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Issue 15, 2017

Issue 15

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  • Papua New Guinea Election Woes

  • New Water Source for Wellington

  • Dramatic Decline in Post-Study Work Visa Acceptance

  • Mumps Outbreak

  • VUW (sort of) listens to (some) feedback, may retain Head of Hall roles

  • Labour Announce Education Policy

  • Scientific Community Hoodwinked for 130 Years

  • Features

  • manawahine

    Mana Wāhine Exhibition

    – SPONSORED – Curated by Hannah Amundsen and Victoria University Feminist Organisation   Mana / Commonly used as a marker of tapu or sacredness that takes form in people, places, and objects. A term created by the atua (gods) and associated with metaphysical force and spiritual power. The word itself does not translate adequately into […]


  • wordsofwisdom

    Real-Life Test

    – SPONSORED – CW: Discussion of transphobia, transmisogyny, and gendered violence   With the rise in visibility of trans people over the last few years, there is a general sense that things are moving forward for the trans community. Many trans people could tell you that this is not the case. The day-to-day difficulty of […]


  • sexwork (1)

    Sex Work and Self Care: The Taboo of the Unrepentant Whore

    – SPONSORED – CW: Sexual violence and rape   There is this meme that goes: “Don’t ever be ashamed of who you are, unless you are a whore.” My name is Min, I am 23-years old, and I am a whore. Before entering into the “Oldest Profession”, my primary knowledge of the industry came through […]


  • Brittany

    LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE: On Britney Spears, mental illness, and public stigma

    – SPONSORED – September 10, 2007: Youtube user Chris Crocker uploads a new video “Leave Britney Alone”. Sitting in front of a white sheet, Chris combs through his blonde hair and sobs — “How fucking dare anyone out there make fun of Britney after all she has been through!” The previous night, pop star Britney […]


  • greatexpectations

    Words of Wisdom

    – SPONSORED – CW: Mention of rape   “Mama told me tie my hair back all the way…” — Grace, “Dirty Harry” (2015)   A lot of Pasifika people can attest to the fact that we get lots of advice growing up, especially if we’re girls. I’m from two of the Pacific’s regions — Melanesia […]


  • manawahine

    Mana Wāhine Exhibition

    – SPONSORED – Curated by Hannah Amundsen and Victoria University Feminist Organisation   Mana / Commonly used as a marker of tapu or sacredness that takes form in people, places, and objects. A term created by the atua (gods) and associated with metaphysical force and spiritual power. The word itself does not translate adequately into […]


  • wordsofwisdom

    Real-Life Test

    – SPONSORED – CW: Discussion of transphobia, transmisogyny, and gendered violence   With the rise in visibility of trans people over the last few years, there is a general sense that things are moving forward for the trans community. Many trans people could tell you that this is not the case. The day-to-day difficulty of […]


  • sexwork (1)

    Sex Work and Self Care: The Taboo of the Unrepentant Whore

    – SPONSORED – CW: Sexual violence and rape   There is this meme that goes: “Don’t ever be ashamed of who you are, unless you are a whore.” My name is Min, I am 23-years old, and I am a whore. Before entering into the “Oldest Profession”, my primary knowledge of the industry came through […]


  • Brittany

    LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE: On Britney Spears, mental illness, and public stigma

    – SPONSORED – September 10, 2007: Youtube user Chris Crocker uploads a new video “Leave Britney Alone”. Sitting in front of a white sheet, Chris combs through his blonde hair and sobs — “How fucking dare anyone out there make fun of Britney after all she has been through!” The previous night, pop star Britney […]


  • greatexpectations

    Words of Wisdom

    – SPONSORED – CW: Mention of rape   “Mama told me tie my hair back all the way…” — Grace, “Dirty Harry” (2015)   A lot of Pasifika people can attest to the fact that we get lots of advice growing up, especially if we’re girls. I’m from two of the Pacific’s regions — Melanesia […]


  • Arts and Science

  • Visual Art

    Hi Laura and Tim,

    I’m having trouble writing to the theme of intersectionality. It’s a term that has been the focus of discussion within the arts recently, by writers Lana Lopesi, Natasha Matila-Smith, Kari Schmidt — more informed and eloquent on the subject than I am. My concern is that intersectionality can be, at its worst, a way of superficially acknowledging difference without accounting for oppression. It can — it should always — go far beyond that, but the way in which white people position themselves to it — most problematically in instances like writing for Salient which involve unpaid labour — often posits intersectional theory as antithesis to “white feminism” and in doing so manages to make whiteness central to the discussion. A reliance on these dichotomies does little beyond affirming the problems intersectionality seeks to address.

    Basically I feel weird because I’ve been asked by you to write to a really complicated theme, with little regard for the fact that some artists and artist practitioners whose work may be defined by an outsider as intersectional in fact prefer to adhere to indigenous modes of thinking: mātauranga Māori, Moananui, manaakitanga, whakawhanaungatanga (this is clearly illustrated in Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? The Curatorial Edition, a conversation between Lana Lopesi, Nigel Borell, Ioana Gordon-Smith, and Ema Tavola published by the Pantograph Punch). Yes, these frameworks are intersectional; no, they are not best conflated under the umbrella of intersectionality.

    Calling your feminism intersectional does not necessarily make it so. Without a clearer understanding of how this issue is going to pan out I am wary of contributing to it. The arts sector, this magazine, and my column would be greatly benefited by the careful application of intersectional theory and I think that is something that we should truly strive to achieve, however within the context of this issue I am worried that, as a woman of Māori and Tahitian descent, my voice will be subsumed into a broader narrative of “diversity”. I would not call my voice diverse; I would call it my own.


    All the best,

    Hanahiva Rose


  • Bad Feminist — Roxane Gay

    At the beginning of her book, Roxane Gay defines herself as a “Bad Feminist”, displacing any need to be the “perfect feminist”, and removing the right of people to judge or question her feminism. As a millennial who is guilty of consuming many hours’ worth of television shows with questionable themes towards women, this is something that pulled me in, which I’m sure is what she was aiming for.

    Gay writes a series of essays, all relating to feminism, organised by categories such as “Gender and Sexuality”, “Politics, Gender & Race”, and simply “Race & Entertainment”. She tells stories from her 39 years of life that frame her feminist opinions, as well as criticising mainstream media’s representation of women, and the politicisation of women’s healthcare. As a Black woman in the US who at times has identified as queer, Gay’s feminism is one that focuses a lot on how Black women have been treated and represented in popular media, slamming mainstream movies and television shows such as The Help, 12 Years a Slave, and Orange is the New Black for their lack of appropriate representation of Black women.

    Gay’s complex disagreement with the notion of “trigger warnings” is communicated not only explicitly, but also in the way she discusses topics such as rape, including the story of her own at the age of 12 which she discusses in one of the heavier chapters of the book. It is these stories of her own experiences that frame the book, enabling the reader to understand her type of feminism, and the reasons behind her strong opinions.

    Although Gay’s feminist ideas can be very specific to her own culture and experiences, they force the reader to think about how feminism is understood by those in marginalised groups, even if they do not personally feel the same way. I would recommend this book to any person who cares about female representation in media, women’s reproductive rights, and fighting rape culture, and, frankly, especially to those who don’t.


  • The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

    I first read Margaret Atwood’s feminist classic The Handmaid’s Tale in 2009, on the recommendation of my Year 13 English teacher who was incredibly supportive of my writing but worried about some of my ill-formed Christchurch-born white girl ideologies (hint: I didn’t know shit). A few weeks ago my mum messaged me saying she had just read it, and asked if I had heard there was a new television adaptation — of course! TV is my life and I was thrilled to inform her Alexis Bledel from Gilmore Girls was in it. As Hulu vies for Netflix’s crown in quality original programming, it brings a gripping though enduringly grim portrait of what may as well be life under a Trump regime.

    For those who haven’t read the book, The Handmaid’s Tale is set in a dystopian future version of America called the Republic of Gilead where a religious totalitarian dictatorship has overthrown the former government. With sterility on the rise due to pollution and the spread of sexually transmitted disease, women are forced to serve as “handmaids” to elite couples and bear them children. Women have few rights under the new hyper-Christian leadership and are denied connections to their former lives. The show is narrated by Offred (Elisabeth Moss), formerly June but now with a new name denoting her position as property of high-ranking government official Commander Fred Waterford (of-fred). When handmaids exhibit resistance to the rules of the new society they are punished with the gouging of their eyeballs, while many men are simply killed for their perceived crimes and their bodies displayed in public as reminders of the consequences of divergence.

    While Elisabeth Moss is an amazing actress, I find it hard to reconcile her lack of self-awareness in playing lead Offred and being a member of the glorified cult of Scientology — a “religion” prone to being just as cruel and oppressive as the Republic depicted in the show. Reports of Scientology’s abuse of its members and negative treatment of women, children, and the mentally ill go back decades, though having being raised in the church Moss is likely thoroughly indoctrinated (she frequently declines comment on her involvement within the church in interviews, other than claiming it is “grossly misunderstood” in the media). Still, she fully immerses herself and the viewer in her role as Offred, part of a stellar cast including Orange is the New Black’s Samira Wiley, Chuck’s Yvonne Strahovski, and the aforementioned Rory Gilmore herself.

    The Handmaid’s Tale isn’t happy viewing; its content is as pervasively cold and bleak as its colour scheme. I found the rape scene in the first episode so confronting that I’m yet to watch episode two, not out of distaste for the show — which I think is incredible television, and handled a scene of sexual assault with far more grace than something like Game of Thrones — but rather because I know it’s not going to get any easier to watch such haunting depictions of a world not far from our own. The echoes of the oppression and fear involved in the real life experiences of being socialised as female that are present in The Handmaid’s Tale, to always be polite to men and permit your subjugation to them and their ideas, ring just as true in 2017 as they did when the original novel was released in 1985. A recommended watch that I’m looking forward to eventually continuing with, but a heavy trigger warning for anyone going in unprepared.


  • Lorde — Melodrama

    When Lorde released her debut album Pure Heroine in 2013, the singer set herself up with a definitive sound that caught the world’s attention. Pure Heroine had a consistent flow filled with sparse beats, negative space, and layered vocals. After four years of waiting we finally have Melodrama, a testament to the growth, pain, loss, and change of growing up.

    Melodrama opens with the single “Green Light”, a mismatched pop hit with a punchy drumline and synthpop influence, as Lorde delivers intimate and simple lyrics that hit straight in the core of heartbreak. While Melodrama holds very true to Lorde’s simple beats and breathless lyrical delivery, the 11-song album has much more to offer.

    Throughout the early tracks we are treated to lines that detail lust and infatuation (“Hands under your t-shirt/ Know I think you’re awesome, right?”) before falling fast into insecurity and loss with Melodrama’s second single “Liability”, a delicate and introspective track relying solely on vocals and piano accompaniment.

    The rest of the album is bursting with emotion as we listen through feelings of grief, spite, anger, and eventually redemption in the ninth track “Supercut” — a steadily building synthy pop song that looks back on the downfall of a relationship. “Supercut” stings with heartache while feeling strangely cathartic. To wrap up Melodrama is the single “Perfect Places” — an anthem-like pop tune that’s upbeat but raw, and celebrates these contradictory feelings.

    I spent a long time waiting for Lorde’s second album and I was not disappointed. Melodrama plays from beginning to end like a whirlwind romance that I found myself swept up in. A testament to how much she has grown in the last fours years, Lorde has released another ripper of an album.


  • Sea-Sick on a Little Boat

    On July 26, around one thousand students pack into the Hunter Lounge for one of the biggest US headlines to have graced the venue — Lil Yachty. The recent shift of the bar to one side of the room opens the venue’s floor to a crowd who swarm in, wide eyed and Patagonia-clad, a sea of fresh faces looking to have “the most lit night, man.”

    The smell of vomit and Red Bull is overwhelming. A girl takes cup after cup of FREE WATER and hurls it into the crowd. A guy leans against the back wall of the bar, eyes closed and swaying uncontrollably, while his girlfriend tries to dance with him. And so, Lil Yachty begins.

    Within a few minutes of being in the crowd, I’m slicked with the sweat of at least two dozen other people. Hands. Elbows. Boners. Everyone’s pushing, but in good spirits; the spilt beer and quality (or lack thereof) of the opening acts not deterring anyone. Strangely, after a loudly-sung rendition of “Lose Yourself” from behind the stage, Yachty sort of just appears, launching into his set without any discernable introduction. Sarah (or Sam?) screams that she loves him; meanwhile her friends flirt with the security guards to be let up to the much-coveted mezzanine — where only the likes of VUWSA, Captain Rory, and some weird guy with a camera have access to.

    Everything is wet. The floor, the people, the air. While Yachty’s nautical theme pervades his lyrics, the extent to which the evening was dripping can’t be intentional, if those in the safe room with their arms in slings are any indication. I watch a guy slip from a stool and nearly crush the three girls who are dancing below him. They are, of course, unfazed.

    Josh, who studies commerce and is originally from Auckland, “is having a fucking mean night,” but and “is completely fucked, like I don’t even know what I took and fuck it’s hot.” Josh, who is “definitely not a first year,” is not the only one — wide eyed, members of the crowd move inhibitionless, Snapchatting and shouting the lyrics of crowd favourites “iSpy” and “Broccoli”, while seeking out plastic cups of water. Most of the crowd appears content with being swept up in the (literal) heat of the event, although others make comments about the poor lighting and soundbite-length “bangers” where Yachty cuts his verses short.

    Yachty himself is apprehensive at times, calling to the crowd to “turn it up,” but cautious after the horrific spill in Auckland the night before. He wants a mosh pit — everyone move to one side of the room! — but nervously preempts the potential for disaster — we need to be safe guys, do it safe. The final song, “1 Night”, has the crowd in their element. A guy who looks like Josh perches on his friend’s shoulders, topless and swinging a white t-shirt above his head. I watch the wave of water/sweat/beer lightly shower those below him.

    Post-event, the lights turn on and the crowd clears, somewhat stunned by the shock of the bright neon. Despite the apprehension and short set, spirits remain high, with one person describing the show as “incredibly sweaty, best hype up DJ turned things up to 11/10 with the best bangers of 2017.”

    Another told Salient that “[Yachty’s] braaaaaaaids made me wanna cum.”


  • Women and Gaming

    In 2015, the Pew Research Center conducted a study on people who do and don’t consider themselves gamers. They found that while equal numbers of men and women play games in the United States, the majority of those who considered themselves “gamers” were men. In fact, the study revealed that men and women in the United States alike believe that only men are gamers, including women who themselves play games on a regular basis.

    The gaming industry has ballooned, particularly smartphone gaming, and was worth $91 billion in 2016. Despite these increases, the perception of women not being gamers persists, perhaps because women play fewer “traditional” video games like first person shooters. In fact, the Quantic Foundry found that out of 270,000 game players, those who identified as female preferred match-3 games and social simulation games such as The Sims, long credited for drawing women to gaming.

    One way to change the perception of women as gamers would be to encourage more women to game. Stephanie Llamas, director of research and insight at SuperData, pointed out to the New York Times last year that the most effective way to draw more women into gaming is to have women on the business side of the industry. Marketing would be easier and more effective in the long run, the idea being that “it’s difficult to understand the demographic if you are not part of that demographic.”

    However, the hostility women are met with in the world of games is a heavy deterrent. Jennifer Brandes Hepler, who edited Women in Game Development: Breaking the Glass Level-Cap, illustrated for Polygon that her book intended to highlight the ignorance and hostility faced by women on the business side of games. Hepler said that if anything is clear, “there is no single narrative of ‘being a woman’ in games, but that although the characters change, the setting is the same, and the hostility and ignorance we have all faced continue to be a defining part of many women’s experience of games.”

    In short, it seems like there is nothing stopping women from participating in more traditionally “gamer”-type games like Dishonored 2 or Halo (especially given that these games feature powerful and dynamic female characters, such as Cortana and the adult Emily Kaldwin), except the misogyny pervading the community.

    Indeed, it must be difficult to get women into the business world of games when female developers and players are harassed on a regular basis. In an article written for the Boston Globe, software engineer Brianna Wu articulated her experiences: “Rape threats, death threats, harassment, having private information about myself posted has become a daily occurrence.”

    Unfortunately, the same abuse, as well as casual sexism, extends to female players themselves, particularly online. Sociologist Audrey Brehm found in a study, looking at the relationship between gender and gaming, that the multi-player online RPG World of Warcraft community not only had many instances of harassment toward female players, but also instances of “benevolent sexism”, with many male players viewing women as “delicate”, and feeling obligated to “help” them in the game.

    While organisations such as Women in Technology, Women In Games, and Women in Games International attempt to combat such sexism, the experiences of too many female players and business women continue to be negative. Acceptance is a long-time coming, but women have begun to stand up in the tech industry. The will and courage of women to speak out against their abusers, as well as more subtle forms of sexism, is a monumental and fundamental step for achieving equality in the world of games and technology.


  • The Handmaid’s Tale — Margaret Atwood

    Since the publication of doomsday novels such as Brave New World and 1984, we’ve devoured dystopian fiction with a somewhat sadistic curiosity. We gasp in horror as our characters suffer under morally corrupt regimes, subjected to the unspeakable evil of totalitarianism. Imagine! But then we close the book with a self-congratulatory smirk, because such a thing could never actually happen to us, of course.

    The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in the Republic of Gilead, a futuristic Christian theocracy replacing the United States. Under this totalitarian regime, women are forbidden to hold property, control money, or vote. They are restricted to the unpaid roles of mother, wife, domestic servant, or — in the case of narrator Offred — producing children for elite, infertile families.

    The Handmaid’s Tale launches straight into its narrative. Context comes later in the form of flashbacks, as Offred reveals the events that led to her becoming a Handmaid, and the US becoming an ultra-religious surveillance state. Atwood doesn’t give an exact date, but allusions like Offred’s mother’s memories of Take Back the Night marches hint at these events taking place not far from today. This relationship with the present is The Handmaid’s Tale’s genius — it presents us with a horrifying future scenario, and an unsettlingly close connection with reality. Atwood’s warning is that a society where women are commodified as breeding stock is not just the stuff of dystopian fiction, but a real possibility.

    We could cast aside the events of The Handmaid’s Tale as extreme examples — some particularly morbid armchair travel for the dystopia enthusiast — but its themes are uncomfortably familiar. Do I hear echoes of victim blaming? What’s that about criminalising abortion? Americans fleeing to Canada in unprecedented numbers? It’s uncanny how well Atwood has foretold the mess we’re in — a mess that blurs the line between dystopian fiction and reality.


  • Androphobia: (noun) fear of men

    I am afraid of men


    Not all men

    Some I like


    But some

    Some terrify me


    Like the ones who make rape jokes

    Like consent is so funny

    Abuse a great punchline

    Such violation nothing

    But the height of hilarity


    It makes me think it’s something

    They’ve never had to worry about

    Something they’ve never feared —

    Having their body’s privacy and autonomy

    So crudely desecrated


    They are the ones who catcall when I go running

    Or wolf-whistle, or jeer


    Because my fitted activewear is apparently

    Some unconscious signal

    That I’m after their sleazy attentions


    Yeah, of course

    I must be “asking for it”

    Like all women are, according to them

    Or else I’d be wearing a baggy t-shirt and trackies

    Wouldn’t I?

    To censor my womanly shape?

    To shield them from temptation?

    I mean, really

    What do I expect?


    These are the ones who observe women

    Like they’re eyeing helpless prey

    Slabs of fresh meat

    Whose choice to wear tight jeans and short skirts

    Can only be interpreted as an open invitation

    That screams “You can fuck me


    They say we “want it”

    “Beg for it” even

    They say we only have ourselves to blame

    According to them, it’s our fault for drawing such “blurred lines”


    They are the ones who stalk the streets at night

    In drunken hordes that reek of testosterone

    Hollering down the street

    At girls who walk alone


    They offer to buy you drinks

    Because basic math tells them

    That one, plus one, plus one more

    Plus you

    Equals an easy target

    A simple lay

    Another notch to carve triumphantly on their bedpost


    Then there’s the ones who use “bitch” and “cunt”

    Like punctuation

    And terms like “frothing” as casual slang

    Without pause or apology

    Without any sense of disrespect


    And they roll their eyes

    When you make any kind of objection

    What are you they say

    Some kind of Feminist?

    Why, yes

    Yes, I am

    But all they see

    Is an uptight, angry, whinging woman


    These men make me feel



    Lesser than

    They destabilise and threaten the fragile confidence

    I’ve managed to find in being female

    While so much of society

    Seems to keep telling me not to


    They turn my pride to shame

    My security to fear

    My power to vulnerability

    They make me want to disappear

    To melt away

    To be silent

    To just let myself drown in their contempt

    As I stare hopelessly up at a glass ceiling they have built

    That feels so infinite


    Don’t get me wrong

    Some men are nice

    They treat me as an equal

    Listen to my voice

    See my edges

    Instead of just my curves


    These men exist

    I know them

    And it’s not them I fear to meet

    When walking home at midnight


    It’s the others


    And it shames me

    How scared I am of them

    Because in my fear, I know

    I’m letting them take tiny, precious pieces of myself

    And crush them to dust

    In their groping, ass-grabbing

    Pony-tail pulling hands


  • Podcast

    Podcasts have a real problem showcasing diverse voices. In general, the podcasting scene is dominated by white men with too many opinions (sounds familiar, right?). A 2016 survey of iTunes US, the world’s largest podcast directory, found that 66% of podcasts had at least one white male host, while only 7% were hosted by women of colour. A cursory glance over the iTunes NZ top ten podcast chart at the time of writing revealed that only three shows consistently featured women as hosts or recurring guests. Achieving authentic representation of women and gender minorities, especially people of colour, is something that many forms of media fail to accomplish, and podcasts are no exception. Representation is important because it allows us to hear different stories and perspectives. It can also be a catalyst for change, by amplifying the voices of the marginalised.

    What needs to happen for us to hear more awesome ladies in podcasts? Firstly, established studios (Earwolf, Acast, RadioLab) with money and resources need to set the pace, and recruit more women and gender minorities to host and produce podcast content. Secondly, if you find a great podcast with diverse hosts, spread the word! Tell the studio that you like it; bully your friends into listening to it. Thirdly — and this is my favourite option —  start your own podcast with the voices you want to hear (don’t forget to email and we’ll review it).

    In the meantime, check out these podcasts:

    • 2 Dope Queens: Comedians Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams talk about pop culture, dating, feminism, and race. There are sets from other stand-ups (Eric Andre, Maria Bamford, Pete Holmes) and great guests dropping by for a chat (Broad City’s Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, Jon Stewart).
    • Call Your Girlfriend: Long-distance best friends Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow catch up every week, and record the whole thing as a podcast. Ann and Amina are just as comfortable talking about healthcare reform as they are deconstructing the Rob Kardashian, Blac Chyna debacle. Also features the great segment “This Week in Menstruation”.
    • Boners of the Heart: New Zealand’s own Rose Matafeo and Alice Snedden explore their weird celebrity crushes. Both these ladies are crushing it in the comedy world (Rose won the Fred Award at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival this year, and Alice is head writer on Jono and Ben), and you’ll love hearing them crack each other up as they pine for the stars of ’80s movies.


  • All the times.

    Sometimes I think I have too much love.

    I simply don’t know where to put it and often I am giving it to people who don’t want it or do not understand how precious it is. I am perpetually heart broken and it’s exhausting

    Sometimes I think I trust too easily.

    I have the lowest self-esteem, but for some reason I always believe people when they say they love me. I make the mistake of believing that everyone else is as obsessed with authenticity and truth as I am.

    Sometimes I think I am too honest.

    I speak my mind and wear my flaws on my sleeve like a disclaimer. Every second sentence I say is like a warning — Careful! I am very clingy/ fragile/ sensitive/ blunt/ awkward/ late/ scared/ sexually frustrated/ lonely.

    Sometimes I think I am too kind.

    I give and give and give as if I need to in order to live. I don’t do it for a reward, I genuinely expect nothing in return, but perhaps that is the problem. I am often left running on empty and feeling undervalued. I would give my last breath away because I can’t help myself and that will be my demise.

    Sometimes I think I will be lonely forever.

    I am an introvert. I need time to recharge regularly and I don’t like to feel like a burden on others. I am messy and clumsy and bloody and my morning breath is probably foul. I like the company of salt lamps, cats, and indoor plants; but I could really use a rough fuck right about now.

    Sometimes I think I am a bad person.

    I don’t volunteer for any charities or support services and I no longer hand out leftover food on my way home from work. I preach the importance of mental health services but I do nothing to contribute to their survival. I want to help but I don’t want to give up the time I use for self-care and sleep-ins.

    Sometimes I think I am a bad woman.

    I know I am more than my looks and my genitals, and I know you are too; but my self-worth directly correlates to how many “likes” I get and how much fake money is stuffed into my g-string at the end of a long night. For the most part, I like who I am, but I would rather be you or her.

    Sometimes I think I am a bad friend.

    After a long day of a long week of a long month of a long life, I don’t have the energy to care for the people I love. I am sorry that you feel bad right now, but so do I, and I can’t save you from drowning when I’m already treading water.

    Sometimes I just want to be better.

    Smarter, prettier, taller, thinner, nicer, funnier, faster, sexier, whiter teeth, flawless skin, more worldly, more patient, more logical, more artistic, more organised, always get eight hours of sleep, wake up to see the sunrise, more athletic, climb a fucking mountain or some shit, be a billionaire and own your own house.

    Sometimes I think that I am both too much and not enough.

    I am always thinking about some kind of sometimes.


  • One Night Only

    As the Young and Hungry (Y&H) season approached, I found myself bracing for impact. Y&H is always hit-and-miss with performance, script, tech, and direction, or a combination of all the above. Yet, this is the first year the posters for each of the plays were cohesive and genuinely pleasing to the eye — well done to the publicity team!

    To continue on the pleasantly surprised train, I am happy to report that One Night Only by Finnius Teppett worked well under director Stella Reid’s experienced wing. It starts with much energy and zeal, relaxing the audience into a quickly unravelling story with an unfortunate anti-climactic finish, leaving me feeling indifferent despite enjoying many aspects of the play. The show takes place mostly in a boy band’s green room where the truth is revealed to mega-fans M1 and M2, as well as the audience, as to how the four-person group, FourEver, became three.

    The show opens on Pauline Ward as Lisa Lubgrub, an over-worked and under-appreciated reporter looking for the “big story” that will propel her into journalistic stardom. It seems as though the plot intended to unravel from her perspective, but she was missing for most of the play and, in all honesty, I almost forgot about Lubgrub. This is unfortunate, as Ward certainly stole the show in the opening moments with her beautiful operatic voice, but this opening almost had me expecting a musical. Bar the opening, a clarinet solo, and a dance battle, there were few musical elements.

    The set design by Isadora Lao was clever and functional, both for the actors in terms of creating wings and for the quick turnaround required to set up for the next Y&H show. However, it seemed too dark for a green room, and also too messy. Although the amount of clothes on the stage gives a messy-boys-room-bomb-site look, this doesn’t really make sense if FourEver is nearing the end of their world tour, or considering that most of the clothes were left untouched by the actors. In saying that, the use of shoes as microphones and phones, and socks as business cards, was a clever integration of set into the world of the play. The set also gave us subtle hints of something wicked this way comes, such as the words “no blood sacrifices” above one of the hanging netting, and not-so-subtle hints like the massive pentagram in the middle of the stage floor.

    Indeed, something wicked does come in the form of Mimi (Trae Te Wiki), a modern agent of Hell. Te Wiki’s demon was refreshing in the way that her sexuality was not used in her hellishness, and her bubbly apathy and workaholic tendency made me really enjoy having her onstage.

    A special choo-choo should go to Ethan Morse. He played the mega-fan M1 and did so genuinely, without drawing from feminine stereotypes. Indeed, the costuming didn’t create the absolute illusion that Morse was a girl, rather it respected the fact that he was a male playing a female, by giving him plaid shorts to wear while M2 (Jacinta Compton) wore a plaid school skirt. Individual character and chorus work was strong, and using the actors’ special talents like singing or clarinet playing within the show was a great touch.

    I genuinely enjoyed this show: it’s a fun kick-start to this unpredictable Young and Hungry 2017 season. This show will make you laugh, get spooked, and appreciate the grounding plot twist. All aboard the refreshingly unexpected train to Bats Theatre! Choo-choo!


  • 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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