreciation and admiration not only for the song, but for Morrissey who, despite the difficulties which he encountered in his life, has become quite a hero of mine. I found Morrissey’s experiences to be none other than heartbreaking and I sincerely respect both the bravery of compromising love for his beliefs and values and having the courage to come to terms with his homosexuality after so many years.