pelican. est 1929 Volume 88 Edition 3. Soap
Bryce Newton // Editor Ruth Thomas // Editor
Ben Yaxley // Lifestyle Editor Harry Peter Sanderson // Arts Editor Jesse Wood // Modern Media Editor Maddi Howard // Science Editor Mike Anderson // Politics Editor Pema Monaghan // Literature Editor Ryan Suckling // Film Editor Tess Bury // Music Editor
The University of Western Australia acknowledges that its campus is situated on Noongar land, and that 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.
Gabby Loo // Cover Art www.gabbyloo.com/ Skye Newton // Inside Cover Art www.instagram/ocean_themes/ Elise Walker // Design Emilie Fitzgerald // Advertising email@example.com 2
If you’re a believer, then you’re a believer. If you’re not, then I don’t know how we can continue in this relationship. It’s hard to look at you in the same way when I know that you don’t change your underwear every day, and that you leave dishes in your sink, unattended to, for days and days. I see the cat fur building up on your rug. I see the dust settling on your bookshelf. I can smell you. You haven’t showered in days. I think you take a certain pride in that. You like that you don’t care. So what do you think of me? I shower twice a day and I can’t stand it when there’s grime in my drains. Are we fundamentally different? Do you think I’m not fun? Maybe I’d hate it if you were clean. Maybe I’d feel like the dirty one. I just want things to be good. I want to be clean. I want you to read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and convert to my way of thinking. I want you to care about being clean, and to care about the clothes that you wear and the things that you use. I don’t know how you cannot care. Contrary to what you think cleaning is not a never-ending process. Contrary to what you think it feels good when things are clean. I feel good when things are clean. When I shower I like washing the dirt from my feet, I like scraping the layer of dead skin from my body, I like to feel like I am all shiny and new. When I dry myself off I am a new person. You could be a new person too.
Ruth Thomas and Bryce Newton Pelican Editors 2017
Letter from the Editors
A bout Ants Hannah Cockroft
7 Coffee Jacob Van Heeren 8
Soak in it
B ath Skye Newton
D ip Bryce Newton
M unka Nate Wood
P residential Address Nevin Jayawardena
Harry Peter Sanderson
C olumn Talk Harry Peter Sanderson
S upernaked Interview Tess Bury
24 Bubble Jesse Wood
P ack Up the Moon: Scene 3 Nick Morlet
Pelly Mix Tape
C orrective Retrospective: Agnes Martin Pema Monaghan
A lbum Reviews Zoe Tongue Jasmine Tara Erkan
38 Socks Mike Anderson
S culptures By The Sea Ben Yaxley
C ome Clean Reece Gherardi, Ben Yaxley, Debbie Choo, Rose Stewart, Nick Morlet, Sophie Minissale, Tess Bury, Christopher Lim, Eamonn Kelly
A rtwork Billy Jean
H yporcite That You Are Jesse Wood
S ummer Work Clare Moran
R easons Not To Watch Lars von Trier For A Weekend Winifred Bowen
Transhumanism Jesse Wood
C uring Cancer -- The Disease of the Devil Maddi Howard Art by Danyon Burge
C inema Re-View: Windsor Cinema Bryce Newton
T he Film Poster Ryan Suckling
F ake Reviews of Fake Weather Jacob Broom
22 T op 8 Tap Games That Will Leave you Feeling Hollow Martha Wood
M ake a Space for Makerspace Sophie Minissale
P oems Harry Peter Sanderson
W e’ve Been Reading Pema Monaghan, Hannah Adam, Harry Peter Sanderson, Ryan Suckling
A gainst a Europe of Intolerance Sirling Chuah
E Uston, We Have A Problem: What is Brexit And What’s Happening Next? Ellen Storey
O n The Soapbox Hannah Smith
It’s Time To Talk About Canada Ella Fox-Martens
G irl Drinks So Much Milk You Won’t Believe What Happens Skye Newton
A ll My Spare Time Jade Newton
H obbies, Reviewed Rainy Colbert Art by Danyon Burge
9 Things I’ve Read That I Would Like Scrubbed From My Memory, Please Eamonn Kelly
About Ants Hannah Cockroft I have been told that if you crush a large number of ants under your foot they smell like Bacardi. I have never noticed this. In the summer the ants come in through the tiny holes in our kitchen tiles to steal little crystals from the sugar bowl and sleep on top of the tea bags. Sometimes I squash them under my mug or aim for them when I put down the cutting board. I don’t notice any smell. Their life has ended in vain, and I have bug goo on the cutting board. How does an ant feel when it sneaks into a person’s home through the cracks in the walls? Is the ant aware of its crime? Does it feel a rush of adrenaline, like that time when I was little and I snuck into the neighbour’s back garden to grab my tennis ball? Does the ant enter the home to satisfy a need for voyeuristic pleasure? The answer is of course no. The ant has a tiny brain and is not capable of complex thought or self-awareness. But I imagine that if ants could be aware of the seriousness of their crimes, they would feel bad and wouldn’t do it again. If an ant were to nestle itself in between the petals of a flower, would the smell of that flower be overpowering, like if you were to walk into a room in which 100 bottles of perfume have been sprayed into the air, or would its tiny ant nose protect it from olfactory assault? If you know the answer, please write it on the underside of a table somewhere. Check back in a year to see if I have replied. If I haven’t, I have stopped checking tables because I have googled the answer. I imagine things are very dangerous for ants. Particularly when people are crushing you to see what your corpse smells like. A drop of rain could crush you like a tsunami wave. If an ant has to walk on hot pavement in the summer, it would take them much longer to reach the grass than if they had human legs. One thing that ants do have going for them is that they can lift things that are very heavy in relation to the size of their bodies. If you see a big chunk of cake running away from you, there is likely to be an ant underneath it. I wish I could carry a 150 kg piece of cake on my back. I wouldn’t be able to eat it all but people would think I’m pretty cool. I would not want to be an ant for a day, because the world seems out to get them, but if I were, I would like to try and sneak my way into a little big pink soap bubble, and float up into the air like the good witch from The Wizard of Oz, and if the bubble pops and I fall to the ground I won’t get hurt because my body would be so small that my impact with the ground wouldn’t affect me as much as if I were a big thing. I would also like to walk into people’s houses and watch them talk on the phone about their friends and I would sleep on their teabags and steal their sugar. I could also do this as a human if I wanted to.
Soak in it Shame Bath Melancholy Grease Oils The kindness of others Friendship Congratulatory pastry baskets The blood of your enemies Success, as long as you can because the next moment that glow will be gone Sun Beams UwU Nationalism Gun crime Knife crime Your daughterâ€™s laughter as a grown woman The last handshake your uncle will ever give you Knowing your father finally accepts you Minecraft Beijing Pollution Slamming down an ice cold micro brew Mine craft Pean soupers The night sky Greenhouse gases Oxygen Gas Sylvia Plath 3 bottles of coke Caesar salad dressing Cobbers The warmth of true friendship Second-hand smoke Distant Approval Accidentally downvoting Being jealous of your friends Taxes Never earning enough money to be taxed A pat on the shoulder, rather than on the head. Thatâ€™s the pat a peer gives you. Wrestling your friends in icy wet grass, and breathing in their body moisture Watching a duck kill another duck Overly friendly classmates The sun The wrath of the gods Double posts Civil Disobedience A hot Bath after a day at the office
I learnt of Agnes Martin through my partner’s mother, a wonderful artist herself. Martin’s works are very literary, I think. Aside from the fact that she was a voracious essayist and diarist (many of her catalogues include pages from her notebooks), her works visually represent the way I wish to write. Spare, block by block, detailed, neat, idiosyncratic. It is through her very order and tidiness that she achieves such personal and intimate artworks. Her paintings are often named for feelings of love and varieties of personal connection. I am not an art writer, so I can’t provide you with a detailed critical analysis of Martin’s work. Instead, I will tell you how she makes me feel. Calm and thoughtful: even and capable. Here, I talk about select pieces of her work. The first work is Little Sister (1962). Martin’s Guggenheim webpage tells us that it is made of ‘oil, ink, and brass nails on canvas and wood’. “Little” and “sister” are two very beautiful words. They sound good; they have the best number of syllables. They mean something intimate and universal; they are loric, rather than historic. I have little sisters; three. Aside from the similarity in fabric and skin colours, this painting doesn’t remind me of them as individuals. I think that this artwork is about giving advice. I give my sisters advice all the time. They do not usually enjoy it. However, when I give them advice, it is because I can see the events and emotions of my own life, so confusing and inarticulate while experienced, lining up to present me with at least some answers. Try this, but please don’t try this. Be careful here. Just be careful, please. I often give it badly. Little Sister knows this. It wants me to think before I speak. Untitled #3 (1974). This work is a good example of the large range of materials Martin makes use of. This is ‘acrylic, graphite, and gesso on canvas’ (Tate). It is a very stylish and elegant painting. That’s all I can say. It’s beautiful. I wonder if Millennial Pink, while they sit in their plush velvet pouf in the evening, knows how much they owe to Martin for her exploration of their uses and aspects. Untitled (1965). I don’t have much to say about this painting, except that if it were on my study wall I think I would get a lot more work done. Untitled gives me the space to think. I keep looking and looking at this painting, and the blue starts to move gently in waves off the border of the paper to the left, while ever washing in from the right. This painting is a film. I hope you can see what makes these works so beautiful and gentle. I hope you had different associations, and that you enjoyed reading my own unprofessional thoughts. Above is a still from a film of the artist at work in 1960 by Alexander Liberman. You can view the film at the Guggenheim’s Agnes Martin webpage, as well as see other works, and listen to interviews with the artist.
Corrective Retrospective: Agnes Martin Pema Monaghan
Column Talk II Harry Peter Sanderson Ionic columns are the second main order of column, first appearing around 5th century BC. The Ionic column is the thinnest and smallest column of the three canonic orders. The Ionic capital is characterised by the use of volutes, which look like small rolled scrolls sitting atop the column shaft. When crafted well, the paper looks inviting, as if it could be unrolled and read. But you cannot unroll and read the top of an Ionic column, since it is stone. Besides, it is not for you. Inside there is a secret poem you would not understand. Some poems are like columns. Dante’s Divina Commedia, for example, is written in three canticles which each consist of 33 cantos. These cantos are hendecasyllabic stretches written in the verse scheme terza rhyma. The lines form neat leapfrogging tercets which, on the page, look something like roughly hewn columns. You could make the argument that most poems look like columns, but you would only be half right. Shakespeare can appear columnic, but even he has prose stretches, for instance in Hamlet. Also, he came after Dante, and so would only be applying the Italian’s architecture. Before Dante, things are also largely uneven. Homer wrote in Greek, with his lines ostensibly in even hexameter. There are, however, frequent metrical inconsistencies in his verse, leading his prints, if not standardised, to appear distinctly unlike columns on the page. Also, Homeric Greek is rarely read today, and so we must rely on translations such as Chapman’s English versification. Chapman evens things into columns, but this is cheating, and we should not regard it as valid. Dante’s Italian is still read, largely because of the quality of his poem, and so we need not rely on translations. In three canticles, almost one hundred cantos, he has barely a syllable out of line. Australian academic Prue Shaw says that Dante is all about movement, and that his construction has an inescapable, inevitable flow to it. Largely, she attributes this to the Italian language, which gives the carrying rhythm of a deluge through its easy rhymes. The lines of the column bow down ahead of themselves, so that the poem moves even when it doesn’t. When Dante ends his Paradiso the reader barely realises, and keeps looking down the page.
ma già volgeva il mio disio e ‘l velle, sì come rota ch’igualmente è mossa, l’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle. The column is extrapolated from these last rhymes into an invisible descent through time and space. Like the Ionic column, the perfect start is a rolled scroll. But in the end the perfect base is no base at all.
Pack Up the Moon: Scene 3 Nick Morlet A king-sized bed with floral sheets sits just left of centre stage, atop a large piece of astroturf. Lighting bright & natural, and audio of a strong wind through tall trees plays throughout. Monty, a young officer dressed for parade complete with red beret and sword, sits cross-legged among the flowers, staring blankly and touching the back of his head. Tokuko – a diminutive and beautiful Japanese woman – is curled up asleep beside him on the divan. A record player sits silent on a wrought-iron bench at the margin of the turf. Enter Private Copfko. PRIVATE A letter has arrived for you, sir, without an envelope. The boy delivering said it was urgent. MONTY (protracted silence, continues staring blankly and touching the back of his head) please private, do read it out to me. PRIVATE are you sure sir? It would appear confidential, given the circumstances ... MONTY please, (he looks Copfko in the eyes) would you stay with me here? (pause) I’m feeling I need to hear another voice, Tokuko remains silent after so many days. Please, attend me, read the letter.
Copfko clears his voice, clearly uncomfortable with this indecorous request, the latest in a long series PRIVATE “Dear Monty, I hope this letter finds you well. I made contact with the operative. He was working as a cobbler in Shikoku. It was a perilous journey across the inland sea for I had only a small canal-boat to ferry me across. I feared to have lost your intel, if God hadn’t blessed us with calm water, and a moon nearly full by which I walked at night. Nobody saw me enter or leave the town, but I visited a nearby temple at sunrise and there I met with a kannushi, an old friend. He is to be trusted. “When I arrived at the cobblers, it was as you said: I had only to knock on the door in the manner you showed me, then ask for ‘Russian caravan’ tea when inside, rather than green tea. Attached are the complete data for the entire Trans-Baikal, including routes and projected station points. It is comprehensive, and many died, some terribly, for this information. Even though I explained your situation the operative would tell me little more than this. “As well as the coordinates the operative had a single coded message: “Dismantle the Sun.” Unless my English is failing, this was his exact wording. Do not forget the promise you made to me and Tokuko at the beginning of spring, in our father’s workshop. Summer has now come. So that you might remember your promise, I have shaved the patch out of your hair,” – MONTY I’d should have known he’d snuck in, hellions! – PRIVATE “You will fill your end of this bargain, as I have filled mine. Take care of my sister, and of yourself.”, and then there’s a series of characters but I’m afraid my kanji is rather weak, sir. The remaining pages are coordinates and topographic figures. MONTY Pass it here, private. And call me Mr Lawrence, if you will.
He crosses stage and puts the letters into Monty’s outstretched hand, his other playing in Tokuko’s hair, her head in his lap. Monty then squints at the bottom of the page for a moment, then nods wearily. MONTY That’ll be all, private, thank you dearly for that. (Copfko bows quickly and turns on his heel to go, but Monty stops him) – and would you please drop the needle on the record over there? PRIVATE Certainly, Mr Lawrence.
Copfko crosses the stage again and approaches the turntable, a portable brief-case style model with conspicuous band stickers, BAD BRAINS, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE et al., affixed to the exterior MONTY and would you play it at 16 rpm? Tokuko’s always preferred to slow dance.
Copfko looks unnerved, but deftly drops the needle and exits quickly. “My Funny Valentine” by Chet Baker plays at an extremely slow speed. As he exits, Monty stands and picks up Tokuko, still comatose, and holds her aloft in rough approximation of a waltz – her feet barely pass his knees. After several minutes of dancing, the song ends and Monty drops Tokuko to the floor, as a rag doll, and exits. She remains on the floor, in a heap, as a rag doll. Lights down (End Scene)
There’s dip in the fridge where you’ll find valleys I’ve hand dug with a crinkle cracker and you won’t find me but you’ll find spaces My life has an emptiness to it I feel like bottled milk off before it’s due date poured into pancake mix Thrown in a bin or washed down a sink I’m trying to wash myself away If I urinate on the drain I can check if I’m dehydrated I’m a sultana waiting to be put into a pudding all dry and nothing.
Pelican’s music editor Tess Bury met up with local duo Supernaked, comprised of Beth Commons and Jordan Shakespeare, to talk about their music and writing process.
top. And Coke for the drink, obviously. How do you think people feel when they watch you live? Do you think they feel sad, happy, confused? B: I like to think they don’t feel sad, because we are just having so much fun. J: It’s a cutes-y live set. B: It’s a cute time, because we’re all just there, we don’t know what we’re doing, we’re all just looking at each other and we have a bond. Our friend Sam Rocchi plays with us, and he’s amazing, so sometimes it’s The Sam Show.
Tess: Hi Supernaked! Have you ever seen each other naked? Beth: We have seen each other naked. Jordan: I’ve only seen one of Beth’s boobs. How would you describe your music? J: Depressive synth pop. Tell us about your recording process. B: We go into Jordan’s room, he has a synth setup, and then we just sort of… play around with it. Sometimes a good song comes out of it, sometimes it doesn’t. Jordan makes it sound good whenever it’s done.
Whats’ your dream Perth band line-up? J: Alzabo, Childsaint. B: Doctopus, Spencer Arbuckle. Both: Erasers- They’re a better version of what we do.
Hey presto. Do you have any releases coming out? B: We’ve got a little EP, it’s our first EP. It’s called Supernaked with a little “xo” on the end of it, because we’re friendly. Tell us the story of how you got your band name. J: Our friend Fabian. Beth was telling a story that went something like, “We were naked, like, super naked,” and Fabian was like, “Woah… how do you be super naked?” and we laughed for ages.
What’s going to happen when you move to Melbourne, Beth? B: A hiatus. Because we just started making music and Supernaked is something I love and enjoy doing, and I don’t want it to die. J: We’re going to keep on recording and I’ll keep sending Beth stuff. We wanted it to just be a recording project anyway, so we don’t mind losing the live component.
If you had to tell someone something before they hear your music what would it be? B: Just be happy. J: Don’t cry. B: Sorry… just remember that we’re both okay.
SupaIGA or normal IGA? J: I like progressive IGA’s. Or the ones with the really cheap bread. If your band was an animal, what animal would it be? J: Roadkill. Or a mute owl.
What food and drink should accompany your music? B: It’s gotta be this cauliflower soup that I make for us, with prosciutto on
Are some of your songs about breakups? J: All of them
Supernaked Tess Bury 14
Pelly Mix tape: songs that make you feel like you need a shower Star Wars: Cantina band 10 hours DIE ANTWOORD - BUM BUM ft. God Kylie Minogue - Sexersize Andrew W.K. - Party Hard Blackout Crew - Put A Donk On It Blood on the Dancefloor - Ima Monster Christina Aguilera - Dirrty Pixies - Tame 50 Cent - Candy Shop Rebecca Black - Friday
album reviews Psychedelic synths, poetic lyrics, and gender-fluid vocals define Methyl Ethel’s sophomore album, Everything Is Forgotten. The trio grew out of a small house in Fremantle, where frontman Jake Webb started out home-recording, and in 2015, their debut Oh Inhuman Spectacle was born. It was a dreamy, eccentric effort that put Methyl Ethel on the map and just two years later, Methyl Ethel have evolved to find their niche in dark surrealist tones, a sound that makes Everything Is Forgotten a piece of art.
Methyl Ethel Everything Is Forgotten Review by Zoe Tongue
Opening track ‘Drink Wine’ layers enticing beats with Webb’s androgynous vocals to set the ambience for the rest of the album. ‘Ubu’ steps up the rhythm, and the snappy end mantra ‘why’d you have to go and cut your hair?’ is silly, but it brings a bit of fun to the record. The song was influenced by Alfred Jarry’s absurdist play Ubu Roi which satirises greed, inspiring the fantastical elements of the song and lyrics such as ‘now you cut yourself off from your friends, it’s not just a personality thing.’
Everything Is Forgotten is full of disarming moments, like the guitar-focused serenade ‘No. 28’ which exhibits Methyl Ethel’s poetic lyrical talent (‘a symphony in a very beautiful car accident / now we’re mangled up together’). ‘Act of Contrition’ is stripped back, the slow guitar background cushioning Webb’s eerie vocals to create something quite chilling. The fantastical dance-worthy number ‘L’Heure des Sorcières’ (meaning The Witches’ Hour in French) is also on the darker side. The whirring synths are gentle but resounding, and Webb’s vocal work is most stunning. ‘Groundswell’ is another highlight from the album, with pulsing synths that build up a psychedelic pace towards the end, like the equally electric ‘Femme Maison/One Man House.’ ‘Schlager’ ends the album, not with a bang, but with a whimper. The word “schlager” is German, referring to a style of music something like a sentimental pop ballad; it’s an odd choice to have a such a subdued ending to the whirlwind of sounds present throughout the rest of the record, as it leaves you with the feeling that something is missing. It is an elegant song, but its dreamy character might have made it a better fit on Oh Inhuman Spectacle. Despite its unfitting close, the Perth boys have created a beautifully refined second album, adding a refreshing uniqueness to the indie-pop genre.
The Shins were cool when I was an angsty teen and Garden State was, in my opinion, the most profound film. Now as an adult I look back on those years with fondness and the Shins album Oh, Inverted World manages to make me feel nostalgic (particularly “New Slang”, I really like that one). Naturally, listening to a new album by The Shins was going to be a disappointment because nothing can ever live up to the feels of old school Shins. I will, however, quickly note that James Mercer – Shins frontman and lead vocalist – self produced and recorded Heartworms. So I’ll give him some points for keeping it real. But this album just sucked so hard. Why? Let’s talk about it and I’ll try my best to be nice.
The Shins Heartworms Review by Jasmine Tara Erkan
The intention of this album is endearing, it stay’s true to the former glory days of 2000’s indie and The Shins sound that we know and love. But the songs in Heartworms blend into one another and create a kind of monotonous background noise. The first song of the album (‘Name for You’) is kinda cute with its classic sunny day feels and harmonies. The lyrics serve as a warning for girls, a satirical anthem for resisting traditional gender roles. ‘You’re getting on in years/ You can keep your can up/ If you just never eat again’. I couldn’t even listen to ‘Painting a Hole’ because it made me feel anxious with its annoying ‘la-las’ and attempts at psychedelic sounds. Another OK track that ventured outside of The Shins ‘safe zone’ was ‘Mildenhall’. It plays with the style of a southern USA Country song with its systematic rhythm and breaks in Mercer’s voice at low notes. As for the rest of the tracks on this album: they were too simplistic and offered nothing new to its listeners. After some deep thought I had come to the conclusion that maybe it’s not the album that sucked, but rather I, myself am the one who sucks. A 22 year old female who would prefer to listen to Young Thug rap about nutting on a chicks face rather than an artist who possesses legitimate musical skill (in the traditional sense). But also, let’s just acknowledge that the entirety of indie as a genre has delved too deep into mainstream pop and the days of Death Cab and The Shins can never be re-lived.
COME CLEAN: what’s your favourite early 2000’s tune? Fall Out Boy - Sugar We’re Going Down. I swear this is the song that led me into my emo phase. Reece Gherardi Hamster Dance - Even Hamsters Fall in Love. This song educated me on what love is, how to love, why to love and how that if a hamster can find love, maybe I may have a chance.
Ben Yaxley Green Day - Boulevard of Broken Dreams. It brings me back to memories of when I first discovered punk rock music in year 8 and bought black nail polish, quit piano for the electric guitar and made friends with boys for the first time.
Debbie Choo T.I. - Whatever You Like. The message of the song just speaks to me on a deep spiritual level.
Rose Stewart Duster - Constellations. Helped me out.
Nick Morlet Chingy - Right Thurr. Heard it in an episode from the first season of Skins during a party scene when I was like 13 and it scared me because I for some reason thought that the whole thing was a benchmark for how life should be in high school
Sophie Minissale Ben Lee - Cigarettes Will Kill You. Technically not early 2000’s (it was released in 1998), but obviously Ben Lee was way ahead of his time because this song is still amazing.
Tess Bury Kylie Minogue - Can’t Get You Out of My Head. I saw a puppet dance to this song at a Perth Royal Show many years ago, and to this day, whenever I hear that enchanting rhythm I can still see that puppet, dancing forever in a dark but alluring recess in my mind.
Christopher Lim My Chemical Romance - Welcome to the Black Parade. The only correct answer. Was bought this album for my 10th birthday, and it’s still in mum’s car.
Transhumanism Jesse Wood The future is going to be so great that everything we ever thought was cool, will make us feel deeply ashamed. Or at least that’s what those white devils down in silicon valley want us to believe. Here are the top things that make me feel really ill and disassociate when talking about the future. Neural Lace In the last month, Elon Musk made plans to start a company around the concept of merging human consciousness with AI. This is fine and all, but it is definitely going to involve some sort of brain plugs. If I wanted to get plugged I’d go down to my local and have a couple of cold ones hey. No need for some underpaid employee to be cranking around inside my mug. At the state we’re at with technology, I can believe some baby-boomer would cash out big time just to access an iPad with their omnipresent meta-fingers.
“Hey donkus, I’m digi-scanning your meta-balls right now pickup your nanocock and your longboard and get outta my face” I retort as I unsubscribe from his public audio feed. Mars, the libertarian nightmare This one’s about Elon Musk again, and it’s not really about transhumanism, sorry. I sat through the excruciatingly bad press conference Elon Musk did to promote the idea of colonising Mars. Amongst badly communicated ideas for commercially lucrative rocket ships, and high martian settler mortality rate, Elon suggested that Mars should be colonised in the same way America was. Which is a hell fucked thing to say, why would you ever think that was a good thing? Elon Musk wants to encourage a new martian petty bourgeoisie, based on the heinous labour movements of American history which were primarily supported through slavery and neo-slavery. Too bad for the martian elite that the only people who will be on this hellhole will be the “1%”. Cyborgs v Architects Should humans be altered to adapt to the environment? Or should we create our environment to suit our fleshy shells? Anyone who votes on the latter has to be absolutely kidding themselves. This philosophy suggests that all technological development in history can be put into one of the two categories. I don’t really feel like a cyberpunk when I use shampoo, but that’s what these academics keep trying to tell me. Being a brain in a jar This is my ultimate dream. One day, brain preserving tech will be so good. When our immaculately sculpted abs begin to wither, and we start feeling a bit under the weather, just give up and become a brain in a jar. Become one with the thousands of other brains in jars and just live it up. You’d only be able to post on the web, or whatever worse equivalent we will have in about 10 years. In any case this seems like a fate worse than death. Realistically the brain in a jar privileged will probably be reserved for the “1%”. This reckless expenditure will result in a quickly outdated information bank that seems frankly, irresponsible. The singularity Some really rich guy once said that in a couple of years the rate of technological improvement would be so rapid that technology would just start getting better at a near instantaneous rate. That doesn’t really make sense now that I think about it as a 23-year-old, but as a 14-year-old I believed literally everything on YouTube. But if the singularity is so close, how come I’ve never even seen an iPad before, hey, explain that Ray Kurzweil. This guy sells brown pills to William Shatner and ‘intends’ to bring his father back from the dead. Looks like the “1%” are back at it again. Drones In the future drones will be so common, you’ll see them flying about indoors, whacking about people’s ears. But what I’m looking forward to is drone and person hybrids. I want to see a Dronetaur in my lifetime. The torso of a cop grafted to a $600 drone from JB-HIFI. In one of the most highly esteemed architecture competitions on the isle of Manhattan, several applicants proposed monolithic structures to accommodate the future dependency of drones in the near future. Had this design received the go ahead, this colossal matrix set piece would have easily been the largest thing to ever exist. Unfortunately, some short mirror skyscraper actually won, so no dronetaurs any time soon.
Hypocrite That You Are Jesse Wood DUCK DROWNS SIBLING I saw a duck drown another duck today. I feel like I need to tell someone. Should I call the police? My mum hasn’t responded yet, and I don’t know what that means. I just sat and watched as one duck held another duck’s head under the water for an awful 3 minutes. I just couldn’t stop crying. This was the worst date I’ve ever been on.
VOM BEEF! I cant speak German, but I know that ‘beef’ means ‘cow material’ in basically every language on earth. I can’t tell what this is but I have an overwhelming sense of dread ever time I look at it. Is this usual? Does a book of this subject matter usually get an entire front store window dedicated to itself? In Midland we usually have bookshop fronts entirely covered in the ‘Game of Thrones’ book adaptation. I guess Munich isn’t the cultural centre of the world anymore. THE GRAVE HOUSE Each time I leave my front door I go and make sure that the mysterious stone hut in the bush over the road is still there. Last time I went there I found all these wooden grave stones just sitting in it. I think this is part of some local family’s idea of a fun children’s game. Whatever the reality of the scenario is, I’ve made it about 10 times worse by putting heaps of my favourite bones in the Grave House. I’d kill to have such an Australian Gothic childhood. DWELLING OR STRUCTURE Around the time someone started doing yucky poos in the bush over the road from my house, I found all these shredded legal documents. They seem to be vaguely about some sort of legal complaint with the shire. Clearly my local scat exhibitionist also has a profound connection to this abandoned lot.
THE MADONNA This crumbling mound was once a perfect image of the Virgin Mary. I picked it up from an old man peddling his wares in the CBD. Next thing I know my Madonna is lying on the back patio next to a McCafe cup filled with cigarette butts. In a panic I try to move her, but notice that she has already begun to crumble. This could actually confirm The Assumption, but I think Ben just dripped his red Gatorade on her.
Fake Reviews of Fake Weather Jacob Broom As a winter-loving INFJ, some of my happiest nights have been spent listening to the beautiful and tranquil sound of rain upon the roof. Unfortunately, I live in Perth, and nights of rain are a rarity to be treasured. In winter, we get a bit of rain, but it comes in short showers, not long storms. Rather than appreciating the rain, I worry when it will end, and the rest of the year is dry. Thankfully, the sound of storms is digitally replicable, and there exists a variety of modern media mechanisms through which we can experience the tranquillity of a storm. Rainy Mood (rainymood.com) Rainy Mood is, in its own words, ‘the internet’s most popular rain experience’. The storm is continuous but variable. At times, the rain slows down and birds can be heard, like at 7:00 in the morning on a cold Wednesday. At others, the thunder is loud and rumbling, and the image of lightning close-by comes to mind. If anything, these changes occur too quickly. The birds fly in and out every few minutes, and I’d like to know where they go and why they come back. Rainy Mood is simple, with no adjustable settings or music on the website version. It can be downloaded as an IOS or Android app with more settings, but I only comment on the website version here. Thunderspace (app, website at thunderspace.me) Thunderspace uses ‘stereoscopic 3D audio and realistic lightning flashes’ to attempt to create an accurate impression of being in the middle of a storm. From my experience of watching the ad and listening to the sample on their website, the storm is wonderful and clear, with thunder reverberating at the back of your field of hearing in surround sound. You can hear the raindrops individually splashing against your digital roof, some close, some further away. Unfortunately, Thunderspace is $7.99 on the IOS app store, and I didn’t have time to apply for a grant to review the full version before writing this article. Even if they have the best storm on the market, I’m doubtful as to whether consumers of fake rain are willing to pay $7.99 just for an increase in quality. Jazz and Rain (www.jazzandrain.com) Jazz and rain is pretty much what it says on the tin. A jazz playlist plays with soft rain in the background. The storm is slow-moving, and somehow synchronises in intensity with whichever track is playing. I don’t know how they’ve done that, storms are notoriously stubborn over how they’re going to sound. The sound quality is low, but it takes a backseat to the jazz anyway. How you relate Jazz and Rain will depend on how much you like jazz. You can just pause the jazz and listen to the rain, but it’s lower quality compared to other storms means there’s no incentive to do that. Jazz and Rain does have a lot of adjustable settings, including volume of both storm and music, pause, skip, and rewind buttons for the playlist, and a preference for piano jazz, saxophone jazz, or swing jazz. I think jazz is ok, but if you don’t like jazz, don’t go here. Soundrown (soundrown.com) Soundrown packs a variety of ambiences which can be played at one’s leisure, including coffee shop, birds, fire, and rain. I’ll just discuss the rain one here, but this is certainly a positive of the platform. Unfortunately, Soundrown’s storm is tinny and computerised. It sounds like rain described by a poorly trained writer; it is without flow or naturality. Thunder turns up at seemingly random intervals, punctuating the constant 240p rain with something that sounds like a cough. There’s also this odd whistling noise sometimes. Rainfor.me (rainfor.me) Rainfor.me is simple, effective, and beautiful. An illustrated image of a tree in a storm blends with a greyish background, with only a transparent pause button and volume control cluttering the page. Rainfor.me’s storm is realistic and well-paced; you can hear rain hitting leaves and pavement, and the quiet, distant sounds of people going home from work at 5:30. Thunder rumbles away, going about its business as the people below do, and the rain pelts down in ebbs and flows. This feels like rain in a hive of population, rain which lives with and interacts with its people, comforting them through the cold night. The only critique I have of Rainfor.me is its transitions. Storms aren’t mixed together, but separated, so when a storm dies down and reaches its end, there is a short, jarring silence before the next begins. However, this could be a matter of perspective; I listened to Rainfor.me for a longer time than the other websites, so they could have had the same occurrence without my noticing. Rainfor.me has no ads or apps. It is the sound of the storm, for the storm’s own sake.
Top 8 Tap Games (that will leave you Feeling Hollow) Martha Wood Egg, Inc I was under the impression that the egg farming industry was a blight on humanity, evidence of our callous willingness to enslave other living creatures and therefore unsuitable for a benevolent tap game. Apparently not. Be prepared to spend quadrillions of egg dollars to provide your fictional slave chickens with the most comfortable of residences. Stand O’ Food 3 Fulfil your lifetime fantasy of becoming a fast-food employee! But without the pay or social interaction. Less greasy though. Plants v. Zombies 2 This game is free and doesn’t relentlessly try to make you spend money, which I appreciate. This game is the best. Super Mania 2 By the geniuses who brought you the critically acclaimed Stand O’Food series comes the sequel to Super Mania, Super Mania 2! Let your imagination run wild as you stock shelves and serve customers in a supermarket. I love this stupid game. Cooking Mama A classic of the tap game genre which is way more difficult than you’d think. You can’t count yourself a pro tap-gamer until you’ve tried Cooking Mama and then deleted it pretty quickly because it requires too much dexterity. Neko Atsume No tap game listicle would be complete without the inclusion of this quintessential time waster and strangely meditative Tamagotchi-esque whimsical treat. Added bonus: now in English so I’m less confused about what’s going on. Pocket Mortys Is Rick and Morty hilarious? Or does it suck? Has everyone forgotten about it anyway? Does it make sense for it to be combined with Pokémon-red/blue/yellow era gameplay? 1010! This game emulates everything we have to fear from tap games. Prepare to lose hours of your life.
Clare Moran (@more_ankles)
Curing Cancer – the Disease of the Devil Maddi Howard Art by Danyon Burge Humans are not the only species suffering under the decimating force that is cancer. Over the past two decades, Tasmanian Devil populations have been swiftly wiped out from large cancerous tumours. Growing on their faces in golf-ball-sized masses, the tumours prevent the uptake of food, resulting in eventual death by starvation and breakdown of body function. In comparison to the human fight against cancer, where significant progress is slow at best, the battle to cure the Tasmanian Devil facial tumour disease is beginning to make real headway. Recent publications in national newspapers are hinting at a breakthrough – a possible means to cure the cancer killing these native marsupials. Such a finding is huge news for the internationally collaborating scientists, who have already developed immunization against the disease for healthy Devils awaiting release into insurance populations in the wild. The Tasmanian Devil is notorious for its vicious nature. Individuals are often engaged in scrappy fights involving significant amounts of biting, scratching, and resultant scarring. In fact, according to the Devils@Cradle sanctuary, one of the ways to determine the breeding success and aptitude of a male Devil is by the level of scarring on his hind – the more scratches and scarred tissue, the more active he has been during breeding seasons. Unfortunately, this tendency to fight one another, inherent in Devils across Tasmania, is one of the primary transmission tactics the cancer utilizes to spread amongst populations. Two animals engaged in a fight will use their canines to bite at one another – if a non-diseased animal comes into direct contact with a diseased animal’s tumour (i.e. it’s canine makes contact with the facial tumour on the diseased Devil) it becomes highly likely that cancerous cells will be transmitted to, and infect, the healthy animal. Save the Tasmanian Devil Program likens this transmission to an organ transplant, only instead of the animal receiving a life-saving organ; its transplant is a life-threatening cancer. The recent breakthrough led by the University of Tasmania (UTAS) suggests that the Devil’s cancer can be cured by cancer. Scientists have discovered that when injecting live cancer cells into infected Devils, the Devil’s immune system has the ability to recognize the disease and develop the appropriate immunity mechanisms to fight it off. Results have been staggeringly positive, with large tumours shrinking and disappearing over three months following the injection. This method of disease handling is termed, ‘immunotherapy’ – the prevention or treatment of disease with substances that stimulate the immune response. It is hoped that this finding will facilitate the development of a vaccine even more effective and quicker working, so as to reverse, or at least halt, the decline of Tasmanian Devils in the wild from this disease – a figure that currently stands at 80% population drop in the last 20 years. Whilst this finding is Tasmanian Devil-specific, overall research into the nature and development of the facial tumour disease in Tasmanian Devils has the potential to enable understanding of how cancers behave in other species. It is possible that some of the findings and research conducted on these carnivorous marsupials may help in the fight against human cancers, by informing on how cancer evolves and how infected individuals can beat the disease.
Munka – A Constructed Language Nate Wood Munka is a constructed language I am designing. I began working on it as a supplement to a Dungeons and Dragons universe. It has its own vocabulary, grammar and script independent of any one natural language. The writing system makes use of logograms, so many words are represented by a single glyph as in Chinese or ancient Egyptian.
ta’w ngarya 2s=ACC see hello
ta rakkak ku? 2s healthy INT how are you?
yang greet hello
ya rakkak, at ta? 1s healthy and 2s I’m well, and you?
yu marangatra’w atrakatra pu ta larya ku? 1p theatre=ACC towards-go REL 2s enjoy INT would you like to go to the theatre with me?
mana akta also thus same
li larray tama. DEM lovely POT that would be lovely.
Make a Space for Makerspace Sophie Minissale Dr Wendy Fasso, lecturer at Central Queensland University, specialist in e-learning through design, and leader of the program Makerspace, spoke with Sophie Minissale about tackling the stigma of young girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) subjects. I was never very into maths or science. Recently, I was reminded of an embarrassing story from my Year Two class. Upon being directed to an addition or subtraction worksheet, I attempted to break all my pencils in a desperate effort to avoid solving the mind-boggling problems. Much to my dismay (and many of my future Mathematic teachers’) my skills (and attitude) to STEM subjects didn’t improve at all over the years. However, now past my years of compulsory maths and science, I’m wondering whether my incompetence in these subjects was actually entirely my fault. Dr Wendy Fasso from the Central University of Queensland focuses most of her research on how to engage young girls in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) subjects. One way she approached this project is through introducing the Makerspace initiative. Essentially, Makerspace refers to a physical space in which “students are engaged in the creative manufacture of artefacts as a community enterprise”. It can range from a tool shed for metal or woodwork, to a sewing group. Dr Fasso finds that often a more “low-tech” approach is most effective in engaging young people into design and technology. Examples of this include simple robotics, coding or even Lego building. In the majority of her Makerspace classes, Dr Fasso invites groups of young girls to create their own “wear-able tech, such as fascinators and jewellery, that has been built and programmed with things like flashing lights”. The stereotyping of STEM subjects begins very early on. More often than not, even at a primary school age, STEM subjects are seen as “nerdy” subjects or are marketed as “only for boys”. This kind of mentality creates stigma and is problematic when trying to get young girls interested in the STEM fields. It’s no secret that women are drastically underrepresented in STEM related careers – a statement released in December last year by Hon. Arthur Sinodinos, (Minister of Industry, Innovation and Science) revealed that only one in four IT graduates are women, whilst only one in ten engineering graduates identify as female. As Dr Fasso puts it, “the first issue is about equity”. Despite women proving themselves to have abilities equal to men, there are hardly any female role models in STEM, and consequently, it provides very little for young girls to aspire to. This in turn strengthens the gender divide and the stigma in STEM areas, something which Dr Fasso states to be distinctly evident in her research. The problem is clearly observable when girls state their reasons for not being involved in science programs - “we thought it was only for the boys” or “it’s too boring and nerdy for us”. Unfortunately, this mentality of being unequal to their male peers in STEM areas begins early. It becomes apparent that girls are not supported in aspiring to STEM related careers. More specifically, the way we teach these subjects can have an underlying and perhaps unintentional gendered tone. In my exchange with Dr Fasso, she told me of a student teacher who explained to her that a large majority of the programs and games played in her IT class were of a “shoot and conquer” variety, and thus largely directed to male interest. Dr Fasso says that “if I invited girls to an activity in which they were to
program Lego to do something mechanical…many would disagree. If I asked the same girls to engage in programs using sensors and colours into their fashion, we are more likely to engage those disengaged.” And ultimately, that’s the most important part. While the initiative does take on the appearance of a gendered approach to engaging girls, Dr Fasso finds “the net outcome is the same”. Both parties would ultimately learn the same skills with regards to programming, and for some girls, the narrowed idea that they have of technology and science may start to change. Whilst pulling girls out of class and separating them from boys to make light up jewellery may create another type of divide, I think what’s more important is changing what STEM means to young girls, and being able to provide a variety of learning options in classrooms for them to engage in. According to Dr Fasso’s research, children begin to construct their concept of self through the acquisition of new skills and the selfevaluation of how those skills rank in accordance to their peers. Dr Fasso finds that if girls are in “a learning environment [that] is sufficiently interactive and transparent so that [they] can make their own decisions such as “if he can do it, so can I”, they develop a greater motivation, but if children compare their performance with others and lose a sense of self-confidence, despite their talents, they quickly lose that motivation.” With this in mind, it becomes apparent why initiatives like Makerspace are absolutely paramount. In Makerspace, the idea of comparison and “failure” is drastically different to that in a classroom. What’s unique about the program is that it doesn’t place one child’s achievement against that of another, but rather the trials and failures experienced in a Makerspace environment are used to plan strategies for the betterment of the overall project. This ultimately will improve the confidence of young girls when it comes to problem solving – a skill that will help them in their STEM oriented endeavours. However, I still wondered, why is there a push for girls in the areas of STEM subjects, when there is not for the unequal representation of males in teaching or nursing? The answer - with women representing half the population, the experiences of women should be considered in the development of technological innovation. Dr Fasso argues that without this co-gendered decision making “you risk ignoring the perspectives of half the population”. This divide becomes apparent in instances such as voice recognition software, which Dr Fasso explains is “largely designed for and tested by men”. It seems strange that developers would omit 50% of the potential market, and downgrade the user friendliness of a product because it has not been designed sufficiently for all users. To showcase more female role models in STEM industries will encourage more girls to explore the possibilities of a STEM related career, and ultimately provide alternative perspectives and innovations to the mostly male-exclusive fields. While I no longer snap pencils at the sight of numbers, and despite the fact that I don’t have an extensive interest in fashion, I can appreciate what programs like Makerspace are trying to achieve. I hope that eventually through these programs, ideas and preconceptions will change and young girls will be welcomed into STEM careers, rather than being pushed aside into the out-dated, gender-stereotyped careers of yesteryear.
GIRL DRINKS SO MUCH MILK YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS Skye Newton DISCLAIMER: everything was extra creamy. Harvey Fresh permeate free free range milk ‘fresh milk’ This tastes like standard milk. It is light and creamy though slightly thin, so possibly watered down. True to form, it leaves an unpleasant taste in my mouth that might be best described as milk backwash. 5/5 for your standardised milk. A2 Milk ‘feel the difference/full cream/the milk that’s ALL A2’ I am unsure what “A2” means in milk terms. I check the back of the bottle for clarity. There is an image of two cow silhouettes - one filled in purple with “A2” branding in the centre and “A2 Milk” written beneath. The other cow is shaded half grey and half purple with “A1” written on one side and “A2” on the other, labelled as “regular milk”. I do not know what regular milk is. A1 and A2 mean nothing to me, an uninformed milk drinker. I can only think of paper sizing. There is a subtle chalkiness-in-the-mouth feeling gained from drinking this milk. Otherwise, the only other difference I can fathom is the lack of the feeling of having oncoming bad breath. If this milk is for “the thinking man”, it is also for the ones with agreeable breath too. To add – milk is also sweeter, though not in an artificial way, which is ... creepy. 5/5 for intriguing branding. Brownes Premium Milk WA farm fresh Full Cream Milk ALL NATURAL Wow. If anything, I can really taste the difference. There is a flavour here reminiscent to milk that’s been bathing a wheaty bar o’ bix. Almost yeasty. Important to note, the weird and thin coagulated milk substance lining my mouth right now. Unclear whether this is what happens three milks in, or is a result from drinking the Brownes milk. 5/5 for being itself. MASTERS Full Cream MADE IN WA E.S.T. 1959 The yeast taste is not present in this milk, and it is the most standard and regular tasting milk I’ve tried so far. The consistency is something that would best be paired with cookies. A milk you wouldn’t mind getting soggy with. 5/5 for milk. FARMHOUSE Gold CREAM ON TOP UNHOMOGENISED Gee. This milk is setting up big standards for itself. The crème de la crème is what’s being boasted here - matte gold accents and all. Though as soon as I go to pour I’m on the receiving end of disappointment. Or respect. They pulled through with the ‘cream on top’ – to the point where actual milk is unobtainable unless you don’t mind squeezing the bottle for a disgusting scene of milk escaping past congealed cream. Down to the taste now. The consistency and flavour is milky, yet very thin, and only the aftertaste leaves the resounding flavour of the cream. 5/5 for confidence. GRUMPY FARMER GOURMET DAIRY You can tell their marketing forces made the branding a focal point. I find the brand ‘Grumpy Farmer’ interesting. As a person in acquaintance with multiple farmers, along with being a part time farmer myself, it can only be personally regarded as cynical. The words “gourmet dairy” make me chuckle on the inside. I like the shape of the bottle – it pours well. Oh my god. There are pieces of gelatinous cream in my pouring. They melt in the mouth. And taste unpleasant. I feel uncomfortable. I can’t even focus on the flavour of the milk right now, I think I’m going to vomit. Ok. I’ve regained my composure. The milk taste. It’s bad. Comparable to mucus. I will not purchase again. 0/5 on all levels SUNNYDALE DAIRY PREMIUM I am anticipating this. The last milk. The most unique taste yet. Gee whiz, it’s downright sour – I understand why this brand has branched out to flavoured milks (which I do enjoy). A perfect circle of cream plopped right out of this one too. I barely saw it happen. 5/5 for stealthy cream I would not recommend drinking 7 different types of milk one after the other in quick succession, unless you’re looking for a transcendent milk experience. Exhausting. This is your friendly and local milk drinker (ha - ha Skyrim players) over and out.
Hobbies, Reviewed Rainy Colbert Art by Danyon Burge #8 - Warhammers Down at Tactics browsing the $1 Warhammer pile I found a very cool statuette of a tiny little Gnome who, in his hand, held an oversized knife in threatening display. Beside the gnome were two little green men, who I could only assume were meant to be Orcs. The figurines had all been painted already, most likely by a small child or an ape at the zoo. I saw that, if given the right training, spare time, energy and motivation, I would have done a way better job on the paintwork. However, I knew I had exactly $3 in my pocket, and with the three little men being a dollar each, the coincidence seemed charged with too much Divinity to ignore. On the walk to the checkout, the Warhammers were practically shaking out of my hands, for I was so excited to get home and finally play my very first game of the tabletop classic, Warhammers. On looking at the rules though, I realised they were very complex and hard to follow and that I would need to purchase many many more little men if I ever wanted to play the same game that the guys at Games Workshop say they play. I thought, well, I might not be able to have a proper game of Warhammer just yet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have fun with my new toys! I closed my bedroom door and set the scene: In the medieval land of Warhammers, no one (especially gnomes!) is safe from Orcs: those short yucky green blokes with big bug eyes and sinful thoughts. Next to a shack made out of a mushroom there lived a small gnome named Benjamin who, one morning, was busy practicing his Runic Calligraphy by carving a cool S into the stump of a tree. As he chipped in the last notch he was shocked to realise that he had accidentally opened up a great big GnomeHole to the horrible land of Gnome Hell: a place reserved for only the most Despicable Gnomes, sent there by the GnomeCops to suffer eternally in the company of the Orcs, who lived there too in a permanent state of ecstasy. The sound of grunting and general Orc Vibe was getting dangerously stronger, and by the time Benjamin had even managed to close the GnomeHole (by painting a little face on the S as to turn it into a happy snake), right out of the hole fell two mischievous and boned up Orcs, landing together CLUMP on the ground. Surprised not for long, they straight away continued their Orc antics of Orc fucking and Orc procreating on the poor Gnome’s Gwoodgwork table, where Benjamin would often relax and participate in his gwoodgwork. When Orc One attempted an inverse missionary position, placing his Left Bortoc and Right Bortoc on the corresponding Bortocs of the the facedown second Orc, Benjamin felt very jostled, and further jostled did he feel upon seeing their vibrating Orce Cheeks knock several of his half-gwittled Elves to the floor. As Benjamin ran to pick up one of his fallen gwoodgwork babies, he saw that his elf’s helmet had been irreparably dented- and this was not OK. “Gnet your Stankigng Orc Orces oarf my GnordDnam Gwittling Table!!!” Benjamin growled, retracting his gnife, “...Or Oirl be Gwittling a Gnew Orc OrifiCe in’yr Stangkign Orce’cheeks.” Shocked and startled, the two Orcs came to a stop, sandpapery Bortocs flushed and smoking from the hot friction of their engagements. A tense silence followed between the angered Gnome and the unwelcome guests; Orc One looking at Orc Two who, crossing his Orms, turned his head to meet the gaze of Orc One, also now crossing his Orms. The two Orcs came to a non-verbal consensus by flexing their Orcbrows in Morc-code. Then, turning their heads in unison to look at Benjamin, they opened their jowls simultaneously in preparation for their response... “Horce Borceness orce it’f Yorce horce Orses wee Rubbin Weraborce?” At this point my date was knocking on the door, so I quickly put the Warhammers down and made sure to separate the Orcs before questions could be raised. Oh hey, I said. Good to see you. She walked into my room, not looking at her feet, and suddenly jerked one back. “Ow!” she said, and plucked the little gnome from her foot, it’s gnife now missing. You think that hurts? I said. Image how Benjamin must feel. Ha ha. ‘Benjamin?’ she frowned. ‘Oh,’ she said, holding the crippled Gnome to her eye. ‘A Dwarf?’ Yeah, I replied. A Dwarf. I painted it myself.
We’ve Been Reading Pema Monaghan In February, I was in Paris, and while there I read a short novel called Margaret the First (Catapult, 2016). It is a semi-biographical work about the writer Margaret Cavendish, an eccentric and revolutionary celebrity of the 17th century. In Paris, I felt sad, alone, and inelegant. Cavendish felt this way there too; strange and wrong in a place that respects those born to it. However, though Cavendish’s character often feels melancholic and lonely, Margaret the First does everything to remind the reader that things are beautiful in the world. The prose glimmers; it is earnest and energetic. Much like Cavendish was herself, Margaret the First is not afraid of being special. Hannah Adam I’m currently rereading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Bloomsbury, 2003). At the end of a long, hard day at uni, I highly recommend returning to a well loved series that reminds you of your own messy, adolescent years as a young witch or wizard. Harry Peter Sanderson Break Blow Burn (Vintage, 2006) is a study by Camille Paglia in which she reads fortythree great poems, with specific attention to how language is enacted to break, blow, and burn. It is a direct book, free of pedantry and firmly rooted in artful logic. Many of the poems included are not found in the traditional canon, but Paglia does not argue for their place on the grounds of personality or politics. Rather than attempting to be shocking or irregular, she includes writers always with the aim of increasing scope while maintaining quality. It is the best critical survey I have ever read, and I highly recommend it. Ryan Suckling I’m reading a biography of the English poet Philip Larkin, Philip Larkin: Life, Art and Love (Bloomsbury, 2014), by James Booth. I find it an intensely satisfying, comforting read, and also quite daring. Booth achieves so much – superb close readings and criticism of Larkin’s poems, detailed attention to his letters with family and friends, a perceptive rendering of his inner life as poet and man, and an honest toying with his legacy. I was bound to read this book because I love Larkin’s poetry. It’s grounded, centred yet ambivalent, taut and colloquial with human feeling. It reads like a budding thought unfolding, or an emotion stirring. Larkin is very much a novelist’s poet, having started out as a novelist himself. For readers more comfortable with the novel he is a dear companion, I have loved returning to his poems again and again. Booth has written a generous and immersive biography.
9 Things I’ve Read that I Would Like Scrubbed From My Memory, Please Eamonn Kelly 1. Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand Look, it’s old hat to hate on Atlas Shrugged, but it really is a horrific example of conservative fantasy. I read this book after reading a list article on the 100 best novels ever. It was number one on the public vote list; little did I know that the Ayn Rand foundation had stacked the vote in favour of Atlas Shrugged. It’s legendarily bad, crap writing, lazy caricatures of EVIL SOCIALISTS, comically idealized depictions of secretly genius industrialists struggling for the good of the nation against the no-good lazy workers, questionable depictions of sex that read like fan fiction, and the piece de resistance, a 60-page objectivist rant from John Galt (the novel’s key figure). It’s a speech that reduces the sum total of the world into black and white, and is what the 1000-page novel serves as a vehicle for. I read all of those pages, lord knows why. Perhaps it was some perverse masochistic need to conquer a difficult task, but by the end I wanted to jam a screwdriver in my eye. It’s a crap book filled with crap ideas that commits the worst sin of all in literature – being boring. I donated my copy to charity to spite the ghost of Ayn Rand. 2. Bret Easton Ellis’ twitter feed circa 2012 I wasn’t even mad, just disappointed. 3. ‘Guts’ – Chuck Palahniuk Chuck Palahniuk is an edgy dude. Guts is a short story collected in Palahniuk’s collection Haunted. It is about masturbation mishaps in young males and it is truly, truly disgusting. How disgusting? The main example is about a young boy masturbating in his pool, sitting on a suction hole. He ends up nearly drowning because the thing he’s sitting on sucks part of his lower intestine out of his anus, and he only escapes by biting through it. It’s vile. It doesn’t even have a good point, like it’s supposed to be about familial love and the extent to which family will go to protect their kin but it just ends up making you want to vomit. 4. The sections of Song of Ice and Fire in which GRRM goes into graphic detail about his characters going to the toilet. George R. R. Martin doesn’t have a very good editor. On Daenarys’ private time: “Every stool was looser than the one before, and smelled fouler. By the time the moon came up she was shitting brown water. The more she drank, the more she shat, but the more she shat, the thirstier she grew, and her thirst sent her crawling up the stream to suck up more water” (A Dance with Dragons). 5. The letters James Joyce wrote to Nora Barnacle. I can now no longer look at a picture of James Joyce without thinking about him having freaky turn-o-the-century sex. 6. House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewsky House of Leaves is a joy to read, it’s a book about a tattoo artist who discovers the writings of a blind pseudointellectual on a film documenting the life of a Pulitzer prize-winning photographer and his family who live in a very spooky house. It’s a delightful mind-fuck of a novel; one I wish I could experience again for the first time. 7. Naked Lunch – William Burroughs William Burroughs is phenomenally overrated as an author. Naked Lunch is not a bad book by any stretch of the word, hell; I’d even call it good, its non-linear narrative and pitch-black comedy being its main assets It is is at times extremely disturbing. I should have expected as much - the lady at the counter gave me an incredulous look when I bought it. Maybe it’s just my own squeamishness, but the lengthy portion of text toward the middle depicting a violent surrealist orgy is not pleasant. 8. X-Force Second Coming vol. 3 issue 26 (that X-Men issue Where Nightcrawler dies from an arm through the chest) Nightcrawler is the best. His death was a teensy bit silly. Luckily he wasn’t dead for long, he came back as a pirate to fight his demon dad in heaven (X-Men is brain meltingly weird sometimes).
Socks Mike Anderson I’m not really one for fashion. My outfits are usually some mix of generic pants and plain shirt of varying colour. Maybe I’ll add a nice jacket here and there, but summer usually pulls a plug on that. I do however have quite the large collection of socks. This isn’t the most remarkable fashion statement, but it something that I quite enjoy. It’s also, in a way, my way of dealing with some of my own insecurities. When I was younger, say about 3 or 4, I used to have some very nice Bananas in Pyjamas socks. I was immensely proud of these, which my parents probably caught onto as for my birthday they bought me a couple other pairs. Now this would make for quite the nice origin story, a lad of 4 getting his first pair of ‘cool’ socks and steadily making it a defining characteristic. This, sadly, isn’t the start of how I came to have a large collection of socks. The deterioration of this rather nice tale is because of bullying. Now my memory is hazy on the specifics, it was a very long time ago and something I’ve dealt with quite a while ago, but I can tell you it started in the local playgroup I went to. One of the boys who I attended the group with was described as “naughty”. I’m not 100% sure what led him to treat me poorly, but that’s really beside the point. What is the point is that he teased me about my socks, and even at one point stole them when I’d taken them off to play in the sand. I guess in the end I felt that my socks made me a target, and by the time I was attending school full time I’d taken to wearing very plain black or grey socks. Now another point about the socks I wear, they are usually about quarter leg length. This was also something I felt insecure about at first. During late Primary School and through High School, I felt as if wearing long songs made me uncool, and thus a target. So, for reasons of wanting to appear cool, I wore my socks short, which sometimes, I’m rather embarrassed to admit, I would tuck the front part of my socks under so I could wear them like ankle socks. I can’t really place what led to the change, but I do feel the confidence I gained through dealing with my mental health problems played a part. A chance encounter with a pair of socks that I found rather intriguing placed me back on the path that bullying had strayed me from. Most of my socks I’ve bought myself, preferring my own taste in socks over that of others. Best places I can recommend for socks are the Fremantle Markets, there’s a very nice little store that sells some very stylish socks. I have however received some socks as gifts, and I must admit the blue ones with boxer dogs on them are a particular favourite of the gifts I’ve received, both comfortable and stylish. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why I choose socks to express myself, in some ways it’s one of the more cost-effective means to dabble in fashion, but at the same time it’s also reclaiming part of myself that I lost to bullying and insecurity. Honestly, whenever I have some smile at me after noticing my socks or paying me a short compliment, often even asking where I bought them, it makes me feel a bit more confident in my sock collection. Also, if we’re being honest, it’s just an incentive to get some more socks.
Reasons not to Watch Lars von Trier for a Weekend Winifred Bowen They tell me youâ€™re a depressive, Spend most mornings in tears, Sending visitors away. I sit in a darkened room and succumb To your trilogy of torment. Youâ€™re all about flaccid flesh, Warped thoughts, a veritable cradle Of despair. A child falls from an open window, Smacks on the ground. To follow you is to empty my mind On the bloody floor, and cry for a Woman to take me away.
Cinema Re-View: Windsor Cinema Bryce Newton The Windsor cinema is a short stroll from my house, so my journey begins with a short stroll. I haven’t worn a bra today and it turns out the material of my dress is quite rough. My nipples are on fire and I am feeling it. I see a dog with a leash but sans owner or any formal restraint sitting outside the Indian restaurant beside the cinema. One of the better parts of this experience. It’s a Sunday night and there are so many people here. There’s no order here (maybe just tonight), and these people are out of control! This is out of the cinema’s hands so don’t let it sway you otherwise. I get into the concerningly long line (10 minutes before the film starts) and a man pushes in front of me. He acted slowly by standing next to me as if we were close friends before jumping the queue. I feel betrayed. Lost. Behind. The lighting is dim, which kind of goes with the wine and cheese board ($20 here or bring a $10 block and a butter knife from home like everyone else) kinda vibe they’re pushing. Weirdly, the cinema doesn’t smell like popcorn which is a bit offputting. Being Nedlands, they’ve got two fans, but choose to only turn one on. That’s luxury folks, it’s about choice. I’m here with my little sister and I send her to the snack line. Both the ticket and snack lines are very long and could take years to get through. Our separation is necessary. Snack acquirement moves faster than ticket purchasing, so she returns before I have completed my task. The drink she is holding is quite small and I begin to worry. She consumes anything she is able to consume very quickly and I already know this drink will not be enough for us both. Add careless and unthoughtful to the list right. I join the snack line and within a minute the man in front of me bails. He isn’t waiting around for this. He’s going to be out there living the rest of his life and making memories. I wait because I really like drinking soda out of paper cups because I think I could potentially look cute drinking from them. I pay $5.50 for a large Pepsi. I am on a health kick so I should have probably ordered a soda water (yeah they’d sell that here hey) but I need the sugar for personal sugar related reasons. It’s watery and tastes like a worse version of soda water. I hate myself. My sister expresses confusion about why Pepsi is only sold at cinemas or in KFC: “must be good for smashing things down. Like a Zinger Box or popcorn.” What a gem. My nipples keep brushing on the rough (at this point basically hessian sack) material that makes up this body covering and it’s not helping the experience. The film we are watching is in Cinema 2. I once saw a kid get folded into a seat here and spill their popcorn everywhere. Classic. I also have cried during Finding Dory in this cinema before. Memories. We got popcorn too but I didn’t mention it. It’s an underwhelming size. I consider telling the Cinema management that they need to change signage to Large(st Popcorn we have in this cinema) before my little sister tells me it is a medium. There is no trust in our relationship and I’m honestly a BIT OVER IT at this point. Shouldn’t have convinced her to come. I sit down, and the lumbar support alone is almost enough to wash away bad thoughts about paying an adult ticket price. These chairs are incredible. A positive about Cinema 2 at the Windsor is that it’s not Cinema 1. Though Cinema 1 has beautiful ceilings, it also appears that people pay money to go in there and vigorously rub dirt on the seats. Which is fine if that’s how they choose to live their lives. These seats are new and clean and feel nicer than my bed. Bless. The Nedlands ads that play are pretty boring. Although an ad comes on for Broadway Fair and I’m vibing with it, weirdly though because I actually hate that place. The classic (WE HAVE TO PLAY THIS AT LUNA OK) Brown Brothers wine ad comes on with clearly no other intention than to make me hate everyone that features in it. Brown Brothers: making wine for 125 years and making an ad with unbearably bad conversation for 1 minute. Props to them. I’m still supposed to be thinking about the cinema but I start languishing in self-loathing thinking about how I should’ve bought the damn popcorn myself. There’s no way to fix this. Or my sister and I’s relationship. The film is actually pretty good btw message me if you want to know what I watched. Mid film I begin uncontrollably sobbing (for personal reasons) after something mildly emotional happens. The sobbing is silent so it goes down a treat with everyone in the cinema. Sobbing would probably be fine with whoever you bought with you, because it’s dark. If you’re sitting near a romantic interest play the body shudders and streaming tears off as a violent fit of laughter that makes you seem like a fun and/or cool person. When the film ends it takes them a while to put the lights on, like I just want to leave in a safe manner ok! I want to check my general area for lost items. I walk quickly out of the cinema in case anyone thinks I’ve been crying too much and loudly thank a bewildered person working for providing me with this cinematic experience. The Windsor Cinema 2: I’ll be back.
The Film Poster Ryan Suckling In November 2005, an original poster for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis sold for $690 000 US dollars. It was purchased by a US collector from London’s Reel Poster Gallery and was a record purchase – blatantly overcoming the last record of $452 000 for Boris Karloff’s The Mummy. Like all relics of popular culture – time, legacy, and posterior admiration make auctions like these hotly contested and heavy on the pockets. The film poster has a history the greedy collector is entrapped within, filled with nostalgia and a longing for it’s first creations. But these infants of movie advertising represent a poster age lost to the contemporary film world, that is, in its mainstream presentation. What they have the potential to be is film art. In the case of Metropolis, art deco, with its stark, clear-cut shapes and shades. A contemporary film poster hardly registers in these tropics. Strung up on the side of a bus shelter, plastered to the back of a bus, digitalised on a shopping centre screen, they display little or in fact no artistic currency. What could be a sign of cultural malaise seems more believably to be another symptom of an industry caught up in its own mechanistic ends. The film poster has changed drastically since the mid-80s. Today, the template is one of glossy film stars with a simple backdrop of colour or place. Their pristine faces peer over the film’s bold title with streamlined credits tucked beneath. Prior to this, the film poster largely featured illustrations, a medium for innovative artists and illustrators, rather than some salacious photographer and a media relations team. Work was commissioned and what emerged was a distinct and provocative film art. The change in, not only the poster’s creation, but also its prominence is partly due to the organisational changes that occurred throughout the 80s. Since the 1940s, the National Screen Service in the US was responsible for movie advertising, which included producing and distributing posters on behalf of film studios. However, with the emergence of cinema multiplexes the promotional space for each individual film was heavily reduced. This resulted in the standardising of posters into a one-sheet size of 27 inches by 40 inches. Previously, the different sizes of film posters reached around a dozen. In use today are only the one-sheet size and the poster size for a bus stop or subway station (40 inches by 60 inches). Gone is the display sheet, insert sheet, window card, two sheet, three sheet, the 30 by 40, the 40 by 60, the six sheet, and the twenty-four sheet (billboard). It made economic sense to give the studios control over advertising their films. Such a decentralising measure contributed to the shift in priorities when it came to visually selling the film. Among the pantheon of Hollywood designers was Saul Bass, who created film title sequences and an array of posters for the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Martin Scorsese. His sprawling career spanned the 1950s through to the 90s, with striking designs for films such as Saint Joan (1957), Vertigo (1958), and The Shining (1980). He developed a theme-sensitive and symbolic typography, drawing out the key elements of the film in his design. In the case of Vertigo, he simulated vertiginous effects as felt by its lead character by creating a spiral vortex. The figures of James Stewart and Kim Novak are inserted in this whirlwind, as it not only transfigures Stewart’s character’s subjectivity, but teases out the dissonance of their relationship. The contemporary, living (albeit retired) heir to Bass’s legacy is undoubtedly Drew Struzan – designer of posters for the Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, and Star Wars films. His design filmography has given him cult status, tugged and pulled to Comic-Con festivals around the world. He became renowned for his airbrushed one-sheets in the 1970s and 80s – honing a distinct creative input by firstly sketching the work, airbrushing with acrylic paint, and then use pencils to contour and enhance the work. A process and attentiveness only given to films of such cultish influence. As it stands, mainstream cinema gives little attention to its posters, the simulacra sustaining the image and spirit of film in the public eye. As the American writer Matthew Chojnacki notes, “the poster was reduced to simply communicating who was in the film, instead of conveying the bigger picture – the spirit of the film.” Yet, the Metropolis-purchaser represents a sizable and poster-obsessed group of film devotees. In his book Alternative Movie Posters: Film Art from the Underground, Chojnacki has essentially curated a collection of 100 film posters created by alternative artists and designers. It represents a reaction against the droll, dully communicative nature of contemporary film posters. It acts as an innovative offering to beloved films worthy of a damn good poster. It’s a restorative and enthralling book. The eclectic collection of posters features minimalist graphics, as well as bold and intricate illustrations, all making me wish I knew how to use Adobe Illustrator. Refreshingly, a broad spectrum of artists and designers are given the space to present their brilliant work.
Against a Europe of Intolerance Sirling Chuah For many, the name “Angela Merkel” draws only a slight association to her involuntary participation in a recent meme involving Donald Trump and a side-eye. But who exactly is Germany’s first female Chancellor? And what has she done to deserve the title of Europe’s most powerful woman? People worldwide have resonated with the qualities that define Angela Merkel – honesty, understanding, and steadfast resolve Perhaps the reason for Merkel’s brave stance on solidarity and openness within Germany is due to her upbringing. Raised behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany (She was born in Hamburg, West Germany), the fall of the Berlin Wall forced her to leave behind her chemistry research and take her first steps into the realm of politics. She has held many positions since being elected to the Bundestag, having been appointed Minister for Women and Youth upon her election. In 1994 she became Minister of Environment, rising to become Leader of the Christian Democratic Union [CDU] (Germany’s major centre-right party) in 2000. In 2005 she was sworn in as Germany’s first female Chancellor. Her position as Chancellor is a significant one. Managing the complicated parliamentary system to form coalitions and pass legislation, Merkel’s female guidance has provided Germany with ongoing stable leadership. Twelve years later, she has established her legacy – with a direction that is empathetic, daring, and has carried Germany through economic emergency. Merkel has seen through the Euro Disaster, and now looks to increasing international conflicts and the resultant abundance of asylum seekers. Equal is her steadfast resolve. In the face of mounting pressure from the far right, Merkel is forced to develop sharp strategies. Through her recent policy regarding Germany’s intake of asylum seekers, as well as pushing for other EU countries to amend their existing immigration policies, she has dug out the roots of prejudice to challenge the pre-existing assumptions the world has about all social groups, Germany included. Since 2015 the country has opened its borders to more than two million refugees, and is still processing eight hundred thousand more. In 2009, whilst the world was reeling from the Global Financial Crisis, Merkel turned to structural reform and fiscal conservatism, as well as a form of labour relations that have revived German industries. Today, Germany’s economy is the largest in Europe and fourth in the world by GDP – unemployment has been on a steady decline ever since. In an economic and political industry dominated by males, Merkel has proved her strength – ushering Germany through one of its biggest challenges while its European neighbours suffered. Nonetheless, despite the boost in popularity she received through her expertise at stabilising Germany’s economy, her recent show of bold leadership has left her supporters with mixed emotions. During a talk show in 2015, Reem, a young Palestinian girl, told Merkel that she and her family faced deportation since arriving in Germany from a refugee camp four years prior. In the face of this, Merkel chose honesty over a sugared version of the truth – “Politics is sometimes hard,” the Chancellor replied, “When we say ‘you can all come,’ we just cannot cope with that.” At this, the girl began to cry, and just a few months later, Germany opened its borders to all Syrian refugees, with the government revoking all then-current expulsion orders for Syrian asylum seekers. The decision was initially met with popularity, with many Germans acutely aware of the historical stains of the past, and an eagerness to rebrand worldwide pre-existing assumptions about their society. However, since then, mixed attitudes have begun to arise. A decreased voter approval rate and looming elections, paired with critiques that Germany’s refugee policy is simply unsustainable has left Merkel shifting her position – in a press conference she admitted, “we didn’t have enough control…but we were doing what is morally and legally obliged.” Angela Merkel is running for re-election to secure a fourth term as Chancellor in 2017, in a time where her presence on the political stage is significant not only for women, but for the type of leadership she embodies. Her safety come election time remains unclear. However, no matter the results of Merkel’s bid for re-election, she remains one of the most influential women in 21st century politics. Angela’s political career will no doubt remain enshrined in German history. Challenging the politics of growing xenophobia and short-term perspectives, she remains a symbol for strong, moral leadership. Whether she can prove her resolve this time is up to Germany’s voters.
EUston, we have problem: What is Brexit and what’s happening next? Ellen Storey
Brexit; our favourite portmanteau since Brangelina and everyone’s favourite protest vote until the 2016 US Presidential election. Named ‘Word of the Year’ by Collins dictionary, it was a term on the forefront of everyone’s mind, whether they knew what it meant or not. After the vote happened, and the Brexit puns and memes faded away, the rest of the world lost interest. However, for us political science junkies out there, the interesting part is just beginning. Now, all the European politicians get to find out the answer to a really complex question - how does Britain leave the EU? Firstly however, we should recap what exactly Brexit is first. What is Brexit? The short answer? ‘A political event that everyone had an opinion on, regardless of whether they knew what it was about.’ I wish I was joking, but the headline “Rolling Stone Mick Jagger says Brexit might be good for us” was actually a thing. The long answer is just a little more complicated. After a (very) long campaign, on the 23rd of June 2016, 51.9% of UK citizens voted to withdraw from the European Union (EU) in a historic referendum. This is a big deal, as Britain has had over 40 years of political and economic history with EU countries, traced back to the UK joining the European Economic Community in 1973. The Leave majority vote came as a surprise to many, as polls had predicted a safe win by the Remain campaign. Many attribute the win of the Leave campaign to a widespread dissatisfaction with the current political system, practically protest voting. After a survey in July 2016, it was estimated that 1.2 million people were experiencing “Bregret” after the referendum result, wishing that they had voted to remain in the EU due to a lack of knowledge about the ramifications. The implications of the Brexit vote were more serious and widespread than many Brits believed, and were not contained solely in the economic sector as many understood. In the political realm Prime Minister David Cameron, a supporter of the Remain campaign, resigned within 24 hours of the referendum, and was replaced by Theresa May, a strong pro-Brexit conservative. During the campaign Nigel Farage, leader of the Leave campaign, had pledged that the £350 million the UK was spending due to their obligations with the EU would be redirected towards the National Health Service if the Leave campaign was successful. After the vote, Farage admitted that his pledge, which attracted a considerable number of votes, had been unfounded, as he could not guarantee that the money would be redirected to the NHS at all. Brexit even affected the English Premier League, as it was revealed that the decreased freedom for work and travel in the UK for EU citizens would affect the players available for recruitment for EPL teams. Finally, in Scotland, where all electoral districts voted to Remain, there are strong calls for another Independence Referendum, calls that have been echoed recently by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Whether or not that plan would be successful is another article… So, what’s the next step? What many don’t realise is that just because the UK voted to leave the EU, they aren’t immediately out of the EU. In 2007, EU nations signed the Treaty of Lisbon, which includes all the conditions for any exit from the European Union. Article 50 is the clause in discussion, which needs to be triggered to commence negotiations to leave the EU. This clause was triggered by Theresa May on the 29th of March. Yet again, it isn’t as simple as triggering Article 50 and then it’s all over. As no one has ever left the EU before, and the rules of exit contained within the article are fairly brief and limited, this could become a very long and drawn out process. The exit process is outlined to take two years in the Treaty of Lisbon, however many predict it could take double the time prescribed. Once Article 50 is triggered, the treaties that govern EU membership no longer apply to Britain, but the terms of their exit need to be negotiated. Every EU member (and there’s 27 of them, excluding Britain) receive a veto over the conditions, which could mean that their exit isn’t actually completed for far more than two years. Analysts argue that removing Britain’s existing membership for the EU is the easy part. What will be far more difficult is creating entirely new tariffs and trade barriers, creating agreements dictating how EU citizens will be able to work and travel within the UK and vice versa. There also needs to be negotiations as to whether UK citizens living abroad in other EU countries will be allowed to remain, given May’s refusal to guarantee the rights of EU nationals living within the UK. The one factor that most agree on is that the UK will receive harsh terms from the EU, with the aim to discourage other states attempting to follow the same path. As the EU is already complicated enough as it is; for everyone’s sake let’s hope that Brexit isn’t followed by events such as Departugal and Italeave… However, it is very possible that Brexit is the beginning of the end for the EU.
On the Soapbox Hannah Smith After Barack Obama’s first election in 2008, political commentators hailed him the first social media President. Since Donald Trump’s 2016 election, some have referred to him as the first Twitter President. This preoccupation with leader’s digital lives is potentially signalling a new a new era in not only voter engagement but political discourse, one where the public judges on 140 characters rather than carefully planned policies. In the run up to the 2008 US election, $22.5 million was spent on digital media campaigns. In 2016, the figure topped $1 billion. Amount spent on digital advertising has now become a key indicator in the success of hopeful candidates, and slowly Twitter has become their preferred platform to seek their mandate. From the first primary debates in late 2015 till election night in late 2016, 1 billion tweets were posted concerning the US election. The most popular hashtag of 2016? “Make America Great Again,” with 11,433,550 posts (followed by “Black Lives Matter”, “Feel the Bern” and “I’m With Her” respectively). This shows an optimism the political elite put in digital media, that they themselves see a vote-based return from money invested. Money represents power, and where it is placed speaks volumes. With many using social media as a source of political news, Twitter particularly, it would appear that the internet has certainly encroached on the realms of more traditional advertising. Studies have shown people rely on Twitter as their first source to get “unfiltered information and insight from political leaders” and that gives users a “unique advantage when it comes to receiving and spreading political information.” Those surveyed also said Twitter was their preferred platform over Facebook and other social media sites because it was faster for receiving information, was more secure and allowed personal insights into politicians’ thoughts. However, this feeling is largely false. Most politician’s Twitters are managed by a media team, an integral part of the campaign and managerial machine. Publicity teams often micro manage online accounts with a specific message in mind – to make candidates likeable. To promote memorable policies, politicians need to have relatable platforms which voters will connect with first. Media teams aim to create personas which appeal to a broad base of voters. Thus, politicians often portray a more fabricated message than they otherwise would. Dick Costolo, then CEO of Twitter, said in 2013 that he intended the site to be a “global town square”, and in many ways, it has come to this. Where traditionally politicians would preach to the people first on a soapbox in a town square and then through distant television screens, increasingly they have begun to reach out electronically. Twitter is a simple, efficient site that quickly delivers information right into voters’ hands, allowing voters to be talked with instead of to – something television and placards can’t achieve. A particularly important upgrade from methods seen in the past few decades, being clean cut video messages and distant debates, it allows for (seemingly) real engagement with the people. While the importance of Twitter as a place to connect with the public cannot be undermined, it has also proven a fantastic stage in which to clap back at one’s opponents. Closer to home, our own Malcolm Turnbull has recently turned to what some have deemed a “Trump style” Twitter rhetoric in which short, sharp tweets with simple messages are sent out. Often this is followed with an attack on the opposition. This can be seen when Turnbull recently fired off a series of tweets about allegations he was cutting the aged pension, before shifting to accuse Shorten of spreading the rumours. Exchanges like this between leaders, seen increasingly since the beginning of the US presidential election, have led some to wonder whether Twitter is cheapening political discourse. Twitter has created a public sphere in which politicians can face off without having to pre-arrange a debate. Because of the highly confrontational nature of this, where leaders cannot dodge questions without the whole world seeing, clashes often remain highly adversarial and combative. 140 characters is very little in which to express a valid point, but it is also enough for people to quickly grasp a situation. Often political messages are warped and shortened to fit neatly into a tweet, but more alarmingly quick back and forth has become a spectator sport and favourite pastime for the masses. It could be argued that this is a natural progression of the 10 second news spot and a 24-hour news cycle, but the commodification of political discourse seems like an unintended side effect. Politicians lives are increasingly lived in the public domain by their own doing, and yet if they want to be accessible to voters there seems to be little law makers can do but accept this. With the world constantly watching, Twitter is both the best friend and worst enemy of candidates and the elected alike. While it creates a place to create meaningful connections with voters, it has the potential to become a circus of petty arguments and superficial messages. After all, how much can 140 characters really express?
It’s time to talk about Canada Ella Fox-Martens After nine years of a conservative government, it was of little surprise that Justin Trudeau’s 2015 Prime Ministerial campaign ended in a landslide victory. It was also no surprise that following the election, Trudeau’s smoldering good looks, relative youth, and outspoken liberalism earned him something of a cult following. Even now, nearly two years later, the honeymoon period is still in full swing. For all intents and purposes, Trudeau is proof that progressives can still triumph in an international stage increasingly dominated by far-right figures. But despite all the covert family photos, raven tattoos, feminist quips and viral Buzzfeed articles about his boxing days, Trudeau is far from the left’s golden boy. It only takes a little investigating to understand that the face he presents to the public is a carefully cultivated façade. The first obvious point of dissonance is Trudeau’s recent support for the development of Site C, a hydroelectric dam in northeast British Colombia [BC]. The project would flood 5,000 hectares of indigenous land,a place that the First Nations people in BC still use for hunting, farming, and conducting ceremonies. This decision comes after Trudeau’s approval of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion late last year- another violation of First Nation territory. The government, having already doubled its predicted deficit, has prioritized revenue over the protection and conservation of indigenous land. Equally concerning is that the legislation has gone largely ignored. Where is the outrage? Where is the international condemnation and grassroots activism that surfaced in Standing Rock? The truth is that Trudeau has broken his promises both to environmental activists, and to the First Nations, in a country that already has a deeply fraught relationship with its colonial past. If it were Turnbull or Trump that had disrespected and violated agreements with Native Americans or Indigenous Australians, it would be splashed all over a Facebook seething with outrage. Why does Trudeau get a free pass? It’s not just domestic issues that should be scrutinized, either. For all the joy that Trump’s thwarted handshake brought the internet, Trudeau isn’t exactly taking a stand against him and the policies he represents. For one, he has unequivocally supported Canada’s 2014 $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia– which has brought widespread condemnation, and in January began approving export permits. Evidence has also surfaced that Canada also sold vehicles to the Sudanese military, as well as Algeria and China– allegations neatly dodged by the government. Trudeau can go to as many Pride rallies as he likes, but these aren’t the actions of an activist. Neither is his refusal to recognize ISIL’s actions against the Kurdish Yazidis as genocide, even as the death toll climbs to 5,000. Only when other member countries of the UN began condemning ISIL’s actions in Iraq did Trudeau speak out. The only electoral promise he has fulfilled is the termination of Canadian airstrikes in Syria, and even that has been accompanied by increased surveillance and training. The country is still, effectively, committed to war. In fact, there’s been little change in foreign policy since the Conservatives were in power, right down to the shared emissions target. It’s the same plan presented by someone with a better haircut, so why is Trudeau being praised for his radical progression? It might all come back to nepotism. Trudeau has a lot to live up to, as the son of famous Liberal PM Pierre Trudeau, who passed Canada’s Charter of Rights in 1982. Justin grew up surrounded by elite and wealthy people. Richard Nixon jokingly called him Canada’s future prime minister during a toast in 1972. Members of Parliament bet on his due date. He once debated Ted Cruz at university. It was a small leap from politician’s son to politician after Pierre’s death, and Trudeau utilized his connections expertly. It’s not that this is a bad thing, necessarily. It’s just that everyone seems to treat him as if he’d clawed his way up from the worst streets of Toronto. It’s important to recognize the ease and privilege that Trudeau had in launching and succeeding in his political career. He’s eloquent, charismatic, and intelligent, yes, but he is also his father’s son. It’s the same principle as Trump appointing his son in law to senior adviser. The only difference is that Trudeau gets away with it quietly, by shaking Prince George’s hand and smiling at a camera. I don’t want to diminish the good that Trudeau has achieved, because there’s been a lot of it. From strengthened abortion rights, to Senate reform and the commitment to refugee housing, his government has been working to improve the country. In truth, I’m proud of what Canada has done in the face of increasing far-right pressure, and I’m proud to call myself Canadian. But to reduce Canada down to a utopia with an admittedly gorgeous head of state does a disservice to a place that has a lot of issues to work on. Justin Trudeau doesn’t deserve blind praise, or a social media following, or photo-shopped flower crowns. As an elected representative of the people, what he deserves is to be scrutinized and held to account. It remains to be seen what kind of Prime Minister he’ll be, but don’t let those baby blue eyes fool you; Trudeau is a politician, and politicians are always oriented around the acquisition and maintenance of power. Placing your trust in him is like supporting the Western Force. You are almost certainly going to lose.
Presidential Address Nevin Jayawardena Dear fellow humans, I’ve had a SOAPer duper but also pretty hectic month, attending meetings for over 40 committees that I sit on and managing the many emails that come into my inbox (2236 have been received and replied to since Jan alone). It’s a pretty stressful job trying to stay on top of everything and advocating for positive student-centric changes on a daily basis. My day usually consists of doing all the Guild things plus eating and sleeping (I’ve been averaging 5 hours according to an app I’ve been using lately), so you might be thinking how do I stay so damn ‘quirky and relatable’? Basically I spend a little time with my friends in between meetings and sometimes on the weekend if I don’t have too many emails to reply to and I also catch up on Netflix when I get home which helps with the switching off process. Being stressed and balancing various life/work/study/love/ friend/hamster/laundry commitments is a common struggle for us students. So, if you ever feel like you’re on a slippery soap, need a little advice or even someone to talk to you can always contact the Guild’s Student Assist department. They are a dedicated team of professional social workers and a counsellor that we employ to provide UWA students with free, confidential and independent advice on any academic, financial or welfare issues. They’re some of the nicest and most helpful people you’ll ever meet, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with them at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a chat or just aren’t sure where to go. As always, the UWA Student Guild is here to represent you, so if you ever have any feedback, an idea, a complaint, a question, a new event – absolutely anything, please let us know so that we can more effectively represent you. Sincerely and with affection, Nevin email@example.com
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