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The best of The Spinoff this week

Compiling the best reading from your friendly local website.

Sam Brooks: A one-act play about ‘The Louvre’ from Lorde’s new album Melodrama

“There are Kettle crisps at Lou’s party. There are RTDs that Marty’s creepy older boyfriend he met on Tinder bought for everybody. But they’re disgusting so Aroha is mixing them with her dad’s bourbon, bourbon she’ll later have to tearfully say she didn’t steal but her dad knows she did because he was also young once.”

Andrew Chen: Please don’t say ‘real Kiwi’: How to talk about immigration without being a dick

“The language used by our politicians is key. People are quick to use metaphors – “turn down the tap” (Andrew Little), “we don’t want their flotsam” (Gareth Morgan), “flood of immigrants” (Barbara Stewart of New Zealand First) – that have the effect of dehumanising migrants by describing them in terms better reserved for inanimate objects. A University of Oxford report found that, internationally, water-based metaphors are frequently used to describe immigrants, along with the use of the term “mass immigration”. Other times we’re less subtle; Winston Peters once called New Zealand “The Last Asian colony” and claimed that the government was involved in “ethnic engineering”. This rhetoric has the effect of removing the human element from immigration, making it easier to say horrific things about migrants and making it easier to propose inhumane actions.”

Emily Writes: Five things parents need to stop doing right now

“1. Stop summoning Satan in your backyard in a quest to stop the sun from rising so you get more sleep

We have all been there, I know. Your baby is six months old and you’re like, it’s OK, they’re still a baby, I can take this lack of sleep a bit longer. Then on your child’s first birthday they still haven’t slept longer than two hours in a row. You blink and suddenly realise you’ve had a year and a half of unsolicited parenting advice and you can’t take it anymore and suddenly you’re in the back garden smeared in blood from a goat you just sacrificed and you’re summoning Satan. It’s OK. No judgement.”

Alex Casey: The Spinoff invades Wellington!

“As a primary school kid, I once chundered a packet of two minute noodles and a cup of frozen peas (my specialty at the time) onto the motorway near Petone. After a particularly gluttonous birthday party at Valentine’s, a carload of us were like Linda Blair in The Exorcist by the time we even reached the summit. Older still, I threw up Red Bull and vodka into the Lower Hutt roundabout after a particularly rough night at The Establishment, known better to locals as The Meat Market.

“Basically, I can measure out my Wellington life in extremely embarrassing projectile vomits.”

A young Alex Casey visits Matiu Island, Wellington

Sam Brooks: The gems of New Zealand pop music

“Chelsea: This song is white boys getting away with too much.

Sam: That is the best way to sum up this song, it leaves you with a feeling of, ‘How dare you?’ There’s a SPOKEN WORD BRIDGE in this song.

Chelsea: This is the hell Bob Dylan hath wrought. Is he putting on a British accent?”

Josh Drummond: ‘Sometimes rodents get into the house but only at night’ – investigating that weird dairy assistant wanted ad

“After a while, I started to wonder if this was really a joke. It didn’t quite seem right.

I went through a few options:

1. It’s a weird joke. Nothing further. Which, on reflection, seems a bit off. Who’s it funny to? What’s the point?

2. It’s a newspaper trying to create news in a jokey way, maybe making a point about the awful conditions some workers will submit to for a job. “We placed a terrible ad for a dairy worker. What happened next is jaw-dropping!”

3. It’s a real ad for actual farm assistants. Perhaps, as financial journalist Bernard Hickey suggested on Twitter, it’s being done to perversely fulfil some kind of statutory requirement.”

Bike share stand, Paris

Simon Wilson: 10 reasons why Paris loves bike shares – and Auckland will too

“Would it really work here? Of course it would. Just think cafés for a moment. Until the 1980s the prevailing view in New Zealand used to be that European-style outdoor seating at cafes and restaurants would not work, so councils protected us by forbidding it. Our weather was wrong (I don’t know, too much wind?), our culture was wrong (we’re too indoorsy or something), we didn’t have room on the footpaths. I’m not making this up.

“Talk about a disruptive change. Took less than a year, I reckon, once it started. How long after a decent bike share scheme starts for Queen St and Albert St and High St/Lorne St to fill up with cyclists off to meetings and lunch and shows in the summer evenings? And K Rd and Ponsonby Rd and Victoria St too?”

100 days to go! The Spinoff Editorial Board on the state of the parties

“What Labour wants to talk about: Housing, their fiscal responsibility rules and (sotto voce) immigration.

What they don’t want to talk about: The Greens and New Zealand First. Labour has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Greens but polling suggests that if they can form a government at all, it is more likely to be with NZF. But nobody wants to work with Winston and talking about it makes everyone queasy. Corbynistas in the Labour Party and wider movement are already arguing hard that his surge calls for a move openly and sharply to left. Most of the Labour leadership does not agree and they really do not want that debate to stuff up their more centrist focus.

Dream scenario: A youthquake which powers a surge in support to 37%, channelling the kind of energy that led Jeremy Corbyn to vastly exceed expectations, and leading to a Red-Green government..

Nightmare scenario: Same as last time.”


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