Togatus. October 2012 FREE!
Missy Higgins . Postcards from the Asylum . Bluejuice Tex Perkins . Address from the SRC
Wednesdays *************************** djs sPinning FrOM 6PM
5:30-10PM sPecials classic Pizzas $10 PreMiuM Pizzas $15 and beer jugs $10 2 1 7 Sa n d y Ba y Ro a d Ph : 6 2 2 4 4 4 4 4 www.th e m e tz.co m .a u
Published by the State Council on behalf of the Tasmania University Union Inc. (hf. â€œthe publishersâ€?). The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Togatus staff or the publishers. The copyright in each piece of work remains with the contributor; however, the publishers reserve the right to reproduce material on the Togatus website (www.togatus.com.au). The copyright in this magazine remains with the publishers.
Alexandra Gibson firstname.lastname@example.org
Hannah Grey, Ella Kearney
Design Editor: Sam Lyne
Design and Layout:
Stacey Armstrong, Sarah Foley, Hayley Francis, Sam Lyne
Please contact email@example.com
James Billing, Trent Binning, Hannah Grey, Rosanna Hunt, Elyse Jenkins, Ella Kearney, Anna Kelleher, Sheridan Legg, Caitlin Richardson, Simeon Thomas-Wilson Printed on Impress Gloss (FSC accredited, ECF [Chlorine Free] and PH Neutral) by GEON. Togatus PO Box 5055 Sandy Bay, Tas 7006 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
www.togatus.com.au Follow us: Twitter: http://twitter.com/TogatusMagazine Facebook: facebook.com/togatus.mag Togatus welcomes all contributions. Please email your work or ideas to email@example.com. It is understood that any contribution sent to Togatus may be used for publication in either the magazine or the website, and that the final decision on whether to publish resides with the editor and the publishers. The editor reserves the right to make changes to submitted material as required.
Togatus is published quarterly. Photo by Trent Binning1
from the editor Alexandra Gibson Hello Togatus Readers, Welcome to our October Issue for 2012. We’re very proud to be featuring the work of four second year journalism students from this year’s Feature Writing Course. Including Togatus within the UTas curriculum, in order to allow students to use the magazine as a portfolio for their work, has always been something I’ve strived for. My hope is that Togatus can continue to become more and more integrated into the UTas curriculum so that the larger student body have the opportunity to see what students from different faculties and campuses are producing. Whether that be fine art, drama, architecture and design, work from the Maritime College or those conducting ground breaking research. The selection of profile pieces we’ve received are outstanding and include a diverse range of topics. Simeon Thomas-Wilson has written a piece on this year’s winner of the Mixed Martial Arts event held in Tasmania, Chris ‘The Albatross’ Drummond. Drummond originally took up MMA in order to learn how to defend himself, after he was badly beaten up. His coach saw potential and the rest is history. Rosanna Hunt chose member of The Queen’s Counsel and prominent barrister Stephen Estcourt to profile. Not only do the aforementioned attributes make Estcourt a worthy subject, he is also the organiser of the World Party — a food and music event celebrating the diversity of cultures within Tasmania. Estcourt was motivated to organise the event after the murder of Chinese student Zhang “Tina” Yu in 2009, to induce tolerance and understanding of Tasmania’s multiculturalism. Sheridan Legg’s profile piece is about UTas medical student Ciara Conduit — the latest recipient of the Karla Fenton Travelling Scholarship. Conduit
used the scholarship, which is awarded annually to a resident of Jane Franklin Hall and traditionally put towards study abroad, to travel to Uganda to work in a hospital in the town of Fort Portal. James Billing has written a piece on Father Michael Tate — a Senator, then Minister for Justice, then Ambassador to The Hague and the Holy See, before becoming a Catholic priest. Along with his duties as a parish priest, Father Tate teaches at the University of Tasmania in the Faculty of Law. To add to that stellar line-up, we have interviews with Missy Higgins, Tex Perkins and Bluejuice. Writer Caitlin Richardson, has written a piece about Poet, Karen Knight and her most recent publication Poems from the Asylum. This selection of work was written while Karen was an involuntary member of the Royal Derwent Psychiatric Hospital from 1969 til 1980, after she was admitted by her parents without suffering any real mental illness. We’ve also included another classic from Ella Kearney about living in the Morris Miller library and Trent Binning treats us to a photo-essay. Hope you like it! Ally Gibson x
Alexandra Gibson My greatest fear is the population of Tasmanian snakes. Surprisingly, I continue to wander the bush bare footed. 2
CONTENTS From the Editor / 02 Contributors / 04 An Address from the SRC / 06 Missy Higgins / 08 Postcards from the Asylum / 14 Instant Velocity / 20 How to: Live in the Library / 28 Ciara Conduit / 30 Chris 'The Albatross' Drummond / 32 Sexy Texy / 34 Stephen Estcourt / 38 Father Michael Tate / 42 Bluejuice / 45
Photo by Trent Binning 3
Stacey Armstrong My greatest fear is someone forcing me to eat Vegemite. Armstrong, p. 28–29, 32–33, 38–41
Sarah Foley My greatest fear is fingernails going underneath other fingernails. Foley, p. 4–5, 8–19, 34–37
Hayley Francis My greatest fear is being thirsty. Francis, p. 6–7, 30–31, 42–48
Sam Lyne My greatest fear is my own gizzards. I don't like thinking about them… icky. Lyne, p. 1–3, 20–27
FEATURES James Billing My greatest fear is losing to my brother at anything.
Anna Kelleher My greatest fear is someone catching a glimpse at my natural skin tone — no creature should have to bear witness to such blinding white light.
Trent Binning My greatest fear is not learning enough about food and gardening from Mum, otherwise I’d say that I rarely employ enough good-judgement to be afraid.
Sheridan Legg My greatest fear is that I won't have the courage to follow my dreams.
Hannah Grey My greatest fear is not living up to my own expectations.
Caitlin Richardson My greatest fear is meeting John Jarratt while on holiday in the desert.
Rosanna Hunt My greatest fear is decision making. Deciding how to finish that sentence was nothing short of terrifying.
Simeon Thomas-Wilson My greatest fear is losing connection to the internet while playing FIFA online.
Ella Kearney My greatest fear is placing my feet on one of those towel-rugs some people place around the base of their toilet.
Photo by Sarah Foley 5
FROM THE SRC Elyse Jenkins As a result of the most recent TUU elections I’m sure you’re all a little more aware of the TUU. In the weeks past we’ve had to allocate an extra ten minutes to get to class to account for the pamphlet-waving, team t-shirt wearing student rep hopefuls that we’ve encountered along the way. As frustrating as this may be, as the outgoing TUU Southern Campus President I was pretty excited to see such a passionately contested election. I often get asked why I care so much about the TUU, why it is important and what we actually do. Firstly, TUU reps dedicate a great deal of time to the cause. For example, during semester one exam period, your Society Council President spent his time writing out society council guidelines and convincing the university that barrels are an essential tenet of university life. We care. Many of us enjoy the challenge of problem solving and trying to make something better. Many of us do it because of the satisfaction you get from running a great event or from striking a win against the university. Many of us just do it because we want to make the university experience more enjoyable and believe that we know how. With regards to what we actually do, I think the SRC South has had an incredibly active year. We ran O Week 2012 with a free concert featuring Ballpark Music and Alpine, Cal Wilson and a Comedy Gala, Clubs and Societies Day, a free breakfast, Market Day, Movie Night and the infamous welcome back barrel. We ran an inter-society soccer tournament, came up with the idea of SuperBarrel, held the first major satellite campus event with Arthaus and wreaked havoc with the
Scavenger Hunt. We’ve held two textbook sales, indulged in international foods and performances at International Fiesta and held 14 free breakfasts as a chance for you to meet your SRC reps and talk about relevant campus issues. But the SRC isn’t all fun and games. In semester one we had the task of educating you about SSAF (student services and amenities fees) as we felt that there was far from adequate student consultation from the university. We held a SSAF Q&A with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students and Education), spent a month handing out educative flyers and produced a survey which was sent to all UTas students and received over 2000 responses. We ensured that the university listened to you about how you wanted your SSAF funds spent. We have commenced the TUU Repower project in efforts to increase the sustainability of the TUU and switched to Fairtrade and ethically-produced products at our events. We established an International Student Committee and a Constitutional Review Committee to address the structural inadequacies within our organisation. We’ve also launched the TUU Clubs and Societies Raffle to help clubs and societies raise some extra funds for their great work. An interesting challenge we have faced this year is the criticism we have received, and by criticism I don’t mean someone making a meme about the surplus of Facebook notifications about TUU Toast. I don’t think criticism is necessarily bad, as it shows that people are engaging with the TUU. We recognise that we can make improvements in the way we communicate with students, yet staging student protests over every potential university decision is arguably not the most effective way to have an impact. This year we have operated off 6
Firstly. the belief that we will achieve more through establishing ourselves as a professional body who can engage in dialogue with the university, rather than resorting back to the riotous methods used in the 70s, in a time when the university was far less willing to hear what we have to say. Without such an approach I doubt we would have been as successful in saving the much-loved barrel when the University expressed their concerns or have had any input into the restructure of The Refectory. Yet the relationship between the TUU and UTas is not without its flaws, and I hope that next year’s crop of reps work towards more open and regular correspondence with the university. As the sun sets on my final term in TUU office, I’ve has a chance to think about my ‘wish list’ for the TUU in the coming years. It’s impossible to achieve everything in one term, however these are a few things I would like to see rolled out in the future: – A fortnightly newsletter produced by the TUU and regional SRCs which includes rep reports, a calendar of upcoming events and letters from students. Ideally this would be sent out via email to all students. – Major improvements to the TUU website – An Inter-society Quidditch tournament – A TUU produced University Handbook – Establishing sub-committees for the major SRC portfolios – A restructure of the TUU Board of Management to a board with a student majority – A more active campus in Launceston, Burnie and Cradle Coast I hope this gives you a clearer idea about the TUU SRC and what we’re all about. We don’t claim to be infallible though most of us have contributed countless hours to the organisation in the name of making our university a better place for students. I wish next year’s reps the best of luck and there’s no doubt I’ll be a ‘toolie’ at a few TUU events next year. For more information check out: http://www.facebook.com/tuusrcsouth www.tuu.com.au Image by Hayley Francis
MISSY HIGGINS Alexandra Gibson You have recently released your latest album, The Ol' Razzle Dazzle. Where did this name come from and what does it represent? A friend of mine who I wrote a song with (“Hello Hello”) sent me the demo of the song a few days after we recorded it, with the subject title: “The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle”. And that kind of sparked the idea. It seemed like a really funny, tongue-in-cheek comment on the world that I live in, i.e. the entertainment industry. As a lot of the songs on the album deal with the idea of ‘playing the game’ of the music business and how that never really felt right to me, I thought it actually seemed really appropriate. We hadn’t really heard from you after your album On a Clear Night came out, which was released in 2007. It says in your bio that you literally quit music. What were the events that led to this? And what have you been doing during that time away? I’m not exactly sure what led to me feeling as though I had to quit, I think it was a culmination of events. I tried really hard to write for my third album for nearly two years. When I still hadn’t written anything that I liked at the end of that, I had to reassess my priorities because it was kind of making me miserable. I think in hindsight all I needed was a big break, but I wasn’t letting myself have one, which is where I went wrong. So I went to Uni and studied Indigenous Studies. I also did some travelling to India and Brazil, but mostly I tried to enjoy being at home and seeing my friends and family regularly. Eventually I found my way back to music and realised that I really couldn’t live without it. I guess I just had to walk away from it for a while in order to realise that. Was there a discrepancy between what you expected from your music career and the reality? I didn’t really have any sort of expectations, to tell you the truth, because I started so early. I was signed to a label when I was still in high school and hadn’t really even formed an idea of what a career as a singer-songwriter
might look like. I guess if I was surprised by anything, it would be the fact that there is much less actual playing of music than you’d expect when you’re touring! So much of it is travel and sitting around, only a tiny percentage is actually playing. I think that got me down after a while because I absolutely loved those two hours a day of playing, but the airports and the hotels and all the sitting around makes you feel a little dumb after a while. It made me realise why people set up residencies in Las Vegas! Do you still love being a part of the music industry? I do love it, yeah. The music industry is full of creative, amazing people who are mostly free spirits and are up for anything. Granted, it’s easy to never grow up doing what we do, but sometimes that’s a good thing! A lot of songs on your new album are seemingly about the ups and downs of relationships. I can’t help but feel that some of these songs relate to bigger concepts than a relationship between you and another person. It says in your bio also that these songs are a lot about your relationship with music. Can you elaborate on this? This album’s much more self-reflective than my last two. I guess because I had such a hard time trying to come to terms with the fact that I didn’t feel inspired anymore and questioning what I could possibly do with my life if I wasn’t a musician. I ended up having to ask myself some pretty big questions. I also felt like music was this slippery thing that kept getting away from me the harder I tried to grab it. I didn’t understand how my creativity could just come and go when it wanted at seemingly random times — completely out of my control. It was like a relationship with another human at times, so that’s why a lot of the songs can be taken either way. I was lucky enough to see you perform on New Year’s Eve at The Falls Festival 2011. While you have been absent from the music seen for these 8
five years, I have never experienced so much love from a crowd. It was the only act I saw where audience members had made personalised signs, such as, “Marry Me Missy”. There were thousands of voices singing along to your older tracks. How does that feel to have that kind of response from your fans, particularly after so long? That felt amazing, actually. I was overcome with both gratitude and relief during that show! I really had no idea how people would receive me after so long because you know it can go either way. People can get sick of your music, forget about you and move on, or they can welcome you back like you never left, and thank god it was the latter! That’s one thing I’ve come to be so thankful for since I came back to music. The fact that my fans seem to have stuck by me, or at least remembered me, which is enough! The rest is up to me, to release music that makes the wait worth it. I took your CD to London with me when I moved there on my own when I was 17. It was a constant companion and those songs have taken on a plethora of other personal meaning for me now. I think your songs have this very chameleon-like characteristic that allows people to adopt your words for their own. How does this make you feel that your private moments are shared by so many others? I think that’s great! I’d much rather people be able to adapt my songs to their own experiences than only hear it as my story. Most of my favourite songs I have no idea what they’re really about, but that doesn’t matter at all. If a song makes me feel not so alone, as though there’s someone else out there who understands how I feel, then that’s a beautiful thing. This is the exact reason why I don’t like to go into too much detail about what or who my songs are about! You also spoke about the surprise that your band, who hadn’t toured with you in Australia before, received to the response from the crowd to songs like “Scar”. Yeah I totally forgot that, because they’re from the US, they of course would have no idea what my singles were and what weren’t [in Australia]. So it was hilarious looking around at all their faces when we started “Scar” and the entire audience just erupted and sang the entire song at the top of their voices! Can you take us through that initial journey of winning Triple J Unearthed with your song “All for Believing”? It was a song I’d written when I was in year 10 at high
Photo by Alexandra Gibson
school, about 15 or 16-years-old, and really the first song that I thought was any good. I’d written it for a music class assignment! Then a couple of years later when I was in year 12 my sister entered it into Triple J Unearthed (which, embarrassingly, I don’t think I’d even heard of at the time). I got a call a couple of months later at school saying that I’d won. That changed everything for me, because at that point I hadn’t really thought of myself as a songwriter so much as a singer. I was also in the middle of trying to decide what kind of uni course I should do when I finished school. After winning Unearthed I soon signed to a record label and that’s when I realised (or rather, my dad let me off the hook!) that I didn’t have to go to Uni. After leaving school I went backpacking for six months with my best friend around Europe and then came back and started writing for my first album. I can still remember hearing “Scar” for the first time and it really broke a lot of rules I had in my head about the craft of singing. I hadn’t heard a female, Australian-sounding voice like that before. Since then, there have been a huge number of Australian female artists who have adopted a similar style — you really opened the floodgates for young Australian female artists. Do you see yourself as a pioneer for Australian female artists? Thank you, but no I don’t really! I was influenced by other people, everybody creates their style through the various people that have come before them. I’m happy though if anything I did gave any Australian females permission to be a bit freer with their style, or inspired them to think outside the square. How much of your voice and style of music was originally influenced by your music idols and how much do you think just came from you? It’s hard to say, I feel like a good percentage of everything that we create is a result of the experiences we’ve had in the past, even if it’s thousands upon thousands of different tiny influences. From those you can create your own original combinations and recipes, which is where the true creativity comes in, but I still think it’s all thanks to everything heard in the past. You have taken part in Mareike Hardy and Michaela McGuire’s fantastic monthly event Women of Letters in Melbourne. In one event, you read out a very moving letter you wrote to “My Turning Point” where you spoke about being diagnosed with depression. You said that it can help you write great songs. How so? Well, in context, I think when I said that it was towards the end of the letter when I was assessing the pros and
cons of depression. It was also my attempt at bringing some light-heartedness to what had been quite a heavy story. I don’t think depression necessarily helps you to write great songs, at least not me. It can actually be quite the opposite, it can be debilitating. I write the best when I’m feeling awake and clear and excited about life. When I’m depressed it’s hard to find the motivation to do anything. I think it’s actually a bit of a myth that all great artists need to be depressed in order to write. During the dark moments I think you’re more aware of yourself, and of the feelings you’re going through. You’re hypersensitive and there’s a sense of disconnectedness from the world which is no doubt what you’re going to want to write about once you get out of it… but there is plenty to write about without having to put yourself through that. You just have to pay more attention.
MY BAND ARE ALL FROM THE U.S AND HAD NO IDEA WHAT MY SINGLES WERE [IN AUSTRALIA]. SO IT WAS HILARIOUS LOOKING AROUND AT ALL THEIR FACES WHEN WE STARTED “SCAR” AND THE ENTIRE AUDIENCE JUST ERUPTED AND SANG THE ENTIRE SONG AT THE TOP OF THEIR VOICES You are coming to Tasmania at the end of this year for The Soundscape Festival. We are thrilled to have you back again! You have come down here a few times now, how do you like performing in Tasmania? I really love Tassie, last time we were there for the Falls Festival. The whole band and I went to the MONA museum which was mind blowing. It was also a really beautiful way to spend New Year’s Eve — on the wharf, surrounded by music and food and wine and fireworks. Actually right near where The Soundscape Festival is gonna be! I’d love to explore Tassie a bit more one day, not just to go there to play. You guys have the most beautiful forests in the world. 12
POSTCARDS FROM THE ASYLUM Caitlin Richardson “Days all the same, named by menu” “In my dark room, the stranger inside me.” (From “Things I Remember”, in Postcards from the Asylum by Karen Knight, P.44) It’s the year 1969. The Beatles are taking over the world and the Vietnam War is raging. Astronauts are travelling to the moon, while civilians are going to Woodstock and exploring other dimensions of space and time via Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and LSD. Amid this whirlwind of madness, Hobart teenager Karen Knight is, like many others, experimenting with marijuana and defying her parents. Karen dreamt of escaping to the hills with the hippies, and later in that year, she found herself in an alternative community, of sorts. But it wasn’t quite the commune she was hoping for. As a 19-year-old, Karen was admitted to the Royal Derwent Psychiatric Hospital. The 11 months Karen spent there is explored in her most recent poetry collection, Postcards from the Asylum. This is Karen’s fifth published collection and it has won numerous national awards, including the 2007 Alec Bolton Award and the University of Tasmania Book Prize in 2011. I came across Postcards from the Asylum in the Morris Miller library
by accident. I casually opened the cover, but ended up perched awkwardly on a stool, completely transfixed until I had read it all. There’s an idea out there that poetry is no longer relevant, that it can’t give you that aweinspiring punch in the guts like a song or movie can. Karen’s writing challenges this myth. Her work is direct, economical and utterly powerful. There are no hints of poetic pretentiousness — just a sense of honesty, visceral detail, and a remarkable power to surprise. Karen’s poems left me stunned between the bookshelves, but the story behind her writing is equally baffling. The Royal Derwent closed its doors in 2000 after more than 170 years of operation. All that remains today is a collection of abandoned buildings on the outskirts of New Norfolk. When Karen spent time there it was an expansive complex — including sports facilities, a swimming pool and full-size movie theatre. Although it was known as a psychiatric hospital or ‘asylum’, Karen says that she didn’t actually suffer from a mental illness when she spent time in the Royal Derwent. As Karen explains, during the 60s the Royal Derwent was a kind of ‘halfway house’ where parents took their rebellious teens to get them ‘sorted out’. Karen says that she has always had “an enhanced reaction to reality, and 14
sometimes that may be seen as being not quite normal”. Along with sufferers of mental illness, the Royal Derwent housed eccentric, socially transgressive young people, some of which, Karen says, have gone on to become extremely successful artists. Karen recognises now that her own creative sensibility was shared by many there. “That is how artists are,” she says. “Sometimes they do see things and feel things much more strongly”. Karen has always been surrounded by creative people. The daughter of music and drama teachers, Karen was writing poetry by the age of 15 and had her first poem published in a prestigious national journal, Poetry Australia, when she was 19. The book’s title refers to the postcards she wrote during her time in the Royal Derwent. “I never sent them because it was such a taboo thing,” Karen says. Although 1969 was a time of enormous social upheaval, the social stigma associated with mental issues remained solid and unmoving. Was the hospital’s primary purpose to rehabilitate people, or simply to hide society’s misfits? Tucked away up the river, the institution provided a place of confinement far from the public eye. Karen describes the challenges of living in this isolated environment. Regarded as a minor until the age of 21, the duration of Karen’s stay was determined entirely by her parents. The food was horrific and occasional visits from friends and family served to emphasise the loneliness Karen felt when they went home. “Just knowing that the doors were locked at night and you didn’t have freedom, that was the hardest thing,” she says. On several occasions in her poems, Karen refers to herself as a caged bird dreaming of escape: “I want to hot-wire this roof and smuggle me into a safe sky where I can glide into a free world." (Postcards from the Asylum, P.39 ) For a free spirit like Karen, these circumstances must have been devastating. How do you forgive your parents for something like that? It’s been 43 years since her time in the asylum and Karen is philosophical about their decision: “They were doing what they thought was right
because they loved me and they wanted to protect me.” In respect for her parent’s well-meaning intentions, Karen didn’t publish Postcards until after they had passed away. Time has also given Karen an appreciation of what might have happened if she hadn’t spent time in the Royal Derwent. “I probably would’ve got pregnant and ended up in a hippy commune. I might’ve been happy. But I don’t think I would’ve gained the life experience that I have gained.” Karen’s poems describe encounters with David (the doctor’s son) who “flaps at the walls/like a nervous cockatiel,” women who nurse dolls as if they are their children and young girls “with a kick of baby/in their dilated eyes.” In the intense, enclosed environment of the hospital, Karen saw humanity at its most vulnerable. This understanding helped her to grow up. “I was very vain. I was a very young, attractive, promiscuous girl, and very self-absorbed like a lot of young people are, and what I learned up there was incredible. I learned empathy.” Incidentally, the experience also gave Karen a wealth of material to write about. In fact, Karen says that residencies in prisons and institutions are highly sought after by writers today. Using this kind of material could seem exploitative, but Karen’s approach remains compassionate. “I just felt that if I were able to give them a voice, it would be in a way that wasn’t derogatory… to make people aware of how hard it is to have mental issues and to be separated from your family”. Although she saw herself as somewhat of an outsider among people with more serious conditions, there isn’t a sense of “us” and “them” in Karen’s poems. Her writing doesn’t shy away from the confronting, often frightening realities of life in the Royal Derwent — suicide, breakdown, psychological testing, the enduring sense of powerlessness — but the collection covers a broad spectrum of feelings and characters’ stories too. There is also a dark humour which pervades the collection. “You will find that there is a bit of humour in there, because it wasn’t always awful,” she says. 16
Photo by Damien Peck 17
Through friendships made with others in her ward, the experience became more bearable. Karen doesn’t depict monstrous One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest-style staff in her work either. In its earlier history, electric shock therapy, castor oil and turpentine enemas were used as treatments, but Karen believes that by 1969 the Royal Derwent had made some steps forward. Importantly, the institution was beginning to introduce group therapy and were giving patients more opportunities to express themselves. Karen now believes that the institution was a good place for some people who found it hard to cope with life in the outside world. “It was secure and safe, and the staff were actually very kind,” she says. Karen was originally uncertain about sharing this difficult aspect of her past in her work. “You’ve just got to really believe in yourself as a writer and say ‘I’m going to do this’,” she says. Writing became a cathartic experience, and a sense of healing also emerged through the book’s enormously positive reception. “Reading your work to big audiences and seeing people with tears in their eyes because obviously they related it to something that may have happened to them, or one of their family, I thought, this is what I should’ve done a long time ago and I’m glad I did.” In a place like Tassie, which is constantly represented in terms of its natural landscapes, Karen’s writing is striking in its portrayal of an extreme, artificial environment. It’s not just the historical background that is compelling; poetry enables Karen to represent moments of beauty amid the desolation of life in an institution. This search for poetic meaning doesn’t come across as a frivolous exercise, but as an act of survival in desperate circumstances. Karen aspires to a kind of writing that isn’t about assembling fancy words, but creating moments of “heart stopping” emotional resonance. Postcards from the Asylum might be made up of poems, but reading it inspires just that — a sense of shock and wonder, and feeling “that rush in your chest.” www.pardalote.com.au/titles/postcards/ 18
The Royal Derwent Psychiatric Hospital as it stands today. Photo by Damien Peck 19
VELOCITY Trent Binning
One of the first people I spoke to during my foray into photographing motorcycle racing used my surname as a verb. He talked about his penchant for ‘binning’ his super-lightweight racing bike, which I understood as ‘destroying’ — I felt an immediate welcome. As with any extreme sport, the level of risk is high (I had to sign two indemnity forms before taking photos, contemplating for a second the section on death), yet the sheer thrill of riding and riding fast, is incredible. This selection of images shows two variants of motorcycle sports in Tasmania. Enduro, which is a time-trial based race set among a course consisting of any terrain except actual road, and track racing, which took place at the Symmons Plains racetrack in the centre of the state. As Helen Keller said: “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” I’m sure Ms Keller would be riding today if she were alive. 20
Togatus. Trent Binning 25
HOW TO: LIVE IN THE LIBRARY Ella Kearney Are parents getting in your grill? Are rent prices escalating? It’s time to consider living in the library. Here is a guide to making the most out of your new pad. Work it If you’re going to be living in Morris Miller you will need to give the impression that this is your domain. Walk around like a brash, highly paid executive, randomly yelling out orders to imaginary personal assistants, “Niles, where are those papers I asked you to fill-out?” and “Mary, where’s my god damn coffee?!” If you really want to ramp it up, go around slamming doors. Set up one of the group study rooms as your office. Gather a couple of indoor plants, a fish tank, a 1970s landscape painting and a card holder. Keep some quality whiskey in your third drawer for problematic visitors. When students come in to use the study room because they “booked it”, pretend to be on a really important conference call — swear loudly and throw pens.
Bathing After deciding to write this article, I went to the toilet on the second level. Upon entering I noticed a young lass brushing her teeth in the sink. Case in point. You can definitely live in the library. Brushing the pegs is easy, next step is full on ‘bathing’. Simply bring in your attachable plastic shower head and connect it up to the ol’ tap. Sure, you will only be able to have either an icy cold or scolding hot shower, but at least you have endless access to quality body wash straight from the wall dispenser. Bring in some scented candles and hang a loofah on the back of the door — make it special. Coffee Coffee time! Although I’m not a fan of drinking hot liquids, I know that most people can’t function without at least one cup a day. Look no further than the Fresh Gourmet Coffee machine located on the ground level. Nothing says ‘fresh’ like a vending machine. You can even get a mochaccino. 28
If you want to maintain your suave executive status, you’re probably better off getting a short black. To gain additional cred, sit your chair in the middle of the walkway, cross your legs and sip on your little cup, while giving people long, piercing stares. You could also yell out philosophers’ names. Get down Have you ever been on the ground level of the library during happy hour (9pm–10pm)? There’s a real buzz in the air that only comes with the sheer panic of uni assignment deadlines. It’s great. Everyone’s in it together. All that’s missing is a handsome young man floating around with a tray of gin and tonics and some Biggie Smalls playing in the background. Call up your non-uni friends and have them come to your ‘new place’ for a pop-up dinner party. Shout them a round of Fresh Gourmet Coffee and take them on a tour of your ah-mazing book collection. If you’re really feeling cultural, give them a tour of the ‘History of the Morris Miller’ display.
Beddy Byes There are several ‘day beds’ on the ground level of Morris. Bring your Egyptian cotton sheets — it’s time to snuggle. If you’d prefer a more private space, head up to the top level and find a warm alcove between the book shelves. Apparently they close the upper levels of the library at about 9pm. This is fine, it just requires a bit of hiding from the security guards when they do their final phat lap. Better still, become really good friends with the security guards. Tell them that you promise to slip your futon back under the shelves come morning… no one has to know! Illustration by Stacey Armstrong
CIARA CONDUIT Sheridan Legg Ciara Conduit opens her dormitory door to my knock for the second time today. She was still in her pyjamas after lunch, but a few hours later she is now dressed. With an easy smile she invites me in, waving a hand to dismiss the mess of empty glasses, textbooks and paper. It’s all the comforts anyone would like while working to complete their degree. However, in January this year Ciara was somewhere completely different: Uganda. Ciara is the latest recipient of the Karla Fenton Travelling Scholarship, a generous scholarship endowed annually to a resident of Jane Franklin Hall. Traditionally put towards study or travel abroad, Ciara saw an opportunity to combine her degree in medicine and her desire to help out in a third world country. With the scholarship to finance her travel, Ciara applied for and was accepted into the volunteering program run by International Volunteer Headquarters. “They are a New Zealand-based company that liaises with in-country operators. They have about 20 countries you can choose from in total,” she says. Places and experiences range from teaching English in Vietnam to turtle conservation in Costa Rica. Ciara has already travelled in Asia and has “big plans” for South America later in life. Close to finishing a Bachelor of Medicine, Ciara wanted some hands-on experience to expand her skills. “Africa was the thing and Uganda was most appealing.” Ciara no longer looks at me directly as she talks about her placement town, Fort Portal. It is about five hours west of Kampala, the capital of Uganda, and right on the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “It’s quite a hilly region, which means the temperature is much better than places like Kampala. Cool enough to walk around, as long as you are culturally appropriate,” she says, gesturing towards her clothes. I picture the tourist ideal of national parks and tea
plantations, but suspect that’s not entirely accurate. Like many African countries, Uganda has a background of civil unrest, insurgency and cross-border conflict. Since the 1990s the government has largely put an end to the human rights abuses of earlier regimes and established economic reforms. But as of July 31, 2012 Smarttraveller. com advises people to reconsider the need to travel to areas bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Perhaps Ciara was lucky to go when she did. The hospital Ciara worked in combined general medical and surgical areas, including trauma and paediatrics, a maternity unit and a HIV clinic. “It had about a hundred beds, but in saying that there was about 50 real beds and 50 beds on the floor. Patients who came there paid per procedure and per item. They had to pay for each pair of gloves used and things like that." She tells me she was under the supervision of a senior doctor. “In Uganda they are more genera than here, they don’t do specialists.” Because her supervisor oversaw all the wards, Ciara had the benefit of experiencing all areas of the hospital, even seeing patients to the clinics on her own. “Interestingly, at the time I was there, there was another medical student who was one year ahead of me in his degree and he was from Uganda. He and I we studied from the exact same textbooks and his knowledge was absolutely incredible, it put me to shame. It was great.” She goes on more reservedly, “But then of course you can observe other differences. Obviously resources are quite poor there; anaesthesia for the surgery was also pretty minimal. Evidence based practice [a type of best practice in clinical decision-making] isn’t highly used, whether that’s because of education or lack of resources I’m not sure. There are obviously quite profound differences between the working environments.” She recalls an incident that we both can laugh at, but the situation was clouded with seriousness. “More than once the electricity went out in the middle of surgery. Luckily the 30
theatre of surgery was external to the building so we had one wall of natural light coming in. And we had torches.” Limited supplies aside, paying for resources themselves meant patients often had to endure the very minimum. “They would awake in the middle of all sorts of surgeries which was pretty traumatic, for the patients, and as an observer of that… There was one patient I recall, I think he had come off a motorbike and he had a pretty severe wound to his scalp and he was screaming out in pain during the procedure, which,” she takes a slow breath, “isn’t wonderful.”
she explains with a laugh. “I’ve always had an interest in working in a developing country,” Ciara says. “The fact that I had the opportunity to do it in my degree and with the support of the scholarship was unexpected. I’m very thankful for that.” Photo by Ciara Conduit
I ask about the town, and though we talk about millet seed tasting of dough and the Matooke dish containing something like an unripe banana, there is one thing that stands out to Ciara. “The place where I was, they also have these pet names.” Relating to the history of Fort Portal and the ruling family of the Tooro Kingdom, people receive an Empaako. “They’re kind of like nicknames, but there’s a total of only eight names. Everybody in town has one of these pet names. And they will use these pet names more than their first names.” Ciara smiles as she recalls her initial confusion. But within a few days she was given her own, Akiiki. “Which is apparently ‘queen’,” 31
CHRIS 'THE ALBATROSS' DRUMMOND Simeon Thomas-Wilson Blood poured from a gash above his opponent’s eye. The crowd rose to their feet in anticipation of a result and the doctor and other officials rushed into the octagon cage to stop the fight and declared that Chris ‘The Albatross’ Drummond victorious. The performance was the main event of the second ever Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event held in Tasmania, run by Tasmanian organisation Valor. The victory was over the much fancied Filipino fighter, Jerick Panes. The win was made all the more remarkable by the fact that Drummond wasn’t even supposed to be in the fight. Drummond was a late replacement for fellow fighter Paul Morello, who was forced to withdraw from the competition one week before the event, after routine pre-fight medical tests ruled him out. Drummond, an electrical apprentice, was given his chance to shine. With such a short time to prepare for Valor 2 — GENESIS, which was held on the first of September, the 18-year-old Drummond could have been forgiven for being a little intimidated in the fight against Panes who travelled from South Australia especially for it. Despite the short notice, Drummond dominated Panes from the onset. At the start of the second round, he had inflicted enough damage on his opponent for the fight doctors and officials to stop the bout and give Drummond his second victory in as many fights to start his MMA career. Playing with his black, curly hair as he reflected on the fight, Drummond’s smile leaves his face for the first time since I met him as he talks about the result. “I actually wanted the fight to go to a third round; I was a little annoyed that it had to stop like that. I really wanted to
finish the fight on my own, but he had a cut, so the doctor had to stop it,” he says with a stone-like demeanour. His smile returns quickly though, “I’m still happy with the result, I shouldn’t really complain, but it would have been nice to fight a little longer,” he says. However, Drummond explains it was a hard fight to prepare for. “At the weigh-in which was the day before the fight, I was four kilos over the weight limit, so I had to go to the sauna and sweat it out,” he says. The sport of MMA is one of the fastest, if not the fastest growing sport in the world — enthralling people with its combination of disciplines such as boxing, Brazilian jui-jitsu, judo, karate, kickboxing, and wrestling. This combination of disciplines has resulted in a huge number of people trying out, inspired by what they witness in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) — the pinnacle of MMA. This excitement and passion for MMA has made Valor one of the fastest growing organisations in Tasmania, with a large number of people keen to test their fighting abilities in their events. While some get involved in MMA due to a love of the sport, or a desire to fight, Drummond found himself taking it up to learn how to defend himself. Punching the air, he says, “I got in a fight and I got bashed, so then I decided I wanted to learn how to fight. I initially took up boxing for a bit, but then one of my mates who had done a bit of MMA training at Hybrid Training Centre in Hobart suggested that I should come down there for a few lessons. I enjoyed it and I never really looked back.” 32
I GOT IN A FIGHT AND I GOT BASHED, SO THEN I DECIDED I WANTED TO LEARN HOW TO FIGHT... I ENJOYED IT AND I NEVER REALLY LOOKED BACK “After I had been training there for a while my coach came up to me and asked me if I wanted to compete and I said ok,” he laughs. “I really like MMA, I reckon it’s the best sport in terms of a physical challenge. You have one-on-one situations, which require fitness and even strategy — although some people don’t believe me when I say that,” he adds. As MMA has become more prominent, the safety of the competitors has been widely debated, with some calling for the sport to be banned — citing the violent nature of it. They argue it encourages violence on the streets, something that Drummond disagrees with. “I don’t think it’s that violent. I would say boxing is more violent, but not a lot of people say that should be banned or that it encourages violence on the streets,” he says. When I ask him about if he’s worried about getting hurt in a fight his grin widens. “I’m not that worried about getting hurt. The only reason I would worry is if it would ever affect my day job. But honestly I would rather get hurt than lose a fight. I’m probably more worried about losing,” he says. It’s that kind of fearless attitude that makes Drummond a formidable opponent and highly rated in the Tasmanian MMA community. He was asked to fight again later on in the year but will not be in the state at the time. Next year he will compete for a title under Valor. “I’m looking forward to the title fight next year. I’ll probably be fighting someone who is well trained, which is good because I don’t really want to fight someone who is worse than me. I want to test myself against someone who is better,” he says with a smile. Photograph by Joshua Stebbings www.stebbingsphotos.photomerchant.net 33
SEXY TEXY Anna Kelleher
An iconic figure in the Australian music industry, Tex Perkins has done it all over the past 30 years in his colourful career. He’s about to embark on a national tour, due to the release of his second album Everyone’s Alone, with current band The Dark Horses. Anna Kelleher scrapes the surface of the scattered mind that is Tex Perkins. Anna: Tex, how you going? You were feeling unwell yesterday? Tex: I’m still feeling pretty unwell, it’s a stomach kind of bug — it’s a pretty uncool thing to go into any further detail about… Right, well we best leave it at that then! So are you cooped up in a hotel under house arrest until you’re healthy? Actually I’m in the hospital on a drip.
You’re not… are you really? No, I’m not [laughs]. Yeah I’m actually in the back of an ambulance… Sounds like a relaxing place for you to tell me a bit about this new album you’ll be releasing soon? What was the concept behind the making of it — and what led you to writing it? I just want to make records. I’m going to make a lot of records very quickly and I feel like I’m on a roll. Some of them will reach other peoples ears and some won’t. I wanted to really capture where The Dark Horses as a band is at, because it’s really evolved from what was a backing band from my solo career. It has its own identity now. So did everyone play a part in the songwriting process or is that part left up to you? There are contributions here and there, but mostly it’s Murray Paterson and myself. But Joel [Silbersher] and Charlie [Owens] also write a song each on this record. 35
It’s more the feel of it, the sound of the music and the approach — a lot of these songs don’t have the sort of detailed, story telling kind of narrative to them, they’re quite expansive in their view. Is it just a type of projectile mind spew onto paper as soon as the idea forms in your head or do you let them simmer within your thoughts before forming the songs? Yeah you haven’t heard a tenth of all the shit that goes on in my head, [laughs] from six different bands as well. You start collecting things together and there is a lot of material floating around, a lot of ideas. Ideas sort of start sticking together in groups and they start to relate to each other and I guess that’s how an album is kind of formed.
SOMEONE JOINED ME AT THE PISS TROFF AND IT WAS MARTIN PLAZA, WHO WAS IN A BAND CALLED MENTAL AS ANYTHING. HE SAID “OH YOUNG TEX, NEVER TAKE IT TOO SERIOUSLY MATE, YOU’LL GO FAR.” You’ve done your solo career and you’ve been part of several bands, do you have a preference? Right now, as far as The Dark Horses go, I prefer to approach music more as a band and I think I’m a bit sick of myself actually. This record is more about showing this interesting combination of musicians. What’s been the hardest struggle in creating this album with your fellow Dark Horses? There were no huge struggles, it was done pretty quickly which is the key I think. I’m not interested in making long and painful, detailed sort of records where you have to get it ‘right’. Enjoying myself is vital to the creative process;
the only reason I kind of fundamentally do it is because I enjoy it. If it’s not enjoyable, my mind wanders pretty quickly onto other things that could be enjoyable. So any struggles that we did have were worth it, and I think were part of the mill of working it all out. The only real struggle would be the differences of opinions with my other band members. The title of the album is Everyone’s Alone, is that a comforting or terrifying thought for you? [laughs] A bit of both really. It’s also the name of a song on the album which was written very quickly. We tossed around a few ideas for album titles and that’s the one that seemed like an album title. But yeah, it is a comforting thought, I love being alone. There’s a few ideas in that song and I’m not sure what I’ve actually tried to say there [laughs]. I think that song has a bit of a sweet and bleak sentiment. Bleak, but sweet. What made you choose the career path of a musician? I did attempt other career paths. I made pizza and delivered furniture. I was even a guillotine operator once and all this was before I was 17. An offer to go on tour to Sydney — closely coinciding with the last time that I got sacked — meant that the pathway was quite obvious. I was tumbling down the tunnel of life really and found myself in rock and roll bands. You’ve covered a lot of different genres over the time with several of your bands (Thug, Beasts of Bourbon, your work with Charlie Owen, the Cruel Sea and the Lady Boyz). Where does your core musical passion lie? I don’t think there is a genre that’s my favourite… or it changes anyway. It changes with my age, whether I’ve been doing something or whether I’ve become bored with something. I got really tired of singing in front of rock bands and just roaring my head off. It just became painful. I would come off stage and I couldn’t speak for an hour — my head was just throbbing. I like to make a noise, but it can be a weird interesting noise rather than a big solid rock noise. Actually that’s not even true. This is my trouble… I don’t know where my home is. 36
What’s a memorable moment where you’ve thought to yourself “Heck yeah, this has been a great day.” There’s been many. I am so fortunate and I have often taken pause throughout my life and just thought “wow, how cool is this?” They haven’t been things like winning awards or meeting famous people. There have been so many golden moments that I’ve just loved and have felt absolutely blessed to have even had just five minutes of the life that I’ve lived. How’s that for a sappy answer? [laughs] I was reading that off the top 20 standard ‘Rock and Roll’ answers on Google. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given that’s really stuck with you your whole life? I was in the toilets, at the Graphic Arts Club in Sydney, in 1982. I was at the piss troff, I think I’d done an early gig there. Anyway, someone joined me at the piss troff and it was Martin Plaza, who was in a band called Mental as Anything. He said: “Oh young Tex, never take it too seriously mate, you’ll go far.”
I LIKE TO MAKE A NOISE, BUT IT CAN BE A WEIRD INTERESTING NOISE RATHER THAN A BIG SOLID ROCK NOISE. ACTUALLY THAT’S NOT EVEN TRUE. THIS IS MY TROUBLE… I DON’T KNOW WHERE MY HOME IS.
And you’ve lived by that? I think I have, I think also growing up under the name of ‘Tex’ prevented me from being taken seriously as well. Well you are known as ‘Sexy Texy’. Exactly, how can you be taken seriously with a name like that? I think I had my first childhood crush on you actually, so thanks for that! Oh bless you, well I hope after this interview I’ve broken the spell for you…
STEPHEN ESTCOURT Rosanna Hunt Stephen Estcourt is a “save the world lawyer” — at least, that’s what one critic has called him. The Queen’s Counsel and prominent barrister has taken on this intended insult — posted by an unfriendly Facebook friend — as a point of pride. He added it to the description section on his personal Facebook site before blocking the ‘friend’ in question. To some, the phrase above might not really sound like abuse and when talking about Stephen Estcourt it does seem an apt description. A state finalist for the 2012 Australian of the Year award, he has followed his passion for multiculturalism as one of the organisers of the World Party — a food and music event celebrating the diversity of cultures within Tasmania. First admitted to practice law in 1976, he was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1998 — an honour awarded only to the best. He has extensive experience in immigration law and is known to be a strong advocate; he once intervened on behalf of the United Nations in a High Court case. Born and bred in Tasmania (he describes his heritage as “convict stock”), Mr Estcourt was educated at New Town High and Elizabeth College, and gained his law degree at the University of Tasmania. He hasn’t gotten sick of the island lifestyle yet, but works in law chambers in Melbourne, as well as in Hobart.
I meet him at Salamanca’s Grape Bar & Tapas, where he is enjoying a glass of white. It’s a Saturday and he is in the middle of a three-week trial, but is cheerful and happy to chat — perhaps his sense of social activism comes partly from generosity. He didn’t set out to save the world, though. Beginning his legal studies at age 16 (which he says he chose because he was “too dumb to do medicine”), his standout memories from university consist of a smoke-filled law library in the engineering building, in the days before the law faculty had one of its own. “It wasn’t until years later that I sort of developed a social conscience, and I railed against injustice of any sort, and that’s what drove me to do pro bono work,” says Mr Estcourt. “If I can do something to help by using my skills and my time, which cost me nothing, then I’ll do that.” He put these values into practice in 2009 with a case against the Tasmanian government, where Mr Estcourt acted pro bono for a Risdon Prison inmate being kept in what he says was effectively solitary confinement — with access to only a tiny exercise yard and no natural light. The only way to gain privileges in this system was through good behaviour. 38
Illustration by Stacey Armstrong 39
HIS WORK OUTSIDE THE COURTROOM INCLUDES WORLD PARTY. IT WAS THE MURDER OF CHINESE STUDENT ZHANG "TINA" YU IN 2009 AND A SPATE OF ATTACKS ON INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS THAT LED TO THE IDEA FOR A MULTICULTURAL FOOD AND ARTS EVENT. “Almost by definition the sort of people who were kept in these conditions didn’t have the capacity to behave themselves; they were the worst of the worst prisoners,” he says. “They were backsliding, it was like snakes and ladders and they would never, ever escape the worst of the conditions.” The system was changed as a result. Greg Barns, another prominent barrister who worked on the case, speaks highly of his friend’s skill as an advocate and the value system that drives him. “I’ve worked with a lot of lawyers over my career, and Stephen is certainly in that top tier of excellence,” he says. “He’s thought of very highly, not just in Tasmania but around Australia, for standing up on human rights issues both inside and outside the courtroom.” His work outside the courtroom includes World Party. It was the murder of Chinese student Zhang "Tina" Yu in 2009 and a spate of attacks on international students that led to the idea for a multicultural food and arts event. Some local students proposed a street march, but Mr Estcourt suggested a community event instead, which eventually became World Party. He put together the event along with MONA FOMA curator Brian Ritchie and local musician Martin Blackwell. Showcasing international foods and music from the Tasmanian community, the event was held in October 2010 and again in February this year. Both attracted large crowds and a positive response. “People were walking away with their little plastic containers of sushi and getting the buses to go home and smiling at each other,” Estcourt says of the 2010 event.
“It was really quite a moving occasion and we were blown away by its success.” The sense of justice that has driven Mr Estcourt’s career and community work has led him to stand up for himself as well as others. He sued The Mercury newspaper and journalist Sue Neales for defamation in 2008, after the paper published inaccurate information about the police investigation into allegations (found to be false) that he had done a deal with state Labor politician Bryan Green to gain a government job. Not only did Estcourt collect significant damages and an apology from the newspaper, he also received a personal apology from the paper’s Editor at the time, Garry Bailey.
HE WAS MORE THAN HAPPY TO BE BEATEN IN THE AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR AWARDS. “I FELT A BIT LIKE THE GUY WHO SAVED THE CHILD FROM THE JUMPING CASTLE IN CHRIS LILLEY’S PROGRAM [WE CAN BE HEROES],” HE LAUGHS. “If a wrong’s done to you, then you should be vigilant to protect your rights,” he says. “I [sued] more as a matter of principle, than anything else. I wasn’t concerned about my own reputation, truthfully, because people who know me, and the legal profession, have always regarded me highly. But that was something that was done to me, and I wasn’t prepared to take it.” This was a one off however, and having a public profile doesn’t usually worry him. He was more than happy to be beaten in the Australian of the Year Awards. “I felt a bit like the guy who saved the child from the jumping castle in Chris Lilley’s program [We Can Be Heroes],” he laughs. “I did feel like a bit of a fraud. But at the same time it was nice to have somebody recognise that what you do is a contribution.” That contribution is clearly appreciated, and luckily the abusive Facebook friends are few and far between. While saving the world may be too great a task for one person, it would certainly be hard to deny that Stephen Estcourt is doing his bit. 40
FATHER MICHAEL TATE James Billing My father always told me that you could judge a man by his handshake. Father Michael Tate is no exception. His grip is strong, but not overpowering — giving the impression of a confident man who has shaken many hands in his life. Father Tate served as a Senator from 1978 until 1993 when he was appointed as Minister for Justice, an appointment he held for the next six years. He was then appointed Ambassador to The Hague and the Holy See, before becoming a Catholic Priest. We sat down in his office located on the bottom floor of the Law building at the University of Tasmania’s Sandy Bay campus. After some small talk, I nervously began by asking him the question I knew he was anticipating. “What defining moment led you to become a priest?” He gave a wry smile and leant back in his chair before giving his answer. “When I was ambassador, resident in The Hague, I was reading a poem by W.H. Auden, the English poet. He’d been asked by some friends to write a poem commemorating the death of a young poet at Oxford, who had died of too much grog, too much sex and too many cigarettes,” he says. “They thought that Auden would write a poem extolling the virtues of an artistic temperament living on the edge of chaos and how this produces great art. But in fact he [Auden] was really angry.” Father Tate explained that Auden wrote the poem as if speaking to the dead poet, scrutinising him for his wasted life and missed opportunities.
“When you appear before the judgement seat of God, God will recite by heart the poems you could have written and you will cry tears of shame.” “Well, that hit me like a bomb blast. I thought, ‘what is the poem that has to be written?’, and I’d always nurtured this idea of the priesthood and I thought, ‘stop procrastinating, have a go’.”
IT WAS FATHER TATE’S DEDICATION TO THE IDEA OF CHRISTIAN PACIFISM THAT LED HIM TO INTRODUCE A CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION BILL, AIMED AT ALTERING THE DEFENCE ACT IN REGARDS TO CONSCRIPTION. THIS ENABLED AN INDIVIDUAL TO OBJECT ON MORAL GROUNDS TO AVOID PARTICIPATING IN CONFLICT. It was after this epiphany that Father Tate wrote to the then Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, requesting that he cut short his service as ambassador to The Hague and the Holy See from four years to three. At the conclusion of his service, Father Tate began his studies in preparation to join the priesthood. 42
IN EARLY 1991, PRIME MINISTER HAWKE SAID AUSTRALIA SHOULD CONTRIBUTE TO THE NAVAL BLOCKADE AS PART OF THE FIRST GULF WAR AGAINST SADDAM HUSSEIN, AUTHORISED BY THE SECURITY COUNCIL. AFTER A LOT OF TURMOIL, I VOTED FOR OUR PARTICIPATION, BUT I TURNED THE PHOTO OF MARTIN LUTHER KING TO THE WALL, BECAUSE I COULDN’T BEAR TO SEE HIS EYES GAZING DOWN ON ME. I continued with my questions; ‘I read an article that said you were heavily influenced by Martin Luther King, is that correct?’ He nods. “I believe everyone should enter politics with a great hero, rather than just personal, naked ambition or something vague. My hero was definitely Dr Martin Luther King, because he brought about social change of a huge magnitude in the United States through nonviolent means. And in fact he became my model of a Christian pacifist.”
“Martin Luther King’s black and white photo hung above my desk in my office in Parliament House, gazing down on me benignly. In early 1991, Prime Minister Hawke said Australia should contribute to the naval blockade as part of the first Gulf War against Saddam Hussein, authorised by the Security Council. After a lot of turmoil, I voted for our participation, but I turned the photo of Martin Luther King to the wall, because I couldn’t bear to see his eyes gazing down on me. It was a very traumatic time for me.” Even though the conflict in Kuwait was justified by the Just War Doctrine that permits the legitimate use of force against an aggressor, Father Tate still felt he had betrayed the ideals and the example of pacifism that Dr Martin Luther King had set. It was only with the passing of the Conscientious Objection Bill that his idol was again allowed to stare down at Father Tate; he felt he was once again worthy to bear Dr King’s gaze. In the year 2000, Father Tate was ordained in St Mary’s Cathedral by the Archbishop of Hobart, Adrian Doyle. Along with his duties as a parish priest, Father Tate teaches at the University of Tasmania in the Faculty of Law. Looking at the poem by W.H. Auden that dramatically influenced the change in career of Father Tate, it is clear to see that he is content and believes he is fulfilling his purpose in life. We all have a poem that needs to be written. Whether we actually accomplish this or not depends upon the will of each individual to realise our full potential. I shook hands again with Father Tate and left his office, feeling that the photo of Dr King now hanging in the office of his church was not simply gazing — but smiling.
Father Tate said it was the combination of the teachings of Dr King and his studies in theology at Oxford that turned him to becoming a Christian pacifist. It was Father Tate’s dedication to the idea of Christian pacifism that led him to introduce a Conscientious Objection Bill, aimed at altering the Defence Act in regards to conscription. This enabled an individual to object on moral grounds to avoid participating in conflict. “That law got passed in 1993,” he tells me. Perseverance and the establishment of strong relationships with his political colleagues was required to pass the legislation. The Australian Defence Department did not take too kindly to this change in legislation. However, there was a time that Father Tate believed he had betrayed the ideals of Dr King. 44
BLUEJUICE Hannah Grey Bluejuice are having a jam-packed year touring around the nation off the back of their successful third album, Company. The Sydney rock/pop band have grown significantly since the 2007 success of “Vitriol”, and main members Jake Stone [lead vocals] and Stavros Yiannoukas [lead vocals] are now garnering inspiration for new ideas that may include filmmaking and wearing nicer shirts. Jake Stone chats to Hannah Grey about their latest release, partying on tour, their so-called lack of “indie qualities” and their hopes in making it to MONA when they touch down in Tasmania for The Soundscape Festival. HG: Hey Jake, how are you doing? JS: Yeah good! I have just been recording some guitar with Henry Eastham [Sparkadia lead guitarist] for this other band that I am doing. Henry has also been playing with Bluejuice for a while so everything is coming together. What’s the other band that you are working on? We’ve had some time between Bluejuice shows and Henry has been playing with us for a little while now and we decided to make a record. He is writing a lot of tunes and he is really quick and a great guitar player so it has been an easy thing to do. You have been touring for a lot of the year, how have you managed to squeeze that in? Just writing and working between shows. Since Henry has also been touring with us we were able to discuss it a fair bit.
What kind of sound is your new work? It’s a bit more easy rock. A mixture of Waves, The Smiths, The Dandy Warhols. The Beatles, even. Rock and Roll, basically. Tell me a little bit about the experiences that you have had this year with Bluejuice while touring around the country. We have done a lot of national touring. We played at The Big Day Out, which was a lot of fun! Out of all the festivals we played at, Groovin’ The Moo was the highlight. Why was that! There were big parties with all the musicians on that tour! It was good because everyone was keen to actually hang out and get to know one another. One night Henry got everyone to come back to our room. Henry is a mad football fan and he wanted to watch the soccer, so I walked in expecting to watch some TV and instead I walked into a bit of a party! Including a quite drunk Matt Corby and my friend Martin who was being ridiculous (who previously broke my leg, hence the song). Is that how “Broken Leg” came about? [laughs]. Yeah! [laughs]. When you guys play at festivals, do you tend to get out and watch the other bands and get amongst it all? Heaps! That’s the idea. That is what is so great about festivals. Groovin’ The Moo works in that way. If you are on late enough you can walk around all day and watch everyone. When you are setting up behind the stage it is also a great way to see bands. Waves, for example, are a 45
Interview. great band and when you see yourself up next to bands like that it’s satisfying and also intimidating!
I CAN’T BELIEVE THE GOVERNMENT IS TRYING TO TAX THAT GUY [DAVID WALSH]. IT IS LIKE, “DUDE, HE HAS PAID HIS TAXES! HE HAS JUST MADE A WORLDCLASS MUSEUM OF MODERN ART!” HE SHOULD BE GETTING A MEDAL OR SOMETHING NICE DONE FOR HIM! I can’t believe the government is trying to tax that guy [David Walsh]. It is like, dude, he has paid his taxes! He has just made a world-class museum of modern art! He should be getting a medal or something nice done for him! So you like Waves…What other bands are you into at the moment? It is a really temporal thing. I have been revisiting The Strokes a great deal. Bands like Waves are great because you can see their genuine expressiveness… on one hand they are pretty retarded but brilliant in their song crafting. That’s the kind of sweet spot I would like to be able to hit. What’s your next tour? The “Go West Young Man” tour next month? That’s right. We are excited for Perth — it’s hard to get there, but they are paying us so that is okay! I hope you are also keen for The Soundscape Festival down in Tassie? Yeah! I’m looking forward to The Temper Trap. Events like Soundscape [Festival] are really great for us to be a part of. We love Hobart and always get a crowd there, but we are bit unsure of Launceston now. I am really hoping to get to Mona while I am down. Have you been there? Sure have, I am a local. It is brilliant. Sounds like such a world-class, amazing thing! Tasmania is lucky to have it. I can’t believe the government is trying to tax that guy [David Walsh]. It is like, dude, he has paid his taxes! He has just made a world-class museum of modern art! He should be getting a medal or something nice done for him!
Agreed! You guys now have backup singers and live guitar that feature in your live shows. How are you finding the incorporation of this bigger sound? Fun! [laughs]. Much more fun. We can arrange so much more and the songs can have so much more going on. Our backup singers are great, as is the extra guitar. James [drummer] has been playing electronic drums as well. We have got elements of backing tracks that help Jerry [keyboardist] out because he doesn’t have four hands. But really we are just enjoying layering the vocals now. The other day we tracked some vocals and panned them way out so we got an orchestral kind of thing happening, plus we had the backup singers singing a different harmony and then us singing. It is weird and exciting. Bluejuice have come a long way since the debut album. Tell me a little bit about Company and how you think this album has evolved from your earlier stuff? I think we did a lot better. I like to think that our latest work is well crafted and well written. Our mission was to try to write a good album instead of just a good couple of singles. “Act Yr Age” and “Aspen/New York” were particular tracks that we were really proud of. I like how the songs came about in interesting ways — “Aspen” was just a dream I had. We have just been enjoying the response to our latest work immensely. You have described Bluejuice as a sort of ‘daggy band’ that doesn’t fit into that indie scene so much, and you have repeatedly mentioned bands like The Jezabels. Does it bother you that your music doesn’t subscribe to that super trendy indie style? Yeah it does bother me. We have been around for a long time and Bluejuice is a certain type of band… we have been together for ages, and people tend to like what we do enough to keep us around… hmm. I read somewhere that you and Stav [vocals] have been playing together for eleven years. Is that right? Yeah that’s right. In 2007 the band had a breakaway quality where it could have been huge and could have had some effect beyond high rotation on Triple J. We never quite made it like that. I always go on about The Jezabels because they are so marketable and I think what we lack is consistency in songwriting (which is what we tried to focus on in this record) and general production taste. We just lack a consistent image that we could use in a superficial, fashionable way [laughs]. I think at the moment those “indie qualities” are the difference between a big hit and a band that can have some degree of success, but never quite make it. 47
It’s great that you guys stick steadfast to your own sound and fun image. Are you going to work on your “indie qualities” then? Thanks! I just think that what I am working on with Henry is a lot more marketable. He is a good-looking guy! [Laughs]. He is a fun person, and a great guitar player. The songs are serious in a sense, but well composed. I think people will respond to this stuff. A lot of people think like, “Oh I like that song and he has a good voice and a nice top!” [Laughs]. I don’t want to sound superficial myself but there is a lot of style in music and it is a good idea to employ some style in a mature way — which Bluejuice does and doesn’t do. Ironically enough, I felt that “Act Yr Age” was a track that showed us at our most mature. You’re not giving up on Bluejuice are you? No! But in my life, a lot of my favourite bands have been what I’ve just been describing. The whole package. Bands like Phoenix — so well put together. Bluejuice never was like anything I had discovered before which is what made it good in a way. I think it got a lot of attention, good and bad, for that reason.
That film clip got heaps of attention. I have to ask, who thought up the idea of pashing an old lady? It was me! [Laughs]. I thought it was a sweet idea. I thought it was done tastefully and the clip had a romantic, sentimental theme with a completely different direction. It was just something that really throws your eye out. We wanted to go beyond the stereotypical “boy meets girl” thing. The scene helps the viewer reassess what’s going on and think about what’s happening. On top of focusing on film we are considering just releasing new work as singles. Albums have almost become irrelevant now, and when you look at successful musicians like Gotye, who is independent, you see how times are changing. We have a bunch of new catchy songs that could work, but we don’t really want to make a new record right now because we just came out of making Company. We are older now — Stav [vocals] has a kid. We are thinking, “hey, we don’t need to focus on releasing records; we just need to concentrate on putting out good songs!”
That’s right, and that’s why I like Bluejuice! Yeah, I’m not discounting all that I have achieved through Bluejuice. I am still enjoying the band. It is just nice to work on something different! On a creative level, Bluejuice still has much to achieve. And we have an exciting new idea that our manager just thought up, but it’s a secret. Tell me anyway! Well…It will be a big left turn for Bluejuice while still staying true to our previous work — I can tell you it will involve a stronger focus on filmmaking and short stories, following the success of the “Act Yr Age” film clip. 48
We can keep your balls in the air!
Proven Environmental Practices
5 Bowen Road Moonah Tas 7009
TELEPHONE: 03 6232 2100
Next issue coming in Februaryâ€Ś
Tasmania University Union Student Magazine / Quarterly Publication.