“ I want to empower women, I want to be [an] example, I wanna be an inspiration for them to chase their dreams.”Read More
Often when I'm hanging out with my friends who are high, are about to be, there's a niggling worry they might die, or get seriously sick. Partly this is because I'm prone to overthinking and jumping to the worst possible conclusions at any given moment, partly that's because when we take drugs in an unregulated market, users actually have zero guarantee of what they are actually getting. Fortunately there's other people who worry about these sorts of things too, and are working hard to reduce the risks that taking drugs entail. One of these people is Wendy Allison.
Wendy started drug checking back in 2008, creating Know Your Stuff NZ, who in collaboration with The New Zealand Drug Foundation, offer drug harm reduction services, including pill testing, free of charge at events all around New Zealand. The organisation also advocates for evidence based policy change when it comes to drug use. Wendy and I first met in passing a few years back when I was on a panel alongside her, hosted by journalist, harm reduction advocate and all round good guy Russell Brown at Splore!. At the time I was working in alcohol and drug harm reduction myself for the Ministry of Health, and I had previously been unaware of her work and was really impressed. This year over the summer there was a few articles about Know Your Stuff circulating, tragically many people died from drug related causes, and subsequently an increase in public attention around drug use and the move towards harm reduction approaches have been growing, so I was curious to chat with Wendy properly and learn about what Know Your Stuff NZ do. I reached out to Wendy on Twitter and she kindly agreed to have a chat on the phone. It was cool to talk, and fascinating hearing from someone on the front lines about the state of drugs in New Zealand, the science behind the testing and some of the risks users need to be aware of.
Know Your Stuff is staffed by volunteers and rely on donations to provide their services, so if you're interested in supporting their work you can visit their site and donate.
Touring on the back of their fourth studio album Mesmer, Sydney based metal core outfit Northlane are set to play New Zealand this weekend, the 25th in Wellington, the 26th in Auckland. Released back in March of 2017, Mesmer received critical acclaim, being the third Northlane album in a row to debut in the top 5 in the ARIA Charts.
Ahead of their tour, I had a fun chat their vocalist, a really open Marcus Bridge. We had talked about the band recording with a psychologist, challenging stereotypes and being authentic, it was a nice time, have a listen!
So if you weren't aware, the seas which sustain life on the planet are in shitty shape. Man made pollution abounds and marine life continues to be under threat and rapidly diminishing at a rate of knots (dad joke!) from human activity. According to the United Nations World Ocean Assessment, '...no part of the ocean has today completely escaped the impact of human pressures, including the most remote areas.' Catching up on the state of the seas is bleak reading, but fortunately good and passionate people are fighting the good fight to protect our marine life so your kids might have an Earth worth inheriting. One of these organisations is Sea Sheppard.
Founded in 1977 after founder Captain Paul Watson parted ways with Greenpeace, for 40 years the Sea Sheppard fleet has tirelessly used direct action to stop sealing, whaling and illegal fishing around the globe. With vessels crewed by passionate volunteers, supported world wide by onshore chapters who organise fundraising events, educate the public and conduct things such as beach cleanups.
When I was hanging with UK metal-core legends Architects earlier this year in the fine city of Melbourne, the bros invited me to come along for a guided tour of Sea Shepherd's ship the Steve Irwin. A band with a social conscience, Architects have long promoted the eco-pirate outfit, and using their pull and platform to promote Sea Shepherd's work stopping whaling and protecting all marine life from the senseless pillaging.
We headed out to Williamstown for a guided tour of the ship, which consisted of a blast of a ride on an inflatable and a vegan lunch, we got time to sit and talk about some crazy stories of their activism. I was super into their tales of high seas environmental action, and really wanted to share a bit about what they do, so I commandeered Lex and Adam from Sea Shepherd and had a quick chat with them about their work.
It was a super uplifting day, and despite the rough state of the oceans, it's heartening to know there is a real resistance fighting to make a difference.
If you're interested in supporting Sea Shepherd you can check them out at http://www.seashepherd.org/, catch them on the socials Facebook, Twitter or instagram.
So I had dope time chatting this morning with Jason Aalon , founding member and vocalist of LA based post-hardcore band letlive. Today's interview quickly got interesting, as Jason talked about society, and growing up mixed race in America and indeed what that experience was like in the hardcore scene, which, for all it's often progressive politics is very white and male dominated.
It was refreshing to have a conversation of depth after a few minutes, and having been involved in the hardcore scene and punk scene for over nearly 20 years myself, it never ceases to make me smile that more often than not people who've never met before quickly find common bonds through music and the message in it, in this world wide community.
letlive's latest, and fourth, album If I'm The Devil...came out on Epitaph Records in June of 2016, and I have to say it's a refreshing listen. While keeping lots of the punk aggression letlive are known for, it takes elements of new wave, rock and even some hip hop production elements to create something sonically interesting and adventurous and I totally recommend it.
letlive are touring Australia, starting in Brisbane on January the 8th 2017, and hitting New Zealand for one show only at the Kings Arms on January 18th. You can buy tickets to the New Zealand show here. Come through and dance to music you can think to.