Verse Magazine Edition 34

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Edition 34 Free


Tabitha Lean

The soap, the shower curtain and the mopping up

Milo Trnovsky

Hoarding in a crisis


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Verse Magazine acknowledges the Kaurna, Boandik and Barngarla First Nations People as the traditional custodians of the unceded lands that are now home to the University of South Australia’s campuses in Adelaide, Mount Gambier and Whyalla. Verse Magazine respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past, present and emerging. Verse Magazine also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia. It was and always will be Aboriginal land.

02 Editor’s Letter 04 Four dreams in a row (four dreams in a row,

18 20 28 30 38 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 62 63


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four dreams in a row) Imagine: Milo Trnovsky A list of all the things I want, and of all the things I’ll never be. Playlist: Songs to fuckn’ shred to Interview: Tabitha Lean Taboo: Panic buying Humans of UniSA The soap, the shower curtain and the mopping up Small town kids Distance Haunted house Bloom again Review: How do you wipe your bum? Puzzles Horoscopes: The signs according to Tiger King Clubs Feature: The Sustainability Collective Solutions USASA President’s Letter


Hello! If you’re reading this IRL, thank you for signing up to get Verse delivered to your door. If you’re reading this online then huuuuugee FYI: you can now get Verse delivered free to your door. Just open a new tab and sign up on the USASA website. It goes without saying that 2020 so far has been a wild ride. We’ve all gone a bit stir-crazy and it’s possible that it shows in Edition 34. Buckle up for a rollercoaster of highs and lows, quiet moments and loud voices. A big shout out to everyone who has contributed to this edition. You all deserve a seriously big round of applause. Also a big shout out to you, the reader. While there is a lot—but at the same time not a lot— happening in our lives, it’s nice to know that you’re out there, still making the time to read through Verse. I appreciate you. Keep doing good things because there will be a time— hopefully nice and soon—where you might be reading Verse at uni and I’ll be able to come over and say that to you in person. All the best, Anna


Head Editor Anna Day Comms and Digital Editors Jordan White and Nina Phillips Graphic Designer Emma Horner


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Edition 34 2020

Four dreams in a row (four dreams in a row, four dreams in a row) Words Ezra ThĂŠodore Tillett Artwork Lauren Rawlings


I I drank coffee. I sat at the garden table and thought about doing something, but then didn’t. The birds made noise. I did not. It is raining. I drank three shots of espresso, tried to write, failed. The birds made no noise. I sat and my hands shook with caffeine and the rain bled into the ground. Every journal entry I’ve written for the past six months begins with an apology that I can’t manage to write more. This morning I cleaned my watercolour palette, but when I was done it was clean. I managed to shower and remember what my hair looks like when it’s more than a combination of frizz, grease, and three-day-old-bedhead. I drank a lot of tea because I couldn’t find the energy to cook anything. I want to bake babka when I feel less numb.

II My neighbour is whistling and smoking a cigarette that’s triggering my asthma. I keep watching Howl’s Moving Castle. Only the scenes in which they are a family. I watch them complete domestic tasks like I’m Pinocchio doing research. I feel physically tired afterward as if I did something, too. I wore my shoes around the house all day because I missed walking in them. I can’t find my glasses; I’ve lost them somewhere under all the clutter that comes with being a shut in. The cats are getting fed up with me. Every day I ask them ‘do you still love me? blink slowly for yes’ and last night they refused to blink back. I will remedy this by loving them twice as hard tomorrow, because I have very little pride left. A telemarketer called earlier and asked for me using the wrong name, so I told him that person died. I try to play chess against myself, but I know all my tricks, so I inevitably just make white act really stupid so black can make a series of clever forks and captures. Losing to myself so I can win. I feel like too many days all I can manage to do is to eat jelly cups and take my inhalers. The concept that I have to drink enough water every day for the rest of my life is overwhelming. Every few days I throw out the things that have mildewed in the fridge; in myself. I’m scared that going through the motions is all I have left, and I still can’t manage to hit all my marks. I’ll read to claim back some sense of normalcy, but I barely get through a sentence before my energy leaks out and pools at my feet. Not sure what date it is, but it’s a Thursday.



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III An Ode to Things Burnt the northern half of every bagel I have ever tried to toast bridges to bad people and cigarettes in stinking mouths knuckles on frying pans and knees on bitumen all the writing I’ve put too much heart into, fingertips, incense, candlewicks the babka, and with it, all the potential of today

IV My mother called and told me I’m being funnier than usual, which was a mistake because it went straight to my ego and now, I think I’m hilarious. I relayed this to my best friend, who understands things in a way my mother never cares to, and she countered ‘you’re not funny, you’re just so tired you’re mildly hysterical.’ The world has stopped, and the world cannot stop, and so the world does both at once. The sound is paused, but the reel won’t stop turning - everything spooling out like an old VHS and piling up on the floor. I am working from a small hollow in the very centre of my brain. I don’t think we are beholden to the dreams we had when we didn’t understand how hard life could get. Letting them go is healthy, maybe, but I’m stubborn. I want to learn how to fly – what’s it matter if it’s only candle wax? All the lights are out, anyway. We are all three things: the world, the hollow, and the mild hysteria (and I am always funny). He’s whistling again. Old-guy-next-door. I swear his name is John, but it can’t really be John because his surname is definitely Smith, and John Smith is exceptionally made-up sounding. I can’t whistle. I remember the tune, but I don’t remember the words, nor which strings to pluck in my throat. Someone once told me you can either roll your r’s or whistle, that’s how it shakes out. So, I lay in bed and I roll my r’s and wonder at my own voice vibrating in my chest.




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Milo Trnovsky

Interview Christina Massolino Right: “Fluid” 2017, blown glass with colour rod wraps, sold before measured

Milo Trnovsky is an artist currently studying a Bachelor of Art and Design (Honours) at UniSA. Preceding this, Milo worked predominantly with glass while studying a Bachelor of Visual Art at UniSA, which they graduated from in 2017. Milo draws a lot of inspiration from their own lived experience as queer and non-binary/gender diverse. They began engaging with themes of fluid movement and gender expression in 2015, when they first began experimenting with glass blowing, during a time that Milo says they were questioning their “identity on a daily basis.” Milo spoke with Verse about how gender should be viewed more accurately as a spectrum, one that defies the common binary terms of ‘male/female’. Although society frequently deems this binary structure as the only acceptable option of gender identification, Milo believes that with an open mind, the willingness to learn and listen, everyone has the ability to understand their own gender identity and break-down existing norms. Thankfully for us, we have people like Milo who are itching to share their knowledge and experiences, not only through conversations and written communication but through their art as well.





“If I were to come up to you, use the opposite pronoun and call you a different name would you get annoyed? Would you start to go red in the face, feel uncomfortable and want to speak up?� 11

“Embracing the unknown outcome, I also utilised the fluidity and control molten glass has over your actions.�



Left: “Fluid” 2018, blown glass with colour rod wraps, sold before measured Below: “Void” 2020, distorted digital scan of 35mm film print



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You use they/them, he/him pronouns. Why do you use these pronouns, and how does it affect you when people acknowledge them and use them correctly? I’ve never felt like a “girl”. When I was a kid, I made an effort to reject all assumptions of being a born female. I dressed as a tomboy, associated myself with boys and participated in activities deemed as only appropriate for boys at our age. I remember how much it felt like an insult to be called a girl, yet when I was questioned by my mum, I refused any possibility of being a boy. This persisted through high school, but started to fade away more as my body developed. I realise now that I suppressed any thoughts of being trans/gender diverse out of fear. Four years ago, I undertook a masterclass at Pilchuck Glass School and with tremendous help and support, I started using they/them pronouns and occasionally he/him pronouns. I also started to go by Milo, one of the names my parents contemplated if I were born male. It was hard to make it stick when I came back home, but now almost everyone sticks to my preferred name and pronouns. I guess the best way to explain what it feels like to be gendered correctly is by asking a question. If I were to come up to you, use the opposite pronoun and call you a different name would you get annoyed? Would you start to go red in the face, feel uncomfortable and want to speak up? Before we started this interview, you sent me some links (e.g to sources that make this knowledge accessible. Why do you think people find the existence of gender diversity so hard to comprehend, despite the lived experience of millions of people? I think it stems from heavily biased education structures enforced by conservative governments across the globe. Our existence isn’t taught in schools and I don’t see it changing any time soon. This is a tough and extremely broad question, but I do strongly believe that our older generations have perpetuated the norm of turning a blind eye to atrocities in history that do not align with their ‘personal’ beliefs. I think if people in power continue to dismiss our existence as a myth or ‘just a phase’, ignore scientific studies and continue to silence those with a voice it will greatly stunt our future generations. You created a series of beautiful, skilfully glass-blown vessels that expressed gender-fluidity in 2017. How do you find the art of glass blowing has enabled you to express gender related themes? What is it about the quality of glass that allows for this? I began making these bowls in 2016 and ‘perfected’ my desired outcome in 2017. Through that period of time I was questioning my identity on a daily basis, and still am. I found that in the Hot Shop I could briefly


escape my anxious mind and exist in a genderless body, surrounded by loud equipment, a roaring 1200 degree furnace and an overwhelming sense of freedom. I didn’t have much access to colours (glass colour can be quite expensive and I’d recently moved out of home) so I used what I could, giving me mystery colour combinations. Embracing the unknown outcome, I also utilised the fluidity and control molten glass has over your actions. One of the first lessons in glass is that you have to work with it, not against it. Once you’ve learnt to work with it then you can tell it what to do. I think this can be pretty similar to the body and mind. Using themes of fluidity and free movements along with technically sound forms, such as bowls and vases, I strove to portray the vessel as the body and the fluid colours as the identity within. What direction is your art going in now? Are you still working with glass? With everything that’s happened in the last couple of months I don’t see my aspirations of starting a glass career coming to fruition. Two years ago, I backed away from uni and the art scene, I developed GAD [General Anxiety Disorder] and shut myself off from a lot of people. This year I finally built up enough courage to go back to uni and blow glass, but that’s been ripped away from me since our studios got locked down. I haven’t felt this hopeless in a while. To fill time, I’ve tried to pick up film photography again, I hope to distort ambiguous images of my body and overlay them until it is indistinguishable from the original. I’ve also recently started to teach myself how to render 3D figures and environments, and hope to incorporate my photography concepts to generate a moving image. The arts community typically has a reputation of ‘freethinkers’ and being on the forefront of understanding and expressing challenging ideas. Have you found people within the arts community to be accepting and supportive of you, or have you still faced some significant challenges? Regardless of what community you’re a part of you’ll always come across people who hate you for no logical reason. Although the art community wants to be perceived as a group that doesn’t discriminate, they still do in almost every aspect. This is quite evident when you look at the lack of presence of gender diverse, queer, and POC identities within our overall art scene. The biggest issue I’ve come across is light bullying, misgendering and deadnaming but I’ve come to expect that in my life, if I don’t, I’ll keep getting hurt. But of course, the majority of people are really nice and just normal.


Who are some of your biggest art inspirations, both locally and globally? I struggle to pinpoint inspiration to my own work because I think I draw a lot of my ideas from my own lived experience, people and interactions around me. I’m not sure if I could categorise artists I like as direct inspiration but I do admire the work of Tasmanian artist Dexter Rosengrave and their concepts of destruction and disintegration of the self. I’m also very interested in Liesl Schubel, a Canadian born artist, particularly ‘Copy Machine Collages, 2015’ and ‘Facade (We Have Always Been Collapsing), 2013’. I very much relate to aspects of their bio on their website. Reading literature such as ‘Trans erasure, trans visibility: History, archives and art’ by Archie Barry and ‘Breaking Ground on a Theory of Transgender Architecture’ by Lucas Cassidy Crawford has informed my ways of approaching making differently. How can people support trans/gender diverse people within the arts? The best way is to buy their work, share it and give them due credit without fetishizing their identity as ‘unique’ or ‘quirky’. Treat us just like any other artist you’d find in a gallery. ☐



A list of all the things I want, and of all the things I’ll never be. It’s a panic attack, short-breathed and red faced, in the kitchen. It’s the need for a U-turn on a one-way strip. It’s the feeling of empty—vaguely familiar—in a sweaty nightclub full of people. It’s reaching for one more glass of red, though one too many. It’s your last cigarette… the third time this month. It’s being so alone before a skyline full of excitement and lust. It’s a wrong midnight kiss, wide-eyed, on your seventeenth New Year’s Eve. It’s a collection of what could’ve been, if only you were brave enough to jump. It’s deciphering your emotions mid-January. It’s a cold sweat, one unshakable. It’s the art of disappearing, silently, into the haze of a grey night, mid-July. Words Jordan White Artwork Bianca Pibworth


Songs to fuckn’ shred to

Need to get your heart rate up? Miss shaking it in da cluurb? We’ve got the perfect mix of bpm and cheezetown to get that isolation body moving like it hasn’t in weeks. Stretch that groin, pull up those tube socks, slide that sweat band on and tell your parents to stay the hell out of your room for the next 49 minutes. It’s about to get real. Playlist and Artwork Emma Horner



Survivor Michael Sembello Salt-N-Peppa Technotronic Logic Le Tigre Mousse T Vengaboys C & C Music Factory Amber RuPaul SNAP! Vangelis

Eye of the Tiger Maniac Push It Pump Up The Jam Everyday Deceptacon Horny - ’98 Radio Edit We Like to Party! (The Vengabus) Keep it Comin’ (Dance Till You Can’t Dance No More) Move Your Body Sissy That Walk Rhythm is a Dancer Chariots of Fire

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Interview Anna Day Artwork Tabitha Lean

Verse sat down with Tabitha Lean. Tabitha is Gunditjmara through her mother’s bloodline, and was born and raised on Kaurna country. She is an artist, writer, and activist. She’s also the guest Head Editor of Verse’s Blak Out edition, which comes out in September. Currently completing her Masters in Aboriginal Studies, Tabitha hopes to use her studies to raise awareness of this nation’s brutal, violent and often lethal criminal justice system. Tabitha puts it best when she says she’s passionate about “decolonising institutions, and what that process looks like, and how we can advance the process of blackening up white spaces.”


Tabitha Lean



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Have you always been connected to your Aboriginal heritage? Can you tell us about it?

Actually my Mum died when I was a little baby so I was raised by my father who is not Aboriginal. This meant I had a bit of a disconnect with my own community while I was growing up, especially being raised away from country. However, with the help of some aunties involved in the grannies group I was able to make some connections with my own heritage and to connect with family, and learn from so many amazing knowledge keepers. It just happened that the grannies group in Kaurna country was actually going over to Victoria to meet with the Victorian grannies group which was comprised of Gunditjmara elders. I mentioned to one of the grandmothers, who is one of my aunties, ‘You know, my mob come from there. I’ve been estranged from my mother’s family and I don’t really have good connections with the community there. Could you just ask around?’ My aunty came back and she had all these contacts for me of people that I was related to that I hadn’t had contact with and so I contacted one of the women and she had done the entire family tree. So I was able to situate myself and my mother in that broader family. It was a bit of a turning point for me because I, all of sudden, felt more connected to the family there. I’d always had Aboriginal family here and my kids’ father’s family here. I feel really lucky to have spent a lot of time with his community learning his language, songs and dances but I think I needed to connect with who my family was and all the knowledge keepers in my language group. It was special and I will forever be grateful for that aunty for making that connection.

Can you share an insight into what engaging with your cultural knowledge and spirituality is like?

I think it’s many and varied and hard to articulate. I think sometimes I struggle to articulate our beliefs or our spirituality in words so I’ll often paint. It seems weird for someone who likes writing for words to fail them at times but it does. I have one particular aunty that lives in Adelaide who teaches me all of our old ways, and shares so much of her knowledge and spirituality with me, I am truly grateful. She’s connected to the ancestors, she’s a healer so she provides physical and spiritual healing. Also, she’s wise in that she knows when you need something or when you need caring for or what might be the right fix. So recently, I’ve been struggling with being at home all the time and trying to manage all the things I’ve got going on and she just sent me a message out of the blue—I hadn’t even expressed to her how frustrated or anxious I was about everything—and said, ‘You know, what you really need to do is walk down to the park and gather up some eucalyptus leaves and do a eucalyptus cleanse’ and it’s like she just knows the right thing at the right time. Because I had learnt from her how to do this , I was able to do that with the kids. It’s a spiritual process in that when we collect the eucalyptus leaves—because obviously we can’t go onto country because I’m away from my country and the kids’ country is too far away as well in times of COVID— and so we went down the park and took our shoes off and put our feet in the earth and collected the leaves. In the process of collecting them, being really mindful that mother country is supplying these resources to us and this care is available right around us. So, we gathered up the leaves and brought them home and there was this process of the kids and I sitting around the table sorting them all out. We created these bundles and inside them is wattle and other native leaves and flowers. We did a cleanse through the house where my daughter sang a song in Ngarrindjeri, which is used to cleanse the dancing ground before performing. So, she did that around the house and then once the eucalypt bundles have dried out we’ll set them alight and inhale the smoke allowing it to waft across our body. Connecting to country and the traditional processes and practices like the eucalyptus cleanse, as an example, that we are disconnected from on a daily basis because we’re using computers and phones, so making space and time





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in your day to connect with those old ways is hugely valuable for us. It’s also important for me to pass those practices on to the kids. In terms of my aunty, it’s also having access to the stories. If I’m going through something or struggling with something, sometimes she’ll just tell me a story about some aspect of creation, or ways of being and knowing. Through her telling the story I can start to apply those learnings, lessons and understandings to the situation I’m going through. So, I think sometimes when our old people share stories it’s not so much direct instruction but they will share knowledge and through the process of that sharing and retelling you can start to see how that relates to what you’re doing or needing at that time. The Verse Blak Out edition is scheduled to come out in September. Can you tell us about your role as guest Head Editor and how it’s coming along?

We are so excited to be coordinating this Aboriginal student take-over of Verse. We have a guest editorial team of talented Aboriginal students all with very unique and diverse talents. The edition is going to be a showcase of Aboriginal student excellence. So far we have had an excellent response from students, and will be featuring poetry, short stories, some interviews, a deadly blak playlist, some opinion pieces, photography, art – we’re hoping it’s going to be bigger and blacker and deadlier than ever! I think the most exciting thing for me is getting to know so many other Aboriginal students and hearing about all of the amazing talent that makes up our community. I love that someone could be sitting next to their fellow student, and not even realise that they are also an accomplished artist, or published wordsmith, or have masses of experience in managing large scale public events. I mean we are such a diverse mob, and I really hope that this edition will showcase all of the varieties of talents we all have.


Why is a dedicated Aboriginal-led Verse edition so important?

It’s really important that our students have spaces to share their knowledge, opinions, art, craft and experiences with a wide audience of interested people both within the Aboriginal student cohort and outside of it. Also, as an Aboriginal student, I am excited that this edition provides a decolonised and accessible space for students to express themselves and maybe disrupt some existing hegemonies!

Racism is a huge problem in Australia. How do you see it manifesting in a university setting and what can we do to fight it?

Sometimes I wonder whether universities really aim to produce and develop free thinking or whether they exist just to churn out the next generation of capitalists or imperialists. From my personal perspective, I think racism manifests in the voices that are held up as experts in the academy. I think there is this perception and rhetoric by all kinds of colonial institutions that they value and promote Aboriginal voices and knowledges, but in actuality the voices they value and promote are those that are peer reviewed, accepted by them, and reach a certain level of academic benchmark that the academy sets as some arbitrary marker of success. So I’d like to see more of our knowledge keepers recognised by the academy, people like my Aunty Mina or Uncle Dookie, both have infinite wisdom and knowledge. I’d like to explore how we could centre knowledges such as theirs. I do think there is change, I’m just probably very impatient for that change because I continue to see all of our old people being battle weary from fighting the on-going assault of colonisation and spending years asking politely—and sometimes impolitely—to be included in spaces where we have been excluded, including major areas like the constitution. They have spent years and years fighting, and I get tired of seeing our old people die never realising many of these things that they’ve fought so hard for. The other thing I am very conscious of is institutions who in theory support reconciliation and commit


to an increasing Aboriginal enrolment, but are often reluctant to re-evaluate and recalibrate their systems, processes, expectations and pedagogy to provide safe and accessible spaces and places for Aboriginal people. That being said, I do think good work is being done in all kinds of areas, by some amazing and talented people. Do you think that disconnect between Aboriginal culture and Western culture is shifting?

I think there is a shift. I think a shift is happening because we are facing a global climate catastrophe, and we’ve now got disease that is literally stealing the breath from people’s lungs in the same way that we have done to our Mother country. We’re strangling her and extinguishing her breath and now she’s taking it from us. So I think there is an impetus for change and I think some willingness to consider other ways of knowing and doing. But I find that while there is an openness, it is still conditional. We just had the catastrophic fires and there was quite a bit of media coverage around traditional Aboriginal land management and the use of fire in preventing these sort of catastrophes from happening. But there is no engagement in a real way. So while there was some publication of our ways, we don’t see any real shift in government policy that redirects or recalibrates government priorities to more sustainable and traditional land management methods. So I see that there is a shift in acceptance of different ways but I’d like to see that in more tangible and sustained way. Also, I think there is always going to be a chasm between us, because everything about us is different. From my perspective, everything we do is connected to country and to our obligations to country, including our waters and our skies and the cosmos. Even when I am producing art, I am telling stories about my obligation and relationship to country or about the gifts that I have been given from the ancestors. So I think we can even obtain and use knowledge in a different way. That’s not to say that we couldn’t come to a space of coexisting with mutual respect in a real reconciliatory manner.

You’re a very creative person. In your creative writing in particular, what are you inspired by?

Have you always wanted to be an author? Can you tell us about how you pursue your writing voice?

I was really lucky to grow up in a creative family. My grandmother was a beautiful craft maker, and my dad is a painter. My dad taught me a lot about art and being creative. He was always super supportive and encouraging of any new thing I wanted to try. He took me to galleries and our house was filled with paintings, sketch books, and beautiful big art books of all the greats. But right now, my writing is my focus. I dabble in painting, but poetry is the thing I enjoy most. Sometimes, people think because I am Aboriginal I will only write about culture, politics, land, country—but I write about all sorts of things—love, grief, longing, life…and sometimes politics and culture. I just don’t like how often we get pigeon holed as Aboriginal people. A good friend of mine talks about this often – how as an Aboriginal visual artist people always expect to see her produce dot paintings! I don’t think I ever wanted to be an author, but I have always written. I spent almost ten years working for members of parliament where I wrote speeches and briefings for them. But I have always felt peace when I was writing creatively. I think after writing for a job for a decade, I lost my passion for it. And then a couple of years ago all of the words returned. They used to bash about my mind like a biggest mob of yukuty in there, and then when I finally set them free and put pen to paper, and it set me free too. Sounds totally clichéd but writing is actually a really cathartic experience for me. Sometimes, I will publish under a different name if it is a piece I feel particularly vulnerable about, but I am feeling more and more comfortable with putting my truths out there. I was lucky recently to have a yarn with an amazing Aboriginal academic that I admire, Aileen Moreton-Robinson.


Prof Moreton-Robinson happened upon an article I had published and she messaged me saying that she felt that my words came straight from the ancestors. It was the biggest compliment because I do feel that I have my mother’s stories and the blood of all the women before me coursing through my veins. It is in their honour that I centre their unique knowledges, and privilege their voices and stories in all my work. For our taboo column this edition, we’re talking about hoarding toilet paper and pasta, and the different ways people react in times of crisis. Do you have anything to say on this?

Ahhhh so many thoughts….but I guess it has highlighted for me how primal people’s responses are to these sorts of times—people hoarding pasta and toilet paper, and in the US buying up guns and ammo. I think it’s extraordinary. And I also think it’s a hugely selfish act, not to mention a massive sign of privilege, to be able to hoard any grocery items. But I guess for some people they feel the need to do something to keep themselves and their family safe. I do think the ubiquity of social media plays a role in all of this too—flooding people’s timelines with images of empty supermarket shelves fuels people’s sense of threat and urgency. But I would also say that I am so sick of people saying these are ‘unprecedented times’ when there was actually another time that a ship came to shore bringing death and disease (just saying)… ☐


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Hoarding in a crisis |

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Words Anna Day Artwork Callum Muzyka


y fingers twitch towards it in the supermarket aisle. I make the snap-decision. The plastic wrapped bundle makes a satisfying thooft as it lands in my trolley. As I continue down the aisle, my chest untightens a bit. A tension I didn’t realise I was carrying around temporarily relaxes. All thanks to an extra set of toilet paper that realistically I won’t need until another two weeks. It’s not like I’m one of them, I tell myself as a go through the self serve. I’m not panic buying really, I mentally argue with myself as I bag my shopping. I just want the peace of mind that I’ll be able to wipe my ass for the short-term foreseeable future. “Is that too much to ask?” I wail into the skies in the Coles car park. Packets of pasta split and cans of beans roll under parked cars as I sink onto the asphalt. The world might actually be ending. What you just witnessed, dear reader, was a dramatised retelling of my experience during a shopping outing in early March 2020. While the supermarket shelves are looking comparatively more lush these days, it was only a couple of months ago that they were running on empty. Even though the coronavirus is showing signs of slowing down, the idea of our empty supermarket shelves still leaves me wondering: how did we, and in particular, I, get there? Well, it turns out it has everything to do with our psychology. In an article written in late March for The Conversation, psychologist Chris Stiff theorised that in the corona crisis everyone essentially falls into two very broad categories: greedy people or fearful people. Greedy people are the ones who were out in the beginning with trolleys full of toilet paper and pasta,


knocking down little, old ladies as they went. The bottom line for greedy people is they don’t care about anyone else as long as they are a-okay. Fearful people are a bit different. They want to do the right, “socially responsible” thing but are influenced by the fear of greedy people’s actions. For them, the bottom line is they don’t want to end up with the sucker’s payoff. That is, they tried to shop responsibly by only purchasing what they needed at any given time and ended up worse off for it. So while I wanted to be a good person and do the right thing, I fell albeit momentarily for an overriding human emotion: fear. In retrospect, fear has contributed to a fair few negative feelings I’ve had over the last few months. It manifested as an internal aggression towards people not keeping the distance or elderly people out on seemingly non-essential business. I also felt very angry when I found out my friend Madi Bogisch couldn’t buy the Ventolin she needed as a chronic asthmatic. “At the beginning of March there were reports of people buying up to 15 Ventolin inhalers at once,” Madi says. “Subsequently, pharmacies were then having to order double the amount of Ventolin to keep up with demand, then put a limit of 1-2 Ventolins per purchase and in some instances were even running out of stock. “As both my sister and I are chronic asthmatics—and have been since birth—it was unsettling to think something which we regularly need and usually have readily available for purchase was becoming limited. “While I’m not sure whether it was asthmatics stockpiling in preparation or just people who thought Ventolin was the cure for COVID, the stockpiling seemed like it was done out of fear.” Perhaps people’s reactions to corona has unsettled us so much is because it exposed how much thinner the veneer of our society actually is. At the first signs of duress, it showed a crack and suddenly some people were left without things they genuinely needed. The other gapping problem with panic-buying was the media coverage it received. Images of empty shelves only fuelled people’s sense insecurity, urging them to go out and buy more. While the news stories on Australia’s “supermarket crisis” were relentless, in the months during the corona crisis I only saw one news story about the world’s actual hunger crisis. In developing nations from Kenya to Colombia, a hunger emergency has been unfolding that experts expect will double the number of people facing acute hunger to 265 million by the end of this year. The coronavirus has disrupted everyone’s lives but it is poor people, and particularly large portions of

poor nations, who are now facing the very real possibility of starvation. I know that ‘the kids in Africa’ argument is cliched and trivialised but it shouldn’t be. Everyone in this world should have access to enough food to live. It’s fucked up and if you don’t feel angry and upset then you should. I’m lucky enough to still have a job and live at home so I donated $20 that I haven’t spent on takeaway coffee towards Oxfam’s global hunger fund. I know that, now more than ever, not everyone has the means to do this and that money won’t wholly fix these kinds of problems but donating is simple way to put a small amount of good back into the world. Speaking of good, while trawling the internet during this isolation, I came across a tweet which had been making the rounds on social media. The story was from The Best Care Possible: A Physician’s Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life by Ira Byock and the short version is that a student once asked famous anthropologist Margaret Mead what she considered to be the earliest sign of civilisation. While the answer to that might have been any number of things like hunting tools, pottery or religious artefacts, Mead replied that she believed the marker of civilisation to be a healed femur. Back in the day, keeping your thigh bones in one piece was fairly important. If you broke one, you were pretty much screwed. So, if you’re seeing evidence of healed femur, Mead reasoned, it suggests that someone else stuck around to take care of their injured friend while it healed. In the animal kingdom, other animals with broken legs die. Rather than any kind of rule-of-the-jungle theory or ground-breaking advances in technology, Margaret Mead argued the first sign of humanity was actually an act of compassion. It’s probable that in our lifetime we will face crises like this again, as well as crises of a different nature, and to overcome them we will need to work together and take care of one another. For a lot of us in Australia, we were lucky enough that the coronavirus passed with relative freedoms, and that we had healthcare workers who worked tirelessly to keep people safe. Hopefully, the good lessons of coronavirus plus the weaknesses it exposed will make us better prepared for the next challenge we face. ☐


Artwork Alexandrina Seager

Everyone has a story. Humans of UniSA is a deep dive into the lives of our fellow students to unravel the threads of their personal history, quiet ambitions, and their hopes, worries and joys. Take a fleeting glance into the vivid lives we pass by each day in the hallways and classrooms of UniSA.


Edition 34 2020


’m very passionate about issues surrounding gender and sexuality, which I guess is what I covered before kind of. Yeah, I’m a queer woman, so I’m very passionate about all things to do with sexuality. And especially, I identify as bisexual so that is something I am very passionate about, having representation for bisexuals. No, I have no clue what I’m going to do post-uni. I guess I’ll just apply for every single thing that is in comms and media and journalism that I can find and keep my fingers crossed because I know it’s going to be really hard to find anything, especially now since newspapers are closing down and everything. Hopefully, they’ll re-open when this is all over, but we don’t really know. I, on the one hand, I’m really excited that I don’t need to study anymore. But on the other hand, education is all I’ve ever known. It’s going to be weird to not be in any education anymore, if you know what I mean? Like being a ‘proper’ adult and working 9-5 and all that, I don’t know how I’m going to cope because I’m a super lazy person. It’s daunting and also exciting. It’s been good but also challenging. I’m not someone who is a natural-born leader. It’s something I need to work very hard to do because I’m very introverted. It wasn’t something I was planning on doing, it’s just Anna, like your editor, because she’s the former On The Record editor, and said ‘Hey! Do you wanna be the editor next year?’ And I was like ‘Ahh… okay, sure.’ It wasn’t really something I planned on doing but they needed someone stepping into the role, so I did. My favourite part is working with everyone. I feel like everyone on the team is so great, and we all work together so well. My favourite part has been getting to know everyone in the uni community. I didn’t really talk to that many people beforehand in our uni, but now I’m talking to people every day about their stories and all that. One thing that always springs to my mind as something that we don’t talk about enough sex. I know that sounds weird, but like I think it’s such a natural part of life and yet it is such a taboo topic and when we don’t talk about it, it leads to things like gender inequality and sexual assault and all that. If we just had casual conversations about it all the time, and it wasn’t such a not safe work topic, maybe we wouldn’t see such big issues like this. People always ask me if I want to move for my job, and even though journalism and stuff is so important to me, I think I would never want to move away from all the people I have in my life here in Adelaide. Which maybe holds me back, but it is something I value the most. I think that if you have good relationships, you should never throw them away.

Like out of all my memories ever? Uhh … I’m trying to think. Something that comes to mind is that my aunty Cheryl, well she’s my dad’s aunty so my great aunty, but we just call her aunty. She was like a grandmother kind of role in my life when I was younger. And she has this big lot of land in One Tree Hill, and she used to babysit us all the time. We would always spend weekends there, and we would go down to the paddock and play with her alpacas and feed them and, like, feed the ducks and everything and go yabbying in her dam. We would collect cow shit from her paddocks to fertilise her garden, and be chased by colonies of bees because we were climbing trees we shouldn’t have been and things. Those are my favourite memories, I think, spending those weekends there. Ummm… who would I have lunch with? I would have lunch with Lizzo in… I don’t know where in particular, maybe just her place, because she really inspires me. I just think she’s so sick! Like, she has so much confidence and I just wish I had that much confidence. I’d just love to—hopefully just being in her presence would rub off some of her aura on to me, you know what I mean? Maybe she’d give me some of her wisdom. I’d love to see if she had that much energy all day long. I think she would because I feel like she’d just never stop. I think she’d just be sassy 24/7. I love ‘Good as Hell’, which is probably a generic answer, but I just think it’s such a bop. And when—this is maybe really cheesy—but when I’m upset, my boyfriend will sing it to me to try and make me feel better. And it works every time! I think I’m a big believer, like this is again really corny, but that everything happens for a reason. So I think if you’re in a rut at one point in your life, it’s going to lead you to something eventually. Like, you’re supposed to learn something in that moment. So, I think if you’re feeling lost, just hold on and see what you’re gaining out of that experience, there has to be something that you can take away, something that will push you forward eventually. Ooh … that’s a really good question. I’m trying to think of a plant that relates to me, but I don’t know. Probably something that you will need to give your attention to or it will die easily. Like I’m one of those really annoying houseplants that you need to give attention to everyday. I’m very high maintenance and need attention all the time. I can’t grow house plants, I kill them every time I try, so I just get fake ones now.

Interview Jordan White Photography Matthew Schultz 32

Humans of UniSA

Nikita Skuse Bachelor of Journalism and Professional Writing



Edition 34 2020

Will Ballard Bachelor of Design (Communication Design)


Humans of UniSA


lright, go ahead. Oh God. Well, I’ll play music in the background... can you hear that? No? I just realised I’ve got air pods in. Alright. Um... oh no! I’m okay; I’m okay actually. I’m actually doing way better than I was before COVID. I’m way more committed to uni, I’ve actually developed a routine that works now for COVID, and it actually works for study as well. It’s get up at seven, but as soon as my alarm bell hits I just get up, so instead of just dawdling around on my phone for twenty minutes I just get up, have a shower, get fully dressed as if I was going to uni or work, and then basically just go back onto my bed... fully clothed but it’s still the action of getting up. It works. Even if I’ve got nothing to do all day, even if I’ve got something on at 7 pm, I still get fully clothed, fully dressed and yeah... gee what else do I do? Oh yeah, I write down everything I need to do for that day the night before. For example, today is Wednesday: Zoom Emma, Zoom Grad Show, read for one hour, prepare for a mental health project meeting, do an invoice and research... and it’s got all these dot points and I just tick them off as I go. Yeah, and then dinner, sleep... so anyway the Sydney Swans are really good... How I ended up in Communication Design? Well, my first choice was architecture, so I did two years of architecture straight out of high school. In year 12, I did really well in design, but I chose architecture for some reason, and that was the completely wrong choice, like I don’t even know why I chose architecture. So, after two years of hating architecture, I swapped into design and basically yeah...I don’t know. Architecture was definitely helpful, a lot of the course work is pretty similar in the way that it’s structured, so you’ve got your studios, you’ve got your theory subjects, you’ve got your technical subjects... so it was very easy to get into design. Yeah, I was already accustomed to uni, and I remember going into design and thinking “I’m not going to make any friends, I’m just going to do uni” and I did that for the first year… I was like “I can’t be bothered making friends, I’ve got friends and I don’t need anymore”, but then I met you guys, and I realised that you guys help me do better at uni. One thing I love about design subjects is the studio culture and working together, and doing all three years with a core group. I’m definitely on the right path now. I think I’ve found my calling. Yeah, I really am enjoying it. Have I retained anything from architecture? I think architecture was more like a passion. I like walking through buildings and looking at them, but I don’t think I want to be an architectural designer as such. I definitely walk through the Kaurna Building and think “wow, this is amazing”, even the details of it all, I still look at... but yeah, yes, the answer is yes. I do mention the AS 1100 a lot when talking about the structure of a building, even though I don’t know anything about it. Yeah, the AS 1100, it’s like the architectural handbook, you know it’s got like all the rules of how a slab should be built and

stuff like that. I mean I use it as a joke. The last moment I remember from architecture was when I was submitting an assignment, and presenting it to the tutor and he absolutely tore me apart, because I went for this really minimal look for a pavilion, and he looked at it and he said it was so underdeveloped, and that I hadn’t tried at all, and I was like “ah fuck, fuck you.” Well, I didn’t actually say that but... My football career? Short. A couple of years ago I played for Sturt in the SANFL. It was a pretty large commitment, it was semi-professional with four days a week of training. I think I played two reserves games, oh actually one point five because in one of the games I was knocked out. Yeah, unconscious, well for a bit... so at the end of the season the head coach was like “yeah we don’t really see a future with you”, and after that I realised that I didn’t really like football as much, so now I just play socially for Adelaide Uni. Yeah, UniSA don’t have a team. No, you don’t have to go to Adelaide Uni to play for them, it’s just like a social club. I’ve heard it can lead to job opportunities so I thought I’d give them a crack... turns out all of them are accountants and lawyers or study business, but I’m still enjoying it there. Other interests? Probably photography is the biggest one. I love taking photos. I don’t know if you’ve seen my Instagram but I’m still posting photos from my Europe trip... yeah the feed kind of looks like I’m still there, but I’m not there at all. Eventually photography, I really want to nail that. Get really good at that. A lot of that depends on what you’re doing, and you actually have to go out and do it and find people to shoot with, but I’m focussing on one thing at a time at the moment. Yeah I do like film photography, but also the money it costs to produce film and how long it takes... it’s definitely special when you do take photos with a film camera, because it’s like living in the moment and it takes you back to a time and it’s very analogue. Excited to get back into life? Yes, yes I am, just to see my friends, like my friend Emma. But I hope that the routine I’ve got going on continues... but I’m definitely keen to get back to work, and get back to coffee dates with my friends. I think it’s a good time in winter to be inside. If it was summer then I’d hate it. I’m keen to get back to bar work... yes, yeah I am actually! Working at a bar is like being with your friends, if you’ve got a good core work group, then working with them is like going out and socialising, and obviously having drinks after work is really good too. I’ve really enjoyed the last six months working at West Oak and Lion Arts. Flex. Name drop. My parting advice for people in these times? Just do it. Just get up. Just get up and do it. Just put down your phone and turn off Netflix, and just do it. Maybe cut down on coffee too. ☐ Interview Emma Horner Photography Alex Ballard 35


Edition 34 2020


hen you’re from the country, you either leave the place or you don’t leave the place. There’s no in between. Funny that. Look, Loxton is fine. It’s a good little town, but for what I wanted to do, and what my personal goals are, it didn’t really align. That’s probably the nicest way to say it. Obviously, I love all the friends I made there and all the people I met and my family and everything, but for what I wanted to do I just… it wasn’t, like, the place to be. Unless some miraculous thing happened, and Loxton urbanised and became some metropolis. Ever since I was quite young, I wanted to be a journalist. Don’t ask me why, it’s just something I’ve always wanted to do. Maybe blame it on Tintin? I don’t know. I was a little obsessed. He was like this cool journalist who wrote articles, but also solved crimes. It was either going to go one of two ways: become a detective or become a journalist. And I was like, ‘I don’t want to get shot at.’ But I mean, if I become what I want to become I might get shot at anyway. Wahoo. I’m kidding, I’m kidding, I’m kidding. It’s just always been there. I’ve always been like, ‘I’m going to become a journalist.’ For as long as I can remember… I never went through a teacher phase or wanted to be an astronaut or anything. Which is weird for an eight-year-old to be like, ‘I’m going to become a frontline war journalist.’ Ask my parents. Nowadays, I just want to see where it takes me. Hopefully, somewhere cool… Yeah, not Buzzfeed. Wait, don’t say that though! Just in case just they give me a job opportunity or something! The more I’ve gotten into my degree the more I’ve gotten into film, which I’m taking as my sub-major. It’s an aspect of my degree I didn’t expect to enjoy so much. I decided to study film because, you know, I like watching movies and learning about how they’re made. But the more I’ve gotten into film, the more I’m seriously considering it as something that’s more than just a hobby or an interest. I guess a way to combine what I’ve always wanted to do with what I’m starting to get into with film would be through documentary making. That would be really cool. Ah, my exchange. I had a “great” exchange experience. I was going to be studying at Cardiff university, which I still am just at home, online. Then COVID-19 happened. Just my luck really… During my last exchange, in high school, Ebola broke out. I had two months in Cardiff. I had literally just made two months before I left. It was quite surreal. You go from going to Birmingham or Nottingham or Manchester on the weekend to just sitting in an empty flat by yourself… It happened so quickly. In two weeks, the majority of the university population had left, and it was eerie walking


around a country that has millions and millions of people and not seeing anybody around. I almost got stuck there too… My flight got cancelled and the borders were closing very quickly. But I’d made lots of friends during that time, so I did have places to stay if I needed. I could imagine it being quite daunting for people who were there and didn’t have anywhere to go. It’s sort of annoying to come home and be told you’re not allowed to go home. But at the same time, you have to do it. And quarantine wasn’t that tough really… Out of all the hotels in Adelaide, I had a pretty nice one… Two weeks of sitting around and catching up on tv shows and movies and being like, “I should probably do assignments,” and then just not doing them... Now I’m at home doing pretty much the same thing. Isolation? It’s a lot of time to think about things, which is good and also bad… Life. What does it mean? What are we doing here? All that sort of stuff… When it gets really late, I’m like, ‘Ah well, time doesn’t really exist in isolation, who cares anyway.’ It’s like I’m in an airport. Time doesn’t really exist in airports; everyone’s on their own schedule. I’ve been trying to do some, ugh this is so lame, I’ve been trying to do some creative stuff. Writing, mostly. It’s weird. I don’t really consider myself a creative person. Even though, I mean, I’m doing a double degree with English Lit. To me, there’s a difference between a person who is creative and a person who does creative things… And it’s never going to go away. Probably. Unless something happens and I hit my head too hard and I wake up and I think I’m like Picasso or something. It’s silly. People are like, ‘just use the c-word,’ and I’m like, ‘I don’t want to use the c-word!’ Maybe on my death bed… I just, I don’t think I’m there yet. Still a work in progress… I guess that’s the whole point. I’m never ever going to feel complete. But I hope that one day I reach a point where I’m, maybe not complete, but content with who I’ve become. That’s the dream really. ☐ Interview and photography Nina Phillips

Humans of UniSA

Zoe Vaughan Bachelor of Journalism and Professional Writing & Bachelor of Arts (Creative Writing and Literature)



The soap, the shower curtain and the mopping up



Edition 34 2020

Content warning: This piece contains references to sexual violence and may be triggering for some readers. The air was thick and damp and heavy. The moisture from the shower was carried along warm wafts and drifts of steam that circled upward, sailing along the planes of the ceiling, resting uncomfortably amongst the cracked and peeling paint, where water damage had swollen the plaster and bubbles of moisture had burst it open like war wounds revealing the bloodied flesh beneath. The fluoro lights overhead buzzed persistently, flickering intermittently casting random shadows that stretched and shrank against the grey walls—walls that reeked of institutional bleakness and misery. The whole place was devoid of any real character, and yet somehow the architecture contained within it centuries of violence, pain and oppression. It was difficult to breathe in this space-the air was too thick and the damp, black, overgrown mould infiltrated your lungs like fingers creeping across the surface of your breathing organ and filling it with spores turning your insides black, while the musty smell tapped annoyingly at the edges of your nostrils begging to be let in. In here you learnt to breathe in shallow breaths through your mouth, because the blocked drains let off a stench that could rot all of your senses from the inside, leaving you with the taste of filth and death for days. I stood steady with my eyes closed tight, head tilted upwards (I always loved the feeling of rainfall on my face especially when it was coupled with the moon’s crepuscular rays bathing me in its twilight beams—oh for those days). This was a rare moment of solitary. Everything was communal in here-no reflective space, certainly no privacy. Hot water streamed from the shower nozzle: the kind of stream that comes out in fits and bursts, splutters even. The kind of inadequate pressure that gives out just enough to get you wet, but leaves you holding a grudge against the hard and rough lime scale on the chrome plugging all the little holes. But in this place you have to be grateful for anything that can wash away the grime that burrows its way into your open pores like a fungus, clogging your skin with its omnipresence. I could hear the girls in the yard, someone had a basketball bouncing it repeatedly up and down the court, the sort of repetitive sound that grates on your nerves- but in this place consistency is hard to come by, so you take what you can get. I could hear someone else swearing loudly: cursing the other girls or the staff or the world-likely all three. This place is built upon mountains of discontent. The women in here are caught in endless cycles of punishment and pain, buried in entrenched ruts of melancholy, and trapped in trauma so deep that freedom from the familiar is near on impossible—scary, even.


The mirrors in this place had fogged over and beads of condensation dripped down in wandering trickly lines, intersecting and growing thicker until those trails pooled along the chipped, cheap melamine benches, stained and etched with women’s markings. The bathroom door was slightly ajar (of course! Nothing worked how it should in this shit hole) and wisps of steam filtered through the crack into the corridor. The place was otherwise quiet, as quiet as it was going to get. I hummed a familiar tune to give company to the sound of water splashing down creating a symphony with the crinkle of the worn, ripped shower curtain with its broken hooks, which left it hanging slightly askew, barely holding back the sploshes of water. It seemed that the state of that shower curtain epitomised the hopelessness and dysfunction of this place. Within an instant, the bliss bubble I had constructed had burst. It was as swift as a needle piercing a balloon but without the bang or the tears of the toddler left holding a flaccid crumple of latex. In a single, well trained move, my back was pressed against the wall pinning my body into submission. I felt my shoulder slip along the slimy surface and winced. Fuck, I’d never get clean now. I felt the ooze of blood running down my back like little rivers following their natural water course. Drips of red hit the floor and were quickly overwhelmed and absorbed by the water. Fuck those broken tiles. I gasped in shock as pain seared down my side like a hot knife running through butter. The water rained down on me—us. It ran across my face, drips perching along the ridges of my brows, welling along my eyelashes while mini streams poured along the lines of my neck, travelling down to my chest turning my breasts into rocky waterfalls. My breathing was hard as their lips took possession of mine. The hot water was intoxicating and my body betrayed me and I felt warmth spread to the extremities. We were both interminably wet, hair saturated and their soaked clothes pressed against my naked body. I reached up, but with one swift move my hands were pinned against the tiles. Their mouth and lips and hands roamed roughly across my naked form, along the curves and across all the soft edges. I thought if I just stood still, if I didn’t react, didn’t submit or respond or breathe even, they’d move on...but I very quickly realised that this wasn’t the entree, I was the whole fucking buffet. So there I stood, eyes closed, holding my breath, counting slowly in my head...counting to the highest number I could go...and at 328 it was over...relief washed across me like the perfect wave, but instead of riding that crescent to the shore, I sank to my knees and sobbed; big, fat salty tears-you know the kind of crying that twists your face and distorts all your features. Pain is so fucking ugly.

I huddled in the corner of the shower, rubbing the bar of grey soap pathetically against my knee, salty tears and shower water combined to rain down on me. The force of it was ripping my breath away. And then I could hear someone screaming. It was terrifying, blood curdling, and it just kept going on and on and on. With furrowed brow, I crawled along the floor, pathetically naked, rising to my knees, until I was staggering wet foot prints across the room. I used the bench to haul my heavy body upright, and I saw myself in the mirror—it was me. It was me screaming. Instantly I clapped my hands to my mouth to stop the terror from escaping my throat, as if my hand could contain all of the pain and all of the panic, as if anything could. I watched the blood slowly ooze from the slit in my brow, and my eye was starting to bloat with a purplish-green hue. As if seeing through another lens, I saw the weight of depression clinging to my body, like an oversized coat I had borrowed in the winter. My mind wondered at how I had got to this place, in this space, in this time…it hurt to remember, it physically hurt, it hurt to the pit of my stomach and echoed through the valleys of regret down to my soul— it was as if each memory was so tightly stored away that I had to squeeze it out like the last bit of toothpaste in the tube. I wrestled with each memory, and tore the gaffer tape from the archives in my mind. My hands gripped the basin, knuckles white with the strain while thick globs of blood slowly fell onto the porcelain.

that it drowned me, knowing I’d have to be prepared for it all to begin again tomorrow…because I am just a number—a sequence of six tiny, little numbers. Numbers don’t feel pain, numbers have no rights, numbers need no dignity. Numbers…we are all just numbers inside. Words and Artwork Tabitha Lean

I forced myself to think. I thought about how I had been lured into suppression. I thought about everyone who had fed off me and discarded me like week-old food. I thought about how my body had been stripped bare, a rotting carcass of my former self, an empty shell with no hope, no future, no fight left in me, not even a roar. I was battle weary. I was tired, so fucking tired. I was consumed by an ineffable sadness, a grief so palpable, and a weariness that sagged and oozed from every pore. I had been assaulted, night after night in this place and to my surprise it was a wolf that brought me finally to my knees. But if I’m being fair, it had started before I came to this place. The violence—the brutality, it followed me as if I was the pied piper leading every fucking rat to my door. I would always walk a little more warily. I would always sleep a little less deeply. I was changed on a molecular level. It was the ubiquitous slaps in the face I couldn’t stand. And I longed for peace, because even though I’ve always chosen delirium over death, anything right now would be better than the reality. And then someone flushed the toilet in the next stall, they cleared their throat. The siren rang for the girls to come back inside, it was time to line up, time to be counted. I bowed my head in submission as I glanced around the crime scene, letting the tidal wave of sadness wash over me, praying today wasn’t the day


Small town kids



We live in a town where The world can’t touch us. So, maybe we were made To live life on the outer, Maybe we were born for this. The day we Learnt to run, we swore We would never go home. A generation raised by Radio static and siren sounds Screams for some silence – Isn’t that funny? We’re dying to disconnect The cords to the TV And just be. So, let’s stare at the sky and Watch people passing by. Let’s forget about the world For it seems to have already Forgotten about us. Words and Photography Stephanie Montatore



Distance I’ll see you in August, you whispered. Like cigarette smoke, those five words seeped into my skin and hair follicles. As I boarded my flight home, the words trickled into my bloodstream and lingered within me for weeks. I’ll. See. You. In. August. Strapped into an aisle seat, I did not notice as the world beyond my window trembled. Perhaps, if I had noted this tremor, I’d have realised I would soon be barred from returning to you, indefinitely. Now, we exist 13000 kilometres apart. A wall of glass divides us and only echoes of ourselves can visit each other. August is no longer a few months away. Our August could be in October or December or a year and a half from now. Our August is as postponed as a birthday party in April. Tonight, we talk through a screen till you fall asleep. You lie on your back like always, a smile playing upon your lips, so still you could be a painting. Dreaming Boy Bathed in Blue. I reach toward you in hopes you’ll fold into my arms like a sun-soaked blanket. I know, paintings are not to be touched. I know, even if one is to touch a painting, a painting cannot feel one’s caress, especially, when locked in a case. And yet, as the evening fades from gold to grey, I stretch my fingers into nothingness certain it’s the same nothingness that envelops you. My chest tightens and I close my eyes. Visions of an embrace that transcends time and space flood my mind and empty sheets. Limbs tangled, hearts pounding; our bodies nestle into each other. Your breath, warm and wistful, dances through my hair as you whisper a promise in five words. And August doesn’t feel so far away. Words Nina Phillips Artwork Lauren Rawlings



Edition 34 2020

Haunted house some nights make a haunted house out of a home, as midnight sleep silence leaves the awake on their own. a phantom hand on my shoulder, a chill in my room, or the faint scent of an oddly familiar perfume. but dark thoughts creep into a poisoned night head until it’s my mind that’s begun to be haunted instead with thoughts lingering after merely a momentary recall, of things that loom larger than the ghost in the hall. yet soon sleep will envelope the woefully weary, and take with it all thoughts of the ghostly and eerie, so when dawn extends a hand to paint light upon my cheek, the ghosts are scared away while I lie still sound asleep. Words and Artwork Lauren Rawlings



Bloom again



I often tell myself that I am growing as all flowers do and when the time is right I will bloom Delicate, random and free like the wildflowers that sprawl across fields burst out of pavement cracks and thrive where no one looks for beauty I am growing and then I will bloom. And sure, just like the wildflowers I will wilt The rain will come and I’ll feel like I am drowning in it I won’t be able to breathe around it But soon, the rain will ease and I will see it didn’t come to drown it came to nurture in a way that’s different to the sunshine I’m used to It will fill my soul with nutrients and give me the opportunity to bloom again Vibrant, bold and free like the wildflowers that sprout through the weeds break through the pavement cracks and thrive even in places most trampled And sure, I will wilt once more most wildflowers die in the winter months but I’ll remember that my springs and summers will come again. So, I don’t worry, when the sun dims and the rains come when my leaves go brown and the edges curl when my flower wilts and the petals fall It is not an ending it is the next in an endless cycle of new beginnings. Words Kate Newman Photography Jasmine Edwards


How do you wipe your bum?

We’ve all heard about the mouthfeel, how a piece of food feels in the mouth, but what about the bumfeel? And no, I’m not talking about shoving a Chiko Roll up your back door. The pillaging of supermarkets for personal hygiene supplies has finally started to lessen and the toilet paper aisle is looking significantly less desolate these days. With more variety available, you might be wondering which brands best suit your bumhole. We put five Aussie favourites to the test! Words Nina Phillips Artwork Emma Horner



Quilton Gold 4-ply Bumfeel: A pillowy cloud from heaven The “never ending softness” of Quilton, celebrated by a moonwalking, toilet-paper wielding cupid in their memorable television commercial, certainly lives up to expectations in their 4-ply edition. After all, the four in 4-ply means each shit ticket of Quilton Gold 4-ply is four times softer than its 1-ply competitors, right? However, at almost a dollar a roll, is your anus worth it? Quilton loves your bum and, unfortunately, your wallet!

Kleenex Complete Clean Bumfeel: Puppy fur Whether you’re a scruncher or a folder, if you’re using Kleenex Complete Clean (and wiping properly) you can wiggle your tush with confidence knowing you’re completely dingleberry free! During these stressful times, its puppy fur-like softness and absorbency can offer you a reprieve from the world. Plus, there are Labradors on the packet!

Who Gives A Crap 100% Recycled Toilet Paper Bumfeel: Satisfyingly gentle Soft, absorbent and durable, Who Gives A Crap nails the trifecta of loo rolls, and, as the name suggests, is made with 100% recycled paper! Embrace your inner eco-warrior on the outside… of your bumhole. Black and Gold Bumfeel: Abrasive paper There are several similarities between sand (as described by Anakin Skywalker) and Black and Gold toilet paper. Both are coarse, rough and irritating. At least, in the case of Black and Gold, it doesn’t get everywhere. Or rather, it reduces the chance of covering your clothes in caca. Sure, home brand products are subpar at the best of times and this bog roll is NOT an exception. Then again, it gets the job done.

Newspaper Bumfeel: Uh, no thanks Okay, I lied. This last one isn’t an Aussie favourite—it’s a warning. If you’re all out of TP and you’ve finished your Sunday morning crossword and you’re thinking to yourself, “why not?…” Don’t. Trust me. It’s deceptively slippery and has zero absorption. Get some baby wipes or jump in the shower. Your papercut-less bumhole will thank you.



Edition 34 2020










Across 2. An outline of land and buildings defined against the sky 6. Someone who abstains from meat 9. Carole f**cking _______ 10. A handicraft that uses a hooked needle Down 1. A bread product synonymous with NYC 3. Protein, vitamins, and minerals 4. Howl’s ______Castle is a 2004 animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki 5. The eight month of the year 7. A place with booze and music that we couldn’t go to 8. A scale used to rate quality of toilet paper (hint: see page 50) Puzzle Master Anna Day





6 4












7 6

9 5



7 8

5 3





2 6



3 7

3 1



3 2


7 9





2 7

8 5





Edition 34 2020

The signs according to Tiger King Artwork Emma Horner Words Jordan White (probably an astrologer, who knows?)

“I’d shoot you before I’d shoot my cat.”



Aries Mar 21 - Apr 19

“You can see how they go from being so sweet to tearing your face off, just like that, and it’s amazing to have that range.” You might think you know someone, Aries, but don’t forget some people would sooner turn on you than face consequences.

Taurus Apr 20 - May 20

“It’s almost a uniform. When I go in to talk with a legislator, if I go in there dressed head to toe in cat prints, people remember.” You, my dear, are a lioness. Don’t stress over what to wear; simply be true to yourself and you’ll drip finesse. It’s probably best to avoid leopard print, though. Best be safe.

Gemini May 21 - June 20

“I can almost promise you some of you will be urinated on.” Keep an open mind. Say yes to new things. Avoid can openers.

Cancer Jun 21 - Jul 22

“Political condoms. Vote for me or you’ll need these because you’re screwed.” Look beyond your shallow universe for a change, Cancer. Focus on the bigger picture for once and count your blessings, you ungrateful brat.

Leo Jul 23 - Aug 22

“One day I went out to the mailbox and it just exploded with snakes.” The heavens will unleash supernova upon supernova soon. Ignoring something doesn’t make it go away, so choose your battles wisely and watch where you concentrate your cosmic energy.

Virgo Aug 23 - Sept 22

“I cried because all of our footage was in that studio and I hadn’t backed up anything… That’s my retirement money that just burned, OK?” These shaky markets will recover. Sit tight and remember to diversify where possible—except for spouses, because we all know how that ends. And for the love of good, back up your work.

Libra Sept 23 - Oct 22

“That was definitely a champagne and brie evening.” You’ve put in hard work and reaped outstanding results. It’s time to celebrate.

Scorpio Oct 23 - Nov 21

“They say you can’t get nothing done with a monkey on your back, so you put them on your f*ing front and you can still get shit done.” There’s more than one solution to your problems. Take ten. Re-evaluate, and try again. Think outside the box and stop making excuses for yourself.

Sagittarius Nov 22 - Dec 21

“We’re all in cages, man.” Best focus all your energy on toppling the bureaucracy. It’s not crazy if the tiger goddess told you to. Durga said.

Capricorn Dec 22 - Jan 19

“If someone wanted to kill you, they’d put sardine oil all over you.” Pineapple is a matter of taste. I know anything technically goes on a pizza (if you’re brave enough) but anchovies?! Seriously? Grow up.

Aquarius Jan 20 - Feb 18

“I’m outspoken, good looking, love to party and have fun.” Yes, you could go out and get shitfaced, but you could also stay in. There will be plenty of other opportunities to behave like an animal (and staying in does not equal not getting shitfaced).

Pisces Feb 19 - Mar 20

“A lot of people think that Tigers took my legs. No. It actually happened from a zip-line accident.” Things are not always as they seem, Pisces. You may be warm, but that doesn’t mean the other signs are. Look beyond the surface and trust your gut for once.


Club Feature: Student Sustainability Collective Photography Student Sustainability Collective Interview Anna Day


Who are the Student Sustainability Collective?

We’re a group of students committed to promoting the benefits of social, economic and environmental sustainability and sustainable practices to UniSA students. Our executives are based across the metro campuses studying a wide variety of degrees, so we all have different skills and experiences that we contribute to our team. We also represent students on the UniSA Business School Sustainability Committee. Our meet-ups have been at places that follow our values and promote social, environmental and economic sustainability in some way including cafes, pubs, and even conservation parks.

What are the Student Sustainability Collective’s goals?

We want students to embrace sustainable practices in their everyday lives. It would be fantastic to see UniSA be a leader in sustainability and make that a core aspect of student life. Among our goals is to fight food waste, expand recycling programs on campus, promote and support sustainable campus initiatives such as the Community Gardens, and learn the benefits of native Australian plants. Creating an environment for like-minded people to interact with each other and work collaboratively so that we can all share knowledge is crucial so that everyone can be included. This is why we have regular discussions with UniSA staff on how we can make this a reality on our campuses. USASA has also been very supportive of our mission, and has adopted practices like partnering with local businesses, ditching single use items like plastic cutlery, and not using balloons at events.

How can people continue to care and advocate for a sustainable future from the confines of their homes?

Make changes towards being sustainable one step at a time, and encourage the people around you to do the same. Don’t be preachy about it and don’t force others to do something they can’t. Not everyone can adopt the same practices in their lives, but we all need to contribute what we can where it’s reasonable to do so. Go local. If you need to get out of the house for essentials, leave the car at home if you can and try to walk or cycle to your local shops if possible. Try and buy products made locally too. The particle emissions from vehicles used for transport is a major contributor to greenhouses gases and air pollution. Walking and cycling are great for both our own and the planet’s health. Only get deliveries if they’re absolutely essential and you can’t get it nearby. Grow your own produce at home if possible. If you have time, contact brands whose products you like and encourage them to adopt more sustainable packaging. It’s absolutely vital that we reduce our plastic usage to as close to zero as possible. If you have very young children (or are planning to become a parent), reusable cloth nappies are one of the best things you can do for the planet, as disposables are one of the most common forms of plastic waste in landfill. Depending on the type of plastic they’re made from, they’ll either take up to hundreds of years to fully decompose, or will simply break down into ever smaller pieces which will remain in the environment forever. We owe it to future generations that they be able to live on an habitable planet. Reusables are easy to take care of - just give them a cold rinse and prewash, and then another wash with hot water when putting them through your washing machine. We promise the ick factor goes away pretty quickly! There are some biodegradable disposables out there, but currently aren’t an affordable option for many parents, whereas cloth is a small upfront cost and last years.





Edition 34 2020

Can you give us some ideas for sustainable activities that people can do from home?

Brush up on those cooking skills; it’s tempting to order heaps of Uber Eats now that we can’t go out to our favourite places, but cooking your own meals, especially using home-grown ingredients, costs less money and cuts down on carbon emissions used by vehicles and industrial farms to get produce to shops. Repair your clothes; don’t throw a shirt away just because a button fell off. There’s heaps of easy DIY sewing tips online. But if an item of clothing isn’t salvageable, they can always be turned into cleaning rags, or carefully cut into a single long strip of fabric and used as crocheting yarn. Upcycle; if you’re up for a creative task and want to develop some design thinking and innovation skills, find a new use for an old item by bringing them back to life through a new use like using a broken coffee mug as a candle holder or worn out shoes for plant pots. Grow a veggie patch; seeds and seedlings are in short supply at shops, but you can regrow some fruits and vegetables from their seeds. If you’re new to gardening, start off with easy to care for plants like peas and tomatoes. The green stems of spring onions can be regrown from bulbs if kept in a glass of water and then replanted. Start composting; it may seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to be if you’re ready to get creative. There’s many adaptive ways to compost: you can use anything from yoghurt tubs up to laundry hampers as bins. Composting is great for your plants and our earth. Once you’ve got it started it does the work for you, and will only need the occasional tending to and feeding with more plant and food scraps. Start your compost with 3 easy steps, which you can find a video about on our Facebook page.

How can we get involved with the Student Sustainability Collective?

What is one sustainable act that if we all did it would change the world?


We’re really active on our Facebook and Instagram social media. Feel free to send us a message or email, as we’re always available for a chat and happy to give some tips on how to be more sustainable. If you have a vision of a more sustainable future and would like to work towards some achievable short-term goals with other passionate people then please help us grow by joining us. Once we’re back on campus, come say hi to us if you’re ever at the community gardens at City West and Mawson Lakes, you might catch one of us checking up on the herbs or having a nice lunch outdoors. We’re really keen to physically get back on campus and catch up with everyone for a produce swap and maybe even go for a group mushroom forage in Kuitpo Forest. Choose a vegetarian or vegan option when meal planning for the week. Being vegan isn’t achievable for some people and that’s okay! Reducing meat intake is a great sustainable change, as animal products aren’t essential in a healthy diet (as millions can attest to). Fresh fruits and vegetables can be sourced cheaply from places like the Adelaide Central Markets on Saturday afternoons, and another way is to become friends with your neighbours and swap meals for produce. ☐

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Crossword Solutions Across

SUDOKU Solutions Easy

Not So-Easy

2. An outline of land and buildings defined against the sky (Skyline) 6. Someone who abstains from meat (Vegetarian) 9. Carole f**cking _______ (Baskins) 10. A handicraft that uses a hooked needle (Crochet)

Down 1. A bread product synonymous with NYC (Bagel) 3. Protein, vitamins, and minerals (Nutrients) 4. Howl’s ______Castle is a 2004 animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki (Moving) 5. The eight month of the year (August) 7. A place with booze and music that we couldn’t go to (Nightclub) 8. A scale used to rate quality of toilet paper (Bumfeel) Puzzle Master Anna Day

President’s Letter Well, what a wild journey this year has decided to take us on. I remember sitting at my brother’s house on the day of the shutdown, after a big barbecue to celebrate our birthday and the Hottest 100 of the decade. It goes to show just how quickly this whole situation is evolving and shifting, and from my view, USASA has risen to the challenge of being highly mobile and responsive. As of writing this column, we’ve now transitioned almost all of our services online and are continuing to evaluate and adapt those services to be as effective as possible. The particular focus of USASA during this time has been supporting students who are doing it tough. We’ve expanded our financial counselling service with a top-up from the university, and myself, some of our advocates and also student representatives have been involved in the development and implementation of the $10mill student hardship fund. We’ve been increasingly vocal in this area to make sure that students aren’t left behind in this challenging time. There was also the implementation of the Census Grace Period till May the 1st, which USASA was heavily involved in gaining, and more recently, the adoption of Non-Graded Passing and Withdraws instead of Fails. I hope that this will go a long way to helping alleviate any further damage to student’s education while we deal with this situation. Going forward, USASA is looking to continue our push to make any decisions the university makes as student-centric as possible and will begin to head back to business as usual in a sense, transitioning some of our efforts back to previous initiatives such as the University Wide Academic Student Representation Program. As always, make sure you follow our social media channels and keep an eye on your emails to get the latest news, and if you have any inquires, make sure you reach out to us, I’m always happy to field comments from students. A final note, thank you for still supporting Verse at the moment. The team has done an amazing job of adapting to the challenge of not being on campus, and by picking up this magazine, by delivery or virtually, you’re helping support the amazing team and contributors. I look forward to speaking to you all again soon, hopefully on campus!


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Alex Ballard Alexandrina Seager Anna Day Bianca Pibworth Callum Muzyka Christina Massolino Emma Horner Ezra ThĂŠodore Tillet Jasmine Edwards Jordan White Kate Newman Lauren Rawlings Matthew Schultz Milo Trnovsky Nina Phillips Noah Beckmann Stephanie Montatore Student Sustainability Collective Tabitha Lean

@alexballlard @alexandrinaseager @_anna_day_ @grumpyanca @muzinkarts @ @emmahorner @ezragrammings @jordan.white306 @thefelttipsword @laurenkathleen_ @matblasch @_milo_t_ @ninaphillips27@ @noahbeckmann @stephanie_emma_ @unisastudentsustainability @haveachattabs

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Articles inside

Four dreams in a row (four dreams in a row, four dreams in a row in a row)   article cover image

Four dreams in a row (four dreams in a row, four dreams in a row in a row)

pages 6-9
Solutions article cover image


page 64
Clubs Feature: The Sustainability Collective article cover image

Clubs Feature: The Sustainability Collective

pages 58-63
Puzzles article cover image


pages 54-55
Review: How do you wipe your bum? article cover image

Review: How do you wipe your bum?

pages 52-53
Bloom again article cover image

Bloom again

pages 50-51
Haunted house article cover image

Haunted house

pages 48-49
Distance article cover image


pages 46-47
Imagine: Milo Trnovsky article cover image

Imagine: Milo Trnovsky

pages 10-17
Interview: Tabitha Lean article cover image

Interview: Tabitha Lean

pages 22-29
A list of all the things I want, and of all the article cover image

A list of all the things I want, and of all the

pages 18-19
Humans of UniSA article cover image

Humans of UniSA

pages 32-39
Taboo: Panic buying article cover image

Taboo: Panic buying

pages 30-31
The soap, the shower curtain and the article cover image

The soap, the shower curtain and the

pages 40-43
Small town kids article cover image

Small town kids

pages 44-45
Editor’s Letter article cover image

Editor’s Letter

pages 4-5
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