SEPT 2012 – SPECIAL WATCHMAGAZINE.CA
the watch What’s Inside Letter from the Editors Underwritten
A date with mary jane Pot Culture
HOMEgrown noise On the Road with Nick Everett
musical transitions Transposing the KCO
Taking over temporarily New President Prepares for Interim Gig
But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people not be warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at watchman’s hand. — Ezekiel 33:6
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University of King’s College – 6350 Coburg Road, Halifax NS, B3H 2A1
FROM THE EDITORS EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Ben Harrison Rachel Ward PUBLISHER TBD TREASURER Simcha Walfish ONLINE EDITOR Philippa Wolff CREATIVE DIRECTOR Patrick Odell CONTRIBUTORS Ken Wallingford Amelia Wilding PHOTOGRAPHERS Kelly MacNeil Ken Wallingford BOARD OF PUBLISHERS TBD We welcome your feedback on each issue. Letters to the editor should be signed. We reserve the right to edit all submissions. The views expressed in The Watch are those of the contributors or sources. Articles that are not attributed represent the views of the editors. The Watch is owned and operated by the students of the University of King’s College.
ello Frosh! Welcome to The Watch. We’re your monthly magazine at King’s, owned and operated by students. Enjoy this special Frosh edition of The Watch, a sample of what’s coming this year. Come get involved at the planning meeting on September 10 in the Wardroom. We’re electing a new Publisher and three students to the publishing board – and this could be you. It’s our job to help you get involved and to keep you up to date with what’s been going on. As some of you may have heard, our finances have been shaky this summer, as has the future of The Watch. It might seem strange for two editors to be discussing money, but our ability to do journalism and publish it rests on stable finances. But, we can say this for sure: the magazine now is stronger and more financially stable, and we have plans to raise revenue through hiring an advertising team led by a business manager. A couple of months ago, it was a different story. In June, we went into overdraft at the bank, but our savvy treasurer Simcha Walfish got that straightened out. We still owe two years of fees to the Canadian University Press and the Joint Stocks Registry and we need to pay two former staff and a handful of writers. We also owe John Adams a keyboard. That said, we’re on our way out of the red and into the black. By the end of September, our debts will be paid off (including a cheque or two we may owe to you). Soon, we’ll be posting our financial reports online, as well as our constitution. We’ll let you know when we’re not doing so hot, but we’re confident that with a strong financial backbone, we’ll have the means to producing a quality monthly magazine. Although not out of the woods just yet, we’re almost there. Keep an eye out for a snazzy new magazine with strong, research-based reporting. This year, we’re bringing a new, team-based approach, a sharp new design and website. Come be part of it. You are The Watch.
- Ben and Rachel
The Watch Meeting September 10, 2012 – 4:30 p.m. in the Wardroom
Watch contributors: more than three decades of intrepid student journalism.
THE WATCH FROSH WEEK 2012 • 3
A DATE WITH I
t’s hard to imagine a place where Mary Jane is legal. Walking through the streets of Amsterdam, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that marijuana is a large part of tourism for people our age travelling to the city. While weed is legal here, it’s still expected that smokers handle pot in a respective way, and coffee shop businesses are coffee shops, primarily. Here in Halifax, as a King’s frosh, opportunities will inevitably arise to you in your next few weeks here. People do smoke pot. Somehow, smoking a joint and discussing Plato’s Forms or sitting out in the quad smoking a fatty and plucking at a guitar is an enticing thing to do. What separates Amsterdam from Halifax is the counter of pre-rolled joints of weed for public sale. So when you walk into a coffee shop, take precaution when buying a joint. You can’t walk up to the counter and ask to purchase a K2, White Widow, or Amnesia joint because the name sounds like it’ll get you super stoned. Chances are, you’ll get too stoned to handle. Your best bet is to ask the guy selling the joints about the different kinds, the different effects and
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potencies. Marijuana is legal in the Netherlands, and it’s legal to smoke it, so people are very open to the discussion. Not asking questions might land you with your head in the toilet or in a stranger’s lap. Mary Jane’s attendance at King’s Strictly speaking, if you are a King’s student and you get caught by Patrol smoking pot at King’s, you will likely be kicked off campus. If you live in residence, you might get suspended from your dorm room for a few days or even permanently. If you’re caught by police, you’ll land a court date. Fourth-year King’s student Chloe Peterson (name has been changed) was caught smoking weed by the Halifax Regional Police (HRP) within the first month of her first year at King’s. She was with several other students to a well-known smoking spot. The covered parking lot adjacent to the New Academic Building, affectionately named Plato’s Cave, is, in theory, a good location because it’s not on King’s property yet right next to the campus. Peterson says that many of the frosh had been told about the Cave, so she went there to try it with
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H MARY JANE Ken Wallingford
her new friends. “I had been there a number of times,” said Peterson, “but this time… I thought we were just going to be a couple of people. Then, another group joined us.” It turns out that large group is a lot less inconspicuous. When the police arrived, Peterson, along with two other students who admitted to owning the three grams of weed, were charged with possession of marijuana and given court dates. The most surprising thing for Peterson was the seriousness with which the officers handled the situation. (September is a risky time to be trying things out since it’s the month when HRP runs “Operation Fallback,” with the intent of stopping new students from partying a little too hard.) “I’m from out of province, and I’ve been caught with pot before,” she said, “but, I’ve never gotten in serious trouble because of it.” In this case, Peterson dodged a bullet. A month later, a judge called her after reviewing her file.
“He said, ‘A charge like that could ruin your life. You may not be hired because of this,’ and then he told me to rip up the court date,” said Peterson. Nick Hatt, the dean of residence, met with Peterson to say she wouldn’t be disciplined as she hadn’t been on campus when caught, she said. Despite this, Peterson said she felt she had to watch her behaviour during the school year since the dean knew she smoked pot. Peterson continued to smoke throughout the year, but was more careful about where she was and who she was with. She offered this advice to incoming frosh: “Don’t be dumb. Be discreet and get off campus. It’s really not that hard to do.” Like Amsterdam, King’s is more than old architecture and lovers of art, music and philosophy. It’s not unusual for a professor to have her tutorial for wine and pizza or have a smoke (of cigarettes) with a student during a lecture break. We like to have a good time, as you will undoubtedly learn soon enough. W
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THE WATCH FROSH WEEK 2012 • 5
HOMEGROWN NOISE Ben Harrison
he guys in Nick Everett and Everybody took their noisy folk on the road this summer. Now that they’ve returned to day jobs, slinging espresso at Coburg Coffee, we’ve had a chance to sit down with them and chat about life on a coast to coast tour, about playing shows and about what’s up next for the band. Nick Everett, a FYPper of 2009, has become a mainstay of the Halifax music crowd over the past few years. He’s been playing regular shows in the city and across the province, reaching a wide audience with a blend of gorgeous, dramatic folk music and unexpected sounds he finds – the racket of bicycle tire spokes or coins dropping on the ground. Everett even has a minor hit on his hands with “Liar” on university radio playlists. He had the crowd singing the words back at him in a Bus Stop Theatre show in February and he brought the house down with a rendition of the tune with the King’s College Orchestra last fall. Despite his success, Everett says he’s always looking for a challenge. “I think it’s just trying to arrange the songs the best way you can with whatever you have to arrange them with,” says Everett. “If we had a bunch of synthesizers, we’d be making synth music. We’re a three piece, so we have guitar, bass and drums. The reason it becomes noisy is that we want it to be dynamic and we want it to go from extremely loud to extremely quiet very fast.” Adam White, the drummer, says the willingness to explore new sounds is precisely what makes this
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three-piece band exciting. “When we sit down to record or play, there’s the idea of ‘we’ve got this much stuff that we can make noise with’. What sort of noise do we have to make with this stuff to get our point across?” says White. On tour, the guys played anywhere and everywhere, from bar shows to house shows, crashing with friends and strangers along the way. They played midafternoon park sets for retirees and children and at one point found themselves hanging out at an artists’ commune in Duncan, British Columbia for a festival “The whole tour was just this weird balance of incredible spots, living out in fields looking at stars, and also terrible environments - lots of good mixed in with the bad,” says Everett. The team is working on a special performance for the Halifax Pop Explosion, but Everett didn’t want to divulge the details just yet. Right after they spoke with The Watch, the band was off to play a songwriting circle in New Glasgow, where Everett had a solo acoustic set planned, followed by a raucous full band show. That willingness to embrace the challenge of bringing the hushed and the chaotic together makes their live shows feel as if anything could happen. They say they’re glad to be back in Halifax, for the time being. That said, their restless energy could send them anywhere at a moment’s notice. Be sure to check out their shows while they’re still here. Check out Nick Everett and Everybody’s Facebook page for spontaneous pop-up shows at their house throughout the fall. W
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MUSICAL TRANSITIONS Ben Harrison & Amelia Wilding
he music has left the building. The King’s College Orchestra (KCO), a two-year old society, transitioned into the Halifax Music Co-op (HMC), a public organization in Halifax, and moved off campus. This April, the orchestra was asked by whom to start paying for rehearsal space in Prince Hall after two years of using it for free. With three rehearsals a week, the group couldn’t afford the $200-a-pop price tag. The change came as a surprise, says Faye Bontje, orchestra co-founder and director. “I went in to talk with Celine Beland [director of Sodexo at King’s] about using Prince Hall for the summer, when she told me something had come up,” said Bontje in an interview. A string of thefts in Prince Hall forced the school to look closely at who was using rental space at King’s, said Bonje, as the thefts had reached further than an occasional coffee mug or bagel. “At no time was the KCO ever accused of the thefts, nor was it ever suggested that the thefts had anything to do with the KCO using Prince Hall,” she said. “The thefts caused a heightened awareness of access to space at King’s.” Prince Hall belongs to Sodexo, as its contract allows for full rental control of Prince Hall during the school year and summer. “Celine fought hard for us, but was unable to convince the administration to allow us to remain for free,” said Bontje. How the KCO avoided this $200 fee for two years is a whole other matter. The original rental fee
was much higher. A few years ago, Sodexo director Beland says she created a lower rental fee for King’s students and societies, the $200 fee the KCO was asked to pay. The KCO never did pay this lower fee while at King’s because it was never asked to, said Bontje. The school turned a blind eye to the weekly practices in Prince Hall, she said. “We weren’t hiding the orchestra from the school, or fooling anyone when we were using the space,” said Bontje. “During his time here, William Barker and most of the admin knew we were using the space on Monday nights.” Bontje said she looked elsewhere on campus for rehearsal space, but nothing was available. “Nowhere else worked in terms of housing an orchestra,” says Bontje. “The basketball gym was too booked, same with the Pit and the dance studio. There just was not enough room for us at King’s, except in Prince Hall.” The space issue was only part of the KCO’s conflict at King’s. Both Nick Stark, the president of the King’s Student Union, and Bontje have said they agree the relationship between union and the KCO was healthy, but that it was at times strained. In a two-year period, the KCO made what Stark calls unprecedented funding requests as a new society. The KCO asked for more money than the KSU was able to give. The KSU gave it $3000 immediately following the group’s ratification in 2010. A year later, the KCO requested $5000 to pay for instrument rentals, private CONTINUED ON PAGE 8
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TAKING OVER TEMPORARILY
This time last year, we welcomed a new president. Now, we’re doing it again. Dr. George Cooper has taken on the job of interim president of King’s. He follows the last president, Dr. Anne Leavitt, who resigned this June, less than a year into her term. He says it’s a good match, considering his experience. “I guess the only thing I haven’t done before is be a university president, let’s put it that way,” Cooper said.
READ THE FULL STORY IN OUR SEPTEMBER ISSUE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7 lesson teaching fees and food for receptions. That time, it was given $3500 and only after a lengthy debate between councilors. Stark said that sort of request was “above and beyond” what the KSU normally gives to a society, especially one as new as the KCO. “We decided to give them that amount for the time being and then wait until the end of the year to give additional funds.” Bontje said working with the KSU could be frustrating at times. “I feel like the KSU didn’t understand what an orchestra was sometimes,” she said. “There was a need for expensive percussion rentals, and they didn’t understand that that sort of rental wasn’t for just one person, but an entire orchestra. It would be like if a hockey team couldn’t rent a net because only one person on the team would be using it. The percussion rentals would have been for the entire orchestra.” The majority of the KCO’s revenue came from ticket sales, with just under 80 per cent. KSU funding filled the rest of the gap. Leaving campus and registering as the notfor-profit HMC has brought in more money, said Bonje. It now can register for grants otherwise unavailable as a King’s society. The HMC has been busy this summer and already performing. A new series called, “Music Everywhere,” will see chamber music popping up in unexpected venues around the city. “King’s students are still more than welcome in our ensembles and many members from the King’s community are visible helping out at our concerts or attending our events. We’re proud to be from King’s and I hope King’s can continue to be proud of us.” W DISCLOSURE: Ben Harrison was a percussionist in the King’s College Orchestra.