editorial Hi loves, Here are some candid truths – 1. We probably won’t get to 20,000 likes on the Pelican Facebook page. 2. Volunteering programs that masquerade as pioneering social change often aren’t pioneering, don’t create social change but are incredibly good resume fillers. 3. We have made our graphic designer’s life harder than it needed to be.
We’ve hardly been to any of our tutorials this semester. We’ve got a lot of parking tickets. We haven’t slept enough. We’ve been late to things. I don’t know about Josh, but I’ve
definitely seen a group of pelicans and cried. Not because they look sad, but because they remind me of word counts and how can you know something is done until it’s done, you know?
Pelican is the place for you to talk candidly about the things that are working for you at uni, and the things that aren’t. At the very least, we are the place to start the flame wars in comment threads. Small things well, you know? This issue is a celebration of those candid conversations, thanks to our glorious team of sub-editors and our expert graphic designer, Lyn. It doesn’t contain every candid conversation we want to have, but it’s a gentle start. An invitation. Tell us what you want to talk about and what you want to see us writing about. Find us in our office above the Ref, or on the internet.
We think you look great, Josh and Katie
Candour is a funny thing. It can be an excellent trait that helps you be bold and unashamed of who you are and how you feel. It can also get you in trouble, you know, ‘loose lips sink ships,’ so to speak. In this instance, I think the benefits outweigh the negatives. Frankness and openness helps in all your relationships – being outspoken about the things you care about is a fundamental part of what the Guild aims to facilitate. Now it wouldn’t be a Prezitorial without me plugging the Guild or banging on about some political issue, so buckle up, I’m going to be frank with you. The student union movement needs you in order to reach its full potential. By having a straightforward conversation with your peers about the things that the uni, the government or other organisations are doing to screw over students is incredibly powerful. To be blunt, the movement needs students talking about the consecutive cuts to higher education, Centrelink allowances being below the poverty line, underfunding by universities
into mental health resources and sexist taxes on sanitary products for people who need them. You can have these conversations by joining one of our departments; here’s an A-Z list in case you’re too lazy to look them up (tbh I feel that): Access Department; Albany Students Association; Education Action Network; Environment Department; Ethnocultural Collective; International Student Service; Mature Age Students’ Association; Pelican Magazine; Postgraduate Students’ Association; Pride Department; Residential Students Department; Sports; Student Parents on Campus; Welfare Department; Western Australian Students Aboriginal Corporation; Women’s Department. Join the Guild ya mug.
Megan Lee 3
contents Pelican | Vol. 89 Ed 3 | May 2018 CANDID
COVER ART BY HOLLY LANGFORD SMITH
FEATURES 24 | AUTHENTIC EXPOSURES Is Boogaerdt 26 | THIS IS NOT EROTICA Nick Vernon 36 | IT’S AGONY Emma Stokes
CANDID CONVERSATIONS 28 | WOMANHOOD Lisa Longman 29 | LET’S TALK ABOUT CONDOMS Aleisha Sleight 30 | RACE TO THE BOTTOM Kevin Fitzgerald 32 | COMING OUT Stephen Hawkins & Amy Peterson
65 | BRUNCH ON A BUDGET Teresa McAllister
COMEDY 08 | REAL CAMPUS NEWS Hugh Hutchison 57 | PERTH COMEDY FESTIVAL
FASHION 35 | INCLUSIVE FASHION Laura Bullock 48 | LOVED CLOTHES LAST Various
Ishita Mathur 62 | LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Hugh Hutchison
BOOLADARLUNG - Pelican The Pelican team acknowledges that the UWA campus is located on the lands of the Whadjuk and Minang people of the Noongar Nation, who are the original storytellers and spiritual and cultural custodians of their land. This was stolen and never ceded. We’d like to especially thank Len Collard from the School of Indigenous Studies for sharing the Noongar word for Pelican with us, booladarlung, which will appear on the cover of all issues of Pelican this year.
JOSHUA CAHILL & KATIE MCALLISTER PELICAN@GUILD.UWA.EDU.AU
COMEDY EDITOR HUGH HUTCHISON PELICANCOMEDY@GUILD.UWA.EDU.AU DIVERSITY EDITOR ISHITA MATHUR PELICANDIVERSITY@GUILD.UWA.EDU.AU FASHION EDITORS SUSANNAH CHARKEY & FRANCES HARVEY PELICANFASHION@GUILD.UWA.EDU.AU FILM EDITORS FINNIAN WILLIAMSON & CINDY SHI PELICANFILM@GUILD.UWA.EDU.AU LIFESTYLE EDITOR BRIDGET RUMBALL PELICANLIFESTYLE@GUILD.UWA.EDU.AU LITERATURE EDITOR VANESSA KARAS PELICANLITERATURE@GUILD.UWA.EDU.AU MUSIC EDITORS SOPHIE MINISSALE & JORDAN MURRAY PELICANMUSIC@GUILD.UWA.EDU.AU SCIENCE EDITOR PATRICK MORRISON & CAITLIN OWYONG PELICANSCIENCE@GUILD.UWA.EDU.AU POLITICS EDITOR CORMAC POWER PELICANPOLITICS@GUILD.UWA.EDU.AU EDUCATION EDITOR
MICHAEL SMITH PELICANEDUCATION@GUILD.UWA.EDU.AU
VISUAL ARTS EDITORS KARL SAGRABB AND GRACE HUFFER PELICANARTS@GUILD.UWA.EDU.AU WEATHER EDITOR
40 | NOT CANDID CAMERA
15 | WHY I WRITE PRIDE POEMS
42 | THE CANDID, THE FAKE, THE
Yuval Gurfinkel 54 | THE VICE OF THE ISLE OF DOGS Chad Bensky 58 | BLACK MIRROR Elliot Herriman
Chase Houghton 16 | SNAPSHOTS Asha Couch 17 | HOUSE Laurent Shervington 18 | LOVE POEM
LIFESTYLE 10 | FRIENDS IS THE WORST Jessican Carbone 39 | THE INSTAGRAM SIMULATION Eliza Huston
IRONIC Matthew Maltman 46 | THE REALEAST BOYBAND OUT Aleisha Sleight 52 | NOT A GANGSTER’S PARADISE Emmelyn Wu
Emma Stokes 19 | SOMERSAULT Eamonn Kelly 22 | BRUSH STROKES Husna Farooq
52 | WRITER’S BLOCK
POLITICS 12 | WORDS WITH JORDON STEELEJOHN Mike Anderson 50 | HORRIBLE HISTORIES
VISUAL ARTS EDUCATION 60 | PLEASE EXPLAIN Desiree Tan
34 | MONOLOGUE OF MEMORIES Monisha Mohan Raj 44 | REVEALED: WORDS WITH LEE KINSELLA Rose Stewart
The University of Western Australia acknowledges that its campus is situated on Noongar land, and the Noongar people remain the spiritual and cultural custodians of their land, and continue to practice their values, language, beliefs and knowledge. The views expressed within are not the opinions of the UWA Student Guild or Pelican Editorial Staff, but of the individual writers and artists.
Hugh wrote the entirety of our first issue, SLOW.
Jessica binges TV shows to escape the fact that reality is probably a simulation.
Ask him about elections if you are having trouble sleeping.
Chase Houghton is a non-binary poet who has been known to cry at dog pictures.
Asha is an ugly-jumper enthusiast who is reliably late to everything.
Laurent’s considering the complex social faux pas’ involved with forming a Dead Milkmen cover band.
Ben Yaxley is havin’ fun.
Emma is…a girl writing words and making experimental music as a thing called Daisies Net.
Eamonn is nocturnal, not the fun kind, the "it's 3AM and we have neighbours" kind.
Husna enjoys abstract artworks and has studied Political Science and International Relations.
Is’ most used hashtags on insta are #35mm, #vegan and #ironic.
Where am I? I could have sworn this was the way to the business school...
Lisa uses Facebook quizzes as family therapy, hoping to discover which iconic Aussie snack she is.
This angry Deaf lesbian doesn’t have time for “feminists” forgetting disability/ableism in their –isms.
Kevin roams around ground floor Reid searching for a debate about anything and everything.
Stephen reflects upon his journey of self-discovery and is thankful life took a positive turn.
Amy’s PB of wearing a white shirt without spilling anything on it is five minutes.
Monisha Mohan Raj
Monisha is an artist. She likes to explore new mediums, but needs money.
After many years of denial Aleisha has finally accepted that she's a cat person.
Rose is an Arts student who likes art, cups of tea and tortoise videos.
Yuval would like to give a shout out to the people running Ararat Kebabas.
The only form of dictatorship Matt supports is a world run entirely by Jeb Bush.
Eliza is an English Honours student at UWA, and a real-life Lisa Simpson.
Jordan thinks that fifty million Elvis fans can in fact be wrong.
Shamina is an English Honours student. In her spare time, she maintains a FB page called Green Eye.
Alexander is the spirit child of Blair Waldorf and Fallon Carrington. He has no notable hobbies, other than Netflix.
Ryan thinks he’s more plant than man, and finds it easier to talk to plants than he does to people.
Tiffany aspires to own a guinea pig farm one day.
Brad also likes tea.
Emmelyn is a tea, jazz and dumpling enthusiast who enjoys patting dogs and making Spotify playlists.
Yesterday a marketing Honours student, today a tanned graduate applicant.
Ishita is tired and sleepy but committed to kicking ass.
Elliot won’t work for exposure, but he’s open to working for free movie tickets.
When she’s not complaining about lack of sleep, Desiree is scaring boys twice her height.
Look, we will be candid. WE WANT YOU TO WRITE FOR PELICAN. We really, really think you’d be mint. Send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org or like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram or Twitter or most importantly, pop up to the office for a cuppa. Kettle’s on, loves. The views expressed within are not the opinions of the UWA Student Guild or Pelican Editorial Staff but of the individual writers and artists. 7
Dalai Lama Set To Skip Perth Entirely After Learning About Sizzler’s Financial Woes “Only good bloody salad bar in the Southern Hemisphere. Do I look like the kind of numpty who’s going to fork out ten big ones for a basic spinach and kale at Sumo Salad?” Said his Holiness. “They must think I was reincarnated yesterday.” New Uni Friend has quote: “Really Good Idea for a Podcast” “I just don’t think there’s enough media outlets dedicated exclusively to recapping Bachelor in Paradise.” “I really just want ordinary people to have the opportunity to tell their stories while I pretend I’m Ira Glass.” “There just aren’t enough podcasts where a couple of bros just shoot the shit in nasally Australian accents.” Study Finds UWA Students Would Be Willing to pay Hundreds of Dollars Extra in SSAF Fees if it Meant Getting Some Bloody Double Ply Toilet Paper on Campus
real campus news Hugh Hutchison
“I’m sick of having to lug around this giant portable bidet,” said one dissatisfied student, “I knew UWA was a sandstone university, but I didn’t realise that extended to the toiletries.” Wow! The Quiet White Dude in Your Tute is Actually a Prolific Member of the Alt-Right In a surprise twist: the pale, prematurely balding guy at the back of literally every tute ever has been revealed as a big name in the hotly competitive West Australian NeoNazi circuit. The man in question, previously assumed to be an exchange student from some country where the sun doesn’t shine that much, was outed after a cursory glance at his personal Facebook page, on which he wrote sprawling paragraphs about the perils of feminism. “I don’t know what inspired me to investigate,” said the classmate that made the discovery. “I think I started to get suspicious after he did his major essay on white people. The topic of the essay was
‘Evaluate the experiences of one disadvantaged group in the Australian legal system.’”
Fresher Who Completely Changed Her Personality to be Liked by her Peers Unsurprised to Learn her Mum Was Full of Shit All Along
Master’s Student Very Impressed By Six Month Renovation of Refectory Ambient Lighting
“I can’t believe I went along with that ‘just be yourself’ crap for so long. I’ve made heaps of new friends at Uni and all it took was a complete 180° in my personality and physical appearance. It’s incredible how many cool people you meet just by pretending to like nangs.”
“Wow! It’s amazing how much space they’ve created in here by getting rid of those pesky food outlets. I couldn’t have dreamed they’d be able to fit this many chairs in one big empty room.” First Year Undergrad Tutor Admits He’s Just a bit Shit A local ECON1102 tutor has finally declared, after much speculation, that he’s just a really average bloke who couldn’t give two supply-side shits about macroeconomics. “I thought it’d be a great opportunity to tune freshers, but it turns out girls don’t take to my endearing combination of professional incompetency, social awkwardness and total lack of authority.” Students Now Permitted to Take Unmarked Bottles of Little Fat Lamb into Afternoon Exams “It was unreasonable of us to expect students not to be seven standards deep at four thirty on a Friday afternoon,” said WA’s Chief Invigilator.
Third Year Student With 5000 Words Due in 24 Hours Fails to Combat Irrepressible Desire to Spend Entire Day at Timezone “How much is 5% a day anyway, compared to the fun I’m having fucking up kids in Street Fighter II? If I can just get good on this claw machine, I won’t even need a degree, I’ll have more MP3 players than I’ll know what to do with.” Students discover that there’s a UWA Albany Campus and they don’t give a shit about student politics “People just stared when I said Launch and Star,” a local OGC said, “Then, some mature aged student said, ‘The only thing we launch from here is the pride of the Australian navy and our only star is Tim Winton.’ They just don’t fucking get campus culture.”
“We’re not lapsing our standards entirely though: students sitting morning exams will be forbidden from bringing in spirits, and there’ll be a seven dollar corkage fee.”
FOUR REASONS WHY
is actually kind of the worst ... Jessica Carbone
Before you yell at me more than Ross yells at the guy who ate his postthanksgiving day sandwich at work, hear me out... Until the start of semester, I’d only seen the odd episode of Friends. It wasn’t until Week Two, when I discovered the magical website of Stan (big thanks COMMS1101 tutor), that I embarked on the eyeopening and slightly self-destructive experience that is binging ten seasons of Friends in six weeks.
Obviously, Friends was still funny enough for me to continue watching in unhealthy amounts, and I’m not saying it isn’t a PIVOT-al part of TV history. But some of the ideas the show normalises are problematic. Get comfortable, because things are about to get more controversial than whether or not Ross and Rachel really were on a break.
So, Joey eats almost constantly. He’s comfortable with his body and there ain’t a thing wrong with that; however, he refuses to date any ‘fat’ girls. Kind of a double standard there, Tribbiani. Why not let everyone else be comfortable with themselves too? Sadly, the whole ‘Monica used to be fat,’ running gag is a disaster too. The joke relies on prejudicial, Western beauty standards. And it’s more than just fat jokes - I mean, the whole idea of ‘Ugly Naked Guy,’ is kind of self-explanatory. Not to mention the fact that Chandler gets his third nipple surgically removed because the gang is judging him about it so much. In the immortal lyrics of the Black Eyed Peas: where is the love?
Friends ran from 1994 to 2004. I understand that twenty-ish years ago it was a different time, but that’s not an excuse for a TV program that popular to still be using homosexuality as a punch line. I’ll admit, it can be subtle at times. Chandler’s Dad is gay, Joey is willing to play gay acting roles, and I think most of ‘The Six’ kiss each other at some point or another. But it’s always played off as a joke for comedic effect. There’s a running joke about Chandler being secretly gay, which flares up at various times such as when Ross makes an online profile for Chandler, or when Chandler comments on the attractiveness of other guys, or when Ross naps with Joey. When iconic shows like this use ‘gay’ as an insult, I always hear Phoebe’s voice in my head saying ‘oh, no.’
I’ve saved the best/worst for last- infidelity. Phoebe cheats on Mike with David. Mike cheats on his girlfriend to get back together with Phoebe. Ross cheats (for argument’s sake) on Rachel on their ‘break.’ Joey is a serial philanderer who cheated a bunch of times. The Rachel, Barry, Mindy situation, which was just a huge mess. I’m not saying all this drama isn’t a great emotional rollercoaster, but why is cheating so normalised not only by Friends but by many films and TV shows? Only the happy endings are shown, instead of the endings involving that loyal person who’s just had their trust completely shattered. Cheating ruins lives and it honestly bamboozles me that, time and time again, it is portrayed as no biggie in the name of true love. Also, Chandler still watches a ton of porn, by himself, while he’s married to Monica. Technically that isn’t cheating but it’s still pretty weird.
With every season, I got more confused.
MATERIALISM Sure, everyone can be materialistic. But Friends is one of the many shows that glorifies consumerism. Throwback to the time where Phoebe and Mike donate their wedding money to a children’s charity. Wasn’t that lovely? Except when they changed their mind, decided they wanted a lavish wedding and went and GOT THE MONEY BACK. Who does that? Phoebe is characterised as the epitome of morality, but on a number of occasions (think the Pottery Barn table, the fur coat heirloom) her ethics are tossed out the window in the name of superficial desire. This re-characterises Phoebe’s character as fake and suggests everyone succumbs to materialism and traditionalism in the end. Also, Chandler stays in a job he hates for years because the pay is good, and Monica’s whole personality is centred self-interest. But at least they’re honest about who they are. Phoebe Buffay is fake news.
Friends is riddled with many other flaws such as trivialising mental health issues, perpetuating gender stereotypes, and compulsive lying. Sure, the show was just illustrating the status quo of the time. But influential shows like this who have a ton of impressionable viewers, have the power to influence what’s considered okay or acceptable. I’m all for taking things in the context they were created, but the reality is, that in-between every laugh track, Friends is actually rather problematic. It’s okay if you’re in denial. I think it’s time to take some deep breaths, make some margaritas, and tell yourself that you’re ‘fine.’
disability is a social construction
WORDS WITH JORDAN STEELE-JOHN Jordon Steele-John is one of the two Greens Senators for Western Australia. Jordon was declared elected in November 2017 after Scott Ludlumâ€™s resignation. Jordon is a youth and disability advocate and holds the portfolios of disability rights and services, youth affairs, digital right and IT, sustainable cities, and the NBN.
Interview by Mike Anderson 12 12
What got you first interested in politics? My political journey starts with family. We, my extended family, emigrated from the UK together, and lived together or next door for 20 years. My household was multigenerational and full of history and stories. My earliest political memory was Tampa in 2001, as a kid you’re taught to look after those in need, and we were saying no. It struck me as wrong and continues to strike me as wrong. The way we treat refugees is appalling. My mum was a social worker and worked on the coalface for 20 years, I learnt from her and saw what those systemic failures are. After dreams of palaeontology and being an astronaut, I started to get more politically aware and found my passions. Young, and disabled, people need their voices heard and the status quo must be challenged. I started attending rallies and signing petitions. The election of Obama in 2008 got me fired up and thinking politics was where things were happening, and things could change. It seemed there was this dividing line in politics, one where young people could be activists and advocates, and the other where “adults” do politics. I don’t believe in this dividing line. I found the Greens were attending those rallies and signing those petitions and were still saying the same things in parliament. We fundamentally believe that activism and advocacy should light the fire in you and sustain you in politics, not something you leave behind. From there I attended branch meetings, helped in campaigns and now here I am. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done, it felt like I joined a family. Young people are often discounted and ignored in politics, do you feel this has lessened for you since being elected? No, I had to overcome it as a candidate and I’m still considered an anomaly, not the new norm. A cultural shift is needed, it’s why I talk about youth issues. We dismiss the ideas and aspirations of young people. There’s high levels of mental health issues in young people. We’re told to measure ourselves by academic success, basically told “if you get 49% on a test you’re 49% of a person”, it’s awful. It’s not just education reform, it’s cultural. At the worst of it, young indigenous kids in Kalgoorlie are being automatically deemed criminal by the community, leading to horrendous abuse of rights. We’re wasting a generation. Do you feel young people often get boxed into ‘youth issues’ in politics?
I’m proudly a young disabled person. I don’t see what we might call disabled or youth issues as a consolation prize. It pisses me off that’s how receiving those portfolios is treated. Of course, young people aren’t homogenous, and their issues are some of the largest in the political landscape. Housing, education, climate change, unemployment all are youth issues. So I’m happy to be dealing with the largest political issues of the time. Would you say that might be systematic of a lack of young people elected to parliament? Yes, I think there’s some truth in that. What challenges have you face living with a disability? The number one thing we need to understand about disability is that it is primarily a social construction. I have a brain injury, known as cerebral palsy, one of the results of that is that I can’t walk and do certain things. It is societies collective failure to adapt that creates discrimination and segregation. I’m not disabled by a flight of stairs, I’m disabled because nobody thought to put a lift in. A choice made from a set of values. It’s important the onus isn’t placed on individuals but on society collectively. I’ve faced challenges with access in parliament. The house of democracy is not accessible, it’s deeply emblematic. So much of Australia is inaccessible, this profoundly impacts social inclusion, employment and education opportunities. It’s easy to talk, but people find it too inconvenient to act. Welfare, especially the disability support pension, has been stigmatised. Nobody thinks about tax loopholes, but someone rightfully accessing the DSP is a “dole bludger” and “undeserving”. Any politician who gives credence to or traffics these ideas should be ashamed of themselves. It’s disgusting. How would you respond to the greater integration of para-athletes in the 2018 Commonwealth Games and wider sporting events? You must mainstream sport, why wouldn’t we? It’s the difference between mainstream and segregation. It’s not okay to segregate people with disabilities. The Olympics has no excuse, it’s just shoving them to the side. You hold the sustainable cities portfolio. Do you think Australian cities are at all prepared for the future? Australian cities have a love affair with the car, white picket fences, low density housing, and it’s
really come back to ruin us. It becomes a perverse conversation about population rather than planning. We talk about being “full” - this is just not true, we’re just stacked badly. I’m passionate about sustainable cities, cities are growing at a greater rate than ever. A city done well showcases the best of humanity. It creates cultural institutions and spaces, brings us together in new ways, and breaks down social barriers. When done wrong we see poverty, segregation and inequality in their worst form. Perth is a prime example of a city done bad - car devoted and no light rail. We have to put walking and cycling at the heart of transport. We use words like urban infill and it’s not very helpful, we’re really talking about investing in communities. We need to knit back together our neglected urban forest. All things my predecessor, Scott Ludlum, worked on. I’m looking see a transformation of our cities in terms of accessibility and universal design. What direction do you see the Greens taking in the future? Our future is incredibly bright. All issues Australia is facing, climate change, housing, future of work, all these things need Green solutions. A Green understanding that change comes from below, not top down. We’re proudly a party of the grassroots, we glory and are proud that the mainstream of politics and media discounts us as radicals. 30 years of politics has usual have led to rising inequality, environmental destruction, then there’s poverty and underdevelopment in places it should never exist. If those who discount us and preach the status quo were patting us on the back I’d be worried. Our future is bright, in the movement and in the parliament. I’m proud to be a standard bearer for Green principles in parliament. What challenges do you see the Greens facing in the future? There’s the traditional challenge of getting heard in a system designed to lock you out. My friend Chlöe Swarbrick MP from New Zealand made a good observation that we feel compelled by our commitment to people to explain complicated issues in detail, and sometimes that gets lost. We shouldn’t talk down to or presume the electorate is ignorant or needs a soundbite. People are ready for a complex conversation, people live complex lives. There’s a difference between a complex conversation and an inaccessible one. This isn’t just a problem for the Greens but the left generally. We get into a spiel that is difficult to connect with. There are challenges but I have every faith our movement’s future is strong
and will succeed. You mentioned Chlöe, what would you say you’ve learnt from your friendship with her, and New Zealand politics in general? Chlöe and I are both the youngest MPs in our respective parliaments. We both found ourselves there by surprise but are nevertheless proud and excited to get to work. Both sides of the Tasman we’ve been dismissed because of our age. It’s a crosscultural problem. I think Chlöe and I both believe that it’s not about us, it’s about the movement and people. Chlöe’s said “I don’t put the job first. I put people and issues first. If I lose my job at the end of it that’s the way it is”, and I would agree with that. I’m not a politician to be one forever. The opportunity to serve is an honour, the moment you start thinking of it is a job you want to keep to yourself, you should get out. New Zealand politics is far ahead of us with their conversations around their history and first nations. But also, behind us in that they don’t have preferential voting and are in a different space in welfare. It’s interesting to see those difference and similarities. You’ve announced a policy to lower the voting age, why? Young people must be able participate in the democratic process. Young people care about issues that are always part of the political debate. There are 600,000 16-17 year olds that society deems ready to drive, pay taxes, and be affected by the justice system who are denied the right to vote. That’s just not right. What would you say to critics of the Greens cannabis policy? The war on drugs has failed. We must do the right thing, what common sense would suggest. You can sell someone a cigarette, which when used as intended will kill you, you can drink alcohol from 18, despite the high numbers of alcohol related issues. Yet we risk criminal conviction for using cannabis. That’s not a sensible approach. No young person should ever encounter the criminal justice system because of cannabis. We can’t continue ruining lives because we’re too scared to debate against evidence-devoid rhetoric.
I write for the trans women with makeup remover and a change of clothes in their bags. Who get changed straight after the parade in the Beaufort Park bathrooms and wipe a piece of their soul off along with their eyeshadow, who cry silently as they put their self-expression in the paper waste basket just to get the bus safely. I write for the kids who only get to feel a part of something important right now because later when I go to an after party, they go to an abusive home. The ones who tell their parents they’re going to their friends house, who cover their faces from the roving reporters and untag themselves from the photos on Facebook because Mum and Dad don’t know yet. I write because I’m one of the trans people who attempted suicide. I’m one of the statistic kids. I write because I’m still here. I write because I’m non-binary. I write because I never see myself on the red carpet or in movies. I write because I only see myself in the transgender murder victim corpses they show on TV. I write because nobody else can use my voice for me. I write because I’m gonna be the change I wanna see in this world. I write because this is the only way to get people to shut the fuck up, and listen for a change.
why i write pride poems Chase Houghton
snapshots Happiness is not always ground-breakingly soul-shakingly large
More often than not itâ€™s just a second
Lauren Shervington | Artwork by Ben Yaxley
I recall this place through reflecting upon moments of incredulity, for example, the first time one hears the name Siobhan spoken aloud for example, first seeing a photograph of an artist you’ve admired for years for example, the first time we stood up on the hill and we could see the blinking Gatsby lights propped up on pine trees and roof tiles to this day the view feels curated, yet incidental, as if cropped, refocused, edited, put through our old broken tape deck, a phono channel of wax and brick printed in Technicolor I remember the conversations, ah yes the conversations lying back on this couch I wonder if all words of the English language were spoken in this house, and if not, which remained? huckmuck, anguilliform, breatharian, pyroclastic and winebibber can now all be ticked off but what of the music? I sit tuning and detuning a Mexican guitar in the hope of forever claiming the harmonic capabilities of, at the very least, this room alas, just like the trains you never catch, I am only a few cents short I remember when you first told me you were leaving and that was ok, as these rooms, unlike beavers, French angelfish and penguins, were intended to accept several more iterations I remember the day you left, eating an ice-cream in Northbridge, practicing your own songs on a bass guitar, on the porch, at Ben’s house talking about red house painters, at Coles but of course not forgetting the hole in the wall, the pile-driver of your anxiety, the locus of my curiosity I think of playing that Dick Diver album we listened to the first few days you moved in but it doesn’t feel quite as right as it did then I opt for Neil Young, your obvious choice but perhaps my third or fourth.
I love you in
a million and two ways I counted them one night and I love you like when sun falls all over your body in winter in the morning. like the daffodil bulb that sprouted a year late. like when the rain falls all around outside and you are as far deep inside me as you can make it. I love you like the things that happen when you get distracted after boiling the kettle
the way your heart beats heavy and you let me feel it and that you know the rhythm of my heart beats are just a little out of sync from each other and go way too fast. I love the pattern of the mindless way you place the things you have picked up and put down and
or after the toast pops and goes un
I am sure I know the pattern of your randomness precisely.
noticed for the rest of the day.
I love the sound of your ear up against my ear.
when I hear your car engine stop or start from the other side of the house and I recognise exactly the sound. when your mouth smells like you in the times you have just woken up and it gets so sweet and I don’t know how.
one day you will have heard the one million and two ways and then your skin and bones will have been rattled like this and there will be imprints all over you
in the way your eyes gleam and seem
all over your skin and bones and
like someone very meticulous has painted them and
you will know all the ways by looking at the
when your eyelashes are so long
wrinkles and imprints on your skin
they push against your glasses. I love you like spelling mistakes that make more sense
and feeling your bones because they will be listed like an infinite scroll of tiny divots under my fingers.
than the intended word. like the flowers growing on the tree in exactly the place where the sun comes through
you’ll hear it when you press your ear against my ear - and smell it when I open a year late.
so we will never cut them off or put them inside a vase.
when I hum under my breath you’ll hear it
I love you like a collection of wax from dead candles and records that have bumps in the one place that you’ll always remember because of how many times we listened to the same side on that one night.
there laid out like a constellation of tiny soft hairs, a dustbin of lost light a lot of perfect spelling mistakes tossed onto our creased bed.
somersault CLAIRE SEES THIS ONE PICTURE IN A PHYSICS TEXTBOOK BELONGING TO AN OLDER BOY IN HER HOMEROOM... The picture is a sketch from the 18th century that shows a spectrum of the same man falling in a downwards semicircle, each figure oriented to their respective angle, a vague smile on each face. The picture is unlike anything she has ever seen, it sets her imagination alight. While the boy is out in the toilet, and whilst everybody is distracted, she takes her scissors, cuts it out, places it in her diary pouch, then closes the book. Luckily the boy is not so quick to notice,
his friends are harassing him to play the game of knuckles.
That day after school Claire set her bag down, peeled the bottle green tights off her legs, and lay down on her bed with her diary. Pulling out the clipping, the gloss of the page ran between her thumb and forefinger. She looked at it again, the text on its back was a chunk of equation that read: Fgrav âˆ? m1*m2* d2 To her these glyphs meant nothing, but they fascinated nonetheless. She stuck the picture of the falling men above her bed on the underside of the wall-mounted shelf with a piece of blu-tack. The game of knuckles is played with a fifty-cent coin and a table. Participants spin the coin on its edge by flicking it, participants must then flick the coin to keep the coin spinning, thus passing the burden of spin onto their opponent. The person who fails to keep the coin spinning, or causes the coin to topple, loses. The loser must place their knuckles on the table, forearm straight, at a ninety-degree angle. The winner places the coin on the table, places a thumb on the coin, fingers extended as far in front of the coin as possible, then launches the
Eamonn Kelly 19
coin at the knuckles by flicking their thumb and wrist forwards quickly. The coin skims across the surface of the table; if it hits the knuckles, this is good, if it misses, better luck next time. The school boys walk around with faint scars and recent scabs over the bones of their knuckles. Everyone looks like they’ve been in fights, nobody has marks on their face or dirt on their shirts. So it’s a startling thing to see a boy walk through school with a bleeding nose and a bruised eye. His name is Peter, he’s the city boy new kid. He’s stopped in the locker hallway by the students; his response is, “You should see the other guy,”with a John Wayne twang. Peter takes no shit from nobody. “The other guy,” is John. Johnny boy is notorious among the teachers. He’s the one they point to whenever things go bad. They have him marked for expulsion, but they can’t get rid of him because nothing sticks. Currently he’s lying on asphalt by a rubber-wrapped chain-link fence with five missing front teeth, a badly fractured orbital bone, and ringing ears. The chaplain sees him and comes running over. The chaplain privately believes that this bastard deserves his beating. Peter and John are next to each other in the Geraldton Regional Hospital ER, divided by a curtain, John wailing, Peter with a tissue stuck up his nose. Claire sits on her bed, with another find from a library book. This one from a book on film. It’s Zorro. Zorro stands with hat, and eye mask, dual-wielding crossed revolvers, shooting into the frame. Claire fantasises about being known as the cutting bandit. A dangerous criminal who cuts important images from picture books. She fantasises about being on the run, about running from the librarians out for her blood, about firing six-shooters blindly behind, about stealing a glance at a boy before going out in a blaze of glorious hot steel and blood, like Bonny. “Zorro the Bandito,” says Claire, bemused. Claire’s mother calls her from the kitchen. “Be there in a sec.” She tears off another dot of blu-tack and sticks Zorro to the underside of her shelf, next to a picture of a smiling punkette with a green monstrosity of hair and a lake with haze rising off it in the night lit by floodlights.
Peter and John are back at school. It is a firmly established fact that nobody fucks with the new kid. John the bully has a slightly crooked eye, not that anyone would notice because he never looks anyone in the face. Both sit in the student counsellor’s waiting room. This is hell on earth for John, who has bugs in his belly writhing. Peter eats a sandwich quietly. John has bandaged fists from today’s knuckles. Peter is bandage free. The air inside the counsellor’s room is thick with incense. He sits across the desk from them, skimming the notes. “Peter, why’d you do it mate?” There’s a sign behind the counsellor that says, ‘Swear if you Must but Please Do Keep It Civil.’ Peter says, “Talk shit get hit, nothing personal, he was on my case, so I gave him The Peter Special.” “The Peter Special,” is a five-move combo. First, you grab the guy by the collar and sleeve of his shirt and step back, this gets the bastard off balance and distracts the hands, as well as getting you into position for the following four moves. Second, you knock away the arms by making a circle in the air, this leaves your man vulnerable. Third, you punch the guy in the stomach as hard as you can, this knocks the wind out of their sails. Fourth, you push them onto the ground. Fifth, you stomp on their head, ensuring that they will never fuck with you again. If everything is done correctly, it should be one fluid move, martial in execution and devastating to your mans constitution. The counsellor nods and goes hmmm, and then turns his head towards John. “Were you giving him shit?” John sits there, head hung, letting the question stew in the muggy air for an uncomfortable amount of time before begrudgingly answering, “Yes.” The counsellor presses, “Why, and what about?” Another long period of silence. “I don’t know why. ‘Spose I wanted to test him.” “What for?” “I don’t know.” “Well, that plan clearly backfired, I suppose you won’t do it again will you?” John murmurs.
The counsellor goes hmmm.
“Bunch of stuff about being a man, don’t really think I should repeat it, did you get any cuttings today?”
John screams, “NO.” “Calm down Johnny boy, you’re in a safe space here.” John sinks into himself, sobbing. The counsellor swivels in his chair to face Peter. “And you, you proud of what you’ve done? Look that boy in the eyes… Did it make you feel good?” “No, I’m not a psycho, I don’t do it for glory or anything, if somebody comes up to me and intends to do me harm, then I will cut them down to size. I’m no monster, just want to be left alone is all.” The counsellor makes a note, then looks up at the boys and says, “What you’ve done is unacceptable, you’re both lucky you aren’t sent packing by the school. This is a real strain on the no expulsion policy, if it were up to me both of you would be on your arses out of the school in a flash. Now I want both of you to shake hands.” Peter extends a hand out towards John, who does not offer it back. The counsellor reiterates, “Shake hands.” Claire bounces on the trampoline. She thinks of the falling man again, and imitates the bodily position as she lands on the black plastic weaved mat. Her body crumples in interesting ways each time. She bounces on her back and on her belly. It’s easy to bounce on your back and get back up to your feet on a trampoline, what takes talent is bouncing on your stomach and doing the same. She lays on the trampoline looking up at the powerlines, which buzz like a guitar amplifier. She sits up and looks at the view. From the trampoline, she sees the whole of Geraldton: silos, red and white lighthouse, beach front, waves breaking on the reefs in constant motion, the sea extending out till it meets the curvature of the earth. Sea and sky knit together with unseen fabric. Her brother comes up the driveway, “Hey Claire, how was your day?” “Good, we were looking at Ecology in Science, did you know that the Amazon has the most diverse ecosystem on the planet?” “I did know that. Did you know that there are people in the Amazon who have not even been discovered?” “No, that’s cool to think about, thanks Pete. Hey, what did the counsellor say to you?”
“Some pictures from a National Geographic of a woman named Jane Goodall around these monkeys, one of them was pushing a pram with a plastic baby.” “You really ought to stop that, before you get caught,” Peter turns to the sun and salt lacquered door. Claire bounces high. She wonders if she can bounce as high as those buzzing power lines, she wonders if that’s why they are buzzing, and if the previous occupant bumped their head on the cable by bouncing on their own trampoline, she wonders if it hurt a bunch. Bouncing, she sees a boy with bandaged fists walk by on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the road. He’s looking at his feet. He stands there looking at the house and Claire bouncing for a moment. Claire does a somersault in the air for him, but can’t tell if he’s impressed or not. Claire does a backflip, somersaults are easy, anybody can do them on a trampoline, but backflips are a different beast altogether; that requires talent. Claire has talent at bouncing, she dreams of being a gymnast, she wants the boy looking at her to know this. The boy crosses the street walking towards Claire. Claire does a somersault and lands on her back to kill her momentum, she rolls off the trampoline and runs inside to do her homework. Immediately afterwards, there is a knock at the door. Claire double takes and opens the door, she looks at the boy with the bandaged hands, expectant. “Would you get your brother for me please?” “What for?” “Would you just get him please?” Peter comes to the door and steps outside. Through the window from the kitchen Claire can see her brother talking with this boy. The afternoon sun shines its rays through cloud cover behind them. Diagonal pillars of light peer through and touch the surface of the water. Claire asked her mother once if there was a name for this. Her mother didn’t know, but she made an answer up, “They call it God’s fingers.” She sees the boy with bandaged hands cry, she sees her brother hug the boy. She thinks this is beautiful. She wishes she had a camera.
I watched him glide the paint over the canvas, immersed in his work. His troubles had subsided and he was at peace. I watched as he manipulated the palette knife with ease. I had great respect for my brother but he was a curious man. He had a fight within him that was only with himself, and that was evident when I received his last letter. “Vincent are you well?” I asked cautiously. I didn’t want to take him away from his work but my concern for him had become overpowering. “Mmm?” He responded, barely looking up and switching to a brush. “Are you well tonight?” I took the folded letter out of my coat pocket. He stopped then and I couldn’t place his expression, the light from the sunset highlighting the details in his face. “Theo, I have faith in you to sell my works but if nothing is sold then I still have faith in this pipe.” He reached for the object, a gleam in his eyes as it met his lips. His pieces had not been doing well for many months. Before he moved to Paris our living area had been filled with canvas upon canvas, the distinct and lingering smell of the oil paint filling the room and giving me terrible headaches. I hadn’t seen him in so long but it seemed the move had done him little good. I opened the letter and started to read aloud: “You don’t know how paralysing it is, that stare from a blank canvas that says to the painter you can’t do anything. The canvas has an idiotic stare, and mesmerises some painters so that they turn into idiots themselves. But however meaningless and vain, however dead life appears, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth, and who knows something, doesn’t let himself be fobbed off like that. He steps in and does something, and hangs onto that, in short, breaks, ‘violates’ - they say.” I folded the letter, awaiting his response. I didn’t want to lead him to an answer that he thought would satisfy me. He smiled and inhaled from the small tube, looking
outside the window to the outside world that was now dimly lit, his eyes shifting to details I couldn’t see. “Is it not true?” He muttered before turning back to the painting, creating the swirls he had grown accustomed to. I didn’t know what it was like to be a painter. I merely sold the work so I couldn’t answer convincingly. He sighed and turned back to me, blowing air out of his mouth and moving the pipe. “Brother, you are smoking from a pipe that is not alight!” He held the pipe and looked into it, laughing to himself. “Such is life. I have to show you my latest work.” He put the small piece onto the wooden table. He turned the canvas to face me. The canvas was slashed with a deep sky blue, and swirls drifted from one side to the other, untamed. Its disarray was intricately controlled, winds moving through auras of yellow and white. A huge cypress tree took up a large space of the landscape, swaying both with and against the wind. “The painting is all I see. It keeps coming back to me, every night. I would be foolish not to capture it. Just look at the stars. Look at them and tell me what you see.” I blinked and leaned in closer, realising only now that the circles were stars. Now that I’ve seen it, it seems ridiculous to think they were anything else. “They may call it crude again but the night … has a greater quiet.” He turned the work towards him and placed the pipe back into his mouth. I said nothing more on the topic, we talked about other subjects until I was asked to leave by staff. Saying goodbye, I left him to his work, in the room with a single barred window and little else. I walked out of the asylum and into the cool starry night.
Lately it seems that every second person uses the Huji app or has a $24.99 disposable, and that the true art of film photography has become a bit lost. Despite this, Umairah Murtaza (@sakidasumi) and Milly Cope (@millycope) – two of my biggest inspirations – continue to capture some of the most captivating and unique images I’ve ever seen. Interested to understand how they don’t let this trend affect the artistry of their work, I sent through a few questions for them to answer. I: Firstly, how did you get into photography? M: I wish I had a sentimental story, but I kind of just fell into it. I started off with digital, then when I was 16 my Uncle gave me his old Olympus trip and I fell in love with film. Photography seemed to not really leave me. I can’t explain it. I could also say it began when I started taking self-portraits when I was 15 - my digital camera balanced on a pile of books.
U: I’ve been into the creative arts ever since a very young age. Photography, film, painting, dance. Anything to do with art always struck me. I remember getting my first digital camera when I was 11. I’d take pictures in my mom’s garden and of my friends. In high school my friend and I started an event photography business, and I had such a great time with that. I: What do you like about film photography in comparison to digital? M: To put it simply - I can’t shoot digital. I hate it. I’ve only shot one digital series I’m mildly happy with. Film has a tenderness and realness to it that digital can’t replicate. I love the momentary aspect. Film photography is a lot more romantic. You capture the mistakes and I like not having a choice but to confront the beautiful mistakes. U: Personally, I like to be hands on and physical with my work, so I feel film photography is better for that. I love the sounds that film cameras produce. The pull of the film advance lever, the subtle turns of the dial and the sound of the shutter releasing – they’re all authentic sounds that you manually made. I also absolutely love the process of film being developed. I: How do you motivate yourself to continue photographing in an artistic way, when it’s becoming something of a ‘trend?’ M: It is difficult, and honestly most of the time I feel very unmotivated. I don’t like pressure to perform, to try and out do myself or anyone else. That bores me. It should be about doing something because you want to do it and it feels
right. It’s difficult to feel unique when everyone is taking pictures these days. Some peoples’ work is so magical, it’s difficult not to compare yourself. Everyone steps on each other’s toes in terms of artistic referencing so I think it’s less about being new and inventive – it’s more about documenting something personal. U: I try to achieve the best I can do with every project and editorial. I do my best to think of the most surreal, eccentric and outlandish concepts so when the audience views my image, they analyse the image in depth based on events they’ve never experienced or based on their own experiences. Film photography definitely helps me to photograph in a more artistic way because I usually have few rolls with me so I have to think about every shot I’m taking and compose the shots correctly. I: One of your first series was about photographing the faces of upcoming Perth artists, what was your approach in terms of capturing their story and personality? U: In my 2016 solo exhibition titled, ‘Meraki,’ I wanted to capture the artist’s individual aesthetic the best I could. To achieve that, I asked the individual to decide their own scene, ensuring it best symbolised their aesthetic. I also told them to write a description to accompany their photographs. Some wrote their favourite quote, some what they think of themselves as an artist and, some their favourite scenes in movies and how the scenes made them feel. It was really interesting reading because the descriptions emphasised their individuality. I: What’s it like shooting for brands and clients as opposed to personal projects? U: Shooting for brands and clients is always great because you’re contributing your own creative vision into a product. Organisation is a big part of photographing for brands and clients which means strict deadlines, but with personal projects it’s easy to keep extending your deadline. It’s important for an artist to produce their own personal projects, as it takes practice to find their own individual style. I: How do you find photographing other people compared to self-portraiture? M: It is so much more difficult to take self-portraits; half the roll comes out unfocused so even in that sense it can be hard to focus on meaning because you are so focused on the taking of the image. Self-portraiture is something quite personal. Selfportraiture can be lonesome, and time consuming. Working with others can be a beautiful collaboration. I love getting to know people whilst shooting. To
compare them is quite difficult; they are two very different things. I guess I just want to show them for who they are with no hiding. I: What motivates you to photograph ‘unconventional’ faces and people who aren’t often seen in mainstream media? M: It’s just that I see people as people; we are all different and beautifully so. You don’t walk down the street and see Victoria Secret models, you see all kinds of beautiful faces. Beauty doesn’t have rules and I want to represent this in my photography. I don’t want to focus on the ‘beauty’ that capitalism benefits off. I want it to be human, the best things always are. I: Considering that Perth is quite a small city, do you find there a sense of competitiveness within the art community here or that being so isolated it can be a bit disheartening? U: None of those things actually. Over the past years, I’ve seen Perth’s art scene grow rapidly. There are so many talented artists here that are now getting recognised nation-wide. I’ve seen no competitive attitudes and I’ve never felt isolated! Perth is a small city, but I’ve found that artists use the size to their advantage. It may be easier to get noticed, but rather than a sense of competitiveness, there is a sense of unity and support. I: Do you find that living in London to be quite daunting as a creative trying to get exposure? M: London can be a tough place to be. Everyone I’ve spoken to agrees that it can be the loneliest place. Everyone’s struggling in one way or another. We work long hours to afford rent and then also have to find time and money to create a body of work that says something different to photographers who have money for better equipment and studio spaces. Things happen gradually with time and patience. In saying that, I’m very lucky to live in this city. I’ve met many amazing people even in the short time I’ve been here. It’s tough, but it’s possible. You can find more of their work on their respective Instagrams (@millycope and @sakidasumi) or websites (millycope.com and sakidasumi.com).
Is Boogaerdt | Photography by Milly Cope 25
LESS ANXIETY, MORE SAFETY
this is not erotica
The days of Grim Reaper advertisements have passed, but HIV remains the subject of much anxiety. It is special among sexually-transmitted infections in the extent of fear and stigma associated with it, and its connection to groups within the LGBTI+ community. The anxiety around HIV comes in part from misinformation about risk and deserves special attention. A better-informed public should be better able to manage their health with candour. The risk of sexual transmission from one person to another, from a position of blindness, depends on two key probabilities: that the other person was HIVpositive and that the type of sexual behaviour leads to transmission. To make informed decisions about your health, and to avoid panicking, it is important to be able to understand your risk.
POPULATION In the absence of exact information about your partner, take a probability approach using the information you do have. What is the probability that people like your partner have HIV? Less than 0.2% of Australiaâ€™s population has HIV in their blood. If 70% of those living with HIV fall into the category of men who have sex with men (MSM), and if 5% of the population falls into that category, the HIV prevalence rate among MSM nationally would be about 2.8%. That is hardly an exact number, but it gives an indication of how risk can be different for subpopulations. If you are not in this category nor sleep with MSM, you may have a lower risk on average just because of population rates, but you still need to be aware of risks. Half of new diagnoses in Western Australia were for heterosexuals as recently as 2014. Heterosexual diagnoses in Australia have been linked to unprotected sex in countries where the HIV prevalence among heterosexuals is higher. Of course, contraction depends on the type of sex. You should also remember that risk multiplies with frequency. The more risky sex you have, on average, the greater your probability of contracting any type of disease or infection.
SEX Most HIV infections in Australia occur through sexual intercourse. The basics of sexual HIV risk are pretty simple.
Oral sex with an HIV-positive partner carries a negligible risk of transmission, unless the HIVnegative partner’s mouth has abrasions that come into contact with the HIV-positive partner’s semen or blood. Penetrative sex without a condom carries a relatively high risk of transmission. This risk is higher for anal intercourse than for vaginal intercourse. Whether you are the receiving or penetrating partner matters. If the HIV-positive partner is receiving and the HIVnegative partner penetrating, there is a lower risk than the other way around. Using condoms takes what would be high-risk sexual behaviour and makes it low-risk. If the positive partner’s semen or blood never come into contact with the negative partner’s abrasions, there is no exposure. To get the full magical power of condoms, however, you need to put them on properly. FYI, there isn’t meant to be air trapped at the top after you’ve put it on. If all participants are HIV-negative, there is no risk of transmission. But how do you really know and how much are you willing to place your health in another’s hands?
TESTING Knowing your status empowers you and your sexual partners to make informed decisions. Have you ever heard “Oh it’s fine, I got tested the next day to make sure”? Getting tested the next day does you no harm, but there is basically zero chance today’s test would confirm an HIV contraction from last night. There’s a pesky thing called a window period, and it means you sort of need to plan this.
MEDICATION Science is amazing. There are relatively new ways of making what would be high-risk, much lower-risk. An undetectable viral load is where the copies of the virus in an HIV-positive person’s blood are extremely reduced. This does not mean cured, as the virus is still in the person’s body and they need to continue treatment to maintain that low level. It does mean that they cannot infect others. Two studies (PARTNER and Opposites Attract) observed zero cases of HIV transmission in 1150 couples with one HIV-positive but undetectable partner over 70 000 cases of condomless penetrative sex. In Australia, an estimated 70% of people living with HIV have an undetectable viral load. Medication for HIV-negative individuals has arrived in recent years to reduce the risk of contraction. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) went to trial in Western Australia late in 2017 for high-risk groups. Taking PrEP as prescribed (and only as prescribed) vastly reduces the risk of contracting from an HIVpositive partner, although it does not eliminate the risk. To take part in the PrEP trial, you need to practise high-risk sexual behaviours or drug-use. For those who do, please explore that trial for your own sake and your partners’! For those who don’t, you may prefer to stick to your low-risk lifestyle. Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) can vastly reduce the risk of contraction as well, working somewhat like a morning after pill for HIV. PEP only works within 72 hours of the potential exposure and most effectively as soon afterwards as possible. If you’re concerned about a sexual encounter, drug-related injury or other potential exposure that falls within that window, please call the WA AIDS Council’s PEP line: 1300 767 161.
Serological tests look for antibodies that form in your body to fight HIV, rather than the actual virus. It may take your body weeks to months to develop enough antibodies to test positive. In the meantime, your negative result could be a false negative.
An accurate result is more likely the longer you wait after a potential contraction. Different tests have different window periods. Your test is highly likely to be accurate if it occurred three months after a potential exposure, but only for that incident and any before it. If one test returns a negative result, it is best to get tested again in a few months to confirm.
Please note that this is not expert material but does rely heavily on information from the WA AIDS Council, the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations and the US Government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I am not a representative of these organisations.
Whoever you are, but especially if you’ve ever felt HIV-related anxiety, go out and read the material and take care of yourself!
Does science have any way to help?
WE DON’ T TALK ABOUT
Images of the sanitised, filtered minutiae of our lives flood our feeds and so awareness. Hashtags #fitspo and #bopo entreat us to live our best lives, and yet, fear of looks, biased judgements and getting sweaty, contribute to the dramatic drop of female engagement in sports and physical activity past the onset of puberty. Let’s not forget, maintaining physical activity helps maintain positive mental health. Engagement with social media platforms corresponds with a decrease in self-esteem, the same negative outcome previously linked to consumption of beauty magazines. Australians spent six billion dollars on weight loss products last year and 80% of ten-year-old girls have tried dieting. The intimacy of social media and its constant presence in our lives, means it is a powerful tool for shaping behaviour. It also gives a powerful voice. The #MeToo movement demonstrated the possibilities when women connect over shared experiences and confront the code of silence. Mental health warriors, disability advocates, social justice campaigners and racial educators, are bringing representation mainstream, and changing industry norms. Candid conversations about the messy and difficult parts of life create space for recognition and connection. Posting the day-in-and-day-out-grind of fighting mental illness, says that it is not just you, there are others. Talking about the continued challenge of striving for body acceptance and self-love, shows that it’s not a magical overnight cure, but a slow and continuous process. Unedited stretch marks, freckles, moles, pimples, acne and body hair, break unrealistic beauty standards. Each representation begins to change the established norm. Each person who lets go of their fear of judgement, creates the space for those around them to do so. Each person who speaks out, lets another find their voice. We choose, we either perpetuate what is, or we create change.
parts of womanhood 28 28
As a five-year-old, I would stand in front of the mirror every day, pressing the sides of my face, convinced that willpower would give me the thinner, more beautiful face I desired. Now, my phone gives me a ‘slim face’ sliding scale, allowing me to achieve this in seconds.
let’s talk condoms, tampons & pads
“Regular tampons cost four to seven US dollars per box of 32 whereas 18 organic tampons are six dollars. What most women don’t realise is regular tampons have chemicals that can react badly with people… condoms are anywhere from seven to eight dollars for a pack of 10.” Ms. Gibson expressed concern over taxing sanitary items, that women, “are taxed on menstrual supplies but not with food, [however] having a period is also a necessity.” The cost of sanitary items is not necessarily a big issue for the majority of women, but can greatly affect the minority being, “a huge problem with homeless populations and women in prison.”
The debate surrounding the cost of sexual health and sanitary items is happening worldwide, at varying speeds. Last July, Scotland became the first country in the world to provide free sanitary items to women on low income. Similarly, Ireland and Canada have stopped taxing sanitary items. Yet, there are still countries like Malaysia, where even the suggestion of removing the ‘tampon tax’ prompted laughter in Parliament.
Ms. Gibson also touched on a related issue about accessibility to sexual health products.
Currently Australia charges a 10% ‘luxury’ Goods and Services Tax on women’s sanitary items, but not on products like Viagra, condoms and lubricant. While the tax exemption on condoms is understandable and important, especially following the lobbying of LGBTQIA+ activists following the AIDS crisis, it’s incomprehensible that the same exemption has not been provided to sanitary products such as pads and tampons.
Perri Thompson, student and journalist for Més Econmia in Barcelona, Spain, told me tampons and condoms are around five Euros and pads are about four Euros. When it comes to criticism of sanitary items in Australia, Ms. Thompson suggested that in health centres, “tampons and pads should be free.” Particularly to help women who are on student budgets or who are struggling financially.
For those unaware, in Australia: tampons cost anywhere between five to eight dollars for a pack of 16-32, pads are around six dollars for a pack of ten and condoms around six to ten dollars for a pack of ten. Which doesn’t seem like much. But to put things into perspective a woman will use around 9,120 tampons (or pads) in her lifetime, and as for Viagra… I’ll let you decide. Being no expert, I gathered the opinions from friends overseas to understand what they thought about the cost of tampons, pads and condoms. Emily Gibson from Texas, USA had some thought provoking comments about the health care system and taxes on sanitary items.
“Birth control is not accessible to everyone, we don’t have a universal health care system here… To get birth control I need to see a gynaecologist first which is at least $100 [US Dollars] and I haven’t been able to afford that, also on top of that paying for birth control every month… is not doable.”
Lastly, Kat Brockwell, living in Berlin, Germany told me a pack of 16 tampons cost €1.95, eight pads €4.90 and six condoms around €3.50- €9. Ms. Brockwell believes the cost of sanitary items in Germany is, “much cheaper even when you factor in the exchange rate.” wIt’s comforting that in Australia the stakes are significantly lower for men and women, compared to underdeveloped countries. The United Nations and Human Rights Watch, for example have both linked menstrual hygiene to human rights. Here, we have an incredible health care system and various support centres, which means that women can still work, go to school and everyone has a range of options to practice safe sex.
race to the bottom
WHY AUSTRALIA NEEDS TO BE CANDID ABOUT RACE RELATIONS
It is a challenging time for race relations in this country. The prevailing belief that the Australian identity is ostensibly one of multiculturalism and racial tolerance seems to be at odds with both the country’s collective anxieties about addressing the issue of asylum seekers, the rising hostilities towards the Islamic community, and the structural inequities that continue to work against improving outcomes for Indigenous Australians. Not to mention the fact that 20% of Australians say they have experienced racial or religious discrimination of some form, (that’s one in five!) – the highest level recorded in the Scanlon Foundation surveys. When it comes to diagnosing the current state of its race relations, Australia needs to be candid. I would hesitate to label Australia a ‘racist country’ - but instead one that seriously needs to address its shortcomings on these issues honestly, critically, and with compassion. There is absolutely no disputing our shamefully dark history: Australia was founded on racism. But aren’t things different now? Racism continues to exist overtly through government institutions and policy (our asylum seeker policies and the pipeline which transits Indigenous children from out-of-home care to the prison system), as well as its banal forms (at the supermarket, on public transport, on the sporting field, the workplace etc.), its subconscious forms (subconscious bias in hiring practices) and its more malicious forms (extremist far-right activism). And we know why. Fear and anxiety; envy and resentment; ignorance and arrogance - to varying degrees, are all psychological roots of racism. I was curious to investigate which respective disposition seemed the most challenging to combat, according to those in the racial minority; so I asked as many people as I could the same question, and I listened: “If you could change one specific thing about race relations in Australia, what would it be?” To my question, I received a wonderful variety of replies in both length, and breadth -from people of diverse backgrounds and experiences. It seemed everyone had a different answer, a different conception of what to prioritise in trying to ‘fix’ this problem. Some replied with the negative stereotypes associated with Indigenous Australians that have perpetuated racial oppression, others gave me their personal experience with casual racism in
the schoolyard and workplace respectively: “Some people misuse the word ‘banter’ when making a racist joke.” “Casual racism will always happen in schools in Australia, due to the narrow-mindedness of certain individuals. There will always be people putting a target on your back whether it be students or some teachers if you are a person of colour – but once people get out into the real world they will have to work with people from different cultural backgrounds”. I heard stories about women of Asian descent dealing with fetishisation, while at the same time being praised for not being ‘too Asian’. “The way I look is acceptable because it can be sexualized; my culture isn’t acceptable because that can’t be”. This particular experience is hardly unique to Asian women nor is it novel in and of itself; sexualisation of an ‘exotic’ culture has been happening for hundreds of years, continuing to highlight that inappropriate perceptions of race exist on an unconscious level. While a consensus existed on the charge that there was a problem, a fascinating split emerged on how to approach the issue. Some saw the injection of race into every conversation as laborious and divisive: “I’m not beholden to my ‘Indianness’, and while it’s an important part of me, it’s all it is; one part.” This sentiment was expressed often. Some felt that intercultural communication and as result, progress, was being stifled by a ‘victimhood culture’ that people of colour are exposed to in this country. The argument was made that being put into a segregated ‘identity box’ excluded those who did not identify with those specific groups from the conversation, and as such, worked against achieving genuine, informative discussion on important topics.
objective is to respectfully, and genuinely, discuss how we as a nation are to make progress in this area, is just as crucial as those in the minority. Now let me be clear, for those who think I’m advocating for ‘whitesplaining’, I’m absolutely not. It is very important to acknowledge and understand that historically, the voices of minority groups in this country, particularly Indigenous Australians, have been ignored. These voices, particularly in policy discussions that directly affect these respective groups, need to be elevated and taken seriously. However, when it comes to candid conversation about how we improve race relations in this country, putting it simply, it’s not ethnic minorities that you have to convince there is a problem. Others that I talked to were more pessimistic in their outlook, concluding that there would ‘never be equality’, and that all we could ‘hope’ for was a more educated society in regard to the nuances of other cultures. It was a bleak perspective, but it drove home for me two things. Firstly, that there was such a remarkably diverse range of opinions, experiences and philosophies in respect to race, by those who had actually experienced racism - something that I did not appreciate the full extent of prior to my investigations, and secondly, that now more than ever, we need to have these candid and potentially uncomfortable, but genuine, conversations with other Australians. To respectfully debate and share ideas, and to build understanding of another’s experience or context that is different to your own is essential to developing what I believe to be the most important tool in combatting racism; empathy. The ultimate weapon against the irrational fear, the social exclusion and the ingrained dismissive attitudes towards race that unfortunately still permeate our culture. These conversations need to happen, because there simply are things that need to be talked about.
To an extent, I can understand this perspective. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve witnessed a discussion on an important racial topic not happen because the Caucasian person/people in the room were genuinely afraid to say the wrong thing accidentally. Yes, white Australians don’t require a seat at the table when it comes to discussions about experience of racial discrimination - but when it comes to where we go from here, white Australia’s participation at a different table, one in which the
pelican gets candid about coming out 32 32
Stephen Hawkins & Amy Peterson Realising you’re not straight or cisgender isn’t an easy realisation to have. For many, it defines a shift in their identity and their relationship with the world around them. Despite continually shifting socio-political attitudes, coming out continues to be a significant and life-changing part of their life. Pelican writers share their candid experiences that have helped shape who they are today.
STEPHEN HAWKINS I first realised I was gay when I was fourteen. When I was growing up I was a devout Catholic. I attended the religious primary school just up the road from my house and every Friday I would go to the mass in the school church and sing hymns in the choir with some friends of mine. Around the time I was fifteen I started noticing I found some of the boys in my class attractive. I was shocked with these new-found feelings I was experiencing. I didn’t know what to think or where to go to for advice. The religious side of me told me that what I was feeling was wrong or “sinful”. The Catholic Church has never had a very friendly relationship with homosexuality, and their periodic condemnation was a big contributing factor to me feeling that what I was unnatural. For a time, I suppressed my feelings and prayed to God that He would take away my sinful thoughts and make me normal again. A year later, after some deep reflection, I realised that how I felt when I looked at a handsome boy was just as normal as how my friends felt when they looked at a pretty girl. I grew to accept myself and I accepted the fact that my attraction to men would never just disappear. When I turned sixteen I could no longer handle the stress of not being my true self to my family. Every time my mum would ask me when I was going to get a girlfriend, or even when she spoke of the future where I would have the idealised life of having a wife and two children, I would entertain her fantasies and play along but I would die a bit inside with each lie I spoke. Finally, I couldn’t handle the guilt of living a lie anymore, I physically felt the weight of dishonesty weighing my shoulders down, and I came out to my mother. She freaked out and ran to the lounge room screaming to my dad and brother that I said I was gay. My brother accepted me, he always had an inkling I was gay because of my love of musical theatre. My mother and father found it harder to accept my coming out, or even believing what I said. My parents believed my homosexuality was just a phase I’d grow out of. I would hear cliché questions like, “How do you know you’re gay if you’ve never slept with a woman?” Eventually, things cooled down and my family all came to accept me and understood that my being gay didn’t change the fact I was the same guy they raised and loved. Coming
out can be a terrifying process, especially if your parents aren’t as accepting as mine are, but it is a step all gay men and women must take to be truly happy in our lives. Live openly and proudly, and never feel you have to be someone you’re not.
AMY PETERSON I realised that I liked girls in the same way I liked boys when I was only eleven. I found myself having very tame thoughts about holding hands and sharing gentle kisses with actresses in my favourite movies. I would cast my eyes over pretty girls and wondered if they thought I was pretty too. Little thoughts like this, even though they were mixed in with the thoughts I had about boys, caused my young mind a great deal of confusion. Already considered a strange kid by most of my peers, I kept this epiphany to myself. After all, as far as I understood at the time, you could only be gay or straight. Terrified of being an outcast, and feeling very much alone and unique in my situation, I kept my questions to myself. For a lot of kids on the cusp of puberty, this is how queries of nonheterosexuality begin, with loneliness. No cartoons ever show two characters of the same gender kiss. Two princesses never fall in love with each other to a catchy tune. Even in houses with openminded parents, the word “gay” is never mentioned, let alone “bi”. When we’re children we’re considered too young to understand these concepts, even though this period of growth is the time where they start to become very real for us. For me, it meant silence - a silence which persisted well into my teen years. I told no one about my thoughts towards girls. When I finally found the term “bisexual”, on the internet as opposed to through family or school, I finally felt as though I wasn’t alone. To know that there were other people from all backgrounds who felt the way I did changed my perspective, and my life. But coming out proved more complex than I thought. I told a few of my close friends, all of whom were nothing but supportive. But when I told my first boyfriend, admittedly at a point where our relationship had become strained, he said that he feared I would turn gay and leave him. To many, even now, I am still a straight woman. The thing I fear most about coming out to my friends and family is not that they will resent me. The thing I fear above all is the confusion that surrounds the concept of bisexuality in the broader community. I’ve been told that bisexuality is a, “between phase,” on the way to being a lesbian, or that saying I’m bisexual is simply a way of saying that I’m, “experimenting.” I am not alone in this. I never was alone. Even when I was eleven years old, daydreaming of holding hands with Princess Leia, believing that nobody out there knew what was happening to me. The most important thing that I could have heard, that every questioning child should hear – you are never alone.
Monisha Mohan Raj Artwork by Monisha Mohan Raj
Travel inspires my artwork. Whilst traveling, I observe the local traditions and native flora and fauna and try to relate these to my experiences. In turn, my art becomes a journal of my interpretation, reiterating the journey. In each work I aim to reconstruct the whole experience of my travels by translating individual aspects into layers, similarly to how memories are stacked. This layering process is highly intrinsic to the work because it metaphorically indicates how each layer of memory is preserved by the next layer, keeping the overall memory intact.
monologue of memories
When I lived in Gujarat, a northern state in India, historically significant buildings captured my interest and in the city, Baroda, I saw a perfect balance of the past and present. The works I made whilst in Gujarat had a muted earthy colour palette, the subdued tones of yellow and brown on the façade of each building had a lasting impact on the series of works I did during this time. Material like seeds; Kum-Kum, a red powder that is used by married women in India to smear on their forehead; Multani Mitti, a sand paste; shell powder made when tiny shells are broken and grinded by hand using bowl and pestle; and herbal powder were all mixed with natural glue to procure different colours. Each material is an allegory – seeds represent fertility, Multani Mitti represents earth or land, Kum-Kum represents femininity, and so on. After I migrated to Australia, one of my earliest works made locally, titled, “Just Another Woman,” had little traces of material such as seeds, Kum-Kum, and herbal powder, which were the dominant factors in my works when I was living in India. Later I noticed that the environment and culture here were vibrant and pulsating, factors that gradually got interpreted into my work. My works grew lively and became charged with colours like red, orange and blue, which drew inspiration from Australian terrain and beaches. Since my work is material based, I carefully choose the material to render my experience of Australian landscape and culture. I used tracing sheets since it not only allows me to work in layers but also gives visual tension.
tommy hilfigering out inclusive fashion Laura Bullock
2018 brings us many good things – Janelle Monáe came out as pansexual. Janelle Monáe released her album and 44-minute film Dirty Computer. In addition to that, there’s also been advancements in recognising the ‘other’ within the fashion industry. Tommy Hilfiger expanded upon his adaptive clothing collection for children with disability with his Spring 2018 Adaptive Collection for adults. I won’t say he’s the first to bring attention to the enormous need for adaptive and accessible clothing for disabled folks. Other companies have already been working to make the fashion industry more inclusive – like Target, which launched an accessible line for children in 2017 and has since expanded its women’s line to be more disability friendly.
of us? Some? People argue that disabled folks are too difficult to design fashion for. If we can design clothes for pets, pregnant people, for plus-sized, busty, tummy tucking people, we can design clothes that don’t aggravate seated bodies, amputees, and other disabilities.
But Hilfiger’s collection is the first to bring it to the high fashion world, where it’s been receiving much praise and attention. On his brand’s vision, he states, “Inclusivity and the democratisation of fashion have always been at the core of my brand’s DNA. These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently-abled adults to express themselves through fashion.” Inclusivity refers to the inclusion of people usually excluded or marginalised in society, such as LGBTQI+ people, people of colour, people with disability etc. It’s an admirable collection offering innovative, adjustable details for more inclusive clothing including one-handed zippers, magnetic buttons, adjustable hems and waists, and Velcro/bungee-cord closures. Disabled people need clothes that look tailored and elegant too – we’ve got important meetings and events to attend just like ablebodied people.
However, inclusion and acknowledgment of disabled bodies in the fashion industry has a long way to go. There are many things to be considered, like the fact that ableism – discrimination against people with disability – is so often connected to socioeconomic standing, fatphobia, race, etc. Hilfiger’s collection is great in that it featured models of colour, but it excluded plus-size models. Plus-size disabled folks exist! Ableism and fatphobia are linked because of the assumption that disabilities could be magically cured if one just lost weight. Disability and weight are two things that tend to make thin, ablebodied folks incredibly uncomfortable. But plus-size disabled people are so often not given access to resources or treated properly even by medical professionals because of ableist faux health concerns; we need to design clothes for them too.
And more importantly, disabled people need adaptive clothing that isn’t designed to ‘other’ them from abled folks. Clothes that are visibly different perpetuate the ‘other’ narrative ever-present in society telling us that we’re different, substandard, and emphasising our disability whilst alienating us. The label mentioned how hard they worked to ensure the collection’s sameness in appearance to its previous collections. It’s brilliant because it looks sleek and sporty, just like Hilfiger’s other collections; only differing in its adaptability.
There’s also the misconception that disability is a niche market not worth investing in. The World Health Organisation and data from the US Census found the global disposable income of people with disability to be over $750 billion. 1.9 billion friends and family make for a total disposable income of over $8 trillion. Making inclusive clothing not only charitable, it’s simply smart business.
And, being high fashion targeted to folks with high spending power, it’s not exactly financially accessible for every disabled person – a demographic more likely to be unemployed and to earn less anyway due to discrimination and lack of access to resources (WHO). Regardless, the ‘Adaptive Collection’ is an important beginning to inclusive fashion design. Hopefully, it will enlighten and inspire other fashion labels to launch similar offerings, so that people with disability will have the same amount of choice as ablebodied folks when looking through their closets.
So, why are there so few designers catering for the 1 in 5 people with disability – the 1.5 billion
There comes a pause in conversation with almost everyone I meet, where I must explain that I suffer Chronic Fatigue and Pain. The questions always surprise me. I forget that not everyone lives like this.
A FEW COMMON QUERIES: Please note, I am absolutely not a doctor or a priest so don’t take this as gospel. There are a lot of different ways to refer to these conditions and they are often very inter-linked with each other and mental health concerns too, which you tend to ‘catch,’ from the bleakness of a chronic diagnosis. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) also goes by: ‘Myalgic Encephalomyelitis,’ (M.E.) ‘a complex, multi-system, neuroimmune condition,’ symptoms include: ‘widespread pain, neurocognitive dysfunction, short term memory loss, disorientation, fatigue, hypersensitivity, etc.’ It affects everyone differently and has many different causes. Chronic Pain conditions also go by ‘Fibromyalgia.’ Sometimes chronic fatigue causes fibro and viceversa, other causes include ongoing conditions such as arthritis, or by lingering trauma from injury.
CONVERSATIONS WITH SUFFERERS/PALS:
it’s agony WHY LIVING WITH CHRONIC FATGUE/ CHRONIC PAIN ISN’T COOL Emma Stokes
After fifteen minutes of sitting in the garden with my friend Patrick, I announce that I need to move inside to the couch. I lay down and he drapes a big ole blanket over me, I say, “Why-oh-why is it so hard to sit upright?” He retorts, “Maybe cos you have chronic pain…” This brings me to my first point - CFS/ Fibro isn’t cool when you can’t enjoy the nice sunshine in the garden. “Hey Patrick, how come it’s not cool to have CFS/ Fibro?”
“Firstly, I can’t land a kick-flip anymore for the shatter of pain that goes down my shins and I hobble around like a pantomime of a senior citizen in an amateur production of King Lear.” “How would you describe how it feels to a person who doesn’t understand because they are three years old?” “I would explain that it feels like cornflakes that are sharp like barbed wire, all over my body, random hands are pushing down on them all the time to different degrees of agony.” “How does it affect your relationships with other people?” “It makes me tired and aggravated when I go out, and most people are humourless dumbasses so that gets me into strife…I have to go the physio so often that he’s become one of my best friends, though I’ve never seen him out of the office. Also it makes you feel, I don’t know… I feel ugly, if that makes sense. You feel misshapen even if you don’t look it.” “Yeah. It does make sense. I feel like everyone can see it in me, like I move differently now.” Then we both get too down to talk about it anymore and write silly guitar songs instead. We’ve learnt so far, it’s not cool to have CFS/Fibro cos it feels like a vicious cornflake attack, people start thinking you’re a grumpy bastard, and it’s hard to do kick-flips. When I asked my best friend Leah, “How does it feel to have fatigue, if you had to describe it as a food?” She said… “The canned mixed vegetable soup that filled my tummy when I couldn’t cook for myself.” I can confirm this… in the time when our bedrooms shared a wall and our bodies shared a delay switch, our kitchen contained mostly tinned soup, and mice. Leah has been for me, a mentor in the art of ‘gently.’ These are some of the ways she copes: “Consciously making time to stop, being kinder to myself if I slip up, saying no to things when I need to, prioritising, planning my day around the hours when I have energy.”
It’s not cool to be stuck inside the self-perpetuating wheel of hunger & being too exhausted to cook, like an anaemic mouse trying to run away from a collapsing tower of Campbells tins. But you can learn to prioritise and forgive yourself. Lana shares: “…I tried explaining to people that yes 19-year olds did get rheumatoid arthritis.” Due to the ‘invisible nature’ of these illnesses, there is a constant strain of feeling like we have to prove it. The doubters say it’s just in our heads (in spite of science), or worse they spout well-intentioned hippie bullshit like ‘it’s just pain that you’ve manifested and fixated upon’ (victim blaming equivalent for invisible disabilities). Lana goes on to say; “You try to make yourself believe you don’t have it and some days you wake up and go, “You know what?! Maybe I’m okay!” But the next day you wake up with an inexplicable feeling in your shoulder and legs and you have to admit that life just won’t be the same and you will always be juggling the condition with the rest of the world. I have a few friends who struggle like I do and it’s one of the things that bring us together and in that way I can get through the pain, I know I’m not alone.” I don’t really need to say it but, rheumatoid arthritis at 19 isn’t cool. And it’s real, you need to know that it’s real. My friend Emily sends me a photo of a hand-written page of phrases. At the top reads: “My body is weak.” She says, “All my goals are about overcoming and managing my outlook on life and illness.” I had a think with my brain, and it said, “The worst thing for me about CFS and Fibro is feeling like I’m on the sidelines of my own life.” The thing about time is that it’s supposed to be the same for everyone, but it’s not the same for us. This is because firstly, disorientation and memory loss really mess things up. When the cognitive dysfunction is most severe it’s quite scary. Secondly - there will inevitably be (x) percent of the month that we just have to cancel whatever we were supposed to do.
Emily’s paper also says, “Missing work/not being able to work; process of having a disability that doesn’t meet society’s standards of disability; not being able to get a job in chosen field due to preexisting medical conditions; not being financially reliable for myself.” It’s a constant feeling of treading through mud that’s pulling you down, as someone from above drops more things onto your back. All the while it seems everyone else is dancing ahead at three times the speed on solid ground. It’s kind of like how people say when you add it up the ‘average menstruating person’ will lose six years of their life to unproductivity. It literally terrifies me to wonder how many years of my life I’m going to lose laying down in bed instead of achieving the things I can dream up in my head. I’m lucky when the depression lets up and I can muster hope to plan for the future. But if I’m being perfectly candid, it’s scary because I just don’t know if I’m ever going to get better. The candid truth isn’t very cool. As we’re learning though, we aren’t alone, and if we go gently, with patience it can get easier to live inside our bodies.
Page 36: Huge thanks and love to Patrick Marlborough, Lana Rothnie, Leah Vlatko, and Emily Abbott.
Ouch | Emma Stokes Top: Chips | Emma Stokes Bottom: Ducklings | Emma Stokes
the instagram simulation: faked smiles and mistaken lifestyles Eliza Huston
The sun is glowing across your skin, your hair has a seamless balance of messy and styled, and your brand-new sunglasses are perfectly framing your face. You wonder whether it would be odd to get your friend to take a #candid shot for your social media profiles. That is, until your ego starts having a tug of war with your mind as to why a photo is really necessary, why it is important to post this photo for everyone to see, and importantly why do I need to flawlessly capture in 50 attempts what is already flawless in its own way? I’ve been there. You’ve been there. We’ve all been there. This is not to say that taking photographs during enjoyable moments is a bad thing, or that it is always motivated by the validation that social media provides. Photography is a wonderful addition to life that technology has gifted us, but we can’t deny the unspoken conflict of the self that occurs when we photograph and inevitably share these photographs on social media. At face value, the inner struggle of self-consciousness seems like a struggle of societal acceptance and self-esteem, and there is no denying that there is an underlying factor of ‘keeping up appearances’ and putting our best self out there. The problem is that the ‘unspoken conflict of the self’ goes far deeper than we believe. As an exercise, I want you to think of an online personality whose life seems perfect. Every single one of their social media posts is intricately and painstakingly crafted to look as natural and as #candid as possible. It is an attempted falsified replication of their lives, that is realistically a performative act of ‘realness’ and ‘relatability’. Historically, this imitation of authenticity has been conveyed through magazines, advertising, and film, particularly in relation to the idealised life of celebrities. However, due to the ever-accelerating machine of social media, it has reached into our lives on a disturbingly personal level. It is now a rite of passage to have social media, to cultivate an online aesthetic, to construct an online identity that
is divorced from the real world. Humans are now expected to function simultaneously in the physical world and the imagined realm of social media. Philosophically, it helps to understand this madness through Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation. It refers to how society simulates ‘the real’- very relevant to social media. Amongst other ideas, Baudrillard argues that the line between what is real and what is not real is increasingly blurred due to ‘simulacrum’, meaning representations of things or people that are greatly different from the original, or without any original at all. For example, a famous vlogger could post a vibrant photo of an acai bowl with green tea, and caption it something along of the lines of a ‘post-workout feed’. This funnels into their simulacrum of identity that they are healthy and interested in wellbeing. But, what the viewer does not know is that the aforementioned vlogger could’ve gone to McDonalds straight after. The photographic updates we post, snaps we send, photos we take of ourselves and others, appear real because they are visually plausible – but, they’re merely staged and ‘organised’ depictions of reality. The problem is that the majority of human beings, particularly in the Western world, partake in this destabilisation of reality, operating within a framework that is not actually grounded in a rational reality. We are virtually communicating and experiencing a technological hyper-reality that has no objective existence. Perhaps what is even more frightening is that people don’t really seem to make a conscious decision to participate in social media in this way. Instead, it is so normalised that it feels abnormal to not have a presence on social media. The effect is that we have been brainwashed to believe that we must look, live, and do things a certain way on a platform that isn’t even real. So, the next time you think about posting that #candid pic, don’t. Just keep it real.
Yuval Gurfinkel If the word ‘candid’ brings to mind images of natural, and uncontrived scenes- then it might just be the worst word to use to describe the process of filmmaking. Each scene is storyboarded meticulously, the components of a frame are selected for a reason- a specific colour for a costume, a deliberately retro looking furniture set. Everything is composed to fit the director’s vision, which means if a scene looks uncontrolled, and chaotic, it was definitely meant to be that way. Through the use of their camera movements, directors can control what you’re seeing, how you’re seeing it, and to an extent, how you feel when you see it. Some directors enjoy allowing the camera to take on a mind of its own, while others prefer complete objectivity. Meanwhile, preferences over using handheld versus mounted on a tripod also vary from genre to genre, and director to director. Handheld, or shaky camera is a technique used to give off a sense that the events in the scene are more real, or unrehearsed. So, what are some of examples of these different camera techniques? If the first thought that came to your mind was The Blair Witch Project (1999), or any other POV horror movie, you’d be on the right track. There are certain genres that use handheld far more than others - namely horror and action. Blair Witch, Paranormal Activity (2007), and Cloverfield (2008), are some of the films that deliberately use shaky cam or handheld for a large portion, if not all, of the film. To maximise the fear factor, the directors choose to shoot their movie this way as a ploy to close the distance between audience and character as much as possible. In Cloverfield, the camcorder POV footage made audiences feel like there was no escape. We can’t look away from the terrifying events unfolding before us because our protagonist can’t look away. His world has become our world, and what we see on screen is now our field of vision. It’s obvious why horror filmmakers love this, because if done well, it can definitely achieve its desired effect.
the very non-candid nature of camera movement 40 40
It’s often overlooked that the camera can have a voice too. Usually, we don’t tend to notice it because its movements are decided by character or narrative - it pans to reveal more information, or to follow our protagonist into another room. But, sometimes a filmmaker decides to move its camera for a reason unmotivated by its technical job. Its movement isn’t to follow a character or reveal important plot details. Instead, it’s almost as though the movement itself is the important detail. When this happens, the director has allowed the camera to take on anthropomorphic features, it becomes a character of its own. For instance, a Hitchcock inspired trick- where the camera turns its gaze away from the action, like its averting its eyes from seeing something gruesome or terrible that we know is about to happen. An example can be found in the iconic torture scene of Reservoir Dogs (1991). The camera pans to the side as Mr Blonde completes his act of viciousness. We are set up for an incredibly bloody, violent scene. The lead up has the audience grimacing and tensing up for what we know is about to come. Instead, the camera turns away, and the movement is resigned - as though it is closing its chapter on the victim because there is no hope of escape for him anymore. On the other end of the spectrum, there are filmmakers who are averse to their cameras taking on a non-documenting role. David Fincher is one director who has publicly stated that he hates handheld. On average, he uses shaky camera footage perhaps once or twice in a film. He limits his use of handheld to scenes involving a physical struggle, or, as he does in Se7en, to emphasise the mental state of the characters. Fincher is a big fan of the camera being omniscient- simply an observer on the sidelines documenting the events for the audience - with no personality or agenda of its own. This style of camera movement contributes heavily to the ominous atmosphere that is characteristic of Fincher’s films. He tries to avoid making the audience aware of that fact that a human is operating the camera. He wants it to seem like the camera has complete control and precision - which is why you’ll hardly find any ‘candidlike’ shots in his films. Handheld or steady, omniscient or anthropomorphic - pay attention to camera movement the next time you watch a film, because sometimes it can be telling you important details that the characters aren’t.
People don’t like ‘mainstream music.’ Generally, there’s an age most music fans can point to in their lives when they thought they were the first person in the world to realise that what gets played on the radio isn’t particularly original, interesting, or inclusive. After this realization, they turned to some form of ‘alternative music,’ be it alternative rock, or hip-hop, or metal, or K-pop. But some, amazingly, never seemed to have that experience. Those people stuck with the Top 40, Nova, and the VMA’s, and never seemed to understand there was more to the world of music than Miley Cyrus or Ed Sheeran. And so then, the ‘alternative music’ listeners felt their opinion was warranted enough to bash the ‘mainstream music’ listeners, uttering such infantile phrases like; ‘the music industry is screwed,’ or asking others incredulously, ‘Have you even listened to Dark Side of the Moon?’ It’s perhaps unwarranted that ‘mainstream music’ would be hated so much because, outside of the surreal awards ceremonies the industry throws for itself, this music doesn’t claim to be all that special or unique. It’s just a product that one consumes and then moves on from, much like KFC. But I’m not going to focus on all the shortcomings of the music industry— at least, I’m not going to focus on it today. Instead, I’m going to focus on one quality of mainstream music: just how fucking fake it feels. Fakeness, I might add, that set the stage for some of the most inspired Australian music I’ve heard over the past few years. I see two responses, or two ‘movements,’ that have taken on fakeness in mainstream music. The first and most logical response has been made by the likes of Lorde, Alex Lahey, Alex the Astronaut, and Amy Shark, which was to cut through the noise by trying to portray an honest representation about what it was really like to be a young person in the 10’s. The second, and arguably more interesting response, has
been made by Confidence Man, Alex Cameron, and Kirin J. Callinan, which was to say, ‘It’s all insincere and doesn’t tackle any serious issues, so let’s just not bother pretending to be sincere at all.’ The former I will label a candid response, and the latter the ironic response. The candid response begins in Auckland, New Zealand, with a song called “Royals,” which lampooned the materialistic and hedonistic nature of pop music: ‘And we’ll never be Royals / that kind of Lux just ain’t for us/ We crave a different kind of buzz.’ What made Lorde so refreshing was that she wasn’t just an outlier or something different to the mainstream, she was antimatter to it. While the industry bragged about money and fame, Lorde said that she didn’t have any of that, and that even if she did, it probably wouldn’t be fulfilling anyway. While everyone seemed to think being young was about getting lit on the dancefloor and making each night your best, she complained that she was, ‘kind of over being told to throw my hands up in the air.’ This was the beginning of a movement that would go out of its way to tell it like it is. Her second, Melodrama, succeeded her first in almost every way. Told largely through the extended metaphor of various house parties, the album was an exploration of being young, looking for the all the highs of youth that we were promised and ultimately never finding them, instead engaging in genuine, small, human moments along the way. I don’t think I’ve found a better reaction to hedonistic pop music than the album’s closing line: ‘All the nights spent off our faces/ Trying to find these perfect places/ What the fuck are perfect places anyway?’
the candid, the fake & the ironic Matthew Maltman
AND WE’LL NEVER BE ROYALS / THAT KIND OF LUX JUST AIN’T FOR US / WE CRAVE A DIFFERENT KIND OF BUZZ... Lorde’s direct and honest style of songwriting made its way across the Tasman to influence artists like Amy Shark, Alex Lahey, and Alex the Astronaut. Shark was perhaps the most obviously influenced by candidness both musically and lyrically in her pop ballads. Her first single, “Adore,” was able to cut through and grant her an easy, Cinderella-like climb to the top of the Australian pop charts. What gave her this success was an ability to do what conventional pop music could not, expressing unfiltered emotion without preoccupation of how it would be perceived. Lahey experienced success for the similar reasons; while women in the pop industry in Hollywood wanted to be a pop princess, Lahey instead wrote about issue more relatable to her, like skipping work and the poor health and lifestyle of 20-somethings. Candidness in an artist can be refreshing, and it’s clear that in doing so means telling a story and sharing great music. This is something Lorde has mastered; her songwriting ability is diverse, and she clearly has subject matter to write about. However, her Australian counterparts, who are in the early days of their careers, have found their niche and now need to make the most of it. Shark has basically re-written “Adore” twice again in the forms of “Blood Brother” and “Weekends,” and desperately needs to find some substance. This is perhaps the pitfall now of candidness: limiting yourself to somebody else’s stereotype, or just another niche. While some may find it effective to break from the rest with sincerity and candidness, others have found that insincerity itself could be turned into a feature rather than a defect. What if you took the piss out of everything until nobody knew what it meant to be commentating, what it meant to make a joke, and what it meant to be express genuine emotion? Out of Brisbane, Confidence Man has had the most intriguing start to their career of any band I’ve ever seen. They are a pop band of sorts, led by a monotone female vocalist intoning deadpan observations about lame, silly things; being in a band, chief among them. I can still remember when I first heard them. It was on Triple J’s “Unearthed” segment. The week Amy Shark featured with her song “Adore,” she didn’t
squander her opportunity, candidly expressing opinions about being young and in love, eventually catapulting herself to number 2 on the Hottest 100, headlining festivals, and enjoying drive time radio presence. Conversely, when Confidence Man featured the very next week with a song called “Boyfriend (Repeat),” I remember being struck by how bad it was. The vocals were droning, the lyrics made me cringe as if written by a girl who spends all her day on Instagram, and the backing vocals sounded like they were recorded in someone’s poorly insulated living room. The only decent element of the song– its bass line– was looped for the entirety of the songs duration. It was awful. But I kept listening to it. If Shark’s “Adore” was a beautiful and artistically rendered painting, “Boyfriend” was a jigsaw puzzle. I just couldn’t figure it out and put it together. How could a band release such a viscerally bad song? Much like cult film The Room, it seemed that every time you saw it you would pick up something that was wrong or out of place. I grew fascinated by the question: Could this be intentional? Did they release a bad song on purpose? As I listened to discover the answer to that question, I found something amazing happening, I started to enjoy it. The bass line was catchy, and the vocals were fun to sing; the lyrics were stupid and fun to analyse. Then out came “bubblegum” a year later, which was almost the same song but with a different bass line, and then “Better Sit Down Boy,” a more up-tempo, actual attempt at a song, months after that. Things started to click. This band were taking the piss out of pop and dance music as well as sexist stereotypes of a ‘bitchy’ girlfriend. Or were they? I think its important to recognise that both schools of song writing have their own merits and both can be used to challenge norms and produce interesting artistic works. Unfortunately, there seems less of an appetite to engage with artists that don’t do most of the work for you. Just because an artist like Confidence Man or Alex Cameron makes their work perhaps more complicated than their contemporaries doesn’t make it any less valuable.
Rose Stewart spoke to Lee Kinsella, part of the curatorial team for Revealed, about some things to consider when organising an exhibition in which everything is not only on display, but also for sale. How would you define contemporary Aboriginal art? It’s the most recent example of long-standing traditions and cultures. There are so many different art forms that are included in the Revealed show; in this exhibition we have photographic work, carved objects, glass installations, acrylic painting, screen printing, textiles, and woven works, and the exhibition touches on many different forms of visual culture. In this one exhibition you can see contemporary forms of cultural expression from 26 Aboriginal communities. How do you go about selecting the artists from an area as large as the whole of WA?
revealed: WORDS WITH LEE KINSELLA Revealed at the Fremantle Arts Centre showcases new and emerging Aboriginal artists in Western Australia – from remote communities, regional centres, and metropolitan Perth. The exhibition is running from the 7th of April to May 20th.
It’s kind of overwhelming actually. Erin Coates, Revealed Coordinator, invited me to be on the selection panel with Carly Lane and Glenn IsegerPilkington. We selected artists on the basis of examples of their work that was submitted. But new work is produced between the selection process and the exhibition - so unwrapping a lot of the work was really exciting. We had a sense of what might be coming, often it was brand new work that no one had ever seen before and I guess that is the sense of excitement that comes with Revealed as well. With such a large number of artists, and such a large number of works, of so many different mediums, how do you go about curating this exhibition and making sure each artwork makes sense in the space? It’s all about balance. Each of the works are so vibrant and the artists’ statements are so strong that often as a curator you just have to get out of the way and let the work do its thing. The artworks already communicate really clearly and so I just tried to create a nice, clean, dialogue with the other works.
As we were unwrapping the artworks, we noticed
Rose Stewart | Photography by Jessica Wyld 44
a particular use of orange throughout a number of the works and I started to balance the energy of this orange across the rooms to balance the intensity of the works. That orange then contrasted with the beautiful colours of blue and green, and the golden colour of the wood. The Fremantle Arts Centre’s spaces are quite distinct and this fire orange was like a unifying thread that ran across the exhibition.
Patsy is from the Balgo community that is well known for strong acrylics paintings, and here’s Patsy doing these crazy dogs, which is so different from the art tradition coming from Balgo. That is one of the amazing things that Revealed exhibitions bring - these really experimental works, with a clear personal statement. The artists are in control about the kind of art they make and the message they want to communicate.
There is a lot of playfulness in many of these works, like the rabbits made by the Tjanpi Desert Weavers. On the main wall we had the Maruku Arts carved snakes chasing the rabbits, with the rabbits leaping off a plinth at the bottom. It looks almost like an action diorama. The artists imbued the artworks with a lot of humour and energy, which was great to work with. When you are presented with this energy, you keep running with it. It is fantastic material!
You’ve mentioned the importance of letting the artists have agency over the work and the way it is presented, how do you go about making sure the artists do get to say what they want to say?
So, this is an annual exhibition, does this year’s exhibition bring anything different? The strength of the works, and the consistency across the exhibition. This year there was a strong selection, which made for a very strong exhibition. The large number of statement pieces is the key to the exhibition this year. But every year is exciting and so different. All the works are for sale, do you think there are any positives or negatives about the Aboriginal art market? It is an example of a very straightforward transaction between Aboriginal artists and Aboriginal communities with their buying audience, without any intermediaries. It’s a really strong statement about authentic work bought directly from communities and artists. This is at the heart of the whole Revealed project, and the exhibition is another extension of that. Artists have the agency to manage how the work is exhibited, marketed, and sold to their public. Often the people who come to see the exhibition already know the artists and the communities, and then you have people who are blown away because they never expected to see work like this.
For many artists it is the first time their work has been exhibited and it’s a really positive environment in which they can promote their work. They often stand directly in front of their artworks and say ‘this is my painting’ and talk about their works. And many artists did that on the opening night. They wanted to be the ones to speak about their own art and have that direct engagement with the public. Revealed is such a good opportunity for artists to attend the opening of the exhibition and professional development programs. While the artists are in town they also have a chance to network and to exchange ideas, and to hear about what each art community is doing. What has been the thing you have enjoyed the most about putting together this exhibition? Working with the art workers: Wendy Nanji, a Manjilyjarra/Martu artist from Spinifex Hill Artists in Port Hedland; Ignatius Taylor (Hamzah), a Martu artist from Martumili Artists in Newman; and Nyoongar woman, Irma Woods, who works in theatre and film. Each of the arts workers brought particular skills with them - a different sense of how to work with the material and a different understanding of how that material would relate to other works. Working alongside them gave me an opportunity to chat with them, and to encourage them to put the layout together as they wanted. I learnt a lot from them.
Patsy Midgell produced the Dogs on Edge image that was the key image we used for the marketing.
brockhampton: the realest boy band out WHEN I THINK ‘BOY BAND’ SYNCHRONIZED DANCING, COORDINATED OUTFITS AND A FEW FAMILIAR FACES COME TO MIND, HARRY STYLES AND RONAN KEATING TO BE EXACT. I don’t typically think of 14 multicultural, sexually expressive and self-motivated men, making DIY eclectic music and art that all started on a Kanye West fan forum. But i do and now you should too. With over a million monthly listeners on Spotify, three album releases (in one year!), sold out shows worldwide and now their own TV show and movie in the mix. There’s no doubt that Brockhampton are living up to the hype.
Brockhampton are ingrained in new-era internet culture – they use social media for their videos, music and opinions. They embrace minimalism by regularly doing interviews through Skype or social media from their LA share house. From suburban streets, they are able to candidly crush and reinvent the way we perceive music, art and stereotypes. All group members are committed to directly talking about challenging subjects, while seamlessly being able to genre-bend music. The group takes inspiration from men like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerburg, Kanye West and Timberland. They create exceptional music and visuals in record timing, with all 14 members actively a part of the creative process. Jabari Manwa left his office job as a bank auditor to focus on producing. Similarly, Merlyn Wood dropped out of architecture College to focus on writing energetic and prevailing raps. Other members like Dom McLennon and Ameer Van play a crucial part in creating the group’s voice. McLennon often opens up about his experiences with self-harm and anxiety. Whereas Van writes about substance abuse and brings great one-liners and melodies to the table. Other members of the group include Romil Hemnani (who has mesmerising caterpillar eyebrows) and is vital for coordinating instrumentals. Bearface, focuses on vocals, identifying as a solo artist and singer in the group. Bearface usually features in full, the outro songs on all three albums bringing an emo rock and R&B vibe to Brockhampton’s music. Keep in mind, the group is 14 men
strong. The variety of other voices that haven’t been mentioned, also play a crucial part in the creation process for every song, album and video. Including all 14 production and creative members as a part of the boy band may seem unusual and even chaotic. Yet, they successfully work together by remove any ego from the room, being able to transport fans to a new era of music. Promoting that boy bands can be rappers, openly gay, artistic, uncensored and include 14 completely different people, from all walks of life. Following no boundaries, their music varies from themes surrounding sexuality and abuse to funky tunes that make you want to get up and have a big ol’ BOOGIE (pardon the pun for any fans out there). On their track JUNKY, Kevin Abstract says, “Why you always rap about bein’ gay? Cause not enough n***** rap and be gay.” Brockhampton are not just defined by their powerful lyrics. They also let their freak flag fly and have a noticeably good time, on their way to becoming the “best boy band since One Direction.” So, I might be a bit biased… Not everyone will value Brockhampton’s image. However, if you appreciate real music, men that are breaking boundaries about masculinity and sexuality and love a good tune, I’m sure one of their 61 songs will tickle your fancy. If you still aren’t convinced (or at least intrigued) by this creative-powerhouse, do yourself a civic duty and give them a listen.
LOVED CLOTHES LAST Curated by Susie Charkey
IN A WORLD WHERE CLOTHES ARE SO EASILY OBTAINED AND DISCARDED, IT’S A SUSTAINABLE ACT TO LOVE AND CARE FOR THE CLOTHES WE WEAR. Inspired by Fashion Revolution’s “Loved Clothes Last” campaign, students shared love stories and poems about the beloved clothes they’ll be wearing forever.
stole the jacket from my aunt when they worked on a rural cattle station in the great southern. This jacket has been mine for about 4 years now after I found it in the closet of the spare room in my parents’ house. I love the age and history to this jacket, yet it has an undisputed air of class and quality. Dress it up, dress it down, it’s a jacket fit for any, and every occasion. There is always a feeling of confidence when I wear my jacket. It’s warm and cosy and has a distinct sense of home and a strong link to family. I never feel alone when I wear it. The suede has a real tactile softness, an aged quality that only time can give, it’s real and has a connection to everyone that wore it before me. It’s my jacket of choice to wear anywhere.
To My Suede Jacket By Alexander King
My Floral Shirt
Stylish, sophisticated and soaked in history, my jacket had a long and convoluted journey before it settled on my coat-hangers. Purchased by my great uncle some undetermined time before I was born (I think its Burberry?). My jacket was taken to leavers by my first cousin once removed (my great uncle’s daughter). It was here that my aunt came to call this jacket hers. Flash forward three years, my dad then
By Ryan Craig
What does my floral shirt mean to me? Well first and foremost, I like what I wear to express the sort of person I am. Now this shirt hasn’t been with me for long, but it expresses everything about me; colourful, bubbly and flat out all about plants! Which is exactly what it is saying, “I am here, and I love plants, don’t you forget about that!”. I spotted it on the racks in
a store and was directly drawn to it. As much as I wear colourful stuff to attract the eyes of onlookers, like a peacock does with its elaborate feathers; to me it’s more than that. It is more about expressing who I am as a person. I love the confidence I feel and the compliments I receive when wearing this shirt. It’s by far the most colourful floral shirt I own. And out of anything I have, although new, it expresses the exact essence of who I am.
“These overalls please!”, “Can’t you see that I’m busy?”, I realised he was counting shirts, For the lady right beside me. Embarrassed I stepped back, But the overalls seemed upset, “What’s the matter?” I ask,
An Ode To My Overalls
“I’ll get you out, you bet!”
By Tiffany Ko
With a smug smile I stuff him in,
Maybe not a real ode,
My backpack and weave
In the form we have been taught,
Amidst the customers
But nonetheless still praising,
And out, with a sigh of relief.
These overalls I bought. Stuck underneath a pile,
Disclaimer: I did not actually steal those overalls, I rescued and paid for them and now we live happily ever after.
Of skirts, socks and sweaters, I found a leg waving, Frantic as if in fetters.
Ode to My Furry Jacket Thing By Shamina Rozario
“What is this?” I cry,
Oh furry jacket thing,
Out in shock and surprise,
You make me want to sing!
“Why it’s me!” he replied
Your delicious faux collar
dejectedly, then sighs.
Is worth more than a dollar.
“I’ve been stuck, oh so long,
Thanks for making me look
Under this pile of fluff,
Like a character in a book,
I just want to get out!
Especially that girl
I’ve already had enough.”
In the book thief world.
“I’ll save you!” I say,
Like people want to be me
Not questioning how,
When I wear my jacket freely!
A dandy pair of overalls,
Like people wish they had one -
Could even talk somehow.
To thy fabric people do run.
I grabbed those frenzied legs, Pulled them away from the mountain, Of unwanted clothing, Then ran to the man a-countin’.
It is a coat of sophistication, of joy A chai latte made with soy. One day the earth will know of thee When I go on my next fashion spree!
HISTORY WILL BE KIND TO ME, FOR I INTEND TO WRITE IT. This year Gary Oldman won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Churchill in the film The Darkest Hour. I’ve seen Oldman in Batman and I have no doubt he’s a terrific actor – what I couldn’t reconcile myself with was that in 2018 we, as a society, are still tone deaf enough to paint Churchill in a purely valorous and courageous light. As if he didn’t strongly extol the ‘virtues’ of colonialism, agree with the German Fuhrer on eugenics or comply with the starvation of 3 million Bengalis during the one of the worst famines of 20th century. If you’re going to show the good, you’ve got to show the bad – especially with a figure as complex and divisive as Churchill.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF GARY OLDMAN, SOME MAKEUP, AND HERO WORSHIP
This shouldn’t be a task that filmmakers shy away from. Allow me to again refer to Batman. In The Dark Knight, Batman becomes a physical embodiment of man’s struggle against its true, “evil” nature. Judging by the success of Nolan’s franchise, people love that shit! If he’s truly a hero, the people will judge him so. So why the cowardice? Why are we afraid to present a balanced picture of those whom Western society has deemed ‘great’? Unfortunately, Western culture as a whole hasn’t quite gotten over its superiority complex, borne of a twisted embedded Social Darwinism that is still very much alive today. Britain’s violent takeover of much of the world is still felt culturally. The Queen is still the Head of State of sixteen independent nations – a legacy of Britain’s former imperial crimes. The history of Anglo-Saxon preponderance across the globe still deeply informs the identity of English-speaking, white majority countries – Britain most of all. Brexit is a perfect manifestation of Britain’s post-colonial loss of direction and prestige. For Britain, Churchill is a representation of the empire’s last, great struggle – the glorious, hardfought victory in the Second World War – despite Britain well and truly being the junior partner to the USA’s industrial strength and the Soviet Union’s martial might. For Western society at large, Churchill reflects the kind of character that we praise: hardworking, patriotic, stubborn, unapologetic and above all ruthlessly masculine. Winston Churchill is but one example of a problematic leader that the West celebrates with too little open debate in entertainment media. That debate does not exist in our films because we are afraid to bring that argument into the mainstream. For decades it has been the job of the raving, left wing nutjob with two minutes of interview time to question the legacy of those whom we revere. They’re called revisionists, cultural Marxists, ungrateful, and unpatriotic, all for daring to question the status quo – a value that Churchill had in spades. The reason for this is that we are scared as a society to confront our demons. The frightening truth is that too much of Western, English-speaking culture is informed by these martial individuals and their exploits in our previous favourite pastime of oppressing the subaltern. The subaltern is an expression coined by Marxist Antonio Gramsci
to refer to those in society that are unable to express their opinions due to society’s established institutions. Just as the colonisers wrote the history of those they oppressed during the imperial age, the neo-colonialists of the West continue to write that history and proliferate it through their culturally dominant film industry. With a budget of $30 million and a box office revenue of nearly $150 million, it’s an entertainment juggernaut – a testament to the continued ease with which the West dominates historical debate through entertainment media. The subaltern simply does not have the means or the soft power to tell their side of the story in the same way. The oppressors are still writing the history, but instead of a history book or school textbook, they are writing it with billion-dollar movie budgets, SFX, and in the case of Oldman’s Churchill, some creepy face makeup. This has consequences. Without a sturdy counter-argument in the same form of media, the citizens of the West swallow this diatribe whole, puff their chests, exult at their history, and claim it as their right to rule – a pernicious white supremacy. Let’s tell the truth about those who we venerate, and see if they stand the test of time. Let a thousand blossoms bloom. The actions of many of our heroes have been abhorrent. And quickly comes the retort: “they were born of a different age and fostered values and actions accordingly – you can’t blame them for that!” No, misguided white boy, I cannot blame them for that, but I can question their relevance in 2018 – surely an age of advanced moral fibre where we are less likely to invade and subjugate a region for its resources… oh wait. It is little wonder that we are encouraged to keep making the same mistakes and stumbling blindly into the same colossal humanitarian fuck-ups. The simple fact is that they are dated, they are irrelevant, and they are useless to our modern society. When you were young you believed in the tooth fairy, and as you got older you became wiser, and threw away such beliefs. The same should be said of our historical idols. As we get older, as we move forward in a progressive society that no longer sees colonial domination and martial might as the deciding factor in the strength of character of a nation we should become more discerning, and more prepared to accept the ills of our most famous countrymen. If we refuse to do so, it only exposes how fragile, weak, and bereft of culture the West has become.
CHINA’S BAN ON HIP HOP AND ITS SOFT POWER MOTIVES
not a gangster’s paradise
THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT MAY HAVE NINETY-NINE PROBLEMS (PROBABLY MORE), BUT HIP-HOP IS NO LONGER ONE OF THEM. HOW DOES THE RECENT BAN ON HIPHOP CULTURE IN CHINA RELATE TO ITS CULTURAL INFLUENCE, DOMESTICALLY AND ABROAD? Hip-hop is not a foreign concept in China. From the early boom-bap scenes of Beijing and Shanghai to today’s viral trap infused with local dialects, the genre has become a fluid product of shifting cultural attitudes. However, recently, there has been a crackdown on hiphop culture in the Middle Kingdom. A bit of context: in late January this year, the Chinese government, in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, issued a ban on all elements of hip-hop culture from appearing on television. Specifically, the nation’s top media regulator— the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television of the People’s Republic of China (SAPPRFT)– announced that there is to be no depiction of “hip-hop culture, sub-culture (non-mainstream culture), and dispirited culture (decadent culture)” in television programs. Oh, and no actors with tattoos allowed either.
The ban has come not long after the explosion of hip-hop into the mainstream music scene through the immensely popular reality series Rap of China, which aired mid-last year. News of the ban subsequently became widespread after one of the show’s winners, GAI, failed to make his much-anticipated appearance at the annual Lunar New Year Gala in mid-February, much to a lack of many rappers’ delight. The director of the administration’s publicity department, Gao Changli, issued instructions for producers to keep their programs free from “tasteless, vulgar, and obscene” actors with “problematic moral integrity.” Now, hip-hop may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but does the genre – which has been growing steadily in China over the past two decades— deserve such heavy condemnation? Hip-hop first made an appearance in China in the nineties, and was a rather underground affair. First starting out in the major cities of Beijing and Shanghai, hiphop was experimental in nature, consisting of politicized rap, boom-bap beats along the lines of A Tribe Called Quest or Nas, taking cues from the scenes over in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Today’s Chinese hip-hop is largely decentralized, spreading through multiple online arteries such as WeChat (and Youtube and Soundcloud, accessed outside the firewall or by use of VPNs), and is characterized by synth, 808s, and gritty lyrics with a focus on lifestyle that we hear in mainstream trap music today (looking at you, Migos). Over the years, the genre has been a target for censorship. When Xi Jinping took office in 2013, a selection of over one hundred Chinese hip-hop classics were blacklisted and deemed “morally harmful.” Nevertheless, through trial and tribulation, hip-hop persevered, and has recently experienced exponential growth throughout the nation; Chengdu and Chongqing, boasting a combined population of around forty-five million people, have been dubbed China’s “hip-hop capitals.” This resurgence has been characterized by a new generation of rappers who focus more on personal and lifestyle values, are more laid back, and have taken to producing rap in their regional dialects. Part of the reason that hip-hop has been so successful is the core
narrative woven amongst each rhyme and rhythm; that Chinese rappers have the capacity to produce their own, authentic hip-hop that reflects both their national identity and understanding of their own culture. Vice China, a youth-focused cultural media platform, noticed this growing trend among youth and middle-class consumers, and capitalized on it. Thus, in mid-2017, Rap of China was born. The reality show— think The Voice for underground and emerging rappers– came only a few weeks after Vice released Trap in the Southwest, a two-part documentary on the genre’s rise in China. The show was aired on iQiyi, one of China’s largest videostreaming platforms, and amassed over 200 million viewers per episode. The official ban on hip-hop was announced shortly after news that another of the show’s winners, PG One, was involved in an adultery scandal. After some of his old lyrics resurfaced to widespread criticism, PG One’s music was removed from every music-streaming platform in China, and several of his scheduled shows were cancelled. Officially, the reason for the ban (again given by SAPPRFT) was that drug use and promiscuity depart from the moral conduct that the Party demands of public figures. However, the ban also has a socioeconomic dimension to it: Rap of China is streamed entirely online, in contrast to most other reality shows that are broadcast on state networks, and is thus able to directly engage with youth and a growing number of middle-class consumers with less censorial scrutiny. So, what does the ban on hip-hop have to do with China’s ongoing soft power endeavors? At the Seventeenth National Congress, then leader Hu Jintao called for “cultural soft power” to be a key national initiative, while current leader Xi Jinping continues to push it at the top of his agenda. In fact, during his three-hour long remarks at last year’s Nineteenth National Congress, President Xi prioritized global cultural influence and “engaging in international communication,” emphasizing an expansion of China’s cultural power in the pursuit of “quality development,” and to ensure the government is able to “present a true, multidimensional, and panoramic view of China.”
traditional, Confucian ideals that China deems an acceptable cultural export. As Beijing attempts to generate a soft power influence strong enough to keep up with that of its hard power, there is a greater impetus for the government to create, control, and promote this “traditional” culture; currently, over US$10 billion is spent annually on extending soft power efforts, through physical forms like Confucius Institutes (Chinese language and culture centers attached to universities worldwide), online through media platforms like Xinhua, and through the creation of new platforms like The Sixth Tone. The act of censorship in China is nothing new; however, the hip-hop ban seems to have an air of ambiguity around it. Interpretations by Western media range from a condemnation on what is seen as an attack on free speech, to controversial criticism with alleged roots in racism. Exerting control over hip-hop culture could be seen as an attempt by the government to prevent it from becoming a mode of political resistance, and to suppress its growing influence on youth culture. What is worrying is the government’s intolerance for anything different, with the ban being evidence that government control isn’t just limited to opposing political stances, but also any social or cultural beliefs that don’t align with those that the government wishes to project abroad. With many underground rappers gaining commercial success from Rap of China, many now wonder where the future of grassroots hip-hop production now lies. Having originated as a means of expression in speaking up for public issues– the very thing that the Chinese government fears– the question is whether Chinese rappers are able to stay true to themselves in a climate of scrutiny, censorship, and rapid change. The ban may prevent hip-hop culture from being shown on screen, but with the resilience that the genre has exhibited over the past few decades, chances are talent won’t be deterred from producing genuine beats that represent an emerging identity in China’s cultural scene.
The main issue is that the culture portrayed by Chinese hip-hop artists– excessive wealth, lifestyle pressures, and the darker underbelly of Chinese society– is an opposing force to the state-sanctioned,
the vice of the isle of dogs Wes Andersonâ€™s The Isle of Dogs continues a truly extraordinary run for one of the most interesting film makers working today. Chad Bensky 54 54
Exploding onto the film scene with Bottle Rocket (starring his neighbours Owen and Luke Wilson) Anderson’s twee and beautifully constructed aesthetic immediately made its mark on the American independent film scene. Following his debut was the brilliantly subversive Rushmore but it was only with his third film, The Royal Tenenbaums, that Anderson’s artistic temperament really solidified. His films, be they set in the boroughs of New York City, the trains of India, the islands of New England or the Claymation hills of England are not realistic representations. They are world as seen through the eyes of a child; exaggerated, eccentric, melancholy and wistful. As always at the centre of each film is an outsider, brilliant and alone, at once seeking to fit in and stand out. A reflection of the childhood insecurities and aspirations that stay with us long after we are no longer children. Anderson’s style of film making is fantastically literary. All of his films are packed with homages to other film making greats and cherished literary texts. Accordingly, his tenacious, intricate and technically flawless constructions remind us of places we read about and watched when we were young. His films (even when set in the future like Isle of Dogs) exist in a nostalgic longing for the past. You can tell you’re watching a Wes Anderson film within a moment of viewing. No other artist working today is so reliant on tracking shots and symmetry. His obsessive eye for detail, particularly concerning the colour palettes of his scenes, is immediately recognisable.
The Isle of Dogs is a beautiful little film. While it fails to reach the emotional heights of either The Grand Budapest Hotel or Moonrise Kingdom, it is intricate and beautiful, with moments of genuine emotional clout. It is a child fantasy, where a poem can remind villains of their humanity and every dog is a good boy. And I could go on and on about the fantastic voice cast, or the incredible stop motion animation and visual design but this article is not really about The Isle of Dogs. It is not even really about Wes Anderson. Rather it seeks to address the whisper campaign propagated by certain media outlets to slander and undermine this film. The terrible accusation, which began in the Los Angeles Times and eventually ended up in the sewer that is Junkee, is cultural appropriation. There have been several arguments cataloguing Isle of Dogs, cultural crimes and I will seek to refute them. I will start with the central critique of the films critics, that it is a movie set in Japan and
concerns primarily Japanese people, yet is written and directed by a white American. However, this simplistic critique fails to acknowledge that a film is an intrinsically collaborative effort. That it contains the work of often hundreds of people each offering artistic talents to create the finished product. That the film’s co-writer and (by Wes Andersons’s own addition) driving force is esteemed Japanese character actor Kunichi Nomura. However, that is an inconvenient title to Vice Australia, RodgerEbert.com, Junkee and The Guardian. Another critique of the film was that while it is set in Japan it centres on five dogs who speak impeccable American English. And adding insult to injury, the secondary Japanese characters speak Japanese. To quote The Guardian’s Steve Ross, “These are Japanese dogs – why are they speaking English?” To answer that troubling question, I turned to my own dog and asked which dialect of English she most preferred to converse in. I apologise to say I could not understand her response and so I’ve had to answer Mr Ross’s question myself. Firstly, on an artistic level, it is a novel narrative device to show that (shockingly) the dogs and humans are unable to communicate. Secondly, on a financial level, like most major studio films it costs tens of millions of dollars to produce and hence producers and directors must make creative decisions to ensure profitability. That Wes Anderson is accused of having main characters that speak English, for a film destined for primarily English speaking markets, is like accusing a fish of swimming freely. It is a necessary financial decision that is being cynically targeted by film critics who know better. Steve MacFarlane of Slant Magazine asks, “Why Anderson had to set this fairy tale in the reallife country of Japan?” Why didn’t Mr. Anderson, MacFarlane goes on to pontificate, create a generic Asiatic society without any particular clear cultural markers? Well, Steve of Slant, the answer is pretty obvious. Putting aside my conjecture that had Wes Anderson gone down that shallower path, the accusation that he wasn’t adequately differentiating between different Asian cultures would have very quickly become a public condemnation of outright racism. The reason Mr. Anderson creates a film imbued with Japanese culture and art and references to titans of Japanese film making is that a) he is a great admirer of this rich and dynamic culture and b) the film is also made by Japanese people who also admire and seek to promote their rich and dynamic culture.
A critique raised both by MacFarlane and Justin Chang of the LA Times is that the Japan of Isle of Dogs is a surrealist exaggeration of Japanese society, where traditional elements of culture are embellished. This is entirely true. However, the same is true of the Grand Budapest Hotel’s treatment of Eastern Europe, or The Darjeeling Limited presentation of India, or the Royal Tenenbaums’ description of New York or even Wes Anderson’s own New England (in Rushmore and Moonrise Kingdoms). These real places transform into the wonderous imaginings of children in Anderson’s filmography. It is intellectually dishonest to acclaim a film maker for a particular type of writing and set design for an entire career and then arbitrarily determine that what was good for all these other nations and regions is not acceptable for a film about Japan. Leonardo Faierman, of the popular website Black Girl Nerds, can’t decide if the film is entirely positive about Japan. He needs to of course figure this out because if he can unearth one single unflattering dimension about Japan from this film, he accrues the ability condemn it. He worries that some of the film’s characters are, “mean spirited.” I am sorry to hear that Faierman. However, I have to admit I am a little shocked to hear that a new standard of film criticism had been developed. A standard which forbids any kind of real artform, in anyway, making a critique or perhaps an unflattering observation about a different culture. There is a fundamental distinction between films which mock and denigrate other societies, in order to inflame the racial sensitivities of audience and a lovely, authentic tribute to another culture. The only cultural appropriation I came across while researching this article was the multitude of film critics and cultural commentators (none of whom were Japanese) who had chosen to speak on behalf of that country and people. The most disgusting instance of this was Mr Faierman’s denigration of the work of Kunichi Nomura. “I’d argue that Nomura’s contributions on the writers end (he’s also a main character/voice actor in the film) seem suggestive at best, and maybe a little help-me-pleaseonly-Japanese-guy-I-know.” I am sorry that the achievement of Nomura’s work upsets your narrow cultural narrative and anxious keyboard warrior discomfort, but you really should provide some evidence before you dismiss the major contribution of an acclaimed artist.
There is a cottage industry of online and print publications that cynically seek to motivate foot traffic by engaging in facetious and divisive accusations of cultural appropriation. One only needs to look at our own Pelican which has long fought against the vile scourge of cultural appropriation, using its limited resources and precious platform to attack the casual monstrousness of allegorically titled poetry nights and ponchos. Look up Junkee’s journalistic article on The Isle of Dogs titled, “Wes Anderson’s ‘Isle Of Dogs’ Has Been Accused Of Cultural Appropriation.” This article lists a series of quotes by other film critics (none of which are Japanese) about the cultural crimes of Isle of Dogs. It provides no value judgements or analysis of the film. It exists simply to motivate ideologically sympathetic readers to comment and share the article in order to earn money for Junkee. Even less principled was Vice Australia. That publisher posted a highly critical article of the film, titled “Isle of Dogs’ Is a White Man’s Fantasy of Japan.”When that article was savaged in it’s Facebook comment section, Vice Australia wrote not one, not two but three glowing follow up articles concerning a new, incredibly endearing and beautiful sensitive article called the Isle of Dogs. Vice Australia teaching us all a valuable lesson on journalism, that when race baiting doesn’t attract viewership just change your strategy. The question of who is allowed to make art is too large and too complex for this article or even this writer. But I can answer the question of who should not determine what is and is not artistically valuable and permissible. It certainly should not be the bottom dwelling, ambulance chasers that live and die on how prominently they can force an article into a Facebook newsfeed.
you can put funny and diversity first Ishita Mathur and Katie McAllister
An interview with Perth Comedy Festival director, Jorge Menidis, in light of the 2018 Perth Comedy Festival programming around 12 women and 10 people of colour out of almost 60 acts. What were your main considerations in programming the Perth Comedy Festival? We are keen to present the latest works of a range of comedians, perspectives and disciplines. What responsibilities do you think festival programmers have to ensure a balanced, diverse program? I do not feel that I am beholden to anyone per se, however if the program does not speak to its intended audience – then the program will fail. As such our target audience is diverse in nature and I believe the program speaks to it. Comedy represents the attitudes of the time it is created in. In a world where movements like #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite are becoming the norm, why has the festival under-represented women and people of colour? We do not set out with quotas but rather with a ‘funny first’ mantra when we set out to program. In saying that we are very keen to ensure that we do offer as diverse a program as is available. The premise of your question implies that we selected by choice a smaller quota of women and diverse acts. However, this belittles the efforts of our programmers to secure these acts. Not programming a lot of women and people of colour is definitely not something that we purposely set out to do. How do these disproportionate hiring practices impact the way audiences engage with comedy in a modern context?
associate the artistic programming of the festival with industrial hiring practices. I do not necessarily disagree with you but have never thought about it this way. I do hope that if you look beyond the artists gender and consider the content of their work you will find that what we present is a broad church of ideas and perspectives that will encourage breadth in uptake of our program. Zoe Coombs Marr won The Barry at the Melbourne Comedy Festival in 2016 with her character, Dave, for highlighting the way the comedy industry systematically favours straight, white men. That was two years ago now. In 2018, why aren’t we hearing more voices of female comedians in our comedy festivals? I feel it is completely unrealistic to expect wholesale change off the back of one award win at one Festival. I feel that we are living through an extremely tumultuous and inspiring social revolution where the endgame will be an as yet understood landscape that will require some getting used to. Also, bear in mind that to get a one hour Festival show match fit takes a fair bit of time. I feel that there are definitely some excellent future stars out there in the creative and developmental pipeline and hopefully will be seen on our WA stages soon. Who is your favourite female comedian? I am afraid I won’t answer this one. I genuinely love the work of many of the current crop of female artists and although not all of them are in Perth this year, we will be seeing more and more of them in time to come.
To be honest, I am rather intrigued that you
Elliot Herriman It’s not much of a stretch to say that science fiction as a genre of movies largely tends towards social commentary. Sure, there have always been works like Transformers or Star Wars, but on the whole, sci– fi cinema has an established pattern of discussing otherwise highly charged cultural anxieties in a candid, hypothetical fashion. Science fiction films of the fifties and sixties explored common anxieties around nuclear power and war, with monsters like Godzilla or the 50 Foot Woman created from experiments gone wrong. The seventies and eighties brought films like Soylent Green and Blade Runner, depicting a society threatened by the very advancements it had itself created, but by the time the nineties rolled around, these had evolved into narratives on technology with classics like Terminator 2 and The Matrix. Oddly enough, most sci–fi films released in the wake of September 11 actually subverted this pattern by avoiding invasion as a subject matter entirely — the only notable exception that comes to mind is Cloverfield, and that wasn’t released until 2008. Still, there was a noticeable rise in the depiction of surveillance states, alongside a slew of disaster movies like The Day After Tomorrow that were rather unsubtly inspired by a growing debate on climate change. With all this in mind, I’d like to draw your attention to Black Mirror. If you’re unfamiliar, Black Mirror is an anthology television series that sits in something of a grey area between science–fiction and horror. The brain child of Charlie Brooker — a name I only mention now so I can chew him out later — Black Mirror first aired on the British airwaves for two seasons before moving to Netflix for its third and fourth. Like any other science fiction anthology, comparisons have inevitably been drawn between
Black Mirror and the genre–defining Twilight Zone, but Black Mirror has made a name for itself by choosing to exclusively depict stories about technology. According to Netflix’s press kit, Black Mirror “taps into our collective unease with the modern world”, literally holding up our phones and computer screens as “a Black Mirror reflecting our 21st Century existence back at us”. The show is well produced on a technical level, and between a jetblack tone and an abundance of twist endings, Black Mirror has proven remarkably popular. The problem as I see it, however, is that while it may claim to show us a candid portrait of modern society, it does so by merely depicting elements of our cultural anxieties in place of offering actual insight. Science fiction might not be under any sort of obligation to offer meaningful social commentary, but Black Mirror is seemingly so determined to criticise technology that it fails to connect with the very social anxieties that inspired it in the first place. To tie all this together, yes, Black Mirror certainly seems like a reaction to the rapid growth of the internet over this past decade. At this point, the idea that phones and social media are causing us to grow isolated from one another is more or less synonymous with the phrase “back in my day,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean Black Mirror’s obvious cynicism is without merit. The trouble is, this cynicism seems to be the only message that Black Mirror is interested in offering. Although most episodes do seem to start with an open mind and an interesting premise, the conflict is consistently driven by the presence of technology, and this seriously limits the direction that any given story can take. On top of this, rather than holding characters responsible for their actions, Black Mirror has a
is black mirror actually that good? is black mirror 58
habit of implying that technology is at fault, and this is no more obvious than in an episode like The Entire History of You. The episode is centered around an implant that allows characters to replay and project their memories, and although it’s unsurprising that a story like this would choose to focus on jealousy and distrust as themes, the way in which the narrative seemingly pins responsibility for this jealousy on the technology itself feels strange. Instead of encouraging its audience to explore the ways that we individually and collectively deal with emotions like jealousy, Black Mirror chooses to absolve its characters of any responsibility by telling us that actually, it was technology’s fault the whole time. That’s not to say characters aren’t punished, but it feels more often than not that they’re being punished for their use of technology instead of their actions, with Playtest being a downright bizarre example of this. None of this is necessarily a bad thing, but Black Mirror’s compulsive demonization of technology has a habit of drowning out any message or insight it might otherwise have had to offer — and nowhere is this more obvious than in the masterpiece that is San Junipero. Easily the best that the series has to offer, San Junipero exists in remarkable contrast to the rest of the series. It’s a stubborn subversion of everything Black Mirror is otherwise known for: there’s no moralising on the dangers of the internet, no dark twist ending that serves to upend the moral of the story. It’s considerably more optimistic than the rest of the series, too, but I honestly think the reason this episode works so well is that it only uses technology as a way of contextualising the narrative, rather than presenting technology as the driving source of conflict. Brooker’s conservative sentiments take a back seat, meaning that by the time the credits roll, the audience is left with something meaningful — not answers, for once, but concepts and themes they’re forced to grapple with, and it works in a way no other episode of Black Mirror can hope to match. To me, that might actually be the most frustrating part. If Black Mirror just got out of its own way and stopped trying to hand us the answers it’s looking for, there’s no doubt in my mind we’d see more episodes like San Junipero. As it is, we just have a handful of stories that come close to connecting us with our fears. I mean, what if Arkangel had focused on the dilemmas parents undoubtedly face today around raising children in an age of social media? What if Hated in the Nation had explored the way people handle criticism and consequence over their actions online, instead of literally equating call–out culture
with murder? What if Hang the DJ had explored the casual dating scene ushered in by apps like Tinder, examining what it’s like to be in a relationship that you don’t expect to last? These are issues that many of us have grappled with, but Black Mirror comes so close to helping us confront them, but every time it seems more interested in criticising technology than it is connecting with us. What this ends up meaning is that rather than offering us the chance to reflect candidly on our anxieties, Black Mirror handles catharsis in a way much more reminiscent of campy horror. Characters indulge in things that we’re all at least a little anxious might be wrong, like sex, drugs, or social media, and then we as an audience feel some sort of relief or distress when we finally see their comeuppance — which isn’t bad so much as it is deceptive. Black Mirror claims to hold up a reflection of our modern society, and what you get certainly feels like cutting introspection, but it’s not even close. It’s just shock tactics, played on repeat, and the worst part is that Black Mirror’s approach is only going to further entrench us in our opinions. It doesn’t prompt or enable discussion, it doesn’t try to find a middle ground or bridge divides, it just wants to scare you into deleting your Facebook. Which, given recent events concerning Facebook and targeted advertising and the extensive profiles that companies have built on us. Given the discomfort around social media that I can visibly see growing around me, it feels important now more than ever to actually have these serious conversations — to actually reflect on the role of technology and the internet in our society. Yet somehow, despite all of this, Black Mirror seems to be the only current major science fiction property that’s plugged into these anxieties. Other sci–fi works in recent years like Westworld and Ex Machina have touched on the subject, but instead largely focus the artificial intelligence, meaning that even if they do have insight to offer, Black Mirror is still what we joke about when Google does something sinister. We don’t need good sci–fi to deal with issues as a society, of course, but we’ve come as a culture to connect with others through our entertainment, and the fact that Black Mirror has become the de– facto frame of reference for discussions on the role of technology in our society has made it that much harder to talk about these issues in a meaningful way. There’s plenty to be said for Black Mirror as entertainment, but as the loudest voice on these issues right now, we deserve something that aims for more than the only story Black Mirror seems interested in telling.
international student visas It’s 2018, people, and somehow Pauline Hanson is still trying to be relevant. Infamous for her sweeping declaration that ‘we are in danger of being swamped by Asians’, as well as her irrational fear of the ‘Aboriginal industry’, the One Nation Party leader has been delighting Australians with her dreadfully unfounded rhetoric for generations. Now, she has added to the already thrilling saga of her war against immigrants, by stating that international students in Australia should not be allowed work rights, ‘Come out here, do your studies. But work visas - no. They should be able to support themselves.’ Good idea, Pauline. Somehow, ‘these people’ are ‘supposed to be self-sufficient when they come here.’ Twenty hours of work a week, ineligible under the Tax-Free Threshold, will certainly help me to afford rent, petrol, food, and the caffeine needed to fuel my tired brain. Let’s also not forget that international students are required to pay semester fees upfront: a cool $36,000 a semester. Self-sufficient? I think not. The basis of her argument, of course, is that international students are ‘depressing the wages Desiree Tan 60
and conditions,’ of local young adults and taking away the jobs that Australians could do. The same argument was applied when the abolition of the 457, or skilled migrant, visa was passed. People are moving here, and they’re taking our jobs. It’s the ageold complaint heard all around the world. To see the absurdity of Pauline’s proposal, think about local students. A poll conducted at any given university in Australia would reveal that they, with unlimited work rights, are not immune to the struggles of a student budget. My favourite part of this discussion, however, is Hanson’s astounding hypocrisy. In a similar interview regarding her comments about the 2018 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, she said, ‘Our country is not based on Aboriginals. Our country is what it is because of the migrants that have come here.’ Just let that sink in. In her mind, there’s merit and credibility to past immigration, yet she demonizes and opposes contemporary immigrants of different backgrounds. I moved here as an international student in 2012, completing the last two years of high school before
starting university. When I started at UWA and joined ECOMS, I started to realise that my entire degree revolved around who got vacation work, internships at the Big Four firms, and lining up graduate jobs at the end of third year. Young and naïve, I threw myself into applying to any firm that sounded even vaguely exciting. The stark reality, however, was that out of the eight firms I looked at applying to, I could only apply to three. Why? Too many relevant internships and graduate jobs are only available to Australians. It is a statistical fact that the international education business in Australia is worth over $25 billion. Furthermore, the students that are contributing toward this figure are being equipped with degrees from some of the top universities in the country, meaning that they are even more prepared to get a job, and do it well. Not only will this policy hurt students, but it will hurt a number of Australian industries as well, namely tourism and hospitality. It is a rude awakening to have lived in this country for more than five years, only to discover that no matter how much it preaches a love of diversity and multiculturalism, protectionism will always come
first. No matter how much I would like to fill those twenty hours of work, Pauline, I won’t be able to, because firms won’t let me apply anyway. I disagree wholeheartedly with Hanson on the premise that regardless of her policies, I am struggling as a student, alongside thousands of other students across Australia. I juggle a day job, a night job, serious sport, coaching, and university, whilst trying to get at least eight hours of sleep. The concerning part is that this is nothing new. Countless students are going through the same struggle, regardless of their background, social status, or immigration status. Pauline Hanson’s entire debate is structured around the implication that international students are given preference over Australian students, which is most definitely not the case. Jobs are hard to come by for many people; it should be based on merit, not nationality. I’m sorry that my existence in your country is SUCH a burden, Pauline. Immigrants come here expecting a better quality of life, and we work incredibly hard to achieve that. I can’t believe that you’d say we are nothing but a burden. Please, at least give us a chance to prove you dead wrong.
letters to the editor Hugh Hutchison
Disclaimer: the views expressed here are not from real people. Dear Pelican, As a UWA student who values pretension, my favourite thing about Pelican has always been how many times you see a headline and think to yourself, why the fuck would anyone want to read that? Recently however, I’ve seen a decline in the number of weighty, masturbatory think pieces, which, in my humble opinion, is a travesty to grass-roots student journalism. How am I, a smart person, meant to communicate my intelligence to the broader disinterested student body if not through Pelican? Please respond with an apology and a firm commitment to publishing my essay on the latest fashion trends in ethical beekeeping. Sincerely, The Silent Majority
Dear Pelican, Thought I should drop you a line to let you know there’s a spelling error in a review of Monsters’ University you published back in 2013. May not seem like a lot but my student fares pay your printing costs, so a little bit of journalistic diligence might be in order.
Dear Sizzler’s Innaloo, We went here with the grandchildren (5, 7 and 12) after they had been to a movie. It was dinnertime but there were only 2 people to attend to the long line of customers. These 2 people had to take the orders, take the payment and show customers to the table so the wait was ridiculous. Surely more staff should be available at dinnertime on a Saturday! Food kept running out and there was no one to help. Tables were not cleared and the whole set up seemed to be in disarray. If we had not promised the grandchildren we would eat here we would have left. The food was nothing special either. Sincerely Disappointed
Dear Pelican, Why does your paper have such a pro-STAR slant? Every piece you write seems to put some sort of positive spin on everything the current administration does. Do you only get paid if you shill for your guild overlords? Sincerely, email@example.com
Dear Pelican Best, DefundtheABC@twitter.com
Dear Pelican, Why does your paper have such an anti-STAR slant? Every piece you write seems to put some sort of negative spin on everything the current administration does. Remember, we will only pay you if you shill for us. Thanks, Your Guild Overlords
I’d like to take the opportunity to give thanks to the technical team responsible for maintaining the guild servers that host your website. They’ve really done a bang-up job; it takes real determination to have a server so shitty that it collapses completely whenever anyone gets even the slightest inclination to accidently click one of the links on your Facebook page. I’ve particularly enjoyed not being able to read any of your guild council meeting reports. Please keep up the good work. Kind Regards, (500) Internal Server Error
Hey :) How’ve your first few weeks of semester been? Haven’t spoken to you in aaaaageeess! I’m running for an Ordinary Guild Councillor position with Launch and I was wondering if you’d come down and vote for me? You can vote anytime next week on Oak Lawn. I’d be heeeeaappps grateful. Looking forward to catching up!
I can’t believe I’m having to tell you this again, but you’ve gotta pay attention to your word counts. Would you please stop sending me the script to Home Alone Two and telling me to, “make it work.” I cannot fit a 140-page movie script into a 64-page magazine. Also, I can’t include working hyperlinks in a print magazine.
Heaps good mates in primary school
Lyn, your graphic designer
Just thought I’d get in touch to congratulate your intrepid reporter who broke the story about students smuggling their own yoghurt into lectures. I’m not at UWA anymore, but I remember one of my biggest pet peeves was when you’d collect your standardissue yoghurt from the front of the Octagon before a lecture and you’d see some shit-head in the back pull a tub of non-regulated Bulla raspberry out of his backpack and try and pass it off as the mandated stuff. This has been going on for years, and people are kidding themselves if they think it’s not widespread. Honestly, it threatens to ruin the whole courtesy yoghurt distribution system and I hope your reporting gives guild the momentum they need to crack down on these ungrateful thugs.
I’ve been reading your magazine since I started at UWA in 1929. I don’t remember it being so rude! Pardon my forthrightness, but I don’t think an article about the best places to have pre-marital relations on campus is suitable for students as young as eighteen! Maybe I’m not down with modern sensibilities, but back in my day, Pelican was all about giving people tips on which South-Western cattle ranches were looking for farmhands and the best ways to appease Nazi Germany. There were also no women writers.
In Good Faith, Concerned Citizen
Sincerely, A Disappointed, not Angry, Mature Aged Student
Dear Pelican, I don’t think Katie is doing enough work.
Dear Pelican, Just wanted to say thanks heaps for that Dalai Lama piece hey. We were hell struggling for nuance that day so it was a ripper find. Did you catch The Voice last night? The West Australian
Best, Josh’s Mum
Dear Pelican, Can you tell Josh to lift his game? Does he do anything? Thanks, Katie’s Mum
PORRIDGE This is a quick, simple healthy option for a cold winters morning. Porridge is a blank canvas, it just gives you something to work from. You can prep it the night before – pop the oats and the liquid straight into a saucepan, put the lid on and sit it in the fridge. It’ll soak up the liquid overnight and in the morning, it’ll cook faster and you end up with a fluffier end result.
160g rolled oats (rolled oats are low GI and help you feel full for longer. When you buy them, don’t worry about fancy branding, same stuff, different packet) 650mL liquid (use all milk, or all water or half milk/half water – whatever milk you want, cow’s milk, almond milk, soy milk) Pinch of salt
brunch on a budget KATIE’S MUM DISHES IT UP
Who feels comfortable paying $25 for breakfast, when you can do it at home for half that amount of money? Go to a bit of effort – find yourself a table cloth (or an old bit of cloth), put some little flowers in an old jam jar, set the table. Make it an event. All these recipes serve 2. Your friends will be so impressed.
Boil the kettle for your cuppa. While the kettle is boiling, you can stand at the stove and stir with a wooden spoon until the porridge is thick and creamy and luscious. You need to continually stir it or it will stick to the bottom. It’s quite relaxing. If you don’t have a stove, don’t stress, just use the microwave on low heat – pop the porridge in for a minute, take it out and stir. Pop it in for a minute, take it out and stir… Don’t try and rush porridge – if you rush it, it ends up undercooked and tasteless. It’s all in the preparation, the soaking overnight and the slow cooking – standing in your fluffy slippers and dressing gown at the stove, stirring the porridge at the stove until it’s nice and thick and creamy – waiting for the kettle to boil. Serve with whatever is in the fridge, you can really glam porridge up. Cream, yoghurt, milk, sliced banana, dried fruit or nuts of your choice. You can drizzle it with honey or maple syrup or you can stir in a teaspoon of peanut butter, or you can sprinkle with nutmeg and or cinnamon. Whatever you’ve got, whatever you’re feeling. I remember my Grandmother standing at the wood stove with a large pot of porridge, cooking for the whole family. There was also cream scraped off the top of the pale of milk Pa had just brought in. They’d always use lots of milk and cream and lots of sugar in their porridge. Dad always put a knob of butter on top of his porridge, I think he still does.
Teresa McAllister 65
POACHED EGGS Eggs have always been a staple for me. Growing up, egg sandwiches were a weekly occurrence and so were scrambled eggs with chopped parsley from the garden. They are quick to make, high in protein, and an economical meal. You don’t have to poach them for this recipe – they can be scrambled, fried or boiled. Whatever you’re feeling.
1 litre water Few tablespoons white vinegar
the surface and gently move the eggs in the water with slotted spoon. Allow them to cook for 2-3 minutes. 6. While the eggs are cooking, toast your bread and heat ham in microwave or fry with tomatoes if you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to do more washing up. 7. Pile avocado smash on toast, place on your serving plate. Serve tomatoes and mushrooms. Remove eggs with slotted spoon and serve on spinach and season with salt and pepper.
2 large chook eggs 1 avo ¼ sour cream 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce 2 slices crusty bread 8 grape tomatoes 6 mushrooms 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar Handful of spinach leaves 2 slices smoked ham from the deli 1. Place water and vinegar in frying pan or a saucepan, honestly a saucepan is best, and bring to boil. We are using vinegar because when you crack the egg into the water, the vinegar helps it set – this is a secret to good poached eggs. Another secret it the fresher the eggs, the more success you’ll have in them staying together. 2. While the water is boiling, sort your avos out. In a small bowl, add the avo, sour cream and chili sauce and mash with the back of a fork until lumpy. 3. Meanwhile, in a frying pan, add oil and balsamic vinegar, heat on medium, add tomatoes and mushrooms, cover with lid and allow to blister three to four minutes, stirring occasionally so they don’t burn. 4. Arrange your spinach leaves on serving plate. 5. When the water is boiling, crack eggs just above
The good thing about all these ingredients is that you can buy them for breakfast one morning, then use them for the rest of the week. - Eggs: boiled eggs are great made into salads or sandwiches for the week, or simply peeled whole as a snack. The original protein balls. - Bread: you’ve now got toast for breakfast or sandwiches. - Tomatoes and mushrooms: you can use them in omelettes or salads or sandwiches. - Ham and spinach – use in a wrap or throw in with your next pasta sauce. - Sour cream – it’s always an excuse for nachos. But, a sneaky dessert tip – pop sourcream into your favourite bowl, add any chopped fresh fruit (bananas are great), top with maple syrup and crushed nuts – healthy dessert done.
FRENCH TOAST WITH MAPLE SYRUP AND BACON I didn’t really have French toast until I started teaching. I thought it was very boring. That’s why we’ve jazzed this recipe up. The fruit bread adds spices, flavours and a bit more texture. The bacon and maple syrup gives it that sweet/savoury combination that’s popular at the moment. And then walnuts and yoghurt give it a higher nutritional value. It’s just a little bit fancy.
4 thick slices fruit bread 3 large eggs ½ cup of milk of your choice ½ teaspoon vanilla essence 4 slices of short cut bacon 3 table spoons of maple syrup Strawberries 4 table spoons of Greek yoghurt 6 walnut halves Icing sugar for dusting 1. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla essence. 2. Slice your fruit bread into triangles, drown in your egg mixture for two minutes 3. Grill or microwave bacon to your liking. While it is cooking, fry your fruit bread in frying pan with two table spoons of melted butter. Cook two minutes each side, turning with an egg slice. 4. On a serving plate, arrange your French toast and bacon, sprinkle with sliced strawberries and dust with icing sugar, serve with Greek yoghurt and walnuts on the side
- You can use your yoghurt as a substitute for sour cream for that special dessert, or you can use it in a smoothie with your bananas and left-over strawberries. Just freeze your strawberries and bananas, then use them with nuts and vanilla essence and egg and maple syrup for a hearty breakfast smoothie.
CHIA PUDDING Chia seeds have only become trendy in the last five or so years. Before they were just in health food shops, now they are everywhere. They are considered a super food because they are extremely high in Omega 3, Calcium, Protein, Fibre, Iron, B Vitamins, antioxidants and they contain no cholesterol. They are really easy to work with and great for breakfast or snacks on the go, if you’re organised.
6 tablespoons of chia seeds 2 cups of milk of your choice (almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk) Place your chia seeds in a container, cover in your chosen liquid, pop the lid on and then shake the container so the chia seeds don’t clump together. Then pop the container in the fridge. You can eat your chia pudding in two – three hours, but it’s best to leave it overnight because you get a creamier, gel sort of texture. So, it’s good to make these on a Sunday night with a bulk mixture. You can do five little jars for yourself during the week, they keep in the fridge so you can add any flavour you want each morning. It’s a quick on the go brekky. You can pop them in a glass, in a jar, in a takeaway container – whatever you’ve got. Remember that chia seeds don’t taste like anything, it’s what you put with them that gives them flavour. You can add spices or honey or cocoa to the mixture itself if you’re feeling it, or you can just top the pudding at the end. Some flavour and texture ideas for you Cinnamon
These ingredients also give you lots of other options.
- Walnuts are good brain food – you can take the leftover walnuts and strawberries to uni in a little container for a snack.
Dried fruit – dates, dried apricot
- Your fruit bread, you can actually toast it for breakfast or keep it fresh – add some butter and jam and take it as a snack – fresh bread for morning tea.
Cocoa powder for that chocolate feel
Honey Maple syrup Nuts or seeds or coconut flakes Whatever fruit you’ve got - berries, banana, kiwi fruit
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Edition 3 of Pelican