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Issue 17, 2018

Issue 17, Vol 81: Travel

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News

  • The Naming Game

  • Marlon the MVP Brings Back the Number 18!

  • Mould and Roaches in University Hall

  • A Random Education Institute in Palmy Increases Their Student Services Fee by 50%

  • Students to Protest in Hope that “The Wait is Over”

  • Lack of Sexual Assault Policy Leaves Students Feeling Unheard

  • The Lifsticle (Lift Listicle)

  • Kelburn Campus Library Lifts Let Students Down

  • Features

  • To Gram or not to Gram?

    It was a travel journal written by my dad in 1985, recording the journey he and my mum took in a Ford Escort van around continental Europe, that made me wonder about the ways in which we now use Instagram to capture and share our life adventures. During their travels, methods to get in touch […]

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  • Blue Cod Journeys

    My family and I did a roadtrip of the South Island in memory of my grandad when he passed. We called it the “blue cod trip.” You see, Grandad always waxed lyrical about the taste of blue cod, obtainable only in certain parts of New Zealand. The blue cod trip went from Invercargill to Christchurch to […]

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  • Two Serious Head Injuries in the U.S. of A

    I was in Las Vegas, Nevada, when I got the second serious head injury of the tour I was on. The first had happened in some concrete hole in the ground DIY venue at the wrong end of Echo Park, Los Angeles. We were playing our set like we would back home; as raucous and […]

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  • Lucknow Spaces

    Lucknow greets me grey and greasy. It is the end of October 2017, and I sit on the platform of the train station, using my data to read an email from Victoria University. This feels like it should be significant: finally, I know where I am going next year. But I am distracted by my […]

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  • To Gram or not to Gram?

    It was a travel journal written by my dad in 1985, recording the journey he and my mum took in a Ford Escort van around continental Europe, that made me wonder about the ways in which we now use Instagram to capture and share our life adventures. During their travels, methods to get in touch […]

    by

  • Blue Cod Journeys

    My family and I did a roadtrip of the South Island in memory of my grandad when he passed. We called it the “blue cod trip.” You see, Grandad always waxed lyrical about the taste of blue cod, obtainable only in certain parts of New Zealand. The blue cod trip went from Invercargill to Christchurch to […]

    by

  • Two Serious Head Injuries in the U.S. of A

    I was in Las Vegas, Nevada, when I got the second serious head injury of the tour I was on. The first had happened in some concrete hole in the ground DIY venue at the wrong end of Echo Park, Los Angeles. We were playing our set like we would back home; as raucous and […]

    by

  • Lucknow Spaces

    Lucknow greets me grey and greasy. It is the end of October 2017, and I sit on the platform of the train station, using my data to read an email from Victoria University. This feels like it should be significant: finally, I know where I am going next year. But I am distracted by my […]

    by

  • Arts and Science

  • Podcasts on Pop Culture

    It’s really hard to use the term “pop culture” without sounding like a dick. But, for lack of a better term, it must be done. People who read the podcast section (who are you? are you out there?), please consider this a warning/ don’t hate me lol.

    I like talking about pop culture. I like thinking about pop culture and engaging with it too. By pop culture I just mean the stuff/content/people/things that are widely popular and prevalent at this current moment. One could say that the Kardashians are a big part of pop culture now. Or Miley Cyrus twerking at the VMAs. Or Frank Ocean dropping a new album. (All of these things are highly important to me and you should know this).
    It is easy to spin that well-told tale of “popular” content as part of some lower-level form of culture — meant only for mindless entertainment, and devoid of any real value or insight. I must respectfully disagree. Lots of weird, fascinating, and telling things happen in the realm of pop culture. I think it is worth exploring, so I turned to podcasts.
    I have been on a search for the pop culture podcast gives me everything I need — humour, insight, relevance. Basically, I just need some generally good convo that lets me think about the Kardashians and feel truly enlightened at the same time. I will now share with you my findings.

    Unpopped
    I started my journey with the BBC’s Unpopped — their very first episode is dedicated to RuPaul’s Drag Race and it is a banger. The host, Haley Campbell, and a few guests jump into a conversation about the phenomenon that is drag, and the impact and significance of a show like Drag Race. The episode goes from a discussion about the use of language in the show, to a history of drag and queer communities, to looking at the controversial topic of cisgender woman in drag. Although I did thoroughly enjoy this episode as an avid Drag Race fan, I found later episodes of Unpopped to be extremely hit or miss. Often the conversation is dry and never really moves beyond surface level discussion (eg. a long talk about how Instagram is used).

    Keep It!
    is a pop culture podcast that I heard about through some pretty positive online reviews. It describes itself as “at the intersection of pop culture and politics at a time when we’re obsessing over both”. This podcast is quite casual, it seems to rest heavily on the personalities and dynamic of the hosts. Also I still haven’t really worked out who the hosts and guests are and why I should really care what they think — maybe you have to listen to lots of episodes to get attached to their banter? It errs on the explanatory side of things, and seems to be more of a run-down of current events than anything super insightful.

    Still Processing
    Lastly, but my absolute favourite, is the New York Times podcast Still Processing. Hosted by Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris, two culture writers for the Times, the podcast tackles a different cultural phenomenon, event, product, or just general topic each week.
    The best part of the podcast is how Wortham and Morris are unafraid to put broader societal issues, such as racism and sexism, at the forefront of their discussion. To them, pop culture is always political, and hearing them take on topics in this critical way is refreshing and thought-provoking. Topics include how to negotiate Kanye’s role as both a pop star and a politically problematic figure, the frustration from the queer community around Rita Ora’s song “Girls”, and two great episodes discussing the experience of being Asian-American in the current cultural landscape.
    10/10 because this podcast continuously opens my mind and I love it

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  • Interview with The Beths

    The Beths have gained a lot of hype in the media of late – especially in Rolling Stone and Stereogum, who have been raving about the re-release of 2016’s Warm Blood EP and the band’s latest singles. To celebrate the release of their debut full-length album Future Me Hates Me, I sat down and had a chat with Elizabeth Stokes from The Beths, to learn a bit about the band, their sound, and their influences.
    Josh: Tell me a little bit about The Beths, in terms of how the group started and got to where it is now?
    Elizabeth: The Beths have been around for a few years now, and I mean, we’ve all just been fixtures of the Auckland music scene since we were all in high school playing in our high school bands. We all ended up going to jazz school as well – me, Jonathan, Ivan, and Ben. The Auckland music scene is pretty small though, and so you can’t really make a living as a jazz musician, which I think works out well for the scene because you end up with all these people who love music and end up playing in people’s bands and making music of lots of different kinds. Making not-jazz music basically.

     

    J: Yeah, like bringing the influences of things they’ve learned from studying different types of music and genre, and applying that to other music right? That’s totally cool.
    E: Yeah, I think Auckland’s quite a special scene, I really like it a lot. Anyway, it was a couple years after jazz school, and I was playing trumpet because that’s what I’d studied, and doing a bit of teaching, but I wanted to get back into songwriting which is what I used to do in my high school band, and you end up recruiting the friends who you play in different projects with, and we just started jamming, made some demos and that’s kinda how the band started. We worked out what we wanted to sound like, and it took maybe even two years of us jamming and playing until we had anything like an EP out. We weren’t really rushed, but I think that meant the EP felt quite settled, like we’d decided on a sound.
    J: Like an established sense of identity to start with? I think maybe sometimes you find with bands, and it might be a local thing, but you hear groups going gung-ho into the first project and they kind of iron things out as they go. I definitely feel that on the Warm Blood EP, cohesive sense of identity there for sure.

     

    E: That’s good to hear! I also respect it’s quite exciting as well when you start a new project and immediately record it, I think there’s exciting about that as well. It’s just not what we did!
    J: Different approaches to end up at releases huh. Anyway, new album’s out on the 10th (Future Me Hates Me), you guys must be fizzing to get that out. How long have you been sitting on, or working through, the material for that one?

    E: I was writing some of the songs back when we put the EP out, or even when we were recording the EP, so it’s quite a long collection. The most recent song, was written last year, the last song on the album… But most of the songs we’d already played live, and we’d already kind of worked out the kinks. We recorded it in Jonathan’s studio on K Road… and he records and produces us, and does a great job.
    J: There’s benefits to having an in-house producer I guess, you can shape it entirely how you want to have it right?
    E: Yeah, we get a lot of freedom which we’re really lucky to [be able to] take our time a little bit, which can be a double-edged sword because it means you end up taking too much time [laughs]… but it’s not like “we’ve got two weeks in the studio, we’ve got to finish the record…”, they gave us the luxury of taking our time with it, like the way that maybe a bedroom produced record would, but with a bigger space and nicer microphones.
    J: Tell me about some of the influences for the new record, be that musically or otherwise. What shaped the way you wrote and composed the material?
    E: I’m such a sponge, in that I can listen to each song and pretty much remember what I was listening to, and I wonder how much I’ve stolen [laughs]. I mean, during the process of writing this record – which was over the course of two years or something – I was listening to a lot of Alvvays, and also a lot of New Zealand bands I really love, like Hans Pucket.
    J: Alvvays seems like a cool one, there’s some similarity there. There’s this awesome wave of pop-punk bands coming through the indie scene at the moment, and so I was wondering how much that has to do with where music was a decade ago you know, I remember growing up and hearing that sort of music in a mainstream sense, and so I wonder if that has a role in the resurgence of that style in an indie sense. I was curious more than anything!

     

    E: Yeah totally, I think you’re right. I really like the way that guitar music, and pop-punk, has come back and that the torch is being carried increasingly by women, particularly in this kind of rock guitar music with people like Courtney Barnett and Snail Mail or Charley Bliss and stuff. It’s not exclusive to that, but I really like that it’s taking these sounds… it’s not reinventing the wheel making guitar pop music, but it’s just with new stories because they’re being told by people it wasn’t being told by necessarily before.
    J: Yeah, there’s this wonderful female-driven indie scene coming through, and a lot of the music coming out through that lens has been awesome. I guess it’s proving that “guitar music” isn’t dead, despite what everyone wants to say…
    E: Yeah, I think “rock and roll” carries connotations… sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and that carries zero appeal to me…

    J: I totally agree!

    E: The aesthetic of that is just so dated I think.

    J: Nice to give it a facelift in that sense then, we’re better than that.
    E: I feel like rock music used to be cool, but now it’s a nerdy music kind of. It’s not a cutting edge, “cool” thing, which is where I feel comfortable, definitely comes with being kinda nerdy, that’s where I like to live.
    J: I agree! I like these musics that sit on the margins a bit, it’s comforting for lots of people. Anyway, what does the rest of this year look like? Touring?
    E: Yeah! We’re coming back to New Zealand! We’re playing at The Other’s Way, and then going over to Australia and doing a tour and then coming back to New Zealand and doing a tour, which I’m really excited about.
    J: I’d be super keen to see you guys! Also The Other’s Way is a super cool festival.
    E: It’s really fun! I get to play with all my friends, like Wax Chattels and Hans Pucket and Miss June… it just feels like a nice homecoming to be able to play with all local bands, and all my friends, on K Road!
    Future Me Hates Me is out August 10th through Carpark Records, and keep an eye out for their live dates later in the year.

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  • Departures

    Departures started in 2008 as a show about two friends at a crossroads in their lives, making the decision to pack their bags and travel the world for a year. Scott Wilson hosts the show with his childhood friend Justin Lukach, while Andre Dupois directs and films their adventures abroad. The show was conceived while Andre and Scott worked on another travel show, and realised that it didn’t accurately capture their “feelings” while they travelled. This focus on self discovery, and overcoming physical and mental obstacles while abroad, distinguishes Departures from other travel serials.
    When I started Departures, I was dejected and disgruntled with the state of my life and more widely, the state of the world. Departures didn’t necessarily solve any of the problems that I was fixating on, but it did make me feel better. This is partly in thanks to the genuine spirit of adventure, awe, and curiosity with which Scott and Justin experience each country.
    At its most basic, they’re two very average white dudes experiencing different cultures. They tread the line of being ignorant travellers who are stunned by the existence of other cultures and how “different” they are. Referring to Scott and Justin as a couple of privileged frat boys is an easy criticism to make; there are whole episodes in the first season where the pair border upon being disrespectful tourists in a foreign country. There’s something to be said though about their willingness to learn and throughout the series they become genuinely better individuals. By its final season, having travelled all over the world, the pair are much more appreciative and seasoned travellers, taking respectful and learned approaches to foreign traditions and culture.

    The charm of the show does come from the averageness of the pair. They represent that innate desire present in all of us who wish to travel, to escape our current situations, and take in everything the world has to offer. Unlike other grandiose travel shows, Scott and Justin’s experiences of the world are on a tight budget, with the pair avoiding popular tourist hot-spots in favour of more genuine perspectives of each nation they visit. Over the course of their journey, they interact with locals, form long-lasting friendships, and experience the smaller, more beautiful features of the countries they visit. The pair possess a child-like charm that reminded me of my own travel experiences, and the excitement of being in a different environment.
    Whether it be hiring rickshaws in India for the purpose of jousting or playing hide and seek in the abandoned city of Ghadames, the show is a serving of wholesome fun that keeps the focus on the optimistic, brighter experiences that life has to offer.
    Despite its budget, Departures cinematography is both awe-inspiring and real. The show depicts each country through the pair’s eyes, wandering through gorgeous vistas, cultural landmarks, and welcoming locales. Departures does touch on the difficulties that people face in their respective countries, but it generally approaches the world through inquisitive and optimistic eyes. While this isn’t groundbreaking videography or documentary-making, the show aims to capture the magic present in the travelling experience.
    After watching Departures, it’s hard not to feel like packing your bags and setting out for an overseas experience. Beyond travelling the globe, the show inspired me to generally appreciate what our environment does have to offer. It instilled a desire to go outside and explore what I could access immediately in my own backyard. Sure, Departures doesn’t tackle any serious issues, but it’s a wonderful catalyst for adventure and a reminder of that nagging itch to travel.

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  • NZIFF Pt 2 (We Saw More Films)

    Let the Corpses Tan – 5/5
    This Belgian neo-western crime thriller is a meticulously crafted masterpiece from beginning to end. This film utilises every cinematic trick in the book to create this hyper-violent, highly stylised world. The entire soundscape was done in post-production, with every crinkle of leather and gun shot exaggerated in the final cut. The visuals pay clear homage to French New Wave crime films and spaghetti westerns, through zooms, framing, and slick editing, with the 16mm grain lending to the retro aesthetic. Despite the violent content, this film is iconic and a demonstration of the potential of cinema. – Monty

    Climax – 3/5
    This French psychedelic horror was certainly a series of choices. Not sure that it could be called a film, but there were definitely some choices made within it. Contains self-harm, suicide & graphic violence. – Emma

    Mandy – 4/5
    Don’t let the arthouse tint fool you on whether this is a Nicholas Cage film at heart, this…is… a FUCKING NICHOLAS CAGE FILM! A somber look at the domestic life of Red (Cage) and Mandy living in the woods, soon turns into a psychedelic, medieval/ rock-infused rollercoaster filled with animated sequences, graphic intertitles and Cage calling a cultist a “vicious snowflake”. The tonal shift works in Cage’s favour as it provides the actor with material to flex both his humane and animalistic muscles. Truly one of the Cageist performances. – Monty

    Wildlife – 4/5
    Paul Dano’s directorial debut focuses on the poignant portrayal of a crumbling marriage in small town 1950s Montana, with their son as the onlooker. Each family member attempts to adapt to this new chapter of their “wild life”, be it through rebelling, maturity, or just trying to get by. The character journeys are excellently captured through the cinematography, and it almost feels like a documentary. – Monty

    Minding the Gap – 3.5/5
    A documentary about 3 men and their transition into adulthood, shown through incredible time lapse footage. This film delves into the escapism of skating, the impact of the character’s abusive/absent fathers, and how they each face a challenging facet of growing up. While the first and third act of this film is well constructed from different sources of footage, the middle does tend to drag, which could be read as emphasising the repetitive and directionless period of adulthood. – Monty

    The Miseducation of Cameron Post – 4.5/5
    In early 90s Bible Belt America, being gay is one of the worst things in the world. Cameron Post is caught in a cinch with her girlfriend and unceremoniously shipped off to conversion therapy. Jarring corporatized faith and off-tempo humour combine to make a piece that is unique in its portrayal of queer relationships and living. Though it would have been nice to have a more satisfying ending, Post is an soothing balm to the one-note depression of more mainstream queer films. – Emma

    The World Is Yours – 3/5
    A comedic and thrilling portrayal of the Parisian underworld through a host of colourful characters including a conspiracy-obsessed Vincent Cassell. While it blends all the different characters together in this winding heist flick, the lavish lifestyles cover up the neat deus ex machina of an ending, giving everyone their comeuppance and wrapping up the protagonists’ goals in a nice idyllic bow. – Monty

    El Angel – 3.5/5
    This stylish portrayal of the baby-faced serial killer in 1970s Buenos Aires only scratches the surface of the psychosis of its pro/antagonist. Carlitos Buch (Ferro) oozes charm from the moment he swaggers onto the screen, and he carries this self-assurance through to his kills and final moments of freedom. Well selected shots and slick sound editing. – Monty

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  • Books to Inspire Your Travels

    I struggled to find time to write this article, because I’m moving back in with my parents this weekend. I recently spent all of my savings on tickets to Japan and then, upon checking my bank account, promptly bid my flatmates goodbye. Although this experience proves that I am unqualified to dish out financial advice of any kind, it lends me a certain credibility in compiling this list of books.
    Books can endlessly feed your travel-hungry mind. When your bank account is low and your feet remain firmly on the ground rather than in a plane bound for South America, reading can keep the wanderlust at bay.
    Then, when you manage to bankrupt yourself by booking a trip like I’ve done, it’s crucial to use all of your luggage allowance on unnecessarily large novels. It’s rare to find a long stretch of time that you can dedicate to reading just for the sake of it, and travelling provides the perfect opportunity. If you’re a solo traveler and feel daunted by eating in restaurants alone, take a book. A lone traveler eating a bowl of ravioli is sad and desperate, but a lone traveler reading a book over the same ravioli is sexy and intriguing. Multiple encounters with beautiful strangers have been initiated by their questions about what I’m reading — this tip is legit.
    Finally, when you arrive back home, rereading the books that you read while you were away is like smelling the same Lynx bottle that your ex used to use: get ready for nostalgia. When I was a homesick 15 year old exchange student in Madrid, I bought a copy of The Great Gatsby from my local bookstore. Now, every Christmas, I reread it and remember curling up by the heater with a plate of Roscon from the bakery next to my apartment.

    Berlin Now: The City After the Wall by Peter Schneider

    Anyone who’s anyone is in Berlin right now. Trust me: I took a music studies paper in first year, and I also have two tattoos. In this non-fiction ethnographic account of the city, we hear how Berlin became the hub of youth culture today, with tales from the 1970s artist movement to the emergence of the rave scene. Any trip you might be planning to Europe would be wasted without a stopover in the German capital.

    Sanshirō by Natsume Sōseki
    We’ve all seen Downton Abbey. Victorian-era Europe is old news, but what do you know about 1800s Japan? When naïve Sashirō migrates from his tiny hometown to Tokyo for university, he encounters a city grappling with modernism and burgeoning western influence. The book depicts life in Japan during an era of rapid urbanisation, but is also a coming of age story. Sanshirō must now navigate an unfamiliar metropolitan world of scholarship, politics, and romance. Sōseki’s lyrical and introspective prose is the icing on the cake.

    How (Not) to Start an Orphanage by Tara Winkler

    Westerners volunteering in Majority World countries (let’s stop saying “developing”, please) can get problematic as fuck. Save yourself a case of white savior complex and read this book before you book your next trip to build houses in Vietnam. Written by a Australian woman who started an overseas orphanage before realising she was helping to disenfranchise entire generations of children, this semi-autobiographical book should be required reading for anyone who wants to use their travels to better the planet.

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  • 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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    This Ain’t a Scene it’s a Goddamned Arm Wrestle

    : Interior – Industrial Soviet Beerhall – Night It was late November and cold as hell when I stumbled into the Zhiguli Beer Hall. I was in Moscow, about to take the trans-Mongolian rail line to Beijing, and after finding someone in my hostel who could speak English, had decided