LIVING AWAY FROM HOME? FOUR VIDEOS TO HELP YOU LEARN ABOUT SEXUAL HEALTH IN AUSTRALIA
HEALTH SERVICE COSTS
IMPORTANCE OF SAFE SEX
SAFE S TAY
Watch the videos healthywa.wa.gov.au/internationalstudents 2
SEX AND THE LAW
OGM JOIN US FOR THE
THE GUILD’S ORDINARY GENERAL MEETING SEMESTER 1, 2018
TUESDAY 27 MARCH // 1PM – 2PM WILSMORE LECTURE THEATRE
All Guild Members are invited to attend the Semester#1 OGM. Motions must be received by Tuesday 13 March by the Guild Secretary, Jacob Fowler. Please email Motions to firstname.lastname@example.org and CC in email@example.com. Agenda will be published for review on Tuesday 20 March. 3
contents Pelican 2018 Volume 89 SLOW
BOOLADARLUNG - Pelican The Pelican team acknowledges that the UWA campus is located on the lands of the Whadjuk and Minang people of the Noongar Nation, who are the original storytellers and spiritual and cultural custodians of their land. This was stolen and never ceded. Weâ€™d like to especially thank Len Collard from the School of Indigenous Studies for sharing the Noongar word for Pelican with us, booladarlung, which will appear on the cover of all issues of Pelican this year.
06| CONTRIBUTORS 08| EDITORIAL | Katie + Josh 08| PRESITORIAL | Megan Lee 10| REAL CAMPUS NEWS | Hugh Hutchison 12| UWA BINGO 13| MORNING THOUGHTS | Hannah Bardsley 14| THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE | Shakira Donovan 16| I STILL REMEMBER HOW THE DISTANCE TRICKED US | Bridget Rumball 18| SEVEN PITCHES FOR BLACK MIRROR EPISODES THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR CHARLIE BROOKER BLOCKING ME ON TWITTER | Hugh Hutchison 20| THE SLOW RISE OF A FEMALE COMEDIAN | Ishita Mathur 22| THE LIFE-SAVING POWERS OF CROCHET | Leah Vlatko 24| A NEW WAVE OF LGBT+ ACTIVISM | Ishita Mathur 26| NOTE TO SELF | Sophie Blades 27| SLOW LIVING | Caroline Stafford 28| KATIJIN AT UWA | Patrick Morrison 30| BLACK HISTORY MONTH | Ishita Mathur 32| SCIENCE VS SHARKS | James Dingley 34| PERFECTING THE ART OF THE SLOW READ | Elaenor Neild 36| TOP DOG AT UWA LAW SCHOOL | Michael Smith 38| THE TRUE COST OF CLOSURE | Thomas Wimmler 39| LETTERS TO FRESHERS 40| CASTILIAN SCENE/THE MOUNTAINS RUSH FOR NO ONE/WONâ€™T SOMEONE THINK OF THE MEN? 41| TWO POEMS | Katie Bennett 42| SPEED DATING | Bridget Rumball 46| NOT THE BAREFOOT INVESTOR | Luke Clarkson 47| FASHION ADVICE YOUR MOTHER WOULD BE PROUD OF | Susie Charkey + Frances Harvey 48| FASHION WEEK IS COMING | Frances Harvey 50| ICONIC USES OF SLOW MOTION IN FILM | Cindy Shi 52| WALKS | Maduvanthi Venkatesan 54| WORDS WITH WARWICK THORNTON | Finnian Williamson 56| DYNAMIC | Jordan Murray 58| BREAKFAST MUSIC | Sophie Minnisale 60| THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS MY FRIEND | Cormac Power 62| THE TOP TENS WE SHOULD BE STRIVING FOR | Amy Thomasson 64| LOVE LETTERS ZINE
The University of Western Australia acknowledges that its campus is situated on Noongar land, and the Noongar people remain the spiritual and cultural custodians of their land, and continue to practice their values, language, beliefs and knowledge. The views expressed within are not the opinions of the UWA Student Guild or Pelican Editorial Staff, but of the individual writers and artists.
Grace loves animals with human names. If she ever gets a dog, she’ll call it Colin.
Lyn designed this magazine and likes typography.
Katie is from Albany.
Josh is a lover of fun facts and finger guns.
Hugh is a Turkish Soap Opera and bad beer enthusiast. He has no other hobbies.
Hannah used to tell people she was English. Now she just mumbles, which possibly makes her more English.
Shakira is a psychology student and enjoys cuddling cute doggos. She spends an alarming amount of time watching Friends, because she has none of her own.
Bridget is intertwined in a ten-year love affair with the band Muse. Yes, there’s fanfic; no, don’t ask her for it.
Ishita is a writer who is struggling to write. If anyone has tips, let her know.
Sophie is a yoga teacher and law student, in that order. She loves that we all dream under the same sky.
Caroline is from the hills but moved to the golden triangle and thinks the yoghurt there overpriced.
Patrick is a neuroscience and archaeology major. He doesn’t think anything is real.
James is an engineering major who thinks all the world’s problems can be solved with duct tape and WD40. He thinks space mining might be involved too.
Elaenor is a book nerd who believes that you can’t replace a book with a Hollywood movie...but you can replace one with a BBC mini-series.
Michael thinks hummus should be its own food group and is a big fan of ducks.
Thomas enjoys spending time in the West Australian Bush. Somewhere in between foraging for bush tucker and running through it nude; it’s his idyllic lifestyle.
Alec is almost finished with his Arts degree. He enjoys brewing beer and overthinking things
Zenatalla has been on journey of reclaiming herself starting with her name and ending with her mipster feminism.
Asha is an ugly-jumper enthusiast who is reliably late to everything, and spends all her money on poorly-planned travel.
Katie is just as confused about this whole poetry thing as you are, but she loves it anyway. She hopes you do too.
Luke is a pretentious flog who thinks he’s a city boy even though he grew up in rural Western Australia.
Susie is a retrophiliac who uses fashion as an excuse to play ‘dress-ups.’ She writes more than she talks.
Frances is a fashion student with an overwhelming aversion to buying clothes from anywhere but op-shops.
Cindy is an ex-Junior Masterchef auditionee. Yep, that’s it.
Madu is unapologetically obsessed with musicals and hasn’t left her house in eleven years.
Finnian studied film and went to ECU. Make of that what you will.
Jordan is terminally unemployed and willing to work for three different kinds of pomade. He thinks that fifty million Elvis fans can in fact be wrong.
Sophie is a ‘cat lady without the cats.’ Don’t ask her about music unless you don’t have to be anywhere for another 24 hours.
Cormac is an avid tea drinker and a fan of all things related to Communist propaganda. He is aggressively interested in politics.
Amy is known for forming obsessions with weird things which she hopes is endearing but probably isn’t. She also spends an inordinate amount of time on Instagram.
WANNA WRITE FOR PELICAN? We want you to, too. This could be the start of something beautiful. Like us on Facebook, visit our website – pelicanmagazine.com.au, follow us on instagram, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop in for a cuppa. Our office is on the first floor of Guild Village near the Guild Offices. Seeya when we’re looking at ya, we’ve put the kettle on already.
It’s so good to be with you, we have no idea what we are doing. Slow wouldn’t be in your hands without the inspirational work of Lyn Sillitto, our graphic designer. If you’re feeling sad about the world, just know that Lyn exists, this helps us on bad days. You also wouldn’t be reading this without the phenomenal work of our sub-editors, who’ve worked hard over the holidays to get this magazine together. We hope that wherever you’re reading this mag, you’ve got a cuppa and somewhere to put your feet up. If you don’t have a cuppa and somewhere to put your feet up, we hope that metaphorically you have a cuppa and somewhere to put your feet up. If you don’t metaphorically have a cuppa and somewhere to put your feet up,
you’re not the only one. Life, particularly the start of uni, is hectic. It’s a lot. We hope you can take a moment to take a breath, slow right down and check in with yourself during this mad time with this issue. Pelican will be here for you all year – even if you don’t have over a thousand instagram followers, feel like you don’t matter because you don’t have a meeting or a party to go to, don’t know anyone in your tutes and got a fucking awful photo on your student card, we see you and we love you. Not in a weird way, just in a, wow, this is going to be a big year kind of way, would someone put the literal fucking kettle on, the metaphorical one is out of rainwater. Eat ya greens and call your Dad, Josh + Katie
Life is busy. I’m running from one meeting to another, taking notes, working late, going to events, supporting students – there is so much to do and so little time. It’s not an uncommon occurrence for me to feel a bit like revving a car that’s stuck in neutral. Sometimes though, you’ve gotta take a step back. So do as I say kids, not as a do – and take some time out for yourself, enjoy the journey, the destination and all the fun pitstops along the way.
Whether you just need someone to talk to, or you need free, independent and confidential advice on financial and academic concerns, they are there for you.Look after yourselves pals, and I look forward to seeing you along the way.
I’m going to take the opportunity in this first Prezitorial to shamelessly plug the Guild. So when you’re in the mood to feel busy, make sure you’re out there taking every opportunity you can. There are over 180 clubs to join, so many departments and collectives within the Guild and one of the largest array of accredited volunteering opportunities at Guild Volunteering. When you wanna slow down or look after yourself, we’re still here for you too. Student Assist can help you out with anything.
Confused Indian History Enthusiast Shows up to the Wrong Salt March When UWA postgrad anthropology student Mark Withers showed up to an event advertising itself as a ‘SAlt March,’ he was surprised to find it wasn’t at all what he was expecting. “I’d been meaning to learn more about Ghandi,” the befuddled twenty-two year old remarked, “but I can’t say I knew he was so vehemently anti-Trump.” US Exchange Student Perturbed by lack of Toxicity in UWA Campus Hazing “I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed” said the twenty-year old eunuch. Fresher Making Offhand Remark About How Lame it is to Talk About ATAR at Uni Actually Just Really Wants to Talk About His ATAR
real campus news Hugh Hutchison
“It’s just a number, it doesn’t mean anything in the long run. A number like, for example, 98.5.” UWA Announces Winner of Marketing Short Story Competition “Baby degrees for sale; never used.” Enthusiastic First Year Not Yet in the Grip of Soul-Crushing Lethargy “I’m going to go to every lecture!” said the student who will go on to attend six lectures across the course of his entire three-year degree. The Culture’s Much More Toxic in (x) Party’s Uni Branch, Says Uni Branch Member of Political Party (y) “Honestly I’ve heard some awful things about the stuff they get up to in party (y). For people who claim to be (conservatives/ liberals) they don’t act much like (conservatives/liberals) when they get a few drinks down them.”
Former prolific high-school bully wins fresher rep for something
Thoughtful antiunionists just want students to have fun
The VC singlehandedly fixes the gender pay gap with one generous pay rise
Pelican accidentally breaks story, website servers explode
Entire Political Science Faculty replaced with a sign that says “Back in 5”
Pasty eighteen year old in first year history tute starts every sentence with “actually”
Budget cuts require campus staff to be paid in honorary degrees
Mature aged student inexplicably shows up to Frat Party
Ground floor of Law Library has to be drained after being flooded with egos
Every single Young Lib in the country accidentally coordinates outfits
Quota introduced to make sure there’s at least one libertarian per Arts tute
There are more candidates for OGC than there are students at UWA
FREE SPACE – UWA PLUMMETS IN RANKINGS
Megan Lee imposes martial law, declared president for life
Creative addicts turn “smoke free campus” signs into “smoke free, campus”
Launch candidate accidentally wins Guild Election
Tute at Business School totally derailed by walking past The Tav
Pelican releases article shitting on the art of literal children
Students complain about quality of coffee despite only drinking matcha lattes
Someone actually reads the Guild Council reporting
University population of 25000 forced to compete for single parking space
Exchange student blown away by diversity of ukulele units taught at UWA
Pelican releases article about the art of shitting on literal children
Coordinator of popular first year unit scripts jokes into his lectures
Law and Society student has the nerve to describe himself as a law student
uwa bingo 12
I wake now sometime after eight, I know this isn’t an extreme sleep-in, but the contrast is strange. The light doesn’t stream through my windows here, though I have seen far more blue skies than I expected to. Last night the sky was so clear that despite London’s light pollution I could still see Orion. It was odd, the comfort I found in it. Lovers have ownership of the moon – always sitting under the same one, no matter their distance. That has always seemed obvious and unromantic but in finding Orion for a moment, I felt I had found home again. No one was on the street with me, to see me stop and pause. There was no one in the South Kensington subway either, a strange emptiness for a city that never sleeps. I walked past the darkened museum entrances in silence, my own thoughts echoing off the paved walls instead of the chatter of teeth and clumping of feet. The silence worked its way into my sleep, filling my brain with groggy dreams that echoed through my mind, pre-empting every turn of my head and twist of my body, tangling me in thoughts and twisting me into a knot of body and bed sheets. When I awoke this morning I was nothing but a mess of red hair upon a marbled pillow.
I used to wake just before six. The sunlight would already be streaming through my blinds and the birds singing, if you can call the screech of magpies a song. It would be a slow ritual, getting up. My arms would be the first, stretching out, reaching for someone. Eventually they’d find a notebook and pen and still under the cover of a thin summer quilt they would begin to scrawl some vague thoughts that had wandered into my dreams, dreams I didn’t want to lose. I’d have breakfast by six thirty. It’s never too early or late to eat and when you live in a house filled with morning people there is generally already something going on to peak your curiosity, even if it is just the scratching of Bilbo and Petra against the utility room door asking to be let out. Though they were never interested in waking up until seven, on the dot, even on the hottest days.
At some point I should leave this bed, but I have already had to drag myself from sleep. A fight I don’t know whether I won or lost. The central heating has turned off, there is normally no one in the flat at this point and the cold air is not welcoming. From my bed I can see through a crack in the curtain, chimney tops, bare trees and the sky, cloudy today. The clouds keep the heat in, or so they say. I would ask what heat, but slowly, slowly I am becoming accustomed to the cold.
tortoise hare the
AKA the Tale of My Never-Ending Degree Shakira Donovan
University is not a race... I should know The receptionist in the doctor’s office smiled as she processed my payment. “So, you’re in your 2nd year of university, right?”
University is not something you do before your life starts. It is your life.
Too many seconds pass. nervously before summoning the inner strength to deal with the conversation we’re obviously about to have. “6th.” I rush through the sentence, hoping she won’t notice. She nods politely and staples my receipt, but before I can feel relieved, a look of realisation flashes across her face. “You’re a postgraduate student then?” She asks sceptically. She knows I’m not. My palms are sweaty, knees weak. There’s vomit on my sweater already, mum’s spaghe - wait, no. My sweater’s clean. Sorry… I lost myself in the moment there. Basically, I just told her I was still an undergraduate and she scoffed and said I should get a job. As you’ve probably gathered, I take things slow. But, contrary to what many would have me believe, there is no shame in that. In fact, I’m pretty proud of myself. I started my Bachelor of Science in 2013, and here I am in 2018, still doing it. I began as a part-time student to balance health problems and a busy work schedule, and although I’ve studied fulltime for the past few years, I also switched my major and went overseas, so I never quite caught up. If this was one of Aesop’s fables, I would have been the tortoise trailing behind, as all of my friends bounded across the finish line to be handed their graduate caps and pretty pieces of paper. But, instead of having a quarter life crisis whenever Facebook shows me pictures of old schoolmates landing fancy graduate jobs, building houses, getting married and having kids, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ve done things a little slower than practically everyone I know, because university, nay life, is not a race. Yet, I wasn’t always so proud of my plodding pace. I felt like I was going nowhere and I was angry at myself. Somehow, I made the act of being slow in a fast-paced world a cardinal sin. Eventually though, I realised that it was okay to take my time. For too long, I put pressure on myself to hurry up and finish my degree so I could ‘start living my life.’ Now, I realise how completely limiting this mentality was.
While, I don’t recommend taking six years to finish a three year bachelor’s degree, I do think there is something to be said for not rushing through your time at university, and for saying yes to the things you want to do, even if they slow you down. A second year student recently told me that she wanted to go on exchange but decided against it because it would take her an extra semester. I tried to explain that in the context of your whole life, another four months of study is nothing. I begged her to realise that you shouldn’t not do something because you’re worried about wasting time – if it’s something you want, it’s not a waste of time. I didn’t get through. But I want to get through to you, so I’m calling on my not-quite-finished psychology degree for help. As humans, we are sadly not as in charge of our minds as we’d like to think. We’re afflicted with a thought bias known as loss aversion, which basically means we’d rather avoid a loss, than acquire a gain. It’s better to not lose $10, than win $10. It’s better to not lose the time you could have as a graduate, than gain the experience of living overseas, or gain new friends, or gain some time for yourself, et cetera, et cetera, [insert gain here]. Is it, though? I’ve gained a lot by taking things slow, and to me, these gains far outweigh the time I’ve lost. I’ve put money in the bank by working, maintained a HD average because I had time to focus on studying, built longstanding friendships, and even travelled to New York for a life-changing internship. All of these things slowed me down, but they were all worth it. So, yes, I might be the tortoise straggling away at the back of the race but I’m proud of myself for sticking with it, and we all know that I’ll win the trophy - erm, I mean degree - in the end. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for moving at your own pace. Not even nosy receptionists in doctor’s offices. In the immortal words of Lizzie Maguire, “take a chill pill.”
i still remember AN ODE TO LONG DISTANCE
how the d i s t a
Bridget Rumball 16
Long distance relationships are fucking hard, fucking slow, and a whole lot of fucking work. I speak from experience, having seen others - previously proclaimed to be the strongest bastions of romance, soulmates even - crack and falter and ultimately break under the pressure of distance. This seems to be the nature of the beast itself; intertwined amongst the plot line of the latest young adult novella, in which the two protagonists return to their respective collegiate residences at the end of a sun-kissed summer, writing from East to West coast in order to futilely keep some of their love aflame. It is threaded through long days and nights, different time zones, the breaking and making of routines; angry messages, FaceTime calls, weeping voicemail recordings in which they say that they can’t do this anymore, that there’s someone else, that they miss them too much. Wishing for the proximity of a partner, a soulmate or a friend-with-benefits-that-became-too-involved are what most may think of when pinning down how shit long distance really is. However, people forget that the word ‘relationship’ is not just strictly confined to the romantic; friendships being but one example. Whilst the Venn diagram of ‘best friend’ and ‘romantic partner’ often intersect - both involve love, trust and shared interests - they occupy slightly different (and no less important) roles in a person’s social sphere. It’s because of this distinction that long distance friendships are often the hardest, the slowest, and the most hard-work of all. The year I turned eighteen, one of my best friends decided to move to Melbourne. She was (and still is) a girl of wicked intelligence and naive kindness, whose determination and optimism managed to single-handedly drag me through high school Physics alive. We graduated together, fully expecting to tackle university life hand in hand with the coming of the
n c e tRICKED us new year; until a classic spanner in the works came in the form of an interstate offer, complete with an all-fees paid Commonwealth scholarship. This was a behemoth of an opportunity for her - in my eyes, she was more deserving than anyone. But, it meant that our previously thick-as-thieves relationship had to be stretched from down the road, to across the country. Now, this isn’t an easy undertaking. Despite only being separated by two to three hours (dependent on daylight saving, of course), messages often take a back seat and conversations get lost for weeks at a time. We dance in very different circles, study different courses and have made new friendships in the physical absence of one another. This would usually stunt the organic growth of a more romantic relationship; not being the centre of each other’s universe, or indeed existing only in a slow orbit around the outer rings of each other’s social solar system, takes its toll. But with a platonic love, it’s so much harder- you can’t just go back to being friends like broken lovers do, or never speak to each other again. For those moments, you can only stand on the sidelines and watch from afar, with some sort of halfpride, half-longing muddled up in your head. They say that distance makes the heart grow fonder, but it also slows its beat into a hibernation. But when her and I see each other - every three months or so, when either of us end up on the other side of Australia - this slowness disappears, and the heartbeat quickens. All of the stories and gossip and affection and love spills out like an avalanche as we talk for hours, cupping mochas in hand like nothing had changed. That’s what makes it all worth it - knowing that our friendship is strong enough and communicative enough to last the distance. The slow is only temporary.
It’s even harder still when long distance friendships entail no contact at all. One friend of mine introduced by another as the partner of a friend lives in a different country altogether. In a world powered by communication and interconnectedness, this is a familiar story for many; yet it doesn’t make the friendship any less slow or hard. The longing is still there; but it’s for a corporeal friendship we never had, instead of one lost. The heart grows slow and fond for memories you haven’t yet made together, platonic what ifs as you again stand on the sidelines of your friend’s other-world life. But, every video chat and gaming session and drunk message proves that again, the slow is only temporary. As I’ve moved through university, I’ve become more experienced in these long-distance friendships. After finishing exchange to the US, my roommate returned to the outskirts of Sydney, moving into a shoebox apartment and commuting to and from her first ‘adult’ job that I’m so proud of her for. At the end of their degrees, a bunch of friends started out on adventures to Melbourne and Canberra, and I’m already planning to visit them soon. Even still, they don’t get any less slow, or any less hard; the time zones don’t get any less confusing, and the sidelineloneliness doesn’t get any better. But, in the end, it’s worth it.
seven Pitches for Black Mirror Episodes that May or May Not Be Responsible for Charlie Brooker Blocking Me on Twitter
Charlie Brooker’s sci-fi anthology Black Mirror imagines a near future in which technology has an infinite, life changing potential, but also one in which humanity’s desire for advancement reaps dangerous, often fatal consequences. The latest season has been released to rave reviews from audiences, but I was surprised to find that not only had Brooker not used any of my lengthy and poorly articulated proposals in the fourth series, but he’d also blocked me on Twitter without explanation. These were my pitches for what a world dominated by technology might look like. 1.
Fruit of my Loins
When a loving, salt of the earth couple from the North of London find out they aren’t able to procreate through conventional means, they enter an experimental IVF program. Unbeknownst to the pair, the intended sample has been accidentally substituted for some milky white nanobytes in an identical jar. Nine months’ pass, and domestic bliss is shattered by the wife’s death in childbirth, having produced not a human child, but one of those robot dogs that were a big seller for Target in the early-to-mid 2000s. Stricken with grief, the widower descends into madness, forcing his robotic canine progeny to play the role of his wife in endless reenactments of his wedding tapes. 2.
The next pitch was about a device that allowed babies to communicate with their parents in perfect English. Initially it works perfectly, but the young couple trialling the device are shocked to discover that after three weeks the only word their child can say is ‘cocksucker.’ I even went as far as to send Brooker’s publicist a list of pregnant women I’d seen at the park, whose children could have been suitable for the part of the baby, but I didn’t even get a courtesy response. 3.
Planned as a Christmas episode: scientists develop a technology that automatically sends you an agonising electric shock for every hour you neglect to call elderly members of your extended family to send them season’s greetings. A bug in this otherwise sound and practical piece of programming fails to account for one woman’s deceased great aunt, who was cremated and had her ashes scattered into the Atlantic Ocean. Our hero sets out on a voyage to spread festive cheer to the scorched remains of her grandmother’s sister, while also enduring hourly excruciating volts of electricity.
(Robot Bee) Detectives
The wife from Boardwalk Empire and an actress I don’t remember pursue a killer who encourages the general public to vote on his next victim via social media, terrifying a bunch of politicians and B-list British celebrities. There’s also a subplot about robot bees. I sent Brooker the cast list and full script back early last year, but once again, heard nothing back. Anyway, the robot bees are killing people. 5.
In the future, because everyone in Black Mirror seems to have a real hard-on for putting human brains in things, some wacko has the idea of imbuing unfertilised chicken eggs with human consciousness. The world is thrown into a moral panic: everyone really wants an omelette, but no one is prepared to break any eggs. The episode was supposed to contain an important moral message about the fine line between human and animal cognition, but I ended up storyboarding it as 56 minutes of people having deeply emotional, one-way conversations with egg cartons. 6.
An ordinary resident of London wakes up to a world in which Tom Hanks never existed. The world is functionally the same, except all of Hanks’ roles are redistributed evenly amongst similar looking white people of a certain age and the US doesn’t overthrow Saddam Hussein in 2003. Our hero turns out to be an artificial intelligence that exists within a simulation exclusively designed to test peoples’ responses to the absence of Tom Hanks. 7.
Worried that some of my ideas might have been a little bit too ‘high’ science fiction for Brooker’s tastes, I opted to ground my last pitch firmly in reality. The year is 2017. The story centres around a total hack piece-of-shit failed writer, probably played by a Charlie Brooker type, who couldn’t shit out an original idea for a dystopian future if his BBC pension depended on it. He serves as show-runner for some mediocre straight to Netflix original series, and constantly gets made fun of by his sensitive yet powerful Australian colleague. One day he gets tired of churning out the same hackneyed ‘phones = evil’ narrative for six episodes a season, so he visits to his only friend, a scientist, who has designed a virtual reality program that will allow him to explore every possible version of history to find a variation of himself that isn’t a massive plot regurgitating fraud. Upon finding no such alternate reality exists, he hands over full creative rights of his television show to his more successful and better and nicer co-worker, and goes back to writing product descriptions for mayonnaise companies. 19
How do you write your comedy? Comedy has a rhythm to it. It doesn’t matter what form – you have to find a rhythm that’s best for what you’re doing. My process with stand-up is getting my best ideas with mates, being out in the world, experiencing different things. Sitting down and writing is generally the second step, where I nut things out in a way I think is funny. The biggest process is getting up on stage with that baby joke, feeling the reaction of the audience and building that further with your improv skills in order to move the joke along. Do you prefer short form or long form improv?
the slow rise of a female comedian WORDS WITH ANDREA GIBBS Andrea Gibbs is a comedian, actress and radio presenter who hosts, ‘Weekends with Andrea Gibbs,’ on ABC Digital Radio. She is also, alongside Kerry O’Sullivan, the creator of Barefaced Stories – a series of storytelling nights and workshops. Ishita Mathur 20
Long form terrifies me but I find that I get more out of it because I love developing story and character, which you can’t do in short form. Short form is about gags and proceeding quickly to the funny elements as opposed to developing a story and having humour come from that. I enjoy both of them. What I love about improv is that you don’t have to prepare for it. I’m slack, and when I act, I hate learning lines. It’s homework for me, and I hate homework. That’s why improv is great. When you’re on stage, it’s the biggest joy mucking around with your friends with an audience there. Speaking of storytelling, in your Ted Talk, ‘The Power of Storytelling,’ you say that in the end, we’re all stories, and that stories make us feel a little less alone in the world. Tell us more. I think that stories are the way that we make meaning of the world, and the way that we share knowledge. It’s difficult to find a place where you wouldn’t tell or find a story. Stories are ingrained in our memories, our photographs, everything. It’s what we leave behind. We also have the ability to frame stories in different ways. You can have one experience, and tell a story about it as a horrible memory or as a story of resilience and hope. There’s actually a concept called narrative therapy and it involves changing the stories in your life, which proves that stories are a part of us and the way we interact with one another. With any art piece, any meaning you draw will be connected to the stories in your life. Where did the idea of Barefaced Stories come from? I found I was getting more interested in telling my own stories as opposed to writing quick one-liner jokes for stand-up. I guess Barefaced started in a selfish way because there was nowhere to do the type of storytelling I wanted to do. You could do it in America since it was exploding over there through
a non-profit organisation called The Moth. It was at the forefront of bringing storytelling to the modern era, where there’s a real person on stage telling a live story without any notes. I was lucky enough to get a mentorship grant, and to go over to New York to study with Margot Leitman. When I came back, there wasn’t a platform for storytelling. You could try it at a stand-up event, but you’d have to make sure it was a funny story, and that jokes were included in every two or three lines. In order to do that, you have to manipulate the story and distort the truth, and I wanted to tell truthful stories. A lot of the time stand-up is based on truth, but it manipulates the truth in a way that gets the best comedy out of it. Anyway, Kerry was also really into The Moth. Together we flew my mentor to Perth from New York to run our first lot of workshops. It was important that people understood what kind of storytelling we were doing. Once we had that initial group of 30-40 people that went through Margot Leitman’s workshop, we had a strong base to draw from and put on stage. We made sure that right from the beginning, Barefaced was showcasing strong stories because we’ve relied heavily on word of mouth to get people to come along to our show. The quality of the evening is really important to us. What has the experience of bringing Barefaced to Fringe Festival been like? We do our regular show at The Bird, on the last Tuesday of each month. We make the most of the opportunity out of the one that falls during Fringe Festival to grab storytellers that are visiting the Festival. One of the best things is to show the storytellers is the space we have created. We’re really lucky to have Barefaced in Perth, because it’s the only quality, regular storytelling night in Australia, and we can guarantee that you’ll always see great stories there, and that the audience is going to be lovely. We pay our storytellers too which is something that’s very important to us. As artists, we do so many things for free and it’s just not on. Artists work really hard to bring great content to the stage and audiences, and that should be appreciated. At the upcoming Perth Comedy Festival in April, only three out of 31 performers are women. Have you experienced this unequal work dynamic before and how have you dealt with it? It’s so horrible to hear those statistics! When I started doing stand-up 15 years ago, there were no women doing stand-up comedy at regular Perth gigs. The standard comedian I would see was a white dude
who wore jeans, sneakers and a t-shirt. So when I did stand-up, I’d wear the same with a swimsuit underneath so my chest would look flatter and I’d look androgynous. At the time, I’d say my bathing suit was a good luck charm but it was actually about fitting in. What I didn’t realise was that you can be anyone up on stage, and we should have people that look different on our stages because everyone in the audience looks different too! And not just in terms of gender – gay women, women of colour, and people from different minority groups. That’s what our culture looks like. Stand-up clubs and rooms seem a little bit out of date and behind the times. There was a phase in comedy where comics’ material was fuelled by sexism, and women were the butt of most of the jokes. When I first started, I tried to do material that wasn’t gender specific but I struggled with not having a female mentor. It’s why a lot of women drop out of comedy – because they don’t have that. There are lovely men in comedy and they encouraged me but I did get mansplained to a lot when I was looking for advice. So often, comedy relies on stereotypes, and so sexism is fuelled on stage. That hampers your professional development, and that’s where women get exploited because they’re looking for ways to push through the glass ceiling, and it’s dominated by men. One of the problems with most mainstream comedy clubs is that racist, homophobic and misogynistic material continues to be seen as acceptable in club environments. How can we change the culture surrounding mainstream comedy? There need to be women like me pulling up other people, and creating opportunities. The myth that women aren’t funny is bred from people not seeing women on stage. Once people started seeing women on stage, they realised that they are funny. It’s a matter of showing more diversity on stage, which is why I have gravitated towards storytelling. It’s more inclusive on a grassroots level whereas comedy isn’t because it’s quite competitive. It’s also important to not be scared to do something different. Humans often want to fit in and performers in particular are so desperate to be liked but people shouldn’t be scared to present themselves in a different way. Barefaced Stories runs regular storytelling nights on the last Tuesday of each month at The Bird. The next storytelling workshop will be on April 14 & 15.
the life-saving powers of crochet Leah Vlatko | Sun & Flower Studios
Instagram @sunandflowerstudios Facebook fb.com/sunandflowerstudios Website coming soon sunandflowerstudios.com
Slowing down can come in many different forms. Sometimes it is taking a ten minute break to sip a cuppa, sometimes it is calling in sick and spending the day at the beach. Usually it looks like a filtered meme telling you to feel guilty for not looking at enough #sunsets. My slowing down wasn’t filtered or aesthetic or even chosen. It looked snotty, feverish, and a little bit like ugly sobbing into lemsip. It was managing to contract a double whammy of influenza and glandular fever at the end of 2015. Anyone who has had either of these illnesses knows how rubbish they can make you feel, and anyone who has, like I did, pushed themselves through a 2016 studying a fairly stressful Law degree, knows how much sicker you can make yourself. Finding myself fatigued, overwhelmed, and on a short cut to burnout, slowing down hit me like a nervous breakdown in the Law school library. Fast forward to the beginning of 2017 and something had to give. Encouraged by friends who were a bit worried about my inability to leave my room, and quite concerned about my frequent crying breaks during coffee catch ups (we’ve all been there), I made the brave and perhaps quite selfish decision to defer my university degree for a year (or maybe a little bit longer) (let’s see how we go, shall we?). Fortunately, this has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Devoting myself wholeheartedly to a year of playing around with creative projects, and two days a week as a nanny, I commenced my #slowliving project by joining two bands, whipping out the crochet hook during any spare moment, and spending the winter helping to run workshops supporting women and non-binary folk to learn new skills. All this seems like a semi-very-ridiculous way to slow down, and maybe sometimes it was. Overwhelmingly however, I found that by spending less time doing things that drained me (crying in front of essays, putting pressure on myself to be the best student in the world), and spending more time doing things that I love (making cute crochet items for dogs, playing guitar with my friends) I felt more grounded and whole. Crochet in particular was very restorative for me. The tactile task of making something with my hands was a way to lose the to-do list in my head for a few hours and simply sit in the moment for a little while. I’m lucky enough that my Nana taught me crochet at a young age, so it comes as naturally as doing anything for over a decade would. In my year of slowing down, being able to sit and make was invaluable. The scientific literature on this topic backs up the idea that craft can alleviate depression, promote mindfulness, and boost serotonin. Gail Kenning (2015) argues that “craft-based textile activities such as knitting, crochet,
tatting, and lace making have provided challenges, physical and mental stimulation, creative outlets, and social interaction for generations.” The mental puzzle of battling stitches and the delayed gratification of working hard to make something team up to provide healthy positive outcomes. In this age of mass-produced, ‘quick’ fashion, I love the way making something with love, slowly, can be a form of protest. Crochet itself is thought to be born out of the Irish famine in 1800s, as women turned to textiles to support their family, in absence of farming opportunities. Over the years it grew into a tool to keep women at home, and was forced upon itchy teenage girls who would much rather be doing something cool like sports or science or getting equal rights. Making things for the family wasn’t appreciated so much as expected. As textiles moved into the factories in England, it still failed to attain the same value as other factory work, partly because it was considered to be women’s work. Contemporaneously in factories around the world, workers are oppressed in slave-like conditions to make quick fashion for chain stores’ shelves. Even in the art world textile art is rarely given the same significance as other forms, and tapestry designs that women have been creating with precision and creative flair for years in the home often seem more significant when made by a pretentious man with a crochet hook. All this is a wee bit political, but the reality is that in following the path of crochet, it is important for me the understand the context of what I am doing. Craft can be a tool for oppression, and it can also be a tool for liberation, by valuing it for the technicality and creativity it requires. I didn’t mean to start a crochet business. It was never part of the plan. In fact, my plans for 2017, which were all very slow down and chill and trying not to do things, didn’t seem to particularly fit with starting a business of any sort. All I was trying to do was make cute things, and I thought it was pretty fun when people asked me to make them cute things for them or their dogs (particularly their dogs). The Law student in me didn’t like the concept of accidentally committing tax fraud by selling cute crochet things without an ABN, so Sun & Flower Studios was born. Of course, it helps that this business venture is jam packed with crochet, craft, collaborating with cool artists, and making the world a more sunshiney place, because that feels like everything that I want to do. Several stegasaurus dog coats, some Thing 1 and Thing 2 costumes for a couple of cheeky ducks, summery skirts for kids, and a business launch later, I feel like I’m doing the things that I’m supposed to be.
a new wave of lgbt+ activism The Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia has started a new initiative known as The Youth Pride Network. The Network is open to LGBT+ people of ages 12-25, and aims to provide group-led initiatives, systematic advocacy, and an increased dialogue with the government and stakeholders for more effective lobbying. Spearheaded by Kai Schweizer, Mason Rothwell and Charlotte Glance, the Network seeks to keep the momentum going following the marriage equality vote, and to give the WA LGBTQIA+ community a collective voice when it comes to important issues. Kai, Mason and Charlotte spoke to Pelican about this new advocacy initiative. Why is it important to target LGBTQIA+ youth as opposed to older members of the community? Since the three of us are all at YACWA, we tend to look at everything with a youth perspective. It’s important that the entire LGBTQIA+ community is involved in advocacy however young LGBTQIA+ people face intersecting issues when they are trying to advocate for their rights. These include not having financial stability, facing discrimination at school or university, and unemployment. As young people, we wanted to create something for people like us and there are some amazing organisations like GRAI and Living Proud that do excellent work catering for old LGBTQIA+ West Australians, but there’s been no equivalent for younger members who have their own expertise and experiences to contribute. In other states, there are youth-focused organisations like Minus18 that provide a space for LGBTQIA+ advocacy, but an equivalent does not exist in Western Australia. Growing up queer in 1968 and 2018 are very different experiences – we need to hear both of those in figuring out a way forward. Many of the controversial debates about LGBTQIA+ rights are focused on young people (e.g. safe schools) but young voices are rarely heard and elevated in these debates. The Network is made up of LGBTQIA+ people aged 12-25. That’s quite a range of ages considering the experiences of 12 year olds are vastly different to that of 25 year olds. Why did you choose such a large range? We chose 12-25 because it is the range of ages that can be members of YACWA and most definitions of ‘youth’ have a pretty large age range, usually about
12 to 25 inclusive, so it felt appropriate to align with convention. While there is a range of ages, there are a lot of shared experiences. Early 20 year olds were once school kids and school kids will graduate sometime. We are pretty aware however that the large age range can make things challenging, given the difference between a 12-year-old and a 25-yearold! We’re actively working to ensure it remains inclusive and accessible to all ages. From another perspective, it felt more genuine to keep the range so broad. There are very few spaces for young LGBTQIA+ people to join and be themselves, and instead are either isolated from the LGBTQIA+ community until they age. One of the reasons we started this group was to use the expertise and passion of the community to tackle queer issues – younger LGBTQIA+ people have their own expertise, and should be included in these discussions. Unfortunately, many services focus on 16+ age groups due to liability issues, which excludes younger voices. As YPN joint founders, we strongly felt that we could not ignore the interests of 12-15-year-old LGBTQIA+ Western Australians. What is the most pressing issue for young LGBTQIA+ Australians to tackle after the passing of marriage equality? Marriage equality was a bit of a cultural touchstone for the LGBTQIA+ community, signifying more than just the right to marry. As you remove legal discriminations, you also remove some of the power of the prejudices underlying those discriminations. It’d be nice to see LGBTQIA+ Australians turn their energy to more systemic issues, such as LGBTQIA+ suicide and homelessness, as well as really start to tackle issues around transphobia – both inside and outside of the LGBTQIA+ community. Trans rights are something that have not received the attention they deserve in the LGBTQIA+ advocacy space, and as a group that was vilified throughout the whole marriage equality campaign, now more than ever, we need to focus on them. There are many shortfalls in WA legislation that still allow for discrimination in the areas of healthcare, homelessness, and employment. Our applicants thus far have shown a key interest in trans rights and addressing LGBTQIA+ homelessness, which indicates that our creation of YPN is meeting a genuine need for youth-led advocacy. Other things
WORDS WITH THE YOUTH PRIDE NETWORK like discrimination and bullying in schools, religious exemptions, and mental health are also important issues. Will the Youth Pride Network be working with other WA-based LGBTQIA+ organisations to lobby the government and other stakeholders for issues they wish to tackle? Yes, the community is so much stronger when we work together, and working to bridge gaps across age, sexuality, gender diversity, race, ability, and sector is going to be vital to what we are doing. It’s our intention to let the group determine their own path forward rather than let the founders dictate what they do, but we expect they’ll be collaborative and partner up to affect some positive change. Western Australia is very lucky as it has a lot of community champions in the LGBTQIA+ sphere – it’d be silly not to leverage that. All three of us have links to key stakeholders, both with LGBTQIA+ organisations and members of parliament. Part of our roles as founders is to provide access to these networks as required by YPN’s committee of young people. How exactly do you plan on combating intracommunity discrimination within the LGBTQIA+ community? There is a huge amount of lateral violence within the LGBTQIA+ community including racism, ableism, transphobia and misogyny. YPN believes that young people from these groups are experts on their own issues and the best solutions. We think that solutions that are shaped and driven by people who experience these forms of discrimination are going to be the best ones, and we hope to provide the support to empower people from intersecting identities to lead the changes that need to be made. It will be a requirement for all incoming committee members to be involved in an induction featuring youth-led workshops that tackle cultural competency, disability inclusion, and the basics of gender and sexuality. We hope to have a diverse committee membership that represents the many intersections of the community, with dedicated young people who wish to lead project of their own design that delve deeper into lateral community violence.
How did the idea for the development of the Youth Pride Network emerge? What role have you played in its establishment? All three of us work at YACWA and Kai came up with the idea at Fairday 2017. We talked about how there needed to be an equivalent of the other advocacy groups at YACWA for LGBTQIA+ young people. There are so many issues that need to be tackled in the community and we got tired of waiting for them to get fixed on their own. After a full day of seeing so many passionate advocates out there trying to affect change, the three of us were inspired to join forces and just start the thing! We’re all very collaborative, so it’s never just one person doing something – we all pitch in. In particular, Charlotte is focusing on the logistics of the committee and how it will structurally look. Mason’s expertise lies in policy and project management, and involves research, writing up supporting documents and plans, as well as leading discussions with key stakeholders around the project. Kai’s personal background is in leading trans advocacy projects and services, as well as experience in peer-support and suicide intervention with the LGBTQIA+ community. What are the different positions that LGBTQIA+ people can register to be in? Young people can either join the network and as a committee member or a general network member. As a committee member they will be a core part of the projects we choose to do and expected to devote around 10 hours a fortnight to leading and reporting back on projects. As a general network member you will have the opportunity to join projects that you are excited about in different capacities, anything from doing organisation to making artwork or doing marketing. We’ve done it this way because we know a huge amount of people will want to get involved but not everyone has the time or the desire to do project management so we want to best utilise the huge amount of talent in the community. We have recently opened applications for both our committee and general network. Whether you’d just like to receive a newsletter, meet some like-minded young people, attend workshops and events, or step up to assist the committee on a project, there’s something for everyone!
To get involved with Youth Pride Network, register now at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NLZ3JCH or email email@example.com.
note to self Sophie Blades
You seem to be growing up so fast. Years are adding on in the blink of an eye. But are you taking them in? Are you feeling all the feelings? So often you find yourself tired to the point that you fall asleep even in good movies. And you’re busy. There are arrows coming from the dates in your diary because there are not enough lines as there are things to fill them. Those around you wear their stress, masked as productivity, with pride. Everyone around you seems busy. Busy achieving things. You ask your friends whether they are happy busy, meaning happy doing the things they want to be doing. But do you ask yourself? Is there even such a thing as happy busy? What about happy slow? Maybe, despite what our culture’s pattern is, you don’t have to be busy. Maybe you can just use the first letter of that word and simply be. You don’t have to be everything to everyone every time. In fact, you quite simply can’t. Your energy levels work the same way as ATMs. You need to both deposit and withdraw. Depositing means saying no maybe more than you say yes. It also means reserving the right to see how you feel, and what you need.
I chose where I live, who I live with, what I study, what I do for work, who my friends are, and what matters to me. There was a lot of turbulence in the changes, but the conscious life that I believe so deeply in demanded hard choices, and not always understood ones. After that last year of change I needed stability. I craved softness. And so, at the start of this year, I told myself that I wanted to live gently. In a way that is sweet with pauses, and rich in time. Time for the things that bring me joy. Like leisurely walks home from Uni and unkept time in the dog park in the afternoons. I want time to cook for myself from scratch, and time to nurture friendships. I want to be kind to myself. I want to understand my natural rhythms in a way that is nourishing. It is only with this self-knowledge that I will be able to be kind to others.
You can choose to put yourself first. You can make this life your own. That includes how you spend the days that will make it up.
I have this time and space to create those very two things, time and space. I want to grow gently into myself.
It’s also okay to not always be okay. When you’re not though, you must honour that feeling, Talk to it. Get to the bottom of it. Stop and breathe. Listen. Understand.
I want to be mindful that like in nature, there is no hurry. I can put my foot on the brake whilst those around me have theirs heavy on the accelerator. I can respectfully say I am not ready or willing. I can have a little nap instead. I can sip a little tea. And I can give myself some self-love.
OF THE SLOW READ
Schedule in some rest time. Better yet, why don’t you use the eraser to vanish all the words in your diary and leave it wide open. Taking away the distractions might be exactly what you need. Our best thoughts do not come when we are overstimulated by others’. Have a think about who you want to be and how you want to live. How do you want to love? You’re already on your way. Way to where is another story. It’s okay not to know. In fact, revel in the excitement of the opportunity to create your story. The creativity that comes with time and space is magic. I started thinking about these things a little under
a year ago. Cue massive life event of turning 21. My quarter life crisis. A couple of weeks ago someone asked me what the changes I had made since then had led to. I told them they were looking at it. And in that moment, I felt this incredible joy that my life was the culmination of each one of my very own conscious choices.
Even if time is flying, I remain young. There is no rush. I don’t have to have travelled the world by now, or have graduated, or even have committed to a breakfast cereal. Everything has its own timeline. I can still do all the things, just gently. We must start choosing. These are our lives. This is the time. We have choices. Live gently. Love greatly.
I am not an aged hippie but I am an advocate for something called ‘slow living.’ I’m 25, work two jobs, have a gaggle of friends, binge-watch various TV shows, study and have a relatively serious anxiety disorder - which does not sound like ‘slow living’ at all, I know, but here how, and why. I make it work.
If at this point you’re thinking that this sounds a lot like mindfulness - yes, yes it is, with a big difference. I have been told to practice mindfulness a countless number of times, during varied moments of my mental health journey and frankly it is a load of fresh organic cow manure that I would love to use on my veggie garden. The difference between mindfulness and slow living is purpose. You’re not just being asked to live in the present moment and take stock of the different feelings and emotions you’re having at a certain time. Slow living is doing something the hard way to appreciate it, to take joy in the process and to be conscious of each individual element as you do. It does however have many of the same benefits as mindfulness, but comes with the added bonus of having a focus on being environmentally friendly and often cost effective. For me, it allows me to save money by making things (especially lots of convenience foods) from scratch, lets me focus on buying ingredients produced locally and ethically. The most important thing for me personally, is that it helps reduce my anxiety by giving me an alternative and productive focus, asking me to focus singularly on the task at hand, while also forcing me to work at a slower pace. It’s like, taking a longer stroll through a pretty bit of bushland to the bus stop rather than taking the shortcut along the side of the highway.
Slow living is a concept popularised by retirees and people with the financial means to shop at farmer’s markets and organic stores every weekend, it’s the idea that people spend more time on the process of doing something rather than the actual thing itself. Whether that is making soup or sewing your own clothes, and focusing on the ethics of the ingredients, their origins and the to bring your awareness to the present moment as you do.
So what does slow living look like if you don’t have the privilege of being able to spend 12 hours sewing a new bra for yourself? It might be taking time to make pasta by hand, writing a note to someone rather than a text, watching a movie without looking at your phone the whole time, reading a book, watching a show one episode at a time rather than bingeing the whole series, putting time in to choosing a new coat that will last for years rather than just the season. I make a darn good gnocchi by hand and learned to raise my own flowers from seed - both things I easily could purchase but things that bring me joy to do the long way. It’s all about taking time to do things yourself, doing things deliberately and appreciating the process for what it is worth.
katitjin at uwa
INDIGENOUS SCIENCE + KNOWLEDGE 28
Patrick Morrison “Boodjar is Country, Moort is ‘family’ and ‘humanity,’ and Katitjin is ‘knowledge’ or ‘science.’” Recently, western science has realised that a more diverse group of scientists will always leave less assumptions standing, building better ideas in the process. One of the most recent and promising developments has been collaboration with traditional Aboriginal scientists. UWA sits on Whadjuk Noongar land. The Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation have observed, experimented and studied here for at least 40,000 years. Over the last few hundred years, the rise of western science has displaced this knowledge, but it’s never been lost. The traditional practices of tool making, art production and land management have remained largely intact despite colonisation. Len Collard is one of the people working to bring the two worlds of knowledge together. He’s professor in the school of Indigenous Studies and a traditional owner for the Swan River and Metropolitan area. “Katitjin has the equivalent of meaning science or knowledge, because if you look up what science means, it just means knowledge. I think sometimes people get gobsmacked or tricked by the illusion of sciences, ‘Wow that’s higher knowledge!’ Well it probably is, but our knowledge too, is higher knowledge.” He teachers two units at UWA: Boodjar Moort Katitjin (INDG1160) and Knowing Country: The Dreaming and Darwin (INDG2700). Boodjar Moort Katitjin is an introduction to the Noongar worldview of Country, humanity and knowledge. The Dreaming and Darwin is an attempt to reconcile naturalist and Indigenous perspectives - it starts with a 6 week intensive, and ends with a week on Country in Albany, where scientists and Aboriginal elders show students the landscape together. “Stop treating Aboriginal knowledge and science as a lesser thing, in actual fact it can enhance and grow people’s deep knowing and understanding of different scientific opportunities in Australia.” He makes it clear that it should always be collaborative - both sciences have much to learn from each other and any benefits deserve to be shared with the communities that worked for them. The study of ecology and sustainability in Australia is where Indigenous knowledge becomes not just valuable, but inescapably vital. We live in what’s
been a managed landscape for thousands of years. Bill Gammage, a prominent author, calls it the “Biggest Estate on Earth.” Almost every inch has been sculpted by humans for our benefit in some way or another; from weeding to encourage the growth of grains, to large scale fire regimes designed to congregate animals for hunting. Aspects of traditional management have been implemented across Australia, for example, the West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement project. Here Indigenous rangers light fires early in the dry season to prevent uncontrolled fires later on - keeping it heathy and also reducing carbon emissions. Collaboration with scientists means the benefits have been quantified and they gain carbon credits that can be sold on.
knowledge of the wider universe. The night sky was used for navigation and understanding annual cycles. There are countless Indigenous names for stars all over the world and in Australia many are named because they can be used to track annual cycles. Many stars that we have only just recognised as binary star systems have been known to dim and brighten in cycles by Indigenous people for many years. There are also several examples of meteorites and craters with corresponding oral histories incredibly valuable information given how rarely an impact is witnessed by humans.
There has been a recent scramble in the west to develop ideas of sustainability and a finite planet ideas that mimic many Indigenous worldviews. In Noongar understanding people and Country are not separate, which is the reason Aboriginal culture has persisted in place for 65,000 years. With these abstract ideas comes very practical science. Healthy Country plans are being developed across Australia by Indigenous communities alongside scientists. These clearly outline the best practice for managing a particular landscape, and are often easy to find online (go and have a look).
“If people are so ‘hard’ into their hard sciences then maybe that’s not a collaboration I’d want to be involved with - I might miss out on something, but maybe they do too.”
There are some more obvious examples of land modification - the Budj Bim eel traps in Victoria are a particularly impressive engineering project. It’s a sprawling network of kilometres of channels and ponds, designed to cultivate eels at every stage of their lifestyle - and capable of producing enough food to feed the permanent population living nearby. It’s testimony to a complex understanding of eel lifecycles. In some places these traps have been restored to operation - and scientists can study them to further understand the environment. On the Dreaming and Darwin field trip, students visit the Noongar fish traps in Albany - which are stone arrangements on the mudflats that catch fish as the tide retreats. Len asks them students,
I’m now in my final year of my undergrad in Neuroscience and Archaeology. In Archaeology we’ve learned a lot about Indigenous Australia and worked in communities alongside Traditional Owners. From the ‘harder’ science side of my degree the silence has been deafening - and I often find myself drawing on what I’ve learned in elsewhere to better understand the brain and the wider human experience. It’s possible to get through a degree at UWA without listening to Indigenous voices - but you shouldn’t. You can study Indigenous History and Knowledge as a major, or take many Indigenous Studies units as broadening. Boodjar Moort Katitjin runs in the first semester and The Dreaming and Darwin runs in the second semester.
“What’s the science behind the way the Noongars invented the fish trap? There’s a science to it - what was the theory they needed to invent to apply the praxis of actually building it? Taking it from some imagined idea to a functioning fish trap, to catch a tucker to have a feed.”
At Len’s request, we now include the Noongar name for Pelican alongside the English one. This is a gesture in recognition of the contribution Aboriginal Australians have made to our knowledge, culture and University.
Indigenous science isn’t limited to just our planet, increasingly astronomers are exploring traditional
For all these incredible examples, Len doesn’t seem to fussed about winning over people who don’t care.
After all, the good research will rise to the top. It’s our job as scientists to seek out the truth and we can do that better when we listen. You don’t have to believe a rainbow serpent made the Swan River, but when an elder points to a crater and tells you about a light falling from the sky, dismissing that is bad science. It could be a just a myth, but it’s probably a meteorite.
I’d like to thank Len for his time, and also thank Mel Thomas at UWA, who helped me out and pointed me in Len’s direction.
Black History Month began when the ‘Father of Black History’ Carter G. Woodson, an African American writer and historian, witnessed how Black people were underrepresented in the education system. Together with Jesse E. Moorland, a minister and civic leader, Woodson established the Association for the Study of N*gro Life and History, now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The organisation promoted the accomplishments of African Americans and the subject of Black history. While Dr Woodson hoped that eventually the Week would become unnecessary due to acceptance and recognition of the contributions of African Americans as a legitimate and integral part of American history, it is unfortunately clear that Western society has not yet achieved his aims. There are open critics of the month who say that it focuses unfairly on one race, rather than viewing the month as an educational opportunity when it comes to the limited nature of Black history taught in schools. ‘N*gro History Week’ was the precursor to Black History Month. Established in 1926 by Woodson and ASALH in the second week of February, it included both the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Woodson’s motivation behind the Week was to create a firm foundation for young African Americans to understand and appreciate their heritage. He believed that “those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.” During the Civil Rights Movement, college campuses transformed the themed week into Black History Month. In 1976, President Gerald Ford declared the celebration of Black History Month in February an annual observance on both the fiftieth anniversary of its first iteration in 1926, and America’s bicentennial year. Black History Month seeks to fill in the gaps of our education system. For example, when it comes to the Civil Rights movement, most schools teach the historic ‘I Have a Dream’ speech by Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1995 – 1996) led by Rosa Parks. What isn’t taught
is that Claudette Colvin, a 15 year old girl, protested segregation laws by refusing to move to the back of a bus nine months before Rosa Parks. And that is ignoring journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells’ refusal to give up her seat in the first-class ladies car of a train and move to the crowded smoking car in 1884. What isn’t taught is that the myth that Rosa Parks was an everyday woman who worked hard at her job and was simply tired at the end of the day is untrue – she was a civil rights activist who had previously been involved in investigating cases of sexual assault with the NAACP, and in the year leading up to the boycott, she had completed a course in Race Relations, where nonviolent civil disobedience had been discussed as a tactic. Black history in our education system encompasses only isolated events during the Civil Rights Movement, which erases the persistent and organised efforts of the Black community to call for equal rights, justice and equality. From slave revolts to the Underground Railroad to the Black Lives Matter movement, Black resistance has evolved through the years, and been moulded by many different activists and civic leaders. The myth that the Civil Rights Movement was a result of the actions of a few individuals is plainly untrue, and this would be made more apparent if Black resistance was given a fairer and more thorough focus in our education system and mass media. It is important to focus on Black history as more than just tales of oppression and resistance. Black history encompasses incredible pioneering, musical and artistic creativity, political thought, and economic prowess. To ignore the positive narratives that surround the Black experience is to provide a one-sided and extremely limited view of a three-dimensional and highly dynamic peoples. We still need to make space for complexity, nuance and complete narratives in our classrooms. We must approach it within the context of the Black experience, and from a perspective that isn’t white. Black History Month can’t be a photo of MLK and white St Hilda’s girls misquoting him in their English assessments.
black history month
ASALH has declared “African Americans in Times of War” the 2018 theme for Black History Month, in order to commemorate the centennial of the end of World War I in 1918. African Americans have fought for the United States despite being denied of their basic rights as citizens and being subject to policies of racial segregation and racial discrimination. While the US military is undoubtedly a tool for American imperialism, it is important to provide Black veterans the same level of respect and acknowledgement that white veterans have historically received. The contributions of African Americans to the Revolutionary War, the American Civil War and both World Wars have largely been erased from the historical narrative. The Revolutionary War (1775 – 1783) saw every Northern state recruiting free and enslaved Black people for military service, usually in exchange for their freedom. Southern states were reluctant to recruit enslaved Black folks for the army, but did recruit them as pilots and navy officials. During the Civil War (1861 – 1865), Black soldiers enlisted and fought the South, while also fighting against unequal pay, as white soldiers earned $3 more than they did, and also received a clothing allowance. In addition, Black soldiers faced racism from their white commanding officers and many were assigned menial positions. By 1865, 180 000 Black men had served as soldiers in the U.S. army, forming about 10% of the Union force. Despite the role African Americans played both in the Revolutionary War and the American Civil War, their contributions were largely erased from the narrative, and at the 1876 Centennial Celebration of the Revolution in Philadelphia, not a single speaker spoke of the contributions of Black Americans in the establishment of the United States.
known as the ‘Harlem Hellfighters’, served on the front lines for six months, longer than any other American unit in the war, without losing any prisoners or territory. World War II (1939 – 1945) saw the end of racial separation in military units, and in 1948, President Harry S. Truman ordered desegregation of the Armed Services. This occurred in conjunction to Black people noticing a major contradiction in fighting a war for democracy abroad, which they themselves were not privy to in America. The Black press frequently compared the white supremacist doctrine of America with the ‘master-race’ doctrine in Nazi Germany. This widespread disillusionment led to increased involvement in protest organisations, and laid the ground work for the Civil Rights Movement. From World War II until today, Black Americans have fought in every single war that America has been involved in. Participation in America’s wars undoubtedly affected the Black American experience, and this year’s theme only explores one small aspect of that experience. So this February, let’s individually do our bit to include African American people, and indeed Black people as a whole, in the narrative, and explore what Black history has to offer.
There was a high rate of enlistment amongst African Americans during the First World War (1914 – 1918), but racist military leaders of the time yet again relegated African Americans to menial positions as they believed that Black people were not as physically or mentally strong as their white counterparts. While most who served never saw combat, the 269th Infantry Regiment, colloquially
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR EDUCATION + ACCEPTANCE 31
How UWA researchers are preventing shark attacks, changing government policy and discovering more about the oceans apex predators Not all research makes its way out of the laboratory and into our everyday lives; but a series of experiments led by UWA’s own Oceans Institute might even be saving them. WA is one of the deadliest place in the world for shark attacks, so it makes sense then that we are becoming the capital for shark deterrent research. So how do we go about defending beachgoers from the oceans most specialised predators? Broad Approaches The Shark Barrier is the most common form of shark protection. Installed at Coogee Beach, Cockburn and Sorrento Beach, Hillarys, these use an interlocking plastic mesh to form an enclosure across a portion of the beach. Unlike nets or drum lines intended to catch and kill Great White and Tiger Sharks (in addition to unfortunate turtles, dolphins and even other harmless sharks) the barrier merely prevents them entering an area. The mesh is good system and, according to monitoring performed by Murdoch University, has no adverse impacts on marine life or sediment movement. Unfortunately, this just pushes the sharks over to neighbouring, unprotected beaches. Shark Senses We think the first sharks appeared some 400 million years ago. They still have the same basic senses we do - touch, taste, smell, sight and sound – but sharks also get a few extras such as electroreception. There are two ways to avoid being eaten, best demonstrated by these wetsuits created by WA
company, “Smart Marine Systems.” The blue pattern disguises the surfers body so the shark effectively can’t see them. That’s a good strategy and, according to research performed at UWA by Professor Shaun Collin and Dr. Nathan Hart, gives an extra 90 seconds to get out of the water. If you’ve ever gone outside after being in a dark room or accidentally turned your phone to full intensity at night, then you’ll be familiar with flash blindness. By using a 5Hz strobe light researchers found only 5% of the sharks tested would attack the bait; significantly lower than the 86% control. These tests were performed with nocturnal Port Jackson sharks, but the hope was this flash blindness would be reproducible across species. Unfortunately, when they brought the rig to South Africa’s great white sharks they found no deterrent effect. This might be because of high levels of activity during daylight hours which has encouraged their eyes evolved to cope with such flashes. Despite ultimately being unsuccessful, research in this field has highlighted that sensory overstimulation does have an effect. Your eye contains no pain receptors, yet bright light very definitely hurts. With the regular senses already tested it was time to explore electroreception. Electric Sharks Electroreception is how sharks and other species detect prey. Fish produce weak polar fields as a result of movement and ionic leakage from gills. In order to exploit the sense, researchers from UWA’s
same effect on predatory sharks. Although we can’t be sure sharks can even sense pain (neuroscience is weird like that) the sensory organs were seen to spasm and the sharks turned away. No permanent harm to the sharks has been observed.
Neuroecology team had to first understand how it works. The surface of a shark’s skin is covered in pores which act as the openings of conductive jelly-filled tubes. Up to 400 tubes then connect to a central hub (an ampulla). Because of the low resistance of shark skin to the water, the hub has the same potential as the surface directly above it. On the other hand, the insulated tubes retain the same potential as the pore they open out on. Hair cells at the hub act like voltage detectors by comparing the potential of the tubes with that of the hub ‘baseline.’ This information is then sent to the brain using nerves – similar to other senses. The brain then compares these different potentials; if there’s a particular pattern of voltages across an area then odds are its lunchtime. We’ve long known that electroreception isn’t only limited to biological electric fields, but can also detect artificial ones. Until recently, many undersea communication cables were regularly severed by shark bites confused at the weak electric field. With this in mind, WA-based company Shark Shield set about creating a much stronger signal. Shark Shield’s Freedom 7 Unit tested by Professor Collin and his team involves a two meter cord with an electrode at either end. By rapidly alternating the polarity of each pulse the system generates an intense electric field. Just as flash blindness causes pain even though no pain receptors are activated, it appears as if the intense electric field has the
Within a 1.3 metre ‘bubble’ around the device the electric field is intense enough to effectively prevent shark attacks, but beyond that range this spasm (and attack protection) does not occur. What this means is that each of WA’s several million beach-going citizens need their own device. When tested in the field, probability of attack on a bait line equipped with the shield dropped from 70% down to 8%. This makes it the only independently proven shark deterrent device on the market. Get Involved More study in shark mitigation technology is already underway. Interstate researchers are looking into the Freedom 7+ Surf unit designed for use by surfers, helping to expand the use of electroreception in shark deterrents. Our own Oceans Institute is currently focussed on publishing their latest round of research papers but are in discussion with a potential industry partner about new technology based on shark sensory systems. If funding is secured Professor Collin hopes for new opportunities for volunteers and students to take part. UWA’s neuroecology group who produced these studies are from a diverse range of disciplines. The current team is made of students ranging from neurology and social science to marine biology disciplines, but past researchers have included conservation and cell biologists as well as neuroscientists. Professor Collin involves many of his PhD students with the program and coordinates a postgraduate course in Marine Neuroecology and Behaviour (BIOL5505).
OF THE SLOW READ
PERFECTING THE ART
In a world of quick-access media the notion of “slow” can be a turn-off for the casual reader. We’re just so unused to consuming things slowly these days. In fact, most adults don’t read books at all. It’s the sad truth friends. Our reading moments are filled with short news articles, Buzzfeed quizzes, and the odd Times article about the virtues of open relationships. Why? Because that’s what our social media feeds give us. And it’s even worse for students. You will probably find, as you dive into first semester 2018, that your first instinct is to limit the gear you read to just your course work. You’ll fail. You’re going to end up reading two hundred trash articles a week with no actual pay-off to your brain and eventually you will notice that your patience for the long read has wilted and your brain has become so good at the 100-metre sprint (i.e. the Buzzfeed article on how freakshakes are out and rooibos iced tea is in) that you’ve lost all the stamina required for the 1500 metres (an actual book). So, I suggest you take a moment to slow down and perfect the art of the slow read. Reading a book isn’t just about entertainment, it’s also about giving yourself the space to stretch out, relax and relearn to focus. Common sense (and a mammoth load of recent research) tells us that the quick-media phenomenon is wreaking havoc on our attention spans. And that sucks. But beyond our strained attention spans, our brains are also becoming less and less equipped to actually process information for the sheer amount we are pushing into them. With that in mind, think of reading a book as an investment in the same way that meeting with friends regularly and having a solid eight (okay, let’s be real, six) hours sleep are an investment. When you get into a long read you relax, you can give your head some space from university and you have the added benefit of knowing that if you stop at any point it’s not going to disappear in the avalanche of your newsfeed never to be found again. So how do you do the slow read? The key to the slow read is knowing you can’t choose just any old book (hence the difference between long and slow reads). This has been my failing, when I read pop-fiction and fantasy I burn through books like fire, I just get so desperate to know how it ends, and I lose sleep and forego socialising. That, friends, is a rookie mistake. You will need to choose a book to chew on, I find memoirs
are great, because memoirists group events in chapters so you can read a chapter at a time and be satisfied to think on it for a bit before coming back for more later. Another good option is literary fiction, that’s basically anything Steven Spielberg has made into a movie…it’s also the kind of novel that gets picked up for awards longlists, think authors like Tim Winton, Helen Garner, Richard Flanagan. The literary blockbuster can be a tough one because it requires commitment, but the right novel can get you through half a semester, so it really is worth it. This is also a good opportunity for you to knock over that iconic novel you’ve never gotten around to. Once you’ve selected your slow-read you need to remember to pace yourself. If you’ve selected a brick of a book that might not be a problem, but you do need to remember that the value of the slow read is in the time it takes to read. I’m often told by friends that they don’t have enough time to read real books, but the gold in a slow read is that time isn’t an issue. You only need a half-hour or so here and there. In the last semester of my honours year I finally perfected the slow read with Schindler’s Arc. I read it on the bus to and from uni, that’s all. It helped me to stop panicking on mornings I had assignments due, it helped my brain to get out of its own way when I had block while writing my dissertation, and it gave me the joy of understanding the value of one of the greatest literary gifts Australia (via Tom Keneally) has given the world. But mostly, it kept me sane. If I can give you one piece of advice heading into first semester this year it is to develop a slow reading habit. Your brain can’t be everything all at once, it needs a break too and, as a bonus, taking a couple of months to read War and Peace is going to make you look like a genius in the long run.
UWA Law School’s latest wellbeing initiative is being met with overwhelming student support as new research suggests it’s needed more than ever. Education editor Michael Smith investigates the merits of the plan and its reception among students. In response to new UWA research about the prevalence of mental health issues among Australian law students, the UWA Law School have unveiled their latest—and cutest—initiative for improving student wellbeing. Meet Julius Caesar, Juris Dogtor, the new four-legged faculty member whose goal is to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step as you go about your studies. At fourteen years old, the greying dachshund is the perfect companion for cuddles and short walks about campus when university life gets you down. Julius’s appointment came in the aftermath of an alarming new set of findings by a UWA Law School research group which suggest a significant disparity in the prevalence of symptoms of psychological distress between Australian law students compared with the general population. Law students are significantly overrepresented according statistics presented in article the group have submitted for publication. 49% of law students experience mental health issues rated ‘moderate to severe’ during their time at university, compared to a rate of 26% within the broader community. Even more unsettling is the suggestion within the research that 31% of law students suffer ‘severe to extremely severe’ mental health issues whilst they complete their degree, a proportion higher than other university student groups and the general population.
top dog AT UWA LAW SCHOOL Michael Smith
The surprisingly high proportion of students affected by the pressures of studying underscores the necessity for university departments to act. Numerous studies suggest the important role animals can play in mitigating stress and promoting positive outcomes. Research at Harvard University suggests that the act of petting a dog can decrease blood pressure, whilst the physical activity and companionship of dog walking helps release endorphins—the hormones responsible for feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. The communal nature of dog walking, particularly on campus where the presence of a dog draws inevitably draws a throng of fawning admirers, can help reduce the loneliness caused by long hours spent studying for exams. Similarly, Julius’s antics can help act as a conversation starter among law students and staff
further reducing the social isolation. Dean of the UWA Law School, Dr. Natalie Skead, strongly supports the initiative. She acknowledges the impact UWA’s competitive and challenging postgraduate law degree can have on student wellbeing, noting that: “We are very aware as a law school, very aware of student welfare and the need to help students where we can.” The Law School’s new appointee has garnered an avalanche of positive feedback on social media from the UWA student community, Law School alumni, and beyond. Comments on the initial announcement post from current students include: “I’ve never been this excited to go to class,” “Best news yet,” “this is a gamechanger,” and “This is the absolute best!!!!!” The posts also suggest an increased interest in the law school with many commenters suggesting that Julius may sway their decision where and what to study. Commenters also half-jokingly note that the UWA Law School is now more appealing, suggesting that they’ll change their degrees, and that the law school has risen in profile. From the many comments that follow this line are those remarking that “Law > eng[ineering],” “Law 1 Med 0,” and “UWA law > USyd Law.” Posts from UWA Law Alumni include those suggesting that “We were a year too late [laughing emoji],” “Wow law school has changed!!”, and “why after we leave [crying emoji].” Amidst the flurry of support following his initial appointment announcement, there has been no suggestion of pushback or negative feedback from students or staff. Julius now has his own Facebook page where you can find photos, stories, and details about what he is up to in his new role (search Julius Caesar Juris Dogtor). The page will also provide information about student wellbeing, as well as support offered by the law school to its students to help reduce stress and cope with the pressure of their degree. Julius will be available for law students to sign out from the Law Student office for walks and cuddles on Mondays and Thursdays throughout semester.
UWA student and Moora Residential College graduate (2006-2011) Thomas Wimmler speaks about what the state government’s planned closure of the facility means to him and his community. When I was seven years old, my family moved from Austria to the West Australian Bush. New to the state and far from a major city, my parents struggled to decide where to send my brother and I to school. Eventually, it was one of our next-door neighbours who convinced my parents to send us to the small local school, Badgingarra Primary School. This was one of the first instances my family came across the importance of supporting the local community. My parents had the same problem with high school. Do we send our kids to a city school 250kms away, that has more opportunities? Or do we send them to a local high school, that offers a stronger sense of community? This time my parents didn’t need any convincing and off my brother and I went to Central Midlands Senior High School in the small Wheatbelt town of Moora. An hour from the farm and too far away from the school bus, we boarded at St James Residential College (known as Moora Residential College.) I remember my time there fondly. ‘The Hostel,’ as we called it, became a second family to us. It was a second home where we learnt many life lessons away from our own parents. It was a perfect, small, loving and safe environment to learn in while not being too far away from home. I could still help with the family business and could still play sport in my local community. Because I chose to stay on in Moora for Years 11 and 12 and wanted to go to university, I needed to take three School of Isolated and Distant Education (SIDE) subjects to have a fighting chance of being accepted. The Hostel had a tutor come once a week to help me with my SIDE subjects. When I also wanted to sit a German WACE Exam (German is my first language), but only applied on the last day of enrolment, without hesitation and aware that any delay would result in missing the deadline, my principal payed my application fee himself. I was also Head Boy for two years at Moora Residential
Thomas Wimmler 38
College and for one year at Central Midlands Senior High School. I have been invited back to speak at two graduation ceremonies in Moora, once at the residential college and one at the high school. I don’t mean it lightly when I say that the hostel has a profound place in my heart. Each of these experiences for me highlight the continued importance of community spirit and the lasting effects of the warm, friendly environment fostered at Moora Residential College. Since leaving Moora, and whilst completing my studies at the University of Western Australia to become a teacher, I’ve worked for two years with Teach For Australia (TFA)—a non-profit organisation whose mission is to close the gap in education inequality by sending quality teachers into low SES. I doubt I’d be working with TFA had I not attended Moora Residential College and experienced firsthand the importance of community to education and education to community. In addition to the college itself, one of the most interesting parts of learning and growing up in Moora is the town’s extensive Indigenous community. During my time in Moora I learnt a few Noongar words, some moorditj (solid or good) and some kunyi (not so good) but all of which proved useful. Knowledge of some Noongar language allowed me to connect with the people and to the culture of the traditional land owners. It’s overlooked at how important these interactions are in building a more inclusive Australian community. The community and businesses of Moora rely heavily on there being a high school. About 15% of the students at Central Midlands Senior High School live in Moora Residential College. Currently the funding to a school is tied to the number of students there are; if there are less students then there is less money, fewer teachers, and less opportunities for students. Already shrinking, removing a further 15% of the school’s students will impair the town of Moora even more, and not just Moora but the surrounding towns as well. With this in mind, I strongly encourage our state government to prioritise continued investment in rural education and continued support for communities like Moora long into the future.
letters to freshers
UNI HALL Dear Fresher, Here’s some new rules for you. 1. Drink, drink and then drink some more Strap yourself in for one hell of a ride because your drinking career has officially begun. Before you even start those dreadful 8am lectures you’re going to have some dreadful hangovers. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourselves. 2. Don’t be a prude College has a tendency to bring out the inner hoe in everyone or for some people, their inner Christian Grey. Don’t be afraid to let loose and go crazy but be SAFE. 3. Don’t give any fucks Did you hear that? It’s all the fucks you shouldn’t give. It’s truly an art to give zero fucks but it’s an art you want to learn during O-Week. It’s only natural that people are going to be judging you, labelling you and trying to categorise you but raise that middle finger up and say ‘boy bye’. It can be a little daunting to enter an O-Week because of all the hundreds of new faces, 300 new faces to be precise. But, be yourself unapologetically and people will love you for that. 4. College law of friends equal survival Nothing bonds residents more than O-Week because everyone is in the same boat. You are all new and lost like a deer in headlights. Friends become your lifeline. Find friends in your O-Week that will be there for every occasion. Friends that will help you scrape through first year, friends that will snap you spewing your guts up after a night out and friends that will support you when time are tough. If you can even find one friend that does all of this, you’re killing O-Week. 5. Tu Hablas Ingles Get ready to broaden your horizons. No need to fly across the globe to find a sexy Spanish man because they’ll be a college near you. College is a world full of diversity so take advantage of it. Get to know the international students during O-Week and learn about their culture and experiences. And if you’re really smart, you’ve found yourself a place to stay when you go travelling.
Welcome to uni ya little fresher fuck, hope you’re ready for the most hectic week of your life (obviously second to duns leavers!)
It’s the end of O-Week and oh, what a week. A baptism of goon-fuelled fire that’s seen me gain friends, memories and probably (definitely) a UTI. Living in a college full of rural and exchange students is exactly what you’d expect it to be: a bunch of kids who don’t know how to use a smartrider trying to make it in the big smoke, fueled only by our youth allowance and wanky sense of superirioty over all the fuckers that never left their home town. Bless. This week I’ve partied as hard and dirty as the unsolicited pic of a lonely FIFO worker on tinder. You’d think it’d be nerve wracking meeting new people, but after the girl down the corridor held my hair back for me at the start of the week and then I put her to bed the next night, I’d say I’m well on my way. Nothing says friendship like having to yak into the same shower. Speaking of showers, someone else on our corridor has started using ours to get high in order to avoid smoke alarms, which wouldn’t be a problem except for the fact that weed infused steam does little to jolt you out of a hangover. As the week progressed I lost my inhibition, which is all well and good except for the fact that it left in hand with my dignity…tip: don’t commit trincest. And if you do commit trincest, don’t let it be in front of a camera. And if it is in front of a camera, make sure the photo gets deleted before everyone you’ve just met and now have to live with for a year gets to love react a picture of you macking on the guy from downstairs with all the glamour and grace of a wide mouth frog. I also fucked up my ankle, completely sober, in something called a fresher dance: only a week in and here I am putting my body on the line for intercollege glory. Somehow I feel like this commitment might not translate into my studies? Which, by the way, are a massive joke – I’ve heard at least twenty six gags about arts students being baristas in the past five days, including one from an arts lecturer. It gives me little faith in my abilities as a professional, but I’m ok with the idea of studying useless units for years because so far, despite feeling more soggy today than a maccas burger at an ungodly hour on a night out, I’m pretty keen on this uni thing.
My O-week experiences have ranged from pornographic to criminal to just outright ridiculous! Even though my O-Week was five years ago, I remember the strange happenings of that week like it was yesterday. Obviously with a bunch of young teenagers moving away from their country towns and the odd rich GT getting forced to move from their peppy grove mansion to a $400 week private apartment; there was a lot of hormones flowing along college row. There were several hook ups that are now a conversation to avoid cause once o-week is over you realise how many other people got with that one guy during that week (threesomes and orgies are not lacking along college row). Apart from the drug and alcohol fueled sex-fest, some people find time to break the law. Ranging from a guy stealing an apple from java juice to impress me, someone stealing a bottle of vodka from the bottle-shop, a group of people stealing and pissing on another college’s sign and someone getting arrested for biting a security guard while out, it’s hard to believe that it all fit into one week! I can’t remember much more because I probably have permaent brain damage from all the alcohol drunk over my years at college or I don’t want to spill all so some things can be a surprise when you move into college! Apart from memories of these experiences I have to offer you, I have two tips. 1. No one gives a fuck about your ATAR so don’t ever bring it up. 2. Don’t come to college with a partner, 98% of couples breakup during O-Week. Have fun and make some memories you don’t want to tell your parents!
Dear George’s Fresher,
I know I did O Week right because I remember very little apart from flashes of goon, passing out in Bridies (RIP, your consistently sticky floors and mysterious stains will be missed) and yakking from my room’s balcony. It’s a beautiful week. You can become the person you’ve always wanted to be: an in-denial alcoholic who can’t afford text-books or basic sustenance but can afford a new bottle of Red Square Vodka every week.
Welcome to the only worthy college on College Row.
In O’Week new friendships are formed hard and fast. Almost dying together at Cap S and then struggling through seminars on drinking responsibly and STIs first thing Thursday morning really bring people closer together. But not too close because remember kids, Catcest (noun – sexual relations between two people who are both residents of St Catherine’s College) is a crime. Is it really O’Week though if you don’t hook up with someone down the hall and then awkwardly see them every. Day. For. The. Entire. Year? Of course not! From personal experience though, living with the fact that you fucked someone from Cats is infinitely easier than living with the eternal shame of waking up at St George’s.
- The other colleges suck. Don’t bother getting to know them. St Cat’s particularly sucks. Steal their mascot and burn it.
While O’Week is completely amazing, there are tough times ahead. Fresher flu is not a myth and it will happen to you. Acceptance is the first step to recovery and let me tell you, college is all about learning to live with a permanently lower standard of health and physical wellbeing than you may be used to. The fresher five is also painfully real. Sure, you now have free gym access but you also have an all you can eat buffet that remains appetizing for at least the first week and as sad as it is, alcohol really does make you fat (Pro tip: for minimal calories, just do shots, your body will thank you later!) So, my advice to you: make the most of O’Week and enjoy every second. Make as many friends as you can, drink until you can’t possibly drink anymore (and then drink some more), meet people from other colleges (to make the insults you give them during fresher dance just that little bit more personal) and most importantly, have no regrets because you are young and having the best time of your life and will look back on this week with fondness for many, many years to come.
You will soon become familiar with the chant, “All Georgians are Wankers.” Embrace it. They only think we’re wankers because our college doesn’t look like an asylum. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you survive O-Week –
- Anyone at college isn’t worth getting to know. - Enjoy the food during O-Week, it gets progressively shitter thereafter. - Make sure you study for the Fresher exam. - Third years will think you’re trash. It’s because you are. - Don’t sit in the pond. - Bring a bucket. You will vomit at some point. - You will do something intensely stupid and never live it down. Everyone has been there – setting off the fire alarm by passing out on the floor with the shower on, or smutting your brother’s best friend on his 18th birthday at Ave. In saying that, if you do something stupid, be prepared for it to appear in the nak. Anything stupid you do can and will be used against you in unofficial awards. - Never get caught without your fresher shirt on. Raw egg on a hungover stomach isn’t ideal. - If you live in Newby, good luck. - The more undies you buy the less often you have to do your washing. - Don’t try to get rid of the bees in your room by blow torching them. The blow torch will set off the fire alarm and the bees are unavoidable. So sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. And be thankful you’re not at any one of the other colleges.
CASTILIAN SCENE The shrill cries of the cicadas crescendo,
WONâ€™T SOMEONE THINK OF THE MEN?
Rising to fever pitched excitement before dying out. The heat hangs heavy and still,
For you were embers
Unmoving in the air and
he will never stamp out
Unmoved by countless generationsâ€™ complaints.
or furiously wave out of existence.
Streets seem to have stayed the same for centuries; Standing still whilst the world spins, Nervously ummming and ahhing about Whether to leap forward, Instead shuffling quietly onwards Like a shy man in a crowded place.
You, a spark of defiance
Passion of those before you and beauty in the very name.
So much more than
And down by the sweet-cool of a stream Fishermen stride to and fro, Weaving nets amongst the rocks.
bone skin flesh.
Like the constant flow of the current Their lines dart in and out
As sun rises, and sets on the scene.
Oh darling, those poor men.
THE MOUNTAINS RUSH FOR NO ONE The snow breeze takes to the skies paints a Van Gogh not with stars
winds sigh through the white-dusted peaks staining the blue these mountains are laced to the heavens
Asha Couch 42
WILLIAM STREET, SPRING THIS IS NOT OUR FIRST BONFIRE
i drink in a cappuccino and second hand smoke this is how we make it to the weekend
the city eats us
when Saturday morning rolls around
chews and chews and chews until the grey matter is tough like rubber
turn up to work only to find the Rapture’s come early this year
lost all flavour
everyone’s gone to melbourne
and spat out
gone douth gone away from the city that always sleeps
so we head north
you need a holiday from ya holiday
or south or east or wherever the dirt runs thicker than the blood that is thicker than the tear tracks on our collective faces
a man calls out across the street to friendly strangers and stranger friends (sometimes neither)
the traffic lights are burning our retinas (have been for years though they never found the cancer)
my hands twitch like August leaves from a lack of sleep or
the urban world doesn’t mark skin the way the sun does and we’re thankful for that sure
- but we miss you
but never quite falling.
nights when the moon is a a glass of white wine in the sky
(dig another hole to calm the shakes/try not to fill it in)
and no matter how hard or fast you chase it it always burns on the way down
always trying so hard not to want and never succeeding
the way fire burns fastest uphill
make yearning an Olympic sport and my city will win
the way potassium burns in water the way the sun burns the morning without asking for forgiveness,
and I’ll collect the medal
sell it some day on ebay for a train ticket so when the Rapture comes again we don’t feel quite
the ultimate arsonist,
on the way home from the party a dart in the bushes thrown from a P plater’s window
- a turn of the head away from the concrete and all its chaos
Are you a fresher who’s longing for the special someone to fill an extracurricular shape in your heart? Worry not- Pelican’s done all the hard work for you. We’ve sat through countless candlelit dinners, long moonlit walks on the beach to bring you the dating profiles of some of the biggest faculty societies (FacSocs) around. One of these lucky clubs could be your forever soulmate…
So where are you from? Give us a bit of your clubs history.
So where are you from? Give us a bit of your clubs history.
Established in 1944, we’ve been watching and learning from the rise and fall of humanity’s greatest; Elvis Presley, Henry the 8th, Plato, and Abraham Lincoln. We’ve developed a strong presence on campus for never failing to rise to a challenge, including a match at beer pong.
I was born in 1949; since then, I’ve seen a lot change in the commerce industry; business is not just for an elite few anymore. I’m all about inclusivity and making sure that everyone I come across makes the most out of their university experience. I enjoy long romantic walks along Wall Street and shopping at the Free Market. I also believe that, like the market, love is irrational but oh so beautiful. So how about we get together some time and appreciate each others assets?
Who would be your ideal date? What sort of student would fit in amongst your club? We just want to sit in a coffee shop and talk about life, the universe and everything in between (read: the invasion of Iraq, Guild politics, student unionism, if Ed Sheeran is actually good).
Who would be your ideal date? What sort of student would fit in amongst your club?
1. We’ve won interfaculty sports for the past two years
My type tends to be predominantly people who study business (because tbh the ability to balance a ledger is hot af), but the main thing for me is someone who loves what they are studying and is keen to put themselves out there. I’m quite friendly and like giving advice, so my ideal date would have to be comfortable to depend on me because that mutual trust is something I really value. I absolutely love people who are driven and take every opportunity to get closer to achieving their goals, and of course are able to have a laugh from time to time.
2. You’ll likely run into a member of committee at Ave on a Sunday
What do you like to do for fun? What type of events does your club run throughout the year?
What do you like to do for fun? What type of events does your club run throughout the year? We like long walks along the river to the Goonzebo, raising money for charity, advocating for students education, and making sure we’re prepared to get a job. Did I mention we also enjoy a ball or two? Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself. Try and sell us on one false fact about your club.
3. We have the cutest President on campus How do you like to relax? If they were a person, how would your club slow things down and de-stress? Scene: The Arts Union Common Room (located on the ground floor of the Humanities building), puppies frolicking around with a Mojo’s quality band playing in the background. It’s dangerous to go alone: what’s your one piece of advice for incoming, fast-paced freshers this year? Don’t be afraid to change units, majors, or degrees. University is the time where you can stretch your legs, never feel you have to study something that isn’t adding to the quality of your education and improving your life.
II do study nights with my friends in first year because I remember how hard it was getting into the grind of uni, and I also publish a journal called “The Bull & The Bear” that features articles written by all my mates so that a wider audience can see how talented they are and learn from them. I also help people write resumes and practice their interview skills because those are some of the hardest parts of getting a job in the industry. I’ve built a lot of networks and connections with business people over the years, and I like going to networking events like breakfasts and cocktail nights. Thirdly, something that is really really important to me is the welfare of myself, my friends and family. I do lots of volunteering and run a bunch of free food stalls over the year to make sure people in my uni are being looked after, and I also do Relay for Life each year to give back to my community. I love having a good time- name it and I’ll be there. My favourite things to do on a night out are quiz nights, boat parties, pub crawls and of course uni balls (particularly the biggest ball in Australia).
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself. Try and sell us on one false fact about your club. 1. ECOMS Welfare Vice-President, Ben, once tried to pick a girl up using his ATAR. 2. ECOMS only care about people who do accounting. 3) ECOMS Business Vice-President, Matt, owns a hedge fund. How do you like to relax? If they were a person, how would your club slow things down and de-stress? I get stressed out a lot during exam period and find that food helps a lot, so I bring a lot of food to the Business School and share it with people who look equally as stressed (because sharing is caring <3). I also play sport with my friends; it’s a good way to de-stress and focus your mind on something else when you’re having a tough time. I always keep Wednesdays from 12-2pm free for interfaculty sportI always enjoy myself and feel so much less stressed out afterwards. It’s dangerous to go alone: what’s your one piece of advice for incoming, fast-paced freshers this year? Wednesday and Thursday nights are student nights. Purchase Berocca and Powerade in extensive quantities to get over hangovers for your 9am class the next day. Or better yet, don’t schedule class for Thursday or Friday if you can.
SCIENCE UNION So where are you from? Give us a bit of your clubs history. Formed as the ‘Science Society’ in 1924 from an amalgamation of the Physics Club and Natural Sciences Club, we were then renamed to ‘Science Union’ in 1935 and have expanded and grown since then. We now represent every student who studies science. Who would be your ideal date? What sort of student would fit in amongst your club? As mentioned above, and as our name implies, we represent all science students at UWA. As such, anyone studying a science-related degree would feel best involved with Science Union. In saying that, we don’t all study science degrees ourselves! Our events are all-inclusive, and all of our committee members are open and inviting if you’d like to ask them a few questions! What do you like to do for fun? What type of events does your club run throughout the year? We love to run events, whether it be social, networking, educational or just to chill out! Our first major event for this year will be our camp - which is a unique event open for all first-year students looking to be introduced to what club life at Uni is about. Don’t get this confused with the likes of a high school camp however, there is a lot more flexibility in the activities that you participate in (and all food and drink is included!). Another event we always look forward to is our ball, which is traditionally held in second semester and a night where you’re able to dress up in your fanciest outfit and enjoy a night of good music, food and drinks. Past locations we’ve held our ball at include
Adventure World, AQWA, and Scitech (although they haven’t allowed us back at those locations just yet…).
MSS (MUSIC STUDENTS SOCIETY)
Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself. Try and sell us on one false fact about your club.
We’ve got over 30 years of experience working closely with the Conservatorium of Music to put on some great events and advocate for music students’ educational rights.
- Our previous logo was a combination of our subsidiary clubs’ logos. - We have a total of 21 committee members on Science Union - We’re the largest FacSoc on Campus. How do you like to relax? If they were a person, how would your club slow things down and de-stress? By going to any number of the de-stress events that are run! There are a load of events run on campus that focus heavily on making sure your mental health is keeping up with demanding workloads, and it’s great to be able to take your mind off things. Science Union is particular is all about those chill vibes - from creating a personalised tie-dye shirt in time for Groovin’ The Moo, to sipping wine and painting pictures to the soothing sounds of Bob Ross, we have it all (there are also rumours of a doggo meetup day coming soon!) Study can be hard work, so it’s important to make sure you take time off to relax. It’s dangerous to go alone: what’s your one piece of advice for incoming, fast-paced freshers this year? Join a club and go to their events! No matter what degree you’re pursuing, there’s always going to be a club out there that suits your personality. And besides, it’s going to be pretty boring if you don’t have a little fun.
So, where are you from?
Who would be your ideal date? Our ideal date doesn’t need to study music or play an instrument - a passion for music is all you need to win our heart. What do you like to do for fun? We love to put on concerts (free for members to attend!), take care of Con students’ welfare, and spread the word about how to succeed in the Perth music industry. Not to mention, we love a good party and a sausage sizzle. Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself. 1. Our annual ball is at the end of the year. 2. We’ve never had a BBQ catch on fire. 3. Really, our ball is the last one of the year, and a whole lot of fun, so you should come! How do you like to relax? Head to the Con in its little corner of campus near the gym, lie back on the grassy knoll, and listen to our favourite tunes. It’s dangerous to go alone… Making music together is a great way to meet new people, so come join us and play in a UWA ensemble!
Right - whether you are flush with cash after working for Daddy for the summer, or you’re broke af after the European winter Contiki ‘of a lifetime’, we all need some help managing our money so that our bank balance is at least higher than our GPA by the end of semester. So here’s some top money saving and budgeting tips from the only non-young lib finance student to ever come out of the Business School alive. First up – deal in cash. Yes, you might look like your Nanna withdrawing your money for the week, but having a finite amount of cash in your back pocket keeps your mind on how much you are spending, so when it’s gone, it’s gone. Paywave - although handy - is the devil because there is no mental connection between your purchase and the transfer of money. Stick to cash and I promise you will be laughing all the way to the bank. Meal Prep – We all know that nobody likes that swole boi in Reid that only eats tuna and rice. But getting creative and prepping your meals at home not only saves you from the terrible Ref food, but some serious money too. On those seedy Sunday afternoons when the last thing you want to do is study, get procrastinating in the kitchen and whip up some pre-made masterpieces. Just don’t be that guy who warms up his pulled pork in the Halal microwaves on campus, pls. Student Nights – This should be a given for any hot-blooded student anyway, but going out on a Tuesday or Wednesday rather than at the weekend can actually save quite a bit. Hit up the Cap S on a Wednesday night during semester together with every other Golden Triangle Postcode Launch candidate, as well as your own favourite haunts. $15 parmi and pint nights will be your new best friend! And finally… Get a job – Yes this might sound completely counterintuitive to most of us on campus (especially you history kids), but getting a part-time job close to home will not only do wonders for your bank balance and your resume, but can also motivate you to study more efficiently by cutting out procrastination time. It also removes the stigma that UWA students are the least employable of any university in Perth, lol. Good luck! Seeya at Cap S.
Luke Clarkson 48
fashion advice your mother would be proud of
Dear Fashion Mothers, what should I wear to my first day of classes? To be perfectly honest, we have no idea. We don’t know who you are or what your story is. However it is your first day of uni and we want you to look fabulous. Do remember you’re starting your classes in the heat of summer so wear something a bit light and breezy so you don’t end up looking like a sticky mess. If you are struggling with the whole idea of leaving the comfort of high school, don’t make it obvious. Wearing your leavers jumper in a desperate attempt to hold on to that mild level of fame you felt in year 12 does not make you cool. Own the fact you’re in uni now, and leave the school clothes at home. Dear Fashion Mothers, what the fuck does ‘smart casual’ actually mean? Oh my dear friend, this is the biggest mystery to befall the fashion industry since the whole “what’s in the Queen’s purse” debacle. Smart casual is, most simply put, one item of smart clothing, and one item of casual clothing. However the pairing of these two to actually match is paramount. A pair of suit pants teamed with a singlet, for example, is a disaster, not a smart casual look. A smart casual outfit is best done when you can ultimately dress the look up or down with your shoes. Add heels and it is more smart than casual, add sandals and you could still fit in at a BBQ. Ladies, a fun patterned skirt with a simple shell top is an easy go to. And for the guys, a button down shirt and well fitted chinos is your best bet. Play around and have fun with it, no one is going to tell you off. I mean, does anyone truly know how to do smart casual? Dear Fashion Mothers, when should I wear a suit to university? Never. Ever. If you are at university to simply be in classes and study it simply does not befit you to wear a suit. You will be the ever so unpopular wanky snob who everyone knows as “the guy who wears a suit” - not your best notifier. We do recognise that sometimes there are events (like job interviews or formal dos) that require you to be in a suit, and you just so happen to need to be at uni. We accept this about you, we accept you have things to do, but even then, lose the tie and jacket for a little while my friend, it’s Perth for goodness sake. Have any fashion dramas or questions? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
Susie Charkey + Frances Harvey 49
SO YOU BETTER BE PREPARED
fashion week is coming 50
Frances Harvey The time for fashion weeks all around the world is already upon us. Already we have seen the men’s shows in London, Milan, and Paris, and Berlin’s Fashion Week graced our feeds in mid-January. But what does a fashion week actually mean? Why are they important? And how do we, as uni students, connect with these iconic shows? Why do fashion weeks even exist? Fashion weeks are effectively a live art exhibition held every so often for designers and fashion houses to showcase their latest work for the upcoming seasons. This is the first time their collections will be shown to members of the public which generates a lot of excitement in the fashion world. It is the first moment that other designers, fashion lovers, celebrities, buyers, and writers will see these pieces, and if you’re lucky to see it first hand, it’s a pretty amazing experience. Notably, it is the big shot weeks in iconic locations such as New York that are the most publicised, which always feature the most famous of fashion houses (think Gucci, Chanel, Balmain and Elie Saab). However, the title “Fashion Week” doesn’t lie, there are many shows that happen throughout the week which showcase more up and coming designers. Fashion weeks show us what the current world of fashion looks like and the social changes that can arise from important collections of work. If you read any pieces detailing the work of certain designers, they will often draw to iconic fashion shows that have influenced the trends that followed. As singers perform their songs for the first time to awaiting audiences, designers bare their soul through their collections at fashion week. How do I engage with a fashion week? Fashion weeks always seem a little bit out of reach for us mortals, when we see so many iconic designers and celebrities gracing the runways of New York, Paris, and London. But really they are so important for everyone who has an interest in fashion, and with the rise of social media they have become more accessible than ever before. The easiest way to watch the shows is through Instagram or YouTube. All of the shows at pretty much any fashion week (big or small) are filmed and put somewhere on the internet, you just have to go and find it. Designers and fashion houses will also showcase images from their collections straight to their Instagram feeds so you can easily come across a brand new collection from Zac Posen while scrolling through Instagram over breakfast.
Bloggers and writers on fashion will also report direct from fashion week, so their photos and articles are a fantastic source for all your fashion content as well. I follow all of my favourite designers on Instagram which means I get snippets of their collections all the time, and if I feel like I want to go and watch the full show I’ll just watch it on YouTube - simple as that. Remember, a fashion show has been very carefully and specifically created by the design team, stylists, production managers and countless other people. It is purposefully designed to showcase the collection in the best way possible and to give an audience a full bodied experience. Which is why watching a show encapsulates the clothes in a way that seeing pictures just can’t really do. Who should I be on the lookout for at fashion week? Fashion weeks all over the world are a great time for “spot the celebrity”. If you check out the front rows of most shows you will see celebrities from Beyoncé to Anna Wintour to Cate Blanchett. The secondary runway to any fashion show is seeing what these iconic people are wearing and who they are with. Our celebrities of today are the ones who are going to be wearing these clothes to award ceremonies, functions, and photoshoots. So really, these top level designers are showcasing their work to the most influential of their clients. Whilst celebrities sometimes steal the show, it is the designers that are the main focus. For the upcoming months here are some top picks that you’re going to want to see: Elie Saab - Lebanese fashion designer with an exquisite taste in elegant women’s wear. If you’re looking for inspo for your uni ball dress - look no further my friends. His work is always gorgeous and his shows never disappoint. Amehl - Amehl’s latest collection screams festival wear. It’s the perfect mish-mash of vintage and outer space that is perfect inspo for that funky vibe at any good music festival. It’s fun, flirty, and raunchy.
March - Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (Melbourne) May - Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia (Sydney) August - Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Brisbane (Brisbane) September - Telstra Perth fashion Festival (Perth)
Moon Choi - If structured minimalism is more your kind of style Moon Choi will truly tickle you. Their clothes are bold yet understated, and I think you can never go wrong with simplicity in fashion. Fun business wear, hello. Brian Wood’s Vintage Mashup - You want truly unique fashion? Here you are my friends, all the pieces from this show will be truly one of a kind. “Vintage Mash-Ups are sustainable and eco-friendly cut + sew shirts using re-worked vintage pieces along with unexpected embellishments” - what more could you want? Later in the year we will be seeing fashion weeks coming to the major capital cities around Australia – prepare your bodies.
October - Adelaide Fashion Festival (Adelaide) 51
Ever wondered how directors achieve those overly dramatic, slow-motion scenes in films? Instead of shooting and projecting film at 24 frames per second, filmmakers use a process called ‘overcranking’, whereby 48 frames are exposed per second, but projected back at the normal 24 frames per second rate. By doing so, one second of action takes twice as long to play back- and just like that, you’ve created slow-motion. Indisputably, the use of slow-motion in film has become one of the greatest story-telling clichés over time. Needless to say, the idea of slow motion on screen brings to mind those Michael Bay-esque action scenes- a man walking away suavely from an explosion as it billows epically behind him; an overly dramatic, emotionally-charged death sequence; or a certain famous sensual jog along the beach. So, overused? Absolutely. Yet, when filmmakers use slow-mo with purpose and creativity, the result can be emotionally meaningful or just straight up cool. Think, the devastating opening sequences of Apocalypse Now, and The Hurt Locker; or the pure horror of The Shining’s elevator blood scene. Below are some iconic examples of filmmakers honouring the use of slow-motion in its most common uses…
FIGHT SCENES The intimate hand to hand combat, the close-up facial shots of our bloody, bruised protagonists. The use of slow motion transforms close-range fighting sequences into an enchanting, dangerous dance between two opponents. This type of shot is commonly found in the boxing ring (think the Rocky
films), or beautifully choreographed martial arts movies reminiscent of Bruce Lee’s films of the 70s. RAGING BULL (1980) What’s the scene? Robert De Niro’s Jake La Motta is readying himself for his fight. He’s by himself in the ring, swinging and jabbing at empty air. A combination of his methodical movements, Pietro Mascagni’s Italian opera music, and the slow-motion of the scene almost hypnotises the audience into a trance before the brutality and violence of the fight brings us right back to reality. DRIVE (2011) What’s the scene? Where Raging Bull manages to take the brutality of boxing and render it beautiful and graceful, the elevator scene in Drive achieves the exact opposite effect. Bookending a ruthlessly violent, face-meets-boot scene shot in regular speed, are slow-motion moments of love and longing between Driver and Irene. The scene uses different speeds to show extreme juxtaposition between Driver’s capacity for ugly violence and brutality, and his ability to love tenderly and deeply.
FALLING TO THEIR DEATHS A cliché within a cliché- how can we make this death scene even more impactful and dramatic? Shoot it in slow motion. An exorbitant number of films employ the death by plummet trope- and a large number of these scenes are overcranked to the extreme. Like Dumbledore’s death in Harry Potter, such death scenes are reserved only for significant characters, and a slow motion fall is almost
iconic uses OF SLOW MOTION IN FILM Cindy Shi
guaranteed to elicit either cheers or tears from the audience. DIE HARD (1988) What’s the scene? John McLane is bloody, tired, and laughing maniacally. He’s spent all night attempting to outsmart the terrorists who have taken over Takagi Tower, and the final hurdle is the mastermind himself, Hans Gruber, holding a gun against his wife’s temple. With confidence and a hint of crazy, he outmanoeuvres Gruber and watches as he plummets to his death. The extreme amount of slow motion used in this scene allows Alan Rickman to work through five whole facial expressions while his suit flaps behind him and hundreds of bank notes are blown around slowly in the wind. THE LION KING (1994) What’s the scene? Is an explanation even necessary? The tears of children and adults stream shamelessly at the thought of Scar’s claws digging into Mufasa and flinging him off the cliff whilst hissing ‘Long live the King.’ The slow motion in this moment perfectly captures Mufasa’s final emotions of shock and sadness at his brother’s betrayal as Simba watches on helplessly, in horror.
THE CONFIDENT SLOW-MOTION STRUT You know the scene- the squad is making an entrance and it couldn’t be cooler. The wind machine is on full blast; everyone else in the scene is staring in awe- they’re all excruciatingly ordinary in comparison. Add in a suave soundtrack that matches the beat of their strut, and you’re golden. RESERVOIR DOGS (1992) What’s the scene? It’s the squad walk to end all squad walks. Tarantino’s slow motion shot of his characters walking down the street as ‘Little Green Bag’ plays, has become synonymous with effortless cool, and is considered one of the most iconic slowmotion scenes of all time. Tarantino is responsible for another suave strut scene in Kill Bill Vol. 1, with O-Ren Ishii’s crew of killers making their way down a corridor.
is cut between civilians watching the astronauts on their television screens from around the world, and the crew walking in slow motion towards their spaceship, ready to save the world. The stoic, severe expressions on each individual’s face as they stroll in formation is so iconic in pop culture that Monsters Inc. even parodied it to perfection.
SHOOTOUT SCENES Guns and slow-motion are a very common pairing in many, many action films. Drawing out and slowing down what would be fast-paced violence has led to many recycled, uncreative sequences. It can be hard to enjoy that cop flying sideways through the air with a gun in each hand, firing bullets with the grace of a gymnast, thanks to the sheer number of movies that have used it. Thankfully, with some creativity, slow-mo shoot out scenes don’t have to be doomed to the same fate. John Woo’s Hong Kong action films are iconic for their effective use of slow-motion shootout scenes. Western classics like The Wild Bunch (1969), and crime classic Bonnie and Clyde (1967) are similarly iconic for the brutality of their slow-mo shootouts. THE MATRIX (1999) What’s the scene? Neo and the Agent face off in what has become a revolutionary action sequence. The Agent fires, and Neo dodges all the bullets until he’s hit by one and Trinity swoops in, shooting the Agent. It’s the first time we see bullet time on screen like this- with the Wachowskis having to utilise multiple cameras, green screen, and wire work to slow the scene right down to how Neo perceives time and the bullets flying around him. THE UNTOUCHABLES (1987) What’s the scene? Two prohibition officers confront mobsters in the very public area that is a train station. Naturally, a shoot-out ensues, and paying homage to Battleship Potemkin’s Odessa Steps sequence, a pram holding a baby falls down the stairs. Perhaps the baby is foetus Neo – managing to dodge every bullet around him. Meanwhile the officers hurl themselves down the stairs to stop the pram, and the mother screams, ‘My baby!’ in the background. All in glorious slow-motion, of course.
ARMAGEDDON (1998) What’s the scene? With this strut, the focus was less on the cool factor and more on emphasising the heroism of this astronaut crew. The montage
When I was little my Grandma would take me out for a walk every day around our neighbourhood. I was only three or four, but we’d be gone for hours, me tightly holding onto her hand as we lost track of time. Mostly, she would teach me my times-tables and I would recite them back to her like a song as I swung her arm back and forth. Sometimes, she would tell me stories. “How many brothers and sisters did you have?” “Ten. I was the oldest girl. That’s why your mother has so many cousins.” “You must have played all day. I’d never stop playing if I had ten brothers and sisters.” “I had to help my mother take care of them. Feed them, bathe them, make sure they did their studies.” “Sounds like a lot of work.” “It was. Come on. I have some nice, sweet bananas for you at home.” “Okay.” Grandma has always loved bananas. She clicks her tongue in disappointment if she discovers that the banana she has just unpeeled has no spots on it. When I ask why, she simply says, “If the other bananas are bruised, then I have stolen the fresh one from you.” In those moments I can only smile and shake my head when she offers the banana to me, hoping she doesn’t mind having it all to herself. She still goes for walks every day. She sometimes knocks on my bedroom door and asks me to choose between two saris for her to wear. If I tell her to pick her favourite, she just brings them closer to my face and the smell of old silk fills my head. I then point to my favourite of the two and she says, pleased, “Alright, I’ll wear this one, since you like it so much.”
Maduvanthi Venkatesan 54
Then, she prepares her face. When I was little, I used to watch her from the bathroom door. First, she would carefully pat her face with Johnson’s Baby Powder. Then she would gently rub kajal on her lower waterline with her index finger and run the excess pigment through her hairline before securing the rest of her hair with an old, plastic clip
in a sensible clump at the nape of her neck. She would emerge bright and pale.
“Grandma, did your brother die?” “Yes, he did.”
As I have gotten older and busier I don’t walk with her as much. So, she tells me about the things she saw or the people she met. Whenever someone compliments her sari it is the highlight of her day. She tells me how the old lady she passed called her dress, “Beautiful,” always stressing the first syllable theatrically to make sure I understood the gravity of the compliment. When we used to walk together, dogs would often come up to us with their tongues out, sniffing and wagging their tales. I would giggle with delight, but my grandmother would always clutch my arm and I would feel her fingernails dig into my skin as she frantically whispered in my ear, “Don’t let it come near me,” over and over. “Why were you so afraid of that dog, Grandma? It just wanted to give you a lick.”
“Oh.” We were silent for a while. I remember looking up to see if she was crying but the kajal sat tight on her waterline without so much as a smudge. For the rest of the walk, I held onto her hand a little tighter. Seconds keep passing. I miss not knowing the difference between ten minutes and an hour because they felt equally infinite when we were walking side by side. Now, I can only resort to moving a little closer to her in those moments both of us are still. Or, I briefly stop to rest my head on her shoulder as I walk by her, if only to feel her heartbeat rise rhythmically through her collarbone. Then, I let it count the passing seconds for me.
“Just a habit.” “Why?” “If you came across a dog where I grew up, you’d get bitten.” “My friend Ashley’s dog bit her finger when she tried to pull a pinecone out of its mouth. She wore a band-aid for a week.” “My brother was bitten by a dog once. Back then, the doctor would need to give you seventeen needles to make it better. He was very frightened of needles and never went to the doctor, even though he said he would.” “What happened if you didn’t get the needles?” “You never got better.” I remember thinking about what she said in silence for a while as a feeling I had never felt before sank slowly into my stomach.
GRANDMA HAS ALWAYS LOVED BANANAS. SHE CLICKS HER TONGUE IN DISAPPOINTMENT IF SHE DISCOVERS THAT THE BANANA SHE HAS JUST UNPEELED HAS NO SPOTS ON IT.
Warwick Thornton doesn’t really care what you think. And that’s what’s helped him become one of Australia’s most revered and respected film-makers. His two features Samson and Delilah and the currently screening Sweet Country, which follows an indigenous man who’s forced to go on the run after shooting a white man in self-defence, have earned him international audiences and acclaim. In late February his documentary We Don’t Need A Map, directed and presented by Thornton, will be out in limited release. Pelican Film Editor Finnian Williamson sat down with the man himself to talk Austral-ian cinema, getting back at internet trolls in productive ways and the importance of telling difficult stories.
think. Storytelling is universal. It could be a painting, it could be a photograph, it doesn’t have to be a bloody movie. I found that really important. And that excited me, because I might have to learn three chords if I wanted to tell a story through a coun-try western song.
FW: You’ve worked as a cinematographer, run photography exhibitions and of course written and di-rected your own shorts and features. Was this artistic expression fostered from your family or com-munity?
Sweet Country, I don’t know yet. Ask me again in six months. But Samson and Delilah is a hard film. A lot of indigenous people don’t want to show their dirty laundry. But I’m Aboriginal, and if people say that to me, it’s too hard, I basically tell them to get fucked. Because this is actually the way it is. I want to show parts of our existence that are actually…. terrible. The problem you have not knowing these stories is because the curriculum’s failed you. If we keep thinking that way, that the stories are too hard, and I don’t do anything about it, I’m kind of failing cinema in a way. You’ve just got to hard-en up.
WT: No. Definitely not. To be in artist it’s the individual journey and choice, really. You can learn gui-tar, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to become a rockstar. It came from me wanting a voice. There were some films that inspired me, but one minute I’d love the film, the next minute I’d hate them. It’s like painting and artists in general, y’know. They’re all dickheads, but they’re all amazing. A mantra to live by. Yeah (laughs). I kind of started really early. And more importantly there was a point where I realised not everything should be a film. How’d you realise that? You just grow up. You forget that…well, you realise that one day, if you have an idea, it could be a country western song, it could be a chant, there’s so many other versions of storytelling in the world. Your version of storytelling isn’t as important as you
I work at a cinema where Sweet Country was playing and I served an Aboriginal guy and asked how the film was. He said it was great, but what caught my attention was that he said he grew up with stories like the one in the film. The story to me is so foreign and wasn’t taught in my history class. How has the reaction for Sweet Country, or Samson and Delilah, differed between white and Aboriginal audi-ences?
Is it the importance of telling the story, or perhaps the shock factor, that makes you keep going? The importance. I could totally clean this movie up, make a great western and a shit ton more money, but what’s important about that? That’s not storytelling. That’s ego. Nothing to do with something im-portant or good or useful. Ok, I don’t know if it’s good, but it’s useful. Are you going to have a useful life or are you just there to rub your own nipples and make money? What’s your reason for being?
THE PROBLEM YOU HAVE NOT KNOWING THESE STORIES IS BECAUSE THE CURRICULUM’S FAILED YOU. You’ve got another film coming out at the end of next month, We Don’t Need A Map, which you put yourself at the centre of I detest documentaries where some wanker director opens the film and goes “Hi everybody” and becomes all self-important. And so you did that. I did exactly that. The sad thing is, it’s one of those arsehole films where I don’t know any other way I could’ve made it. I always rolled my eyes at directors that did that. Like, in that film Searching for Sugar Man where the producer is driving around Capetown at the beginning and I’m like “oh, you fucking idiot, it’s not about you”. You know what I mean? And then suddenly I do the same thing and it’s hilarious. Can you watch yourself on screen fine? Yeah, I can. I grew up. I found this was the only way I can make this movie. Now looking at the pro-ducer of Sugarman, I kind of worked out well, it isn’t about him, but it’s a drawcard into it. It’s hypo-critical, but it’s something I actually had to do. Obviously, We Don’t Need A Map is a very personal story as well. I got into a lot trouble saying that the Southern Cross was the new swastika. Well, I was worried that the southern cross was going to become the new swastika. And y’know, everyone got very hysterical about it. So it is a personal journey. How long did it take you to be like, fuck it, I’m going to make a film about this after the initial reac-tion? I was nominated for Australian of the Year in 2010, 2009, I can’t remember. And I made this film last year, so about six years of it brewing in my head before going alright, I’ll pick myself off my arse. Rather than go hiding and let all those dickhead trolls taunt me and I was like, nah, I’ll show you, you can write what you want about me on the internet but I’ll show what I want to write about you on every screen in Australia.
Did you prefer directing with yourself on screen or No, I hated it. Hated it. I hate being in front of the camera. It’s ridiculous. And so you made this entire film in front of the camera. Was it a lot more stressful then? And Sweet Country, that was shot in 22 days, and that whole experience seemed incredible full on Definitely. But you still preferred that? Well, I like documentaries. Then I hate them. Then I like drama features. Then I hate them. It’s ebb and flow. I have the attention span of a cockroach, y’know. Life’s too short to do one thing. I saw your son helped out on these films as the assistant Director of Photography. Do you have any hopes for what Australian cinema will be like in 20, 30 years, when your son could be directing features? I don’t know…doing exactly what we’re doing now, but a shit load more. That’d be great. I think there’s amazing films out there but people don’t watch them because, y’know, they don’t have the clout to fight against the American films that’s just spent $5 million on advertising in Australia and created their own hysteria about their self importance…for some shit popcorn film. Then you have this little $1 million, $2 million Australian film that’s actually important for Australia, that no one will ever hear about because they’re completely left out of the loop. Commercial television, Fox, all them mob, they’re all actually interlinked to different movies because they’re owned by companies that are distributing the movies in Australia. Disney owns the world now. Exactly. It’s all a monopoly. And there’s incredible films out there, we just need more of them.
Better to make a film which can influence so many people Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, it’s a bit of propaganda. It’s completely biased. It’s not like a documentary with a balanced view.
Radiohead – “The Tourist” (5:26) OK Computer BPM: 115. Matthew Maltman
It seems there is nothing worse than a slow song. Slow music will get your music taste branded ‘boring’ or ‘depressing,’ and nothing will make you lose the aux cord faster. There is no worse feeling than sitting awkwardly, promising, ‘trust me, it gets better in a minute,’ as your friends look at you as if you were born without ears, snatching the speakers away to play “Mr. Brightside.”
I can still remember when I learnt to hate slow music; it was when I was deep into my Manic Street Preachers phase, manically preaching my love for a song called “Faster,” that I heard Richey Edwards’ hilariously bleak comparison of Slowdive to nationalist fascism; ‘We will always hate Slowdive more than Hitler.’ Harsh. Besides, when you’re 17, young, dumb, and full of ill-informed anger, slowing down would only serve to shine a light on bad fashion and lifestyle choices. For the record, at the time of my Slowdive hatred, I sported 2-inch long hair on my chin, a mullet and bangs, and a proclivity for wide-cut jeans. If I had slowed down, it’s unlikely I would have developed these disorders about my personal image that fester. But that’s an introduction for another issue. So, as time has passed, and I’ve learnt the virtue of dynamism—specifically, of the greatness of speed and the greatness of pacing—I’ve often wondered how others have felt in their daily interactions with music; What makes a great slow song? What makes a great fast song? And who decides where that ‘greatness’ comes from? I decided to ask two UWA students about their favourite songs; one ‘slow,’ and one ‘fast.’ Here are their thoughts on the subject… Ed. Jordan Murray
But slow music is perhaps some of the most emotional and engaging music there is. To clarify, what I mean by ‘slow music’ isn’t that it is literally slow– it’s not to do with tempo, beats per minute or song length– it’s rather the practice of events unfolding slowly. You feel you understand each riff and each lyric before moving onto the next one, like a scenic drive along the Oceanside. You can have a slow song that’s a minute long much like you can have a fast song that’s six minutes long. A rock song can be slow, as can a dance song, as can a pop song. They might all be different tempos and feel different, but they all share the same songwriting philosophy, that each moment is purposeful and should be appreciated before moving onto the next one. Perhaps my favourite slow song is the closing track of Radiohead’s OK Computer, “The Tourist.” The band’s guitarist, Jonny Greenwood, wrote it after seeing groups full of tourists rush through a town in France from attraction to attraction. Greenwood says it ‘is a song where something doesn’t have to happen every three seconds. It has become a song with space.’ The Tourist is about five and a half minutes long and is driven largely by overlapping guitar riffs that get intermittently louder and quieter, peaking in a solo that begins at around the four-minute mark. And while you might think that this solo will pick up the songs pace, it feels like as if it were running into the wind, like it can’t seem to gain any momentum, pushing to be faster and faster to no avail. The whole song feels purposefully downtempo as the baseline lingers and drumfill after drumfill fills the empty space. If this description sounds negative or dreary, it’s quite the opposite; the empty space and openness of the song is a feature, not a bug. The song tells the story of a protagonist who finds himself moving far too fast through life for seemingly no reason: ‘They ask me where the hell I’m going /
At a thousand feet per second.’ This story is largely told through the metaphor of someone being in the passenger seat of a car moving far too fast shrieking with increasing volume and intensity; ‘Hey man, slow Down/ Idiot, slow down.’
had been in all week. I was line dancing down the aisles and had the chorus stuck in my head for hours afterwards. I got home, Googled said chorus, found the song, and we’ve been in a long term relationship ever since.
The song’s lyrical themes are told through just ten unique lines, each performed deliberately, each fundamental to its message. And although the lyrics are short in number, they are large in applicability, becoming a metaphor for dangerous drivers, technological change, personal lives, and societal change happening too quickly; a predictor for social media and instant gratification services.
The tempo of “You Make My Dreams” is its backbone. It carries you through the song from beginning to end, and the fast pace in which it moves is what makes you feel so energised when listening to it. If you played it at half speed it would have nowhere near the same effect. Plus, would be very boring and a bit awkward to line dance to.
So, while “The Tourist,” and slow songs in general, may not get much play on the radio, at the club or on the aux cord, they serve as a fundamental part of modern music. Bands like Swans and LCD Soundsystem have built careers on the idea that something doesn’t have to be happening all the time, and that while each second and every moment may not be unique or interesting, they serve as a stepping stone in a larger story, and a point in time where we can stop and smell the roses. And perhaps we could use a bit more of that sometimes. ‘Hey Man, Slow Down. Idiot, Slow Down.’
Hall & Oates – “You Make My Dreams” (2:53) Voices BPM: 167. Darcy Stokes
“You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates brought in the 1980s with a bang. Used in countless iconic feel good movies such as (500) Days of Summer and The Wedding Singer, it’s merely impossible to finish this song without a smile on your face and a spring in your step. It’s upbeat. It’s uplifting. It upsizes your happiness levels ten-fold. The simplistic kick/snare beat supports gritty keys, a punchy electric guitar, and is paired with an elated melody that soars to places you never knew existed. What a magical combination. You can hear a song a thousand times without actually properly listening to it. I have vague memories of my parents playing “You Make My Dreams” around the house when I was little; however, the first time I properly listened to it was about 4 or 5 years ago in a supermarket. It caught me off guard and swung me into the best mood I
There are many different words that fit the way I feel when I listen to this song. ‘Optimistic’ and ‘happy’ are definitely at the forefront, but any and all positive emotions that exist will do the trick too. It has a way of extracting every enjoyable thought and experiences I ever had and has me feeling it all at once. I also feel oddly satisfied; each note and beat hits the right place at the right time. Daryl Hall describes the song as ‘a pure expression of joy,’ and I can’t think of a better descriptor. Listening to it is like seeing your best friend after months apart. It’s finding $20 in a pair of old jeans. It’s eating your favourite food; Cuddling 100 puppies at the same time. A spontaneous road trip, getting an HD on an exam you studied really hard for. Diving into the water on a summer’s day and feeling the sun sink into your bones. I’m almost certain that if someone was to scan my brain while it’s playing all they would find is dopamine. “You Make My Dreams” is a timeless treasure, and I sincerely thank its creators for all the good and lovely feelings it has (and will continue) to make me feel.
... SLOW MUSIC IS PERHAPS SOME OF THE MOST EMOTIONAL AND ENGAGING MUSIC THERE IS ... IT’S NOT TO DO WITH TEMPO, BEATS PER MINUTE OR SONG LENGTH ... 59
Upon entering the front yard of the Davies household, I was immediately greeted with welcoming barks from a Blue Heeler and a friendly voice that said, “Gday, fella”. The voice belonged to a shirtless, beanie-clad teen, who was sitting at a table sipping from a mug of coffee in the morning sun. He invited me inside and offered me a green tea, before quickly apologizing for his lack of clothing and slipping upstairs to put on a shirt. His name is Jack Davies. A folk singer-songwriter from Fremantle, Jack has well and truly earned his place in the Perth music scene. Armed with an acoustic guitar and harmonica, he has already racked up an impressive array of achievements, including winning local and national songwriting competitions, opening for acts such as Methyl Ethel and Cub Sport, as well as recently performing at major festivals including Falls Fest, Fremantle Folk Festival, and Edinburgh Fringe overseas. When he’s not performing at festivals, Jack can be found gigging at his favourite local venues including Clancy’s Fish Pub and Mojos Bar. He also spends his time busking on the weekends at the local markets. “Well, that’s if I wake up in time”, he chuckles.
breakfast music WORDS WITH JACK DAVIES
Sophie Minnisale 60
Sitting across from Jack in the heat of the January morning, I felt a sense of peace and calm, the same feeling I always get when I’m in his presence. He was seated comfortably at the outdoor dining set, a bowl of milk and soggy Weet-Bix sitting on the table in front of him. Scamp, his dog, was sleepily lounging in the sun next to us, tired from the excitement of greeting me as I arrived. Jack and I haven’t known each other for too long, maybe about a year, but sitting across from him now, I felt as if I was conversing with an old friend. Jack lives and breathes music. His passion stems from an early age when his mum’s boyfriend gifted him a guitar at four years old. “I wasn’t very good though, so he took it back and sold it”, Jack laughs. It wasn’t until a few years later that Jack got back into music after receiving another guitar when he was eight. The four years in between he spent exploring other hobbies including skateboarding, but it was his love for American guitarist Joe Satriani that re-sparked his interest in music. “I wanted to play guitar solos like him, which is funny because that couldn’t be more far away from the kind of music that I play”, he explains.
While he comes across as a laid-back and relaxed care-free teenager, Jack is constantly kept busy with his music. Although he does have a parttime job at a café, Jack likes to make most of his income from busking . He views it just like any other job, explaining that it can be quite hard to do every week for hours on end. Alternatively, Jack thoroughly enjoys performing at the various venues around Perth, both solo and with his backing band the ‘Bush Chooks’. He explains there’s not much money to be made from gigs, but it’s a lot more fun than busking on his own. Jack also loves the energy and excitement of playing with a band, as soloing can get boring when there’s nobody else on stage to feed off of. Another significant part of Jack’s music is his songwriting. He always likes to tell a story in his lyrics, whether it is one of his past life experiences, or simply about his favourite breakfast cereals. I was intrigued by Jack’s fascination with writing songs about cereal. Yet having just watched him devour a bowl of six Weet-Bix, I was in no way surprised by it. Jack explains that it’s simply a fun topic to write about. “You can always write about serious, disheartening and terrifying aspects of your life, but if you can revolve the discussion around, say, a bowl of Weet-Bix it can really lighten the mood”, he says. Jack writes about many serious topics in his songs, but by using the not-so-serious topic of breakfast foods such as Weet-Bix and strawberry jam, he conveys these deeper meanings in a way that “softens the blow”. “Using humour to talk about serious things is the best way to do it”, he laughs. Jack is currently planning to release more music very soon, hoping to drop a new album by the end of February. He has spent the past month writing and says he is feeling happy with how the songs are gelling together. Some of the older songs he originally wrote for the album no longer reflect his style anymore, and he doesn’t want to release an album that is an inaccurate representation of who he is. However, he has spent some time re-writing and now feels comfortable with the tracks he is going to release. “I want the character of it to be congruent with everything else I’m doing. I don’t want an album that is a miss take of me and I don’t want to release something that I am no longer vibing”, he says. Whilst there are clear influences in Jack’s music from the likes of Bob Dylan and Dave Van Ronk, he says he has lately been drawing inspiration
from local artists as well. Jack loves the Perth band scene and appreciates the sense of community he feels within it. “Everybody is so supportive and all the bands are friends”, he says, “and there is a strong sense of social awareness in regards to issues including the representation of women in music and the importance of having females on band line-ups”. And with so many talented female musicians in the Perth scene such as Stella Donnelly and Carla Geneve, Jack says there are no excuses not to include them if a venue has an allmale line-up. For people starting out and wanting to get into music themselves, Jack suggests going to gigs, watching and talking to the artists, and immersing themselves in the culture of the music scene. “Just have fun with it”, he says, “don’t feel intimidated because everyone is in the same boat as you.” With our interview coming to an end, I asked Jack what his end goal is and what he wants to achieve overall with his music. His answer was simple. If he can just survive doing what he loves and keep making stuff that he is happy with then he will be truly satisfied. “I want to make a living from my music, even if it’s just locally, being able to play guitar and write songs is all I want to do.” https://soundcloud.com/jackdaviesfolk https://www.facebook.com/jackdaviesfolk/
UPON ENTERING THE FRONT YARD OF THE DAVIES HOUSEHOLD, I WAS IMMEDIATELY GREETED WITH WELCOMING BARKS FROM A BLUE HEELER AND A FRIENDLY VOICE THAT SAID, “GDAY, FELLA”. 61
the enemy of my enemy 62
IS MY FRIEND? Cormac Power
THE DAI HONG DAN INCIDENT THE GREATEST WIKIPEDIA ENTRY SINCE THE GREAT EMU WAR I have an idea for a shitty political fiction book. Here’s the gist. On the high seas off the Horn of Africa, the ragtag forces of the United States of America and North Korea combine forces to take on none other than the fearsome pirates of Somalia! Michael Bay directs the book-to-film adaptation. Except that’s exactly what happened in 2007. This story is a bit ridiculous, but not entirely pointless! Let’s get some context here. Back in 1968, North Korea attacked and successfully captured a US research ship while it was on an intelligence-gathering mission off the coast of North Korea. In taking the ship, the North Koreans held 82 Americans hostage for nearly a year and found themselves in possession of what is now one of Pyongyang’s (the North’s capital) most popular tourist attractions, the USS Pueblo! The Americans held there were eventually released across the socalled ‘Bridge of No Return’ back into South Korea, but it has continued to be a source of anger for many years. Despite being forced into signing a confession note to secure their release, the US captives decided to at least take some revenge and make the most out of the situation. The final confession stated that “We paean the DPRK. We paean their great leader Kim Il Sung.” Apparently they found it fucking hilarious that paean sounds like pee on and couldn’t help themselves. Diplomacy is real serious everyone. The real trouble for the US was now about how to get their boat back. People really like boats. More on this later, but this incident was the last naval encounter between the US and North Korea for decades and the context that U.S-North Korean naval relations should be seen from. So now fast forward to 2007. The US and North Korea are on better terms than they happen to be in 2018 and the hot topic of the day is terrorism and why it’s bad. North Korea was in some tense negotiations
with the US about disarmament, with one of its central demands being the removal of their nation from the US blacklist of states that sponsor terrorism. They got initially put on that list for blowing up a South Korean plane so they had a long way to go to crawl back into the good books. Now while most countries don’t let North Korean ships use their ports, Somalia wasn’t playing by those rules at the time. Much of North Korean trade went through rogue areas of Somalia where international shipping was not high on the list of pressing issues. This is where the North Korean cargo ship Dai Hong Dan comes in to play, carrying shipments of sugar from India into the Somali capital of Mogadishu. On the 29 October 2007, seven Somali pirates dressed themselves up to look like guards and boarded the ship while it was unloading its cargo. They forced the ship a solid 100km out to sea and demanded a ransom from the North Koreans to the tune of some $15,000 USD. A tense standoff kicks off. Enter America. The U.S. Navy was actually hanging out around Somalia because they were looking for a Japanese vessel that had also been seized in the preceding days! They received a signal about some commotion going on with the North Koreans and sent a helicopter up to check out the situation. They then radioed down to the Somalis to demand they surrender their weapons or get their asses kicked by the greatest fighting force the god damn world has ever seen, or something to that effect. With a whirlybird overhead, the North Koreans then sprung on the Somalis, overpowering some and seizing their weapons. An intense shootout followed that wounded six North Koreans and killed 1 or 2 of the pirates, before the rest were captured. The US then jumped on board the ship to administer medical aid to the wounded, preventing the deaths of the North Koreans! Hooray! We did it team! What followed this incident was one of a handful of times North Korean State Media has said something nice about the US. The Korean Central News Agency said, “We feel grateful to the United States for its assistance given to our crewmen. This case serves as a symbol of the DPRK-U.S. cooperation in the struggle against terrorism.”
was to become. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE FIRST BOAT FROM 1968? A great question. As mentioned earlier, some people really like boats. One such person is former U.S Senator for Colorado Wayne Allard. He immediately came forward to suggest that this be the impetus for returning the ship, telling the Associated Press, “My hope is that they will see it as a generous act that we did, going out and helping a North Korean ship in distress, and after an appropriate time, maybe return our ship to us.” Proving the age-old saying that politicians are very in touch with the daily concerns of the people they represent, Allard said that his constituents were “very eager” to see the North return the USS Pueblo. The State Department told him they were kinda busy with other things right now (nukes and stuff) but that didn’t stop him from proposing a trade-off where the US gets the boat and the North Koreans get a flag taken by the US in 1871. On a more serious note, this is one of the few examples you can find of the US and North Korea cooperating on absolutely anything, let alone having North Korean state media openly thank America for its help. This incident came at a time when both the South Korean and US governments were trying to engage the North and pave the way towards better relations. Four weeks prior to the incident, the 2007 interKorean Summit took place, with then President Roh Moo-hyun being the first leader to walk straight across the DMZ into North Korea. While this isn’t the piece for discussing inter-Korean relations, it’s worth considering that the North and South are putting together a joint hockey team for the 2018 Winter Olympics while the U.S President is busy comparing the size of his nuclear button to Kim Jong-un’s. It’s worth finding all the common ground we can, even if it’s 100km off the coast of Somalia.
In other words, “Hint hint, nudge nudge, take us off your damn terrorism blacklist.” And it all ended happily ever after back in the paradise city of Mogadishu with both sides celebrating the amazing Wikipedia entry their tale 63
We all know that Malcolm Turnbull’s time as Prime Minister has been about jobs and growth, and it is a slogan he never hesitates to use.
broker who supports the international rules-based order, but this strategy makes us come across as ignorant and money hungry.
Including, it seems, when unveiling his cunning plan to make Australia one of the top 10 arms exporters in the world. Apparently the measly $1.5 to $2.5 billion we already make from ‘defence exports’ every year is just not good enough. Way to prioritise the important stuff, Malcs.
In fact, I can think of at least four top 10s Malcolm should be striving for before international arms exporters extraordinaire.
According to the Government’s projections, their ‘defence export strategy’ (I could write a whole article solely about the name of it, but I will spare you for now) will create jobs for local manufacturers and increase investment. This apparently warrants several new additions to the bureaucracy, including a new Defence Export Office, a $3.8 billion Defence Export Facility, and an Australian Defence Export Advocate position. I know, my head hurts too. Naturally this totally flawless initiative has attracted some criticism. World Vision Australia chief advocate, Tim Costello, is among said critics, calling the plan “dirty business” and referring to profits as “blood money”. Other critics of the strategy include Amnesty International, Oxfam and Save the Children. Greens leader Richard Di Natale has appealed to the Government to find better ways to “spread Australian intelligence, innovation, expertise and skills to the rest of the world”. And while it is not inherently unethical to sell arms to foreign countries, the critics of this strategy have a point. This is a question of what kind of image Australia wants to promote in the international arena. Australia has the potential to be a peace
Some suggestions for the Prime Minister: 1.
While significant progress towards gender equality has been made in recent decades, Australia was ranked just 46th for overall gender equality in the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Gender Gap Report. Women are overrepresented in both part-time and low-paid work. Unsurprisingly, women tend to retire with just over half the superannuation of their male counterparts. It is up to the private sector to fix a lot of the issues surrounding gender inequality, but the Government could be doing more to facilitate the required changes. That could include anything from extending the period of government-supported paid parental leave for both women and their partners – who currently receive just two weeks of governmentfunded paid parental leave – to advocating a transition towards flexible working hours for both men and women. 2.
With a series of reductions to our foreign aid budget over the past few years, we have dropped out of the OECD top 10 donors. While foreign aid represents just 1% of budget expenditure, it has made up around 25% of all budget cuts announced by the government over the last five budget cycles. The Lowy Institute reports that Australian aid is now at an
the top tens WE SHOULD BE STRIVING FOR Amy Thomasson 64
all-time low when measured as a proportion of Gross National Income.
Unfortunately, it will take more than a couple of batteries to get anywhere near the top 10.
We should be concerned about this even from a purely self-interested point of view. Reducing aid means losing influence with development partners and our voice in the development debate. That equates to a loss in soft power, which is critical for us as a middle power.
Given that we a have number of climate change deniers in our Federal Parliament, it should come as no surprise that Australia is one of the worst performing countries on the Climate Change Performance Index – 57th, to be exact. I was very tempted to gouge my eyes out as I watched Malcolm Roberts waste half an hour of a Senate Estimates hearing last year trying to prove that the Bureau of Meteorology had tampered with climate data (needless to say they hadn’t). Thankfully Roberts became embroiled in the citizenship scandal, so we no longer have to contend with quite that level of contempt for a scientifically proven occurrence. But we still have plenty of policy challenges to address. Our 2030 targets leave something to be desired, as do the policies that are supposed to help us achieve those targets. There is light (potentially solar powered) at the end of the tunnel. Bloomberg predicted earlier this month that Australia will play a major role in facilitating disruptive technology in the energy industry. Elon Musk’s 100-megawatt battery has already set a precedent, with a plan for a second battery, this time in the Northern Territory, already in the works.
If we go by the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores, even New Zealand is beating us when it comes to education. We might be able to abide being beaten by the All Blacks, but a PISA ranking of 25th is not something we should just sit down and take. Funding and testing are likely to dominate education policy discussions in the first part of 2018, with the Government pushing the states to adopt a phonics screening test for students in Year One. Funding is important, but the Government needs to put more thought into how the money can best be spent. There’s already been some positive movement in this direction, with Simon Birmingham imitating a modern-day Robin Hood by reducing funding to over-funded schools (usually wealthy and independent). This has increased momentum behind the push for national needs-based funding model, which now has bipartisan support – and hey, it only took six years. The Government has also shown a commitment to evidence-based reform by commissioning Gonski 2.0. This is my pick for most achievable top 10s in what is left of this government’s term. If we are to reach any of these top 10s, it will take foresight and political courage. That means committing to a long-term vision for the kind of country Australia wants to be, perhaps one that leaves selling military equipment out of the picture.
love letters zine AN INDEPENDENT ZINE CELEBRATING WOMEN AND NONBINARY PEOPLE IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
WORDS WITH PAMELA BOLAND
What is love letters zine?
Really it’s an ode to female and non-binary musicians. It’s a DIY, self-published, independent zine that’s a product of wanting to have something that really celebrated and said thanks to women and non-binary people in the music industry that got us through times that weren’t so peachy. Where did the idea come from? It’s shit to relay Lola’s story without her here, because she really birthed the idea. She was going through a break up and found herself listening to this playlist full of super punky, empowered, strong women; very Runaways heavy. Post breakup, she decided she wanted to create something for herself, put all her energy into something good that also celebrated these incredible female artists she was listening to that were getting her through this rough patch. That’s were the love letters come in, she wanted lots of people to write love letters to say thanks to their favourite musicians. Lola and I met at a party and she mentioned the idea to me. I was just starting to fall in love with portrait photography at the time and came on board as a photographer. But Lola and I got on really well and because we came from different circles and had different experiences of the music industry we could bounce ideas off each other. I ended up saying to her, I’ll be your right hand woman. It ended up becoming a joint thing, but Lola grew and birthed the idea. Sometimes artists can find it hard to believe in themselves and their work, particularly women and non-binary artists. Do you think Love Letters helps to give this confidence, especially to younger artists? It’s pretty special when you find a space that celebrates you and your work, or the work you want to do. Often when we talk about representation, we talk about what it means for young girls. Jenny Aslett spoke about this is in Issue One - “if you can’t see it, you can’t be it” . For a young girl or aspiring musician, seeing women already in the industry is powerful, because it’s an affirmation that yes, they can do this too. But Love Letters is also about supporting women and non-binary people who are already in the industry and for those just coming into it. Sometimes you can feel lonely and that there is no one sharing your experience, but Love Letters tries to represent these different experiences as artists in this
industry together as a sort of whole, which we hope is comforting to artists in the industry. A lot of the love letters thank the musicians for giving the writers faith in themselves and permission to be themselves. What is it about female musicians that has this sort of transformative power? I think the female experience is something female musicians tend to sing about and tend to write about a lot. So for a female and non-binary audience listening to female and non-binary musicians, they are hearing things they have gone through which is comforting and reassuring that they aren’t alone in their feelings. These musicians are like big sisters in a way, making you feel more comfortable in times of transformation they may have experienced themselves. Fandom is often seen as juvenile, something you grow out of. Celebrating it as a type of love made it seem quite profound and beautiful, do you think it’s useful to trivialise fandom? No, nope. Fandom is not juvenile. It’s ridiculous to me that people would discount fandom or fan girls, these girls have so much love for these musicians, why would you trivialise that? I think people associate that amount of love for someone you don’t know with something that must be insane. But it’s not. You’re loving these musicians as a fan – they are speaking about something that speaks to you and they’ve supported you through something. Whether it is love or cake or shoes or heart break or their changing/objectified bodies, they are speaking about an experience you can relate to, why would you not be so in love? I hate that people are quick to make their love/opinion invalid, not useful at all. Also, the young side of it – young fan girls, right, they are the people who love the musicians the most. That isn’t something to be ashamed of or to mock, these girls are in love with these people who are role models to them. You can’t say this love is invalid. It’s what keeps the music industry alive. These fans show inhuman amounts of support to these musicians, such ferocious love, how could you mock that? In an interview, Harry Styles (I love him so much it literally breaks my heart) said in regards to fangirls, “How can you say young girls don’t get it They’re our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going.” Now it’s ridiculous to have to have a man validate young girls that way. But he’s right in what he’s saying, whose to say that
the opinion of young fan girls is invalid, they keep the world going round and they aren’t afraid to care about something, it is beautiful. Why did you choose to use zines as your medium? It was Lola really, she’d made them before so it was a comfortable medium for her to work in. Lola is from Scotland and there is much more of a zine culture over in the UK. But the zine format really leant itself to what we wanted to do. Zines are DIY, self-published and homemade products and we are both In-Design novices (especially me) so it really worked with us being beginners. We’ve also both really loved magazines since we were tiny tots. So we thought we might be alright at making our own as we are so obsessed with so many others. What do you hope the future of Love Letters will be? Lola is heading back to Scotland because the government’s mean and won’t let her stay. It was going to be a one-time thing, but we loved making it and it’s our child now and we are trying to work out at the moment if we can do another issue and give it a sister. I think with technology being so fantastic and easy we should be looking at another issue. Hopefully there’ll be another issue, we’ll see. It took you about a year to put the zine together. What was that process like? It was really a slow labour of love. At the end of the process things picked up and got a bit frantic, but that’s the way with everything. Print publication is slow, but I like that. I love technology and everything it provides, but you can’t hold a PDF in your hand and love it and fold it and feel the pages.I hope people Love Letters in their bag and it gets crumpled. It’s small and and we want people to scribble in it, to share it with their friends and to love it. It’d be so easy to just consume Love Letters and forget you had if it was living in your computer, but if its beside your bedside table or your friend had it and passed it on, it’s got a life and it’s got something that isn’t replicable in a digital medium. A print publication is full of life, it’s got personality and it’s respectful of the art and the writing and it’s not disposable. It lives with you.
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First Edition of Pelican for 2018