Thank God I’m Not Famous!

When I spoke to Harry James Angus the trumpet player and singer of The Cat Empire he was sitting outside the Harold Holt Memorial swimming pool in Melbourne. Like most of us Harry prefers the beach but according to him “in Melbourne there’s not really that much swimming to be done on the beach.”

Of course, in Victoria there is Cheviot Beach, named after the SS Cheviot which sank, resulting in the loss of thirty-five lives. It is also the infamous beach where Australia’s seventeenth Prime Minister Harold Holt went for a swim and never came back. If I had increased Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War – he coined the famous slogan “All the way with LBJ!” – I too might have left our shores without warning. Continue reading

President Notes

Halfway through semester. How did that happen?

With one study break down, and another soon upon us, how are you tracking? On top of studies? Behind (I am!)?

The Guild’s had a great start to the year. Thanks to all of you, we’ve had some amazing events, but one I really want to thank you all for is Club Carnivale.

We had over 60 clubs register with us for 2011, and over half of those applied for start-up grants to get the ball rolling. We were completely amazed with both the number and the enthusiasm of these clubs.

But better than that is how many of them were out and about at Club Carnivale and since, with events and activities being launched all over campus – really makes the place feel alive.

I’m super excited about what’s still to come around the place this semester – keep your eyes on G News for more info!

Much Love Brodie Lewis

There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbour's Baby cover

There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbour’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales

‘There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbour’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales’ is a collection of thrilling and mysterious short stories by Russia’s best-known and most controversial living author, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya. Amongst a group of writers whose work was banned from being published until the fall of the Soviet Union, Petrushevskaya uses enthralling tales to bring to life, the collapse of relationships and values in the post-war era of Soviet Russia. With a twist of course.

The book is divided into four parts, as described by the Introduction, they are: “Songs of the Eastern Slavs” –dark, surreal vignettes told in the manner of urban folk tales. “Allegories” – including two apocalyptic stories, some of Petrushevskaya’s best known, about the collapse of the social-political order. “Requiems” – an older and gentler cycle that explores human relationships under duress and after death. And finally, “Fairy Tales” or “real fairy tales”, as Petrushevskaya calls them. The introduction itself is something you should not skip past. Petrushevskaya has faced many obstacles over her career as a writer. An insight into the life of the author, her struggles and her stories (most of her work has never even appeared in English), it prepares and excites you for what you are about to experience, without spoiling the tales themselves. Continue reading

Sparkadia

Interview with Alexander Burnett by Kyle Pauletto

‘The Great Impression’ was the first album that was solely written and recorded by you as a solo artist, how did you find the process differed from when you had a band to work with?

Well the first record was essentially all my songs as well. The first record was a lot different, it was a live record and we made 12 songs in 12 days with a big name producer in London and it was the first time we had been there so it was all very exciting. That was two years ago and we were I guess much more young and wide eyed then when the band left. I was left with a bunch of demos on my computer that I loved and I think it just gave me the ticket to just be free and do whatever I wanted. It was just exhilarating to have that freedom of not having a band. Of course at the same time it was daunting, because there’s no safety net, no one to rely on and fall back on.

In your opinion do you think there is anything noticeably different in the finished product because you were alone and had that freedom?

Yeah totally, I think it would have a completely different record if it was with the band that did the first record. I don’t know if it would have been better or worse, I just know it would have been different. Something about the band leaving inspired me to be more selfish and to go further in myself, to write bigger bolder pop songs as well as more honest, quiet songs.

Do you think for future albums you will recruit more band members or remain a solo artist?

I don’t know, I have a band I tour with and they are great musicians and great live and we have a lot of fun but who knows what the next record entails. I do like just doing whatever feels right at the time so if we get really good at playing on the road and decide to release some demos then great and if not then the next record might be more acoustic or it might be more ridiculously pop, it depends what happens in life. I write songs based upon what’s going on in my life and how I feel, so I don’t want to plan too much.

Whose idea was it, and what was the reason behind letting your twitter and facebook followers listen to the album before its release?

I think that it was the record labels decision. We started touring directly after the record’s release and we would be playing songs from both the old and new album. It seems to be such a different world in terms of making records even from just the first record to the second.

Is your online popularity surreal at all?

Yeah it is, its really strange to be in a situation where its up to the world to either love it or hate it, some people will hate it because other people love it and people will have songs that they think are amazing other songs they think are ridiculous and terrible. I love the concept of music in the sense of just putting it into the world, and letting the world decide, and that’s just how it is, I don’t want to control it.

In only 3 years since the first album ‘Postcards’ was released you have toured to a large percentage of the major destinations, do you think with a second album at your disposal you could go places that you wouldn’t have been able to, limited to one album?

Yeah definitely more places, it seems to be going that way, especially Europe and the UK. I was looking forward to maybe having a week off and going somewhere exotic but its back to the road. I think we’re going to Iceland this year which is going to be amazing, who would have thought? We’ll probably spend more time in America which is exciting. Sometimes with music you never really know, I mean ‘Jealousy’ and ‘Kiss of Death’ were hits in Germany so we did quite a bit of touring there and that was very surprising. In the UK ‘Too Much To Do’ was played a lot which allowed us to do a the big festivals, so who knows what will happen with this one.

Being our environmental issues, are there any environmental issues you feel particularly strong about, and have environmental problems ever been a point of inspiration for your music?

Of recent times I’ve been pretty concerned about how the world is going, with so many natural disasters, especially with the 2012 prediction. I did actually write a song recently touching on those topics, and I think that’s something I will be writing about more in the future.

Originally published in METIOR issue 2, 2011.

Sea Shepherd – Guardians of the Sea

The Sea Shepherd is setup to enforce laws and regulations that protect marine ecosystems. Although the laws have been put in place by the Federal Government, they fail to manage the oceans. All Sea Shepherd campaigns are guided by the United Nations which gives non-governmental organisations the authority to uphold international conservation laws. Sea Shepherd’s Australian director Jeff Hansen says

“In a lot of cases in the southern ocean whale sanctuary what the whaling people are doing is illegal but there is on one down there to prosecute them. Our clients are whales, dolphins, sharks turtles, that is who we represent and ultimately our goal is to protect the biodiversity of the ocean and uphold those laws.”

“If it’s illegal you should get in there and shut it down, there is no compromise.”

“We realise what we are doing is putting our lives on the line to protect whales and if you aren’t prepared to do that you shouldn’t be onboard the vessel.”

Jeff believes the Australian Government hasn’t stepped in with a stern ‘no’ to whaling because the international whaling system is completely corrupt, and because they are one of Australia’s main trading partners.

“It started off with a number of nations managing whale stocks and they were generally nations interested in whaling or had whales in the past. But Japan thought that if they wanted to continue with commercial whaling they needed to get more votes so they started buying them. They went to poor countries or an island nation, injected a heap of money into their economy or built them facilities and forced them into the IWC so they would be a member and could vote for Japan to return to commercial whaling.”

“It (IWC) needs to change its focus from the international whaling commission to one that aims to protect and defend whales.”

According to Jeff, Australia is the the most supportive of the Sea Shepherd in regards to media prominence. The only support received by the Federal Government is that from Greens Leader and Senator Bob Brown, who asks questions on behalf of the Sea Shepherd in the senate.

“It’s definitely not funding, but the Greens will ask questions on our behalf in the senate and ask ‘What’s the Australian government going to do?’ The Sea Shepherd’s vessels are protecting Australian waters an up keeping their laws but why isn’t the government down there doing something about it too?”

Public support includes anything from donors who give five or ten dollars a month to ongoing supporters that turn up when ships are about to leave port with carloads of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Sea Shepherd campaigns can cost between three and four million dollars each, fuel alone for one mission is a million dollars. So how do they get by being a non-governmental, notfor-profit organisation?

“We have money coming in from the United States, we are getting more effective with online merchandise stores in the UK, Europe, Australia and America and our admin is very low. I’m the only full time employee in Australia, and I work from home. We have two part time employees in Melbourne who work in a donated office. Our crew are all volunteers. The captain and chief engineer are paid but apart from that they are really just volunteers from all over the world including Japan. We believe if you want to help the ocean and you want to help sea shepherd then you will do it (donate/volunteer) out of your own interest and out of your heart. All of our volunteers aren’t paid and they aren’t on a commission, they give up their weekends and free time to go out and talk to schools for Sea Shepherd,”

Facts

  • The whalers are everyday fishermen whose vessels are provided by a company in Japan. The costs are now subsidised by the Japanese government who are in debt of $200 million dollars for their whaling. This year they went home a month early and due to the recent tsunami it is hoped tey won’t be able to afford a return next year.
  • 80% of the oxygen we breathe comes from the ocean. If the ocean dies, we die to. It’s quite simple.
  • 98% of the world’s whale population is already wiped out.
  • There is a lunch program in some Japanese schools where whale and dolphin meat is put into the lunch in the hope it can be promoted via children. Somehow this is supposed to get the industry up and running again.
  • Both whale and dolphin meat is highly toxic (mercury) as they are further up in the food chain and our oceans are so sick and polluted. The acceptable level of mercury in dolphin meat is .04 parts per million and the dolphin meat available on shelves in Japan is 2000 parts per million.
  • There is an area of ocean off the coast of Hawaii called the Pacific Vortex. It is the size of the United States and full of plastic. Many of the world’s currents meet there and have created a plastic pool. Whales often ingest plastic bags and can no longer digest their food. Pelicans and other wildlife get caught up in fishing equipment and plastic. The smaller parts are eaten by fish!
  • Some beaches no longer have sand particles – they have plastic particles!

What you can do everyday

  • “One of the biggest things people can do is if you’re at a restaurant and they serve shark fin soup, say that you can’t eat there anymore because you serve shark fin soup and the reason is because we’ve lost 98% of the worlds sharks and if we continue to eat this dish we’ll lose our sharks and die.
  • Another thing is just clean up the beaches, get involved with beach clean ups and put your rubbish in the bin.

There are onshore and offshore volunteering opportunities with the Sea Shepherd if you are interested. For more information, go to: www.seashepherd.org

Words by Sonia Tubb

Rise of the e-Book and What it Means for the Aspiring Writer…

Getting published is difficult, I know. When I began my quest to get published, I initially focussed on the traditional publishing houses, with little success. It was when a friend suggested I try approaching some e-publishers that my labours were truly rewarded.

The aspiring author is likely to face multiple rejections and heartbreaking critiques in their quest to achieve publication. Thankfully, the trend towards the “environmentally friendly” e-book has opened a window of opportunity for those struggling, aspiring writers.

Once considered the poor cousin of the paperback, the e-book has risen in popularity. Amazon sales indicate that kindle and e-book sales now outrank paper-back sales. This has lead to a staggering increase in the number of e-publishers. This is good news on many levels for unpublished authors.

As e-publishers specialise in e-formats, their subsequent production costs are lower. This makes them much more likely to take on a new, unsigned author. Most traditional publishers prefer to take on new authors only if they are represented by a professional literary agent, or have been previously published. This is because taking on a new author is a higher risk for them, as producing a run of paperbacks is a more expensive venture than producing a pdf or other digital format. Additionally, as it costs less to run an e-publishing business, e-publishers can afford to be a lot more genre specific. There are e-publishers who specialise solely in horror, paranormal, sci-fi, erotica, romance, and fetishism. You name it, if there is a market, then there is probably an e-publisher ready to cater to it. This is liberating for the aspiring author, as it allows them to submit to a publisher that caters to their own specific genre market. This in turn gives the author a greater chance of being accepted and given a contract.

Once published by an e-publisher, the benefits seem to keep coming. Authors are often given higher percentages on royalties for e-book sales. Then, once an author has published a few times with a reputable e-publisher (there are some cowboys out there, be warned!), the author will then have a greater chance at being represented by an agent and getting a subsequent contract with a traditional publisher if they wish. It seems like a win-win situation doesn’t it? Alas, there is the flip-side to the e-book revolution. E-book piracy is a rising problem – stealing the royalties that you’ve tried so hard to earn. Competition is incredibly fierce. Advertising and self-promotion is bitter and difficult, as a large portion of the promotion is left up to the author. Additionally, your readers must have the initial money to buy the technology to access the e-books. If they don’t have a kindle, or computer, then e-books are inaccessible. This removes a percentage of your potential readership. Then there is the loss of the tactile experience that holding a book gives, the smell and touch of its pages and the joy of holding a book with your name on it.

I am lucky, my publisher produces both e-format and paperback, giving me the best of both worlds. However, for the author starting off, submitting to a reputable e-publisher is an eco-friendly and realistic option – and the most likely way to get your foot into the door of the publishing world.

Words by Nicola E. Sheridan

Sustainability Report

Murdoch University – An analysis of its environmental awareness and implementation

Murdoch University publicises its sustainability objectives, which warrants an examination of how they are being achieved, as well as a comparison with other universities in WA, nationally and globally. Murdoch has listed sustainability as one of its four core values, alongside equity, social justice and global responsibility. I’m going to look at where Murdoch is meeting, falling behind and exceeding other universities in the area of sustainability.

A few things Murdoch is doing (that other universities in wa are also doing)

• Murdoch is buying green power.

Murdoch has been vocal in advertising its Greenpower program. As of 1st August 2010, Murdoch is purchasing 16% of its electricity needs from Greenpower, the only Government accredited renewable energy reporting organisation. Curtin is also doing this, purchasing 15% greenpower (ok, one percent less). Continue reading

[REVIEW] Griff the Invisible

Romance and action movies may seem like anathema to one another but no other combination of genres puts bums on seats like it. If a filmmaker can incorporate some impressively bombastic explosions, with a likeable hero who has to overcome impossible odds to save the day/girl/world from an apocalypse/alien invasion/ asteroid and win the heart of aforementioned girl who photographs well in slow motion it can be a licence to print money.

Films that do succeed in this often come masked, caped and with a secret identity. Emerging Australian director Leon Ford makes his full length feature debut this month with Griff the Invisible, a superhero movie with a difference. It stars True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten as a mild mannered office worker by day and a rubber suited crime fighter by night.

The premise may sound familiar but Griff is anything but your typical caped crusader. Griff is a socially awkward misfit with severely impaired social skills who believes that he has superpowers. When he meets his brother’s girlfriend Melody, (Maeve Dermody) a pretty scientist who believes in Griff’s abilities despite all rational evidence to the contrary, a romance begins.

With many references to other superhero films like Batman, Spiderman and even The Six Million Dollar Man, Griff the Invisible is an unusual Australian film that aims at high concept action romance on a shoestring budget. Ryan Kwanten stretches his range from his best known role as the sexually voracious Jason Stackhouse on the television series True Blood. As Griff he is shy and child-like and Maeve Dermody is nicely matched to him as the bizarrely clumsy Melody.

With well executed action sequences and possessing a charming sense of innocence lacking in many more cynical superhero films, Griff the Invisible is unconventional, funny and original and well worth checking out.

3/5

Griff the Invisible is Rated (M) and is in cinemas from March 17.

Review by Clinton Little

Behind the Screens Diary of a Student Filmmaker

A Few Guidelines…

If you’re a writer and don’t have children of your own or even a smallish furry domesticated animal to project your procreative instincts upon you come may to regard your words as your babies. You will need to get over it. And fast. Sometimes a favourite scene or a treasured line needs to be sent to the cutting room floor for the sake of expediency. And though it may seem like a cruel exercise in infanticide, as a student filmmaker you are limited for time and resources and if you go over your allotted time limit you will be marked down. Your tutors are not going to sit through a three hour epic, no matter how lovingly crafted, when they have specifically asked for a five minute short.

Have a fall-back option. Say hypothetically you are working on a documentary about a collection of vintage… (let’s call them cars). You have spent countless hours travelling, filming and editing until the owner of said collection decides/realises your preliminary results are unprofessional (though what did he really expect?) and removes access to your subject material before crucial aspects of filming is completed. What do you do? Always have a plan-B in place.

Actors are vain, insecure, and needy; they have huge egos/deep insecurities and are often quite good looking. Though these characteristics may be infuriatingly undesirable in a friend or partner, but if you’re a director they will be the puppets on your strings as they’re also very easy to manipulate. The trick is to alternate between effusive praise and cruelly hacking away at their self esteem which fills them with a confusing mixture of self loathing and furious need to prove themselves, leading critics to praise their “complex and layered” performances.

Be persistent and don’t be afraid to put your ideas out there. If you were a film producer and a nerdy young di- rector came to you with an idea for a film about a short, wrinkly 3000 year old alien obsessed with gardening that gets stranded on earth and just wants to go home it would be difficult to see the potential of such a project. But if Steven Spielberg had doubted himself E.T may never have become one of the most beloved movies of all time.

Filmmaking is a collaborative process. This means that sometimes you’re going to have to work with people that you are not going to like/have no talent/or are doing a screen unit for fun and don’t really care about the finished product. This is to be expected. The flipside to this coin is that you will also meet and work with others with many and varied skills with whom you find you have “creative chemistry”. Nurture these relationships.

Take yourself seriously even when no one else does. If you’re as talented as you think you are, they’ll get it eventually. If not, it may be wise to commit the following phrase to memory.

“Would you like fries with that?”

Originally printed in Metior Issue 1, 2011

Words by Clinton Little

Never have I dreamt of this before

Never have I dreamt of this before
by Phillip Ellis

Never have I dreamt of this before.
You are as a mystery of glory,
making me know this, beloved adored
never have I dreamt of this before.

Of your reveries I set store,
adoring alone the divine story
never had I dreamt of this before:
you are as my mystery of glory.