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March 12, 2018 | by  | in Features Splash |
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Scenes of Debauchery at Laneway 2018

Now don’t get me wrong. I loved Laneway. The opportunity to see a vast array of some of the best acts in the world all in one of our most beautiful central city parks is overall a great experience. However, when any enormous gathering of people comes together, a darker side of humanity is brought out. You see, I have a theory about crowds. It is crowds you see screaming “Heil Hitler!” at the Nuremberg rally. Crowds who marched millions of prisoners out to Siberian gulags. Crowds of military who fired upon protesting students at Tiananmen Square. Wherever there are crowds, the grim spectre of evil follows closely. Here are but a few of the manifestations of this debaucherous evil that I witnessed at St. Jerome’s Laneway 2018.

In many developed countries it is considered uncouth to smoke in a crowd. This is not so in New Zealand, but it should be, especially when the durry chuffers are those who barely scraped past the Laneway age limit of 18. As an ex-smoker these kids are easy to spot; wet pursed lips eagerly slobbering over the filter, goobing it up to such a degree that what enters the mouth is the more nicotine stained saliva than smoke. They pass it among themselves to make the most of the coveted item, each one adding more and more saliva to the sopping filter. They dance around, vigorously waving the cigarette in the faces of those that surround them, taking no care to avoid the eyes or orifices of others. I want to grab their shoulders and shake them hard, screaming, “MAC DEMARCO IS NOT IMPRESSED YOU FOOLS!”

Human decency is a delicate and fragile commodity. One behaviour that stomps all over it is people who incessantly talk during a set. My initial reaction to this when it first happened was anger at the loud, blokey voices and their braying guffaws. This reaction was shared by those around me, I counted seven separate dirty looks being shot the way of the talkers. But as the set continued, and the consistent verbal interruptions along with it, my anger turned to pity. God, what a terrible fate is beholden to the mind so twisted and black that it is pain to spend 30 minutes shut up within it. What cruel malignant god created a human to whom it was pain to be kept silent within their own head. My eyes welled up with tears of empathy for these pitiable individuals who could not bear to spend a moment in silence. But although I pity them, if you can’t shut up, don’t go to a freaking event where most people have paid for a day of listening.

I was happy to see that Laneway had created a hotline to call if any problems arose. I had hoped that this would help quell most of the negative behaviour. Unfortunately it could not stop everything. I saw a man, jolly and bearded, with a face reddened from being 4 hours deep into day-drinking, greet three female friends who had approached him in the crowd, with an ass-slap, a hair grab, and a head pat. Within 4 seconds the man had managed to pull off a trifecta triple combo of douchebaggy inappropriate touching of women. Friends or not, I am a strong believer of keep your damn hands to yourself. The exception to the rule is within consenting couples, but in the case that this man was greeting the three wives of his polyamorous relationship I would still list the interaction as a borderline case of vomit inducing P.D.A. And we are not even going to get started on the P.D.A.

Walking through the park I noticed a sunburnt shirtless man in the process of trying to brazenly befriend a group he did not know. Upon being rejected, he turned his attentions to another man walking in front of me, who was wearing ripped jeans, which is an important piece of information to gain the small token of sense the next interaction contains:
Shirtless man: “Hey bro, your jeans are ripped!”
Ripped jeans man, while he keeps walking: “Uh yeah, ha ha.”
Shirtless man: “And you’re a cunt.”
The ripped jeans man had the self-control that his conversationalist obviously lacked, and kept walking. All I could do was give the most evil stare I could summon toward the shirtless man and feel sorry for his mother, who like all mothers probably had no intention to bring such a cretinous waste of breath into the world.

Surely these brief vignettes of cruelty towards the human spirit are only the tip of the iceberg. I did not attend the Mac Demarco show, whose fans could probably fill a book on terrible concert etiquette (I should know, I opened for him, so have seen his durry goobing attention seeking teeny bopper fans from a stage high view. Kids, listen to your mothers. You really don’t look cool smoking). Overall I had a good time, but god damn there’s just something about crowds ai. I reckon concerts should develop an asshole screening device, perhaps a quiz with loaded questions such as “Did you vote for ACT?” or “Do you find the comedian known as ‘Chopper’ funny?” I think there is always probably going to be some negativity at large gatherings.
It really would be great if certain people weren’t there. And if you disagree, you are probably one of them.

Yours with relative sincerity,

A grumpy young man.

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He Tāonga

:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this