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Hey, Play That Sad Walking Away Music From The Incredible Hulk…

James Robinson



“I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever.”
Miss Alabama, Miss USA Contest, 1994
Which I think is a pretty silly way to say that I’m off. I couldn’t go on, even if I wanted to. And I’m pretty sure I don’t. I’ve been privy to well over a million words in this magazine in 2006 – some of them pure gold, and some of them a little bit more bronze-like. It’s now been over 120 issues since I contributed my very first review to the music pages of Salient in 2002. It will feel a lot stranger to walk out of this office for the last time than it did to graduate. It’s time to leave. I’ve worked all the 60-hour weeks, and eaten all the different varieties of cup noodles I think I can handle for the time being. The office is a tip. I’m exhausted.
It’s been awesome. We had no big injunction this year. No general election. We still managed to force our way into the news for being poor race-relations models, and sexist swine. The Union pulled lawyers on us. VUWSA got upset at us. Pat Walsh sought to ‘distance’ himself from us. More students voted in this week’s final of Academic Idol than the VUWSA election. Crazed students yelled at VUWSA. Crazed VUWSA exec members yelled back. Crazed students sued the library for kidnapping. We covered issues in depth such as antidepressants, the housing situation, NCEA, crime, the body, creationism, the ethics of commerce students, the University and VUWSA, an anti-Americanism (and a whole pile more). We spoke to Duncan Sarkies, Charlotte Yates, Marion Hobbs, the Living End, Michael Smither, DJ Spooky, WCW wrestlers, Robert Fisk, Carl Shuker, Dylan Moran, So So Modern, Morningwood, Ben Crellin, Rhys Darby, Deja Voodoo, Alain De Botton, John Key, Imon Starr, Alick Shaw, Russell Norman, Dylan Horrocks, Mia Blake, Dimmer, The Mint Chicks, Taika Cohen, The Black Seeds, and Wayne Mapp.
All of this made the million or so words we brought to you as interesting to make as I hope it was to read. And with a million words produced comes about as many thank-yous.
Salient, like any good NBA team (the Scorpions maybe? Nah. Too naff) centres around the starting squad.
Ben Fraser, our designer took the utmost precision and care in everything this year. Achingly precise, there were many hours of painstaking care taken over things that you didn’t really notice. Who really saw that the cover model of issue 8’s heels reflect onto the black background to make it appear three-dimensional? No-one, I’d imagine. But I noticed, and it was the sort of care and dedication that bought the magazine up several notches of class each week. We also managed to spend a sickening amount of hours together each week for a whole year, no mean feat when you didn’t know each other at the start. Ben’s success as a designer and as an awesome human being provided a cornerstone for the magazine that we couldn’t have done without.
Nicola Kean was the other member of the 6am Friday Club, and the only woman who worked out of the office, which she would have probably regretted often as midnight rolled around on Thursdays and pizza began to be digested. She gave us a lot of material to rib her with, but gave as good as she got. Which is a lot, considering her penchant for public vomiting. She did a great job, hell, screw that, an amazing one. No matter how long she had to wait, she’d always be here to see news laid up, and always managed to laugh when things got tiring. Her team of volunteers – Laura McQuillan, Matt Jones (the most put upon volunteer in student media), Claire McEntee, and Seonah Choi (among others) helped Nicola keep ‘the man’ honest and all did a fantastic job. I’ll cherish all of the three times we managed to make Matt smile.
Nicholas Holm and Brannavan Gnanalingam gave this magazine a backbone week in, week out. Both tutored, and studied on top of putting in well above their weekly allocation of paid hours at Salient, and somehow had girlfriends at the same time. Nick arrived in the mail from Chaff and was always willing for us to make him feel like the token office fascist. He soon honed the ability to piss off both sides of every story with an ornate ability to sit square on the fence, but then when called upon to rant, boy could he do so. The funniest man in student media, and that’s a proven fact.
Brannavan has a name that is hard to spell at 4am, but despite the curious guesswork of the Listener, it is not a pseudonym. Brannavan helped crank out a funny-as-hell top 5 each week, (with the help of Geoff “when-oh-when will he die?” Brischke) and managed to keep the pranks coming thick and fast with Bran- Power. Bran and Nick unflinchingly sat at their desks each week and belted out thousands of words at a time. Brannavan even played the part of resident office “dish”, and often the “celebrity”. I will never forget being bailed-up by a drunk first year on the balcony of the Loaded Hog at the Law Ball for them to enquire, “what’s Brannavan like?”
Props must also go to Tania Mead, Andrew Feltoe, and Simon Sweetman who all proved themselves to be more than able super-subs that could come off the bench at a moments notice and light up the magazine with their verbal wizardry.
The last member of the starting roster, Marianna Kennedy showed up every week to proofread whatever purile filth we’d spilled forth during the week. Marianna’s been a great friend over the years to me, and she ever so graciously signed on despite being an in demand Master of Linguistics. You rule Muz. Thanks must go also to Julie Thompson, Matthew Proctor and anyone else who picked up the green folder and a red pen over the year. Subbing may not be the sexiest thing, but you all are hot as hell.
Jon “MC” McQueen made sure the machine was well oiled and financed, and sold his ass off making sure we had enough ads in the magazine to keep the VUWSA monkey off our back.
Casting the net wider, the depth in the Salient squad gave us a bench-strength that gave me comfort in the knowledge that we could turn out quality magazines consistently. Michael Oliver, Ryan Vaughan, and Andrea Molloy all turned in interesting and original articles each week. Marty Mc.B, Robbie Nielson, Critical Critic, Mark Taylor, and Jonny Funtime gave the magazine an edge, moving in personality by the bucketload, and making sure that even if people didn’t agree with you, they at least talked about you. All of you provided moments I will remember for a while. Robbie’s naked Wellington somehow taking the cake. And Marty Mc.B took out the award for pseudonym most people wanted to ‘do’ sight unseen.
The arts editors can’t be given enough kudos either. We were so lucky this year to have such an intelligent and witty bunch, all of whom probably could have had better things to do. Thomasin actually got people reading the Visual Arts pages, which was a feat that I didn’t think possible. Amy Brown and her erstwhile hubby/helper Sam Bradford kept spewing out brilliant reviews while both doing Master’s degrees, which is brilliant, if a little sick. Bea and Hateful Chris, who managed to put up with more than a bit of interference from an ex-music editor, often went beyond the call of duty to write features as well. You both rock. Yosan was probably the newest member of our team, but her enthusiasm for film and willingness to learn made sure that it was never obvious. And to Jules, who came back on for a second year and didn’t let the love drop, thank you.
To everyone at VUWSA who was choice this year, and helped me out with either admin or a friendly face to bitch to or just procrastinate with. Spike fixed our computers often, and usually just by showing up. Nikki and Sandra are about the friendliest people in the world. Brent, Dusty, and Caroline, weren’t that bad either. And all helped out with content during the year.
To Sarah Barnett, Emily Braunstein and Jeremy Greenbrook, thank you for all the professional support and advice this year, and for being living examples that people make it out of this building alive. And to my two predecessors, thank you for the guidance and mentoring over the years that turned me into someone who could make it through a year as editor in one piece.
Even when it sucks around these parts, it’s the friendship that gets you through. And a thank you to everyone I’ve ever worked alongside in this office over the years that I can now call a friend.
And lastly, thank you to my Mum, Dad and sisters (especially Katy… and Simon), you provided invaluable support and advice. To all the friends I’ve been slack with, sorry, and to the friends who were somehow always around to advise and listen to me whine (Ollie, CJ, Jon – I’m looking at chu), thank you. I look forward to having my life back. And to my girlfriend, Nat, who often had to bring dinner to work to catch an hour with me, you get my last thank you. You will be sick of me soon, and that’s a guarantee.
To Steve Nicoll and whoever comprises the Salient team in 2007, all the best. I’m sure you’ll be awesome. This is a great job, and despite what anyone may say, the satisfaction of watching from afar as students pore over the magazine each week isn’t quantified by a paycheck.
Now where’s that piano. Play me out.