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The best of The Spinoff this week

Compiling the best reading of the week from your friendly local website.

Scotty Stevenson: 48 hours drinking with rugby’s greatest losers

“I walked into the sheds soon after, to sit and drink with losers. I walked down the long concrete corridor under the main stand, past the North Harbour changing room. Inside they were belting out ‘We Are The Champions’. I opened the door to another scene entirely, one in which perspective and pain existed. What an honour to have been handed the key.”

Sumo somehow manages to look worse for wear than a bloke with a busted eye socket. (Photo: Scotty Stevenson)

Sumo somehow manages to look worse for wear than a bloke with a busted eye socket. (Photo: Scotty Stevenson)

Hayden Donnell: Oh no: Is National reverting to its terrible old ways on public transport funding?

“Before this year, the National government had a five-step approach to funding sensible public transport projects in Auckland.

1. Trash project
2. Let several years go by
3. Delay project
4. Let several years go by
5. Fund project”

Duncan Greive: The Naked and Famous by Numbers

By Numbers is a new regular feature examining a musical artist and their work as a business through a series of numbers. First up: The Naked and Famous.

Madeleine Chapman: The conviction of teenager Losi Filipo is nothing to celebrate

“People were getting riled up and loving it. So riled up that when the principal of St Pats Silverstream, where Filipo attended college, acted within the Catholic values of the school by refusing to disown Filipo, people called for his resignation. It’s so ridiculous you could almost laugh, except it got worse.”

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Toby Manhire: A few early thoughts on Gareth Morgan’s new political party

“Morgan joins a litter of rich-white-guy party-starters who sought to claw their way to power – from Bob Jones to Colin Craig to Kim Dotcom. Some will say recent similar failures suggest a cat in hell’s chance, but as an economist he will hope an apparent rush to join the party is more than a dead cat bounce, and proves a stroke of genius.”

Chessie Henry: ‘How can I explain what you gave me?’ On family, and the unexpectedness of love

“The incubator is a slap that reverberates; you feel it between your ribs. Everyone said you would love him, but you’ve been caught unawares – you don’t know how to love him. He’s not who you thought he was. But no time for that, its time for this; the jargon. Chromosome abnormality, incomplete morphogenesis. Then, labels you recognise: hearing disorders, sight disorders, infertility. An intellectual disability. The words spill across the room like a broken glass.”

The author and her brother Rufus as children

The author and her brother Rufus as children

Laura Irish: Where art thou women? On the Pop-Up Globe’s regressive casting decisions

“Guys. All male casts were sooooo ’90s…. 1590s, that is. And if you are planning on an all-male cast to be authentic, you’d better not cast any lads over the age of 19 to play the ladies. Authenticity would dictate that your age range would have to be 13-19 year old boys and preferably those whose voices hadn’t dropped yet.”

Michele A’Court: What really gets on my titties? The idea that Paul Henry, Max Key and co are ‘just saying what all guys are thinking’

“With every step forward – men speaking out against family violence, corporations endorsing policies of inclusion, the Icelandic government pledging to close the gender pay gap by 2020, your partner doing shit around the house without making a song and dance about it – just when you think, ‘We’re getting somewhere!’ some numb-nut grabs you by the pussy and pushes us all 50 steps back.”

Ben Thomas: Not corrupt, just idiotic: Why the Saudi deal report is still terrible for Murray McCully

“The focus on corruption seems very unfair to McCully. For one thing, it means media ignored all the other criminal offences that he had also not been accused of or found culpable for. More comprehensive reporting may have also noted the report found no evidence he was guilty of arson, livestock theft, poisoning or blasphemous libel. Happy days for the Beehive indeed!

Only one (1) MP in New Zealand history has ever been convicted of corruption in a public office, so this seems to be setting a new bar for Prime Ministerial tolerance, as John Key has signalled he retains full confidence in his non-corrupt, non-firestarting, non-blaspheming friend and colleague.”

Helen McNeil: The town that nearly died: A brief history of Kawerau

“My dad was a proud union member. I still have his membership ticket to the carpenter’s union in Dundee. He carried it all the way to New Zealand. Up until the early 1990’s union membership in NZ was compulsory. He grumbled about the strikes, for all his working man’s sensibilities, and in the 1970s there were a lot, short ones and long ones. In 1978 the mill closed for 35 days, in 1983 for 50 days. Outsiders started calling Kawerau ‘strike town’.

In 1986 a 42-day strike almost killed it.”

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