Our correspondent practises rolling a joint
Kia ora and welcome to The Weekend. I have been having a very stressful week for tedious bureaucratic reasons and frankly it is unfair that I’m also now feeling overwhelmed by the number of excellent pieces of writing on The Spinoff. To go with your piping hot Coffee Supreme, today we have international protest movements, the Eagle helicopters movements, OnlyFans creators yacht moments, and lots of parenthetical digressions. Keep reading!
-Shanti Mathias, staff writer
What does it take to be an independent woman in 2022? Sharon Lam thought that perhaps it required learning to roll her own joints, not relying on someone else to complete this task for her. How hard could it be? I learned a few things from this story, such as: Beyonce was 19 in 2000 when ‘Independent Women Part 1’ came out, buying weed in Hong Kong is quite complicated, and if you’re serious about rolling your own it might be worth looking out for business cards with the perfect thickness of paper. Did Lam’s joint meet with approval from her more practised flatmate? You’ll have to read it to find out…
Coffee Supreme: the fuel for a perfect summer roadie
If you’re about to pop on the out of office and hit the tarmac towards your summer vacay, let Coffee Supreme be your travel companion. With cafes across Aotearoa (and Aussie, if you’re jumping the ditch), you’ll never be far from a cup of Coffee Supreme. Filled up the car, but forgot to fill your mug? Coffee Supreme’s Locator will see you right – just pop onto the website and your cup will be filled in no time. Find your nearest Coffee Supreme cafe here.
Protesters across China, united by the cruelties of the state’s Zero Covid policy, are holding up blank pieces of paper to represent all they can’t say about the power of the Chinese Communist Party in their highly-surveilled country. It’s an incredibly significant moment, writes Tze Ming Mok. “Like Hong Kong in 2019, these protests are as yet leaderless, and that is their power – being unpredictable and impossible to encircle or negotiate with, like water.” Reading this, I was reminded of how different the Chinese state is to New Zealand. (To give you a sense – one of my friends who goes to university in China was recently allowed to return, which required 21 days of strict hotel quarantine without being allowed out, and then another four days of isolation in her apartment). These protests will hardly be the end of the Chinese Communist Party, Mok says, but they do weaken leader Xi Jingping’s power.
Number of the week: 54 Whittaker’s chocolate varieties, ranked
This week our fearless leader, Spinoff editor Madeleine Chapman, ranked all the Whittaker’s chocolates. You may disagree with how the placements shook out but you can’t debate the rigour of her methods, which are comprehensive. Personally, I would say that she nails it with her #1. The ranking also captures some of the chocolate controversy in our nation’s history: there’s a fascinatingly litigious story behind why Whittaker’s have a “Berry and Biscuit” and a “Berry Forest” flavour. Also, the New Zealand Rugby flavour “Full Eighty” really was doing too much.
On Tuesday, my colleague Alex Casey was stressing about going to a party on a boat for OnlyFans. The next morning, she came back and reported that the creators she met were very welcoming and all very young. Her recap of her night on the yacht is filled with enthusiastic entrepreneurs who are hustling hard to make content into a career. Because their content is of the kind that toes the line of what social platforms allow, there’s a fine art to what they can say and how they post. Alex’s article is a nuanced glimpse into a very different world that comes with its own community and complexities.
Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series genuinely has it all. You don’t have to read the books in order – I’ve read a number of them but have definitely missed quite a few too. They’re piercingly funny, quite beautiful and profound, and they use a technique that should be more popular in fiction.1 A new biography of Pratchett gives a sense of how this writer built his life; author Catherine Robertson reads it and finds that she and him have some surprising points of crossover. Biographies of writers are such a useful way to understand how that author built their worlds. (Also, I am willing to take correspondence from readers about whether Going Postal is Terry Pratchett’s only flop.)
Everything else (parentheses edition)
The ethical conundrum of kidney replacements for cats (USD $15,000!)
Watching She Said, the movie about the #MeToo reporting at the New York Times and reflecting on how journalism movies glorify long hours (Spotlight does this also)
Technically this is from last week but this gorgeous essay about anxiety and deep water is worth diving into (also, amazing illustrations)
An oral history of some…ah…oral history (pediatricians swallowing Lego heads to see how it impacted their health and give better advice to panicked parents)
The reality of how New Zealand’s sportswomen get paid is changing (slowly)
New Zealand’s divorce laws are in urgent need of reform (and to better protect victims of domestic violence)
Very cool article about how being blind allows an Australian surfer to feel completely into the flow of the ocean (and catch massive terrifying waves, obviously) (bonus parentheses: an article about how low-vision Māori New Zealanders access services they need)
The reality of the rich world’s hunger for EVs is severe pollution in Indonesia (some of the images are so vivid they made my eyes sting – is sympathy pollution a thing?)
Everything on streaming services to watch this month (this article was like the fifth time I had been recommended Glass Onion in 48 hours)
Sad, fascinating long read about how digital Covid conspiracies led two men to go missing in the Pacific Ocean (the imagery here is a big part of the article)
That is, lots of footnotes