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The best of The Spinoff this week: Dance moms, Aldous Harding and a social studies lesson from Bob McCoskrie

Compiling the best reading from your friendly local website.

Henry Oliver: ‘What if birds aren’t singing, they’re screaming?’: Inside Aldous Harding‘s head

“Harding’s music is deep and weird and mythic. It exists in its own world and follows its own symbolic logic. She might not want to talk about her music because she doesn’t want to impose herself on your interpretation of her songs. She might not want to talk about her family and her relationships because her music evokes a world separate from biography, separate from fact.”

Alex Casey: The Bachelor NZ Power Rankings – Optic White can’t save you now…

“Just like Zac, I too have a pain in my heart and a pain in my stomach – and not just because I’ve been eating at least a tube of Colgate Optic White a day to try and look like Matilda Rice.

“We are nearly at the end of our Bachelor journey, about as close as wee Zac Franich got to making his competitive kayaking team before he had his dreams snatched away from him.”

Sam Brooks: My mum drank warm KGBs, she bullied Jamie Oliver, and then she died

“It was my mother’s birthday a few weeks ago. She would’ve been 57, which now seems both hilarious and bizarre because I literally have no image or concept of what my mother would be like as a 57 year old because she died before she got to that age.

“This is not so much funny as it is dark. It is this sense of humour that my mother passed onto me.”

Andrew Coleman: Why does New Zealand keep building such massive houses?

“In 1990, the average new house was just 125 square metres. Nowadays it is 195 square metres. This is still a bit smaller than Australia, where the average is a bit over 220 square metres, or the United States where new single dwellings average 250 square metres. But the size of new houses has increased faster in New Zealand since 1990 than in either Australia or the United States.”

Anonymous: I had a social studies lesson from Bob McCoskrie

“Earlier this year an otherwise liberal Auckland girls’ high school, where diversity is celebrated, invited Family First’s Bob McCoskrie in to talk about gay marriage. A gay student who was in the audience explains how it went down.”

Toby Manhire: Alfred Ngaro’s heartfelt apology: what he said and what he meant

“The associate housing minister has issued a statement of regret after Newsroom caught him spraying threats at non-government service providers including Willie Jackson and the Salvation Army. Here we speculate on how it might read after a good dousing in truth serum.”

Tara Ward: More reasons why Abby Lee Miller from Dance Moms should have gone to jail ages ago

“But jealousy is a disease, second place is the biggest loser and Dance Moms is all about Abby Lee Miller. You might think it’s criminal for children to be publicly humiliated but honestly, it’s fine because fame and stardom is an amazing thing. If telling a child that they’re useless doesn’t inspire them to dance until their toenails fall off, then nothing will.”

Paula Morris: Literature in a decile one school: Paula Morris goes to Otahuhu

“I lived overseas for the best part of thirty years, and Auckland changed, as cities do. Parts of it became much more affluent; parts of it did not. There’s more division in the city, often drawn along ethnic lines. Some people mutter about the increasing numbers of white immigrants from Britain and South Africa clustering on the North Shore, where there are long, broad beaches and other people from Britain and South Africa. Some people complain about the increasing numbers of immigrants from China, especially the ones who have the temerity to afford nice houses and ‘take over’ expensive neighbourhoods and high-decile schools. People used to complain about immigrants in the 70s as well, but that was when immigrants were Pacific Islanders who had the temerity to live in crummy houses and take over low-paying jobs.”

Simon Wilson: National is cloning Labour’s identity and other lessons from its weekend conference

“Mark this. National’s strategy to win the election this year is to mount an offensive aimed straight at the heart of Labour. The old idea was: National = safe economic management; Labour = cares about people; Greens = cares about the environment and the planet.”

Chris Godfrey: An honest day’s pay? How hospo workers are getting screwed by unpaid work trials

“In January, Wellington student Maya Russell completed a trial at Leuven Belgium Beer Cafe in the central city, for which she says she was told she would be paid. Nearly four months later, she’s still waiting.”


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