Togatus. July 2011 FREE!
Benjamin Law . Human Library . Pontville Detention Centre Cosmo Jarvis . Tiger Choir . Kimbra 1
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FROM THE EDITOR Welcome to the third issue of Togatus for 2011. This issue, we’re taking the time to look beyond what appears on the exterior. Recently, the SBS aired a brilliant new TV series called Go Back to Where You Came From, where they sent six Anglo-Saxon, Australians (the majority of whom hold a negative opinion on the issue of asylum seekers) and take them on the journey typically followed by those seeking asylum. It’s interesting that, while there are many Australians who support refugees being integrated into this country, this issue continues to dominate our political psyche and seems to reflect so much of our ongoing mistrust and misunderstanding of the refugee issue. Currently, Tasmania is facing the prospect of the opening of the Pontville Detention Centre. Bec Chirichiello takes us through a brief history of the centre and its current status, giving us an opportunity to catch up on its progress and what we can expect to see in the future. As we contemplate the initiative at Pontville we should remind ourselves of the definition of a refugee is: “a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster”.
As well as this, we have some killer interviews for you, including the hilarious UK musician Cosmo Jarvis, the extremely talented New Zealand singer/songwriter Kimbra and Australian musician Felix Riebl as he breaks away from The Cat Empire and approaches a promising solo career. Claire Todd takes us through the continuing drama of The Pulp Mill, Sophie Clark chats to Tasmanian Miranda Louey as she conquers the international modelling scene and Ella Kearney tells us about her mum. We’ve decided to continue the photo-essay piece this issue, enlisting the skills of UTas Fine Arts student, Emma Battaglene, to create us an original piece of work. Emma took to the small towns of Tasmania to visit antique shops and the people who run them. She’s captured the people — along with their treasures — who facilitate the practice of “antiquing”; a pastime cherished by many and feared by others!
Also this issue, we are very fortunate to be meeting Mr Benjamin Law. Writer by trade, this gorgeous man has many job titles, including principle writer at Frankie Magazine, contributing writer for The Monthly, Crikey, The Drum and more, and has just published his first novel The Family Law. He is also a pioneer for equality, with a particular focus on gay rights — often mixing ironic humour with illuminating logic to write his articles. Caitlin Richardson explores the trend of the “Human Library”: an event where participants are encouraged to borrow a “person”, rather than a book, and chat to someone with specific knowledge or experience. She chose “transsexual”; it’s a fascinating read. We are excited to announce that the lady behind the UTas Stalkerspace Facebook Page has allowed us to anonymously interview her for this issue! Take a look inside the mind of this very secretive person, who is bringing enjoyment and just a little angst to the UTas students and staff.
Ally Gibson My most significant childhood memory is… when I realised my mum and dad had alterior names. 2
Photos by Jacky Ho 3 Photo by Trent Binning
CONTENTS 2 / Letter from the Editor 6 / Contributors 8 / Benjamin Law 12 / Cosmo Jarvis 15 / Human Library 18 / Pulp Opera 22 / Another Man's Treasure 28 / Kimbra 30 / Tiger Choir 36 / Miranda Louey 40 / Lady Stalkerspace 42 / Pontville Detention Centre 44 / Felix Riebl 46 / Mumisms Photo by Emma Battaglene
CONTRIBUTORS DESIGNERS Ami Cason My most significant childhood memory is… the complete bliss of Saturday morning cartoons.
Jacky Ho My most significant childhood memory is… my whole childhood was a significant childhood memory.
Cason, p. 42–43, 47–48
Ho, p. 2–3, 18–21, 40–41, 44–46
Sam Lyne My most significant childhood memory is… during a Christmas morning, fiddling with the presents under the tree. Whilst prodding one, it responded with, "I am Buzz Lightyear".
Jemima Phelps My most significant childhood memory is… probably the Christmas I caught my dad delivering presents instead of Santa. He made up the most fantastic lie on the spot, and kept me believing for years after.
Lyne, p. 4–7, 22–27, 30–34
Phelps, p. 1, 12–14
Eloise Warren My most significant childhood memory is… upon finding my younger cousin's letter to the "fairies", I wrote a letter of reply and filled it with glitter claiming it was "dust that would make you fly". Alas, she never flew. Warren, p. 8–11, 15–17, 28–29, 36–39
FEATURE WRITERS Bec Chirichiello My most significant childhood memory was… when I saw my last name on the hard spelling list.
Sophie Clark My most significant childhood memory is… having a stuffed gummy shark fall from a linen press onto her foot. She later learnt his name was Sharky.
Tom Friend My most significant childhood memory is… witnessing my little brother stumbling around, legless, after finding some grape juice while grape picking at Meadow Bank. Unbeknownst to him, it was a 90s fermented Riesling.
Anna Kelleher My most significant childhood memory was… discovering the rewards of pain: cracked my head open age 6 = packet of caramel crowns to consume, hurt my ankle (or did I?) = piggy backed all the way around Bicheno, seasonal winter whooping cough = weeks off school… JACKPOT.
Jessica Lyndon My most significant childhood memory is… crying the entire time I was on stage for my kindergarten Christmas play — stage fright exacerbated by my sister telling me I would be a laughing stock... I'm still in Angel rehab.
Caitlin Richardson My most significant childhood memory is… making a snowman with my Kinder class, then sneaking outside afterwards and eating all its facial features. Oh the excitement! Raw carrot and raisins never tasted so good.
Illustration by Sam Lyne 7
BENJAMIN LAW Ella Kearney Benjamin Law looks a bit like a baby prawn. He seems to have constantly raised eyebrows as if to say “can I pwease have some?” If I was to take a peak at the labels of his clothes they would say something like Horse & Heath or Mak & Mil. They would probably be made out of organic cotton by local clothing designers and sold by hot men with beards and exquisite taste. Granted, I haven’t actually met Ben, unless you count watching Youtube clips. But hey, he does call me from time to time. OK, I called him. When I called, Ben was doing what he does most weekday mornings: writing. This time, it was a story about nudity. He tells me that Queensland is the only state without any legal nude beaches and that “there are nudists who have long been up in arms and other appendages about this”. I make a nervous, bark like noise, which is meant to be laughter. Most of you would know Ben for his hilarious and moving articles in Frankie Magazine. He provides a nice contrast from the grandma’s biscuits, cups of tea and crafternoon-ness of the magazine with his often graphic
and mortifying anecdotes. He writes for a variety of publications, including The Monthly, The Big Issue, The Courier Mail, Cleo and The Australian Associated Press. His essays have been anthologised in Australia’s Best Essays (2008, 2009) and in 2010 he had his first book published The Family Law. That ain’t bad. In articles such as “Dude, that’s so gay”, “Gay or Bogan?” and “An Open Letter to the Straight Men of Australia” we are reminded that there is still significant stigma attached to being homosexual. Ben emphasises the similarities between gay and straight people, “I enjoy wearing flannel, I drink beer and scotch, I like listening to old country music, one of my favourite things in the world is jokes about poos and farts,” he said at a recent Tedx youth conference. Ben’s writing often draws on his childhood and family life. His parents migrated from China to the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, where they had five children. It’s not surprising that Ben became quite accustomed to hearing about childbirth, “You know, it’s funny, a lot of people read my stuff and they’re like, ‘wow, your family is really open…’ and that’s 9
true. We are more open about stuff like bodily functions or birth, childbirth techniques and things that happen to your body or sex or gross things like snot”. I ask Ben which review of his book he liked most and he recalls a review from The Age which began with “I truly didn’t need so much of Benjamin Law’s mother’s vagina.” He laughs, “Yeah, you and me both buddy!” We talk about his most recent visit from his mother. “The whole evening we were just watching this really tedious, borderline pornographic film called Young Adam and there was just this running commentary from my mother [said with a loud, strong Asian accent] ‘Ohhh Ewan Macgregor’s penis… Oh look at his testicles’” Ben has created a family dictionary, which includes many of the in-house phrases, terminology and punch lines his family have developed over the years. These entries tend to emerge from skits involving his siblings. You know those impromptu plays you make up when you’re in the car, on your way up to Wynyard to see your pop? “You do build this very specific language with your siblings, which is very, very strange, but to you it is the most hilarious thing in the world,” he says. “My two younger sisters and I have these stupid names for each other, so I’m Byula, Tammy is Chula and Michelle is Nyula and they were based on these skits with three hags in a nursing home… and those have just become our names.” Ben’s writing hovers in that special place between humour and poignancy. He recounts when his maternal grandmother died and they flew to Hong Kong to collect her ashes (Ben and his sisters called this “The Ashes Tour” and made cricket related jokes to try to “buoy the mood’”). The way he describes his mother’s grief is heart wrenching, but readers are soon comforted with wit. Ben is greatly influenced by U.S writer David Sedaris, “I’ve been reading Sedaris since my late teens, early twenties… I think I read an interview with Judith Lucy [where she was asked] what she was reading and she said David Sedaris because she found it incredible that someone could write about a family that was more fucked up than hers”. Like Ben, Sedaris’ humour is autobiographical and self-deprecating. They both talk about their suburban childhood and homosexuality,
“I actually got the chance to interview Sedaris before writing my own book and it was a really great chance to see how he navigated the difficult task of writing about people in your life,” says Ben. “To cut a long answer short, he said ‘basically just try to choose people who don’t read much’.” "Gaysia" is the working title of Ben’s next book, which he describes as “a book of journalism”. It looks at queer issues pertinent to several countries throughout Asia. For example, in Thailand he explores the issue of transgender and transsexual rights. I ask if the book will be funny. “When you’re going backstage at the world’s biggest transsexual beauty pageant or you’ve got whooping cough and you’re trying to interview one of the biggest stars of Japanese television it’s hard for it not to be kind of comical,” he says. Part of the research took Ben to Beijing, China, where he interviewed a young gay man who had to go through a sham heterosexual marriage in order to please his parents. According to Ben this is quite a common phenomenon in China, because of the strong deep-seated pressure to get married. He describes the double-life led by these gay men and women, many of whom find their sham-marriage partner online. “It is really funny, but desperately sad as well,” he explains. Ben has been cantering back and forth between Asia for the past couple of years. “Travelling around for this book I’ve had to sleep in pretty crammed conditions in Indian general-class trains… I’ve slept in the equivalent of a concrete hole… I’m pretty low maintenance,” he says. When Ben isn’t in a hole, he lives in Brisbane. When I think of Brisbane I can’t help but think of boys called Corey with flat brim caps and monogrammed t-shirts. I also think of the cringe-inducing nickname “Bris-Vegas”. But after talking with Ben I am swayed. He likes that Brisbane is a bit sleepy. “As a writer you can get a lot of work done,” he says. “One of my favourite places is where I am sitting right now at my desk. I’ve got a view of the river from eight-storeys up and it’s really great.” Ben describes the suburb he lives in, telling me that it has the most beautiful park and an old, renovated coal powerhouse that has been converted into a performing 10
BEN RECALLS A REVIEW FROM THE AGE WHICH BEGAN WITH "I TRULY DIDN'T NEED SO MUCH OF BENJAMIN LAW'S MOTHER'S VAGINA." HE LAUGHS, "YEAH, YOU AND ME BOTH BUDDY!"
arts space. The coalhouse also has a large deck where Ben, his boyfriend and his friends spend warm afternoons sipping beer. Before I get to questions about university and a list of questions entitled “random” (one of which asked him to describe his feet and if he’d rather wear an orange turtle neck for a year or spew a little bit every time he kissed someone), he told me he’d have to start wrapping it up — in a nice way, not like “Fucking wrap it up already”. I asked him about his worst assignment. Ben explains that he spent seven years at uni, starting from when he was 17, so he remembers his assignments “probably too well”. But we quickly move onto more important things: YouTube. The latest clip he has been showing people is “Two Girls, One Cyst” — a video of two girls bursting their male flat mate’s cyst on the back of his neck. “It’s probably something you want to save for after desert,” he laughs. I chicken out from asking him the “would you rather” question. I realise my time is running out and I blurt out something vague and embarrassingly earnest. “What do you stand for?” There is silence. I cringe. But his answer is quite lovely. “I stand for telling a story that surprises… introducing an audience to people that they’d otherwise never meet,” he says. “You know there are billions of people in the world and each of them have a story that’s just as riveting as the next and a book is a really great way of accessing those people… and if I can play a small part in that tradition, then I’m quite happy.”
Ella Kearney Spending three consecutive years (with my cousins) making a package for Saturday Disney in attempt to win a prize worth approximately $29.95. Unfortunately my cousins started getting interested in things like boys and drugs. I'm still working on it. 11
COSMO JARVIS Thomas Friend Multimedia music man Cosmo Jarvis has recently received praise from Stephen Fry, Triple J and Channel V, but he still owes his Mum money for a new door!
Rihanna, ha! I don’t know — just think she needs to change her fucking sound a little bit. She has got a brilliant voice; she could make some really good songs. Nah, just kidding — probably Tom Waits.
Thomas: Any plans to come out and play any shows in Australia soon? Cosmo: Yeah, as soon as humanly possible, looking forward to it — should be good.
If you had to play an acoustic song by an artist you love, what song would you choose and who would it be by? Rihanna? No fucking way, Rihanna! I would probably do a heavy version of a Bon Iver song or something — Oh no, it’s got to be acoustic — shit! I know this song... I think it’s by Nick Drake. I would probably do something like that.
What input do your band members have on your music and where did you find them? Not a lot really, depends on the song. They don’t play much on the records... We are more of a three-piece live. I guess I am a fascist. I have just started recording a few songs with them and they are sounding neat. They’re all… friends from around where I live. I have been through a few bass players, but then somebody recommended this local, Haber Gale. He plays bass and he is fucking good at bass. He lives in Cornwall near me. Before it was like bass player, bass player, bass player, and they all turned out to be assholes. Compilations seem in vogue at the moment; if you had the opportunity, who would you like to collaborate with?
Your music video for "Gay Pirates" is a little sneaky, though provoking. What concept do you have in store for your next video? I don’t know, the next music video is pretty straightforward. It’s just me and my band, playing in a trailer while driving around a field with a devil. I have got a film which I am in the middle of making. It’s called The Naughty Room and it’s about a cheeky little kid and another kid who is addicted to weed. They end up saving each other. I am sure someone who likes it will come up with a really good paragraph about it. Is it hard work portraying such deep messages, like 12
the anti-homophobia message in your music video for "Gay Pirates"? I mean, a lot of the time I am just saying things. This may sound like a really corny thing to say, but a lot of the time I am just saying things about being normal. Like you know when you’re having a conversation with a bunch of people in a social situation and you say something and then everybody looks at you like you shouldn’t have said something? There is nobody there to look at me like I shouldn’t have said something if I am on my own, in me [sic] bedroom, by myself, writing or recording a song. So I just say that shit and only after do I realise that it was more of a big deal. With “Gay Pirates”, I just genuinely wanted to write a love song for men that would present the idea of a gay relationship with a melody behind it and with a history behind it. What I mean is if a story like that is presented in a pantomime kind of way, it’s almost like the instrumentation of the record is overpowered in some respect by the subject matter. What messages will your second album (Is The World Strange or am I Strange?) portray? There are a bunch of fantasy kind of stories and situations and scenarios being sung about. There is one song about my generation, I guess. The album is not
coherent — it’s just a compilation of songs... written at various times with various intentions, because you have to put songs somewhere. There is one about this waitress who turns into a hooker, a song about gay pirates, one song about this screwed up psychological thing... there are a couple songs about having a fucked up day— I kind of repeat myself a few times. There [are]... a few rap type songs, a few rock songs... there is this one that has loads of different parts, like a dubstep part in it — a lot of different genres, I guess. Congratulations on your film screening at South by South West, how was the reception? Interesting. The film that was shown, it was supposed to be funny in a sad way-- comedy-tragedy— but the American people thought it much funnier than I had meant it to be which is a good thing because they made me see the humour in it. A lot of people said they liked it. Lucky it was one of my films, which was not too long, so nobody got really bored. It was a really amazing experience watching it with a bunch of other people. To feel the vibe they got... really interesting experience. Can you give me a little description about SXSW? What you did, what you enjoyed, who or what you saw? 13
"RIHANNA, HA! I DON’T KNOW— JUST THINK SHE NEEDS TO CHANGE HER FUCKING SOUND A LITTLE BIT. SHE HAS GOT A BRILLIANT VOICE; SHE COULD MAKE SOME REALLY GOOD SONGS."
I didn’t enjoy any other acts I saw. I didn’t even see that many to be honest, but there was one guy I did see playing this techno shit — it was just shit. Umm, there were some amazing people though and the streets were fucking amazing, loads of cool stuff to do. ...and the food was good too! Is there anything you remember in particular? Umm, my gigs went terribly — they all went strugglingly, so I didn’t enjoy playing. I dunno, there was this lady at the bar... She was nice. What do you want your audiences to take away from your short films? Ah, some of them are for entertainment; some of them have [a] message in there somewhere about people and issues. Some are about catering: people who can’t cater for themselves, socially, emotionally and urgently, and various other things. Some are about beating people up with cricket bats. I don’t know really, depends on the film. If, say a sponsor, maybe Stephen Fry, offered you some financial support, how would you use it? Touring, producing, collaborating, holidaying? Yeah, I’d make films, yeah, definitely. Oh, and I do owe my Mum some money so I would probably find a way of giving her back the hundred pounds damage that I owe her because I broke the living room door last week. How did you manage that? It was a cheap fucking door anyway — like it had these four wooden panels. I did hit it, but I hit it not with the intention of breaking it. If anything, I did her a favour by letting her know how cheap her doors was. Who, or what, inspires you to create such an array of diverse material? The time I [would have to] focus on the other things would be totally exclusive to the art that I [was] using [at] the time. Whereas, if you do them all at the same time then you are thinking about doing what you like and you spray [that] across all the different mediums. I am not sure; I just love them all basically. Where do you draw your inspiration from for these little hobbies? Anything that I end up thinking about and just can’t stop thinking about — anything emotive. There was this guy on the bus I took from the train station back home... with this duffle bag and I just literally wrote small paragraphs about him. Most of it was totally assuming about his circumstances, like where he was from or where he was going, why he was pissed off about the Geordie. I was just insinuating loads of shit about him. That’s the kind of thing where you can think up a song. 14
HUMAN LIBRARY Caitlin Richardson Recently, someone told me that you can buy blank covers to slip over the front of your books, so that no one knows what you’re reading. “How silly” I thought, surely that product took an express route to the bargain bin, drowning under last year’s leftover Cats in Costumes calendars, and Rolf Harris’ cookbook?
“Genius” “Schizophrenic”, “Teen Mum”, “Ex-Convict”, “White Witch”, and many others. Librarians are removing and replacing the labels as books are borrowed and returned. It looks like some kind of frantic stock exchange hub and it’s bizarre to think that all the names listed correspond to real people present in the room. I understand the premise of the event, but this all seems impersonal and mean, somehow.
Intrigued by this idea, I went along to a Human Library event last year.
“What book would you like?” a librarian asks.
The library foyer has been transformed; chairs set up in pairs are scattered around the room, many are occupied by people talking quietly together and others hover around the “shelf”. Pinned to a large board are the titles of the books available today: “Homeless”, “Vegan”, “Muslim”, “Skater”,
I look down at the list. I consider borrowing “Youth Detention Centre Worker”, but I know that’s me looking for the person I am least likely to offend. Really, I know I should pick someone I don’t know anything about. “I’ll have… a ‘Transsexual’ please,” I say. 15
“Sure,” the librarian exclaims, nodding enthusiastically. This is quite bizarre. The librarian leads me to a seat and goes to retrieve my book. I know this is not a job interview, or some postmodern dating event I’ve signed myself up for, but it’s got me jittery anyhow. That’s the thing about traditional books — you can poke and pry, and immerse yourself, without having to face anyone. It’s a private world. This, on the other hand involves an actual meeting, with an actual human. Shit! This could get awkward. The librarian returns with a woman. She has short hair, glasses, and a friendly smile. “This is Tim,” the librarian says. Not a woman. In the split second of surprise, my face accidentally freezes. It’s obvious too. I feel so bad I want to drown myself in the water feature gurgling merrily behind me. Thankfully, Tim doesn’t seem to notice. “I haven’t done these things before, so I’m sorry if I’m a bit nervous,” Tim says. I’m so relieved. We introduce each other and it’s not so daunting after all. Tim tells me a bit about himself. He explains that he is physically female, but identifies with the male gender. In the next few months, he will start hormone therapy to become physically male. Coming to terms with his identity has been a complex journey for Tim. He tells me about growing up as a girl called Jean. In his late teens, Tim as Jean, came out as a lesbian, but soon “went back in”, marrying and raising a daughter. His strict Catholic upbringing made married life seem like an easier option, but “all the while I wasn’t comfortable with who I was.” When Tim officially came out as a lesbian in his forties, it took his mother a long time to deal with the news. “Well just don’t tell me you want to be a man now,” was her only concession. Except by this time, he had realised that becoming a man made sense. “I realised that’s what I wanted. I feel like I should be a man.” Through listening to Tim’s story — a story not mediated through the printed page or television screen — I felt like I gained some understanding of the difficulties he has faced. Since adopting the male gender, and his new name, Tim has experienced verbal abuse from students at the high school where he teaches and binding his chest is a painful daily chore. The lead-up to the sex
change procedure involves a lengthy trail of red tape and several psychological tests. Then there’s the sex change process itself. “I’ll kind of go through puberty again, but as a boy,” Tim says. The sense of the unknown that awaits him makes Tim nervous at times, but having friends who have been through the process has helped. “It’s been really reassuring,” he says. Tim is conscious of ensuring his teenage daughter copes in the months ahead and he and his long-term partner Laura, wonder what the change will mean for their relationship. Tim finds himself explaining to friends that being male, “doesn’t necessarily mean that I suddenly want to drink beer and play X-Box”. He knows they’re trying to help though. Coming to terms with the approaching change is “a challenge for everyone,” he says. “As someone who identifies as male, does that mean you know how to ‘act male’?” I ask. “God no,” Tim says. “I’m always comparing myself, checking that what I’m doing looks okay. But I think things will get better”. Tim describes it as an ongoing adjustment and a learning experience, but he also feels that it is an exciting time. “It’s a chance for me to be on the outside, what I feel on the inside,” he says. While a sex change is a pretty major transformation, at its heart, Tim’s journey is something basic to everyone: finding a sense of identity and becoming comfortable in your own skin. Sharing this excitement with a complete stranger is a surprisingly moving experience. In the meantime, Tim says, “some members of the public find it hard to deal with people who are ‘in-between’”. When his hormone treatment begins, Tim will have time off work and keep out of public life for a while. It seems sad to me, that people like Tim are compelled to disappear at a time when support from the community could be most helpful. Even if we consider ourselves to be accepting, sometimes we still tread lightly around the facts of being a refugee, or having a mental illness, or undergoing a sex change. But I think we need to face these things in order to really tackle prejudice. Talking to Tim made me realise that asking questions isn’t offensive and destructive. It facilitates understanding and helps us connect. Of course, talking face-to-face often makes more sense than hearing about something secondhand. But in the age of virtual communities and creepy automated robot voices taking over phone lines, this might not be immediately 16
Feature. obvious. The Human Library is a reminder that often it’s the most simple, inexpensive measures which are most effective at bringing people together. Through personal exchanges, conversation by conversation, prejudice can be broken down. “It’s been great talking with you,” I say when it’s time to finish up. “Yeah, it has,” says Tim. “I hope I’ve been an interesting book.” humanlibrary.org
PULP OPERA Claire Todd The pulp mill saga has all the characteristics of a good soapie. A villain, an underdog, surprising relationships, the demise of characters, twists that make you go ‘ooh’ and finally, a never ending storyline which means you still know what’s going on after five years of paying little attention. Of course there is a collection of avid viewers, but mostly people fall into the category of channel surfers, only tuning in for major developments and skipping the boring bits. What has lost the attention of many is the complicated storyline which, even if you have half a day, a good supply of snacks and Google, is still difficult to recount. There are opinions, protests, deadlines, interventions, assessments and more deadlines to confuse everyone, even those involved. So for all you sufferers, here is a recap of the seven year pulp mill saga, a soapie you should be interested in. Previously on The Pulp Mill… Respected, long-standing timber company Gunns sought to add to its $34 million profit in 2004 by building a pulp mill on the banks of the Tamar River, north of Launceston. Here, timber would be chemically treated, its fibres extracted and voila — pulp ripe for the international paper market picking. Assurances by Gunns included chlorinefree treatment of plantation timber, an industry swarming with jobs and a glowing new Tasmanian economy. The project received strong support from the Lennon government and even Canberra heavyweights, Howard and Latham, gave it the thumbs-up. The pulp mill would be a major boost all-round *applause*.
Enter conservationists and concerned public. These groups were quick out of the blocks to oppose Gunns’ grand plan. The Tasmanian Wilderness Society led the charge, taking Gunns to court in 2005, demanding the federal government conduct proper assessment of the mill. No surprises their main concern was the environment. According to them the mill would emit foul odours that would drift up the Valley as far as Launceston, spill deadly toxins into the river then flow into Bass Strait and destroy habitats of endangered species, such as the state’s very own Wedge-tailed eagle. Also, the trees used would not be plantation, but from native forests — not on for lovers of Tasmania’s unique flora. A pulp mill, it seemed, wasn’t the best thing to be building at a time when climate change was a number one conversation starter. The case was dismissed, but what did amount was an increased fan base for the greens in fighting the big boys. In 2007 a now widely-interested public and conservationists gathered their thoughts and soil samples while premier, Paul Lennon, quietly rushed through parliament a fast-track assessment act that would see any pulp mill problems (such as a leaky effluent-filled pipe) dealt with quickly. It seems he was keen to secure the suggested 2000 jobs and $6.5 billion long-term state economic gain that would stem from the mill. In doing so, independent assessment was moved aside in favour of a preferred result by a government friendly with Gunns. Federal Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, then approved the mill on the condition it ticked 48 boxes, including ensuring little dioxin would be spilt. The pulp mill was good to go. So why is it 2011 and nothing has been built? Now for the latest on The Pulp Mill… 18
Money makes the corporate world go round and don’t Gunns know it. Share price and profit are two figures to have fallen drastically since 2005. In addition, the company are finding it hard to get a loan. ANZ Bank’s support of Gunns lasted until 2008 when it pulled out of the partnership. Gunns are now searching for a financial backer for the mill, but with the project being such a hot potato investors are steering clear. Lucy Landon-Lane, head of anti-mill group, Pulp the Mill, sums up the situation, “At the moment Gunns still don’t have a joint-venture partner. The Aussie dollar is really high which will makes it hard for them and the fact that there is so much opposition to the project — that makes it really hard for them to get finance.” Adding to Gunns’ financial strife, they have a large amount of opposition making things difficult. The many anti-mill groups which have popped up in recent years are often presented as disruptive and blamed for stalling an excellent economic opportunity. Yet these are people truly fearful of the impact of the mill. “It’s going to affect everybody in all sorts of ways,” says Landon-Lane. She is worried about property devaluation, increased traffic on roads and the loss of business to the region. But most of all Landon-Lane believes the mill will hurt the
environment and the people who live in it. “Air pollution is really serious because of the way the Valley works. There’s an air invasion layer so all the pollution stays in the Valley and we already have one of the highest levels of asthma in Australia there. The pollutants that will go into Bass Straight are some of the most toxic pollutants known to mankind. And the smell is a real problem,” she says. The performance put on by anti-mill groups has been solid. More radical groups have scaled ships and shouted down politicians in order to convey their message. Amidst their dramatic displays of opinion it is easy to see Gunns as the evil conspirer — but surely they can’t be all horns and pitch forks? The company passed on the opportunity to spruik the pulp mill but West Tamar Council Mayor, Barry Easther, was happy to discuss what he sees as the next big thing for Tasmania. “The benefits are huge for the Tasmanian economy. Tasmania hasn’t had a major industrial development in years and we are at the stage now where we need something like that. We can’t rely on tourism to create a base for our economic future,” he says. Easther is confident the mill will be environmentally-friendly, as long as Gunns play by the rules. “I’m a supporter on the condition the mill meets all of its guidelines. That is very important and I believe in this day and age no industry would be 19
accepted by anybody if it operated outside licensed conditions,” he says. A recent survey indicates the state is divided in their opinion of the mill. 40% are opposed, 30% are in favour and the rest couldn’t make up their minds. What the state is united in however is pulp mill fatigue. Landon-Lane says, “I think people are really tired of it. It’s been going on for so long it’s like, ‘Oh not the pulp mill’.” Easther is concerned time is being wasted. “A decision needs to be made one way or another as to whether this mill is going to be built or not. The big issue for this region and Tasmania is the economy. And those involved need to get on and move our economy forward if this mill isn’t going to go ahead,” he says. Until that decision is made anti-mill groups will soldier on. “As far as the campaign goes we are just keeping on going, putting the pressure on, trying to make it clear to potential joint venture partners that there is no social license for the mill,” says Landon-Lane. The social license is one of a few suggestions Gunns are attempting to make amends of the past. After the fast-track assessment act which has been assumed was the basis of Lennon’s resignation, it became clear the public was hot and bothered by the lack of consultation and transparency. To show any Gunns-haters the company was serious
this time about building a safe, clean mill, a Statement of Principles was signed together with environmentalists last year promising plantation timber only would definitely be used in the mill. Easther suggests the social license is more procrastination. “I think they are wasting their time trying to get a social license as the community is in such a mood no matter what Gunns do they will not give them one. So Gunns need to accept that and get on,” he says. Gunns have until August this year to get on with it when substantial works have to be underway. They must also ensure effluent is dealt with according to best practise and must stick to their promise of only using plantation timber. These new guidelines were set out by Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, in March this year. Do this, he said, and you can have your mill. Landon-Lane says of this latest development, “It’s another favour being granted to Gunns. There’s great concern that if down the track they can’t get enough plantation timber they will be allowed to go back into the forests. As far as the effluent goes even though Gunns have said they will be elemental chlorine free light [a safe processing technology] the effluent still contains dioxins and furans.” If the deadline is not met it is presumed Gunns will seek an extension which will be their second. Landon-Lane is hopeful this won’t be legally approved. 20
It has been made clear Gunns are desperately trying to gain government and public approval of the pulp mill. The company is also seeking an alliance with environment groups by promising not to let a chainsaw anywhere near 550,000ha of public forests in return for support of the mill. But these groups are not budging so far and have vowed never to. Since Gunns have tried reasoning the behaviour of opponents could be seen as stubborn. Or it could be in response to what they see as another hollow promise. Whichever it is, the situation does beg the question: can’t everyone get along? While still firmly against the pulp mill, Landon-Lane admits a cooperative relationship between the forestry industry and conservationists could see an end to conflict. “There obviously needs to be compromise on both sides. But I think that if there is an agreement reached it needs to be honoured. I really hope we can come to some kind of peace in the forest wars,” she says. And so we wait. We wait to see just how long this saga can last and what the next instalment will be. Perhaps Gunns will find some cash and start digging. If this happens you can bet your no-pulp-mill car sticker there will be a protestor or two in sight. Will this pulp mill be built? Stay tuned.
Claire Todd My most significant childhood memory is… being deprived of junk food and Home and Away — to which I now attribute my love of legumes and the ABC. 21
ANOTHER MAN'S TREASURE Emma Battaglene toured the country looking for treasures, and met some nice ladies on the way.
OATLANDS ANTIQUES & COLLECTABLES, OATLANDS
COBWEB DESIGNS, CYGNET
Togatus. Emma Battaglene 25
PROVINCIAL INTERTIORS, OATLANDS
OLD & ODD, KEMPTON
KIMBRA Hannah McConnell Hannah McConnell: Your music video for “Cameo Lover” looks like it was fun to make! What was the process behind making it and how long did it take? Kimbra: It was a two-day shoot and the process involved a lot of collaboration between me and the director Guy Franklin. Similar to the last clip, “Settle Down”, there were already hints of a narrative in the lyrics and then Guy suggested putting that into the context of an army of rainbow pixies, performing to monochromatic men! We wanted a really vibrant video because the song is all about embracing colour and love in life again. So you grew up in New Zealand, how would you describe the music scene there and has it influenced you? There’s a lot of great music that’s come out of NZ. Something about being that little more isolated can sometimes encourage people to create art that is more unique, it’s almost as if we feel we have something to prove to the rest of the world. However there are always restrictions with a country so small, but I think it was crucial in my song-writing to grow up there, feeling very connected with nature and being around bands who were also really driven at a young age. You've been compared to Amy Winehouse and Nina Simone, are they singers you look up to? I’ve spent a lot of time listening to jazz, and also modern artists like Janelle Monae who are bringing back a lot of soul and funk from back in the days, but giving it a fresh sound. But I think it’s important for me to always surround myself with a variation of genres; the more there is to digest the more unique your art will be, so I try to never limit myself to one style of music. What other artists do you tend to draw influence and inspiration from? I love Prince and Michael Jackson, of course. I also love Rufus Wainwright, The Dirty Projectors and Cornelius. Artists like Bjork and Camille were also big influences as they really opened my mind to the various ways you can use your voice as an instrument and experiment with different colours and sounds within that territory. I find Disney films very inspiring also.
What was the first CD you ever bought? Probably Silverchair’s album Diorama or something like that. Until then I would have just listened to my parents’ music, but that album was a bit of a turn around for me in terms of getting away from jazzy stuff and into more rock and experimental music. You're playing Splendour in the Grass at the end of July, that must be exciting for you! Have you been before as a spectator? Yes, I sung last year with Miami Horror, it was a lot of fun! Looking forward to taking my whole band there this time though, we’ll be playing songs off my debut album. When is your debut album set to be released? The album will be out at the end of August! Have you always wanted to be a singer? It was always something that made me feel extremely connected and it felt very right and natural to pursue it. Although there are a number of other things I love, I think I always leaned towards music, whether creating it or performing it. I guess it’s my “high”. What do you think you'd be doing now if you weren't making music? I had plans to study language, I’ve been interested in languages like Hebrew and I already speak French, so I can imagine doing something like that or otherwise I’m also very interested in social work and philosophy. I really enjoy learning, but for now music is my greatest teacher! Your name is kind of unusual, have you ever met anyone else with the same name as you? Actually, there is a very successful hand model in the States called Kimbra who featured as the hands on the front cover of the best-selling Twilight book. She received a bit of press recently as she has announced she would like to leave hand modelling and venture into acting starting with a cameo role in the next Twilight film. Hmmm.
Hannah McConnell My most significant childhood memory is… hanging out with my little sister all the time! We would watch the same movies over and over, our favourites were Aladdin, The Wizard of Oz, and Snow White. 28
TIGER CHOIR Hamish Cruickshank Hobart band Tiger Choir embarked on a national tour with US band The Drums in April/May this year. What follows is an account of that tour as recalled by band member Hamish Cruickshank.
Melbourne "Well you look like a pack of cunts," says the tour manager. A startling greeting after finally arriving at the Corner Hotel after a full day of travel. Not to be perturbed, we continued to the dressing room where we encountered five chaps straight from NYC passed out on all available surfaces. Thus was our first meeting with The Drums. Us, seconds into our newly informed cunt-ship, and them, jetlagged and unaware of our presence. Eventually they stirred. We met Connor (guitarist) and Myles (hired gun) who made the introductions. “This is Chris, the drummer,” asleep in the cupboard. "And Jacob, he plays keys,” passed out in a chair. “And this is Jono,” face down on the couch. “So where are you guys from?” Connor asked. “Hobart, Tasmania” I replied.
“Oh, is that part of Australia?” Myles then proceeded to look up photos of Tasmanian devils on his phone and thought them cute, until he saw one with mouth cancer. Since they were jetlagged, we didn’t bother them for long, but they gave us most of the rider beers the venue had supplied them with. Australia’s finest — VB. It can be hard opening for a popular act. Everyone's there to see them, not you. But we did okay and felt we revved the crowd up. The Drums played with an energy I found unbelievable given how tired they were. Singer, Jono Pierce, has a reputation for having the most insane dance moves in showbiz. After the show I saw Elliot — slightly happy thanks to the aforementioned VB — approximating Jono's dancing style in front of him. "Man, you just got the moves down pat. I've gotta learn that." Jono didn’t say much, just smiled and looked tired. Around 2am we headed home to our friend Camo's house. His flat-mate Shane was in the lounge room watching TISM videos from the 80’s at full volume. I curled up on the dusty carpet and tried to sleep through the ear splitting reprise of “DEATH DEATH DEATH — AMWAY AMWAY!!!” 30
“ARE YOU GONNA COME OUT?” I ASKED JONO. “AWW MAN… I CAME OUT TEN YEARS AGO.” HILARITY ENSUED. “BUT SERIOUSLY, AFTER TONIGHT, I DON’T THINK I HAVE THE ENERGY FOR IT.”
This so far took the scar-cake, but Shane the Flatmate was yet to reveal his cicatrix. He slowly turned around, and lifted his shirt up his back. A huge, thick X had been carved into his back, from shoulder to waist. The scar tissue was raised nearly half a centimetre above the skin.
The next day, a hungover reconstruction of the last night’s events provided some amusement, but remembering Elliot's impersonation of Jono dancing presented a possible source of embarrassment, and the tour's first "oh fuck" moment. What if Jono had taken offense, could we be kicked off the tour? Would they stop lending us their gear? Sure this may have been a bit dramatic, but you can’t help think like this in strange situations. As it turns out, Jono found the impersonation entirely inoffensive, just extremely funny. Jetlag and VBs had made him unable to express this at the time. This is how nice The Drums were; of all people, you’d think young rock stars would be the first to flip out when someone takes the piss out of them to their face.
Shocked and slightly disturbed, we announced Shane the flat-mate Grand-Scarster, and we turned in for the night.
That night’s performance was a little lackluster. We got off-stage and headed straight for the beer fridge. The Drums played another great set. We had some post gig chill-out time and talked about music while eating pizza. Pretty soon we prepared to leave, cramming the remains of the Rider into our backpack. We arrived back at Camo's, again Shane the flat-mate was up. This time watching a WC Fields classic. Somehow — I don’t know how — the subject of scars came up and, inevitably, a game of ‘Who’s Got the Craziest Scar?’ began. “I’ve got this one in my side from where my brother stabbed me when I was six,” I start. “Nooooothin’ mate.” Elliot’s shirt comes off, where a gnarly scar runs over one side of his ribcage. “Had my lung deflated and a rib removed, which some vertebrae were reconstructed from.” Good contender.
“Performance,” he said, by way of explanation. “I was suspended by meat hooks on a system of pulleys above a canvas, and cut. The artist then moved me around above the canvas, using the blood flow to paint.”
Brisbane A day waiting in airports and navigating public transport burdened with the luggage of three people. Elliot and I made it to my brother's house in suburban Brisbane and began cooking a midnight pasta feast that descended into a contest of masculinity over who could stomach the pasta sauce that was incredibly heavy on chili. Wednesday afternoon we trekked to the Hi-Fi Bar in West End to find Sam. After a brief embrace/catchup we proceeded into the venue to find The Drums sound checking in the cavernous room. The sound was incredible and the crowd extremely excitable, the gig couldn't help but go well. After the ritualistic post-gig beer and pizza, we took up an offer from a friend to crash on his couches nearby. Sometimes there are golden days. They seem to happen more often on tour — perhaps it is proportional to the amount of nights spent sleeping on dirty floors. Thursday, we awoke well rested with motivation to cook an impossibly elaborate breakfast. Our friend was also playing host to two other touring bands that day, our Melbourne friends Rat vs Possum and US band Aa. As he went to pick them up, we began cooking: 16 EGGS (scrambled), 20 BACON RASHERS, 6 AVOCADOS, 2 CANS OF BEANS, 1 LOAF OF BREAD, 1KG HASH BROWNS, 4 ONIONS (caramelized), 1 BAG OF ROCKET, 14 MUSHROOMS (sauteed with garlic and coriander) and 6 TOMATOES.
Sam then shows several nasty surgery scars upon his abdomen from a childhood brush with cancer.
Upon their arrival, we enthusiastically greeted them before the veritable feast was laid out on the balcony table in the sun.
“I got to meet Ringo Starr through the make-a-wish foundation.”
By midday — after one glorious trip via a duck pond, the cheesecake shop and bottle shop — we were relaxing 32
Reflection. in the sun, equipped with three cartons of beer and a strawberry cheesecake. The day passed by in an extremely enjoyable haze, void of all responsibility — that is until our little house show that night. Procurement of more beer for us and the audience ensured that we weren't in top performance form, but it went as smoothly as could and we got to Fortitude Valley afterwards just in time to catch Aa's show.
Sydney We arrived in Sydney and went straight to the city to meet my friend Lachy. Heading out in Sydney at 11:30pm on a Saturday night is a bizarre experience. Standing in the corner of a rather up-market bar, we were approached by a girl with a name tag reading: "MARCIE, I'm Single", who proceeded to implore us to dance, before giving up and deciding to insult us on our clothing instead. "You're wearing a cardigan!? A CARDIGAN?" She cried at Elliot, as we slowly backed away. That night, we stayed in a hostel, where the guy on the desk gave us a discount because we were in a band, probably knowing that means we're broke. The remainder of the time in Sydney turned out alright, we met with the head of Popfrenzy records, Chris Wu, who had organised a small tour with Deerhunter for us a few months prior, and also dropped our name to The Drums when they asked for a recommendation for support. “Okay, what do you guys want now?” Chris asked. “Any more thoughts on releasing our album?” asked Sam, and so the discussion began. All three of us always thought getting signed would be a momentous affair, with much smiling and handshaking and us signing a big fancy piece of paper with the terms on it. But it was the most non-eventful conversation, the gist of which was yes, he would release it. “Obviously, we’ll need to negotiate the terms first. I’ve got a one-size-fits-all contract I edit for each case, I don’t even know what’s in most of it, I’ve only read 10 per cent of it,” said Chris. “I mean, I just got it off a lawyer.” Something about the way he said this made me imagine him looting it from a law firm’s office, rather than paying them to draw it up. After talking for about an hour Chris showed us the heart of Popfrenzy records — the warehouse. Actually, the
warehouse was a corner of the office where thousands of CDs were stacked and arranged haphazardly. He started handing us CDs of artists that were on his label saying stuff like “Oh, you’ll like this,” and “This would be up your alley.” I have since referred to this part of the tour as “Chris-Wumas”.
OUR DRESSING ROOM WAS ACTUALLY A LECTURE THEATRE: HEY, WE’VE HAD WORSE. Later we went into FBI radio for an interview during which we talked mostly about the art of breakfast and previous tour experiences, such as illegally camping by a mosquito-ridden golf course in suburban Newcastle, before raiding their discarded CD bin — more free CDs! As Lachy had gone away for a few days, we were given his miniscule one-room apartment for the rest of our stay, our need for free accommodation left us sharing a double bed between two, while one unlucky person froze in the cold night on a clothes-mattress on the floor. Such is life on the road. Backstage at The Metro Theatre has those classic mirrors with the lights around them.
Adelaide We crashed after the show at about 3am, got up at 4:30am and headed to the airport. After a flight spent struggling for sleep, sprawled out on empty rows of seats, we landed in Adelaide and went straight to another friend’s house where we went back to sleep until the afternoon. Upon waking up, we sat in the lounge room eating Coco Pops and watching cartoons. This is thus far the best method of recovery we have discovered. Recipe for MOCHA-POPS: INGREDIENTS: 1 CUP HALF FULL OF COCO POPS COFFEE METHOD: COMBINE The gig that night was at the Adelaide Uni Bar. Our dressing room was actually a lecture theatre: hey, we’ve had worse. Things were a bit hectic, the sound system wasn't working and the tour manager was in a right state, calling people cunts and fags left right and center. In all the commotion, there was no time for our sound check. The gig went really well for us, despite the lack of 33
Reflection. preparation. The Drums were just as amazing as always, but during their encore controversy reigned. A youngster had somehow ended up over the safety barrier at the front of stage. The security guard that night was new to the job and perhaps a little overzealous. He leapt on stage and picked the boy up by his shirt, dragging him violently across the stage. As you can imagine, this put a massive downer on the night. Mildmannered Connor stopped playing guitar, shocked, to give the security guard the finger of disapproval.
WE THEN FOUND DRUMS’ DRUMMER CHRIS AT POSSIBLY THE WORST CLUB IN PERTH, BOUGHT A HAPPY MEAL AND RETURNED HOME. We had all planned on a night out in Adelaide, but the shock of the violence turned everyone off a bit. “Are you gonna come out?” I asked Jono. “Aww man… I came out ten years ago.” Hilarity ensued. “But seriously, after tonight, I don’t think I have the energy for it.” With just Myles and Chris from the band venturing out with us and our band of merrymakers, we headed for a nightcap at a pub affectionately known by locals as “The Cranker”.
Perth As it happened, on our first night in Perth friends of ours, Melbourne band TANTRUMS, were supporting UK group Unkle on their Australian tour and invited us along to the gig. It was great to have a night as a punter, both bands played incredible sets and afterwards we got to catch up backstage where a small, enthusiastic party — complete with echoes of thick British accents — was underway. I scanned the extravagant rider, it was full of all sorts of delicious foods, including an interesting looking salad: made up of lettuce, carrot, tomato, and — strangely — a whole red onion. A hand grasped the onion, my eyes looked up to the owner of the hand — it was none other than Darwin Deez. “What would anyone want with a whole red onion in a salad?” He pondered, before handing the onion to me and
walking off. I was furious. I had missed my only chance to reproach the man who penned the song “Radar Detector” — a song that is simply far too catchy. I put the onion back down, but it appeared again later that night, as we walked down the street toward a bar, in the hands of Elliot who, talking to Gav from Unkle suggested the band t-shirt slogan: "I went to an Unkle show and all I got was this fucking red onion". Admittedly a drunken slur at the time, but it nonetheless humored Gav almost far too much, as he repeated it throughout the night. The onion reappeared the next morning, cooked into a huge Spanish omelet despite my hopes that it would become a symbol of power — a mythical object that could ward off cheesy pop songs. Unfortunately, those dining were unimpressed that it had been handled by Darwin Deez. Perth's Astor Theatre was the biggest venue we've ever played. It was a fun show, with a modest but enthusiastic audience. During The Drums set, Elliot was almost drawn into a fight for following me through the audience, walking in front of a hyped-up guy drinking Jim Beam from a can. Crisis averted, the three of us ended up singing backup vocals and dancing on stage with The Drums during their last song. That final night we did the usual backstage eating of pizza before going out, meeting two girls outside a kebab shop who took us to a place called The Moon to play Scrabble. We then found Drums’ drummer Chris at possibly the worst club in Perth, bought a happy meal and returned home. Photos by Richard Clifford 34
; Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) ; Nationally Recognised Training, Certificate III and IV in TESOL ; High demand for native English speakers overseas ; Flexible delivery and payment options ; Job Guarantee
MIRANDA LOUEY Sophie Clark Miranda Louey is a multi-talented model with an international career—and she just happens to be Tasmanian too. Not only has this stunning 22-year-old already landed international print and television campaigns for brands like Nivea, Clairol, Sony and Herbal Essences, but she has also featured as a cover girl for Singapore’s Shape Magazine. Having completed a Diploma in Performing Arts, Louey often incorporates her considerable dancing skills in her modelling work and this can be seen in her appearance in Australian band Little Red’s music video, “Witchdoctor”. Currently working in Bangkok, Louey took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to chat with me about her career so far. Where are you currently based? I’ve been travelling through South East Asia, but when I’m not here I’ll be in Melbourne. I lived there for a few years after I left Tassie at eighteen so I usually go back there when I’m in Australia. When did you become interested in trying modelling? I was scouted by an agency in Melbourne who encouraged me to try, but I had never modelled previously. Before I was doing this I was dancing professionally and the guy who ran the agency used to be a dancer as well, so that’s how he found me. He basically proposed that he could get me started and that I would be able to work internationally, especially in Asia, because that’s where my look sells. So, I decided to give it a trial run in Singapore for three months and I just
never stopped—that was just over a year and a half ago. Has your experience of modelling matched your expectations? I didn’t really have any expectations—it was all a bit foreign to me. I guess I’ve just learnt along the way and it’s definitely been different to anything I could have imagined. It’s not as glamorous or as exciting as people think... I didn’t realise there would be so many people doing the same thing, travelling internationally, and so that sense of community and always having people around that I know wasn’t something I expected at all. Do you plan to continue modelling or try to pursue another career path in the future? I’m going to keep doing this for now. I am learning to speak Thai at the moment so that in Thailand in the future I will be able to do T.V or movies if I want to, because the opportunities are really there in all of these countries as long as you speak the language. But when I go back to Australia I don’t think I will continue modelling—definitely not full time. It’s just not possible; the industry is just not there, especially for someone that is half Asian. I mean, the whole reason that I work in South East Asia is because they really like the ‘half’ look, but in Australia it is a lot more multicultural and that means the work is divided between everyone, so that cuts it down. But I am studying education online as well so that one day, back in Australia, that will be what I do. Apart from that I am not really sure—I guess I will just go with whatever happens. I definitely want to move back to Australia sometime within the next twelve months for most of the time. My boyfriend still lives in Melbourne and we’ve been doing long distance for a long time now, so, I 36
don’t want that to go on forever. I guess in my experience so far I’ve learnt that everything just happens as it is supposed to and you can’t plan too far ahead because it never ends up happening that way anyway. Do you have you any favourite locations you have visited? I’d say Hong Kong is an amazing place to visit and spend time in, but it’s not somewhere I would like to live. But for travelling, it is such a great place. It is the most vibrant, exciting place that I got to work in and I am going back there just for a holiday with my family which will be good because my Dad is actually from Hong Kong. Hong Kong is definitely up there—it’s actually meant to be the New York of South East Asia... I’ve never been to New York, so I guess that’s the closest I’ve gotten! Do you think your dance experience helps you with modelling? Yeah, definitely—I do many T.V commercials and that requires a lot of movement and sometimes I even have to dance, which is obviously helpful. But I think the main thing it has helped me with is learning to have a thick skin and how to deal with constant auditions and having people judge you. It just helps prepare you for people constantly telling you what they think about you and that’s something that is exactly the same with dancing. You always have teachers criticise you in order to help you improve, but some people don’t really know how to deal with that, so mentally dancing really helped prepare me. Most people don’t like being told they’re not the right look or that they’re too fat or too short or they’re not pretty or white or Asian enough... There are so many criticisms that you have to take, and you just have to let it go and be able to tell yourself, “it’s okay, I just wasn’t right for that— and it’s totally fine”. Do you have a favourite piece of work that you have been part of? I really enjoyed doing a campaign for Coke Zero last year and that was the first time that I had been in Hong Kong, so that whole thing was great... They flew me from Singapore and the photographer and styling team from Amsterdam—so they were these crazy European kids and we had so much fun. Then they flew in this Muay Thai boxing coach because I had to do all these jumps and look like I was doing kickboxing, so I got to work with her as well which was pretty interesting and fun. We also only had to shoot for one day so it wasn’t too strenuous either. Have you seen any of the recent modelling T.V shows like America’s Next Top Model? What do you think of the image they present of modelling?
I have watched a little bit of the early American series, but I don’t actually have a T.V so I don’t really watch T.V anymore. I don’t really think any T.V show can portray reality, even though it’s called reality T.V—ironically. But I do think that there are valuable lessons, especially when you see girls on the show who have never modelled before and you can see just by looking at their photographs from the beginning to the end of the series just how much they have improved... Of course, they are going to learn how to be better models and how to take care of themselves and all of the basics, but, in terms of the reality of the industry, I don’t think they are experiencing much of what really goes on. The intensity of what they go through is not like what anyone else goes through because there are a lot of good models out there, working full time, making good money, which isn’t represented by the way the show goes over the top with what is actually required to be a model. You can take care of your body and your hair and diet without having some kind of boot camp-style person cracking a whip. But I still enjoy watching that kind of stuff because you can relate to it and there’s definitely an element of bitchiness which comes into modelling that you can see demonstrated in these shows. When people get competitive it is amazing how nasty they can be! I don’t have a problem with these kinds of shows, but they’re not realistic. What are your favourite and least favourite parts about modelling? My least favourite is definitely the having to watch what I eat, because two years ago I wouldn’t hesitate to have chicken parmigiana with chips whenever I wanted, and KFC and everything, but now I have to be really careful. Luckily, in Asia you don’t have to be skeletal, but you still have to watch your weight. My favourite part is the freedom. I have a lot of free time between work and castings and technically I am working full-time, but I can still study and travel and I don’t really have any responsibilities at all. I mean there are some small sacrifices that come with this—like I can’t tan and I can’t eat as much as I might like, and you have to have white skin, and I can’t cut my hair or paint my nails—and I can’t fall over! [laughs]. I can’t bruise... There are so many small things that sound so minor, but they actually do affect the way you live your life. But apart from that, I can recognise that they are small sacrifices for so much freedom. For example, if you want to, you can get away with getting drunk five nights—or even seven nights a week, because all of the clubs here offer free drinks for models so you get everything handed to you on a plate. I don’t choose to live like that, but if you want to you can do these kinds of things even while you are working full-time. 38
Interview. What are some of the recent projects you have been working on? Lately, because I have been based in Thailand, I have been shooting T.V commercials and magazines. So, this year I have shot for a local company for coffee and milk and tomorrow I am shooting a music video. On Sunday I am shooting a T.V commercial for a Japanese food chain called Fuji and I also shoot occasionally for local magazines in bridal, fashion and make-up. My most regular client here is Nivea; I do a lot of skin care advertisements for them and I am shooting my fifth commercial for them in June sometime. Do you have any goals for your future, career-wise, or personally? I’d like to have a normal life someday [laughs]. I’d like to have a family and just have a regular life where I can cook and eat and not have to worry about my hair! That’s how it is—people who have what they see as a normal, regular life want something else, and people that don’t, want something normal. The main thing for me is just wanting to be home and around family and friends.
STALKERSPACE Jessica Lyndon Shrouded in secrecy, it’s almost as if President Obama himself is about to phone the Togatus office — minus the bodyguards and inconveniently lowered, bullet-proof Cadillac. My palms are sweaty and I anticipate my voice squeaking as I answer my phone. After several unanswered emails — one supplying my phone number and a notice posted on a Facebook wall, I finally got a reply stipulating a precise time. A reply signed “Lady S”. “Caller Withheld” This is her. Her dominion is Facebook. Specifically, The University of Tasmania Stalkerspace page, recognised by over 3000 of the UTas student population and staff since its inception in August last year. It is an amalgamation of Facebook stalking — an apparently accepted and uncreepy pastime. The existence of many similar university themed pages shows this online platform is the next generation tool for student interaction, and distraction. The woman behind procrastination utopia generously chats to Jessica Lyndon about sex, drugs, and rock and roll… but mostly stalking. Jessica: Lady Stalkerspace, I feel as though I’m interviewing a celebrity akin to Lady Gaga. How do you cope with the fame? Lady Stalkerspace: Sex and drugs, mostly. And rock and roll? Absolutely. Lady Stalkerspace doesn’t mind a bit of Lady Gaga at times, anything really! Where did the idea of a university stalkerspace page come from, and was it you alone who came up
with the concept? I wish that I could say that it was my genius alone, but sometimes genius steals. There are Stalkerspaces at other places, but I’m not sure where it started — maybe Monash University. And I thought, UTas is lacking, so I will provide! I stuck with the “Stalkerspace” name that existed at other universities to keep that connection. Is the site being used like you imagined it would be, or has it developed its own path? It’s mostly as I imagined. I didn’t imagine the Lady Stalkerspace title attaching itself to me, and when that came about I thought, “well this has been a lot of fun, I’m going to go with it!” Did you come up with “Lady Stalkerspace” or did your stalkers give you the title? They came up with it! They were debating whether I was male or female, and I sort of said, “I’m a lady” and they said “Oooh, Lady Stalkerspace”. I thought, that’s pretty fitting, I like that! In Lady Stalkerspace’s words, what does “stalkerspace” mean for students? Talking to a lot of students at UTas, I think they feel they aren’t really connected to the University or with other students, so I like to think of it as a little virtual sharing circle where we can go and share feelings we might have that are the same, or things that we might witness together. Do you think the space has expanded from this ideal to a forum for “bitching”? Sometimes people get a little bit bitchy, but that’s good too! As long as we don’t take anything too personally. What other attitudes towards Stalkerspace have you seen? I think that I’m possibly the most disliked student among the staff! In my mind they’re all just sitting in their offices with a dartboard with my name on it, and they’re groveling into their coffee and throwing darts. From what I’ve heard staff members do pay attention to it, it makes them quite wary. Some are fine, but I know a few of them… when it started they all freaked out about it. And I’ve spoken to a few tutors and lecturers. I mean, I’m sure there’s some that think it’s totally cool, but I know there’s some that are quite suspicious or worried that their name might pop-up. When you’re talking to these tutors and lecturers is it hard to keep a straight face? Oh, absolutely! Yeah! Especially [as] I like all my tutors and I don’t want them to feel bad! 40
Interview. Reading the posts on the page, a noticeable feature of your Lady Stalkerspace role is ensuring the site is moderated. Does this take much time and effort? Honestly, I don’t do that much moderating. I think most of the stalkers have pretty good hearts and they really stick to the boundaries pretty well. If something is too racist, or overly sexist or homophobic, then I will delete it because I personally don’t like that and I’m not going to stand for that. But I think most people do a good job, by being nice. And recent allusions to expanding the administrative role to include another person, were they true? I felt like that for a couple of days, that I had a life that’s not Stalkerspace, you know? Some days there’s no activity on the page and then some days there’s tons, and I get on there and am a bit like “Whoa! Maybe I need a second opinion” on whether someone had over-stepped a boundary, or whether something is too nasty… but I’m too power hungry! I don’t want to give up any power! So that won’t be happening any time soon! Another example of your moderation is the recent “safety-first” suggestion about the current planking craze. Do you feel responsible for your minions? No one can be responsible for those crazy critters! Of course if someone was planking out of a window and had an accident I would feel terrible, because I have said things like “best planker wins stalker of the week!” At the same time, I mean, I like the idea that we’re all part of a community and we should all feel responsible for each other and ourselves. If we all look after each other we should be fine!
think that somebody knows. It might make them dig a little deeper — or try to! Is it difficult not revealing your true identity? Have there been moments you just want to stand in the middle of the Morris Miller and yell “It’s me! I’m Lady Stalkerspace!”? Yeah, especially when I go into the library and there’s no computers, I’m like “Guys, come on, how do you expect me to work like this?!” Are you excited for the potential of Hobart Stalkerspace, or do you think it works better in a University environment? Well, what’s that saying? Imitation is the highest form of flattery? I don’t go on that site. A librarian from the Morris Miller got a table fixed due to student complaint on Stalkerspace, did you realise you are providing such a valuable public service? I didn’t know that! Thank you for sharing that! I am glad to know that some stalker’s requests are being met. And finally, do you have a message for your stalkers and Togatus readers? Firstly, the people that aren’t on Stalkerspace, get on Stalkerspace! I’m not buying “oh I don’t have facebook” — these days everyone has facebook, so that excuse is not going to fly. And people that are already on facebook just keep stalking — because I love it!
There are frequent posters, who may be strangers to you. Do you feel a bond with these people? It is pretty cool to have running jokes with people that you don’t know, perhaps you walk past them every single day and you have no idea. So I’ve bonded to them of course, and I like that people have responded so well to the site. I’m not going to lie, having some boys as fans does great things for my ego! You say some friends know your true identity... what are the essential requirements that people must have in order to be part of your circle of trust? I was actually lying when I said that! Nobody knows. I told my cat once and he was like “get bent, that person is really funny and really smart — and that’s not you!” So I thought, if he doesn’t believe me, no one is going to. So why the lie? I don’t know, I thought it might be fun for the stalkers to 41
On April 5 the Federal Government announced that it will be converting the old army barracks in Pontville into a temporary detention centre to hold up to 400 male asylum seekers. They initially stated that the centre will be opening sometime after Easter. At time of print, construction still hadn’t commenced. The announcement has generated heated community reactions, while a heritage permit has seen Tasmanian Aboriginals become intertwined in the debate. If you have missed most of this, here is what you need to know: There was no opportunity for community consultation. The detention centre is a Federal project, and according to Brighton Mayor Tony Foster he was first contacted by Minister for Immigration Chris Bowen, about the proposal the night before it was announced. “He rang at 6.20pm and left a message,” Foster said. Foster said he spoke to Bowen at 9am the next morning. “There was no opportunity for consultation anywhere,” Foster said. “I was told that there would be a press conference at midday that day.” This is not unusual Foster noted. "The Federal Government had four potential sites for the proposed detention centre and waited until they had selected just one so they only had to make one announcement… It is the jurisdiction of the Federal Government to make those decisions about their land,” Foster said. There was a public outcry at a community meeting in Pontville on April 20. Representatives from the security firm Serco and the Department of Immigration had
organised the meeting to discuss arrangements for the centre. The meeting did not delve into those details as residents spoke out about their anger at the lack of consultation and their fears about the affect the proposed centre would have on the community. While the community meeting in Pontville attracted negative attention in the local and national media, the overall community reaction was actually largely positive, according to Amnesty International Community Campaigns Coordinator, Annalisa Ribgy. “We at Amnesty International have been collecting all the stories that have come out [as a reaction to the Pontville media], plus the letters to the editor and initially I felt like the reaction to the detention centre opening was extremely positive compared to other detention centres opening around Australia,” Rigby said. “There weren’t riots, there weren’t people actively protesting or picketing anywhere. The first thing that was announced was a support group was going to start up... I just think we had one really horrific moment that was the community forum where a small number of voices really objected.” Foster was overseas attending his son’s wedding during the meeting and was absent from the majority of the public reaction, so he followed the story in the media. He says that when he came back to Tasmania, he found that the community attitude was better than he thought. “There are 24 houses in the old village of Pontville. Not one of those has any negative view about these people coming,” Foster said. The announcement of the Pontville centre led to the Tasmanian Asylum Seekers Support (TASS) group being formed. “It was established by Emily Conolan, immediately after the announcement that there would be a detention centre and before there was any controversy about it,” TASS media officer, Margaretta Pos said. TASS held their first meeting in early May which attracted over 100 people. The story of Pontville disappeared from the media shortly after. The project was in a state of confusion. In the original announcement the Federal Government had said that it hoped that detainees would be arriving as soon as sometime after Easter. At the time of writing in early 42
Feature. June, the centre still has several steps before it will be ready for detainees. In May, a spokeswoman for Minister for Immigration Chris Bowen told Togatus “the timing and opening of the facility are subject to final planning approvals”. Interestingly, the approvals that were causing delays were actually standard permits that the Federal government should have been aware of. As such, the delay does raise questions. According to Foster the only area of importance that council permits really cover is health. “I was sort of a bit amazed that they made the decision [to put a timeline in the announcement] knowing full well that they had to get all those permits in place and they take time,” Foster said. The permit that attracted public attention was one that linked the two most controversial projects in the Brighton/ Pontville area together. The government needed an Aboriginal Heritage permit, but a ban by the Tasmanian Aboriginal community was put on the heritage surveys necessary to obtain this in December 2010. The ban was put in place following the Brighton bypass controversy and is part of measures the Tasmanian Aboriginal community are taking to demand better protection of Tasmanian Aboriginal heritage. The government managed to push through the stalemate by using an assessment that was done before the ban. On the information provided, Aboriginal Heritage Tasmania advised the department it assessed the development as “low risk” and supported it to proceed, according to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Despite this, Tasmanian Aboriginal lawyer Michael Mansell told AAP that “there hasn't been any Aboriginal community approval for construction to go ahead". Which could mean that the issue is not closed yet. There are other less dramatic delays, including upgrades to the sewerage system and construction work. “If they are going to end up with 400 detainees here they are certainly going to need more accommodation than what’s there at the moment, and they are aware of that,” Foster said.
There has been no indication if the October deadline for the centre will still be in place or if it will be moved to take into account the delays. The centre is only temporary while the government develops other centres on the mainland. The Pontville centre will cost $15 million. “It really was the overall price from day one to the day they left,” Foster said. It is a high price tag for four months of detention if the end date of the centre is not moved from October. Foster is optimistic that the centre will benefit Pontville economically, “There will be some economic benefits, no doubt about it”. He has been lobbying the Federal Government to allow greater community interaction. He believes that the community’s experience with the Kosovar refugees means that they will be able to forge a new model. “My discussions with [the] immigration department have been along the line of, ‘look, here is an opportunity for us to demonstrate that the people in detention centres can have relationships with people in communities, because we’ve been there, done it before’. It could probably provide a better model for this type of facility going forward,” Foster said. Foster believes the facility will stay in place once the detainees leave and there “will be opportunities for [the Brighton] community to utilise the facilities there”. Foster has had enquires from local groups about making use of the industrial kitchen facility that will be developed. With such an unclear beginning, the use of the centre following the detainees’ departure, is in the distant future and hard to know. Foster thinks that if the community is involved then the future will work out alright. “I think come October or November when we look back, we will be able to say it was a well worthwhile exercise to have in Tasmania,” Foster said.
“The facilities that are there at the moment will need some upgrading, but they are not too bad.” In May Foster said that the construction would take about six weeks once all the permits were in place. 43
FELIX RIEBL Anna Kelleher
Anna Kelleher talks to Felix Riebl about going solo, what influenced his upcoming album ‘Into The Rain’, finds out his metaphor for life and the voice that haunts him, his struggle with himself and all things in between. Anna: What motivated you to go solo? Felix: It was really to express myself as a songwriter in my own right and to be able to write music that was as expressive as I wanted it to be for myself - separate to The Cat Empire. The Cat Empire is a very dynamic band which is a lot of fun to be a part of but I had reached a point where I wanted to write different types of songs, with different instruments that didn’t fit into that anymore and to concentrate on my own voice. This could be completely my own thoughts, but when I was listening to ‘Wide Open Rivers’, it kind of sounded a bit like The Lemonheads… Oh yeah that song is I suppose… but I made this album pretty much as a beginning to end listening experience and that’s how it unfolded in the studio as well. It’s not really all that definable in terms of a different sound, I mean there are some really, really heavy dark songs on there and there are some songs that sound like a band like The Lemonheads maybe, but it doesn’t really have a straight sound. Who were some of your influences while writing this album? I suppose in my life I can’t get away from Leonard Cohen. I think that he’s a very iconic song writer, there’s something about the melancholy in his voice and the way he chooses his words is very beautiful and that’s stayed with me like a sort of a haunted voice in my life. I suppose there are others; I play a cover of one of Bruce Springsteen’s songs on this album. Neil Young was probably another one in terms of the instrumentation on this album and the space we were going for in the way the instruments were laid out. That kind of very natural free flowing approach to recording, that was something very influenced by Neil Young. What was the concept behind this album and did you deliberately set out to distinguish yourself
from the sound of The Cat Empire? Not at all no. It wasn’t to do with that I don’t think, I tend to follow the songs and where they go in my life, that’s what I’ve done so far and it’s been quite an adventure. I didn’t deliberately do this to get away from The Cat Empire, I was living in New York at the time for awhile, and I suppose I was working on other songs and I just ended up writing these quite quickly — I left New York pretty heartbroken so I wrote a heartbreaking album and came back to Melbourne and it happened very naturally with most of the songs written in about two weeks. Australian singer Sia Furler (formerly of the band Zero 7) said when she went solo that she found it hard being 100 per cent responsible for what was created. How are you finding this? I love being 100 per cent responsible for what is created. I feel most comfortable. I think one of the hardest things I ever had to learn in The Cat Empire was how to let things go and be created by a whole. With this album I wrote the songs, I worked with the producer, who I loved (Ross Irwin) and it felt like a very natural process. It’s frightening sometimes having been in a band that’s been so successful internationally to come out writing very personal songs. There’s something that takes a bit of guts to come out and release I think for me, but having said that I feel very confident in the songs and my writing and I feel as if I’ve learnt something in the last ten years and I’m ready to put my name to something. In regards to your songs, a lot of them are about women that you meet - are they about one person or are they different encounters and experiences? The songs I was writing in The Cat Empire were pretty punkish really. We were spending a lot of time at parties, at the beach, travelling around, really enjoying our youth a lot and the songs I was writing then had — what I’d hoped to be — an exuberance towards love and life and everything that I really was experiencing at the time.These songs are more about a different sort of relationship, a relationship that’s quite mysterious and probably to do more with one person than a group of people. I wrote it after a relatively long relationship in New York, and I suppose it’s a break-up album more or 44
Interview. less. It’s always hard to say what songs are about, I think they often surprise you and trick you and you write about some internal relationship you have with yourself as much as your feelings towards a lover or another person. So I think it’s important not to overstate it too much but these ones are certainly more considered and less about the discovery of all that stuff and actually weighing it up. On the topic of relationships, do you feel a lot of pressure from the “ladies” since those early Cat Empire songs and lyrics has created a certain persona…? [Laughs] Yeah. Sometimes it’s kind of hard to reconcile… All I can say is at the time it felt really natural, we were actually having a good time and there are certain songs I don’t sing anymore because it just doesn’t feel natural to sing anymore. There are some songs I laugh about and there are some I cringe at and that’s just how it is. I think when I consider The Cat Empire and the spirit of the project and what it’s managed to do, and the nature of our shows and the nature of recording and how they’ve travelled, it came from a very authentic place; I wasn’t trying to create a persona it just happened to be that period of my life. What’s been hard is living with that when I don’t feel like that anymore. You come from a musical family. How did they influence you? I had a pretty interesting musical up-bringing, my fathers side is from Vienna. I grew up with a lot of classical musicians and lots of classical music around the house, but I also grew up with an influence of 70s rock, like Woodstock vinyl was the first vinyl I ever listened to back to front. I spent time in Europe and sat with the orchestra and things like that with family friends, and then I would come back and spend a lot of time in the country in Australia and listen to Australian rock more or less, so I got to be influenced in many ways. My first instrument was the violin and then I started writing songs on the piano after that and then I played drums for a long time. It was very kind of vast, I still love those two extreme differences in listening to music. I really like those two musical spars and everything in between.
What musician would you most like to collaborate with — dead or alive? I think if I could spend some time with someone, and I suppose just learn to listen, it would probably be with Leonard Cohen. What’s the best advice you were ever given? And who gave it to you? The best advice I was ever given… there was a lot of good advice over the years. There’s a person who worked at the circus who was a really good friend of mine and said “charisma is the pleasure of being”. I’ve been given a lot of good advice, I don’t know if that’s the best but that one just popped into my head and I like it because there is something about enjoying yourself and being present which is all that you can do sometimes as a performer. It’s a challenge to actually place yourself there and enjoy yourself as well and that’s helped me a lot over the years, and whenever I’m doing that I’ve been producing material I’m proud of and having a good time at the same time. What’s one of the biggest hurdles you’ve ever had to overcome? I think… maybe myself. I think getting out of your own way is a good thing to do, especially when it comes to writing music and being involved with other people. I think letting go of being things is really important. I think that’s probably it. Actually I don’t know it’s a tricky question. I don’t know exactly what hurdles, there’s been sad things in my life and things that have gone wrong sometimes and all that sort of stuff, but I think in the end the biggest hurdle is to actually jump when an opportunity comes along and trust yourself, and that kind of involves forgetting yourself for awhile and I think that’s probably it, it’s an internal thing.
In those live performances with The Cat Empire, you guys had some pretty impressive dance moves. Did you have any training in dance or did you just make it up on the spot? No, but if I lived my life again I think I’d be a dancer, I sometimes go and watch Chunky Move, and I just adore it. There’s something about the human form moving that I’ve always loved. I think one of my ambitions with The Cat Empire was to make people dance. We started at a jazz club and I wanted people to jump up and dance, it seemed like a really good idea at the time. 46
If you’re lucky your mum has a complete dictionary, thesaurus and spell-check system in her head.
mumisms Ella Kearney
“Mum, Mum, Mum, Mummy Mummy Mummy, Ma, Ma, Ma, Ma, Mumma, Mumma, Mumma” (If you are not thinking Stewie from Family guy, you haven’t lived).
Mum’s distracted, she’s watching a couple say goodbye to one another, they’re crying. Mum joins in. She doesn’t actually go over and start group hugging the couple, but she’s definitely feelin’ it.
Something happens to women when they have a baby. Their trousers hitch up a bit higher, swear words diminish and they cry more often*. Here are a few of my favourite mumisms I have gathered over the years.
One of Mum’s good friend’s father dies, whom she’s never met. She decides to go to the funeral to be supportive to her friend. She starts crying to the point where it is assumed that she had some special relationship with the deceased. Mum says that was actually quite embarrassing.
Crying. Dancing with the stars is on**, they are filming that chick from All Saints and her dance partner salsa dancing, the camera turns to the All Saint’s husband and children who are eagerly clapping. I turn to mum: tears. Harry’s Practice is on (yes, I am using memories from 1999). The tadpole is onw its last legs, the owner is distraught, turn to mum: tears. We’re at the airport and
Extra Uses for your Mum. If you’re lucky your mum has a complete dictionary, thesaurus and spell-check system in her head. When typing an email to a lecturer I always go to use the word ‘brief’ — “If you could just briefly”, “I just briefly”, “A brief meeting”. It’s one of those ‘i’ before ‘e’ words that gets me every time. Mums aid in these situations. Right click to 47
Mum’s not shy about adding z’s to the end of words. Her most recent text message included “Wotz appenin?!” This is particularly weird considering in person my mum speaks like a delicate English school teacher.
get your synonyms? I don’t think so…just holla at your girl. Mums proficiency in spelling and defining does not translate into an ability to remember the names of people or places. Mostly it’s just slight confusions like Mitch instead of Mark, but sometimes she comes out with an absolute cracker. I was talking about a tutor (his name is Brendan) and before I could finish mum says “Oh, you mean Ricardo?” I have no idea where she sourced Ricardo. Pool boy of the past? There’s a specific mum vocabulary. If you are going to a festival or a band (whatever the band) mum will call it a concert, “Ella’s going to a concert at the Republic”. To me, concert evokes images of the Ogilvie High School Carnival of the Animals circa 2001. Enough said.
Technology and Mums. My good friend tells me that when the home phone rings his mother picks up the nearest piece of technology to answer it. Mum, “I can’t find the speak button.”
my mum will provoke an equally detailed response, other times mum reckons a simple “OK” will suffice. I can’t really get over the fact that mum doesn’t recognize her own ring tone/message tone. We will be sitting at a café, mum sippin’ on her latte, me gorging myself on mud cake, and her message tone will sound. An expression will come over her face as though she has heard the call of a rare, exotic bird. “You’ve got a message mum”.
Mum and Farts. Mum has farted twice in her entire life. The first time was in May 1999. I was sitting on the couch in the lounge room, which opened out onto the kitchen. Mum opened a cupboard door and a rather tentative fart teetered out. The second time was…I can’t actually remember the second time. So, basically, mum has farted once and it didn’t even smell. Mum saw that I had written this story in my notes and wrote “noooooo” next to it. But I think it’s important. When my parents separated and my mum started seeing a new man, I told him about this singular farting episode. They are still together a decade later and I am pretty sure mum hasn’t farted again during that whole time. What a gal.
Son, “Ah, mum, that’s the calculator.” Hilare. My mum’s not that bad with technology. Though the bizarre street-talk she adopts in messages is becoming a concern of mine. Mum’s not shy about adding z’s to the end of words and abbreviates like there ain’t no thang. Her most recent text message included “Wotz appenin?!” This is particularly weird considering in person my mum speaks like a delicate English school teacher. There is also marked difference in text message enthusiasm levels. Sometimes a lengthy text message to
*Results may vary. **Did you know ‘Chong’ from Dancing with the stars has a blog? (Who the fuck is Chong I hear you ask…)
We can keep your balls in the air!
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Tasmania University Union Student Magazine Quarterly Publication. 50