Perth Ed. 3 Vol. 84
Picture by Kate Prendergast
18 prosh 19 suburbs 20 griffonomics
CONTRIBUTORS EDITORS Marnie Allen Alex Griffin ADVERTISING Alex Pond DESIGN Jennifer Breeden SECTION EDITORS Books - Zoe Kilbourn Culture - Simon Donnes Politics – Richard Ferguson Music – Connor Weightman Arts- Kat Gillespie Film – Wade McCagh SUBEDITORS Mai Barnes Simon Donnes Richard Ferguson Aarushi Garg Danica Lamb Eunice Ong CONTRIBUTORS Kiya Alimoradian* Marnie Allen*^ David Arnold^ Stephanie Ball*^ Mai Barnes* Darcie Boelen* Matthew Bye Sam Caisely* Dylan Caporn* Josh Chiat* Kevin Chiat* Jessica Cockerill^ Paula Connell* David Crawley* Samuel Cox* Liam Dixon* Simon Donnes* Yutika Donohue^
Sarah Dunstan* Richard Ferguson* Mitchell Freeway* Caitlin Frunks* Anna Gardiner* Kat Gillespie* Victoria Hann* Phoebe Ignatia* Brooke Jackson* Lauran Jervis* Danica Lamb* Ante Malenica* Hugh Manning* Shaughn McCagh* Wade McCagh* Grace McKie^ Alice McCullagh^ Pema Monaghan* Cameron Moyses* James Munt* Bernice Ong^ Brennan Peers* Kate Prendergast*^ Yashi Renoir^ Mason Rothwell* Gideon Sacks* Philip Sharpe* Edward Taylor* Rachel Thomas* George Weaver* Connor Weightman* Rachel Williams* Lauren Wiszniewski*^ Natasha Woodcock* Eunice Ong* Alice Graziotti* Jackson Purser* Cameron James* Sook Kwan Loong* Marsela Downing* Louise Abbott* Sandra Veneklaas*
PELIAPOLOGY: The review for Nick Cave’s gig on page 37 of edition 2 was incorrectly attributed to Darcie Boelen instead of James Munt. James, come to the office for your complimentary bag of bike vouchers.
TALK TO US PLEASE TALK TO US Hello. I’ve seen you around. I know you’ve seen me. I want us to make beautiful things together on a monthly basis. We only have a few more chances this year. Let us come together, my love. Also, for complaints, comments, thoughts and feedback, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or come and visit our office on the second floor of the guild building here on campus. In the beginning, there was nothing. Then there was Pelican. Then there was you. Though Pelican came first, you always come first. DISCLAIMER: The views expressed within are not the views of the UWA Student Guild or the Pelican editorial staff. When you’re alone and life is making you lonely you can always go downtown.
PREZITORIAL I have tried really hard in these Prezitorials to fight the fact that I’m just not funny. In the mess edition, I managed to fluke a lame joke about medieval society before reverting to a plug for our super-serious and important student assist officers. In the mystery edition, I managed to coast off a vaguely funny, albeit highly confusing introduction written by the Guild Treasurer. I then awkwardly segued into a comment about Prosh and how you can make the most of Guild services. I have now given up of my once-lofty dreams of making a hilarious contribution to the revered institution that is the Pelican. To go along with the theme of “Perth”, I have decided to emulate our beloved city and be thoroughly mediocre. erth is a really small place. It’s kind of why I love it so much. You can meet all kinds of people and then see them P two weeks later at your cousin’s engagement party. UWA is even smaller; I like to think that at some stage I will have the opportunity to meet most students and talk to them about what they are interested in, how much they know about the Guild and what they feel is important about the student experience. So if you are reading this and I haven’t met you yet, please feel free to drop by my office and say hello. If I’m in a good mood I might even shout you a coffee/bubble tea/burger/insert cheeky plug for new food options here. So embrace the small pond that is Perth, and come say hi! I promise I’m not really that bad… if I’m not checking emails in my office I’ll be in a meeting- just flick me an email at email@example.com and we can tee something up. Cheers Perthites, Cam
MARNITORIAL I like to rag on Perth as much as the next guy. But the truth is, wherever my gold digging may take me around the world, I will probably end up back here, hopefully as a spinster/thrice divorcee sharing a flat in Como with a FIFO worker 20 years younger than me. Perth has a lot of character and I think growing up here helps you develop a superb attitude to life; don’t get your hopes up, stay home, who cares, where’s Ellenbrook? etc. In this edition you will hopefully find a fairly balanced glance at what Perth really is. You might have been living in Perth for your entire life (why?) or just moved here (sorry), or perhaps you’ve already made up your mind to leave Perth for Melbourne as soon as you’ve saved enough money (omg cheap coffee); either way, you can easily drift by comfortably in a place like Perth without ever really thinking about what it means to live here, why the city is the way it is, and what might happen in the future. I think we are lucky to live in a city like Perth for the same reasons we are unlucky to live here. Big backyards, safety, peace, quiet and isolation are necessarily countered by spread-out infrastructure, less variety and higher prices for goods and services, and The West Australian. So take the good with the bad, or better yet, try and make Perth better. Reading the Perth edition of Pelican is a good place to start. Love Marnie xox
GRIFFITORIAL Like Perth itself, I’ve been steadily moving away from the center for the last twenty years. I was born in Subiaco, raised in Victoria Park, and now I live in Kenwick. In the same way, the city has sprawled and spasmed to reach outwards to suburbs where people once went for beachside daytrips. Many of us stretch Perth out well past the Tropic of Capricorn, as our mining towns fill up with FIFO part-time economic refugees. As the city becomes more diffuse, we’re more lost in the place we live, adrift on waves of development and peak hour traffic. It becomes harder to take a step back and focus on what Perth is, let alone come to any perspective on the matter. Amongst record breaking Telethons, chair-sniffing treasurers, arts festivals and violent rallies against the mining tax and refugees, it’s hard to tell what Perth stands for, let alone what it is. We judge ourselves on new buildings, on the price of coffee, on the rundown stadium- on tangible things that we feel we lack, simply because the comparison with other places makes it easier to reduce Perth to a sunny backwater that doesn’t require much more thought. Yet, a city isn’t so much a material place as it is a bundle of experiences. What we all do and say to one another every day is as relevant to what Perth is as the Bell Tower or the weather. As hokum as it is to say, we’re all Perth. If you see someone homeless and it bothers you, volunteer somewhere. If you’re throwing a facebook rape party in Mirrabooka, invite your neighbours. Merge politely. The Barnett talks about the bigger picture a lot, but it’s not about freeway ramps. Be the Perth you want to be, I guess- or go to Melbourne. I hear they have better wi-fi in the cultural center. Luv Griff
WHAT’S UP ON CAMPUS ENGINEERS WITHOUT BORDERS Engineers Without Borders have a heap of great events coming up! You can eat pancakes in week 11 in Guild to raise money to provide rural communities with safe drinking water. We’ll be holding an event where you can help rebuild a computer at PCs for Refugees Build Day, at the Computer Science Building (top floor room 2.28) on Friday the 3rd of May. Contact Rohan at 21136357@ student.uwa.edu.au. You can also find a High School Outreach activity to present on our facebook- https://www.facebook.com/ewbUWA
KAOS (UWA GERMAN CLUB) KAOS is presenting Uberstammtisch Oktoberfest in May. We know you all love Stammtisch, so we decided to host a really MEGA Stammtisch with an Oktoberfest theme! Come and experience the excitement of German
culture, German music, German bratwurst and pretzels, dirndls and lederhosen. It’s Friday 10th May at 7.30pm - midnight at the Tav. Dress up in Oktoberfest or German theme clothing - prize for best dressed (a flag as a toga will be awesome). Tickets are $25 which includes a bratwurst, pretzel, a complimentary drink on arrival and a door prize. Get your tickets at the KAOS BBQ on Oak Lawn this Tuesday or at Stammtisch. Stammtisch is at the Tav from 12-2pm EVERY Tuesday. Look for the German flag at the Tav. Come down for some German conversation, wedges and refreshments. New members are welcome! You can sign up at Stammtisch and check out the KAOS Facebook page for more. AUSTRALIA CHINA YOUTH ASSOCIATION The Australia-China Youth Association (ACYA) is a not-forprofit, apolitical youth organisation which caters to young Australians and young Chinese with an interest in China and Australia respectively. We have 11 ACYA chapters across Australia and China. If you are a Chinese, Australian or international student/young professional with a desire to
increase your language skills, professional network, and educational and career development opportunities, then we warmly invite you to become a member of ACYA. Come along to our Tea & Talk sessions on Wednesdays from 3-5pm in the Social Science Seminar Room, G25. We look forward to meeting you!
AUSTRALIAN YOUTH CLIMATE COALITION Hey there! We’re from AYCC UWA and we’re looking to share a righteous year with you! Some of our intentions this year are to address and explore climate change relations with sensitivity inclusive of all disciplines of study around campus, engage in cracking conversations, host formidable events, eat cupcakes and help you young, vibrant folk find voice, information, strategy and community surrounding climate issues. There’s much to be done and we look forward to having a babble with you on campus while bringing you some fine events. You can also observe our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/aycc. uwa?fref=ts Much love, Belinda (P) and Nathan (VP)
This week’s advice column comes from Megamouth, the giant shark preserved in an underground tank at the Museum of WA.
I’ve had it with my filthy housemates. I’ve only been living here a week and the unit smells strangely spicy, like a trip to the outhouse after treating yourself to a biryani, and just as painful. The other day I had a bit of a vomit and no less than three large, male rats came running to lap it up. How do I even start to clean up the mess? Can I broach the subject? Should I pick up and leave? My hair is beginning to fall out from the stress and I have started showering at my partner’s house.
Who is your favourite Perthonality?
Brontë Dear Brontë I don’t know why you are asking for hygiene tips from a dead whale at the tertiary decomposition stage, ie. exploding with mung. If you think you’re so down on your luck because you get sunset rubdowns in a grout-free space with your “partner” (ya loser) then maybe you should come and tend to these sores I have where gas from my dissolving organs has burst through the skin. My fins are a paler green than S@r@h Dunst111n’s face when she is wearing a blue broad-brimmed hat and my breath pretty much permanently munted all Perth fetuses conceived in 1988. One of my closest friends was so ashamed that her ex-husband left his apartment in Bermuda in such a state that he lost his bond. She now haunts the Winthrop Drive entry to Kings Park/ driveway of LL Cool Ron Hubbard Currie Hall Industries. Hence I am all for embracing the spore these days. If your GP is nanging and won’t bulk bill you for flu vaccines then you should thank your lucky stars that you can build up your ‘mune by giving those readily available grime-laden surfaces a good lick. Not to mention the fact that being stinky on a couch with your pets and a plateful of eggs (also stinky) will make you lord of the Perth schmindie. If glamour is your business, why don’t you come and wash your eyre in my metho? (GET IT?)
I come from Dog Swamp.
Anonymous Hi Anonymous, Definitely Brenden Abbott.
Dear Megamouth, I feel like Perth just isn’t a safe place to bring up a family anymore. I can’t even take my two little rugrats Ember and Kohl out to the local espresso bar without seeing Kohn Jizon lurking in the corner, making his phone calls from telecom black spots. What should I be doing to protect myself, my kids and our buckets of smoothie? Kind regards, Lisa Malditesta-Baldwin Hi Lisa I don’t know, buy a bigger car and stay away from Swanbourne traino lest it be riddled with more dead bodies and escaped prisoners? If you think your life as a mummy is riddled with hazards, then maybe you should try bleeding to death in a pool at SeaWorld while a calf is pulled out of your birth canal with a crane, like my half-aunt did. And don’t give me any sass about your drug-free tantric birth in a blow up pool- it’s not the same. I hear Israeli self-defence courses are a trendy and valid option these days, so maybe you should get amongst it. We live in a safe, safe city (except not anywhere near the witch-house in North Freo and definitely not near the ruins of the Blue House in Scarbs). Though I must give it to you, that cremation theme you have going on with your kids names is serious business. Dear Megamouth,
You’re beautiful! Where are you from?
As a putrefied deep sea specimen, how do you feel about organ donation? Should we have an opt-out scheme here in Australia? What about body farms?
Love from Midori.
picture by Alice Palmer
PELICAN ADVICE CORNER
Dear Midori, I don’t normally answer fanmail/read fanfic of people with names like yours in case they want to eat me, but as a huge advocate for body harvesting, I am honoured to discuss this with you. I can see both sides of the coin. I was devastated when half my family died at the hands of Fairuza Balk in The Craft. I didn’t want anybody to touch their beached up carcasses, let alone make exquisite cosmetics from their lard. At the same time, I think making use/saving lives with people’s dead, bloody bits is not only utilitarian but opens up lots of new ways to explore the body politic in 21st century Perth. You don’t have to be Ana Mendieta. I know plenty of washed up old souls who would give anything to have a grave-robber strip their bones in Karrakatta, and my friend Brony certainly didn’t mind it when his lower half was strung up from a meat hook at ACCA. Now that Tanya Plibersek wants to give you six weeks paid leave to give your kidneys away, I’m wishing I had kidneys.
Dear Megamouth, What’s the secret to a perfect Sunday afternoon? Pepito Dear Pepito (son of the Spanish ambassador?) Try not to be dead in an underground tank in Perth Cultural Center. Haha, just kidding. The answer to your question is: some Eno and a bunch of grapes. Remember, they stay freshest on the stalk.
8 picture by Stephanie Ball
If you’re reading this article, you probably already know that the word “Perth”, in the sense applicable to the theme of this publication, refers the capital of and largest city in Western Australia. It serves as the state’s commercial hub and cultural centre; a fact extolled in and typified by the publication you are currently reading.
the question: after what was Perth, Perthshire named? Well, the simple answer is the Pictish (a language in the Scottish-Gaelic group) word for wood or copse. Archeological evidence suggests that it probably gained this name in translation from a much earlier, Bronze-Age, settlement on the site; known for this feature as it provided protection from the flooding of the Tay. It seems then to have been used as a wooded fortification, much like those described by historians of the Caesarian and later Roman invasions of Britain.
So how did Perth, Western Australia, come to be so-called? Well, unfortunately, the answer to this question is almost as boring as it could possibly be: in honour of the then Secretary of State for The Colonies, Sir George Murray, who hailed from Perth in Scotland. Considering the general object of my column, this begs
It is interesting to note that Perth, Scotland was only fairly recently thus renamed. Until the mid-17th century, the Scottish city had been known as Saint John’s Town (or some weird spelling thereof) and the region as Perthia or Paeirt after St John the Baptist who was patron on the local parish. However,
as the lowland population grew, the town expanded and was became eponymous of the region in early ordnances. To conclude, I must apologise firstly for the fairly scant etymology in this article and for its relative vapidity; but, despite this vapidity, I think it makes for an illuminating cultural judgement about this country. The ascriptions of British place names to so much of Australia is a strong indication of just how subordinate the imperial settlers deemed Australia and the colonies to be. A sense of personal ownership could even be read into the names of the other capitals, all of which are named after British personages; even the non-convict settlement of Adelaide was named after the Queen Consort at the time. Therefore, while immediately dry, I believe that the etymology of “Perth” is culturally interesting.
picture by Lauren Wiszniewski
by Ed Taylor
Picture by Alice Mcculagh
FIFOOOLING AROUND by Danica Lamb I sit cross-legged on my swivel chair. Lips chapped and cheeks still tingling from stubbleinduced pash rash, I comtemplate an empty inbox- an inbox as empty as my heart. This heartbreaking torpor prompts the question: where have all the good men gone? Although Bonnie Tyler insisted on holdin’ on ‘til the end of the night as a remedy, there’s more solace in blaming Gina Rinehart. Gina and her mining executive peers, desperate to ride The Great Boom, employ approximately 70,000 young Perth men as fly-in, fly-out workers on contracts that isolate them from the capital for weeks at a time. If Gina’s heart were as big as her appetite,
These horny miners this arrangement wouldn’t be the colossal shit storm of social complications that it has become. The mining boom came about due to expansive growth in China and surrounding Asian economies, leading to a massive increase in the demand for West Australian minerals. Iron ore exploration has expanded to the point where one million tonnes of the mineral is shipped from West Australian shores every day. Unprecedented levels of (mostly foreign) investment have flooded into the state, and mining now makes up 35% of gross state product. Consequently, the demand for labour at the remote project sites that fuel China’s raging lust for resources mean lowskilled employees can earn six figure incomes. Kardashian sisters can only dream to earn as much money with such little skill – oh wait. Despite the economic benefits attached to the influx of investment and high incomes, mining in WA has had some adverse effects on the people of Perth. Though we’re now the ‘lucky state’ with new stadiums, skyscrapers, hospitals and arenas, employment in a Perth FIFO regime can at best be described as a multi-million dollar cockblock. A search on any mainstream dating website offers up hundreds of miners looking for someone to turn on the Lionel Richie with, so much so that non-miners are forced to distinguish themselves online (I’m talking about you ‘not-a-FIFO-fiend22’). The hordes of mining workers descending on Perth want constant companionship, and if my pash rash has taught me anything, it’s that the overwhelming majority of these guys only want physical
intimacy. It’s no surprise then that workers in Perth’s prostitution sector are currently able to earn in excess of $200,000 plus in a year; more than their cashed-up clients.
Problem is, these horny miners aren’t only supporting their local madam, but also taking their high disposable incomes and their penises overseas to southeast Asian countries, where strains of STIs are three times more resilient and 53 times more common than in Australia. Because of this, the Kimberley, Pilbara and the Goldfields are experiencing their highest recorded rates of Chlamydia, tallying a 25% infection rate between the three, while HIV is being diagnosed in relatively epidemic proportions. Over 2012, there was a 44% increase in heterosexual West Australian men acquiring HIV from overseas. This ‘travelling’ means that AIDS is becoming a remerging scare between heterosexual couples in our previously pretty insulated town. Although they provide the means, the preconditions and the environment for such rampant sexual commerce to exist, the oligarchy running the mining industry has refused as yet to take any responsibility or preventative measures to ensure the health of their workers and Perth civilians. The mining induced male-strom builds when alcohol is combined with sexual deprivation. The monotonous and isolated nature of fly-in, fly-out
mining spurs even more intense swigging. Add to that the long hours, a lack of stimulation and the job insecurity that comes with the territory, and it’s a bleak picture. With nothing else to do, brawls often break out as synthetic rivalries emerge between locals versus non-locals. Fighting and competition over the scarce women (both soliciting and non-soliciting) also fuel the already heated tensions between these lonely and isolated miners. The rates of violence in these towns are, understandably, over double the Perth average. The sad reality is that this violence continues when workers return home to Perth. Domestic violence against wives and girlfriends of FIFO workers is rapidly escalating, with a Salvation Army Perth women’s refuge reporting forty of these incidents every dayand these are only the reported incidents. The abundance of single miners could be interpreted as a warning then: relationship breakdown is imminent, abandon ship now. Perhaps due to our isolation from the rest of the world, any tug on the social fabric from our mining towns is bound to distort the weave of our beach loving, laid back, traffic congested and protected capital. The reality is that we’re being inundated with serious health epidemics and increases in violence because of the difficulty for miners to have and maintain healthy relationships with women. FIFO fiends are fucked up and Perth is going to suffer as the nostalgic ideals of what our city and our society is become threatened by their actions.
A 2012 study by the Pilbara Development Commission revealed that the average rental property in Karratha and surrounds was fetching $2108 per week in March, an increase of $80 per week over the previous five months.
Picture by Kate Prendergast
P/ART OF PERTH by Tori Hann Sometimes one wonders what people will think of Perth’s icons deep into the future. Take the Perth Arena, for instance- that strange, electric blue crushed can-style contraption that somehow manages to also closely resemble a mattress on its side, at least according to my flatmate (a.k.a. my mum). I can see the future now- a TransSkyPerth captain punching the following into her iSlab 5 as she floats high above a desolate and dusty city, watching tumbleweeds casually drift through the arches of the BHP Billiton building. 13 June 2513 …The people here seemed to have been deeply affected by some sort of malady: 99.9% of the population became so Perthargic that they stopped working, talking and, eventually, eating and moving. They simply lay down and succumbed to quiet, inevitable deaths. The remaining 0.1% of people turned to pineapple worship, leaving only once they had erected their tufted god. Beware of “The Totem”, which controlled its social media with herbaceous hands- it has been known to shoot lasers and project cryptic images… In its recent efforts to turn into Melbourne, Perth has had a mini-explosion of contemporary art and an overall gentrification of public spaces, particularly in Northbridge and the CBD. One of my favourites is “The Arch” (2010) (on the corner of Lake and James Streets) which can in posthorror film mode can appear to be the first leg of a giant spider lurching out of a small hole in the ground- if you’re into that kind of thing. Anyway, when I finally get my hoverboard made out of pure science, I am definitely going to do a few loop-de-loops round that thing. By the way, ever heard of “Grow Your Own” (2011)? I doubt it. Possibly the most notorious and fairly pointless work of public art in Perth, it is better known as the Perth Cactus. Being pointless, it also cost $1.1 million (I have a slightly cynical view that these things have to be expensive in order to justify their own existence). However, there are some genuinely cute and entertaining public sculptures around the CBD. At 237 Adelaide Terrace you can find huge red “Paper Planes” (2011), with their equally large chatterbox cousin “Unfolding Lives” (2010) nearby in front of the WA Museum. There is a delightful quality to these works, as they bring out remnants of the inner child at play that many of us feel deep affection for. When I was a kid, I used to stare at “Conic Fugue” (1991) for hours. On the corner of St Georges Terrace and Milligan Street, it basically looks like a huge red slide folded onto and twisted around itself like candy does when
you watch it being made. At the time, I was sure that it was some kind of super-fun slide for adults and yearned for the day when I too could join them. Leaving the city behind, we hover over to the Triangle d’Or (an old French name for the Western Suburbs) to Cottesloe. On Marine Parade, largely thanks to wealthy ratepayers and the annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition since 2005, we get to witness many contemporary art works that reflect a cultured populace in touch with cosmopolitan tastes. Or some crap like that. Silver feathers rise elegantly out of one roundabout, while further away from Swanbourne beach we find the circular diving arrows “Roundabout” (2007) and the circular form of “Centrefold” (2006) which oh-so-classily captures you for your new Facebook cover photo- the awkward lean one was getting old. But I digress. In Kings Park, downhill of the impressive DNA tower in Synergy Park Land, there are dinosaur sculptures to delight the young and the not so old amongst the still wicked-playgrounds. You can climb all over Bullockornis, Diprotodon, Muttaburrasaurus and Phytosaur and enjoy the prairie mood of the Park during a BBQ. Lastly, down below the cliffy slopes we find “Eliza” (2007), seven metres out in the Swan River from the shoreline at the site of the old Crawley Baths*. Eliza is a true all-rounder and like Barbie, has been known to participate in many different sports
including rugby, hockey, rowing and AFL, but that doesn’t stop her from getting down to business in her nurses’ scrubs or graduating from her PHD course. Of course, let’s not forget her wardrobe; where would she be without her innovative ensembles, ranging from soft orange Rajneeshi togas to flowing and wispy skirts topped by fabric heavily suggesting (if not revealing) her décolleté? Of course, being so popular Eliza has been cloned and sent to Perth’s sister city Nanjing in China. Whether likeable or laughable, public art really can change the way we think about our public spaces. If something strange, confronting or fun forces us to stop and take in the moment and consider what’s around us, then that’s a worthwhile thing- it’s not there just to serve a beautifying purpose. Art allows us to interact creatively and spontaneously with our environment. As we grow older, we can often lose touch with our ability to let go and be part of something greater, but public art unifies us; we all have strong opinions of them, and we all love dinosaurs. And yes, sometimes that means getting used to new art such as the Cactus and the Perth Arena, which in time will fall into the visual canon of Perth and become part of the city itself. If nothing else, public art can be used for road directions. For one, I am glad to be PArt of Perth. * My other flatmate (a.k.a. my dad) claims that he got his bronze medallion there while swimming with pneumonia.
The worst public art in Perth is nearby the Raffles Hotel in Applecross; three zebra striped sticks support a clod of earth, from which a dead tree sprouts. Considering the Raffles used to be a skimpy bar, a salute to that might have been more tasteful.
MYSTIC PERTH by Philip Sharpe Beneath a convincing veneer of lacklustre ambitions and a boring nightlife, Perth has actually long been a hotbed of esoteric, mystical activity. A cursory scratch upon the city’s surface reveals a host of different traditions operating in the shadows of Perth’s occult community, dating as far back as the West Australian gold rush of the 1890s.
Moving to modern times, Wicca entered the scene during the cultural upheavals of the 1960s. The main promoter and initiator of Wicca in Australia, Simon Goodman, was a Perth local, and as a result Perth was for a long time the Australian witchcraft capital. In fact, the first nationally recognised Neo-Pagan Church, The Church of Wicca, was formed in Fremantle in 1989. It became the biggest pagan organisation in the Southern Hemisphere, reaching six thousand members worldwide before imploding in 2000. This arose because the the arch-priestess, Lady Tamara Von Forslun, was actually a transsexual named William who had a sex change in the 70s and had neglected to reveal this fact to her fellow priestesses. The ensuing controversy scattered the community into many isolated covens throughout Perth. For the uninitiated, Wicca is a consolidation of pagan rituals and beliefs introduced to the United States by Gerald Gardner in the 1950s. Focused on nature worship and pre-Christian theism, it’s rather too eclectic to concisely describe; suffice to say if you see someone with a necklace or tattoo with a five pointed star with its point facing up, recognising it might just get you laid. Locating
pagan groups these days is not at all hard; some light inquiries at any shop where crystals are sold will give you all the leads you need. On the darker side of the spectrum, the Ordo Templi Orientis thrives here in Perth, with its Southern Cross lodge in Maylands. The OTO is a hermetic cult heavily influenced by famous occultist Aleister Crowley and his system of Thelema. Claiming ancestry (among many others to do so) to the Templars and later Weishaupt Illuminati of the 18th Century, they discard all laws and traditional moral doctrines, and claim man as a universal brotherhood. They focus on increasing levels of mysticism through initiation deeper into the Order, with a similar ranking system to Freemasonry. It is very hard to find accurate internal information on them as they are outrageously secretive, but through some digging I’ve found the A∴A∴(Astrum Argentum, a sister lodge whom ‘are in close alliance’ and have a curricula that ‘interpenetrate at points’). Basically, intoxicated sex magick. However, there’s a rumour that the OTO has been stagnating in the upper orders for some time, failing to produce fully educated members to continue the order. Locally, the Perth OTO brought an exhibition of Crowley’s ‘Nightmare Paintings’; so called magical trance art, to Fremantle last year which will now also be showing in Sydney this November. Note that it came to Perth first. All this, while saying nothing of many other groups sprawled among Perth such as the recently reformed Golden Dawn, our three hundred and sixty nine Freemasonic lodges, the Order of Nine Angles, Scientology and its wacky escapades, the Liberal Catholic Church, the Rosicrucians or our Buddhist centres with their resident Lama’s (very rare!). Nightlife in Perth is quite lively, it seems; only we aren’t invited.
picture by Marnie Allen
The Theosophist Society started innocuously enough, with an advertisement by a Mr. and Mrs. Patterson in the Perth daily papers in 1897. Soon, they found enough members to start a lodge, and began teaching the Theosophist program of ‘ancient wisdom’– celibacy, intensive yoga, vegetarianism (not for any reason you mainstream vegetarians may use) and meditation on the Morningstar. Theosophy’s origins begin with a Russian occultist named Helena Blavatsky. A noblewoman in exile from Russia who saw herself as a missionary for the ultimate philosophical truths, she founded the society in New York. It quickly spread to India where it synthesised traditional Western occult traditions with Eastern. In fact, the society pretty much amalgamates almost all religions and creation myths in their desire to create a Universal Brotherhood, as well as ‘synthesise Science, Religion and Philosophy’. Despite this claim, Theosophy has very interesting ideas about race, specifically Aryans, claiming them to be the most spiritually gifted of the races. Since foundation, the society has been quite the pioneer for women’s empowerment in Perth. Edith Cowan, the first Australian woman MP, has been claimed as an ardent Theosophist, which makes the claims of her Christianity intriguing given that reincarnation and belief in Theosophy as the highest religion are core tenets of the Society. Another famous example was Bessie M. Rischbieth, who was not only one of the first women appointed a Justice of the Peace in WA and the first woman to sit on
the Children’s Court, but also a delegate to the 1935 League of Nations Assembly. In modern times the Theosophical Society has become extra fascinating because of their tie-ins with powerful entities. The major publishing school of Theosophy, Lucis Trust (originally named Lucifer Publishing Company), has a consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, where its World Goodwill group is a recognised NGO. Locally in Perth they maintain their library and lodge on Glendower St, opposite Hyde Park in Perth (go and ask them to ‘drop some mad old wisdom styles’ on you- Ed.)
You can do courses in Wicca every Friday with Lady Tamara von Forslun, which include information on ‘The Burning Times’ and access to a legal witches temple! Contact her at 0420907929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
PERTH’S CULTURAL CONGESTION: AN EKG by Josh Chiat
A live roadmap showing showing traffic in peak-time is a literal and visual example of the city’s congestive failures; the Mitchell Freeway is a clogged aorta and vena cava, and overcrowded arteries from the north and south stuff it with fat. Outside of the northsouth axis the Albany, Roe, Great Eastern and Tonkin highways are a glut of clotted femoral and carotid arteries, all sluggish, varicose and inelastic. Considering this is a city in which it can take up to two hours to get to work, it’s not surprising that we can take decades to respond to cultural shifts that mesh almost immediately in Melbourne. Congenital Heart Defects The manner of British settlement held a genetic code that deformed the shape the city would take. Australia’s first documentarian, Watkin Tench, dreamt that within ten years of the Supply’s landing, a main road over 100 ft across would run through Sydney. Planning cities like this mutates nature by gathering around an arbitrary centre, redeveloping land and dispersing outwards. In Perth this concept presents itself in our public transport system. Typically, one must go into the city, away from the eventual destination, in order to get where you’re going. Outer suburbs were constructed simply to hold people as our centre bloated and overflowed, forming vast cultural wastelands without depth or identity. As such, with one key cultural centre from which all points emerge, we’ve got a stagnant monoculture. As such, Perth tends to favour familiar venues, and scorns those of an idiosyncratic nature. The joy caused by the explosion of Asian restaurants in the inner-city twenty years ago has deteriorated. Overcrowding and commercialisation has shattered them into a million tiny MSG headaches. Ethiopian restaurants, unique but alien to the public’s perception of Perth culture, struggle and disappear. Similar trends have emerged with
clothing stores and our nightlife. The second negative outcome of this is that blood fails to flow to our outer limbs. While initial settlement occurred at Guildford and Fremantle as well as the current CBD, they were soon so far from the centre of culture that by the late 1800s transport between all of these places was insufficient. In 1913, even the move of the UWA campus to Crawley- only a few kilometres from the CBD- was opposed by students who cited the location as remote and unreachable (Ed- how things change). Freo and Guildford have also begun to suffer from the movement of culture inwards and the movement of suburbia outwards. Fremantle, with an influx of relocating baby boomers, is suffering from high rents and a proliferation of parking lots and chain stores, while Guildford is taxidermy; a stuffed toy monument to WA’s founding intersected by James St’s 50m stretch of milk bars and second-hand shops. Crushed by suburbia and isolated from the center, while still dependent on the CBD, our suburbs struggle to find identity. The Pacemaker Without an inner-city population to make the city a living, lively place nor thriving secondary centres, culture fails to sustain itself here without the support of the Government. For artists, musicians, and organisers, surviving or breaking out of the Perth scene often lies with their ability to gain grants and approval. This is where the prejudices of the ruling government become a constraint, as culture only pops up where and in the style that the Government wants. Inner-city festivals like PIAF and Fringe that rely on patronage from the big end of town get the green-light, but independent initiatives are difficult to get approval for, and it’s often prohibitively expensive to use even disused public spaces. Projects like the redevelopment of Maylands occasionally become a minor priority, though these are usually an afterthought, and transport isn’t sufficient to allow Perth’s blood to flow freely to new areas. Even the placement of the new stadium at Burswood appears to serve the Crown establishment more than any other group. Blood flows only where the government would like.
Picture by Alice Palmer
The most common cause of sudden death among young athletes is an overgrown heart. Either the oxygen demands of the heart muscle are too great, or obstruction within the heart limits the circulation of blood and oxygen to the body. This defect is congenital. Sometimes it is picked up in tests, though normally the athlete’s saving grace is CPR, defibrillation and a pacemaker. Perth is that athlete, a young, developing city with the same tragic flaw, as congestion inhibits culture and jeopardises our growth and success.
Mutation Perth requires reconfiguration. Some of this is already taking place. For example, abandoned floor spaces are occasionally being used for live entertainment and art, and light-rail is an onagain, off-again promise at election times that may one day turn Alexander Drive, Thomas St, Wanneroo Rd and others into viable peoplemovers. The sinking of the rail-line promises to increase foot traffic between the CBD and Northbridge and unify the city. However, larger, more general shifts are required to make Perth a contemporarily relevant and exciting metropolis. Residential living needs to move towards the CBD and build up, not outwards, while industries, particularly Government offices, need to find new homes in the outer suburbs. Licensed venues that don’t just resemble ‘locals’ need to be installed and supported in places like Victoria Park, MidlandGuildford,West and East Perth. Idiosyncratic businesses need to be supported and encouraged so suburbs can develop a sense of dynamism and diversity. Of course, our city may forever be waiting for CPR from a Government that hasn’t taken basic First Aid.
To control congestion, the Singaporean Government installed mandatory units on car dashboards that electronically debit people who choose to drive at congested times.
Perth Derelicked by Kate Prendergast The giant mass is immobilized before the eyes. It is transformed into a texturology in which extremes coincide— extremes of ambition and degradation, brutal oppositions of races and styles, contrasts between yesterday’s buildings, already transformed into trash cans, and today’s urban irruptions that block out its space. ~ Certeau describing New York from the top of the World Trade Centre If one were to find a place, and perhaps there are some, where liberty is effectively exercised, one would find that this is not owing to the order of objects, but...owing to the practice of liberty.~ Foucault When we moved back to Perth after a three-year stint in the east, my folks rented a smallish house ensconced in the residential estate of St John’s Wood Boulevard in Mt Claremont. Living at the lower edge of this prestigious enclave was a vaguely unsettling experience. I think of the playground in the centre, closely ringed by looming houses with European-style flourishes. I hardly ever saw kids playing there, or families using the barbeques in the evenings, but when I did, the event seemed surreal— a jarring of incongruous signs. Sounds of enjoyment would float with thin, forlorn clarity through the suburban chamber, and my troubled fancy would summon up strange conceits of the people in the houses around me — women and men with desiccated skin and pungent hair oil, half-hid behind sheer, floor-length curtains. Like wingless moths aching towards warm pockets in that vacuum of vitality, I imagined them dully absorbing those now-alien motions to life. In the warmer months, I used to go for walks up to the summit of the estate— the air was fresher there, and you could see the glassy fingers of the city poking up through the dense green scrub in the east. It was on one of these walks that I encountered an even more arresting and incongruous sight. Roosted at the very top of the Claremont hump was a vast, brick-and-limestone complex of stately old buildings. The place had obviously been vacant for some years, showing all the symptoms of neglect— broken windows gaping blackness, gables caked with pigeon shit, ugly scrawls jagging its surfaces. Creeping about the courtyards and passages, I half-expected to see Jedward Needlehands silhouetted in an upper-storey window. As I later discovered, this was the heritage-listed remains of the old Swanbourne Hospital. For most of the 20th century it was WA’s largest mental
health facility, built in 1904 after a parliamentary inquiry deemed the Fremantle Asylum no longer fit. The precinct was decommissioned in 1984, with most of it razed to make room for residential properties. Although it’s alleged that the remaining buildings have just been mouldering away in the decades following, I distinctly remember having piano lessons there when I was young. Once I also stumbled across a gym class in one of the halls, seemingly doing their best to pound their way through to the foundations. Predominantly though, the place was functionless until 2005, when it was sold for $6.65 million to a private developer by the state. Despite quickening hopes for the building’s restoration, the sale only seemed to aggravate the ongoing feuds between the Heritage and Nedlands councils. At one stage, the former even petitioned the state to divest Nedlands of its planning power— accusing it of mulishly hindering progress by insisting upon conditions that were economically absurd. Only last year did they agree to subdivide the property into three parts, with the Administration building and staff quarters destined for corporate headquarters and apartments, and the heritage-listed Montgomery Hall reserved for “community use”. ҉҉҉ Over the years given up to tortuous grizzling, the grand old architecture has slumped into a squatters’ nest. With definitions of use in hiatus and the grammarians on urban narratives adjourned, delight-filled deviancy flourishes. Lunacy is beckoned to the lacuna. “When we were kids” a former JTC student shared in a web forum, “we would break in, this is the early 90s... and explore. At that time the place was FULL of dead animals... cats, birds, rats, pigeons etc... crucified on the walls atop of inverted pentagrams”. In another thread, several psychics aver they’ve sensed the “ectoplasmic residue” of a woman whose head was bashed in with a broom handle by another patient (true story). Another announced “I’m looking for a place to conduct high energy physics experiments with tesla coils, and this seems perfect to me.” Indisputably, fascinating micro-narratives swarm in abandoned places such as these, galvanized by myth and mystery. Lurid, esoteric and illegitimate, they are the fantastic writings of the more opportune and invisible of urban practitioners. But let’s not get too excited by these subversive tales, which have as their motif the savaging of stamp-certified functionalism. Consider, if you will, IIZHAPPYXD’s disclosure, posted beneath a
YouTube video of Swanbourne Hospital: ‘ a couple of my mates and me, broke into the front of this place at round about midnight, so creepy. But we had dubstep <3’ This, my friends, is a grievous testament to what delay and disuse can mean. And one of the reasons it should not be stood for. ҉҉҉ Swanbourne Hospital is just a solitary case in a city-wide corpus of stupid neglect. Go for a walk in any district, and you’re sure to pass by a sad smattering of decrepit hollows. Cinemas, colleges, power stations and warehouses number some of the skeletons of failed ventures; victims to WA’s boom-bust cycles, the breakneck pace of technological change and the insouciant avarice of officialdoms. The Art Deco-style Emu Brewery is a particularly regrettable loss, demolished in 1991 after then-heritage minister Jim McGinty refused to grant it status. Our gargantuan entertainment centre was abandoned before it reached the 30 year mark (the first show it hosted was Disney on Parade). It festered for a decade and then was demolished as part of the Perth Link Project. Then there’s the Old Treasury Building on St George’s Terrace, which after fourteen years of council squabbling is to be refurbished into a boutique hotel. Bits of it are probably being exploded away AS WE SPEAK to ready it for Chinese resource tycoons by 2015. It’s like the state— neurotically fixed on the imperative to “expand”, “rejuvenate”, make “historic transformations”— no longer recognizes when any part of us that actually holds cultural worth sloughs off into oblivion. Remember Subiaco’s Pavilion Markets? No, not the ones on Station Street (although they almost got closed down too)—the other ones, you know. On the corner of Rokeby Road. They’ve lain dormant for over five years (their paper promise ‘A Change is Coming’ disintegrated from where it was gummed to the pediment— another ironic augur). As with the entire region, the suburb’s recent developments seem guided by a nihilistic impulse— upswellings and usurpations that stifle its persona like geometrically-neat cancer cells. One anguished 6000 Times blogger and photographer is too bloody right: “poorly designed, overpriced apartments with zero redeeming architectural or eco qualities, food franchises, and streets paved with silence are now the defining elements of Subiaco”.
There’s eighty thousand sqm of wasted space in the CBD. 14
These were a few places that enriched the character of the Perth community; that worked as a scaffold for communal memory. By detaching them from the flows of modern life, we are allowing our useful ghosts to fade. It reveals Perth’s nickname of “Dullsville” to be nothing but sullen self-commentary; an admission to apathy. If heritage is— as Heritage Perth defines it— ‘those things from the past which are valued enough today to save for the people of tomorrow’, then which is it we undervalue more— our past or wour future? ҉҉҉
Currently, structuralized mediocrity is spreading over Perth like a death-cloud of velutinous moths, sanctified under the pricey mantles of “prestige” and “progress”. But revitalization
projects bring no vitality (think Claremont Quarter, think Northbridge’s banalization, think that gangrenous crystal cock of a Bell Tower), and act more in the way of soporifics collapsing the city’s organs. And since pretension has a shadow, rents are distending to grotesque proportions; dismaying and sending east those at the cusp of their careers and squeezing out long-established
But we had dubstep. <3 locals and ethnically-diverse merchants. In other words, hello Krispy Kreme, Men’s Witchery and Jurlique; goodbye to difference, to places that mean something, to spaces that you’re glad you’ve inhabited, if only for a while. In a time governed by such awful logics, it becomes all the more important to recognize, treasure and fulfil the potential of our city-extant.
Picture by Kate Prendergast
Luckily, out of this dire situation, Spacemarket has emerged. ‘Pairing disused spaces with useful people’, these guys are the indispensible middlemen — not a phrase you often hear — between people and places in Perth. From disused blocks to ground floors, upper storeys to backroom corner-holes, the company matches up hidden, unknown spaces to the people who need them: artists, merchants, designers, businessmen.
What they do is reconfigure and animate the relationships between old structures and modern people; enabling aspiring creatives and entrepreneurs to repurpose and re-imagine latent space through the vibrations of history. Those practical matchmakers have brought together Art Deco mansions and professional photographers; they’ve made a fine artist’s gallery out of an upper storey in North Fremantle’s Town Hall and provided twenty one studios to an ensemble of video producers, 3D animators, artists and actors from an old maternity hospital in West Perth. As the company declares on their Facebook page: “Spacemarket promotes an urbanity that exists on more than one level. It asks the city to house people who value and care for it and share this mission for its diversification.” The inspired elegance of their mission bowls you over.
Last time I went, there was a brutal amount of porn inside the abandoned Queens Hotel in Mt Lawley. So much porn. In its prime, you got rooms by the hour and the front bar was full of hookers.
ALBANY V. PERTH: STATE CAPITAL GRUDGE-MATCH by Hugh Manning
This vision is not as unrealistic as it might seem. After all, Albany was the first European settlement in WA and, ‘til Governor Stirling established Perth in 1829, the centre of British activity on the West Coast. There is some degree of lingering bitterness in the Albany psyche about this injustice, the sense that we were robbed of the capitalhood. After all, being the founding settlement, this should have been ours by rights. When I was young I remember watching a pantomime in period costumes vilifying Stirling and lamenting this unjust robbery. Exposure to such blatant propaganda is probably the reason I’m writing this article today. I want to prove, once and for all, that Albany would have been a better capital. The first and most obvious point is the weather. Perth is just too damn hot to have all of those people and cars stuffed into it. Perhaps the reason that our state keeps reelecting Colin Barnett is that the Perth-dwelling 75% of our citizens have had their decisionmaking abilities burnt and shriveled away in the summer months. January in Albany is on average 8.2 degrees cooler and these perfect, mild summers would prove far more conducive to informed voting and, for that matter, comfortable living. I’m sure you’ve all spent the last 5 months complaining about the heat: wouldn’t you rather spend the next 5 complaining about the rain? Albany’s Princess Royal Harbour was, until C.Y. O’Connor’s opening of the Swan at Fremantle in 190-something, the state’s only deepwater port. Most of the state’s 19th century international trade made its way through the town, and perhaps such international connectedness (distinctly lacking in small-town Perth) would have led to the development of a more diverse, cosmopolitan port city. The
separation of Perth and Fremantle leads to a culture of division, whereas in Albany, the artistic and progressive would intermingle with conservative and business interests to create a more balanced and integrated culture. This is of course pure speculation, but it cannot be denied that the significant distance between Perth’s port and its city center has affected its cultural development. Geography has had a significant effect on Perth’s development in other ways. Without any geographical impediments closer than the Perth hills limiting its growth, the city has been allowed to sprawl outwards, with suburban expansion to the north and south taking the place of high-density development (see Dylan’s article on page 21). Albany is not quite so bereft of topography, having more in common with the hill-ringed Adelaide than with the plateau of Perth. Whilst the town is now beginning to spread outward through the gaps in its hills, it has remained relatively contained by its natural fences. It is possible that, had Albany been selected as the state’s capital, our major city would not be the disaster of urban planning that it is today. I can only really think of one significant
impediment to Albany being the capital, and that is its remote location. The town sits on the very southernmost tip of WA, and whilst modern communication would have eventually made it viable to govern the state from that location, the early days would have been pretty difficult. The southern position of Perth already gave the north of the state a lawless wild-west vibe; a capital further south could only have exacerbated this problem. Whilst I think this would be a legitimate problem with a Southern capital, I believe it is outweighed by the arguments ranged against it. I have to ask myself though, at the conclusion of my argument: would I really prefer it if Albany had been selected as our state capital? It would have been a better choice, but I’m happy with things having turned out this way. Had Albany been selected as the capital, Denmark would be some kind of hippythemed Mandurah, the natural wonders of the region would be paved and populated, and the suburb I grew up in would be identical to Cottesloe. Ultimately, the argument that Albany would have made a better capital city also convinces me that I prefer it without the traffic congestion. And the politicians.
The famed Australian poet Henry Lawson worked in Albany briefly during 1890, and described it thus: “Albany will never change much - it is a pretty town, but vague. It seems to exist only in a somewhere-on-the-horizon sort of way; I like it all the better for that.”
Picture by Jessica Cockerill
Think about the Albany you know: Southern getaway, damp ex-whaling centre and glorified nursing home. Your weird uncle probably lives there, right? Now think about a different Albany: bustling seaside metropolis and state capital, governing the vastness of the state from the Deep South. I’m convinced that in some alternative universe this dream is a reality, a capital city where the temperature never tops 35 degrees and a multi-story Whale World is WA’s no. 1 tourist attraction.
EMU WARS by Brennan Peers
From having had to deal with such an array of creatures from inception, Perth proudly upholds a deeply entrenched tradition of brazenly fighting off the relentless and worthy toothed, beaked and clawed aggressor. Some may shake their head at the act of defending ourselves from the exotic (and wall-mountable) heads of encroaching enemies, but Perth’s history of outright confrontation with these critters serves as a reminder of the tenacity of Australian wildlife. We’ve declared war on rabbits and cane toads, but before that, there was another war. An Emu War. “If we had a military division with the bulletcarrying capacity of these birds it would face any army in the world. They could face machine guns with the invulnerability of tanks. They are like Zulus....” – Major G.P.W. Meredith
After a month of planning, training and deciding how exactly to use the emu skins as frilly military raiment, our brave army forces embarked to the fields of their destiny. However, initial attempts to herd the emus were met with cunning not to be seen again until the Vietnam War. The emu’s natural tendencies to take cover in tree lines and separate into small, fast moving groups upon attack made them impossible to
Cunning not to be seen again until the Vietnam War efficiently hit with gunfire- as a result, the first day’s work resulted in “perhaps a dozen” birds being shot down. Difficulties were becoming more apparent from the outset, as emu-kind adapted to the military presence, organising guerrilla raids on farmland in large spread and consuming crops and water and disappearing before retaliation could be mustered. Days later, an ambush was organised against approximately one thousand emus heading through to a local dam. One of the automatic weapons lay waiting for the guerrilla forces to arrive at point blank, but after killing perhaps a dozen the gun jammed. The birds took themselves another victory by default, and rampaged to gorge
more crops. In a desperate attempt to see the mission through, a gun was finally mounted to the troop transport so that the cantankerous emu menace could be chased down. The gun, however, could not be aimed over the rough bushland during the transport’s vain attempts to keep up with the bird’s stride- the pursuit ended in a messy crash through the anti-emu fencing. A mere six days into the Emu War, it was recorded that two thousand five hundred rounds had been used to total between fifty to five hundred birds. Additional estimates were included for birds thought to have died after running away completely riddled with bullets. After discussions by the Australian House of Representatives regarding the statistics of the effort’s colossal failure, the troops were withdrawn, ending Sir Pearce’s war. It may be eighty years since our confrontations with the local wildlife became fully militarised, but our under-dog, under-bird Aussie spirit still shines on; if a shark gets uppity we’ll be ready with pitchforks in hand (Ed- don’t forget Rotto boyz valiantly defending their goon, weed and juvies from quokkas. In that order). Although ridicule and the RSPCA cut short our ability to act, our traditions are as proud as ever. Modern generations have continued battling our national icons in traditional but more humane ways, like annihilating our national floral emblems such as the wattle so those bloody peace-loving hippies can’t use them to get high.
Responding to the mounting aggression of some twenty thousand emus towards farming crops in Perth’s Campion district in 1932, farmers called on the Defence Department’s minister Sir George Pearce to lend immediate assistance. Unbeknownst to the emus, the human parts of Australia had lent their hands in the First World War, and the weary soldiers that returned home seeking solace had been encouraged by the government to become farmers. With all their pent-up aggression, they wouldn’t tolerate a bunch of flightless nonces eating away their livelihoods for long. Surely, the emus had no idea who they were messing with... or was it the humans? The army arrived, and backed up with two Lewis machine guns, ten thousand rounds and two professional gunners under the command of Major G.P.W. Meredith of the Seventh Heavy Battery of the Royal Australian Artillery, action was due, but was immediately delayed due to a long period of rainfall.
The army was called out again in 1992 to kill feral cats that were decimating Queensland bird populations. There were so many hiding out in the trees that at night their glittering eyes made the trees look like they’d been strung with Christmas lights.
Picture by Marnie Allen
Perth, like all of Australia, has its own beautiful and diverse ecosystem teeming with wildlife. Whether they hop, crawl, swim, shoot, inject venom, swoop in when you roll the car window down, steal your chips, smash up your car or just look funny, they are a formidable bunch to deal with. Western Australia’s billowing, sun soaked outback has made Perth beloved to less artsy tourists; this is a place for those craving the adventure of a jolly swagman. You can swim with sharks, watch snakes crawl around, or feed marsupials, and statistically speaking there is at least one spider in close proximity to you at all times.
SATIRE, CRINGE AND PROSH by Alex Griffin Though an early morning bomb threat stopped Prosh from breaking any ca$h records, the paper did manage the most controversial horoscope since Nostradamus. Concerns have been expressed about the declining quality of Prosh in general over recent years, and the Guild is currently working to build bridges regarding the immediate issues with the publication, but the Dreamtime Horoscopes raise lingering questions about Prosh’s purpose and identity. Ask anyone about Prosh and they’ll tell you about dressing up, satire, crass jokes, charity and good times. Prosh has raised millions for charity and involved generations of students in volunteering work, with countless midnight hours of unpaid effort going into it this year and in years past. The paper has a tradition of balancing crass humor with boundary-pushing satire- the Sunday Times called the first Sruss Sruss ‘filth’- but unfortunately, it’s this latter aspect of the Prosh tradition that’s gone almost completely amiss. The tradition of satire Prosh prides itself on is, by definition, the mockery and criticism of the powerful in society, of poking fun at what’s respected and feared in society. It’s all about using humor to deflate and question, while highlighting injustice, and folly- kicking against the pricks. When the guise of satire is appropriated to kick downwards against people who are disadvantaged- especially those who are the intended recipients of the charity the satire exists to support- something has gone awry. Pointing at a situation like entrenched Aboriginal disadvantage and laughing at it isn’t funny, witty or satirical but ignorant, cruel and counterproductive. By degrading and devaluing achievements likes the Tent Embassy and the Mabo decision while characterizing Aboriginals as alcoholic petrol sniffers, Prosh went against any real notion of ‘satire’, ‘crassness’ or ‘boundary-pushing’ and landed squarely on ‘bullshit’.
The only boundary the horoscope attempted to push was society’s willingness to mock the least fortunate. Behaving with decency toward a disadvantaged and discriminated against sector of society is not a sacred cow worth deflatingit’s commonsense, civil behaviour. As such, it can’t be defended as part of a Prosh tradition. Jokes like these have no social purpose, no staying power, no point except to offend and degrade and disappoint. Prosh content like this is so divorced from the long tradition of satire in Australia (Barry Humphries, Working Dog, the Chaser and the hallowed Oz magazine) to the point where the horoscope is completely opposite to it. As such, Prosh doesn’t just feel feckless; it’s also a missed opportunity. Look at what Prosh didn’t go after. References to Gillard, Rinehart and Abbott counted up to less than five collectively, and Colin Barnett and Troy Buswell weren’t mentioned once; nor were government and opposition attitudes towards boat people, the carbon tax, the mining tax or gay marriage, and that’s just domestic politics. There’s plenty of sacred cows out there, y’know. Go taze them. Besides, Prosh is more than just a charity or a paper. UWA has one of the wealthiest student bodies in Australia, and institutions like Prosh serve a very important function in helping to foster a social consciousness amongst students and maintain a sense of connectedness to the world of disadvantage that makes up the world outside of the golden triangle bubble. With privilege comes responsibility in society, and Prosh as an ideal is a combination of charity, humor and party. However, the more Prosh revolves around party culture and lazy, casual bigotry, it’s easier for the charity component to feel incidental for new students on the outside looking in- like champagne socialism. It’s not hard to imagine a costumed student on a bus opening up one of their bundle to find the horoscope and suddenly feeling much less like reading it, let alone selling it. The impact Prosh has internally as a shaping force of UWA student culture and as externally an emblem of
that culture is immense, and its contents can’t be treated flippantly or as an afterthought. The way in which UWA students are perceived and self-perceived is at stake, and if it’s dominated by “a bunch of dickheads from the Western Suburbs” as the horoscope puts it, UWA students will be observed to be as narrow as that. Anyway, Prosh is a charity, and if content like the horoscope turns off potential donations, it’s a no-brainer to move towards the audience rather than amplifying the offensiveness. The point of Prosh, of course, is not to out-Prosh itself year-on-year, but to maximize donations. If people are going to be so turned off that they don’t want to pick up the paper, then why turn up the hate? We expect- heck, even celebrate- undergraduate humor, but Proshes of years and decades gone past have at least tried to skewer worthy targets. The argument has been made that Proshes in previous decades were racist, but can anyone seriously argue that the point of a university charity is to reproduce the bigotry of generations gone past? Charity is always about the recipient, so to privilege Prosh’s right to ‘push boundaries’ even when it’s offending the recipients over the priority of reaching as many potential donors as possible is to undermine the point of the exercise. If the question is being legitimately posed by the public that Prosh has gone beyond mere naughtiness and begun to do damage, as it has, it must change with the times. There’s no reasonable argument that can defend the horoscope – appealing to Prosh’s traditions misconstrues the purpose of Prosh, and anything else ignores the fact that it perpetuates the attitudes that enables such disadvantage to exist. The student who wrote it knew better, and the students that didn’t deserve better, because we’re all tarred by the Prosh brush. Ultimately, though, if you want to see a better Prosh next year, the best way is to write for it. Unless you’re a racist.
For Prosh in 2000, engineering students built Perth’s first underwater UFO. 18
THE PELICAN GUIDE TO PERTH’S SUBURBS picture by Marnie Allen
Armadale I fell asleep on the last train of the night once and ended up in Armadale. I was pretty wasted and thought I was in Vic Park, so it can’t be that bad. AG Bicton Forget Stereosonic, Good Vibes, or the Big Day Out. Perth’s hottest festival is undoubtedly the all ages ‘Yac it Up’ festival held annually at Point Walter reserve in Bicton. You can jump off the cliffs at Blackies, get some free prophylactics, and ‘mosh’ with your friends to a ‘band’.- MA Booragoon A suburb of brown brick houses with a real Community Feel. This is mostly just a euphemism for “don’t play hip hop music or urinate in my pool.” Mai B Bullcreek (in haiku) only trains no cultural exports or redeeming features. DL Cannington Though now famous for having rats in a cinema, it should be remembered the greyhounds had rats first. AG Claremont (in haiku) If you ask the price you can’t afford the sandwich built on rubbish tip. ZK Clarkson Has the best psychic Wednesdays in the southern hemisphere. RF Cottesloe Founded in 1930 after the advent of the beach, Cottesloe has a beach bar called “The Cottesloe”. It is a homage to the St Tropez and Cottesloe’s rich French history. RP Crawley Has the world’s most contentious Rocketfuel location. Why don’t more tourists realize this? AG Darlington I sometimes wonder if DH Lawrence, who visited Darlington in 1922, also secretly snuck up to the Darlington Hall and drank secret vodka cruisers and stolen champagne. I guess we were both 17 at some point. Darlington’s really nice <3 AP Ellenbrook Someone I know used to drive an hour each way to score weed in Ellenbrook. Now that Metronet isn’t happening, he may forever be the only person to ever deliberately travel there. AG Fremantle How do you fit a moonbeam in a jar? AG Hamilton Hill Where those who can’t afford Fremantle reside. It’s all burb and no organics, but there’s a Hydronation on the main strip. There’s a large field ready when the circus comes to town. PI
Gosnells I don’t really know anything about Gosnells. I’ve never actually left my street out of fear. RF
people who come from suburbs that have things like ‘history’ or ‘architecture’. But the beach, right? CM
Hilton “You come to my house and call me a dog, I’ve been on crack all week!” True story. MA
Rockingham I’m a little bit country, and I’m a little bit Chiko roll. AG
Iluka Iluka is a property developer’s wet dream: that is, it’s exclusively residential. It’s not all bad, though; ultimately this is the last sign of civilization this far north (Ed- between there and Japan)- AM
South Perth SoPo is basically a high-rise Subiaco, except there’s a surprising number of French people living here. And lions; let’s not forget this suburb has goddamn lions living in it. TR
Karrinyup It’s a pretty good suburb. We have two golf courses. ZK
Subiaco You can go to a café, or you can go to Café Café. ZK
Kenwick There’s a Serbian club that looks like a gulag here. Weekly bingo nights, though. Come visit! AG
Victoria Park Probably the best suburb in Perth. It’s becoming trendy, but not quite gentrified. It probably has the best bookshop in the city and a restaurant with every cuisine in the world. Also, giant cakeshaped bin. 10/10. CF
Mandurah I love burnouts, and Peel Thunder. The yearly Channel Seven Crab Festival is colloquially known as the “Stab Fest”. MF Menora: The highest circumcision rate in Perth. GS Willetton Once there were 2 dead fish at the bus stop for a whole week. The smell was horrific. RW Maylands Sometimes heralded as ‘the next Mt Lawley’, Maylands is more realistically termed ‘a slight step up from Bayswater’. Rent is cheap, local McDonalds staff tolerate imaginary cars using the drive through, and instances of theft and home invasion are only semi-regular. KG Mt Lawley American Apparel’s new range of rompers for the under twos. AG Northbridge Don’t ask us, ask Today Tonight. AG
Walliston It’s next to Kalamunda. Matthew B Wembley Downs Is not City Beach, so you are not immediately thought of as a rich snob, yet you still get the benefit of being near a beach while being able to walk around at 2.46am without fear of stab wounds. Anna G Winthrop. UWA used to own the whole suburb back when it was a pine forest pre ‘80s– your tute desks and I go way back. SD Yokine: A sanitised Ghetto. It slopes upwards in social class from recent immigrants to Jews, peaking at Cresswell Rd, a hill where grannies on gophers recreate the Myth of Sisyphus. On the other side is a private golf course.
Quinns Rocks I wish I could explain what Quinns is like to
According to the ABS, four of Australia’s most advantaged (in terms of wealth and socioeconomic opportunities) suburbs are in the golden triangle. Canapés all round, guys.
GRIFFONOMICS: BURKE’S BACKYARD by Alex Griffin
Burke came to office in 1983 riding a wave of optimism. WA’s boom was hitting a new gear, Hawkey was in the Lodge, and the Perth Yacht Club was about to win the America’s Cup. Principles of economic rationalism like floating the dollar and removing tariffs were beginning to be implemented, meaning that the barriers to unrestrained capitalism were coming down. As the steady reorientation of the entire nation’s economy around WA’s mining revenue was truly beginning to take, it was an exciting time to be in business in Perth. For Burke, it only made sense to bring the government and the corporate elite closer together to maximize the size of the pie for everyone, but especially eachother. Under the aegis of the West Australian Development Corporation (WADC), Burke used the treasury to speculate. Legislated to act as an investment arm of the government, Burke built corporate secrecy into the WADC, meaning its affairs were secret from the public and the government; not even his own cabinet knew exactly what Burke was up to. Though the supposed purpose was investing public money into profitable enterprises, funds were tied up in backscratching deals with Burke’s business cronies like Alan Bond, Laurie Connell and Keith Parry, where they’d profit and the government would wear a loss on an overvalued asset, like Bond’s diamond mining interests. In exchange for these financial favours, Burke commanded massive political donations, which usually ended up lining the pockets of Burke and his political allies. Burke had $125 000 of campaign donations in the form of stamps in his safe (something he was later jailed for), and his MLC brother Terry pocketed half that as a ‘commission’ for handling donations, and that only scratches the surface. The boom masked the graft, but when the 1987 stock market arrived, it all went up in flames. A string of bad deals had left the government horribly overexposed and owning useless assets, and Burke’s allies were having to face their own foolhardiness
Picture by Yashi Renoir
What with running a frontier mining state and everything, WA governments have always had to negotiate an unsteady relationship between money, politics and honesty. Though scandals have come and gone, Brian Burke’s government (colloquially known as WA Inc) stands out as an island of incompetence, and the hangover of five years of madness still lingers.
too. The superannuation funds of public servants were raided prop up the ailing Rothwells (an extremely dodgy bank owned by Burke’s mate Laurie Connell) involving a very complex and even more foolhardy purchase of a petrochemicals plant that didn’t yet exist. Bell Group (owned by the richest man in the world, Robert Holmes a Court) teetered and was virtually purchased for Alan Bond by the state insurance commission. All of this was kept secret until well after Burke retired to an ambassadorship in 1988, as the Bond-owned West Australian doggedly harassed the Liberal Opposition for inquiring into Burke’s dealings. According to conservative estimates, WA Inc cost the state in excess of $800 million, but the scars have stuck much longer than the hike in car registration fees introduced to settle the losses. Government transparency is now a pretty high priority. The grim spectre of the inquisitorial CCC looms over all accusations of impropriety, seeking to hound even the most slender of allegations offences. Though they have enough in common, Barnett has been careful not to appear on too many platforms with the likes of Rinehart and Forrest, as has the rest of his government. More telling though is the distrust of government that emanates from the public, be it Barnett’s pipeline, McGowan’s Metronet or Gillard’s carbon pricing. The vehement reluctance of many in WA to trust the public purse during boom times can surely be traced back to the wasted decade that was the 80s. Celebrity moguls are a thing of the past. 80s Perth was dominated by high-flyers, but figures like Andrew Forrest and Gina Rinehart are conspicuous by their relative lack of ostentation
or public affrontery. We may be very aware that Gina has more money than us, but Morley shopping centre poems aside, she’s not exactly been building Prix d’Amour. Even Rose Porteous has faded into quiet obscurity. The mockery that the Oswals copped for building the Taj-bythe-Swan is telling; Perth today doesn’t much tolerate being rich and crazy, let alone making a show of it. This is double edged, though, as acts of public philanthropy and largesse have been far more low-key and arguably infrequent. Alan Bond owned Atlantis Dolphin Park, and Holmes a Court brought Michael Jackson out to Perth for Telethon. Clive Palmer may be crazy, but he’s the only one currently a dinosaur themed adventure world. The pride that Perth once had in breeding millionaires has gone with the novelty of breeding them. As Burke departed though, the Eagles arrived, passing the buck of public fascination from entrepreneurs to footballers. The physical reminders of WA Inc are everywhere. In the CBD there’s the Central Park development, the plans for Burswood casino were laid, and the eyesore that is Observation City remains a reminder of the hubris and bad taste abounding at the time. Most is decay though, with the ugliness of Forrest Chase only now being papered over. Bond was to make a city out of Yanchep, but the population hasn’t cracked three thousand yet. WA Inc changed perceptions of wealth, money and power fundamentally in Perth. Like Eric Edgar Cooke creeping through Nedlands with violent secrecy for his own sinister purposes, there’s still a long shadow hanging from Burke’s Panama hat.
WA’s seventh premier, Sir Cornthwaite Rason (himself a dodgy businessman), on seeing how unqualified he was to keep a government together, appointed himself in the cushy position of trade ambassador back home in London and promptly resigned from government.
BARNETT’S LITTLE PICTURE by Dylan Caporn In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a bit of development going on around Perth. From the new Perth Stadium to the trumped-up dock that will be Elizabeth Quay, the Liberal Government under Premier Colin Barnett has been adding significant pieces of infrastructure to our inner city. Though the State Government’s spin team has collectively labeled these big new projects “The Bigger Picture”, they hardly constitute a big picture. In fact, Barnett’s big picture is on too small a canvas. The Liberals have hardly dedicated any time or money to seriously developing a part of Perth’s picture that sorely needs attention; the outer suburbs of Perth, especially the north-eastern corridor of the city. Fixing Perth’s urbanization problems isn’t as sexy as “Betty’s Jetty”, but the plan will be a flop if nobody can afford to travel to the revamped city. The history of Perth has been marked by fast growth, with migrants streaming in after World War II to the suburbs of Stirling and surrounds along Wanneroo Road. The government of Albert Hawke commissioned the Stephenson-Hepburn Metropolitan Region Scheme (the first of its kind in Australia) to develop a plan to handle this rapid expansion. The plan was visionary, but fell far short of what was required in the long term, extending just from Whitford Beach to Jandakot, and as such has been revised once every decade since. Yet, Perth’s urban sprawl is now larger than that of Tokyo and Los Angeles, cities that have much larger populations than our humble mining town. The northern suburbs are an area that displays all that is wrong with this giant urban sprawl. The north has seen high levels of growth since the 1980s and the rate of expansion has seen nearly 50km worth of land developed in around three decades. Once Joondalup was built, there was no stopping the metropolitan area. It has now soared north into places like Currambine, Burns Beach, Clarkson, Butler and now Alkimos, 40km north of Perth. A major concern for a lot of the residents in these areas is transport. If one lives in Butler, but works in the city, it usually means a three to four hour round trip to commute to work. That commute is the same length no matter whether you travel by public transport, car or both. This problem is created because the Clarkson line ends at Clarkson and the development of the line has not kept pace with the speed of urbanisation. Suburbs extend further north of the train line, and the freeway, for a further 15 kilometres.
This underdeveloped line has caused trains to be over-capacity and passengers are turning away from public transport. The Liberal’s approach was to move the planned Butler Station in order to accommodate a second station further down the line, delaying the construction of the line by two years, when it should have been a priority of the government from day one. Both the Government’s Directions 2031 plan, and Labor’s Metronet support the extension of the line all the way to Yanchep. However the Mitchell Freeway doesn’t extend to this high growth area. Again, it’s a project in construction but it’s late. Big time. The freeway ends at Burns Beach Road, causing serious congestion down both Connolly Drive and Marmion Avenue. This is adding extra time to many people’s commute. The RAC recently released figures that show many commuters in the northern suburbs have an extra 15 minutes added to their commute. The overall time spent getting to and from work was adding to stress as well a loss of family time.
It’s late. Big time. The Australian Bureau of Statistics predicts that at most, Perth’s population could be 4.2 million by the year 2056. Based on the Directions 2031 metropolitan region planning scheme, the city will have to increase density, as well as infilling in order to house this many people. I’m not proposing that we build Soviet-like apartment buildings in every blank space, because Perth’s geographical layout is not conducive to a blanket metropolitan area. Part of this city’s charm is the large tracts of national parks, and the Darling Ranges in the eastern suburb. The only way for Perth is technically “up” or “down”. We need to learn from our own history. The State Government should be investing in road and public transport infrastructure to encourage private development in the north-eastern corridor around the
“forgotten suburb” of Ellenbrook. The area hasn’t had a targeted development plan for over a decade now, with the last one in 2003, signed off by then Planning Minister Alannah MacTiernan. Since the report, while growth has been occurring, it’s been at a snails pace compared to the north-western corridor. What we saw during the 2008 election campaign was a scramble for votes in the area, and both parties promised more development in the region, including the promise of a train line to Ellenbrook. In a bad move for the area, the Liberal’s backed away from the policy, when really; they could have built the next visionary growth region in our city. To paraphrase a cheesy line from Field of Dreams, “build the roads and rail, and they will come”. Seriously, though: fuck the bigger picture. What Perth needs now is a vision for the future regarding both planning and transport, that includes the forgotten ones living in the suburbs far away from Cottesloe and the central business district.
A Perth survey early last decade found that those that didn’t use public transport tended to believe that commuting by bus and train tended to take twice as long and be a third more expensive than they were in reality.
by Simon Donnes In the eyes of the boffins and the bigwigs, Perth has an issue with drugs and alcohol. Tied with Melbourne as the capital with the highest quantity of pre-drinking, we hit the town with an average of six standard drinks. While The West has painted Northbridge as a Darwinist warzone for years, now there are some numbers to support it. Furthermore, the spotlight has recently found another, related target; energy drinks. Those dastardly active ingredients in plants from the “new world” – taureine, guarana and caffeine – are now being thoroughly roasted by those in the medical research profession. Earning the blame for everything from stimulant-fuelled binge drinking to aggressive street brawls, energy drinks and their use are under serious heat. This heat in question takes the form of none other than a certain seventy page report submitted to the State Government by WA Police. The report calls for a massive overhaul of the Liquor Control Act, including a ban on mixing energy drinks with alcohol on licensed premises, a ban on “extended trading” which allows sales of alcohol after midnight, and to make it an offence to be drunk within a licensed premises. There’s plenty more to it, from mentions of mandatory warning-labels à la tobacco, and tougher legislation on alcohol advertisement. Of course, this has the entire world freaking out. The papers are once again painting O’Callaghan as a mad dog knight-templar, and the regulars down at your local are all ordering Jaegerbombs in a mixture of fear and a vague attempt at resistance. However, in terms of actual impact on your weekly pub crawl, this report currently means absolutely jack. This isn’t the Cuban missile crisis, it’s North Korea babbling to itself every fortnight about nuking Seoul. It’s still worthwhile to evaluate the reasoning and consider the context around the ideas that are being put forward. Perthlings have long had equal parts a chip on their shoulder and actual grievances about the culture of their city, or lack thereof. The solution was often alcohol. Couple this with the FIFO surge of young cashed up bogans and the explosion of popularity in the hyper-masculine bodybuilding scene nationwide, and you have a potent mixture. The police currently
maintain that 60% of all the incidents they handle are alcohol related, and that it costs them $230 million, or 20% of their budget, annually, to deal with these incidents. The pessimists and tinfoil hat wearers will no doubt be suggesting that the entire situation is a police power play or an attempt at more revenue raising. I think the intent is far more innocent than that – the drive behind the white paper is a desire to reduce alcoholinvolved crime, particularly violence. There is nothing wrong with that. There is everything wrong with the way the paper has proposed that this is done. We accept the rules and laws of society in exchange for the protection it affords us. While we waive the right to enact personal vengeance on another without repercussion, others waive that right to do the same to us. The old saying about the law being there to protect us rings in this vein of thought. The ability and capacity for us to drink ourselves under the table does not fall within this protection - the law does not exist to protect us from ourselves. Sure, this is a libertarian ideal, and reality is a far cry from this. However, when it strays from this ideal, the law moves towards becoming parental. The problem with this is that we aren’t infants who are in need of parental guidance. We don’t need to be told what we can drink and when, nor do we need to be told that achieving the inebriated state which licensed premises offer is an offence. There are those who get hammered and start brawls, but like rap music, pornography or violent video games, alcohol is a scapegoat. You can take the alcohol away from the asshole, but you’ll still have an asshole; only now he can see who he’s throwing punches at. If you want to change a culture, you try and change the culture – and best of luck to you figuring out a reliable way to do so. The legal system is a reactive body meant to reflect society’s views. Changing laws before public opinion only polarises the populace and ensures an underground resistance. While we may not see Jaegerbomb speakeasy popping up from Mandurah to Midland, it doesn’t really need to happen for people to do what they wish. As we’ve seen with synthetic cannabis and its failed regulation, the free market is more than happy to fill a gap where grassroots won’t take hold.
Hypnosis Perth offer a course in preventing alcohol addiction relapse. You can also take it online. Tell ‘em Pelican sent you!
Picture by Lauren Wiszniewski
GET YO’ DRANK ON
THE LONG ROAD TO WESTRALIA by Richard Ferguson “I have no doubt that Western Australia would be one of the most successful countries in the world if it was a separate country.” – Norman Moore, former WA Mines Minister, 2005 Since the dawn of the federation, significant numbers of Western Australians have held close to their hearts the belief that their state could make it alone. Arguments around an independent Western Australian state range far and wide, but it is rarely seriously considered just how a state of “Westralia” could come into existence. Whether it came about through a democratic rallying of the people or a grand civil war with Colin Barnett leading the horses at the front, an independent Westralia would face a series of domestic and international obstacles if it wished to become a nation-state. Step 1: Domestic support For the secessionist movement ever to succeed, it would need the support of the Western Australians themselves. Technically, this support was gained in the 1933 WA secession referendum where 68% voted to secede from the Commonwealth. With a majority citing the depression and, typically for West Australia, a desire to go back to the old Empire way of doing things., the vote arguably should have resulted in an independent state, but since the vote was in reference to the British Act of Parliament that created Australia, the decision lay in British hands. Finally, in 1938, the House of Lords declared that they did not have the power to grant secession at all, and the movement more or less died out. In 1941, Australia became fully independent from the British in all constitutional and legal matters. meaning that Westralians could no longer turn to the Motherland to free them from the imperial terror of Canberra. With the British hardly willing or able to rush to our aid, any referendum would have to involve Western Australia being removed from the Australian Constitution itself, which requires a referendum passing, which in turn requires a majority vote in a majority of Australian states. This remains unlikely, with our Eastern sisters quite reluctant to let WA’s minerals go. Step 2: Security In a perfect world, WA could decide for itself the matter of independence, with the Australian Government respecting the will of the Westralian people, but it’s more likely that the Federal Government would use every option available to keep the federation intact. The idea of a military coup d’état in the event of Western Australia seceding is clearly extreme
but the possibility cannot be ignored. As noted before, it is unlikely that the Eastern states would support Westralian independence due to the state’s vast mineral wealth and job opportunities; indeed, WA generates 35% of the nation’s export income. Vast amounts of uranium in WA may also concern the Federal Government in a new state’s hands. For Westralia to emerge as an independent nation, it must have the power to defend itself. Without the development of, say, local paramilitary forces (à la the Tamil Tigers or the IRA), its only defence would be the emergency forces such as the WA Police, or, at a pinch, some enraged Gypsy Jokers. Whilst Commissioner O’Callaghan may dream of leading his battalion into war, Westralia would be easily crushed by the Australian military. If Westralia is to stand on its own, the new state must have the power to secure its people and its own destiny. Otherwise, independence is well out of reach. Step 3: International support Domestic support may fuel the dream of secession but only the support of powerful nations and the international organisations that govern nation-states can make it a reality. The first task for any Westralian administration would be to gain admittance into the United Nations and regional organisations such as APEC. Involvement in these groups would allow them to have a voice in trade regulations that affect the export of minerals, and to form strategic relationships and a place in the international community.
UN membership is particularly important. This is where the machinations of the Security Council would come into play, where permanent members like the US or Britain may block Westralia’s membership out of loyalty to Australia, or to prevent China from gaining a powerful economic ally. Unless the secessionist movement were to balance its relationship with all the global players, international legitimacy would be unattainable. Regional organisations are also important when trying to develop economic ties with other players in the Asia-Pacific region. Groups like APEC and COAG give Westralia an opportunity to impress its regional allies and to become a hub for trade like, say, Dubai or Singapore. Of course, Westralia cannot take admittance into these groups for granted; it must prove itself an economically viable partner. Take for instance Scotland, whose secessionist government told its people they would gain immediate admittance into the European Union, only to be rebuffed by the European Commission President. Unless Westralia can prove it is stable politically and economically, it will never earn the respect and recognition of the world. Westralian independence is an idea that has many arguments in its favour, but many more arguments against it. No matter how noble the sentiment, the fact is that secession would be a difficult process. Without domestic support, international support and a basic security capability, the secessionist movement can’t expect the people of Western Australia, Australia or the world to take it seriously.
In a 1974 interview with the West Australian, Lang Hancock claimed that eastern Australia would go bankrupt in ten or eleven days. His source was “professor what’s his name.” He also accused the interviewer of not knowing who the ANZACs were.
TEN THOUGHTS ON PERTH JOURNALISM by Kat Gillespie
2. Three plausible West Australian headlines I just made up: Rhinehart has Hot Dinner Date at Jamie’s Italian, Barnett Declares Mining Industry ‘Important’, Electricity Restored to Ellenbrook Following Nightmare Half Hour Power Cut. 3. Is there really any point to being an Australian newspaper if you don’t have Philip Adams writing for you? 4. A lot of people will say that print is dead, but it seems unlikely to me that the Internet as a medium will ever be able to replicate the shining beacon of mediocrity that is Inside Cover.
5. The West Weekend Magazine is a fucking institution. If you aren’t regularly reading and deriving ironic enjoyment from the musings of columnist Danny Katz then your social development is being severely stunted. 6. The West Australian recently launched West Mate, a self proclaimed ‘bloke’s bible.’ This men’s only weekly lift out boasts a regular advice column called ‘Ask the Gay Guy’ in which a Gay Guy advises FIFO workers on what to do with their unwanted body hair. 7. The greatest gift News Ltd. has given Perth is the website Perth Now. Reading Perth Now is a bewildering experience because its articles only come to your attention via social media, but their content also seems to be chiefly derived from social media. You end up spending your morning reading awkwardly written news stories citing various Facebook comments and groups as their source, having accessed these news stories via other Facebook comments and groups. Perth Now
articles seem to have a more constant and nagging presence in my life than my parents or friends. 8. The West Australian’s Wikipedia page openly admits to the publication’s conservative bias. 9. Basically, The West does not try to hide what it truly is, or improve upon itself in any way. I like that. 10. It is quite comforting to know that even if all nations suddenly decided to band together in the name of world peace, each signing a global nuclear disarmament treaty to signal a new era of diplomacy and goodwill, The West Australian would probably maintain its policy of only dedicating two pages to World News. The waterfront development or a local AFL player would still be assured of making the front cover that day.
Picture by Bernice Ong
1. Perth only gets one newspaper to call our own. Two, if you count The Sunday Times (as someone out there probably does). Neither of these papers really competes with the other, each holding a monopoly on lazy tabloid journalism on the days it is published. No one ever talks about this or seems to mind very much.
PERTH ACTORS: CAGE MATCH Sam Worthington What’s the deal? A Perth resident since the wee age of 6 months, Sam (or Sammy as the Perth lads like to call him) is arguably our biggest blockbuster actor. Scoring the lead in James Cameron’s 2009 boxoffice juggernaut Avatar, Worthington’s career in Hollywood seems to have been as fleeting as it was lucrative. Staring in a number of mediocre action/adventures, Worthington hasn’t exactly had a critically acclaimed role for a while. Still, it’s a pretty fucking impressive Hollywood career for a bloke from Rockingham. What’s their Perthiest role? The 2006 modern day re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Macbeth set in the Australian nightclub underworld. It was exactly as good as it sounds. If they were a Perth suburb, which one would they be? Rocko boyz 4 lyfe m8 How Perth are they? A solid 8 out of 10 shitty outings to Capital. Shaughn McCagh Gemma Ward What’s the deal? A 2006 graduate of Shenton College, Gemma Ward is quite possibly Perth’s biggest impact on the world of international super-models. Discovered at age fourteen after a stint in the show Search for a Supermodel, Ward was quickly thrust onto the world stage, but it was at the height of her career in 2008 when she split for acting. After a number of small, but noticeable roles including 2008’s The Strangers and one of the god-awful Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Ward’s set to star in the Baz Luhrmann adaptation of The Great Gatsby this year. What’s their Perthiest role? The Strangers would be a pretty realistic interpretation of a quiet night in Kalamunda, that is, if the killers were 16 year olds pinging off nangs and going fridging for Export. If they were a Perth suburb, which one would they be? Subiaco – All that hype quickly fading into a bygone memory, as younger, prettier suburbs become the new flavour of the month (Hello Claremont!) How Perth are they? 7 out of 10 cactus sculptures. Shaughn McCagh
Melissa George What’s the deal? Turning her back on the glamorous world of artistic roller skating (silver medallist at the 1991 World Junior Championships, yo), she started out in Home and Away in the 90s and the short lived series Roar with other nominee Heath Ledger, before moving to LA to make it in the big time. Since then, she’s appeared in a range of Hollywood and indie films including Mulholland Drive, The Amityville Horror, and 30 Days of Night. She’s forged a successful career in television as well, gaining recurring roles in Alias, Grey’s Anatomy, Lie to Me, Hunted, and picked up a Golden Globe nomination for In Treatment. What’s their Perthiest role? I’m tempted to say 30 Days of Night, a film about a small group of people desperately trying to escape a small, isolated town in the middle of nowhere that’s being overrun with vampires. I’m sure she felt the parallels to her own life were just too perfect to pass up. If they were a Perth suburb, which one would they be? Rottnest Island – In addition to having a grandfather who was a prison warden there, it would suit her preference to have a body of water between herself and the city of Perth at all times. How Perth are they? 5 out of 10 King Street Fashion Stores. Wade McCagh Heath Ledger What’s the deal? Heath Ledger was one talented hunk. And then he died. He had a smile that could make anyone weak at the knees, a deep, husky voice, and, of course, a passion for life that was contagious (Ed- he took drugs). Together, this made him an unforgettable actor. Ledger’s talent was born and bred in Perth. Known for his ability to completely immerse himself in his roles, Ledger’s capacity to create memorable performances was unsurprising, most notably his Oscar winning role as The Joker in The Dark Knight. Candy, A Knight’s Tale and Brokeback Mountain also earned him critical acclaim. What’s their Perthiest role? 10 Things I Hate About You. BECAUSE IT IS AWESOME AND PERTH IS AWESOME. If they were a Perth suburb, which one would they be? He would have to be HEATH-ridge, and he
is definitely not like Batman, oh wait I mean Bateman. How Perth are they? 5 State Theatres out of 5. Rachel Thomas Hugh Jackman What’s the deal? Hugh Jackman is the poster child for all Perth actors ever. Part actor and part sex machine, he has won the hearts of Hollywood through the combination of roguish good looks and good ol’ aussie charm. Boasting numerous awards and accolades, it seems to be the case that Hugh Jackman can do no wrong. Even when he sells out and puts his face on a label, it spawns a generation full of dancing lipton ice tea drinkers. What’s their Perthiest role? Definitely his contribution to arts and drama. Not only did he bring his own flavour of sass to the stage, he also brought a solid set of grounded views which can be often overlooked in theatre. Ergo, he showed Theatre isn’t just for pretentious boobs who spend more time on hair and makeup than their lines. How Perth are they? On a scale of Balga to Peppermint Grove, Hugh Jackman rates a solid Mt. Lawley. You could even say he puts the ‘leed’(..ing man) in Leederville. If they were a Perth suburb, which one would they be? Leederville, because that’s where all the sexy people come from. Sam Caisely
Heath Ledger liked chess, and won the WA junior championship at age 10.
THE PELICAN GUIDE TO PERTH CINEMAS by Kevin Chiat If you’re new to Perth, decided to escape the multiplexes or have forgotten that cinemas exist since your parents set up their home theatre, this guide is for you. If you’re a smartphone addict, loud conversationalist, popcorn thrower, seat kicker or someone who feels they have to verbalise every thought that comes into their head (we didn’t all pay $19 to hear your DVD commentary), this guide isn’t for you. Sorry.
Grand Cinemas Warwick: Grand Cinemas Warwick is the rare multiplex I have some affection for. It’s locally owned and often exhibits Australian or arty films which don’t tend to get much play outside of arthouse theatres. Like Reading, Grand Cinemas also uses Dolby 3D and their Megastadium screen is (as far as I know) the biggest screen in Perth you don’t have to pay extra for.
Event Cinemas Innaloo:
In addition to the somewhat monotonous multiplexes, Perth has a smattering of still-open cinemas with history and character.
Event Innaloo is the biggest multiplex in Perth and it frustrates the hell out of me. Event is always the first to raise ticket and candy bar prices, their advertising pre-shows are ridiculously long and, being a big multiplex, the clientele is largely comprised of annoying people. There was also that six months or so where they made their female candy bar staff wear oddly sexualized candy-striped dresses, which just made going to the movies feel kinda icky. My biggest frustration with Event is that their seat lights are too bright; I always have to sit right in the middle of a row or right next to the wall to avoid having my attention drawn away from the screen. Things are even worse in the big Vmax theatre, where they’ve stuck LED lights on every seat number that never go down. With smartphones, light pollution is a problem in cinemas, so it’s frustrating when a theatre exacerbates the problem. If there’s one good thing to say about Event, it’s that their loyalty program Cinebuzz is unlike like most other loyalty programs- it’s not completely shit. You’ll probably never cash in those free movie points before they expire, but the $8 student Mondays and $10 dollar movie of the week deals make the email spam worthwhile. Reading Belmont: Out of the multiplexes in Perth, Reading Belmont is my favourite. Their sound quality is unmatched and I’ve never had a bad experience there. They also use the superior Dolby 3D system rather than RealD, which on the rare occasion I actually want to see a 3D film I always try and go for. Reading’s TitanXC screen is also the best of the IMAX-esque (even Hoyts Carousel’s IMAX branded theatre isn’t the size of a true IMAX screen) screens that
have popped up in Perth over the last few years.
The Piccadilly: The Piccadilly is the only theatre in the CBD, and with a bit more care and attention it could be something really special. Situated in Piccadilly Arcade, the main theatre is a gorgeous Art Deco auditorium, though last time I was there the seats desperately needed to be fixed. The Piccadilly’s other screens include a theatre with a close to 90 degree incline, and one which I’m pretty sure used to be a bathroom. With more interesting programming choices and some refurbishment, The Piccadilly could be great. For now, it’s a good place to visit if you have time to kill while you’re in the CBD (or a hard-on for Art Deco architecture). It’s also haunted, if that attracts or deters you. The Cygnet Theatre: Located on Preston Street in Como, the Cygnet is the last genuine single-screen theatre left in WA. Originally built in the 1930s, the theatre itself is charming, with a wooden floor, ancient but still kind of comfy seats and- holy crapan actual organ in the front. The Cygnet’s ticket prices are very reasonable and they sell popcorn for $2 (Ed- !). They play a classic film one Sunday a month, and I’ve already earmarked The Great Dictator in July and King Kong in October. Unfortunately, the Cygnet is in danger of closing due to the high cost of converting to digital projection. So, if you care about Perth’s cinema history or fetishize old cinemas (like I do), then you should be supporting The Cygnet. Galaxy Drive-In: Speaking of going back in history, the Galaxy Drive-In is the only place you travel back to when drive-ins were the main way people saw
movies. Without drive-ins, we wouldn’t have grindhouse movies, some great Simpsons jokes and probably many of our parents. Located in Kingsway, the Galaxy Drive-In really is a cinema experience like no other in Perth. One of the most entertaining parts of going to Galaxy Drive-In is the eclectic mix of people who turn up- many of whom are clearly regulars. The Galaxy Drive-In is also the best value of any cinema in Perth, with $15 dollars a car on Tuesdays and $10 a person double features on Friday and Saturday nights. If you haven’t been to Galaxy Drive-In before, why not give it a spin? Get on it now before it breaks as an ironic hipster trend. Right next door to UWA The Windsor: You know that this is just up the road, right? Really, it’s literally up the road from UWA, so you have no excuse not to ditch uni to go and see a movie more often. Part of the Luna-Palace group of theatres, the Windsor is one of the few remaining small suburban cinemas in WA. Normally the Windsor programmes towards the 40 plus crowd, with a mix of Oscar-bait dramas and light comedies, but generally there should be at least something of interest playing. Go on a Tuesday afternoon to get the added enjoyment of hearing the pensioner crew react to the film. When I saw Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy at The Windsor, I overhead a woman exclaim in a stage whisper “I think he’s a homosexual, dear” at the reveal of one character’s sexual orientation. Ace Subiaco: If you’re looking to see a mainstream film close to UWA, then Ace Subiaco is your best bet. A four-screen venue on Hay Street, Ace Subi is (like Grand Cinemas Warwick) a WA owned and operated theatre. Their prices are at the fairer end, and whilst the cinemas themselves are non-distinct, the building itself nicely tries to recreate the feel of an old picture house. Somerville Auditorium: I should probably discuss Somerville here, since it’s actually right on campus. Somerville is the main venue (the other being Joondalup Pines) for the Perth International Arts Festival film programme, which just wrapped up. It’s a picturesque venue for outdoor films, though I have heard many a complaint about the canvas chairs available at the venue. I just wish that PIAF’s film programming didn’t cater so exclusively to the baby boomer
Picture by Grace McKie set. While there were a couple of films I was interested in this year (a marked improvement on previous years), the PIAF programmers but it really feels like for the most part they go for the international films which are going to appeal to the older picnic and chardonnay before the film set. I’d just really like to see a bit more diversity in the PIAF line-up, with more focus on representing the vibrancy of independent and international cinema. I’ve heard that the vibe of Sommerville was very different in the 90s before the gentrification of PIAF. I’d love to see what say, the Revelation programmers could do with the Somerville space or even *gasp* students. The Best Damn Cinema in Perth Luna Leederville:
Luna Leederville is the flagship theatre of the Luna-Palace group, which also includes Cinema Paradiso (which mostly plays foreign films and is cool, but I wouldn’t recommend going late on Friday or Saturday night unless you want to deal with the horrors of seeing late night Northbridge through sober eyes), the aforementioned Windsor, Luna on SX in Fremantle and Camelot Outdoor. Basically all the good movies that play in Perth play at the Luna-Palace theatres. Luna Leederville’s main cinema is another old Art Deco gem, and a recently renovated second theatre and two smaller theatres back it up. It also has Luna Outdoor out the back, which is my favourite of the Perth’s outdoor theatres (where else can you see Tommy Wiseau’s masterpiece of crappy cinema The
Room every Sunday over the summer?) One thing that really makes Luna stand alone in Perth is the Monday Doubles. Every Monday night, a double feature priced at $11 dollars for students. Over the past year, they’ve got even better as the increase in digital prints have allowed Luna to start showing classics along with current films. Films I saw last year as part of the Monday Doubles include A Clockwork Orange, Eyes Wide Shut, The Thing, An American Werewolf in London, The Master, Argo, Wolf Creek, The Cabin in the Woods, Gremlins and Labyrinth. Therein lies the main reason why Luna is the best: no other cinema in Perth is as devoted to celebrating and cultivating film culture.
FILM REVIEWS Identity Thief Director: Seth Gordon Starring: Jason Bateman. Melissa McCarthy, John Cho
Oblivion Director: Joseph Kosinski Starring: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Morgan Freeman
You will laugh or at least smile... widely. Sandy Patterson has his identity stolen by a woman on the other side of America. After his name comes up in police investigations, he leaves to go to Florida and drag her back to Colorado in order to save his job and his family. Identity Thief ticks the three major boxes of easy-to-watch, stereotypical, crime-comedy; humor, car chases and a couple of cheesy “I’ve changed” moments. From snakebites to numerous sex jokes, and more sarcasm than can be mentally absorbed, Seth Gordon has aimed to use every trick in the book to try to make his audience laugh. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but most of the time it does. Cheesy moments are few but not completely gone, the close up on crying faces and deep bonding sessions driving along wide open roads seem to be slightly out of place after such a heavy dosage of comedy. It’s predictable (sometimes cringe worthy so) but not completely unbearable; just make sure to take a friend, because somehow that makes every joke that little bit extra better.
The Other Son (Le Fils de l’Autre) Directed by Loraine Levy Starring Emmanuelle Devos, Mehdi Dehbi, Jules Sitruk In French, Arabic, Hebrew and English
Oblivion would be an absolute triumph of modern film storytelling, if it hadn’t been made three times already. The visually stunning scifi thriller stars Tom Cruise as one of the few people left on an abandoned post-apocalyptic Earth in the year 2073. For the most part, Oblivion is an enjoyably well-directed and well-acted action experiencehowever, it’s undermined by two fatal flaws. The first is the film’s pacing: The first third of the film is slow, repetitive, and hard to sit through, however it does thankfully pick up with some unexpected yet familiar plot twists. This ‘familiarity’ is the film’s second and greatest flaw;,as it comes across as a blatant rip-off of other sci-fi films to the point which it becomes more of an amalgamation of the plots of other films than a film itself. The film’s credibility comes into question when it uses the exact same ideas and plot points from films such as Wall-E, Moon, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the end, however, the extent to which you enjoy this film will be completely dependent on how much you can see past these flaws in order to enjoy the view.
First Position Director: Bess Kargman Starring: Aran Bell, Rebecca Houseknecht, Joan Sebastian Zamora Lauran Jervis
Kiya Alimoradian In Loraine Levy’s The Other Son, Joseph, the son of Israeli-Jewish parents, discovers he was switched at birth with Yassin, the son of a Palestinian family living in the West Bank. Suddenly the values of the two families are put on trial, forcing each to reassess their underlying resentments and morals. The premise of this film has so much potential; as soon as the reality of these two families becomes clear we wonder how each character will react to what is ultimately a very awkward situation. However, The Other Son fails to generate any real emotion in its audience. I didn’t care when Yassin’s brother suddenly starts hating him, I didn’t care when a rabbi tells Joseph he isn’t really Jewish and I definitely felt nothing when he gets stabbed by some redneck in the final scene (sorry for spoiling- it’s ok, he doesn’t die). The constant “who am I really?” pondering by the two sons is tiring and the dialogue is lousy and unrealistic, consisting mainly of short, sitcom-style conversations marred by one-liners. The Other Son raises some interesting questions about identity and the concept of race versus ethnicity; it really is such a shame to see it fare so badly. So much more could have been done and an overpowering sense of disappointment lingers throughout this absolutely mediocre film.
Bess Kargman’s debut film First Position is a vibrant and refreshing take on the world of professional dance. The documentary follows six young dancers competing in the Youth America Grand Prix, showcasing the absolute dedication and tenacity necessary in their individual pursuits of perfection. Aside from the visually stunning shots of rehearsals and performance, the documentary opens up a unique look into the private lives of the dancers that is less ‘Dance Moms’ than it is revealing the unique story of each dancer. They’re all ridiculously talented, but the film highlights that not all ballet dancers are rich, white, anorexic and groomed from the age of four, and that those who are rich, white, genetically blessed and trained from preschool sometimes don’t make the cut. This is a film that makes you care about these people, from the nerves backstage to their euphoria as they take their bow. Every emotion is captured. The relationships between the dancers and their teachers and families are unashamedly on display; Satako the ballet-obsessed mother of dancers Miko and Jules provides a few easy laughs with her Japanese-pushy parenting. First Position is not just a documentary for dance nerds, as aside from great performances, the film captures the human side of these super-human kids.
way. Instead of questioning the ideals of both sides, the villains simply become increasingly evil through their own incompetence. If this wasn’t enough, these villains are promoting what appears to be nothing more than space communism: they have peace, prosperity and apparently a solution to finite resources. Then again, they do drive chrome plated Lamboghinis.
As a premise, the Host seems almost reasonable – a dystopia where life is perfect, but its inhabitants are controlled by symbiotic aliens. However, in execution the host movie poster, Stephanie Meyer’s latest film adaptation leaves one confused and wondering how it ever escaped the editing suite.
So much of this film is the result of laziness. The producers know that it will print money, but at times it’s as if the extra mile was gone to ensure that film is terrible. The Host has the same amount of drive to define itself as a creative, artistic statement as a dead rat does. Case in point: the leading lady is left on the brink of death sixty seconds in, before achieving brain-jacked-by-an-alien-symbiote nirvana. Saoirse Ronan then has the joy of standing gormlessly muttering to herself for two hours while the ‘real’ her exists only in ghostly, disembodied and obviously mind-numbingly bored voice over.
Whereas sci-fi normally questions black/white morality paradigms, The Host turns the other
As with most pulpy trash, the novel of The Host was first person present tense, leading
The Host Director: Andrew Niccol Starring: Diane Kruger, Scott Lawrence, Saoirse Ronan
to do so while maintaining an unmistakable ‘Australianness’ about him. In many ways, it was 1996’s Shine that opened the door for the Australian invasion into the US. The film is based on the true story of Australian pianist David Helfgott, the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants who lived and studied in Perth before winning a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London. It was during his time in London when he began to exhibit symptoms of mental illness, before tragically suffering a mental breakdown that resulted in him being institutionalised in Graylands Hospital for many years. Be Kind Rewind: A Retrospective Review Shine Directed by: Scott Hicks Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Noah Taylor There is a generation of young Australians whose only exposure to Geoffrey Rush is from the Pirates of the Caribbean series. This is an absolute travesty. While Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman and the tragically shortened career of Heath Ledger all achieve international acclaim, Geoff has quietly achieved more than any other Australian actor. Furthermore, he has managed
The film was Rush’s breakthrough performance and one of Australia’s biggest international hits, picking up seven Oscar nominations, and the Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe for Best Actor. It is said that Dustin Hoffman had expressed interest in the role of Helfgott, and watching the film, one might see similarities between his performance in Rain Man and Rush’s elaborate capturing of Helfgott’s rapidfire speech and mannerisms. He is relentlessly affable, smiling and laughing constantly, yet Rush also manages to capture the depth of pain and anguish inside Helfgott.
to an overwhelming amount of plot and world development occurring inside the main character’s head. While it was deemed necessary to use the voice-in-myhead angle for the “real” Saoirse, the meat of the story and surrounding context was unceremoniously dropped, while the physical scenes that they featured in remained. The result is a series of pointless scenes of characters gazing off into the distance, and while it’s entertaining at first trying to follow what the hell their motivations are, it ends up as little more than a perfect metaphor for the film: an empty and pointless experience, serving only to show off the eye candy that is the half dozen indistinguishable male model love interests. For every angle one takes on this film, it disappoints. The cinematography is horrific, characters act without any sort of consistent logic or motive, and the action climaxes in a split-personality love-triangle set on-location in the Temple level from Goldeneye 64. Simon Donnes
His childhood is an unhappy one, he is pushed into music by his domineering father and forced to strive for perfection, and is constantly berated when he fails to live up to those expectations. At one point early in the film, after finishing a close second in a music competition, his father screams “you must always win!” Not long after that, we see him drumming his mantra that “only the fit and strong survive” into his children. The extreme value he places on family, with the shadow of the Holocaust lying over the film, causes him to go to great lengths to repress David to prevent him from leaving. It becomes tragically clear as the film goes on just how much damage that caused. Shine is not all tragedy though; Helfgott eventually recovers and with the assistance of friends and his wife returns to music, and tours internationally- in fact, he’ll be performing in Perth later this year. And there are many funny, heart-warming moments in the film. If Rush bouncing on a trampoline, wearing nothing but a trench coat and laughing doesn’t make you smile, nothing will. Exquisitely scored and superbly acted, I highly recommend you watch this film. George Weaver
TALKING EDEN FALK by Kat Gillespie I chat to Eden Falk on the second day of rehearsals for Death of A Salesman, his first Black Swan production. This is a homecoming for the Sydney based and Perth trained actor, who graduated from WAAPA in 2003 and left the state soon after. I can’t help but ask how things in Perth have changed since then, and he obligingly reminisces about his old favourite local hangouts (“I used to love going to the Hydey on a Saturday night, but that’s all over now”). Soon we’ve veered off topic to talk about Perth’s music scene. Falk expresses his excitement about the In the Pines line-up – “every band playing is one of my favourite Perth acts.” The days of the Hyde Park hotel being the only Saturday night option are clearly over, and Eden is already down with newer Perth venues like the Bird. “It’s becoming very Melbourne here,” he observes. “It’s like as soon as I left, Perth suddenly became cool.” Leaving Perth for those mythical Eastern States was once seen as a necessity for local actors aspiring to longterm careers in theatre or film. Indeed “there was a mindset…that you were trained here and then you’d go out. I hated that it was like this, but for me, if I wanted to continually work, I needed to go. I don’t think you could have sustained a career back to back as an actor in Perth.” Nowadays, young drama graduates have even higher ambitions. “The big thing now isn’t to move to Sydney, but to move to LA. That was never a thing that was ever on the cards for me or anyone I knew at the time I graduated. It’s just another world.” Yet now there is perhaps also an option to stay put or even return home. Eden acknowledges that “now people are staying here, making work here. And there’s a lot of good work being developed. It’s becoming more of a hothouse.” Although there are as many theatre opportunities around Australia as ever, a career in acting is still a game of survival. The only way to survive is to continually evolve and look for new creative opportunities. Falk has first hand experience in this. After spending three years at the Sydney Theatre company, he suddenly experienced the “shock” of a lull in acting jobs. As he found himself on hiatus, he discovered that “there comes a point where you have to make your own work. I applied for a grant and went to work with a European theatre company, and ended up touring around the UK…I loved
it. Partly because I had generated the work myself, it was really special.” Although the only reason Falk originally felt the need to look for new types of work was to stay in the game and “keep afloat”, he clearly thrives upon seeking out new avenues for creative expression. As well as acting, he is assistant directing on Death of a Salesman and has also “got short films in the works, directing work, trying to crossover… I keep coming up with more ideas.” He has also dabbled in music, playing in a band and having his own radio show. “You’ve got to keep creating,” he explains.
It’s becoming more of a hothouse Theatre is where Falk feels “most comfortable”, and he professes to be a huge Arthur Miller fan. He will play the character of Bernard in Salesman – the successful but humble lawyer whose achievements highlight the inadequacies of Willy Loman and his family. For all Miller’s politics, Falk insists the accessibility and audience enjoyment of this play is derived from the “family drama”. Although this is a play about unachieved American dreams, “people aren’t going to go out into the foyer afterwards and talk about the Global Financial Crisis. They’ll instead be looking at their own lives and relationships. That’s what resonates.” Expect a tragedy – the audience “should be in tears by the end.” But also expect some laughter. “There’s a lot of humour in the play. Some beautiful glimpses of comedy.” Theatre is evidently his first love, but Falk has also sought out work in film and television. He was successful in obtaining the part of Mr McKee in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming adaptation of Great Gatsby. Fears of his scene ending up on Luhrmann’s notoriously over-crowded cutting room floor aside, Falk clearly enjoyed the experience. He describes the process as an exhaustively steep learning curve for a theatre actor used to having “weeks of rehearsals…weeks of sucking, and simply hoping that by opening night things will fall in place.“ For Salesman there will be weeks of rehearsals, “but for film you’re lucky if you get one. It’s a skill I’m still developing, to nail things quicker.” Working with
Luhrmann was evidently a career highlight. “The auditions were really weird, some of the weirdest I’ve ever done…he has definitely got the passion and the vision. Even from the first read he was jumping out of his chair.” The film also gave opportunity to work with Tobey Maguire and Isla Fischer, as well as Australian Joel Edgerton who is “doing amazing work now.” Falk’s career so far has followed a trajectory that would be envied by any young WAAPA wannabe. His success is clearly a product of both talent and hard work, as well as a knack for seeking out opportunity. A charming interviewee, when I ask him about advice for keen Perth actors he demurely worries that he will “sound like a wanker” in dispensing it. Like his Salesman character, he is reluctant to own his success. Still, I manage to extract something out of him. “Perth is a negative and a positive. It can be a cocoon and can be a hotbed, but you need to remember the rest of the world is there…you can fall into a trap of not exploring. So keep exploring.” Eden Falk will appear in Death of A Salesman from the 8th-19th May, presented by Black Swan State Theatre Company.
Death of a Salesman was based on Miller’s bragging, unravelling salesman uncle Manny, who, like Salesman‘s Willy Loman, killed himself. 30
PERTH PROUST QUESTIONNAIRE My name is Dr Stefano Carboni Occupation: Director, AGWA Suburb: Shenton Park Regular Perth drinking hole: The Suite Regular Perth coffee haunt: Bivouac
Theatre Company’s Melissa Cantwell is a fantastic artistic director, and from the independents I am always interested in whatever Tim Watts is doing next. The Skeletal System with Will O’Mahony and Alicia Clements is my pick for the next big thing in Perth theatre. (illustration credit) Shane Adamczak
Most famous Perthonality I have a connection to: Janet Holmes à Court
My name is Amy BarrettLennard
Best kept Perth secret: AGWA
Occupation: PICA Director
Favourite local artist or performer: Fiona Campbell
(ILLUSTRATION CREDIT) Vernon Ah Kee Born in this skin 2008 (detail) State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia My name is Kerry O’Sullivan Occupation Executive Director The Blue Room Theatre Suburb Northbridge work, Mount Lawley home. There’s pretty much just an eternal relay race between the two for me. Regular Perth drinking hole The Bird I also love the Urban Orchard when it’s Fringe World time. Regular Perth coffee haunt Love Thy Neighbour out the back of Ezra Pound. The coffee is great and everyone there is really friendly. They know how to make your morning better. Most famous Perthonality I have a connection to Well I’m not one for name dropping but I know some pretty rad people from the commercial world: I know the ‘Shuddupa ya place’ roller shutter guy, the Supershake guy who went on to be the voice of Parkland Mazda, all of the people who have to smoke away from their friends in the ‘Make Smoking History’ Campaign, and I went to Rhonda’s sister’s wedding. Best kept Perth secret The Blue Room Theatre Favourite local artist or performer There are too many to choose from! Perth
Regular Perth drinking hole: My balcony at sunset Regular Perth coffee haunt: Polly in the Cultural Centre Most famous Perthonality I have a connection to: Winthrop Professor Michael Levine (Philosophy Dept) – my lovely partner! Best kept Perth secret: Melville Markets on Sunday morning for great pre-loved clothes, plants, books, CDs, DVDs and other useful household items. Favourite local artist or performer: I might have to say James Berlyn, who is one of the curators of the Proximity Festival, a series of intimate new artworks tailor-made for an audience of one, to be presented at PICA this October. He is also the creator and performer of a fabulous new work called Crash Course also coming up at PICA later this year. My name is Kate Cherry Occupation Artistic Director, Black Swan State Theatre Company
Bsstc has a broad range of supporters including Matthew Pavlich and Ben Elton. Premier Barnett is always extremely supportive of BSSTC. Best kept Perth secret Perth itself. It is a brilliant city with extremely talented people. Favourite local artist or performer Anyone who appears for BSSTC. Also Tim Winton, whose latest play, Shrine, is in our season.
(illustration credit) Robert Frith Name Anna Dunnill (I also have two middle names. You can write to me and guess them if you like.) Occupation Writer,artist,co-director of Paper Mountain (an artistrun gallery/studio space on William St), zinemaker/purveyor Suburb I reside in Mt Pleasant, but spend most waking hours in Northbridge. (Plus the occasional nap) Regular Perth drinking hole For total hours logged, the Brass Monkey – at least until they stopped doing Beez Neez on tap. Otherwise anywhere within two blocks of Paper Mountain. Regular Perth coffee haunt Little Willy’s café, downstairs from Paper Mountain (I don’t venture far, but then I don’t need to) Most famous Perthonality I have a connection to Gina Rhinehart’s daughter went to my primary school. She was a year above me so we never interacted in any way. She is now married to the son of one of the Beach Boys.
Suburb North Perth Regular Perth drinking hole Bivouac Regular Perth coffee haunt MilkD Most famous Perthonality I have a connection to
The best kept Perth secret Symbiotica, UWA’s amazing centre for Biological Arts. It’s nationally and internationally renowned, but hardly anyone in Perth knows about it! Favourite local artist or performer The Bank Holidays! Well, they used to be local, anyway.
The design of the Art Gallery of Western Australia was inspired by the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.
UPCOMING PERTH ARTS EVENTS BLACK SWAN STATE THEATRE COMPANY Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller’s tragic look at failed American dreams was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play. Black Swan’s production stars Australian theatre great John Stanton. State Theatre Centre 8 May – 19 May
Fat Pig When good looking ‘catch’ Tom falls for plussized-but-funny Helen, his colleagues don’t get it. Written by highly acclaimed American filmmaker and screenwriter Neil LaBute, who is renowned for his provocative and polarizing works which dare to address social taboos. The Blue Room Theatre 21 May-8 June
THE BLUE ROOM THEATRE The Agony, the Ecstasy and I A response to Mike Daisey’s The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, this dance theatre work asks its audience what it is corporations are really selling. The Blue Room Theatre Studio 6 April- 4 May
ART GALLERY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA Van Gogh, Dali and Beyond: The World Reimagined 22 June -2 December
Death in Bowengabbie Forced to leave his successful new city life, Oscar is called back to his former country town following a series of mysterious deaths. Starring WAAPA graduate Bryce Youngman (Rake, Packed to the Rafters). The Blue Room Theatre 3 April – 11 May
PICA Hatched: National Graduate Show 2013 Featuring 37 artists from 20 art schools across Australia, this exhibition offers viewers an insight into emerging art trends and talents. PICA galleries 20 April – 9 June GREAT ART ON SCREEN AT THE LUNA Munch 150 As part of its ongoing art on screen series, the Luna presents a biography of the seminal
Norwegian painter Munch as well as a behind the scenes look at Norway’s celebrations this year of the what would have been the artist’s 150th birthday. Luna on SX 13 July – 14 July WEST AUSTRALIAN BALLET La Sylphide The Romantic ballet classic featuring a young Scotsman is enticed away from his fiancée the night before his wedding by a mischievous forest fairy. With the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, at His Majesty’s Theatre 17 May-1 June AUSTRALIAN DANCE THEATRE G By Garry Stewart Garry Stewart, one of the world’s best known choreographers, deconstructs classical ballet to reinvent the Romantic ballet Giselle. State Theatre Centre 4 July – 7 July
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST by Pema Monaghan “One must be serious about something, if one is to have any amusement in life. What on earth you are serious about I haven’t got the remotest idea. About everything, I expect. You have such an absolutely trivial nature.” So says Algernon Moncrieff in Oscar Wilde’s most famous play, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. This is a very sensible life motto. It also encapsulates something about how I believe this play ought to be performed. The elements of Black Swan’s production came together well in consideration of this quote, combining Wilde’s comically embellished absurdities with underlying social commentary about England’s upper class, and dealing with the serious in a light hearted and trivial manner. The set, by the wonderful Alicia Clements, and the costumes, by Lynn Ferguson, were at
once both regal and beautifully ridiculous. The direction was great, and very funny. (I went up to director Kate Cherry at the opening night afterparty and told her so. She really didn’t seem to care what I thought... fair enough.) Scott Sheridan as Algy and Adriane Daff as Cecily were the stand out performances. Sheridan embraced the whole don’t-be-soserious thing and appeared as if he couldn’t have cared less about what he was saying, which was perfect. My viewing partner and I were infatuated with him by the end of the play and followed him about the after party making awkward eye contact more than once. Sorry Scott, I knew you could tell we were semistalking you. Jenny Davis as Lady Bracknell, however, disappointed. This was the first performance I’d ever seen of my favourite play and I was expecting deadpan comic timing from this formidable character - utter seriousness in
the face of her own preposterousness. Instead I got a woman who was so clearly working hard to be different from the other amazing actors who have played the character in the past that she didn’t really seem to play Lady Bracknell at all - rather some old person who was trying to get in with her young pals (sidenote: Stephen Fry is rumoured to perform Lady Bracknell in London later this year!). Peter Rowsthorn as Doctor Chasuble was slightly hit and miss. Chasuble is a joke; he flitters about drawing metaphors from bees, and Rowsthorn’s portrayal heightened his ridiculousness even further through mostly physical comedy that was sometimes too bumbling. At its heart ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ is a comedy, and ultimately Black Swan’s production was thoroughly fun. I also really enjoyed the cucumber sandwiches in the foyer afterwards.
SOMETHING IN THE WATER: 10 Real Good Perth Albums 3.Snowman – The Horse, The Rat and The Swan
by James Munt Perth has always been a breeding ground for talent, but many of the best bands to emerge here have been forced to emigrate in order to achieve widespread acclaim. We’re sort of like a special far-away breeding ground for music that the rest of the country/world can enjoy. The second thing you notice in looking at the Perth music scene is the multiplicity of forms this talent comes in. Perth is basically to musical diversity what the Galapagos Islands are to biodiversity. I don’t know why so many great bands popped up on this town compared the rest of the country; maybe people just needed something to do to get through the hot summer. Whatever the case, here are some great local full-lengths from across the years, highlighting the talent and diversity coming out of Perth. 1. The Triffids – Born Sandy Devotional They never really got the attention they deserved in Australia, becoming a lot bigger overseas, but these guys are pretty much the quintessential Perth band. The album has the Mandurah coastline smack-bang on the centre, RTRFM’s much renowned local festival is named after their third album, and In the Pines, and “Wide Open Road” is easily a top 5 Aussie anthem. Very little sounds more like r 2.The Scientists – Weird Love They’d already left Perth by the time they released this, but screw it: once a Perth band, always a Perth band. They started out very influenced by 60s influenced garage punk, but they later shifted towards a swampier postpunk sound that heavily influenced some of the noisiest 90s bands like The Jesus Lizard or Mudhoney, and Weird Love is a brilliant example of their evil, sunburnt sound.
Remember 1997 horror film Jack Frost , that featured a serial killer genetically mutated into a snowman? That could just as easily have shared this band’s name, and in turn this record would make a fine accompaniment to the mixture of oddness and horror in that premise, combining intriguingly tribal rhythmic music with post-punk, postrock and even surf rock.
6.Extortion – Degenerate You’ll probably know if you’re into this by the end of the first song, that is, within the first minute of the album. As far as the powerviolence field goes however, these guys are held in pretty high regard, and for good reason! You can get more out of these concise explosion’s of music than you can from the music of a heck of a lot of bands with much longer songs. 7.Tame Impala – Lonerism
4.Bluetile Lounge – Halfcut Feel like you could use a deep sense of hometown pride to go along with your next mopey listening session? Cast aside that Daniel Johnston record; this one’s for you! Sort of like a more vulnerable Codeine, they’d have been a brilliant band to have seen live back in the day, but incredibly awkward I’m sure, and Half-cut is the best example of their understated, glacial beauty. 5.Eleventh He Reaches London – Hollow Be My Name Eleventh He Reaches London’s sound isn’t the easiest to pin down, combining prog, posthardcore, metal, post-rock, country & folk. Sounding 100% better on record than on paper, the band use these influences to explore Australia’s colonial history, conveying a general resentment of just about everything. It’s cynical, unique, bleak and uncompromisingly Australian.
Last year’s local success story and they didn’t even need to relocate! Everyone knows Tame Impala these days, and everyone is in love with Kevin Parker’s huge psychedelic-pop jams. 8.Tangled Thoughts of Leaving – Deaden the Fields A technical and emotive post-rock outfit, Tangled Thoughts of Leaving have been receiving a lot of acclaim overseas and Deaden the Fields is a masterful display of intricate experimentation. 9.Drowning Horse – Drowning Horse Drowning Horse play sludge metal that’s as fuzzy as Reggie Watts’ hair. The album consists of long tracks with great riffs full of just the right amount of distortion, showcasing a band that seems to have basically mastered the slow doom metal game. (Ed- if you see them live they will kill you, so do it ASAP) 10.Helta Skelta – Helta Skelta Local punk band that know how to get right to the point while still throwing in some great, melodic guitar licks. It’s a lot of fun!
ALBUM REVIEWS Bob Evans Familiar Stranger EMI
Bob Evans is the alter ego of Jebediah front-man Kevin Mitchell. Doing away with his band mates and picking up an acoustic guitar, his soft, melancholic voice is more intimate and accessible here as it takes centre stage. Mitchell has injected his usual alt-country style with a bit of pop, but Familiar Stranger is not a dramatic departure from his back catalogue. Unlike previous albums, this offering possesses a semblance of a rhythm section- featuring Beck’s drummer Joey Waronker. Listen out for the mellotron- an instrument, not a Transformer- that provides the warm and fuzzy flute sounds throughout the album, especially on ‘Bruises’. The talented singer/songwriter credits the self-reflective, introverted atmosphere of the album to the recent deaths and births in his family life. Each song tells a story in which the dominant theme is helplessness, especially in the face of time. The album opens with ‘Footscray Park’, its weakest song, but quickly perks up in ‘Maps’, a muse on mortality as the song’s repetitive chorus reflects on the idea that one lifetime severely limits your ability to experience the world. The album is pleasant but not ground shaking. It’s even becomes a little dull at times, with the tempo slowing to a crawl more than once, however, ‘Go’, the album’s most blatant pop song, is an upbeat, cheesy, feel good carpe diem track encouraging one to break free of rules that have “become your noose”. (Ed- yolo). Samuel J. Cox
Dick Diver Calender Days Chapter Records
Dear Future Griff, How are you doing? Is mum okay? I love this album but I hope to
god you listen to it now and it’s no longer relevant to you or anyone you care about who isn’t like, 23. If so get older friends. Unless it’s a kid of yours, in which case I have several follow up questions. But back to Dick Diver. This is a small wonder in suburban detail and twentysomething misery, all backed by some of the best jangle since the Go-Betweens (yeeee boiiii) packed up and buggered off. Check ‘Water Damage’, which is basically about a one-night stand that leaves both halves wandering through city food courts dazed as the sun comes up to shine a very harsh light on everything that’s passed. Or ‘The Two Year Lease’, which is a witheringly silent duet about a house witnessing a succession of failures that starts with “is it me/or just all this g(in) & t(onic)” and doesn’t let up from there. When you’re at a stage in your life where you’re asking questions, and- let’s face itwhen aren’t you, Calendar Days is asking them too. If the answer to any of them runs sorta like “you get a dream/you work the yard/and then the dream/is the yard”, then you’ll feel exactly at home here, pal. I hope you’re not, and I hope you’re doing okay. Please never buy a house. Cheers, Griff 2013
Mick Harvey 7.0 FOUR (Acts of Love) Mute FOUR (Acts of Love) feels like that time of night when your drinks are beginning to wear off, your drunkenness is receding fast and a hangover is on the horizon. You don’t know whether you should just slam down a few more shots and postpone the inevitable or crush some pills, eat a kebab and find a convenient place to sleep. Some of the songs are like sweet lullabies compelling you to rest your tender head and dream about that cute boy/ girl who smiled at you at the bar. In others, the synths are so grating and the lyrics so annoying that you are reminded
that you actually hate everyone and they should all shut up and stop making so much fucking noise. Love songs written about not playing the fool, love is just fairy dust and so on usually ring like the overly emotional friend you took out for their first-night post break-up. However, Harvey redeems himself with the hauntingly beautiful track ‘Praise the Earth (An Ephemeral Play)’, making it all seem a little worthwhile in the end. Sunrise, anyone? Lauren Wiszniewski Youth Lagoon 7.5 Wondrous Bughouse Fat Possum Records After Youth Lagoon’s mesmerizing first album, The Year of Hibernation, I had nervous thoughts about the forthcoming Wondrous Bughouse: how far could or would they move from their winning template of dreamy lo-fi pop? Well, expect the unexpected. While the latest album maintains Trevor Powers’ sweetly soft vocals, this time there is more of a psychedelic twist thrown in - like adding a slice of lemon to the same old drink, you can sense a slight change in the taste, yet it doesn’t overpower the distinct original flavour. Powers explores the idea of what a “wondrous bughouse” would actually be like through the unique blend of sounds in each track. He does this using a variety of instruments, sounds and lyrics, from a horse neighing in the background in ‘Attic Door’ to the luring repetition of the words “you’ll never die” in ‘Dropla’, and the light, looping notes of keyboard that reappear throughout the entire album. It keeps you in a beautiful and dreamy daze, and gives the impression that a journey into insanity ain’t so bad after all. Natasha Woodcock
Mike Cooper White Shadows in the South Seas Room 40 Genre doesn’t really do Mike Cooper justice. Sold as “Folk music”, his dreamy melodies and trance-like drums are more akin to nostalgic matters of a shamanistic nature. Sort of post-folk with a strong Hawaiian influence made by a 70 year old is the most literal way to describe White Shadows. That in itself isn’t a fair summary though, either – you could call this post-rock or avant-garde dream funk, and while you still wouldn’t be wrong, there would be something you’d be missing. It’s this eclectic nature that makes White Shadows so appealing. For everything you could label it, there’s an equally large number of off-kilter influences. From Sun Araw to the soundtrack of Fight Club, from harsh break-core to Voices of North American Owls there is a breadth of borrowed artistic license in these fuzzy, introspective sounds that I’ve not seen in a long time. While there are these lovely transcendental loops, you never find yourself wondering how many songs have passed or if it’s changed track. There’s a definite drive, a progression to the album that leads you gently through this bizarre garden but makes sure you don’t linger anywhere for too long. Simon Donnes
In The Pines 20th anniversary: 20 manifest-O! truths. Somerville Auditorium Sunday, April 21st
1. That you’ll turn up half an hour late and be sad that you missed the Bank Holidays. 2. That when Simone & Girlfunkle take to the stage, the smiles will be infectious, the harmonies gorgeous, and the mix saturated
with so much bass that it is like a dream but it is not like a dream if you know what I mean. 3. That Peter Barr’s mcing will always be Peter Barr’s mcing, and you will have no more to say on this matter. 4. That Usurper of Modern Medicine will make a great early-afternoon counterpoint to Simone & Girlfunkle. 5. That Chuppa Chup guy will indeed be there, again, with his bottomless bag of Chuppa Chups, of which you will have like four or five as the day goes on. 6. That you decide Gata Negra are the 90s version of Schvendes, and your friend Phil says they play Beatles songs backwards at half-clip, and both of you will be kind of dicks about this and then the band will play a song about ageing which will really bum you out. 7. That you will run into old friends, and spare moments to think of other friends who aren’t here but really would have loved this day. That socialising and relaxing is a big part of any ITP experience. That the day can be constant and demanding with its rapid fire, no-breaks sets. That for these reasons and others you won’t have much to say about 6’s & 7’s, the Volcanics, Timonthy Nelson, and Red Jezebel. 8. That the Fergusons playing Everything’s Gone Bad will spark an amazing singalong, in which you’ll probably embarrass yourself. That you won’t forget how comprehensively that stage got taken to.
12. That Adam Said Galore will still be fucking tight, goddamn. 13. That, unexpectedly, O! playing Swinging Arm Holiday will be another highlight. That you’d forgotten how well that songs builds. 14. That you would break all of your gigreviewing rules for Felicity Groom, and quite frankly you won’t know what you mean by this but by then you will have probably drank too much. 15. That even when it wasn’t set out for Panics fans, there are still a heap of Panics fans. That you wouldn’t fight it. 16. That the Tucker B’s will always be a real spectacle, and that you’ll be glad you didn’t miss them to go and eat pizza on the other side of campus. 17. That your immense enjoyment of Spank, Circus Murders, Turnstyle and Beaverloop will be tempered by the weird guilt of cashing in on the nostalgia trips of others. That you’ll get over it. That you’ll love everything. 18. That the “we’ll see you in another ten years” joke will never get old. 19. That you’ll leave feeling like nothing this side of a Radarmaker reunion could make you happier. That Perth redeems, and that it will be damp. 20. That RTRFM may outlive all of us- you can only hope. Connor Weighman
9. That the late-afternoon chatter might get a little annoying when you are trying to listen to Schvendes. That they’ll play Mockingbird with an extra few strings on board, and it will cut through everything. 10. That the Tigers will play a bunch of songs you don’t recognise on acoustic guitars and you will still leave thinking they are the greatest band even though you can’t quite describe why. 11. That there are heaps of kids at this gig, and of-course, heaps of parent-aged punters (and musicians). That this makes you feel pretty alright, really.
Scan this QR Code with your smartphone to see Pelican’s Perth music playlist on Spotify, if you’re into that sort of thing!
GEEK LYFE IN PERTH: Swancon 2013 Picture by David Arnold
by Liam Dixon I unapologetically love nerd shit, I really do. I love books, video games, board games, sci-fi, role playing games; all that stuff. On the other hand, the culture is a mixed bag. This fact was reinforced when I attended Swancon, one of Perth’s annual cult rituals before the gods of fanaticism. Conventions take place over a large space, with lots of stuff going on at any given time. Swancon involved panel discussions, board and video gaming areas, art displays, a trading room and probably more that I missed. Panels were the drawing card for me because they gave the opportunity to hear guest authors John Birmingam, Gail Simone, Lucy Sussex and Charles Stross. Panels can be about just about anything, though there’ll inevitably be some about the authors’ work and the subjects they write on. How good a panel is then depends a lot on how engaging the author and other participants are as speakers and discussants. This is, as I discovered, by no means guaranteed despite how much you may love their work. It also, perhaps surprisingly, depends on the audience. My main qualm with conventions is unfortunately with the people who attend them. Everyone likes Things. Some people like Things quite a lot. Some people are totally obsessed with Things. This isn’t a problem in itself. The real issue is when the obsessed person doesn’t have strong social skills and assumes everyone is interested in hearing about it. These people were the audiences of the panels I wanted to listen to. Why do they think it is appropriate to interrupt the people we all came here to listen to tell us about that tangentially related thing they like? I do not know, but this happened multiple times, at every single panel I attended. This annoyed me a lot, but I’m not advocating bombarding the site out of orbit - there’s definitely value in the event, I’m just a little sad a minority of the attendees detract from it and that it’s engrained in the culture that this is ok. On the other hand, if they want someone they idolize to know they exist perhaps, we can empathize. Surely there are less obnoxious avenues, though. It may be that this issue is why we’re more likely to see Margret Atwood and China Miéville at events like the recent Perth Writer’s
Festival. It’s also interesting to note WA resident Greg Egan, another world-renowned sci-fi author, never attends conventions for apparently related reasons.
My Little Pony/Battlestar Galactica mashup Panels aren’t everything though; there’s a trading room that included some fairly aggressive hawkers. Did you know that if you make anything steampunk people will buy it even if it’s shit? Fact. You also get to watch people wear crazy costumes of a range of qualities, which oscillate between impressive, Steampunk Borg (actually pretty cool, for realz), the amusing, a My Little Pony/ Battlestar Galactica mashup, and the slightly creepy: a fully body Pony/Dr Who(oves) costume. On that subject, what is the deal with these My Little Pony obsessed people? I love Adventure Time but don’t feel the need to be crazy about it constantly. On the other hand, their antics are funny and it doesn’t hurt anyone; conventions do give people the opportunity to be nuts about their interest in a place where they won’t be judged too hard (except by me, apparently?). What I really got out of attending was the opportunity to see authors as human beings.
You may know the feeling: ‘how could I ever produce something like this? This person must be superhuman!’ Turns out: nope! Completely normal people. Often, some of the most normal people in the room. They’ve probably just had a lot of practice, are of at least reasonable intelligence, some talent for writing, and get paid to spend their time thinking about stuff to write about. Well, most of them at least. Seeing China Mieville at the Writer’s Festival was deeply emasculating because the man is a Greek god-like tower of muscles and brilliance. This brings us to other cons and festivals in Perth. I didn’t hit up Comicon this year, but heard it was pretty good. though completely overcrowded and, while entry was cheap, all interaction with guests cost extra. Ghengiscon is another gaming/sci-fi convention, but cheap and student run. If you like the animes I’ve heard pretty good things about Wai-con, and finally Supernova always seems to attract big crowds and is coming up in June. In the end, I guess we live in a small isolated town, and this means all the niche interest groups have lower populations, making them tend towards being insular and cliquey. You can find people who like the same stuff as you without too much trouble, but finding ones you like and avoiding the ones you don’t can be a bit harder.
The 2007 San Francisco WrestleFest fan convention descended into chaos after the bodyguard of Leland Chapman (from Dog the Bounty Hunter) knocked out wrestling legend Don Frye- unprovoked- before running away. Bar queues were also “horrible.”
PERTH ON TUMBLR by Darcie Boelen In celebration of this wonderful, colourful city of ours, here is a small collection of tumblr blogs run by and for the people of Perth, Western Australia. These might not be your cup of tea, but they might also be something new and interesting, and it might be worth looking at your city from a new perspective. • Perth Music [Perth-music.tumblr.com] A simple but useful blog which archives songs from local bands. It is a fantastic source for tunes you might not find on Youtube or SoundCloud, and also to find out where the best gigs are around town. • The National Trust of Australia (WA) [Nationaltrustwa.tumblr.com] A very educational blog run by a communitybased heritage organisation which aims to conserve WA’s natural, Aboriginal and historic heritage. A great site for anyone
interested in the history of WA, or finding new places to explore. • Perth Urban Exploring [Urbexperth.tumblr. com] A wealth of information on abandoned buildings in Perth and surrounds, and includes a list of great locations where both budding and experienced explorers can go. It’s very up to date and has a great gallery, and you can also ask questions if you have any uncertainties or need a hand to get started. • Fuck Perth [Fuckperth.tumblr.com] A place where the tumblr-users of our fine city go to express their distaste about the Sunday Times, Colin Barnett, Armadale and Vee. Not a bad blog to follow for a bit of a laugh, as long as you don’t take yourself (or your city) too seriously.
• Old Perth [Oldperth.tumblr.com] A blog which posts historical images and artifacts of Perth, and has a fantastic collection of photographs from the past century of various places and events in and around Perth. You can find great gems and get a glimpse at how the world was. • Perth Street Life [Perthstreetlife.tumblr.com] A place to see what’s been happening out and about in the wonderful city of Perth. As the blog itself proclaims, WA is the centre of originality and creativity because it is so far from the rest of the universe, and this blog celebrates that uniqueness. • Perth Street Art [Perthstreetart.tumblr.com] A blog which has been running since 2003, archiving all the best (and worst) of Perth street art. A great site to check out the artistic side of our city from the comfort of your own home, and also to submit photographs you’ve taken.
A GUIDE TO PERTH GANGS by Marnie Allen Nangaz: Nangaz is the founding and only member of his one-man gang. Nangaz’ activities involve insulting beach goers at South Beach and sleeping under a barbeque. If anyone knows anything about Nangaz’ whereabouts please call the Missing Persons Unit. Hash House Harriers: Bicton Division- These legging clad inebriates storm through the otherwise peaceful Bicton riverside, chanting and cat-calling, and provoking teenagers while on their group ‘jogs’. The HHH can be found all over the world, but the Bicton division bring infamy to the sports organization for their aggressive
brand of what locals are calling ‘fitness terrorism’. Parkour Pica Pals: The PPP spend their days making passers by cringe as they perform underwhelming urban stunts in the cultural centre. They have been known to have turf wars with the Planking Pica Pals, who disbanded when they learnt that planking was blasphemous. They aren’t to be confused with the Pica Sufferers Association of Perth; if you’re experiencing problems with consuming inedible matter like cement, sand and grass, get in contact with them immediately. Transit guard boiz: A corrupted branch of the South Coast
Transit guard office, these guys cut deals with fare evaders. By infiltrating the SCT, dozens of criminals save up to $37 per week on public transport fares. Now we know why the fares keep increasing. Transperth is rotten from the inside. Yummy Mummies: This all-female gang’s turf is the Golden Triangle. They can be seen driving around recklessly in their matching silver land rovers, intimidating people in Claremont coffee shops, getting their anuses bleached, and doing drive-bys at local private schools with cricket bats and other weapons in their boot. The gang has a thriving insider trade system of prescription medications, husbands and diet tips.
PERTH FOODZ While Rob Broadfield is busy skipping the preposterous queue for Jamie’s Italian, Pelican readers tell you the best places to chow down in P-Town. Best raw seafood source: Seafresh in Innaloo. they have the freshest sea food (as the name suggests) and also the best sushi rolls and they sell slabs of unagi. My mum only ever buys from there - she is the daughter of a fisherman so obviously only the freshest seafood will suffice. EO Novembar in Dianella, best burger patties in Perth and the only place where you can indulge in Man vs. Food challenges. KC Best kebabs: Ararats. SV Maccas beats all other fast food on quality - the “Made For You” policy means you don’t get a microwaved 5 hour-old burger. Maccas also allows you to do stupid things like order 20 pickles, or a cheeseburger with no pattie but with fries in it. However, HJ’s breakie goes til
11am as opposed to 10.30am, and their bacon and egg muffins are like 20 cents cheaper. And those cheap-ass Fro-Cokes. In terms of chicken, KFC rarely delivers on quality, and despite having wicked potato and gravy, Red Rooster is the way to go (even though one feels conflicted, considering Chicken Treat is a WA brand whereas R.Rooster is Australia-wide) . LA El Compa - best authentic Mexican and cheap. MD
Mrs. Brown’s in North Freo letting you bring flipside burgers in the bar is just the greatest . RP Coffee with a twist! TLC The Little Concept serves coffee, chai and chocolate. SKL Man that pizza place Little Caesars in leederville is so good! AG
Little Willy’s - best coffee. MD
The monk brewery and kitchen: best beers in perth and on Sunday they do paella on the front decking for all to see. JP
Siam Kitchen at Freo Upmarket, best Tom Yum soup and Pad Thai. MA
Veggie Mama in Mt Lawley. Try the coconut salad and corn tofu patties. MA
Jean Pierre Sancho on hay street does the best French baguettes and macarons, and you can get proper French food and a drink for just $10. Winning. NW
That burger place just outside The Deen is amaze-balls. CJ Best breakfast: Kinky Lizard. And not just because of the name. EO
Little creatures’ pizzas are pretty amazing. NW Jolimont McDonald’s. AM (Jean Pierre Sancho’s) pastries omg. Butter on my butter. EO
PELICAN’S PERTH DRINKING GAME by Alex Griffin Alright; the rules are very simple, in that the game never starts or ends. Like a Mobius band or a Hangover sequel, you can try and escape the looping, circular meaningless of the thing, but you’ll never escape. My advice (Ed- Pelican does not endorse this: I am taking my editor hat off and putting on my revelry fez) is, as it is on most questions, the foam dome. Stick some cans upside your head and have a suck up and down William St. Legality be casually ignored! Considering how out of control Perth’s shameful drinking culture is (see Today Tonight Wednesday for more), you’ll pretty much be hiding in plain sight- I mean, they can’t arrest everybody, can they? Complaint about Perth Arena: I don’t care what you drink as long as you’re drinking it from something impractically shaped; a hula hoop, for example. St George’s Terrace blows your hair out of wack because it is a goddamn wind tunnel: some kind of vodka that sounds windswept- Finlandia?
The word ‘superTAFE’ is used in a discussion about the relative merits of Perth universities: Dom Perignon Bob Hawke’s youthful alcoholism is toted as a reason to attend UWA: yardglass Each time The West features an article about ‘Our Jessica Marais’: Cosmopolitans all round, ladies “The coffee here is awful”: Bring whatever you’re drinking to a boil and offer it to the person on your left. Tell them it’s a latte Someone starts on a complaint about merging, and others in the room nod feverishly in agreement (even those without their licenses): probably quicker to just call the ambulance on that one A band you like skips Perth on their national tour: leave a Strongbow on your porch and put on their worst album Barnett rejects Gillard’s policy on X: neck a red
cruiser and smash the bottle Dunsborough is suggested as a holiday: you have thirty minutes to get through a case of Emu Export GO Sunday Times article that makes a reference to ‘our kids’: very very very tiny shots
DNA tower is touted as an actual attraction: a shot for every step on Jacob’s ladder while ascending (sorry) Dude in a black buttonup shirt takes a leak in the Urban Orchard at 1am: someone pours a Jaegerbomb into your mouth from a great height Rick Ardon: pour a very stiff drink Every time you remember Rove McManus: Hold up a mystery drink a friend mixes while you’re in another room. Hold it up to your face while holding your nose and pronounce “Whaaaat’s Thaaatt?” before swallowing it all at once- have the ambulance on standby for this as well
Picture by Lauren Wiszniewski
CULTURE REVIEWS Fireman Sam Roadshow Entertainment Mason Rothwell
Making Couples Happy Roadshow Entertainment Natasha Woodcock
If you’re after a deeply subversive and devilishly innovative television series that takes the conventions of the children’s genre and throws them out the window, then look no further than Fireman Sam: Mountain Rescue. Straight from the get-go, Fireman Sam allows a brief insight into how it will play with gender roles, racism, and the uncertainty of life in the 21st century. When Sam’s partner, Firefighter Penny Morris, is the one to assist Sam in the rescue of a lamb from the top of an ice cream van, the depth of animation and voice-acting carve out a tension between the genders that refuses to back down from the pressure to stick to the status quo.
After consuming overly cute romance films and books, have you ever wondered what happens to the couples after their ‘happy ending’? Well Making Couples Happy gives a no bullshit brutal honesty into what arises when that idealist bubble bursts and reality comes smashing down on the walls of your relationship.
Of course, Fireman Sam is keenly aware of its position with the conservative ABC, and deftly refuses to raise its socially progressive agenda past a simmer into anything overt. The undercurrents, however, are strongly felt throughout the entire program thanks to the lead’s three-dimensional portrayal, as through Sam, one gets the impression of a man desperately attempting to accept his privilege and stay relevant as a straight white male. As Firefighters Sam and Penny clash with their elderly peers, one gets a powerful message that the free-thinking of the new generation is here to stay.
But in all seriousness, this program is more heart-warming than a Nicholas Spark romance: not only are these people REAL, but it exposes their raw emotions and the struggles of feeling like a failure in yourself, not just in your relationship. I learnt more about how to find a happy ending from this show than any delusional film about love, so take note Sparks.
Ni No Kuni Bandai Namco PS3 Cameron Moyses
Goblet Grotto Independent PC/Mac David Crawley
If you’re a fan of JRPG’s, you should own this game. No excuse. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch excels at everything a good JRPG should excel at; that is, it has a tight battle system, amazing graphics and an engaging story. Combat is akin to the battle system from Pokemon, which works extremely well. Even after hours of grinding and training up my Familiers, I still loved getting into a brawl. The graphics are also phenomenal. Traversing this world feels more like walking through a living, breathing anime.
This is last year’s best freeware game. You play as a swamp toad who must collect goblets in a world of underground ziggurats and indescribable filth dimensions. The game’s graphics juxtapose murky, featureless Sega Saturn-era polygonal environments with oddly beautiful scanned paper illustrations from artist J. Chastain. It’s a pretty haunting effect, once you get used to it.
Walking through this vibrant yet grounded world really is an amazing experience. Unfortunately, it’s the story that feels lets this whole package down. Stop me if you’ve seen it before; it’s about a guy, who gets magically transported to another world, with monsters and fairies who for some reason speak fluent English, and through his power he has to recruit a gang and save the world. That said, those who are experts at the genre will enjoy the way the story plays out. Level-5 has perfected the art of crafting JRPG’s for fans of the genre and newcomers looking for a new experience alike.
The four part series follows the lives of four married couples who are all on the brink of breaking their vows, but with the help of scientifically proven challenges, their marriage can be saved in just eight weeks. They have to face their biggest hurdles to their happiness: no intimacy, lack of communication, and time management (too much work, not enough play). The problems are pretty deep and difficult, as one woman communicated so bluntly to her husband: sex is not intimacy… and I hear your cries: “WHAT IS INTIMACY THEN?!”
Your character speaks to you in it’s own inhuman glyph language, a partial glossary of which is included in the beefy accompanying game manual (cross-referenced several times in the game itself). There are hundreds of characters to talk to and then murder for the precious meat they are constructed out of, spread over dozens of game worlds. You can pray and sleep and gorge yourself on meat but this will only delay your character’s inevitable slide into either death or clinical depression. Also, the writing is probably the funniest in any game ever. This is a difficult game to describe and I have barely scratched the surface of what it has to offer; in fact, what impressed me most about it was its scope. It’s certainly not for everyone, but it’s free and good, and if you like quests or goblets it is vital that you check it out.
font-based graphic designer named ‘Bez’. Includes lanterns to hang in alleyway. Will trade for complete set of Gyroscope CDs. Benjamin. email@example.com
FOR SALE Woodblock prints of bus seat graffiti found on the 98 route. Including initials, sexual diagrams, pledges of romantic loyalty, some phone numbers. Various sizes available, call for quote. 0410 925 475 1 set personalised number plates. Hot pink, high contrast embossed laminate. “MIDLAND1” $250 ONO. Trades accepted, esp. for “ROCKOBOY” Hip-hop modded bumper stickers (‘Twerking Hard, or Hardly Twerking!’, ‘my other ride is Beyonce’). pantspantsrevolution@ yahoo.com Culture in a box! Folds out to a skate park, small bar license and
MISSED CONNECTIONS We locked eyes across the room at Mojos. You were blonde and drinking a White Russian, I was wearing corduroy pants and an Aerosmith t-shirt. I wanted you to walk this way. toysintheattic@ hotmail.com At Mexicana, you were trying to get thrown out in the fastest way possible. I had bad eczema. I’ve never seen someone try and very quickly fail to skullbang a security guard before, but I want to again. firstname.lastname@example.org You had a brown bob, green toucan dress and a lazy eye. I fell in a bathtub and you laughed while a drunk man vomited onto me.. 0420219352
Peppermint Grove council needs garbagemen. Must have a firm grounding in the works of Puccini, be ready to recite Lysistrata to ratepayers on request. 9286 8600
Hot naked mass of flesh. Constantly boiling on a stove. French blowjobs, no texting. 0499913912
Need actresses for Tame Impala fanfiction porno ‘Bonerism’. BYO headdresses. 0412534252 MISSING Witty, insightful satirical charity newspaper. Last seen 2009, flapping around Oak Lawn. Return to UWA Student Guild, no questions asked. Reward offered. The Bell Tower doesn’t have a urinal: oh my god why doesn’t it have a urinal. The line is so long. Please send a urinal. The elevator is broken. 64882145 PERSONALS
Relatively young outer-suburbs girl seeks connection. To anywhere, really. Don’t cancel plans. Call: Ellen Brook, 1300 655 506. BIRTHS Mr and Mrs Quay wish to announce the birth of a beautiful, unfinished daughter, Elizabeth. Despite being a bit big, she’s bound to stop traffic. 53t634kg DEATHS The brightest of lights, you will always be remembered, but never forgotten; We love you Metronet. Love, Pelican.
Discreet Busselton MP seeks living female who signs non-disclosure
WHOSE STORYLINES IS IT ANYWAY? Young Adult for Straight-Up Adults by Brooke Jackson It’s a cliché to say that young adult fiction isn’t just for teens anymore, but it’s true. And thanks to the international success of novels such as The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and, dare I shamefully say it, the Twilight series, there’s no wonder YA fiction is fast becoming a growing publishing category in its own right. Often typecast as angsty, coming-of-age stories, YA literature explores more than just issues of sexuality, identity, friendship and familial struggles, but also iconic tales of diversity and sociocultural battles. I readily admit I enjoy the occasional YA fiction read, which is why in March I attended the Storylines Literature Festival, All Saints College’s annual celebration of young adult and children’s literature. I jumped at the chance to sit down and have a chat with Brenton E McKenna and Kate Constable, two extraordinary YA authors, each with a great passion for YA fiction storytelling, examining archetypes, and honestly portraying social issues.
An Indigenous artist and writer, Brenton E McKenna’s passion for storytelling and illustration stemmed from growing up in Broome. Enveloped by supportive family members and being “constantly surrounded by good people and a good atmosphere”, McKenna immersed himself in comics and cartoons where dragons, demons and obscure mythological creatures ruled his imagination. Nurturing his creativity, he studied Visual Arts at Goulburn TAFE, and has now teamed up with Magabala Books to publish his first graphic novel, Ubby’s Underdogs: The Legend of the Phoenix Dragon. Set in Broome during the 1940’s, the story follows Ubby, a young, tenacious, street-wise Aboriginal girl who is leader of a rag-tag gang, “The Underdogs”. When the gang is introduced to a newly arrived girl from Shanghai, Ubby finds herself and her band of cultural misfits on a rambling adventure, battling whimsical creatures and uncovering ancient secrets and legends. Heavily influenced by his Malay and Aboriginal heritage, McKenna’s vivid tale has all the redeeming features of a graphic novel – enchanting characters, dynamic action sequences, and a brilliant combination of narrative, speech, sound and illustration.
picture by Marnie Allen
Reflecting on his personal and familial understanding, McKenna’s melting pot of characters cleverly conveys ideas of racism, multiculturalism and existence within a culturally diverse society. His transcendent drawings and inventive dialogue engage readers to think critically.
Honouring his own cultural identity, McKenna says the character of Ubby is largely based on his grandmother. “Even though the character is fictional, a lot of it is based on what I’ve heard of my Nan. I always think, am I getting carried away with this character? But then I hear stories from my Mum, and from my uncles and a lot of other family saying no, she’s quite accurate to what my Nan was like.”
Kate Constable’s inspiration for storytelling came from authors she read while growing up in Papua New Guinea. “There was a wonderful library in Mt Hagen (in PNG) stocked with Noel Streatfeild, E. Nesbit, Lucy M. Boston and Elizabeth Goudge. Their clear and magical storytelling remains a source of delight”, she says. “I always had my nose in a book and I was always scribbling stories so I think I’ve always been a writer”, humbly says Constable, whose novel Crow Country, won a 2012 Children’s Book Council of Australia Award. Her latest book, New Guinea Moon, sees sixteen-year-old Julie on her first overseas adventure to visit her estranged father in PNG’s lush highlands. You don’t have to be an adolescent to understand and empathise with her - anyone who has either travelled to an unfamiliar country before, or found themselves plonked in an awkward social situation can relate. Inspired by her own upbringing in PNG, New Guinea Moon is both a personal and prolific achievement for Constable. “I knew I wanted to write about that time and I had all these memories”, she says. “There’s not that much written (about expatriates in PNG), and certainly not for young people. It’s a beautiful country. The people are beautiful and amazing.” Constable says her novel is not a memoir, but a chance for her to ask the pivotal questions she couldn’t when she was a young girl. “I was quite a bit younger than Julie. She is 16 and I was only 11 when we left to come back to Australia. I wanted to make her a bit older because when you’re a kid, there are lots of things you don’t question. We lived a very segregated life and you didn’t mix with the local population at all and there were things that I just took for granted at the time. I wanted to make Julie a bit older so she could have more of a consciousness, so she could answer the questions I couldn’t answer when I was 11, but I guess I’m asking now”. Embracing YA fiction as another reading category doesn’t mean letting go of your maturity. There’s still variety, action, quality narrative and structure and as big kids, we bring our own enhanced context to the subject matter, which can still very much shape the way we think. Reading YA simply means you are comfortable learning about the world from another point of view. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
GO ASK ALICE: CATCHING UP WITH ALICE PUNG Amy Tan called her voice “the real thing”. Helen Garner said there was “something striking on every page” of her first novel. Her achievements are formidable - at 32, she’s a regular contributor to the Monthly, the author of two acclaimed memoirs, editor of Growing Up Asian in Australia, and a fully qualified solicitor. In person, though, the same frank humour that characterises her writing runs through her conversation - she talks politics, she commiserates with another author over lycra bike gear, she walks me to the bus stop. In her second year of arts/law, Alice took a creative writing unit. That single unit - she was a politics major - lead to continued publication in Meanjin and a charmed publishing process. “This wonderful editor from Black Inc. gave me a call out of the blue - I’d never heard of them - and he said, ‘I’ve read one of your stories in a magazine called Meanjin and I really like it - is it part of a book?’ Of course, it wasn’t. I said, ‘…Yeah. I’ll give you the first three chapters soon.’” A flurry of chapters followed over the next couple of years. “Most people think you have to write a book and get it together. They don’t realise most editors go home and they’re tired, they’re not going to read something that’s thick - they might pick up New Idea or a journal, and that’s how your work gets read.” Those chapters lead to her acclaimed debut, Unpolished Gem. The title refers to a devastating Cambodian proverb: while a girl is easily dirtied, like cotton wool, a boy is like a gem, shining more and more with polish. “If you’re writing about masculinity you’re writing about femininity, or how the community perceives being a woman,” she says. The book, which centres on the women in her family, confronts unflinchingly “the voicelessness of being a migrant woman”: “how lonely it was to be silent, and not be able to pick up a newspaper and read, to have to rely on your kids’ school readers to practice”. Although Alice never had a specific readership in mind when she began the work - “When you write your first book…you’re writing for someone like yourself” - recent migrants have proved to be a “lovely unintended audience”. School students, too, have taken to the work with gusto. Though her work is not strictly for young adults - her second memoir, Her Father’s Daughter, is concerned with her graduate years and her father’s experiences in Pol Pot’s Cambodia - Unpolished Gem has been adopted as a school text across the country. Alongside
writing and research work in the public sector, Alice devotes three days a week to speaking tours. You can see the playful analogies she’d use in education emerge in conversation - she describes the structure of Her Father’s Daughter as “like when you pull out the plug and there’s a whirlpool”, and her editing process as like “taking [a book] to Weightwatchers”. Her first novel, currently in the works, was not prompted by one of these presentations, but rather meeting a young school student while researching for the Monthly. “I wanted to explore gifted education and then I realised that she might not have been gifted - she was very smart, but her parents had sent her to tutoring companies since she was five years old, so she was trained to be this way. And then I followed her - round every few weeks or few months I’d meet up with her for six months and really lived the life of a sixteen year old - knew what interested her, what other things happened,” she says. “From that, I thought, I liked hanging around this girl, maybe I’ll do more of it by writing about this age.” Alice, too, faced enormous pressure growing up. In Unpolished Gem she writes unflinchingly about caring for younger siblings (and one terrifying near-accident), meeting familial standards, and the “mask” an adolescent with depression has to wear. “Being the oldest, you’re always get the brunt of your parents testing the boundaries,” she says, laughing. Although her parents have eased up over time, she was still nervous about showing her drafts to her parents (“Having a boyfriend, going overseas - that kind of thing.”) Thankfully, “They were very proud. They were ok - if my dad had strongly objected to anything, I think he would have told me before it went to print.” “I did think about writing about my father way before Unpolished Gem,” Alice says.
“When I was seventeen I interviewed my father for a school assignment, and I thought, ‘Woah, Dad’s gone through a genocide! This is the stuff books are made of!’ I wrote this all down, and I kept it. I tried to go back and rewrite it for a creative writing assignment when I was at uni, but I was only nineteen years old - I didn’t have wisdom or anything, and the stories didn’t sound like they worked, you know?” With that in mind, she says one of the most valuable things a young author has is that distinctive adolescent voice: “Writing, to me, is about knowing yourself, knowing characters. The most insightful work I’ve read by young adults are the ones where they do write about people similar to themselves, and that’s a voice you don’t always have. They don’t realise how precious it is, hey.”
picture by Marnie Allen
by Zoe Kilbourn
I’D RATHER BE A GUMNUT BABY THAN LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD: How May Gibbs’ Snugglepot and Cuddlepie Made Me Appreciate the Western Australian Bushland by Alexandra Leonzini There is nothing more terrifying than the Banksia Men of May Gibbs’ Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. Trying to explain this to nonAustralians is, of course, an impossibility. What do they know of gumnut babies and anthropomorphic Australian flora? Nothing is your answer - nothing at all. But I, and I assume many Australians, grew up listening to their parents read aloud the varied adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, terrified of the illustrations depicting Little Ragged Blossom being carried away by the evil Banksia Man. I first understood the concept of loneliness when reading the story of Little Obelia and saw her sitting all alone and unloved in the rain. I longed for a little skirt made of eucalyptus flowers and a gumnut hat. The adventures
of the gumnut babies made me want to run through the Australian bush and befriend koalas, avoid snake holes and find tiny humans with hats of wattle flowers. In short, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie made me appreciate the beauty and wonder of the Australian bush. Unlike the far away forests of Grimm’s fairy tales, full of witches and wolves, these stories were accessible and magical - out the door and down the road. Gibbs is certainly an under appreciated Western Australian author, and this is mainly because people don’t consider her to be a Western Australian author at all.
We can claim Gibbs. She may not have actually written her stories in Perth, having moved to Sydney after art school in England, but the flora and fauna of Western Australia were in her heart and in her mind. That’s good enough for me. You might think this is a bit like Australians claiming Russell Crowe as their own after he won the best actor Oscar, but I don’t really care. Gibbs was a legend who shaped my childhood and who, as far as I’m aware, never threw a phone at a hotel worker. She is a Western Australian author and legend, and that’s the end of the matter.
If, like me, you occasionally take the bus from the Esplanade to Wellington street, you will see out your window two little bronze statues of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie as you pass Council House. The presence of these statues is justified by Gibbs having moved to Perth when she was 10. The inscription reads: “The Gumnut babies were created from her memories of Western Australia’s flowers, to encourage children to love the Australian bush.”
Even now, as a 24-year-old university graduate, I still put the cap of a eucalypt bud on the top of my finger, draw a smiley face on the pad and pretend it’s a little person. It makes me happy, taking me back to my childhood when I still thought fairies lived at the bottom of my garden. For that, I thank May Gibbs and her gumnut babies.
s y a d 0 5 in s l a e d 0 5 @
DAY Y R E V E L A E D A NEW
Huge savings big brands * Terms and conditions apply. See in-store for details.
don’t miss out!
FOUR WA WRITERS THAT AREN’T TIM WINTON Randolph Stow Randolph Stow was a dude. His charismatic power begins with what is surely the most alluring name in Australian fiction, and extends to his famously silent and reclusive nature. Some Western Australian novels, no matter how delicate their prose, produce such an intense cultural cringe within the local reader that they become painful to read. (There is only so much talk of jetties and fish and chips on the Swan River that I can take, sorry Tim.) Not so with Stow. His writing is littered with references a UWA student would recognise –the man himself studied and taught here. There is also plenty of antiquated, World War II-era Australian slang. Yet these references prove comforting rather than cringe-worthy, and are at times enchantingly nostalgic. Stow describes the landscapes around Geraldton in such a calming way that I once read a chapter of The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea to abate some pre-date nerves.
about pew-pew-space-lasers that is at best only figuratively relevant to our own world. This approach creates a highly engaging works that are sometimes tough going because of their comparatively rigorous and thorough style, and you come out the other side feeling smarter, but in awe of Egan’s creativity and intelligence. Pick up either one of his compilations of short stories for a short, sharp bombardment of ideas or his novels if you’d prefer the barrage to be spaced out with more character development and world-building. Liam Dixon
Elizabeth Jolley Between Capricornia, The Shiralee and Remembering Babylon, there’s a heap of gr8 Australian novels that deal with family, isolation and intrusion in the outback, but I reckon none of them possess the deft, dim horror of Elizabeth Jolley’s The Well. Lonely and ageing on a farm well out of town with her dying father, Hester adopts Katherine, a pretty, flighty orphan, who she quickly grows obsessed with. As Hester spoils her new companion, the two form an extremely insular bond; that is, until a body winds up in their well, courtesy Katherine’s late-night driving (eyes on the road, kids!).
Kat Gillespie Greg Egan
Reading Egan compares to typical science fiction as historical fiction compares to swords-and-sorcery. When you read his work it feels like an exciting look into the, at least semi-plausible, future - as opposed to a book
SPM brings to life a Perth that I have lived in, not just the miningfuck-shitfest that turns up in the papers everyday. Yes, I remember that specific feeling of walking past Hyde Park, going to the train station buoyed by stupid infatuation, and enjoying the shape, the angles, the particularity of someone else under the covers. The river, the freeway, those pelicans. All the more, Mitchell writes with enough self-awareness to be cleverer than you, and enough intimacy to make me wish the slinky always looked like this. Connor Weightman
Stow’s work, although uniquely West Australian, was never fully embraced here. In fact, he spent the last 40 years of his life in England. I’d like to call for a posthumous embrace of Randolph. The man certainly deserves a longer Wikipedia entry, not to mention his poetry and novels being re-printed and much more widely read.
Greg Egan writes science fiction, but probably not the kind you’re thinking of. Many of his stories read as philosophical thoughtexperiments put into fiction, and others use, for the most part, hard science concepts to explore what aspects the near future might plausibly look like. This can involve the ethical and economic dilemmas that will emerge from developing technologies, or looking at the practical applications of the ability to manipulate parts of physics and biology we have a partial understanding of, but cannot yet use for our own purposes.
(2010) and a few chapbooks like last years The Rutting Season (Mulla Mulla Press).
Scott-Patrick Mitchell Such is Perth. Vaguely linked circles wind tightly into each other until they are basically indistinguishable; the whole thing resembles a fucking slinky, and hearsay travels right through the middle of it. Six degrees are laughable, and you probably know someone who knows someone. Here’s a disclaimer: I don’t personally know this writer, but I probably know people who do. Scott-Patrick Mitchell (I always get this hyphen wrong) is a performance poet – he reads with an arcing voice, words bending on oddly inflected, articulated, exaggerated syllables, crescendoing and collapsing. But it’s from his published work, the stuff written down, that I take the most away, including a hefty contribution to Fremantle Press New Poets
In Hester’s increasingly desperate struggle to control the restless Katherine and keep the dead man a secret, Jolley’s main themes of deceit, fear and loneliness come to jarring life. She knew a thing or two about being trapped in a lie; having escaped from her dysfunctional family into an affair with a close friend’s husband, she carried on a double life under a new name for the fifty years that she lived, taught and wrote in Perth. These muddled circumstances energized her talent (she writes in completely detailed and gorgeous Woolf-like waves, man; it’s a web of stress) and her gift for empathy with insights into the squalid sides of human nature. If you’re interested in how people very silently tear one another apart, The Well is essential reading. Alex Griffin
Tim Winton was one of thousands of young creative writers that Elizabeth Jolley taught at Curtin, so she has to take some of the blame for that.
Experiences that mean the world The Melbourne JD Law degree
What would you like to achieve?
Renan Grace UWA graduate and exchange student at Pennsylvania State University and University College London
Studying overseas can be your ticket to a world of brilliant career opportunities. By undertaking an overseas study experience, you can continue to earn credit towards your UWA degree while you immerse yourself in other cultures and have the time of your life. Whether youâ€™re a local or international student, just starting or part way through your degree, youâ€™re encouraged to apply now for an exchange in 2014. Applications for exchange in the first semester of 2014 close on 6 June 2013. Those wishing to begin their exchange in the second semester of 2014 must apply by 7 December 2013. Start planning your amazing overseas study experience today at studyat.uwa.edu.au/study-abroad-and-exchange
BC+Y UNWG1171 CRICOS Provider Code 00126G
His UWA courses involved study in three continents.