While sipping champagne and eating cake at the Salient Tea Party last week, a few of the Salient crew reminisced about the moments of ’07 that have touched us deeply. In an exclusive and frank review of the year, we’d like you to journey back with us to the mighty year of the boar.
FOR our first issue, we thought we’d pop along and see National leader John Key. He smiled at us. We smiled back. He told us that God was dope but he never smoked dope. We concluded he doesn’t believe in God and must be an agnostic like Helen Clark. We talked about National’s policies. Seven months later, we are still waiting for them to be announced. We discovered that Nicky Hager has better taste in art than Key. It was to be the first feature on Key in any media for 2007, but Investigate magazine beat us to it by a couple of weeks. Bloody Wishart.
Later in March we introduced the VBC – the Victoria radio station – to Victoria students. We initially asked whether they would be able to survive the competitiveness of the radio market. Developments through 2007 have seen the VBC prove its worth. Since first airing in March, the VBC has consistently grown and developed. It currently has over 50 different programs and a diverse community of DJ’s presenting them.
Since 2006 the VBC has been hosting Tuesday nights at the San Francisco Bathhouse, offering local music and lucrative drink specials. In May this year the VBC began contracting one band a month to hold this residency- which Salient profiled each month. In July the VBC went into the breakfast muesli business to promote the Murdoch Breakfast Show. 2007 saw this show also incorporated hourly news broadcasts, courtesy of the VBC ‘news monkeys.’ Recent VBC developments include their acquisition of professional software and they have begun streaming live over their website www.vbc.org.nz. Future plans include chartrooms and video footage on this website and over summer they will be starting a residency at Good Luck Bar and continuing the Tuesday night residency at the San Fran. Salient wishes the VBC all the best, and congratulates Programme Directors, Kristen Paterson and Matthew Davis and Business Director, Doug Tereu and all the DJ’s and associates for their hard work in getting it to this fine point.
In the next issue we tried to emulate Dylan going electric, by telling you that fashion is the new thought control with the Conformity of Cool issue. No one commented; we weren’t quite hip enough to work out why.
As we entered the cruellest month, we explored the implications of the Campus Hub project on the wasteland environs of Victoria University. Ripping off T.S Eliot gave us our first flurry of hate letters and revealed a previously underestimated clique of modernism-worshipping gurus.
Around this time, things got a bit freaky around the office, with the interior decorating of Heylini Pratley appearing on the walls. This coincided with Issue 6 and our last-minute cover. Apparently, all you need is love – especially if it’s 4am and you’ve run out of ideas. But that wasn’t all – we also had the scoop of Vic Women’s rights Officer Clelia Opie’s foray into psychic hotlines. To be exact, $6000 worth of calls. After threatening to hurt and kill exec members, she got fired. As you would. Our heading read: “Women’s officer fired: psychic hotline didn’t see that coming.” We couldn’t contact her for comment; the line was always engaged. Pity the Salient staff weren’t as psychic or we wouldn’t have wasted our time trying to ring Opie in the first place.
After the break, in the most significant and heartbreaking journalistic scoop of the year, Salient revealed that the Big Ben Mince Pie from Unistop is the best pie available around Victoria Uni – at least, according to the diverse team of political pundits we put together to investigate the matter. We also were the first to interview the Back of the Y boys who, after the interviewing, tried to halt the story. Their publisher wanted the article to coincide with the release of their movie, but nobody told us until after the interview. We published it anyway. The devil dared us to.
May saw the birth of SalientTV, which revealed that Mayor Prendergast had used her position as Mayor to get free parking at Vic. We called the affair “Parkgate”. We’d like to think that it prevented her third term in office, but that would just be wishful thinking.
We also published an article entitled “Are Women Safe On Our Streets?”, in which Nicola Kean looked at the violence perpetrated against women on the streets of Wellington. Our website was immediately inundated with posts, accusing us of being “feminazis”.
Now, an acquaintance of ours recently lamented the fact that you can’t get away with making un-PC jokes here in Wellington the way you can in Dunedin. The outcry over this article teaches us the reason for this: in Dunedin, the most sexist statement you will encounter is likely to be some crudely misogynistic piece of humour. Here, people actually take their misogyny seriously – for example, claiming that NZ has an “epidemic” of false rape allegations, and that the women who make these allegations have committed a crime worse than rape itself. So we guess it’s this seriousness which makes us Wellingtonians so anal about our sense of humour.
Midway through the year Salient reporter Dave Crampton trekked through the rocky bays of Seatoun, and discovered a caveman called Ross Collins who tried to convince him about the virtues of nudist sunbathing. We also started printing a column by prominent Opera aficionado and Ayn Rand fan-boy Lindsay Perigo. This upset a lot of people – but we fooled you all. In actual fact, the only reason we published his ranting was so we could print a picture of his sexy, sexy, oh-so-sexy face. You see, up until that point there simply had not been enough jack-off material in Salient. See page 29 if you question our judgment. Mmm, beards.
The Te Ao Marama issue focused on political lines. The highlight features were the Wai 262 Treaty claim, axing of the Manaaki Tauira Scholarship, Effects of PBRF on students, and the Impact of the changes in the TEC strategy plan. The most important point for this year’s publication is the percentage of Te Reo Maori used within the publication. In previous years Ngai Tauira has balanced the article with Maori and English translation but this year the focus was to return and celebrate Maori Language. This publication is one of the few areas where our Maori students can celebrate and promote Te Reo Maori to a wider audience.
Salient was brought to the focus of national media in July when we printed an article called “How To Rip Off WINZ”. In the article Dave Crampton advised readers on how to legally obtain their maximum entitlements from Work and Income. The subsequent media storm generated 6200 hits on the Salient website – and that was just the first day. The online version of the story is still receiving comments. Salient Editor Steve Nicoll was asked to appear on Close Up with Sainsbury, which was cancelled later that day after a development in the Kahui twins.
He instead had to take on the sharp tongue of National radio’s Mary Wilson. The article proves that, if you stick a sensationalist headline on a perfectly responsible article, government departments will run around complaining like headless fucking chickens. As if Work and Income aren’t busy enough as it is, what with hiding South Auckland gangsters from the police and pretending to be robots whenever you ask them a question.
In Issue 14 Feature Writer Rob Addison showed us most obvious way to deal with student loans – go bankrupt, then get another one and invest it. We’d like to think that we added some bling to you all. Then News Editor Laura McQuillan got lost in the underground tunnels of Victoria, but managed to escape and write a story about it.
In the final Quarter Rob Addison tried to save Ali Panah, an Iranian asylum seeker, who had been on a hunger strike for 53 days. He didn’t, but Salient was part of a media groundswell that eventuated in him being released on bail.
In September, with the emergence of a gang of political right wingers by the name of the A-team, we began our coverage of the 2007 election. Salient was flung a raft of attacks with accusations that we had acted unconstitutionally and been unbalanced in our reporting. These were, of course, true. Despite popular broadcasts on SalientTV, Lukas Schroeter doesn’t look like Harry Potter and the returning officer is not a dominatrix. Perhaps the most truthful comment to emerge was heard in the Salient offices, at the time when the returning officer called Steve “a fuckin arsehole”. Which, for those who are wondering, is definitely true – thus proving the returning officer was on to it after all.
In Issue 22, Salient volunteer feature writer Amy L. Nightrate described how to make magic mushrooms, which surprisingly slipped under the radar and probably meant that we shouldn’t have wasted the money getting legal advice about the story. We also investigated where the Labour party’s $50,000 spent to encourage organ donations had gone – and discovered a large black hole big enough for a few limbs to fit in.
The issue of fee rises was again debated with and SalientTV broadcast fiery footage of rising star William Wu’s speech, who is the VUWSA International Officer for 2008.
Finally, in the last controversy of the year we were reported in Dominion Post with our photo essay: “How to destroy the United States of America”. Apparently, American diplomats were not too happy with our intricate plans to invade the U.S Embassy. The police visited Steve, who told them that they were interfering with freedom of expression (see page 45 of this week’s Salient for the converstion).
That’s all folks…
By Steve Nicoll, Stacey Knott, Tristan Egarr, Nick Archer, Maryjane Waru and Dave Crampton