2015 was without question, a shithouse year. I write this in its closing weeks and at this stage it looks like we’re going to reach the new year with neo-fascistic politicians (Trump, Le Pen) set to increase in power, everyone being shittier to refugees than ever, a liberal government that’ll win the next election by shouting “INNOVATION” loud enough and, closer to home, UWA continuing to be the most embarrassing uni in the country. What is the shining gem amidst all this dung? What is the light at the end of the tunnel? It’s Pelican, your faithful big-billed companion here to scoop you out of the mire and cradle you in our bulging throat-thing.

JANUARY foreshadowed the awfulness to come, when Charlie Hebdo staff were killed by extremists and everyone responded by posting their racist cartoons. Everyone was uncomfortable with calling out the dead for being racist. It was a wild time to be alive.

Over at Pelican, newly inducted young-liberals in the guild decided to sharpen their milk-teeth on the bones of one of our 2015 editors, Lucy, due to a technicality. Young-libs have never exactly been in our good books but this one made us MIFFED.

FEBUARY saw O-day, Tony Abbott’s first leadership spill and the year’s first Pelican! We published articles on glory-hole ettiquette and the graduate job crisis. We now crave that innocent time when we thought the former was edgy and the latter was the worst problem UWA students could face. Little did we know of the horror to come.

MARCH: The horrifically depressing Moss Report came back detailing abuse of children on Nauru. The government let out a collective response of “eh”, best epitomised by ol’ Tony’s remark of “occasionally things happen.”

No one noticed because of an onion.

APRIL had Pelican’s second issue, where we exposed corruption in the Potato board (later that month colin barnett announced it would be scrapped, obviously thanks to us), we told you how to cook with Emu Export, and we put out an uncomfortably right-wing article on Tony Blair to make us seem balanced (we’re not).

 


UWA announced Bjorn Lomborg’s “climate consensus centre” would be set up here in return for 4 million in federal funding. Lomborg is best known for his “climate contrarianism,” where his centre provides expert justification for the watering-down of climate policy. Everyone called bullshit, and as we know the VC never made a strategic blunder again.

MAY: Adam Goodes got booed for having too much cultural identity in what will be remembered as the most cringe-inducing moment of AFL history, the Ebola outbreak was contained, and UWA quietly halted plans for the consensus centre amid the laughter of the world’s academic community. Pelican put out the Protest edition, also known as “the only edition Socialist Alternative ever picked up”. We also spoke to Bjorn Lomborg which was ok we guess, we just wish he’d stop calling, he’s getting clingy.

JUNE, fucking June. Evidence emerged the government had actually paid people smugglers and NO ONE GOT FIRED. At UWA we’d survived the consensus centre being built, so naively we thought the VC would lay low for a while. Instead we came back from semester break to find the fragmented, disembodied face of Malcolm Fraser on the lawn, with a little window optimistically captioned “take photos from here.” It was part of the university’s “Pursue Impossible!™” campaign, which was a phrase strewn across every blank surface on campus. It could just as easily have been “Take Excellence!™””Dare Success!™””Live Superior!™” or any other combination of meaningless PR word soup. To top it off, lollipops were being handed out by scantily-clad women following around a guy doing the “half-hearted, overheated mascot dance” in a peacock suit. It was a part of the PR campaign bafflingly directed at the untapped “horny boys who are unfazed by the suggestion of woman-on-peacock-sex” demographic.

Naturally, Pelican was all over this shit in our Zine Issue. It was also by pure coincidence the month UWA stopped putting ads in Pelican, we wonder why.


JULY: Nothing happened in July.

AUGUST: Bronwyn Bishop visited Pelican in her most gratuitous helicopter journey to date, but Pelican was still traumatised by June so we put out a nice creative-writing issue edition as some sort of group therapy. We also cried while masturbating furiously to our Drake X Nicki fan fic in a feeble attempt to forget.

SEPTEMBER: The mere thought of September makes me break out in hives. Since Lomborg, “Pursue Impossible” and Lawrence the Peacock were such PR disasters, UWA decided to cut a few Arts Majors too, much like a samurai committing seppuku, who, having disemboweled himself, then decides to get decapitated for good measure.

Pelican responded by getting drunk and writing the Party issue, something of a misnomer since it felt like half the articles were about how we’re too socially awkward to plan or attend parties. The rest of the issue continued the partying vibe by lamenting the cuts. We’re really fun at parties, trust us.

Guild Elections happened, I think. It’s worth pointing out exactly how much of a pitiful event UWA elections actually are, considering we have an abysmal voter turnout compared to universities of a similar size. Perhaps that’s because the parties are such a pathetic reflection of the two-party federal system, except instead of arguing about how much they’re going to cut welfare they argue about how soon they’re going to get a subway in the ref and cripple their own guild through competition.

From this shitshow then, another shitshow did rear its ugly head. Pelican was covering elections in our multi-walkley award-winning “25 days of guild elections” series when someone leaked some screenshots of young-libs being misogynistic shits (who’d have guessed!). Pelican was between a rock and a hard place on this. I don’t want to go too far into this one but suffice to say, UWA doesn’t give two shits about our editorial independence.

Literally the only good thing to happen this month was our annual Pelican Prom, which, as a result of sitting amidst all of these stressful events, was a night of reckless, almost nihilistic abandon. There was 80s music and beer so we tried to forget. Hell, it worked, until I wrote this article September was just a dull, slightly ominous haze for me.

OCTOBER: We were just done by this point. Issue 7 saw us fighting the good fight decrying kink-shaming and biphobia. That’s what I see in the magazine anyway, in reality, October was a month long hangover from Pelican Prom not helped by everyone taking shrooms at Camp Doogs and avoiding eye contact for the next month.


NOVEMBER: On Kat and Lucy’s request we all got naked for edition 8. It was the most horrific demonstration of human obedience since Stanley Milgram electrocuted that guy or something. I was annoyed that my nickname was “THE KEENO” in the end-of-year biographies but I digress.

Issue 8 contains too much HARDCORE NUDITY  for an issuu link, find one on campus today!

Issue 8 contains too much HARDCORE NUDITY for an issuu link, find one on campus today!

Final exams were ok, no one died, and really amidst all the serious threats to our degrees and job prospects, complaining about exams seems juvenile and beneath us.

DECEMBER SO FAR: VC Paul Johnson decided to top off the year of Lomborg, “Pursue Impossible,” Lawrence the Peacock and Arts Cuts with 300 cuts to UWA staff, like an icing made of dead flies on the cake made of disappointment that was 2015. We crashed the VC’s christmas party in response and ate magnums at his expense, but unfortunately the protest was a bit confusing since both the protesters and christmas party attendees were on the same side on this issue. The VC never showed his face.

What can we learn from 2015? I guess be ready for what cuts at UWA may come, and be careful who you trust. Instead, trust in the smooth membrane of Pelican’s lower bulging lower jaw as we gulp you away into a new year.

 

Words By Hayden Dalziel.