ISSUE 04 / MARCH 29 / 2010
16 DESIGN STUDIES The questionable future of the Design Department.
20 OZZY WXCU
Lessons from the West Island
PA G E
24 THE CATLINS Where the bloody hell are ya?!
O FI LE
U AT RES
29 SOAP BOX
41 GAMES 37 BOFS
42 BOOKS 38 LETTERS
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.
E B AC K
Last week we got to see what gets Otago students riled up. Walking around campus you probably didn’t notice anything, but in the virtual world all hell was breaking loose. The threatened sale of Gardies and the closure of Sammy’s has got a lot of Otago students well pissed (The angry pissed, not the drunk kind). ‘Save Sammy’s’ and ‘Save Gardies’ groups were up on Facebook as soon as the news broke in the ODT. An unofficial event has been organised for Gardies this afternoon – and at time of going to print, well over 1000 people were ‘attending’. Another group was set up to try and get Marc Ellis and other Dunedin ‘greats’ to pop in for the night. Just like the old days. When none of us were actually here. I do wonder if some of the anger is misdirected. The DCC is getting blamed by about every second person. Even though they do totally suck, this may not be fair. Gardies isn’t making money any more, apparently, so it’s understandable the owners want out. What everyone seems to be so angry – or sad – about is that Dunedin is changing. The ‘Scarfie dream’ is dying. The University – which helped build the myth in the first place – is now intent on destroying it, and would be more than pleased to see Gardies disappear. Just like they were happy to see the Bowler, in its former incarnation, disappear. But is the University playing a risky game? For an undergraduate, Otago doesn’t really offer much in the way of education that you can’t get elsewhere. I’m no Scarfie, but I did come down to Dunedin because I thought it would be more fun than staying at home. The lifestyle is the main draw card for this University. It’s a first-rate school, no doubt, but I would not have moved to Dunedin if I thought it was going to be boring. And I’d argue that a large number, if not the majority, of students here are in the same boat. So, is the University’s biggest market (prospective students from out of town) at risk of taking its cash elsewhere? Or is everyone overreacting? I know that Ellis likes to think that back in his glory days things were a lot more ‘loose’. We still came. I’m sure when we come back to visit in 15 years’ time we’ll say the same. The creator of tonight’s event at Gardies, Chris Scott, conceded as much to our reporter. “The mentality of this year’s first-years is very different to the previous years, as in they prefer to drop into the Octagon,” he said. “They don’t appreciate that they are part of a legacy that has existed before any of us were born.” So, not loose. I’m sure there is another segment of the student population who sees all this and think it is total nonsense. “Get angry about something important,” they might say. These people were busy joining anti-mining Facebook groups last week. There are some students that go beyond Facebook in their activism. Despite most of the student body not giving a rat’s about VSM, I have been inundated with requests by people wanting to give their opinion on the matter in the Soap Box. But if you’re even remotely interested, you will already know the arguments. It is now your turn to put pen to paper and let the Government know your opinion. You write the Soap Box this week. Then rip it out and stick it in an envelope. Postage is free. It’s on p29. I bet you won’t do it.
Critic – Te Arohi PO Box 1436, Dunedin (03) 479 5335 firstname.lastname@example.org www.critic.co.nz Editor in Chief: Ben Thomson Designer in Chief: Gala Hesson Creative Director: Dreke Verkuylen Features Writers: Susan Smirk Caitlyn O’Fallon Thomas redford News Editor: Gregor Whyte News Reporters: Rory MacDonald Julia Hollingsworth Sub Editor: Marie Hodgkinson Music Editor: Simon Wallace Film Editor: Max Segal Books Editor: Jonathan Jong Performance Editor: Jen Aitken And a substantial army of volunteers. Advertising:
Kate Kidson, Tim Couch, Dave Eley Ad. Designer: Daniel Alexander PH: (03)4795361 email@example.com WWW. planetmedia.co.nz
Health Scis, Note Well Tiger = Killing Machine …
Marathon Effort … Narcissistic, Much?
Scarfies on the piss pass exams fine, according to a study by the Boston University of Public Health and Brown University. The study, which analysed the effects of binge drinking the night before an exam, found that students’ test results were not significantly changed by a night of imbibing. The study did, however, advise that hungover students taking the test were irritable, lacked concentration, and smelled like lasagne toppers from the 24.
Shizo Kanakuri disappeared while running the marathon in the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm. He was listed as a missing person in Sweden for 50 years — until a journalist found him peacefully living in southern Japan. In 1966, Kanakuri accepted an invitation to return to Stockholm and complete his run. His final time was 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 8 hours, 32 minutes, and 20.3 seconds — surely a record that will never be broken.
For some people, reality TV is their reality. Two Californian psychiatrists have treated at least five patients suffering from ‘Truman Show Disorder’, a mental illness that makes the patient believe that cameras are tracking their every move. “I realized that I was and am the centre, the focus of attention of millions and millions of people,” one patient told his psychiatrist.
Between 1902 and 1907, the same tiger killed 434 people in India. This startlingly high number begs the question, what the fuck was that tiger’s beef?
An American motorist has demonstrated yet another reason why drinking, driving, and cell phones should be kept far away from one another. The woman, who was intoxicated at the time, rang up the police and reported herself for drunk-driving.
Numbers Scheme …
Fearful George … Quote of the Week
132.1: Length in centimetres of the shortest car in the world. 45: The number of letters in the longest word found in the Oxford English Dictionary. The word is
Get Rich Quick MATT. DAMON.
A new website is targeting rich gaming geeks with unrealistic ideas about the nature of the world. GameCrush.com matches male gamers with money (‘Players’, lol) with female gamers (‘Playdates’), charging the ‘Players’ $56 an hour for the privilege. For this price Playdates provide gaming, flirting, and general stroking of the ego. For this price, weird gamer nerds will probably be expecting a little more than that, though …
41: Age to which the oldest known goldfish in the world lived. The goldfish was named Fred. 1: Number of times that people in Kentucky are legally required to take a bath each year.
“No man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one.” - Elbert Hubbard
Curious George, the popular animated monkey for children, was apparently highly influenced by its creator’s flight from Nazism. The monkey’s tendency to wriggle his way out of tight spots and to always be on the run are directly related to creator Hans Reys’ escape from the tyranny of the Nazis. Not quite sure if this really qualifies as an animal of the week, but oh well.
Matt Damon showed that he can be a self-important Hollywood brat too when he wants. Dining at a New York restaurant, Damon decided to order nine lobsters, despite the fact that the expensive seafood wasn’t on the menu. The restaurant, afraid of his badass Bourne-series acting, acceded to his request and rustled up the lobsters. At least he tipped them $USD400 for their troubles.
Student pubs may be closing down left, right, and centre, but there was no sign of sobriety at the Hyde Street keg party on Saturday. Residents of Hyde Street were awoken at around 7am by the members of the Duck Hunting flat, who fittingly let off a duck horn. At the ‘Bananas and Pajamas Hydeout’, the day began with a wholesome Icebreaker and Weet-bix breakfast, washed down with a bottle of Jägermeister. The keg party proper kicked off around 10am. The themes were as up-to-the-minute as ever, and included Pirates, Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, 101 Dalmatians, Sesame Street, and the Army. Conveniently, the weather was stunning, allowing revellers to under-dress to their heart’s content. Some partygoers remarked that part of the fun was looking at the interesting outfits others were wearing. Compared to other ‘Scarfie’ events, destruction was kept to a minimum and there was a generally happy atmosphere. David “B2” Milner recalled a conversation he had had with his flat mate: “I said ‘Daine bro, someone broke my door in.’ Daine goes: ‘Who was it bro?’ I go: ‘It was me, bro.’”
Quite unlike their presence at Castle Street during last year’s Undie 500, the Police were silent observers at this event. Many partygoers made the most of the Police’s placidity and posed for photos next to them. Only three arrests directly attributed to the event were made, all for minor offences, although 25 arrests were made later on that night. Police say they are reasonably satisfied with how the event ran. Campus Constable Max Holt, on the other hand, was not amused. A Hyde Street resident was pushing his flatmate around in a supermarket trolley when Holt intervened, threatening to charge the duo with Driving Under the Influence. Byron Saunders and Ruby Grant were among the revellers. “Hyde Street is the epitome of Scarfie life,” said Byron, whose top had mysteriously fallen from his back. Senior Sergeant Thompson said that the numbers peaked between 4pm and 5pm, when there were between 1200 to 1400 people on Hyde Street. By 5pm, many of the kegs had run out. However, Hyde Street remained party central until around 10 or 11pm, when a couch-burning took place to signal the party’s end.
It seems the beloved Scarfie watering hole The Gardens Tavern (more affectionately referred to as ‘Gardies’) is set to close, following a recent real estate listing with a deadline sale of April 14. The listing is offering the location up as a ‘unique development opportunity’, highlighting its proximity to campus. Lane Sievwright of Edinburgh Realty, with whom the property is listed, says he has two private offers already, and interest from the University of Otago. While he said he couldn’t comment on the University’s plans for the bar should they be successful, he did say that “[Gardies] is probably the last piece of land of this size that has development potential in the
University precinct not currently owned by the University, and would be ideal for new student accommodation, either in individual flats or as a hall of residence.” It seems that Gardies’ current owners have been forced to sell after a particularly slow year. It has previously been speculated that Gardies has been struggling to break even for a few years now, and the lack of patrons this year has forced the owners into the sale. Majority Gardies Ltd shareholder Peter Innes-Jones could not be reached for comment. Creator of the Facebook group ‘Save the Garden Bar Celebration’ Chris Scott puts the lack of patrons this year down to the change in attitude from the 2010 first
years. “The mentality of this year’s first-years is very different to the previous years, as in they prefer to drop into the Octagon. They don’t appreciate that they are part of a legacy that has existed before any of us were born.” The Facebook Group has quickly gained popularity, with over 1000 confirmed guests at time of print. The University’s interest would be indicative of a current movement to buy up local drinking venues and turn them into properties advantageous to the University. Last year the Bowler was bought for the medical school, and it can only be assumed that if the University purchases Gardies then it would not continue to run it as a tavern. The University refused to comment for this story.
Another iconic Dunedin venue is up against it, after a damning fire safety report forced the immediate and indefinite closure of Sammy’s just a day before it was set to host Cave Sessions 2010. The report, which was conducted on March 19, found Sammy’s to be in breach of fire regulations, with (among other things) fire exits being blocked by furniture, rubbish, combustible items, a car, and 600 litres of kerosene in three drums. Dunedin Deputy Chief Fire Officer Trevor Tilyard described Sammy’s as “absolutely the worst” of Dunedin’s large-crowd venues. The staff also did not know where the fire alarms were. Sammy’s owner Sam Chin, however, has
taken exception to the claim about kerosene drums, insisting the drums were empty and stored in a room next to the fire exit. Chin also says that most of the concerns about the blocking of exits had been adequately addressed over the weekend, but that a new fire warning system would cost about $30 000 to implement which was “money [he] just doesn’t have.” Sammy’s managing director Sam Carroll told the DCC he was angered by the fire service’s harsh reaction, and made a plea for them to be more supportive. “What I would like was for there to be a more supportive, proactive process by which we were given more time to bring it up to standard.” The effect of the closure on future events
is uncertain. There have already been several casualties, most notably the Cave Sessions. The event, run by David Booth, faced losses of between $15 000 and $30 000 and Booth told the ODT he feared the city had lost “one of its premier venues.” Events such as Grad Party are now in question, with Grad Party organiser Callum Fry understandably irate. “I am working frantically to find a suitable venue(s) to host this year’s Grad Parties.” Following the closure of Backstage in March last year, Sammy’s is the latest in a growing list of independently run venues that have shut up shop. The majority of large venues remaining in Dunedin are now DCC-owned.
A review of operations aims to cut costs at the University of Otago College of Education by $1.3 million. The cuts are likely to necessitate job losses of around 15 or more staff members. The College currently employs 60 staff, meaning around 25 percent of employees could lose their jobs. While these figures are alarming, University of Otago officials say it is too early to discuss specific numbers. However, given the “magnitude of the required financial savings,” at least some job losses are likely. Decisions in last year’s Government Budget mean that the University will experience a significant decline in funding in 2011. Decisions taken include withdrawing the Tripartite Adjustment fund, which contributed some funds to tertiary institutes. To cope with the budget cuts, the College Leadership group had reviewed College operations and developed a proposal. The
leaders will discuss options with staff, and make a report to the University by April 19. Vice Chancellor Sir Professor David Skegg is concerned for the staff. “We regret that this is an unsettling time for staff, but this review has been requested in order to ensure the future viability and vitality of the College.” Tertiary Education Union University of Otago branch co-President Teresa La Rooy says that Union branch organisers and representatives are continuing to support staff through the troubling time. Sir Professor Skegg maintains that the University is dedicated to the College, as highlighted by the recent upgrade of the College’s Bill Robertson Library. The College of Education merged with the University in January 2007. Prior to the merger the College had been dealing with declining enrolments, which had forced the College to progressively deplete its cash reserves.
Photo: Stephen Murphey
Showing rare ingenuity, vision, and drive, the OUSA Executive last week listed the Association for sale on popular auction website TradeMe. The auction, which boasted a reserve of $50 million, listed OUSA’s assets, such as Planet Media (which owns Radio One and Critic) and a stake in the University Book Shop, along with its liabilities, like the Executive (we’re mostly kidding). Unfortunately for would-be buyers, TradeMe withdraw the initial auction on the grounds that it was effectively a business sale, and thus had to be listed in the commercial property section. OUSA relisted the auction in the appropriate section but the auction was again pulled after TradeMe received complaints.
TradeMe spokesman Paul Ford told Critic the auction was “pushing the envelope in terms of what we would normally offer for sale” but that it was not pulled because of any underlying political message; rather, it was taken down “due to complaints that it effectively wasn’t for sale.” These complaints centred on the fact that any sale of the Association would have to be ratified by a Student General Meeting (SGM). While OUSA President Harriet Geoghegan admits that the auction was “intended to be a bit cheeky … if someone wants to give us a $50-million cash injection for our building, there certainly is an opportunity so serious bids would have been taken seriously.” However, Geoghegan did state that she had sought legal advice
before listing the auction. The real purpose of the auction, according to Geoghegan, was to raise awareness of the services run by OUSA, and the potential for these to be either lost, or commercialised, if VSM is passed into law. It is unclear as yet who would actually want to buy OUSA, given the rather lofty auction starting price. The wording of the auction did however suggest that the 20 000 students covered by the Association represented “an opportunity for hefty profit margins in making services user pays and capitalising off a captive student market,” so maybe a brewery or liquor chain might have stuck a quiet bid in. Certainly would help spice up those boring SGMs …
I met the Proctor shortly after he had received an email from an acquaintance in Oxford, England. Since Oxford’s last solution to student misbehaviour was the Saint Scholastica’s Day Massacre of 1355, when the townspeople got so fed up with carousing students that they descended upon them en masse and pitchforked 63 of them to death, that could be a worry. The thing is, though, that student behaviour on this campus has actually been slowly improving for some time now. So what the Proctor has actually been up to lately is stuff like this: l There have been a lot of “consistent, generalised complaints” from local hoteliers and moteliers about noisy students making things awkward for their customers. If you live near a motel, try to keep things down after 10pm. l There were three arrests at the annual Hyde Street keg party. That’s eight fewer than last year, continuing the event’s slow rehabilitation. This year’s arrests were for pubic disorder, and apparently had to do with overturning litter bins, although one fellow was spotted throwing the tub of a washing machine off his roof, which apparently wasn’t as cool as it sounds.
Critic came in half an hour late, but apparently time moves at a snail’s pace in the Executive Boardroom, because Critic didn’t miss all that much. A Capping Show charity needed to be selected, which turned into the Executive’s first official disagreement. Finance Officer James Meager wanted to donate to the guide dogs, claiming dramatically that if the Executive voted against the charity, they would be killing puppies. The Executive failed to heed his warning, and instead voted to donate to the food bank. Stupid hungry humans. In a bid to make the student population care, the Executive wanted to venture online, and hold SGMs as some sort of internet poll. Unfortunately, the OUSA Constitution isn’t on their side, as lawyers have told them that such a plan is “fundamentally different” from the definition of an SGM. But when can OUSA hold their meetings and get a group of more than 50 people? Apparently the silly University thinks that University is for learning, and would only ridicule
Dumb idea of the week Three kids were partying at a local tavern I’m not allowed to name when they somehow managed to knock a large painting off the wall. Panicking, they shoved it behind their seats and did a runner, only to be nabbed by the staff a block or so away. In the meantime, however, a couple of other guys had decided the painting was cool enough to steal, and smuggled it out the back of the pub, where they were nabbed during an unsuccessful and apparently quite hare-brained attempt to convey the large and unwieldy picture over the back fence. All five of these rubes were handed over to the Police, who sighed heavily and broke out the diversions. Interestingly, however, they didn’t say what this painting actually depicted. Answers on a postcard, please.
the Exec’s suggestion classes be cancelled for a lunch-time SGM. The VSM petitioning isn’t going so well, forcing the Exec to consider various forms of bribery. Maybe people really don’t care about OUSA? Allegedly, one “fat ginger” came to the stall looking for beer, after he was misled into thinking there would be a keg at the VSM stall. Thanks to a new policy, Women’s Rep Shonelle Eastwood no longer has to concern herself with menial tasks, and is now merely the “face of the Women’s Room.” Much to Shonelle’s relief, the policy was passed, leaving the student services to take control of cleaning, restocking the milk supply, and making the room “fluffy” (quote courtesy of James Meager). The meeting went on for so long that a ten-minute break was called. “Are we constitutionally allowed to have toilet breaks?” pondered President Harriet. Due to the now tortuous length of the meeting, Executive members are considering holding meetings only fortnightly. Thank God.
Science Festival Coming to Town Heating Helps Asthma Joyce Stealing Ladders …
From 2012, Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce will implement a new funding model for tertiary education institutions, a topic already covered in Critic earlier this year. Labour’s Tertiary Education Spokesperson, Maryan Street, now points out that Steven Joyce’s own mixed academic results as a student would not have made the cut under this new model. Joyce missed out on getting into a veterinary intermediate course in 1981, enrolled instead as a chemistry major, but withdrew after two weeks, opting finally for zoology. “Steven Joyce is looking to deny students the same educational opportunities he had,” says Street. “Mr Joyce seems to be pulling the ladder up behind him. Instead of looking at the complex range of reasons why people fail at tertiary education, and finding ways of addressing those issues, the Government is risking our standards and reputation in order to make our tertiary education system as cheap as possible.”
Row, row, row your boat …
Over July 6-11, Dunedin will play host to the New Zealand International Science Festival. World-renowned experts Tim Jarvis and Dr. Andrew Greensmith are confirmed to attend as the headline speakers. British environmental scientist Tim Jarvis is a sustainability adviser for various international organisations, and specialises in finding practical solutions to global warming. Dr. Andrew Greensmith is a plastic surgeon currently working in Melbourne, and last year was part of the medical team that separated conjoined Bangladeshi twins Krishna and Trishna. With global warming and medical miracles on the agenda. the festival should firmly appeal to the general public. For further information visit www.scifest.org.nz.
A University of Otago study has been published, showing that proper heating in homes helps alleviate the symptoms of asthma in children. The study examined 409 children between the ages of 6 and 12. It showed that while improved heating did not improve lung function, it did relieve many of the symptoms of asthma such as coughing and wheezing. The findings have attracted worldwide attention and will be published in the British Medical Journal. The study has neatly coincided with the Government’s new Emissions Trading Package, which will put a billion dollars towards properly heating and insulating Kiwi homes. What are the chances that we can get the landlords in Dunedin to throw some of this nice new heating our way?
Two University of Otago senior lecturers were at Maadi Cup, the high school rowing regatta held last week, but it’s not a case of living out some high school redemption fantasy. Instead, the pair, Gill Johnson and Margot Skinner, from the University’s physiotherapy school, were studying the spinal posture of young female rowers. The study is the first of its kind to focus on non-elite athletes, and it is hoped that it will produce information that can be used to educate coaches and rowers on avoiding back injuries often caused by the sport. Results of the three-year study are not due until 2011, but will cover several aspects, including an evaluation of the difference between sculling (two oars) and sweeping (one).
Raybon Kan Georgie fenwicke
In recent years, the Sunday Star-Times has become tabloid rubbish, its content grossly akin to that found in the Truth. Its decline can be, in part, correlated with the discontinuation of Raybon Kan’s quirky column. Sure, they may still have Steve Braunius’s bird rants, Rod Oram’s neither-here-nor-there analysis, and Katie Newton’s shoe-of-the-week, but as I found out last week, when they tossed Kan, they lost the plot, not to mention “a basic vision of common sense and clear thinking.”
You were born in Masterton and later moved to Wellington, where you went to school and university. How did you get involved in public speaking? I joined the debating club at high school. I was good at thinking on my feet – at university, I won the NZU impromptu speaking competition. The peak of my debating career was coming second at the World University Debating Champs, losing to Oxford in the final. Not to sulk, but we were robbed. At Victoria you completed a law degree, which you later described as one of the biggest mistakes of your life. Why was this? Law is no way to spend a life. It’s a lot of tedious reading, sifting through dirt and dust that’s been sifted through for centuries, as if there’s mystical signs locked away, when really it’s just bad writing reflecting the attitudes of the time. It astounds me that lawyers look so far back for answers even now. You’d worry if you visited a doctor and they grabbed a dusty volume from the 1800s to treat you. As a lawyer working for one of the top law firms in New Zealand, how did you go about re-orientating your career path towards comedy and writing? Well, I was writing in newspapers even in student days, so it wasn’t a massive leap. My hero was Clive James, who wrote so that you’d laugh out loud, so that’s what I wanted to achieve with writing. Taking that to the stage was the next step. I remember the big decision was made when I left the law office one day to take a portfolio to the Listener. It was quite a secret squirrel operation. I didn’t get the job, but I knew which direction I had really chosen. Your situation is not so far removed from that of a fair portion of the student population, who do not necessarily know if they are studying the right thing or walking in the right direction. Do you have any advice for anyone going through of a bit of a quarter-life career crisis? I don’t know the answers even now, for me, so I’d shudder to advise anyone else. For a long time, I used to wish I’d studied drama at Otago, but that would have been unthinkable at the time. The truth is your student days are very formative, so it can be dangerous to do a safe option and wait until later to go for it. You’ll make yourself safe. Go for it as young as possible, train yourself to be courageous. Or get a job making tons of money, and rub it in people’s faces. So, how does one go about breaking into the stand-up comedy circuit? Comedy as an industry has a real appetite for new talent, so breaking in is straightforward. I think economists would say there’s no barriers to entry. Just find a club, and do 50 gigs. Then re-evaluate. You are currently touring the country doing stand-up. How do you go about preparing the material for your show? I wish I knew how to prepare material for a show. I try to live as humorous a life as possible, so I don’t have to make anything up.
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“Oh no … I’m not going to even … no way,” was the response of a staff member at Design Studies when asked to suggest an appropriate headline for this article. It was a hopeless exercise anyway, as University orders dictate that staff are not allowed to speak freely or identifiably with media on operational issues without authorisation. Other interviewees also struggled for an answer. Thirdyear Design (Hons.) students Andrew Jacombs and Angus McBryde failed to design any ideas for the title, while OUSA President Harriet Geoghegan pondered before settling on the worthy entry: “Major Changes to Students’ Ability to Study Design.” The status of this topic was clearly difficult to condense.
The start is simple, though. In late January, a document was released that recommended the deletion of Design as a major, and the disestablishment of the Department of Design Studies. The Departments of Food Science and Clothing and Textile Sciences were to be relocated into the Department of Applied Science, and the Consumer Applied Science programme was to be deleted. Of course, it was the threat to the Design Department that has sparked the most concern. There were justified fears for jobs and degrees, and the swift creation of a Facebook group. The man to question about these concerns is Pro-Vice Chancellor (Sciences) Professor Keith Hunter. As his excessive title indicates, he is the man responsible for the structural change, which was initially proposed by his predecessor Vernon Squires. You would therefore think that Hunter is the most qualified to provide a headline for this article, but he regrettably never had the chance as Critic pussied out of that question when the time came to ask. It was silly to fear the judgement of this avuncular chap. Forthcoming with his time and answers, Hunter traces the history of the proposal to the Government’s May 2009 Budget, in which funding for the university tripartite agreement was cut. This meant that all New Zealand universities faced a big budget cut, particularly to staff salaries. “The Vice Chancellor [Sir Professor David Skegg] got Heads of Department and Pro-Vice Chancellors together and asked how they’d decrease their budgets – fast forward – Vernon Squires came up with the proposal which was released to departments just before he handed it over to myself,” Hunter recounts. Hunter met with affected Department members, who were given a month to provide feedback. In these meetings Hunter “stressed that it was merely a proposal and no decision had been made, and that releasing it as a discussion document, we thought was the best way of getting the process going.” The obvious question is why Design Studies is the first potential victim of a recessionnecessitated firing line. A keyword analysis of Vernon Squire’s proposal document would return the answer ‘PBRF.’ The Performance-Based Research Fund provides criteria for evaluating research performance. As you probably would have seen on the University’s homepage, Otago leads the country in the latest PBRF rankings, and as expressed in its Strategic Direction document, the University is very eager to remain in this readily-marketable position. Design Studies recorded the second-lowest PBRF score in the University in 2009, beating only the untouchable Maori Studies. Such relative underperformance, combined with the Department having to be cross-subsidised by more than $500 000, made Design an easy target. As a relatively young discipline, research is not wellestablished in Design Studies. The proposal describes the Department as a “difficult area to evaluate in regard to the PBRF because of its lack of academic undergirding.” McBryde agrees that “research, in the PBRF sense, is naturally not how our discipline works.” And Jacombs adds that “people don’t get into design for research purposes; they do it to get into industry.”
Heavily involved with the fight to save Design, Jacombs and McBryde are cynical about 2011 being the proposed deadline for the Department’s disestablishment. Jacombs suggests this is rooted in fears of being overtaken by Auckland University in the 2012 round of PBRF rankings. The Department of Design Studies’ official response to the proposal is curiously optimistic about their future PBRF scores. The Department apparently “recognises the importance of improving its PBRF performance and would appreciate the opportunity to develop a plan that will address this most important issue.” This seems a lofty ambition when all parties seem to agree that low PBRF scores are virtually inherent to the discipline. It also seems that the Department’s right to response was their “opportunity to develop a plan that addressed this most important issue;” an opportunity now wasted. Hunter agreed that the need to cross-subsidise Design and its low PBRF scores were “certainly elements” of the proposal, but also pitched the idea that “a big part of the thinking was to create a more coherent academic unit that would host the unit of Applied Sciences. “At the moment we have the Bachelor of Applied Science degree which doesn’t have a department behind it, it’s multidisciplinary, and we have the Bachelor of Consumer Applied Science degree which has a number of departments behind it. So the idea is that the new structure will house the entire programme. Because one thing we’ve found is that students who belong to a programme that don’t have a physical home often feel disenfranchised; they’ve got nowhere to go.” This idea seems sensible: from the outside, these multidisciplinary programmes indeed seem scattered, and ‘BCApSc’ seems like too many letters for your name to be gifted after just three years of study. But it seems that those inside the programme feel anything but “disenfranchised” at the Department of Design Studies. When asked to defend the department, McBryde and Jacombs’ impassioned response centred on its homeliness and warmth. Jacombs: “You come in with what you’re interested in, they foster that. It’s a fantastic atmosphere, very approachable staff.” McBryde: “Yeah, it’s just a tiny building so you’re always Yeah, it’s just a tiny mixing with staff, a real family atmosphere, which I’m quite sure building so you’re always is unique at the University.” mixing with staff, a real Jacombs: “It feels like home to me, it’s just a great place to family atmosphere, which I’m be. The people behind the proposal don’t realise that, it’s just quite sure is unique at the numbers to them.” Stirring stuff. In fact, this is all beginning to sound like the University. 1997 Australian classic The Castle: the University is like the airport company, all “we’re taking your land, get out” and the students are like Dale Kerrigan, all “it’s not a house, it’s a home.” Whether Lawrie Hammill QC will come to save the day is hard to tell at this stage, but all of the staff and students to whom Critic has spoken certainly display a warmth and strong affection for the Department, the likes of which is not engendered by other departments. So the story at this point is that the University proposed that Design be disestablished, to which the Department responded with their own recommendations, which can be summarised as “No, just leave us alone please.” The next step is that the Vice Chancellor, after consulting various stakeholders and the Design response document, will take a (possibly amended) proposal to the University Senate, where it will be discussed and voted on. But this is where the story acquires the barbs of supposed injustice. Traditionally, the next step in such a process would be that the proposal is discussed and voted on at a Divisional Board meeting, in this case the Division of Sciences. Strangely, the Divisional Board meeting is being skipped in this case. OUSA President Harriet Geoghegan describes the omission of this step as “a bit concerning … a controversial change.” She has been heavily involved in the process since she was informed of the situation, first by concerned students and then Hunter, in late January. Having spent last year as a member of the Commerce Divisional Board, and this year as a member of the Senate and University Council, Geoghegan has a keen grasp on the goings-on of these shadowy meetings and agrees that their mention evokes Star Wars imagery. Geoghegan describes how such proposals usually “go to the Divisional Board, they vote on it, they’d either send it off to Senate or say ‘No, go back and change that’ and the next step is it goes to Senate to be discussed.” The Senate consists of about 100 people from around the
University. OUSA has four reps in it and Design has one – the Head of Department. However, Geoghegan says that as everything is usually discussed by Divisional Boards, and that the Senate is very much a rubber-stamping process. “Senate sends recommendations to the University Council, and if the Council accepts something then that’s that, and if something’s gone through all those processes then there tends not to be much discussion at the Senate or Council level.” The Divisional Board is the forum for debate amongst those most knowledgeable about and most involved in any proposal. Geoghegan says that with the skipping of this step “it appears very much that [the University] is trying to ram this through, without going through all the consultation processes.” McBryde is similarly suspicious of the new process: “coming with this proposal to the Senate, it’s a foregone conclusion. They’re speeding up the process and keeping us in the dark. We don’t know what’s happening, just that it’s happening really fast.” The decision to take the proposal straight to the Senate was made before Hunter took up his post. He says he understands concerns that they are bypassing the board and discussion but says it is not the case at all. “We felt that the most effective place for the University as a whole, including the students, to comment was at the Senate.” This preference for immediate discussion at University-wide level is somewhat plausible. But as Geoghegan intimated, the nature of how these processes are usually conducted means that any proposal presented at Senate is assumed to have been subjected to lengthy debate and amendment by those most qualified to do so – members of the appropriate Division Board. In such cases, the Senate operating as a ‘rubber-stamping process’ is understandable. But in this instance, where the proposal is It appears very much untouched but its implications severe, will Senate members be that [the University] is ready to treat it with the commensurate level of contemplation and debate? And do representatives from all over the University trying to ram this through, have sufficient knowledge of the Departments concerned to without going through all the engage in such discussions? Critic asked interviewees for advice for students who would consultation processes. like to fight to protect the Department. Hunter suggested they “can talk to me, but they may not believe what I say, so OUSA is the way to go. We have good connections there, that’s the best way to get an independent voice.” With the ultimate goal of getting the Senate to send the document back to the Divisional Board, Geoghegan advises students to continually try to get in contact with “hig-up people, those involved in the voting process, ask them to get Senate to send it back to divisional board, make sure it’s going through all processes fairly.” Jacombs took a similar view: “I think there is a lot to be said for students just telling people how they feel, letting administration know that this isn’t how problems should be dealt with, everything should be out in the open.” Jacombs was full of praise for the student association. “OUSA in general have been fantastic, my faith has been completely restored, up until now, OK, they’re cool and all, but do they actually do anything? As soon as shit started to go down, they were there for us, it was fantastic. It’s a very good service, they’ve been amazing.” Hunter guaranteed that students studying in the Department will be able to finish off their degrees, and Geoghegan pointed out that the University has a good track record when it comes to this. Students Critic spoke to, however, expressed concern that it wouldn’t be the degree that they signed up for with a different Department behind it. For those who wish to ‘Help prevent the closure of Design Studies,’ but want to do more than join the thus-titled Facebook group, it seems that informing Senate members of their views on the proposal is the best and only avenue. This beloved Department’s best chance of surviving in some form is the Senate voting to send the proposal back to the Divisional Board. At present such a victory seems unlikely, so perhaps it is the headline suggested by a non-Design student that is the most appropriate: “Uni Tells Students To Fuck Off To Wellington.”
Before July 2006, Australian university students were forced to hand over their cash at the beginning of each academic year to support their student union. That was until then-Prime Minister, John Howard, brought in Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU). Under VSU, universities cannot make students become a member of a student association, union, or guild, or pay a compulsory fee for facilities, amenities, or services that aren’t academic.But four years down the track, student unions across Australia have shut down. Campus life has suffered. There are fewer cultural, social, and political clubs, fewer parties, fewer gigs, and less free food. So, if Voluntary Student Membership (VSM) gets through our Government, should we panic? University of Technology, Sydney journalism student Rosie Lewis looks at the impact VSU has had over in the West Island.
ennifer Greating has witnessed something extraordinary during her time at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). She’s been studying since 2002 and experienced firsthand the transition from Compulsory Student Unionism (CSU) to VSU. For four years now, thousands of students have gone and student services stripped of crucial through uni without knowing what campus life was like Universities will spend funds, Ludlow notes some benefits of before VSU. But Greating, who also works for the UTS their money on academia VSU. Liberal politicians and students Union as Activities Manager, was one of the lucky ones. over student services alike are grateful there is now no “There were a great number of regular activities on campus because that’s the business obligation to pay the union fee. every week, which I really don’t see anymore. There were events of the university. “As a student personally I resented on in the uni bars most nights – games, activities, pizza/BBQ paying it [the union fee]. You come to nights, regular parties – and the Glasshouse bar [Union bar] uni, you run up a [Government loan] was always packed,” she says. “While we still run a number of weekly debt and then you’re handing out more money. And at the time activities, we just don’t have the budget these days to offer students when I was a student, I was going, ‘I don’t have $380 up front to free food, cheap drink deals, or arrange big parties more than once spend’, with the threat of ‘You’re not going to get your uni results if or twice a semester.” you don’t pay this’,” Ludlow said. This pattern – and worse – has repeated itself in universities He also thinks businesses on university campuses have been across the country. pushed to work more efficiently and successfully under VSU. For the previous Government, the introduction of VSU was a “I think we’ve felt the pressure to run businesses a lot more time to celebrate freedom of choice for families. Education Minster commercially-savvy. [Before VSU] the money was always there, it of the time, Brendan Nelson, said “It seems that some people in didn’t matter if stock went missing or it didn’t really matter if we this debate have been far more focused on the interests of the sold $2 drinks. It was always ‘Oh well, next year that money’s going universities and those who run them rather than the welfare and to be there so it doesn’t really matter’ … The businesses probably interest of everyday Australian families.” But for Labour, the Greens, weren’t as efficient as they are today.” the Democrats, and National’s Senator Barnaby Joyce, VSU meant The CEO of the UTS Union, Tom O’Sullivan, agrees, but says the death of university life as they knew it. their success is largely because of increased prices. “Everyone basically The manager of the UTS Union bars, Tim Ludlow, was a student improved their business results, but part of the improvement was the himself before VSU came into play. “[VSU] was seen as the big threat national average [across universities] of a 15 percent rise in prices.” to university. [People thought] unions were going to shut down, O’Sullivan was general manager of the University of Sydney there’d be no more student services. It was a scary time I think for Union for ten years, and has been CEO of the UTS Union for six. some people,” he said. He is the first person to tell you why VSU has been so damaging. Like Greating, Ludlow feels the non-academic side of uni has O’Sullivan says the real trouble for unions is if they’re not able to changed significantly. invest in their student services, because their business inevitably “There was a lot of emphasis goes down. on social activities [pre-VSU] … “There was an initial view [by politicians], which As a student personally was highly naive, that what will happen here is ‘Oh, this There was certainly more of a party atmosphere, more of a social I resented paying it [the will sort itself out because … if you just run them [your aspect to the university than there union fee]. You come to uni, services] properly you’ll be able to commercially survive on probably is nowadays.” earnings.’ What that ignores most fundamentally is you run up a [Government those While the statistics from a business on campus only runs six months of the year. the Rudd Government’s 2008 loan] debt and then you’re It’s not a year-long business, but you’re still paying annual summary report show unions handing out more money. rents,” he says.
‘The impact of Voluntary Student Unionism on Services, Amenities, and Representation for Australian University Students’, from the Rudd Government’s 2008 report. l $170 million removed from non academic services across Australian universities. A gross national figure of $40 million was supplied by universities as replacement grants (but this number has been reducing). l 85 percent of the sector in the first year received some sort of funds from the university, but only 60 percent were told funding would be happening in 2008 and subsequent years. l 1000 jobs lost in the sector in student services across Australia (e.g. sport, unions, etc). l Direct funding for sporting clubs was cut by 40 percent. l 17 percent reduction in students in sporting clubs. l 14 percent reduction of students in cultural clubs. l 20 percent of sporting bodies and 36 percent of unions suspended all capital works (infrastructure). l 30 percent of the sector recorded reductions on repairs and maintenance. l 100 sporting services nationally were shut down or reduced (e.g. athlete support, recreational programmes). l 261 union services were shut down or reduced, (e.g. funding for orientation, clubs, childcare, and assistance to international students). l 75 percent of students nationally received nothing from the Howard Government VSU transition funds (most money went rural and regional).
THE AUSSIES’ ADVICE FOR NEW ZEALAND Tom O’Sullivan. CEO of UTS Union Unions should: l Not have a knee-jerk reaction to VSM. l Strengthen their relationship with the university. l Be conscious of their staff, as job losses lead to loss of corporate knowledge. l Look at the trading/business side of their organisation, and make sure they balance commerciality with service. l Manage diminishing funding while your business is still relevant. “Despite all that financial emphasis and analysis that becomes more required, you still gotta stay true to what you are … We’re not just here to make money, we’re here to operate in a viable commercial way. But the end point is for that money to be delivered to what our constitution sets out.” Tim Ludlow UTS Union Bar Manager “Don’t panic. From a commercial aspect, start stuffing money in the bank. The money’s not going to be there next year so put a hold on capital expenditure for a little bit … If the price of beer goes up at the end of the day, the price of beer goes up at the end of the day, there’s really not much you can do about that.”
Since VSU, most universities have given their unions and students associations’ money to help keep them afloat. But when push comes to shove, O’Sullivan says universities will spend their money on academia over student services because “that’s the business of the university.” Many unions have collapsed since VSU, like those of the University of New England, Southern Cross University, and the University of Ballarat. Some universities, like Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, have even taken over unions and moulded student services into a new department that only the university can control. Carla Drakeford is the President of Australia’s National Union of Students (NUS), and is concerned about the new relationship between universities and unions: “We have a problem with [universities giving unions money] because it doesn’t give unions the autonomy to speak out against the university. They won’t say something’s really bad for fear the funding is going to be withdrawn.” Not surprisingly, Drakeford says compulsory fees are the only way to cover the costs of all students on campus. Without funding, she doesn’t believe students get the right representation and support. “When you boil it down, the union is there to represent students. And if your voice isn’t being represented, if you’re not part of that participatory democratic process, you are limited in your capacity to engage with student life,” she says. While the Rudd Government has taken steps to reintroduce compulsory fees, Ludlow says there’ll need to be more transparency about where students’ money is going. At the moment, the public is free to access unions’ annual reports online, but very few know where to look, let alone that it is available. “It needs to be a split, say ‘OK, out of your $100, 25 of it goes to housing, 25 of it goes to the gym, 25 of it goes to food and beverage, and the other 25 of it goes into essential services’. I think people would probably be willing to pay that then if you just go ‘OK, this is what it’s going for’,” Ludlow says. O’Sullivan doesn’t think a fixed union fee is viable for everyone, like online and part-time students, but she says there must be regulation of student unions under Rudd’s proposed new model. “I’m the first one to say the sector [pre-VSU] was under-regulated, that these days that form of compulsion in terms of membership doesn’t sit with the community attitude … But whilst you sort of accept some of those ideological points, I still get to this brick wall … I think there is a mentality in still a portion of our community that says a community mentality [compulsory fees] is not really When you boil it a bad thing.” down, the union is there For now, students like Greating will have to be to represent students. And content with paying higher prices on campus, but if your voice isn’t being being excused from paying a compulsory fee. While represented, if you’re not statistics show VSU has had tragic effects in Australia, part of that participatory campus life still kicks on. Just at a slower pace. democratic process, you are “It gets harder each year to keep engaging students limited in your capacity to and showing them that there’s more to uni than just engage with student life. classes and exams,” Greating says.
The Rudd Government has proposed to reintroduce compulsory fees through the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and other Amenities, and other Measures) Bill 2009. Over a year later, plans for the $250 capped fee are still before Parliament.
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History: Evidence of human life in the Catlins dates back as long as 1000 BCE, to several tribes of semi-nomadic Maori. Europeans first sighted the Catlins in 1770, when James Cook’s Endeavour was cruising along the coast. The first European settlements were established in the early nineteenth century by sealers and whalers, their trades being the dominant economic activity in New Zealand at the time. In the mid-1800s the area became a major saw-milling region, with shiploads of timber sent north to then-developing Dunedin. This contributed to the several major shipwrecks that occurred along the coastline during this period. One of the worst of these was the wreck of the SS Tararua, a passenger steamer that sunk at Waipapa Point in April of 1881, with the loss of 131 lives. The timber industry took a large blow in 1935 when bushfires destroyed several mills, and much of the forest is now protected by the Department of Conservation. One other historical industry of note in the area is the noble profession of rabbit trapping. This became a minor part of the economy until the rabbits wised up and formed the New Zealand Rabbit Board in 1954.
Location: The Catlins cover the bottom right corner (or the South-East coast) of the South Island, roughly an hour and a half’s drive from Dunedin.
Practicalities: There are no banks between Balclutha and Invercargill, though some establishments may be willing to give cash back on EFTPOS. Provided, of course, they take EFTPOS, which is no guarantee. There are plenty of campsites, but the Catlins’ top-notch backpackers should not be missed. Free camping is permitted on public land and beaches except where signs indicate otherwise. Most of the region’s accommodations have very few beds, making advance booking essential, especially over a period like Easter.
Getting there: There is a range of options for travelling to the Catlins, and perhaps the most suitable for student budgets is the trusty bus. The Naked Bus (nakedbus.com): This is a super-cheap bus service for getting around New Zealand. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go to the Catlins, though it will take you to nearby Balclutha. Prices range from $9-$14 each way from Dunedin to Balclutha and vice versa. From there you could hitch or walk or cycle or crawl. Travel Headfirst (477 9083; travelheadfirst.com/catlins-coaster): This is a more expensive option, but will take you to Curio Bay, right in the heart of the Catlins. There are two ticket alternatives with Travel Headfirst, the Catlins One-Dayer (A day trip leaving 7am-ish, arriving back half 7.30-ish in the evening), which costs around 160 clams; and the Catlins Overnighter. The Overnighter provides you with the option to plan a few nights away, and is flexible in terms of stoppages, et cetera. The cost for this one varies depending on how much time you want to spend travelling on the bus, i.e. as opposed to just getting transported to Curio Bay. Hitchhike: Surely this doesn’t need any explanation. • Potentially the cheapest option. • Potentially the funniest. • Definitely the most chance of getting murdered. Drive your flatmate’s car: Head south to Balclutha on SH1. The Southern Scenic Route (SH92) runs 162km through the Catlins from Balclutha to Invercargill, winding through hills only a few kilometres away from the region’s renowned coastline. Many side roads are unpaved, but signposts lead the way to everything from whole towns to hostels. A car or mountain bike (and strong lungs) are the best ways to take in the coast at your own pace.
Where to go: Owaka: Owaka is the main town in the Catlins, and is home to some 400 people. Here you will find the information centre, along with the highly-regarded Lumberjack Café & Bar. Where to stay: the Catlins Coast YHA & Holiday Park (03 415 8333), where prices range from $15-$150 per night, depending on the type of room/site you’re after. Or, just before town, Blowhole Backpackers (03 412 8111; BBH) has soft beds at budget prices. Inseason, you can harvest plums in the backyard. Dorms are $26 a bed; singles $33; doubles $58. $3 BBH discount. Cash only. Purakaunui Falls: A multi-tiered waterfall located southwest of Owaka. The falls can be reached down a twenty-minute return walk off the Owaka-Invercargill Road, entry and exit from the car park at the Purakaunui Falls Reserve. The top viewing point of the falls is accessible by wheelchair, ensuring no one misses out on taking in the sights. Catlins Forest Park: Here you can do the famous river walk: a day trip through beech forest and across swing bridges, with the added opportunity of catching a glimpse of the rare mohua. Stay at the Keswick Park Camping Ground, (03 419 1110). Prices for tent sites are $10 per person, per night. Waipapa Point: The lighthouse here is over 100 years old and was erected after one of the worst maritime disasters in New Zealand’s history, the sinking of the SS Tararua. Accommodation here is generally quite expensive, so Critic suggests looking further afield. Cathedral Caves, Waipati Beach: These aptly-named caves are only accessible two hours either side of low tide, and are approximately 40 minutes walk from the road. They are one of the regioin’s major attractions, and definitely need to be high on the to-do-list for Catlins visitors. Road access is possible, by crossing private land with a user fee. There is also an eco-tourism camp nearby, which is an ideal base for those wanting to access the caves. Slope Point: The southern-most point in the South Island. There is a beacon here – but you can barely see it, as it is across private land. So, it’s not really that exciting. However, you can say you’ve been at the bottom of the South Island. What a claim. Curio Bay: At low tide you can witness a 160-million-year-old fossilised forest. The Petrified Forest provides evidence of New Zealand once being part of Gondwanaland, as plant species here are similar to those found in South America. Stay at the Curio Bay Holiday Park (03 246 8897). Prices for a powered/non-powered sites are $25/$15 respectively; note that these prices are for two people, and extras are and additional $5 a night. Porpoise Bay: This provides an opportunity to see much of the South Island’s wildlife, including fur seals, sea lions, yellow-eyed penguins, and dolphins. Note: it’s always a good idea to try get real patsy with the sea lions. And do feed the animals. Given Porpoise Bay’s proximity to Curio Bay, it would be an idea to seek accommodation there. Nugget Point: Here, a lighthouse looks over jagged, rocky outcrops, and it apparently looks like the end of the world. Critic wasn’t convinced.
The twenty-minute return walk out to the point leads to the Roaring Bay viewing hide, located in nearly 50 hectares of wildlife reserve. This area houses many animals and birds, including a range of seals, sea lions, and penguins. This is the only place on the mainland where you can find both Hooker’s sea lions and elephant seals coexisting. Near Nugget Point is Kaka Point, a small town situated on a nice beach. Stay at Kaka Point Camping Ground (03 412 8801). Prices for powered/tent sites are $12.50 per person, per night/$11 per person, per night. The region provides a range of quaint lodges, motels, and bed and breakfasts, with prices to fit all budgets. Critic has listed the cheapest places we could find, because you are a student and that means you are poor.
Eating: Restaurants are pretty much non-existent in the Catlins, which adds to the rustic charm of the region. The Lumberjack Café & Bar in Owaka provides hearty meals and a sawmill themed setting, based upon the predominance of sawmilling in the region many years ago (03 415 8747). The town of Kaka Point clusters around the main set of stores, which feature groceries, takeaways, a bar, and postal services. The Point Café, in the same complex, has the ocean vistas, pleasant ambiance, and expensive meals (lunch $11-19; dinner $25-29) expected of a beach resort bar (03 412 8800; kakapoint.co.nz). Cash only. In most settlements you will be able to find a dairy and, if you’re lucky, a pub.
Surfing: The area is renowned for surfing, especially big wave. This is due to the huge south swells that hit the southern parts of the region. Dunedin surfer Doug Young’s award-winning 11m wave helped to gather publicity for surfing the area back in 2003. Kaka Point is good, with several beach breaks along the coast to Nugget Point. Long Point (south of Owaka) provides a highlyregarded left-hand point break. The South Coast provides a much more rugged setting with heavy south swells providing a variety of different breaks, depending on conditions.
Must-do: Visit the man with the bus of curiosities in Papatowai. Inside his old Leyland bus, which he opened up ten years ago, Blair Somerville earns a living making mechanical gizmos and gadgets from recycled cast offs. The bus is full of his imagination, ideas, and curiosities, like the ‘pleasant nose pincher’, shells that gurgle, the unique Papatowai radio, wind-up rope drawings, and a cyclepowered television. Word of these curious gadgets has spread, and Somerville’s bus is now a popular tourist stop where visitors from all over the world cannot help but be curious. It’s open: Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Sunday from nine to six-ish.
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t’s Nick Smith’s job every day to dump a big grogan in the shiny toilet bowl of reason. Well, here’s the splash-back, baby. You might hear him excreting the line “We’re going to balance the environment and economy.” I can’t tell if this was cooked up by the spin doctors at Crosby/Textor or if it was just a cut and paste job. Canadians may have heard Stephen Harper chuck in this little line of nonsense here and there. But it’s all very reassuring nonsense, eh? Most people unquestioningly swallow this turd along with all the other crap that comes out of a politician’s mouth. As if National is the only party with ideas of what to prioritise more, money or Gaia. As if the economy and the environment are two mutually exclusive things. As if you could have an economy without an environment. As if there are no policies that protect the environment and generate economic growth. Those who spend thousands of dollars studying POLS know better, but here’s a free lesson. 1) Take the spin and, like undigested bits of corn, pick out the buzz words: “Balance economy and environment,” and “do our fair share to stop climate change.” 2) Divide by the past participle: “Balanced” and “fair.” 3) Formulate in reverse alphabetical order: “Fair” + “Balanced” = Fox News! Ah ha! That’s what’s going on here. “Fair and balanced” is a joke when Fox says it. We all know Fox News loves to suck the cock of right-wing conservatives, i.e. Republicans. Similarly, the Nats are very selective about who they fellate; they’d probably opt for the Business Roundtable’s Roger Kerr over Captain Planet’s Mother Earth, for example (even though she’s so, so hot). In 2006, the World Bank ranked New Zealand as the world’s easiest country in which to do business. And yet you heard business leaders salivating over the change in government in 2008, saying “We’ve now got a business-friendly government (National + Act).” So, if Labour weren’t business friendly enough, you can just imagine how often Roger comes over to Bill English’s house for slumber parties and pillow fights. When Nick Smith next comes to your town for ‘consultation’ on environmental issues, remember this. National are “balancing the environment and economy,” sure. You’ve got skinny, young, tofu-and-beans Russell Norman on former side of the see-saw and gravy-guzzling, fat cat Gerry Brownlee on the latter.
s a student, you are a member of OUSA. You probably know that. You probably don’t know that you don’t have a choice about this, and that you have to apply to OUSA not to join, and they have the final decision whether to let you object by leaving. That is not something that most people would consider a choice. It is a compulsory membership system that forces students to belong to their local student association. This is wrong, and needs to be changed to a voluntary opt-in system. New Zealand doesn’t let other organisations compel membership the way student associations can. Student associations may do a lot of good things for students, but that does not justify taking away a person’s freedom to associate with who they want. The current system has limited accountability. If a student does not want to use the services provided, or thinks that their student association does not represent their views, they have no choice but to continue to be a member and pay their fees. Voluntary membership would mean student associations would have to provide the services and representation that their members actually wanted. Membership fees add up to hundreds of dollars over the course of a degree. You might decide that you can spend that money on something better than OUSA, but under the current system you can’t get that money back, even if you leave. The status quo is limiting political and civil rights in favour of ensuring a slush fund for unaccountable student politicians. Critics of voluntary membership say they are worried that extending this freedom of association to students will result in the collapse of services, or of the student associations themselves. If this occurs, there is a reason for it. People do not like to spend money on things they do not want. It would simply mean that the associations are not providing good services that students want or need. If OUSA continues to provide good services then they will continue to attract membership, so they should have nothing to worry about and calm down. No group, whether a student VSM will provide increased association, a accountability to members and church, a sports club, or the AA, freedom for students. should be allowed to force people to join. Even if they think they provide a public good, destroying people’s rights and forcibly taking their money is not justified. VSM will provide increased accountability to members and freedom for students.
If you are one of these people, I hate you with a passion. The Inquisitor: You know when you get right to the end of the lecture and you’re just wanting for it to end so badly? It’s 11.49. Fuck ... come on, come on ... soo close. Then, bam. Some little fucker up the front asks a question. FUUUUUCCCCCKKKKK. Worst of all, about 95 percent of the time, the question is not important. At all. The Loud Typist: There’s nothing wrong with bringing your laptop to class. However, there’s always that one person whose typing sounds like a goddamn tap dance show on crack. It always gets worse, too, because if the lecturer starts speeding up slightly or something they’re saying is a bit hard to understand, the intensity and volume of the typing increases accordingly, thus making it even harder to concentrate. Invest in a voice recorder.
The Debater: There’s usually always someone who will debate with the lecturer ... in the middle of the lecture. Now, let’s stop and think about this. Who am I going to believe: the nasal retard who’s trying to show everyone how smart they are, or the person with the fucking PhD?? Fuck off you cockgoblin! Not only does it break the flow of the class, but your arguments are about as convincing as an actor from Shortland Street. Health Science Students: Anyone who has a lecture in St. Dave’s can relate to this. You’ve just finished your lecture and you start packing your stuff up and preparing to leave. You look up and get a fright from some stinky Health Sci waiting to take your seat. As in, inches away. You fucking creeps, stop doing that! Newsflash: not only does it scare the shit out of us and makes it difficult to get out of the isles, but guess what? Getting to the ‘best seat’ isn’t going to get you into Med, you silly scrotum connoisseur. The Mature Student: Now to be fair, I’ve actually met some pretty cool mature students. Unfortunately, they’re not very common. A vast majority of mature students have the uncanny ability to either to dominate a conversation to provide a verbose and usually irrelevant opinion (which no one gives two shits about) or to detract from the topic at hand to a point where you have no fucking idea what’s going on. But since we’re young I guess we just don’t understand.
Last week there was no title on the column. For those who couldn’t figure it out, we were discussing how to tell when tits are fake.
Boy: I started smoking the day I lost my virginity. While I lay in bed my new girlfriend made some tea, and we smoked Marlboro Lights. That was years ago but to this day, whenever I have a cigarette, somewhere in the back of my mind I’m thinking about my first time. I was enjoying a cigarette in Dudley Park in Rangiora on Friday, when this girl walked up and sat down. “Hi, Boy,” she said. We hadn’t met before, but she had overheard my name and came over to chat and ask for a cigarette. She wasn’t exactly a catch. A pregnant smoker isn’t usually cool. But maybe she needs a daddy for her baby? We talk about the politics of smoking and addiction. She veers the conversation to addiction, and lets out this pearl: “I’m not addicted to P anymore because I go to Narcotics Anonymous sometimes, but only when I feel like it: I’m controlling my addiction to meetings as well.” Apparently, the meetings are just as addictive as P. She leans forward seductively and tells me she likes emotionally manipulating people and is trying hard to stop that habit too. “But it’s just so fun and easy, ya know? But then these people have these breakdowns, and that’s not nice for them.” Like nicotine and P, some habits are just hard to break. We hug and kiss goodbye in the late-summer sun. I like smokers because they’re all a little bit ‘off,’ like the girl I met that day. My good friend Sebastian Russell Roberts doesn’t like smokers. He has a counter-argument, and writes: “Now I don’t want to sound like Che Fu, or Samuel Flynn Scott, or the drummer from the Mint Chicks, or Ladi 6, or the entire cast of Outrageous Fortune, or that Drew guy from that children’s TV show, but I don’t really like smoking. I don’t want to tell you all not to smoke, but it is pretty stupid. Not because of the cost, or the health risks, or the rubbish it causes (which are all pretty big factors) but because babes that smoke smell like cigarettes. I really like the way babes usually smell, babes smell pretty good and I don’t really like the smell of cigarettes. It wouldn’t be the be all and end all of being a babe, but babes that don’t smoke are a bit babier, y’know. I don’t really think it is attractive at all really. Not our future.” … but if you want the pregnant junkies, go for it, smoke. Also, read Sebastian’s blog: http://sebastianrussellroberts.blogspot.com/
Rudi Bohn Golden Sound of Hammond Europa, year unknown
here was once a time (the 1970s, to be precise) when the Hammond organ was the sexiest instrument in the world. Well, in Germany at least. You couldn’t look at an album cover without seeing beautiful women standing next to Hammond organs, pointing to Hammond organs, or even draped sensuously across Hammond organs. The cover of Stef Meeder’s In Good Shape features a nude woman reading a magazine while Meeder, perched at his organ, looks on affectionately from the background; Klaus Wunderlich’s Hammond Pops 8 does away with the organ entirely, featuring only the titillating image of a half-naked woman staring longingly into the camera. But why was the music of the Hammond organ deemed so sensual, so alluring? Rudi Bohn’s classic album Golden Sound of Hammond may provide a few hints. Golden Sound sees Bohn reworking popular tunes like Mull of Kintyre, Please Mr. Postman, and Das Lied der Schlümpfe, merging them together into a nonstop Hammond organ thrill-ride. At first, the music seems cheery and upbeat, bringing to mind a pleasant day at the carnival filled with laughter and clowns. However, as the record progresses and the incessant waves of reverb and tremolo begin to pile on top of each other, the endless sound of the organ begins to take on an eerie quality. Joyful tunes like Love Is in the Air suddenly turn sinister, laughing in our faces. The funfair has been abandoned; the clowns are passed out in pools of their own vomit. And therein lies the sex appeal: like the beautiful siren who lures sailors to their deaths, the Hammond organ promises pure pleasure to the listener, only to wash them up onto the dark recesses of the human psyche. Golden Sound of Hammond, like so many Hammond organ releases, exists on a knife-edge between pleasure and pain, and it was this darkly alluring quality that sucked in countless Germans over the years. Inevitably, such an intense craze could only last so long: by the early 1980s Hammond organists were forced to look for other work, and half-naked women had to find other objects to point at. Hammond organ records can still be found if you search hard enough, but while they may be tempting, one should be wary of the dark power contained within. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Stuart Dangerfield is a music critic who has been writing for various publications since 1974.
Pasta: the student’s staple diet. I was introduced to this recipe, Pasta in Rosso Sauce, by a friend who got it off some guy who got it off the back of pasta packet. I have since modified it to my liking. It’s easy, and it tastes pretty damn good. In fact, in my opinion it’s as good as, if not better than, the Penne Al Nono at Etrusco (which I may write about in the future). It also keeps well, so feel free to cook up a big ol’ pot and have it for lunch for four days in a row. Pasta in Rosso Sauce 1 can tomato puree (400g) 1 bag pasta (250g) 1 chopped onion Thickened cream (300g) Chopped/rubbed parsley Salt, pepper and olive oil Bacon (500g) Italian mixed herbs Boil pasta in some salt and a little olive oil. Fry bacon until browned, then remove from pan. l Fry onions in a little olive oil till fragrant, then add tomato puree. l Add chopped parsley and Italian herbs to your preference, and then let the sauce simmer for a few minutes. Check on your pasta. Make sure it isn’t overcooked. l Add browned bacon to the pan and simmer for a few more minutes. l Add thickened cream, mix well, then add pasta, mix well, and serve. l l
After watching Julie & Julia late last year, I couldn’t get the scene where Julie Powell pan-fries lovely golden-brown slices of bread to make ‘tomato bruschetta’ out of my head. That has inevitably manifested into an irrepressible urge to make (or rather, consume) said bruschetta. I looked up some recipes online, got the gist of how to make it and just winged it, as I usually do. Instead of rubbing the garlic on the fried bread, as per most of the recipes, I mixed grated garlic with olive oil and spread a layer on each slice of bread before pan-frying them. This technique of course yielded a more robust overall garlic flavour than garlic-rubbing. I also decided to exclude the cheese because I wanted to keep it light and clean tasting. All in all, it turned out pretty well - the tomato and basil topping was very tasty and refreshing. My (self) criticisms would be that I should have seeded the tomatoes and diced them finer and used a French baguette instead of Italian ciabatta.
Tomato Bruschetta 2 pottles of Soldier Tom tomatoes 1/3 cup fresh basil, finely chopped 1 French baguette 5 garlic cloves, finely minced Olive oil Seed and finely dice the tomatoes to approximately 0.5-1cm cubes. l Toss basil and tomatoes together in a bowl and season with salt, pepper, and olive oil. l Mix garlic with olive oil. Use your own estimation. l Slice baguette diagonally, about 1.5-2cm-thick slices. l Spread a layer of garlic and olive oil mixture on to both sides of each slice and pan fry in a hot (dry) pan. l When both sides are golden brown, remove from pan, and assemble on a serving platter. l Use a spoon to scoop the tomato and basil mixture, e nsuring that you drain any excess liquid off the spoon. l Spoon tossed tomatoes onto each garlicky toasted slice of bread. Enjoy immediately! l
girl was “innocently poking around in a hole and went too far,” reported the ODT in the lead story of Wednesday’s Regions section.
am Neill could sell you anything: a kick in the face, a blood disease – he could even teach you about the universe for the neat price of $39.95. Consider the new Kiwi Bank ads. With the smirking charm of his down-turned face you’re turned to putty for his financial moulding. Forget about the student plan that you’re on, and listen closely as he spins you the ancient tale of Kiwi Bank’s rise against Australian imperialism! Well, at least it’s better than the old Kiwi Bank ad (incredibly smug girl waffles on). But, this isn’t the first time Neill’s put his rhetorical skills to work to persuade us. It’s one in a line of ads for him, and frankly, I think he’s found his calling. Remember the red meat ads telling us to eat lean meat? It used to be Neill that convinced us before those rowing pituitary cases took over. And how did he do this, you ask? Science and evolution, baby! “If our ancestors hadn’t eaten red meat, our brains wouldn’t be the size they are today ...” He nods his head forward authoritatively, arches his eyebrow knowingly, and almost whispers it to you like we’re back in the jungle of Jurassic Park - all he needs to complete the allusion is the ranger hat and the annoying kids that won’t shut up. In Jurassic Park, you listen to Sam Neill, that’s the rule. Otherwise, a Velociraptor eats you. Simple stuff. At the end of the ad they even have people acting like dinosaurs to complete the comparison, poking their snouts over the tops of fences to show their instinctual bloodlust for red meat, while Sam cooks at his everyman BBQ (And of course don’t forget there’s a cliché, dreaded hippy in the mix - the ad execs just couldn’t resist adding that in - therefore you know that vegetarians are, well, simply lying to themselves! Please note the sarcasm so I don’t get ecofriendly hate mail.). So, clearly Sam Neill has the experience, the pseudo-scientific acting background (and accent), and the reputation as a respected thespian to sell us pretty much anything. The tactic of stroking our NZ ego and ‘fighting spirit’ is a new one for him, though. Speaking of that, maybe they should get Neill to sell Heineken, then? If The Wolf and The Green Goblin can do it, Mr. Neill could certainly chug a beer and tell New Zealand how awesome we are.
Oh no. It turns out that the Regions section is basically all about regional folk getting into spots of bother in holes, ditches, and in this case, a grate. Here, a “young Balclutha girl” was whisked away from school to an Engineering firm to have her finger removed from a metal grate. The girl was not injured, and was very brave during the ordeal. Also not injured, a 57-year-old Auckland man who was (allegedly) driven into “at crawling speed” by a 31-year-old Australian man in his “rented Toyota Rav4.” Okay, so like, why do we care? (This was on the front of Monday’s section.) On Tuesday, the front page included a report from Queenstown, where a woman was taken to hospital (with a broken arm) after getting distracted and falling two metres into a pit. “It was the second time in ten years a person had fallen into a pit at the loading station,” the ODT reports. Don’t worry, the Department of Labour, the Council, and Otago Southland Waste Services are all investigating. Going back to last Saturday, when Critic had more time on its hands, the Regions section was actually opened. Good decision. There was a fashion show in Wakouaiti to raise money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation – attended by over 300 people, raising more than $3000! Spot someone without grey hair in the crowd, and Critic will give you a prize. Look at that model though – skux. We were pretty content with that. And then we scrolled down. Words cannot describe our elation upon spotting this piece of news, so we’ll just copy it verbatim: “Calling all Toyota MR2 owners – Waimate wants you to gather in the town next weekend, to beat the North Island. The aim is to get as many ‘Mister Two’ sports cars as possible in one place in the South Island and another in the North Island, to see which island can muster the most of that model.” Wow.
Emma: Minimum wage laws reflect a concern with improving the circumstances of the poor and achieving a more equitable society. In many ways these laws have aided in such achievements, but the idea that the minimum wage needs to be lifted significantly above current levels to $15 an hour is not an economically sensible way to further achieve these ambitions. As a price floor, a minimum wage decreases the demand for labour as employers must pay more for the same services. Such a move will cut many people out of the market and increase unemployment and state dependence. From the perspective of our fragile economy, recovering from a severe recession with decade-high unemployment rates, this is not a desirable outcome. Forcing employers to increase pay significantly will also have an effect on inflation rates, as prices are put up in another attempt to cover the additional costs. This reduces spending capacity across society and in particular those with the least spending ability. The combination of these factors means that the net social cost will exceed any benefit. The proposal does not target those most in need, as most minimum wage workers are teenagers and part-time workers, while the poorest in society are typically those struggling to raise a family on what are low (but above the minimum) wages, or those who are unemployed. Different policies are needed and a fixation with the minimum wage as a sole means of providing this will not achieve the desired ends. While the minimum wage has got us so far in ensuring we no longer have sweat-shop type situations, it is not the way to solve the poverty problem. Other programmes such as a negative income tax, or a refundable tax credit system (think Working for Families) may better help by targeting those who are actually in need, and don’t result in the negative effects of unemployment and inflation. It is other solutions, such as these, that need to be at the heart of the discussion, as opposed to the minimum wage, if we are serious about tackling poverty.
Shou ld we minimum raise the wage to $1 5?
Nick: On April 1, New Zealand’s minimum wage will rise from $12.50 to $12.75. This isn’t good enough. The New Zealanders who do some of the most dirty, difficult, and degrading work in the country deserve more than a raise that will barely cover the price of inflation. New Zealand’s minimum wage should be raised to $15. Why do we need a minimum wage at all? In an ideal world, we wouldn’t. Instead employers and employees could negotiate a fair wage from positions of equal power. Sadly, this world exists only inside the curiously-shaped head of one D. Brash. In the real world, the employment market is one of huge power imbalances. Employers can dictate any wage they like to their lowest-paid employees. There is no opportunity for real negotiations. The employee generally needs the job more than the employer needs that particular employee. To stop wages being driven too low, the Government has a role to step in and impose a minimum wage. New Zealand’s current minimum wage is too low. In the face of rising living costs, the Government needs to do more to protect the welfare of some of New Zealand’s worse-off people. Living in Dunedin, it’s easy to get the idea that the only people on the minimum wage are part-time students who can always fall back on their parents if money gets too tight. This isn’t the case. Thousands of families in this country depend on a minimum-wage job as their main source of income. They don’t have a mum and dad living in Khandallah or Remuera to call when things get tight. Instead, they cut back on essentials like heating and groceries. Some people have the idea that a higher minimum wage causes increased unemployment. This phenomenon occurs often in economic models, but has yet to be clearly identified in the real world. Economists have actually done studies that observed a decrease in unemployment when the minimum wage increased. During the nine years in which Labour was in power, they increased the minimum wage by 71 percent. Unemployment plummeted. Raising the minimum wage to $15 would encourage people to move off the unemployment benefit and search for paid work. It is worth sacrificing a small portion of the profits of Progressive Enterprises and McDonald’s to raise the living standard of New Zealand’s struggling families.
Debatable is a column written by the Otago University Debating Society. They meet every Tuesday at 7pm in Commerce 2.20.
ue to simple human error I didn’t get my column in on time last week. I’ve been getting no end of shit for it (and rightly so) as it is the one weekly opportunity I really have to convey what I am doing and try to stimulate some discussion about student issues. That missing column was about what OUSA does and what I do as your President – it was a challenge getting it all within my word limit. You can read it here: ousa.org.nz/main/yourexecutive I continually get asked, “So, what do you actually do?” which is a problem – you should know what your President is doing for you. It isn’t your fault that we haven’t been good at communicating what we do. Sometimes it gets put in the too-hard basket because it is so difficult to describe the myriad things OUSA does – the spectrum from events and recreation to student support and representation covers quite a lot! OUSA doesn’t have editorial My personal Facebook page is control of Critic (nor do we want totally inappropriate for political it). We only get discussion and it pisses off my to email students when it is super friends. important in the University’s eyes. My personal Facebook page is totally inappropriate for political discussion and it pisses off my friends. Twitter hasn’t really taken off round here; the number of OUSA’s Facebook ‘friends’ is fast approaching the 5000 maximum and the fan page to combat this doesn’t have a big enough membership base yet. It costs a lot to print posters, and we shouldn’t be promoting at you so much as communicating with you, anyway. So, how do we get important messages to you? How do we get your feedback and direction on important student issues? I get a lot of people having a rant about various things I/OUSA should be doing, and 90 percent of the time it is constructive criticism of an issue of which we are well aware. The majority of the time we are already working to change said issue. What’s really grinding my gears at the moment is the amount of people using VSM as the way to address concerns. What a genius idea – instead of addressing your individual gripes, nuke the whole organisation! Undermining our legitimacy and decreasing our funding and service provision by making the association voluntary because of a few minor and totally solvable issues is a retarded cop-out. If you are a more constructive thinker, you will go to saveourservices.org.nz, do a super quick online submission by March 31, and then talk to me about what you think needs improving. I look forward to hearing from you.
Tena koutou, Ko Mataatua te waka. Ko Maungapohatu te maunga. Ko Tauranga te awa. Ko Tuhoe te iwi. Ko Te Whakatane te hapu. Ko Tauanui te marae. Ko Jared Mathieson-Hiakita taku ingoa. Kia ora! I’m Jared (aka J-rad) and this will be my second year as kaitiaki putea (treasurer) for Te Roopu Maori. As kaitiaki putea it is my job to oversee the financial side of things for our association. So I get to do all the cool-as extreme stuff like pay bills, do GST returns, and make sure TRM is sticking to our budget! It is great to again be given the chance to give something back to the Maori Students Association who have helped me and so many other Maori students with the services and support they provide. Me? I am in my fourth year of study and hopefully at the end of this year I will have completed a BA (Hons.) majoring in Maori Studies. I was born and bred mostly in Whakatane. I like sports, playing guitar, food, and a million other things. We’ve got some really cool stuff going on throughout the year, so make sure to get amongst it! TRM has a few teams (touch, netball and volleyball) in the Unipol social sports competition, which is always good times with a few laughs. The Maori ball is scheduled for July 31 as an end to Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori. Te Huinga Tauira is on again this year. Last year we had the crew of DOOM and had an amazing time, so it would be awesome if we could get a bigger roopu to take up this year. KAPA HAKA EVERY MONDAY AT 7PM, GROUND FLOOR, TE TUMU. All are welcome! There are also all the other smaller, random events that are held throughout the year, so make sure to check your emails and we’ll keep you guys updated! I think that’s about enough from me. My office hours at TRM are Mondays 1-3pm and Tuesdays 11am-1pm, so if you need to see me nau mai haere mai and hopefully I can help. With the awesome crew we have this year (Fallyn, Heremaahina, Rimutere, and the two new guys who will be elected by the time you are reading this) I’m sure it is going to be a greatly productive year for TRM. Good luck to everyone for the first semester. Noho ora mai, Na Jared.
Letter of the Week
wins a $30 book voucher MY BAD
To the Eco warrior who turned the light out in the 3rd floor sci 3 mens toilet on the 15th of march at 1.10pm Thanks a lot I love shitting in the dark especially when I’m reading critic. Next time how about looking around before you gallantly continue on your one man crusade to save the planet. Yours Sincerely Shitty YOU TELL HIM, GIRLFRIEND
To the girls on campus. Mr. Hercus (Critic #4) does not speak for all of us. Any guy who takes the time to match his belt and shoes; be they metro, gay or otherwise will notice if you have dressed up. Even if we’re not allowed to comment, it will still be very much appreciated. So thank you. Josh, just because we, as owners of a Y chromosome cannot fully comprehend the unfathomable intricacies of fashion or shoes or handbags doesn’t make them any less important or significant to the opposite sex. Not everyone can expend all available brain power on the All Blacks starting lineup: which might I add; one could easily argue is dictated by a group of equally ‘pretentious and snobby people’. Kisses. -Ham Lorgelly (a.k.a. A ‘haughty private school bitch’) BIGGEST INJUSTICE ON CAMPUS RIGHT NOW
Dear Franklys I thought you were special, you know? Look, I’m down with the 50c price rise - I know times are tough. I’m even down with the new twisty line that means I can’t jump the queue. But $1.00 for sundried tomatoes?? A whole dollar?? You’ve changed Franks. The
old Franks gave that sweetness away for free. What’s next Franks, what is next?? Yours, A hungry student P.S. Two helpful hints freshers: backpacks aren’t cool, and never will be; and the Richardson lifts are not for conversation, they are for staring awkwardly at the numbers and giggling at the seductive elevator lady-voice. That is all. WELL, WE THOUGHT IT WAS FUNNY
Dear Critic. I must say that I was disappointed in Harriet (our president) upon glancing at her column this week (Issue 4). She seems to have fallen pray to the initiation of column writing that strikes each president at least once in their term. (From experience of reading critic I have seen this done by each president since my 1st year at uni). I would much rather see a few lines from the editor to the effect of “that Harriet was too busy this week to get a column in” or “no column was received from Harriet this week” or a line from Harriet herself saying that “due to circumstances outside her control she had no time to get a column in this week”. Filling half a page with “I MUST GET MY COLUMN IN ON TIME” is just a waste of time and ink, (and is not even an original way of saying nothing). Better luck next week Harriet. Regards, Charlotte. Ed. – As per tradition, Critic writes the President’s column for them when they don’t get it in on time. She did meet the deadline. See p36. NOT THE OTAGO HOODIE! TAKE ANYTHING BUT THE OTAGO HOODIE!
Dear fuckwitted lowlife, I bet you thought it was funny to climb over the fence of either the pink pussies or lifeguards flat on hyde st keg party, climb onto my flat’s roof and take my 1 week old otago uni hoodie and my levis from my drying rack.
Turns out it isn’t. I would also put money on the fact that you were also part of the group who decided to bombard our flat with bottles, mugs and other various items that were very close to hitting our windows. Yeah that was pretty funny too, you fucks. For the past two years i have regarded Dunedin as the best place to study in NZ because of the student culture and thought people would respect each others shit more because of this. However you proved me wrong on saturday evening and I now cannot wait to graduate at the end of this year and get the fuck out of here. If you would return my clothes to 22 Clyde St that would be great, otherwise I will have to track you down, shoot you in the stomach and piss in your eyes, you absolute cunt. Who the fuck steals clothes. / rant over (no longer an) angry hoodie NAH, TOTALLY SOCIETIES FAULT
Two weeks ago I had to completely rebuild my fence because a group of people decided to smash it, one of my flatmates overheard the people say, ‘it’s ****ing awesome breaking things’ ? and sure enough, they smashed the fence to bits. A few days later, they were back throwing bottles. They got into their taxi before the police arrived on the scene, who informed me ‘these people know you have bite so they’ll be doing it again’. I tidied up the wheelie-bins next door, for the umpteenth time. I swept the glass off of the road for the umpteenth time. I have university reports that need doing, I have projects that need doing! The fact of the matter is this; all the lads in the flat where I live, could rush out the front in an instant, bash six bails out of the lot of them, and carry on with what we were doing. We’re young men, we have courage. I don’t doubt for a second these lowlifes have a knife or something horrid, that’s why we’d employ a shovel and a broomstick. Doesn’t this circa 1900���s method of keeping wretched, damned ferrel people in order work? Are we going to turn into Zimbabwe over night? I doubt it, instead the courts would relish throwing somebody like me in jail, they would be delighted to ruin my degree, my whole life,
NOTICES POLICY in Notices must be fewer than 50 words c Criti to itted subm be must and h lengt it to by 5pm on Tuesday before you want ling run. You can get notices to us by emai the to them ing bring or .nz ic.co critic@crit week Critic office. We accept five notices a from non-profit organisations and other ng to student-related groups that aren’t looki make a bit of dosh.
I would be punished for taking the single action that would stop this nonsense. They’d say ‘you shouldn’t take the law into your own hands (that’s the job I get paid too much to do)’. So of course, when I came out of the house to find my new fence wrecked again, I went straight to the basement for the hammer and nails, I put it back together, I tidied up the wheelie bins, I swept the glass off the road, I consoled the people I live with who are terribly upset about it. I don’t doubt for a second that I set a good example as a law abiding citizen, but please, how much longer does this have to go on? For heaven’s sake; we’ve put our country on a silver platter for these imbeciles to indulge themselves upon! Idiocy is like a damn disease in this country, how much longer do we have to live in fear of these people, and the law? Charles Rowe DEFINITELY FAT
Dear Ed, We at St Margaret’s appreciate the fact we weren’t put in the critic. Why? Because we are indeed boring studybugs and thats nothing worth reporting. However, a few corrections need to be made to your comment. Firstly, the ‘Wardens’ official title is actually the ‘Master’ and secondly, the throne is not in the dining room but in the library. I sit on it sometimes when I study to make myself feel important. In future, please get the correct information before making false assumptions. Yours, Gavin Fischer DIDN’T YOU REALISE THE CONTROL ROOM IS IN OUR OFFICE?
Dear Editor, Those security cameras one may happen to see around the uni, are they real? (working, functioning as a security camera would, as opposed to those fak ‘look-a-likes’?) … Well, if yes then I presume someone can view, even save certain frames. Critic! You guys should show those moments when people do things when they think no-one is watching. Showcase peoples
misfortunes! (ones that are funny & within reason!) Your Friendly Neighbourhood Voyeur BUT, BIG BROTHER
Dear ‘Vulnerable Student’. While ‘99%’ of the student population may own cellphones, this leaves roughly 200 students who do not. From those who do have cellphones, I would guess that roughly 50% of those people do not know the Campus Watch number for cases minor enough that the police do not need to be involved (03 479 5000, for those wondering, now you know). So that leaves us with ~11000 students who 1) have no access to direct emergency help on campus and 2) could not contact Campus Watch if they needed to, even if they have a cellphone. In a case where you DO need to contact the police (or the fire brigade or an ambulance), Campus Watch can get to you much quicker plus will call the appropriate authorities. With you on a cellphone there are many things that go wrong induced by panic or from an attacker, but contacting Campus Watch ensures that little bit of extra security to keep you safe. So I don’t know about you, but I am happy with the new ‘monuments of safety’ because while they may not benefit you or me, there are others it may benefit. If these phones save just one person from harm or even death then they were worth it. Michael D
LETTERS POLICY Letters should be 200 words or less. The deadline is Tuesday at 5pm. Get them to us by putting them in the mailbox under the Union stairs, emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or posting them to us at PO Box 1436, Dunedin. All letters must include full contact details (name, street address and phone number), even if you don’t want these details printed. Letters of a serious nature addressing a specific group or individual will not be published under a pseudonym, except in extraordinary circumstances as 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 the letter writer looks stupid, it’s because they are.
FREE FILM SCREENING The Age of Stupid. This epic 2009 Sundance Film Festival participant will change the way you view the world. Tuesday March 30, Evison Lounge, 8.30pm. From local producer Lizzie Gillet (Dunedin), and presented by Students for Environmental Action, this film is not to be missed!
a Interested in Becoming School Ambassador for Humanities? r If you are a second- or third-yea ol prepared to visit your old high scho t abou ally stic usia enth and talk o doing a Humanities degree at Otag we k, brea ster seme midthe over el may be able to help with your trav costs. z Email email@example.com for more information. Otago Tertiary Chaplaincy The Chaplaincy team is on campus to provide pastoral care and spiritual supp ort for students. 12-12.45pm Monday March 29: Holy Week Communion Service. Upper Room, upsta irs in the University Union Building. All welco me. Inquiries to Greg Hughson, University Chaplain 479 8497, greg.hughson@otago . ac.nz; or Amy Armstrong, 479 5348.
STUDENTSOUL Cafe church for students. No 7pm Service Easter Sunday 4 April. Combined Churches Service Sunday 11 April 7pm at Regent. Speaker: Mick Duncan. Contact Helen, 027 4730042.
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Final Fantasy XIII
ll of the Final Fantasy games have been known for their groundbreaking graphics, enthralling story lines, and amazing game play, and this latest addition to the franchise doesnâ€™t let its predecessors down. The game is set on the planet of Cocoon. Here, a theocratic government quarantines and exiles anyone found to have been in contact with the feared and mysterious Pulse aliens. You control a group of humans being hunted down by Cocoon soldiers for having done just that, and become drawn into a story of discovery (and, of course, beating up on monsters) as the characters unravel the truth of the world around them, and their place in it. The graphics in this game are stunning, to the point that sometimes you want to just stop, forget about the plot, and marvel at this amazing piece of artwork. The story line may start off slow, but
after the first hour of play you will be hooked, as you start to get a greater understanding of what is happening. The game play is nothing less than epic. At first the turn-based fighting system may seem to be a drawback, but as you play the game more you start to get used to it. Beware thinking that the turn-based model means every fight is an easy win: as the game goes on the battles get harder, and you need to employ ever more strategy to keep winning. Final Fantasy XIII is not a short game. At the time of writing this, I am 30 hours of play in and have only completed 11 of 13 chapters. So, if you pick this game up, donâ€™t expect to get much else done for a while. Overall, this is an amazing game, and I highly recommend it to everyone.
The Kiwi Beer Lover’s Cookbook
Sam Cook Hurricane Press Ltd
had no idea there were quite so many ways to cook with beer. I knew about beer-battered fish and chips, but this book contains recipes for dips, stews, sauces, casseroles, boil ups, pies, burgers, cakes, waffles, and even ice cream! And apparently, beer is great for tenderising meats, leavening bread and batters, and maintaining moisture during baking. I intended to attempt at least one recipe from each of the nine chapters, but as time and pecuniary constraints would have it, over three weekends, the obliging cooks I recruited for this mission and I managed to execute eight recipes from five chapters. A respectable effort, I think. The first attempt was disappointing. The Chicken Paella (with Monteith’s Original Ale) turned out flat and plain, just tasting like rice with bottled marinara sauce. Bleagh. The Shepherd’s Pie (incorporating a dark beer; we used Black Mac), however, was a juicy, tasty, hearty meal. Since this recipe came with a photograph, I decided to henceforth only try the recipes that were thusly accompanied. For the most part, this system worked well. The Avocado Wedges and Sesame Green Beans were made with a lager (Carlsberg) batter and fried. The firm avocado wedges and tender green beans, encased in beautifully light, crispy, tasty coatings, were absolutely delicious. The dipping sauce that went with the tempura-like green beans complemented the dish perfectly, and I swear if you didn’t know the wedges were avocados, you’d think you were eating Cajun-style potato wedges. The next recipe involved sticking a can of Carlsberg up a chicken’s butt and sitting it upright on the roasting pan, which of course was the entire reason we chose that recipe. Kudos to the chicken, which sat upright, sans props, throughout the entire process without complaining once. Having the beer steam the insides of the chicken while it was roasting produced a most delectable, moist, and tender bird. Finally, we made the Triple Choc Brownie (with a Black Mac) for a potluck. As if the divine aroma of chocolate wasn’t enough, fresh from the oven, scattered throughout this decadently rich, dense, and moist brownie were the most fascinating little pockets of oozing liquid chocolate! It’s a good sign when the guests ask if they can take some home and the hosts ask for the leftovers. The only other recipes that proved less than satisfactory were the Fish in Beer & Vodka Batter and the Afghan Biscuits with Beer Icing. The beer & vodka batter, while airy and crunchy, had a bitter aftertaste. Perhaps if we cooked the batter a little longer, the vodka’s bitterness might have dissipated, but then the fish would’ve been overdone. The Afghan biscuits were oddly powdery, and the beer icing was too squishy. The recipes were simple and flexible, which is great for people like me who prefer the no fuss approach to cooking. Most of the recipes turned out well, so try the ones you think will work best and leave or tweak the ones that look iffy.
H Hetty Feather
Jacqueline Wilson Doubleday Children’s Books
etty Feather is the latest spawn of prolific children’s author Jacqueline Wilson. Hetty is a penniless orphan, a fiery redhead with a vivid imagination. Set in London in the late 19th century, the novel is Hetty’s account of her life from babyhood until late childhood. Beginning with the first-person narrative of a three-month-old baby, the first chapter has a disconcerting and rather implausible feel to it. The story rambles onwards through Hetty’s formative years in foster care, where she recounts a series of mildly entertaining incidences, all teasingly hinting at more entertainment than they end up providing. At the age of six, Hetty is forced to return to the dreaded ‘hospital’ to be cared for until she is old enough to begin a career of servitude. Here she and a number of shallow, clichéd characters are involved in several experiences that allow Jacky (as she is affectionately referred to on the front cover) to make the most of her first venture into historical fiction. The 8- to 12-year-old audience that the book is intended for will no doubt fall in love with the quirky, intelligent Hetty Feather. At times even I found myself growing attached to the otherwise irritatingly petulant protagonist. However, even many years later, I found it difficult to separate her in my mind from other characters that Jacqueline Wilson has created. Despite being set 100 years apart from any of her other books, it is clear that she is following the same recipe for combining characters, themes, and plot which makes all her books taste essentially the same. An easy but uninspiring read, I do not expect that many Critic readers will enjoy this book. However, if you are looking for a present for a younger sister, this is a safe and unchallenging choice.
Ron Rash Text Publishing Company
s we live in the shadow of the recent economic crisis, Ron Rash pens a haunting novel set in the Great Depression, almost exactly eight decades ago. In the mountains of North Carolina, Mrs. Serena Pemberton sets to work carving, quite literally, her niche to establish a timber empire. Then, as now, unemployment rates were through the roof, and throngs of men – uneducated and hungry – were willing to work in the most unsafe of environments. Much blood is shed as these men attempt to cull native timber by hand in these treacherous mountains. Born and raised by a timber family in Colorado, Serena is orphaned at 16 and is sent to a Boston finishing school. There, she meets George Pemberton at a society function, and they marry within three weeks. Together they begin the business of making themselves rich, by hook or by crook. And there’s no shortage of the latter. In true Machiavellian fashion, Serena ruthlessly picks off the opposition and bribes police officers. One thinks of dramatised accounts of the Wild West, where scratch-poor workers are exploited and industrialists (or, in our case, timber barons) make and break the law. When Serena discovers that she is unable to produce an heir of her own, she sets out to murder the bastard child George sired before they met. Through luck and grace, the child survives, and eventually ... oh, I’ve said too much already. Serena is a chilling and exciting read, and despite its darkness it’s not without beauty. In telling a story about jealousy and revenge in a dog-eat-dog world, Rash manages to also tell a story about a passionate love that’s impressive, even admirable.
eather Straka, the 2008 Otago University Frances Hodgkins Fellow and the 2009 Wallace 20 March – 20 June Art Award recipient, has DPAG returned to Dunedin to show her latest project The Asian at her first major solo exhibition in New Zealand. Straka has provoked discussion about authenticity and originality before, with her notorious appropriations of Maori portraits copied from such artists as Charles Goldie and Gottfried Lindauer. This issue of authenticity is at the heart of her conceptually grounded installation, where she appropriates one of her own works creating a series of paintings she describes as ‘hyper fake.’ The project consists of fifty immaculately painted reproductions Straka commissioned in a painting village in Shenzhen, China, by artisans who specialise in high-end copies of artworks. The original work is one from her Asian Girl series, a collection of masterfully executed yet romanticised portraits of exotic young Asian women, in Straka’s signature sombre grey tones, who are subtly culturally subverted with Tiki brooches. Straka’s aim is to raise questions over authorship and validity: who is to be credited for these works? Is Straka the artist, or a mix of patron and curator? These issues hark back to debates of authenticity that arose from the postmodern art of the 1960s and 70s when many artists appropriated found objects or paid others such as tradesmen to physically complete their works. Like these artists, The Asian stirs discourse of ‘High’ art versus ‘Low’ art. The fifty artists behind the reproductions work for large oil painting reproduction companies, which take email orders like any commercial art-print manufacturer. What makes the paintings ‘hyper fake’ is that each artist worked from a digital image, producing a copy of a copy. Mechanically-reproduced prints lack much of the detail of the original work through loss of texture; however, paradoxically, these one-step-further-removed copies provide much the same visual experience as the original. This underlines the contentious relationship between original and copy that prescribes originality as integral to artistic validation. It is only through the knowledge that these imsges are copies that we view them as pieces of ‘lower art’ and thus approach the exhibition as a stimulating conceptual art-experiment in replication and appropriation. Heather Straka: The Asian
Heather Straka discusses her work at the DPAG, April 11, 3-4pm. The Asian 2009. Oil on canvas
The White Stripes Under Great White Northern Lights Warners Brothers and XL Recordings
This is the best thing I’ve seen all year. But then, I like awesome things, like the White Stripes. Also I’m Canadian, and this is a movie about their Canadian tour, where they played city buses, flour mills, and YMCAs. I appreciate the sort of grunge ethic of playing small shows because they’re more personal and interesting – in some of these towns, a White Stripes show would be the biggest thing to happen for years. Seriously. The White Stripes sound more punk live than on disc. All the songs are played much faster and Jack White is just losing his shit, a-shakin’ and a-quakin’ around the stage in his tiny red pants. I like Meg, I understand her purpose in the band, but it’s clear from watching this that Jack’s talent is compelling enough to have carried pretty much anyone. He purposely sabotages himself – uses crappy equipment, puts the organ just out of reach so he has to run – but from inside this little box comes an astonishing variety of sounds. The gorgeous, shuddering ‘Black Jack Davey’, in the far north where it’s still light at midnight; the gasping, pleading shriek of ‘Jolene’; the one that sounds like the Shirelles; the one that sounds like Spinal Tap. Jack comes across as kind of a dick, and I like him less after this, but I love the White Stripes even more.
Gorillaz Plastic Beach Virgin
Labelled as a pop album by Gorillaz creator Damon Albarn, Plastic Beach manages to blend a variety of genres including electronica and trip-hop. Despite its being recognisably alternative there are a number of radio-friendly tunes on the album, even though Albarn’s version of pop is somewhat warped. Nevertheless, it works, especially with some of the collaborations on the album. Collaborations such as Stylo, with Mos Def, and the pairing of ex-Clash members Mick Jones and Paul Simonon worked really well, despite their different styles. Unfortunately, some didn’t work quite so well. All three of the songs that are to be released as singles are interesting tracks, in particular ‘Superfast Jellyfish’, which will be great to hear on the radio. One song that really comes to mind is ‘Glitter Freeze’, an outstanding track that breaks up the album well. Although the beat is simple and the lyrics minimal, it works well and sounds fantastic. The album flows smoothly, and is good to listen to as a whole. It is unique in that it sounds different, ‘poppier’, than their previous two releases, but still has the feel of a Gorillaz album. Albarn has done incredibly well in this collaborative album despite some songs not really working as well as others. If you have ever been a fan of Gorillaz then you will definitely appreciate this album.
The Boys are Back Scott Hicks
The Boys are Back stars Clive Owen as Joe Warr, a man faced with the unexpected death of his wife and the task of bringing up his five-year-old son alone. His teenage son from a previous marriage comes to live with them, but with no women around, they soon end up in a sort of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys chaos. This is a surprisingly honest film about how death can affect a family. It’s based on the memoir of columnist and writer Simon Carr, which helps give the film much of its realism. The script does occasionally come close to being Hollywood-ish, especially at the end, but it’s saved by the honest and laid-back performances of the two sons, Artie (Nicholas McAnulty) and Harry (George MacKay). They really nail the Australian childhood of just hanging out, climbing trees, and mucking around (I’m a home-sick Aussie ex-pat, sorry). Directed by Australian Scott Hicks (Shine, Snow Falling on Cedars), the film has a contemplative yet relaxed style. It’s beautiful to look at – cinematographer Greig Fraser (Out of the Blue and more recently Bright Star) really goes to town on the landscapes, especially with the rolling brown hills and golden light of outback South Australia. The Boys are Back is a wee bit sentimental at times and at two hours is a bit long, but overall it’s an honest and often fun portrayal of boys being boys.
The Road John Hillcoat
Cormac MacCarthy’s novel The Road was always destined for film, especially after the raging success of the adaptation of No Country for Old Men. The story follows a devoted father and his son as they walk through post-apocalyptic America, plagued by hunger, desperation, and … cannibalism. As an end-of-the-world story, though, it delves into territory that has rarely been covered by this clichéd genre, striving for realism and tangible human emotion. Because of this, the film is more chilling than any horror could ever hope to be. The Road is cinematically wonderful: the dialogue is sparse but natural and the cinematography paints an incredible and believable portrait of a hopeless, grey wasteland. Kodi McPhee was possibly the least annoying child actor who has ever been in any movie, and as for Viggo Mortensen? Forget Aragorn – this performance was heart-wrenchingly awesome. Praise aside, the film lagged in places and the flashbacks to the dearly departed mother/wife were really annoying. It felt like Hillcoat was just trying to draw attention to the fact that Charlize Theron is in the movie. This said, The Road is still extremely good. But I must warn anybody that has a heart and intends to watch this film that it is with no hyperbole the most depressing thing I have ever seen. Bleak doesn’t nearly begin to cover how hopeless and dark this film is; even the pseudo-happy ending doesn’t help.
This Way of Life Thomas Burstyn
“What do I do for a living? I live for a living.” So says Peter Karena, the father of the Kiwi family who are the focus of this gorgeous documentary. The Karenas are modern-day cowboys, riding and herding horses and hunting for food. The thing is, cowboys are a dying breed, and the Karenas’ lifestyle is similarly endangered. Peter’s step-dad sells the house out from under them, forcing them to move out. The film follows their struggle to keep a roof over their heads without compromising their lifestyle, which is characterised by an intimate connection with nature. The film reflects that kinship with the land: the sumptuously photographed Ruahine ranges and the Karenas’ horses define this film as much as the people do. But it’s the people that provide the drama, which mostly comes from the conflicted relationship between Peter and his dad. Clearly Peter’s approach to parenting is a response to how he was raised by his bastard stepfather; unlike his dad, Peter gives his kids plenty of room to be their own delightful selves. In fact, Peter and his wife Colleen have really thought about how they want to live and raise their children without sacrificing their integrity, in a way most people don’t do nowadays. In other words, they, like Thoreau, have gone to the woods to live deliberately, and the life they lead, though sometimes painful, is one filled to the brim with love and warmth. As Peter says, “We live a blessed life.” This film makes you believe it.
The Brothers Bloom Rian Johnson
The Brothers Bloom is a fun movie. It’s a caper film about two American brothers whose lives are one big story. They make a living by conning people and running. Seems like fun – but younger brother Bloom (Adrien Brody) has for a long time resented his sibling Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) and the control he wields as the brain behind the cons. Bloom wants to break away, but can’t. He agrees to one last con – he will befriend beautiful, wealthy recluse Penelope (Rachel Weisz) and draw her into a real-life adventure story in order to extort millions from her. “Don’t fall in love with her,” Stephen warns. And guess what happens? The film is a lot of fun to watch, and not only because of its quirky humour. All the scenes are gorgeously colourful. The actors really get into their parts: Weisz’s enthusiasm makes her a pleasure to watch, as does Brody’s flair for the dramatic. Even the slower scenes are helped along with quick, clever editing. The background music is folksy and whimsical. The great thing about The Brothers Bloom is that it’s almost never serious. Whenever it seems to turn sombre, it turns out to be a trick. Even the actors are taking the piss out of themselves – it’s a parody of its own genre. Unfortunately, the ending ruins the joke. It’s sad. Despite an effort to return to joviality, you are left rather upset about what’s happened, and with a feeling of being cheated out of a good time.
Fringe Review: Head Full of Toys Staring Mike McLeod, Kiri Beeching, Nigel Benson, Nina Barbezat, Daniel Benson-Guiu, and Ian Loughran Music by Stephen Kilroy and Nicole Reddington Fortune Theatre Studio
Head Full of Toys was a little bit rough around the edges, but it was charming enough to get away with it … most of the time. The script was sharp and well constructed and although some of the references were a little over my head, I could still appreciate the skill it would have taken to weave the multitude of ‘80s song lyrics so seamlessly into the script. When it came to characterisation McLeod convinced me, although I suspect he has not acted a lot in his life. I completely bought his character but he lacked the technical skills to articulate and project his voice appropriately, which meant a few of his lines got lost. I feel this is something that could have been easily fixed during the rehearsal process. The band was a great idea. There was the space for acting, and the space for the band, and no one crossed these boundaries. With so many references to music it would have been almost silly not to have a band on stage. The guitar, cello, and vocalist were an odd combination but they did work, fitting within the rather unpolished style of the piece. Their first song, The Cure’s ‘Boy’s Don’t Cry’, was cute and quirky but as the show progressed the songs came thick and fast and I felt a little too removed from the narrative because of it. Also, I think it was completely unacceptable that the vocalist needed to whisper to Kilroy in the middle of a scene. On the whole, the roughness worked in Head Full of Toys because we were in a pawn shop and the main character was wearing a Clash t-shirt.
Fringe Review: Twins The Theatre As Is Directed by Jimmy Currin Staring Hana Aoake, Kajsa Louw, Connor Walter Blackie, Jake Vankennan, Tokerau Wilson, and Jimmy Currin Dunedin Railway Station
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness …” – Charles Dickens. Charles Dickens has absolutely nothing to do with Twins, but he sums up the way I feel about it most perfectly. I love to see theatre
that pushes boundaries, experiments with sound, body, movement, and even location ,but Twins just didn’t hit the mark. The performers had so much integrity in their work and it was great to see a piece where there was so much passion and fire manifesting, but a lack of direction and an excess of props plagued this production from the very beginning. It would be unfair of me to say there was no narrative in this piece, for narrative is the wrong word, but there was nothing propelling the piece forward. I felt trapped in a static environment where nothing was changing and moving but everything was ensnared in the same torturous cycle. A prop was brought into the space and this prop was interacted with momentarily before being whisked away and replaced with another. And so the show continued. There was so much promise in this piece, and Aoake and Louw particularly created many beautiful images and moments but unfortunately, amongst the clutter and chaos of the rest of the production they were lost, and not given the platform they deserved. As petty as this will sound, I just cannot forgive the highly visible underwear of both Blackie and Vankennan, it was so unnecessary and very distracting. Having ended on a petty point I feel I should say that although I did not really enjoy Twins, I am looking forward to seeing more from The Theatre As Is.
Fringe Review: Justine Smith in Jussi Town Notorious (Akld) XII Below
To Jussi, Here is your fortune … Justine, you are hilarious. I cried and I cried and I cried with laughter. Having viewed your one clip on YouTube no less than 30 times in the lead-up to your show, I was a little worried I wouldn’t find the ‘Pizzzazzz’ joke funny anymore, while simultaneously being terrified that you wouldn’t do it! But you did it, and I laughed so much, and you noticed and you looked at me and said (something along the lines of) “You’re even making me laugh, and I’ve heard this before.” Well, so had I and it was still amazing. Your stage presence was exciting and inviting and you can think on your toes. You took us on a journey through your life but you were clearly on the journey with us, we found the destination together because most of the time you didn’t know where you were going and as much as you reminded us that you didn’t really know what you were doing, we trusted you and we were duly rewarded for this trust. You are one funny, sarcastic, rude, and crass lady, and I love it. Can I be you when I grow up? From your fortune teller (the girl in the scarf).