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Media Bias

I did my essay on media bias, specifically pertaining to the reportage of a protest during the Pride Parade, and whether media bias can actually be a GOOD thing. Below is an edited, shorter version of my essay, to allow for more discussion on this.

The Auckland Pride Parade took place during the annual Auckland Pride Festival earlier this year on February 21st. If you read the New Zealand Herald the following day you would find the headline, “Thousands watch Auckland’s Pride Parade.” (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11405808) However, if you read gay news website GayNZ the next day, or even the day of the parade, these are the headlines you would find: “Akl Pride Parade protestor injured” (http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/2/article_16496.php)I, “Police outline response to protest injury (http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/2/article_16521.php), “Parade director disappointed by protest” (http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/2/article_16498.php). Two vastly different approaches to exactly the same event.

The event in question was a protest that happened during the Pride Parade. As police and corrections officers marched in the parade in uniform, three protestors from No Pride in Prisons, an activism group for trans prisoners made their way past the barriers in front of the officers holding a banner. The protestors resisted being moved away by security and one person, a Maori transwoman, was injured.

Media bias is defined as the bias of journalists within the media in the selection of events and stories that are reported, and also in how they are covered. The coverage of this event by the New Zealand Herald and GayNZ represents the bias that is inherent in both of these organistions, and in the audience that they necessarily cater to. The coverage of this event by these two outlets is an example of media bias, and in one case, how media bias, namely the selective coverage of events, is not always a bad thing.

Discussing the coverage that the New Zealand Herald gave this event does not take long. In the initial report of the parade, on early Sunday February 22ndwhich largely focuses on the officers who marched in uniform for the first time and the famous people who also marched, the protest is only mentioned towards the end as a ‘minor disruption’ and the article ends on the note: “One of the protestors was arrested and later treated by St. John staff for injuries she suffered during the arrest.”

Later that day, an article with the headline: “Pride protestor in hospital after altercation” (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11406046) appeared. The event is covered in more detail, including an interview with a police officer who marched and one of the protestors. The article also mentions another news event that had caught on overnight; the vandalising of ANZ’s GayTMs, which were normal ATM machines painted with rainbow colours for the pride festival, by Queers Against Injustice.

Conversely, the coverage of this event by GayNZ was extensive and continued for many days after the event. After the initial report, at 11:30PM of the night of the Pride Parade, there were articles covering the police’s response to the event, the response of the Pride director, a statement from the activist group, and editorials from members of the community. The event was picked up early on by social media and debate about it raged on both Facebook and Twitter.

Before looking at the coverage of this event by these news outlets, it’s important to consider the function and audience of the New Zealand Herald and GayNZ. The New Zealand Herald is a newspaper that is read throughout the country, whether in print or online, and is expected to provide news that caters and informs that audience. On the other hand, GayNZ is a website that deals exclusively, and extensively, with news that is relevant and important to the LGBT community. Unlike The Herald, it is an online only news outlet.

When viewed through this lens, the media bias of the New Zealand Herald is understandable. Is this protest a notable event? Absolutely, and it makes sense to cover it in an article that also covers the Pride Parade. Is it worthy of continued coverage for a national audience? Probably not. Realistically, the Auckland Pride Parade itself is not relevant to a national audience, and a protest by a small activist group even less so.

This is an example of where media bias can be a positive concept. GayNZ’ s commitment to covering news that is important to the LGBT community, excluding all other news, allowed this event to be covered thoroughly, with a great deal of information coming out about it throughout the week and being duly reported in course.

There is also a refreshing lack of anti-authoritarian bias in the reportage of the event. There can be a tendency for minorities to be harsh on and critical of police and other authority figures, usually for completely fair reasons that involve continued, extended and unwarranted persecution. In this case, GayNZ reported the police’s statements as is and with no editorializing, which is the same coverage that was given to the statements from No Pride in Prisons. See: http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/2/article_16502.php and http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/2/article_16521.php

However, the thoroughness of the coverage at some points dipped into sensationalism. There is a brief interview with Karen Ritchie, an unrelated member of the community, where she condemns the protest group that contributes little to an audience’s understanding of what went on. (http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/2/article_16506.php)

More troubling is a copy-pasting of a Facebook post made by DJ Steven Oates onto the website, an eyewitness account of the protest that is full of emotive language and poor grammar. In the post, he condemns the group and disputes many of the statements made by them in a previous GayNZ article, namely how long it took for a protestor to receive medical help and how much they agitated the crowd. (http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/45/article_16512.php)

Regardless of whether the post is informative or not, this post is presented as a news item, a ‘witness account’, and the emotive writing is more representative of a letter to the editor than as a piece of news. Especially considering the rest of the site’s coverage of the protest, which is remarkably well-informed and balanced, this sticks out as a particularly sensationalist and unhelpful piece of ‘news’.

The coverage of these events by these two news outlets are representative of what they are and who they cater for, and an example of how media bias is both a good and bad thing. The vast majority of readers of the New Zealand Herald don’t want to read a week of coverage on an event that effects a minority of the population, and whether they should want to read that is another issue entirely. Meanwhile, the audience of GayNZ want to read about this event so the website can afford to cover it for an entire week; it’s what they’re passionate about and they want to hear about it, and if a more casual reader of the Herald wants to read continuing coverage of this event, they can.

My question to you guys is

1. Is the media bias of GayNZ in this instance a bad or a good thing, or somewhere in between?
2. Should The Herald be criticized of how it covered this event? Was it substantial enough for a national audence?

 

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In The Rehearsal Room: My Bed, My Universe

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My Bed, My Universe

It’s a treat to be let into a rehearsal room. Whenever I’m rehearsing my own plays, I make a point of trying to be at as many rehearsals as possible. This isn’t for spying, correction or needy writer reasons, it’s because I genuinely enjoy watching the process of finding a group of creatives discover the depths and the intricacies within a piece. It’s like being let in on a secret.

Usually I only sit in on rehearsals for my own pieces, because most people aren’t keen on having randoms sit on their rehearsals for some reason, but this weekend I had the pleasure of sitting in on a rehearsal, and even a run, for the new collaboration between Massive Company, Gary Henderson and The NZ Trio called My Bed, My Universe.

I got in to see the cast detailing a scene, a scene I would later find out would be the ending. It had all the hallmarks that I associate with Massive Company: beautiful physical movement and the joys of watching a large ensemble entirely in sync with each other. My only Massive experience thus far has been with The Brave, but I felt comfortable and excited to watch the piece.

The best thing about sitting in on a rehearsal process, other than the feeling of being let in on a secret that is about to go public, is watching people work. There is a unique energy in a rehearsal room, especially in this late stage of the stage, and it manifests in a united commitment to the work. There’s no nonsense and there’s no messing about. The cast move from detailing to preparing for a run, and the creatives get ready to watch it.

As somebody who largely works in a semi-professional environment, there’s something very humbling about being allowed to sit in on this professional rehearsal and watch professionals act. This is not to say I haven’t worked with professional actors or actors who are professional (sometimes two different things!), but it’s a treat to see the rehearsal room treated not only as a creative space but as a work place.

When the run started, what caught me was how well synchronised the voices of the above-the-title creators were in the piece. This was definitely a Massive piece, no question, with that kind of movement and that kind of on-the-edge earnestness, it couldn’t be anything but. But this was also a Gary Henderson play, with the dialogue that sounds like it comes from your uncle, albeit an intelligent and poetically-inclined uncle. I’m less familiar with the NZ Trio’s work, but there is a musicality to this piece, and a keen intelligence to that music that made this step up above most Massive pieces for him.

As the titles suggest, this is a place about home. Or that’s what it meant for me. With lots of little pieces coming together to form a whole, I think this is a piece that could mean different things for different people. The piece discusses stereotypes, growing up, family relationships, growing responsibility in the family and finding yourself in this world, and particularly this country. There are pieces that hit close to home for me, and pieces that seemed further from my experience but no less authentic.

It’s a step up from The Brave, not in terms of quality, I won’t be able to know that until I see it with the full design, which in the Concert Chamber with full lighting, sound and AV, promises to be a sight to see, but in terms of ambitious. This is a massively ambitious piece that is aiming high to hit audiences deep. Everybody involved is up to this challenge, it was a treasure to see such a diverse cast seem so effortlessly in synch with each other and the piece.

Not only is there a beauty in watching a piece in the rehearsal room, there’s a beauty in watching a run without all the tech. Though definitely not intended for an audience, it’s really lovely to see the actors carry the piece most of the way to the finish line, while also knowing that the technical elements are going to carry the piece where it needs to go. There’s an undeniable enthusiasm in this room, and I’ve no doubts this enthusiasm will continue through to opening night.

Go see this piece. It promises to be an essential part of your theatre-going year.

My Bed, My Universe is on at the Auckland Town Hall Concert Chamber from April 2-April 5 and at Mangere Art Centre from April 9-April 12. Tickets can be bought through Ticketmaster.

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Avril Lavigne Fascinates Me

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I went with that title because I feel people would be less inclined to read a post called Avril Lavigne is Awesome (which is also a very true statement).

We all remember where we were when we heard Complicated, or at least I do. I was in somebody’s parent’s car at the time, and I would’ve been about nine or ten, so just coming into having real or legitimate feelings about what music I liked and loved. I heard this girl with a Alanis-adjacent voice, because I was a ten year old whose mother owned both the cassette and CD of Jagged Little Pill, pronouncing words really weirdly and singing about how complicated the guy she was in love with was. I didn’t know I would begin an on-again-off-again relationship with this girl’s music.

Fifteen years later and Avril Lavigne is a popstar with a bizarre legacy. She’s one of the few popstars, especially female popstars, who fills exactly the same role in the pop music scene that she did when she emerged. Her semi-hit single of last year, Here’s To Never Growing Up is a song that could’ve been sung by a sixteen year old girl, and probably was for all I know (I don’t hang out with a lot of sixteen year old girls), but here it was being sung gleefully, and entirely unironically, by a twenty year old woman with two marriages under her belt.

Cut to 2011 and we have the same situation with What The Hell, which opens with the line ‘you say that I’m messing with your head all ‘cause I’m making out with your friend’. Cut to 2007 and we have the horrendously catchy Girlfriend. Cut to 2004 and we have the morose but no less poppy Don’t Tell Me. Any of these songs could’ve come at any point in her career and it wouldn’t sound out of place.

This fascinates me, for I am fascinated by things few other people are, because of how rare it is. Scan through her contemporaries, Pink, Xtina or Britney and you get someone who turned from a run of the mill R&B star to a roof-hanging worldwide superstar, someone who has made a new career out of being a featured artist and maybe the first professional lip-syncer to get a multi-million dollar Vegas gig. But look at Avril in 2015 and you get an Avril who is functionally similar to the Avril in 1999; looking like she’d rather be anywhere else than singing in front of you, dressing like the girl you avoided in your first year of uni and singing like a Morissette understudy.

(This video makes me really happy because of how untuned Avril Lavigne’s affectations are, I don’t think anybody has said ‘hell’ like this, and also because she is leaning against a table for the whole thing.)

This is not a bad thing. The one thing that keeps Avril Lavigne from legitimately stagnating is that she makes good pop music. Look across her fifteen years and you’ll come up with a lot of great pop songs with about five legitimate pop masterpieces (Girlfriend, I’m With You, What The Hell, Don’t Tell Me and Rock N Roll). These are songs that could’ve come at any stage in her career, except for Rock N Roll which has Chad Kroeger’s Nickelback-y fingerprints all over it, but they’re little bits of pop greatness nonetheless.

But what fascinates me the most about Avril Lavigne, especially in her later career, is how she is showing her age. It’s not by writing more personal songs or by going dark (although a duet with Marilyn Manson on her latest album is definitely a thing), but it shows in her voice. It’s probably unconscious, for as much as I love Avril she has always been a more interesting singer than an actually great singer, but there’s a distinct melancholy to some of her newer happy-go-lucky, screw-The-Man™ songs. Give a listen to Rock n Roll, and you hear this is a woman who has been through a divorce, is currently on her second marriage and is rolling her eyes in the recording booth as she sings, “Let ‘em know that we’re still rock ‘n roll.”

As I sit here, listening to Avril Lavigne and watching her live videos, I am so very much changed from the nine year old so innocently listening to Complicated. I’m twenty three years old with a much wider range of music to choose from than when I was that age, but frankly still about the same taste level. And I’ll be damned if hearing the then 27 year old Avril Lavigne belt out: “All my life I’ve been good but now I’m thinking what the hell” isn’t still pretty awesome.

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In The Same Place

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A few weeks ago, before Christmas, I did a post about coming full circle. It was a happy post, and it’s something I still feel happy about now. I love where I live, I love what I do and I love the way I go about it. My mother reads these things, so I feel like I constantly have to remind her (and myself) that these are not a cry for help. I am fine. I am happy.

I had a stark realisation yesterday, one that was triggered by the most menial of menial things to most people, but the most monumental of monumental things to me. I realised that I had scheduled a rehearsal at the same time at the Golden Globes. This, to many people, is not a big thing. None of the words in that sentence are big things. However, to me, this is a big thing.

I did the same thing last year. I scheduled a rehearsal, unknowingly, at the same time as the Golden Globes. To give context to those who don’t know me that well, award shows are my lifeblood. They are my religion. They are the thing I worship. I have stayed home from school for award shows, I have rushed home from my first ever day of uni to see Tilda Swinton give Penelope Cruz her Oscar. I am that person.

The realisation wasn’t that I was stupid enough to schedule something the same day as the Golden Globes, the realisation was that I had done the exact same thing that I had done last year.

I had a little panic. When hanging out with my friend after rehearsal, killing time for the Globes to finish so I could find somewhere to watch them in peace, sequestered away from spoilers that thankfully didn’t come, she innocently mentioned that she might do her Masters next year. I said I would do the same. (I actually said, ‘Yeah me too. Maybe. Maybe not? I might.’ But let’s go with it.)

This set me off on a long ramble of why I wanted to do my Masters, which wasn’t an incorrect or hyperbolic ramble, but a genuine outpouring of why I wanted to do it, and after she left, sent me on a panic mass-texting of people I knew who had done that Masters to convince me why I should or shouldn’t do it.

A day later, I’m still considering it. Doing the course would not be the worst thing in the world, but that isn’t really the point. I’ve got months and months to decide whether it’s the right thing for me.

The point is how much being in the same place I was last year scared me. It made me decide to do a year-long course in another city in a year’s time. It made me freak out and text a whole bunch of people and ask them genuine, but slightly silly, questions.

I’m not even in the same place. Last year I scheduled a rehearsal at the same time as the Globes because I was juggling the schedules of five different, in demand, actors and trying to get as much time with them as I could. This year I did it because it made sense to rehearse during the day because that’s what people do. Last year it was a necessity. This year it was a choice.

But I could be in the same place next year, and that’s what scares me. I’m twenty-three. I’m too young to be in the same place next year, as much as a year is an arbitrary amount of time, it’s an arbitrary amount of time that people agree on and if I’m in the same place next year, I will be twenty-four and scheduling rehearsals at the same time as the Golden Globes and that’s not behaviour befitting a functional awards-obsessed twenty-four year old.

The word ‘same’ comes with connotations for me. It comes with the idea of stagnation, being stuck, being unable to do anything else. You get fish and chips at a restaurant because it’s the same, because it’s safe. You watch Elizabeth: The Golden Age for the billionth time because you know it’s like overeating rice; you’ll go to sleep and wake and be mostly fine at the end of it. You don’t do your Masters because it’s easier to not do it.

I’m not saying I will do the Masters, I might or I might not, but what I will say is that next year I won’t be in the same place. At the very least, I won’t be scheduling rehearsals that clash with awards shows. And as long as I can do that, I will not be in the same place.

If you move a smidge left of the same place, you get a sane place. I’m okay with that.

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It’s Okay Not To Care

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There’s a lot of things that somebody who wants to follow pop culture has to follow in order to be ‘up’ with pop culture. I consider myself fairly up to date with pop culture, while keeping about half of myself back in the era I grew up in like most jaded adults, but there’s a few things that have evaded me, or closer to the truth, that I’ve evaded.

It’s not because I’m particularly averse to a certain popular thing or that I think I won’t like. I’ve stayed away from things that I’m almost sure I’ll like just because I just… don’t care.

I haven’t seen an episode of Breaking Bad. I quit Game of Thrones after the second season. I haven’t listened to Lorde’s album. I haven’t watched an episode of The Walking Dead (in fairness, this is because I have horrid and visceral reactions to zombie media, but to go with the theme of the rest of this, assume it’s because I don’t care.) I have never played a Call of Duty and the amount of time I’ve spent playing first-person shooters in general is equal to the amount of time I’ve spent on water skis. I’ve yet to see an episode of American Horror Story, the one item on this list I am almost guaranteed to like, due to the presence of one cinema goddess Jessica Lange (as good as I’m sure she is on the show, check her out in Frances and Tootsie to see her at the height of her considerable powers).

There are only so many hours in the day. Twenty-four to be precise. On a given day, I spend about six hours sleeping, eight hours doing some kind of work and about five doing a mixture of chores, errands and general puttering around. The remaining four hours are mine to do with what I want.

What I want to do usually involves reading something, maybe on the internet, but at the moment now that I’ve paid off my library fees I’ve started binging on plays and humourous essay collections (just about the most healthy thing to binge on, except maybe diet and exercise). It might involve watching an episode of a show I do like, which at the moment, includes a lot of sitcoms and Scandal. It might involve playing a game that came out years ago that I’ve gotten the urge to play, lately it’s Mass Effect which has not aged well, you guys.

A little bit of this is hype aversion. There’s nothing like people at large going crazy for something that makes me go running for the hills. Whenever somebody says that something is ‘the best show ever’ or ‘the best hour of TV that has ever been made ever’ about ten seconds after the credits roll, I am more than a little dubious and inclined to back away from the crazy hyperbole artist.

It’s not that I think I’m too cool for something because as anybody will tell you, I am not too cool for anything, or that I’m trying to stay away from the mainstream, because again as anybody will tell you, that shit does not bother me and never will. I genuinely don’t know what makes me have this impulse.

Perhaps it’s just a healthy amount of apathy. If we cared about everything going on in pop culture, we would go insane and honestly we would be very boring people. There’s a certain special feeling when you’re part of a group who knows how awesome something is that nobody else does. Part of that special feeling is wanting other people to take part in it, in a way that is selfish because you might just want to talk about it to somebody else, and part of it is feeling a small community with the other people who like the same thing that you do. I feel this way about Girls Aloud singles and Enlightened, two of the best things that nobody I know seems to acknowledge as being two of the best things, and while that sucks on some level, on another level it’s awesome because it makes them feel like more mine?

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t care about things. There’s lots of things, including many, many real world things that you definitely should care about, and there’s more of those things than there are words to describe them, so please care about those. But it’s also okay not to care about things.

(And it’s definitely okay to not care about Breaking Bad, so shut up about it.)

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Talking is Hard

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Talking is the hardest thing I’ll do on any given day and it’s the thing I have to do every single day.

That’s not hyperbole, it’s not sad-sacky and it’s only a little bit writerly. It’s just a fact. I don’t speak for all stutterers or even any stutterers, but in my life, as it is now and as it has been for a while, that statement is just a plain old, unadorned, unembellished fact.

This is not to say I have a hard life. I don’t. I can pay my rent, I can eat food, I do what I love day-in-and-day-out, I have amazing friends and family who support me in more or less everything I do and I don’t have any severe mental or physical disabilities. Talk to anybody who knows me and they’ll probably say that I’m a generally happy, enthusiastic, bubbly guy. My life might not be the easiest, but it is nowhere close to hard.

But in a day where I wake up at an hour later than most people wake up, eat food better than most people in the entire world will, do work that I love and want to do for the rest of my life, hang out with friends and talk to family who support and are generally interested in that work and go through my life without many problems, talking is easily the hardest thing I do.

This isn’t a cry for help. This isn’t a depressive post. This isn’t me trying to scream out at the world for being unfair. This is me saying that talking is hard for me. Which it is.

The problem with talking being hard is that it scientifically shouldn’t be hard. The mechanisms that make talking work, which I am intimately familiar with after a lot of money spent on speech therapy and errant web research, require that it be effortless. The problem with having a stutter, which I have, is that it makes talking difficult. And so your body anticipates something difficult when it goes to talk and it seizes up, which makes talking difficult. That’s the mechanics of a stutter, simplified and probably a two steps to the left of correct.

The other problem with talking being hard is that I love to talk. A lot. I will talk people’s ears off when I get the chance, stuttering or not, and I will stretch what could be a five word sentence into two minutes and not feel anywhere near as awkward as I should.

But there are times where I don’t want to talk. There are times when I’ll make a friend order me something from the counter or talk to somebody at the movies or do something else because I genuinely can’t be bothered talking. The thing nobody tells you about using speech techniques, which I use or attempt to use almost constantly, is that they are incredibly draining. It’s like putting yourself in an accent. It’s forcing your body to do something it’s not doing naturally when all it wants to do is relax.

So like you might get somebody else to take the trash out or do laundry two days after it should be done, I will decide not to talk. And I’m genuinely okay with that. I spent my New Year’s Eve sitting on my bed reading books, playing Tales of Xillia and eating terrible food and not saying a word to anybody. I loved it.

In a hack writer way, I made a statement and then spent five hundred words qualifying and addendumning (not a word) it. Talking is hard for me. In no way is it not. Whether I’m lathering on enough technique to make a voice tutor blush or just stuttering through something, it is a challenge. It’s something I cope with every day, or at least on very many of the days, and it bothers me less than you might think.

Not everybody does the thing they find hardest every day. I do. It’s changed my life, there is no way something that monumental doesn’t, but I love my life. I wouldn’t say I wouldn’t change it, because if you gave me the choice I would in a heartbeat. But like many people love their imperfect, flawed lives, I love my life. Because it’s mine.

I’m happy. But talking is hard.

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Self-Inflicted Wounds of 2013

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Mother, stop reading now. These are my self-inflicted wounds of 2013, and most of them are drinking-related.

I’m stealing a term from Aisha Tyler, podcast/actress/awesome person in general when I use the term ‘self-inflicted wounds’, though I’m sure she didn’t invent it. It is fairly self-explanatory, it is a wound that you have nobody to blame but yourself. Often this involves drinking, because generally you have nobody to blame for your drinking but yourself.

So in the interest of hilarity, let’s get rolling:

Jandal Tan – The famous jandal tan of 2013. In the first month of this year, I walked around a lot. A lot. I was walking about an hour and a half each way to rehearsals which were about 3-4 times every week in the middle of summer. I did this wearing jandals.

Unexpectedly for me, and hilariously/disgustingly for others, this lead to the worst case of jandal tan I’ve ever seen. It was less that the non-jandal covered skin was tanner than my usual sickly brown, it was more that the rest of the skin on my feet was bleached a shade of white found nowhere else on my body. It was horrifying, and hasn’t really abated yet. I can still stare at my feet, if I was so inclined which I am not really, and see a slightly tanner triangle reminding me of that hour and a half commute.

Kings of the Gym – The first of many drunk opening nights. It’s no secret that I have a problem with free alcohol, which is the firstest of first world problems. My brain gets worried that the free alcohol is going to run out, so I drink it faster, which leads to it running out faster, which leads to me panicking. In this instance, it leads to me waking up on a couch, with a spilled glass of water next to me and a vague memory of passing out in a stairwell. I also distinctly remember doublefisting some wine and trying to introduce myself to somebody from high school and trying not to look like an alcoholic.

The next day, me and my friend cried our way to McDonalds at about 8:30, as he had a photoshoot for some play in half an hour and I wanted to quit drinking entirely. I follow through on this.

The Sex Scene – Sometimes when you write a thing, you’re very aware that somebody else will have to deal it. Sometimes when you write a thing, you might even be absolutely certain that somebody else will have to deal with it. So in the spring of August 2012, when I wrote not one but two sex scenes into a play, I was sure that I would not have to be in the room making sure that this would have to be a thing on stage.

However, as things transpired, I ended up having to direct those scenes, with two good friends in them. This ended with a lot of laughter and putting it off until opening night, when it’s usually a good idea to get a scene blocked, and we finally got through it.

It’s another level of self-inflicted wound entirely to have to watch your mother watch a sex scene that you directed two of your friends in that you also wrote.

Titus – Another opening night. Another round of free alcohol. Another black out. This one is memorable if only because I, and several other people, remember me chugging the remainders of a (free) bottle of wine in the middle of Q at an hour that was definitely far too early for this behaviour to be acceptable.

What I don’t remember, but several other people appear to, is going to McDonalds and disappearing into the bathroom for a few minutes (to throw up most likely, or hopefully to throw up) and then falling down a lot on the way home.

All I remember is waking up with a half-eaten McChicken next to me, still completely clothed in the nice jacket and pants I had gone to play in, with the worst headache of my life.

The Mould Room – For the first part of this year, I lived in a room which didn’t have windows.

I actually really enjoyed this room for the most part. For one thing, it was massive. Massive enough to fit my now ungainly huge queen bed and all my miscelleanous furniture and a couch that came with the room. It was also ridiculously cheap for a room that close to town.

In September I moved out and forgot to set the dehumidifier on, although this would’ve been pointless unless I was constantly going back every day to empty it and reset it. It took me about two weeks to finally move all my stuff out.

And when I did, it was basically the grossest thing ever. My room had become a bed for mould, so much so that I had to scrub the walls and furniture down, a lot of my linen  was unuseable and I had to throw out a lot of my clothes. (in fairness, these clothes had been left behind so they probably weren’t high up on my list of ‘wear over and over again’ clothes anyway.)

 I still gag a little thinking about it.

The Hackmans – Oh, the Hackmans.

Long story short: I spent three hours in makeup to become Anna Nicole Smith or more accurately ‘Sam Brooks in drag’, decided to have a dainty bottle of wine before setting out to the Civic and everything was fine. I was a little bit tipsy, but not entirely drunk at this point. However, a little bit tipsy is probably too tipsy when you’re in quite large heels for the first time.

Upon arriving at the venue, I realised there were very long lines to the bar so I decided to buy two vodka and sprites. I drank these very, very quickly because straws and also because I’m Sam Brooks and I drink things that are in front of me quickly. (Please don’t roofie me, although to be honest the amount of roofies you would need to take me down is probably not worth it.)

After this my memory gets a little bit dodgy, but I remember my play winning an award and demanding some of the wine, and I also think somebody bought me a glass of wine which I downed like it was a Subway sub. So I was not in a good place.

The exact timeline of what happened after is a little bit dodgy, but I’m going to assume it went like this: I passed out at the table, threw up in a few glasses, either left or got escorted out (the jury is out, but I remember leaving under my own steam, so to speak), I went and got money out from a machine for some godforsaken reason, ran into another friend in drag at Burger Fuel, ended up being forcefed a burger (the only time this will need to happen, I’m sure) and went to the afterparty venue and fell asleep.

From there, as I understand, I was helped into a taxi by some very nice people and went home. I miraculously woke up without a hungover, but woke up entirely unable to walk. At some point during the night I had fallen down, and I’d wager that I fell down more than once. My legs still aren’t entirely right, when I squat (which let’s be honest is not often), it sounds like somebody hacking down a tree, but hey! Self-inflicted wound. Nobody to blame but myself.

So that’s 2013 in self-inflicted wounds! To possibly growing up next year, but probably not!