Sammy J & Randyland – FRINGE REVIEWS

The tall and impossibly lanky Sammy J is back in Perth with his purple felt comedic companion Randy to present to you their theme park dream.

The comedic duo have built up quite a following and the Perth Town Hall was completely sold out for a show in which one man and one puppet sing, dance and make us all laugh as they try to run their own carnival. Although, like infamous puppet musical Avenue Q, the word puppet doesn’t necessarily mean kid humour. Quite the opposite in fact.With multiple mentions of “puppet penis”, the humour was definitely more R-rated so no kids allowed!

The basic premise was a show in which the duo showed, through a series of flashbacks, the rise and fall of their (fake) dream carnival as man and puppet battle to take control over the theme park. This is a scripted play of sorts but you get to see everything from people getting eaten by orcas to a puppet inside a fake man costume. Trust me, it’ll make more sense once you’re there.

The show was technically impressive too with the duo pulling out all the stops to make their dream of a  theme park come to life. Think shadow puppetry, a few costume changes and a large juicebox container that housed Randy for part of the show. They say you should never work with children or animals but they never said anything about puppets? The multiple puppeteers bringing Randy to life were pretty seamless with their transitions as Randy appeared to move about the stage, play dead, emote and generally be an R-rated puppet to everyone’s enjoyment.

The best moments would have been the times they went completely off script. Whether that was when they were giggling at their own off-the-cuff jokes or asking the audience to name a local Perth reference they could include, things quickly spiralled away from the main comedy script but the majority of the audience was laughing more than ever.  A highlight would be the non-scripted revelation that they couldn’t use prop bowling balls on stage because last time they accidentally crushed a man’s foot in Melbourne yet still had to show them so they could be “tax deductible” balls.

All in all, this was one great show that did leave my face hurting afterwards because I was laughing almost non-stop. That’s how you know a Fringeworld show has left you happy and satisfied!

4.5/5 stars

Sammy J & Randyland is still playing until February the 5th at the Perth Town Hall.

See the Fringeworld website for tickets and showtimes.

Murdoch University named in ‘concerning’ data security report by Auditor-General

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Madura McCormack

Western Australia’s auditor-general, Colin Murphy, released a report today detailing concerns about the security of sensitive information stored by agencies.

Murdoch University was one of the seven agencies involved in the audit, which also includes Curtin University and the Legal Aid Commission of WA among others.

Murdoch University makes up 31 of the 115 failures logged in the report, seven of them extreme.

“Most concerning was that we continue to find weak controls in some basic, easy to fix areas such as passwords, patching and setting of user privileges,” says Mr. Murphy of the seven agencies.

Three of the university’s databases were tested, including Murdoch Finance, Murdoch Student Admin and Murdoch Human Resources.

Chart shows the number and severity of the findings per agency database. Source: Auditor-General report, 5 Nov.

Chart shows the
number and severity of the findings per agency database. Source: Auditor-General report, 5 Nov.

At one unspecified agency, the auditors managed to compromise two accounts and browse highly confidential and sensitive records on individuals including minors, the report said.

The same process was performed a week later, only to find that appropriate action had not been taken by the agency.

The Auditor-General’s report also identified accounts at agencies with passwords such as ‘test’ and ‘password1’.

University response

In response to the findings presented to Murdoch University, the institute has ‘engaged the services of an independent technical consultant’, it says in the report.

“Some of the actions have been completed, including the acquisition of a comprehensive password management system,” Murdoch University said in the report.

“Many of the remaining actions require specialist technical skills which are being sought.”

Here’s another time Murdoch University IT has been sketchy.

READ MORE: Poor State Government data security putting confidential information at risk, reports finds// ABC

The Great Perth Bush Doof

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By Conrad Charles Maclean

Deep in the wilderness outside of Perth, far from any telephone reception or loathsome routine, adults rave beneath the stars wearing animal onesies and tutus. A Bush Doof is in progress.

A Doof is a public outdoor dance party. They’re common in Europe and they can be commercially run or operated at a financial loss for the love of a good party.

Tonight’s Doof is in a clearing surrounded by dense bushland. Dream catchers and tight rope wires hang between the trees. This Doof has several techno dance floors and an acoustic area.

Essentially adults come to these Doofs to play with each other like children, which is tremendously healthy. Alongside the dance floor Doofers twirl Devil sticks and Poi balls. They hula-hoop and spin fire-staffs for hours on end. Most stay up all night by camp fire light doing LSD, MDMA and bud. Doofing is nothing if not modern Bohemianism.

Beside the dance area somebody’s hung a huge net between several trees; like a hammock. It’s big enough for people to jump around in, but somebody’s lighter falls through the net onto the ground below. His mates have to crawl over to his end of the net so that the whole thing can sag low enough for him to reach out and pick it up. There’s also a cabbage being tossed around the net like a volley ball.

How to get fucked up while consuming your daily dose of vitamins. Photo by: Conrad Maclean

How to get fucked up while consuming your daily dose of vitamins.
Photo by: Conrad Maclean

Back packers have flavoured this melting pot and many of the Doofers don’t speak English as a first language. French boys run around with Bubble wrap cones on their heads. A Dutchman shimmies over to me on the dance floor. He paints the Dutch flag on my face with what looks like eye liner. Mostly the Doofers are Germans, Italians and Scandinavians, but there are a few Gaelic speakers.

Most non-commercial Doofs are run on public land for liability reasons. There have been Doofs held on private property. Word is one was crashed by Bikies. It didn’t end well and the land owner was liable.

There’s a general consensus that a level of anonymity preserves a healthy non-commercial Doof culture. Thus the location of a non-commercial Doof is not announced until the day it’s held, and you only get invited by somebody who you know is going.

This means people only invite friends they trust, people who they know won’t start trouble. Also because it’s not publicly advertised it doesn’t get mobbed with people. There are only about 400 at tonight’s Doof, anything bigger would cause trouble.

One Doofer describes it to me like this “Five out of ten, or six out of ten people are dickheads. The more people rock up, the more dick heads.”

Editor’s Note: This piece is non-fiction, because Conrad’s life is generally more exciting than the average person’s.

The Demons of Barry’s practice

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By Conrad Charles MacLean

An abridged version of my interview with local exorcist Barry May.

Father Barry May is a local Perth exorcist. He held Anglican ministry for 45 years, retiring in 2007. He worked as an army chaplain for 14 years and spent another 14 in the police force. I sat down with Barry to talk to him about his exorcism work.

“They all think the only church that can do this is the Catholic Church” Barry laughs “Well I’ve got news for them. It’s not that way, and honestly I deal with 98% Roman Catholics…Muslims do it…I’ve had Hindus. There are in various faiths exorcists, because in the major faiths there are evil.”

Barry tells me about some of his adventures. “Oh, one of my very first actually, girl was about 25, 30 years of age. She had at least a dozen nasties in her, and it took me hours and hours and hours to deliver her, and I was wearing a crucifix and all of a sudden this hand came out and grabbed it…she was a big kid, fairly heavy girl, and she just grabbed at this and tried to rip it off my throat.”

“I said “you leave that alone!”

… “And she said “Jesus is my brother.””

(Barry says those last four words in a harsh gravelly voice.)

“That’s what she said, that’s what she sounded like. I said “Jesus is no brother of yours, go get the hell out of here.”

Barry has Hindu customers as well. Photo by: Madura McCormack// Ubud, Bali

Barry has Hindu customers as well.
Photo by: Madura McCormack// Ubud, Bali

“So that was that, after 10-12 (demons)-I’m guessing it was 12-she was free.” He explains.”

“I don’t charge anything” he informs me “I’ve never charged a thing…it’s not ethical, not for me. I know some do. The Catholics want to pay because they always pay their priests. I’ve never done that, never accepted that. I want them to know that this is a ministry that we don’t charge for.”

“We always have a very long interview session” he explains “because it would be arrogant to say to somebody “I can fix you up, give us ten minutes…it might take several hours to find out where their coming from, what is their faith value, what’s been happening to them, what have they been playing around with? Because once you start delving you will find almost without doubt that they have had some occult involvement, whether it be recent or whether they were perhaps teenagers…boys who play around on a full moon with a Ouija board.”

Barry told me he believes practicing witchcraft can cause a person to be possessed by demons.

“There are witches covens in Perth” he tells me “there are people who on outward appearance are respectable, might be a doctor, or a lawyer or your next door neighbour, or teacher. And they practice witch craft by night time, at a full moon and dance around in the nuddy, and (in) the next day they put on their clothes and go to work and become your GP.

It’s not common but it does happen unfortunately, and to say “oh, look, I’m really a white witch, and their OK.” Crap. Their not. White or black witches, they still pray to Satan to give them guidance. I mean, a white witch will say “I belong to Satan, for good things to happen, so I can prosper.””

Barry had this warning for amateurs thinking of taking up exorcism.

“I’d be very, very careful. I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t do it (exorcism) but do a lot of study on it. And if you had for the right reasons, not for your own reasons, I don’t do it for my reasons.

“In fact it scares the pants off you because it’s pretty hairy stuff, by the time I’ve finished, and I’ve done an exorcism, I’m absolutely walloped. Honestly walloped, and people say “god you’re sweaty.”

“And I am sweaty because it just takes so much out of you. So it depends how much you’re prepared to give…if you do it for the good of the person, and for their salvation and their enlightenment and all that sort of stuff, fine, go for it.”

Practical ways you can help with the refugee crisis

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by Caris Horton

Most of us have now seen the images of the Syrian refugees trying to cross the Hungarian border as they plead for freedom and help.

I’m also sure that most of us have seen the articles documenting the numerous refugee boats that have capsized off our shores including the infamous and heart-breaking photo of a young refugee washed up on a Turkish beach.

Often we see these images and stories online, on TV and in print but we may feel that we are powerless to help or to make any real changes.

Fortunately, there are some practical ways we can all help with the current refugee crisis, regardless of budget or time, so here are some of the most obvious but perhaps best ways to do so.

  1. DONATE

Donating is an easy way to give money quickly in times of emergency as a lot of charities have monthly and one-off donation models so you can give according to your finances at the time.

Charity donations over $2 are always tax deductible too for those who haven’t got around to putting their taxes in yet.

Often people worry how much of their donation will actually go towards the cause, which is a fair concern, so I’ve compiled a handy chart here so you can tell just what percentage of your money is going directly to the cause. The remaining percentage of donations usually goes to further fundraising efforts and towards administration costs, according to the charities’ websites.

Here are just a few fantastic charities working to help refugees in Syria and all over the world.

This charity works within Syria and in countries that host Syrian refugees, like Jordan and Egypt, to provide support to children and their families.

Save the Children also work to help children who are faced with poverty and families that are badly affected by natural disasters.

The UN Refugee Agency’s branch in Australia currently have appeals going the emergency refugee situations in Syria and elsewhere where money donated will go towards things like medicine, clothing, shelter and education for parents and children to give them new start and help with the emergency assistance they need.

This organisation works to send out medical assistance to many third world countries, like Jordan, Cambodia and Afghanistan.

They are currently working in Syria to start up health facilities in refugee transit camps and run mobile clinics across the Syrian border.

This centre, based in Footscray, offers multiple services for newly arrived refugees including help with accessing legal aid and health services.

You can donate to keep the centre running or you can buy much needed groceries online and get it delivered to them which goes towards the Foodbank that the centre provides for refugees who have just arrived and need a helping hand.

ASRC'S Food Justice Truck where refugees can get groceries at a 75% discount. Source: ASRC

ASRC’S Food Justice Truck where refugees can get groceries at a 75% discount. Source: ASRC

2. VOLUNTEER

If you have more time on your hands but your budget is tight then volunteering is still a great option.

Volunteering can also be great thing to put on your resume  if you don’t have any work experience in your field.

You can also tailor the volunteering role you choose to your expertise. For example, the Red Cross is currently looking for an English Tutor Volunteer to teach english to newly arrived migrants which can be a very rewarding experience if you are studying to become a teacher.

Other organisations like The Humanitarian Group work on giving legal aid and getting visa protection for refugees as well as working to reunite families, which is perfect for the aspiring human rights lawyer.

   3.  SIGN PETITIONS

A lot of people may think signing a petition won’t amount to anything but, if enough people can get together, it can produce real change. Signing a petition only takes a few seconds too.

From getting domestic violence education into NSW schools to saving an autistic boy from being deported, petitions can at least help influence government decisions.

Various petitions for refugee issues exist including Oxfam’s petition to get our intake of refugees up from 12,000 to 30,000 as well as a call to increase peace agreements efforts to end the Syrian conflict.

GetUp’s plea to shut down the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres is another petition that may stir our government to make changes to our current asylum seeker policies.

Websites like GetUp and Change.org always have great petitions for every type of social issue and, in the case of refugee issues, they can hopefully make politicians sit up and pay attention if enough people sign.

GetUp Australia has lots of great petitions that only take a few minutes to sign. Source: GetUp

4. TAKE ACTION LOCALLY

For something closer to home, there are plenty of  groups in Perth that are dedicated to improving the lives of refugees and fighting for policy changes.

The Refugee Rights Action Network WA is a group dedicated to bringing attention to the issues with mandatory detention. From organising bus trips to detention centers to sending multi-lingual dictionaries to incarcerated aslyum seekers, this group is a great option if you really want to get involved and create change. The group meets every Monday at 6:30pm at the Activist Center in the CBD so swing by if you are interested.

There is also an Amnesty International Group on campus too if you would like to join in with like-minded students to discuss social justice issues and campaign for change. Amnesty International also urge our  federal government to change their increasingly negative social issue policies with rallying, letter-writing campaigns, and petitions.

If you want to stay informed, the Refugee Council of Australia also has great fact sheets on refugee issues as well as research papers on asylum seeker policies and federal budget summaries focusing on refugee-related spending.

No matter what you decide to do, any action will help.