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Issue 24, 2016


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  • 2016 Statistics

  • Victoria Takes Learning Global

  • Tragedy strikes UC hall

  • Spongebob will be okay

  • Rugby nothing but Rough

  • What’s in a name? That which we call racism.

  • You can study longer, YAY

  • Aunty Helen unsuccessful

  • Grainger gone

  • Society’s sponsorship cancelled after injury

  • Salient’s Class of 2016

  • Double arson in Wellington central

  • Features

  • green

    On Optimism

    There are a lot of contradictions and tensions to navigate in our lives. Part of being human is to have different parts of ourselves and our worlds at odds with each other. And so, part of being human is to also learn how to explore and accept these feelings. Earlier in the year I took […]


  • blue

    Speak for yourself

    We are not equally oppressed. There is no joy in this. We must speak from within us, our own experiences, our own oppressions—taking someone else’s oppression is nothing to feel proud of. We should never speak for that which we have not felt. — bell hooks (but I actually first encountered this as my friend […]


  • yellow


    On December 26, 1996, six year old JonBenét Ramsey was found brutally slain in the cellar of her parent’s lavish home. For many the case is infamous and has become synonymous with unsolved crimes, in particular because JonBenét’s murder had enough salacious detail to hold mainstream interest in a post-OJ America that lusted for a […]


  • pink

    Ten things I wish my friends knew about being Māori

    1). I wish my friends knew that when they ask me what “percentage” of Māori I am—half, quarter, or eighth—they make me feel like a human pie chart. I don’t know how people can ask this so nonchalantly, but they do. So I want to let you know: this is a very threatening question to […]


  • green

    On Optimism

    There are a lot of contradictions and tensions to navigate in our lives. Part of being human is to have different parts of ourselves and our worlds at odds with each other. And so, part of being human is to also learn how to explore and accept these feelings. Earlier in the year I took […]


  • blue

    Speak for yourself

    We are not equally oppressed. There is no joy in this. We must speak from within us, our own experiences, our own oppressions—taking someone else’s oppression is nothing to feel proud of. We should never speak for that which we have not felt. — bell hooks (but I actually first encountered this as my friend […]


  • yellow


    On December 26, 1996, six year old JonBenét Ramsey was found brutally slain in the cellar of her parent’s lavish home. For many the case is infamous and has become synonymous with unsolved crimes, in particular because JonBenét’s murder had enough salacious detail to hold mainstream interest in a post-OJ America that lusted for a […]


  • pink

    Ten things I wish my friends knew about being Māori

    1). I wish my friends knew that when they ask me what “percentage” of Māori I am—half, quarter, or eighth—they make me feel like a human pie chart. I don’t know how people can ask this so nonchalantly, but they do. So I want to let you know: this is a very threatening question to […]


  • Arts and Science

  • Peaks & Pits


    Peak: Shannon Te Ao winning the Walters Prize

    Louise and I spent last Friday night huddled around our phones and ipads, anxiously refreshing twitter feeds and wine glasses, waiting to hear who would take out NZ’s biggest contemporary art prize. When Shannon won it was feverish, there were shouts and hugs, this is how I imagine people feel when we win the rugby. Shannon is someone I admire as a friend, artist, and teacher. He makes work that is empathetic and sincere and this is exciting. Shannon has moved many people with his work Two shoots that stretch far out and I am not surprised this year’s judge agreed. Congrats mate, enjoy your $50,000.

    Pit: Francis Upritchard, Dark Figure, 2016

    Francis Upritchard’s appropriation and remaking of artifacts (e.g. taonga) in Jealous Saboteurs was pretty uncomfortable, but one work stood out—not in a good way. Among the hippies, soothsayers, and jesters sits one nude black body, made out of pantihose with exaggerated features. Unlike the other works which seem more ambiguous and nuanced in their representation of “historical figures,” the work is crude an objectified caricature, placing the black body in a historic past—an exotic other. Its was interesting that there didn’t seem to be any public discussion of it… certainly nothing from City Gallery or Upritchard.



    Peak: Jay Hutchinson, Turn left at the end of the drive, 2016

    Spray painted asphalt, tagged electrical boxes, and graffitied weatherboards—Jay Hutchinson transformed Enjoy Public Art Gallery into his driveway. Turn left at the end of the drive, which exhibited in May, compiled five textile based works that replicated segments outside his home on Riddiford Street in Newtown. Hutchinson highlighted the intimate observance of his surroundings by referencing tags and graffiti markings in which he then hand embroidered onto fabrics. These were then turned into the physical objects that he walked past everyday and are recognised as geographical self portraits. The intimacy within his work is a reflection of the attention to detail of his diverse environment, as well as his skill and technique. The work took 18 months to complete with every individual stitch replicating the fine textures of concrete, woodgrain, and paint. Once an avid graffiti artist, while living in Dunedin, Hutchinson has developed an art practice based within this subculture. The temporal nature of this art form is understood by Hutchinson, with the series working as an ephemeral documentation of something that no longer exists on the streets of Newtown.


    I used up all of my 200 words writing about Jay’s work, sorry.



    Peak: Mike Heynes, News of the Uruguay Round, 2016

    One of my favourite exhibitions this year still has to be Mike Heynes’ News of the Uruguay Round, shown at Enjoy in February. The shonky, re-constructed, international film and television production company logos investigated the ongoing legacy of 1994 legislation on our television and movie industry—a conversation that sat perfectly alongside concerns over the TPPA—and further questioned what effect a lack local content on our screens and airwaves has on our formation of national identity. Fan art at its best.

    Pit: Double feature

    The first half of this exhibition would be one of my 2015 highlights, but sadly I found John Ward Knox’s bodies of water (failing) at Robert Heald to be one of this year’s biggest disappointments. The world does not need another series of oil paintings that abstract and objectify the female body.

    However my trophy for the worst art moment of 2016 goes to James R. Ford. Your are not God. Artistic interventions in public space can create beautiful and subversive moments, but the poster paste ups proclaiming Ford as a deity read as an arrogant, egotistical statement of underserved (self) endorsement. As an advertisement for an accompanying exhibition, nothing about that statement made me want to see the show.



    Peak: Harry Culy, The Gap, at Precinct 35

    Walking into Precinct 35 this morning reminded me of how alive the Wellington art community is currently. I’m not certain, but I think Harry Culy’s The Gap might be my favourite show of this year. The work is soft, gentle, and meditative, giving you room to think! I wondered whether they were all shot in the same place (they were) and, looking through the exhibition catalogue, there was another clue. Turns out there is a beautiful story of a man who lived near ‘The Gap’—a cliff on the coast near Sydney that is renowned for suicide attempts—saving people’s lives, offering tea, and a warm safe space. The stairs up to the cliff are also coincidentally called Jacob’s Ladder, which also happens to be a Biblical metaphor for the space between heaven and earth. I could go on and on. A gem of a story, warm fuzzy vibes. This is what art is about.

    Pit: Billy Apple, Great Britten!, at Chch Art Gallery

    I’ve never been so bored in a gallery. Famous white male NZ artist celebrates NZ land motorcycle racing / design hero. Don’t get me wrong, John Britten is an incredible designer and engineer and he deserves attention. But holy. We do not need a whole exhibition made about his bike, checkers, and race track graphics. That was literally it. So dumb.


  • Louis Theroux: Savile

    On April 13, 2000, BBC2 aired the first episode of television-journalist Louis Theroux’s new series When Louis Met… featuring one of Theroux’s childhood heroes, Jimmy Savile. At the time Savile was a British icon, known for his long career in broadcasting and his estimated £40 million of contributions to charity. Savile died October 29, 2011, and it was less than a year before the real Jimmy Savile was revealed to the world: a prolific sexual predator, paedophile, and sociopath who had assaulted, abused, molested, and raped hundreds of women and children over six decades. While the British public tried to reconcile their fond memories of the children’s television presenter with this new monster, Theroux tried to figure out what he had missed in the time he had spent with him. Louis Theroux: Savile is an exploration of the dazzling power of celebrity and wealth and an opportunity to give a voice to some of those Jimmy Savile silenced for so many years.

    The details of the abuses that Jimmy Savile inflicted on his victims are hard to stomach, incredibly difficult to read in print, and even harder to hear from those that suffered, but Savile is an important piece of filmmaking in that we confront these horrors and a society that hid them for so long. A large number of Savile’s victims were patients at children’s hospitals, many of whom who were disabled or even comatose. One woman speaks of falling into a fire, burning her hands, and waking up in hospital. She saw Savile jogging outside her window and upon making eye contact he turned towards her, lunged through her window, and assaulted her while she was unable to push him away due to her injuries. The confidence Savile possessed was astounding and it seems, like most predators, he was adept in finding “perfect” victims—the sick, the young; those too intimidated by who he was to say anything.

    One of the most interesting parts about Savile is that it is the first of Theroux’s many documentaries where he turns the lens on himself. While he has always been a presence in his films, his reflections on bizarre American subcultures are a far cry from the questions he must ask himself in how he was duped by Savile for so long. After the filming of When Louis Met Jimmy Savile and Theroux maintained a “friendship” for several years, meeting up when their paths crossed and going out for pizza. Given what we know now about Jimmy Savile the footage shown seems to clearly depict a narcissistic predator who took joy in what his power let him get away with. A clip of Savile visiting BBC offices shows him dressed in a mesh singlet and running shorts, lavishing attention on the young women working, and making lewd comments on their appearance. At one point he says he needs to change outfits and begins to undress in front of the women while they look down and away. Theroux says at the time, though he was uncomfortable with Savile’s behavior, he and those present took it to be a part of his “public” persona—an eccentric older man with a sly tongue. Throughout the documentary Theroux struggles to deal with knowing that he contributed to this facade, having been in a position to ask much harder questions of Savile and perhaps even have found out the truth, maybe even putting a stop to the abuse. But if the film shows us anything it is that Jimmy Savile was a master manipulator, a man who lived his life on camera and knew just how to present himself to those watching.


  • The Salient Theatre Awards 2016

    Wellington has been graced with a heap of theatre this year: from good, to interesting, to ugly. The stand out shows for us were bold and ambitious; they were challenging and reflective of the times. We believe that theatre which leaves the wider community buzzing with conversation is theatre that WINS! We want to congratulate these shows and highlight how each one has encouraged us to keep making art that catalyses conversation. Here are our top picks for 2016!


    Best Theatre Experience

    Jekyll and Hyde

    Director: Leo Gene Peters

    Hold onto your hats (or your picture-frames) because this show will not let you recline leisurely in your seats! From the minute we stepped into the theatre we were showered with affectionate compliments and tantalising offers of wine. This was a seductive 21st-century spin on the 19th-century novella that included the entire audience hiding under a blanket of tulle and audience members being asked to play crucial on-stage roles in uncovering the blonde-wigged, and evil, Mr Hyde.


    Best Narrative

    My Dad’s Boy

    Playwright: Finnius Teppett

    Director: Ryan Knighton

    The quintessential Kiwi father-and-son relationship is presented from a fresh perspective. The play is structured as a series of 18 stanzas that traverse the playwright character’s (James Russell) quest to understand his father (John Landreth) and all the idiosyncratic, rugby bloke, stuff that comes with him. Knighton, a VUW Graduate, interprets Finnius Teppett’s poignant script by offering both the awkwardness and the warmth of this father and son connection. The play is honest and explores common themes in a new light.  


    Best Audience Interaction

    Perhaps, Perhaps…Quizas…

    Playwright: Gabriela Munoz

    Performer: Gabriela Munoz

    Using no words, only her facial expressions, gestures, and sound effects, Gabriela Munoz chose a different audience member each performance to be her groom for the evening. We followed Munoz and the lucky fella around through the wedding ceremony. What is most special about this piece is that Munoz captivates the audience from the get go and manages to make the groom (whoever it may be) appear as if they have rehearsed together months prior to the performance. It’s magical! If Gabriela Munoz is ever performing somewhere near you, DEFINITELY GO!  


    Strongest Performer

    Vanilla Miraka

    Playwright and Performer: Hayley Sproull

    Director: Jo Randerson

    Vanilla Miraka was on at BATS during late September. Hayley Sproull engaged us from start to finish. Fully present, she embraced her flailing awkwardness as she scrambled to connect with her Māoritanga. Using stand up, sketch, and original song, Sproull’s honest and very brave storytelling had us feeling uplifted; a sentiment that she herself found through sharing her journey with us.


    Best Design

    The Fence

    Playwright: Fran Olds

    Director: Luke Hanna and Fran Olds

    This show was a stand out on many levels and the blend of Te Reo Māori and New Zealand small-town jargon resonated with many. Each technical element complemented the performers and their powhiri-like introduction to the mythical narrative. The ensemble beautifully and intensely danced a haka-like sequence on the real grass that coats the floor, all punctuated by the sound of purerehua and drums. Later a shadow screen invited us into the magical-mundane realm. Jason Wright’s sound design was impeccable and Glenn Ashworth’s lighting design sung. Winner.


    Strongest Message

    If There’s Not Dancing At The Revolution, I’m Not Coming.

    Creator and Performer: Julia Croft

    Director: Virginia Frankovich

    In a world bombarded with pop culture and misogynistic bullshit, Julia Croft exploits the male gaze and turns it into a loud fuck-you celebration of women’s endurance. It made us angry and excited in the best kind of way. Our personal favourite moment was when she danced to Sia whilst pumping confetti through her vagina gun. Best piece of feminist art. Hands down.


  • Best so far

    2016 has been an interesting year for music. There have been some real highs (read: Blood Orange’s Freetown Sound, David Bowie’s Blackstar, and the much frothed over Frank Ocean return), but there have also been some real dry spells (what even happened in July?). So here we are, wrapping it all up in October, reflecting on a handful of the highs, and just pretending that the lows didn’t happen (ie. that Charlie Puth album). Read on for a broad, but by no means exhaustive, highlights reel.


    Song: “Higher”

    Artist: Carly Rae Jepsen

    Album: Emotion Side B

    PSA: It is very cool to be a Carly Rae Jepsen fan in 2016. Not only did the songwriting machine release one of the best pop albums of 2015 (Emotion), she’s managed to follow it with a Side B that’s almost as good as the real thing. Carly Rae walks a very fine line between candy pop perfection and absolute trash, but pulls it off like no one else.


    Song: “Fill in the Blank”

    Artist: Car Seat Headrest

    Album: Teens Of Denial

    Don’t let the ‘indie rock’ label deter you. A coming-of-age album that’s hella appropriate for 20-something university students stumbling their way into adulthood via drugs, alcohol, bad decisions, and a general “what the fuck am I meant to do with my life?” feels.



    Artist: Justin Timberlake

    Album: Trolls

    Dad-pop might just be one of pop music’s greatest subgenres. Commonly found on high rotation over at More FM, dad-pop is the stuff you can’t help but sing along to, no matter how hard your body tries to fight it. “CAN’T STOP THE FEELING!” crosses all demographics, generations, and political ideologies. As your dad would say, “It’s a bloody license to print money.”


    Song: “Cranes in the Sky”

    Artist: Solange

    Album: A Seat at the Table

    Solange’s new album is so good people might finally stop prefacing her name with “Bey’s little sister.” Another in a string of protest albums to hit a nerve with audiences in 2016, A Seat at the Table juxtaposes heavy lyrics with dreamy and whimsical melodies—something only a Knowles sister could pull off so effortlessly.


    Song: “I Need You”

    Artist: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

    Album: Skeleton Tree

    Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’ latest album Skeleton Tree is Cave’s gut-wrenchingly painful response to his son’s death in mid-2015 and it will cut you to the core. It’s the same old Nick Cave, but with a weight on his shoulders that could only come from immense grief. If you really want to roll yourself pirate a copy of the accompanying film he made to avoid doing any press for the album, One More Time With Feeling.


    Song: “Closer”

    Artist: The Chainsmokers

    Album: Closer

    The most polarising song of the year and your problematic fave, “Closer” has been known to make or break friendships. Yes, those with even the most basic knowledge of music production will rip these guys out for making lazy dance music, but shouldn’t we instead be congratulating the duo on tricking the world into thinking their music is much more complex than it actually is?


    Song: “Nice Guys Finish Thirst”

    Artist: Name UL

    Album: (Choice)s

    If you ever needed proof the the NZ rap and hip-hop scene is going fire, this album is it. With the Silver Scroll Awards recently shining a light on just how undervalued the genre is on our shores, Name UL feels like an artist about to shake the industry up. Easily the country’s most skilled rapper with lyrics that will start a conversation and an oh so current sound, Name UL will be playing in the international arena with the big kids in the next 18 months, easy.


    Song: “The Bird”

    Artist: Anderson Paak

    Album: Malibu

    Sweet sweet Anderson Paak can do no wrong. Malibu goes down so damn easily and will get you through your summer job picking fruit in rural NZ. Several years of collaborating with big names in hip-hop and RnB haven’t gone without influence, and have undoubtedly helped Paak craft a sound that finally feels like his own. If you’re still not convinced, Father of the Nation John Campbell is a fan and therefore “The Bird” should probably be our new national anthem.


    Song: “Hold Up”

    Artist: Beyonce

    Album: Lemonade

    If anyone you know needs this elaborated on, tell ‘em boy bye.


  • The completely meaningless Salient Game Awards for 2016!

    Game awards are usually turgid affairs, filled with meaningless waffle about how awesome games are and a bunch of men in suits pleasuring themselves over how they’re totally artists and not at all soulless, out-of-touch, corporate stooges who take pride in nickel-and-diming.

    To that I defiantly say nay! If I’m going to give out some awards, I’m only slightly serious about, they will be ultimately meaningless in the larger scheme of things, and it’s not all going to be sunshine and rainbows. Let’s do this!


    The “Garme Jurnalizm” Award for Best Games Writer Who Isn’t Me

    The British Khaleesi of Butts Laura Kate Dale takes the gong, specifically for her work in breaking the news of the PS4 slim model. Mostly because it was actual investigative journalism, which is a rare beast these days in the gaming industry. She risked quite a bit to get the story out and it was great to see it come to fruition when the official announcement came. On top of all this she did it just a couple of months after undergoing gender reassignment surgery, of all things; how’s that for diversity?


    The #FucKonami Memorial Award for Dodgiest Games Company

    The two-man shit factory called Digital Homicide are possibly the worst games development company in the history of the industry. Not only are their games half-baked shovelware cobbled together from pre-bought assets, their complete inability to take criticism has seen them them sue games critic Jim Sterling for over $10 million and attempt to file a subpoena for the information of 100 Steam users in order to sue them as well. Valve rightfully swung the banhammer and removed all of DigiHom’s games from Steam not long afterwards; hopefully they won’t come back.


    The “No Refunds” Award for Biggest Disappointment

    Without a doubt, it has to go to No Man’s Sky. I was one of many who had the misfortune of getting unreasonably hyped for the ambitious space sim, and I feel for those who believe they were ripped off. My 3/5 was based off of a first impression and I got increasingly bored waiting for something even vaguely interesting to happen. Since launch, Hello Games have fallen silent, the player base on PC has dropped dramatically, and the game’s marketing is under investigation by the UK Advertising Standards Authority for being potentially misleading. Oh dear.


    Wellington Tremayne’s Game of the Year (so far)

    Miss Tremayne is an… interesting person, to say the least: her favourite game of the year, Alice: Madness Returns, came out five years ago! But if Dunkey can have Super Mario Bros 2 as his GOTY fourteen years running, then I’m cool with that. In her own words: “Alice is a psychological horror game that is beautiful, violent, and, quite frankly, a pain in the ass. The game is magnificently difficult, even for seasoned players. Still, the twists, turns, and metaphorical underpinnings of Madness Returns are fascinating.” Good luck back at Mount Holyoke, Wellington!


    Cameron Gray’s Game of the Year (so far)

    There is only one choice for me. I’ve sunk the most time into it; I’ve had the most fun with it; I’ve talked about it more than any other release this year. I’ve got a poster on my wall with one of the characters and a Pop Vinyl figure of the same one, a rarity for me. It is the one and only OVERWATCH! Go ahead Blizzard, stick that on the back of the box.


  • Reviewing 2016—The Best Of

    2016 was an interesting year for film. The blockbusters may not have delivered, but this year  yielded plenty of indie gems and the horror genre also did particularly well. With that said, here’s what I’ve enjoyed the most so far this year:


    1) 10 Cloverfield Lane

    This still stands as the most visceral movie experience I’ve had this year. All three actors gave fantastic performances, and the filmmaking was brilliantly restrained but absolutely batshit nuts when it called for it.


    2) Sing Street

    This is the Irish musical equivalent of Rocky. John Carney (the man behind Once and Begin Again) managed to cover the entire emotional spectrum: from glee to grief to poignancy to fist pumping triumph—the result is irresistible.


    3) Hunt For The Wilderpeople

    This movie isn’t just a good New Zealand film, it’s good full stop. It’s very funny and unabashedly fun, with the interplay between the infamous Ricky Baker and Uncle Hec forming the film’s heart and soul, without being afraid to deal with darker themes. My fingers are crossed for ‘egg’ references in Thor: Ragnarok.


    4) The Witch

    This may not have been the scariest horror movie of 2016, but it’s undoubtedly the most expertly crafted. The very definition of a slow build, The Witch is creepy to its core with not a single jump scare to be found.


    5) Deadpool

    It may seem pointless at this point to say that Deadpool was great, but I’m still going to. Visually inventive, violent and offensive; it was superbly memorable (in a genre which is quickly becoming forgettable) which is even more impressive given its small budget.


    6) Zootopia

    What Inside Out did for child psychology this film did for prejudice and race relations, brilliantly paralleling our own world. Disney continues to make bold, original choices when they could be rolling out Frozen 2, Frozen 3, and Frozen: Olaf’s Cool Adventure.


    7) Like Crazy

    A small Italian film from the NZIFF. This is one where you are guaranteed, like critics always say, to “laugh and cry.” The work between the two leading ladies was some of the best chemistry and acting I’ve seen all year.


    8) Kubo & The Two Strings

    Stop motion animation reached a new high with Kubo. Filled with beautiful imagery, it is an exciting adventure in a marvellously realised world which never ceases to be exciting, as well as charmingly off-beat.


    9) A Perfect Day

    This was my second favourite film from the NZIFF; a dark comedy based around four aid workers in the Bosnian crisis of the 90s. The film balances hard hitting war imagery with clever comic relief and the balance is perfect.


    10) The Nice Guys

    Pretty much no one went and saw this film, which is sad because I’d happily rock up for six more sequels. As if the seedy underbelly to 70’s Los Angeles wasn’t going to be fun in the hands of Shane Black (writer of Iron Man 3 and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang).


    Honourable Mentions

    Obviously there were more than ten films worth watching this year. These are some others worth checking out: The Jungle Book, Captain America: Civil War, The Conjuring 2, Finding Dory, Everybody Wants Some!, Star Trek Beyond, Captain Fantastic, Green Room, Swiss Army Man, and Lights Out.


  • Reviewing 2016—The Not So Great

    Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad

    I’ve lumped these two together because they both have the same problem—they lack ‘wow’ factor. Both contain redeeming qualities in the acting and visuals department, but the compliments stop there. Both products were evidently rushed and suffered deeply for it. Batman v Superman was a sloppy mish-mash, with one decent action scene and virtually no compelling drama. Suicide Squad was cut to hell in the editing room, leaving a product that lacked plot, pacing, and character arcs. It’s all too obvious that DC’s first priority was to make a product to be consumed, not savoured.


    Angry Birds

    This year yielded some truly brilliant animated films. Zootopia was fantastic, Kubo and the Two Strings was poignant, and even Kung Fu Panda 3 was plenty of fun. Enter Angry Birds, a film four years behind the game trend and aimed at children under five. The animation is nauseatingly bright and epileptic to keep children still for ninety minutes, but pacifiers belong in the aisle of the supermarket where I hopefully won’t end up for another decade or so, not in the cinema. The humour is also awful. Sexual comedy is great, but not in a kids film. When Josh Gad’s character suggested they solve the egg crisis by “getting busssssssyyyyyy” with the ladies I didn’t so much chuckle as gag. Also I swear they suggest Sean Penn’s character Terrence is a serial killer and murderer of women. Watch it and tell me I’m wrong.



    With each passing year two things become increasing obvious: Lord of the Rings is about the only full-on fantasy series worth watching (I know, Harry Potter is great, but I’m talking about hard-core fantasy—like bloody Dungeons and Dragons) and that video games just do not translate to the screen at all. Warcraft cements both of these things. The effects are laughable for the majority of the movie, with the exception of several of the Orcs, and the human characters are all poorly written with equally bad acting to round it all off. Sadly, even though I saw this on opening day in a near empty theatre, it made a tonne of money in China, so the awkward and abrasive sequel set up at the end will probably go ahead.


    Dishonourable Mentions

    In the category of ‘biggest disappointments’ there’s a tie between The BFG and Jason Bourne. Both left a lot to be desired and the mediocrity was heartbreaking. In the ‘our fears were confirmed’ category is Ghostbusters, which committed the cardinal sin of being brutally unfunny. Not an awful film by any measure, and one that could have worked had a little more thought and effort been put in. Lastly, in the ‘I forgot that came out in 2016’ category is The Huntsman: Winters War. Yeah, I reviewed this and I can’t even remember what I said about it.

    Now admittedly, unlike the best films, I did not seek out bad movies this year. Still, I did not take into account any external factors (hype, trailers, casting) when weighing the merits of the film. I just straight up didn’t like them.


  • The Salient 2016 Summer Reading List

    With the end of study looming and buckets of free time on the horizon the important question is: what are you going to read (when you’re not on Netflix)? We have a few suggestions for all kinds of readers.


    A Little Life

    Hanya Yanagihara

    This sprawling novel has been up for some major awards in the past year and, despite not cinching the top shots, it has become a firm reader favourite. A Little Life follows four male friends in New York City post-college, pursuing success and fighting demons. Be warned, however: this story packs a notorious emotional punch and is not for the faint of heart.


    The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

    Amy Schumer

    Whether you’re heading to see her in Auckland this December or consoling yourself by binging Inside Amy Schumer clips on Youtube, this is probably a book you’ll want to read. It’s a memoir told in essays and is just as funny as you would expect from the trail-blazing comedian.


    The Secret History

    Donna Tartt

    If you find yourself starting to feel homesick for the study life this summer break maybe you should delve into Donna Tartt’s first novel, which follows a group of Classics students at a Vermont college who take their syllabus a little too seriously. It’s a gripping and disturbing tale of collegiate murder which seeks to explain not who, but why.


    Cat’s Cradle

    Kurt Vonnegut

    You’ve never read any Vonnegut, you say? You should change that right away by picking up this perfect little novel about humanity, religion, and global destruction. If that sounds too heavy for your tastes you should know that Vonnegut is a master of deadpan humour, so it’s not entirely all doom and gloom.


    My Brilliant Friend (#1 Neapolitan Novels)

    Elena Ferrante

    This series, translated from Italian, has become an international sensation and yet nobody knows the true identity of the author. (Is that you Franzen?) They follow two friends, Lila and Elena, beginning with their childhoods in 1950s Naples. Once you’ve started you won’t be able to stop, so it’s a good thing there are no pesky essays to write.


    How Did We Get Into This Mess?: Politics, Equality, Nature

    George Monbiot

    Monbiot is a British writer and a columnist for The Guardian known for taking on political and environmental issues. This book, with its very apt title, is a greatest hits collection of his essays and articles from the last few years. Read for the intellectual stimulation and/or to feel pissed off about everything.


    Fun Home

    Alison Bechdel

    This graphic memoir follows cartoonist Alison Bechdel through her awkward formative years and at the same time tells the story about her late father. It’s a funny, poignant, look at sexuality, family life, and becoming your true self, with plenty of nerdy literature references thrown in.


    So Sad Today

    Melissa Broder

    Melissa Broder is the woman behind the Twitter account @sosadtoday; a chronicle of anxious-depressive musings (she’s also a poet). This is her first collection of essays and broaches such topics as depression, anxiety, obsessive relationships, and her vomit fetish. A raw, funny, fearless book that is sometimes scarily relatable.


    The Rehearsal

    Eleanor Catton

    Before The Luminaries, and her literary fame, Eleanor Catton wrote this novel about a student/teacher scandal at an all-girls high school. It’s been turned into a film this year, with a screenplay by Emily Perkins, and if you’re a book-before-the-movie kind of person you’ll want to get on to this.


  • 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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