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Issue 1, 2016


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  • White House tenancy applications closing soon

  • SCOTUS passes away

  • This happened while you were on holiday, but it’s still relevant

  • Kiribati is about to fucking sink

  • Toga party a sweet success

  • Ain’t no party like a PM party


  • It’s time to choose an ugly flag

  • VUW bank job, but with no Jason Statham

  • Get your rosaries, off my ovaries

  • Features

  • horoscopes web


    Before astrological signs, before the Chinese zodiac, before Delphic oracles, what did people consult when predicting the future? What they studied at university, of course: English This is the year that the great New Zealand novel is going to be penned. But by who? By you? Perhaps. Maybe. Conceivably. Perchance. But first, beforehand, earlier, prior […]


  • Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

    Beyond the Container

    The Ghuznee–Willis St. intersection comes alive during peak-hour traffic, people in cars, on bikes, and on foot, look on at the crowds gathering in the carpark of St Peter’s Church. Within this parking lot, people are waiting for The Free Store to open. We met with Benjamin, the operations manager, to find out about this […]


  • Martin Skhreli web

    Doing Good Well: Martin Shkreli

    Martin Shkreli rose to fame last year when, as CEO of drug company Turing Pharmaceuticals, he bought the rights to the drug Daraprim and jacked up the price by over 5000% overnight. When the news about Daraprim, a drug used to treat toxoplasmosis (a parasitic infection that can develop in young children and some cancer […]


  • horoscopes web


    Before astrological signs, before the Chinese zodiac, before Delphic oracles, what did people consult when predicting the future? What they studied at university, of course: English This is the year that the great New Zealand novel is going to be penned. But by who? By you? Perhaps. Maybe. Conceivably. Perchance. But first, beforehand, earlier, prior […]


  • Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

    Beyond the Container

    The Ghuznee–Willis St. intersection comes alive during peak-hour traffic, people in cars, on bikes, and on foot, look on at the crowds gathering in the carpark of St Peter’s Church. Within this parking lot, people are waiting for The Free Store to open. We met with Benjamin, the operations manager, to find out about this […]


  • Martin Skhreli web

    Doing Good Well: Martin Shkreli

    Martin Shkreli rose to fame last year when, as CEO of drug company Turing Pharmaceuticals, he bought the rights to the drug Daraprim and jacked up the price by over 5000% overnight. When the news about Daraprim, a drug used to treat toxoplasmosis (a parasitic infection that can develop in young children and some cancer […]


  • Arts and Science

  • Chatz w/ RYAN KNIGHTON

    The people of theatre, from the directors and practitioners, to the lighting operator, are the backbone of this dynamic art form. Ryan Knighton offers frank insights into his profession, and we plug some must-see Fringe shows for your consumption.

    **Ryan Knighton is a member and director of improv-theatre company PlayShop, emerging playwright, recent MA graduate in script-writing, and choice guy in general.

    Why do you ‘do’ theatre?

    Basically I feel like it’s an important medium for art. It’s one that can create change. Personally I just do it because I want to create things that will affect people. That somehow their lives will be improved. Offering something that can tease or change feelings in others—for the better.

    What do you enjoy most—performing, directing or writing?

    I don’t know. It changes every day when I wake up.

    Who do you look up to in Theatre?

    Gary Henderson and Ken Duncum are very good New Zealand playwrights. They encapsulate the thing of a New Zealand play in a very intelligent way. I’ve been sitting in shows of theirs and I’ve left like Oh man. What was that? Then churned it over for a week and gone, that was amazing. These men are good at seeing something in society and managing to delve deeper beyond that layer to the core, communicating it in a really beautiful, meaningful way. Directors Leo Jean Peters and Kerryn Palmer make some of the best work in Wellington.

    Most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about Theatre?

    This is real simple. It was the phrase, can you see the thing? When you’re trying to communicate something to an audience, trying to build a thing (sorry, I say ‘thing’ a lot). Is it there? Can I see that thing? And if it’s not, try something else. You’ve got to be really honest with yourself.

    Favourite thing about Wellington theatre?

    I find Wellington is quite tasteful compared to other parts of the country. We’re quite sophisticated in what we do and what we’re putting on. Years ago, we were quite brave and we’re sort of having a resurgence of that now, which is quite exciting.

    Least favourite thing about Wellington Theatre?

    I don’t like one-hour plays. I think we can all push ourselves a bit further.

    Most difficult thing about being involved in theatre?

    Everyone says this… but there’s no money. The most difficult thing is balancing a job that lets you live your artistic integrity and work against the perception of the world; what you ‘should’ be doing.  The hard thing is the lifestyle. The way other people will comment and judge you on it. You just have to have the courage to stand by your own core and artistic integrity.

    Advice for theatre students at Vic?

    Find people you like working with and make stuff!


    Must-see New Zealand Fringe Festival shows for March:


    The Owl and the PussycatCompany of Giants

    1 March–5 March, 7.00pm–8.00pm; 5 March, 3.00pm–4.00pm

    BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace or 04 802 4175

    “Endlessly inventive, charming, full of surprises.” David Stevens, Theatreview.


    Enter the New WorldBinge Culture Collective

    Your closest New World supermarket.

    There are no set viewing times, instead download the audio-file from

    “The very first audio-driven-first-person-adventure-of-your-own-local-New-World-Supermarket in New Zealand history.” Binge Culture.


    Banging Cymbal, Clanging Gong—Barbarian Productions

    29 February–3 March, 6.30pm–7.20pm

    BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace or 04 802 4175

    “Includes gruesome battle renditions, piano recitals of Bach and readings of Robert Frost. A wake-up call for those who have fallen asleep.” Eventfinda.



  • The Things We Miss

    Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 8.12.55 pm

    On finding an unexpected moment of intimacy at the cool art party that is Julian Dashper and Friends.

    If you have already been to see the City Gallery Wellington’s latest group show—Julian Daspher and Friends (on until May 15)— you may have come across a small piece of text. But probably not. Almost everyone I have spoken to who has attended the show has missed it. The exhibition focuses on the late Julian Dashper and a star-studded list of his friends, influences, students, and contemporaries. The majority of the work is conceptual and abstract. Curator Robert Leonard admits freely in the exhibition catalogue, “Daspher’s work was full of in jokes. For outsiders, it could seem dry and arcane.” Even as somewhat of an ‘insider’, the show feels a bit like being in the midst of a very-cool-party where you know no one.

    Amongst the loud, well dressed, witty, and aloof party go-ers (slash artworks), I found something that surprised me—a small (A6) invitation, printed on creamy paper, with tiny inky text, mounted on a badly installed floating white shelf, at an awkward height, on a large white wall. From certain angles it blends away, easy to miss around the other works in the space. It is presented with very little context and no explanatory note, unlike the rest of the works in the show. Apparently it was forgotten during installation, only to be reinstated a few days post-opening after an eagle eyed host noticed the discrepancy. What can I say…all this made it all the more endearing.

    The slip of card is an invitation to attend an exhibition at Teststrip, an Auckland based artist run space active in the mid 90’s. Dashper takes over the particulars of the invitation, filling the space with a proposition/request; to forgo the public ritual of an opening, the party, the banter, the networking, the free wine…for something more intimate. To spend the hour from 6.00pm–7.00pm on the day of the opening “developing with [a loved one] a deeper level of communication, vulnerability, openness and conscious nurturing of the relationship. It turns the opening from an art world game, into an intimate performance for two. As he has done throughout his career, Dashper works the line between tongue-in-cheek and absolute sincerity. He simultaneously pokes fun at the gallery and the rituals that make it exclusive, whist inviting an intimate, sincere response.

    This isn’t the only piece of ephemera-turned-art in the show. Dashper often appropriated collateral material from the art’s signage, advertising, packaging material, documentation, and hanging mechanisms. Directly next to the inconspicuous exhibition invitation, hangs an enormous banner which shouts JULIAN DASHPER AT NO.5 GALLERY, an absurdly grand gesture created for a show in a relatively small space in Auckland. The proximity of the tiny invitation and the banner was perfect, each intensifying the other’s difference in scale and intention. One work shouts from the rooftop, with an expensive and indulgent banner calling all attention to the artist as brand, the artist as hero. In the other, he turns any focus away from the gallery, the artist, the artwork, and the ‘scene’, asking the audience to find meaning in the intimate, the personal, and the private.  

    What’s on this week: The Performance Arcade, Wellington Waterfront, 2–6 March.



  • American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson (S01—E01 & E02)



    It’s hard to imagine a world without the Kardashians. For most of us their origin is traced to a certain sex tape. However the true beginning lies in the events of June 12, 1994 when the bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and friend Ron Goldman were found slain at her house in Brentwood, LA. At the scene of the crime, a single glove that would eventually acquit the prime suspect—O.J. Simpson: Nicole’s ex-husband, and a sporting hero whose prowess on the football field would be eclipsed by an infamous police chase, and the ensuing live televised court case that captivated an entire nation.

    But back to that Kardashian connection via Robert Kardashian Snr, father of Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, and Rob Jr, and a longtime friend of O.J. Simpson. At the time of the murders he was a retired lawyer but quickly had his license reinstated to join his friend’s defense team. The O.J. Simpson trial was the original celebrity scandal, catapulting all involved to instant household names. It can be seen as the beginning of the reality television genre, with the Kardashians as a reigning dynasty.

    FX has teamed up with executive producers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck (American Horror Story (AHS), Nip/Tuck, Glee) for this new true-crime anthology series, though Murphy’s input is limited so hopefully this series won’t dissolve into chaos as AHS has been known to do. Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. stars as the titular O.J. Simpson, with an energy that teeters on the edge of overacting but fits with his character’s extreme ego. A grey-streaked David Schwimmer takes on the role of Robert Kardashian—he declined to meet with the Kardashian family before filming—and does a good job despite it being hard to separate him from his iconic role as Ross Geller (Friends). However he seems like a virtual stranger next to a tight faced John Travolta as celebrity lawyer Robert Shapiro, whose stiff camp tone seems possibly more suited for Murphy’s Scream Queens. AHS alumni Sarah Paulson finds another strong female character in district attorney Marcia Clark, and shines in spite of an absolutely terrible wig. Early anti-police brutality advocate and high profile lawyer Johnnie Cochran is played by a powerful Courtney B. Vance. He guides viewers as the show examines the heated racial tension of a post Rodney King America, and the influence it poses for the trial and its eventual outcome. I am particularly excited for further scenes with an excellently cast Selma Blair as Kris Jenner, ex-wife of Robert Kardashian, close friend of Nicole Brown Simpson, and current reality television matriarch.

    American Crime Story is only two episodes in but a high contender for my series of the year, quenching a thirst for true crime after the success of shows like The Jinx, Making a Murderer, and the podcast Serial. Though we know the outcome, American Crime Story promises a smart and detailed retelling for a new audience that wasn’t there for the white Bronco car chase, or the disastrous and frustrating court proceedings. The ensemble cast and writing is so strong that any small mistakes—or the big ones made by Travolta’s surgeon—can be forgiven to allow for a thoroughly entertaining and engrossing ride. And yes, a young Kim Kardashian appears. Maybe you’re sick of them on your television, but take a chance to explore the beginnings of modern day celebrity scandal, and the crime that absorbed mid-90s America in this so far beautifully done mini-series.


  • Life of Pablo—Kanye West op-ed


    It’s been three years since the release of Yeezus, and six since My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (MBDTF). One thing remains constant:

    Kanye West is a fucking genius when it comes to music. Especially when it comes to the progression of a genre.

    Every album he has released has shifted the rap scene by leaps and bounds. College Dropout led to the revival of the soul sound; Late Registration influenced the use of heavy sampling; Graduation impacted the fusion of pop and rap; 808s saw the creation of the emotional rapper (paving the road for artists like Drake and Frank Ocean); MBDTF expanded the types of sounds rap uses; and Yeezus incorporated musical white-space as a way to force the listener to feel uncomfortable.

    Progressions are immensely healthy to a musical genre. Without progression, a genre grows stale and old, and what was once a classic can become painted in a new, worse light. The advancement of a genre introduces the listener to something new, and preserves older tracks allowing them to sound like a relevant moment in time.

    With Kanye’s new album, The Life of Pablo (TLOP), there were concerns that with so many things on his plate, Kanye was no longer in a place where he could continually and wholly dedicate himself to his craft. Concerns that he could no longer rework “Stronger” 72 times until he had a version he was happy with; that he could no longer be the captain of the ship in a tornado.

    In some cases, the concerns are justified. Not in a negative manner; it feels like Kanye has taken more of a back seat role in this album, allowing for his younger counterparts to have input (#blamechance), making this the most collaborative album he has ever made. It shows in the guest features. Sure on MBDTF there were guest verses, but on TLOP there’s a guest performance on almost every track, and Kanye truly brings out the best in all of them. Chance the Rapper delivers the best verse of his entire career; relatively unknown newcomer Desiigner, with a molasses dripped voice reminiscent of Future, goes harder than Future has on his latest mixtapes. Kendrick performs exceptionally well even by Kendrick standards, and the plethora of gospel singers enlisted as back-up are absolutely spot on.

    Make no mistake, this is a brilliant album.

    Why then, are so many people trashing it? Is it the Tidal-only stream? (Don’t lie to me you fuckbois, it takes five minutes to download from there, and with half a million pirates already I suspect that Tidal wasn’t an issue for anyone). Was it the fact that this isn’t old Kanye, that this isn’t ‘College Dropout 2’, that he’s not biting drums from Dre anymore?

    Or is it simply that it’s Kanye?



  • Anti—Rihanna


    Prior to the official release, Anti was ‘leaked’ online for two minutes and launched the internet into a frenzy. For the first week of actual release, Anti was solely available on Tidal, and Samsung paid Rihanna $25million for Anti promotions—a marketing campaign to rival Trump’s.

    Rihanna’s latest venture is a departure from the big club-sound of her last efforts. Anti is almost a return to the Rihanna of old, with old-school influences like those of her previous seven albums. In “Consideration” Rihanna opens with line, (in her native Barbadian accent no less) “I come fluttering in from Neverland / Time could never stop me.” There is also the 80s-inspired “Kiss it Better” and the ballroom-influenced “Love on the Brain”. Rihanna is trying to be timeless, and it kind of works.

    Kind of. Filler tracks like “James Joint” and “Woo” are irritating at best; Drake can only do so much to make “Work” better; and “Never Ending” is simply boring—there are more duds than hits here I’m afraid. Overall Anti’s progression works on its own, starting from the melancholic “Consideration” and “Kiss it Better”, moving to the more hopeful “Never Ending” and “Higher”. The transitions between the tracks are barely noticeable—kudos to the album’s production team.

    So whilst there are some duds, overall the album’s singles and progression are deceptively damn impressive. Rihanna dropped the singles “Bitch Better Have My Money” and “FourFiveSeconds” in 2015; both were met with a huge reception from the media and the public alike. Yet, while “FourFiveSeconds” was met with continual praise and peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, “Bitch Better Have My Money” only really became popular after the release of it’s momentous music video—ultimately neither song made the cut when the album was finally released. These singles didn’t need the album to be successful, but maybe the album needed the singles.

    Anti provides a cohesive modern album experience with old-school influences and good development. Unfortunately, the end product falls flat. By no means is it bad, but I wouldn’t put it at the top of anyone’s to-listen list.


  • Gathering Sky


    Developer/Publisher—A Stranger Gravity

    Platform—Steam (Windows/OS X), iOS, Android
    If you’re looking for a non-traditional game, Gathering Sky is the ticket to a brief but good time. Developer A Stranger Gravity states that Gathering Sky was their attempt to reject conventional aspects of contemporary video games. Such games often become philosophically or tactically complex through plot, but maintain a typical inherent structure. However, Gathering Sky is designed for a single purpose: to guide a migrating bird through the heavens. As it flies, more birds join your fast-growing pack and you guide them too.

    Think of it like being God. You have an aerial view of a flock and the space around it; you control it with your index finger and a simple mouse-click. It seems like you have all the control in the world, but really you don’t. You can’t hold your mouse or finger over the birds, otherwise they rock around and begin to spin about each other. If you don’t do your job, the birds will turn white; they seem to say “Did you lose me?”

    Perhaps it’s just the game’s perspective, but when these birds come into danger it’s extremely disconcerting. You care for these defenceless creatures without spending more than 30 minutes playing. That’s actually a big feat, considering how some games never manage to create a player-character bond.

    Still, no matter how long you spend in any of the six levels, the result is the same. Stranger Gravity wants players to experience the dangers of bird-life. Unavoidable hawk attacks punctuate the atmosphere; the the worst part is when you lose your flock in a storm and only one bird emerges. The music and visuals contribute to the pervading feeling of loss, desolation, and make you crave shelter from the unhappy constraints of destiny.

    Get through the game quickly by jumping into the fast lane and guide your birds through undulating currents; or, go slowly and explore. The background is beautiful, even in the darker levels. Watercolour and acrylic striations curve in harmony, creating a sense of a sculptural landscape. In my favourite level, you begin in blackness until suddenly, you’re soaring through purple and pink hued star-waste. You then direct your flock into odd, four pronged and metal-ringed orbs, which sing as they turn colourful. All of this is accompanied by an original orchestral score composed by Dren McDonald.

    It’s these aspects which are indicative of Gathering Sky’s conceptual underpinnings as the exact opposite of simple. We’re dealing with spirituality, transcendence—the philosophical journey to embrace one’s immaterial essence. The birds serve as mediators between the supernatural realm and reality; as ‘vehicles’ for the inspiring, uplifting feeling that comes from the aspects of art in the surreal experience of this game.

    The design is dictated by recourse to metaphysics and bird mythology, two thematic aspects that are unified by the abstract painting and orchestral composition. What was it Nietzsche said about art and music? The human capacity to experience music was a transcendental precondition, and that the creation of art and music was the primary reason to exist? Something like that. Accordingly, Gathering Sky’s purpose is to illustrate the individual’s transcendental journey and to show that despite their fellows, they are still alone—their experience of flight, like the player’s experience of the game, is solitary. The game strengthens this by way of its intense beauty, and its complementary frank realism.



  • The Danish Girl


    Directed by—Tom Hooper



    The Danish Girl is a powerful, yet sensitive, portrait of the transgender pioneer, Lili Elbe. Based on David Ebershoff’s novel of the same, and loosely inspired by the lives of Danish painters Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener, the onscreen adaptation of this unique book is director Tom Hooper’s latest film. He is renowned for his cinematic adaptations of historical events (see Les Miserables, 2012). The tale that unfolds is a thoroughly English bio-drama that follows the life of Lili Elbe, and her long and difficult transition into life as a woman in the 1920s.

    The journey isn’t easy for either painter, and we are submerged into their story in Copenhagen circa 1926. Struggling portrait artist Gerda (Alicia Vikander) asks her successful husband (an artist too) to pose for a portrait she is painting. After donning an elegant dress, stockings, and slippers, Einar (Eddie Redmayne) begins to reveal a lifelong struggle with identifying as a woman. This sets off a sequence of events, first tentative then irreversible, leaving behind the identity of Einar and instead transforming into Lili Elbe.

    What is perhaps the most enjoyable part of the film is the stellar performance from lead actor, Eddie Redmayne. Only a year after he proved his ability for reinvention in The Theory of Everything, Redmayne undergoes an ultimate identity overhaul in his role as the first person to have a sex change via surgery. Surely, for an actor there can be no more alluring challenge, in which the complexity of sexuality is the hinge for the film’s entire diegesis. Fortunately, Redmayne delivers, and his performance can be regarded as another sterling example of just how deeply he can immerse himself into a role. Leaving aside legitimate complaints from the LGBTQ community about the lack of authenticity or courage in having a straight, white male portray a transgender experience; the film’s reluctance to shock or offend will no doubt boost its appeal to a wider middlebrow audience.

    Credit must also be given to Redmayne’s co-star, and onscreen wife, Alicia Vikander. Vikander graciously wrestles attention away from her co-star. With Hooper’s assistance, she makes the film just as much about her transformation as it is about Lili’s.

    Whenever Danish Girl punctures through, it’s because of the first-rate performances by Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander. Their chemistry generates incredible tension, frustration, and anger, at Gerda and Einar’s predicament. Einar’s conflict pulls at your heartstrings by making the difficult choice to leave one life behind and embrace another. This leaves Gerda in a situation in which she could lose everything, and it is within this painful truth that she unearths a beautiful and memorable turn.


  • Room


    Directed by—Lenny Abrahamson


    Room is a powerful, affecting story of the love between a mother and son. Adapted for the screen by Emma Donoghue and based on her much-lauded novel of the same name, which drew inspiration from the Fritzl case in Austria, this is one of the most talked about films of the Oscar season.

    Ma and Jack live together in a single room, equipped with a bed, toilet, bathtub, TV, and small kitchen. The film opens on Jack’s fifth birthday. Their isolated situation becomes apparent when we meet Old Nick, the man who abducted Ma (otherwise known as Joy) seven years ago. Old Nick keeps Ma and Jack, the son he sired, locked in his garden shed. For Jack, the shed is all he has ever known and the images on the TV are magic, not things that actually exist. When Old Nick tells Ma that he has lost his job, and threatens that he may not be able to keep bringing them supplies, she realises that time is running out and concocts a risky plan for their escape. First, she must convince Jack that there is something outside of “Room”, the small world she has built for them.

    Room is up for several awards at the 2016 Oscars, including best picture and a nomination for Brie Larson (Ma) as best actress. Larson’s performance as Ma is stunning, shifting between strength and vulnerability, aptly capturing the stress of caring for a young son in an unimaginably bleak reality. The chemistry between Larson and the young lead, Jacob Tremblay, is what makes the film such a convincing portrayal of love—it’s hard to watch the pair under threat. In writing her story, Donoghue wanted to focus on the bond between mother and son, rather than the evil that is perpetrated by humans. It is this relationship that stays with you long after the credits have rolled.


  • Deadpool



    Directed by—Tim Miller

    In the latest installment of the X-Men mutant-centric branch of the Marvel Universe, Ryan Reynolds gets a chance to prove himself as the super-anti-hero—Deadpool.

    Deadpool, an action-comedy, tracks the journey of Wade Wilson—a fast talking mercenary who beats up stalkers for free drinks. Wilson’s dodgy cancer treatment results in the acquisition of extraordinary abilities, the side effects of which further damage his mind, and leave him disfigured. A basic plot of revenge and redemption ensues as Wade/Deadpool seeks vengeance on those who disfigured him.

    The film works not because of its story, but in the way it tells that story. Its self-awareness permeates every line, shot, and sequence, allowing a personal connection with the audience. The humour begins in the opening credit sequence, and the opening scene is a show stealer. I’ve rarely seen films excel so strongly in introducing the audience to its tone and essence. Deadpool’s action is slick and over the top, the humor is aggressively funny, and the production values are top notch. 

    While Ryan Reynolds is on top of his game in this movie, and the flawless Morena Baccarin matches Ryan’s energy and eccentricity; the rest of the cast is a mixed bag. The two X-Men members who join the proceedings serve as little more than cannon fodder for Deadpool’s acetic wit. The villains are neither truly terrifying or dangerous, detracting the tension and suspense that could have helped the film’s climax. However, Wade Wilson’s elderly coke addict house-mate is a great addition, I’d pay good money to see a spin off series on what happens next between her and Wade/Deadpool.

    Overall it’s an amazing debut for what is looking like a big new franchise, and what may be the new standard for action comedies moving forward. 


  • Fates and Furies



    Written by—Lauren Groff

    Publisher—Penguin Random House



    Lancelot and Mathilde meet at the close of college, locking eyes across a room at a wild party. He is the handsome and popular thespian star, destined to soar to great heights; she is a strikingly beautiful recluse, an anomaly to everyone around her.

    Two weeks later, they are married.

    Fates and Furies is the story of that marriage, told from both sides. Lancelot (Lotto) Satterwhite is a failed actor turned famous playwright. Haunted by the loss of his father as a child and unable to shake the hold of his domineering mother, Fates tells of his failure and triumph, and of the insecurity of genius. Mathilde is there at every turn, quietly pulling the strings along the road to her husband’s success, but as a character she is shadowed by his brilliance. It’s not until the Furies portion of the novel that her history is revealed, and we learn the secrets she’s been keeping.

    Groff’s prose is lyrical and evocative, but chasing so many strands of metaphor that at times it can be hard to follow. While her characters are richly layered, there is nothing too likable about them. Lotto and Mathilde are surrounded by duplicitous friends who perhaps represent Groff’s dislike for the two-faced people of the art world. These characters are offered a counterbalance, however, by Lotto’s aunt Sallie and his sister Rachel, who pop up throughout the story with a refreshing charity and kindness.

    There is a soap-opera quality to the novel, and combined with Groff’s style produces an incredibility that is hard to ignore. Would anybody really behave the way these characters do? It seems unlikely, and yet the dramatic twists provide compelling reading, if you can suspend your disbelief.


  • Tell You What: Great New Zealand Nonfiction 2016



    Edited by—Susanna Andrew & Jolisa Gracewood

    Publisher—Auckland University Press



    You may have heard that investigative journalism is endangered in New Zealand. Funding cuts to television and print publications mean we see more Masterchef and less hard-hitting journalism. Despite this problem plaguing mainstream media, there are still a plethora of voices speaking truths and sharing knowledge—if only you know where to listen.

    The second iteration of Tell You What: Great New Zealand Nonfiction has collected some of these voices for our reading pleasure. Gathered from blogs, memoirs, travelogues, and independent journalism, the stories included speak of wildly different experiences: from Sylvan Thomson writing about transitioning genders with the aid of testosterone; to Ali Ikram’s misadventures in interviewing the reclusive and obstinate Keri Hulme; and Jenni Quilter sharing her experience of undergoing IVF treatment. Plus, Lynn Jenner’s piece on recovering her mother’s heirloom ring from a wayward jeweller in the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes reads like a gripping Antiques Roadshow-esque thriller.

    Many of the stories are deeply personal and emotionally honest. It is a privilege to be able to share in them. Others go beyond the personal, and demand urgent attention: Nicky Hager on the importance of whistle-blowing and protecting sources so that important stories continue to be told; Joe Nunweek on justice in the school system, and how an unfair expulsion can alter the course of a young person’s life; Charles Anderson’s piece on the Easy Rider boat disaster in Foveaux Strait, the greatest loss of life at sea in New Zealand since the Wahine tragedy. These are stories of national significance.

    Tell You What is an important bastion of New Zealand nonfiction. It brings important voices to a wider audience, and encourages us to share our stories. Read it and discover for yourself.


  • 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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