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UBC Publications

The Ubyssey Mar 26, 1999

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Array Rant
the uhyssey nLagaxine
dictating AMS policy since 1918
FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 1999
www. u byssey. bc.ca
around a .c
aside their
.   debt was $!ffi,00(rwi£n the
drawmb near; were will be an
student organisationa.to/aHyi
n issue—it they can rirst pur
by Jeannine Mitchell
Do we care that the average student debt has nearly
tripled since 1990?
Do we care that the interest rates on our student
loans are nearly twice what we'd pay in the States?
Do we care that after 14 years of deep and relentless
federal cuts to universities, Canada is entering the 21st
century with one of the worst records in the industrialised world when it comes to higher education access?
Is that all too depressing to think about? Or so scary
that you want to fight back?
Those questions are on the minds of the AMS these
days. In fact, UBC may be verging on a more activist era
on student debt and other barriers to universal access
to higher education (see sidebar).
Okay, UBC isnt much of a hotbed. Even APEC barely hit the radar screen for the average student, and it
was right on campus. You could blame our past ho-
hum reaction to soaring student debt on student apathy, or a lower proportion of student loans, or the
AMS—take your pick.
But that was then, according to the newly-elected
AMS. And this is now.
At a student meeting with Finance Minister Paul
Martin last fall, AMS president Ryan Marshall (then
external affairs coordinator) raised the issue of high
student loan interest rates. It was these high rates, he
says, that first focused his attention on the problem of
student debt.
So, even though the current AMS has political divisions, Marshall says he "totally supports" the drive by
Nathan Allan, the new external affairs coordinator, to
make student debt a key issue at UBC.
Allan says he would have jumped on this already,
but exams are looming and AMS committees are still
being formed. "I'm prepared to do a lot of work in the
summer," he says, "for a really big campaign next fall
and leading into the milleNnium."
Not that Marshall and Allan don't differ on how to
see "drowning in debt" on page 3 ZtaEla
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In a continuing effort to increase the level of service provided by the Faculty of Arts
Academic Advising Office, the Faculty intends to hire three to five students to serve as
the first point of contact for students attending the Academic Advising Office.
Successful applicants must be entering their thud or fourth year in the Faculty of Arts,
and have completed at least thirty credits at UBC They must possess good
communications skills, and be reliable and conscientious workers. Their duties will
include offering assistance to students in finding the correct path to resolution of their
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Employment will be 6 to 10 hours per week on regular shifts of between 3 to 3.5
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Applications, including a resume, two letters of reference, and a statement indicating the qualities ofthecaiHlkktewouMbi^m the position, miM be submit^
to Wendy Trigg, Assodate Director, Arts Academic Advising Office, Buchanan
A201 by April 1st.
The BCBA is seeking volunteers for the
1999 Connaught Student Biotechnology
Exhibition. Tlie conference will raise
awareness among students, educators
and the public about the emerging
science of biotechnology and its
applications in health care, agriculture,
aquaculture and the environment.
Volunteers are required to assist the
BCBA in the following areas:
1) registration
2) on-site office
3) assisting judges
4) exhibitor lounge
5) presentations
6) awards
7) providing direction/instruction
The volunteers are needed on Sunday,
April 18 from 4 to 5pm for orientation,
and on the day of the exhibition from
Monday, April 19 from 9 to 5pm.
There will be monetary compensation
provided for volunteers. If you are
interested in this opportunity please write
a brief description of your strengths and
select the two areas you would like to
assist in.
8 week writer's workshop with
award-winning author, Karen X.
Tulchinsky author of Love Ruins
Everything Mondays 7-9 pm,
begins April 26 at the Centre.
For info and to register, phone
251-5085, or e-mail kxt@iher-
"Reviving a Tradition at UBC"
students interested in being a
UBC cheerleader for the 1999-
2000 school year are invited to
attend and information session
on Sunday, March 28 from 3-5
pm in SUB 215. No experience
Following six years of ethusias-
tic public response to our Open
Studios Event in Point Grey,
Dunbar and Kits, we are opening our studios again. This is a
community event designed to
enhance the quality of life in
our area. For more info phone
In the article "More than Golden
Key" (March 2, 1999), it was
reported that $12.00 of each
$80.00 collected from a UBC
applicant is remitted to the local
chapter. In fact, $15.00 is remitted In that same article, a table
incorrecdy identified Alpha
Lambda Delta as Alpha Epsilon
In the article "Presidential
Response to Golden Key" (March
2, 1999) UBC Senator Michael
Edwards comments on the
financial records of the Golden
Key National Honour Society.
The Ubyssey did not and does not
intend to suggest that Golden
Key's financial reporting practices do not meet any government requirements.
The Ubyssey relets any misinterpretation or misunderstanding
that may have occured.<»
In our "Race" issue (Friday
March 19), we neglected to
mention that the cover was
designed by Junie Desie. The
Ubyssey regrets this omission. THE UBYSSEY .piD^
"drowning in debt" from one
get their point across. Allan prefers the more
activist approach of the Canadian Federation of
Students (CFS). He says he's fine with any
approach for the same cause, but he's "not sure
that postcards and petitions are so effective. I
think there's a psychological empowerment for
students when they go to a rally."
Meanwhile, Marshall prefers the backstage
approach of the Canadian Alliance of Student
Associations (CASA). "I personally know many
students who get physically sick at the thought of
being in a demonstration," he says. "But I agree
that we can have our own way of making our
voice heard and still be saying the same basic
It is likely, then, that whatever activities UBC
sees on this issue will range from street action to
quiet things like phoning up your Member of
Parliament. Other campuses have had everything
from teach-ins to marches with fake coffins to
symbolise the death of education access. Allan
says it's just too soon to give any details, but this
year, he says, we'll be taking a stand.
He does say that he hopes UBC will coordinate
its efforts with CFS' Access 2000 campaign. Over
at CFS-BC, BC chairperson Maura Parte says that
campaign is aimed at both the federal and
provincial governments. The concept, she says, is
to show a link with the turn of the last century,
when people had to pay for high school education. "It was recognised then, as we entered a
new century, that the economy required a
higher standard of education," she says. "So
high school was made available to all."
But what about the argument that free
university education is unfair to taxpayers,
that the user should pay? The strongest
argument against this user-pay viewpoint
seems to have sprung from our very own
In Paid in Full a paper for the
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives,
UBC economics professor Bob Allen
crunches all the numbers to make an
important finding. In BC (and he says this should
hold up across Canada) students more than pay
for the full costs of their education.
How does this happen? We pay it back
through higher taxes—because we go on to
earn more than we would have without an education. Allen says his findings support the
value of university for students as well as society. But they also indicate that by paying
tuition, we're paying for our education twice.
Findings like this counter the user-pay
argument that has fuelled public support for
higher tuition fees and government funding
cuts. But there are other causes for our current crisis, and one seems to have been a
growing lack of student unity in this past, disastrous decade.
As provinces diverge into sometimes radically different policies, it has been harder to
find a way to unite students across the country. Each faces a unique situation. As well,
Canada once had only one national organisation of students, the CFS. As of nearly three
years ago, a second one evolved—CASA.
Quebec, meanwhile, has its Federation Etu-
diante Universitaire du Quebec.
although CASA has addressed related
issues, student debt per se has not yet been a
big focus. CASA has no executive director
until June, and given this, Marshall says it's
"too soon to say if CASA will take any change
of direction with the new executive." Since
UBC is now affiliated with CASA, interested
students may wish to look up their policies visa-vis student debt on their website  (see
Websites sidebar).
Charging lower fees for what the CFS regards
as stripped-down service, CASA has grown very
quickly. It now claims 275,000 members to the
CFS' 400,000. Obviously, this rapid growth concerns its more established rival, and one can discern a defensive posture at CFS-BC.
However, the real issue may be the sharp contrast
in views between CASA and CFS. CASA believes in private lobbying. CFS (which, in fairness, also lobbies privately) prefers to take it to the streets. Similarly, while CASA
gave an A- to Paul Martin's 1998 budget, the CFS gave it an F.
Whichever side you support—and given the current
mess, both seem to overstate their impact on government—
one thing is clear. Having two opposed national groups has
CFS DAY OF ACTION in 1998 drew far fewer participants than hoped.
made it easier for governments to dump their deficits on
increasingly disorganised students.
Here at UBC, graduate student and single parent Lorraine
Irlam became so frustrated at the way this left her student
debt skyrocketing that she launched SUCKED IN—aka
'Students, Union members and other Canadians concerned
by Krippling Educational Debt In our Nation.'
SUCKED IN began this winter as an informational website. Though Irlam has now left to work on her thesis, her
brainchild seems to be growing into a new coalition movement that could bridge past differences between local campuses with different affiliations.
"I began SUCKED IN because of a vacuum on the political scene," says Irlam. "The CFS Day of Action thing last
October drew maybe 30 students out here. And I was
shocked when Hoops Harrison [CASA's former executive
director] smugly said last fall on CBC that CASA got 'everything we asked for.' I thought, 'this is what they asked for?'"
She was also angered by federal government ads claiming
that student loans are now easier to pay back. "I even saw
one of these in the washroom of this bar I was in," she says.
"I couldn't believe it. It's outrageous. They're encouraging
students to sink over their heads into debt."
As for federal claims that you can renegotiate better terms
on your loan, "When I asked about that at my bank, they
actually laughed." Irlam is especially concerned about the
way debt is killing educational access for single parents, who
tend to have by far the highest debt levels. She feels they
don't get fair consideration under BC's loan remission program.
Unlike CFS and CASA, which must deal with a wide range
of student issues, SUCKED IN has more narrowly focused on
student debt, though these are still early days.
The first campuses to join the SUCKED IN coalition are
UBC (affiliated with CASA), Langara (non-affiliated) and
Capilano (affiliated with CFS). They haven't yet held a formal
meeting, but Nathan iMlan has already been out to talk with
the Langara Student Union and Langara's Rob Nagai (who
will be transferring to UBC next year for his third year of
Political Science) has been assigned to liase with UBC. .All
three campuses expect to see the momentum heat up over
the next few months, once exams end, and Nagai is eager to
work further on the SUCKED IN website.
Not that anyone seems to think this will detract from the
activities of either CFS or CASA. At the AMS, both Marshall
and j\llan hope that one way or another alliances will
strengthen. They say that UBC has had some problems
working with local campuses (most are CFS-affiliated) due to
UBC being non-CFS and then aligning with CASA.
continued on page four
Survival Kit
I If you're racking up student loans, clip this handy list of
! websites. Phoning the government can drive you Insane,
and some of these sites will answer your questions better
than a burnt-out government clerk.
Thc new website of SUCKED IN, the student dubt
coalition bom at UBC. It's still under construction, but
expect graphics and new content soon after final exams.
Until then, it has debt facts, links to other sites, sample letters to MLAs and BC MPs, and a helpful list of e-mail links
to all these government members. Links should be activated soon. While SUCKED IN draws on much CFS data,
it also includes material not on other bites.
www. cfs-fcee.ca
Still tbe mother of all sites when it comes to Canadian
student politics. CFS (Canadian Federation of Students) is
the largest and oldest national student organisation, so it
can offer an array ol information on a well-organised site.
Features include links and sample letters to politicking
media releases, backgrounders, and a long list of research
papers. While there's stuff on Access 2000—the cunt-nt
CFS campaign—actual events need updating. Enough
already on the 15-month-old Day of Action. But no doubt
they'll soon update it to include their challenge of tin:
bankruptcy law and a planned student strike. Meanwhile,
there's a no-hassle sign-in to their Debt Wall, so why not
add your comments to the Wall?
The new cyber home of CFS-BC is naturally smaller
than the complex site of its parent organisation, but it provides mom up-to-date detail on BC issues ,.n.l .u-iiuiu-s
anda link to the main CFS page.
:i0$to^$atfm paying 'dues,' here's how you learn about
uice of Student Associations. This
s|^^taijhe)^ijr under construction, though. .At writing.
v^ only lists past events, and "what's
summer's conference. So far, you
campaign plans, postings or the wide range of
.d^::|^i^le. from rival student organisation, CFS. But
^SWulSh reaU .CASA's policy papers and use their links.
Pjus, CASA offers a research person to answer your questions on student issues. So if you've got questions, try
them out
The BC government's student loan website is one of the
best In Canada, with links to other provincial loan sites
that actually work, unlike a lot of government sites in
other provinces. It'll saw you umu.
This federal government website includes a large section on die Canada Sturiuit Loan* Program. It's a useful
overview, with a good selection of links. But it seems more
about polishing the government's image than helping students out You'U find questionable claims, like "Your
Canada Student Loan—Now Easier to Pay Back" but
details are sketchy on programs like debt reduction and
interest relief.
Take a look, but don't count on this site. At writing,
there's nothing on the credit checks for federal loans (for
students 22 and older, and due to start August 1st,
although BC is resisting at this point.) This lack of warning
puts students at risk of finding themselves paying off§bSg
loan with their degree still unfinished. Not sutprift^l^
the "Feedback" section of HI website is juste&ML
Postings would mess up this site's have-a-tdc^lp^lmiQd.
www.debtl01.com ■-%'
Starting April, this site w that help
you deal with student debt. Promised topics c your
rights, cutting the costs of loan repayment, and Hie realities of government debt relief. The first topic is how to prepare for the coming credit checks. Eventually, the debtlOl
site plans interactive postings so people can share their
experiences, repayment tables and translations of what
you're signing onto at the bank. Written by a format
Financial Post editor, this site is free, with no conunercN!)
or political affiliations. Afecsv there will be a section spe»|§S-
fctoso .■•.■.-;£..:■■        .Uf*ft&
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continued from page three
"With places like SFU and UVic," says Allan, "I think they've been
uneasy about working with us. They were afraid we might undermine
their efforts."
Marshall agrees, adding, "We have to grow up a little and put our differences aside. And I think student debt is an issue we can all get
To this end, Allan says he doesn't want SUCKED IN or any other affiliation to get in the way of working with the largest national campaign,
which is currently Access 2000, at the CFS.
Langara-UBC liasion Rob Nagai is also adamant about working
together with CFS, even though his campus is non-affilated. "I'm really
impressed with everything the CFS is doing. I love their [Paul Martin]
poster—it's on my bedroom door."
Sure, he adds, SUCKED IN-Langara has buttons and postcards of its
own, but they also actively distribute CFS campaign material. "Recently,
for instance, we took some stuff from Douglas [a CFS campus] and they
took some of ours. I'm totally behind any campaign out there."
Marshall says that putting aside past differences might also be eased
by the fact that Allan's support of CFS has given him friendships on CFS
With more unity, Allan hopes to see BC take a key role across the
country. "We can take a bigger stand here in BC because we're not as
badly off here. In places like Ontario, they're just trying to stay alive."
But the key to that, says Irlam, won't be student leadership so much
as the students themselves. "We're really at a crisis point. And students
can't sit back and trust that our organisations are going to solve the
problem. That's not enough. At least, it certainly hasn't been enough so
far. Students have to get involved."
At UBC, our apparent lack of student interest in supporting either
CASA or CFS suggests we may one day again be non-affiliated. So that
raises another concern: can non-affiliated campuses pull their weight
on national issues?
Students at Langara are not affliatied , but they deserve an A+ for
their work this year on the debt issue. It's interesting to see how it's
worked at Langara. This is Langara's track record on the debt issue for
this school year alone: they've set aside a campaign fund of $30,000,
they've held information days on campus, they've collected petitions
and data on the size of student loans, they've put ads in Terminal City as
well as campus papers, they've distributed CFS campaign material
while making their own, plus they've actively sought organising links
with campuses as far as Alberta.
Ironically, even though SUCKED IN was born at UBC, it was Langara
that gave them the financial backing to get their website up and running
for the first year. (The AMS has promised eventual funds.)
Obviously without any affiliations, national organisations would die
from lack of funding, and that would be a travesty. But based on the
results of the 90s, the biggest weakness out there may be the lack of students telling student leaders to wake up and floor the gas.
So if Allan and Marshall can tap into student support for this issue
next fall, UBC could finally get rocking. For inspiration, we only have to
look across town to that little campus near Main and 49th. If Canada
had a few UBC-sized campuses working like Langara, student debt and
educational access would be high on the federal agenda, where they
Loan lingo defined
llMilknlum Fund:
Starting in 2000, this temporary
fund will annually give up to
53,000 each to seven per cent of
all student:,, based on grade:, and
Facts and Figures:
• Average debt incurred for an
undergraduate degree:
• What we pay: 12% (prime +5):
Canada's fixed-interest rate for a
post-1995 student loan.
• What they pay: 6.7%: US Nellie
Mae (non-profit) student loan
interest rate.
• What thc fedeial Liberals
spend on highei education
transfer payments:
1993-94--$2.4 billion
1998-99—$1.6 billion
• EfFoct of die first year of credit
checks in New Brunswick: 6.5%
of students denied student
• Typical monthly student loan
payments for new grads:
Bachelor's degree; $250—$300
Master's degree: $400—$600
This is the rate of loans where
one or more payments have
been missed. Defaults are common due to errors ^tempo
rary financial problems.. Most
defaulted loans are eventually
paid in full.
Having won bankruptcy pro-
Lcrtion and credit checks, banks
now want de-designation. This is
the right to refuse; ■student loans
lo entire campuses or programs,
based on the default rates of
graduates. Alberta has now de-
designdted ali truck-driving and
hairdret>t>ing schools. Ontario
allows de-designation for any
campus, widi a default rate 1 r> pt;r
cent above tlie provincial aver-
Critics say de-designation
leads to col porate interference
oji campus and could end higher
education in high-uneruploy-
ment regions, where default
rates are higher.
This is the federal government's, plan to line uj> all
provinces with federal student
loans policies by next
September. CFS-BC and
SUCKED IN fear harmonisation
will push BC into de-designation
and credit checks for BC student
I loans, despite current opposi-
! don from the provincial NDR THE UBYSSEY
of external affairs, (below)
Members of UBC's student society say they want the
BC Ombudsman to investigate whether former UBC
president David Strangway and current UBC vice
president of external affairs Peter Ufford are in a con-
JLXJLv ll    WJL   JLJMLU W JL vOIll Soon after he stepped down as president in
1997, Strangway began a bid to build a private
university in the Squamish-Whistier area, and
enlisted his long-time friend and business partner, Ufford, to help.
While they deny that this new university
would compete with UBC for students, faculty
and funding, some UBC students and facultyl
think otherwise. And they say the fact that bothl
Strangway and Ufford are working on the private I
university project—while continuing to be onl
UBC's payroll—puts them squarely in a conflict of |
(UBC policy says that senior administrators
are entitled to one full year's salary for each of the
six years they've held that position after they've stepped down. Strangway, who was president for 12 years, will receive $176,415 in 1998-99.)
Nathan Allen, coordinator of external affairs for the Alma Mater Society (AMS), said he
and others are concerned about the appearance of current and former UBC officials working to establish a new, private university in the province that has, at least, the potential to
attract students and faculty away from UBC.
AMS policy analyst Desmond Rodenbour said he is currently preparing a letter to the BC Ombudsman that will argue that Strangway and Ufford are breaching the
university's own conflict-of-interest guidelines as well as provincial guide-
I lines. He will present that to all the AMS executives next Tuesday for ratifica-
"It should be looked into," said AMS president Ryan Marshall.
| "Perception is reality."
Policy 97 in the UBC Policy Handbook states that even "the appearance
I of conflict-of-interest must be avoided."
UBC's public affairs office said that former UBC chancellor Les Peterson
I did actually conduct a review of Ufford's activities last year for potential conflict-of-interest, but that he concluded there was none. A request for a copy
of Peterson's report under Freedom of Information was denied, and is under
I appeal.
Ufford, who will return next month from a year-long administrative leave
(but who will still receive a salary of $235,188 for the 1998-99 fiscal year)
i declined to comment other than to say, "I don't have to explain anything to
Strangway did not return calls. However, in an interview last fall, he
insisted that his new university would not be in direct competition with UBC
for people or money. "We have no intention of selectively targeting UBC faculty, as we have the world to draw on. We will not, of course, exclude UBC
faculty who have an interest."
At least three current UBC faculty who wished to remain anonymous
have said that they would consider moving to the new Squamish university.
That has not only the AMS, but some faculty members worried about the
threat the new university poses to UBC's future recruitment drive. "I thought
it smelled bad," said Philip Resnick, a political science professor and former
| member of the UBC board of governors, of Strangway's project.
His successor to BoG, sociology professor Pat Marchak, burst out laugh-
I ing when asked for her comments. "I hope they lose their shirts. It's not
something I would wish him [Strangway] well in."
And just last year, to stem a potential "brain drain" from UBC, the uni-
I versity administration created a $500,000 Faculty Retention Fund. The fund
will pay to keep faculty at UBC whom the faculty association is concerned might go to Strangway's new university or elsewhere, ^^^^^^H
said association president Mary Russell. ^^^^^^H
Since his appointment in 1991, Ufford's responsibilities have multiplied. As vice president of external affairs, he oversees ^^^^^^H
about 80 employees in 17 different branches at UBC including public affairs, ceremonies, business relations, development and ^^^^^^H
government relations. In 1996, he was appointed Strangway's special advisor on business relations. B
Ufford has been instrumental in raising hundreds of millions of dollars for the UBC. The UBC Alumni Chronicle magazine ^^^^^^H
called Ufford "the best fundraising campaign strategist in the country." ^^^^^^H
Even after Strangway left, his relationship with Ufford continued. In an interview with the Ubyssey last August, Strangway ^^^^^^H
acknowledged that he and Ufford were "the two principals" behind his bid to build the first private, non-religious university in ^^^^^^H
And the Ubyssey learned yesterday that Ufford's brother, Mark, a full-time employee in UBC's athletics department, has also ^^^^^^H
played a key role in the Squamish university project. I
UBC Athletics director Bob Philip confirmed that Mark Ufford has also been working on the project—even though he too is ^^^^^^H
a full-time athletics employee and gets paid close to $80,000 a year by UBC. ^^^^^^3
The Athletics department appointed Mark Ufford as facilities manager last summer. Since then, he assumed many addi- ^^^^^^H
tional responsibilities including the coordination of sponsorship deals. ^^^^^^H
But Philip said the athletics department doesn't view the Squamish university as a rival. "I was satisfied it wasn't a conflict." ^^^^^^H
Philip added that Mark Ufford's work on the private university is done on his own time, and does not interfere with his work ^^^^^^H
at UBC. In fact, he said, the contacts he's made have helped UBC create more sponsorship deals. ^^^^^^H
Mark Ufford declined to comment. ^^^^^^H
It has also been learned that former UBC Public Affairs head Steve Crombie, who now works in communications at the Rick I
Hansen Institute on the UBC campus, has also been working with Strangway and the Ufford brothers on the private university ^^^^^^H
When contacted, Crombie said that even though the institute is on the UBC campus, it is a separate legal entity He added ^^^^^^H
that although he gives his office number to Squamish residents as a contact, he has not done and will do no work related to the ^^^^^^H
Squamish university from UBC. ^^^^^^H
Meanwhile, Squamish councillors and residents have hailed the project as a wonderful boon for their struggling logging ^^^^^^H
town. Council is fast-tracking the project and hopes to have an agreement-in-principle signed within a month. ^^^^^^H
Strangway says the venture will be "non-profit," financed only by housing developments upon land donated by private busi- ^^^^^^H
ness—which town administrators say will likely be the Merrill-Ring timber company of Washington state.<» ^^^^^^H iiMmm
Wanna see the Canucks
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you could win free tickets!
Q. How long did it take the AMS executives to
huff, puff, and sweat their way over the finish line
in Storm the Wall on Tuesday?
Come to SUB room 245 with your answer
(limit one ticket per student)
opies Plus
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musk from tfte mirumox motion picture
featuring clame songs from
Jmfy Garland
Shirley Btmty
MUlie Holiday
Eihd Merman
Turn Jonm
Jane fforrocfos *» 'Utile fHw'
go  crazy
aybe not,
of hipster
aiting for
Jones on
t is over.
an earful
and  crazy
ittle   Voice
Okay  everybody,  let':
Broadway style! Well,
but if you're the sort
who's eagerly been
someone to  put Judj
Shirley Bassey and To
one    album, your w.
That's right, get ready fj
of  bastardised  jazz
crooning;   it's   the   /I
Despite the possible sarcastic
overtones to that introduction, I do
quite like this album. Yes, it's
kitschy and over the top, but that's
the entire point of the genre. These
are songs for which Irony shows up
wearing a gold lame suit and
slicked back hair.
While the album's full of recognisable tunes sung by famous voices, there are still a few standouts
from this classy pack. Tom Jones'
"It's Not Unusual" nearly had me
throwing my Jockeys at the stereo
but thankfully I resisted. As well,
Shirley Bassey shines on both
"Goldfinger" and "Big Spender"
(topping even Homer Simpson's
version). I must warn you my
friends, the punch in that woman's
voice is something to be reckoned
Also a highlight, though not in
keeping with the rest of the collection, is Billie Holiday's "Lover Man
(Oh Where Can You Be?)." Much
more sombre than the rest of the
collection, here Holiday sings as
though she were playing a muted
trumpet. Blue, as always, at least
her sensuous vocals are able to
brighten our day.
Little Voice star Jane Horrocks
ends up contributing the most
notable tracks on the album with
her two covers. Her imperson-
ations of Marilyn Monroe and Judy
Garland (on "I Wanna Be Loved By
You" and"Get Happy" respectively)
are near flawless. And though she
can't quite match her muses in
presence, Horrocks masters their
phrasing and idiosyncrasies.
I think you probably already
know if the soundtrack for Little
Voice is for you or not. If you're the
sort of guy or gal who looks upon
Vancouver's weather as an excuse
to swing from lampposts and belt
out "SingiiV in the Rain," do yourself a favour and pick up this
-Duncan M. McHugh
In the liner notes, white-boy rapper
Eminem states, "To all the people
who never gave love and continue to
deny me 'cuz of what I look like: suck
my dick you fucks!!!" After one listen
of The Slim Shady LP, I can be sure of
one thing...it's not because of what
he looks like.
As much as a reviewer is supposed to review music on its own
merits, doing so with this album is a
difficult, if not impossible, task.
Reviewers are expected to give the
product several listens in order to get
a proper "feel" for the music, because in theory,
one listen isn't enough to base your opinions on.
Unfortunately, I just couldn't do it
The album does have some promise. After a
humourous disclaimer at the beginning,
"Public Service Announcement," you get the
impression that this will be a fun album. And
the first track, "My Name Is," turns out to be a
pleasant mix of beats and rhymes. Then it goes
downhill from there.
The lyrical content in Eminem's Slim Shady is
misogynist and violent, which is an utter turn-
off for many listeners, myself included. Usually,
music tends to grow on you once you listen to it
a few times. I didn't want this album to grow on
me, and so I only gave it one listen before I
turned it off and wrote this.
Underneath the line about getting disrespect
for the colour of his skin, he goes on to dedicate
the album to his daughter, but The Slim Shady
LP left me wondering what kind of example he
intends to set. "97' Bonnie & Clyde" tells the
story about how he gets rid of his ex-wife's dead
body, after which he says, "No more restraining
orders." Ick.
Interestingly enough, he includes a track
called "Role Model," which is about the stupidity of looking up to morally reprehensible
celebrities that sleep around and take drugs.
It's music like this that reinforces negative
stereotypes about hip-hop music.that they're all
about sex, drugs, and beating up women. And
it's a shame—there is a large number of truly talented artists in hip-hop, it's just that Eminem
isn't one of them. ♦
—Vince Yim THE UBYS5E
by Michelle Mossop
"All members from ska bands are former band nerds
from high school," Roger says, with a nod towards
the rest of Less Than Jake. "All these guys were in the
marching band. Buddy over there was actually a
cheerleader. They were dorks."
If anyone, the Less Than Jake guitarist is qualified
to make such a statement. Once upon a time, in a
town called Gainesville, Florida, this punk rocker
with long dreadlocks and many silver appendages,
was heavily involved with his high school's orchestra.
He played both the violin and the viola—that is, until
he picked up a bass.
But, "[that's] just the way it goes," Roger (no
band members have last names) explains. "You
have to play an instrument for years and years and
years. You can't just pick up a trombone and suddenly be good at it."
When ska/punk band Less Than Jake played their
first show in March 1993, it wasn't just high school
geekiness that united this bunch of musicians. It was
a love for the punk ethic, an appreciation for ska tradition, and a great enjoyment in making social commentary through their songs.
99 "We don't really try to be political," Roger is quick
to say. "We just say what we want to say. Sure, politics
do come into play, sometimes, but it's mostly a bit of
At any rate, Less Than Jake don't exactly follow
the ska stereotype of being non-political. While they
aren't coming up with any brand-new political
philosophies, with songs entitled "History of a
Boring Town" and "Help Save the Youth of America
From Exploding," it's clear that the band has something to say.
In fact, Roger has plenty to say about the steady
decline in the popularity of ska music, which seems
to have peaked in 1997.
"I think ska is totally not trendy anymore, " he
says. "Wanna know why? Because it got overexposed.
It's getting so trendy that it's not getting noticed anymore. It's over-trendy."
Roger goes on to describe a TV commercial which
advertises a car-service company in the US. The commercial has an entire ska band stranded in the middle
of nowhere, in their suits and holding their horns,
watching smoke drift out of their car's hood.
Suddenly the voice-over
comes on: "When you
have to pick up your
brother's ska band..."
But is Less Than Jake
worried that their genre
of music is now passe,
being swept away by the
same suburban youth
who gave ska music its
current popularity? Not
at all, says the bassist.
"We're ska/punk,"
Roger stresses. "The
punk element makes us
unique, we're not all
about ska."
Fair enough. With ska
being diversified into
other types of music, it's
not all that difficult to
claim uniqueness.
Nowadays, ska isn't just
plain old ska like it was
in the 60s and 80s. These
days, people can choose
between pop/ska,
swing/ska, punk/ska,
and all sorts of delightful
Even so, the band seems quite comfortable
with their place in the musical world. After
announcing that Less Than Jake has been added to
the Warped tour lineup this summer, Roger has a
laugh at his fellow band members, now running
around imitating Jackie Chan. He takes a sip from
his water bottle and stands up to join them in
kung-fu kick session. "It's all good, I'm a happy
kid," he says. "I get to do what I want."<*
SKA-lFlED: The ska trend may have already peaked, but that doesn't mean
the members of Less Than Jake are going back to their day-jobs.
Julian Lennon is a Lennon. The first of two sons of the late John Lcnnon to venture
into the music industry, his biggest obstacle is perhaps his name.
"1 here's nothing too original or special about Photograph
^Smile, but Julians music is pleasant to listen to and has
„a distinctly Beatles-style influence in both the
xii.u sic and lyrics. Once you get past some famil-
guitar riffs and melodies, the songs are a
^mixture of sweet melodies and contempla-
and poetic lyrics. Most of the songs
\here are ballads which focus on the
yhemes of longing, love and loss, and
\i'\i'rything is light and easy to listen to.
"Day Alter Day" and "Faithful" are par-
icularly nice tracks.
Although there is potential in sev-
/eral of the songs, the most unsettling
/and lingering part of the CD is
Lennon's voice. It's quite similar to that
/of his father's—this could either serve to
/indicate that he's just another son of a
''famous rock star trying to make it with his
'family connections, or that he has inherited
Ihe voice in addition to music writing talent,
lither way, he obviously (and unfortunately) doesn't
'm.MMii s up to tlie original.
If you're not a Beatles fan, 1 doubt you'd enjoy Photograph Smile. However, if you are
a Beatles fan, you might want to give Julian Lennon a chance. Although he's not, nor
will he ever be lohn Lennon, this album with a slight Beatles sound might be nice to
venture into. It'll bring back some old memories, and if you're really willing, it just may
bring a smile to your face.
—-Naomi Kim
"  qoite uipotiq
The first listen might leave you rather unimpressed, and maybe
your second will too. After all, if you've heard one hard rock band,
you've pretty much heard them all, right?
While this does apply to a lot of the dreck that comes out
these days, there is something a bit different about die latest
effort from Fuel, Sunburn. After about six or seven listens, this
album actually starts to grow on you.
Admittedly, there isn't much to distinguish this band from
the next. Fuel pretty much have all the alternative rock cliches
down pat, with their music consisting mostly of distorted guitar chords. It says a great deal about the band that these guys
could have easily ranked among the heavyweights or rock five
years ago.
But what really distinguishes these guys from the tired and
rehashed aiterna-crap that clogs the airwaves today is their
songwriting ability. It shines through on tunes such as "Jesus
Like a Gun," which mixes a more upbeat rhythm with normally melancholy grunge-like overtones and "Ozone," which has
just the right blend of 80s style rock and a more raw
unprocessed sound of today.
Unfortunately, though Fuel's latest can stand on its own, when
a review focuses more on how a product doesn't fail in comparison to its contemporaries than the actual album, there's something wrong with thc genre.
—VinceYim iCH Zv. 1999
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Everyone's done it,
seen it, or thought
about it at sometime.
Yeah, you know, tipping the glass and
pouring beer down the
side "just like a bartender" to impress
your friends. Well,
that's just great, but if
you really want to
impress your Mends,
go straight to the bot-1
tie's mouth. Or rather,
take a gander at Pete
Slosberg's book, Beer
for Pete's Sake.
I have to admit, as a
non-beer drinker, I was •
a bit doubtful about
the merit of this book
Okay, I flat out thought
this book wasn't worth
the ink used to print it,
let alone the paper. I
couldn't have been C^
more wrong. Full of ^^
Pete's wild adventures, v.^
fascinating beer lore, ^*-^
great beer cartoons j»
and all other things v^
beer,   Beer for Pete's _j
The book revolves around
Pete's life and Pete's life revolves
around beer. From his first beer to
corporate success in marketing
his own home brew, Pete's Wicked
Ale, Pete takes you on a voyage.
Beer trivia, beer stories, and in-
depth descriptions of the various
aspects of brewing are all woven
artfully into the book's narrative.
Reading Beer for Pete's Sake will
definetely give you a new perspective on beer, and it could almost
turn you into an instant beer
So, next time you're out with
your friends, pour a perfectly
chilled beer straight down into the
glass. Then explain that not only
does the thick head allow the
carbination to escape, so you
wont be belching like a yak, but it
also fully releases the aroma of the
beer to create the ultimate drinking experience. Who knows, they
might actually be impressed.^ THE UBYSS
Dry Shave
Written and illustrated
[Anvil Press]
by Vince Yim
A man named Earl receives a phone
call from his friend Monkey Man,
who's inviting him out to see slant)
poetry readings at a coffeehouse.
Earl  reluctantly  goes  along.
Later, standing on top of a pile
of dead bodies, Earl agrees:
"You're right-this IS fun!" If
this at all sounds normal to
you, seek professional help.
Or, at least, seek a copy of
the recent compilation of Rod
Filbrandt 's weekly strip, I>r.yj
Telling the tale of a cast of|
losers, lowlifes, drunks, and thugs,
Dry Shave (formerly known as
Wombat) takes a darkly comical
look at some of the odder facets
of society. This twist is reflected
in some of the most messed-
up individuals ever put on the
printed page. There's Ashtray)
Boy, a self-proclaimed superhero whose mission is to
clean ashtrays. There's T-
Bone, who, for some odd
reason, has enough money)
to buy alcohol, but not
enough money to buy]
clothes (he wears a barrel). And then there's
Flappy, a guy with an
obsession  with   pancakes.
Indeed, Dry Shavel
takes a very special
sense of humour to
appreciate. One
particular    strip
depicts a typical
citizen,   spending
the first three panels buying a flashlight in the streets,
getting heroin, and
obtaining the services
of a prostitute. And
when, in the last panel,'
T-Bone asks him for
some spare change, his
response is callous, yet
somehow expected: "Get
lost, ya no-good low-life
bastard!!"     That's     the
But, really, this is
a book that's more than
swearing, gratuitous
violence,   deviant   sexual
behavior,   and  poking   fun
at    the     shortcomings     of
others.   Admittedly,   these
things   all   occur   in   frequent    doses,    but    much   is
required on the  part   of the
reader  or  else  a great   deal
of the  humour  is   lost.
So, if you're looking for a good
cheap laugh, go find something
else; Filbrandt's Dry Shave is anything but. It may not be one of the
most accessible strips around,- but it
is easily the most intelligent. For those
with a discriminating taste towards 4-
panel strips,  one  can't go wrong.
Readers with tighter budgets may catch
Dry Shave's weekly appearances in The
Georgia Straight, but in compilation format, it's far superior.*!*
Mod Squad,r~
Schmod Squad §
At Theatres Everywhere
by Vince Yim
It's movies like these that make a movie viewer thankful for the invention of
the IndiGlo watch.
Based on the late 1960s television show of the same name, The Mod
Squad tells the tale of three reformed criminals in the employ of the police
who go undercover. However, things quickly go wrong, with evidence being
stolen and the teens immediately falling under suspicion.
Of course, the ads make it seem like so much more. Quick cuts, cool
music, Claire Danes' hair, car chases, stuff blowing up, and so forth. Sounds
like a cool movie, does it not? After the first fifteen minutes, it quickly
becomes apparent that it is not.
The Mod Squad is a slick looking production, but this certainly isn't
enough to make it a good movie. It's best described as a cross between an
hour-long cop show and a music video, both stretched out into the span of
Of course, the ads niaki
it   seem   like   so   muu
more. Quick cuts, cod
music.  Claire   Dane-
hair,     car     chase1
stuff   blowing    ur,
and       so       forth
Sounds      like     i
cool   movie,  doi'i
il   not?   After   tin
first    fifteen    min
utos,        it       quick I
becomes       a p p a r c r
that it is not.
an hour and a half, and includini
every available cliche. It doesnl
really matter that the film is basel
on a television show, as most of th
plot elements have been recycle!
from nearly everything under th
The acting is nothing spectacu
lar and sometimes borders 01
wooden—Claire Danes and Omal
Epps deliver their lines as if bore!
by the whole affair. The only one tl
escape relatively unscathed is
Giovanni Ribisi, who plays the res
ident crazy man—he's the onlf
thing worth watching-
Unfortunately,   he's  not  nearlf
enough to save this convolutel
mess, where the characters dor1
seem to do much apart from take up screen time.
With a young cast, stylish clothes, cool hair, and a hip soundtrack, this is *
film obviously geared towards the teenage mindset. But, with a 'R' rating (whicli
the content does not justify), The Mod Squad is also way too juvenile for the
older audience it requires. Information on the characters is spoon-fed, dialogue
is poorly written, and the film's plot is extremely predictable. The way The Med
Squad progresses, you won't care if the heroes seem to be in danger, because
you'll know they aren't.
And then again, basing the show on a 1960s television show that nobody
remembers may not be the smartest choice ever made, as the number of memorable films based on television shows can be counted on one hand. And tbe
number of times that I checked my watch to see when The Mod Squad would
end (six) is a clear indication that this film is not one of them.* RCH 26.1999
enjoy it
while it lasts
the ubyssey
two left
at Chabad
To strengthen Jewish
awareness of our Holidays
and Traditions
March 31st
April 1st
Oak St.
(6? West
41 st Avenue)
For more
please call
by John Zaozirny
With a hit song (you know the one), Semisonic
stands poised to either make or break. Either way,
things haven't been the same lately—the fans are
a lot younger (or a lot older), the venues are
much bigger and everybody's wondering if
they're one-hit wonders. But hey, that's okay with
the band. They're just enjoying the ride.
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Imagine this: You're in this band, Semisonic, j
and you've got a couple albums out there, jl
There's your debut, Great Divide, and then I
there's the follow-up, your latest, Feelingl
Strangely  Fine.  You   released  Feelingl
Strangely Fine in March, and you've been
touring it since then (and even a month j
before). In the beginning of the tour,'|
you're playing smallish clubs to fans of j
your debut, but by April, things have
changed pretty drastically. 'Closings
Time,' the lead-off single from the
new album, has turned into a huge
hit and suddenly you're selling out your entire tour. You're playing 1
venues, you're appearing on major talk shows, and your video pla]
MTV nearly every hour. Things are never going to be the same.
"I mean, in early parts of the tour we went around to the plaa
were familiar with and played 500 to a thousand seat places. And
denly, we'd be going down to places we'd never been before, Ul
Dallas, and selling over a thousand tickets." Jake Slichter's head is i
pletely shaved bald, and he's looking kind of tired. Probably becau
just finished flying in from Muchmusic's Snowjob show, wher
reports, "It was really cold, and there's not a lot of oxygen up at 6!
feet or whatever." He's the drummer for Semisonic, and he's just i
ed talking about life before and after 'Closing Time.' In particulai
talking about the moment when the revelation hit. "I remembei
particular show because I thought, 'We've only played one she
the history of the band in Dallas, and now we're selling out a i
big club here. That must mean something's going on.'"
With the 1996 release of Great Divide, Semisonic establi
their basic formula of poppy hooks, revealing lyrics and dr
rhythms. Unfortunately, they also didn't do much to separate tl
selves from the usual pack of guitar-rockers. Great Divide may
laid the groundwork for future success, but it wasn't much to i
a mark with. As Slichter admits, "When we made our pre1
record, Great Divide, we had recently discovered a lot of sam
and gizmo technology and knob twiddling...we were really i
ested in creating cool atmospheres and textures behind
With Feeling Strangely Fine, the band set out to removi
sonic barriers that had made the last record fairly detached,
concentrate on creating what lead singer/guitarist Dan W
calls a bedroom album. "On this record," says Slichter, "We
plified things a great deal because we wanted to prune awi
those textures that were masking some of the lyrical and i
tional content of the vocal delivery. It was very important for
[remove] all the things that were in front of the vocal. To lei
very exposed, so that there was a very clear experience of hs
the singer sing to you."
And, unlike most of their contemporaries with one bi{
Semisonic ended up with an album that's more than jus
famed single. In fact, with so many good songs on the rei
'Closing Time' could very easily become the fans' least favo
song, something that pleases Slichter and company. "The c
night, for the first time, someone yelled out 'Closing Time.' It'
first it's ever happened. [It's usually] people yelling out all the t
song names...in a sense, that gives you a feeling of h
Still, 'Closing Time' has dictated some major changes ir
worid of Semisonic. For instance the last time Semisonic pi
Vancouver, they were booked in at the Starfish Room, a smallisl
venue for bands that attract smallish crowds. Now they're perfon
across the alleyway, literally, at one of the premier clubs in t
Richard's on Richards, to a sold-out crowd.
"It's a good feeling," says Slichter. "It's like going into the gym
finally you can put the big 45-pound weight on the bars and feel
you're really bench-pressing a lot."
And, what with the new, bigger venues and the hit song, Semisoni*
seen a vast change in the sea of faces that they play to every night. "Pe
who saw us on the Great Divide tour were more the sort of people in
early twenties who just got out of college or were in college, but could als EMIS0NIC: The band
ode its hit "Closing
ime" to the top of
he charts, peter kao
out late nights and see a band," says the 1^
drummer. "Now we get a lot of mail ||ll
from people who are either like 'I'm 12111
years old and my parents stole ybur |
record from me, and now they listen tc
it,' or 'I'm 30 years old and my eight
year old son stole your record from me'
and listens to it now.' We're sort of or
either side of that original groups
folks we used to have."
But for all the rewards it brings, hav-|
ing that hit song can be like having .-
albatross around your neck Just ask
Radiohead about 'Creep,' Blind Melor
about 'No Rain,' or Beck about 'Loser.1
Slichter swears it isn't going to ever be
like that for Semisonic. At least, not fori
a while. They still love doing that song\
and they're not going to create some
messed-up version to spite it, he says.[
"If it was us setting up in front of a wa
every night and playing the songs, then,!
yes, we'd absolutely have to change the
arrangements every week. Otherwise,!
I'd get really bored. But since it's
audience in front of us, it's like a weird
dance that you're doing with the audi-|
ence. And how they do it, whatever they
bring to it, changes what you bring to it. j
So it's always going to be different ever
And then there's that one-hit won-|
der problem. Maybe next album, the
new fans hate it and the old fans feell
sold out. Still, as Slichter sees it, it's a*
chance you have to take.
"The thing is, though, before you have a hit song, you don't have a choice," he
explains. "You want your music to get out there on the radio. You don't know
whether or not it's going to be a song that everybody loves and then they hate you
for it, or it's a song that they love and then they hear all the rest of your music and
love you for it. I think that any band would choose to get the shot at getting their
song on the radio and seeing what happens."
And so far, everything's going pretty well. 'Closing Time' has put Semisonic on
the musical map, and allowed them to reach nearly everybody out there in radio
land. It's the kind of song that wise-ass DJs put on at closing time and the entire club
groans. It's firmly entrenched in the collective hit-song unconscious, if you will. It's
out of the band's hands now, but that's something they're okay with. At least,
according to Jake.
"I talked to a guy, the other day, who was taking his dog to be put to sleep, and
'Closing Time' came on. So he identifies it with a closing time, the end of life. And
then we also heard from a woman, over e-mail, who was a doctor, who had delivered a baby to this couple while 'Closing Time' played on the delivery room stereo.
I mean, that's pretty heavy—'every new beginning'(part of the song's chorus) The
song is a bit about being born; the second verse is about being bounced from the
womb into the world. So that's a really cool thing."
Slichter pauses to remember what question he's answering before finishing the
"That's why it's important to get your music out there, because the people who
hear it kind of expand if*
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What do you dp with a guy like
VjTe j?£f xxieXailQer. I mean, here's a guy who leads a band
named the New Radicals ("It's ironic, duh!" is what that screams), stars in
a moronic music video that seems to be torn from outtakes of John
Hughes' teeny-bopper flicks, and writes stupidly poppy music for a
major corporate record company. And he's coming out to tell everybody
that he's got a message, that he's going to save our souls. "The nerve!" say
the fans. "Anyway, didn't Jewel just do that?"
Still, they'll buy the album, 'cause it's poppy, it's fun and it's going to be
as prevalent as elevator music. I know you've heard "You Get What You
Give" and you're going to hear "Mother We Just Can't Get Enough" everywhere. Gregg Alexander's prophetic, fairly condescending persona will
be inescapable! At least, until the end of the year, when someone else
takes over the reign.
 you ._
already heard. Records like this are where AM radio comes from.
And there's only so many times you get to rip off Prince. Hell, Prince (or,
rather, the Artist) is having a diff ;ult enough time right now—who's
going to care about the New Radices in five years?
And Alexander's sure trying to stuff everything into one album. It's
brimful of heart-tugging revelations, tragic grievances and righteous anger
at the world. Gregg feels down on "In Need of a Miracle," Gregg feels up in
"I Don't Wanna Die Anymore," Gregg rocks out in "Mother We Just Can't
Get Enough," and Gregg wonders at the world in "Someday We'll Know."
Quite a trip, though it's actually not that far from the last Spice Girls
or Savage Garden album. About the same sentiments. Can Gregg
Alexander really sing lyrics about wondering, "Did the captain of the
Titanic cry?" and still expect to be taken seriously as self-appointed
spokesperson for the youth? Somehow, methinks not.
But, this is one album that'll be bought despite what any critic says. So
don't feel too bad when you pick it up. Just remember that you're helping
fund Gregg's revolution!
—John Zaozirny
Currently registered
students may pick up Registration
Guides for 1999 Winter Session.
6 April to 9 April
12 April to 14 April
9.30 A.M. to 5.30 P.M.
Brock Hall Lobby
Valid AMS Card Required. THF UBYSSEY
Storm the Wall
editOPS: coordinating, culture (2 positions),
features, news (2 positions), sports,
copy/national, photo, production
coordinators: cup/volunteers, letters, research, online
-   — c—editorial contributions • m—staff meetings attended
.     todd silver, federico barahona, Julian dowling, bruce arthur, John zaozirny, sarah galashan,
mchugh, sara newham, jo-ann chiu, lisa denton, nick bradley, vince yim, nyranne martin, daliah merzaban, michelle
mossop, tara westover, irfhan dhalla, naomi kim, jason Steele, torn peacock
Oth©fSscott hayward (c), Jeremy beauline (ccc), wolf depner (c), (ccc;m), (ccc;m), torn peacock (ccc;mm), jamie
woods (cc), janet ip (cc), megan quek (cc;m), philip lee (cc), robert faulkner (cc;m), John mendoza (c), nathan kennedy
(c;m), mike crema (c); john alexander (mm), joe dark (mm); alan ward (m), heather kirk (cc;mmm), j (cc;mm), andrea milek
(ccc), coralee olson (c;m), george belliveau (ccc), monique steveson (c), janet newman (cc), flora grahm (ccc;mm)
This list includes all of those who
have contributed to the Ubyssey
since Jan 1. If you're name does
not appear, or there is an error,
please contact Federico to clarify
any problems. In order to vote in
editorial elections you must have
contributed at least three times to
the Ubyssey and have attended
three of five consecutive staff
meetings since Jan 1. You must
also be a member of the UPS.
voting from
monday march 29 — Sunday april 6
s iAY. MARCH 26. 1999
111 get you, my pretties
and your little does, too
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'New clients only
Haze craze will
roll on in sports
Hazing rituals are a long tradition in varsity sports.
Coaches may try to put and end to it, but a Calgary
sports psychologist says that initiations are too
deeply ingrained in sport.
bv Jo-Ann Chiu
About K
for the
campus community
on the
Acadia Park
Infill Housing Study
Wednesday, March 31,1999,
7:30-9pm, Activity Room,
Acadia Fairview Commons Block,
Acadia Park, 2707 Tennis Crescent
To present and review Ihe infill housing study for Acadia Park for
the area bounded by Acadia Road, Osoyoos Crescent Pearkes
Lane and Toronto Road. This study for increased residential
density conforms to the Official Community Plan and is subject to
Board of Governors approval.
For further information, call Jim Carruthers, Campus Planning and
Development, 822-0469.
Exposing rookie initiations through the media will
not stop hazing among varsity athletes, says
University of Calgary sport sociologist Jamie Bryshun.
If anything, it will drive the rituals underground.
Bryshun, who has co-authored a chapter in the
soon-to-be-released Sport and Gender in Canada,
says the traditions often run too deep, and nothing
any coach or university administrator says or does
can end them.
"Just because we don't see it anymore doesn't
mean it's not going on,"
According to Bryshun, initia
tion into male teams often
been done to them.
"One of the joys you look forward to is being able
to initiate rookies the next year," says Bryshun, who
had to eat a live goldfish for his high school football
team's initiation in Saskatoon.
Bryshun adds: "When the vets are older and physically larger, and you want them to like you, you don't
think about it—you just do it."
When both the veterans and rookies are willing
participants, hazing becomes even more difficult to
Bryshun says although the public views hazing as
"punishment" for ath-
includes nudity and physical
violence, much like the "Gong
Show." In one men's hockey
his penis. The bucket is then
hung over a suspended hockey
stick while veterans slowly
throw pucks into the bucket,
facilitating the rookie's masturbation.
said Bryshun in an
interview this week. "It's
too drastic of a step for
administrators and
coaches to think people
will stop hazing."
Bryshun and colleague Kevin Young
have documented a
range of hazing activi-     -j.i I ■     .*.■ i.Ixa
ties, some are designed ritual, a rookie ties a bucket to
for public humiliation
(women's teams forcing
rookies to wear unfashionable clothes and bad
makeup in public).
Others are just downright gross (rookies
forced to insert food
items into various parts
of the anatomy while
performing activities).
In their chapter, they
describe the "Rookie Olympics" held by one men's
soccer team where rookies had to place Twinkies
under their armpits while running relay races. Losers
had to collect all the Twinkies and take a bite out of
The women's soccer team featured the "Pickle
Race," where rookies raced against one another down
a hallway with pickles inserted into their clothed buttocks. The overall loser of the race had to eat their own
although the chapter describes less humiliating
forms of initiations (one team, for example, only
required their rookies to guzzle lots of beer), there are
also more severe cases cited. In 1994, four male hockey players in Ontario reported that they were forced
to masturbate publicly. As a result, 13 people were
charged with over 100 sexual offences.
This school year, the Ubyssey has documented the
initiation rituals of two varsity teams. Last fall, rookies
from the men's volleyball team were photographed
naked outside the Student Union Building. Earlier
this month, veterans on the men's swim team admitted telling the rookies that they had ejaculated in their
spaghetti dinner. The veterans insisted that it was just
a verbal joke, however.
In both cases, coaches assured that they had taken
measures to end these activities.
But Bryshun says there is little that can be done to
stop initiations. "A coach or administrator may say
hazing has stopped when, in fact, all of it has is gone
After punishments have been dealt, and coaches
and administrators have implemented a no-hazing
policy, athletes will likely take on "codes of silence,"
Bryshun says. Hazing will be moved from a public
venue to a private one. Instead of a prominent spot
on campus, the rituals will more likely take place in a
teammate's basement.
It is a vicious cycle that is difficult to stop, continues Bryshun. This year's rookies will not be pleased if
they are told next year not to do to others what has
letes, initiations are
"just another day, an
accepted part of life."
Hazing, he explains, is
about issues of power
and hierarchy within
a sports team. Rookie
initiations allow veteran players to assert
their power and position in a social setting,
and for the rookies, it
is the opportunity to
become an accepted
member and to be
ascribed an identity.
For the rookies
who decline to participate, the consequences are sometimes grim.
"Accepted members will ostracise
them right off the team," says Bryshun. In 1996, three
players were cut from the University of Guelph varsity hockey team for refusing to join in an initiation
party which was alleged to have involved drinking
through funnels, and games that required nude players to eat marshmallows contaminated with human
Since no previous data was available when
Bryshun began preparing his 1997 master's thesis on
sports-related hazing, he spent a year gathering information and conducting in-depth interviews with 30
varsity athletes from across Canada, including three
UBC male athletes.
Due to a confidentiality agreement, Bryshun cannot disclose the identities of the Thunderbird athletes
or which sports they played.
He says that there is currently a national, informal
hazing study being conducted in the United States,
which will involve over 1,600 coaches and athletes.
Bryshun agrees with the allegation that some
coaches turn a blind eye to hazing. "A lot of coaches
are ex-athletes and probably know more than they
care to."
According to Bryshun, initiation into male teams
often includes nudity and physical violence, much
like the "Gong Show." In one men's hockey ritual, a
rookie ties a bucket to his penis. The bucket is then
hung over a suspended hockey stick while veterans
slowly throw pucks into the bucket, facilitating the
rookie's masturbation.
In contrast, female teams frequently involve public humiliation. Binge drinking, defined as five drinks
or more, is a hazing practice common to teams of
both genders.
Bryshun says that sometimes it takes a hazing incident gone wrong, such as alcohol poisoning, hospitalisation, or even death to finally force coaches and
administrators to address the issues. And when they
do attempt to stop hazing, will the intervention work?
Bryshun responds with his own question. "What
do you think?"* You missed a spot
where there's a smoking gun, there's a smouldering soundtrack. includes tracks by Ocean Colour
Scene, James Brown, The Stone Roses, Junior IWurvin, The Stooges, and much more, in stores now.
We, at the Ubyssey, the official
student newspaper of UBC, feel that we should be doing our most to recognize
and encourage activities and events that develop and strengthen a sense of
community on campus. We have established an endowment that will fund the
Ubyssey Community Contribution Award. This annual award recognizes a
returning UBC Student who has made a significant contribution to developing
and strengthening the sense of community on the UBC campus by:
1. Organizing or administrating an event or project, or
2. Promoting activism and awareness in an academic, cultural, political,
recreational, or social sphere.
The award is open to all returning UBC students, graduate, undergraduate and
unclassified and consists of a $3,000 award to be paid in September.   Any
member of the campus may nominate a student.
Please submit nominations by April 30th, 1999 to:
The Ubyssey Community
Contribution Award Committee
c/o The Ubyssey Publications Society
Room 245 Student Union Building
6183 SUB Blvd.
Vancouver, BC.
V6T 1Z1
Nominees for the award will be judged on:
/. The impact of the contribution made — ihe number of people involved or
2. The extent of ihe contribution — the degree to which it strengthens the
sense of community on campus.
3. The innovation of the contribution —preference will be given to recognizing a new contribution over the administration of an existing one.
4. The commitment of the individual to UBC as a community.
Nominations should include a cover letter by the nominator, either an
individual or a group, briefly stating the nature of the contribution made,
the individual being nominated, contact information of the nominator and the
nominee, and an approximately 500 word letter describing the contribution made
and how the above four criteria have been met. Students are welcome to
nominate themselves, but those doing so must attach a letter of support from
another member of the campus community. The award will be judged by a committee chaired by a representative of UBC Awards and Financial Aid and members from various parts of the campus community.
For more information,
contact Fernie Pereira,
Business Manager at 822-6681
or lpereira@interchange.ubc.ca
Established in honour of our 80m
er Ubyssey service to students. V»Rfl»AY. MARCH ?fi. 1999
Be a  part of our
million member
family and  keep
the 1ight on  human
rights.   Join  the
world's  largest
human  rights
organization today.
and itic sublilnc ineeh
vou decide which is which        I
r-- -\r;
X <*v
the ubyssey
Amnesty International
Call    1-800-AMNESTY
is not
a cure.
IW Dtalwl« Unwed hswktsM
For more information about how you can help find a cure call 931 -1937
Stocks and lobby
In a move taken from Dalhousie
University's student union, the Alma
Mater Society will purchase $30,000
in common shares from the three
major banks involved in the students loan business.
In order to "strengthen its voice
and influence when lobbying the
banks on student interests," as read
in the motion passed by council last
Wednesday, the AMS will buy
$10,000 worth of shares from the
Royal, CIBC, and Scotia banks.
Although this number of shares is
insignificant to any major bank, it
will allow the student councillors to
submit discussion papers at shareholders' meetings and to possibly
run a candidate for a position on a
bank's board of directors.
Mobilising other schools to
attempt a similar lobby strategy was
suggested during discussion of the
Although the motion passed by a
large majority, Erin Kaiser, a former
councillor, voiced concern about the
lobby strategy. She warned that the
banks could justify future changes to
student loans programs—either
good or bad—by saying that they
consulted with students first.
Health—do you care?
The need for a campus health care
plan will be up for debate this week
when the AMS makes its pitch to students for health care coverage.
"In a lot of the other larger universities they have health plans,"
said Ryan Marshall, AMS president,
who will spend next week determining what students need and want
from a health care plan.
At a yearly cost of between $120-
$140, a 12-month plan would likely
cover dental and vision care, as well
as prescription drugs.
Only students able to prove they
have existing coverage would be eligible to opt out of the fee. A special
fund would likely cover the cost for
students unable to pay.
Two insurance brokerages are
currently being considered, but
Marshall says the AMS is still determining which would be the better
A campus-wide referendum will
be required before any plan comes
into effect.
CiTR gets cash infusion
The $70,000 needed to replace the
CiTR sound board is on loan to the
campus radio station from the AMS,
with no repayment plan scheduled.
After last month's failed referendum to increase student funding of
CiTR, the station was left cash-
strapped and in dire need of new
equipment in order to continue
According to AMS general manager Bernie Peets CiTR, financially, is
just an extension of the AMS.
"We're basically loaning money
to ourselves," he said.
However, a long-term repayment
plan is being negotiated and would
be implemented only in the event
the station should ever become
independent of the student
society* i THE UBYSSE^itr
God save the anthem
by Jerome Yau
Every spring and autumn, UBC holds its annual congregation ceremonies. The public attention might focus on those who received the
honorary degrees from the university but the
undergraduates would no doubt find this as
the most important event in their academic
lives for obvious reasons.
While UBC is relatively a
young institution, this does not
mean tradition is absent or irrelevant. Among the various traditions, the most obvious one is      ———
the presence of the University
Mace in ceremonial occasions
like the annual congregation
ceremonies. The Mace symbolises the authority of the Chancellor and it is carried in front of
the Faculty procession.
Likewise, the spirit of Thunderbird is part of
the UBC tradition that stretches more than 60
years. The name "Thunderbird" was a product
of a contest initiated by this newspaper in
1933. Yet, it was not until 1948 that official
sanction was given by the native people for
UBC to use the name for its varsity sports
teams and campus facilities.
Though we do not have a statue of our mascot on campus, we do have a totem pole presented to the university by two native carvers
during a dedication ceremony in 1948. Today
the totem pole stands on the north side of the
SUB and the spirit of this mythical bird, our
mascot, is alive as Fred Hume wrote that "it
was felt [the Thunderbird name] symbolised
the power and fighting spirit exhibited by the
Blue and Gold teams."
Sadly, tradition seems forgotten at UBC as
recent congregation ceremonies have shown.
As a Canadian subject of Her Majesty the
Queen, I was shocked to learn that "God Save
the Queen", our Royal Anthem, was not played
in the past three congregation ceremonies.
What disturbs me is that apparently there was
no discussion among the students about the
abolition and no one seems to care.
This is in sharp contrast with two universities in Ontario. Similar situations have happened at the University of Western Ontario
and the Queen's University. In the case of
Yet, for most people, tradition provides a bond
between the past and present generations. As an
editorial of the Journal,
the student newspaper of
the Queen's University has
argued, "singing the traditional hymn [the Royal
Anthem] adds character to
the [congregation] ceremony and establishes a
connection between the
graduating class and the
thousands who have gone
before them."
UWO, the decision not to play the Royal
Anthem was reversed by the students and at
the Queen's University, its AMS is leading a
campaign for the retention of the anthem.
Apparently, the AMS is either unaware or
has no interest in this matter. This is unfortunate. Perhaps some people think tradition is a
trivial matter. Yet, for most people, tradition
provides a bond between the past and present
generations. As an editorial of the Journal, the
student newspaper of the Queen's University
has argued, "singing the traditional hymn [the
Royal Anthem] adds character
to the [congregation] ceremony and establishes a connection between the graduating
class and the thousands who
—————    have   gone   before   them."
Moreover, the signing of the
Royal Anthem has a long history in our congregation ceremonies and there is no reason to abolish this
To those who feel offended by singning
"God Save the Queen", they should realise it is
the Royal Anthem of Canada and it is still sung
during important occasions. Congregation is
certainly an important occasion and it is
appropriate and perfectly right to sign it in the
Does tradition really matter at UBC? Is the
AMS prepared to take the lead in informing the
students of the traditions of this university?
What will the AMS do? As a fourth year student
who is going to graduate this year, I certainly
hope the upcoming congregation would
include the singing of the Royal Anthem at the
end of each ceremony. As a soon-to-be alumnus, I do hope all future ceremonies would be
traditional ones which include not only O
Canada but also the Royal Anthem. Even as we
are about to enter the next century, tradition is
not a trivial matter and it does matter in our
—Jerome Yau is a fourth year history and
political science major.
The U.B.C, Cricket Club is
welcoming new players
for the 1999 season.
For more info call Paul
The University of
Victorias East Kootenay
Elementary Teacher
Education Program,
located at The College Of
The Rockies in Cranbrook
BC, is now accepting
applications for the Pall
1999 program entrance.
See our website:
Phone: (250) 489-2751
——College of the
Travel CUTS' exclusive Student Class™
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Rebate. Rebate. Rebate.
Right now, you can take advantage of a $50.00 airtime credit
when you buy our dual mode PCS Sony phone. Combine
this saving with any of our affordable plans including our
unlimited local evening and weekend option and you're all
set to go wireless. This offer is valid from Feb 1 to March 31:
Pick one up at the Alma Mater Society General Store or reach
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™ Trade-marks used under licence from Ciearnet Communications Inc. MARCH 26.1999
Federico Barahona
Sarah Galashan and Douglas Quan
John Zaozirny
Bruce Arthur
Dale Lum
Richard Lam
Todd Silver
CUP Cynthia Lee WEB Ronald Nurwisah
The Ubyssey is the official student newspaper
of the University of British Columbia. It is published every Tuesday and Friday by The
Ubyssey Publications Society.
We are an autonomous, democratically run
student organisation, and all students are
encouraged to participate.
Editorials are chosen and written by the
Ubyisey staff. They are the expressed opinion
of the staff, and do not necessarily reflect the
view of The Ubyssey Publications Society or
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Fernie Pereira
Stephanie Keane
Shalene Takara
When Sah Galashan. Doug Quan and Stanley Tromp
first can, to Miami Beach twelve years ago they were
having «e of their off-and-on cold winters: thirty-four
degrees |e day they met Richard Lam, Peter Kao, and
Federicflarahonafor lunch at Vesuvio's on South Collins
and all leir leather jackets ripped off. Ones that Bruce
Arthur, file Lum and Todd Silver had given them for
Cnristm;j a year ago. before they moved down here.
Ronald ijinvisah and Duncan McHugh were both from
y~ * S Brooklyn, old buddies now in business togeth-
eu '°raGraham was connected to a Brooklyn crew
through Itr uncle, a guy named Keith Turkowski, Cynthia
Lee keejjg his books and picking up betting sips till
Jentla Mtvman sent Jo-Ann Chiu to Miami, with a hundred thicjsand to put on the street as loan money.
JeanninerUtchell was connected through some people
on his nndier's side, Michelle Mossop and Naomi Kim.
Vince Yiittvorked usually for Mossop & Kim Moving and
Storage iiBensonhurst, finding high-volume customers
for items jch as cigarettes, TVs, VCRs, stepladders, dresses, frozeriirange juice... But John Zaozirny could never
be a nia<| guy himself because of tainted blood, some
Sunset Psk Puerto Rican on his father's side, even though
he was rafed Italian.
Canada Pcfe-Fublkations Sate Agreement Number 0732141
Stand up for UBC's interests, guys
"There's a competitive war going on out there,"
says SFU official Gregg MacDonald. He is
speaking about the recruitment and retention
of faculty—in his mind, the biggest single issue
now facing the higher education sector.
Hundreds of faculty are due to retire in the next
few years, and talented replacements are being
avidly courted.
In this context, it strikes us as bizarre to discover that a quartet of current and former UBC
officials are being paid by UBC while at the
same time labouring to create Canada's first private, non-religious university in Squamish.
What is going on here?
Among those working to create the
Squamish U is former UBC president David
Strangway (1985-97), current vice-president of
external affairs Peter Ufford, department of
UBC Athletics employee Mark Ufford, and Rick
Hansen Institute consultant Steve Crombie.
Strangway says the university is non-profit,
will be funded only by developments upon land
donated by businesses, and that he and the
other three are receiving no compensation for
working to set it up.
No compensation? Well, maybe not from
Squamish U. UBC, however, paid Strangway
$176,415 and Ufford $235,188 this year. Both are
being paid for "administrative leave," a standard benefit which grants one year's full salary
for each six years of UBC work. The difference is
that Strangway left UBC in July 1997, but Ufford
is due to return on April 1.
Last year Strangway said his project is not a
UBC competitor because he has the world to
draw from when hiring faculty, and that he
won't be "selectively targeting" UBC faculty for
recruitment Crombie added that faculty will
consist mainly of visiting lecturers and that faculty are free to move where ever they want
But Strangway does admit any UBC faculty
interested in making the switch won't be over
UBC Board of Governors chair Harold Kalke
says he has no problem with a Squamish U. "Let
it happen. I admire them for trying, don't you?"
Perhaps, but only if they create competitors
to UBC on their own dime, not on ours.
What would people say if UBC researchers
were being funded to further the prestige of the
University of Toronto by developing leading
edge technologies for that institution? There's
no doubt that would create an uproar within
the UBC community.
How is it that these four can claim to uphold
the interests of UBC when they've been and
continue to work on establishing a university
that has the potential to compete with UBC for
faculty and students?
Next week the AMS will be sending a request
to the BC Ombudsman requesting a conflict of
interest investigation. Hopefully, we can get
some answers.*
It's vour last chance
to write the ubysey a letter
feed back® u by ssey. be. ca Note to 'Cry Freedom'
conference no-shows
by Junie Desil
An open letter to faculty, staff and students:
So the 2nd annual "Cry Freedom: Allying
Ourselves" conference took place Thursady, March
18 in the beautiful First Nations House of Learning
Longhouse. Wasn't it amazing how Elder Vince
Stogan opened the conference? And how about that
wonderful interpretation of "Oh, Canada," originally
by Peggy Lee, sung by Zoe Bridgeman? It was great,
and remember when the...? Oh, you weren't there...
The conference was divided into 2 components.
It was organised by Colour Connected and was
somewhat of a collaborative effort between Colour
Connected and UBC Equity. The first component
was called Arts and Activism. The panel looked at
how people of colour and First Nations incorporate
and/or use art as a medium through which they do
activism. The second component was called
Addressing Racism in the Post-secondary Institution
(yes, racism does exist in schools and universities).
There was one downside to this otherwise well
co-ordinated conference: the lack of attendance
from the UBC community. Ah, ah, ahhhh—no
excuse. Advertising was done, announcements were
made in some (not all, granted) classes, e-mails were
sent to department heads and quite a few professors. Copies of the posters were put into mailboxes,
faxed out. Handbills were sent, passed out to students, put in the computer labs...you get my drift, so
no excuses...It's pretty sad that you weren't there,
particularly various faculties (i.e., history, poli sci, to
name a few) that I believe are culturally insensitive
and downright racist.
So for you "no-shows," apathetics—practicing for
"Storm the Wall" here are a few noteworthy highlights:
—the opening by Elder Vince Stogan
—the significance of March 21 explained
—amazing panelists like actress Lorena Gale,
Ph.D studen Choge Kirkland. First Nations contemporary storyteler Neil Eustache. Aiyana Maracle, a
First Nations curator, sculptor and playwright,
Anamarie Quiroz, a popular educator, as well as a
wonderful key note address by First Nations,
—local, amazing artist, Paul Wong's provocative
multimedia presentation
—then there were the funny moments, you know
like the guy who "just wanted to be heard" and
wanted attention.. .good laughs, good laughs. Or the
head of the UBC Equity office talking about the
Sharpeville incident and other incidents of racism
everywhere but Canadal That was hilarious.
And let us not forget the amazing food served
throughout the day. Those of you there know what
I'm talking about. If anything, you shouldhave come
for the food. So much leftovers...So sorry...too bad
you weren't there...maybe next year.»>
—Junie D4sil is a member of Colour Connected.
Hey  kids!   Does   your mom  say  you re   funny?
Maybe   you've   got   the   stuff   for  the   Ubyssey
Spoof   Issue!
March  26th
Rm  241k
be there or see you in hell,
efam t mtwe tne- c&me- cwek tkebe
£eed6*ic& @wbu&b&u. Se. m
Mini Store-All Inc.
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the f summer - or longer!
10%  discount with
valid  student card
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Answer this trivia question:
Actress Claire Danes starred opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in what movie?
and win a CD carrying case! Come to Room 245 SUB with your answer.
No purchase necessary. While supplies last. 	
What would I do
if I had
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to improve our living standards?
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Internships   ^   National Exposure
Essay deadline is June 15, 1999.
Details: www.asprimeminister.com
or 1-SOO-97-MAGNA
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CANADA  a ubyssey supplement
would like to thank our
Daphne Bramham (associate editor at the Vancouver Sun)
Clint Burnham (author of Be labour Reading)
Carellin Brooks (editor of Bad Jobs:
My Last Shift at Albert Wong's Pagoda
and Other Ugly Tales of the Work Place)
Brett J. Grubisic (editor of Contra/Diction:
New Queer Male Fiction)
Karen X. Tulchinsky (author of In Her Nature,
and Love Ruins Everything)
all of those who entered,
and our sponsors,
«b kat1T\X/alker
IP   U   L   P
And the  debate  rages
0X1 wherever our heads turn. From our classrooms, to our coffee shops, to the pages of the magazines we read, we can't seem
to figure out what CanLit is anymore. We know what it used t<
be—writing attached to the land: Carol Shields, Margaret
Atwood, and the like—but we'd like to see it expand. That is, if
CanLit is a map guiding us to the writing—and voices—of thi:
country, we'd like to see that map retraced, its expanding bound
aries reflecting the diversity of its people.
Writing is dead—we hear this all the time. Let's not even talk
about literary writing—who's reading it, right?
Some people are, sure, but more people should. With an evei
increasing American influence over all aspects of Canadian life,
the need for Canadian voices reflecting Canadian experiences i:
more urgent now than ever. Lately, even keeping Canadian mag
azines afloat, safe from the devastation of American split-run edi
tions, has become a struggle.
This supplement is an attempt at retracing that map
Canadian literary journals are not being read. When was the lasf ^ »
time you, or your friends, picked up a copy of the' Malahar ^W
Review, Event, or UBC's own Prism international? We fear it's
been a while, assuming you even knew these journals existed.
And yet, they are the main forum young Canadian writers use to
tell their stories. Dare we say these journals are a tad dry?
Not that we don't appreciate the work they do. Quite the
opposite. We recognise they fill a precious void, and we love \
them for that. It's better to have a forum than no forum at all.
And certainly there are journals out there trying to reach a wider
readership—SUB-Terrainr Blood & Aphorisms, and Praxis are alia
good examples of this. T5"| "J "f* V
pushing Tne
To retrace the boundaries olcanLit, we felt
it necessary to push the boundaries of what
a literary journal should look like. What you
have in your hands is what we came up
with. •
The writing goes for your heart, while
the design goes for yqur throat. By producing this supplement, and producing it like
this, we wanted to stress that, yes,
Canadian writing is cool. It matters. It kicks
ass. It's all that an^j more.
We called out to UBC students to submit, and they"3id. One hundred and thirty
six entries later—with some young, leading
edge "Canadian writers and editors judging—this is what we came ujd with.
Enjoy. And, yes, don't forget to rant! It's •
a worthwhile endeavour*
e  here#
ris Fraser
n *p fiction
, Alice
bv NaricV/Lee
. j enns uv.nii
postc rd poetry
jenna newman
the- most girl part of you
__ nancy lee
katie longworth
coordinator: federico bar+hona
v    design: todd silver
d~le lum    ^
submissions: dun&an mchugh
typesetters: flOra grahm
federico bar+hona
todd silver sh*rt non-fictio-
n runner up     #
ear enm
ilejice of..
by Shannon Salter
ftftmft MWeSMfc
U Conversations with classmates, friends, and colleagues are stilted with
painful stumbling, roundabout commentary, and disclaimers to cloak
an apparent ignorance of the acceptable diction. Only the brave few
are willing to wade through the linguistic quagmire that comes with
the attempt to express any non-offensive statement. More frequently,
people seem to simply avoid talking about issues for which they don't
know the "right" vocabulary, in the same way that students of a new
language refrain from speaking about topics that require the use of
unknown words Some days I wish there was a "Politically Correct
Dictionary" available to let people know what constitutes the proper
lexicon. With the number of formerly articulate people wandering
around mute in the nineties I'm sure it would be an instant bestseller.
Universities used to be places of open-minded discussion, where
, new and sometimes controversial ideas could flourish or die, depending on their merit. The only controversial discussion to be heard on
Icampus these days is whether people who are physically handicapped
[are "disabled" or simply "differently abled", and whether it is degrading to women to be referred to as "ladies". As a student, I feel shortchanged by the new fear that surrounds ideas and language. Of
course intolerance of difference is unacceptable, but as a society we
have devolved from showing sensitivity to others to removing the very
tools for expressing ideas.
Our generation will be faced with some serious conflicts in the next
millennium as different cultures and values are churned together by
globalization. Unless we are allowed to communicate freely, without
the fear of being publicly shunned for our choice of language, the
solutions to these problems will be lost in the vast abyss of what is not
said. Twenty years from now I don't want to be telling my children that
my professors were so preoccupied with the possibility of being
accused of discrimination that they offered disclaimers instead of an
education about the realities of the world. I also don't want to explain
that I chose not to discuss the serious social problem of inequality in
our society with my peers simply because I was too scared to utter the
words "gay" or "poor" in polite company.
While I understand that the proponents of monitored language
mean only to end the prejudice against minorities that is still common
in our society, they have really only managed to shut down dialogue
on a number of key issues, especially homophobia, racism, and sexism. Where would the civil rights movement of the sixties have
been if people decided not to talk about racism because they didn't know whether the word "black" was socially acceptable? Any
educator will tell you that the key to learning is communication. By making particular words, phrases, and ideas taboo, you force
intolerance to fester unchecked inside peoples' heads. You also deprive people of the opportunity to educate themselves through
the exchange of information and new ideas.
As students, I worry that we are being trained to be adept politicians rather than critical thinkers; we are learning to mouth the
talking points and keywords instead of understanding the underlying issues. Ironically, those who master the art of political correctness are not always the ones who use it to further the agenda of minority rights. Corporate executives excel at mimicking the
"right" language in order to disguise the fact that they are still tolerating discrimination through unequal pay and harassment.
More importantly, as a generation that has seen difference of opinion slowly silenced by political correctness, we have not
learned to be the ardent protectors of freedom of speech that our parents were. They had the government, the church, or their
parents to blame for stifling their opinions. My generation has no one to blame but itself. Left with an intangible social trend, we
are becoming accustomed to the list of things we can't talk about and we have established a dangerous precedent for the further
erosion of freedom of speech.
Limiting the language of people discussing controversial subjects may make
the outward manifestation of their opinions more palatable, but it creates many
more serious problems. Paradoxically,
political correctness not only forces prejudice to boil within intolerant souls with
no constructive form of release, it also
prevents the tolerant from sharing their
wisdom with those who need it most.*
■-•••■ ilpwlllt
nineties word. It's not just a doctor word anymore, it's a
street word, it's a household word. Cancer. Before,
they said "The Illness", they said "C", they said notj|||
ing at all. They thought that by saying it they would
be inviting it, making it welcome in their
*~     *     bodies as well as their vocabular-
- ,   '->ies. Cancer %
In word association tests
they use cancer. They hook
sociopaths   up   to   elegant
machines, pulse and palm mas-'
ture monitored, reactions tappet!
out by inky needles. Table, tnlP*
voice says. Blood. The voice says
stairs, park, warm, doll, school,
cancer, cancer, cancer.
should be doing to avoid can-
^P '' ' cer.
%< Don't  smoke.   Stay away
from people who smoke. Don't >
drink. Don't get X-rays. Don't    ■
hormone  replacements.  Stay away
from ultraviolet   light. Stay away from sunlight
Take vitamins C, E and beta carotene. Eat well. Eat
spinach. Eat grains. Eat fish. Maintain regular bowel
movements. Don't get traumatised, irritated, drunk,
W fat. Don't have a family history Don't dye vout hair.
Don't be male. Don't have breasts. Don't tan Don't golf
Don't play loud rock music. Don't aqe.
our street, big news, big news. Ally has cancer, has a poodle, has a filling. Ally has a yo-yo, she got it in a loot bag
Ally was eight when they found it in her bones, so they
put her on a steely white bed and they probed her with  -
lasers and they filled her with pills. Can Ally come to the
party, mom? Can she bring her cancer? Will shejielp me
curl my hair?
Ally has cancer, has lasers and pillows, has flowers, freshly
planted on her little patch of earth.
into a hard plastic mould. All the canvassers. .ve^^fe|l
pinned to their lapel.
"Yes, good morning. Do you have ^jnoment?" %
Daffodils weren't always plastic, though, and weren't  "
always yellow, before goddess Persephone picked t!^n1/.!V-J
a meadow one day, white as her skin and tWiOJ <ss tender: -
She wreathed her hair in them and fell asleep to the sound
of butterfly wings.
"I'm from the Canadian Cancer Society, we're a nonprofit organisation, geared to raising money and'aware-
Along came a man, of course, the God Pluto, all muscle and blue eyes, and lost himself in her beauty,
"run by donations, tax deductible of course..."
Carrying her away in his chariot, she woke and wept,
and as she did some of her blooms fell from her hair into
the river Archeron, the dark waters of lost and lonely
"Fundraising, help, please"
And they turned yellow on the spot, for all their lonely beauty.
"Maybe some other time."
gone haywire, 'It's forgotten how to die," he says, forgotten how to slow down, how to mature. The only ttme
cells reproduce this fast is in a fetus, spindles splitting ;>|
\ faster and faster, faster than life.
We all have a few cancer cells inside us <at anjf
|time, "floating around" (like driftwood, like axle
| ties), but our immune system takes care of thej|
I they can bury into our bones, squeeze bi ..\efcf.
j cells. "Like magic, really" Like tall black top h3^ip<<e;
sudden white rabbits. Like sacred beans.
IThey are pink in the centre with bright purple shining
|around. They are the colour of certain careful sunrises.
Cancer is a word. It is a warning. It is a little girl. It is
la white daffodil. It is a mistake. It is a message in a bot-
l tie. It is a shiny black top hat. It is a morning flower.
\ the beanstalk was taller than him, taller than the
I house and the town and anything that he could imag-
|ine. And at the top there was a giant, hungry for
human life.*
sh*rt non-fiction winner
Chris Fraser is a first year
Arts student in psychology
and sociology. She has won
Carleton University's High
School Writing Competition
in 1996 and iggy for poetry
and short fiction and the
Credit Association of
Ottawa—Carleton's essay
writing contest in 1997.
By Chris Fraser
ItrSUPPLE non-fiction winner
I'm losing a chess game to my daughter, Ella. She's seven and a half. My
Json, Austin, says, "Bad move, Mom." He's five and a half. The two get
Into a verbal spat about feelings; how it's not nice to be mean to some-
lone when they're trying. "I wasn't being mean," Austin says. I know he
|wasn't, but say nothing. Ella thinks he was and says so.
| Outside in the wind and rain the string of Christmas lights sway on
|the old Magnolia tree, while inside I watch who my children are becom-
The chessboard sits idle. I study my moves. There is still time to regain
|my composure; to strike hard and fast with the few pieces of lamented
fwood I have left. I see a move. I can take her rook with my queen. Austin
|says the queen's the busiest, that she can go anywhere - she's the most
^powerful. Does that mean she holds the greatest burden? I decide against
ftaking my daughters rook. I'm checked. Blast. Laughter erupts from the
Iboy's end. Hooray, the small man screams. "Ha-ha, you've got her"
|"Don't call her her, she's Mom." Ella says, then pads over to my side of
Ithe table; an arm wrapped in borrowed blue chiffon hugs me. "Are you
OK?" she asks. Of course.
During this tender moment my husband, Murray, clears the table.
It's Wednesday, his night to gallop in the kitchen. Every Wednesday we
have the same: broccoli, rice and barbecue steak for them, chicken for
me. Rice doesn't go with steak. Murray says I can't say anything because
I'm not eating it. I nod. The kids love it - that's what's important. And that
rftheir dad is making it. His rhythm in the kitchen is all unto himself. It is a
|terse mission. Brevity accentuated. Chop. Chop. Boil. Barbecue. Done.
The nightly race is about to begin. Our mini Indy takes the racers
jaround the couch through the living room past the clock and dog, up the
'stairs and into the bathroom—to the toothbrush. It's not always that
direct. Pieces of clothing are lost enroute, the dog is not always cooperative, someone has to place second. On your mark, get set.
I m   staying  h«
not   doing   it.
Wait*    Wait.      Ella   say9*
ere with Mom. I m
Faces frown. Mine, hers, her dad's.
|Austin beams—his chances are better now. Off the boys go in a racket.
Ella and I hug in the kitchen. She tightens her grip with each exuberant
(cry from the racers. "Why didn't you go and race?" I ask. "You'd probably have won, sweetie." "I know," she says, now beaming up at me so
brightly it burns. She kisses my stomach and skips over to the stereo.
A cacophony of yelps and squeals signals the end of the race. "Austin
did you win, did you beat Dad?" She bounces on the spot like some fran-
|tic cheerleader in training. "I won!" booms a voice bigger than its years.
Between scrubbing pots I glance over to find Ella juggling tangerines
|and singing to the Spice Girls. Limbs sway like willows. She sings, "If
lyou're gunna be my lover, then you gunna have to be my friend."
JLovers? Can they be friends? Will they be a friend to her? A tangerine
Ifalls. Then another. Oops—she giggles and misses the next line; still she
(mouths something sensually older than herself. So far from love, and yet
|she won't ever be more totally immersed in it than she is right now. It's
real and uncluttered and worth giving up races for.
Her arm shakes to the right, shakes to the left. The way she moves is
right in time.
When I was little I didn't dance. I was too shy. They called me little
Carrie. I played the Virgin Mary at the Christmas concert at the conventl
Where I went to school. Yes, Reverend Mother. Genuflect. Genuflect. No, *
Reverend Mother. Genuflect. Genuflect. They said I was a good girl. Quiet,
Imeaning good, I guess. I don't remember. Mostly I remember feeling,
lalone. A mother and father, four sisters, and numerous pets, and I felt
alone. $■
Under some frail bushes lay deep, relentless roots. '
The kettle is singing. Ella is singing. f
Before bed, we enjoy a tiny cup of mint tea with a drooling dollop of
honey. Ella says, "It makes me sweeter." Impossible I say.
Side by side, Ella's dollies wink at us from their perch on the win-
dowsill. Backs faded from the sun, they resemble a UN meeting; a liberal
UN meeting — some are naked, missing their batik saris completely. Each
gets a pat, some a kiss, the occasional snub, and then one gets chosen to
move into her bed. It is a hard decision. She always gives it tremendous
thought. Who looks sadder? Who is missing an eye? Who hasn't she
hugged lately? These are the questions she asks. Tonight she chooses two
weathered Beanie Babies.
Austin takes less time. He has his favourite toy—there is no thought
involved really, no time given to the others on the dresser. I think his animals have come to accept their status; they've come to expect little sympathy, little emotion, from him. His new Bedlam car, the mean machine
that travels in three directions not including over your feet, is plugged into
the wall. Floppy bear is tucked under his arm. Life is simple.
I think it's important that the kids say prayers—so they do. At times my
-i. husband shakes his head, with a look as though he wonders if he married a sane person. Austin»
says please God make me ski fast, thanks for the toys, amen. Ella says more—her concerns are]
deeper. She hopes people won't fall off slippery rocks, that all kittens have milk—even the poorl
ones; that Becky will be kinder tomorrow at school (even though her parents are divorcing andl
she's hurting) and please God help Mom with her writing. This leads us to the question of J
whether God is a girl or boy. My God, I say, is a spirit and I don't really care what it looks like.
It could be an alien, a piece of toenail, a glittering Madonna. I can see she thinks that's all right.
But hers is now a man—it used to be a girl. Funny, it's not a boy; it's a man.
As a child in a family of five daughters life flowed delicately. Not delicate in the sense of a j
fine porcelain or antique lace, but delicate like an ecosystem—upset one member and the I
whole chain felt the effect. It was an ecosystem of emotion, where things weren't what theyl
appeared. Everything hovered viciously close but not at the surface. You tiptoed past the sneers I
and monthly aches. Pins and needles flew invisibly. Prick. Prick. Prick. Careful not to tread too|
long or hard lest an electric saw ripped you in half.
I had wanted to see life from a different
view* Where there were fewer kids—a mixture
of male and female* Maybe then I would be
less prone to emotional outbreaks, a littlei
less concerned with other s feelings• a lit-i
tie more capable of personal choice, so i began tol
} hang out with the boys. I saw guys as a collective—a group of adventurers brought together!
, out of convenience. Games needed teams, teams needed players, and players needed each!
•J other. If a friendship occurred I thought it was by accident. How had these boys, these sons and]
brothers, learned to be so free from guilt, free from social responsibility? Surely, it was upbring-
* ing, and at the age of fourteen while playing pinball with my first boyfriend and his four friendsl
' I swore that I would bring my children, especially my daughter, up like that.
i      Then I grew up, married and had kids of my own. It isn't that easy.
I Austin often throws his legs and feet up onto the table. Ella says that's rude. We did that I
on the boy's weekend he snickers in a crackling roprano 'oice. I smile at him, like I know what
he's up to. Ella wants to know why we don't do that on our girl's weekend. Good point. We
will, I say. But then I falter, and suddenly I'm haunted by that overwhelming necessity to raise
my daughter correctly—to be a lady; to infuse her with all the heavy moral and Miss Manners
propaganda that I was fed, so she in turn can be wrought with responsibility and pass this on
to her children, especially her daughter—that unfortunate conduit of ridiculous feminine prior-1
I get a real charge out of my son. It's different than the quiver I get when I watch my daughter and her gentle ways. He is like a newly hatched gator, attacking everything, wrestling it to |
the ground, thinking of little but his next meal and will there be dessert?
What have I done to make him this carefree? Anything? Has he taken a simpler approach J
to these guidelines? Be kind, be grateful, be honest, use a kleenex instead of the furniture,!
don't backwash into a communal drink, change your underwear, brush your teeth, cover yourj
mouth when you cough, don't scratch your testicles in public. He is not like the queen busily j
spinning in circles - worried about everything. He marches towards his mission like the king,
one step at a time.
I try to be more like my son* Burp* Part*!
Caring only that my underwear is loose at
the waist* It s something quite foreign
to me—-a strictly raised daughter. Itf
feels good*
A father and child relationship appears different than that of a mother and her babe. Ells I
and Austin's dad offers an uncluttered vista of life. Nothing heavy. Nothing too deep. He offers I
a secure platform from which they can jump and return. He leads by example. Their group
motto is simple: Go. Go. Go. Laugh. Laugh. Laugh. Always try to win. And take a book to the]
bathroom. But our relationship—mine with my son and mine with my daughter, are less simple; both are some sort of multi-sided shape, with Ella's quickly becoming a Rubik's cube. •
Why can't I just let her be? A kid...a free spirit. More like her brother. I've pondered thisI
question a lot. I've even tried to put it into practice, downplaying the talks about how she has J
to be careful, ever watchful of the attacker; close your legs. Instead I dwell on all the possibilities open to her—the blue sky, her nightly sheets; dandelions—her soup. Enjoy, laugh, create
with gusto my beautiful Ella bear. But a free-flowing bold skip down some dark alley will not!
be in the cards for you. Go around. Forget it altogether. Drive. As a woman you will not be able*
to fully explore your wild side. Austin probably will.
In the end she sees herself as a mini version of me and watches what I do. Occasionally I
notice this and immediately flop on the couch, throw my feet onto the table, laugh and pretend not to be wondering about what I'm going to make for dinner, or have I answered the
numerous RSVP's, put ointment on the dog, paid the sitter, registered for lessons, called a sick
grandparent—worked on my thesis. I don't think I want Ella to be like me. I want her to be
someone lighter. Maybe I want a more frivolous life for her. Where she can go, go, go, laugh,
laugh, laugh, take a book to the bathroom and then go find a quiet room and continue reading that book. To hell with everything and everyone else.
But I've burdened her with too much, too often, too soon, already. She is my daughter.
She is becoming the queen.
_      ._    , ....      It
shouldn t define you*
. His beauty will only be a bonus.
There the two of you lay tangled like
exhausted pups. From the outside you look no
different, really. Both pale and perfect, slumbering in your homemade flannel pajamas.
You both love those pajamas—the ones your
Granny made for Christmas, but for different
reasons. Ella says they make her feel closer to
her Granny, to her cousins and to Poppy who's
now in heaven golfing. Austin likes that they're
One of you has a smile on your face. Did an
angel come and whisper in your ear, Ella? And
ydli, Austin?*
Cara Hooper is a graduate student at the
University of British Columbia
As I hover over the bed where they
listening    to    their    individual     	
rise ana fall—his loose, and deep* hers
soft and drifting—I can t help but jump
ahead twenty years* A woman and a man*
What will the world have in store for you?
Will you be equipped for it? How will you.
Ella9 deal with the beauty that has Been sn*p fiction runner u
by Nancy Borges
IThe early morning light sU8»|j^%ou£|h the blinds m the
carpet below her f^et. .SJJfe- SfctttSS It ft* image before her
and smiles at ^vhat^.^JSfr^rdarkl^ovvn hair stands in
spikes aH over herj>f«t H& StffNcW Ber hair "It's funky
Mom.* they say, |^.#£&s1i&¥SShe VVOUld give anything for
the curis thst^d^^^^^fejhea^She looks into the
chocolate htpil^m^^^^ie barely vssible creases that are
just beginni^^^^^t:4^>eff COmeti Her eyes travel
[Ciovml^l9l\g.*Snft^^^r>*ebui^p from the tune she
Moff fierl^^^fe.sr'ie'vvas ten;" io^ her pale pink lips
IsT^-'pat^'fl^^^^-secbrkJ before-moving down her
^uil^(^'.fir^^e^gtoa"^o| her left breast Its
royr^neS^Bclf^.her arid flakes her feel calm
ter e^K^^y,imove-^fpss her chest She
^rftaang tjit^fe^ht'stiB afr^ci$'her so ttaumatol-
thouqh it Jt^^m'lajIWigJ'Tr* o|d familiar tenor
; making ^BSMfiom the inside out, as the room
black. ' :-Mt['"^ ' "''«'
She<Jo«S^«m«f>>b*«hefts|time she heard the
Everyone remem-
firffkiss, or the first time
little things in life,
j^-ie, br?hCW'.J^ectricity makes the
%»t%$ read iboot it in a newspaper
^||| the newest break-
l|rhaps she believed
jnever happened to
§QOfJ paopte Sn^prt jbaf)d out rw^v. rong she was.
|||jpl .WJ^ rerific^b^tthatMsIc.Tfc.ember day. The
sriow had been fating for- the i^fc^ few days and the
streets were a mess, "^ 3he S?rt ffl a^doctor's office, the
strangest feeling came {&% her.t§te;f3as though she was
floating above herself in-|||d^rt^|idiSworld—a world in
which words such'^jTrtsligrartJ^y^ carcinoma were
meaningless. Asth^dcxt^dekfibeifeurses of treatment
and stotistK3ftrmli|^'t]^ her, she sim
ply sat and stared, a Sftlfe upon her face; Floatm-
of   her
window, forming patterns on the plush
: ...       _ ply s.u and $tare<3t a ^ftfelipw her ferJ.FIoatina |
She remembers the teleifljoasi,0&iMwith minute detail*
gpeen standing at the stove
r fry chicken when it rang.
|as all she heard. Who knew
tie word could change one's
No longer floating but
irmly to the ground,
he patterns on the carpet
d slightly; the light is a little
more intense. She stares into the mirror at the mangled redness—it sort of
looks like a red plastic plate that has
been held too long over an open flame.
"Your chances are better if we cut it off
completely," they said. She put her
faith in them, for really what other
choice did she have? As she looks into
the mirror, she remembers the endless
nights of worry, the coldness of the IV
as it filled her with drugs meant to kill,
and the feeling of complete and utter
helplessness. As she stares at the image
before her, she remembers the endless
pain, tears and frustration, and then, as
she opens the bedroom door to greet
her laughing daughter she remembers
to forget.*
Nancy Borges was bom and raised in
Kitimat, BC. She is currently a first year
Arts student at UBC, with intentions of
becoming a physiotherapist. This is Borges'
first published work.
tHtOBYSS Afte]
one hi
My large-headed son
Alice, sevent.es
vnosewiter broke while she was
act of divinity," she calls it, cooi
her proud mother and fa
t my b
er side. I don'1
cire that the baby has no
,bove a rtios
e understand
;h6r?" Iwhi
to share a room with Alice,
her slightly anaemic forehead,
pit at an outdoor concert.   "An
ed, well-tempered new born with
em at all.
per to the lactitian who tugs, in vain,
I ask my husba,
nurse, watc*
the halo o^
blonde hair;
nestle deep in
vatch Alice
ife deep in his
ealous. I
like fur. HiS«
Aren't they embarrassed?
NASDAQ closing.
Then come the friends.    A   _
dyed hair and thrift stor,
eS. I expect the parents to throw a fit.
hide behind my curtain, latched to a bres
ing bruises instead of milk, I hear hu
ack to the house for soup.
After everyone has left,
atch the halo of blonde hair nes:
'mother's breast. And I am
my son. His dark hair patchy, mon
ing to the bottled milk, red and
in a loud and imperfect declar.
"He likes to cry,"
"Yes. Yours is so
"It's probably 'cosj
happy to have some pe<
icrown of his head.
"What was tl
"Oh, it wa%
know, because of
up.   Then sudden
around were hel
on their hands
d as he tries
to calm our crying infant by reading the
am of
_> dress*
ut instead,)
and invitati
ncert. He's just
She kisses the
The concert."
was scared, you
didn't really want to go
nyself rising, people all
hd then I was just floating
I watch her drawi
stare at
in, react-
outh open
*> O «r "I canT imagine what that mustTee!
My son is still crying.
"Can't you?" She seems genuinely surprised. She gets out of her bed and puts her baby
in his bassinet. She climbs onto my bed. With her
arms extended, she takes my baby into her freckled white hands, and lifts and lowers and sways his
small body as if he were weightless. His mouth
closes. He stares silently at the world as it moves
around him. His limbs twitch and grab and flap,
dancing to a song I cannot hear. She stops with
him high in the air, giggles, then offers him back to
"That's what it feels like."
As I take him, my body tenses in anticipation of his cries, but nothing comes.
Warily, I look down at his face and find there, only softness. His large brown eyes are open
wide, his tiny hands quickly clenching and unclenching, as if to say, I'm ready now.
Nancy Lee is an MFA candidate in creative
writing at UBC. Most recently, her work has
appeared in Grain, and the Lazy Writer.
*rf# ep*c fiction winner
by Jenna Newman
"What's a five letter word for run, as in colours?" i ask Rita, she
takes another swallow of her rum and coke and laughs. Then she can't stop and chokes,
starts hiccupping. "What's a four letter word for pain?"
"Pain is a four letter word."
I write pain in the little boxes. I'm leaning against a worn out red couch,
the crossword propped on my knees. Rita's smiling up at the ceiling,
sprawled out on her back across the cushions. She's holding her rum and
coke in one hand and something clear in the other. Gin. I think.
"When did it happen?"
"What?" I've woken her out of her daydream.
"When. That you—that that guy—"
"Oh. This weekend." She turns back to the ceiling. "I told you, its no
big deal."
Rita's one of those girls people make fun
of Out of habit It got worse once we started junior high but
it was there before then too. I was late the first day of school and everyone had already chosen their locker partners, so I got stuck with Rita.
Not the end of the world. It's not like I'm exactly popular either, but they
just ignore me.
Rita has short hair and sometimes she dyes it. She always dresses differently. Like day to day her look changes and it's never what-
ever's cool. She's got a lot of necklaces that she wears all at the
same time, and a shoelace with a key strung through. I guess she's
not gorgeous, most people wouldn't think so, but she's not funny
looking either, and she only started acting weird this year so I
know that's not why they all tease her. I like her style and once
you get to know her she's not bad. No one else at school talks to
her much except me, but she's got other friends. High school
kids, and some even older than that.
I think it was October when I first went with her to her mom's
house for lunch. Rita was putting on her sweatshirt before leaving
as usual, and I was looking forward to another lonely lunch hour.
Then she asked me, and then there we were, walking down the
hall. Together.
"Okay.   Seven   letters.   A
"Magpie? Is that a real bird? And it's only six letters."
"Magpie, magpie, flying so high," Rita mumbles singsong.
today when we got to Rita's mom's
house, she didn't find anything good left over in the
fridge. "I feel like a drink," she said, and climbed on to a chair
so she could reach the cupboard where her mom kept the
booze. "You?" she asked.
I've never gotten drunk before.  "Okay,"  I told her.
"Whatever you're having."
"Rum and coke it is, then," she pronounced, and
jumped down with a half-full bottle in her hand. I watched
her take out two tumblers and go through the fridge again
for the coke. "You like those? Ever had one?"
"No," I admitted slowly. "I don't really drink much."
"Oh don't worry, I won't make yours as strong."
"That's okay," I tried to insist. She poured and handed
me one glass. She took a long drink from hers. I held mine
up to my nose for a second and sipped. Rita was
watching my face for a reaction.
"No?" she asked. "Hey. Why don't we have
like a taste test. We'll find you a favourite, then
you'll know what you like." She got up on the
chair again and took out four or five more bottles, one at a time, and placed them on the
counter near her feet. Then she grabbed a
handful of shot glasses, half-filled two of them
and turned to me. "Here. This ones Kahlua, this
one's Irish cream. They're good. Soft." She finished her rum and coke, mixed another one and
picked mine up from where I had put it on the
counter. "Come on." I followed her into the living room, where we sat facing each other from
either end of the couch.
"Let's see whats on TV," Rita said. "Maybe
we can find some old Twilight Zones."
After I tried both liqueurs I
went back to the rum and
COke. It wasn't so bad once I got used to the
taste and so long as I swallowed real quick. Rita
had brought in the rest of the rum. She was
drinking hers a lot faster than I was. The TV was
still on.
"Are you done? Let me get you something
else," she says before I can tell her I'm not sure
more's a good idea. 'Cause of school and everything. "I think you'll like it. Hang on." She
stands up and walks swayingly to the cupboard
above the fridge. I can hear the bottles clinking
The TV is making me dizzy. I get up and turn
it off, then sit down again on the floor. I reach
for the newspaper on the coffee table. It's been
folded open to the crossword, someone's
already been working on it. "Hey. Do you have
a pen?"
"A pen. Where's a pen?"
"Jus' sec." Rita walks in carrying a small glass
of something thickish and green in one hand,
and a bottle I haven't seen yet in the other.
There's a pen sticking out of her mouth. She
plops down on the couch again, her knees right
by my head. Her legs are so close I could touch
them with my tongue. She throws the pen at
me and it rolls under the coffee table. "Here,"
she says holding out the glass.
"What is it?" I smell it.
"Creme de menthe." She pours more rum
into her rum and coke and the coke isn't as dark
as it should be. "Can't have any more of this.
Wouldn't want Mom to know."
She tops up the glass with the second bottle. I pick the pen up and hold it over the crossword. "What's a one two three, seven letter
word for dawn of a new day?" I ask her.
Pause. "Morning.
It wasnt like I told her
some specific time, but when i got
here Steve starts yelling at me almost immediately. Where have you been, your mother was
worried sick, all that crap. Like it's any of his
business." Rita's telling me about her weekend. Steve is her mom's boyfriend. Rita doesn't like him much. "And she goes, 'Steve, quit
it. She's here now. It's fine.' But he doesn't. He
starts saying how he can smell booze on me.
More likely just smelling his own breath. They
were drinking too."
"How come your mom didn't say anything?"
"She did. 'Steve, come help me do this crossword.' So I went up to my room. They're so
fucked." Rita takes out a cigarette. She holds it
in her lips but doesn't light it. Then she puts it
away. Somehow the number of bottles with us
in the living room has increased. I pour some
rum into my glass, some vodka too. Drink. She
laughs at the face I make.
Today,   last  class   before
lunch was math. There's twelve
more minutes till the bell goes when Mark
Feckert leans over his desk, grabs at the back of
Rita's shirt and pulls. He sits right behind her, and
he's always bugging her. I know because I'm
one desk behind him, in the next row. He's such
a jerk. She arches her back away from his hand
as soon as she feels it but he managed to catch
her brastrap and we all hear the slap of elastic
on skin. She's already whipping around to glare
at him. Mark smiles at the other guys, all proud
and full of himself. The teacher looks up from
marking just in time to hear Rita say, "Asshole."
"Rita!" she exclaims. "Language, please."
"Can I go to the bathroom, Ms Carey?"
Rita asks.
"There's not even ten minutes of class left.
You can wait."
Rita exhales in frustration and says tightly,
"Mark just snapped my bra and it's come
undone." They start really laughing now, but
Rita continues above the noise. "I want to go
fix it."
Ms Carey's expression changes and she
addresses the whole class. "Quiet." She sighs
loudly and waits so we're supposed to know
she's serious this time. "You're almost in grade
nine. I'm very disappointed with your lack of
maturity. Go ahead, Rita." Rita gets up without
bothering to give Mark another dirty look.
There's nothing else to do but go back to our
math problems. I haven't gotten many. I've been
.-P^kr TimVn tatrtg
10 staring out the window, waiting for
lunch hour, since Ms Carey passed
out the worksheets. Finally, the bell
The hallway's noisy and crowded. I push my way in toward my
locker and try the combination.
Usually Rita does it. I can never get
the stupid lock to work, definitely
not on the first try. "Let me,
dummy," Rita says from over my
"Fine with me," I tell her and
move away. She flips her hair out of
her eyes and balances her books on
her hip while her other hand holds
the lock and twirls it open. "I don't
know why it only works for you."
"I'm charmed."
"Mark's such an idiot. It didn't
hurt, did it?"
"Nah. You know how it is." I
nod, even though I don't know
how it is. I don't have a bra. Well, I
have one, I bought it a couple
weeks ago, but I haven't worn it
yet. I've tried. I get halfway downstairs feeling it tight around my ribs,
and even though I'll be wearing a
baggy shirt, I just know everyone
will notice so I go back to my room
and change again and then I'm late
for school.
"Coming?" Rita asks. She steps
back to let me dump my books in
the locker and grab my jacket.
"I hate it when they
do that. Complain
about their
boyfriends. At least they
have them. You know?" Rita looks
at me blank. I swallow from the
glass that I've been holding forever
now. I think this one is whiskey.
"Anyway Anne says how Marcy's
such a slut, and how they should
teach her a lesson or something,
because Rick told her that Marcy
slept with him. Can you believe
that? Marcy and Rick."
Rita stands up slow and fluid
and moves to the radio. Squatting
in front of it, she flicks through static, looking. She stops when she gets
to this old stuff, I guess you'd call it
blues or something. She smiles lazily. "Soundtrack," she says.
"Anne's just jealous 'cause Rick
slept with someone just before they
started going out." I heard all this
one lunch hour when instead of
going outside I went up to the balcony in the gym to read. Anne and
Jennifer and them came up a little
later and didn't see me. "But they're
all jealous too 'cause Anne's the
only one who's slept with anyone
so far, Amanda told me."
"Amanda's okay," Rita says.
She's crawled back to sit across the
coffee table from me.
"Yeah, as long as she's not with
the rest of them." I try and see
how fast I can swirl the glass without spilling any over. I feel it splash
against my hand. "I haven't even
ever kissed anyone, though. You
know? It just makes me mad.
Don't they see how lucky they
are? Even if Rick did go out with
Marcy, or whatever, they've all
got boyfriends. They always
have  boyfriends.  Why can't
somebody like me?" I finish
my whiskey and shiver. "Can I
have some?" I say, pointing.
Rita picks it up. She takes a
long drink straight from the
bottle  before  putting   it
down solid on the coffee
table in front of me.
"I'm   not   a   virgin
either,"      she      says.
Everything stops dead. "What do you mean?" I ask. I can't believe this.
"What do you think, stupid. I've had sex with somebody. Pour your
"You wouldn't know him. He's a jerk. I was at a friend's place, it was a
party, whatever. We got to playing some game. We were
wrestling. He won."
I can't think of anything to say. "It's no big deal," Rita
says, since I'm stunned silent. She laughs without smiling.
"Sex sure isn't all it's cracked up to be. If I were you, I wouldn't bother. For sure none of the guys at school are worth
"Isn't that rape?" I finally manage. She won't look at
me. "No," she answers. "We were playing, and I lost." She
flips her hair out of her face and her eyes are burning into
me and she's blinking real lots. "Don't tell anyone,
Charlene, okay? I'll kill you. Now do you wanna drink it or
'Tin hungry. Are you hungry?"
Before she answers I get up and walk to the kitchen. This
is harder than I thought it
would be. I go to open the
fridge. There's not much in
it, but I'm still standing there
when Rita joins me. She
puts her hand on my shoulder to steady herself.
"We could make macaroni. Or soup," she says. She
opens a cupboard and tosses a bag of chips at me.
"Thanks Rita," I tell her
and follow her to the
couch. I spread myself out
on the cushions, leaning
my head back on one side
and holding the chips on
my stomach. I pull the bag
open. Rita pushes my legs
up and sits crosslegged at
the other end with her
glass resting on one knee.
"Guess what."
"My mom and Steve are moving in together."
"You're moving?"
"No, he's moving in here."
"That sucks." The chips are good, salt on my tongue.
I hold the bag for Rita. "Did you tell her you don't want
him here?"
"Yeah. She said I can't always have things my way and
she's going to do what she wants for once. But he doesn't
understand. Like when I came home from that party the
other night, and he just yelled at me for no fucking reason." I nod while she empties her glass. "And all the way
home, after the party I mean, I thought—I had thought-
maybe—like I could've talked to my mom or something.
Told her..." I wait. Rita scowls. "Fuck it, she'd've just gotten
All I can think of is being thirsty and how I don't know
what to say. "Who cares anyway," she says. "Let's change
the subject."
Pulling myself to sitting I slide to
the floor. My glass is empty. I turn the bottles to see
their labels, don't know what I want. Rita rolls off the couch
and lands next to me. I swing my head to look at her and
wait for my eyes to catch up. There. I can see her. I smile.
She kisses me.
Can't breathe mouth her mouth on mine I feel it small
knotted up feel it in my belly but deeper it's getting warm
her lips soft kiss me she's kissing me and I don't know how
to kiss back surprised kissing me mouth open in surprise her
lips her tongue and then she's gone. I try to catch my balance, my breath. I can't read Rita's face and she looks away.
"Recede, as in tide."
"Singing voice. Four letters."
"One of the seven wonders. Five, six, ten letters."
"Gimme that," Rita says. She takes the pen out of my
hand. We are moving in slow motion. I think we're smiling.
"Recede. Ebb."
"Hey, ifs almost quarter past," I
say. Rita glances over at the clock.
She's had way more than I did, and I'm feeling it even though
lots of mine stayed in the glasses. Or found its way to her.
"We've already missed silent reading, and if we don't leave
now we'll be really late."
"Silent reading." Rita repeats. She smirks at me. "Okay." She swings
herself upright, saying, "Help me put all this away." She bends down to
pick up the bottles and ends up sitting on the floor. We laugh again.
Everything's so funny today.
"I didn't think your mom was gonna be
"She usually doesn't come home till like hours from now. Jesus! Good
thing we had cleaned up already." We were on our way out the door
when Rita heard the car pull up in front. We ran and hid in the back yard
behind a tree until Rita was sure her mom was inside and then we took
off running down the back lane. In the next block we slow to walking.
"Do I sound drunk Char?" Rita asks. Her words fall out of her
mouth real quick. "Like do you think the teachers will be able to tell?
What if Ms Carey can tell? She better not call my mom. Oh god, what
if she finds out."
"Just don't talk so loud, or so fast, and then we'll seem normal.
Don't get all upset about it. How drunk are you anyway?"
Rita giggles. Then she gets real serious. "I'm not drunk at all," she
says, straightfaced. "Was that convincing?" she asks. I shake my
head. She grimaces. "Okay. So we get to school and go to our locker. Shit, I can't remember the combination. Can you?"
"Yeah, I know it. I just can't ever get it to work."
"Okay. Let's figure out exactly what books we
need. Save time. What do we have?"
"French, um, social..." I can't remember what day
it is. "Double art, I think." Rita brightens. "That's an
easy afternoon," she says.
I didn't hear it but I guess the
bell  must  have just  gone.
There's still smoke drifting up from the cigarette
butts tossed on the front steps by people who
had a spare. "We missed French," I say, pulling
open the door. It feels heavy in my hand.
The hallway is empty. "Do we have to sign
in at the office?" Rita whispers. We get to our
locker and Rita's trying to open it. Jennifer
Reilly comes out of social studies down the
hall, and when she sees us she decides to
come over and talk before going to the
bathroom. Rita glances up, sees Jennifer
and stares real intent at the lock so
Jennifer won't talk to her.
"Hi, guys," she says. "Where were
you two? Mr. Mitchell asked since you weren't on
the absent list this morning." She waits. She's
hoping, no, expecting, that we'll tell her the story
so she can go gossip with the rest of them. Rita
isn't going to be any help with this. I hesitate.
"Is that alcohol I smell?" Jennifer asks,
like she's so unimpressed. Thinks she's so
Rita's fingers stop turning the lock.
"Just fuck off and mind your own business," Rita yells at her, she's way too
loud and I hit her on the arm so she'll
quiet down. Jennifer's eyes widen
and she turns away without saying
anything else, but I just know something bad will happen now. Even if she
doesn't tell on us. Rita lets the lock drop and grabs my wrist, pulling me
down the hall in the opposite direction. "Come on, Charlene. Fuck this. I
can't deal with this now."
Rita takes us out the door, back into sunshine. It's brighter than I remember. We're walking fast out towards
the middle of the field. Sit down. I flop onto my back. There's birds all over
picking at the garbage littering the field. It's hard to focus on stuff, nothing's still. I don't feel sick at all and I like being dizzy. Rita's saying something
but I'm not paying any attention to her. She throws a handful of grass at
me. "Hey," she shouts.
"Don't have to be quiet now," I answer. I sit up and pull at her and say,
"Rita?" but it doesn't come out right. I want her to hold me, I want to take
her hand. She brushes me away. Even Rita doesn't want me. She won't
even look at me. She stands up and starts spinning fast around and around
in circles with her arms flung out and her necklaces flying. She's looking up
at the sky, bright, bright, until she falls down and she's laughing and she's
screaming and I think there might even be tears. I think.*
Jenna Newman is about to graduate with an honours
English degree. Her story "Duets" was published in eye
wuz here, an anthology by young Canadian women
(Douglas & Mdntyre 1996)
The Most Girl Part of You
Your Barbie was ferocious
supine on top of Ken without three words of plastic chit-chat
breaking his heart with the whack of her unbending arm minutes late-
kicking him with her molded foot for taking that one true thing
Your mother chose your father |
in a moment of softness she would not repeat again, not after the moM
got tighter than a fist, not after the beatings in the hallway closet ill
Her hands, rough and cracked from scrubbing up at work, scratched^^S
your young skin by accident, she said sorry, ^^B
she wished she could be softer for you $*$<*%
You wear your hardness like a helmet, like a crown
a hinted secret in the tight set of your jaw alp
the steel-toed boots that forgive the luster of your bare thighs andjllle
your jeweled toenails, the short hair to clarify that lipstick J|j|
is not how you feel about someone
And your words on the page in black ink,
not blue, because blue is too sentimental
Black ink, and underneath it, something pink. a^
—Nancy Lee
i told him if he didn't want to h
he should have kept his dick in
i went out the back door
rain pattered on the skylight of
with the cot against the wall
wrapped in blankets i couldn't slei
drops congregated
falling when they were heavy enoi|
i watched them above the ocean t>
the boy in the restaurant with his
he told me
and held my hands even though
there was chocolate cake on the ti
the world was crying
but today it is sunny
i told him if he didn't want to have kid!
he should have kept his dick in his pants
i found a new door
—Katie Longworth


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