THE SUPERNATURAL ISSUE Issue 06 – 04th April 2011
UFOs | Fortune Tellers & Psychics | Real Life Ghostbusters Inside NZ’s Next Top Model Auditions | Annabel Langbein | Gareth Hughes News, Reviews, Opinions. Critic Issue 06 –
Critic Issue 06 –
Critic – Te Arohi PO Boc 1436, Dunedin (03) 479 5335 email@example.com www.critic.co.nz Editor: Julia Hollingsworth Designer: Andrew Jacombs Ad Designer: Kathryn Gilbertson News Editor: Gregor Whyte News Reporters: Aimee Gulliver, Lozz Holding Feature Writers: Charlotte Greenfield, Josh Hercus, Phoebe Harrop, Siobhan Downes Sub Editor: Lisa McGonigle Feature Illustrator: Tom Garden Music Editor: Sam Valentine Film Editor: Sarah Baillie Books Editor: Sarah Maessen Theatre Editor: Jen Aitken Food Editor: Niki Lomax Games Editor: Toby Hills Fashion Editor: Mahoney Turnbull Art Editor: Hana Aoake And a whole heap of lovely volunteers
Planet Media (03) 479 5361 firstname.lastname@example.org www.planetmedia.co.nz Advertising: Kate Kidson, Tim Couch, Dave Eley, Logan Valentine
contents 5 – Editorial 6 – Letters to the Editor 7 – Notices 8 – Snippets 10 – News 18 – Far out, man. People see some crazy as shit. We question whether the sightings are another Knox-born hoax or contact from friendly extra-terrestrials. 20 – Ghost Busters Who you gonna call? Paranormal investigator James Gilberd of Strange Occurances probably. 24 – Back to the Future Charlotte Greenfield tries to finds out her future, and discusses whether there’s any weight to psychic predictions. 28 – Wanna be on top? Critic goes to the NZNTM Dunedin auditions and meets the competition from the “sister city”. 31 – Opinion 38 – Profile: Annabel Langbein 39 – State of the Nation 40 – Summer Lovin’ Our most scandalous date yet. 41 – Review Film, Art, Music, Books, Games, Fashion, Food 33 – Comics 55 – OUSA Page Critic is a member of the Aotearoa Student Press Association (ASPA). Disclaimer: the views presented within this publication do not necessarily represent the views of the Editor, Planet Media, or OUSA. Press Council: people with a complaint against a newspaper should first complain in writing to the Editor and then, if not satisfied with the response, complain to the Press Council. Complaints should be addressed to the Secretary, PO Box 10-879 The Terrace, Wellington.
Critic Issue 06 –
Critic Issue 06 –
What’s this? A “Supernatural” issue with no reference to vampires? It’s not that we aren’t cool enough to pick up on the vampire trend, it’s that we’re just too cool to report on a dying phenomenon. The fanged un-dead phase that sprung up as a result of the notorious movie Twilight (one of the few movies that I have been unable to sit through, and I’ve been fortunate enough to see Hall Pass) is now drawing to a close. Finally. The thing is, when stalwarts of mainstream media begin reporting on the current youth crush, the crush tends to peak and then disappear the second those over thirty jump on board. You know the trend is nearing the end when the initial bleary haze of hype and excitement gives rise to a realisation of how shit the trend always was. You really know the trend is over when the Christian Groups on Campus give talks about “Why Vampires are sexy” in an attempt (presumably) to combat rampant vampire-inspired Satanism around campus. It’s pretty much the same as when ODT report on a story. At that point, you know said story has well and truly passed its shelf life. All I can say is: thank goodness. I’d had enough of the sullen white-masked faces and “dramatic” acting anyway. So goodbye Edward Cullen and good luck on your “real” acting career. You’ll need it. In lieu of vampires, we have articles on UFOs (page 18), a real life paranormal investigator (page 22) and the reliability of fortune tellers (page 24). Phoebe Harrop attends the NZNTM Dunedin auditions, and speaks with both the judges and the model hopefuls (page 28). Arguably, the tenuous link between models and supernatural ability is the models’ supernatural good looks. LOL. This week is iD fashion week, and while we will have more in depth coverage in our next issue, we touch on the iD events on both the art page and the fashion page (of course). Even if you’re not going to the main event, be sure to keep an eye out for all the free events around town. On a completely separate note, there are three days remaining to enter your submission to the Planet Media review. In the looming face of VSM, it’s tricky to know what Critic will be like in the future. If you’ve got something to say about what you love about Critic, or what could be done better, be sure to make a submission. Keep us chugging along! See page 11 for more details. We hope you enjoy our Supernatural edition! As always, tell us what you think, and like us on Facebook to keep up to date with more noteworthy happenings. See you later, Julia Hollingsworth
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Letters Letter of the Week The letter of the week wins a $30 book voucher to spend at University Book Shop.
CUTE. YR NICE.
into their hands). In fact, the Green Party’s policies stem from the recognition that social equality and sustainability are strongly interconnected (oh, and that both are desirable goals, which the Eagle may disagree with). Alexis Belton
LOL ANGRY FEMINISTS
Dear Critic, Last week I wrote in the Debatable column. When I read the column today, I noticed that I had used two semicolons when I should have used commas. Sorry. Please find enclosed compensation for those offended by my mistakes in the form of two commas for pasting over the offending semicolons. (,,) Sincerely, Jack Montgomerie p.s. I like how the bunch of fives are arranged by question rather than person now. It means I don’t have to move my eyes so much.
GREENS FTW A word with the bird, It would be wasted energy to debate the merits of the Green Party’s policies with someone who probably denies human-driven climate change, and clearly thinks that social equality and redressing historical wrongdoings are ‘wet’ issues that are not worth striving for. I would like to expose the latest shameless fabrications by this red-neck raptor. Sue Kedgley never bought into the dihydrogen monoxide hoax; a staff member from her office responded to the hoax letter expressing concern, that much is true, but saying that the Green party was too busy to address the issue. In other words, it never came to Sue Kedgley’s attention. On the other hand the hoax worked a treat with the National MP Jacqui Dean, who wrote to the then associate health minister Jim Anderton asking if the Labour government had any intention of banning the substance: a slightly more embarrassing episode that says a lot about the scientific literacy of some National Mps (see stuff.co.nz, “National MP falls victim to water hoax”). I was fascinated by your criticism of the Greens for straying from their environmental platform. The Green Party has always had a comprehensive social and economic policy to accompany its environmentalism, otherwise it would just be a lobby group (as the major parties are, where they lobby for power with whatever policies will deliver it
Dear Kari, What is your bizarre focus on equality? And why do you purport to reduce feminisms down to one particular branch of liberal feminism that seeks mere equality? Have you ever consider eco-feminism, radical feminism, materialist feminism or poststructuralist feminism? Also, as you concede, men and women are not ‘equal’ so perhaps the differing context inscribes different meaning on female bodies in porn. Maybe you should just go and watch some porn and leave writing on feminisms to those with more than a superficial understanding of it. Fond Regards, Perplexed P.S I do realise that I am both ugly and hairy. But no-one stopped my parents from reproducing, so it’s not really fair to hold it against me. What I meant to say is: i’m not a man-hater. It may seem that way but perhaps the converse is true? I think that all the men should take responsibility for their attitudes. Dear Perplexed, I still have a number of columns left to write, perhaps I will address some of the brands of feminism you suggested. Thank you for the suggestion. Believe it or not I’m not actually trying to undermine feminism but trying to look at it from different, more moderate and (sometimes) more practical angles. Yes, porn depicts women in a certain way as a result of our social context. That is one (entirely legitimate) way of looking at the issue. There are others I found more interesting at the time and thus chose to focus on. Clearly it is a complex issue and I don’t pretend to have all the answers. But if you do really disagree with my approach (and this goes for all those writing letters to me in the future) why don’t you elaborate on your own opinions? It would be totally sweet to get some discussion going. Finally, I do understand the passion feminists feel and their concurrent reluctance to compromise, but basic human psychology tends to recoil from such intensity when it manifests itself in aggression and judgement and this can only serve to inhibit the goals of contemporary feminism. Something to think about. Yours sincerely, Kari
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SCARFIES = THE REAL HEROES A load of shit you idiotic sheep I live in the Hyde street flat that had its banners set on fire, we didn’t light them. We put it out, not the police or any other Nazis there on Hyde street keg party. The curtains are fine, not even touched. I suggest Grant Clarkson stop being a sheep by believing bullshit descriptions of events on Hyde street, YOU IDIOT, your story is wrong. Marka.
WHERE DA MONEYZ AT? If OUSA acts in the best interests of the students, and if OUSA owns Unibooks one would therefore expect that Unibooks would also act in the best interests of the students and be the best place to buy our much needed text books. So then, why is the student book shop the f’kin most expensive place to buy text books in Dunedin? Buying books from some of the online book retailers are even cheaper... What is this rumor about voluntary OUSA membership?? Kornholed by Unibooks... p.s. based on your prices you could easily up the best letter voucher to $100 in line with inflation et al. Hi there, thanks for writing in and raising your concern about ‘Unibooks.’ The University Book Shop (UBS) is owned by OUSA for the purpose of returning a dividend to the association to subsidise services like the Student Support Centre/Clubs and Societies Centre/Events. As it is a separate business this means that OUSA has nothing to do with the day to day management of UBS, in fact we have a board (including an exec member) appointed to manage the direction of the business. Over the years we have requested a 10% discount to provide a service to students, as well as the dividend. With voluntary student membership coming in, OUSA is going to have to rely more heavily on that dividend in order to continue operations. Purchasing textbooks from the University Book Shop is not mandatory, so if there is someone else selling cheaper textbooks (or second hand ones) we advise you to shop where you get the best bang for your buck. While that will ultimately impact on the dividend returned to OUSA we trust in our management to react to the changing market, and if that means reducing textbook prices further for students if they identify a loss of market share we’re sure they will do so. I’m sorry we can’t roll in and set prices, but in the long run we are trying to make sure we can keep supporting students as our situation changes. Thanks for getting in touch and we will make sure our executive member on the board is aware of your letter this for the next meeting. – OUSA Representative
Letters GREENS FTW #2 Dear eagle The only nutters are those that hate on people and don’t have the guts to do so with there own name, requiring a pseudonym to hide the fact that all liberals hate on anyone. I’m a happy Green, i live with all the common technologies of current life, i know that with a bit of tinkering we can still use these and be eco friendly. Un like some people who aspire to be other country’s, I happily live in NZ not trying to be OZ, the Greens have had there bad days, just as i believe you did when you wrote this article. but can move on, un like Labour and there stale leadership. Quit hating on the past and look to the future. Bertothegreen
LOVE HATE RELATIONSHIP Just wanted to congratulate the magazine for (finally) printing an article about the uprisings in the Middle East. One thing this magazine needs is more socially conscious articles and to ignore something as monumental as this would be inane. I also am pleased to see a diversity in political opinions represented which will hopefully educate newly eligible voters on the repercussions of their democratic influence. I appreciate that there is a place for less serious discussion in the magazine but it slightly depresses me that the most controversial use of our freedom of speech is the sniggering descriptions of property destruction and drunken debauchery - not that they don’t amuse me occasionally. I also think that there are a few “humour” columns that seem like they are written with a preteen audience in mind. I find it hard to accept these are the cream of the crop at Otago so I encourage anyone reading this to contribute to the magazine something they feel strongly about. If there is one place opinions should be heard, a University magazine should be it. Regards, A.C. Reader
GREENS FTW #3 Eagle, I was going to debate your “interesting” column about the Green Party. But then I figured I had better things to do with my life than respond to your ravings. Greenie
ps If you want to find out what the green party in the real world (as opposed to eagles imaginary world) is like check out www.greens.org.nz or drop by Metiria’s office 544 Great King Street. Better things like smoking a joint and zoning out on the couch with your unemployed, unwashed greenie comrades? – The Eagle
Critic endeavors to give the right of reply to individuals who are directly addressed in letters. In last week’s issue, we neglected to allow Abe Grey to respond to the allegations contained in the Letter of the Week. We apologise. Abe assures us that these allegations are untrue, and says he doesn’t want to engage in juvenile mudslinging.
Notices PLANET MEDIA REVIEW To evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of Radio One, Critic and the Sales unit. Terms of reference available at: http://ousa.org.nz/eventsand-recreation/get-involved/ousa-reviews/. Further information from: email@example.com Submissions:To the Secretary, OUSA, P.O. Box 1436 Dunedin, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 4pm Weds April 6 2011, marked “Confidential: Planet Media Review.” To make an oral submission to the Review Panel, please include this in your written submission.
FARMERS CLUB To get a break from City life and meet likeminded rural people come to the Otago Uni Young Farmers Club. First meeting:Weds April 6 2011.
7.00pm at the OUSA Club and Societies Building. Nibbles provided. Become a part of the fastest growing nationwide rural network of vibrant young achievers, and see how NZ Young Farmers can help you create your career in the big smoke.
VARSITY CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP Learn how the Bible relates to your course, and grow in living and speaking for Jesus on campus. We meet weekly (Mondays 8pm in Room 5 at the Clubs & Societies Centre) to study the Bible, pray, socialise and think deeply about how our faith affects both us and those around us. For more info contact Rebekah Masterton on 0274263402, or email us at email@example.com.
SHAVE OFF The School of Business is having a shave off! Shave for a Cure is an event by the Leukaemia & Blood Foundation of New Zealand (LBF). The event (eight people are shaving their heads) both raises money and shows empathy and solidarity for leukaemia patients, many of whom suffer hair loss as a result of life-saving treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Tues April 5, 12:45pm, School of Business Atrium. Bring your friends and give a gold coin (or more if you want) at the event. All students are welcome!
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL In 2009 leaders in the Pacific Islands Forum promised to address high levels of violence against women in the Pacific. However, there have been no substantial actions taken since. The Amnesty International University Club will be on Union Lawn (or in the Union) on Thursday April 7 from 11am – 2pm to give you the opportunity to get informed and/or involved. You can either wear a dress or lei and get your picture taken, or simply sign the petition for women’s rights in the Pacific!
LETTERS POLICY Letters should be 200 words or less. Deadline is Wednesday at 5pm. Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org, post them to PO Box 1436, Dunedin, or drop into the Critic office. All letters must include full contact details, even if you don’t want these printed. Letters of a serious nature directly addressing a specific person or group will not be published under a pseudonym, except in extraordinary circumstances negotiated with the Editor. Critic reserves the right to edit, abridge or decline letters without explanation. We don’t fix the spelling or grammar in letters. If a writer looks stupid, it’s because they are.
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You piss on that THE TOP TEN COOLEST SUPERNATURAL CHARACTERS Obviously, compiling this list was no mean feat, given that most supernatural characters are, almost by definition, amazing. It’s very youth-fiction orientated, which is quite telling about Critic’s ability to handle movies of the scary variety. Nancy from The Craft. Not only does she have magical powers and freaky as clothes, bitch can fly. E.T. We can’t decide whether he’s freaky or cute, but either way he’s a bit of alright. Buffy. One of the early proponents of the girl power movement, Buffy was kick-ass too. Don’t try to mess with her. The child catcher (the guy with the scary nose) from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Perhaps no powers technically, but he sure was supernaturally scary. Matilda. Moving shit with your eyes would probably be more useful than you’d think. Plus, as Matilda shows us, it’s pretty good for April Fools tricks. Jesus. The guy can walk on water for goodness sake! Plus, he’d be the life of any scarfie party with his water to wine trick. Casper the friendly ghost. So cute. So friendly. Voldemort. So bloody indestructible! They try so hard! He’s so tough! The monsters from Scooby Doo. Actually quite scary until it turned it out they weren’t real. The BFG. Not trying to double up on Mr Dahl’s characters, but how cool is a giant who blows dreams through children’s windows? Pretty cool, that’s what.
percentage of people who claim to have seen a UFO.
Urolagnia is the paraphilia where sexual excitement ensues from the sight or thought of urine or urination (read: golden showers). Some participants in the practice may drink the urine, or alternatively bathe in it. Other quirky variations include those who get aroused from seeing someone else wetting the bed; firetrucking has never been so sexy. In our investigations, Critic discovered that publishing anything supporting urolagnia is an offense punishable by up to ten years in prison. That’s why we are taking this opportunity to state that we do not condone the practice at all, not even after a tray of Sogos.
Hitler reincarnated? A house in Wales has gone viral after internet users decided that the dwelling’s frontage bears an uncanny resemblance to the face of Adolf Hitler. The unassuming semi-detached Welsh home has a lintel above the door which is being compared to the dictator’s famous moustache, whilst the leaning roof is said to echo the distinctive side-part hairdo favoured by the territory-grabbing megalomaniac. Source were silent as the whether Anschluss with the adjoining semi-detached had been achieved.
400,000 Critic Issue 06 –
price of Superman Edition One in dollars.
Ambitious An American woman turned up to her sentencing on forgery charges and presented a phony doctor’s note asking for a delay in proceedings. The clueless Californian was facing up to five years in prison for forging prescriptions for controlled drugs, so the ruse wasn’t a top shelf idea. After the doctor’s note was discovered to be a fake, the judge ordered the woman to be taken into custody, at which point she collapsed and had to be taken to hospital. Lol, irony and shit.
Lol cat In news that is likely to make the front page of the ODT as soon as they get wind of it, a grey-and-white tabby called Smokey has apparently “cat-apulted” to fame with a purr that has been recorded at a noise level of 73 decibels. Smokey’s purr is sixteen times louder than the average cat and has been compared to heavy traffic, a hairdryer or vacuum cleaner. The owner of the 12-year old cat has been quoted as saying that “sometimes she purrs so loudly it makes her cough and splutter”.
The name “Lolita” brings to mind all the sorts of things that aren’t appropriate for pleasant company. Young children, paedophiles: awkward. Cheers Vladimir Nabokov for ruining an otherwise rather delightful name. Luckily, a young woman from Stockholm is doing her best to address that with her blog www.lolitas.se. Some people collect stamps, others - with a little more money in their pockets - collect cars or boats or nifty devices. The mastermind behind www.lolitas.se collects dreamy pictures which she then cleverly assembles into complementary sets. From bubbles to horses, Kate Moss to cleverly designed kitchens, the pictures cover a full range of beautiful subject matter. It’s a blog purely devoted to beauty and aesthetics- you’ll find no wordy sentences or political rants here. But that’s the brilliance of it- after all, who wants information overload when you can have complete and unadulterated escapism. Brilliant.
In Critic’s book, it’s probably a hairball.
years a snail can sleep for.
1937-1945 Critic Issue 06 –
years between which Heinz produced pasta swastikas.
Death at Unipol Recreation Centre A 24-year old student died whilst using a cross trainer at the Unipol recreation centre on Wednesday March 30. The death occurred around 9.30pm in the upstairs cardio room of the facility. Students present at Unipol during the incident told Critic that the unnamed female student reportedly collapsed during a workout. An ambulance was called and CPR administered but the student could not be revived.
Goff stops in for a coffee at Staff Club. Brings best mates. Hughes not invited. Awkward. In a meeting held in the Otago University Staff Club last Tuesday, Labour frontbenchers unanimously decided to back Goff as leader of the Labour Party. The announcement came amid speculation that a change of leadership could be in the works as a result of Goff’s mishandling of the allegations against Darren Hughes.
Unipol is co-owned by OUSA, OPSA and the University. Both Unipol and the University declined to talk to Critic about the incident. Critic understands the death is being investigated by the authorities. – Gregor Whyte
A week before the meeting, it had become public that an 18-year old had made a sex allegation against Darren Hughes. Many people were concerned that Goff, who had known of the allegations for two weeks when Hughes first offered to resign, chose to keep them a secret. The meeting at the Staff Club had been arranged three weeks previous, before any of the allegations against Darren Hughes came to light. Goff seemed in bright spirits and, while gesturing towards the wheelchair bound Trevor Mallard, joked that it had been a “tough meeting” with “casualties”. Mallard, by contrast, appeared wane and the worse for wear as a result of his cycling accident, an image that was exacerbated by his choice of attire.
Tragic death of Critic contributor Scott Ridley (23) tragically passed away after a car accident last Thursday March 31, just south of Hampden. The car he was driving collided head-on with a truck. The truck driver, a Christchurch man in his 60s, was found deceased when emergency services arrived at the scene. Scott was airlifted to Dunedin hospital, where he later died. Scott was a regular contributor to Critic and co-hosted Radio One’s weekly segment “Gaydar”. Previously, Scott had also volunteered as an OUSA queer peer supporter.
Mallard spoke to a media gathering on behalf of the frontbenchers after the meeting. He said that everyone had confidence that he had acted in good faith, and that he couldn’t have avoided the outcome of a media focus on the event. He further complained that many “distractions”, including “Pike River and two earthquakes”, as well as the drama within the Labour Party, had taken much media attention away from issues he would prefer to discuss. Among these more discussion-worthy important issues, Mallard listed the cost of living, unemployment and the sale of assets. Goff refuted assertions that the incident had destabilised the party, instead claiming that it had “strengthened” his leadership as the Labour Party had been able to work through their issues.
His presence will be sorely missed around Critic and OUSA. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family at this difficult time. – Editor
Although the meeting had a large focus on Goff’s handling of the situation with Hughes, the frontbenchers also discussed wider issues, including the impact that the sale of state assets would have, as well as the impact that earthquake recovery would have on the forthcoming budget. Mallard noted his concern that National may try to use the earthquake as a pretext for cutting Working for Families and Kiwisaver, despite Key’s 2008 election promises that he would not do so. – Julia Hollingsworth (guest appearance)
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The Dark Knight Little is known about the character situated above the Proctor in the discipline chain; the very elusive and somewhat secretive Provost. Critic did some digging to find out more about the the man you will get sent to if you’ve been significantly naughtier than your average scarfie. The University of Otago Provost, Professor Robert Knight, is among those authorised to exercise disciplinary authority at Otago. The Provost is a member of the academic staff of the University, and is appointed by the Chancellor in consultation with the President of OUSA.
Students can appeal a decision of the Provost to the Appeals Board of the University Council, which is when you know shit has reallllly gone bad. While we’re sure Professor Knight is an absolutely all round tip-top chap, he isn’t the man you want to find yourself having to go see on a Monday morning after a bender of a weekend. On that note, to keep yourself out of his firing line Critic recommends avoiding riots of any sort, especially if you find yourself dressed in a toga and throwing poo at other people. – Aimee Gulliver
When disciplinary proceedings are brought against a student of the University, the Proctor has the power to deal with minor offences, and may deal with any guilty students by imposing fines, directing the student to carry out community service, or banning them from attending certain social functions or visiting a certain part of the University. At this stage of the year, Critic would like to be banned from going anywhere near the OUSA Boardroom, particularly every second Tuesday when they hold their chore-ish Executive meetings. Former Critic writer, Tailgunner Joe, wrote a fortnightly account of the most lol-worthy tales that ended up on the Proctor’s desk. He described the Proctology column as being founded to chronicle scarfie hijinks gone awry, with the general theme being “drunk twerp breaks something”. From knowledge that may or may not stem from personal experience, Critic is aware that incidents such as skinny-dipping in the Leith and getting busted by Campus Watch will get you sent to the Proctor, where you will be dealt with accordingly. The Provost also has the power to determine the outcome of appeals against decisions made by the Proctor, and the power to dismiss any complaint which he thinks is frivolous. In short, the Provost has similar disciplinary powers to the Proctor, with the added stick of being able to recommend to the Vice-Chancellor that the student be excluded from University. If you find yourself in this situation, you must be advised in writing of the complaint before the Provost can exercise any of his disciplinary powers, which would make a lovely letter for Mum and Dad to stick on the kitchen fridge as a souvenir of your time at Otago. Critic Issue 06 –
Business School tests Blackboard-based dating service The latest online craze predicted to sweep the University of Otago is “Blackboard Dating”, after enterprising business student Sam Love last week used Blackboard’s group email function to attempt to charm a girl known only as “Sarah”. In a move both innovative and profoundly retarded (noted hallmarks of BCom students at Otago), Love, recently single, sent a message to “Sarah” on Blackboard proclaiming his interest in her. In an attempt to make sure the message reached “Sarah”, Love sent the love note to every student enrolled in BSNS104, BSNS106, MANT214 and SPAN231. Now that’s commitment. In his missive, Love utilised the lessons learnt in his 100-level Commerce papers, making sure he stressed the quality of his offering in order to maximise his chances at securing the affections of “Sarah”. Not only did Love note that “I know I’m a good looking guy”, he also informed the reader of his high level of proficiency at various board sports, particularly surfing, in which the Love-machine has competed “at the top level”. Love also made sure that his prospective date could get in contact, leaving both a Facebook link and a contact phone number in an effort to ensure communication breakdown did not hamper the fostering of a truly spectacular romance. This is a man destined for greatness.
Facebook friend count had increased by “at least 15 people” and that he had received more than ten text messages in response to his lonely hearts email. One of these text messages was apparently from a “real girl” called Sarah, though it was unclear whether this was the Sarah, or merely some predator cashing in on the good fortune of sharing a name with the Valkyrie that had caught Love’s eye. In addition to achieving a successful romantic response, Love has also cottoned on to a business opportunity, with one of the respondents keen to engage Love’s services to learn surfing. Despite the phenomenal response to his email, Love was adamant that he would have received a much better response if Blackboard had the facility to upload photos. Love suggested that the University’s IT department should take a real look at allowing the attachment of photos to such emails, especially when the sender was as good-looking as him. The University’s Business School declined to comment on the issue. Critic speculates this is because all staff are feverishly writing their own romantic emails in anticipation of Blackboard’s reassignment as a dating hub for well-educated singles. We like to speculate. – Gregor Whyte with reporting by Lozz Holding
Critic visited Love in the flesh, and received a warm welcome. The second year BCom student was excited that the mainstream media was picking up on his new approach to dating. Love reported that his
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British Universities Greedy. Like Cookie Monster British universities have responded to the opportunity to drastically raise student fees without substantive justification by drastically raising student fees without any justification whatsoever (mostly). British students have responded to this by rioting, burning shit, attacking the motorcades of confused members of the British Royal Family, and writing sternly worded letters to their local student rags. The trouble started when the Conservative-Liberal Democrats coalition government introduced a law that allows universities to substantially raise fees from 2012. The previous maximum was set at £3290 per year, while under the new law universities can charge a maximum of a whopping £9000. This maximum was to be reserved for elite universities who would use the extra revenue to widen access to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. When announced it was generally thought that this £9000 level would generally apply only at Oxbridge and internationally renowned universities like University College London or the London School of Economics. However, most credible institutions have so far announced that fees for 2012 will be set at the maximum level. Commentators have pointed out that many universities are substantially oversubscribed due to geographic location and can afford to charge the top level of fees, despite not having an international reputation for excellence. This is particularly the case with London-based universities, which face massive demand for places. That so many institutions will now charge the top rate has also left the government facing a huge initial bill, as most students pay their fees by taking a student loan from the Crown. With the huge increase in fees, it is also expected that the average loan will take substantially longer to pay off, meaning increased future costs to be borne by the taxpayer.
Students have responded to the increases by holding large-scale riots which have received international press coverage. In one incident the motorcade carrying Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, was attacked by student protesters including Charlie Gilmour, the son of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour. University of Otago students, meanwhile, have had to deal with an average 6.3% increase in domestic fees in 2011. This is still a fair chunk of change, but pales in comparison with the increase of 280% or so that British students are facing. However, with the cost of Canterbury earthquake rebuilding likely to significantly shape this year’s budget, it remains to be seen if student loans will remain interest free. The government has not ruled out the possibility of applying interest, although Prime Minister John Key said that such a change was “unlikely”. – Gregor Whyte
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By-elections ya’ll OUSA is holding a by-election for the positions of International Student Officer and Postgraduate Representative. Elections will be held electronically from April 4 2011 at 9am, until April 7 at 4pm. 2009 International Students Representative Art Kojarunchitt is running unopposed for the position of International Student Officer in the newly restructured Executive. Three candidates have entered the ring for the position of Postgraduate Representative. Brent (Bert) Holmes, Thomas Koentges, and
Ely Rodrigues are all standing for the position. With the reinstatement of Gazebo Friday night drinks for the postgrad community, Critic is expecting a drama-free election period. Just like your standard first year student, give the postgrads their booze back, and they’re as happy as pigs in shit. There’s also going to be toasties on sale with “a variety of fillings” available. Great times by the sounds of it, although not nearly as much entertainment as seeing them all jelly wrestle at Starters. – Aimee Gulliver
Nominee for International Student Officer
Nominees for Postgraduate Representative
Brent (Bert) Holmes
Nominated by: Imran Fauzi Seconded by: Wei Lin
Nominated by: Sara Perley Seconded by: Anita Perkins
Nominated by: Sobia Zafar Seconded by: Allauddin Siddiai
Nominated by: Tom McFadden Seconded by: Zoe Patterson Ross
At this late stage in the year, you need someone who knows how to be able to come in and continue the work done straight away. I can definitely offer that to this role, as I was the OUSA International Student rep for two terms in 2009 and 2010. I have experience and can make sure that this role can be fulfilled until the year end, as I don’t need to spend the time learning about the role again. I can just go in and do it straight away. Vote Art!
Thomas Koentges (30-years old, Germany, second year of PhD in Classics): I like to lay my focus on the political representation of postgrads at the University of Otago and will try to increase their influence. I will stay approachable and hope that postgrads will make use of the possibility to talk to me in person. As an international student I am well aware of special obstacles in the life of foreign postgrads, and as a second year PhD student I know about the feeling of isolation when writing a thesis all day. I like to create a political environment in which more people are happy to take up responsibility.
WHY ME? I have been at the University as a student and a staff member for nearly seven years (too long??), I am familiar with the ways in which our University is structured, managed and developed on both sides of the fence. If elected as Postgraduate Representative, I will be your friendly go-to guy (read girl!!) for all postgrad students during the next academic year. My plans for the forthcoming year include attempting to make sure postgrads have as much fun as undergrads and ensuring the University is effectively helping postgraduate students with their time and work management.
Kia Ora, Hello all. My name is Bert Holmes, I have been living in this town my whole life. The University is the key stone to the local economy and very important to this town. However this has been eroded over time by the image of “scarfies on the piss”. We are all scarfies, but not all of us are on the piss. What we need is to create the image of a cultured student, this is generally what most post graduate students are. As part of my tenure as post grad rep I will go above and beyond to make sure that the image of Otago is not tarnished. I will also be promoting the work of those who stay on as a post grad students.
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News Critic caught up with MP Hughes while he was downin Dunedin. No, not that Hughes, the other one, Green MP Gareth Hughes. What are you down in Dunedin to talk to students about? My talk tonight is called “Unfuck the world: cheer up, the future is bright.” Ah right, did you come up with that title? Yep. I’m surveying a whole bunch of issues, from climate change to peak oil, to the crisis in the ocean to species extinction, and saying “look let’s not get too down, there are solutions for all of them so cheer up!” At the moment there’s this weird sense all around the country with the nuclear disaster in Japan, the earthquakes in Christchurch, the recession, the war in Libya. It’s all overwhelming and people are walking around a bit dazed. So I wanted to do something optimistic, but also big picture, linking all these issues together. What can students do as part of this cause? I’m looking at the policy things we could do, but ultimately the rub is that leadership isn’t going to come from politicians. Every major change in our history has come from the bottom up, from small groups of people in their communities. I come from a non-violent direct action background of Greenpeace, so I think if students want to go get arrested, if they’re doing it smart as part of a campaign, with the best of intentions, it’s really cool. Non-violent direct action has an honourable tradition in New Zealand, from the suffragettes to hari haka, to nuclear-free New Zealand. So even though I can’t break the law anymore now that I’m a lawmaker, if students want to do that, and do it smart, it’s great. With the talk tonight, I finish off talking about MMP because our electoral system is under attack. One of the most important things you can do in 2011 is to get political; make sure you enrol, make sure you vote, and make sure you vote to keep MMP. I first got to vote in 1999, my last year of high school, and that was the year Nandor [Tanczos] got in, Sue Bradford, not just these old white guys in suits. They were people talking about stuff I was interested in, so MMP has made sure our parliament has more Maori, more young
people, more gays. It’s more representative of who we are. That’s at risk if we get rid of MMP. As Green Party Spokesperson for Youth, what do you see as issues facing our youth at the moment? There are heaps of issues at the moment, youth unemployment would be the big one. 15 to 19-year olds have a 25% youth unemployment rate. Also as Tertiary Education Spokesperson, university at the moment is becoming less affordable and less accessible with universities capping enrolments and shutting the doors. I think our university system is based on an egalitarian principle: if you want to study, you are able to. The government is looking at the short-term fiscal implications and cutting the tertiary education budget, but long term that’s dumb for the economy. Coming out of a recession we want more people skilled and educated. And that’s how we’re going to have a prosperous economy. On the Green’s policy of bringing in a universal student allowance - how do you propose to make this work? It’s an investment in our people. It’s not a waste of money like the $11 billion the government is spending on motorways. At the moment some students are borrowing to live, which I think is unacceptable. I’ve got a massive student loan over my head and so do most of my mates. We just can’t possibly even think about owning a house one day because we’ve got this giant loan, overdrafts, credit cards from studying. What are your thoughts on the government’s proposal to put interest back on student loans to help pay for the damage suffered by Christchurch? It’s not fair to put the cost of the rebuild onto students. Why should one pretty marginal and vulnerable sector pay the cost? So what we’re talking about is a 1% levy, which is fair, transparent and progressive. So the more you earn the more you pay. It also takes the Critic Issue 06 –
politics out of it; the government is picking who to unfund and cut but this way everyone shares the burden. And your proposal to cap fees at $1500 per year for university students? It’s up to us to decide how we fund our tertiary education sector. Steven Joyce says over and over how generous we are in New Zealand to our students. He’s doing a bit of dodgy maths with that, because he’s not considering the fact that all of the student loan goes directly to the institutions. Whereas other countries fund the institutions directly, we go through our student loans; that’s not being overly generous. Obviously I don’t think you could do it tomorrow, you’d have to phase it in, but courses are going up and up and up and it’s hammering the whole generation, the 500,000 Kiwis with a student loan. People are staying in debt longer, and the student loans are a big reason for that. Are these some of your key selling points for students looking towards the election this year? We’re still working out what our top promise to take to this election will be, but this has been a long standing policy of the Green Party. We were pressuring Labour when they were in government to do it during the good economic weather. Have people been confusing you with Darren Hughes in the last week? Haha yeah, there have been a few people posting on my wife’s Facebook about that. – Aimee Gulliver
Top Dentistry Award for Otago Student Grace Lee (23), a fifth-year Bachelor of Dental Surgery student at the University of Otago, has been awarded the eminent Hatton International Dental Research Award this month in San Diego, California. Lee was chosen by the International Association for Dental Research for her investigation into fungal cells in the human mouth. Lee’s research identified a pump inhibitor that could be used to eventually aid anti-fungal drugs in overcoming the growing problem of drug resistance. Overall Lee was awarded the top prize against dental students from Asia, Africa, America, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. Lee is the second New Zealand student to win the Hatton award in the last four years, with Shilpa Raju winning in 2008. Both students were supervised by Dr Ann Holmes of the University’s Faculty of Dentistry. Lee told the Otago Daily Times she was “very excited” to win the award and the $US1600 prize. – Andrew Oliver
New Zealand could avoid issues of insider trading by making it a requirement for companies to reveal debt covenant violations and waivers when they occurred, and then imposing a block on insider trading whilst debt negotiations took place. – Teuila Fuatai
The only seating in Scott’s cage is the toilet. Scott said that he planned to leave the cage “only in an emergency”. Critic suggests that going and egging the poor man while he is trapped in the cage wouldn’t be very kind. – Staff Reporter
A man has taken to a cage by the side of the road on State Highway 1 for a month to protest against the treatment of battery caged hens. Carl Scott was spurred to protest by a draft code issued by the Government’s National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee. The draft code called for hens to be housed in “enriched cages”. Scott told the Otago Daily Times that these enriched cages offered each hen only a credit card sized amount of extra space.
Radio station ZM is a running a Miss University contest where ladies can post a charming photo of themselves on the station’s website and be in to win $1000 and a years supply of Subway. This competition is pretty much tailor made for first year UniCol tarts, so get your iPhones out and get posing. Most second year and above students should be dissuaded from entering as the extra pounds you packed on in first year won’t do anything for your chances. – Staff Reporter
Insider Trading University of Otago researchers Dr David Lont and Kate McCune have received international recognition for their work investigating insider share trading in the United States. Together with Professor Paul Griffin of the University of California, the pair performed an eight-year study examining the buying and selling patterns of stock within companies that faced bankruptcy. It was found that almost US$2 billion (NZ$2.7 billion) was generated through insider trading during the study period. Results revealed insider selling would increase just before the disclosure of violations for flailing companies. Insider buying would then recommence once a company had been refinanced through bank payouts. Dr Lont told the Otago Daily Times that
Taking inspiration from last week’s feature on the perils of ‘duckface’, Parekura Horomia pulls possibly the best duckface of all time. Image courtesy of Christopher Laing, who kindly posted this to our Facebook page. For more timely lols, why not ‘like’ Critic on Facebook? Critic Issue 06 –
The scene on Castle Street this week was messier than when Edward Scissorhands tried wanking. Things got out of hand as Castle Street’s road was redecorated thanks to a kind soul with a good eye for colour. He or she poured two buckets of paint on the road, one orange and one white. The perpetrator then stepped back and let cars do the hard work spreading the paint. The resulting work of art looks a lot better than the current graffiti on Castle St, as “Savage Cunts” and “Get Die or Rich Trying” aren’t exactly pieces out of Banksy’s book. These two witty and intellectually stimulating pieces of graffiti are rumoured to have been done by a mildly retarded, dyslexic South D bogan. Whoever the culprit was, they have been upstaged by the dirty white and orange lines that now cover Castle St. A large number of red cards were pulled
during the week and the cancellation of a large lock-in made way for a red card in the haunted house bathroom. The nine boys involved proceeded to have their own lock-in, commencing with the destruction of the girls’ bathroom. One flatmate felt the need to piss on another flatmate, his reasoning being “I thought he was Campus Watch”. Unfortunately for him he was “gang bashed” by the rest of the boys. Real awkward breakfast in the morning. At another red card, goon was being devoured like KFC after a blaze, and an “old time’s sake” trip to Gardies soon ensued. There were supposedly messages hidden in SoGo cans scattered in the garden, hence twenty gooned-up people were climbing trees and generally causing havoc in the desperate search for the cans. The next day
people trooped back in to find lost belongings, although one poor guy was having more trouble than the others because he can’t get back what he lost. Turns out he lost his virginity after the red card; he can’t remember anything beyond that he just woke up with an itchy dick and that empty feeling. In an unrelated matter, residents are really beginning to mourn the loss of Gardies. It is only now that the full extent of life without Gardies has been realised. Where are people meant to go for a quiet(ish) beer without being surrounded by giggling freshers? It seems as though without a safe environment to get a bit loose and pass time in the evenings, substance abuse is reaching new heights. Unfortunate yet inevitable when places like Gardies are taken away. – Sam Reynolds
At this time of year, the look around campus starts to change. Stubbies start getting replaced with warehouse bum-pants, and that healthy summer tan begins to fade into an honest Dunedin white. As well as changing colour, many first years begin to change shape too. Everybody doing first year is well aware of the dreaded “fresher five”, which refers to the inevitable weight gain that results from shit hall food and lack of physical activity. While an added spare tyre may reduce many stupid fresher’s self-esteem, it hasn’t stopped one girl from getting her leg over nearly every guy in her hall. This Knox Fox has earned herself such a reputation that her hall mates have suitably renamed her. Cute. We are well into the semester and, by this point, many first years have given up on trying to get into Med, and have decided to do
Physio instead. Despite the fact that the last thing the world needs is more physios, this does mean that there are more freshers out there keen to get on the piss and do stupid shit for me to write about. We’ve all heard of the age- old gag of crapping in a bag, lighting it on fire and putting it on someone’s doorstep. The theory is that they answer the door and stomp on the flaming bag, thus getting poo everywhere. Classic. Unsurprisingly it was a group of Arana douchebags who took it upon themselves to pull off this stunt on an unsuspecting college flat down the road. Sources tell us the stunt was executed perfectly and the boys were stoked with the outcome. The head of hall, apparently with no appreciation for the logistic coordination involved, has punished the poo-bandits appropriately. Lame. Another classic prank that we all know and
love is one known as the old switcheroo. Two Hyde St residents pulled this off magnificently with a naïve fresher last week after a red card. The boys had been right on it all evening and decided to head to town for some snooch. Flatmate #1 successfully managed to pull a girl (presumably fat). He took her home and helped her get comfortable in his room before he went off for a shower. Meanwhile, flatmate #2 strolled into the room and him and said girl were soon rutting away. As soon as he was done, flatmate #1 returned and got down to work, picking right up from where his buddy left off. Police have cordoned off the crime scene but so far no evidence of any self-respect has been found. Lol. – Lozz Holding
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Note: this article has been edited from its original version.
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Pretty Far Out, Man Features
FAR OUT, MAN As Calvin and Hobbes said, “the surest proof that there is intelligent life out there is that it hasn’t tried to make contact with us”. In December last year, New Zealand’s Defence Force uncovered fifty years’ worth of its documents on UFO sightings. These include claims that extraterrestrial life has already tried to make contact with us, even some of us here in New Zealand. Siobhan Downes takes a look at our version of the X-Files, has a word with some UFO experts and then searches the skies for good measure. Unidentified Flying Objects. Extra-terrestrials. Little green men. They’re the kind of things that we are encouraged to leave behind with childhood. Those who refuse to do so are subject to society’s ridicule. “You are all idiots”, commented one person in response to an online article about New Zealanders who claim to have witnessed UFOs. “I was abducted, probed and left in the cold. And that was just my time at Christchurch Boys’ High!” sneered another. Then, the classic insult: “I’m pretty sure it came from Uranus.” In December 2010, the subject of UFOs sparked a media frenzy in New Zealand, and around the world. The New Zealand Defence Force released to the public over 2000 documents it had received over the past fifty years; letters, emails, pictures and reports from people claiming to have seen UFOs and extra-terrestrials. Internet forums went crazy – why would the Defence Force release these files? What do they contain? “Finally they’ve ‘fessed up…” one user ominously declared. “There is something up there down under”, remarked a British journalist for the Telegraph. I had to see for myself what the hype was all about. The UFO files, which had until now been held in secrecy at Archives New Zealand, have been scanned and published online, with
the contributors’ personal details being withheld until the year 2080. Just what was inside these elusive files, kept under lock and key by the defenders of our nation? In 1995, one man claimed to have met a giant alien who was wearing “size 440 shoes”. One woman was concerned after seeing a large object in the sky and then feeling a “sensation of light rain” on her arm, although the weather was clear. Details of “football shaped” aircrafts, countless vague reports of bright lights in the sky at night…these were not the dramatic Roswell-style conspiracies that I had been hoping for. The documents were either completely bizarre or completely boring. Even UFO researchers Murray Bott, New Zealand director of international organisation the Mutual UFO Network, and Suzanne Hansen, founder of UFOCUS New Zealand, seemed disappointed with the content. “Most are just reports of lights in the sky, of very little consequence”, said Bott, whose network emphasises the need to conduct “a proper scientific approach to UFO investigations and research”. Hansen raised the question of whether some undisclosed files remained under embargo, saying that her network had, in the past, received UFO reports from Air Force personnel. “Witnesses were told at the time that if the events were publicised, the Air Force would deny all knowledge of them.”
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Features Far Out, Man People from all walks of life –including those from respected and sky-savvy professions, such as military personnel, aviation and aircraft crew members – have sighted UFOs. An experienced aircrew witnessed New Zealand’s most famous UFO sighting, the 1978 Kaikoura Lights, the account of which is also included in the released files. On December 21 1978, while flying over the Kaikoura Ranges in the South Island, a group of strange lights, some large and some small, surrounded the crew. Ten days later, a television crew was sent up in a plane to investigate further. Again the strange lights appeared, and this time they were caught on film. The footage gained worldwide attention and a governmental investigation was launched. It was concluded that the lights were probably from cities, squid boats, meteors or planets. However, the first-hand witnesses remained unconvinced, and it appears that even the government were not so sure themselves – an Air Force fighter jet was put on standby, “just in case”. To this day, the Kaikoura Lights remain one of New Zealand’s biggest UFO mysteries.
The front page of the ODT, Wednesday December 10th, 1952. Image courtesy of ODT from Hocken Archives.
The Greatest Hoax of All Time? In December 1952, a group of Knox College guys designed what was to become known as the “Great Inter-Planetary Hoax”, with the aim of deceiving the Otago Daily Times. It was genius in its simplicity: before the holidays, the students came up with a map showing two fake UFOs flying from the far north to Invercargill. They came up with precise, carefully planned details of what the UFOs would look like (one would be blue, one would be green), and where the UFOs would be at what times, so that as the students all went to their homes around New Zealand for the holidays, they would be able to report a nationwide, convincing series of sightings. All around the country, the media - especially the ODT - lapped up the students’ fake UFO reports. For twenty-six years, no one was able to explain them. UFO believers around the world rejoiced. Then, in 1978, one of the former Knox College boys finally revealed that, what had then been New Zealand’s greatest UFO mystery was nothing but a student prank. Hilarious.
It is part of the job of a ufologist, a person who studies UFOS, to attempt to decipher these mysteries. “After close scrutiny, 90% [of UFOs] become IFOs – Identified Flying Objects, because they can be explained by natural or man-made phenomena”, Murray Bott explained. As for the remaining 10%? Vicki Hyde, chair-entity of New Zealand Skeptics, details her thoughts about UFOs and aliens in her book Oddzone. “Having no proven explanation is not the same as completely defying explanation. It just means that we don’t have enough data at the moment to confidently identify what we’ve seen.” She argues that increases in UFO sightings often correlate with times of social tension, for example, during the World War II air raids, and after releases of alien-related blockbuster movies such as Independence Day. Hyde also refers to the simple fact that most of us look at the sky without knowing what we’re looking at. “Surprisingly few people these days are familiar with the night sky, as the bright lights of the cities have tended to wash out any of the background splendour of stars and planets.” Our limited knowledge makes us susceptible to hoaxes, some blatant (anything on YouTube), and some very convincing, including an elaborate UFO hoax set up by a group of Knox College students in 1952. There is also a semantic problem with the term “UFO”. For those of us brought up on E.T, when we think of UFOs, we immediately assume that aliens are behind the wheel. “The name…has the implicit assumption that the phenomenon involved has actually been identified – as an alien spacecraft”, writes Hyde. So, are we right in thinking that extra-terrestrials are paying us a visit? This is a question that divides the ufologists. “Given the vastness of space, for extra-terrestrials to have visited Earth…it appears on the face of it to be impossible,” says Murray Bott. Suzanne Hansen disagrees and thinks there is good reason for extra-terrestrial life to have visited planet Earth. “Perhaps [extraterrestrials] may focus on any planet where there is evidence that the occupants may be endangering their own existence and survival, and consequently, the safety of other ‘cosmic neighbours’. We do not have a good track record of environmental care, and nuclear technology
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Far Out, Man Features
A still from the film footage taken of the unidentified flying object sighted above Kaikoura early morning on Sunday 31st December 1978. Image courtesy of ODT from Hocken archives.
has the potential to destroy humanity.” Hansen is a vocal advocate of alien abduction theories and offers a support and counselling service for those who claim to have experienced a “close encounter” with extra-terrestrials. For some people, contact with extra-terrestrials seems to come naturally. The Aetherius Society is a self-described “UFO religion” whose teachings lie in communication with UFOs and extra-terrestrials. Its founder, a London taxi-driver named George King, claimed to be in contact with a god-like alien called Aetherius, who came from Venus. The transmissions received from this extra-terrestrial became the basis of the Society’s “Cosmic Missions”. Gordon McKenzie, the Church Minister of the New Zealand Aetherius Society, explained more. “The [Cosmic Missions] we perform are named Operation Sunbeam, the Saturn Mission, Operation Space Power, Operation Space Power Two, and Operation Prayer Power.” All of these “operations” emphasise using “cosmic energy” to help planet Earth. “We believe that the Earth is a great Cosmic being, [but] mankind is now a serious threat to this planet.” The process of one of the operations, Operation Prayer Power,
involves the Aetherius Society members directing hours of time spent in prayer into positive spiritual energy, which is stored in a box and sent to Los Angeles. The stored energy is then directed to areas around the world that have suffered from natural disasters or warfare. McKenzie assured me that Canterbury had received its dosage of Aetherius energy following the February 22 earthquake. “500 prayer hours of energy were sent to Canterbury…from our Los Angeles headquarters.” It all comes down to keeping an open mind. The universe, after all, is a big place. “UFOs exist,” stated Gordon McKenzie, “Many people think that when you die you die. Boy, are they in for a shock when they pass on!” Scientific and sceptical arguments aside, there is no doubt that the idea of UFOs and aliens have inspired some great films, literature and pop culture icons. And if keeping an open mind means we are able take a second out of our chaotic Earth-bound lives to cast our eyes to the skies every now and then…well, what’s the harm in that?
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Ghostbusters Wellington-based paranormal investigators Strange Occurrences started off as an idea for an art project, which was meant to be “a bit of a joke” until they started getting actual enquiries. With all the members having a lifelong interest in the paranormal, they realised that they would need to get themselves together and figure out how they were going to do it. By 2007 Strange Occurrences was up and running. Since then it’s been all go, with the group conducting investigations in the Wellington Town Hall and private art school Inverlochey House as well as numerous other locations. Josh Hercus interviews one of the founding members, James Gilberd, to explore the world of paranormal investigating.
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Ghostbusters Features So what’s it like conducting a paranormal investigation? What sort of equipment do you use? Well, none of the equipment you use is specifically designed for paranormal investigation. It’s all come from somewhere else. There are no such things as “ghost metres” and things like that. You use what you think will be useful and what you can get your hands on. But, really, you know, when people run around with all this equipment, they think they’re being scientific. Well it’s bollocks. It’s not about the equipment, it’s about how you apply it. It’s about scientific method. And most paranormal investigation groups haven’t got the slightest idea what scientific method is – they might say they use it, but they don’t actually understand it. It’s really about people in situations and psychology and, you know, you can check for, I dunno, short circuits in their power by detecting magnetic fields and things like that. But any equipment you use is really about trying to establish what is going on in a natural sense, like, what is actually happening naturally – not paranormally. I don’t really think you can detect ghost with equipment. You can’t photograph ghosts. Every photograph of ghosts I’ve ever seen has been either a fake, or there is no ghost there. People sorta think there is but there is just some kind of photographic effect. Okay, so on that note, how do you tell the difference between what’s natural and what’s supernatural? Well, that’s where it gets really hard. And I’ll tell you, you can never be absolutely sure. If it’s a voice on an EVP – electronic voice phenomenon tape – you’re never really certain if the voice is originating from, say, a rather loud TV in the neighbours’ house or whether it’s coming from somewhere else which we can’t explain. You cannot be absolute certain about things. And anybody who says they are certain, we immediately doubt them. I mean, people say “that is definitely a spiritual manifestation” – no, you can’t say that. We would dispute with anybody who says “that is definitely spiritual” or “that is definitely paranormal” or “that is definitely not paranormal”. You cannot be absolutely sure. What’s the creepiest thing you’ve ever found? To be honest, since we’ve been doing paranormal investigations, sometimes we take guests with us. Sometimes they think like things are going to start flying round the room and stuff like that, like in the movies. Well, if that happened, we’d be world famous. That stuff doesn’t really happen. It’s a fantasy. Usually when it does, it’s a product of the imagination. You know, something falls off a shelf and people think we’ve got a poltergeist, just because we’re there. Nothing very scary has ever happened in one of our investigations. I mean, personally I’ve had a few somewhat scary experiences before we started doing the paranormal stuff, none of which I’d definitely say would be paranormal. So, that’s kinda what led into it. But we haven’t had anything. We haven’t had a definite ghost appearance. We haven’t had any object levitating or moving, or anything of that nature that you might see in a movie. Nothing like that has happened and we don’t really expect that it will. Most of the stuff that’s happened has been quite subtle and somewhat indefinite. It may or may not be paranormal.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to get into paranormal investigation? Yeah, read a lot. Don’t take too much notice of the TV shows. I mean, they’re entertainment, right? And they don’t give you the full story. Read a lot of books. There are a lot of books out there. And there’s a whole history of paranormal investigation going back to the 1880s when the first paranormal investigations societies were formed. You don’t need to run out and buy a whole lot of equipment, that’s what most people do. But it’s not about the equipment, it’s about getting informed. And be sceptical. Like, when I say sceptical, I don’t mean immediately disbelieving, I mean use critical thinking. Don’t just believe what you read and what you’re told because most paranormal investigators are not critical thinkers. I want to see the evidence and you really have to apply that kind of thinking - show me the evidence. Where is that evidence pointing? And don’t assume a paranormal cause when it’s most likely a natural cause. Have you found much evidence in favour of the paranormal? It’s sort of cumulative. You know, if you get one thing, as I said, you can’t be certain. It’s a matter of building small pieces of evidence and putting them together and seeing if they lead you anywhere. We’ve been studying Inverlochy House, which is run as a private art school. We’ve been investigating it for, I think, three years and we’ve done a statistical experiment. We’ve only run twenty people through that experiment at the moment, so it’s very much a work in progress. But we’re publishing the results of that initial experimentation in our book. It’s not statistically significant but stuff is starting to point in the direction of there being some paranormal activity there. But I wouldn’t say for definite. It’s like court evidence. I mean no one thing is going to hang somebody. It’s an accumulation of small pieces of evidence that point to a situation. What do you say to the sceptics out there who just don’t believe in this at all, they just think this is absolutely mumbo jumbo? I’m a member of New Zealand Sceptics myself. A real sceptic is a person who wants to see the evidence before they take something as truth. The whole thing that we’re all about is actually being agnostic. We don’t know. We don’t know if there are ghosts. We don’t know how ghosts appear or how people experience them. We’re trying to find out, we’re interested. But people often say “oh, well you must believe in ghost then if you’re a paranormal investigator”. We’re trying to find evidence and if the evidence is saying there are no ghosts, then that’s what we think. If it’s saying that they are, then we’re thinking in that direction. We’re coming straight down the middle, we’re not coming from a fixed position or a polarised position. Whereas most paranormal groups are entrenched in belief. They really believe in ghosts and they’re going to prove it. That is totally not the position of Strange Occurrences and I think we’re one of the few groups that thinks like that, actually.
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Back to the Future Features
BACK to the
FUTURE A lot of us wonder about the future, but few people claim to be able to predict it. Charlotte Greenfield looks into the various forms of clairvoyance, discusses the reliability of psychic predictions, and even gets her own fortune told along the way (sort of). We’re all curious about the future. We can guess at it, make inferences about it, and hope or fear for it, but some people take this a step further and – or claim to believe – that they can tell the future. And people believe them. According to a recent study, 48.8% of New Zealanders believe in mind-reading and 32% think that psychics can predict the future. If you are so inclined, there are a lot of options to choose from. There are tarot cards and tea leaves, palm readings and bird entrails. But whatever your method, it seems that some people just have the ability and some people don’t, so don’t be too disappointed if your cup of English Breakfast or Sunday’s roast chicken aren’t revealing anything to you just yet. Critic spoke to one such person who claims to have the knack. Cassandra (not her real name) is a Dunedin clairvoyant who has had paranormal experiences since a young age. “I grew up in a haunted house. My parents weren’t in any way spiritual but odd things tended to happen to me all the time.” She got her first pack of tarot cards at the age of fifteen and now runs a business providing clients with psychic readings via phone calls. However, Cassandra identifies herself predominantly as a medium, someone with the ability to communicate with the dead, as opposed to a psychic or clairvoyant who can gain
information about objects, locations or living people through extrasensory perception. “Even now sometimes I get quite shocked about it. I often get the dead person first and then later, sometimes a year or so later, I meet the person they were trying to communicate with.” Cassandra’s claims seemed genuine; I think she believed what she was describing. However, charging for this service raises some ethical issues. When looking for employees, Cassandra requires that applicants provide evidence of extensive experience. “It’s a way of life, a lifestyle rather than a job. It carries on into their private lives in a way that a job in a shop doesn’t.” She values her psychics’ roles as counsellors as much as their paranormal abilities and requires at least five years of experience in the psychics she employs, “but the average is twenty years.” Does she ever test her psychic’s abilities? “No, it’s not something you can quantify. I wait for feedback from clients.” So there’s not a lot of quality control but Cassandra stresses “it’s not an exact science” and there are a number of problems psychics can run into. “If it’s a very quick session it can be hard to develop a link. It is hard to develop a link with a person you don’t know.” Of course a longer session also entails a more expensive one. “After ten minutes a psychic should tell you whether or not they have a connection with you as your reader.” Cassandra’s final tip when approaching a psychic is “to have an open mind. If you go in with a closed mind and certain expectations, you won’t
Critic Issue 06 –
Features Back to the Future
get the full benefit of a reading. It takes time for a reading to develop. Sometimes it will only make sense when everything falls into place a few weeks later.” I kept this in mind when I proceeded with my next step: getting “read”. However, I think I may have been a little too open-minded when ringing “Lilly” from Grace’s Psychic Circle. Lilly reminded me of my hairdresser and the conversation proceeded on a similarly vaguely awkward note. She seemed to be expecting a more specific reason for my calling than my you-can-tell-me-whatever-you-like approach. So I regrouped and asked, “where do you see my career being at in twenty years time?” She paused. “The spirit guides don’t have the same concept of time to you and I.” She paused again. “But I see you as…successful.” She then got excited. “I think you’re going to make a successful lawyer.” Which would have been impressive if I hadn’t already told her I study law. Our ten minutes was up and Lilly was clearly not going to admit, as Cassandra recommended, that we didn’t have a spiritual connection. We had run out of things to talk about so I decided to move on. Next I tried ringing Helena’s Psychics, but Lilly is clearly a more complicated person than I imagined because she picked up the phone for them as well. That was awkward.
I sighed a breath of relief when I rang Lisa’s Psychics and Lilly did not pick up. Instead I was read by Grace, a woman who understands business, and pay-by-the-minute business in particular. Even after twenty minutes I could not get her off the phone, despite the fact that she was saying absolutely nothing. She certainly sounded much more like a psychic than down-to-earth Lilly, her airy voice referring so often to “my guardian” that I soon forgot there were only two of us in the conversation. Statements of substance were not Grace’s strong point, although I can now confirm that there will soon be a man in my life and that Grace is “calling upon the spirits to send her guardian’s light to this man”. Thanks Grace, it’s nice to know your guardian’s got my back. But I’m not the only one who’s cynical. The most famous sceptic is James Randi, a performance magician who has spent his retirement challenging supernatural claims. Since 1968 the James Randi Educational Foundation has offered a prize to anyone who can demonstrate paranormal ability. Since 1996 the prize has been US $1 million. So far no one has won. This wouldn’t surprise Dr Brent Alsop from Otago University’s Department of Psychology. When asked how psychologists view the paranormal, his response was “scepticism would be a good word. It’s the sort of things psychologists joke about in the staffroom. My opin-
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Back to the Future Features ion,” - and he stresses he hasn’t looked very far into the issue, it seems not many psychologists have - “is that there is very limited scientific evidence for paranormal psychology.” There have been attempts to prove paranormal phenomena on scientific grounds since the nineteenth century. However, as Brent Alsop points out, mainstream psychology has remained wary of the findings of so called “parapsychology”, often due to the biases and lapse of scientific standards in parapsychological studies and experiments. Then in November of last year, Joachim Krueger, Professor of Psychology at Brown University, commented on a study that suggested events that have not yet happen could influence our present behaviours. “My personal view is that this is ridiculous and can’t be true. Going after the methodology and the experimental design is the first line of attack. But frankly, I didn’t see anything. Everything seemed to be in good order.” The experiment was conducted by Daryl Bem, Professor of Psychology at Cornell University. A number of well-known psychological tests were carried out on more than 1000 volunteers, however the sequence of steps in the tests was reversed. For example, in one experiment participants were given a list of words and asked to recall words from it. Later they were given words randomly selected from the same list that they had to type. Participants were better at recalling words that they would later be supplied with. This certainly does not prove paranormal activity exists but, as New Scientist magazine observed, “well established phenomena such as the ability of low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attacks are based on similarly small effects”
Less evidence than this is enough for some. Time magazine reported that the Pentagon spent US $20 million on a secret programme to employ psychics from 1985 to 1995. “Star Gate Psychics”, as they were dubbed, provided reports that were right about 25% of the time and when they were, they were “vague and general in nature” according to a CIA study of the unit. Before we get the Eagle onto this one, Critic looked into whether New Zealand taxes are being spent on the similarly dubious pursuits. Despite what Sensing Murder may have had you believe, Vivien Pulling from the New Zealand Police had a fairly unequivocal response on the matter: “������������������������������������������������������������ NZ Police do not engage psychics as part of their investigation approach. The police’s role is to interview witnesses and gather physical evidence to piece together a case that leads to an offender being identified. Most complex crime inquiries are carried out with the help of modern policing tools. Intelligence-lead policing and analytical computer tools are increasingly used to help police detect and suppress crime.” We’ll leave the police to their “modern policing tools” but, as for the rest of us, the impulse to believe in the supernatural is harder to shake. Cassandra’s relatively modest Dunedin-based business receives over 250 calls a month, so it can be assumed that there’s a significant number of people New Zealand-wide who consult psychics, let alone those who wonder about it. It seems we really want to know how our futures are going to go. I’m just not convinced that Lilly is the best person to tell us.
Critic Issue 06 –
Features Wanna be on top?
Wanna be on top? By Phoebe Harrop
It was an afternoon that left me feeling decidedly average – in both height and hotness – yet strangely entertained. Nevertheless, the first round of New Zealand’s Next Top Model, Cycle Three, Dunedin chapter, was disappointingly devoid of drama. The most exciting thing to happen was when the Edge’s speaker blew over in the blustery Dunedin conditions, smashing several windows and showering me with shards of glass. The things I endure in the pursuit of weighty journalism. The sitting around and waiting was almost as long as the auditionees’ legs, but luckily the Edge Roadrunners were on hand to placate the crowds with mildly-entertaining games and treats that the models probably felt they shouldn’t be eating anyway. Pascoes promo personnel were also handing out goodie vouchers to the delight of the multiple male auditionees. One such competitor was James, a University of Otago student and first-time auditioner. He was flanked by four friends who assured me they were there for moral support and wouldn’t be auditioning themselves. James claimed his participation was merely to gain points in some sort of flat challenge, for which the prize was a free dinner. Not prize enough, if you ask me. I suggested, hopefully, that he must be at least a bit liquored. “Sober,” he said. “Never go to a model shoot drunk.” Unfortunately this sage advice wasn’t followed by another group of hopefuls whose male flatmate had pulled his red card and sent them off to audition. The organisers soon realised that the girls, who were teetering perilously on their high heels, weren’t lacking practice, but simply sobriety and co-ordination. The girls, and their Hugh-Hefner-dressing-gown wearing flatmate, were escorted from the premises before they twisted an ankle. Other competitors had been made to come by various friends and
Critic Issue 06 –
Features Wanna be on top?
family. Ruby, 20, was encouraged by her boss, who said that she wouldn’t attend Ruby’s twenty-first party unless she auditioned. Matthew, a Genetics student, said “originally I was just supporting my friend, and then I got swept away in the drama and decided to audition”. This all raised the question of what the chances might be of a male NZNTM finalist. Matthew’s friends and I speculated that a group of guys might not be catty enough to provide the requisite television drama, but Matthew said since he was “a raging homo” he would be “so funny in the house”. In my opinion, this is an angle TV3 should definitely explore. Of course there were people there who genuinely wanted to be New Zealand’s Next Top Model. I was lucky enough to follow Ashleigh, 19, into her audition to see what went down. I have to say, the judges (Colin Mathura Jefree, Sara Tetro and series producer Emma White) were completely laid-back, down to earth and friendly. Maybe I’m just saying that because Colin said he liked my top. But they certainly made Ashleigh feel at home when she walked in the room. Ashleigh had also been a victim of the exploding-glass incident and discussions about this got the audition off to a relaxed start. The judges asked Ashleigh some questions about herself, had a look over her application form which contained key numbers like height (she’d thought she was 178cm, but the NZNTM official measurement was 175cm), waist measurement and dress size. They questioned her choice of footwear: jandals (scarfie, as bro), which she chose because heels made her too tall. The judges weren’t having any of that. “Be yourself”, advised Colin. He queried “does it intimidate boys?” Sara, once a model herself, was reassuring, saying “you get over that”. Then, the hard questions began: “Why do you want to be on Top Model?”. Ashleigh is honest: she’s toyed with the possibility for a few
years now and she wants to know if she is the kind of girl they’re after. The judges are quick to answer: “Look, you’re tall and really pretty which is pretty normal around here…We need someone we can make a model and someone we can make television with”. While saying that Ashleigh was lovely and easy to talk to, they felt she didn’t stand out enough (read: you’re so nice and normal that even with our creative filming you’d still come across as nice and normal, and that just won’t do). And with a parting compliment – “you’ve got great legs!” – the audition was over. It was surprisingly low on drama, nothing too soul-destroying. There were no TV cameras (only contestants who get a “yes” from the judges get filmed) and hence no public humiliation. Unlike, say, American Idol, the programme doesn’t capitalise on the hilarious misfortunes of first-round auditionees whose parents have convinced them they have what it takes. Quite refreshing really. Before I could ask them any curly questions, the judges asked me about Critic, declaring “we love students” and wanting to know whether Dunedin flats are as manky as we have the general public believe. I assured them that they’re not all that bad, but Colin thought that might be because I’m a prissy Law student, and he’s possibly right. My first question, “How did you become involved in New Zealand’s modelling industry?”, caught them by surprise: “Oh my gosh you didn’t ask what we’re looking for [in a Next Top Model]” said Sara. I assured her that was question number two. Sara launched her modelling career while fresh of out of school, and modelled for five years before beginning her own agency and moving into the managerial aspect of the industry. She’s extremely successful at what she does, while looking absolutely gorgeous and nowhere near her 41(ish) years.
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Features Wanna be on top?
Colin was “spotted” as a modelling talent on his first day at Auckland University and gradually his modelling career became a full time pursuit. Emma, on the other hand, has a television background. This show is her first foray into the modelling industry: “The cool thing about this show is that I get to make [television] about fashion.” When I ask whether there is a particular “look” that they’re after, the judges get bit touchy. “There’s a set criteria…which is very well-known: 170cm, 16-25.” Well, are they after someone with a New Zealand look? “What is that? It’s a multicultural country” scolds Colin. “Wherever [New Zealand’s Next Top Model] comes from, she will be a New Zealander.” It’s also a requirement that all the auditionees are New Zealand residents. “This needs to be their home…where they have an affinity with.” “[NZNTM cycle two winner] Danielle obviously looked like she was from a Maori background, which she was, that was great, that was an added bonus. But that’s not something we will say if it comes down to this one or this one, we’ll pick the best man on the day.” Speaking of men, what are the chances of James or Matthew or any other guys making the finals? “The right guy’s got to walk in,” says Sara, “if the right guy came in I’d argue his case happily.” When I suggest there might be some stigma around male modelling Colin is a bit cagey, but the judges admit there is a perception that NZNTM is only for girls, even though that’s never categorically been said. “Now more than any other time, gender has been completely and utterly inspecific [sic]…No one really cares.” Sara’s got two daughters aged eight and nine, and I was curious to know whether she’d encourage them to aim for a career in modelling. “If they wanted to pursue it they would have a massive headstart, not because I own an agency but because I know the industry inside out. And probably above anything, of all kids they know just exactly what modelling is…they don’t think it’s about being pretty. It’s a job.”
Of course, what you all really want to know is whether anyone around here is hot enough to go through to the next round. Sheree Pedersen was one girl lucky enough to get a “yes” from the judges. Sheree has only been in the country for two months but is already a permanent resident. The poor girl moved from cosmopolitan and deliciously hot Perth to the bustling metropolis of Milton and Tokomairiro High School. She has always been a dedicated Next Top Model watcher, at one point watching the American, Australian and New Zealand competitions concurrently. She’s wanted to be a model since age twelve, so understandably the thought of missing a few weeks of Year 13 in pursuit of her dream career hasn’t got her too worried. After her successful audition, she’s taken off to be photographed and filmed. The NZNTM crew will use the footage to cut down the 100 from the initial auditions to a group of 33 who will begin the show. Sheree answers questions about her move to New Zealand, her new school, her aspirations, all the while talking at ease without realising she’s being filmed. Of Milton she says “the students aren’t like me at all.. I’m the only one in my art class, one of two in my drama class.” Sheree is a natural model: when she stands to be photographed she already looks practiced. “Who taught you to stand like that?” the photographer says, obviously impressed. She has impossibly long legs, long blond hair… and a deep-seated Aussie-battler accent, but we won’t hold that against her. You never know: maybe she will be New Zealand’s Next Top Model, and show all her friends in Milton how it’s done. At the very least, she might meet some other girls who are a bit more like her. And so concluded my afternoon, a whirlwind of nervous smiles and nervous energy, but with a distinctly New Zealand twist. There was little to no drama, the judges were genuinely lovely, most of the people auditioning were only mildly attractive and a few left one step closer to becoming New Zealand’s Next Top Model.
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Opinion 32 Diatribe | 33 Debatable 34 Two Left Feet, The Eagle of Liberty | 35 Diatribe #2 36 Let’s get out of this Country, Scotty Knows Best 37 Sex and... Pain, ODT Watch 39 State of the Nation 40 Summer Lovin’ Critic Issue 06 –
DIATRIBE “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr Seuss, The Lorax Submissions on the Dunedin City Council’s Draft Annual Plan 2011/12 are due next Tuesday, April 12. This draft plan contains info on what the council plans to do in 2011/12 and over the next ten years. It describes the proposed projects and activities, how much they will cost and when they will happen. Now is your opportunity to tell the DCC whether you think that their spending priorities are crap or awesome. Are there things that the DCC should delay, reduce, delete or reinstate? Or are there things that you think the DCC should be doing that aren’t included in the draft plan? If you have an idea, now is the time to tell them! For those cynics who think that the council doesn’t care about what you have to say, they do! Every submission counts and it is even more effective if you offer to speak about your submission at a council hearing. This isn’t too scary, unless you happen to be glossophobic (afraid of public speaking). The councillors aren’t there to debate with you and, seeing as how you are paying rates (albeit inadvertently through your landlord), you might as well make the most of your money’s worth and make the councillors listen while you tell them exactly what you think of them the Draft Annual Plan. This year the council has two submission forms for feedback on content in the Draft Annual Plan. The first is for comments on proposals in the Draft Annual Plan, or any additional ideas, and can be found here: http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/your-council/draft-annual-plan/draft-annualplan-2011-12-submission-form. Some ideas for submissions may include (but are not limited to) the Southern Cycleway, the Climate Change Adaptation Plan, or making recycling available to businesses and residents in the inner city. The second form is an optional questionnaire specifically for feedback on the Draft Revision of the Development Contribution Policy. Currently, property developers are charged a “development contribution” to meet the increased demand that new properties add to services, but these are mostly limited to “greenfield” sites that have been re-zoned to provide for growth. The DCC is proposing applying these charges to all development projects, which would include new commercial and industrial buildings, subdivisions, and new halls of residences (God forbid!). Think that this doesn’t affect you? It does! If the council is able to collect development contributions, it is able to recover the cost of funding infrastructure upgrades such as water and wastewater, roads, reserves and community facilities. This is a fairer method of funding new infrastructure than through rates or loans. Basically, developers will be paying more of the costs associated with development, so your average ratepayer (i.e. your landlord, parents, or maybe even you if you’re lucky enough to own your house) will be better off and your rent will be ever so slightly cheaper. The policy and eight-part questionnaire can be found at http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/yourcouncil/draft-annual-plan/draft-development-contributions-policy. If you find the process a bit confusing and would like some light shed on the situation, or would like to see Students for Environmental Action Otago’s submission (or even write a submission in support of SEA Otago) email email@example.com. Get submitting! – Sharon Lequeux (on behalf of SEA Otago) Want to get your angry voice heard? Write us a 500 word diatribe on whatever grinds your gears, and it could be featured on this page. Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org by 4pm Wednesday.
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Debatable Debatable is written by the Otago University Debating Society, which meets for social debating every Tuesday at 7pm in the Commerce Building. This week’s moot is “that there is an afterlife”. Nancy El-Gamel argues the affirmative while John Brinsley-Pirie argues the negative.
I often hear the line “I don’t believe in an afterlife, I believe in science” and my response to these people is threefold. Firstly, there needs to be an explanation that science and religious belief are not mutually exclusive; one can believe in an afterlife and evolution, you simply need to put the “God made evolution happen” thing in there. The second point is that to not believe in something because science can’t prove it is not only bad science, it is just stupid. The whole idea of science purports that we don’t yet know everything - that’s why we are looking - so to just wave away something because the idea doesn’t appeal is based on ignorance. If an individual wants to take it upon themself to use science and logic to help support their belief in no afterlife, they need to prove the following: an absolute negative that there is no afterlife. Proving an absolute negative implies that one has looked everywhere and not found what one is looking for. Now nobody can claim that they have looked everywhere and not found an afterlife; the very nature of the afterlife means that you cannot have plausibly looked everywhere (you need to be dead, right?). So for someone to claim that they do not believe in the afterlife means that they do so without evidence or reason on their side; how does that make it a better belief than if you do believe in an afterlife with no reason or logic? Well, this is my third point. Since we have shown that neither reason nor logic exist on either side, we now turn to the flowery and emotive arguments. On one hand, we have the idea of hope, hope that our lives are not meaningless and we will exist past the decay of our flesh. And on the other we have “life is about me and we should treat it as such”. So we have a life where there is hope of redemption if we have been morally wrong, and hope that we will never truly be gone, or we have an egotistical view of the world where live is about the individual only. Which would you rather have? – Nancy El-Gamel
Dying is a fact of life. Although we hate to admit it, we end up burned or in the ground. Our bodies are left to decompose or be swept to sea. We have very little choice in the matter and, as much as we try to delay our demise, I am afraid to say that when the end comes, that is it. We have had our one shot, our chance at a happy life, and hopefully most of us have succeeded in the goals we set for ourselves. For us to think we are more than atoms and particles is egocentric. To believe that we have a “soul” or “energy” is wishful thinking. If all living things had “souls”, the afterlife would be filled with not just us, humans, but also animals, plants, bacteria, viruses. The list goes on. We would end up with a world very similar to our own. This is probably what led to the theory of reincarnation but unfortunately the world is finite. We can’t be reincarnated again and again. Eventually there will be nowhere for us to be reincarnated to. Would we just be souls, floating through space? As heaven and hell must be mentioned in this article, it is important for me to first tell you that I am an atheist, a strong one. The idea of an omni-God (one that is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving) I find mildly comical. An all-loving God would prevent all the evil He (or She) possibly could. An all-powerful God would be able to prevent all evil that He (or She) wanted to. Therefore, if an omni-God existed, there would be no evil. The recent events in Christchurch and Japan are proof that evil exists, along with other painful events that weren’t natural, Germany under Hitler for one example. The fact that there is evil proves there is no God in the way religious books claim there is, and therefore believing in heaven or hell (both created by religion) is like believing in Mordor. Lord of the Rings may be a very popular book but that doesn’t make it real. It would be nice to think that when our time is up, we magically get given infinity to play around with. Believing in an afterlife should lead people to live their lives for others, helping others and making them happy, even at the expense of one’s own happiness. Although this isn’t a bad ideology to live by, I hope you don’t get disappointed when you have lived your whole life trying to make other people happy only to find, when you are six feet under, that you never receive the eternal happiness you deserve. – John Brinsley-Pirie
Critic Issue 06 –
Two Left Feet
Many people are fond of dismissing socialism, or castigating others as socialists, without actually knowing what socialism is. They get away with this because typically their target audience is similarly ignorant. Hence the continued survival of ACT. The more insane one gets, the more prone one is to portray socialism as the bogeyman, some sort of nefarious force responsible for all the world’s pain and suffering (similar to how Borat sees the Jews). Swivel your head a few degrees to the right and you may well witness this rather sad phenomenon firsthand. Socialism is the extreme left-wing theory that society’s “means of production” should be owned by workers, not by individual capitalists, and that free markets should be replaced with a planned economy. The economy is to be controlled democratically and governed by the principle “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need”. To claim that Labour is a “socialist” party is laughable. LOL. ROFL. LMFAO. Etc. For the last 25 years Labour has been centre-right and pro-business. Even the Greens are centre-left at best. The main economic problem with socialism is that in an egalitarian system without a competitive job market, it is difficult to arrange incentives to ensure that people will give “according to their ability”. The need to incentivise hard work has in practice often led to totalitarianism in socialist countries, and the vast concentration of power in the hands of the state under socialism tends to facilitate this. Also, the centralisation of economic decision-making power creates massive inefficiency, since production becomes unresponsive to changing local circumstances and individual preferences. Thus, even if the system remains broadly egalitarian, people will tend to end up worse off than they were under capitalism. These problems make it more practical to try and achieve the socialist aims of fairness and relative equality through a regulated market economy with a strong welfare state. This approach, known as social democracy, focuses not on replacing capitalism, but on regulating and reforming it to create more humane and just outcomes. Some degree of regulation by the state will always be needed, due to the effects of market failures associated with, for instance, externalities, monopolies and public goods. However, many types of social harm cannot be quantified in economic terms. Hence, social democrats extend the concept of a market failure to include moral wrongs such as inequality, exploitation and threats to human dignity. But to characterise such an ideology as “socialist” is a gross distortion, since it is based on the creation of wealth through markets. – Sam McChesney
The Eagle of Liberty
The Eagle vs Feminism The Eagle is the undisputed king of the roost, and the Eagless knows her place – out of sight at the back of the nest, preparing fish, small rodents, and all the other things eagles love to eat. Really? Is that what feminists think goes on in the male mind? Or is it that feminism is an outdated, irrelevant movement clung to by young women looking for a cause to identify with? The Eagle loathes seeing his eaglets waste their energy on such frivolousness. It’s time to give feminists a cause worth fighting for – the never-ending struggle of liberty against the controlling forces of socialism. The basic argument of feminism is that women are oppressed by men, and feminists have a victimhood mentality that remains to this day, despite the fact that NZ women are doing amazingly well, including outperforming males at universities. A long time ago, women really were oppressed, and feminists fought for equality – they were deservingly granted the right to vote in 1893. Unfortunately, the Eagle wasn’t around back then to ensure they quit while they were ahead. So feminists pushed further, far past the stage of equality, demanding exclusive rights and privileges for women. That’s when things started to go wrong – in recent times, feminism is actually making life worse for women. Thanks to feminism, female quotas were imposed in government departments. Result: genuinely talented women are suspected of being mere tokens. Feminism fail. But the truly epic feminism fail is maternity leave legislation. In 1987, Labour decided to ban women from accepting jobs that didn’t have a clause providing for fourteen weeks maternity leave upon pregnancy. Feminists constantly protest about the “pay gap” between men and women but, thanks to the compulsory clauses, women simply provide less value to employers. Who wants to employ someone who might suddenly take fourteen weeks off work? Imagine instead if a 24-yearold woman intended to start a family at 28, and she was allowed to alter the clause to provide for maternity leave only from age 28 onwards – the employer would gain reassurance and certainty and would be able to pay her a far higher wage. Sadly, socialists don’t want women to have choices. Feminists are faced with a choice. Do you want real equality? If so, join the Eagle in fighting to get rid of legislation that impairs women’s liberty. Or do you think the way to get “equality” is by passing legislation that forces women to ruin their career prospects? If so, the Eagle is reminded of a joke: Q: How many feminists does it take to change a lightbulb? A: None – feminists can’t change anything. I am Eagle, hear me squawk, – The Eagle
Critic Issue 06 –
DIATRIBE #2 On the 25th of March some 500,000 people took to the streets in London to protest the proposed cuts to public spending by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government led by David Cameron. Half a million people (the figure reported by the Guardian) is an awful lot of people and, one would assume, a newsworthy number of people. It’s more than four times the population of Dunedin! Yet, at 10am New Zealand time on Sunday morning, some 12 hours after the protests began in the UK, there was not a single mention of this on stuff.co.nz. In fact, the only mention I found of the protests in any New Zealand based news outlet was a tiny and buried story on the TV3 news page. Huh? THEN about an hour later a story appeared on stuff, copied and pasted from the Associate Press, which stated that protesters in the UK were concerned that the anarchic and violent actions of a few, had overshadowed the peaceful message of many. This story then proceeded to overshadow the peaceful message of many by elaborating on the anarchic and violent actions of a few. Naturally, there were lots of spectacular images of fire and broken windows. It all looked a bit like a Castle Street riot really. Nowhere was there a photo of the thousands of peaceful protestors or of UK Labour leader Ed Miliband speaking to the crowd at Hyde Park and nowhere was there an explanation for why 500,000 ordinary Brits had taken to the streets. NOWHERE.
case of the UK protest, it’s not as much the sensationalism that grinds my gears, as the fact that it received practically no coverage in the New Zealand media at all. Half a million people protesting against their government is newsworthy goddammit! Is it possible that other major world events have gone unreported here in the past? Has the information revolution helped our isolated nation at all?? What this has taught me more than anything, is that you cannot rely on populist news websites for extensive and balanced coverage of international current affairs. (I should probably lump domestic affairs in with this - last week amidst a potential Labour Party leadership coup stuff.co.nz led their website with a story about Daniel Vettori’s facial hair. No joke). This is perhaps an obvious conclusion, but an important one. If you desire to know about the happenings on our planet, that don’t involve cats stuck in trees or vegetables resembling pop icons, don’t rely on stuff.co.nz. Read around! The internet is bursting with all kinds of interesting information that, apparently, New Zealand journalists cannot be bothered to find. – Niki Lomax
The news media here and worldwide is often sensationalist and enjoys reporting on emotion, blood, strife and fire. (Did anyone else find the plethora of apocalyptic headlines in relation to the nuclear disaster in Japan completely unnecessary? On March 15th the Dominion Post’s front page literally read “APOCALYPSE NOW”). However in the
Critic Issue 06 –
Opinion generally feel at home in t-shirts and shorts. It’s also more expensive and further away than Sydney but offers more than Sydney’s city life plus beaches. In Melbourne, it’s a matter of knowing where to go for what you want. You can’t arrive in the middle of the CBD and expect your wildest dreams to be fulfilled. You can expect a small Hare Krishna place where you can get unlimited vegetarian food for $5 if you’re a student (they never check). Most people haven’t discovered this place yet, but every day there are a few small streams of students who trickle down the road from uni to get their cheap lunch. If this isn’t your thing, there is a street dedicated to the best international food in Melbourne, where Italian and Greek are specialties. If you’re not too fussed on food, at least grab some Hungry Jack’s.
s get out of Let’
Melbourne When it’s raining outside, your flatmate has left a massive pile of dishes for you again and your Studylink weekly transfer has disappeared into the power account, travel plans get a bit smaller. Many people don’t have the money or time to go too far away, and the idea of a foreign language and new, weird social rules can be a bit scary. Everyone’s easy solution: Australia. Sure, it’s the place where you’re most likely to be accidentally killed, but if you stick to the big cities you should be alright, right? Not really, no... In spite of being a serious risk to your life, Melbourne is a pretty cool place to start. Australians often bitch about it being cold there but Kiwis
Sk cotty nows b
I’ve just started my first part-time job that isn’t in the family business and it ain’t going well. My boss is a complete hard-ass and I’m not getting along with any of my coworkers. Can I solve the problems or should I just move on? It sounds to me like you’re just having trouble adjusting. Ultimately work is hard. Often the part time jobs you have at uni are pretty scummy and sometimes you just have to suck it up. You sound like a whingy mamma’s boy; you’re in the real world now and your new employers won’t cut you the same slack.
The trams are pretty fun, not too strictly regulated, always bustling and mingling into the traffic in such a way that pedestrians are aware enough of them to not linger on to the track at inopportune times. They can be slow though, and your trip to a beautiful Australian beach could take you about half an hour if you wanted to get from the CBD to St Kilda, for example. This is the home of a great beach for sailing, swimming and dredging (the locals get a bit pissy on that last one). Once there, you can enjoy some travel time in the sun without feeling too far away from home. – Bridget Gilchrist
They won’t know that you need slack cut either. This may sound really obvious, but if you are struggling let them know. They can’t do anything if they don’t know. Your parents would know what was going on in your life without you having to inform them, but your boss won’t (this doesn’t mean your boss wants to hear all the details though). There are some things that you can do to make it easier. Workplace cultures can be hard to crack. I hope you’re not one of those people who needs everybody to like them, that’s just pathetic! Work is easier with mates. If you just stick your head down and work hard you’ll gain respect from your co-workers and bosses. Good things take time. No one likes the new guy, but you won’t be the new guy forever! We all face shitty jobs. As Dolly Parton put it in “9 to 5”, “In the same boat with with a lot of your friends/And the tides gonna turn, and it’s all gonna roll your way”. Really what the movie and song were about was that hard work does get rewarded; work hard and in the end it Critic Issue 06 –
does actually work out. These days will build character (turn the cliché dial up to 10) and make you stronger in the workforce later on. I may sound a little harsh. I’ve worked with some idiots. However, there is absolutely no reason to stand for unlawful or unreasonable treatment. Being harassed or bullied in the workplace is not okay. If you have sincere concerns about the way you are being treated in the work place, the employment relations page on the Department of Labour website www.dol.govt.nz is a great place to start. They also have guides on how you can help yourself. If it’s bad enough that you need help from someone outside of your workplace, Citizens Advice Bureau www.cab.org.nz can point you in the right direction. Have a problem you need help solving? Email it to us at email@example.com. We’ll help you out.
SEX PAIN AND
Another week of ODTs, another week of unintentional humour from the ODT team. What better way to start the week than with a brand new bunch of ODT puns? This week, the ones that took the cake were suspiciously both sister-related.
Needless to say, I refer not to the emotional turmoil that, even for the most sexually evolved (read: whorish) of us, can still occasionally be an unwelcome side effect of coitus and its many related acts. No, I’m talking about real pain. The crack of a whip, the sting of leather on skin, a well-timed hair pull or sharp slap - it’s all good. Unless there’s no sex involved, in which case we are all well aware that It’s Not Okay (I don’t know about you, but personally the whole domestic violence message never really sank in until local celebs started appearing on my TV screen during Campbell Live ad breaks. There’s simply nothing like the intellect, charisma and charm of a regular photographic subject of Spy by Rachel Glucina to add some much-needed gravitas to a frivolous cause). However, as with many things in life – such as monogamy and sobriety – when it comes to bondage, moderation is needed. After an awkward familial gathering one summer at which the odd welts on my exposed upper back became the subject of raised eyebrows and unpleasant, stilted conversation, I have learnt that it is in fact possible to have too much of a good thing. One could argue that I should have learnt that the year before when excessive cocaine consumption caused my nose to spontaneously burst forth into a bloody stream at inconvenient moments. Then again, maybe one should simply shut up and let me gently usher you into the ways of the whip with my Official Hot or Not List: BDSM edition. Hot – Leather corsets. Not – Latex gimp suits. Far too Pulp Fiction. Bruce Willis and John Travolta should stay far, far away from the bedroom. Hot – Whips. Not – Medical instruments. Too evocative. Nothing is more distracting during “playtime” than a nagging worry about whether you should get that suspicious mole on your forearm checked out. Hot – Suspenders (on women). Not – Suspenders (on men). Hot – Strap-on belts. Not – Chastity belts. Google Image search them, it’s like listening to a continuous loop of the Mt Eden Dubstep remix of Rebecca Black’s “Friday”. A final word of warning: we’re going for badass kink here. Please, don’t be that person who gets their rocks off via auto-asphyxiation whilst chained up in a closet with a plastic bag over their head and an orange in their mouth. Especially while listening to anything by Mt Eden Dubstep and/or Rebecca Black. – Mrs John Wilmot
Oh dear. Please let us be super city instead. Fantastic city? Even quite cool city, we’re not that picky.
We’re not sure what this was about, but it’s just awful. Is it cleverer to form a pun from similar sounding words that look different, or from similar sounding words that look the same? God knows. This is the sort of question we hoped we’d never have to ask. Also in the news this week, Dave Cull and his strangely cardboardcut-out looking buddy hang out by some rubbish bins. Just jokes, it happened in November. ODT just needed a rubbish related jack-in-theboxes-esque photo to accompany a letter complaining about rubbish.
Alas, this week ODT made a slight error. In their sports section, usually reserved for long-winded rundowns on everything from horse racing to dog racing, they placed an article on theatre. A theatre review in the sports pages? Perhaps it was a bid to get sports fans into the Fortune. Sure, the play was about cricket, but a play about cricket and playing cricket are fairly different. Fail. Luckily, the ODT made up for their mistake with a rather nice “dramatic” photo. That ought to get the sports buffs along to the theatre.
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Annabel Langbein has had a busy year so far, travelling through the Europe and the US over the past few months to launch her TV series (now syndicated in 74 markets around the world) and cookbook, The Free Range Cook. You may know her as a friendly face on television or perhaps as the woman on your mum’s Christmas present. She’s a delightful cook, a bit of a storyteller and, as Georgie Fenwicke found out last week, quite an astute businesswoman.
You’re in Wanaka at the moment, what is keeping you busy down here? I am doing some filming and my garden is in the most amazing shape. It’s harvest time and we haven’t had a frost here yet so everything is going mad. What is coming up nicely at the moment? I have a whole row of zucchinis and some of them are these lovely paella ones. I have been picking chillis and artichokes. I’ve harvested my big crop of onions and corn! First corn yesterday, it was so sweet. It is just so good. I boiled it for just three minutes then I rolled it in olive oil, coriander and chilli. How did your arrangement with the international media company Freemantle come about? I did this book called Eat Fresh about four years ago when Youtube had just started. I thought, “Gosh! There are 24,000 cookbooks published every year. I am going to make something that stands out. Why don’t I make some little clips and make the book interactive so you could go online?” If you look at Eat Fresh there are about ten recipes in there with little symbols which mean that you can go online and get a little two minute cooking lesson. It starts in the garden and finishes around the table. Freemantle saw them and they said, “you’ve got something really great there.” You’ve done a lot of travelling throughout your life, not just this year. Is this where you discovered what you have termed “the universal language of food”? I think so. I hadn’t ever imagined that I was going to be cooking and I think my mother knew that I was a cook well before I did. She wanted me to do Home Sciences down in Dunedin as she’d done that. I, being a rebellious teenager, certainly wasn’t going to do that. But it didn’t matter, wherever I went I was always cooking and food was kind of the central thread all the way through. Food is a bridge between commu-
nity and nature and our family and friends, and it is also a really powerful way to explore your own creativity. You have listed your mother as one of the major culinary influences in your life, but also Julia Child with whom you communicated quite a bit. How did you get in touch with Child? I wrote her a letter and said I am mad about food and I have done this and I have done that but I don’t know what else to do. She wrote back and said there is this organisation called the American Association of Culinary Professionals. I went along to the conference in Seattle and I didn’t know anyone but the people were so welcoming. I networked like crazy and five people I met there are still really good friends with whom I regularly keep in touch. One of them was President Mitterand’s private chef; she was a French woman and has been a mentor right through. I met another woman who had a big catering business in Toronto, and another who was into supermarkets, and another who was into styling. It opened up a world of where you could take this as a career because then, in the mid Eighties it hadn’t really started. What is the one recipe that an Otago student should know how to cook? You probably need something that doesn’t cost too much money. I wonder if you should think about something like a potato gratin. You could make a meal out of potato gratin. If you want, you can put bacon in it, peas and all kind of things. It is one of those things that you can have in the face of a long, cold, Dunedin winter.
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Critic Issue 06 –
Opinion Summer Lovin’
brought to you by:
In a city where romance consists of drunkenly holding hands while walking home, and dates are a post-town pre-root Big Mac, it seems dating, at least in the American television sense, is dead. In Summer Lovin’, Critic sets up two lucky students on a blind date (courtesy of the lovely people at Toast), complete with a bar tab and positive vibez, in an attempt to prove that Dunedinites can date. The only catch: the love birds each divulge all the salacious details of their date in a short snappy article after the fact. If you want the chance to meet your very own Romeo or Juliet, or to at least get some free booze and Critic space, email your age/gender/interests/cell number/sexual orientation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The only thing that he wasn’t was FAT. What he was, however, was short, ginger, hairy, but mostly...special. Very special. Pre-date: 2 x Jäger + Red Bull = drunk. After spotting the lonesome, furry orangutan at the bar, I realised that the several hours of outfit deliberation had been utterly in vain. As he stood to shake my hand all remaining hopes were dashed. After some painful banter, I proceeded to steer the topic of conversation in my direction, knowing full well that anything that came out of my mouth was undoubtedly more engaging than his pathetic bleatings. Prior to arriving I had decided that he would choose the drinks. DRINK #1: a fruity berrylicious affair. Not the first indicator that he was not of the alpha male persuasion. I kept talking, we kept drinking. I busted out a cheeky “I’ve got to go to the little girls’ room!” The bathroom was an oasis compared to the dry chat the ginger was serving up. I checked all potential escape routes. The search was futile and a desperate S.O.S. text was sent to all contacts: “GET TO TOAST ASAP!!!” DRINK #2: Creamy gingerbread-flavoured shaker. That was the only ginger I wanted inside of me. Ever. DRINK #3: Snickers shot. Two flatmates finally responded to S.O.S. Safety in numbers. DRINK #4: A craving for Long Island iced teas took the four of us to Di Lusso. We all took turns in enduring conversation with the munchkin while the others flirted with the knee-bucklingly bangable bar tender. DRINKS #5, #6, #7: A Spanish Inquisition-style interrogation yielded no information of interest. He claimed to have dabbled in a touch of martial arts and bodybuilding. I can’t imagine much worse than that oiled up fireball. Clearly the only tin he had been throwing around in recent times was the kind that gives a lovely sweet aroma when smoked. With classic one-liners like “I get blazed or drunk every night” and “I’m one of those rich kids” it was hard not be smitten. Luckily he left while we were otherwise engaged in drunken banter with some seedy Germans over country-fried chicken at Willowbank. Damn that’s good chicken. Basically, the evening can be summed up in three simple words: FUCK YOU CRITIC.
The great thing about going on a blind date is you get to show any side of yourself that you want. Should I go scarfie, or classy? Smart and intellectual, or stoned and inebriated? My sister gave me some great advice, to just be myself. Which of course meant turning up kind of drunk. It was cool though, because apparently that’s the same thought my blind date had, so conversation flowed easily from the get go. Oh, and she was hot, fucking score. No jumping out the bathroom window for me tonight. After finding out from the bartender the cheapest way to get drunk(er), we chilled at the bar for a while doing shaker shots and getting to know each other. Fuck those things taste good. Sneak up on ya too. After a relatively big mystery zone, we then sat in the booth having drunken chats about God knows what. Stuff like did you know you can actually get toasties at Toast? No shit. Her flat mates subtly arrived to get a look in and to see how it was going, only to find us both smashed and keen to keep going. I have no idea who it was that floated the idea of getting Long Island ice teas, but I nonetheless hold it against them. We left Toast for Di Lusso to get more drinks, and had more shots and those dreaded ice teas. They sound cool but it’s like drinking a glass of tequila. Once it hit about midnight we all decided to throw it in, and her sober flatmate took us all to Willowbank. Drunk threshold reached, I gave my date a hug and walked home to bed. Completely forgot to even ask for her number; I wasn’t too drunk to fuck, I was too drunk to txt. Whoops.
Critic Issue 06 –
Review 42 Film; My Wedding and Other Secrets, Limitless, Certified Copy, Get Low, Cult Film 44 Art; Art and Fashion | 46 Music; Bassnectar, Lines of Flight 48 Books; Master of Reality, Day Walks of New Zealand, Canterbury and Kaikoura 49 Theatre; A Model Millionaire, The Most Massive Woman Wins 50 Games; Dinner Date | 51 Fashion | 52 Food; Gnocchi Critic Issue 06 –
Editor Sarah Baillie
My Wedding and Other Secrets
Limitless Director: Neil Burger
Director: Roseanne Liang Chinese New Zealander Emily (Michelle Ang) is a disappointment to her family. Ignoring her parents’ ambitions for her career as a doctor, she’s enrolled herself in film-making school. Things get really bad when she falls for the man of her dreams, James (Matt Whelan) – an awkward RPG-player – who is decidedly un-Chinese. The unfolding relationship is endearingly geeky. It’s also foodcentric. In a lot of Emily and James’ romantic scenes they are eating, sharing ‘mixed bag’ (geddit?) lollies and bubble tea. Their cultural differences, too, are explored through food. Emily is incredulous at James’ obsession with cereal. He, meanwhile, refuses to eat Chinese delicacies such as chicken feet, which is more disrespectful than he realises, causing the couple’s first fight. When Emily learns having a husband will increase her student allowance, the two secretly marry. But Emily still can’t work up the courage to even admit his existence to her parents, pushing James’ love to its limits. Eventually, though, the secret has to come out. The film has a strong New Zealand flavour. The kitsch décor of James’ flat, scarfie touches like the cheapo student wedding in the park, and James’ grey bum-pants all make you feel like you’re watching something that could have taken place down the road. The portrayal of Chinese culture is equally honest. The film is based on Liang’s own life, and the Chinese family dynamic is brought to life particularly well. The threat of disownment looms for Emily when her parents meet James. It’s hard for an outsider to the culture to sympathise with the parents’ perspective. Emily’s love for them, though, helps her, and us, to understand them in the light of their foreign, complex culture. In fact, the family relationships are more intriguing than Emily and James’ own, which is sweet but bland, a lot like eating lollies and drinking bubble tea. Their formulaic love story is redeemed, though, by the skill and chemistry of the two leads. Ultimately, what sets My Wedding and Other Secrets apart from other soulless rom-coms is its sincerity. As well as a soul, it has a quirky, oddball personality that it’s hard not to warm to. – Nicole Phillipson
Limitless is another action/techno-thriller packed burger on the McFilm production line which director Neil Burger (get out!) was managing with his clipboard while dressed in his cute McFilm uniform. “What is in this McFilm burger?” you ask, looking at me doe-eyed, holding your little hat scrunched up in one hand. A McFilm burger is made up of entirely American produced ingredients. Firstly, there are the white plump buns. These may represent the buns of the protagonist’s sculpted ass or the side-line love interest who is only there to make us swell with sexual lust/romantic ideals. Lame. But what else makes a McFilm a McFilm? The second taste is of one limp red tomato resembling a plot line. Hmm, this tomato tastes synthetic and reused. Discovered next with initial delight is an exotic green capsicum that embodies the snappy voice over attempting to bring dark humour to the film (thoughts of a Coen brother’s film where Brad Pitt voice fills your heart with want for an old men seducer). Wait, that’s not capsicum, it’s just a piece of dry cucumber pretending to look like capsicum. Fuck. Oh film goer, I fear this film burger is tasting a bit confused. Perhaps it’s the lack of logical coherency. Now I can taste the BBQ sauce. It reminds me of good, experimental cinematography that imitates the speed and intensity of what someone with complete access to the information in their brain would feel. But why does this burger taste so incomplete? Oh! It’s missing a good meat pattie! There’s just no central bit that provides the consumer with what they want. All you’re left with is a misplaced piece of salami, meat that just is too random and thin to be satisfying. Kind of like the ending of the film when the protagonist is suddenly running for New York’s senate which made me WTF a little bit. Sure, we can see that there is money behind the McFilm franchise, but really movie goers are getting fat on American films like Limitless. The worst thing about this film is that the average audience member is all too happy to order it with a choc top ice cream at their next McFilm splurge. Change your diet I say. Check out Mint DVD rentals; get an education. – Loulou Callister-Baker
Critic Issue 06 –
Editor Sarah Baillie
Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Director: Aaron Schneider
French films are always quite beautiful and this one is no exception, with a stunning performance by Juliette Binoche which won her the Best Actress award at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. The emotion on her face makes you giggle then vaults you into the depths of depression two minutes later, leaving you gasping desperately for Hollywood productions to get hold of some similarly good actors. The film itself is a fascinating mind-fuck about the nature of relationships. What’s particularly great is that although its central theme is romance, it’s a mile away from being a chick-flick because it’s actually complex. And it’s probably the only one I’ve seen without a crappy sex scene- so if you’re a guy who frequents Monkey Bar then I wouldn’t recommend it. You never learn the name of Binoche’s character, but basically she goes with her creepy son to a book talk by British art writer/critic/philosopher/asshole James Miller, who’s just written Certified Copy, and seems to fall instantly in love. In a typical French film sorta way she then meets up with him, but you spend the rest of the film trying to work out whether or not he’s her husband of fifteen years, as the cliché is turned upside-down and she tries to recreate the love they (may have) once had. Both central characters have severe personality defects and neither ever listens to the other but this creates a wonderful, stark contrast against a charming Tuscan setting. Which leads onto the next great aspect of this film; the shots are gorgeous. You’ll find yourself watching the roofs of a street reflected in a passing car windscreen rather than the two characters driving and talking, characters who are often only seen reflected in windows and Vespa mirrors. Dialogue too is a central aspect in the film and there’s no musical soundtrack, but it’s honestly quite perfect that way. Round all this off with an ambiguous ending – something which made you either love or hate Inception – and if you go with your coffee mates then you’ve got a film which will provide you with conversation about the nature of the romance genre for weeks. – Zane Pocock
I would have to describe this film as a pleasurable stroll in the woods; uneventful, but you’re glad you went along anyway. The performances are honest and calmly understated and while the script and story could use some work, the cinematography and acting are good enough to carry this one across the finish line. Get Low (a title which would be more at home if appended to ‘Step Up 3’, or possibly 4?) is the story of lonely hermit Felix Bush (Robert Duvall), who decides to plan and attend his own funeral whilst still alive. To accomplish this bizarre feat he enlists the help of local funeral director Frank Quinn (Bill Murray) and his fresh faced (and aptly named) assistant Buddy Robinson (Lucas Black). Throughout the course of the funeral planning we slowly learn more about Felix’s character and mysterious past, as he comes into contact with an old flame (Sissy Spacek) and ageing friend and Reverend (Gerald McRaney). The story reluctantly tapers away from its original premise, and turns itself into an old man’s wish to unload the burdens of a troubled but largely uneventful life. Don’t go in holding your breath for a dramatic finish because you might not make it out alive. For a first time director it is an admirable accomplishment, but a particularly meandering story line is what will no doubt take this film to the edges of obscurity. Rescued from the brink by a genuinely heartfelt performance by Duvall, it’s really hard to say either bad or good things about this largely forgettable tale. It is easy to appreciate the intimate camera shots, but equally easy to be disappointed by the soft ending. You will leave the cinema about the same as you went in, mildly interested and feeling quite happy you got out of the house and went to the movies, but it could be the nostalgic experience of ‘going to the pictures’, rather than the film itself that’s to blame. Try watching this just to pass judgement on it, it’s harder than you’d expect. Summed up in one word: pleasant. – Tom Ainge-Roy
Film Society When: 7.30pm, Wednesday 6th April Where: Red Lecture Theatre, located near the side entrance of the Scott building, across the road from the emergency entrance of the Dunedin Public Hospital on Great King Street. See http://dunedinfilmsociety.inzight.co.nz for membership info.
Breach Director: Billy Ray (2007) A rookie agent must spy on his intimidating superior in this suspenseladen thriller set in the headquarters of the FBI. “Filled with tension, deception and bravura acting, Breach is a crackling tale of real-life espionage and a compelling psychological drama.” – LA Times
Critic Issue 06 –
Editor Sarah Baillie
of the Week
Pink Flamingos (1972) Director: John Waters Cast: Divine, David Lochary, Mink Stole, Mary Vivian Pearce, Edith Massey, and Danny Mills
A movie based on a battle for the ‘Filthiest Person Alive’ is bound to push the boundaries of cinematic taste; this film is not suitable for those weak of stomach or easily offended. Heck, even difficult-to-offend people may struggle. Divine has recently been crowned the filthiest person alive by a newspaper and the ensuing fame has forced her to hide out in a caravan somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona. Living with her is her egg-obsessed mother Edie who lives in a playpen, her son Crackers, and her travelling companion Cotton. After reading about Divine’s accolade, fellow filth mongers Connie and Raymond Marble attempt to out-filth Divine’s clan and destroy them. The Marbles are pretty disgusting – they earn their living by kidnapping and impregnating women, waiting until the women come to term, then kill them and sell their babies to lesbian couples. They send a mole to seduce Crackers and what ensues is unlike anything I’ve seen before. The “Chicken Sex Scene” sees a live chicken being crushed between the two, and can be summed up in
three words; screaming, blood, and feathers. Having discovered the whereabouts of Divine, the Marbles try to get the police to break up her birthday party. A variety of Divine’s friends perform at the party including a delightful fellow who can lip sync with his anus. Divine gets tonnes of gifts; a pig head, some vomit in a napkin and an axe which she uses to hack the police up and eat them when they arrive. The tit-for-tat games continue between the two rival groups, with each finding more ways to out-filth the other. In the end we are left with no doubt as to who the filthiest person alive is, as proven by the infamous final (dog walking) scene. The film is sick and you can equally rest assured that anything you see on screen actually happened – yes, that’s a real chicken really being killed. But the film is also quite funny and entertaining if you’re up for it. I would definitely recommend it, just not while eating. – Ben Blakely
Editor Hana Aoake
A GALLERY, 393 PRINCES STREET Paper works: Phillip James Frost Jealous: Sara Aspinall and Anne Mieke Ytsma (opens Friday April 8) THE ARTISTS’ ROOM, LEVEL 1, 2 DOWLING ST Repertoire: Steven Martyn-Welch BLUE OYSTER GALLERY, 24B MORAY PLACE The fullness of empty pockets: Colleen Altagracia, Arytipidal: Andy Leleisi’uao, At once we are rootless and harbouring, floating on an inland sea (I am from here): Clare Fleming. Public discussion, fashion and photography: Simon Swale, Max Oettli, Emily Hlavac Green and Emily Goldthorpe. (1pm, Sunday April 10) BRETT MCDOWELL GALLERY, 5 DOWLING STREET An alternative history: Ben Cauchi DOWLING STREET PROJECT, DOWLING STREET April Fools show: Sam Foley, Alan Ibell, Sacha Lauchlan, Desi Liversage, Daniel Roberts, Jo Robertson, Liz Rowe, Sally Shephard, Anya Sinclair and Jampa Stewart. (closes Friday April 10) DUNEDIN PUBLIC ART GALLERY, OCTAGON Seat assignment: Nina Katchadourian, Portraits: Frances Hodgkins, Fieldwork: Eugene Hansen and Andy Thompson, Hauaga (Arrivals): John Pule, Beloved: works from the DPAG, Black watercolour, 2010: Simon Morris, The first city in history: Fiona Amundsen, Te Putahitanga o Rehua: Reuben Paterson, A la mode: Early 19th-century fashion plates from the collection. iD Fashion week specials: Akira
Isogawa (talk, Thursday April 7, 12pm), Charlotte Smith (talk, Friday April 8, 11am), Dr Jane Malthus on regency fashion (talk, Sunday April 10, 3pm) DUNEDIN SCHOOL OF ART, RIEGO STREET Rekha Rana: MFA Examination exhibition Seminar: Peter Stupples and David Green “Paradesia”: A Project on the Art of the Pacific (Thursday April 7, 12.15pm – 1.15pm, P152) GALLERY DE NOVO, 101 STUART STREET Stylized: Various HOCKEN LIBRARY, ANZAC AVE Honey in the rock: Joanna Langford LAW FACULTY, RICHARDSON BULIDING, 8TH FLOOR James Bellaney LURE CONTEMPORARY JEWELLERY GALLERY, 130 STUART STREET Goldfinger: Various MILFORD GALLERY, 18 DOWLING STREET Material motives: Various MONUMENTAL GALLERY, 7 ANZAC AVE Doppelganger: Nichola Jackson TANGENTE CAFÉ, MORAY PLACE From the mountains to the sea: Cheryl & Deano Shirriffs TEMPLE GALLERY, 29 MORAY PLACE Peter Nicholls
Critic Issue 06 –
Editor Hana Aoake
Art & Fashion
Historically speaking, art and fashion vastly overlap and often seamlessly influence each other. What initially comes to mind is Manet’s portraits of fashionable Parisian life in the late nineteenth century, Salvador Dali’s extensive collaborations with fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, Andy Warhol’s work as a fashion illustrator (and later, his Bonwit Teller window display, cleverly entitled “Pop into spring”) and Yves Saint Laurent’s “Mondrian” dress. In more recent times, think of Viktor & Rolf’s battle-ready Autumn/Winter 2011 collection and the Russian Illusionist-inspired Autumn/Winter 11 Paco Rabanne collection by new creative director Manish Arora. These collections continue to highlight the way in which fashion blurs the apparent distinction between art, fashion and performance. After the excitement of New York, London, Paris and Milan fashion weeks, the international fashion community turns its head to the bottom of the world, as Dunedin plays host to the twelfth annual iD Fashion Week. I am incredibly excited to discover whether the way in which I view fashion correlates with the way I view art or performance, as to me they are all interchangeable media. iD is a week where this small city of youth and creativity is seemingly bombarded with a flurry of global talent, all wishing to either launch careers or solidify their work amongst peers and the wider fashion community. iD Fashion Week celebrates the distinct cultural environment within Dunedin as well as providing an open platform for young designers to really experiment and establish themselves. The event itself is a series of accessible fashion and retail events throughout the city designed to create an experience that is unique in both its intimacy and its openness to everyone. Now in its twelfth year, the iD Dunedin fashion show will feature over sixteen local designers, including high-profile local names NOM*D, Lela Jacobs, Richard More, Twenty-Seven Names, Company of Strangers and Carlson. Having viewed Twenty-Seven Names’ preppy and nostalgically 90’s “Fearsome Five” and Dunedin brand NOM*D’s bubonic plague-inspired “Dance Macabre” Fall 11 collections online, it will be fantastic to see these collections strutting down the 110 metre long runway at the famous Dunedin railway station. Also included in the show is upcoming talent from Dunedin’s local fashion school, such as Amelia Boland and Rachel Webb. Fresh from showing his Fall 11 collection at Paris Fashion week, internationally renowned Australian designer Akira Isogawa will star as a guest judge at the iD International Emerging Designer’s show. Japanese-born Isogawa is noted as an extremely versatile and innovative designer, who is well respected within the industry because of his immaculate pattern making skills and bold, yet informed, use of textiles. His light-as-air, heavily embellished ombré collection will be shown on the runway at the iD fashion shows on Friday April 8 and Saturday April 9. There will also be a public lecture about him on Thursday April 7, 12;00 -12:50pm at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery (DPAG). Last year flamboyant British designer Zhandra Rohdes judged the event. If you haven’t got a ticket to any of the fashion shows, there are plenty of free events for you to attend, including; public lecture: Akira Isogwawa (DPAG, Thursday April 7, 12pm), public lecture: Charlotte Smith (curator of the Darnell collection, DPAG, Friday April 8, 11am), designer promotion: Kathryn Wilson, Vaughan Geeson, Richard Moore and Tamsin Cooper (Waughs Instore, Friday April 8, 12:30pm), “Jealous” (Dunedin co-conspirators Sara Aspinall and Anne Mieke Ytsma, A Gallery, Friday April 8, 5-7pm) , “The catwalk as creative front line” (discussion, Blue Oyster Art Gallery, Sunday April 10 1pm), fashion talk: Dr Jane Malthus (DPAG, Friday April 8, 3pm). For more information about what’s on, check out www.idfashion.co.nz. – Hana Aoake
Critic Issue 06 –
Editor Sam Valentine
Bassnectar Sammy’s, March 24th
Sometimes, for no identifiable or discernible cause, a night just doesn’t come together. To employ a perhaps cloyingly Forrest Gumpesque analogy, it’s like making bread. You might follow the same recipe each time, but sometimes the loaf comes out beautifully risen, other times it just falls flat. And, alas, Bassnectar’s Dunedin gig was sadly less than the sum of its parts, in no way attributable to Bassnectar (aka Lorin Ashton) himself. It was quite the coup for Dunedin to have attracted dubstep/electronica artist Bassnectar, in a gig rescheduled from its original Christchurch venue. Hailing from California and having played at legendary North American festivals like Shambhala and Sasquatch, Bassnectar is renowned for both his live shows and for his social consciousness. He samples figures like Noam Chomsky (linguist and political scientist of considerable gravitas and intellectual heft) on his Mesmerising the Ultra album and is involved in Conscious Alliance, a non-profit organisation
that organises food drives for impoverished communities and Native American reserves in the US. Right on! The cavernous Sammy’s was half empty when we arrived past midnight but, despite this dearth of bodies, as people moved through the crowd they were brusquely bodychecking us and barging past. What was with all the aggression? That the toilets were alive with the sounds of snorting and awash with cast-off bits of rolled-up cardboard helped to explain this state of affairs. Unlike certain other columnists in this publication, I see nothing particularly edgy or noteworthy about either ingesting large amounts of cocaine or amphetamine or banging on about it afterwards, so suffice to say that my friends and I instead moved to the edge of the fray and, alongside some people lost in their own private psychadelic world, we enacted our own interpretative dance involving lots of twirling around, Kate Bush arm-waving and balletic leaps through the air. Then Bassnectar abruptly stopped playing. “I’ve been touring for fifteen years - ” he started. I expected him to continue with the usual DJ platitudes: “but this is the best crowd I’ve ever seen!”, or “but tonight is just off the scale!”. But no. Instead he continued, sounding genuinely upset: “but that’s the first time someone’s thrown a bottle at me. That’s ridiculous - I just want people to have fun. That’s just ridiculous”. Throwing bottles at the DJ? Come on. It’s hard enough to entice quality artists to visit Dunedin as it is without actively pelting them with projectiles. It was hard for the night to bounce back after that. Even the light show and dry-ice couldn’t lift the mood. “It’s just a load of aggro coke-heads”, Melanie remarked on our way out. That it was. Nice one, Dunedin. Dance music and drug culture have been inseparable from their very inception; the Ecstasy generation was the last youth movement of any lasting significance, and look at the very name of “acid house”, but in Sammy’s that night were not shiny, happy party people but the less attractive sides of the scene. – Lisa McGonigle
Critic Issue 06 –
Editor Sam Valentine
Lines of Flight Stanier Black-Five (Chch) Pumice (Auck) Rosy Parlane (Auck) Futurians (Dun) Chicks, March 26th
Photo: Arron Clark (videographer)
The fourth Lines of Flight show was the last event of the Fringe Festival. The avant-garde hate it when you’re early, so I arrived during Pumice’s set, which was tinkly and disjointed, then paid vague attention to Rosy Parlane’s laptop soundscapes, while engaged in the more urgent task of getting high enough to deal with my first live Futurians show.
is basically a commentary on the crapness of pop music, but strikes a far deeper chord than the stuff it lampoons, and inevitably paves the way for the next round of shite. The Futurians are in no danger of real success. Their records are too weird, too demented, too shit for the casual listener. But the performance is another story.
There were a lot of people at Chicks who had never heard of the Futurians. That’s standard for a band which hardly ever plays, and testifies to their reputation. Weirder, however, was the sense that a lot of the audience had never heard a Futurians’ song either – strange, given that the band seems to record everything they ever do. So when CJA dropped that first shell-scraping slice of pure guitar noise on the crowd, a wave of shock shuddered through the audience, who suddenly wondered what the fuck they were in for.
They stalked around inside the noise they made, swooning from fused bubblegum riffs into über-mongy covers of “Night Flight to Venus” as if it were the most natural thing in the world. There was nothing missing from the music; it had eaten everything, chewed it down to a paste, then smeared it back over the room. All with heads down, masks on, ear-plugs nowhere in sight.
The Futurians have four members. There’s a guitar, two keyboards and some drums. Sometimes the girl sings, though it’s more like chanting, really. There are no verses. There’s no chorus. And it’s hard to say what the music actually sounds like. I caught moments of dirty, hard-edged future funk, some primitive Boney-M-style voyaging, a kind of torn-down semi-punk skiffle that turned keyboards into arpeggiated tom-toms and – surrounding it all – shifting walls of jagged, anti-pop noise. It sounded like a banshee funeral for Brian Wilson’s cyborg clone; a voodoo dance party in the Black Mesa waiting room; he sound of gay robots disco dancing and crushing everything underfoot.
There can only be a little music around like this at any given time, or else it becomes what is happening, rather than what might be. Someone said it was like a soundtrack to the times. I felt a bit like an extra in a fairly realistic, now-ish sci-fi film. Then the film stopped and everyone went home. – Henry Feltham
Yet, for all that, the Futurians are some kind of pop band. Submerged snatches of Top 40 hits reared up every few minutes, almost like punchlines. Listening to them, I kept thinking of Lady Gaga and how her music
Critic Issue 06 –
Editor Sarah Maessen
Master of Reality John Darnielle
Master of Reality is part of the long-running 33 1/3 series, in which each new entry is written by a different author about classic album of their choosing. John Darnielle has written his tribute to the Black Sabbath album in the form of a diary kept by a sixteen-year old boy placed in an adolescent
psychiatric institution in 1985. After being committed to the institution, Roger Painter’s doctors confiscate his tapes, claiming that music like Black Sabbath’s is only going to further contribute to his instability. Roger is asked to keep a diary of his thoughts, so that he can express himself in a way that the doctors consider healthy. The first pages consist solely of the words, “FUCK YOU ALL GO TO HELL”. Slowly, however, in an effort to get his tapes back, Roger attempts to educate his doctors on Master of Reality. Trapped not only by his situation but also by his inability to articulate his feelings, Roger can’t put into words what makes Black Sabbath’s music so great, so he focuses instead on describing how it makes him feel. Anyone familiar with Darnielle’s band, The Mountain Goats, knows just how articulate and poetic he can be, but in the voice of this angry sixteen year old, he seems to be limited by his dedication to authenticity; long-winded rambles and poor spelling and grammar run rampant. This is partially rectified in the second half of the
book, in which an adult Roger pens a letter to his former doctor to explain why it was so wrong to have taken his tapes away. Darnielle spent several years working as a psychiatric nurse and his anger at the oppressive institutions and the negative effects they can have on young people is ferocious here. It is tragic to see Roger age from a passionate boy with a sad life and anger issues to a hurting man who has been crushed by the system. Master of Reality is likely to draw one of two responses. Those already familiar with the 33 1/3 books, and anyone expecting a well-written and researched extended essay about Black Sabbath, may feel cheated that Darnielle has used his chance to write for the series as an excuse to write his first novel. But the book is an excellent read and rather moving considering its short length. Darnielle is a great writer, even if his narrator is not. He recognises that Sabbath is better understood from the gut than from the head and the book reflects that admirably. – Johnny Panadol
Day Walks of New Zealand, Canterbury and Kaikoura Mark Pickering
Most New Zealanders take it as a given, if not a birthright, the access we have in this country to a plethora of walks (aka tramps for the newbie foreign students reading this).
But it would be interesting to ask somebody, say in Christchurch, just what day walks they could recommend. If they do know anything about tramping (and hey, lets be honest, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea) they’d probably mumble something about the Port Hills (fair call) or about heading to Arthur’s Pass National Park. Mark Pickering’s latest book takes the vagueness out of wondering “where to go?” and provides succinct yet detailed information on over sixty walks in the Canterbury and Kaikoura area. There are walks in the Christchurch urban environment that can be done within an hour and are accessible by bus (e.g. Riccarton Bush, Travis Wetland). There are walks that introduce a few hills and are still accessible by public transport - six walks in the Port Hills – and all of them on the bus map or the trail heads are easily accessed by car or bicycle. Pickering also introduces more challenging day walks, from Kaikoura through Critic Issue 06 –
to Hanmer Springs, the Canterbury foot hills, classics such as Avalanche Peak in Arthur’s Pass National Park and arguably one of the most stunning and easiest mountain scenery walks in NZ, the three hour return stroll up the Hooker Valley in Mt Cook National Park. The book is helpful as it grades all the walks and gives easy access information (provided you’ve got a road map in the car!). It’s ideal for the person who wants to do a bit of walking but may not know exactly where to go to find the walks. Those with considerable tramping experience will find this book a bit ho-hum though. It would also have been nice to see the many included photographs in colour (a great photo of a location is usually my inspiration to head there) but the low-ish RRP of $26 probably reflects the black and white print. A good purchase if you’re heading to Canterbury for a considerable amount of time for study or work. Enjoy! – Stefan Fairweather
Editor Jen Aitken
A Model Millionaire
The Most Massive Woman Wins
Written by Oscar Wilde Adapted for the stage and directed by Vickie Cross Staring Trubie-Dylan Smith, Samuel Irwin , Kathryn Hurst, Abby Howells, Hannah Port and Lyndon Katene.
Written by Madeline George Directed by Charlotte Waalkens Starring Rina Cohen, Miriam Noonan, Victoria Bernard and Tarn Felton
This adaptation of Wilde’s short story was imaginative, thoughtful and very quaint. It was a joy to watch and it was also very clear that it was a joy for everyone involved. With such a high production standard (and a freakin’ orgasmically taut cyc!!!), nothing could ever have gone wrong. Every production that Cross is involved in, whether as director or stage manager, is seamlessly executed. I would have liked more lines to have been written for the characters themselves to speak, but all-in-all the convention of the narrator worked very well, due in part to the expert casting of the very handsome and delightful Trubie-Dylan Smith in the role. All actors played their parts well, even though many had only very few lines to recite. As Cross explains in the programme, she “intentionally ‘flirted’ with issues of gender and homosexuality” to reflect the trauma and turmoil of Wilde’s private affairs, stating that critical engagement with his work rarely occurs without reflection on his private life (Wiki it; it’s very interesting). Two of the male roles were cast as females and I am struggling to decide if that was her intention all along or if she just needed more actors than she could find. This aside, the piece was stunningly well thought-out and put together. Costumes, set, props, staging, the programmes; everything was intentional, nothing was incidental. It was the perfect piece for a Lunchtime Theatre slot, short, sweet and amusing. More please Vickie! – Jen Aitken
Four women have decided to take the plunge and get liposuction. The goal for all is obvious – get rid of the fat. Each woman tells us how they have ended up in the clinic and how their issues with their weight began. For some of the women, fat is recently acquired. For others, it has been a constant and unwelcome companion. All like to eat but the emotional hole they are trying to fill varies from woman to woman. One is at the clinic because her husband had signed a blank check and left it on the bedside table. Others finally want to be free of what they feel is holding them back in life. The play is comprised of short scenes which, as I mentioned before, detail the struggles that each woman has faced when it comes to body issues. The general convention was to have one woman narrating their story while the other actors pitched in to help give the story life. I was pleased to see that Waalkens had introduced stylised elements to the piece, as there is nothing worse than the talking heads situation, which this piece easily could have become. There were some really striking images, for example the beautifully simple scene where Felton’s character goes from job to job only to be told she’s too old and too fat to be considered for the position, or when Cohen’s character took us through her photo album. However, the choreography at times wasn’t as tight as it could have been which left the actors floundering, with certain movements seeming to lack motivation. I think maybe with a bit more rehearsal time these kinks could have been ironed out. For a first time director this was a pretty solid effort and I look forward to seeing what Waalkens does next. – Ben Blakely
Critic Issue 06 –
Editor Toby Hills
Dinner Date Platforms: PC
In Dinner Date’s unnecessary tutorial, Stout Games tries to make it clear that your interactivity in the game is somewhat limited. Big text banners crowning the screen read “In Dinner Date you do not play as yourself”, “Nor do you play as the main character” and finally “In Dinner Date you play as the subconscious of Julien Luxemburg”. I shan’t relate plot details to you (since these end up being all that Dinner Date has going for it) suffice to say that Julien is waiting for his date to arrive and she is running late. From a first-person seated perspective, you survey a conservative, bare, but warmly wood-clad apartment kitchen and hear Luxemburg’s sporadic soliloquy. For a little developer, the production values are sharp. Bread looks tasty, the candle casts a nice shadow around the not quite cell-shaded kitchen. Even the wine was appealing, and I think wine is a scam. More importantly the writing is good. We’ve come to realise that theatre-style monologues are nothing like how people actually think but, accepting that, Julien’s stream-of-consciousness takes you on a grounded journey through various emotional states. We can see ourselves in the way he justifies his actions, and his progression of moods is well paced.
minute game because that’s what I assumed I was doing. It was only after stirring my soup for twelfth time that I realized all I was doing was whirlpooling a tomato concoction, glancing at the clock and stretching out my mildly aching shoulders over and over again. Dinner Date positively aches to be taken seriously, to be a true art-videogame. “Look at me!” it cries, “I’m not about murder or collecting brightly coloured baubles; I’m about worry and life’s poignant mundanities”. It breaks from other attempts at art-games - which draw from arty-pants touchstones like plinky and morose piano solos, the sound of the wind, empty vistas and slightly creepy little children - by having Julien Luxemburg quote poetry in non-specific Europeantinged English. I feel bad criticising Dinner Date. Anything this unique should be encouraged but it shouldn’t grant a free pass. Ultimately, the question is whether the very, very slight interactivity of Dinner Date greatly alters it. Would this have worked just as well as a short film? I admit that the game is initially striking, but after the novelty wears off, you’re left with motionless gazpacho.
If I’ve done my job, by now you might be thinking something like “Oh, cool. So as a character’s subconscious I get to very subtly influence the actions of the protagonist in different directions in a well written and stylish context”. I enjoyed the first ten minutes of the twenty
Critic Issue 06 –
Editor Mahoney Turnbull
International names set for Dunedin Fashion Week In case you’re not up with the iD goss, Akira Isogawa, an outstanding Australian designer is coming to town as an international guest designer at iD Fashion Week. Hoorah! But that’s not all. Mr Stefano Sopelza will also be gracing Dunedin with his sultry presence. As a real voice on the Italian fashion scene and as the project supervisor of the oh-so-prestigious Mittelmoda Italian Fashion Awards, he will no doubt have a lot to say about iD after recently stating that Dunedin Fashion Week is a “can’t miss” for him. Also visiting will be Damien Woolnough, the esteemed fashion
editor of Vogue.com.au whose style verdicts can trigger Vogue victory or designer demise. We can look forward to seeing these ravishing kings of style swan around the city for the whole upcoming week, in which Dunedin will come alive with divinely dressed ladies and gentlemen, all out for a faaaaabulous time darling. Of course, there’ll be pleny of kiwi talent too. So get out your glad rags, get yourself down to the Regent Theatre and use those damn course related costs for a ticket to the show of the year. How iDeal.
Urgent Competition Update The beautiful Madame Hawke journal giveaway was no hoax. It’s as real as ever. You can get your hands on a copy by sending in an article about your love/hate/utter infatuation with the state of fashion. There’s no word limit, and your article may end up gracing this very page.So c’mon kids, get typing and pages of aesthetically pleasing pictures will be fluttering your way…email@example.com.
Ugly/pretty shoes Check list: chunky heeled, 90s-inspired, lace up, and should make you question whether they’re ugly or not. They’re the fashionforward answer to the heeled dessert boot. Best worn with knee highs for Clueless cool. Witch inspired clothing Long skirts, mesh, crucifixes. All in black, of course. Think the characters from The Craft. Slim fit trousers Skinny jeans are passé. Slim fit trousers make boys and girls alike into modern adorable gentlemen. Don’t take the style too literally though - wear a t-shirt with them to avoid looking like you’re off to a costume party.
Shoes: Good As Gold Dress: Scrapbook From Paper Bag Princess Necklace: Her mum’s Bag: Papua New Guinea style weave bag from Salvation Army Favorite shop: country fairs Style icon: Hayley Williams
Shoes: Opshop Jersey: Opshop Dress: Opshop Bag: Opshop Favorite shop: Can’t you guess? Miscellaneous obscure hipster stores Style icon: Chloe Sevigny
Shoes: Havianas Dress: A size 18 from Mary Potter Hospice Top: Some place on K’ Road Belt: Salvation Army (Country Road) Necklace: from Craft 2.0 fair Bag: from Cambridge Satchel Company Favorite shop: Paper Bag Princess in Wellington Style icon: Carey Mulligan
Critic Issue 06 –
Britney Spears’ “Hold it against me” video For someone who rocked school girl chic so beautifully, Britney has made some huge fashion fuck-ups in her latest vid. Coloured diamante jewellery? A bullet belt? A “fashion” wedding dress? Just no. Studs on platform boots When you’re already wearing shoes that make your feet look like hooves, it’s dangerous to couple this with studded strips. Now you look like a horse that shops at Equip. Trilby hats Just... why? You don’t look like a cool rockstar, you look like a wannabe wannaberockstar. Take it off, tousle your hair and stop looking like a douche.
Editor Niki Lomax
Gnocchi comes to the Deep South; Finally.
Lex’s Espresso Inside the Union Building, in the foyer of Union Hall. Prices: Flat White: $4.00, Mocha: $4.00, Long Black: $3.50. Why I came here: Was in the Link and felt too lazy to leave the building for coffee. Atmosphere: Chilled out and chatty. Service: As quick as it can be for a one man operation. Food: Zilch! Overall: For those of you who haven’t experienced Lex’s Espresso yet, I highly recommend it. For one thing, the entertaining chat he offers is a prominent draw card. His discussions range from the controversial and political to the more frivolous (upon my visit he abused the quality of a muffin a friend had given him, animatedly articulating to the entire queue how it was “fucking shit” to the entire queue). As for the coffee, mine wasn’t bad in taste but it was quite diminutive for the $4 I exchanged. I’ve also heard from a friend that Lex does “a mean hot choccie”. Furthermore, I’ve noticed that he possesses a fanatic base of regulars who are seem to be the predominant reason behind the substantial queue around 10am and 11am during the week. Ultimately, Lex misses out on the top spot due to his lack of food and questionable cost-for-value portions. However, if you’re feeling the need for some juice and want to avoid the Dunedin chill, head over to Lex’s – it’s an agreeable alternative to the shocking shit you can find at Café Albany, but hey that’s a topic for another review. – Pippa Schaffler
It appears I may have been living under a very large antipodean rock my whole life. On a recent trip to Melbourne, it was suggested by my fabulously food-wise Melbournian friend that we go out for some gnocchi. I stared at her quizzically and replied, “what, is that Japanese or something?” Her bewilderment was quickly followed by ridicule as she explained to me that gnocchi is Italian. Whoops. Email me if I’m wrong, but it’s not just me, right? Can I blame this on my South Island upbringing? Or am I just a total loser? Consequently, that evening I lost my gnocchi virginity and boy oh boy - those Italians are onto something. Gnocchi (pronounced niyock-ee), for those equally clueless, are potato dumplings that are used like pasta. Potato pasta. Jamie Oliver is all about it. To be honest, this does require some forethought but if you are trying really hard to procrastinate and Facebook just isn’t doing it for you, this is an excellent option. I’m sure some of you love kitchen-related satisfaction as much as I do. I was all set to use the Naked Chef’s recipe because he’s awesome and has a super sexy lisp, but it uses all kinds of things I can’t be bothered with including two different types of flour. Fuck that shit. So instead I’m using a recipe from an old issue of Cuisine magazine. Cuisine instructs you to begin by boiling the potatoes, however, Mr Oliver says that this can make the gnocchi soggy and yuck. Instead he suggests baking the potatoes with the skins on, making the insides fluffy and dry. You need about a kilo of potatoes for this; leave them in the oven for about an hour, then peel and mash them. Add two eggs and then, as you mix, slowly add two cups of flour. Mix into a dough and then knead for five minutes or so on a well-floured bench. Ensure your dough is soft and devoid of lumps. On a floured chopping board, roll chunks of dough into long 1.5cm-thick cylinders and then chop into dumpling sized pieces, again about 1.5cm. Press them against a fork so you have indentations from your thumb on one side, and from the fork on the other. Bring a big pot of water to the boil with a heaped teaspoon of salt. Boil the dumplings in batches of about 25 pieces. Have the oven on low so you can keep the cooked batches warm while you do the next one. Cook until they float to the top, then leave for one minute and scoop out with a slotted spoon. Now that you have some perfect baby potato dumplings, the next step is to cover them in something yum and then devour ravenously. We had basil pesto and cashew nuts but there are lots of options. Even some melted butter and a bit of cheese would do. Otherwise just a bog standard bolognese sauce would do the trick. For meat-eaters, a bit of salami or sausage wouldn’t be out of place either. Surely more interesting than budget pasta spirals right? Critic Issue 06 –
Pictures for Sad Children by John Cambell http://www.picturesforsadchildren.com/
Critic Issue 06 –
Ka arahina e ahau te rere o taku waka o Mataatua Timata mai ana i te tihi o Tarawera Ka titiro whakararo e au ki te Rotorua-nui-a-Kahumatamomoe Ka tū ko Tura-te-Ngakau. Patupatu mai Ngā Pūmanawa e waru o Te Arawa Aotearoa tangata, Aotearoa whanui Turou Chur! I’m Wiri and I’m an executive member of Te Roopu Maori 2011. I had the privilege of being part of this association last year so continuing on in the same role has been all good. We have seen Te Roopu Maori start this year more kick back. This is due to the massive amount of rushed assignments and who can fill their flat fridge with the most alcohol. Heoi, how exciting! Another year full of hardout work and hearty socialising. Enjoy it! Massive couple of weeks. Awesome Hyde St Keg Party - to all the Maoris who attended, hope yous had an awesome and eventful night. If you’re a sports junkie, hit up the Unipol website for all the sports draws. These sports include indoor netball, dodgeball, basketball and touch.
If you’re a haka junkie, head down to Te Tumu, Monday nights at 7pm where the songs are jamming!!!!! Gotta give it up to the Dundas lot! If you’re a social junkie, look out for some o-4-awesome gigs in and around uni. These include 1814 and Saul’s Birthday Bash - Happy Born Day Bro! Keep your eyes posted on up-and-coming events such as the Maori Ball and Te Huinga Tauira. Epic events evahhh. Weol datz me yao! Peace.
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