A 'Sausage Angel' comes to the rescue
When a surprise package from a mystery man changes everything. Plus, every story you may have missed this week, wrapped up to enjoy across your long weekend...
Mōrena and welcome to The Spinoff Weekend. While you’re making the most of another long weekend, perhaps consider which public holiday you might like to get rid of. We’re covering that, plus why you keep doomscrolling, what’s going on with student flats, all the concerts coming our way, and a strong argument that balloons are gross. All that plus a Hawke’s Bay’s Sausage Angel. Relax, sit back, and pour yourself a fresh cup of Coffee Supreme. You made it. Welcome to the weekend.
-Chris Schulz, senior writer
Rob Beard was at the lowest point of his life when a strange package showed up on his desk. As an assortment of documents covered in messy handwriting tumbled out, Rob knew instantly who they were from: a mystery man he’d helped home from the hospital a few weeks earlier. He also knew his life was about to change. “I looked at them going, ‘Holy shit’,” says Beard, more than a decade later. “I couldn’t believe someone had done this.” That box of documents, delivered from a “Sausage Angel” in the final weeks of his life, sparked a business, and saved a soul. Here’s why.
It was a genre-bending frozen dessert that wowed in the 90s. But who was the mad scientist behind Dessertalicious? Alex Casey takes a trip back in time to find out.
Christopher Luxon caused an outcry by suggesting Matariki should be supported by cancelling a different public holiday. “Why don’t you cancel Labour Day?” he suggested, pointing out the $450 million cost that comes with an extra day off. So which one should go? Toby Manhire put together a handy bingo card for you to choose from, but you won’t like the options. Waitangi Day? Queen’s Birthday? How about Anzac Day? Toby believes there’s an obvious answer. “According to the website Wikipedia, Easter Monday refers to the day after Easter Sunday. Which is tremendous but there are a lot of days that are after other days and we don’t shut everything down for them.” Do you agree? Here’s his argument, in full.
On a camping trip, Madeleine Holden heard a bunch of boomers wondering if they might in fact be “Karens”. The insult had once been used as a devastating burn for someone with a particular set of toxic behaviours. Now, it was everywhere. “I noticed ‘Karen’ had gone from really funny and precise to absolutely washed and nonspecific in a relatively short period of time,” she says. “I thought it was a good case study for how the internet accelerates the lifecycle of slang and globalises it almost immediately.” You can read Madeleine’s report on the life cycle of “Karen” here.
Are you doomed to keep scrolling? Josie Adams asks the experts and discovers that you definitely have free will over your phone. You just have to choose how much.
From our friends at Coffee Supreme: It feels like we’re all spending more time at home at the moment. Naturally, this means keeping your mug topped up and rocking your slippers during those online meetings (yeah, we see you). Having your favourite oat milk, peanut butter or chocolate within reach can be a real day-maker. Not only do Supreme have your coffee needs taken care of, they’ve also made keeping your pantry shelves stocked super easy with their free shipping and next day delivery. Grab your favourite pantry bits here.
A new study from the University of Otago has provided empirical evidence that student living conditions across the motu are, in fact, the pits. That’s no surprise to those living in them. Naomii Seah, who reported on the research, has her own experiences living in mouldy, damp flats. “Just last year, in my final year of university, the roof of my flat caved in during an Auckland downpour,” she says. “In Dunedin, every flat I lived in was at least a little damp, and some were mouldy. But I had a comparatively positive experience.” She talks to others about their flatting woes.
Insulating houses effectively is good news for everyone. But some are trying to convince the government to delay the measures. Andrew Eagles reports.
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For the past few weeks, Spinoff writers have been airing their thoughts, concerns, and grievances via a new series called Hear Me Out. So far, Alex Casey has decided all movies should be 98 minutes long, and Madeleine Chapman argues that hot cross buns are too big now. Now, Toby Morris has raised an issue that no one seems to have thought about before, but most quickly agree with: balloons are disgusting. “It’s such a special occasion and I really want it to feel exciting and fun, so I’ve gone to the trouble of putting a bunch of my breath into a bag for you. My own special breath, right from deep down in my lungs, all the way up my throat, out through my mouth and into the bag. Just for you.” It’s a strong case. Decide if you agree with Toby here.
A-list pop superstars don’t usually have to sit in traffic congestion, but that’s where they are right now. “There’s a gridlock of acts trying to tour,” says veteran promoter Paul Dainty. “Every act in the world has not been on tour for two years. It’s the way they make their living … there’s a traffic jam.” That means many big name pop stars are on their way down under (Covid permitting). Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber and Backstreet Boys are already set to arrive on our shores, and just this week Harry Styles confirmed a huge stadium show. Dainty says you can expect many more.
Coachella is a showcase for artists preparing to tour down under, and this year’s festival, the first in three years, was no different. We reviewed it, from a couch.
Everything else we loved reading this week…
Who are those mysterious dancing kiwifruit? And why do they sway so mournfully? Dan Taipua, a connoisseur of Japanese mascots, explains.
Netflix is losing subscribers, its share price is tanking, and things are about to get worse. What is the world’s top streaming service doing? Vox investigates.
In 2019, Mike Puru ate a two-day-old chicken burger and found himself presenting Newshub’s weather bulletin while so sick he nearly needed an ambulance. Alex Casey helps Mike relive his live presenting nightmare.
Is MrBeast for real? Rolling Stone (paywalled) dives into the strange, weird world of the prankster who gives away millions of dollars on YouTube.
On Snack Masters, two Aotearoa chefs attempt to recreate classic Kiwi staples. Tara Ward finds the TVNZ show gruesome and delightful, all at the same time.
Better Call Saul is back for one final season, with the first two episodes up on Neon now. Once you’ve watched those, you’re going to want to read The Ringer’s oral history of how Bob Odenkirk became Saul Goodman.
Finally, Captive Audience is your next true crime binge about a boy who went missing for seven years, only to return and make a Hollywood film about it. Then things got really strange. A three-part doco should be on Disney+ soon…