Issue 22 / september 6th / 2010
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Critic gives a massive shout out to Hocken Library, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago for the scan of Critic's first ever cover Vol 1 1925 (S10563a) and the numerous reproductions printed on pages 30-31. Thanks guys <3
06 Fro nt
08 Ne w
s 17 P ro fi l
FEATURES 18 Critic's contemporaries 22 85 best sentences in history (all time) 26 9 lives (in 85 years) 30 viz hiz 32 1985 the year that was
Schmack 34 - 45
CRITIQUE 46 - 57
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Disclaimer: the views presented within this publication do not necessarily represent the views of the Editor, Planet Media, or OUSA. Press Council: people with a complaint against a newspaper should first complain in writing to the Editor and then, if not satisfied with the response, complain to the Press Council. Complaints should be addressed to the Secretary, PO Box 10-879 The Terrace, Wellington.
Critic – Te Arohi
n this, the first issue of The Critic, it has been considered necessary to put before the students of the University the aims of the publication and the reasons which should give it the whole-hearted support of every student. As the name suggests, the province of the paper is to be criticism. Criticism is acknowledged to be a most useful and a most necessary instrument in maintaining a high standard of efficiency, integrity, and progress in national life, and this is just as true of University life as of national life. If the infant Critic does not belie its name and lose its birthright, it will suffer no word or deed to go unquestioned within the four walls of Otago University. Criticism is ever evident among students, but in the past it has been largely confined to Students’ Common Rooms and other similar places. It is the aim of this paper to offer a medium whereby this criticism may be brought into the open. Besides acting in a critical capacity, this student paper is to be the organ of official news. All sporting and literary societies are strongly appealed to send all notices and reports to be published in The Critic. Any society neglecting to do so will naturally lay itself open to criticism in the columns of this paper. No University society can progress unless its aims and activities are kept before the students, and this can be done effectively only by giving full reports to The Critic. In addition to this, attempts are being made to have the Professors of the University make The Critic a medium in which to publish any notices dealing with student affairs. An appeal is made to every member of the Students’ Association to give support to this new publication. If this venture does no make a success, it will be the fault of each individual student, not only of those actually concerned with the management. Those who have literary gifts should consider it a duty to forward as soon as possible an article of interest to students. Even those who consider they have not the faculty of putting thoughts in writing should make an attempt, and send the attempt to the Editor. The management of The Critic trusts that this new University literary venture will appeal to the loyalty of all true students. If this trust is not misplaced, there can be no doubt that the paper will fulfil its office in out student life. A.J. Campbell Editor, 1925
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A Polish man went to the doctor to have what he thought was a cyst treated, only to discover that he had a 22-calibre bullet lodged in the back of his head. The man had been shot at a birthday party over five years earlier, presumably from a celebratory fire, but had been too drunk to realise it at the time.
85th best movie quote according to AFI in 2005 is “My precious.” 85 years ago, one pound of bacon cost 47 cents, and eggs were 68 cents for a dozen. 85th most used word in the English language is ‘been’. 1985, Keira Knightley, Leona Lewis, Ciara, Ashley Tisdale, Jack Osbourne, and Lily Allen were born.
Quote “If you survive long enough, you’re revered – rather like an old building.” – Katherine Hepburn
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Not content with a birthday once a year, middle-class families in England have begun celebrating their children’s ‘half-birthdays’ as well. The second birthdays take place 182.5 days after the real birthday. The trend has become a hit, and companies are now producing speciallymade ‘happy half-birthday’ cakes and cards.
A four-year-old was rushed to hospital in America after she swallowed several squirts of hand-sanitiser. After a couple of quick tests it was reported that her blood alcohol level was 85 percent.
85 countries still criminalise gay sex, according to the International Lesbian and Gay Association. 34 of those countries do not consider girl-on-girl action a crime.
85 New Zealand Dollars will get you 1 178 557 Vietnam Dongs, which incidentally is also just enough to satisfy the Unicol girls.
A woman marked her son’s birthday by acting as his getaway driver while he committed two armed robberies. Also along for the ride were the woman’s three other children, aged 14, 10, and 18 months old.
An 85-year-old man was arrested after trying to smuggle 20 grams of weed to his incarcerated grandchild. Clearly, criminality is hereditary.
A 107-year-old man has celebrated his birthday the way most seven-year-olds dream of: at Macca’s. The man, taste buds clearly in working order, even got a McDonald’s-themed cake.
The first draft of the 2011 OUSA Budget was released last Wednesday. OUSA Finance and Services Officer James Meager said that there were no major changes within the Budget, bar the increase in student levies. The student levy has increased from $159.64 per year to $211.88, an increase of $52.24. The new levy is adjusted for inflation, and also designed to allow OUSA to set aside an operational contingency fund of $900 000, should VSM be passed. During a past Executive meeting, the Exec had voted to increase levies to safeguard against VSM. Meager chose to increase them such that OUSA has enough to continue operating in the same capacity, and to the same standard as it does now, until the end of 2012. The move was contentious both due to the drastic increase in the levies and the
use of current OUSA member’s levies to provide for future OUSA members. General Rep Imogen Roth called the increase “hypocritical” given that OUSA’s criticism of the University’s fee increases. Another significant change is that Planet Media, the company which runs Critic and Radio 1, receives a 59 percent budget increase, almost $64 000, after it again failed to break even. OUSA General Manager Steven Alexander noted that Planet Media found it difficult to sell advertising during the recession, and that if the Budget line isn’t increased Planet Media would last only a few more years. During the Budget-setting meeting, the Exec chose to keep the Promotions line largely the same, despite the initial proposal to raise it by around $100 000. The extra money being proposed was to cover further
promotion of OUSA by gifting goodie bags stuffed with DVDs and USB sticks to firstyear students. Most Exec members felt the move was unnecessary, with Clubs and Socs Rep Dan Stride dismissing the proposal as a “colossal waste of money.” One Budget line that is to be slimmed down is travel and training for the Exec. Due to the new constitutional structure, and the ability to train Exec members locally, OUSA will be able to realise savings in this area. As a result, this Budget line is to be reduced from $20 000 to $12 000. Submissions on the proposed Budget are welcomed from all students until September 10. Students will then have the chance to vote on the proposed Budget at the next SGM.
The forces that brought you “Kate’s Party” are now being used for a good cause, this time as a way to encourage students to donate money to the flood victims of Pakistan. University of Canterbury student Josh Smith has created a Facebook event as a way to encourage students to donate a small amount of their student loan or allowance money to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as part of the appeal for Pakistan. The page appeals to university students from around the country to give some of the cash they get “from Mr Key and his mates” to help the people of Pakistan. The power of social networking appears to be doing its job. Currently 5 522 people have been invited to join the group, with 397 saying they will donate. A running tally on donations on the wall
of the group shows that approximately $775 has been donated. Smith says he has three reasons for starting the event. He says he sees it as a solution to three problems: the amount of time students waste on Facebook; the amount of money students squander on alcohol; and the need for aid in Pakistan. “I’m stoked because it’s ended up as a way to use something that is quite often a time-sucker – Facebook – as a way for students to do something which people might give us some credit for, because I don’t think we do enough of that!” he says. Just over a month ago Pakistan was hit by the heaviest monsoon season on record, causing widespread and destructive flooding. At least 1 643 people have died and at least six million people have been left homeless. These figures are likely to increase as more
bodies are found and diseases such as cholera threaten. Shocked by the scale of the flooding, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has urged foreign donors to increase the aid effort.
Students interested in contributing to this cause can find via a link on Critic’s very own Facebook page – Facebook.com/critictearohi.
University of Otago students are among those caught out by Pacific Blue’s surprise withdrawal from the New Zealand domestic market. The first service to go is the direct Dunedin to Auckland service, a change that will take effect from September 17. Pacific Blue has said publicly that people affected by the cease in operations would be rebooked on Air New Zealand flights where possible. However, students have told Critic that in their dealings with the airline, customer service representatives had told them rebooking the Dunedin to Auckland route had been a “nightmare” as Air New Zealand had not provided enough seats. As a result many students were being refunded for their tickets and forced to rebook on other airlines, whose prices have gone up considerably in the time since the initial booking. Pacific Blue spokesman Phil Boeyen would not give Critic specific details of how many passengers have had plans disrupted, although he said that several hundred people would be affected by the change. Pacific Blue did not know how many students have had their plans upset. Critic looked at flights for those wanting to travel to Auckland during the rest of this semester, and the cheapest option was to fly to Christchurch on Air New Zealand and then on to Auckland on budget carrier Jetstar after a two- to three-hour stopover. When Pacific Blue began flying into Dunedin in 2007, Boeyen told Critic that the airline would be looking into creating special ‘Scarfie deals’ for Otago students in the future. Those deals never eventuated and Air New Zealand instead started offering a standby deal where students can travel for $98 return anywhere in the country. Boeyen refused to comment on whether Air New Zealand’s ‘Scarfie’ standby fares had impacted their bottom line. Pacific Blue has clearly been struggling in the domestic market. Anecdotal evidence has
been that the Dunedin to Auckland route is often poorly patronised, with many empty seats. Although the Pacific Blue service was popular at times, the fares had to be reduced to a point where there was little return made on sales. “It’s not just a question of load factors but also of what fares people are prepared to pay so that overall there is an economic return,” Boeyen says. Pacific Blue flights, however, like those on Air New Zealand, have been in hot demand around the end of exam-time. Critic understands that students who had booked post-exam flights home are among those most affected. Boeyen would not be drawn on this, saying only that their service was indeed “popular at certain times of the year.” Pacific Blue had tinkered with its Dunedin flights as it sought to maximise profits. Originally the airline flew the Dunedin to Christchurch route where passengers could then transfer to Auckland or Wellington or internationally. This route was later scrapped and a direct service to Auckland offered. “It’s a very competitive market domestically and we have made a business decision to put our aircraft where we can make money rather than continuing lossmaking services,” Boeyen says. While in the short-term passengers have had plans disrupted, the long-term impact could see more expensive flights in and out of Dunedin as Air New Zealand regains its monopoly. Boeyen did not miss the opportunity to tell Critic that there is a silver lining, in the form of increased direct flights to Brisbane. “We look forward to welcoming Otago students on these flights to warm climes.” Pacific Blue is also ending their Queenstown to Auckland service, and various services between Christchurch, Wellington, and Auckland.
Deadline: september 11, 2010
Everyone Cleared of Everything.
Except Harriet. Monday “The Expression of Recombinant Tex31 from Conus Textile: A Model for Heterologous Expression of the CAP Proteins in E. Coli” 1pm, Room 713 Adams Building
Tuesday “The Three Blind Mice of Research: PBRF Asia and Fields” 2pm, Commerce 2.04
Wednesday “Songs from Home: Renata Rubini sings Brazilian Popular Music” 5.30pm, Mary Hopewell Theatre
Thursday OUSA Queer Tea Party 11am-2pm, Union Lawn “Quality or Quantity? Markets or Management? Evaluating the Performance of Public Hospitals in the New Zealand ‘Reform Period’” 4pm, Room 033 Adams Building
Friday OUSA ‘Dunedin’s Next Top Flat’ Entries Close 5pm Last day to withdraw from second semester and full year papers or change to ‘interest only’.
The official report into the OUSA Elections reveals that while lots of people did lots of kind of bad things, almost no one was actually punished. Except the President, that is. The report by Returning Officer Victoria Nicholson, which runs to 29 pages excluding appendices, covered the entire election process comprehensively, and dealt with all the various issues and complaints raised during the contentious election period. The major complaint dealt with was the Art Week installation with which OUSA President Harriet Geoghegan was involved. Complaints about this were lodged by four separate parties: candidates Nicky Thomas and Dan Stride, and two concerned students. The installation, which consisted of pieces of coloured paper filled out by students and pinned onto a board to make a message about student debt, was paid for by OUSA, and run in part by Geoghegan. While the report stated that Nicholson accepted that the timing of the project with the election period was coincidental, and Geoghegan did not mean to use the installation as a method of campaigning, it ruled that the installation had influenced voting sufficiently that votes had to be docked from Geoghegan. The method by which the total of 264 votes was reached is set out in the report, but could fairly be described as entirely arbitrary, since no procedure exists that covers the docking of votes.
Other complaints lodged related to the ‘Boobs or Brains’ poster, the confidential email from Harriet that was leaked, Executive neutrality, the removal of campaign posters, and several other minor points. The most prominent of these complaints was in regards to an email that was leaked to Critic in the heat of the campaign. In the email to other student association Presidents, Geoghegan endorsed the socalled 90-day law which allows employers to fire staff within 90 days. OUSA has a clear policy stating its opposition to this law. Behind the scenes, and unbeknownst to any of the magazine’s Editorial staff, Stride approached Nicholson and said he was aware the email was about to be leaked. Nicholson then investigated whether Stride could stop it from being leaked (she decided he couldn’t) and whether he had done enough to stop it (she decided he had). The report discussed the issue at length, ultimately finding that Stride was blameless. Other aspects of the report covered the possibility of introducing the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system, the use of Facebook and other social media sites in the election process, and the necessity of clarifying the rules surrounding the neutrality of current Executive members during elections. Nicholson also recommended that in future candidates’ Facebook pages and websites be registered so they can be monitored by the Returning Officer.
2010 at the University of Otago has turned into a scene out of a bad Western, as the Government continues to put the pinch on tertiary education providers, and the University responds by shedding staff positions left, right, and centre. The job losses come as the University attempts to cut costs and streamline operations because of increasing cost pressures and an expected $5 million reduction in Government funding from next year. A survey of the damage reveals 2010 has brought job losses in four separate areas of the University. A merger of departments at the Otago School of Business is anticipated to take away 10 staff jobs, mostly those of lecturers. The Business school is to merge its Accountancy and Business Law Department with the Finance and Quantitative Analysis Department, which entails the discontinuation of some of the papers the school currently offers, and the teaching of existing business law courses being shifted to lecturers from the law department. Due to the creation of this new superdepartment, all staff will be made redundant, and then asked to apply for the new roles that
are created. Applicants’ research records will be the main criteria for selection for new academic positions. This is designed to address concern about both department’s poor performance-based research funding (PBRF) ratings in recent years. The closure of the Design Department earlier this year has also signalled job losses, with over a quarter of the staff likely to completely lose their positions with the University, while the rest will most likely be incorporated into a new department of Applied Sciences. The brutality doesn’t stop with academics, however. Nine staff in the University’s service department have been made redundant this year, after a review of human resources/ payroll and Uniprint. They will lose five and four staff members respectively. The job losses are the outcome of extensive reviews of all of the University’s departments, with at least four still underway. All these redundancies join the 25 jobs axed in the College of Education, making 2010 a Texas-style massacre of University staff.
This week’s eagerly-anticipated installment of Bouncing off the Halls begins on a more formal note, covering the antics of the University College’s premier social event: the Ball. Most of the Hall’s female population rounded off a week of pathetically starving themselves by crying hysterically in front of the mirror before finally braving the dresses they used to fit in seventh form, while the boys half-heartedly joked about how many condoms (and beers) they would need to pork the aforementioned emotional wrecks. The night started off with a few casual pre-drinks, where one ultra-awesome guy sacked a bottle of gin in an hour and was in bed at 4.30, fire-trucking his way to infamy. 12
Needless to say he missed the Ball. Once at the always-glamorous Union Hall, things went smoothly, until some boys decided to get a little smokey in the loos downstairs. The fire alarm went off mid-blaze, and the ball had to be stopped prematurely. But after a smoke and chat outside, things got back on track, much to everyone’s relief. Over at City Col, greed got the better of one resident after a night out, as it was reported two ‘older-looking’ boys were seen leaving her room in the morning. The girl swears that nothing porno happened, and that they just talked until they all fell asleep. Worst. Spitroast. Ever. Meanwhile, at Arana, one resident was
introduced to Airwick’s cheaper cousin, when his Hall-mates managed to get a human turd inside a joey and hide it in his room, next to the heater no less. It took the poor guy two weeks to find it, but it’s okay “Because he never gets girls in there anyway.” Good mates. And to round up this week’s installment of classic first-year stories, two girls at Cumby were paid $25 to hook up in front of a group of the boys. They did it, but instead of getting paid they then got bought drinks all night, which apparently ended up just “loosening the hinges” further. Win-win for the boys, we speculate.
OUSA intends to put its membership in New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) in the hands of its members. In 2010, OUSA paid $86 169 in membership fees to NZUSA. The fees go towards national representation of students and lobbying in Parliament. In the revised OUSA Budget, the NZUSA budget line has been increased to $90 939. In the first draft of the Budget, the NZUSA budget line had been reduced to $0, clearly indicating OUSA’s intentions towards NZUSA. However, at the Budget-setting meeting, OUSA voted to increase the line 5.5 percent in 2011 to allow for inflation, and an increase in OUSA members, and put OUSA’s membership in NZUSA to a student referendum. The OUSA Executive was evenly split on the issue, with strong opinions voiced on both sides. Humanities Rep Walker MacMurdo advocated putting the decision to the students, while last year’s Finance and Services Officer Mike Bridges, who was sitting in on the meeting, asserted that this was a massive and complex decision which the Exec were the best informed to make. Ultimately, it was decided that the Exec should inform the students about the issue, and ask them to weigh in.
OUSA President Harriet Geoghegan could not comment on the decision, stating that she was not present during the meeting. It is not currently clear when the referendum would be held. Canterbury University has already pulled out of NZUSA, on the grounds of “contractual breaches.” NZUSA accepted Canterbury University’s decision as valid. No one on the OUSA Exec has gone on the record to give Critic a clear indication as to why it should no longer be a part of NZUSA. There is a feeling, however, that for the same amount of money OUSA could more effectively lobby the Government itself. NZUSA currently requires 12 months’ notice prior to universities withdrawing their membership, although OUSA is attempting to change the constitution to require only three months’ notice. However, OUSA is confident that the notice period wouldn’t change their Budget, as NZUSA tends not to follow up payments during the year’s notice. Whilst leaving the NZUSA decision for a referendum, the Exec did decide to pull out of University Sport New Zealand. However, OUSA will continue to send athletes to the Uni Games at a cost of $53 735. 13
Confirmed: Old People Hate Youths German researchers have found that old people enjoy reading news reports that cast young people in a negative light. The researchers responsible for the study posited that the tendency of old people to react positively to news stories portraying young people negatively was tied to generational self-esteem issues. The study’s findings have been widely reported around the globe, but for unknown reasons were not reported in the Otago Daily Times.
Oxford Star Falls from Grace The President-elect of the Oxford University Union James Langman is facing calls to resign after his behaviour led to him leaving a prestigious summer internship with multinational firm Morgan Stanley. Langman was caught asking the firm’s online help program “Where is a good strip club?” and “Where’s the nearest porn shop?” The gaffe followed an embarrassing incident days earlier at a seminar where Langman appeared to suggest that Morgan Stanley could not be called a meritocracy as they allowed women into senior positions.
NZ Drug Foundation investigates our 'campus crackdown' The NZ Drug Foundation has cited the University of Otago as a case study on binge drinking in its latest publication. The article, titled ‘Campus Crackdown’, discusses the University’s efforts to deal with the culture of binge drinking pervading the student lifestyle in Dunedin. The piece references the many policies enacted by the University in recent years to combat the problem of student binge drinking, including the imposition of the Student Code of Conduct, the introduction of the Campus Watch service, and the ban on alcohol sponsorship or promotion at University events. The article also discusses the wider New Zealand culture of alcohol consumption, and its impact on teen drinking that filters through to University students. In the piece, Vice Chancellor Sir Professor David Skegg is quoted as saying “These facts about the wider environment need to be acknowledged by critics who demand that the University of Otago should instantly solve its student behaviour problems, which cannot be solved until the culture of binge drinking among New Zealand youth is radically altered.”
batten Down the hatches The Otago Polytechnic (OPT) will have to start turning back potential students after it was unable to secure the amount of Government funded positions it had hoped for. The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and the National Government are trying to cut back on the $2.5 billion annually put into the tertiary sector, and reducing the amount of funded places at tertiary institutions is one of the plans they have put into action. As a result, the OPT has been forced to tighten up its entry requirements to ensure only students who have demonstrated motivation, and who are the most likely to succeed, are allowed in. OPT Chief Executive Phil Ker tells Critic that “we will be more discerning and [will be] looking harder at taking in people who are more likely to succeed.” However, it has been suggested that these new criteria pose problems in that they are weighted towards students from areas where there are more educational opportunities, and away from areas that struggle to get the resources needed to ensure their students succeed. Council Member Rebecca Parata, who voiced her concern at the changes when they were brought in front of the Council, says “Maori, who are over-represented in stats regarding leaving school early, will lose out in this.” Parata also doesn’t see the necessity in capping education providers. “Tertiary education has never been in this position before … when we had a similar economic situation in the nineties, education providers weren’t taxed in this way. Unemployed New Zealanders could turn to education providers, and re-enter the workforce once the economy bounced back.” Ker tells Critic he wouldn’t have taken these measures if the Government’s spending choices hadn’t forced him. “Philosophically, anyone can succeed with the right motivation and support … our job is to hopefully provide the environment to help success.” There is also growing concern that more young people will end up being forced onto the Benefit as a result of the closing-off of educational opportunities. Over the last year there has been an eight percent increase in young people aged 18-24 going onto the Benefit in the Otago region. Ker shares the concern that more young people will end up on the Benefit as a result of this “short-sightedness” in Government spending. “It’s a tragedy … this Government is the only government in the world to my knowledge that isn’t investing in training during this recession. They just don’t want to spend the money.”
In recent months, they have performed alongside Florence and the Machine, Kids of 88 and The Temper Trap. They are releasing their debut album this week and at the end of September will be embarking on a nationwide tour. They are the Naked and Famous. I had a bit of a chinwag to Thom Powers, Alisa Xayaliath, and Aaron Short about the creative process and what they hope listeners will take away from their beats. For those out there who haven’t read your album bios, how did you guys come to collaborate and form The Naked and Famous? Aaron: It started at the beginning of 2007-8, the three of us all knew each other at the university we were all going to. I was studying Audio Engineering and around that time Thom and Alisa began working on some basic demos. We managed to develop these demos and get two EPs out from there. Things began evolving quite strongly around the time [David and Jesse on bass and drums joined the band] in terms of the creation of the album and stepping up production. Where did the name come from – who was naked, and who is famous? Thom: It is a line from a Tricky song, it was [on] an album, PreMillennium Tension, a track called ‘Tricky Kid’. It was this creepy, high-pitched devil kind of voice screaming in the track. It just sounded like a brilliant name for a band. I heard it and stole it and thought it suited everything that seemed silly about music and being a musician and so, it added a sense of irony. With so many band members – not that five is too extreme – I wondered whether you had any creative conflicts during the production of the album? Aaron: Plenty. Productive conflicts, though; we aren’t the type of people to get fuming and storm out of the room and all that sort of stuff. Naturally, we always have open discussions and ask should we do this or should we do that, but it is always resolved the right way. We just consider it as a way of moving forward to the next step.
it means, what it means as a lyrical translation can often be very different to what it means emotionally. Most music is emotive; it is really hard to tell. You know people have compared us to stuff that we haven’t listened to and which hasn’t been an influence so I think, I mean that’s what is exciting about putting out Naked and Famous music because people tend to hear what they want to hear in it or tend to hear aspects that are kind of exciting that you didn’t realise were there. What would you be doing if you weren’t in the band? Alisa: I think that I would be going to an Art School because you know I never did do music at school, it was always art and I always had an interest in music but I never had money to buy a guitar. So I always thought what it is the point in doing it, but I think I would be at Art School. Aaron: I am an IT geek on the side so that’s what is going on with me when I am not playing music so something in that area. Thom: I don’t know, I have got no idea. I have been doing music my whole life so I don’t know; I would be a rubbish man or something. Aaron: Thom can’t help but fill his pockets full of Post-It notes for song ideas. The Naked and Famous are performing alongside The Kids of 88 in Dunedin on September 30 at Urban Factory. Tickets available from Cosmic, Ticketmaster, and undertheradar.co.nz Georgie Fenwicke
Are you all heartily content with the final product? Unanimously: Oh yeah, definitely. Aaron: I think even though there is tension in producing things, writing things, and even performing things, a lot of music is a very tense process. But getting through that tension, that tense place, is a very thrilling experience for any level of involvement if it is just drumming something or performing a whole bunch of different parts; it is just doing your one part and being part of the process. Music creating is a very tense process, it is a very difficult process, but is very rewarding. Are you all looking forward to record release on September 6? Alisa: Yeah, I am really excited about our music getting out there, finally letting it go. It playing in other people’s houses across the world. What do you hope your listeners will take away from the album? Aaron: It is really hard to guess how it is going to be accepted when you are this close to the music. You have your own idea of what 17
As Critic reaches the ripe old age of 85, we decided to have a chat with some other 85-year olds about some of the highs and lows of their lives. Susan Smirk chatted to Jenny Lambert, who used to go dancing every night; May Munro, who once caught a 385-pound shark; Len Robinson, who taught Anatomy at Otago; and Joan Robinson, who watched Manchester burning from her bedroom window during World War Two.
I knew quite a lot of people who went to fight. I lot of the neighbours had to go away to fight.
enny Lambert was born in Scotland. After high school she spent seven years training in her trade – she was a cutter, making men’s suits. Nearly all her work was army work during the War. She spent her time almost solely making officers’ uniforms. “I knew quite a lot of people who went to fight. I lot of the neighbours had to go away to fight.” Jenny immigrated to New Zealand with her family in 1947. “When I came out here it was very, very quiet ... and I thought it was dead, to be quite honest. Everything was old fashioned – very different to home. I thought I was back in the dark ages again.” Out here to the ‘colonies’, Jenny found the clothes to lagging behind in style. She says, “I came out with a lot of new stuff, and it was all modern. People used to look at me!” As a young person Jenny loved ice skating, roller skating, and above all, dancing. She went ballroom dancing “every night” and later took up modern dance as well. She says, “Dunedin has changed a terrible lot.” Jenny lived for a while in Southland but she definitely prefers Dunedin because there is plenty to do here, now: “ It took a while to get into the swing of things. But it’s come out a lot since then ... I’ve enjoyed it.” 18
Jenny says that young people today are “all very good – there’s good and there’s bad anywhere you go.” Her advice is to “Just go and enjoy life. Enjoy it as it comes!”
ay Munro never went to high school. Her parents had a small dairy farm on the Hauraki plains, and during the war she was needed to work on the farm. “I was more or less in the land army,” says May. “They were hard years – oh my golly, we had to work! Because the boys were all away overseas, so somebody had to do it, didn’t they? We had to do the jobs that men would normally have done. “It was a sad time. Something you don’t really want to look back on. My brother went away, and several of my friends from where I lived. Two of them never came back.” May gets teary as she speaks. “Even after all this time, I still get emotional about it. “But there were happy days in between the sad times” she continues. “With all the boys being away, we had to make our own fun. All the farmers’ wives, the farmers’ girls, we used to all have good fun together.” She adds, “But we had rationing. Butter was rationed; tea, meat, clothing. If you wore anything out, well okay, you just lived with it!” May went on to do dress making, domestic work, and even picking and drying tobacco in Nelson. “A jack of all trades, that was me!” May’s claim to fame is having hitchhiked with a friend all the way from Auckland to Bluff, when she was in her twenties. She says: “It was fun! We biked over the Cashmere hills for goodness’ sake! When I think about it now ... whew, man! The funny thing about it is, we never hitched once, but people just went out of their way to pick us up. We had a ball of a time. We never had any problems at all, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I wouldn’t want to go hitchhiking now! There’s too many rogues around.” Another adventure she had was working on a big sea fishing resort, on Mayor Island, offshore from Tauranga. Men would come from all over the world, she explains, for a week or so of fishing. May and her friend slept in tents, and worked in the dining room, but had plenty of time for swimming and tramping too. “We had a whale of a time!” said May. “We went out deep sea fishing one day ... and I was so seasick they had to bring me home again! Another time I went out, and I landed a shark. A 385-pound Reremai [basking] shark. The big one, that would have been a world record, it was so heavy that it straightened the hook out and got away. Only the fact that there were others with me on the boat at the time, who verified that, just to prove I wasn’t skiting!” May smiles and laughs as she remembers. “If I was young again, I’d go back down there tomorrow!”
May met her husband while working at a hotel in Christchurch. He was trained as a psychiatric nurse, and they moved to a small farm in Seacliff, where he worked at the psychiatric hospital. Two of her sons also did their training there, both becoming psychiatric nurses. “They never talked about it,” says May. “Once they closed the door at night, that was it. No one around Seacliff, who worked there, ever talked about it. They were just pleased to get out of it.” May misses the trams, and the railcar she used to be able to get from Seacliff into town, since she didn’t have a car. The other invention she is happy to sing the praises of is the washing machine: “I can still see my poor old mother, scrubbing on the scrubbing board, and boiling up the copper, that sort of thing. The washing machines were a godsend!” On a more sombre note, May muses, “I don’t think any of the young ones could ever understand what the War years were like. But then I suppose it was the same with us young ones, with what it was like for the First World War. My pop was in the First World War: he was a stretcher-bearer in France. We sort of had a different outlook on life altogether. “I think the kids today don’t have as good a time as we had growing up, even though it was wartime, and rationing,” May says. “If I was young, I’d have it all over again ... but I’m not going to, I know that!”
I wouldn’t want to go hitchhiking now! There’s too many rogues around.
In a sense, well, the brains aren’t developed properly until they’re 22 or 23, so I’m quite sure they’re influenced by what they see on the television.
en was born in Hamilton, and grew up in a country village of only ten houses. He had a few jobs during secondary school, including helping in a meat works in Petone, and working in a timber yard. He then came down to Otago to study: “I went through the medical school, and then I was a demonstrator, and then I was a senior lecturer, in the Anatomy department, teaching.” Len joined the University staff in 1952, when he took special responsibility for the Anatomy Museum, working with three technicians to produce anatomical models for teaching. Len says of his years at Otago that he “didn’t get mixed up with the University politics. I knew plenty of friends who were involved very much, but I didn’t participate in any protests and things.” Len’s studies coincided with World War Two. He explains, “We were sort ‘protected’ and exempt from conscription. But we did have the Medical Corp of course, and we used to meet during vacations. Of course we took a great interest in what was happening overseas, but we were, inadvertently, somewhat sheltered.” Len also describes some of the changes he has seen in Dunedin over his years here. “There were different shops then. Nowadays everything is lumped together in these bigger stores. Then you would go to a particular shop to get something, they would specialise in that activity. Nowadays going into a big stores you just walk along the aisle and get whatever you like. The shop assistants are still friendly and all that, but I don’t think you’ve got the same kind of helpfulness as the people they used to have.” Always the techno-phile, Len has kept up with the latest inventions. He rode a bicycle during his days as a student, but admits that “We couldn’t hardly do without the motor car, now.” He always liked to own the latest camera and video gear, editing and projecting equipment, and owned a computer before most of his adult children bought one – an
Apple Power Mackintosh 6100. Television isn’t high up on his list of favourite technologies, however. When Len speaks about the youth of today, he says “There’s usual range I think: the ratbags, and those who are quite normal. I’m afraid that many of them are being influenced by what they see on the television.” Ever the anatomist, Len adds a scientific explanation to his reasoning: “In a sense, well, the brains aren’t developed properly until they’re 22 or 23, so I’m quite sure they’re influenced by what they see on the television, and by what their companions are doing. Which is usually for the worse, I’m afraid,” he adds. “I have the impression that young people are doing things at an earlier age than they did in days gone by. So I suspect it’s common to mature earlier – though I’m not sure that ‘mature’ is the right word!” Len laughs.
oan Robinson grew up in Manchester, in the north-west of England. As a child her favourite games were hopscotch and hide-and-seek. At school, she remembers having to learn a lot of things by rote. But Joan also vividly recalls some of the more dramatic moments of her youth, during World War Two. “I was in the middle of it in Manchester. We used to have air raid warning quite often, when the Germans would come over, dropping bombs on the city. They’d start with setting the place on fire first, then dropping the big bombs. You could hear them whistling down, and my father used to say if you could hear it coming down it wouldn’t hit you! We used to look out of the window upstairs and look at Manchester burning. “In the summertime there were dogfights in the air, with the RAF and the Germans. You’d see them battling it out ... people were standing and gazing up at the sky watching these dogfights going on, not giving a damn as to whether anything hit them or not. We had the Anderson’s shelters in the gardens, so when we got the air raid shelters we used to go out and get into the air raid shelter, taking with you a blanket and a hot water bottle and a thermos flask and anything else you could carry, ‘cos you never knew how long you’d be there.” Joan worked as a clerk in a department store, then for the IRD for a while, before eventually joining the English police force. When she arrived in New Zealand in the early 1950s, she was impressed by the landscape: “I thought it was great, because of the big open spaces which I wasn’t really used to in Manchester, which is a big built-up industrial area.” Among Joan’s favourite modern appliances are the microwave and the hair
In the summertime there were dogfights in the air, with the RAF and the Germans. You’d see them battling it out ...
dryer. She says, “When I was young you used to have to sit in front of a fire to dry your hair, and put your head down. Hair dryers weren’t available in the home like they are now, portable things. You could only get your hair dried at the hair dressers.” When asked about young people today, she says “they try a lot more things now than they used too. There are lot of things around that weren’t available when I was young. And of course a lot of drinking goes on today, which we didn’t do much of in my day. You could always have a drink, but you had to go with your parents.”
Famous Folk who are (or would be) the same age as Critic: • • • • • • • • • •
Malcom X Margaret Thatcher Rock Hudson Paul Newman Pol Pot Barbara Bush Robert Kennedy Sammy Davis Jr. Dick Van Dyke George Kennedy 21
Sir, It is with growing honour and rising gorge that I view the scandalous increase of the use of trousers by women. Trousers are the outward hallmark of man’s estate. Not content with cutting short their hair, smoking cigarettes and, God forbid, even pipes, women have now the blatant indecency to appear in the streets in trousers.
John Citizen, Letters, 1936.
For causing damage to University property while in an intoxicated condition at a University dance, and for using insulting language to a servant of the University thereat, a member of the Students’ Association was fined ten shillings and required to pay the cost of the damage.
Discipline Report, 1936.
Don’t you really and fully think that the fun at Capping time would be jollier if you boys asked the girls to join in too? Perhaps you’ll think this is a rather strange idea, but do you know they do it up in Christchurch and in Wellington too, and I believe they have great fun.
A. Mother, Letters, 1936.
Sir, – I must thank you for allowing me to peruse and comment upon the above ridiculous letter before publishing it … We have our own distinctive atmosphere to maintain, and cannot have it dissipated by suggestions like the above.
Among thinking men, especially those who are young and relatively clear-sighted, a revolutionary attitude is common and I think justifiable. One becomes aware of the greed and shoddiness, the falsehood of modern society, and the fact that many wear out their lives in meaningless and mechanical occupations.
Excerpt from James K. Baxter’s published address to NZUSACongress, 1952.
It is, in my opinion, regrettable that the death penalty was reintroduced and a tragedy that it was brought in on the bandwagon of a political party pandering to what amounts to popular blood-lust … When a man dies because it is politically expedient, we must at least pause and ask ourselves whether we are not accessories to legalized murder.
Editorial by Paul Oestreicher a month after the execution of alleged murderer William Fiori. Oestreicher believed the governing National Party used the “reintroduction of capital punishment a part of their election platform.” 1952.
As a nation we do not know how to drink. It is no good blaming bad laws, for bad laws are not formulated without a prior evil cause. We suffer, in our attitude to alcohol, as in our attitude to sex, from a Victorian hangover … It may be that the whole tragedy of New Zealand life lies in the asocial nature of our existence. We have no sense of joyful, communal belonging together … We are, to some extent, socially frustrated nomads.
Editorial, Paul Oestreicher, 1952.
In response to above, ‘Glum’, Letters, 1936.
I think any man who dances with a girl and breathes beer all over her is nothing more nor less than a pig. And any woman who breathes beer is less than a pig, because she has a higher standard of smells to live up to.
Best thing about this time of year is the influx of freshers. For one or two weeks the University is filled with an excess of young men with brand-new duffle coats, scarves, and drinking mugs. And with a wonderful collection of extraordinarily pretty girls.
‘Critic’s Very Special Reporter,’ 1966.
Excerpt from column by ‘Ginger Ale,’ 1936.
It has been suggested in many quarters that students do not take a sufficient interest in the political affairs of the University, notably in the annual elections. Our old friend “Student Apathy” has been called up again, creaking in every joint, from his musty retreat, and made to exercise his weary old bones in illustration and explanation of this state of affairs.
What proportion of New Zealand society are at the limits, that is, at complete heterosexuality and complete homosexuality and what is the extent of people in the middle phase, that is, the twilight area?
John Howell interviewing Philosophy Lecturer Chris Parkin on the tricky topic of homosexuality, 1969.
A few weeks ago the spotlight of publicity in Dunedin was turned upon students and their behaviour. It seems that the only time the press of God’s Own Country is interested in us is when they can accuse us of something.
Excerpt from article, 1937.
Inquiring into the motivations of the 310 marihuana smokers they studied, Freeman and Rockmore found that the responses generally ran in this vein: the drug gave its users “a good feeling”; it was a substitute for whisky; “I feel bad all the time – weeds make me feel better”; “it makes me feel like I’m a man.”
Excerpt from “Marihuana makes critics uptight”, 1970.
On the train the “mooters” warmed up to the eventual reunion shambles by running a “boobs test,” which involved going from female to female requesting they submit to inspection; the winner was judged on physical development and the level of excitation she aroused in the “boobs tester.”
The aim is to teach Transcendental Meditation to every person in New Zealand, this will require many more teachers and also Government assistance. Considering the magnitude of research into the effects of TM it should not take long for even Governments to realize its value.
Graham Browne, article on transcendental meditation, 1972.
Excerpt from report on a “wild drinking party” held in the University’s Jacobean Room by 15 senior students and Exec members, 1970.
I don’t know whether I was punched, kicked or what but I woke up inside the solitary confinement cells, I woke up stripped naked with vomit all over the floor.
Dean Wickliff recounting the aftermath of a savage beating he received at the hands of prison officers in Paremoremo Prison’s maximum-security block after he kicked up a stink about not receiving his cocoa ration. 1972.
The revolution doesn’t need guns; It happens whenever a man arrested for being Out of work, and booted in the meat wagon, Begins to laugh instead of squaring his fists; It happens whenever a screw in Paremoremo Walks out of his job instead of standing and watching Twenty men bumming a boy. It happens When the owner of the restaurant sits down with A moneyless customer To pass the time of day.
Excerpt from “Letter to Peter Olds” by James Baxter, written for Critic, 1972.
You must piss up large, root for the hostel team and be “one of the boys” if you don’t want to run the gauntlet of ostracism or some form of jungle punishment. This pressure, which commonly parades as “college spirit,” perpetuates a boarding-school mentality, retards maturation, and suppresses individualism.
Editorial in response to an ODT article that “extolled the virtues of halls of residence vs. flats.” 1972.
In the year’s first editorial I outlined what I hoped to see accomplished during the year but none of these hopes have materialized. Filters for joints have not been made compulsory, New Zealand has not recognized China and North Vietnam or withdrawn from Indo-China, homosexuality has not been legalized along with marijuana and other goodies, the student body has not been radicalized, and the welfare state continues to be eroded.
Hugh MacLean’s last editorial of 1972.
You can say “to hell with it,” but still your parents and their friends, and even some of your own friends are going to know, deep down, that you FAILED. For that reason as much as any that has to do with assuring your financial and social future, you have to try to pass.
Introduction to “Ten Lecture Tips,” 1973.
I object to the installation of this machine in the Student Union building. I consider it provocative, unnecessary and degrading. Furthermore I consider it unconstitutional.
Mary O’Neill, Letters. The ‘this machine’ she refers to is a condom-dispensing machine. 1973.
If nothing positive is done soon in the field of student accommodation, future generations of students at this University will be forced still further into the clutches of unscrupulous landlords and forced to live in conditions far worse than any that those in positions of authority in the University and the city would permit their own children to live in.
Feature article on accommodation, 1973.
On a completely unrelated note, it is somewhat disturbing to see how full the library is these days.
Editorial, March 20, 1973.
God alone knows who he thinks he is, but amidst all the intergalactic homo-superiority, he is a shit hot rocker.
Excerpt from review of David Bowie’s ‘Aladdin Sane,’ 1973.
Lange is becoming the Left’s buffoon and the only resemblance he bears towards the late Norman Kirk is in physique. Well, that is not entirely true. Lange shares Kirk’s narrowness of vision, complete lack of imagination, and virtual disregard for facts.
Michael Laws under pseudonym Dragonfly, 1981. I am thinking of taking legal action against the Union for allowing such dangerous pieces of equipment to be used by students, and also of causing bodily harm to me. I was hit by a flying cannon ball while walking through the basement, by an innocent player who did not know he was playing with such dangerous equipment.
I find it ironic that this self-proclaimed apostle of the rights of the individual has neither the decency nor the responsibility to sign his name to his lamentable scrawlings.
G. J. McLean, Letters, about Dragonfly, 1981.
‘Joe’ complaining about the state of the billiard tables in the Union building, Letters, 1973.
Office Rent Educational Research Anti-Tour and Anti-War Activities
$2,400 $1,750 $1,500
Items 7-9 in a list of the ten most expensive items in the 1973 NZUSA Budget, 1973.
I have been away from Otago University for several years. In my absence something or someone has cruelly altered the lifestyle and indeed the charm of the Otago student. I mean of course ‘Internal Assessment.’ I suppose few can remember the ‘old days,’ but four or five years ago we could spend a year not exactly of leisure, but rather of balanced pleasure; when we could mingle work with wine, and look up from our desks occasionally.
From ‘Maimed’, Letters, 1974.
What with impending exam failure, AIDS, and the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation there are moments when the suicide option becomes undeniably attractive. Let us review the most commonly used methods and evaluate their effectiveness.
‘The Lighter Side of Suicide’ 1987. A College/University educated American male wishes to make friends with a current Dunedin University female. As I only plan to be in Dunedin 24 hours, no long-term commitment is necessary.
David Hausman, Letters, 1987.
This year, as last year, a “Christian” group will be operating from a tent on the Union lawn during Orientation. My experiences are that these people offer tea, coffee, milo, biscuits to disoriented young students and then start evangelizing, smiling while they preach their message.
Mary, Letters, 1987. How about telling the people who manufacture the antibabies, obtainable at the vending machine by that masterpiece of modern technology (men’s bogs) downstairs in the union, to stop putting Deep Heat Rub in their “CHEAP AND NASTIES;” I’d be interested to know if anyone else has experienced similar “NO CUMMINGS” as my frizzled and singed member has.
Iva Rash, Letters, 1978.
After four years and only a BA after my name, my apathy towards the system is greater than ever; as long as I get my Bursary and pass with C’s I couldn’t give a stuff whether NZUSA Top Cat is considered worthless in the eyes of our local Executive bureaucracy.
Rimski-Korsakov, Letters, 1978.
One Knox guy told CRITIC that they also held a panty-raid of girls’ hostels. This sort of behaviour is rather pathetic and smacks of the old pervert and the washing line story.
Campus News, 1978.
The disadvantages of sea-sponges are: the inconvenience of rinsing them they are harder to insert than cotton tampons because they are softer
Excerpt from article proposing the use of natural sea sponges as the best way to “Make Your Own Tampons,” 1987.
Apparently dream recall is higher for women around the time of ovulation. Putting a cloth bag of nugwort in your pillow is aid to give you vivid dreams and help you remember every detail. Aniseed in your pillow will stop nightmares and let you sleep well.
Excerpt from “The Dream Genie,” an article giving advice on how to remember and understand your dreams, 1987.
I got the menstruation, the menstruation blues And I got ‘em so hard I don’t know how to lose them I can feel my life blood flowin’ down the drain And the hardest damn thing to face is that next month it’s all gonna happen again
Excerpt from poem “The Menstruation Blues” by Robyn Archer, 1991.
Is that guy out of it or what? I’ve watched in amazement as Jason bumbles over the birthday calls with dark eyes and a manic grin spread over his face, quipping to the camera crew that he could do with a cold towel, all the time wishing he was somewhere else (that’s if he knows where he is to start with).
If you want to have sex with me you’ll have to live in Invercargill.
Excerpt from letter about kids’ TV presenter Jason Gunn, 1991.
Trevor confessed to being a “soppy romantic,” admitting that his all-time favourite film is Notting Hill, as he quite likes to have it on as background noise while he’s working.
Yesterday I felt beautiful and thought with a little work I could make myself more popular, someday. Today I am left wondering what I’ve got, I am a loner. Cheers, Yes-I-do-have-friends. PS – Just in case … where are all the nice cute single guys out there? Please come to my lectures and talk to me! I’m actually quite a normal person most of the time.
Letters, 1998. The four band members range in age from 13 to 18, but don’t even dream of comparing them to wusses like Hanson or Silverchair; these lads are the real rockin’ deal!
Preview of Orientation concert by Smokefree Rockquest winners Evermore, 2001.
The place was surrounded with people in their ‘rave’ costumes, although in their deluded little minds they looked cool, sitting down as an observer I witness what looked like a bunch of freaky circus performers chucked in a cage and made to dance in a world other than the one in which they live in … the space decorations aided this chain of thought.
Mikhal Norriss, Fevah Dance Party Review, 2002.
No. (His mate: “Yeah, he’s a poser at the gym.”) Fuck off man! The gym’s for homos!
Matthew, when asked “Do you have a part-time job?” Bunch of Fives, 2002.
Tim Shadbolt, Bunch of Fives, 2004.
Trevor Mallard, 2005.
The first thing you do when you arrive at Destiny Church is that you give the pastors all your money. Even I felt compelled to pop a coin in the box: not since Johann Tetzel has the church had such an effective money-grubbing strategy. Which wouldn’t be a problem except that the majority of those in attendance at the Destiny services appear to fall into the demographic I would term “peasantry” and the IQ-range I would deem “sub-vegetative.”
Excerpt from Ryan Brown-Haysom’s “The Great Critic Church Review,” 2005.
If all the ladies up in hurrr want to stop their men from requesting anal sex, or “poo sex” as it’s more appropriately referred to, just offer it up. If the door is always open, like with the Guidance Advisor at school, nobody comes to visit … or nobody visits to come! Booyah!
Excerpt from columnist William Shake-my-speare’s response to the question “What’s up with guys’ obsession with anal?” 2006.
Over at Unicol, the vibe is a little different, with residents eschewing clothes of any kind and opting to go naked. One enterprising individual even posed as a naked elevator attendant, and ferried young women to their floors with nothing on but a towel draped over one arm.
From ‘Bouncing Off the Halls,’ 2006.
"I was paid when I was a student writing for Critic. These days, I'm sorry, but you can't afford me." Yeah that’s the kind of music that I’m inspired by – more aggressive, in-your-face stuff.
P-Money, Interview, 2002.
You are the crappest newspaper I have ever read plus your size is too small.
Buck Anal, Letters, 2002.
If I have any regrets about my first year at Otago, it is just this one; I hadn’t expected there would be so many darkies here.
Dean West, Letters, 2004.
Whanganui Mayor and Radio Live host Micheal Laws kindly responding to Critic's request for him to be a pundit as part of our coverage of the OUSA Elections, 2009
Although Geoghegan now thinks that having a CoC is a good idea overall, she still has her reservations.
Excerpt from news report, 2010.
Stereotype: Dumb. Reality: Dumber.
Excerpt from analysis of City College in “Critic’s Guide to Halls,” 2010
In 1932 Critic was hit by a controversy the type of which is simply impossible these days. The year’s editorial team aimed to dramatically change Critic’s role on campus. No longer would the paper provide a drab documentary of sports results and Executive changes, but instead a ruthless judgement of the University’s every move. This new tack so horrified the University Council that they forced Critic out of print for two months in the middle of the year. Upon return to publication, the new issue’s editorial offered a melodramatic repentance of the paper’s supposed past sins. “Apparently in our own University the powers that be consider that this paper had no receptacle of cleverness copious enough to bale out the objectionable torrent that swamped the literary ship … Lately we have occupied the wrong cell – we could have had a glorious outlook on our existence, but instead we have had delusions of injustice … This paper, then, is to be for the displaying of the virtues of our fellows, and the excellence of our intellectual environment. The situation is under control.” These days, Critic has complete editorial independence from not only the University but also OUSA, which owns its parent company.
Canon Emeritus and world-renowned pacifist Paul Oestreicher was Critic’s editor in 1952, back in the days when the paper was printed on the Otago Daily Times’ printing presses. This allowed for the ridiculous possibility of ODT staff censoring material they thought inappropriate. A July issue carried a front page that was completely blank except for a small box containing text that read: “This page was to have contained an article entitled ‘US Germ Warfare in Korea?’ This article presented the Communist point of view. The ‘Otago Daily Times’ expressed themselves as being unwilling to print the article. ‘Critic’ met Executive and on legal advice decided that the article should appear in the next ‘Critic’ together with the opposing point of view.” The article was published the next week, along with a biting editorial from Oestreicher. An excerpt: “The ‘lily-white’ front page of our last issue was no waste of newsprint, if it awoke in us the realization that we are living in a period of such crisis, that we can no longer take for granted the right to publicly state and print any opinions that we may hold. We are living in an age of fear, universal fear.”
Jim Mora, host of National Radio’s Afternoons show and voice of Tux Wonder Dogs, was the editor of Critic in 1974. He took on the then-Mayor of Dunedin, Jim Barnes, in a long-ranging tête-à-tête. It started with a March issue in which appeared a full-page graphic: a photo of Barnes accompanied by the text “Wanted! An alternative to this man; if not stopped he will be Dunedin’s mayor again. Last seen heading for the council chambers again in quest of a knighthood.” Opposite the graphic was an article that heavily criticised Barnes for following his election promise of ‘no rates rise’ with a 20 percent rates increase. Barnes came to the University Common Room for a televised debate with Mora. In his next editorial Mora attacked the “inadequate and slanted” media coverage of the debate. Barnes still managed to win the 1974 election and the text in Critic’s graphic proved scarily prescient; Barnes became Sir Jim two years later.
In 1985, a Critic staff writer wrote an article on his attempt to complete the World Vision Challenge, which apparently involved living for a month on only a dollar a day. Among less daring penny-pinching feats, such as cutting your own hair, was the author’s confession to shoplifting food from the South Dunedin Big Fresh every day of the month. He described in detail the method he honed of wearing “billowy yet tight on the thigh y-fronts” that allowed him to walk out with various, sometimes unpackaged, goods next to his package, paying only for an ODT each time. Upon publication of the article Dunedin Police attempted to charge the author, who had written under the pseudonym White Shadow, with theft, but then-Editor Julianne Davies refused to identify the writer and insisted the entire article was merely a fictional account. The charges were eventually dropped given that the only evidence was the alleged shoplifter’s written confession.
A 1992 issue of Critic contained various features that addressed the ethical and legal issues surrounding abortion. One of these features was an interview with a lecturer from the University’s Department of Sociology, Sandra Baker, who had strong ‘pro-life’ views. The controversy did not emanate from anything Baker said in the interview though. The issue gained national media coverage because the then-pregnant lecturer posed naked for the magazine’s cover; an homage to Demi Moore’s similar shot for a 1991 issue of Vanity Fair. When the University threatened Baker with dismissal for what they believed to be ‘disreputable conduct,’ coverage of the saga in Critic’s pages rallied a protest march that saved Baker’s bacon. She still lectures today.
The introduction of broadband internet and 24/7 computer labs to our campus provided a profound boost to the performance of many scholarly pursuits. But until a 2003 Critic expose, no-one realised that that the scholarly pursuit this new technology facilitated the most was masturbating. A Critic reporter installed hidden cameras in several computer laboratories to investigate the labs’ nocturnal use. The sting revealed that computer desk cock-wranglings were shockingly regular campus-wide. The publication of this perverted prevalence saw a lawsuit brought against Critic for their illegal, clandestine surveillance. The magazine was eventually fined $5,000 for the transgression.
An article in Critic’s third annual “Offensive Issue” of 2005 generated a gigantic flurry of national media coverage and debate that is still remembered by many. 2005 Editor Holly Walker: “We came up with the idea during a team brainstorm of what should be in the offensive issue. One of our staff writers volunteered for the task, which was to write an educational article which would serve to warn and alert people to the phenomenon of drink spiking and date-rape, but in shocking language and format. He certainly proved equal to the task. I found the resulting article certainly offensive and very challenging to read and edit, but concluded that it was suitable for the ‘offensive issue’. “The magazine came out on Monday 18 September 2005. It attracted several strongly worded letters to the editor but initially no media attention. The ODT’s lightning-fast news radar picked it up in a mere four days and a critical article appeared there on Thursday 22 September 2005. National news media swiftly picked it up and I spent much of that day dealing with media inquiries. I appeared on Nine to Noon, both TV news channels, and Close Up defending the decision to publish the article and protecting the anonymity of its author. “Rape Crisis and the Campus Cop laid complaints with the Office of Film and Literature Classification, setting in motion a decision process that took several months. Early in 2006 the censor’s office reached a decision and deemed the issue ‘objectionable’. It is now an offence to possess a copy. The decision found that although the article in question arguably had educational value, this was undermined by the decision to include it in an ‘offensive issue’, which trivialised the issue and could have been seen as treating it as a joke. I tend to agree. I remain proud of the way I dealt with the negative media attention this controversy attracted, but in retrospect I believe it was the wrong decision to print the article, particularly because of the trauma it would have caused to victims of sexual abuse. Student media has an important role to play in pushing the boundaries and challenging conventions, but should never be offensive just for the sake of offense. In the end, despite our good intentions, I think the “offensive issue” of 2005 crossed that line.”
2005 was the host of another multi-episodic drama when features reporter Ryan BrownHaysom wrote a brutal review of the services offered by Dunedin’s churches. The author visited the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Name only to be disappointed to find “no candles, no flagellants, no traumatised altarboys, and only one old fat guy in a frock.” He quoted a Baptist minister on the topic of the importance of missionary work – “people are dying. They’re going to hell, let’s face it” – and interpreted this statement thusly: “It’s been a while since I’ve heard a preacher admit that towel-heads and Chinks are roasting in the pit.” The response from readers was fairly ferocious and dragged on for three weeks before editor Holly Walker closed the line of correspondence. Some excerpts from the letters page: “It’s just petty and immature. Pretty stupid article.” – Mike. “At least one line of informative and impartial content would have been appreciated, but Ryan’s whining and drivel smacked of his lack of understanding and consideration” – Doogle. “Many of Ryan’s criticisms were valid and as a Christian, I must not ignore these valid criticisms” – Jonathan. “Ryan, my vicar thought your article was absolutely brilliant too. But then it seems to be only the Anglicans who get the joke … pity that” – Another Anglicunt.
Critic’s most recent controversy took place halfway through this very year, 2010. May 24’s money-themed issue included a feature article in which the author claimed to have “spent a few nights on Dunedin’s streets to investigate further … the rumours that abound about Dunedin’s homeless.” An interview with fictional homeless man Smokey Robertson was included, in which Robertson claimed that he had invented the medical filing system, and “once swallowed eighteen watch batteries in one go.” The article was accompanied by descriptions and caricatures of well-known locals who live rough. In the weeks following the article’s publication, outraged complaints began to come into Critic from numerous mental health employees complaining that the article “had an overall tone of mockery,” “was poorly researched, dismissive of people’s rights and casually demeaning,” and was “highly offensive and inaccurate.” Some of these complaints were sent to the New Zealand Press Association, and the story gained international media coverage on June 15. Coverage ranged from an article in the ODT to a piece on website topnews.co.uk. In a later issue Critic published an apology, along with an article by a medical student that provided a more in-depth and sincere look at the realities faced by Dunedin’s erroneously titled “homeless characters.” 28
Schmack OPINIONS AND STUFF...
35 SOAP BOX
36 left / right 37 DEBATABLE 38 APOCALYPSE HOW? 39 THIS WEEK.. / Sport 40 top 5 / odt 41 OUSA / TE ROOPU
My how things change... Critic 1966
45 RETINA 32 34
hen Critic was born way back in the halcyon days of the 1920’s, the world was a different place, many say it was a better place. Too many people these day’s focus on the Eighties and Nineties as the retro and cool eras, when really they the focus should be on the Twenties, they were the shit. New Zealand was still young country, just getting over the pain inflicted by the Great War, when the pain of the great depression just started to take over. Though the 1920’s may now look like a very quiet and toned down period, they were far more than queuing for food and going to bed at 8.30. Even though their lives may have been shitty they still knew how to party, it was the Jazz age and our grandmothers and fathers went and danced the Charleston until the early evening which was late by the standards of the times. They couldn’t even go off for a one night stand afterwards, with contraception being almost nonexistent they had to come up with some other crazy stuff to do. 1925 was also the year that Dunedin held the South Seas Exhibition on which is now Logan Park, now this was entertainment. From all over the world exotic and weird creatures as well as a few natives were bought to Dunedin for the local people to gawk at. Over a million people visited the exhibition, the only thing we have which comes close to this is NZ Next Top Model which also shows weird and exotic creatures but really doesn’t have the popularity of a South Seas Exhibition. All we get now is some skinny underage girls on TV being trying to be models, back then it was stuffed lions that were the real show stoppers. Also all this bitching about the recession, in 2010 when people lose a little money they cry because they can no longer afford to have MySky. In the 1920’s there was no dole line, it was survival of the fittest, and men did the most menial of tasks just to eat. Jobs such as making sheep tracks for sheep to walk on, and there was no choice of going back to University and maybe getting that Masters, or doing a few interest papers until the job market opened up again. Those who lived in 1925 were the real shit, they left school, and got into the workforce before they even had time to pop pimples, try get a teenager to get off the computer now for 5 minutes, it is nigh on impossible. The drinking culture was also very different. You think your all badass and Scarfie with you 20 pack of Southern Gold, the six o’clock swill was where it was at. You had one hour to get from your job crushing rocks, get to the pub and drink as much as you could possibly handle, then go home and pass out. They had those who thought the country was going downhill in a swirl of warm beer, though they didn’t just sit back and say hay let’s split the drinking age. No they decided they would try and ban drinking all together and they almost won. Even the fun police weren’t fucking around. I know it wasn’t all fun and games, if you were Asian or Indian you were probably considering why you even bothered to make the long boat ride to the Land of the Long White Cloud. And even though the 1920’s saw a movement of women out of the kitchen and into the light of society, they were placed right back there when it was time for dinner to be cooked. And I do have to concede that in the year 2010 it is nice to have equal rights for everyone and be able to listen to music on our iPods. Still the next time I’m in my flat, moaning over the lack of insulation, I will think back to the 1920’s and go and get drunk as quickly as possible to escape reality, it’s what those in 1925 would have done. Oh, also congratulations Critic, you tough old bastard.
o it’s lame to get a bus is it? Peter Chin certainly thinks so – he caught a bus once. He appeared to leap out of his skin in surprise when he was told the fare. Interesting, huh? Yet, students with Community Services cards pay the full fare, every day. You’d think Mr. Chin might want to do something about it after his experience. Maybe, you know, claim mayoral rights or something, but buses are not the DCC’s problem. That’s right. Buses officially fall under the umbrella of the Otago Regional Council. Why? I mean, are there any domestic buses from Dunedin to Waimate? Erm … no. Public transport in Dunedin is like, sooo not very good. I think it could be because it is controlled by outside forces that have no idea what Dunedin wants. Look at Christchurch buses – you know when the bus is coming because there is a bloody neon poster telling you when. It is not like Dunedin where you wait for a bus that you were early for in the first place (because the times are so inconsistent), and it never even shows up. The buses in Wellington are great. Many of them are electric and run on cables. They are all over the city and run at fairly decent times, as they do in Christchurch. In Dunedin you cannot take a bike on the bus. We live in a hilly city. You work out why that is a problem. In Dunedin you are not allowed on a bus in a mobility scooter or electric wheelchair, because the driver would need a Hazardous Goods licence to accommodate the special batteries that run such devices. WTF? The Opoho bus, which I had the displeasure of frequenting for three years, saw ridiculous fare increases over that time, for no return in quality. The timetable only changed and became insane – in the early morning you must wait at the Octagon because the timetable is the same as for the rest of the day despite there being no traffic. If you are going beyond the Octagon in the morning, take some crochet. In Dunedin we pay $2.50 for a simple trip into town, which amounts to $5 a day. We do have a Go Card though, that gives us a 10 percent discount. Wait. That means if you live on a standard two-zone route, you have to spend $25 before you even get a free ride. There is almost no point. In Wellington the discount is 15 percent which is much more viable and enticing. And the Council wonders why there is a parking problem. The cool kids of Dunedin who are too cool to catch buses are not that silly, really – the fares are wacko high, the services are lacking, and the times are unrealistic and just plain inconsiderate. In these dire times we need public transport that is cool to use, because the fossil fuels from all those cars are just fucking the planet. ‘Nuff said.
ompulsory savings is tax in disguise. The Government takes a set amount of money out of your pay and then keeps it away from you. You can’t have it, and you don’t get any back unless they say it is okay. It is another way to fund superannuation, by increasing taxes, but because this is a tax increase “for your own good” people lap it up, as though less money in the hand is what they always wanted. The Government already runs a ridiculously good deal on savings. It’s this little thing called Kiwisaver; you might not have joined, but over 1.4 million people have. Kiwisaver is already geared around giving massive savings incentives. You get $1000 free, tax credits and employer contributions, and first home subsidies. This is the Government providing incentives to save for retirement, and the deal is so good you would be either very stupid, really want your money now, or very poor not to put any aside. And it’s those last two groups of people that matter. How am I going to make compulsory superannuation bad for the poor? Easy: if you take someone’s money off them, they have less to spend. If you are working as much as you can for little pay, and basically living hand to mouth, it might be in your interests not to lose another chunk of money to the future. Those who want the Government or employers to pay more into their superannuation aren’t seeing things straight either. The Government is taxing you anyway, so that’s more of your money being held out of your reach. And your employer is going to turn out the same. If they have to put another $3000 into your superannuation over the course of a year, that’s money that you are never going to see coming your way in a bonus or a raise. Despite the insistence of many, there is no secret money pit that they can fork out extra wages from on top of the additional costs of putting more into your savings. This works for you as well: with more money coming out of your pay, are you going to save much of what’s left over? Or spend the rest, either because you have to or want to. It’s not like this is going to magically improve our national savings rate. Superannuation savings will just substitute the savings that are already made. Can hardly afford to live now? Paying off a mortgage or other debt? Really want to save up for that holiday while you are young? Terminally ill? Death wish? Think you should invest in your business? Just really want more money now? Nah, the Government knows what’s best, and they want to make you save. The clue is in the name: like compulsory military training, compulsory student membership, and compulsory sterilisation, you can just tell that it’s bad.
Beau: The first issue of Critic, released April 2 1925, puts forward the aims of this publication. It reads: “The province of the paper is to be criticism” and that “criticism is acknowledged to be a most useful and most necessary instrument in maintaining a high standard of efficiency, integrity and progress in university life.” The editorial goes on to state that it is only a secondary function of Critic to be an “organ of official news.” I take this as meaning it is only its secondary function to provide journalistic ‘coverage’ of wider social issues. Critic has a long, 85-year history of providing a space for criticism of University life true to its mission. A perusal of old Critics (available in the Hocken library) is pretty entertaining and I will paraphrase a few pieces. A man writes on April 3 1930 that women should feel comfortable smoking a “dainty cigarette” in the Quad just as men do. In 1969 a Critic hammers at student support for University sporting events with South African colleges and says they are complicit with Apartheid. In 1983 a writer criticises prejudice towards gay and lesbian people at Otago residential colleges and urges gay and lesbian people on campus to be open about who they are. In 2010 writers lament the closure of Gardies and blame our drinking culture. I do not think it is ivory tower wankery to suggest the little criticisms and experiences we have in our University bubble, and how we react to them, really do end up having a huge butterfly effect on society. We form impressions, whether it is about women smoking tobacco in the Quad in the 1930s (is this gender equality?) or about Gardies closing in 2010 (what about our national drinking culture?), and these impressions do really spill out of our University and into the world at large. Critic should be focused primarily on criticism of University life, however trivial (tights-as pants! Urgh!), rather than needing to cover wider social issues. There are other publications for that.
Should th ere be Mo re Covera Social Iss ge of ues in Cri tic?
Emma: Critic is a student magazine, which makes it a socially important form of media. This means they have a responsibility to write about social issues: they need to write more about social issues than they currently do. By social issues, I mean issues that are important to greater society. I do not mean issues relating to having a social life, nor do I mean issues relating to the microcosm of Scarfie society. Critic does a great job of covering issues like the closure of Gardies, the stadium debate, Dunedin bar safety, and the rest, but there needs to be more – and better – coverage of the big social issues. The Dunedin-specific issues are important, but perhaps the focus of some articles needs to be taken more nationally, more globally. We are all part of a student population that is, as a whole, rather apathetic. This can be seen in the low voter turnout to OUSA elections and more importantly, the relatively low number of students enrolled to vote for Dunedin’s local body elections. Nationally, there is also a lack of engagement, in both voting and in caring what is happening in society. Enter, Critic! By reading more about the big issues in Critic, the student population will be informed about what is happening in our world, and if we don’t like it we will be inspired to take action: to join the Young Nats, or Young Labour, or (heaven forbid) Act on Campus, or even just to vote in the next election. Coverage of important issues, such as poverty and environmental destruction, confronts people with them and forces them to engage. Critic, of course, wants to write stories that they know are interesting to their target demographic, but they also have a role in presenting material that is not just interesting (is Kieran really dead?), but also important.
Debatable is a column written by the Otago University Debating Society. They meet every Tuesday at 7pm in Commerce 2.20. 37
G l oba l W ar min g
ecently there has been a lot in the media about this so-called ‘man-made global warming’, which, of all the apocalyptic scenarios we’ve seen so far, seems to be the most realistic. We’ve all heard the dire predictions that have been made for the future of our planet if things continue on their current course: disappearing island nations, increasingly extreme weather patterns, perhaps even the end of humanity as we know it. Having heard these alarming predictions, I was starting to get a little worried about the whole thing. Thankfully, there’s no need to panic: I can now tell you with 100 percent confidence that everything’s going to be okay. You see, I did a little research online about this whole ‘global warming’ thing and to be honest, it all seems a little far-fetched. For example, I found a climate-change sceptic blog that offered a small number of pseudo-scientific reasons why global warming may not be real after all. So, I’m convinced. Never mind that I have no real background in scientific research, let alone the highly specialised fields that climate scientists are working in – there’s no reason why my opinion shouldn’t be as valid as theirs. Hey, that’s what free speech is all about, right? All opinions should be respected and given equal weight, even if the people holding them aren’t ‘qualified scientists’ or ‘know what they’re talking about’. I know what you’re thinking. How could it be that so many of the world’s top scientists – experts in their respective fields, some of whom have been working on this for decades – could have got it so wrong, whereas yours truly, some guy who did a bit of casual research about it on the internet, could have the whole thing totally sussed out? Well you see, man-made global warming is just a theory, like the theory of gravity, or Pythagoras’ Theorem. No matter how good a theory may seem to these ‘experts’, all it takes is one small piece of data that doesn’t quite fit and BAM! Everything about the theory becomes redundant. That’s why I’ve decided to dedicate myself to bothering real scientists with trivial pieces of ‘counterevidence’ until they finally see that they’ve made a huge mistake. Don’t forget about the volcanoes, guys! Hey, did I mention that it’s also a giant conspiracy by the liberal media to force us to conform to their political ideology? Even if, by some slim chance, global warming is really happening, we don’t actually need to do anything about it – we’ll just sit back and let the market take care of it. Good old ‘the market’, it solves everything! Financial problems? The market will sort it out! Some guy fucking your wife? The market will sort it out! So ignore all those people who like to tell you that the future of the planet is uncertain and encourage you to use less plastic bags, ride on public transport, not shave your legs, blah blah blah … It’s gonna be sweet, bro. Trust me.
eing friends and hanging out with someone is an enjoyable thing to do, but what most people don’t realise is that it’s actually a lot more fun if you do it from afar without them realising. Physically talking to someone is overrated; sitting in a rhododendron bush observing them through military-spec, night-vision binoculars is infinitely more satisfying. This week, Matthew, I’m going to be a stalker. Obviously, as the title implies, the first thing you need to do is decide on whom you’re going to stalk. Don’t just go rushing headlong into stalking; stalking is a lifestyle and the ‘stalkee’ needs to be carefully selected. Select someone with similar interests to yourself. That way you won’t become bored when you’re sitting in a bush for four hours. Don’t select someone that’s too high-profile: not only are you more likely to be found out, but it’s also rather challenging to find a suitable rhododendron bush in David Skegg’s office. Your best bet is someone who smokes a lot of marijuana, as they’re always so paranoid that people are following them that no one will believe them when they’re actually right. A true stalker needs to have the gear, too. Binoculars are essential, but a committed stalker carries a camera and notepad as well, so that they may record their subject for later ‘observation’. Carry an ODT press credentials card with you at all times; that way you can explain the gear if you get caught. Don’t worry about having knowledge of journalistic processes. It’s not like anyone at the ODT does anyway. Dress to impress. You may be a stalker, but there’s no reason you can’t look good doing so. Having said that, I would recommend that your wardrobe consist mainly of dark colours. Not only does this help avoid detection, you can hang around the design buildings and people will think you’re just a run-ofthe-mill emo. Stalkers are chameleons, masters of disguise and subterfuge. “What’s that officer? What am I doing sitting in a rhododendron bush with a pair of binoculars? I was bird-watching.” “Why are the binoculars trained on UniCol?” “Um, because I heard there were a lot of swallows in there.” As a stalker it’s a given that your daily life won’t involve much direct interaction with other people, but when it does, make sure to be as vague and as creepy as possible. Refer to your ‘stalkee’ as your “special friend,” and act like the two of you are either best buds, or like you’re in a committed relationship (Even though it’s likely you’ve never actually spoken to them). You’re psychologically sane on the inside, but you don’t have to let anyone know it. Where’s the fun in that? This is only a basic guide, but it should give you the knowledge to detect and perceive stalkers in future. Keep an eye out and I’m sure you’ll start noticing a few. But ignore that rhododendron bush behind you; I wouldn’t want you to see my camera flash.
ou may have noticed that the All Blacks are getting into a lot of public relations promotions lately. They’re everywhere: on the TV, in the newspapers, on top of your girlfriend, and out in the communities. They’rere playing ‘sports’ such as gumboot throwing, coal shovelling, and netball, just so people will like them. It’s a total offensive of the sporting kind. All this in an effort to get the All Blacks, or more specifically the All Blacks brand, back out into the heartland. No doubt that some sort of market research has told the brand managers that the All Blacks are seen as untouchable and not connected to real mainstream Kiwi anymore. The question is, why they are doing it? You don’t see any other sporting teams doing it. Sure, others get out into the community and do a little bit of advertising for their main sponsors, just as any other team or individual does. The NZRU may want to keep up their support as it has been waning a little over the past few years, but it’s not like young New Zealand boys are abandoning their hopes of becoming an All Black en masse. The All Blacks are also very vital to the psyche and culture of middle New Zealand, and even more important to our overseas image. Overseas image equals more money, so it’s both a populist and economic attack the NZRU is raining down on us. Which is why their new campaign is being made in conjunction with another Kiwi symbol shown overseas known for bringing in the Rutherfords: Air New Zealand. If you haven’t seen the safety video yet it’s along the same lines as the old one with the nude staff – except there is less nudity and more All Blacks. Decide for yourself whether that is a good thing. Oh, it’s also a little homophobic, which is kind of telling us there are no poofs in the All Blacks so we don’t have to worry. Seriously though, the All Blacks along with the World Cup next year is one of our biggest chances as a nation to show ourselves off to the largest number of people possible, however sad that might be. And this sort of media saturation is only really going to get worse with the World Cup only a year away; the closer and closer we get the more and more of this type of media saturation will happen. So expect to see more of these fit young men, as well as a few more All Black jerseys around. And the only way you can escape it is if you move to a place where rugby isn’t god, so anywhere but Fiji, South Africa, or Wales will do. Or don’t watch TV, and read a book – it’s good old fashion fun and good for your brain, unlike rough-and-tumble rugby.
Why Critic will outlast the Otago Daily Times You’d think now that Critic is 85 year -old, the old boy might have lost his mojo. But he’s still got it. He fucks the ODT every week (see ‘ODT Watch’). I bet when he’s finished, he tells it to get out and refuses to pay. What a badass. 5. Ageing demographic: It’s pretty obvious that the ODT mainly targets old people and the odd housewife here and there. It works well for them, because they’re much more likely to read anything given to them no matter how trivial it is. The only problem is that eventually all those old people are going to die (bless their souls), which means they’ve got an unsustainable source of people to read their ‘newspaper’. I guess the other option is to target the students ... 4. The student population is only going to get bigger: But, to be realistic, students aren’t going to buy it.
It’s not that we don’t have the money, but according to a recent study young people prefer to read positive stories while old people prefer to read about negative stories about young people. With the University pretty much being the Cookie Monster of Dunedin’s real estate, with its endless appetite, my bet is that the student population can only get bigger, leaving less people to want to buy the ODT. 3. Toilet paper will always be cheaper: Thankfully, I
don’t study Economics. However, my understanding of supply and demand tells me that people are more likely to use a substitute product when its price is lower. Sadly for the ODT, it’s unlikely that anyone will use it as toilet paper in the near future, which is a bit unfortunate really because it would probably improve their product if people did. 2. They steal Critic’s stories: The ODT is pretty good at delivering breaking news. That is, if you count about three days after the event as breaking. Critic is obviously 100 times better at getting a scoop involving the University and/or students because it is not staffed by monkeys. Eventually, more people will just start reading Critic rather than the ODT because the news is moving further towards the internet – something which old people don’t like. Oh, and because the internet reports things when it happens. 1. It’ll get bought out eventually: In case you don’t know, all the main newspapers are owned by some big overseas company. The ODT, the only independent newspaper left, prides itself on this fact for some unknown reason. Maybe it’s to do with thinking that it correlates with ‘quality journalism’, which is hilarious given the jibber jabber that comes out of it. Well, ODT, if you’re reading this, here’s a headline you’ll never see again: “ODT wins best NZ newspaper.” 40
“...Give me money [the best student flat New World supermarket vouchers]. Give me models [the worst student flat a professional clean]...” It’s finally here. The first cycle of Dunedin’s Next Top Model Flat. The competition is fierce*. The judges are fearsome**. Do you have what it takes to make it to the top? Proudly brought to you by Nivea OUSA. Who will be New Zealand’s Dunedin’s Next Top Model Flat? [Enter by] This Friday TV3 [email why to email@example.com***]. *Competition is open to flats in any state! It’s what you’ve made of it that matters. Prizes for best and worst student flat, along with the runners-up and spot prizes. The best flat wins a flat shop to the value of $150 at New World Supermarket. The worst flat wins five hours’ worth of professional cleaning services. Enter now and be in the running for Dunedin’s Next Top Flat. Love, Sara Claire Top Model Host and Owner of 62 Model Managment Welfare Officer PS Happy 85th Birthday Critic! From the OUSA Exec **Mayoral candidates will be the judges. Don’t be fearful, though, as it’ll be the other way round come voting day when you decide who stays and who goes from the Next Top Model House Dunedin City Council. *** “...Do you wanna be on top [the best or worst]?” If so, tell us why via SARA [E]MAIL – firstname.lastname@example.org – by this Friday. Possible reasons for your place being the best flat could include that you have a cleaning roster so functional no one’s fallen-out over it all year. The worst flat might have been trashed by a wasted ‘friend’/no one’s owned up to that spew in the corner from Re-O/passive-aggressive Post-It notes have become the only way of communicating ...
Kia ora, Welcome back to the last quarter of the year. So, let’s break it down. This means: • 6 weeks of lectures; • 4.5 weeks of exams; • 4 weeks of writing for Honours students with the October 1 due date; • 8 weeks for the lucky honours dudes with the November 1 due date; • 9 weeks until the end of the academic year; • and 16 weeks until Christmas (more importantly, 17 weeks until New Year’s). And – what does this mean??? It means: • It’s time for you to catch up on last semester’s lectures that you were ‘going to catch up on during semester break’. • It’s time to do that assignment that’s due at the end of the week that you were ‘going to catch up on during semester break’. • It’s time to set new, realistic goals of a) going to class, b) doing lecture notes after class and c) getting on to those assignments sooner rather than later. • Sticking to your new goals. • And it time to start prepping for exams – find your study space, find your method of study – whether you’re a visual, kinaesthetic, verbal, find your study group, just make sure you start prepping before it is too late! Now feel free to cut this out, copy it in to your diary, re-write it in your own words, print it out and put it above your head – you’ll thank me in the long run. On to more glorious news, it’s time to publicly and formally thank and congratulate our 2011 candidates. Our successful candidates are: • Ariana Te Wake - Tumuaki / President • Rimutere Wharakura - Kaituhi / Secretary • Courtney Heke-McColgan - Kaitiaki Putea / Treasurer • Lisa Pohatu - Kaiwhakahaere / General Executive • Keistin Woodman and - Kaiwhakahaere / General Executive • Rewiri Newton - Kaiwhakahaere / General Executive The votes were few and far between for our kaiwhakahaere/general exec members. However Te Rito and Te Roopu Maori would also like to thank Abbey Corbett for submitting her nomination and inform tauira that we feel we are in a secure place to increasing our governance, which will be mean Abbey will have a position in 2011. Te Rito would also like to thank all the tauira who took time out of their busy schedule. We had a record number of votes this year and I guess we can thank our friend Facebook for that. And I should really apologise. I said in an email that if you voted you wouldn’t get another email bombarding you to vote but … I lied. So I, Fallyn Flavell, apologise for lying to you, please forgive me. On that note, welcome back, have a great semester, and more importantly set those goals and achieve them. 41
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Dear Critic, That election sucked. I was sick of seeing my stupid face everywhere by the end of it. The most demoralising thing, I think for all of us, was the huge amount of unattributed attacks — mostly on Harriet via anonymous posters and leaked emails, but also via mysterious alias Richard Cheese on everyone else. Own your posters and/or words, dammit. The new OUSA executive needs our support. They’re going to be guiding us through a tough time over the next year. So the best thing we can do now is to be constructive and actively participate in OUSA: get on a committee, go to a student forum, volunteer, and vote. Find out about all the great services OUSA provides, and go use them! We can survive whatever’s coming, and best of luck to the new exec in getting us through. Also, Critic: chill yo. We all made up and became, like, Facebook friends ‘n’ shit. And Harriet showed me a funny photo on her phone, and I LOLd hard. Matt McKillop Second Runner Up in OUSA Presidential Election YOU’RE DEFINITELY RIGHT, BUT WE STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND
Dear Critic, On page 9 of your Aug 23 issue you printed a circular “infographic” showing the number of students who voted, including those who voted for Ms Geoghegan. The moment I laid eyes on it, I was like, “oh shit! Student apathy at an all time high! Et cetera!” but then I was like, “no way dude, that is more awful than the time I threw up on my Mum’s face during that sloppy drunken threesome with Granddad.” That’s right, your graph was so thoroughly fucked it had frothy lube oozing from all seven major orifices. 42
Looks like you calculated the relative circle sizes using only the diameter – apparently forgetting that circles are two-dimensional. While the diameter may have been proportional, the impression is obviously gained by the relative areas of the circles (πr2, remember high school maths?) If we go by the circle areas alone, your graph is implying that 2% of students voted (reality= 15%; still shit) and less than 0.25% for Harriet (reality= 5%; ditto). For shame, Critic, you used to be cool, smart and free from genital herpes. Your punishment is to read Edward Tufte’s book, “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information”. Seriously. Don’t let the dry title fool you; it is one of the best books in the Science library, fascinating and readable. Good day to you. D W Fraser Critic Columnist 2003ish-2005ish (A.K.A. the Golden Age) GIVEN THE ABOVE LETTER, UMMM…
Dear Critic Student apathy. It’s gotten ridiculous. I would like to draw everyone’s attention to the cartoons that have appeared in past issues of Critic indicating how many students are voting (or not voting) in OUSA polls. Including the recent elections. I recently tried to draw the attention of students to the fact that the current government is trying to charge interest on top of their already hefty student loans, and so many individuals did not show even a little interest. This is appalling. As a voting body, Dunedin students represent more than 20,000 votes. This is a large number of votes that all politicians, both local and parliamentary, should be trying to secure. Especially as the nation wide student vote is a much larger number. We as students have the ability to bring about change in our community. We have the power to influence laws and bylaws that matter to us. As we continue to show apathy, we will be continually pushed around by politicians who want to take money from us. As students we have to make our voices heard. The best way to do this is to make our voices heard by OUSA. I implore students to take an interest in the world around them and work to make the changes they want. No one will do it for us. Jonathan Wright
HARRIET H8A #1
Dearest Harriet, I must say that I’m impressed your maturity and the clear leadership skills I’ve seen during the referendum and election. It’s nice to see someone who after the election is putting down others (Dan Stride) on the executive that you’ll have to work with for the remainder of the year and throughout next. You fucked off a lot of people with your referendum and continued to insult them in the media, and then you whine about how unfair it all is. I find your comment about the B**bs/brains posters on the patriarchy installation darkly ironic, saying that “IF [you were] a male ... [your] sex wouldn’t matter.” This was precisely one of the reasons why OUSA had a dedicated Women’s Rep on the executive. Now that it’s consigned to a sub-committee, it’ll be impotent against these sorts of things. If you want to be taken seriously over the next year, then you need to grow up. After being docked 265 votes for you art installation, you whined on facebook that you can’t wait to “stop being punished for helping out students.” I’m surprised that you weren’t docked more votes, since, as the incumbent president, you should have known better. You should be glad you got off as lightly as you did – especially since you still won. Also, when people criticise you politically, you shouldn’t take it personally. A good president would know that. Get the fuck over yourself. Sincerely, Richard Girvan. XOXO HARRIET H8A #2
Dear Critic. Simple request, can you please find out WTH is with Geoghegan supporting the 90 day bill? I wouldn’t have thought I’d need to argue this, but having no rights at work is -bad- for students. If students can be fired without reason in the first 90 days (and lets face it, that’s most of us) then who’s going to stand up to bullying bosses who intimidate people out of their breaks? Who’s going to say anything if management perpetually understaff your workplace to save a few extra bucks? On that note, to everyone who is under the threat of this 90 day hire-to-fire bill, JOIN YOUR UNION. Unite has been naming and shaming businesses such as Burger Fuel who hire people for 89 days before firing them,
DUNEDIN FILM SOCIETY SCREENING strangely enough just after they asked why they wouldn’t give them their legally entitled breaks. Its through this action that we can win back our rights at work. James Gluck International Socialists HARRIET H8A #3
I find it interesting that, in spite of clear external policy to oppose the 90 day workers probation period, that OUSA did not make a showing at the protest/rally on Sunday. Maybe Harriet and co. were playing “devils advocate” by staying home. WE ONLY PUBLISHED THIS BECAUSE OF THE LAST LINE
Dear Critic, I open this letter with a phrase that can only be delivered with a shit-eating grin; I’m a reasonable person. I cough away from people, I sometimes refrain from cringing when I hear “PIN number”, and I can tolerate graffiti if it’s entertaining. But the well-engraved rule of ‘vandalism is evil, grrr’ in my mind can only be bent so far - case in point, the sign outside the flash new microbiology building (big ups Otago Uni) that read ‘Virus Research Unit’ has been changed rather poorly to ‘Penis Research Unit’. Who knows who did it - probably a drunk physics or chemistry student driven by that inexplicable rivalry between the sciences. I mean, penis jokes are superb, but I think they could have done something a lot wittier, like changing the sign outside a school to ‘NO SKATEBOARDING DOGS’. That would be just pants. Maybe it’s me? Am I looking for sense in the wrong places; inspiration down the wrong avenues? Eh, fuck it, I’ll go watch American Beauty again. Love, Surprisingly not a BA. P.S. *something political about the recent elections, in the hope it will get this published*
not register one single official complaint. 2) “Travis actually okayed the email with me (before sending it) - I considered it not to breach the election policy as it was neutral enough not to be interpreted as him telling people who to vote for or against. He still has responsibilities as current post-grad rep to keep post grads informed on issues that may effect them.” -Returning Officer Victoria Nicholson 3) I voted for Kate Amore. The mass email I sent out was not intended to sway voters. Rather, its intention was to inform postgraduates of a potentially important issue: can a distance student fulfill the responsibilities of Postgrad Portfolio? Failing to inform postgraduates of this issue would be neglecting my responsibilities as Postgrad Rep. Travis Monk OUSA Postgraduate Representative I WANT TO RIDE MY BICYCLE!
Dear Critic, After reading your article on biking in Otago I was surprised to read the suggested route for the Otago Peninsula. From personal experience I have found that going up Highcliff either via Centre Rd (from the Ocean Grove side) or via Silverton St then Highcliff (from the Anderson’s Bay side) is a lot easier than going up Highcliff from Portobello. On another note first timers beware there also are two signs that say Dunedin 13km at different stages along Highcliff Rd. Slow Biker THIS IS LIKE THE MILLIONTH LETTER SAYING THIS. THIS ONE HAD THE LEAST SWEAR WORDS
Drummers outside central lib: Please find another spot-You are too loud and disruptive! It’s hard enough to concentrate in the library on a Saturday!! -Disgruntled Studiers! LETTER WRITER 2 LETTER WRITER
FROM THE (NOT HAPPY) POSTGRAD REP
In the editorial of Critic’s volume 21, it was implied that I attempted to push a vote of no confidence against sole Postgrad Portfolio candidate Kate Amore by using a mass email. However, I offer three pieces of evidence that nobody seems to have considered. 1) As of 23 August, the email I sent did
Dear Chromatic Ham, I totally agree with you on your point that wearing “pastels and brights” (Critic 21) does not make one gay. I would, however, just like to quickly add that being called “gay” is not an insult. Being gay is not a bad thing, in fact it is awesome. Sincerely, A Gay (who wears muted dark colours)
September 8 at 7.30 pm in The Red Lecture Theatre. As it is in Heaven: a Famous Swedish conductor returns to his home village and finds both intolerance and love. Half-year student memberships available ($30 for free admission to 7 remaining films). See website for further information: http://dunedinfilmsociety.tripod.com
Cafe church for students. Service Sunday 12 September 7pm George Street School Hall. Speaker: Peter Toth. Service Theme: Straight Talking on Sex. Contact Rev Helen Harray on 0274730042. OUSA EVENTS REVIEW ncy To evaluate the effectiveness and efficie of OUSA’s Events Unit. . Terms of reference available at: http://ousa lved/ t-invo ion/ge creat nd-re nts-a z/eve org.n ousa-reviews/ Further information from: email@example.com P.O. Box Submissions: To the Secretary OUSA, .nz sa.org a@ou donn email: or din, Dune 1436 d marke , 2010 9th mber Septe 4pm Thursday To make “Confidential: OUSA Events Review.” please an oral submission to the Review Panel ssion. submi en writt your in this e includ
SEMAPHORE MAGAZINE Semaphore is a Dunedin-based quarterly magazine that publishes short stories and poetry in the sci-fi and fantasy genres. Currently seeking submissions by New Zealand-base d authors, and work by local artists. More details: semaphoremagazine.c om / firstname.lastname@example.org
Notices must be fewer than 50 words in length and must be submitted to Critic by 5pm on Tuesday before you want it to run. You can get notices to us by emailing email@example.com or bringing them to the Critic office. We accept up to five notices a week from non-profit organisations and other student-related groups that aren’t looking to make a bit of dosh. 43
Critique Analyse this...
56 extra retina
57 ART 46
he Nintendo 64 (N64), was, and still is, a well-loved gaming console. It was released in 1996 and was possibly the most advanced gaming system of its time. It is a 64bit machine, like that big thing a few years ago with PCs getting x64 CPUs and OSes; however, it was the only console of its generation to continue using cartridges for storage. While this allowed the data to be accessed faster than the CD systems, like the PlayStation, it had limited storage capacity. This, as well as its limited cache for textures, set the N64 behind its competitors from some technical standpoints. Despite these drawbacks, the N64 was one of the best consoles when it was released. What will be remembered much longer than the N64 are the great games that were available for it. It had Super Mario 64, Super Smash Bros., 007 Golden Eye, Mario Kart 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majoraâ€™s Mask. These games are well-loved, and have inspired many more recent games. The bottom line is that the N64 had games for everyone, and I have never heard a gamer bad-mouthing the N64. It was one of the earlier systems that opened up gaming to everyone. Previously, gaming had been viewed as a purely geeky interest; however, it is nearly impossible to find a person who hasnâ€™t played a video game nowadays. The old N64 still holds a special place in many gamersâ€™ hearts, and should be respected for being an excellent console, and as a reminder of when Nintendo was at the top of video game technology.
his week’s column was written as a ‘thank you’ to J. I., a very kind reader who, upon reading about my obsession with some of the food in the movie Julie and Julia in Issue 5, sent me his copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Even though we still haven’t tried anything from the definitive, pre-eminent cookbook (Boeuf Bourguignon is first on the list!), Sole Meunière should suffice as a tribute, temporarily. This was apparently the life-changing dish that Julia Child had in Paris that ignited her love for French food and cooking. And I can see why. The Sole Meunière was wonderfully zesty and acidic and had a lovely, smooth, very subtle buttery flavour. It was not in the least bit sickeningly rich or greasy, as one might reasonably expect in dish with this amount of butter. The edges of the sole were nice and crispy and each bite of delicate, tangy sauce-coated sole flesh melted in my mouth with an immediate rush of clean, slightly tart but still rich, full, flavours. Bliss! It’s one of those dishes that does not immediately knock your socks off, but tastes better and better with each mouthful. Towards the end, in butter-induced euphoria, I almost believed that it was the best fish that I had ever tasted. I can’t wait to make this again.
Sole Meunière Ingredients: • 4 sole fillets (6-8 ounces) • 4 tablespoons butter (approx. 56g) • 1/4 cup of dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc) • Juice from half of one lemon • Flour to dust fish (1/4 cup) • 1 teaspoon fresh minced parsley • Salt and pepper to taste
(SOURCE: http://bit.ly/bQMn3r) If you would like Critic to review your restaurant/food, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Method: • Heat a large sauté pan on a high setting; while the pan is heating season the flour with salt and pepper. • Dust the sole with the seasoned flour. • Add two tablespoons (28g) of butter to the sauté pan and melt until slightly bubbly. • Add the sole fillets to the sauté pan. Make sure you do not over -rowd the pan, or they won’t brown. • Fry each side until golden, then remove from pan. • Add the remaining butter and continue to cook until the butter begins to turn brown slightly. • Once the butter begins to turn brown, quickly add the white wine, lemon juice, and parsley (you may premix the white wine, lemon juice and parsley so that it is ready when the butter browns). • Pour the butter sauce over the sole and serve.
ssentially New Zealand’s most internationally recognisable dubstep export, this Christchurch based producer/DJ trio have, in member Tristan Roake’s words, “been on around forty-five plane flights … and played close to forty shows” over the last eight months. Dividing this air-mileage and turntable time between appearances in New Zealand, the UK, Europe, and the States, Roake and his partners Andre Fernandez and Julian Van Uden have been hard at work building a genuinely global grassroots buzz for their sound and their recently-released debut album Puppets. Released internationally via Australian dubstep label Aquatic Lab, and breathtaking in scope, Puppets brings the cinematic side of dubstep (i.e. Burial) and the dancefloor-driven aspect together into splendid unity. And with bass as the common denominator, Puppets delivers on the early promise of Truth’s Deep Medi Records-released single ‘The Fatman’, the tune which put them on the map worldwide thanks to support from Deep Medi’s inimitable founder, legendary UK dubstep producer and DJ Mala of Digital Mystikz and DMZ. As Roake recalls, “Mala was touring New Zealand around four years ago. Our friend Ness brought him around to Andre’s house and he played him a bunch of music that was forthcoming on Deep Medi, which was a really full on experience and he got quite inspired by it.” Having written music together for several years, Roake, Fernandez and Uden were already all skilled studio producers and DJs and set in a habit of writing music together on a regular basis. Roake and Uden came around to Fernandez’s house the next day and he played them a bunch of Deep Medi music. The boys caught a similar vibe, and over the next three days they bashed out five demo recordings. Fernandez managed to drop the demo disc to Mala before left the country and on Christmas day, while Fernandez was holidaying on a yacht near Mexico, Mala called through, as Roake enthuses, to “give him a Christmas present.” The Christmas present was, as you may have guessed, an offer to sign one of the tunes on the demo, ‘The Fatman’ to Deep Medi. Mala became Truth’s de facto mentor, slowly introducing their music to the dubstep world as they worked away in their studio, building, in Roake’s words, “a big back catalog of tunes.” Two years after writing ‘The Fatman’, with Mala and the likes of Skream, Joe Nice, Hatcha, and N-Type supporting their music, Truth’s buzz was big enough that they could graduate from local shows to Northern Hemisphere performances. Playing at the much-lionised DMZ sessions in Brixton, London to critical acclaim, Truth went on to perform in other parts of Europe and the UK. This of course led onto their second European/UK tour, dates in Asia, and a recent American tour. And on Saturday 11 September, Truth’s efforts will bring them to Dunedin to perform at South Bar for local promotions groups 30HZ and SBK. Soon afterwards, they will once again depart to Europe and the UK for yet another extensive tour, before doing the same across New Zealand in November. Fernandez, Uden, and Roake are sitting on the precipice of something big. Truth has arrived, and the sound of New Zealand dubstep will never be the same again.
Puppets Aquatic Lab
Truth’s halfstep swagger is no lightweight matter. Disembodied vocals lie in industrial bass-weight as the trio pursues sound as physical presence, with walls of low-end set against pneumatic percussion. Their debut album, Puppets has to be felt to be believed. There are no gimmicks here. Truth is not chasing high-rotate on your radio dial, and they’d never employ an inexpensive pop-star to strain a puppetry cliché to validate the album title. These songs are beasts at home in Funktion One rigs, in front of heaving masses who want no compromise in their music. There is none given. Truth’s full-length album is an expansion of the musical vision laid down last year with their debut single ‘The Fatman,’ released on renowned label Deep Medi. Heaving bass drives the songs with brutal efficiency, as single, haunting phrases are chopped up by scissoring hats and blinding snares. There is no need to rewrite the script. Truth’s strength lies in doing what a myriad of other producers are doing in Aotearoa (and the world) right now, just way better. Although fourteen tracks can be a long time to maintain this momentum, the album is programmed well. The pace builds toward the fever pitch of Masters of the Stars and the crushingly overwrought Under Current, a collaboration with Ben Verse that sees synth-lines attack each other with apocalyptic fervour. By the time their eponymous debut single drops at the end of the album, there are only two options – handle the Truth, or get the fuck out of the way. 49
By Marc Camoletti (Translated by Tudor Gates) Directed by Amanda Rees Starring: Tim Raby, Anna Henare, John Glass, Clare Adams, Elizabeth McGlinn, Sophia Elisabeth
LTT Review: Anti-Social Tap Stands-Up
Starring: Thom Adams, Travis Monk, Rob McLellan and Kathryn Hurst
efore Ding Dong started, I perused the programme and read the director’s notes – I know, I know, very bad idea, but I didn’t have much else to do since I’d arrived ten minutes early. Rees summarised the basic premise of the farce: Bernard Marcellin decides to take revenge on his wife when he discovers she has had an affair by sleeping with the other man’s wife. She then said this: “as it turns out, the women in the play all seem to have their own modus operandi which, in spite of all the clever manoeuvrings carried out by the men, will ultimately mean they may win out.” The reason I bring this up at all is that this is patently not what happens, and unfortunately the play I thought I was going to watch from the notes would have been much better than the two and a half hours I sat through. Yes, the set was very nice (though if the wonky Eiffel Tower and warped mirror had seemed like intentional decisions to reflect the off-balance world of the characters it would have been more impressive) and the costumes quite lovely and apparently French – if you want to hear more about them I suggest looking up the ODT review. I’m more concerned that the story I took away from the play was “middle-aged man is allowed to sexually and physically dominate other characters, masterminding their actions, and intimidating or bamboozling them into compromising situations because he is possessed of the most intelligence, social connections, and sexual desirability” – it should have been absurd, it should have been farcical, but every other character acquiesced with only token protest. Characters in a farce should be “blind to the absurdity” (Rees) of their situation, but there is such a thing as playing it too seriously as well. The production missed the snap and crackle of a good farce. All the actors talked fast and with exaggerated gestures (and French accents to varying success – only Adams managed not to let the accent restrict her vocal range) but they were just a little bit too messy, a little too lax to hit the split-second, clockwork precision that was needed. The only thing that hit its beats was Janis Cheng’s lighting as it opened the second scene – four lights snapping on then a general wash of the stage, the colour and choreography was gorgeous.
or those of you wanting to get into the mid-semester holiday spirit, I would have thought Anti-Social Tap were just the people to help you laugh away a semester’s woes. Unfortunately, today’s performance was disappointing. Having been to some of the weekly Wednesday night comedy shows, I knew exactly what to expect. However, today’s performance didn’t push my buttons. Was it the high school drama class set up, or the lack of laughs? Silence is a comedian’s worst enemy and there was a lot of it. This might have been down to the fact that 80 percent of the jokes used today had already been used at the comedy night two weeks ago. Having said that, McLellan did come out with a few good one-liners. Adams was good at bouncing off the other comedians and his mocking of the L.T.S.A. ads was much more effective than Monks’, who established the joke in the first place. Hurst and McLellan, unlike Monk, continually changed their topics, which kept the audience engaged and gave their performances good momentum. Hurst, unlike the others, was good at involving the audience; she was more confident on stage and she knew when to stop. This was a good attempt at trying to make our lunchtime funny, but perhaps its best saved for the evenings.
Arthur’s Dyke (2001)
Directed by Gerry Poulson Metro
Arthur’s Dyke is a story about four friends who made a pact on a long hike in the English/ Welsh countryside 20 years ago and decide to meet up and do it again for old times’ sake. They are also experiencing their very own mid-life crises, and the walk is a means of self discovery. The four friends comprise three guys and one gal, who is out of the picture immediately because she hates the main guy Arthur, who turns out to be a sleazy douchbag and tries to fuck anything that moves. There is also Arthur’s loyal BFF, Andy, who may be terminally ill, and Geoff, a rich prick who can’t get away from the office and is always on the phone to important places like New York and Tokyo. The wildcard is a plump but sweet housewife, Janet, whose family doesn’t appreciate her and husband is a major a-hole who is banging the hot neighbor. As I had expected from the title, Arthur’s Dyke engages in homophobic humor and includes the obligatory ‘flaming queer’ as well as many other clichés like the hot underage chick, the old man who drops dead and the middle-age chick who is desperate for a baby. Despite these presumably trite story devices, the film was amazing. The acting was funny and real and each shot was well lit. I had some problems with the editing decisions, as there were too many fades to black, but it was forgivable. You can tell that Arthur’s Dyke was really somebody’s labour of love and I think they got it just right. The Concert
Directed by Radu Mihaileanu Rialto, Metro
30 years ago, Andrei Filipov (Aleksei Guskov) was known as ‘The Maestro’, the highly respected conductor of the Bolshoi Orchestra in Moscow. After refusing to fire the Jewish musicians in the orchestra, he was was fired himself, and is now a lowly janitor at the Bolshoi. While cleaning the office of the director of the orchestra, Andrei stumbles upon a fax from a theatre in Paris which requires an orchestra to play an important show in two weeks’ time. Deciding to take on the job (without the knowledge of the Bolshoi), Andrei sets about forming his own imposter “Bolshoi” orchestra, calling on old friends and foes to help out. Another part of the plan, for personal reasons of Andrei’s, is to enlist Anne-Marie Jacquet (Mélanie Laurent from Inglorious Basterds), an acclaimed French violinist, to play with the orchestra. At times, the stereotypical screwball Russian humour in the movie was a bit too much. Big men yelling at each other loudly and drunken antics were not highlights, and made the film drag for a bit. However, in the second half of the film this drops off, allowing a brilliantly crafted back story to slowly develop, culminating in the beautiful climax of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major. The combination of the incredible musical performance and the emotionally charged acting makes for a brilliant ending which pulls at the heartstrings. Mélanie Laurent is definitely a face to watch in the next few years. She is France’s Scarlett Johansson – talented, elegant, stunningly beautiful, yet modest. On another note, Aleksei Guskov looks startingly like Phil Goff, so if you are a bit of a fan of Phil, you might have another reason to like this film! For lovers of music and beautiful French actresses alike, this is definitely one to see.
Directed by Daniel Barber Rialto Theatre
In this crime action thriller, Sir Michael Caine turns a spotless, damn-good performance. Harry Brown (Caine) is an elderly gentleman suffering from emphysema and loneliness. When his best friend Leonard Attwell (David Bradley) is murdered by young hoodlums, Brown decides to take the law into his own hands. After killing a few well-deserving baddies, he’s still blatantly ignored by the police – except Detective Alice Frampton (Emily Mortimer), who suspects the old ex-Marine isn’t so innocent. It’s basically Gran Torino, with better acting and without the racism ... and with Michael Caine. Who, frankly, could probably kick Clint Eastwood’s ass. It would be a close fight though. Caine is riveting, personal, and convincing as Brown. There’s no doubt his savvy acting chops carry the film. The other characters are left practically scrambling to keep up with his sheer ability. Mortimer’s performance as the detective is annoying and clichéd, and the rest of the cast isn’t anything to write home about, save an over-the-top performance by Sean Harris as a drug-dealer. Without Caine, the film would be mediocre at best. It’s already pretty simplistic and unoriginal as is. The film critiques society as hopelessly anarchic and senselessly violent. Policemen are incompetent. Young ruffians are stereotypically evil. But the film’s brownish, almost film-noir aspect is refreshing, and the pacing is spot-on. The action-packed storyline sucks you in from the quirky opening sequence. Plus, that last little twist at the end is unexpected. And, did I mention that Michael Caine stars? Piranha 3D
Directed by Alexander Aja Hoyts
Splatter-horror films make good candidates for the new 3D wave because of the intense emotional and immersive aesthetic experience that 3D offers when used to its full potential. Piranha succeeds in taking the genre a step forward by creating a completely over-the-top, gory, and extremely sensual 3D picture. The perfect blend of ‘soft-core’ and gore, Piranha delivers a tight storyline with some star-power and effective visual effects. Set in Lake Victoria Arizona, a stand-in for the infamous Lake Havasu (shot on location) which is known for epic spring break drunken parties, the elderly Richard Dreyfus is attacked and devoured by a species of ancient super-evolved, extra ferocious cannibal piranhas, who have supposedly been extinct for two million years, according to a zany fish store owner played by Christopher Lloyd. But the piranhas have escaped from a sealed-off underwater lake as a result of heavy seismic activity, which couldn’t have come at a worse time for the town because it is that time of year when spring break revelry is in full swing. The hero of Piranha is local boy Jake Forester, who gets mixed up with a sleazy soft core porn mogul (Jerry O’Connel), while trying to go out for a little extra fun with his school crush Danni. Once the piranhas make their move, its a struggle for survival amidst a chaotic bloodbath. It’s stupid fun, but for some reason 3D seems to be perfect for these kinds of films.
My Name is Memory
Ann Brashares Hodder & Stoughton
The Widow’s Daughter
Nicholas Edlin Penguin
It has been a long time since I’ve picked up a book by Ann Brashares, so I thought I would give My Name is Memory a try. To be honest, I cannot say that reading the summary on the back cover really captured my attention, but I remembered my tweenage self enjoying her Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt. My Name is Memory follows Daniel and Lucy, two people who have lived many lives before their current life in the 21st century. However, Daniel has the gift of memory – he remembers everything from his previous lives, including the people he has met, any skills he learned, and what his past experiences were like. This makes for some interesting reincarnation encounters as not only does he recognise people he had met in his previous lives in their current reincarnations, but he is also desperate to be reunited with his one true love from a life many centuries ago. Enter Lucy, the current reincarnation of his soul mate. She’s a normal small-town girl who has a massive crush on Daniel at high school but has never spoken to him. On the last day of school, Daniel plucks up the courage to tell her he’s been in love with her all along, naturally freaking Lucy out who has no idea that she is the century-old love of Daniel’s life. What results is a journey of self-discovery for Lucy as she tries to figure out who she really is and how Daniel fits into the picture. Brashares tells the story well from the points of view of both Daniel and Lucy, jumping between their previous and current lives. I like Brashares’ writing style, which is engrossing and not like the style that a lot of trashy chick literature employs (cue designer brand names, plastic stereotypes and unrealistic interactions). However, while I found the idea of the story original, I wasn’t satisfied with the abrupt ending or with some of the convenient loopholes in the plot. With almost seven billion in the world population, how on earth does Daniel end up finding Lucy every time he gets reincarnated? If you are a fan of Brashares you will probably like this book, but otherwise it will just be another nice piece of fiction you will read and forget.
Nowadays, people are a lot more aware of the U.S. military presence in the Pacific during World War Two (thanks, Steven Spielberg!). Nicholas Edlin gives this a Kiwi twist in his debut novel The Widow’s Daughter, which focuses on the US Marines posted in Auckland in the 1940s. According to one of Edlin’s characters, “officially the Battalion did nothing in New Zealand. Because nothing happened in New Zealand.” Edlin imagines an unofficial version of what could have happened, through the eyes of an elderly Peter Sokol looking back on his unexpectedly complicated experiences as a Marine in wartime Auckland. First things first: Edlin can definitely write. This may be his first novel but his style is strong, distinctive, and sure. His portrayals of the young Peter’s infatuation with the mysterious Emily and his considerably calmer relationship with Missy thirty years later also show how closely he’s observed the subtle contours of relationships. That attention also brings to life Peter’s interactions with his ex-brother-in-law, the fantastically-drawn blowhard Cartwright. It’s this keen eye and strong voice that make me sure of Edlin’s future lasting career as an author. What gives The Widow’s Daughter its drive are the secrets within Emily’s weird family, and the hints from the older, narrating Peter that something went very, very wrong in New Zealand. Unfortunately it’s in these elements that Edlin starts to falter. For one thing, Edlin switches between scenes set in the older Peter’s time (the seventies) and young Peter’s experiences in the forties. This adds variety but does dissipate some dramatic tension. After all, whatever happened to the young Peter in New Zealand can’t have been too bad if we’re reading a story narrated by the still-living older Peter. And Edlin sometimes veers towards the melodramatic. The reveal of the villain’s true identity was brilliant, because, unlike some of the other reveals in the book, it was completely unexpected (at least for me). But then he started smoking artfully and saying naff Dr. Evil-esque things like “death does not recognise our disguises, Dr. Sokol.” In a European accent, no less. Cue rolling of eyes. It’s a shame the novel’s big climactic moment came off like that, since so much of the rest of the book is genuinely satisfying. Despite these flaws, I know The Widow’s Daughter is one book I would read again, and when Edlin’s next novel comes out, I’ll definitely take notice.
Requiescat in pace, O. E. Middleton (1925-2010).
ntil this week, I knew almost nothing about Ted Middleton. I had met him only once, perambulating in the Gardens with Cynthia on a crisp Sunday morning. They were walking leisurely, arm in arm, enjoying the environment and each other: an icon of a relationship that has lasted for almost forty years. I waved at Cynthia, and she waved back. I walked over to meet them, and she introduced to me her husband. It was only then that I realised Ted was blind; it was only months later that I discovered that Ted was a famous short story writer. My fondness for Cynthia inevitably coloured my first impression of Ted. I liked him immediately, thinking after our very brief interaction that he was a gentle and intelligent man. My admiration for Ted has only increased since his funeral on Tuesday, where friends and family members rose to pay tribute to him. His children spoke of their father’s long and interesting life, as a farm worker, a clerk, a seaman, a builder, a telephonist, a gardener ... you get the picture. They re-told the remarkable story of Ted unsuccessfully sneaking into the U.S. after WWII, seeking experimental treatment for his deteriorating sight. For his trouble, he was imprisoned as an illegal immigrant, and eventually deported back to New Zealand. Ted’s fascinating life and diverse experiences have so obviously shaped and enriched his fiction, so much of which occurs among the working class and the disenfranchised. I have only begun exploring Ted’s writing myself, having picked up Beyond the Breakwater: Short Stories 1948-1998 after the funeral, but already, I can see why he is so deeply admired. Ted might not be as prolific and well-known as some other Robert Burns Fellows, but this is certainly not for lack of skill. As the 26 short stories in Beyond the Breakwater testify, Ted had an unassuming genius for making us pay extraordinary attention to the ordinary people and situations he spoke through, for, and about. Furthermore, the simplicity with which he does this – without relying fancy words or catchy phrases or memorable one-liners – is astounding ... or it’s what makes his stories work so well. Ted passed away at home on Saturday, August 14, after a trip with Cynthia to the Farmers’ Market. His death came as a surprise, but it was by all accounts, a peaceful passing. From what I’ve heard and read since then, I wish I’d known the man better.
Postcards To and From
First-year BVA painting Dunedin School of Art
alking past the concreted jungle before the School of Art, one experiences instant hesitation as to what this exhibition contains. Once inside Postcards to and from, I began an immediate and intensive investigation of this slightly eerie space. The concept of the show is that the artists sent a painting of theirs to various people to view and respond to. The result of this process is the responses being placed beside the works in the exhibition space. Annoyingly many of the works weren’t named, many of the responses were illegible, and some perhaps should have been excluded for their blatant bias. I found this combination of analysing the works and making assertions about them yourself and then assessing the responses detrimental to the experience of looking at the pieces of art. To be honest, this even became painstakingly irritating. Postcards to and from is devoid of the personal interaction that makes going to an art exhibition such an intimate experience. Many of the legible responses distort the viewer’s interaction with the art, as it becomes difficult to articulate both what is being seen and to formulate your own interpretation. However, the diverse array of works is notable. Many of them are beautifully rendered and demonstrate the range of talented young artists studying in Dunedin. One of these pieces was evocative of Picasso’s Weeping Woman (1937). With multifaceted cubist brush strokes, it evoked a feeling of being contained by a mental illness. Harley Jones’ piece made one feel completely absorbed and detached from your surroundings. It consisted of blocks of fluorescent colours with varying cutout shapes, revealing fragments of cardboard. His piece also contained a figure which resembles a young Lydia Lunch. She exudes fierce sensuality and glares into the viewer’s eyes. The temporal nature of using a medium such as cardboard was intriguing, due to the fact that it appeared largely unfinished. However, the use of glitter largely disfigured this piece. The works in this exhibition are mostly of a very high standard, excluding some pieces reminiscent of an NCEA art course. The concept and execution of the show might have been with good intention, but was harmful to the experience of viewing the individual artworks and unfortunately did not work for me.