That time of year again…

[NOTE: The results are in.]

It doesn’t seem like a year since I posted about the Craccum election a year ago, but it is exactly a year since I posted that post a year ago.

Last year I knew all of the candidates (besides Keesing’s bizarre running mate, who apparently ended up campaigning for her competition or something รขโ‚ฌโ€œ poor Nick just can’t catch a break). This year I know barely any, but I have their blurbs in this week’s Craccum, which is very good and worth the read. I also wandered through the quad looking at posters. That’s all.

In order of alphabet.

Spencer Dowson and Rhys Mathewson

I don’t know Spencer, but I’m reliably informed by someone campaigning against him that he’s a tremendously nice fellow. Apparently he’s been very busy this year contributing to Craccum, which is points in his favour, as he’d actually have some idea of how to make the magazine happen. He was “guest editor” once, but doesn’t go into detail of what that entailed.

The blurb informs me that I’d recognise Rhys Mathewson from his stand-up comedy and several very annoying ads. God knows why they’d want to remind me of those, but apparently he’s done some writing for The Jono Project, which is actually pretty entertaining at times.

Smart posters, following a recognisable structure and at the same time pretty funny. I like the “Double Team” one, possibly because they do very barely resemble Tenacious D.

Only a few grammatical errors in their blurb.

Paul Hawkes and Andrew Fernando

My favourite blurb, because it was actually a bit fun to read, and that’s the job they’re going for. [EDIT: Fernando has given a bit more info about his experience in the comments below.]

And Andrew Fernando should swap his names around by deed poll.

Also, nice big banner placement.

And I remember really liking one of their posters, but I can’t remember which one.

Also, very few grammatical errors in their blurb.

Finally, Fernando Andrew should give lessons in smouldering looks.

Gregory Kan and Briony Bennett

Whine, whine, whine. Here’s a blurb that somehow got printed a few weeks too late for the AVP position for which it was clearly intended.

Less than 20 people write regularly.

No shit. “Less than 20 people write regularly” is a law of physics. It’s not going to change. Hell, after ads and obligations, you’ve only got about 20 pages of content. Just how many regular writers do you want?

And it’s fewer than 20 people write. GRAMMAR-LAWYERED.

The same jokes written by the same writers each week makes for a stale publication.

The same complaints and promises written in every year’s election blurbs make for… stale… election blurbs.

As editors, we will proactively seek new writers.

Just as every editor has done for the last 10 years. Except Colin. And probably Garland.

We guarantee a welcome reception for anyone who wants to see their name in print.

I’m sure that’ll be a welcome change from Dan punching everyone in the face who comes to offer to help him make a magazine without pay. And! If a “welcome reception” means that any fuck-knuckle who walks in the door goes to print, you’ll have a pretty shitty magazine.

There’s a reason that “for years, Craccum has been run by a small group of people”. They’re the small group of people who get off their arse and contribute throughout the year.

I like their promise not to take on any other commitments. And I liked their dancing-bears poster, if that was them. [EDIT: It was Fernando! There was something in the air that night! The stars were bright! Fernando!]

Freddy Woodhouse and Charlotte Stevens

No photo in blurb! Wrong year cited for the last time Craccum had a female editor!

Anyway, I know these two, and they’re good value. They’re the closest candidates to the style of Craccum of five years ago, so naturally I’d like them. But if you don’t go in for that sort of thing, you won’t.

Freddy’s been an active contributor to Craccum for a while; I’m not sure about Charlotte.

Also creators of the excellent “people know who we are” poster. And their other posters are routinely awesome.


Interesting to look at who nominated and seconded the various candidates. Dowson and Mathewson were nominated by this year’s sub-editor. Last year’s editor, Val Watkins, seconded Hawkes/Fernando and Kan/Bennett. Kan and Bennett were nominated by AUSA President-elect Joe McCrory, while his AVP-elect Sam Durbin nominated Woodhouse and Stevens.

Woodhouse and Stevens were also seconded by two ladies who sound like they’re from a buddy cop film. “I’ve got the Mayor on the line threatening to sack me for all this damage! Get Heaps and Doole in here, NOW!”


And so…

Students don’t elect Craccum editors. AUSA members elect Craccum editors. That means a whole bunch of people who like candidates’ posters and lecture speaks won’t be voting.

And the kind of people who vote for Craccum are either regular readers who have an opinion of what they’d like to see more of or less of; or they’re people who never touch the magazine because they hate it so much and would vote for a complete change. Or they’re first-years who have little or no idea.

But the first group is much larger than the latter two. Votes will tend towards recognisable names, which means it’ll be either Dowson/Mathewson or Woodhouse/Stevens who wins. Unless some of the others have contributed regularly, which I don’t know. [EDIT: Fernando is another regular contributor, as mentioned in the comments below. And The Mole comments that Briony had submitted, and Andrew had a few satirical pieces published.] And either of them could do the job, so that’s okay.

Still, nice to see what I’m told is the hardest contested election in some time. Given how hard out last year was, that’s saying something.

16 Comments That time of year again…

    1. Ryan Sproull

      Good to hear, Fernando.

      You've probably never heard of them, but there's this obscure Swedish pop group who… Oh, never mind.

      Tell us a bit more about yourselves, since you wasted that blurb being genuinely entertaining and at least a bit awesome.

      1. Fernando, Andrew

        I've spent the past seven days selling myself, so here goes.

        I featured quite regularly in Craccum '09 (hence the nomination and seconding by last year's editors) with comics, fake news, articles, spoof ads…. just a lot of stuff.

        One of the reasons I haven't written quite so much for Dan this year is because I now write regular satire pieces for, which is the largest single sport website in the world.

        My work for them can be found here…. However, if you are nothing more than a casual Black Caps fan, I would recommend you start with the pieces entitled "So long, Shane" or "All Dan, all the time."

        My stablemate Paul Hawkes is a good writer in his own right as well as having been a close friend since high school.

        So there it is I guess. If you are interested, check out the Craccum Sampler we made for the campaign on our facebook page.

  1. Joe

    I said I wasn’t going to do any seconding of candidates, but two people (running for IAO and Craccum respectively) caught me off-guard (drunk) during my own election night celebrations.

    I suspect they were waiting for the winner of the Presidential race to nominate them. In a side note, I wonder how the non-mandatory AUSA content will be treated by the different candidates. Several have indicated only ‘newsworthy’ or ‘interesting’ material will be included.

    1. Ryan Sproull

      In my experience, AUSA exec whines long and hard enough for it to be easier to just give them the damned pages and count yourself lucky you don't have to go to the trouble of filling them with content anyone will actually read, but hey, times have changed, and we have a black president now.

    1. Ryan Sproull

      Hah. Five years later, I still get panic attacks in crowds as a result of the stress of that election.

      (So, no.)

    2. Tom

      Yeah, Ryan, I never remember your name. I only remember you as the best editor and my only easy reference is 'the guy who said he'd be in Shadows if you wanted to speak to him'.

      1. Ryan Sproull

        Yeah, that was a stroke of genius on my part. At Shadows until closing every night of the campaign, up at 6am every morning, and during the whole two weeks exactly one person came and talked to me about Craccum.

        Possibly this sleep deprivation contributed to the near total breakdown.

        And cheers, but I don't think I was the best editor. Alec and Stian's magazine the year before me had a spark of mad passion that I lacked. I was just fortunate to inherit all of their very talented writers, and pick up a few others during my year. If I was to do it again, I would do many things differently.

  2. Craig

    Don't worry Joe.
    No matter who wins I'll keep turning up to AUSA meetings.
    There is no point in Craccum unless regular AUSA reporting goes on.
    Just make sure there is cake. And brownnies. That stuff is good.

  3. Simon

    There is a point to Craccum besides AUSA meetings (just as a sly counter-point to the above for the purposes of being belligerent and self-righteous (in the spirit of all things Craccum, of course (or what it should be, at least))). The beauty of Craccum – as an ideal – is that it has no real responsibilities to anyone but the readers, who are on the whole an apathetic bunch anyway. You get elected, and from that point on you can pretty much do whatever you want to do, because even if no one reads your magazine, even if you piss off advertisers and AUSA executives, it will still get printed (at a loss or not) every week of the academic year simply due to some constitutional workings that I never bothered to understand. This gives you (as editor) the freedom to "fuck with shit" (as they say) in a true student magaziney kind of way.
    Because of this freedom, the potential of the magazine is expanded far beyond what any mainstream media is able to do, and the whole point of its existence reflects that in the following ways (not necessarily all inclusive):
    1. Acting as a hub for student/alternative culture – exposing students to what is going on in the world around them beyond what they hear about in the Herald/other. University life is much more than going to lectures and getting your grades up; it is about getting to know your fellow students/people of the world/culture outside the mainstream. I.e. encourage people to get involved in things that they might be interested in if they just try it!
    2. (Related to above) Help people enjoy university – provide a source of entertainment/interest to fill in the dull hours between/during lectures.
    3. You like books and magazines, right? Isn't it cool that you can get one for free every single Monday of the semester that's produced by your friends and has wicked stuff in it that is sometimes about you and the things you are doing?
    4. Fostering talent and being generally inspiring – so many people have come out of the Craccum system (oh, let's call it the clique, then) and gone on to do amazing things with their talent and lives in general. While it would be nice to think that readers of the magazine are inspired by it to go on and do great things, greater emphasis here is towards those who have sacrificed time and grades over the years to help produce something they believe in. The format and freedom of Craccum (described in brief above) allows editors and contributors alike to express themselves and experiment with their writing and ideas and vision that few other media outlets would allow (blogs notwithstanding, though they rarely carry the readership numbers that Craccum has). This for me has always been the main point for Craccum's (and other student media's) existence (contrary to above poster, to whom I mean no harm) as it has (*should* have, in ideal circumstances) the means to fertilise and nurture talent that would normally go unexpressed and untended. This is a good thing for those writing and for all of that section of society who gives a damn about culture.
    5. AUSA stuff, as briefly as possible, unless it's actually important.
    I apologise for the lecture, but I hope that whoever wins takes it on board. Good luck to everyone – god knows the whole campaign process is soul destroying enough to sympathy for anyone insane enough to attempt it (but just wait until they realise what they're in for when they win).

  4. Noodle

    I'll never understand why some people (this year Bennett, Kan, Hawkes and Stevens[?]) would put themselves through a gruelling editorship election campaign, when they couldn't be bothered ever contributing to the magazine. Why aren't candidates called out on this more often?

    The other thing I don't get is posters, knocked up in Microsoft Word, sloppily photocopied and slapped on every visible surface of the quad. They're almost always terrible, sitting somewhere between forgettable and counter-productive. The only reasonably good ones I've seen this year are Fernando's movie poster spoofs, which give an idea of what he can bring to the magazine, and the one with Briony's boobs, because everyone likes boobs.

    1. Noodle

      Andrew has had lots published, as has Freddie, which is why I didn't mention their names in my post. I have a feeling for some reason that Charlotte has contributed some stuff but I'm not sure.

      As Spencer and Rhys have illustrated yet again with last night's victory, the best way to get your name out there is to contribute heaps of stuff to the magazine. Future would-be editors take note.

      1. Ryan Sproull

        Charlotte did a few small things, I think, but nothing like Freddie or Spencer.

        And yes, you're right. Every elected editor I can think of had been heavily involved the previous year.


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