FREE Issue #6 2016 Published by Curtin Student Guild
F RO M W H E R E YO U ’ D R AT H E R BE: EN D OF AN ERA G U M T R E E S E RVI C ES: A C AU TI O N A RY TA L E TO C ATC H T H E M A L L T H E G E T D OW N : FA L LI N G S H O RT O F A R A P P E R ’ S D E LI G H T
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Do you have a passion for both print and online media?
think youâ€™ve got what it takes to edit Grok? email reception @guild.curtin.edu.au for all the details
Issue #6 / 2016
Grok exists for entertainment purposes only. The views expressed therin are not necessarily that of Curtin Student Guild.
Email // firstname.lastname@example.org
Grok would not exist were it not for the generous donation of time and effort of its contributors, to whom we are eternally grateful.
We wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land we are situated on, the Whadjuk people. We wish to acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this university, city, and this region.
Editor // Stephanie McGann Art Direction & Design // Rozanna Johnson
Farah Abshire / Shelby Traynor / Kai Schweizer / Toni Stevens / Chloe Macri / Joe Wilson / Georgia Nielsen / Josh Soutar / Emma McDougall / Charlie Lewis / Adriyel M. Malyon
Cover // Rozie Johnson / Nicole Lau Printed on 100% recycled paper.
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Stephanie McGann 2016 Grok Editor
THOSE WHO KNOW M E E VE N R E MOTE LY WE LL WI LL TE LL YOU I ’M PR ETT Y BAD AT GOO DBYES . I cer t a in ly don’ t li ke it when good t imes come to a n end. L i ke a chi ld hiding under t he st a ir s when her mum a r r ives to pick her up f rom a bir t hday pa r t y (seven-yea r-old me act u a l ly did t his), or t hat f r iend who on ly da nces more def ia nt ly despite t he ba r tender ’s last c a l l for dr in k s (t went y-somet hing me does t his on t he reg), I w r ite my f in a l Grok editor ia l w it h a sense of preempt ive nost a lg ia. It ’s t he sound of disma nt ling tent s on t he last day of a music fest iva l; t he slow t r udge back to t he c a r w it h a pounding head, as heav y as t he bags you’re lug g ing. It ’s t he smel l of a ir por t s a nd it ’s t he t aste of last night ’s debaucher y on your tong ue. A nd I hate it . So I ’m going to ma ke t his shor t a nd sweet , for
my ow n sa ke, ma in ly, bec ause I ’m going to miss being a pa r t of t his lit t le rec ycled-paper pa rcel, f i l led w it h words t hat a re sha r p, f unny, poig n a nt a nd a lways your s. T ha n k you so much to ever yone who has cont r ibuted to Grok t his yea r – for ma k ing my role as editor a n absolute pleasure. I ’ve loved work ing w it h you; col lect ing your stor ies, poems, opinions a nd ideas, a nd get t ing to k now you as w r iter s, desig ner s a nd a l lround ter r if ic huma ns. At t he r isk of get t ing too sent iment a l (t his is why I c a n’ t be t r usted w it h goodbyes), I ’m g ratef u l t hat I had t his oppor t unit y to spend t he f in a l yea r of my jour n a lism deg ree edit ing t he maga zine t hat , four yea r s ago, published my f ir st ever byline. It ’s been a blast .
Now, as I crawl out f rom behind t he st a ir s a nd col lect my t hings, I urge you, voracious lover of a ya r n spun wel l, to apply for t he role of Grok editor 2017. Applic at ions close on December 2 so you have plent y of t ime to f lick a n ema i l over to recept ion@g ui ld.cur t in.edu. au for a l l t he deet s. I don’ t wa nt to revea l too much (oh gad, t his is t a k ing a l l of my w i l l-power!!), but let ’s just say Grok has some huge sur pr ises up it s sleeve a nd t he new ed is in for a rea l t reat . E XCITING TIMES A HE A D, PEOPLE! If you’ve ever contemplated get t ing involved in Grok , now is t he t ime to do it . T hat ’s a l l f rom me. Much love. Steph.
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4-5. YO U R STUDENT REPS
Catch up on all the goss from around the Guild!
STUDENT ASSIST Assessment Appeals
The Bus Stop
How Strange to See
From Where You’d Rather Be: Things I’ve Learnt From the Places I’ve Been
Gumtree Services: a Cautionary Tale
To Catch Them All
The Lessons You Learn Outside The Classroom
SLOSH’S BAR & GRILL: Hot Sauce & Craf t Beer Wine & Cheese Platter MOVIE: Joe Cinque’s Consolation 5-DOLL AR WINE CRITIC: Coolabah - Sweet Fruity W hite FOOD: Ibiza N2 MUSIC: Harts
TV: The Get Down
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G U I LD P R E S I D E NT Jake Wittey
Friends This is my last Grok column as Guild President; but instead of writing a retrospective of the year that was (you’ll find that in next year’s annual report), I would like to touch on a recent tragedy that has befallen the University Community – the passing of Dr Wayne Clark, Director of Quality Assurance for the Faculty of Science and Engineering. My mother asked me a couple of months ago if I had any role models. I couldn’t answer. It was my understanding that I didn’t have any (though if I’m a few beers down I’d probably jokingly say Bill Shorten). Wayne’s passing, however, afforded me the revelation that I did have role models – and Wayne was one of them. I first met Wayne at the commencement of my term as Guild President. In that meeting he astounded me by presenting what would have to be the most genuine
concern for the wellbeing of students that I have seen from a member of the University’s staff. Of course, others do care about us quite a bit – but with Wayne it was something different. It was kind of like he just got it. He certainly qualified my thoughts by talking me through his time as the University of Witwatersrand’s Student Representative Council President in the 1980’s. He was involved in the antiapartheid struggle in South Africa – risking reputation and physical harm to stand up for what is right. For the year that I knew Wayne, he struck me as a man who was fundamentally concerned with what is right. He was a man of integrity and principle, and he applied this in a very judicious manner. Talking to some of his colleagues on the way to his funeral, they shared the exact same view as me. Wayne was an asset to this University.
I will continue to look up to Wayne, and do all I can to emulate his displays of integrity, conscientiousness and respect; because this is what has inf luenced and guided my presidency, and will hopefully guide me in whatever I may do in the future. Every day, there are some people doing the utmost to ensure that your university experience is that little bit better. It’s a fight that we have taken upon ourselves for you within the Guild, but it was a fight in which Wayne stood shoulder to shoulder with us. He is an unsung hero of this University, and so, my final Grok Column is to remember you and your work, Wayne. You are a comrade of the students, and it’s a damn shame that it’s taken your death for me to tell them about you and your efforts. Vale, Wayne 26th of September 1957 – 27th September 2016
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GENERAL S E C R E TA R Y
I N T E R N AT I O N A L S T U D E N T S CO M M I T T E E ( I S C )
Hello hello it’s me your favourite Guild Secretary!
Hello everyone! We are halfway through the semester and I hope everything is going well for you :]
With the end of the year fast approaching it means the end of my term as your secretary and the pursuit of administrative excellence. Never fear I was lucky enough to be elected to succeed Jake Wittey as next year’s Guild President! The amazing #team2017 is ready to knock your socks off and we’ll be working hard from the moment we take office on December 1st. With the end of my term comes the end of the major governance changes undertaken this year, the Guild Council having passed new Guild Rules, Regulations and made major work on Guild Policy and the Guild Statute. I can say that your Guild is in a better place than where it started this year. Enjoy the rest of the semester and I’ll see ya next year! 1luv Lim lim 49th Guild President
The nomination for the ISC has now opened for the position of: Education Vice President;
On Monday, we have Oceania Day with the traditional Aboriginal welcome to country to open the celebration. The next day is Americas Day with a live jazz band for everyone to sit back and enjoy. The following day, Wednesday, is Europe Day, with an Irish Tap Dance performance. Also, get an airbrush tattoo on Africa Day, which is on Thursday.
And last but not least, Asia Day on Friday will include a traditional Silat performance from Malaysia.
Publication Officer; and
4 (four) councillors.
PA S A R M A L A M F R O M 5 - 1 0 P M W I L L E N D T H E C E L E B R AT I O N WITH A BANG .
Activities Vice President;
Nomination close at 5pm on Friday 28th October 2016. Get the forms at www.guild.curtin.edu.au and submit your nomination to the Returning Officer at generalsec@ guild.curtin.edu.au
MU LTICU LTU R A L WE E K AN D PASAR M A L A M On a separate note, Multicultural Week is here! It is a week-long celebration from 17-21 October at 11am-2pm each day. We will try our best to represent and showcase different aspects of culture from each continent on Earth.
Introducing three new areas that people from all ages can enjoy. The first one is a family zone with lots of activities, like a bouncy castle and carnival rides. Some food trucks and market stalls will be there, too! This year’s Pasar Malam will have cuisine from all over the globe, including South East Asia, Hungary, Turkey, Netherland, Morocco, Spain, Brazil, Korea, and China. Make sure you check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ CurtinISC to find out more about the list of food stalls.
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Student Assist is the welfare department of the Curtin Student Guild.Â Simon, Juliana, Jo-Ann, Andrew, Olivia, Margot and Onki are there to support all students, postgrad and undergrad, with any personal, welfare or academic issues.
IN THIS ISSUE, STUDENT ASSIST TAKE A LOOK AT ASSESSMENT APPEALS Sometimes you receive an assessment or final result back and you may feel that it does not reflect your hard work or the marking criteria. If this is the case and you are unhappy with a university decision, the Universityâ€™s Student Charter provides you with the right to have your objection heard fairly, and within a reasonable time. REQUEST FOR INITIAL REVIEW (INFORMAL PROCESS) We strongly encourage you to contact your tutor, lecturer and/ or, where appropriate, your course coordinator to gain the reasoning behind the mark awarded and any options you may now have. It also gives you a chance to explain / defend your work and ask for an
informal reconsideration of your grade. If this is unsuccessful you can progress to a formal appeal.
Website https://www.guild.curtin. e d u . a u/C o m m o n/C o n t e n tW M . aspx?CID=2145
APPEAL AGAINST ASSESSMENT (FORMAL PROCESS)
Please be aware, formal written appeals must be lodged within 10 working days from the date you received your final marks. You will need to download Formal Appeal Against Assessment Form and attach this to your appeal letter.
If you are unsuccessful with the Request for Initial Review, and you wish to continue to appeal the decision, your next step is to put your appeal in writing. This is a more formal method of appealing and your letter should explain the assessment mark you are unhappy with and why you are unhappy with it. You will need to include clear, strong grounds for your appeal to be considered (see below). The letter should be set out formally with your name, student number and contact details as well other information which may be relevant to your appeal (e.g. course / unit details). To view a sample appeal letter template go to the Student Guild
GROUNDS FOR APPEAL In order to appeal an assessment you must be able to demonstrate that the work has not been assessed in a fair and reasonable manner. Perhaps you think you have been marked unfairly based on the marking criteria and the quality of the work submitted, or perhaps you feel you have not been graded against the previously agreed marking criteria. Below are the grounds for an appeal listed on the Formal Appeal Against Assessment form:
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• Assessment method differs from the description in the unit outline • Assessment criteria used to evaluate the work differs from the agreed assessment criteria • Unfair or biased application of the assessment criteria • Final result is not equal to the aggregate of the individual assessment components • Inappropriate penalties have been applied Adequate documentation is required to support your appeal application.
WHERE TO SEND YOUR APPEAL You should address your formal appeal letter to your Head of School. The Head of School will notify you of the outcome within three working days of the decision. If the Head of School is the Unit Coordinator responsible for the original assessment, then you should direct your formal appeal letter to the Pro Vice-Chancellor for your Faculty. The Assessment Appeals policy is located in the Assessment and Student Progression Manual at h t t p ://s t u d e n t s . c u r t i n . e d u . a u/ a d m i n i s t r a t i o n /d o c u m e n t s/ AppealAgainstAssessment.pdf. The policy outlines the process you must follow if you want to appeal against any formal assessment.
GOT MORE QUESTIONS? FOR CLARIFICATION ON THE GROUNDS OF APPEAL AND ALSO REVIEWING YOUR DRAFT APPEAL LETTER, COME AND SPEAK TO US.
DROP IN TO STUDENT ASSIST IN BLD 106F, OR CALL 08 9266 2900 TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
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Student Banking Join1 today and to say thanks we’ll put $202 into your account.
Plus, make a purchase with your UniBank Visa debit card within 28 days of opening your account and we’ll give you another $202! Our student banking incorporates a range of products designed to help you during this busy and exciting time in your life. Join the Bank today and we’ll look after you when you need it the most, now and in the future.
Apply1 today unibank.com.au or 1800 864 864 UniBank is a division of Teachers Mutual Bank Limited ABN 30 087 650 459 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238981. 1. Membership eligibility applies to join the Bank. Membership is open to citizens or permanent residents of Australia who are current or retired employees, students and graduates of Australian Universities, or family members of existing members of the Bank. This banking package is available to you if you are a current full time student at any Australian University, and may be withdrawn at any time. Conditions of use – Accounts and access document and Fees and charges brochures are available online or from any of our offices. You should read both of these documents before deciding to open accounts and access facilities issued by Teachers Mutual Bank Limited. Any advice provided here does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation, or needs, which you should consider before acting on any recommendations. For further information call 1800 864 864 or go to unibank.com.au 2. The Bank will credit an initial $20 into your Everyday account once opened. An additional $20 will be credited into the Everyday account when you make a purchase with your UniBank Visa Debit Card within 28 days of opening your membership. UniBank is a division of Teachers Mutual Bank Limited ABN 30 087 650 459 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238981 | 00954P-MAR-UB-1016
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THE WOODPILE Toni Stevens I lie along the ground, radiating musk.
GUESTS OF A DEEPER SKY (THE YOKAI AND THE MACHINIST)
Tendrils of aroma unfurl forthwith, tickle creatures hiding in bushes,
Adriyel M. Malyon
wrapping birds dozing in trees.
As the night goes on the candles steadily burn down,
WOODWOODWOODWOOD Creeping crunchies march toward me,
Nowhere closer to what is now forgotten.
dip on in, roll between my folds,
Wandering the city streets, lost to corridors of curated histories and futures
wave feelers, click legs in the air.
To see a star within its coma corona fall through the firmament and divide the night
From the museum plateau above the cells of this concrete hive.
Inside me, earthworms roil orgiastically, eat and swim and breathe my flesh.
Wish upon a star,
I call birds down, to trip and rake beaks through my skin. Who shall resist my scented sway?
Throw a penny down a well,
To begin again the great ages of mechanisation
Parts of me are removed afar. I hear them moaning, like me, in ecstasy.
In a masquerade that never ends.
I melt into a smudge of dirt,
Don’t take off your mask, machinist.
waft a soft sigh at the sky;
The millennium has only begun.
Heavens! Throw a penny down a well To see me between the stars and skyscrapers; A ghost of code and stardust
SICK OF SEEING THE SUNRISE
In a masquerade that never ends with a thousand masks to my name.
Shelby Traynor let’s sleep for the first time
Tomorrow is a better day.
in our lives, white sheets
Come see me sometime again, okay?
wrap around our spines
Waiting at the verges of the world in cafés caressed by the wind and rain
dust settles on our eyelashes wake up for the first time
To re-remember what is forgotten.
in our lives, lap the milk from the bottom of our cereal bowls #6
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the bus stop Farah Abshire
“I didn’t know there were black people in Australia.”
My cousin’s American accent butchers ‘Australia’. He splits it as if it’s two words. Two worlds, I muse looking at the group of black teens, dressed in baggy sportswear, waiting for the bus across from us. To the left of them is a duo of business men, staring intently at their phones, and a middle aged woman – who holds onto her purse with the quickest of glances at the black boys to her side.
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Dean, my cousin, is at the bus stop with me, sweating out his fresh corn rows. Aunt Mary at the beauty salon was all too kind enough to do his hair for half the regular price, a gesture of welcome for his long journey across the Pacific.
“Mirrabooka,” The tallest of the trio says – he introduces himself as Martin. “That’s where we’re going, too,” I say. And it’s not long before we’re talking about our neighbourhood. We talk about the ice rink that’s way too expensive, about which little Deli on the highway is the best, about how the skate park use to be good territory but is now run by white kids who really have a thing against black and brown kids. We talk about the Chinese furniture store that looks way too grand to be in our run down town. We talk about how the city is spilt into three; Asian, Bogan and black – which includes Africans and Indigenous folk. We laugh when we notice that our favourite places to eat are all downtown, in the black neighbourhoods.
“I live here.” I say, peeved. I’ve always lived here. I grew up on Play School and the Wiggles. I learnt how to swim properly before I even knew how to run. I was all about that sunscreen life. I looked up at the business men and middle aged woman. I thought about Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, who were in the new movie Australia. I thought about the faces I saw on the television.
I belong here. So why do I feel as though I don’t? That’s absurd, I scold myself. I kick my Kmart thongs against a cigarette butt, and try not to think of how Dean’s comment stings.
We ride the bus all the way back home and still, on the way, we share secrets. Save for Dean, we’re down town rats; we find the best secrets because we can’t afford do to anything else. Martin invites us over for some roast chicken and, in return, we invite him and his friends over for a cookout.
Dean looks over at me, concerned: “I mean, I didn’t think there was a lot of black people”. Some of the teens across from us make their way across the road, saying their goodbyes to their friends who board a bus, and wait beside us. They comment on Dean’s hair. “Deadly,” one says and laughs at Dean’s puzzled face.
And, like I have done so many times before and like I will do so many times more, I remind myself that I belong. In spite of it all, I belong – little Afro-Aussie girl and all.
“It’s good, he likes it,” I say and move to make space as the boys sit down beside us. Dean smiles back and asks them where they live.
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How Strange To See Shelby Traynor
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I have this fantasy where all of the older, cooler, worthy-of-the-wordhip people in my life take me under their worthy-of-the-word-hip wings, and I transform into a lovely, cultured butterfly who knows how to dance to indie rock, how to hold herself, and how to live. I would be become. Would I have the same face? Would I be prettier? Taller? I had this image of myself as a young adult: pretty, articulate, intentionally and unintentionally kind. I would be sure of myself in a way I never was when I was measuring my height or looking at my reflection. Looking up to successful young adults was an unspoken assurance. With enough frames of reference, I would know how to grow up.
I’m surrounded by swarms of driven people at all hours of the day—twenty-somethings with goals, down-to-earth confidence, and great hair. I look at them and wonder: when is that going to happen to me? I know these people lead chaotic lives. I know they get bored and they cry and they marathon Community alone in the dark, but in the warm light of day they look like Gods. I’ve always looked up to people—in a search-for-identity context as well as a physical one. I was a small kid. I remember walking to school with my mum and being accosted by a man pruning roses in his garden: “You can’t be in school! You’re so little!” I would mark my own height on our bathroom door, hoping for a montage over a jaunty pop-punk track, because in movies that was how kids grew. But it was okay. At that age being little was a novelty. To teachers I was sweet; to classmates, unassuming; to older kids, a trinket. They fed me sweets and I did cartwheels. But living in suburbia is a bit like living in a flower garden. Everyone is trying to turn their face toward the sun, and growing means staying alive.
Being twenty-something is a fantasy in and of itself. As a kid, that was the face I was trying to picture in the bathroom mirror, the height I was trying to reach. But as I get older and the world around me gets louder and more immediate, I’ve been reaching out to the people closest to me for comfort. The people I see up-close, with their flaws and quirks and pores. I can’t help but feel I’m panicking: Quick! I need to find footsteps to follow and I need to find them pronto! I can’t shake this tendency to look outside myself before I look within. There’s a comfort in looking up, in looking to other people when you’re trying to find yourself. There’s a song called ‘In My Mind’ by Amanda Palmer, in which she sings: “How strange to see/That I don’t wanna be the person that I want to be”. I used to spend a lot of time borrowing parts from the people I admired. I constructed a future persona, an expectation. An armour. But now that I’m the right height and the right age, it just doesn’t fit.
As I got older there was a lot of looking up to be done. Sometimes I craned my neck to get a better look, other times I sticky-taped Paramore posters to my walls. I was an easily-influenced preteen. Even then I looked up to young adults: Jack Kerouac in his Columbia days, Kelly Kapowsky in Saved by the Bell. I wanted these people to teach me how to be better. I was looking up so much I couldn’t see the ground. I wanted so badly to know, when I was old and grey and being interviewed by the New York Times, that I’d have had a history of idols. These people were my how-to guide, the actors in my Origin Story. They were going to make me, in a You Are What You Eat kind of way.
It’s as if when I was a kid, I really did see my twenty-yearold face in the mirror. I really did have my grown-up height marked prematurely on the bathroom door—as though I’ve always known who I would become, and now I’m not sure what to do with myself. I’m not the kind of pretty I thought I’d be. I’m not as smart or as strong. I’m not at all who I thought I would be, but what confuses me most is that I’m not disappointed.
I’m unsure if I treated the people in my bedroom posters— and subsequently, the constructors of my identity—as a how-to guide, or if I actually tried to become them by proxy. I would study myself in the mirror to try and see who #6
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Want to meet the slim red fiend?
right hand, fourth from the left
Comb your hair in a straight line-
spattered with commas
My guts get pulled through the fiery chasm of black sky, faster than sound, quicker than light, such a swiftly shifting mess of mass
walk with silence to crossroads-
and full stops
slash vodka across your lids-
you are my constant
place some silver in your mouthhold scalding bread in one fist
eleven eleven is
when he may, cut those crusted
bonds, the bulging soldered seam
binding you to earth, to ground.
Let slip through salted
I go back in drying times
sitting between my crudeness and my cuteness you are my future
Someone I don’t even like.
All the sweeting, kindly hours are awash. It’s the straight poison of revenge and vitriol that lend my laser the focus and fuel to transport me back
my future arthritis
second knuckle from the top
and you ache
Who am I to struggle against intestines ripped from a delicate belly with a rusty hook? My awesome ability is to fly aside the skin of space, flick past meting crones
for every one
you are my words
Someone I don’t even like.
Someone I don’t even like.
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LOOK, FRIDA Shelby Traynor
Frida Kahlo is staring at me from the head of my bed. Her self-portrait is taped in lilac at the corners, her flower crown balanced on her head like a bouquet. She makes me want to be spectacular – she’s my dreamcatcher, and right now she’s looking pretty disinterested.
My bed is my cushioned hell. It’s where I sit to be glared at by Frida, to
crumple my posture and crack my spine. Yawn and weigh the justice of my eyelids. It took me a day to notice the barbed wire circling her neck, and the hand hanging from her ear. She just looked so pretty, so tired, amongst my pillows and through my sleepy eyes.
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FROM WHERE YOU ’ D R ATH E R B E : TH I NGS I ’ VE LE AR NT FR OM TH E P L ACE S I ’ VE B E E N Chloe Macri
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Uni regulars know a few things well; sleep-ins, student discounts, a few coffee-crammed weeks a year and long holidays. And sure, contrary to most fully grown-up people’s beliefs, these holidays are mostly made up of working full time at your shitty casual job (which you hate). But the saving grace to these shitty casual jobs (which you despise) is that those long, never-ending uni breaks make for ample travel time, especially if you’ve been saving up the cashola from those shitty casual jobs (which you loathe).
B e a little spontaneous. You can’t plan everything; some of the best times will be random and unplanned so leave room for breathing and exploring.
people are genuinely good. Be nice to others – there are plenty of other people doing just the same.
trust randoms too easily or at all. Travellers are too often easy targets. Don’t be fooled by accents and children, petitions and crowds. Make sure you’ve seen the film Taken before you go. My Dad made me watch it before my first European trip and it made me a stronger, alert and more paranoid person.
Travel is the dream for many a young, middle aged or old person and Aussie young’uns are world-famous for being keen, adventurous explorers. Keeping with this stereotype, I myself have travelled to many a country, experienced many a culture shock and used more than my fair share of currency converter apps. This year, I decided that taking holidays during the uni breaks wasn’t enough so I took off gallivanting around the place for months at a time. It was great, I ate heaps and I learnt more than I ever could if I had stayed at home. So here are a few of the main things I’ve learnt from the places I’ve been…
Have an organised suitcase/backpack. It’s all you’ve got so sort it out. It can be a life saver at the end of a busy day.
expect to get along with your roomies/travel companions the entire time. You’ll have different ideas and opinions on places and things to do, and you’ll most likely be tired and grumpy often. Expect it, embrace it and learn to deal with it. It’s part of travelling.
some time alone. Travel is soul searching stuff. If you’re crammed in a dorm of 12 or on holiday with a significant other, take some time out to do something by yourself. You’ll appreciate it so much more and will feel super refreshed.
respectful of other cultures!!! No one wants to be ‘that tosser’ who’s culturally inappropriate, rude to locals or thinks his home/way of life is significantly better. There’s plenty of these losers out in the world already – you’ve probably encountered them before. Don’t be that guy.
on smartraveller.gov.au. This one’s a nobrainer. Register to get some essential info and tips before you go.
Plan some things. It saves time for better things and means less stress when you’re actually on holiday and want to enjoy yourself. Plus, you don’t want to land in a country, ready to party, only to find out you had to order a visa before you left.
10. Appreciate your home and appreciate Perth. It is only after you leave that you realise there’s actually no place like home.
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Though, being young (twenty), and unemployed, she didn’t want to pay the dreadlock technician’s (hairdresser’s) quotes. But the outrageous (rationalised) prices didn’t deter her. She thought about it for minutes and minutes, and then, resourcefully, went to Gumtree – everyone’s favourite website for second-hand (defective) appliances, “authentic” Yeezy apparel, jacked-up concert tickets, and advertisements for “CHEAP EZY FAST” services.
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until this point, featuring special guests ‘Angry Anderson’ (“he’s SO funny!”) and a Justin Bieber back-up dancer.
That’s when she found the “teknishon” she’d been browsing for. A 2007 stonewash flares and crop top affair: Stacey. Stacey had never actually done hair, her ad vaguely brushed-over (at the bottom. In small print). Stacey promoted herself as an aspiring entrepreneur kickstarting her first business, and needed models to build her portfolio, as the photos used on Gumtree were from Google Images. Anyone interested in “cheap quality dreadlox” (no comma — punctuation is so important, guys) should contact her. Stacey was offering a whole head of dreadlocks for $250, a quarter the price of established businesses.
Several ciggies, bevvies, and hours later it was time for some serious “dreadlocking”. Stacey looked at the photos my sister showed her, nodded, and then spent forty minutes combing my sister’s hair with a (used) nit comb and demonstrating hideous fake woollen dreadlocks she had made. Our reluctance didn’t deter our dreadlock technician (scam artist) though. “Nah, nah,” she said. “It’ll look great,” as she squirted hand cream into my sister’s hair for “texture”.
My sister thought this sounded perfect, and booked her immediately. Might I just casually mention that my sister would be Stacey’s first client (victim) — ever.
It was evening when Stacey finally began sectioning the hair and rubbing it haphazardly with the (rusty) comb. I looked away from Blue’s Clues (her kid was home) and saw my sister’s thunderous face in the mirror. She got even darker when Stacey’s boyfriend microwaved meat pies with mayo for them, and no apologies for us. Stacey sucked on her fingers, “ha ha, hope I don’t get sauce in ya hair”.
My sister begged me to drive her, since Stacey lived as south of the river you can get. I knew this was going to be a disaster, so I said yes. When the appointment came, we got there just in time to see police cars leaving the house (bungalow). We could see our “hairdresser” peering through the front curtains, and my sister’s phone buzzed. Stacey was asking if we could “com a bit l8er bc th cops was just here and gotta clean up”. In response, we knocked on the front door. Too bad, Stace’, you said 10:30.
By the time five o’clock trudged around my sister’s face was black with frustration, I was sick of Family Feud, and my phone had died from too much Candy Crush (Candy Crush was still a thing in 2015). We were three (halfassed) dreadlocks in, when my sister’s girlfriend called and asked how it was going. “Great. Great, I love them.” I was incredulous — they were tufts of knotted rat-tails sticking out from her scalp at odd angles. Stacey was quickly getting tired — seven straight hours of dreading and only achieving three dreads was exhausting on her arms. “We’ll be here until Christmas! Ha ha ha ha ha!”
She was a nice lady (talkative), bohemian (no shoes, no bra), with dreadlocks in her own hair, but she was neurotic, frantic, and hyperactive. She pulled us inside with: “the f***in’ neighbours are nosy as. Yes Cheryl, I can see you lookin’ at me! HELLO!”. She told us to grab a seat (beanbag) and didn’t bother to introduce herself, or offer us anything, but started ranting about the “crooked cops”.
Eventually she deemed four dreadlocks (from approximately eighty) was a great start. It was seven at night, and we were starving. After handing over five crisp 50 dollar notes we gunned it, to calls of “come up again next week?” and “don’t get too nervous if the cops contact you! Ha ha ha!”
The situation was immediately awkward (terrifying). We offered to reschedule, (we were never going to come back), but she “needed the money”.
When we got home, my sister cried and I laughed. And then she laughed. We brushed them out, blocked Stacey on Facebook, and never went back.
For the next four hours we watched reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond, and listened to Stacey’s entire life story up
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The frosty teeth of the night bit into my flesh, despite the thick layers that I had huddled my frame underneath. My poor fingers, I thought trying to move them felt more like chipping at ice than normal. The crowd around me expressed similar feelings, judging by the sounds of hissing and gruff sighs. The night however, would not stop the hunt.
My friends and I walked up the painful slopes of Kings Park, our bodies melding with the flow of the crowd. I risked looking up from my clumsy feet and peered over the heads of those around me. To my right was a boisterous group of loud, tall guys who, judging by their jumpers, were team Valour. They whooped and hollered as they trapezed their way up the park, high fiving those who got sucked into their orbit. My friend rolled his eyes behind his foggy glasses and I couldn’t help but grin.
As the crowd dispersed into tiny branches, a hush fell over the park.
It was hunting season. Looking down at my feet again, I sighed. I really should have worn better runners. “If I see another purple rat again,” I said to no one in particular. Although I didn’t care too much for Pokémon and which ones to catch, I did not want to see another Rattata for as long as I lived.
I wasn’t here to catch Pokémon, well not entirely. My friends and I had been swamped with assessments and work and family matters and so had very little chance at catching up. Tonight was a chance to fix that. I was here because I missed them, I missed being around them. I was at a meager level eight. I didn’t care. I enjoyed the experience of Pokémon hunting with my friends too much to worry about how many Pokémon I caught. I tried not to think of myself as an Instinct stereotype but that was futile. I was a walking, talking caricature of team Instinct.
My friend, with his still foggy glasses looked at me from where he stood and with a wicked smile said, “Speak of the devil.” “And he shall arrive,” my other friend said, bursting into a fit of laughter. As if on cue, my phone vibrated and to my horror a purple rat stood defiantly near my avatar.
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TO CATCH THEM ALL Farah Abshire
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As I sit at a desk in the library for the fourth consecutive hour, deciding whether I should have my third coffee, I begin to be able to write this article. I’m in the final six weeks of my degree and it is hectic, but I am taking a break from all the assignment and dissertation writing for this, my last contribution to Grok.
I have been reflecting on uni life and all I have gained from it. We come here to learn, and we expect this to happen in the lecture theatre, but I have learnt so much more than what could be found in a textbook (cliché but so true). Some of the most profound epiphanies I have had have been from talking to peers about their passions. So if you’re
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reading this as a break from exam study or to procrastinate, fear not: this is somewhat educational. I’m going to give you the lowdown on some of the life skills you’ve gained from attending this institution. No need to revise, my friends, you are geniuses. You have so much experience, knowledge and skills, which you may have gleaned from uni – just not necessarily from the classroom.
parking on campus. If you drive to uni, I’m sure you’ve experienced being super embarrassingly late to class or have even missed the whole damn class because you can not find a car farking-park anywhere. I’ve even parked over at Waterford, which I do not recommend. I was there for just over the time limit and got an $80 fine. Boo. I never drive to uni, ever, unless I plan on getting there at about 4am to score a park.
Students have to be killer multi-taskers. It is a major balancing act between studying, going to class, getting experience in your field, volunteering, trying to have a social life, earning some kind of income, travelling, making time for the gym, your relationship, your family, your pets…it’s never ending. I secretly think sometimes unit coordinators get together and make everything due in the same week for lols. But it teaches you time management and, in the real world, shit happens all at once and you can’t just ask for an extension…
Sometimes you have to work with people who annoy you and aren’t team players, but again, that’s real life. There are very few jobs that involve working with completely no contact with anyone else. Group work teaches you tolerance and respect for all people, even those that you would have liked to have evicted (wouldn’t it be cool if group work was like Survivor and you could eliminate someone??? “the tribe has spoken”). But in all seriousness, group work can open you up to alternative ways of thinking, which makes us better human beings.
Another incidental lesson is budgeting. Nothing teaches you to be money-savvy like having $10 to your name for a week. I heard a story of a friend of a friend who lived on campus and told everyone that they were a vegan so they could steal their housemates’ food all the time without getting the blame. So smart.
Another important lesson is that it is so important to consider context. We all have such unique life stories and experiences that have brought us to this mutual ground. It is important to ALWAYS keep this in mind; have perspective and respect for one another. After all, we are all human.
‘Essential reading list’ pfft. Textbooks are ridiculously expensive, like, so…so expensive, hence why they’re not always high on the priority list. Struggling students know how to get super creative, photocopying, taking photos of readings, sitting in the one-hour loan room and writing notes. Or, you just skip the readings all together! You learn how to be a problem solver!
We learn so much more than what is on the lecture screen or in a textbook. You know so many things, you will do so many great things; believe in you and believe in what’s gotten you here. As Dr. Seuss says: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”.
You also learn how invaluable public transport is. It is fairly reliable and way better than the battle that is finding
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MAGIC B US Kai Schweizer
I was about eight when I found the bus.
‘S’not that big,’ I agreed. ‘Oh yeah? Well if you’re so strong, why don’ you push it back home then?’ George snorted. I was stupid to even try, but I did. It was my sword in the stone.
I had been out exploring with my two best friends, chasing each other, barefoot and filthy, through the Pennsylvanian fields. It seemed so out of place; a fallen object on a foreign planet. I didn’t belong there. It was old and sad; lost. I felt sad for it. The pastel paintjob of orange and green had faded and peeled. Any visible metal was crusted with a thick layer of rust.
It wouldn’t budge. Of course it wouldn’t budge. I was a lanky eight year old hillbilly, not a King. ‘Y’all ain’t so tough as ya thought ya were,’ John mocked. He turned to George and they burst into laughter. I couldn’t help but laugh, too. It came over us in euphoric waves.
I was the only one brave enough to go inside. To my friends, the bus was a bad omen. To me, it was magic. It was fate. I had been the one to find it; I had been chosen. The interior was water-stained, springs leaping from seats, seatbelts chewed through by tenacious moths.
We were left glowing, the simple joy of friendship and elm tree shade radiating through our being. When we were out there, all thoughts of classroom boredom and dads and shotguns ebbed away. ‘One day, I’m going to move that bus,’ I declared after we had lain in a silent heap for a few minutes. And, one day, I did. But neither of my best friends were there to bear witness to it.
‘Is it empty?’ John, the youngest, asked in his thick southern accent. ‘Sure is,’ I called back. My voice echoed through the bus. I crawled my way back out. George was wearing his favourite Steelers cap. He had a weed dangling from his mouth.
George went off to WVU on a football scholarship. He was drafted to the Steelers right after he graduated. He had everything he wanted: the money, the girls, the booze, and the game. He had worked his ass off for years and he was living the dream as a reward. A few years into his career, cancer took his balls. A few years after that, it took the rest of him. Turned out he’d been juicing the whole time.
‘S’not very big,’ he noted. ‘Is too,’ John shot back. I stared at that bus for a while, pondering how it got there. There were no roads for three miles in every direction. It was a mystery. It was pretty small for a bus. More like a van.
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John founded himself a band in high school, practicing out of old Magic Bus. I was drummer for a while, but then they started to get good and he kicked me out for someone better and hotter. He moved to Pittsburg straight out of school. John Sicamore was a household name by ‘63; the revolutionary mind behind country rock. He shot himself in the head a month before his European tour. He didn’t leave a note. He did leave a wife and baby. And me? I didn’t go to college. I stayed right there in the wilderness and worked in the mills. I went from lanky to six foot six and strong from the harsh labour. I had a wife of my own, and a daughter, too. I took her out to old magic bus sometimes. I never tried to move it. We had tea parties under the shade of the elm trees and felt the joy radiating through our bodies. I watched her grow up, and the magic in her eyes fade with the bus’s rusty orange paint. And when I heard about the deaths of my best friends in rapid succession, I returned to Magic Bus, a changed man. I saw it with those same childish eyes. I felt the springs erupting through the cushions. I caressed the peeled away paint and ochre soot where even the rust dissipated. In the shade of the elm trees, surrounded by fresh mushroom shoots, I pushed. And the bus inched forward.
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SLOSH’S BAR & GRILL Josh Soutar
WELCOME TO SLOSH’S BAR & GRILL WHERE WE BRING YOU THE VERY BEST HOT SAUCE AND CRAFT BEER WE HAVE DISCOVERED SINCE LAST WE MET…
H O T S AU C E S E L E C T I O N :
KILLER SWARM - PEX PEPPERS Pex Peppers are renowned in the hot sauce community for making some of the hottest natural sauces in the world that still taste fantastic. Killer Swarm is almost all pure moruga mash, but with that amazing Pex homegrown honey sweetness rounding it off. This tastes so fresh and strong and it is truly as hot as hell. Great on its own, or as a dipping sauce and even better to cook with. Take a chance and together we can taste the sun! Heat 10/10 - Flavour 9/10 www.pexpeppers.com
CR AFT B EER SE LECTION: THREE EYED RAVEN (GAME OF THRONES) - BREWERY OMMEGANG This Game of Thrones inspired beer from Brewery Ommegang in the United States could have been another cheap cash-in and, at that price, we kind of hoped it would be. Unfortunately it is amazing. A deep, dark saison ale that flows through increasingly complex layers of flavours that somehow, magically, are just as suited to cold winter evenings as they are a hot summer day. Rich and full flavoured, this was one of the beers that made us reconsider what it was that beers could be. Welcome to our first step down the rabbit hole … 10/10 (7.2% alcohol – 750 ml - $37) www.ommegang.com
FOR MORE DELECTABLE DELIGHTS FROM SLOSH'S BAR N GRILL, CHECK OUT JOSH'S YOUTUBE CHANNEL AT WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/SLOSHWORKS.
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SLOSH’S BAR & GRILL - WINE AND CHEESE PLATTER Josh Soutar
OVER HERE AT SLOSH’S BAR & GRILL, WE DON’T JUST LOVE HOT SAUCE AND CRAFT BEER. WE LOVE MOVIES. We love movies that transcend the medium to become inspiring pieces of art that will resonate forever. We love the z-grade movies that are so horrendously awful, they go all the way around to becoming something special. Each time we meet, we will present you a selection from our wine & cheese platter – bringing you a fine piece of cinematic art and a z-grade disasterpiece (yes that is definitely a word!).
for those who haven’t seen it so just trust me, sit back and, like Johnny Depp’s character, let the story wash you where you are destined to go… A haunting peyote-fuelled vision from another world and time. And with the guitar still reverberating through the trees, the beans on the fire are starting to bubble over and with just a twist or two of sharp-as-hell parmesan from the cheese grinder – we have Death Proof, Quentin Tarantino’s half of the 2007 double feature Grindhouse. This is Tarantino’s most blatant love-letter to the exploitation films of the 1970s and tells the story of Stuntman Mike, Kurt Russell in a delightfully charismatic performance, a movie stunt driver who uses his death-proofed Dodge Challenger as a weapon to kill beautiful young women. The car crash in the middle of the film is truly insane, filmed through the fetishised gaze of Stuntman Mike, the sound and gore effects truly the work of a twisted genius. The car chase at the end of the film abandoned CGI for a more visceral feel and Tarantino achieved one of the best car chases in recent history, until Mad Max: Fury Road ran it off a cliff, on fire, all chrome and beautiful to the halls of Valhalla. Admittedly, Death Proof is a very flawed film, but at its heart it is true to its exploitation film roots and makes you wish for a time when film-makers were willing to take a chance rather than play it safe.
This fine evening we find ourselves sitting back with the stars above us, our feet in front of a crackling fire, sipping on a deep burgundy glass of port with Jim Jarmusch’s 1995 psychedelic Western odyssey, Dead Man. This black and white masterpiece follows William Blake (Johnny Depp) through a bleak post-modern vision of the Wild West that is brutal, unforgiving and dream-like. The ethereal soundtrack performed by Neil Young, much of which he improvised while watching segments of the film, burrows deep under your skin and floats through the trees almost as if it has a mind of its own. This movie boasts an all-star cast, including (to name but a few): Billy Bob Thornton, Iggy Pop, Lance Henriksen, Crispin Glover and Robert Mitchum (in his final role), but Gary Farmer’s performance as Nobody is in a class of its own. I don’t want to ruin this experience #6
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The choice is yours Whatever you’re in the mood for, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the great dining options at the Plaza.
Restaurants & Cafes
Hao Szechuan Golden Barbecue Restaurant Gangnam Gloria Jean’s Jamaica Blue Ten Ten House Old Chang Kee Master Dumplings - Opening Soon Million Thai Kitchen Inn Express Nomstar Ramen The Waterford Tavern
Nando’s Chilliz Malaysian Pastacup Domino’s KFC Burger Edge Subway Zambrero Jesters/Krispy Kreme Donuts Ibra’s Kebabs Waterford Fish & Chips Mikasa Presotea
Chatime Berryme Gelare’s
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M OV I E :
JOE CINQUE’S CONSOLATION Joe Wilson
frustrating watch. Whether it’s the failure of Cinque to take Singh’s mental health issues seriously or the dubious moral ethics surrounding the characters of Rao and Len, director Sotiris Dounoukos challenges the audience by positing moral questions through the characters’ individual choices.
If there were one word to epitomise the inner feeling when watching Joe Cinque’s Consolation, it would be tragedy. The film is, from start to finish, an elaborate unfurling of a great tragedy faced by a young man, Joe Cinque, stirred by the apathy and inaction of his peers, educational institutions and, ultimately, the justice system. The film is based on the 1997 murder of Joe Cinque by then girlfriend Anu Singh, who was later convicted of manslaughter in 1999.
One issue with the film, however, is the dynamic between the characters of Singh and Cinque. Whilst Cinque seems to be purposely portrayed as naïve, greater depth is placed on Singh. It’s hard to try to be as emotionally invested in Cinque as it is with Singh, making the culmination of the murder at the end of the movie a little bit emotionally weak. Put it this way, Cinque’s loss was only truly felt during a slow-mo shot of his co-workers mourning his death in his workplace – that is the only emotional punch you can get.
Where the film is interesting is where it departs from the he-said, she-said arguments which dominate murder trials and the 24-hour news cycle. Instead, it strips back those assertions and observes the entire occurrence from a birds-eye view, focusing more on the why rather than the who. Actors Maggie Naouri and Jerome Meyer, who play Singh and Cinque respectively, humanise the ordeal, with noted praise for Naouri, who, rather than portraying Singh as a perpetrator, ultimately portrays her as the victim.
It’s a well-crafted story; it succeeds in the respect that the film doesn’t point fingers on the cause of tragedy, blaming ultimately those who are watching – us and our inaction. It’s great to better understand why a tragedy happens and to clarify and elaborate on the ways to avoid that tragedy – Joe Cinque’s Consolation succeeds in that. But feeling the tragedy is another matter, and to be honest, the film doesn’t quite meet the mark.
In some ways the film doesn’t feel like the spotlight is on the character of Singh herself. Singh instead feels like a conduit for the issues the movie represents. Be it societal ignorance of mental health or the shortcomings of an allegedly perfect justice system, the most poignant moments are when the small actions of the characters lead to Cinque’s demise.
The film feels too surgical, you feel the cause and friction of Singh’s mental health deteriorate, but you do not feel the loss of Cinque. Movies are supposed to make you feel like you are in the eye of the storm, not in a storm shelter. The film gives consolation, but emotional relief? No.
It’s these small choices, littered throughout the film, which make Joe Cinque’s Consolation a gut-wrenching, if not #6
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FIVE- DO LL AR WI N E CR ITIC Chloe Macri
CO O L A B A H - S W E E T F R U I T Y W H I T E Sweet and fruity; no it’s not me, it’s the subject of this edition’s wine review! Coolabah Sweet Fruity White is exactly as labelled – it’s fruit-forward, pale-coloured and sweet. Coolabah has been an esteemed producer of fine cask wines fore more than 40 years and is recognised as the true leader in its field. This wine is almost sickeningly sweet, but fortunately after a few you won’t notice the difference. This drop has a highly floral bouquet and is best served icecold to ensure that you are not underwhelmed by the steely taste. For some, this drop may not be the most palatable. There is always the option of getting your daily vitamins, however, by mixing it with OJ. This drop is like a dream; it’s fleeting, it’s sweet and once it’s finished you’re not really sure what happened. The cask in which this wine is sold is a novelty treat indeed. It can be used for many a shenanigan, including Goon Of Fortune. Or, once finished, it can be inflated, popped or used as a pillow #classy. Aside from the novelty value, the value for money is on point as well, with a liver-shattering 36 standard drinks for $13, and all within the handy 5L cask… it’s a uni student’s dream. Coolabah is the premier name in the goon category and a favourite for many Australians. I’m sure there will be youths enjoying this flamboyant budget drop for many many years to come. Coolabah’s goon bags are an Australian Icon and, as such: I award them 5 out of 5 fleeting dreams.
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I B I Z A N2
Address: 627 Beaufort St, Mount Lawley
FOR: Ticking meet ice cream magicians off your list of life goals.
importantly, instagram and eat your nitrogen ice cream. Then get out because the next person wants to sit and instagram and eat their nitrogen ice cream. It’s a good thing these nitrogen ice creams are so delectably presented because otherwise they’d look just like regular ice creams and people might forget that they’re actually made with nitrogen, a chemical compound that you heard of in high school Chem, but don’t remember what it does. Except, now you know: it’s just used in ice cream.
If you are a hip and trendy, youngish uni student, with bulk coolness and many friends, then you need to get yourself down to Ibiza N2 in Mount Lawley. I went there with some friends’ kids and now they think I know ice cream magicians. Ibiza N2 is Perth’s first nitrogen ice cream café. It does ice cream, made to order right in front of you, as well as churros, dessert pizzas and other fun things. But be real, you go here for the ice cream because it’s nitrogen and it’s magical and oooh look, smoke! There is a nice array of ice cream combination choices; they are all super sweet and delish, and they come in a largish cup with toppings and fun things, like caramel syringes and upside down waffle cones. But it’s the nitrogen you’re here to see and you can’t miss it. You order your flavour and then comes the smoke and the magic and *voilà* your regular ice cream turns into nitrogen ice cream.
If you’re not going to Melbourne any time soon, this may be the only chance you get to have nitrogen ice cream. Before it becomes a bigger deal, that is, and everyone catches on and inevitably start overkilling it with nitrogen pizza and nitrogen popcorn and gluten free nitrogen acai berries. Ibiza N2 does the best nitrogen ice cream in Perth. It is delicious and will look fabulous on your Instagram (bonus points if you can get some of the nitrogen gas in the background).
The place itself is quite small. Big enough to sit and,
Rates 8 out of 10 ice cream magicians.
images (L-R): www.pureairemonitoring.com / www.theurbanlist.com #6
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THE GET DOWN: ALBUM:
A RAPPER’S DELIGHT?
HARTS - SMOKE FIRE HOPE DESIRE
Joe Wilson Smoke Fire Hope Desire by Harts is definitely a conflicting album. It simultaneously wants to impress and fails to meet the mark within the first half the record. Like a defective Chinese firework, the pay-off is extremely gratifying and worth it, but it will take the listener a sizeable amount of time to hit the sweet spot – where the LP truly goes bang.
“So it was me, and my friend who was tough and funny, and my friend who was smart and funny and my friend who was ethereal and sexually ambiguous and less funny. We lived in the South Bronx in the late 1970s. I was a wide-eyed dreamer with a heart full of poetry, a toothy childlike grin and a gravelly voice as old as time. I had just met a DJ named Shaolin Fantastic who wore gleaming red Adidas and made whooshing sounds when he moved.
Whilst it IS slow to get going, once you wade through the gentle auspicious funk peppered through the first few tracks, the album really does come into its own after fifth track ‘Peculiar’. From then on, it’s a wild, jaunty ride of funk, overlayed with swooning guitar solos and Darren Hart’s screamingly sexy vocals. ‘Power’ is an aptly-named dreamy power piece that melds a 60s vibe with a quirky Abba-style disco scene.
I was in love with Mylene, but we couldn’t be together, because plot. She was a good girl (don’t get me wrong, she was also desperately sexy). It wasn’t easy for her – she wanted to be a disco singer, but wasn’t allowed to sneak into clubs filled with pimps and gangsters to further her career. Her father was religious, you see. She snuck in anyway with her friends (who used phrases like ‘on point’ and ‘shit’s about to get real’ 30 years before anyone else did. I guess we were all pioneers).
‘Hope’ pulls on the heartstrings and is possibly the track that best demonstrates Harts’ musical talents. A perfect mix of emotional lyrics, rap and an overtly glam guitar solo, the track is truly a groovy gem amongst a jaded rough. ‘Here I Go’ has the nice addition of strings and light lilting beats, making it feel like a soundtrack to some cool new-wave art piece. ‘Ain’t Too Far Gone’ ends the album in a funky, kaleidoscopic furore, amidst death throes of psychedelic electric guitars and orchestral overlay.
Anyway, I snuck into the club, too, to impress her, where I witnessed several gang-related murders. Then I found myself at an underground party lead by an esoteric magician called Grandmaster Flash. I smoked some weed and that’s when I invented rap, pretty much off the top of my head.” #6
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Or so I imagine main character Ezekiel Figuero (Justice Smith) describing the events of The Get Down’s first episode to his children. The show works best when you accept it has the relationship with reality that you might expect of a Baz Luhrmann project. Luhrmann is not interested in how the clash of social forces creates artistic movements or the fate of the urban poor. He likes colour and spectacle and fizzing production numbers and big broad themes (incidentally, are the characters supposed to represent elemental hip hop ingredients? Tough guys and poets and Kung Fu philosophy? Who knows?).
None of this stops The Get Down being great fun – particularly during its set pieces. A trip to a disco infused, genderqueer party late in series is everything the show is aiming for; sexy, beautiful, heady, intoxicating – and the rap battles throughout are thrilling. Here, the show embraces its absurdity and stops being bogged down in its soapy interpersonals. The gleaming veneer of artifice means the performance pieces are the only time when the stakes feel genuinely high. Elsewhere, it erects a wall between viewer and story which the actors (great though they are) sometimes struggle to surmount.
And this wouldn’t be a problem, except I suspect he’s not actually all that interested in music either, except ornamentally (look at it this way – Goodfellas would have the same soundtrack regardless of when it was made. Can you say the same of Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet?).
So, The Get Down is a foaming glass of champagne on an empty stomach. Headache-inducing? Insubstantial? Maybe, but I never could stay away from intoxicants.
11-Oct-16 10:12:09 AM
11-Oct-16 10:12:09 AM