ISSUE 8: LEFTOVERS
CAMPUS NEWS & LIFE | ARTS & CULTURE | STYLE & SUSTAINABILITY | REVIEWS | & MORE
WATSON CALENDAR OCTOBER/NOVEMBER MONDAY
MQ SEX WEEK BEGINS @ Lindsay Room 4pm
26 2 9
EXAMS BEGIN (woo)
Matt Corby @ Metro Theatre 7pm
SLUT: The Play @ Belvoir Theatre
The Fall @ Metro Theatre 8pm
Jhene Aiko @ Metro Theatre 8pm
Latin Night @ MQ Atrium, Campus Hub 6:30pm
Tame Impala @ Sydney Opera House 8pm
Linda Jaivin Erotic Writing Workshop @ Zofrea Room, Campus Hub 5:30pm
The Brian Jonestown Massacre @ Metro Theatre 8pm
MULS Law Ball Violent Soho @ OAF 8pm
SOULFest 2015 @ The Cruelty Free Festival Domain 5pm @ Aus Technology Just For Laughs @ Park 10am Sydney Opera House 7pm
TUKA @ OAF 8pm THIS THAT @ Shannon Noll @ Astor Newcastle Foreshore Hotel 8pm 1:30pm Crown St Food Fete 2am
Chet Faker @ Sydney Opera House 6pm Student Group Awards Night @ MQ Atrium 6pm
Florence & the Machine @ Sydney Opera House 8pm Wine Island Festival 11:30am
Newtown Festival @ Camperdown Park 9:30am
Gentlemen of the Road @ the Domain 7pm
Rhye @ OAF 8pm Kisschasy @ Metro Theatre 7:30pm Heaps Gay @ The Oxford Hotel 9pm
ISSUE 8: LEFTOVERS
6 NEWS FLASH
24 DISHING SOME
38 THE BLACK RAT:
52 THE ART OF
9 #LIBSPILL DEBATE
THOUGHTS ON CHINESE
SYDNEY’S REAL LIFE
12 THE TAMPA AFFAIR
54 A SEER, A GAMBLER: A
26 A SPIRITUAL GUIDE TO
40 INTERVIEW WITH
14 A DECADE ON: IS
TAKING THE PISS
56 YOU’RE NOT F@CKING
RECLAIM AUSTRALIA A
29 ADVICE FROM FAKE
42 THE BLUE HOUSE: A
RESURGENCE OF THE
BOOKSHOP WITH A STORY
57 BUSINESS AS USUAL
30 ANATOMY OF A BITCH
44 CAVEAT AMICUS (FRIEND 58 WHEN BOARDING
16 KEVIN RUDD’S APOLOGY
32 FATHER JOHN MISTY:
SEVEN YEARS ON
A GENIUS OR A SELF-
46 ENTER THE UNSPOKEN
18 THE DEATH PENALTY
WORLD OF HENTAI
34 THE CHALLENGE:
48 SYDNEY TO BECOME A
59 REPEAT OFFENDERS
20 CONTROVERSY OVER
TAKEAWAY ISN’T A DISH
60 THE STEW
‘LIFE WEEK’ EVENT ON
BEST SERVED COLD
50 FLASH FICTION: PART 3
36 FLASH FICTION: PART 2
22 FLASH FICTION: PART 1
66 CROSSWORD 67 HOROSCOPES
EDITOR’S LETTER SARAH BASFORD
‘Leftovers’. It seems like a lazy theme for an issue. And tbh, it is. The idea came at a pitching session at the Ubar when we were all dissatisfied with the planned theme at the time. We all just wanted an ‘easy’ theme that we could plan content for seamlessly. We arrived at ‘Leftovers’, because we had so many articles that didn’t quite fit in with other themes or hadn’t been finished on time. Though it might seem to suggest that these articles are simply the dregs of other issues, I like to think it’s actually the opposite. Wanting to go out with a bang, we’ve upped the pages to sixtyeight and even included a scratch ‘n’ sniff on the cover just coz (ps: we wanted the ‘pizza’ scent, but it smelled more like garbage/gas boo).
In News, we’ve decided to review some of the biggest stories of the last twenty years in Australian society and their effect on modernday society. We also set aside three pages for our man, Tony Abbott, following the infamous #libspill (p. 9). Regulars has got some srs food vibes going on. We’ve got a piece on Chinese food and its cultural significance (p. 24), a spiritual guide to liquor (p. 26) and we challenge an editor to only eat take-away leftovers for a few days (p. 34). Hint: she failed. A writer followed around Sydney’s very own superhero, The Black Rat (p. 38), while another interviewed the owner of The Blue House who has been helping troubled kids to change their life for better (p. 42). Overall, thanks for picking up our mags in 2015, even if just to use as a makeshift umbrella (they’re not very good at it though). From all of the team (or at least most?), it’s been a real hoot and I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings
EDITORIAL & CREATIVE PRODUCTION EDITOR IN CHIEF Sarah Basford DEPUTY EDITOR Regina Featherstone FEATURES EDITOR Jack Cameron Stanton NEWS EDITOR Anna Glen REGULARS EDITOR Vanessa Capito COPY EDITOR Rebecca McMartin WEB EDITOR Raelee Lancaster CREATIVE DIRECTOR Natasha Michels GRAPHIC DESIGNER Samuel Ip MARKETING TEAM MARKETING MANAGER Joanna Marciniak OUR AWESOME CONTRIBUTORS Yehuda Aharon, Kieren Ash, Alice Biscu, Phil Brown, Cameron Colwell, Madi Day, Nathan Falzon, Rebecca Hill, Harrison Howard, Alex Latham, Phillip Leason, Michael Lozina, Michael Maglis, Max Mahood, Noelle Martin, Adrian Nguyen, Ben O’Donnell, Alicia Scott, Anne Tong, Tony Zhang. EDITORIAL REVIEW BOARD STUDENT MEMBERS Patrick Barkachi, Sarah Cameron, Kris Gilmour, Emma Grimley, Jack Morgan, Natalie Morton, Jacob Rock, Yi Wong COORDINATOR Melroy Rodrigues PUBLISHER Craig Oliver
Grapeshot would like to acknowledge the Darug people as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work, and pay our respects to their elders, past and present.
NEWS FLASH WORDS || ANNA GLEN
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SYDNEY RENT CRISIS EXACERBATES NEED FOR CHEAPER STUDENT ACCOMMODATION The most recent Rental Report from Domain Australia has found that Sydney rent prices are at an all time high, with an increase of 1.9 per cent from 2014 prices. Domain Senior Economist, Dr Andrew Wilson, says “unprecedented residential investor activity in Sydney over the past year and a surge in new dwelling construction have failed to provide rental relief for tenants with house rents increasing by 3.9 per cent over the year and unit rents up by one per cent” This hits students hard; particularly given the majority of students reside in share houses. Prior to the crisis in 2013, Universities Australia found that twentythree per cent of students regularly missed class in order to attend part-time work and the National Union of Student says many are still living below the poverty line. Last month, The Daily Telegraph featured an article on Macquarie University PhD student, Daniel Macdonald, who was living in a campervan due to the unaffordability of the Sydney rental market. Mr Macdonald told the Daily Telegraph that he could not afford to buy a house or rent on his own and urged the Government to do more to assist students. The cheapest room in the privately owned ‘Macquarie Student Village’ – which hosts the largest number of students at Macquarie – comes at a cost of $247 dollars per week for a fixed fifty-two week contract, with higher costs for shorter or more flexible options. As a privately run business, the accommodation can also be rented out to non-students for a short
stay (no more than 30 days) and appears on booking.com. For example, in 2013 the Village hosted eighty non-students however, they did so without notifying other residents. The University of Sydney runs a student-housing co-operative called ‘STUCCO’ where accommodation can be accessed for just eighty dollars per week. Macquarie University offers no subsidised accommodation to its students. Grapeshot contacted the Macquarie housing department and was told it could not “arrange subsidised housing directly” but that Campus Wellbeing “can assist with these matters and will then refer students to [Macquarie housing]”. Penny Huisman is a Welfare Officer at Campus Wellbeing and told Grapeshot “it would be great if more lower cost student housing was developed for students”. Out of the housing service providers affiliated with the university, she said there was some “limited subsidised accommodation available” from Iglu apartments in Chatswood, with other providers offering reduced rental prices to students who worked as residential assistants. In her role as Welfare Officer, Huisman can assist students with claiming financial assistance from the university or NSW Housing to cover initial costs of accommodation, such as bonds and advanced payments of rent, and helps students with tenancy disputes or those in need of crisis accommodation. However Huisman emphasised that “what’s available really depends on the individual student’s situation”.
Campus Wellbeing can be contacted on 02 9850 7497 or via email at email@example.com.
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MQ IT STAFF HIT OUT AT MISTREATMENT The release of a workplace survey has shed light on the tension between management and IT staff at Macquarie. Poor communication and a lack of respect from management was a common theme of the comments made by the Macquarie IT staff. The survey was made publicly available after a staff member submitted a Freedom of Information request, with the contents of the document being published in an article by IT News. The survey revealed that respondents felt at best undervalued, with one staff member complaining, “failure is the only thing we can expect to be acknowledged for”, and at worst affected mentally, with another writing “this workplace makes me angry, demoralised, dejected and depressed. It’s directly affecting my health.” Alarmingly, a number of staff members also alleged that management reprimanded those who spoke out about mistreatment or communication issues. “Multiple technical staff have been driven out of this organisation for voicing their opinion in technical hurdles not being addressed by management even when they’ve offered a viable solution”, a respondent wrote. Grapeshot contacted the Chief Information Officer, Mary Davies, and was referred to a media release, which states:
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“Macquarie University is committed to providing a safe and supportive working environment for all its staff.” “Staff are also encouraged to provide regular feedback on their working environment through their line manager or an HR representative. The University has policies in place to ensure staff can raise concerns in the knowledge they will be addressed appropriately and respectfully, in a fair and timely manner.” Cathy Rytmeister, who is the President of the Macquarie University Branch of the National Tertiary Education Union, said the survey revealed there is a “problem with management — at whatever level — and the institution needs to act quickly to get on top of it.” As a result of the survey, an external consultant has been brought in to “investigate and provide further guidance” on the matter. Once completed the University says it will consider the findings and “take appropriate actions to continue to improve its workplace environment”.
If you are a staff member and are experiencing any issues, need help or someone to talk to, you can contact the Employee Assistance Program on 1800 81 87 28.
MALCOLMTURNBULL4PM #LIBSPILL2 We need to talk about Tony. On 14 September, Malcolm Turnbull defeated Tony Abbott: fifty-four votes to forty-four for the Liberal Party Leadership. The dethronement of Tony Abbott makes Turnbull Australia’s fifth Prime Minister in five years. Grapeshot asked some local MQ pollies and a declared swing voter to ‘please explain’.
Kieren Ash PRESIDENT OF THE MQ UNI LABOR SOCIETY For many of you, waking up on Tuesday 15 September, the overwhelming sense must have been one of déjà vu. For me, it was delicious schadenfreude. “Did you hear we have a new Prime Minister?” has become an all too familiar refrain over breakfast tables in Australia, but refreshingly this time it was the Liberals getting roasted. The knifing of Prime Minister Abbott couldn’t have surprised many. He was the most unpopular Prime Minister we are likely ever to see, and not without good reason. An unprecedented string of broken promises, lies, and gaffes meant his leadership was doomed long ago. Simply put, he was dreadful. The sense of inescapable despair in the public was evidently shared in the Liberal caucus and all the way to the highest levels of Cabinet. The poll turnaround seems to suggest the voters are pleased. The question must be asked however: what really has changed? The depressing answer from a policy perspective is “not much”. The key driver behind Abbott’s removal was not policy direction but political unpopularity. In a Turnbull Government we are served up the same shit, albeit in a much shinier, wealthier bucket. Fee deregulation, cuts to Medicare, slashing penalty rates and a Stone Age view of marriage equality still prevail. Direct Action, which Turnbull once called
“bullshit” and “an environmental fig leaf to cover a determination to do nothing” about climate change, is not being dumped in favour of an Emissions Trading Scheme. There is no change in direction to return economic growth and unemployment to levels the Government inherited from Labor. Turnbull stated himself that he “unequivocally supports every measure” in the 2014 budget that started Abbott’s death spiral. So why is it that Malcolm Turnbull, whose public popularity rests on his moderate progressive positions on issues like climate change, marriage equality, and the Republic, is unable to change the direction of a government formerly lead by Australia’s arch-conservative, climate-change-denying monarchist? The short answer is factionalism. Turnbull is despised in the Liberal caucus, more or less to the same degree that Rudd was in Labor. Just like in 2013 when Rudd was returned to save Labor’s furniture, so too has Turnbull been drafted. The only way he could secure support for his leadership was to reject the positions he is publicly popular for in exchange for support from the feral rightwingers in the Liberal caucus. Turnbull must now fight with one hand tied behind his back. Every progressive issue which enjoys broad public support has now become a wedge for the Labor party to deploy against a hopelessly trapped Turnbull. Roll on the election.
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Mel MEMBER OF THE MACQ LIBERAL CLUB “By God – our country is so much better than this”. The fall of Tony Abbott as Prime Minister was a sorry day for Australia. Love him or hate him, Tony Abbott was admired and respected by his friends and enemies alike. In the words of Malcolm Turnbull, “he led us out of opposition and back into government – our nation and our parliament owe him an enormous debt of gratitude”. In the words of Bill Shorten “He is a fighter – a formidable fighter”. By and large, Tony Abbott kept his political promises. He said that he would repeal the carbon tax and that is gone. He scrapped the mining tax. The boats have stopped – and because they have stopped we have been better able to display our compassion to refugees. A spotlight is now being shone in the dark and corrupted corners of the union movement. Despite a hostile senate, Tony was able to undertake fifty billion dollars of repairs to the budget. $300,000 jobs have been created and he has signed free trade agreements with Japan, South Korea and China. This is a government that did not lose its way. But Abbott was never popular. The decision to replace him was more about personality rather than policy. It was the trivia, the captain’s calls, shirtfronting Vladimir Putin and eating onions that cost him the leadership. His undying loyalty to his friends like Bronwyn Bishop (who voted
against him) or Peta Credlin also contributed to his downfall. Personally, I will never forgive Malcolm Turnbull for what he did. Malcolm should have resigned from the cabinet the moment he decided that he wanted to challenge. This coup has been in the works for months and for Malcolm to be a Minister – sworn to serve the Prime Minister – whilst also plotting to bring that same Prime Minister down is clearly dishonourable. Tony Abbott’s departure leaves a divided and fractured Liberal Party. The conservative faction feels alienated and betrayed. Their champion is gone. Turnbull has not been balanced in his approach to the appointment of cabinet ministers – and the defenders of traditional marriage and the monarchy feel threatened. Malcolm has a lot of trust to rebuild. Turnbull will probably win the next election. Bill Shorten is uncharismatic and boring. His hands drip with the blood of both Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd – whom he was instrumental in dethroning. Allegedly, the unions, that he ran, secretly took money from companies whilst at the same time tried to negotiate the pay conditions of the workers of those companies. Labor under their new rules is also stuck with him as leader. But still – I miss Tony …
Tony Zhang SWING VOTER In my view, the leadership change is a change in style, not substance in terms of what the government is offering. It is clear that Malcolm Turnbull offers a more rationalist approach to policy development and delivery. Renewed focus is now on consultation and communication in order to sell the government’s agenda to us, the electorate.
start everything from scratch.
I don’t believe that the problems caused by the Abbott government can be so easily rectified if Labor comes to power at the next election. Sudden change is never a good thing and I believe that what this country needs now is stability and certainty. In Australia we elect our governments for three-year terms, which is a far shorter period of time compared to most other democracies. Three years is certainly not enough time to effect any meaningful change. Whilst I do not like many of Mr Abbott’s policies, it is not always productive to clear out the entire shed and
Turnbull, being a moderate who supports same-sex marriage and who is not a climatechange-denier, is more in line with my views. As such, I would vote for the Coalition at the next election.
Previously I would have been prepared to vote Labor because I could not stand Tony Abbott’s conservatism. But now we are seeing an absence of credible policy alternatives from the Opposition, which is still trying to find its soul and establish a modern identity for itself.
NEWS IN REVIEW
FIFTEEN YEARS OF ‘STOPPING THE BOATS’:
THE TAMPA AFFAIR REVISITED WORDS || MAX MAHOOD
11 September 2001 is a date that shall live in infamy. What happened in New York and Washington D.C. sent political shockwaves around the world that continue to be felt today. How does this involve Australia, nearly fifteen years on? In our own corner of the world, A Norwegian cargo ship, the MV Tampa arrived in Australia in August 2001 just before the attacks in New York. It was carrying people from Afghanistan seeking asylum from persecution. The portrayal at the time by popular media was that such asylum seekers were ‘queue jumpers’; while in reality they were fleeing harm. The asylum seekers were later settled on Nauru, the country currently occupied by offshore processing centres. These actions undertaken by the Howard Government in not allowing the ship into Australian waters became a diplomatic
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problem, and changed the public’s perceptions of asylum seekers. I interviewed Dr. Joseph Pugliese, a Cultural Studies Professor from Macquarie University, to elaborate on the Tampa Affair and how it changed Australian’s attitudes to asylum seekers (thanks in part to 9/11). In an example of moral panic, the Howard Government “initiated framing of asylum seekers as undesirables who should be kept out and/or be punished by being isolated in offshore detention camps”. Or in other words, the government used the Tampa Affair as a political scapegoat, and subsequently, Australia began to be swept up in the idea that asylum seekers were inherently dishonest. This was summed up by John Howard when he said, “we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come”. In the wake of 9/11 and the subsequent ‘War on Terror’ this allowed a
climate of fear to grow, unfairly labelling people as ‘undesirables’ or ‘queue jumpers’. The Tampa Affair resulted in the Border Protection Bill 2001 and the Pacific Solution 2004, paving the way for the current situation on Nauru and Manus Island. In 2013, the then Labor PM, Kevin Rudd signed an Agreement with the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill, to allow resettlement of asylum seekers who arrive by boat on Manus Island, along with the detention centre set up on the Pacific nation of Nauru. This ties in with the Tampa Affair in that the Howard Government set up the detention centre in 2001 after that incident as part of the ‘Pacific Solution’. These policies are at odds with the image that Australia projects around the world; one of acceptance and “boundless plains to share”. In reality though these acts are all symptoms of a much more problematic issue – namely that Australia needs to be ‘protected’ from the perceived ‘threat’ of asylum seekers. This provides the political capital to legitimise offshore processing programs, and assert sovereignty of the Australian State and its offshore processing program over resource-poor Pacific Island nations.
into power in 2013 off the slogan of ‘stop the boats’, with a sustained media campaign against people escaping war and persecution of the world (billboard rentals included). The government’s attempt to deal with the asylum seeker issue bleeds into a racially motivated fear of other people, that so-called ‘illegal’ arrivals are only those who arrive on boats, ignoring the fact that most people who overstay their visas are usually young British or American people on holiday. It can be clear to see that, in the decade-and-a-half or so since the Tampa Affair and 9/11, the world and Australia’s international standing in it is vastly different to the narrative many of us were fed when growing up: that Australia is a nation that accepts all people, irrespective of ethnicity. Those who need our help are thrown into places that are shrouded in institutional secrecy, and any attempt to pierce that could be punished by gaol time for up to two years. The links between the Tampa Affair and Operation Sovereign Borders are that they are unfairly racially targeting innocent people of colour whose only crime is rebuilding their lives on the other side of the world. What’s changed in Australia is the fetishisation of security over rationality and compassion.
This desire for protection from an imagined enemy is one of the aspects that helped sweep the Abbott Government
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NEWS IN REVIEW
A DECADE ON: IS ‘RECLAIM AUSTRALIA’ A RESURGENCE OF THE CRONULLA RIOTS? WORDS || MICHAEL MAGLIS When we compare the violent events of 2005 in Cronulla and movements such as Reclaim Australia in 2015, there are obvious differences, however, there are also underlying similarities. Seemingly, these outbursts against Islam seem to be occurring in a once-every-decade pattern. To understand the causes of friction, we must consider the profound implications of past events and the political climate in Australia during these times. According to UTS Sociologist Professor Andrew Jakubowicz, the September 11 attacks and the spawning of Al Qaeda informed the Cronulla riots. In the SBS documentary, Once Upon a Time In Punchbowl, Jakubowicz said “there is a clear line between 9/11 and the events of Cronulla four years later. It’s a line fashioned by the increasing
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tension between the wider society and Lebanese Australians of Muslim faith. For Anglo youth, 9/11 provides a justification for moral outrage about Lebanese Muslims. It’s almost as though they’re primed to explode”. Actor, George Basha says “the Lebanese community are hot news because they know they can sell papers on it.” Nemat Kharboutli, daughter of prominent community leader Dr Jamal Rifi, said “the media didn’t do anything to positively contribute or create calm in any way. All they did was promote slander, perpetuate vilification, perpetuate discrimination and racism and it was really, really hurtful.” Former Liberal MP for Cook (where the suburb of Cronulla is), Bruce Baird says that the riots in his then-electorate, were perhaps revenge for the Bali Bombings just over three years earlier. The anxiety surrounding Islam and terrorist attacks is evident in the response of the wider society. During this time, it seemed as though it was the wider society against all other ethnic minorities. The recent Reclaim Australia movement is driven by similar forces, however, the obvious difference is the organised targeted campaign against Sharia
law. As opposed to violent outbursts, Reclaim Australia is interested in government lobbying and public anti-multiculturalism campaigns, with demonstrations in capital cities around Australia. The Reclaim Australia website states the movement’s twenty-four goals which include: food to be “free of religious taxes to other nations, blessings and certifications”, “the right to celebrate ‘our’ traditions and Christian holidays” and “respect for our history, culture and ideologies needing to be taught in our education system and in our public media”. Unlike the Cronulla riots, the demonstration in Sydney saw a struggle between the Reclaim Australia group and anti-racism protesters, both sides clashing with police. Sri Lankan born Danny Nalliah is part of Reclaim Australia. Footage of a rally at Martin Place from Fairfax media, shows Mr Nalliah with an Australian flag chanting “we want to keep Australia, Australian!” and “multiculturalism does not work in the western democracy.” At the time of the Cronulla riots, terrorist organisation Al Qaeda was well and truly active in the Middle East, however, the riot’s close proximity to the Bali Bombings, the September 11 attacks and a strong representation of Arab Australians as ‘the
enemy within’ by media outlets, meant that the anxiety of the wider society was stronger, perhaps omnipresent. While those involved in Reclaim Australia were not as violent or aggressive, their true beliefs and ideology are not withheld. Like the Cronulla riots, there have been political catalysts, namely, the outbreak of a civil war in Syria in 2012 and the rise of ISIS, which many generalise as ‘the new Al Qaeda.’ At the times of both these events, conservative governments have been in office and were quick to introduce controversial anti-terror laws. First the Howard Government in 2005, then by Tony Abbott’s coalition shortly after the landslide win in 2013. This legislation arguably provided justification to people like those of the Reclaim Australia group and those involved in the Cronulla riots to react drastically. This shows how politics of fear is used to drive draconian legislation and unfairly punish ethnic minorities. A decade on, therefore, it appears the lessons of the Cronulla riots have not been learnt but repeated.
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NEWS IN REVIEW
SORRY MEANS YOU DON’T DO IT AGAIN:
KEVIN RUDD’S APOLOGY SEVEN YEARS ON WORDS || MADI DAY
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On Wednesday 14 February 2008, Kevin Rudd, then Prime Minister, apologised to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians for their Stolen Generations. Forcible removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families by the Australian colonial government and Church began in the 1800s and continued, as state and federal policy, until 1970. Kevin Rudd’s speech, on behalf of the federal government, lasted roughly four minutes.
Eleven years earlier the Human Right and Equal Opportunity Commission’s ’Bringing Them Home Report’ was released after a National Inquiry into forced removals. It offered fifty-four recommendations to promote healing for victims including apologies from the Church and state as well as financial compensation and social reparations for the families impacted. The Australian Government’s formal apology to the Stolen Generations had no mention of reparations. Later, in 2008 the Senate was presented with the ‘Stolen Generation Compensation Bill’. It was rejected. Arrernte woman, writer and activist Celeste Liddle has noted that the apology to the Stolen Generations is often communicated as an apology to Aboriginal people generally, rather than for specific actions and policy. This is evidenced by the Australian Government’s website describing the event as ‘Apology to Australia’s Indigenous People’. On 13 February, Liddle wrote that Rudd’s apology “was BS because there was never any will to do anything tangible like provide compensation, nor has it actually stopped Aboriginal children being taken at exorbitant rates. People got their warm fuzzies on then nothing”.
In 2007, an Intervention occurred in Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory under the Howard Government. It included the overtaking of finances and community affairs by the Australian Government and military involvement, and was heavily protested by Aboriginal leaders and their communities. It continued throughout Rudd’s time in office and, in 2012, was renewed by the Gillard Government for another ten years. The rates of suicide, incarceration, deaths in custody and child removal have all more than doubled since the Intervention began. On National Sorry Day this year, Indigenous organisation, Grandmothers Against Removals (GAR) held a conference/protest at Matagarup, the Perth Tent Embassy, to address numbers of Aboriginal Australian children removed from their families by government ’child protection services’. In Western Australia, Aboriginal children make up almost half of those in the foster care system. GAR representatives believe that ‘child protection’ is also being used as an excuse to justify the forced closure of Aboriginal communities in WA and, that closure of these communities would have similar impacts to the NT Intervention, resulting in ‘more kids in foster care, more adults in prison’. Seven years on from Rudd’s national apology, it is estimated that Aboriginal children are being removed from their families and communities by the Australian government at a higher rate currently than any other time in colonial history. While the apology offered some comfort to those that suffered from the Australian Government’s genocidal actions and policies, Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islander people are yet to receive the reparation and justice they deserve. * The author and publication acknowledge the Darug people, the traditional owners of the land on which Macquarie’s Campus stands. We acknowledge the Warawara department and all Indigenous staff and students on campus. We acknowledge and pay our respects to the communities and families impacted by forced removals. This always was and always will be Aboriginal Land.
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NEWS IN REVIEW
NEWS IN REVIEW
ANDREW CHAN AND MYURAN SUKUMARAN DIED BUT THE DEATH PENALTY LIVES ON WORDS || HARRISON HOWARD
Earlier this year, twelve members of the Indonesian Police aimed their M-16’s at the chests of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. The shots rang out shortly after midnight on 29 April. In Australia, the move by the Indonesian Government to execute the duo was met with almost universal condemnation. For the first time in history the Australian ambassador was recalled. The Australian media went wild. And for a few weeks Chan and Sukumaran were household names – known not for their crimes, but for the actions of their executors, the Indonesian Government, which read to many Australians as a crime against humanity. But, like so many newsstories that dominate our lives for the blink of an eye, Australian discourse on death penalty ended as abruptly as it came. Surely all the furore and loudness meant something. Surely Australian and international criticism of the death penalty following the
executions have propelled forth the argument for its universal abolition. 2015 has, internationally, been a mixed bag for the abolitionist cause. The beginning of 2015 gave cause for celebration amongst abolitionists. The Fijian Government in February decided to repeal the death penalty, effectively eliminating it as a practice from the Pacific region. Madagascar and the Republic of Suriname accompanied Fiji in abolition, raising the number of abolitionist countries to 101 — a clear majority over the twentytwo nations that still employ the death penalty. The Mongolian Parliament, Burkina Faso and South Korea have all announced the drafting of legislation aimed to eventually abolish the death penalty completely. Even in countries where the death penalty is strongly entrenched, movements to have it abolished have steadily grown over the last year. In the United States,
2015 saw Nebraska and Pennsylvania join the nineteen states that have all opted for abolition. And if the polls are correct US public opinion is steadily turning against the practice. Just recently, Pope Francis during his address to Congress condemned the death penalty – his address was met by a standing ovation by Republicans and Democrats alike. On the other hand, the last year has seen a resurgence in use of the death penalty in certain regions, particularly Central and South-East Asia. For example, Saudi Arabia and Iran executed more people in the period from January to August of this year, than they did for the entirety of 2014. Across North Africa, Central Asia through to Pakistan and China, the rate of executions has been steadily increasing. The rising fear of terrorism and other perceived threats to national security in the region may help explain this trend. And with instability spreading from areas such as Libya, Yemen and Syria, to areas such as the Sinai Peninsula and western Turkey, this trend shows no signs of abating. A number of countries have in fact chosen to reintroduce the death penalty. In December 2014, following a Taliban attack upon a school in Peshawar, Pakistan chose to lift its sixyear suspension of the death penalty and has, as of August 2015, already executed 150 people. Singapore also lifted its suspension of the death penalty in 2012, and Sri Lanka along with Papua New Guinea plan to reintroduce the practice within the year.
So what does this mean for Australia? Australia finds itself in an odd geo-political position – caught between the Pacific nations to our east, who have universally abolished the death penalty – and to the north, the Asian continent, which executes more people than any other in the world. Starting at home, the execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran solidified Australia’s view of the death penalty. Following the executions, polls done by the Lowy Institute for International Policy showed that seventy-one per cent of Australians thought that the death penalty should be universally abolished. In the same poll however, only fourty-two per cent of Australians supported the recall of Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia — representing a clear divergence between how Australians view the death penalty, and what they’re actually willing to do about it. What is clear is that the overwhelming majority of the Australian people, along with their Government, abhor the death penalty. What is unclear is how we as a nation will react when our citizens are again put before a firing squad. And, with nine Australians facing the death penalty in China alone, with Indonesia promising to execute a further 125 people, and with Papua New Guinea planning to reintroduce the death penalty – it’s only a matter of time before Australia faces this quandary again. *Harrison Howard is a member of the Macquarie University Politics Society. More articles can be found at their website; mqups.com and Facebook page; facebook. com/macquarieuniversitypoliticssociety.
MQ CATHOLIC SOCIETY SPARKS CONTROVERSY OVER ‘LIFE WEEK’ EVENT ON CAMPUS WORDS || ANNA GLEN The Macquarie University Catholic Society has sparked controversy after organising a ‘Life Week’ event which featured both pro-life and anti marriage equality speakers. The event was held in conjunction with the Macquarie University Catholic Chaplaincy from 5 October to 7 October in the Central Courtyard. The Catholic Society said “the purpose of Life Week was to engage in dialogue with the university community about moral issues. We intended to create an atmosphere of understanding where people can recognise opposing beliefs.” Some of the speeches included ‘Same-sex marriage won’t affect you? Consequences and considerations’, which likened same-sex marriage with polygamy and talked about the harmful effect of same-sex marriage on children, as well as ‘Planned Parenthood and the commodification of human life’, where it was alleged that “pro-choice ideologies” refuse to accept the “horror of their actions” and that women who accessed abortions had “killed unborn children.” In a statement to Grapeshot, the Catholic Society said it believed “in an Australian University, in a free country with a democratic government, groups who oppose same-sex marriage have a right to speak on this issue just as those who are in favour of it do. No person of same-sex attraction was vilified by the talk.” “Having an opinion or belief that is different does not make that opinion or belief homophobic or against women, in the same way that women who are against abortion are not necessarily ‘anti women’
and homosexuals who oppose same-sex marriage are not homophobic.” Timothy Zhang, the GLBTIQ student representative on the Student Advisory Board, held reservations about the speeches and said “any event that features misogynist speech or anti-GLBTIQ remarks [should] not be hosted within the premises of Macquarie University.” “While events hosted by MQ Catholic Society are still under investigation at Campus Engagement Office, I want to stress that all student societies should comply to the inclusion policy of Macquarie University otherwise they will put themselves at risk of disaffiliation.” Zhang referred to the Macquarie University Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Plan 2015 – 2019, which states that “racism, homophobia, sexism, and any form of unlawful discrimination, bullying or harassment is unacceptable at Macquarie and is dealt with as swiftly as possible”. The anti-abortion speech by Fennelle McLaurin from the Life, Marriage and Family Centre acted as the main catalyst of the protest on 6 October. Young Labor Women’s representative, Alice Melton, was made aware of the speech by another student and organised a snap rally the night before the speech was set to take place. “I had received word that there were people on campus who wanted to take action (mainly from the Queer and Women’s Collectives), but weren’t comfortable spearheading a protest themselves. As the Women’s Officer of the MQU Labor Club and a fierce feminist, it felt like the appropriate thing to do”,
Melton said. “The talk was happening in the Central Courtyard, a part of the uni accessed by thousands of students every day, and the topic of abortion is clearly an extremely personal and divisive one. [This] would contravene with campus wellbeing, and that students, especially women, would be made to feel unsafe and judged on campus.” Melton set up a Facebook event with over 1000 invitations labelled ‘SNAP ACTION: Rally against anti-choice hate speech’. The Catholic Society denies the event constituted hate speech and said “too easily do the labels of ‘hate speech’ and ‘homophobia’ shut down opposing opinions and beliefs, without really listening to the message being delivered.” The rally itself was entirely peaceful, with picketers chanting occasionally and holding signs such as ‘think outside my box!’. Protestors stood at the opposite end of the Courtyard after being told by police that they could not approach the marquee where the speech was being held, notwithstanding the fact that Catholic Society organisers had welcomed them over. Some individual protestors were able to attend a question-and-answer session with the speaker, Fennelle McLaurin, upon the conclusion of her speech. The dialogue between the two parties was civil, however, at one point a questioner was ejected from the stage after speaking for too long. The organisers called for the police to have him removed, causing one man to interject “his opinion is just as valuable as the guy in the cloak, let him speak!”, referring to the Chaplain. The questioner, Sam Johns, exited the stage of his own volition and conceded that in general “the event was conducted pretty fairly” and said “If the university explicitly gave them that space for that purpose, then it was theirs to run as they saw fit, so I had no problem with them turning the mic off on me.”
While Catholic Society often organises events of this nature, it is unclear how the controversial event gained authorisation to use the Central Courtyard as its platform. Student HQ, which regulates students’ events, says the Catholic Society had slipped through the cracks because it had not followed proper procedures. In a meeting between members from the MQ Atheist League and Student HQ, the League says it was told that “if this had been done properly it should have been done in a private room to stop unnecessary exposure to students” and that “the reason such a divisive topic was discussed in such a public space was because Cathsoc didn’t follow event booking procedure.” However in a statement to Grapeshot, the Catholic Society said it believed it had followed student group regulations because it booked the marquee through the university and had printed posters for the event through Student HQ. “Student Groups were also asked to check our posters and the design to ensure accurate labelling of the Macquarie University logo, therefore as there was no objection here, we assumed that we could go ahead,” the statement said. Either way, while protest organiser Alice Melton rejects “the belief that being a prolifer entitles you to strip away the freedom of choice from other women”, she sees the invigoration of student politics as a silver lining of the event – as does the Catholic Society. “People were excited, people were keen to get involved, and it felt like the stepping stones were laid for the creation of an awesome student activist culture on campus”, Melton said.
*Disclaimer: Anna Glen is the undergraduate representative on the Academic Senate and an ex officio member of the Student Advisory Board.
FLASH FICTION: ALMOST BURNING YOUR FINGERS
PART ONE: THAT MOMENT OF CLARITY WORDS || JACK CAMERON STANTON It’s maybe nine am when Flick smokes her last joint and, when she’s close to burning her fingertips on the incoming flame, the postman walks by to drop letters in her mailbox. Once he departs she gets up and gives the mail a perfunctory inspection. The postman is the only person on the street, but she isn’t worried about him, because he is facing the other way, white earphones dangling, one hand rummaging blindly into his backpack, the other scratching a liverish rash on his right leg. Her head is ethereal. She leaves the house, dawdling seven or eight homes away from the postman. She knew the Jeffersons never shop online, same goes with the Masters, who live in 20A, so she waits intently until the postman travelled a little further, maybe until the streets reached higher numbers. Besides, she rationalises, passing the neighbours with a terrible irrigation system that perpetually weeps onto the pavement, there’s no point trying these mailboxes because, as it dawned on her the other day, The Products increase in materialistic value alongside the ascending street numbers, as if they were currency themselves. Sun beams through the cirrus and radiates on her already flushed skin. The postman crouches to tie his shoelaces. Flick tenses. Paranoia ruptures her calm. She stands beside a deciduous tree and conspicuously studies its leaves. Two sweaty male joggers run on the road. One of them swivelling as he passes to check her out.
DISHING SOME THOUGHTS ON CHINESE FOOD WORDS || ANNE TONG
It’s pretty obvious: the representation of Chinese food in Australian society has come a long way. It’s no longer just a quick and easy takeaway option for those lazy nights. While we can’t deny that it’s still a popular Menulog choice, Chinese food has certainly ascended the culinary ladder in recent years. Born in Australia to Chinese parents, much of my own childhood was spent immersed in their daily cultural cooking rituals. Not once do I remember being served sweet and sour pork, or lemon chicken for dinner. Rather, we indulged in zongzi (sticky rice), handmade jiaozi (dumplings) and mantou (steamed bread). As literally the only Chinese kid in an all-white primary school, lunch boxes weren’t so easy. While my friends enjoyed their crust-less ham and cheese sandwiches and fruit rollups, I was busy wondering whether the canteen would be kind enough to heat up my hong shao rou (braised pork) leftovers. After a few incidents involving long-
forgotten and untouched lunches at the bottom of my schoolbag, I stopped packing Mum’s leftovers. I said, “I’ll have what they’re having”. In my home life, Chinese food epitomised warmth and comfort. In public spaces amongst my white peers, it signified cultural difference and exclusion. The thought of kids turning their noses up at my lunch while complaining about the odour filled me with all kinds of anxiety. Back then it seemed that anything which fell outside of spring rolls and honey chicken were considered “too ethnic and foreign”. I’ve always enjoyed devouring the dishes my parents plated, but I’ve only just begun to appreciate their inherent value. As I’ve drifted from home, I slip further from those practices and routines that help keep my Chinese identity grounded. Food and language.
I now see every morsel of traditional, home cooked Chinese food as symbolic of so much more. Casting my thoughts back to little-me, in her playsuit and pigtails, I remember Mum lifting me up onto the kitchen bench to watch her knead and roll out fresh dumpling wrappers. I sat in quiet observation as she relived memories from when grandma first showed her the ropes in the kitchen. Mum always told me it was important to learn, but I was impatient. One defeated frown and several attempts later I would think, “Why don’t the ones I roll look as round and symmetrical as hers?” The lens through which I perceive Chinese food is a direct product of how I was brought up. I adore it, but I also sustain a very personal, often complicated, relationship with it. It feels as though Chinese cuisine has reached a stepping stone in Australian society, wherein less ‘Westernised’ dishes have gained mainstream prevalence and greater acceptance. Knowing the hottest spots for ‘authentic’ ethnic cuisine is now a sure-fire way of appointing oneself with valuable culture points. Do you remember the last time you and your mates went out to gorge on plates of steamed dumplings? Maybe you found it while you were perched behind your computer, scouting Zomato for Chinese restaurants with ratings over eighty per cent. My feelings on this are riddled. On the one hand, I’m glad that the consumption of Chinese food is no longer limited to the typical honey chicken, stuffed in a flimsy, fold up,
cardboard box. The diversification of ethnic cuisines is perhaps one of the most obvious “takeaways” from Australia’s multicultural melting pot analogy. I see the uptake of traditional Chinese food as a culinary form of gentrification. However, the connotation of Chinese food as being “trendy” often sits uncomfortably with me; it’s as though it only gained appreciation by being “discovered” by the Western palette. Less glamorous foods like pidan (Century Year Old Egg) and chou doufu (stinky tofu) are also culinary delights, but I’ve been told time and time again that they are too sensorily offensive. Mind you, it’s often expressed far less articulately. Generally speaking, vomit sound effects and “ew, that’s disgusting” are popular responses. Where do people’s appreciation and respect for Chinese food begin and end? I take issue with the “cherry picking” of Chinese food, with little to no appreciation of its cultural importance. Preparing and sharing food is an integral component of Chinese culture, and the sheer enormity of distinctive cuisines is reflective of this. Dumplings aren’t simply “the latest craze to hit Sydney-siders”. To engage with such a simplistic notion of Chinese food is to disregard the fact that for so many, these dishes are reminiscent and symbolic of beautiful things; familial gatherings and the passing of cultural traditions and stories. *You can follow Anne on Twitter @tong_anne
A SPIRITUAL GUIDE TO
TAKING THE PISS WORDS || ANNA GLEN
As the year comes to a close for Grapeshot, we draw our attention to the hard questions liquor in life and get spiritual. We sought guidance from bottle shop personnel on what your spirit says about you and did some research on the true tradition behind that consumption. Just remember on every spiritual journey, what is inside us, will change our reality. ~ Plutarch, c. AD 46 – AD 120
TEQUILA “Usually youthful boys out at a party. SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS. Or housewives preparing margaritas for the gals” Tequila is a regional spirit and made from ‘blue agave’, a plant found around the area of Tequila in Mexico. Rich in tradition, the Agave Landscape is UNESCO protected because tequila has been produced there since the sixteenth century. What is not traditional is the worm found in the bottle of some ‘Tequila’ brands, nor is the worm hallucinogenic – it is just a marketing ploy. Sorry. In Australia, tequila is traditionally consumed in the latter part of the evening when 45mL of liquid comes with a seven-dollar plus price tag, some salt, and an old lime seems reasonable because you’re really paying for the ‘moment’. Also for the housewives of Australia who are internally thinking SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS but need to keep up appearances and opt for a margarita instead.
Cocktails using tequila: Long island ice tea: ½ oz gin, ½ oz vodka, ½ oz rum, ½ tequila, ½ triple sec, 1 oz sweet and sour mix, 6 oz cola. Tequila Sunrise: 1 ½ oz Tequila, ½ oz Grenadine syrup, 3 oz orange juice. Margarita: 2 oz Tequila, 1 oz Lime juice, 1 oz Cointreau.
WHISKY/EY “Whisky is for “cultured” spirit drinkers not whiskey though - that’s for degenerates” The difference between whisky and whiskey is that the former applies to Scottish, and therefore ‘real’ whiskey, and the latter refers to Irish or American liquors. Generally consumed straight, whisk/ey is a popular choice for heavy drinkers. If you drink whisky, you probably have manners. Whiskey drinkers on the other hand are fighters and can turn angry drunk very quickly. So beware.
Cocktails using whiskey: Whiskey sour: 1 oz lemon juice, ½ Gomme Syrup, 1 dash egg white, 1 ½ whiskey. Pickleback: 1 ½ oz whiskey, 1 ½ oz pickle juice. Blood and Sand: ¾ oz Blended Scotch, ¾ oz sweet vermouth, ¾ oz Cherry Heering, ¾ oz Blood orange juice.
VODKA “A girl’s drink. To get drunk” Vodka was invented in the fifteenth century roughly eight thousand years later than wine. Colloquially known as the ‘vodka wars’, its production methods and place of origin have been subject to great debate. Traditionalists from the ‘Vodka belt’ (e.g. Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus) argue that vodka brands in the EU should be restricted to products made from grain, potatoes and sugar beet molasses. The US, which uses largely non-traditional means, reject this and have threatened to take the matter to World Trade Organisation if its products are expelled from the EU.
Sydney’s CBD? Amiright?! Usually consumed in the form of a vodka cranberry by people who are in designated ‘going out’ clothing. Bros may opt for a vodka red bull instead. Both beverages are socially unacceptable for consumption after the age of twenty-one.
In Australia, the great debate is whether the vodka at Bar Century and Star Bar is watered down. Either way, three dollar mixed drinks in
Bloody Mary: 1 ½ oz vodka, ½ lemon juice, 3 oz tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, tobacco, salt, pepper.
Cocktails using vodka: Cosmopolitan: ½ fresh lime juice, 1 oz cranberry juice, ½ oz Cointreau, 1 ½ oz Citron. Screw Driver: 1 ¾ vodka, 3 ½ oz orange juice.
COGNAC “Is meant to be like the number one gangsta drink, like you drink Cognac if you started from the bottom now u here. 2Pac’s preference.” Cognac is a type of brandy that is derived from the French town Cognac, and must comply with certain production methods set down by French authorities. As a beverage of high sophistication, the spirit was traditionally an after dinner tipple consumed by the cigar-chomping Joe Hockeys of this world. In an unlikely culture clash, American rap stars have embraced Cognac as part of the ‘bling’ culture that thrives off ostentatious wealth and high luxury items. This peaked in 2001 when the Busta Rhymes and Diddy hit ‘Pass the Courvoisier’ resulted in a thirty per cent increase of Cognac sales in the US. Then, in 2009 Kanye West was filmed downing a bottle of Hennessey on the red carpet shortly before his notorious Taylor Swift mic grab.
Thus, this spirit is most appropriately consumed when your Centrelink payment/ weekly paycheck has just come through – and you’re falsely thinking I’M RICH. May also be consumed when planning an ultimate public sass. Cocktails using Cognac: Straight: 750 mL Cognac French 125: 2 oz brandy, 2 oz sweet and sour mix, chilled Champagne, 1 sliced lemon. The Belclare: 1 ½ oz Cognac, ¾ oz grapefruit liqueur, ½ oz white crème de cacao liqueur, ¼ oz. Absinthe, 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
GIN “Anybody buying Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray or Hendricks’s gin thinks they’re classy and a bit of an intellectual. Whether they actually are or not is questionable” Ye ol’ England often springs to mind when one thinks of gin, but the spirit actually has its origins in Holland. The English discovered gin in the seventeenth century after seeing the Dutch drink it in the Thirty Year War to boost morale before going into battle, thus inspiring the term ‘Dutch Courage’. Therefore, when in need of a bit of liquid courage, gin is an historically appropriate choice. Most gin drinkers probably claim to know this fact, as they tend to be armchair historians and or philosophers.
28 || Regulars
Cocktails using gin: Bees Knees: 2 oz gin, ¾ oz lemon juice, honey syrup, 1 lemon twist. Gimlet: 1 ¼ oz gin, 1 oz lime juice, 1 lime twist. Gin & Tonic: 2 oz gin, 5 oz tonic water, 1 lime wedge.
ADVICE FROM FAKE TONY ABBOTT WORDS || REGINA FEATHERSTONE
Dear Tony, I feel like my friends talk about me behind my back and I think they go out sometimes without me. What should I do? - Antonia Okay well first, I can’t pretend to be the suppository of all wisdom when giving advice. And generally, I would have said to adopt a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about all of these things however, I can say this, I know how it feels a bit. I think I had this problem recently. I don’t think it’s completely your fault, in fact it’s probably not any of your fault. You can do everything right. You can stop the boats, cut the carbon tax…and for what? To not get invited to the next event? It’s tough. It’s not like it’s goodies versus baddies, it’s baddies versus baddies and if you are like me, you get caught in the middle and ultimately get punished for it. I have recently taken to sometimes eating a raw, vegan diet to help when I feel sad. A bite of a raw onion can sometimes really hit the spot. I find stopping the boats to be a nice relaxing past time as well. I think you need some time away to reflect if you even want to join their parties. Not too long ago, I took a great trip to Canadia, a beautiful country… or even some of the Islands in the Pacific are good but you have to get in quick ;)
I mean, these people, these ‘friends’, how much do you really know about them? Are they really that great? For all you know they could be part of the eighty per cent of people who believe climate change is a real and present danger. Now that is scary…to think you could be friends with people like that. Maybe re-evaluate how much you know about these people and whether they are true friends. If I were you, which I’m not, I’m me, but if I was you, I’d probably feel a bit threatened. I would maybe start having some doubts about myself. Whatever you do, don’t change your conversation topics, stick to what you know how to talk about. Stay true to yourself and if you can, stop some boats. Now Antonia, I feel from your name and general whiny and emotionally injected question that you may be of the female variety. I can’t give you completely relevant advice simply because our aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons, but I hope some of this has been helpful. I guess at the end of the day, shit happens. Move on. Find other people to hang out with and write a book like I will probably do. - Tony P.S Stop the boats.
Regulars || 29
THE ANATOMY OF A BITCH WORDS || NOELLE MARTIN
Have you ever been called a bitch? Have you ever called someone a bitch? Have you ever thought someone was a bitch? Let’s be real, we could all answer yes to at least one of the above. A bitch is defined as a “spiteful or unpleasant woman,” but the term is no longer used just to refer to the mean girl in class, the ‘Regina George’ type. It is increasingly being used to refer to women who are outspoken, opinionated, competitive, honest, demanding and dominant, particularly women in positions of power; the ‘Miranda Priestly’ type. So how honest or outspoken can a woman be before they’re considered a bitch? To extent can they express their desires without coming across as demanding? And how come men in positions of power are often seen as assertive whereas women are
seen as bossy or bitches? Is it the way women talk, their tone or pitch that is distinct from a man’s voice? Is it found in a woman’s mannerisms or appearance? Is it influenced by pop culture representations of women in the media? Or are we as a society still subconsciously holding onto traditional gender stereotypes where women are expected to be submissive, nurturing and empathetic and men are expected to be dominant and outspoken? Are we rejecting any departure from these traditional gender roles? Surely not, but let’s explore. The way men and women communicate varies significantly, women tend to possess a passiveaggressive communication style where they don’t say what they mean because according to psychologists women have
been trained by society to be nice and avoid conflict. Take the simple example of a man pursuing a woman in a bar; if she’s not interested, a woman will often lie that she has a boyfriend or is even a lesbian, or fabricate some excuse in order to be nice, avoid conflict and maintain harmony. If she rejects him by saying she’s not interested, she’s seen as a bitch. When women express something, it is often interpreted differently by the listener, leaving the woman open to misinterpretation. Also, for many women, trying to be assertive can easily turn into being either too passive or too aggressive. So, if you’re passive you’re seen as weak. If you’re aggressive, people are going to think you’re a bitch. But is this the same for men and does this leave assertive communication as the only way for a woman NOT to come across as a bitch? Even if a woman is assertive, it is still seen as a traditionally masculine stereotype. Could it be that society is holding onto traditional gender stereotypes? And when a woman possesses traits that are ‘traditionally masculine’, such as being outspoken or competitive, are we willing to accept it? When we explore this idea further we can see the same is true for men. The only time a man is called a bitch, is when he displays weakness. A man, who is called a bitch, is a man who is seen to possess feminine qualities. This man is a bitch because he does not conform to traditional notions of what a man should be. Similarly, a woman is called a bitch because she does not conform to what a woman should traditionally be. When we use the word bitch are we subconsciously reinforcing traditional gender stereotypes? In a world where the majority of
men’s voices are louder than women’s and men are bigger and taller than women, it is very difficult for women to climb up the executive ladder or to have their voices heard. In order to raise their voices, women must resort to possessing masculine qualities in positions of power. To succeed in this world, women must ‘act like a lady, think like a man’ but when they finally do, they are still undermined by the word ‘bitch.’ The word bitch is more damaging to notions of gender than we realise. It also doesn’t help that pop culture portrays outspoken women as bitches, in the movie 10 Things I Hate About You, the opinionated protagonist Kat is referred to as a “heinous bitch.” For all intents and purposes it’s practically irrelevant whether the woman is a nasty, spiteful, unpleasant bitch, because no matter how a woman acts, she cannot avoid being undermined by the word bitch. I think before we use the term bitch, we should be aware of what it’s doing to notions of gender. The very application of the word undermines women’s views and voices. It reinforces traditional gender stereotypes and rejects any role reversal among genders. It’s an insult. Alternatively, we can reclaim the word. We can empower women through the word itself. Sherry Argov does just this in her book Why Men Love Bitches describing a bitch as an “empowered woman who derives tremendous strength from the ability to be an independent thinker, particularly in a world that still teaches women how to be self-abnegating. This woman doesn’t live someone else’s standards, only her own.” To bitch or not to bitch?
FATHER JOHN MISTY: A GENIUS OR A SELF-INDULGENT ASSHOLE? WORDS || PHILLIP LEASON
In a progress interview before the release of his second album as Father John Misty, Josh Tillman divulged that there was going to be a song on it about a dog that bites his dick. That song never made it through to the final cut. Truth be told, it probably never existed. It was just another of the deadpan jokes that his entire musical persona is built around. Back in 2011 he chose the confusing ‘Misty’ moniker because it’s so patently ridiculous; a reaction against the decade he spent taking himself too seriously while recording as J. Tillman. The release of I Love You, Honeybear this year has seen him blow up, and be roped into the media flow that goes with being an artist in the twenty-first century. He now seems determined to disrupt the institution from within and, while stroking his own ego, he’s pulling at the thread of social construct. In January, Misty opted to give Honeybear the obligatory pre-release album streaming with his own service: Streamlined Audio Protocol. As he described it, SAP was “a new signal-to-audio process by which popular albums are ‘sapped’ of their performances, original vocal, atmosphere and other distracting affectations so the consumer can decide quickly and efficiently whether they like a musical composition, based strictly on its formal attributes…” The twist meant that all of the tracks were reduced to god-awful MIDI files. Needless to say, it’s unlistenable. I shudder to think that anybody should have had the patience to endure the entire album performed by binary algorithms, but it’s a powerful statement. Commodification and excess is reducing works of art to background noise. We hop on Spotify, click discover and are faced by a barrage of options. We’ll pick an auto-generated playlist and let it serve as a mere distraction to occupy us while we complete other, probably more important tasks. So if we aren’t putting in the effort, or the money, to appreciate the music, why should artists be putting in the effort, or the money, to make it? We’re not music fans anymore, we’re music consumers, digging our own grave, and before long SAP could be where we arrive. Since then Misty’s Instagram has regressed to become nothing but an outlet for him to ironically mock banal conventions and self-
obsession. Despite having 57.9k followers and only following ‘Pizza’, he has no snaps of himself or his life of stardom in his feed. He deleted the six month block which had actual photos and clips, and has instead been uploading daily iStock photos with preposterous captions. “Been too long since I’ve seen these lovelies! *heart, blessed hands, heart* Wish I didn’t have to go home and masturbate onto my cat or I could have brunched all day! #brunch” It’s hilarious, but it’s also contains a sickening element of truth: our performative self-obsession is a little indicative of sociopaths. Because his social commentary is so relentless, it’s easy to forget that behind the absurd persona is a musician, until he pulls a stunt like the meta-covers he released last week. Labelled as ‘My reinterpretation of Ryan Adam’s classic album 1989’, he covered Adams’ covers of Taylor Swift’s songs ‘Blank Space’ and ‘Welcome to New York’ in the style of the Velvet Underground. He promptly removed them from his Soundcloud (Lou Reed’s ghost told him to in a dream) and replaced them with a new track of his, ‘The Memo’. ‘The Memo’ makes it pretty evident that the covers were a stab, with its opening verse about masquerading nonsense as art, “But just between you me / Here at the cultural low water mark / If it’s fraud or art / They’ll pay you to believe”. The song then goes on to detail all the perils of life as a consumer slave. It’s all rich existential material, but he’s so clearly wrapt by his own intellect that I feel forced to ask: is Father John Misty an absurdist visionary, or is he just a pseudo-philosophical tool with a guitar and an iPhone? At the end of the day, he’d probably welcome the label ‘self-indulgent asshole’, and justify it with a sarcastic, meta-physical explanation. But because his provocative self-awareness has encouraged me to dwell on the extraneous constructs attached to music and humanity, or if just to spite him, I’m going to go with genius. The man is a genius. Father John Misty will be in Australia in December for Meredith and Fairgrounds festivals, with a side show at the Sydney Opera House.
TAKEAWAY ISN’T A DISH BEST SERVED COLD WORDS || VANESSA CAPITO So before we get started, I just have to start off by saying that I totally flunked. Yes, I failed this challenge, but with all due respect, it was by far the toughest, and grossest one yet. ‘More than dumpster diving?’ I hear you ask. Yes. ‘More than spilling your period blood on you because you thought it was a good idea to stick a cup up inside your bits?’ Yes. Attempting to survive off leftover fast-food is awful. Hot fries>cold fries. When I agreed to do this, I’ve got to say I clearly had no idea what I was getting myself into. I really didn’t think it was going to be as bad as it was. I thought, ‘Hey, a day old cheeseburger can’t be that bad. I can do this for two days man, totally’. But boy, how wrong I was. THE BEGINNING It was Sunday night and I had just gone out for pizza and on the way home I stopped off at the drive-thru Maccas at Darling Harbour and picked myself up a cheeseburger meal with a Coke. In hindsight, I wished I’d gotten a happy meal because at least I would’ve gotten a free toy with it :’( When I got home, I popped it in the fridge thinking “Ha, this is going to be a breeze, I love McDonald’s.” I’d also asked my brother to pick me up some KFC on his way home too so I could eat that for lunch. I was so organised. When I woke up I was ready, hungry and excited to start this challenge. I got my little baggie
from the fridge, my coke too, and while my mum was like, “What the hell are you doing?”, I sat down and laid my brekkie out on the table. I mean, to be honest, before I’d even tried it I was kind of like, gross but I thought it would just taste like a cold burger or something. And while the thought of heating it up had crossed my mind, the idea of reheating Maccas meat which had probably already been reheated at some point freaked me out and the chef in me was screaming “FOOD POISONING”. So I left it cold. I started with a few chips, and this is where things started to fall apart. They were so fucking gross, like a thawed out hashbrown or cold potato or something, which I guess is what they were before they were cooked so the fact that they tasted like that cold, kind of made sense. It bummed me out hard and I was super reluctant to eat the burger, but I was so hungry I didn’t have much of a choice. It was weird holding a cold burger, but when I took a bite, it wasn’t that bad, really. I thought to myself “Thank God because I cannot eat those chips”. It just tasted like the normal burger, but cold, and hard. But then the aftertaste, oh my God, the aftertaste was the worst. Worse than the chips. It tasted like that taste you get in your mouth when you’re super hungover and you’ve had Maccas the night before and you haven’t brushed your teeth. It tasted like that (assuming you’ve all been there, but maybe I’m just a gross bitch who doesn’t brush her teeth twice a day, soznotsoz). Basically, it tasted like a hangover. Who knew that was even possible?
I wanted to cry. This was the saddest meal I’d ever eaten. And one time I made rice with one fried egg on top with sriracha and a slice of cheese because I was so poor. What the hell had I gotten myself into? I drunk my flat coke and thought, how the fuck can I make this better?
*Has light bulb moment* Condiments! I grabbed the honey-mustard from my fridge and put it on the burger with every bite I took. I wish I could say this made it all okay but it only masked the taste of the burger and chips. I don’t think I’ll ever taste honey-mustard the same way again. I got through all the fries, but could only handle about half of the burger. I was done. THE MIDDLE I went to uni after I had breakfast, and I parked in the Woolies carpark. I was still so hungry. This was when things started to fault; I got a Powerade, because I figured it would give me energy because that’s what it’s meant to do or something, plus, I figured having liquids that weren’t leftovers wouldn’t count as cheating, right? With one Powerade down I was back at home and was starving. I couldn’t have been more hungry. I’ve actually heard from people that leftover KFC chicken is the bomb, and it’s chicken, not a burger, so it really couldn’t be that bad. Certainly not any worse than the burger. Fuck you, McDonalds. Anyway, I got the KFC box out of the fridge and thank God there was coleslaw because that’s
totally not even a leftover thing. I hit the jackpot with that one. I had one chip and it was the same as the Maccas ones. I was disappointed, but not completely disheartened. I moved on to the chicken. The fried batter stuff had gone soggy, but it still tasted the same, which was great, really great. I ate the chicken, because it actually tasted normal and kind of good. I totally get why people love leftover KFC chicken now. I feel your vibes people! I feel ‘em! At that point I was just so grateful for edible food that I finished it all, including the coleslaw, but not the chips, gross. THE END After the KFC, I kind of knew the challenge was over. My organisation had gone to shit and I didn’t have any more leftovers, except three-day old pasta, plus I had to go into work, and if I had’ve brought my leftovers of the fastfood variety, I would’ve copped so much shit. So that was a nogo. I thought about buying some Pizza Hut and trying that because leftover pizza is always good but I didn’t, mainly because I was being selfish and wanted real food so I just gave up then and there. My mini-Supersize Me challenge was over, thank God. I have no idea how on Earth that guy survived on Maccas for as long as he did. I learnt that leftovers can be good, and in any other instance, where they’re actual leftovers, not bought the night before to eat the next day, they can save you a bit of money. But not if they’re from McDonalds. No way. If that’s the case, they’ll just leave you sad and empty inside, binging on blue Powerade. Not cool guys, not cool. Please don’t try this at home.
FLASH FICTION: ALMOST BURNING YOUR FINGERS
PART TWO: A PORTRAIT OF CORPORATE REPTILES
WORDS || JACK CAMERON STANTON When she gets really stoned, and this has been happening loads over the last few weeks, she enters this laughing fit thinking about all these frustrated housewives and fed up businessmen on the phone to Amazon or Ebay or wherever they bought their shit, complaining furiously at the retailprotocol disaffection from the operator, who might as well be an automated voice machine, and probably will become a robot soon, honestly, at this rate, trying to figure out when The Products they bought will arrive: it’s been months, ya hear me, months, – she impersonates this husky male voice by pinching her nose – and my wife was planning on wearing that LV sequenced dress last Thursday, ya hear? We ain’t even gonna fucking use it now. I had to go all the way to the store downtown and buy it full retail price. All the way to the fucking store to buy my shit! She imagines they accent the last part like: Full. Retail. Price. Flick’s eBay account is xFlickernator93x. Her rating is 98% positive, which, if you don’t know, is the sort of rating that you can wholeheartedly trust. She has what can best be defined as a ‘reputation’ to uphold. The postman finishes tying his laces then drops a parcel in front of house number 44. Flick reaches into the mailbox and examines the parcel. The postal stamps signify it is an international delivery. The box is rectangular, well protected. It juts out lazily, invitingly. She stands in front of house 39, looks around – nobody’s around – and shoves the box into her backpack. Flick’s Shanghai is risky. Usually she avoids broad daylight ventures whenever possible. But today she has smoked the rest of her marijuana, and christ, the insomnia her sobriety will cause is totally-fuckingworth-it. When Flick gets home she pulls a box cutter from her pocket and slices off the sticky tape. Inside, an elegant case rests on beige cushioning. A gleaming watch. A beautiful watch. Its hands are already ticking. A receipt falls onto her lap. She read the price, $*****, and shivers. She races to her room, and takes pictures from various angles, selecting the very best lighting for the job. She put the photos up on xFlickerantor93x almost immediately. She’s foaming at the mouth, imagining that glorious moment where you check your bank account online to see that the numbers, which verify your worth, have ascended.
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THE BLACK RAT: SYDNEY’S REAL LIFE SUPERHERO WORDS || CAMERON COLWELL I met The Black Rat at St. Peter’s Station, and because of his strict code of secrecy, I can only describe him as Caucasion, mid-thirties, and bearded. He’s walking me to a park for our interview, and I’m wondering, what makes someone decide to don a secret identity in order to promote street safety and dedicate countless amounts of time, money, and energy into patrolling the streets of Western Sydney? The Black Rat is a real-life superhero, donning knife-proof armour, and arming himself only with his phone, with which he reports crime to the local police. It becomes quite clear during the interview, just how seriously the Black Rat takes his position as a ‘street safety activist.’ Taking martialarts classes five nights a week, spending around $5000 on armour, and countless nights patrolling the streets of Sydney’s inner-west, he cites the breakdown of community-based Neighbourhood Watch programs and people’s smartphone-based lack of awareness as reasons why the area is becoming less safe through time. It’s not long till he’s telling me what functions as his superhero origin story: While a trauamatic, violent upbringing
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had made him an adult concerned with what he could do to make his surroundings safer, he decided to take matters into his own hands (Or, “Working within the law,” as he calls it.) when he was assaulted on a street we’re passing. A man wielding a broken bottle had harrassed him on the street, and, while he managed to get away, thrown a bottle directly at him, missing his head by centimetres. The Black Rat was heavily considering doing something to compensate for the police’s inactivity around the area, but it wasn’t till then that he became serious about becoming what he describes as his position as “A street safety activist.” Unlike other Real Life Superheroes, such as Phoenix Jones, who dress up in costumes and roam about the streets in order to embarrass the police into action, The Black Rat doesn’t seek to directly intervene in violent crime. His method is simple, but effective: Armed with his phone, he patrols the streets of Western Sydney three times a week, and reports any violent crime he witnesses. While on most nights, he doesn’t see anything, he is directly responsible for no less than eight criminal convictions. While The Black Rat only dons his
superhero suit for PR purposes, he is careful about not letting journalists work out his true identity. However, his friends know: Before he had his gear sorted out, he walked into a supermarket and discovered that he’d made the front page of the newspaper. However, other than this friends, who recognised him immediately, The Black Rat is very secretive about his life out of the super-suit. I ask him about his body armour, which uses knifeproof and nonUtonian material in order to keep The Black Rat safe, but also ready to move. He tells me that he had a brief period of experimentiation, the highlight of which was a metal, medieval-style breastplate hidden beneath his clothes. It becomes extremely obvious very early on how well Sydney’s superhero has thought things through: This is not a man projecting his childish fantasies onto the real world, but a dedicated professional. However, The Black Rat was heavily influenced by comic-book characters, but only the ones without powers. He aligns himself mostly with Batman, because of his narrative of turning mental illness into a way of helping other people. The Black Rat has PTSD, one of the symptoms of which, being hyper-vigilance, means that he is always acutely aware of his surroundings. “If I could turn it on and off, it’d be a superpower,” he says. His superhero identity, as with the rest of his operation, has been keenly thought through: The Black Rat thinks rats are a misunderstood animal. Not all of The Black Rat’s missions have dealt with violent crime. We’re
walking past Campbell Street when he points down it, and begins to explain that, at one time, all of the streetlights on it had broken, leaving it “Dark as a cave,” to the point where women would walk in the middle of the road because it made him feel safer. While on his patrols, The Black Rat notes down broken lights, and notifies The City of Sydney or energy companies of the defect. “They make it intentionally hard for it to find out who to contact, though,” he adds. Additionally, The Black Rat intervened when a nearby school crossing had been worn down by years of schoolchildren’s feet, and his efforts drawing attention to the matter resulted in a new crossing. The Black Rat has plenty to say about street safety. When I bring up the Sydney lock-out laws, and if they’ve made the surrounding suburbs more dangerous, he’s derisive about the matter: “It’s not alcohol that fuels violence, it’s ego. People taking out their issues on other people.” A safety tip he offers, when I ask what individuals can do to keep themselves safe: Because there’s a small amount of gold in every Australian $2 coin, keeping $20 worth of them in a wallet makes for a sneakily efficient weapon, with the force to break an attacker’s nose. He makes a point that, while researching how to pull off his one-man street safety operation, the laws in Australia prevent an individual from arming themselves against street violence, such as with mace spray or personal tasers. His armour is only knifeproof, because bulletproof armour is illegal. Back at the station, he sends me off pretty hurriedly: He’s got a martial arts class.
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INTERVIEW WITH HAWZHIN AZEEZ : ACADEMIC, REFUGEE, SHINING LIGHT WORDS || ALICIA SCOTT Hawzhin Azeez’s story of her family fleeing Iraq under Saddam Hussein’s regime is one of immense courage. After being forced out of the Kurdish region Basure in the 1980s, Hawzhin spent her childhood as a displaced refugee, until finally resettling in Sydney in 1995. Now a political activist and feminist, Hawzhin dedicates her life to eradicating oppression everywhere, specifically of the Kurdish people. Hawzhin runs a Facebook page called ‘The Middle Eastern Feminist,’ which reaches up to 1.2 million people globally.
Do you have memories of your journey as a refugee to Australia? Does your family talk about their experiences of fleeing war often? Yes, I have some vivid memories of the escape across the border from northern Iraq Basur to north-western Iran . . . My family’s escape from the Saddam regime came in light of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) and the Kurdish resistance from Basur of Kurdistan towards the Saddam regime. Many of my family members were participating in the resistance in the mountains of Kurdistan. An uncle had already been murdered by the Saddam regime as a result of the infamous Ba’athest system of torture. The resulting participation of my family members in the resistance led to my family escaping further persecution for Rojhelat; but even before that we were in a state of hiding from the government agents. Moving from family to family, sensing the terror of the adults around me, the constant presence of bombs, weapons, and the sense of urgency of the situation did not fail to imprint themselves on my mind. Part of the escape also involved crossing over borders but it resulted in my family hiding in caves, hiding behind boulders, taking refuge in any place that would allow us a respite from the incessant bombings. My earliest memories were in the wilderness of Kurdistan, across its flowering fields, the smell of firewood to this
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date invokes feelings of being in the woods of Kurdistan during that period. For us, the wars and the ongoing oppression and violence on the Kurds across Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran are daily aspects of our conversations, our interactions with each other, our collective identity as a family. These issues ensures that discussions around war, around the situation of the Kurds, geopolitics, neo-imperialism, colonialism and Western hegemony are integral aspects of our daily conversations in my family. Other families go on holidays to bond with eachother, we share our political analysis and feelings of anger and need for political activism. But this is often the case with refugee families whose connection with the ‘homeland’ is strengthened by the ongoing oppression of their people back home. Considering the consistent, systematic and widespread violences imposed on the Kurds within the Middle East it is almost impossible for a highly political family such as mine to distance ourselves from the constant stories, experiences, and daily realities of war, terrorism, violence and ethnic and religious marginalisation. The recent terrorism imposed on the Yezidi Kurds remains a horror that will forever colour my activism and need to support minorities, particularly women and girl children in war ridden and terrorised societies.
You have an impressive academic record spanning from the University of Western Sydney, Macquarie University, and Newcastle University studying international relations and political science. How did your education prepare you for fighting the Kurdish struggle against ISIL? I came from a refugee family, and had the privilege of having a father who emphasised the importance of education, especially as a
women as a form of not only self emancipation, but also that of my people and nation. Many refugee families did not have these values. For many girls, including some of my friends, marriage was seen as the ultimate goal and escape mechanism. My early experiences of war, being a refugee and attempting to think critically as a teenager and young woman about feelings of belonging, identity and exile drew me heavily to education. Education was the tool for my emancipation, by my parent’s support, love and encouragement to achieve my educational goals allowed me to gain my Ph.D. in political Science and International Relations . . .
With more than half of Syria’s population being forced to leave their homes from internal conflict, specifically from ISIL attacks, the refugee crisis has become an inescapable consequence of the war. Have you seen firsthand the humanitarian resources being strained in neighbouring Middle Eastern countries and/or European countries? I have seen firsthand the resources stretched in Kobane, north Syria. I have also seen the condition of the refugees in Turkey and Iraq. The situation of many of these refugees is terrible. Often there is lack of adequate and consistent supply and aid, resulting in many choosing to ‘fend’ for themselves. In Kobane in particular the lack of resources across the education, health, water, electricity and others is visible and clear. It was not unusual to see families in destroyed homes with missing walls that reduced privacy, safety and protection from elements. Lack of clean water and especially appropriate sanitation was also another important concern. I do not believe that we have seen a strain on the resources of developed countries like Australia, or the UK as they have not taken on their fair share of refugee intakes. The strain, if there is one, is the lack of preparation and appropriate humanitarian methods of supporting and accommodating refugees of this nature. In Australia the discussion around refugees is very polarised and limited.
What should Australia, and the broader international community, be doing to find a
real solution to the global refugee crisis? Many refugees will tell you, as my own family would, that no one wants to sever the ties with their homeland. No one chooses to be a refugee. But people are forced to escape Syria in this case as a result of the combination of the Assad regime’s brutality and that of ISIL. For three years the situation in Syria festered and thousands fled, millions were displaced, many others were maimed or killed. The refugee crises are a symptom of larger humanitarian crises that occur as a result of the ongoing ISIL and Assad regime brutality. This is not advocating for war or intervention by any means. However, the international community, including the UN, NATO, EU and other relevant bodies have an ethical responsibility to address these conflicts with relevant regional actors. Assad’s brutality towards its own people has been well documented, yet the international community, still recovering from the Iraq war debacle, which resulted in new regional developments such as ISIL, have been too slow and ineffective in their limited responses. The lack of an appropriate and comprehensive diplomatic solution to the ongoing problem has empowered the Assad regime and ISIL to continue their brutal campaign of terror; which has resulted in the current refugee crises . . . Australia has a regional and humanitarian responsibility to locate effective policies that treats seekers of refuge with dignity. The current situation in Australia does not allow for this to occur because ignorance and fear continue to rule, perpetuated by a vain and divisive media. This propaganda continues despite the fact that refugee communities are the backbone of our privileged and prosperous society. Our capacity to weave a multicultural fabric of mutual support, empathy and humanity across ethnic and religious groups is severely hindered by the oppressive, negative and often blatantly false views about refugees. Our collective humanity as a result is hindered and watered down because of this ongoing dominant discourse within our society. All Australians have a personal responsibility to address this issue collectively, diplomatically and humanely.
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THE BLUE HOUSE:
A BOOKSHOP WITH A STORY WORDS || YEHUDA AHARON
he Blue House: sounds like a beachside resort, right? Well it isn’t, not when Simon has you up at seven a.m. to run thirty-five laps around the block before your shift at the café. But nobody is making these kids stay. They all do it for themselves, knowing it will give them an opportunity to right the wrongs of their pasts. The Blue House is a café, a bookstore, a car-wash and a refuge for troubled kids trying to set their lives straight again. I am sitting outside with Simon Robinson, founder of The Blue House, chatting about how he got started. With him is Gianluca, AKA Gibby, the first kid to be brought into the House. He doesn’t speak much. The Blue House used to be a homeless shelter and the operational base for Community Medics, an organisation that provided medical assistance to the homeless. Then the House entered a second chapter of its life, running a social enterprise to assist with funding and provide training for the residents to gain jobs and a new start. But the homeless shelter/business plan never worked out. One day, Simon saw police harassing a young boy as he walked past the House. They told him the boy was nothing but trouble. They told him about the growing youth problem in Parramatta. Simon knew the boy – he and his gang hung out around the corner at the abandoned Jaycar building. So he decided to approach him,
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and told the boy that if he wanted to straighten his life out he should turn up at the café at nine a.m. Monday morning. That troubled kid is now sitting in front of me, quiet at times, vibrant joker at others, he has now quit alcohol, drugs and now wants to study software design. It isn’t very long before a homeless man stops by to say hello. He looks about seventy, suffering from excessive skin damage and a bad leg. He isn’t introduced to me but, Simon refers to him as ‘Ray’. Within a few minutes Gibby fixes him up with a sleeping bag, sunscreen and some razors. Ray uses the cafe bathroom to shave and comes out for a chat, telling us about the time when somebody told him he only looked forty. He then explains that his wife of thirty-four years died, which forced him onto the streets. Simon isn’t shying away from the hard questions, asking Ray where he is camping these days, whether he has been to a doctor lately and if he wants to leave his next of kin details with The Blue House. Later Simon tells me that the spots on Ray’s nose are cancerous. Before the conversation with Ray is up, it is lunchtime and the café workers come out. I now have one more for company. Ahmed is eighteen. He did not finish school and used to be in Gibby’s gang but now says he loves science and history. Ahmed asks me questions about the speed of light, the Big Bang, and Jewish history; he assumes
that because I am at university I would have the answers, but he already knows more than I might ever know about those subjects. At least he is surrounded by almost 7,000 books with more answers on every topic he can think of.
...nobody is making these kids stay. They all do it for themselves, knowing it will give them an opportunity to right the wrongs of their pasts. The kids at The Blue House, whether residents or not, are each encouraged to pursue their educational aims. The turnaround, Simon tells me, is phenomenal, but they still have four kids without a Year Ten education equivalent and “a seventeenyear-old girl with the education of a fifth-grader”. To deal with this they provide a place of stability and support outside of their homes. School teachers come in once a week to assist them with their education and the kids each study Cert II TAFE courses to bring them up to standard. Alongside that, they are also developing business skills and are provided with networking opportunities with the community, with whom they formulate their own career goals and plan ways to achieve them. “All the kids here are coming from backgrounds of trouble with the police, court matters, substance abuse issues, some of them are straight up homeless, or with a history of abuse in the family.” But The Blue House does not just operate for the residents and workers, it is also a safe refuge for anybody in distress, a place they can count on when in trouble. “We had one last night, gosh, it was like ten-thirty at night, knocking on the door. Sixteen-year-old female. Heavily intoxicated. She was crying, filthy, covered in dirt. A group of kids abused her and then took off with her shoes and phone. This was the closest place where she knew she would be safe.”
brow furrows. “We get no government support at all” he tells me. “It is made through the social enterprise and support of local businesses”. Any remaining costs come from his own pocket, “I go out and work casually to help keep the doors open. I do medical work for Parramatta Council, I do blood and alcohol testing for them as well. So all the events run by the Council, that need a trained medic, utilise Community Medics.” Simon is now the only permanent member of Community Medics. “We don’t do the outreach work anymore, but if anybody needs help they can come here and we’ll fix them up.” Still, the kids are all doing basic courses with State Health, and co-ordinate cleanups of regular shoot-up spots to keep the area safe for both the homeless and the public. Soon Simon has to leave, Ahmed has an appointment with a councillor, while Patrick and Danielle have lunch scheduled with the Parramatta Eels. So I am left to scour the bookshelves and chat with the kids. Gibby finally starts talking and I meet Luke while they all have a cigarette. Patrick shows me his phone background, which reads ‘Straight Outta Dubbo’ in the same typefont as the Straight Outta Compton film poster. Luke tells me that most of the kids here had B & E (break and enter) on their records. Most of them just did it because they were bored or hungry. That is also the real reason why they continue to come back to The Blue House, there is something to do every day. Even though it can sometimes be tough, they really want to get out of where they once were. As for me there is plenty of things to do at The Blue House, I have made friends with an incredible bunch of kids, who are very friendly. I have picked up two books, one is a rare translation by Der Nister, a Nineteenth Century Yiddish author and a piece of creative non-fiction by American intellectual and tough guy Norman Mailer. On top of all this, I supported a great cause.
When I ask how he makes the ends meet his
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CAVEAT AMICUS (FRIEND BEWARE): LAW IS NOT A DE-PRIVILEGED SPACE YET WORDS || ALICE BISCU The graduation ceremony for my Arts/ Law was in April. I didn’t attend because, among other things, I wasn’t sure how I felt about my Law School experience. Law School was far removed from ordinary life. For example, we spent a long time on the ceremonial formalities of property exchange despite the reality that home-ownership does not exist for most Australians. I researched subtenant agreements using legal research skills – but the point is that Law School is still a privileged space. The critical reasoning skills that students should be developing took second place to outdated Latin, other formalities, and ‘legal reasoning’. Caveat amicus: progressive thinking was averted by telling students that they were learning special skills in legal reasoning, which harbours conservatism due to the absence of counter-perspectives anywhere. I tried to cover my confusion and the feeling that I didn’t belong by trying to memorise ad hoc facts and rules which seemed random and unconnected, despite being told early on that there is an internal logic to law – the corollary being that if you didn’t simply ‘get’ this logic then you were an inadequate law student. Finally, in fourth year, an elective on Anti-Discrimination Law formally introduced me to the possibility of
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progressive law. Then, in Contemporary Theory of Law –an elective only offered over the summer break – we learned about the ‘other’ theories of law which challenged the conservative view assumed behind most mainstream theories. In this class, we studied the conservatism of legal reasoning by analysing ACT v Commonwealth  HCA 55 – in which the High Court of Australia decided to dissolve the same-sex marriages of ACT couples. The class struggled to see how the judges could have reached a different legal conclusion. Few could see behind the rhetoric advanced by the judges themselves that they were ‘applying the law’ in order to see how they channelled politically conservative notions of heteronormativity into their reasoning about the law. This class confirmed my suspicions that the internal logic of law was often the unexplained and assumed dominance of a narrow perspective conflated with ‘law’. Ergo, for law students who have difficulty identifying the ratio decidendi (the reason for a decision) – or distinguishing it from the judge’s opinions – it’s possible you’re not automatically accepting the narrow perspective one is expected to bring to legal reasoning, law and even the world itself, since law is not separate to what’s ‘out there’. The edging out of alternative views extended to tutorials. In first year, I
listened to an abortion debate between two students comparing foetuses to puppies -- “would you kill a puppy?” While it resembled absurdist theatre, no other voices contributed and the tutor omitted the basic Feminist idea that women should have control over what happens to their own bodies. Countless microagressions – like having my experiences invalidated during discussions – made me uncomfortable, anxious and feel out of place and not as smart as the guys who didn’t preface their every sentence with ‘I’m sorry’ or admit their fallibility with ‘I think’ – because we’re told to pretend that the law is what you say it is and to say it confidently enough to convince others. Law should be de-privileged because it does not benefit most people. Law Schools should be addressing this problem by introducing critical theories at the beginning and throughout the law degree so students know there’s room for difference in Law School too. It’s not acceptable to ignore contemporary issues because some privileged persons may not want law students to learn about, say Aboriginal Native Title in property law. Progressive students, and those pursuing academic excellence, expect to engage with justice and equality throughout Law School – and may not automatically believe the dismissive yet politically conservative assertion by a teacher in first year that ‘law has nothing to do with justice’. After experiencing the erasure of parts of my own existence, I don’t think Law School is welcoming of many types of difference yet. Also, in my time little was done to reach people like me with invisible disabilities like social anxiety, which affects as many as 10 percent of Australians and many more law students, who have increased rates of anxiety and depression. Law school is still dominated by a mindset of competitiveness and the
expectation to ‘toughen up’ for the imagined future competition in law. My mental health worsened during law school. In first year, a faculty member told me, in effect, that everyone has anxiety and that I would have to deal with it, so he couldn’t give me the accommodations I needed despite my medical certificate. Afterwards it was a nightmare to approach academics because I never knew who would indirectly put the blame on me for needing help. As a result, it was easier to stay quiet and accept lower grades. I was discouraged from seeking help until the end of my degree. I completed my law thesis while experiencing anxiety and depression and struggling with formal assessment requirements. I was given accommodations because my supervisor believed that my experience was real and supported me. Having an ‘invisible’ disability means that people assume that you still don’t need help. Many can’t or don’t want to acknowledge that someone like me might exist in law school, so it’s easier for them to think that I’m lying or exaggerating. This erasure was exacerbated by the absence of key aspects of my experience in the law school curriculum which mostly did not acknowledge the existence of class, women, people with disabilities, ATSI communities, LGBTQ+ people, migrants, and others, and the relevance of law to these people who are the majority of the Australian community. I’m grateful to the few excellent academics who had a different set of knowledge to their peers and who made my law school journey worthwhile at the end. Instead of a graduation ceremony acknowledging a homogenous achievement, all I need is the knowledge that I survived Law School and the paper to prove it to others.
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READER ADVISORY: MATURE CONTENT
THE UNSPOKEN WORLD OF HENTAI
EXPLODING BREASTS, TENTACLES AND OCCASIONAL MISOGYNY WORDS || SARAH BASFORD I met with Clarence on a Tuesday evening. That’s not his real name though, the topic of today’s discussion is one he’d rather file under a pseudonym. I think: fair enough. Clarence goes to university, he shops at his local grocer, and he plays online video games with his friends. On the surface, Clarence is your regular so-and-so male. But, like most people who share this world with him, Clarence has a few discreet hobbies that he reserves for the cobwebbed corners of his mind. Clarence regularly watches hentai. “Hentai is cartoon pornography,” Clarence explains to me. “There are two forms. There is the animated type which is called hentai anime and then there is hentai manga which is drawn and is more prevalent and generally higher quality.” He tells me that it has the potential to depict acts that transcend the limitations of human pornography. “People are into weird shit that doesn’t exist in real life” he sniggers. Hentai is a Japanese word translating to something along the lines of ‘perversion’ or ‘abnormality’. It is only a relatively recent phenomenon with its beginnings traced back to Japan during the post-World War II period. Manga artist Hideo Azuma’s White Cybele is widely-regarded as being one of the first of the hentai you would typically see
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today. He is also the founder of the genre, lolicon, which is genre of manga revolving around the attraction to pre-pubescent girls inspired by Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. However, not all hentai revolves around these themes. “There are thousands of genres. More than you can imagine,” Clarence informs me and a quick Wiki search confirms that. These genres range from bakunyū which focuses on depictions of women with abnormally large — and sometimes exploding — breasts to tentacle erotica which shows tentacled monsters engaging in both consensual sex and rape with their victims (most commonly, women). One thing becomes very clear: none of these depictions are really interested in the ol’ missionary. I ask Clarence about the ethics of these depictions as one could argue that watching a woman’s breast explode while she’s being raped by a giant octopus is perhaps just a little misogynistic. Clarence seems divided on this question. “I have a problem with the massive amount of rape porn that’s on these sites. It’s very disturbing,” he begins. “But I also believe it’s their expression for these certain desires. It’s possibly a safe way to express them”. He speaks about hentai as being an avenue for people to explore which can
appease certain sexual fantasies without leaving behind a human victim. This isn’t an argument I’ve really considered as most of the violent representations have left me shocked and repulsed. For the moment, however, it does seem to make sense. A victimless crime, perhaps? But could it encourage its audience to enact these fantasies beyond of the screen? “It’s like violence in a movie. Just because someone watches Die Hard, doesn’t mean they want to go kill one hundred people.” Clarence argues. I ask him if it’s a type of pornography that females might be interested in. All he’s told me so far seems to suggest that its audience consists predominately of heterosexual males. “There are some genres that are more focused on a main romance than intense sex scenes,” he says. “There are also some others that focus on homosexual and lesbian sex scenes.” He’s speaking about the genres, yuri and yaoi which depict same-sex relationships, but aren’t always necessarily pornographic. I start to wonder how popular the consumption of hentai is. I never really hear or see it anywhere aside from the odd joke here and there. Then again, it’s not really a thing that is openly and honestly discussed. The online news-site, Mic, revealed some interesting statistics on general viewing and search patterns from Pornhub in July this year. Besides a whole bunch of other interesting things (look it up, I know you want to), search patterns revealed that ‘cartoon’ and ‘hentai’ came in at thirteen and seventeen on the most-searched tags. It also suggested that young adults were more into hentai and were 190% more likely to search it over the
35+ crowd of Pornhub consumers. It’s no secret that hentai is taboo. It exists in the shadows of the internet or in the dark corners underneath someone’s bed, available only to those willing to search. Allusions are made and rumours are snickered between flat mates about the new guy living across the hallway. “A lot of men might talk about what they watch, but hentai… I don’t think anyone would admit it” he acknowledges. “It’d be considered weird, but I think more people do than they admit”. I ask why that might be, knowing what the answer is likely to be. “Cartoons are still considered a child’s realm so hyper-sexualised cartoons cannot be seen in a positive way. The idea is too far from the norm.” Our chat finishes and I thank him for even giving thought to being interviewed. Still not swayed either way, I’m stuck in an uncomfortable space where two separate trains of thought connected by an imaginary rubber band (hint: that’s my mind) are heading in separate directions. One train is okay with the idea of hentai allowing for the expression of sexual fantasies including those that are usually considered ‘sick’. No one gets hurt and everyone’s happy? The other train is knocking me down and telling me that these representations are problematic as they can depict obscene violence against women. Clarence has assured me that it’s just an expression and no different to an erotic novel and while I believe him, it still gnaws at me. I’m all for hentai, just, until someone human gets hurt. Not sure how to end it tbh.
SYDNEY TO BECOME
A RETIREMENT VILLAGE? WORDS || REBECCA HILL
Sydney is expensive. I don’t just mean nine-dollar premium ice-cream cone expensive, I mean even if you shacked up with four of your closest mates, you’d have a hard time covering that fifteen per cent house deposit. The current state of our property market, although profitable for current home owners, could hurt future generations. Already chained down with HECS debts, the current marketplace can potentially send the emerging generation of young workers into an endless cycle of rent or a lifetime of mortgage repayments. Treasury Secretary, John Fraser, has been adamant that we should be more concerned with the amount of investment going into the property market, commenting that evidence for the “the housing price bubble” is “unequivocal”. Property investment has long been seen as a business savvy answer to long-term investment and a future retirement fund. It’s fair enough for homeowners to want their houses to increase in value, but what does that do for our property market? Sydney is in a stage of strong growth,
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both in population and housing prices. In a release by the ABS, Sydney continues to lead the way in terms of property prices according to the RPPI (Residential Property Price Index); “rising 3.1 per cent in the March quarter 2015 and 13.1 per cent in the previous year” As demand for houses outweigh supply we are seeing a boom that is increasing not only house prices but also rent. Rent is arguably ‘dead money’, and in Sydney it’s becoming expensive dead money, as rent escalates with house prices. This makes it virtually impossible for new homebuyers to get a foothold in the property market, as money that previously would be saved for a house deposit is now covering rent. As a result, graduates and young people in general are considering their options when deciding where to live and work. “I’ve considered moving to Canberra” Said Malaika (20), a university student who is considering her prospects as she nears graduation. “As an international studies student I have no choice but work in the CBD if I want to live in Sydney. Realistically, I would consider moving back to Sydney when I’m fifty, maybe not even then!” With
new graduates looking to move elsewhere, is Sydney, known as a vivid and youthful city going to become a playground only for retirees and millionaires? Sure, there are houses for more reasonable prices on the outer Sydney region, but how long is that commute to the city going to be for aspiring white collar workers? Twenty hours a week spent travelling is not ideal for the future leaders and innovators of our country or their families. If the younger generation enters the work force and they no longer see the benefit and profit of staying in Sydney, our house prices could put its future as a profitable economic and business centre in jeopardy. Recently NSW minister for planning, Rob Stokes, announced a new housing plan to introduce 35,000 new homes in Sydney’s south-west in response to the ‘housing bubble’. “These communities will help improve accessibility to the housing market by increasing supply in greater Sydney and putting downward pressure on prices.” The plan outlines not only new housing, but transportation, schools and retail outlets that will supposedly provide new jobs in the area. Seventy kilometres away from Sydney’s central business district, requiring a road journey which will increasingly ‘clog up’ an already congested M5 or a long train journey; both of which would take an absurd amount of time to commute. ‘Menangle Park’ therefore is unlikely to be attractive to graduates who have ambitions to work in Sydney’s central business district.
State opposition leader Luke Foley claims the development is poorly planned, with a lack of infrastructure and jobs to support an expected influx of half a million people. With plans to establish housing primarily; infrastructure such as efficient public transport systems have been left on the backbench of planning. Jeff, 24, already in full time employment is yet to leave home; “As someone that relies on public transport the CBD is quite easy to get to” citing public transport as a must for sustainable employment. The State Government needs to create incentives for big businesses to move out of the central business district of Sydney if they want to attract new talent. Places such as Macquarie Park and Parramatta are examples of how corporations can operate in more accessible and economic locations. This will not only benefit those who cannot afford to live in central Sydney, but lessen the strain on public transport and main roads in peak hours. The shortage of houses in Sydney is threatening to drive young people, and in particular graduates, away from the city as they are not prepared to either pay the sky rocketing costs or suffer the difficult commutes. This threatens the youthful renewal of the city each generation brings. We need investment in efficient public transport systems, as well as incentives to encourage business’ to locate away from the CBD. It’s time the state and local governments stop ignoring the imminent housing bubble, as the further it climbs – the further it has to fall.
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FLASH FICTION: ALMOST BURNING YOUR FINGERS
PART THREE: S***** CAN BE CONVERTED INTO OUNCES MARIJUANA IF THE RIGHT WORDS AND GESTURES ARE USED WORDS || JACK CAMERON STANTON
Somebody knocks on the front door. She freezes up. When she answers the door she isn’t surprised to find the post man standing there, ruddy face beaded with perspiration, eyes narrowed into what most likely is intended to be disapproval, hands on hips, belt littered with ergonomics, like water bottle, handkerchief . . . “Hand it over, little miss, and I won’t tell them a thing.” “I’m sorry?” “No games, I saw you take it from house 39. And I know it’s not the first time you’ve done it.” Flick drops pretence. “Okay, okay, you’ve got me. But I can’t give it back. It’s too late, I’ve already put it up on eBay.” “I don’t care.” “Let me finish!” Her mind is swelling, fighting the stone. “You know how much that thing costs? Come on, Mr Postman, how much are they paying you, really?” “I don’t care about the price.” “Okay, okay, I get that. Look, here’s the deal. I’ll give you 50%. 50% of $***** is a hefty sum.” “You can’t bribe me. This isn’t a fucking game, little miss. You don’t understand – ” “No, you don’t fucking understand, sir. I’ve got a 98% rating on eBay! And it’s already up there. People are relying on me.” He shrugs off her rancour. If you don’t give it to me I’m going to the authorities. Make your choice.” “Alright, FUCK.” Flick runs to the room and grabs the watch. Its shine is mocking now, a temptress’ kiss. On the screen she sees that people have already started bidding. More bids than minutes gone. “You’ve ruined my reputation,” she says, acknowledging her fading stone. She hands the watch to the Postman, venomous. He grins, and puts an index finger to his lips. “Not a word, little miss.” He turns and leaves. In her room, furious about her Ebay rating, craving another smoke, remembering she’s dead out and needs that fucking watch to get on, remembering all this as she looks outside to see the grinning Postman fix a gleaming watch on his fat hairy wrist.
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THE ART OF
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START DRAWING? Nothing really inspired me to start drawing. I’ve just done it for as long as I can remember. I used to like copying Pokémon and Street Sharks and a lot of nineties cartoons when I was a kid. I just never really stopped. It’s good. Keeps me centered and gets all the bullshit out of my head. WHAT INFLUENCES YOUR WORK? Lately, people really influence my work. Just people in general. People doing stupid things or drunk things or just something I might see out in the street that I think is interesting or funny. I find Australian culture pretty inspiring because as a culture it’s fairly shit. Vulgarity and alcoholism seem pretty prominent in Australian culture and that gives me a lot to work with. Generally, people being dickheads and how they relate to the world is my field of interest. That and anxiety. I find anxiety pretty influencing.
“I find Australian culture pretty inspiring because as a culture it’s fairly shit.” WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU LACK CREATIVITY? When I lack creativity I just start scribbling something. You can’t just wait for creativity to hit you or you’d never get anything done. You just have to get to work. Even if the thing you create is the biggest piece of shit you’ve ever seen it’s still productive and you’re bound to learn something that might influence your next work that might be less shit.
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A SEER, A GAMBLER: A MAN’S LIFE STORY || MICHAEL LOZINA
An old buddy of mine, Richard, used to think that he could predict the future. We met in the club where we both gambled on the races. Hounds, horses, anything. We weren’t close and the only thing we had in common was our love to gamble. This was around the time when he told me he could sporadically predict the races. I thought he was crazy and I thought it was great fun; but every now and then he could place doubts into my head. The way he dressed for instance, he was elegant in his age, he kept up with trends sometimes it seemed before they had even started – something I think is very rare. He wore a crisp grey suit, white shirt, blue tie, and a pair of the finest Italian shoes. He slicked his salt-and-pepper hair back and his beard was neatly trimmed close to his face. He drank his bourbon on the rocks and smoked with class, never seeming to be a slave to it. If he wasn’t successful he certainly looked like he was. With the way he bet on the horses you would have thought so too. He placed bets so willingly and confidently that it really felt like he knew exactly which horse was going to win. He kept pulling out cash that I would have to save up for weeks to be able to just bet it on the races.
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He won just as much as everybody else and lost the same but somehow I still thought he had managed to win more than he had lost every night. He never even seemed to be drunk, like the alcohol would just simply have no effect on him. You could have even thought that the cigarettes wouldn’t even have an effect on him in the future, that he had seen that in his future and that he knew that he was going to be fine. One time we went to the club together and grabbed our regular seats by the wall not too far from the bar. The waitress came over and he ordered himself a bourbon and me a beer. He didn’t even think about it. I always liked him for that. He told me that night that this woman sitting across from us would come over and talk to him. Said he saw it in his future. He lit a cigarette and wouldn’t you know it the woman came walking over to us. She asked Richard if the seat next to him was taken, he said no and asked her smoothly if she would like to sit down and have a drink with us. She accepted and introduced herself – her name was Josie. Richard bought her a cocktail and brought my attention to a race about to start, he said that horse number four, named
‘Magician’, was going to win. The race commenced and Richard lit another cigarette. Number four started out somewhere in the middle of the pack, barely discernible from the rest of the horses. The horse was doing nothing fantastic and looked to be a lost cause as I went and got a drink. As I looked away, the horse in the last stretch had entered the top three, then second and as the finish line approached – I couldn’t believe it – horse number four, ‘Magician’, had won the race. Richard smiled and sipped his drink. Josie cheered and hugged him in congratulations. The rest of the night played out similarly with Richard drinking, winning and losing, Josie by his side and me simply enjoying my time in the club. Richard said he was going to leave now with Josie and said goodbye. He asked me to come to the races next week because he said he felt that next week was going to be a lucky one. I stayed in the club a little longer and placed a few more bets. After some lost races I decided I would leave as well. I went outside and hailed a cab. As I was driven home I saw ambulances and police cars zoom past me in the opposite direction. Another poor driver who can’t drive too
good after going to the club I thought. I got home and went to sleep. The next morning I was listening to the news on the radio and heard about a terrible car accident a few blocks from the club last night. Not the first time something like that’s happened. It’s pretty common that some guy can’t handle his liquor when he has to drive – poor drivers I always thought. The story was coming through, apparently a blue Ford driven by a single man – George Sander, I think was his name – had collided with a black car carrying two people, a man and a woman, Richard and Josie. Horrified, I listened intently to the rest of the story. Inside Richard’s car they found various substances that it looked like he was selling and was believed to be tied with a notorious organised crime gang. Josie was a prostitute working for the gang, her real name was Delores Giannopols. If Richard could see the future, could he have predicted any of this to happen? Or was the invitation to the races just a ploy so I wouldn’t have to worry about him? I doubt he could see the future anyway, surely he would have tried to avoid his death?
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DADDO STORY || BEN O’DONNELL
She heard a knock at the door. Three knocks. Loud, soft, loud. It was him. She opened the door and his smile put her instantly at ease. She smelt the daffodils – hmmm her favourite – and gave him a passionate kiss on the lips. A lover’s kiss. It seemed he knew her every wont. Well, that’s what it had said on his profile… good at making people happy. Maybe he was just one of those sensitive people who knew how to push people’s buttons. She stopped pondering, snapping back to the present with a maddening slight twitch of the head (a mannerism that he both adored and scared him) and lead him to the kitchen. He sat on the far side of the table as if wanting to put some distance between the two. ‘He doesn’t want to commit’ her mind raced overtime. She considered questioning him but dismissed this as being pedantic. A glass of wine was what she needed. “Red or white?” she asked.“Ill have whatever you’re having” a smooth voice answered. She hated that about him. ’You’re not fucking Cameron Daddo’ she thought, turning to get the wine. Half a glass down she loosened, starting to feel the effects. His smile seemed wider, his skin smoother and his voice softer. She could feel herself falling for him. It would be atleast two hours before her husband came home. Time enough.
He saw that flickering in her eyes; fire, passion, desire. Sipping his wine, he placed his hand on hers. He felt warmth. Not an ‘I want to take you home and cook you a roast’ warmth but a warmth just the same. She felt it too, recognising it for what it was. For a second she was conscious of the wedding ring in her pocket. Then they kissed. She felt a fire deep inside of her switch on. A slow burn. She turned and took him by the hand, leading him to the bedroom. He followed with agog. Her step was graceful yet vulnerable – just that little bit crazy. He felt blood rush and his pants stretch. Closing the door, their eyes met. “Wait” she said, guilt flashing across her face. He came to her, hugged and soothed her with his voice. He’d done this a thousand times before. He knew exactly what to do. Slowly she turned away from him, pulling the pistol out from behind her back. She bought the gun to his head, kissed him and pulled the trigger, sending his brains across the room. “You’re not fucking Cameron Daddo!” she screamed. Veins pulsed on her forehead. Twitching her head back to the present, she began to clean up the mess. Her husband would be home in thirty minutes.
BUSINESS AS USUAL POEM || YEHUDA AHARON
Underneath stone giants
rolled steel tinkers
down a dried up street.
They bathe in warm smog
as it weaves
and laugh when dust particles dance
between the gravel crunch
a single moment, life
of businessmenâ€™s feet.
in the spotlight,
Golden days. It will
as the car drives past.
blossom once more.
WHEN BOARDING EVENING TRAIN STORY || PHIL BROWN In the midst of this cold September night The commuters align under the iron grey ceiling A crowded underground station Shimmering amber lights pour out from the deepest reaches Travelling between these damp cavernous walls The young lovers apprehensively turn their eyes Their moments spent in hesitation Bodies eloquently wrapped Tied in a silk embrace Their movements somewhat restricted Bound by their knowledge of surveillance The constant motion of security cameras Captures intricate cuddles and passionate kissing The young couple remain cradled behind the eroded caution lines Dear Evening Train I pray you take me away And lead me to a desolate place Where I can reside under the library’s arctic lights And concentrate on my university studies Take me to my zone of peace and tranquility I boarded through these carriage doors And descended towards the bottom floor Discarded newspapers marked the surface Tainted by the stains of tanned brown ringlets From the pressure of paper coffee cups Cheap university commodities — essential for everyday functioning Finding my position upon an empty seat The carriage numbers were brought to my attention There, I calculated the mathematical equation And on completion, undoubtedly concluded on number ten These moments of solitude were inevitably disrupted An abrupt commotion swept through the carriage hall School children aligned in single file Fluttered by this cluttered aisle Their tongues spoke words of deceit Exchanges of self praises, expressions of delight The embedded sexual content left me dismayed A plaguing discomfort circulated this public space After this passing moment A pair of transport guards entered on board Fulfilling their rounds, each individual was inspected As they rummaged through their possessions In search of a valid ticket On completion, the guards signaled: destination arrived For me, it’s finally time to alight And take flight beyond these escalator stairs
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WORDS || VANESSA CAPITO We all love pizza, whether it’s hot or cold, fresh out of the oven, a day old, or two days old, we’ll still eat it. It’s the perfect snack, great for any meal and straight outta the fridge for breakfast. This month, we checked out some of the most popular pizza joints around Sydney to see if they live up to the expectations, and boy, do they.
379 King Street, Newtown Mon-Sun: 6pm-10:30pm Before Gigi went vegan about a month ago, it had the best pizza in Sydney in my opinion; authentic, thin-based Italian wood-fired pizza that’s a stretch to find anywhere else. Luckily, for me and everyone else who felt the same, their pizzas are still undoubtedly my favourite despite being strictly vegan now. I was hesitant about the lack of cheese, especially since I love having extra on everything, but the flavours, and the variety available really distract from the fact that their pizzas are cheese-less. The restaurant itself is nice too, with dark, wooden tables, an open kitchen and a bar with stools as you walk in; and everyone is super Italian. Cute. 5/5
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NAPOLI NEL CUORE
658 Bourke Street, Redfern Mon-Fri: 6pm-10:30pm, Sat-Sun: 6pm-11pm
NAPOLI NEL CUORE
658 Bourke Street, Redfern Mon-Fri: 6pm-10:30pm, Sat-Sun: 6pm-11pm Napoli Nel Cuore is another real, authentic pizza joint, with simple toppings and the perfect thin base, you can’t go wrong. The restaurant itself is a little rough around the edges, but the service is fast and quick and that’s what you want, especially when the prices are so easy on your wallet. They also have a little outdoor area which is great for groups. Overall, this place isn’t life changing, but it’s certainly a must try. Did I mention the owner is called Fabio? They also do a one metre pizza, which yes, I know, is totally overdone now but it’s super convenient for groups of three or more where one pizza wouldn’t be enough. 4/5
FRANKIE’S PIZZA BY THE SLICE
Napoli Nel Cuore is another real, authentic pizza joint, with simple toppings and the FRANKIE’S PIZZA perfect thin base, you can’t go wrong. The 50 Hunter Street, CBD restaurant itself is a little rough around the Mon-Thurs, Sat-Sun: 4pm-3pm, Fri: 12pmedges, but the service is fast and quick and 3amwhat you want, especially when the that’s prices are so easy on your wallet. They also Love getting drunk? have a little outdoor area Love which eating is greatpizza? for Frankie’s Pizza is your hidden gem my friend. groups. Overall, this place isn’t life changing, Tucked away on Hunter Street, Frankie’s but it’s certainly a must try. Did I mention is the hospitality watering hole you the owner is called Fabio? They also doneed a to metre go too. With the main bar in isthe front, one pizza, which yes, I know, totally and a larger stage out the back,for the overdone now bar but and it’s super convenient place is always packed, and has a houseband groups of three or more where one pizza that plays every Monday night. The pizza wouldn’t be enough. here is great. Admittedly, I’ve only tried the pepperoni and the margarita, but they 4/5 were amazing, especially considering it’s a bar and not a restaurant. With checked tables clothes, booths and melted-over candle, this rock’n’roll bar is a must try. And try and find the hidden bar out the back if you can. Plus, they do Sailor Jerry and fresh apple; but the pizza – 10/10. 5/5
50 Hunter Street, CBD Mon-Thurs, Sat-Sun: 4pm-3pm, Fri: 12pm3am Love getting drunk? Love eating pizza? Frankie’s Pizza is your hidden gem, my friend. Tucked away on Hunter Street, Frankie’s is the hospitality watering hole you need to go to. With the main bar in the front, and a larger bar and stage out the back, the place is always packed, and has a houseband that plays every Monday night. The pizza here is great. Admittedly, I’ve only tried the pepperoni and the margarita, but they were amazing, especially considering it’s a bar and not a restaurant. With checked tables clothes, booths and melted-over candles, this rock’n’roll bar is a must try. And try and find the hidden bar out the back if you can. Plus, they do Sailor Jerry and fresh apple; but the pizza – 10/10. 5/5
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REVIEW || ADRIAN NGUYEN In Denis Villeneuve films, there is a fascination with individuals digging deep into the dark, whether it’s their past or the places they wouldn’t fathom to submit. Villeneuve follows suit with Sicario, in which a principled FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) is embroiled in tracking down a drug lord as the drug war within the border of Mexico and the US intensifies. She’s teamed up with fellow agent Matt (Josh Brolin) and Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), a former prosecutor who was once affiliated with the cartel. But their objective of capturing the man behind it all becomes frustrating due to some unforeseen directions. Sicario suffers from the amount of clunky exposition that drives much of the plot, disrupting a bit of its pacing. One of Villeneuve’s worst tendencies is being selfserious and it’s evidenced by a quote that provides us the etymology of the title the minute before the film even begins. But if you can get past this, then you’ll see that Villeneuve has crafted a compelling, grisly examination of the War on Drugs. The film’s first scene features haunting imagery of dead corpses discovered during a raid. Villeneuve’s master control of tension continues with a set piece involving gridlock and another involving a conducted raid of a factory in night-vision that contains a shocking jolt of violence. The dread-filled tone of Sicario is also aided by Roger Deakin’s low-key cinematography. It’s lifted by some strong performances from Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro. Blunt’s character, Kate is reminiscent of Jessica Chastain’s Maya from Zero Dark Thirty whose ideals are often volatile with the FBI’s bureaucratic workforce when it comes to winning and solving the drug war. In spite of its structural shortcomings, Sicario is brilliant. 4/5
HOLDING THE MAN
REVIEW || YEHUDA AHARON Based on the book by Timothy Conigrave, this film tells the story of his lifelong love for his partner, John Caleo in an age of AIDS and homophobia. A great Aussie film with up-and-coming actors against some of Australia’s most famous faces, with the two main characters played by Ryan Corr and Craig Stott. It is a beautiful story brimming with humour as we follow the awkward interactions of the pair in high school, university and the short span of their adult life. Beginning in the seventies and continuing right through to the mid-nineties, the film is peppered with snapshots of Australia’s recent past and an even better
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soundtrack to go with it. While this sets the scene for some great pop culture references, the history of Australian homophobia might make you cringe. The film is a timely arrival in an era of debate over equality and gay marriage. Conigrave fiercely demands to be known as the husband of his deceased partner rather than ‘his friend’. It is impossible not to relate to the tribulations that beset all relationships or to feel the pain of homophobia caused by denying their love the legitimacy it deserved. This film will have you crying and laughing all at once, unable to decide which is more appropriate. It is the sort of film that should be watched by anybody who opposes same-sex marriage or anybody who wants to celebrate the right to it. 3.5/5
REVIEW || CAMERON COLWELL Deftly ignoring every convention of the dystopia genre to which it belongs, The Lobster is an absurdist, Kafkaesque comedy set in a society where those who are single are stigmatised, sent off to a hotel where they must find a partner, or face the fate of being turned into an animal. Each of the other characters are named after their one defining trait, such as ‘Limping Man’ or ‘Nosebleed Woman,’ a herald of the nonsensical rules and stiffness of this alternative present. The premise may sound ridiculous, but the film has its own inbuilt sense of logic, and the crude binarism is mitigated by the deathly seriousness each line is delivered with, and the casual cruelty with which the film’s violence is carried out in: A woman jumps out of a window to avoid her metamorphosis, a dog is hideously beat to death as a test of love, and one of the running jokes including a man frequently causing his own nosebleeds, in order to convince the object of his affections that they have a lot in common. Each of these incidents is treated as very mildly alarming. While the film has a lot of substance, its charms run thin by the final quarter. The relentless deadpan with which every line is delivered starts to look like numbness, the strangeness comes to be forced quirkiness, and by the time David (Colin Farrell), the only named character, leaves the hotel to live amongst the anarchist Loners, it becomes quite clear the film cannot live up to the brilliance promised by the first half. Still, The Lobster is one of the funniest films of the year, and deserves its almost inevitable status as a quirky cult classic. 4/5
INSIDE MY MOTHER ALI COBBY ECKERMAN
(POETRY) REVIEW || YEHUDA AHARON Eckerman is one of Australia’s most prominent Indigenous poets, writing about the experiences of colonisation both past and present. Stolen from her mother, who was taken in turn from her grandmother before her, the indefatigable cycle of pain bore down on Eckerman as her own son was put out for adoption once more. Here she peruses through the land of her mothers, as it brings forth the pains and joys of traditional life untimely ripped from her. Echoes of Sylvia Plath and Lionel Fogarty ring through her verse. She weaves through landscapes of hard memory and the dreamy present where she and her mother are together. Eckerman expresses her alienation from the society she was born in, because of the society she was raised in - she cannot connect with her mother, she does not speak her language. While this is the major theme of the book it is not the only one. There are love poems, poems of mourning, daily musings and humorous observations. Each poem is a profound depiction of the life lived by Eckerman and those that surround her, distilled into a few words. The voices and structures of her poetry are also very varied as she alternates between free verse in plain English and the Pidgin English that is spoken amongst some remote Indigenous communities. For those interested, this is an eye opening text of a people maligned, but not deterred to love and to resist the hand that claims to feed them. It is the songs of a powerful woman and the powerful women before her. 4/5
LOADED CHRISTOS TSIOLKAS
REVIEW || REBECCA MCMARTIN I read Tsiolkas’ debut novel a year ago, and at first, I hated it. The novel is a heavy read and the protagonist is a cocky, opinionated nihilist with no regard for anything but getting his next fix or root. But then (because I believe in second chances) I read it again and I now understand why this twenty year old novel is
an underrated Australian classic. The story follows Ari, a nineteen year old, unemployed, gay Australian born to Greek migrants, as he navigates Melbourne in one twenty-four hour drugfuelled romp. The novel is a quintessential narrative about struggling to belong but Tsiolkas truly captures the experience of ‘the other’. Ari’s frustrations drive the tension in the novel but the bouts of pleasure he achieves from his small niches brings the book to life. While he is so tuned in to the condemnation of society and his parents, the person most judgmental is Ari himself. It lacks a typical plot but the writing is intense, full of charge, and is loaded – yes, I went there – with so much energy and aggression. If you want to read something memorable which puts you in someone else’s shoes, which is a little confronting, and which makes you dive headfirst out of your comfort zone, read Loaded. Just give it a second chance. 4/5
SUBMISSION MICHEL HOULLEBECQ
REVIEW || JACK CAMERON STANTON I hate giving writers I love a bad review. It’s equally therapeutic as it is distressing. For Michel Houellebecq, known to be a contrarian, notorious angry Frenchman, anti-establishment, rapper, and all-round modern misanthrope, Submission is easily his weakest novel. Where the writing shines, story and characters wilt. His atmospheric but vacuous what-the-fuck-is-thepoint style is, I’m afraid, ultimately self-deprecating. By that I mean, the longer Michel spent arguing about the meaninglessness of modern life, the more irritated I became with this sentiment. In a slim two hundred and eighty pages, he doesn’t say very much, in light of how powerfully his books, Map and The Territory, Platform, or Atomised, throw haymakers of cynicism, grit, and honesty in a palpable, entertaining, engaging way. This book seems low on vigour. It’s stylised, sure, but nuanced and a tiny bit lazy. 2/5
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YOUTH LAGOON SAVAGE HILLS BALLROOM (ALBUM)
REVIEW || PHILLIP LEASON On his debut album as Youth Lagoon, Trevor Powers vowed, “I will grow.” Grow he has, and his third album has the potential to be the project’s most powerful work yet, as he tackles the next of his existential crises: the acknowledgement of irreparable personal flaws. There’s a new-found confidence on Savage Hills Ballroom, and Powers’ infantile voice isn’t buried beneath reverb as it was on his first two releases; it sits high and clear in the mix. The arrangements see an intriguing hybrid of acoustic and electronic instruments, with robotic vocal loops and drum machine patterns lingering beneath his iconic Rhodes piano and ear-worm guitar melodies. However, the bold ideas and sprawling structures seem cut short. The longest tracks on the album barely breach four minutes and often feel like radio edits; condensations of grander works which don’t exist. So for the sake of its brevity, Savage Hills Ballroom lets Youth Lagoon down, but to call it a disappointment is a gross understatement. It just begs the open-ended question, “Oh, what could have been?” 4/5
FIDLAR TOO (ALBUM)
REVIEW || PHILLIP LEASON FIDLAR’s self-titled debut could be summed up by one chorus line: “I. Drink. Cheap. Beer. So. What. Fuck. You.” It was face-spitting nihilism. Their follow-up can be summed up by a very different, but equally catchy hook, “I figured out when I got sober / That life just sucks when you get older”. A stream of voyeuristic interviews preempted Too’s release, detailing frontman Zach Carper’s traumatic past and his struggle to sobriety, and they’re essential reading for contextualising the album. Things get very dark, but Carper’s sardonic humour keeps Too from ever sounding mopey when he sarcastically hollers lines like, “Boo fuckin’ hoo, it’s just all about you!” FIDLAR took a lot of risks on Too, and these risks give unexpected nuance and sophistication to punk. But while the album has some of the bands best music, it’s also got their weakest. It would be ridiculous to expect them to pump out a full album of sobriety songs but, because of the clear motif, the tracks that don’t seem to broach the topic seem insincere, and leave the album feeling patchy. Life was a party (or rather a week-long bender) for FIDLAR and they’ve woken up with one hell of a hangover, but they face their morning after with aplomb. 3.5/5
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FOALS WHAT WENT DOWN (ALBUM)
REVIEW || PHILLIP LEASON Foals’ fourth album is a dose of reality that I’m choosing to liken to learning that Santa doesn’t exist. Sure, Christmas itself still exists and it’s still good, but it’s not magical anymore. I now have to come to terms with the fact that the band I fell in love with at fifteen no longer exists, and may never have existed at all. A grim analogy, but let me explain. Foals’ first two records were sonically innovative, an afrobeat/math/dance-punk hybrid which they then softened and polished up. Lyrically both albums were utterly nonsensical, but they matched the band’s unique aesthetic so perfectly that you assumed there was artistic depth that exceeded your understanding. You gave them the benefit of the doubt. On their third release they delved into gritty rock and pop sounds, and the surreal stream of consciousness lyrics were replaced by wrought personal narratives. They weren’t perfect, but spilled guts aren’t meant to be, and Foals got the benefit of the doubt once again. Well, ‘benefit of the doubt’ is completely obliterated by What Went Down and its devastating transparency. Nothing on this new album feels organic. The writing process is audible in every track, and you can picture the band in a rehearsal space, labouring over structures and forcing out climaxes. You can see Yannis Philippakis puzzling behind a notebook, to pluck out hollow rhymes. “Hmm, high. What rhymes with high? Sky? Yep, lovely, that’ll do.” There are moments that sound great, but when you trace them back you can find older songs that did the same thing with far more honesty. There is a big ‘but’ on What Went Down. That’s, “but the production is incredible!” The whole thing has a divine sheen, and spine-tingles sneak their way in as the songs are sculpted to anthemic peaks. James Ford and his crew really have done an incredible job at distracting you from the band’s sub-par compositions. But I believe it was the Dalai Lama who said, “you can’t polish a turd, you can only put glitter on it”. What Went Down probably isn’t as bad as my rating suggests, but I still hold something against the kid who destroyed the magic of Christmas for me when I was eight, so I’m going to be petty about this too. I still put a stocking out for Santa on 24 December though; no doubt I’ll cling to my love of Foals in the same way. The niggling truth will just always be there. 2/5
THE CROSS OF THE DUTCHMAN
FOR PC REVIEW || NATHAN FALZON Based on the legend of Pier Donia, a farmer-turnedFrisian freedom fighter who lived in the early sixteenth century, The Cross of the Dutchman features a simple, but effective gameplay. After months of Saxon invasions into Frisian land, Pier is fed up with it and one day, armed with nothing but his fists, decides to take things into his own hands. Upon smashing away tirelessly at Saxon enemies, you eventually attain his legendary seven-foot great sword which allegedly enabled the real-life Pier to behead multiple enemies in a single blow making the game a whole lot easier. Neat. In Dutchman, storytelling takes precedence over advanced gameplay mechanics and the ‘point-n-click’ style is used both for map navigation, as well as for combat. Right click, left click, tab: these are literally the keys and clicks required for victory in this game. The game’s main virtue is its storytelling ability, with its main weaknesses lying in the over-simplified combat system and the halfhearted stealth scenes. These complaints are only minor though as the game is still plenty of fun and well-worth the investment if you are looking for an entertaining story without the complicated button mashing. 3.5/5
THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT
FOR PC, XBOX ONE, PS4 REVIEW || NATHAN FALZON The third instalment in the series by CD Projekt RED. The little-known Polish producer has released few titles, but it seems quality wins over quantity. The world is so intricately created, with every corner of the map coloured with places for you to test your mettle. You can solve problems for the local villagers by taking care of the monsters terrorising their people, or sorting out domestic squabbles, all while earning yourself a full purse of golden crowns which you can
use to buy better armor and weapons. The graphics are stunning, and as you face a myriad of monsters — ranging from ghoulish medieval nightmares, to poltergeists and Griffins — you sometimes can’t help but admire the scenery, even when it costs you the fight because you forgot to dodge an enemy attack. In summary, the game is well-crafted with a massive world to discover, and endless quests to finish. This deserves full marks and will get even better with the upcoming expansion in a few weeks. 5/5
WORLD OF WARSHIPS
FOR PC REVIEW || SAMUEL IP Video games these days are often vast in nature, both in gameplay and the background stories; however, games can be equally fun when it only has a confined scope, as demonstrated by Wargaming,net’s latest addition to their lineup, World of Warships. The game offers a relatively simple gameplay: two dozen players assume command of various 20th century warships and play against each other in a team based arcade match featuring large sea maps with varying terrains. Players can choose from five different ship classes, from the nimble and agile destroyers, to the bulky but powerful battleships and aircraft carriers, each with their own unique advantages and abilities that allows them to fair against each other in the match. The game currently features two fully developed tech trees of the Imperial Japanese Navy and the United States Navy, while the tech trees of the Royal Navy, the Soviet Red Fleet and German Kriegsmarine just over the horizon. Continuing the same practice as Wargaming. net’s previous games, World of Warships is a Free-toPlay game with a premium store that offers various items in exchange for real money, however the game can be played just as fine without paying any money. 4/5
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HOROSCOPES WORDS || VANESSA CAPITO
Keep your little claws where they belong this month even though you might becurious. Unless you’re going for the cake, always take the cake. I repeat, always take the cake.
Justin Bieber sang, ‘What Do You Mean?’ and seriously, what do you mean? Maybe you need a street directory because not knowing your lefts from your rights ain’t good.
Blessings on blessings on blessings. Look at my life man that’s lessons on lessons on lessons. Treat this month like it’s a reverend. Tell the truth, and maybe you’ll score a free pizza.
You’re on the rise Gemi-gem. Remember who your friends are; the ones who will lend you that extra $2 to get a McFlurry. You don’t need to settle for a 70c cone. Good 70c cones don’t exist :(
Protein bars are protein bars, blue mugs are blue mugs. You’re a shining golden star made from unicorn dust and you’re making us all incredibly jealous. Keep it up, you good thing.
Is your credit card bill getting you down? Is your adult candy not getting you up? Don’t stress, the year is almost over which means Taylor Swift will be here soon. Praise da Queen.
That ten-hour loop of Tom DeLonge’s verse in ‘I Miss You’ is you right now; the best part of something already good. Ride that rollercoaster and pop a juice when you jump off.
Don’t over commit to too much this silly season, you’re already enough ofthat. Take the backseat this time and let someone else make the order for Maccas Drive-Thru.
Hey Cancer, your name has a horrible rap, but don’t take it personally. You didn’t choose this life but you can certainly live through it. You’re like the green shell in Mario-Kart, or Japanese mayo — high value.
As the weather heats up, you should cool off. Book that holiday you wanted,or don’t, I don’t know how you bank account is looking. If it’s in deficit, put a piggy bank on your wish list.
Don’t eat that leftover pizza if it’s more than three days old, unless you love a little risk in your life. Surprises are everywhere, maybe even just around the corner. Seriously, someone could’ve dropped $2.
Missed the newspaper this morning? Don’t worry; the only news is that you’re looking fly as hell in that cute, post-winter get up my friend. Is it getting hot in here?
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Shape our future EXPLORE BIG ISSUES WITH GLOBAL IMPACT
ASK INTERNATIONAL EXPERTS THE BIG QUESTIONS on 9 to 11 December 2015 at Macquarie Theatre
Big History Anthropocene Conference: A Transdisciplinary Exploration Tackle the challenges of the Anthropocene, our current era where humans dominate the biosphere. Topics include: CLIMATE | BIODIVERSITY | SUSTAINABILITY | RETHINKING LAW AND ECONOMICS | HUMANITYâ€™S PROSPECTS Register: bighistory.mq.edu.au/anthropocene2015 68 || Repeat Offenders
Published on Oct 19, 2015