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Issue 8, 2014

The Drugs Issue

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News

  • Eye on Exec

  • PROGRESS MADE ON PATH: But more change needed

  • Interview with a Drug Lord

  • Peter Done Did It

  • “Objection: Your Honours”

  • Illegal highs reaching new lows

  • Bus Stopped

  • Features

  • MP’s Questions

    Salient asks MP’s if they support changes to drug law in New Zealand.

    by

  • Molotov stop

    I claim to be just a youth of the world at large. We watch a helicopter flying over the school one time at lunch. I don’t really know what or why but I whisper to myself that it’s okay and something will come of it regardless.

    by

  • druglordpeterdunneinterview

    Interview with a Drug Lord

    This is the full transcript of an interview conducted between the Salient Editors and Associate Minister of Health, Peter Dunne. He is the man in charge of government drug policy. Three days after this interview, he changed his view about synthetic drugs and moved to ban all remaining synthetic drugs.

    by

  • High Fives

    Drug related ‘High Five’ lists…

    by

  • Interview with the Executive Director of the Drug Foundation, Ross Bell

    We won’t go out and smoke cannabis on the lawn of parliament but “we will happily don a suit and go and talk to politicians about what’s happening in places like Colorado and Washington, in Portugal and Uruguay, and how that could inform NZ’s drug policy.”

    by

  • hippooath

    The Hippocritical Oath

    I met Jack (pseudonym), 59, habitual marijuana user, at his home. Usually when we picture the abodes of tokers we think of derelict state houses, ramshackle bungalows. Jack’s abode was antithetical to this perception: lavish, multi-storied, adorned with art.

    by

  • afterthesmokehascleared

    After the Smoke has Cleared

    It was as though we felt that if we just banned synthetics we could make not just the joint disappear, but the whole ugly scene. We wanted to wave the magic wand and make it all go away.

    by

  • buddingentrepreneur

    Interview with a Budding Entrepreneur

    Drug dealers: gang-related, aggressive, poor, ethnic, strangers. Salient’s resident gonzo journalist Mac Money knows that perception is false, so he sat down for a few bongs with his friend and dealer, Cuzzz.

    by

  • Growers’ Almanac

    The Government is proposing to change the law around objectionable publications. Under the new system, possessing a magazine which includes instructions on how to grow cannabis would be punishable by up to ten years in prison. So Salient decided to make criminals out of all of you, and include a grower’s guide to growing green.

    by

  • A Stoner’s Sojourn Into the Emerald Triangle

    Vic student Leigh Barr spent a summer harvesting in the States. She travelled to the Emerald Triangle in search of an illegal marijuana plantation to work on. In this feature, she writes about her experience trimming and preparing dak in California.

    by

  • Who’s Dak Girl?

    Sick of hearing your mates’ weed stories? So’s Hilary.

    by

  • MP’s Questions

    Salient asks MP’s if they support changes to drug law in New Zealand.

    by

  • Molotov stop

    I claim to be just a youth of the world at large. We watch a helicopter flying over the school one time at lunch. I don’t really know what or why but I whisper to myself that it’s okay and something will come of it regardless.

    by

  • druglordpeterdunneinterview

    Interview with a Drug Lord

    This is the full transcript of an interview conducted between the Salient Editors and Associate Minister of Health, Peter Dunne. He is the man in charge of government drug policy. Three days after this interview, he changed his view about synthetic drugs and moved to ban all remaining synthetic drugs.

    by

  • High Fives

    Drug related ‘High Five’ lists…

    by

  • Interview with the Executive Director of the Drug Foundation, Ross Bell

    We won’t go out and smoke cannabis on the lawn of parliament but “we will happily don a suit and go and talk to politicians about what’s happening in places like Colorado and Washington, in Portugal and Uruguay, and how that could inform NZ’s drug policy.”

    by

  • hippooath

    The Hippocritical Oath

    I met Jack (pseudonym), 59, habitual marijuana user, at his home. Usually when we picture the abodes of tokers we think of derelict state houses, ramshackle bungalows. Jack’s abode was antithetical to this perception: lavish, multi-storied, adorned with art.

    by

  • afterthesmokehascleared

    After the Smoke has Cleared

    It was as though we felt that if we just banned synthetics we could make not just the joint disappear, but the whole ugly scene. We wanted to wave the magic wand and make it all go away.

    by

  • buddingentrepreneur

    Interview with a Budding Entrepreneur

    Drug dealers: gang-related, aggressive, poor, ethnic, strangers. Salient’s resident gonzo journalist Mac Money knows that perception is false, so he sat down for a few bongs with his friend and dealer, Cuzzz.

    by

  • Growers’ Almanac

    The Government is proposing to change the law around objectionable publications. Under the new system, possessing a magazine which includes instructions on how to grow cannabis would be punishable by up to ten years in prison. So Salient decided to make criminals out of all of you, and include a grower’s guide to growing green.

    by

  • A Stoner’s Sojourn Into the Emerald Triangle

    Vic student Leigh Barr spent a summer harvesting in the States. She travelled to the Emerald Triangle in search of an illegal marijuana plantation to work on. In this feature, she writes about her experience trimming and preparing dak in California.

    by

  • Who’s Dak Girl?

    Sick of hearing your mates’ weed stories? So’s Hilary.

    by

  • Arts and Science

  • Kerosene Comic Book – The 420 Tape II [Mixtape Review]

    Kerosene Comic Book – The 420 Tape II
    4/5 stars

    Kerosene Comic Book (KCB) is not a band, or a label – they’re a collective; more a consistent brand than a consistent lineup. Think Tumblr, in-jokes, Drake-worship and drugs. KCB know who they are now, and this is possibly their best tape yet.

    Aptly titled, this is the kind of thing you put on as the afternoon wears its way into the evening. On my fourth listen through, I still find myself staring out the window while the clouds change and the birds flirt, ignoring the emails from my editor and thousands of assignments I should be starting. But I’m getting ahead of myself. This is electronic music, mostly instrumental, always warm. Often there is reverb, clicks, bubbling, incomprehensible vocal samples. Sometimes there are stuttering drums, sometimes there are old karate-film samples – because while there is no rapping here, you can feel hip-hop’s influence throughout. We get very dancey, but very introspective too.

    KCB’s sound is consistent enough for them to feel like a musical collective, rather than just a geographic/social one, even if, as member Skymning says, they are all in “the same age bracket in the same country”. While spanning genres of electronic music, there is a certain feel maintained here, one that makes this a hard tape to put on for a single song and then turn off. Of course, there are highlights here – particularly Career Girls’ ‘#00FFFF’ (a colour code for light aqua) and Race Banyon/Eskimo Eyes’ ‘The Way That I Do’ – but this is cohesive enough to be listened to as a whole, not just mined for keepers.

    by

  • The Lego Movie [Review]

    The world is surely brainwashed. This movie can do absolutely no wrong. Rotten Tomatoes has given it a score of 96%. ‘Everything Is Awesome’ is widely considered to be one of the most hilarious yet philosophical yet stupid theme songs like ever. It seamlessly bridges the maturity gap between adults and children, flying high with Batman puns and an underhand satire of our blind belief in neoliberalism. It’s the best animated film to hit Hollywood. It’s the best film of 2014. It’s possibly the best movie in the history of all cinema. Long live Lego, the bricks with little circles on top, and remarkable branding.

    It is a completely insane experience. Like a neurotic kid on a sugar high the pace borders on manic. The characters are ridiculous. Unikitty, a cat with a horn and negativity suppressing personality disorder. Emmet, the mistake of a star whose only original thought in his drab, conformist lifetime is a double-decker couch. The pirate scenes are irritating. President Business was an evil guy with an evil scheme that bores you because he is so obviously evil. Abraham Lincoln makes an appearance, Morgan Freeman’s voice is beautiful as always and I have to say that Batman voiced by Will Arnett is so batty you never want him to leave the frame. It so poignantly reflects the imagination and the unlimited free licence Lego itself gives its users. You are left exhausted and overloaded yet somehow satisfied. Movies of its kind, i.e. for kids, are often so boringly sensible in chasing the worthy goal of teaching important life lessons. The Lego Movie is fantastically overwhelmingly ludicrous, just like our imaginations should be.

    A cup of coffee in this Legoworld costs $37. In the beginning, Emmet is paralysed into being dull and ordinary by following the instruction manual, literally, to the letter. He watches that one TV show that everyone watches Where Are My Pants?; listens to that one song everyone listens to; and thinks everything is unfailingly awesome without question. You can’t miss this movie’s blatant satirical stab at our capitalist culture and global obsession with economic conformity. Slightly ironic since Lego is most certainly capitalising the profit-making potential of this film (a sequel is already planned, video game already released, plus the usual hordes of useless merchandise) but it’s refreshing to finally have a mainstream critique of our mainstream culture.

    Upon first seeing the trailer last year, someone in the cinema behind me scoffed: “What is this crap?” Though he didn’t know it, I felt a bond with this stranger and felt I would never see it unless forced. An hour into watching the actual movie I considered walking out. The plot was seemingly ridiculous, the script stiff, characters annoyingly obvious and the humour… very American. Not even the audience ten years my junior was laughing. I was writing it off as a flop. But The Lego Movie, being the sophisticated creativity fuel that it is, proved itself incredibly desirable with a twist that was hard to resist. It builds itself into a witty and strangely poignant reflection on how we control the imaginative flow of not only ourselves but those around us. I have now been endowed with the confidence to graduate from Duplo and collect sophisticated boxes of Lego which I plan to fill the rooms of my future house with. Who wants to grow up? I’m not planning on it.

    Five fun facts about The Lego Movie:
    1.     It is Morgan Freeman’s debut in an animated film.
    2.     The word ‘Lego’ is never used in the movie itself.
    3.     One of the Legolands in the movie is called “Middle Zealand”, a “wondrous land full of knights, castles, mutton, torture weapons, poverty, leeches, illiteracy, and, um… dragons.” The hilarity of the joke, considering most Americans think our beloved land is actually Middle Earth, has been lost on some New Zealanders who have taken it upon themselves to be offended, even calling on the PM to demand an apology. He told them to harden up and see it “for what it is – a light-hearted line in a children’s fantasy film”.
    4.     There will be a sequel with ‘strong females’ apparently. Because the world needs them.
    5.     Tegan and Sara ft. the Lonely Island are to thank for the tune ‘Everything is Awesome’.

     

    by

  • High Maintenance [Review]

    High Maintenance
    4.5/5

    This show has actually been floating about since 2012, though I was only referred to it recently, and I haven’t come across heaps who’ve seen it. Everyone should see it. Couple more things on that side of things: Sarah Silverman likes it; it’s critically acclaimed; created by 30 Rock writers. Only 3000-odd followers on Twitter, if you’re into Twitter. Who knows how many people have seen it, really. Certainly not I. Maybe it’s far more popular than the internet would have you believe. So:

    Web series set in New York. Isolated episodes, though with some recurring characters, which range from five to 13 minutes long. So it’s kind of perfect if you’ve got one of those little attention spans. What happens is we meet the episode’s character/s, they do something, and at some stage The Guy gets called and he delivers the pot. Like most brief synopses, that sounds pretty shit. Not so.

    Mostly unknown actors and beautiful cinematography and writing all contribute to a wonderful sense of realism, which at times exhibits great pathos but for the most part remains pretty comedic. Not laugh-out-loud funny most of the time (comedy is not the goal); the humour is instead much more organic and convincing, and therefore satisfying, in a way that, say, a sitcom might not be in the way it sets out to directly and purposefully humour you.* This is not to say the show is light all the time. There are a couple of pretty troubling and poignant episodes – see ‘Jonathan’ in particular. An episode which, dare I say it, fits into the series as a whole with a sort of dark irony.

    From a storytelling point of view, it’s actually incredible how rich such a short video can be. We’re given realism (which I keep talking about, but I suppose that’s just a phase I’m going through at the moment), and like good examples of an art form (I guess I went there…), it’s relatable regardless of whether or not you yourself do what the characters are doing. Here, I’m not just talking about the drugs thing. There was an episode, ‘Rachel’, featuring a cross-dresser,  which I thought was really fucking on-point and awesome. I know nothing about cross-dressing, so I won’t talk about that too much more, and in fact the episode to me was more about marriage and relationships and family. Getting carried away. Point is, within 13 minutes I empathised with a character who seemed real and whole to me – someone I liked.

    What else? The dialogue is probably my favourite aspect of the show, but that’s just because I’m a sucker for some sparkling conversation. As an aside: did you know that dogs can’t watch TV? Wow. The dialogue here is pretty minimalist, and in fact the whole show probably is. Given the time-restricted medium, we’re presented with something very slick and polished, though this polish is balanced by the realist conventions I forgot to mention earlier – stuff like the long takes and handheld camera. And again, the dialogue, which utilises a lot of space and plays with stuff like characters talking over each other, etc. Outstanding characterisation.

    What more else? I’m reasonably new to the web-series thing. But the more I watch them, the more I sort of think they’re like short stories, if you’re a person who reads for fun. By that, I mean they’re these little bite-sized, scrumptious brain-snacks. I was gonna do a whole thing on that in here, but after a brief and unfortunate google it turns out that The New Yorker actually has an article on that, so you’re prob better off just going there if that line of thought interests you. I may have even stolen the idea from them after reading their article drunk and forgetting about it or something.

    In summary, I’d say watch this, please. I mean I haven’t watched heaps of web series. But fuck, guys; this one is so good and it’s also pretty fun.

    *I’m looking at you, Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother and friends. Not Friends, though, maybe? In fact, ignore that, I’m no expert. Not even close, mate.

    by

  • New Poetry from VUP

    Horse with Hat by Marty Smith
    5/5 stars

    This collection of autobiographical poems begins with a hat and ends with a horse. Marty Smith’s poems fill a space that, for the rest of us, might only exist in a box of family photographs. Her world is one of galloping horses and unfinished edges. The same characters are always looming, shifting in and out of the light. The quietly chaotic illustrations sometimes feel discordant, darker than the poems warrant, but they still give you something to think about.

    Some people, young and old, just won’t read New Zealand poetry. Maybe it’s cultural cringe. Maybe it’s a stubborn refusal to see anything ‘New Zealandy’ as something new and refreshing. After all, we usually read to get out of ourselves – we don’t want a book to shove us straight back home. Marty Smith’s poems may have that small-town feel, but not in a claustrophobic way. There’s no clichéd ‘snapshot of New Zealand life’ being laid out neatly. Instead, she conjures up a landscape belonging distinctly to her and the people who lived in it. Horses gallop in and out of the frame of each mirage-memory poem, shaking its foundations, making it feel like the memory might rush off at any second. But at the same time, Smith seems to say that seeing ourselves in terms of our relationship with horses also anchors us, tracks where we’ve been, and maps where we’re going.

    Her tone is steady and natural, like we’re being let in on some casual secrets on a stroll in the back garden. Poems that grapple with the consequences of a culture of silence are more than just absorbing, they’re arresting: “If I say, my flames roar out the cracks.”

    Smith’s images are commonplace but raw and close-up: there’s the fuzz of a horse’s mouth and its hot breath on your hand, a cup of tea rattling in its saucer, a bit being chomped and frothed. These poems sometimes give the impression of standing on the side of the road when a car swooshes past and you feel it shake the air in front of your face, tipping you a step backwards. This is a gutsy book of poems that gives everything it’s got.

    Books We Think Everyone Should Read #6
    Abi Smoker

    A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
    This book relates a story between a mother and daughter. It’s set against the jarring and treacherous backdrop of Kabul, the capital of conflict-ridden Afghanistan. Outside their tumultuous relationship, the two women are often treated with violence and oppression by the men around them, and we are constantly aware of the prevalent presence of the Taliban. Mariam and Laila face obstacles threatening their own lives and the life of their country and culture. In the midst of all this brutality, relationships being broken and mended are the focal point of this novel. From the 1960s to the early 2000s, A Thousand Splendid Suns tracks a massive societal shift in Mariam and Laila’s country, but more importantly, it tracks their journey towards happiness and independence.

    WHAT WE’RE READING
    Reweti, Law and Politics student
    “I’m reading Jodi Picoult’s Plain Truth. She keeps me on the edge of my seat.”

    Margot, English and Japanese student
    “I just read After the Quake, a collection of Murakami’s short stories. I’m reading the English translation alongside the Japanese version.”

    Henry, Media, Politics and IR student
    Brideshead Revisited, because I never have and I enjoy rich people. Feels politically abhorrent but aesthetically excellent.”

    Dougal, English lecturer
    Starting Tina Makereti’s debut novel, finishing Mei Zhi’s memoirs of Hu Feng’s prison years, enjoying two new (for me) poets: Sinéad Morrissey and Caoilinn Hughes.

     

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  • How Do You Solve a Problem Like Viviane?

    Lexicon – Viviane Sassen
    City Gallery, until 15 June

    Let’s talk about negative space. About what is said when everything else is left out. About how insisting one thing may reveal exactly what one is trying to conceal. Like, for instance, the introductory wall-text to Viviane Sassen’s current exhibition at City Gallery, in which the Dutch photographer claims she has no interest in engaging in a debate around race and the power dynamic between photographer and photographed. Let’s not talk about how a white man (me) claiming a white woman’s depiction of black bodies is problematic may be, in itself, problematic.

    Lexicon’s setting is an imagined Africa. A place, that for Sassen, is informed by nostalgia; she lived in Kenya between the ages of three and five. For the viewer, however, this place is informed by every previous imagining of Africa as Other.  In lieu of any concrete details of place, we are offered suggestions of latent violence – whether they be in the form of three figures in gold foil bodybags; a man face down among fishing nets; a woman in stilettos, on her knees in red dust, an arm stretched behind her back, peering into what could be a grave – somewhere foreign, somewhere almost erotic. This setting is vast and dreamlike, and to an extent, it acknowledges its own artifice. Sassen’s background is in fashion photography; her attention to symmetry, positioning, colours that are both more vivid and subtle than in real life, are wielded here as much for seductive ends as her commercial work, only more covertly. On sale here is her own fantasy, one which simultaneously acknowledges its place among other fantasies, and tries to avoid it through appearing undeniably staged.

    Lexicon was originally exhibited at 2013’s Venice Biennale, the theme for which was ‘The Encyclopedic Palace’, based on Marino Auriti’s proposal to build a museum to hold all the knowledge in the world. It seems appropriate, then, that the body here is treated as a sculptural object. Sassen’s images operate almost contrary to how photography is supposed to operate: she reveals herself through shadows. Faces are almost always obscured, either by shadow, or by objects. Bodies are contorted; sometimes limp, sometimes angular. Often, they hang off one another in embrace, implying an intimacy denied to the viewer. The cataloguing of knowledge requires a distinction, between those classifying and classified. At one end of the gallery, Alain Resnais and Chris Marker’s 1953 film Statues Also Die plays on a loop. The film begins as an examination of items in the Musée de l’Homme’s anthropological collection, eventually launching into a seething attack on French colonialism. It is difficult to interpret whether the film acts as provocation or exoneration.

    The film, though it contributes to a reading perhaps not intended by Sassen herself, reminds the viewer that images, once disseminated, cease to exist within the consciousness of the artist, and intent does not necessarily determine execution. Sassen’s images exist within a lineage of representations of the black body. A lineage which has, for the most part, neglected representations of black subjects. Historically, colour photography has proven itself insufficient and unwilling to represent images of black subjects. Syreeta McFadden, in an interview with NPR, explains that for most of the 20th century, film manufacturers operated with a “wilful obliviousness” in relation to how best render black skin. Kodak issued developers with an image of a “pale, white-skinned woman [with] dark hair” as a means of metering skin tone. The default mode of recognition for colour photography quickly became a white one because the market demanded it. Black skin was washed out, or erased, with a consistent lack of tonal variation. This persisted, in part, because the people using the film assumed “they [weren’t] very good photographers”.

    Sassen’s working method is more advanced: she shoots on a digital Mamiya 6×7; her colouring is arresting; her concern, foremost, is for the effective rendering of black skin. Her problem is one of figuration. Kerry James Marshall, in a recent interview with frieze, discusses the persisting neglection of black subjects in art. In part, it is market-driven. Black populations have, historically, been excluded from the art market, and in terms of the contemporary landscape, Marshall states: “Abstraction … is more easily commodified than figurative work.” Consumers are less interested in figurative work; the body as subject has expired its purpose, unless the body is turned into an object of fascination. In a way, Sassen’s photographs occupy a liminal space between figurative and abstract representation. From this position, it is difficult to tell whether her models exist for their potential as sculptural objects, and are thus denied subjectivity, or whether the subjects control the space within the photograph, in hiding themselves from the viewer – in placing the viewer in an uncomfortable position between seeing and not seeing. In Sassen’s insistence on their own artifice, however, we are reminded that we see exactly what the photographer wants us to see; and this vision, of the black body as an exotic object, as strategically removed from a discernable location, is one we’ve seen before, and we are right to be wary.

    by

  • Iggy Azalea – The New Classic [Review]

    Iggy Azalea – The New Classic
    –300/5 stars

    Hip-hop is a genre of music that is based heavily upon authenticity, and Iggy Azalea is one of the

    least authentic artists to ever try to enter it. The album touches upon three cornerstone topics – where she’s come from (“16 in the middle of Miami”, yeah, got it), her beef with the industry and her beef with her enemies, who tend to be women of colour. Iggy Azalea manages to dedicate a whopping 15 songs to what, in the hands of someone who has experienced a life worth writing about, would normally be complex and interesting issues. Consequently, The New Classic feels about 13 songs too long.

    ‘Fancy’ hits all of the gooey pop centres in your brain, and remains a fairly easy song to sing while drunk. ‘Work’ lacks both the goo and the sing-ability, but still manages to achieve single status with some heavily compressed vocals and that super-catchy snare. One song that managed to stand on its own was ‘100’, featuring Watch the Duck, a three-piece band from Atlanta who are actually pretty great and, I’m guessing, wholly responsible for the amazing chorus. Iggy’s rapping still sounds suspiciously sped up. One major unexpected disappointment was ‘Change Your Life’: don’t let T.I. get your hopes up for this one. He remains a truly terrible mentor past his prime.

    It took me about five hours to make it through this album. Don’t put yourself through the same.

    by

  • About the Author ()

    Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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