The Downfall of Justice in the Downplay of Murder.

An outrageous defence challenged by many across the nation, with societal need for riddance – yet Queensland still holds on. – Investigates 1/2 of the Two Crazy Youths 

 Dead women tell no tales; tales are told about them

Provocation – a partial defence for murder, originating in the Medieval times, 400 years ago, acting as a concession for human frailty. Its primary source was to ensure that one guilty of killing ‘in the heat of passion’ would not face the, then mandatory death penalty. Indeed, it has become quite the mockery that in the modern, civilized society that Australia exists in today, that Queensland refuses to abolish the defence; no matter its incapability of reaching many agreed upon criterions of a ‘good’ law, including that of, it being relevant to society as its values and attitudes change, being equally available and applied to all, and it being certain and clear. The amendments of provocation may be a step in the right direction, but does is no way, create just outcomes. For justice to occur the defence must be ridded.

The Criminal Code, 1889, Section 304, Killing on Provocation originally read that, ‘When a person who unlawfully kills another under circumstances which, but for the provisions of this section, would constitute murder, does the act which causes death in the heat of passion caused by sudden provocation, and before there is time for the person’s passion to cool, the person is guilty of manslaughter only.’ However, based on the 2008 Queensland Law Reform Commission Recommendations (QLRC), a Bill to wind back the partial defence of provocation reducing murder charges to manslaughter if the act occurred in a jealous fit of rage, was passed in March 2011. The amendment saw the original legislation being inapplicable ‘if the sudden provocation is based on words alone, other than in circumstances of a most extreme and exceptional character,’ nor could it be based upon a deceased’s choice about the relationship. The recommendations also saw the onus of proof being placed on the defendant rather than the prosecution, to prove that without reasonable doubt provocation occurred.

The changes made, were deemed to be good-enough by lawmakers. Yet the fact that many jurisdictions, including Tasmania in 2003, Victoria in 2005, Western Australian in 2008 and New Zealand in 2009, completely abolished the defence, outraged Queensland media, legal commentators and the general public, questioning why we hadn’t followed in their footsteps?

The first and perhaps the most important argument in the case against provocation is that it is an outdated defence and doesn’t reach the standard of being relevant to society as its values and attitudes change. This defence was created in the 16th-17th century in which the sociocultural norm was men fighting duals to preserve their honour, and the mandatory sentence for murder being death. Then it was considered cowardly for a man to simply ignore an insult to his masculinity, delivered through forms of word or conduct, such as allegations of homosexual advance, jealousy and rejection; therefore, if a man was to kill in such situation, he wasn’t to be considered blameworthy, and not deserving of the mandatory death sentence of murder. However, upon realizing that Queensland, and all jurisdiction following the Westminster origins of law have abolished the sentencing of death, it must be pointed out that provocation’s actual purpose has vanished. The values of the 16th and 17th centuries are also very different to the ones of our progressive nation, and Queensland needs to par with what is accepted when it comes to how to deal with pettish anger.

Certainly not murder.

Yet judges and juries in the 21st century still listen to myths and stereotypes about the murderous rage of the cuckolded men who kill their ‘taunting’, unfaithful or departing partners who is said to have ‘provoked’ her own demise. Although the 2011 amendment saw that provocation couldn’t be argued based on the deceased ‘changing the course of a relationship,’ in cases such as that in 1984 in which a man successfully argued provocation for shooting his partner after he found her cuddled up with a friend – fully clothed, would still under the amendments, be accepted in our courtrooms 32 years later.  Queensland lawmakers must realize that provocation is completely ignoring the norm of society in the present, for today, provocation is irrelevant and stands in the way of what is most important – justice.

The law is expected to be equally applied and available to everyone, as well as protect the weak and vulnerable.  Provocation has proven to be a failure when considering this expectation. In many instances the implementation of provocation has been branded gender or homophobe, based privilege killing.  The concept of ‘loss of control’ comes up repeatedly in provocation cases, but the challenging nature of this concept is immediately evident in the anachronistic terminology of the Queensland Criminal Code, ‘kills…in the heat of passion…before there is time for the persons’ passion to cool. Thus, the insistence that control must be lost to argue provocation presents a highly gendered notion of what is and isn’t a reasonable response to a supposed provocation situation. This assures that women who kill in response to abuse who cannot, in most instances, take on their tormenter on the spur of the moment and more likely to wait to overpower their partner, not receive the same treatment from the defence as their male counterparts would.  The gender-violence bias towards men is obvious when considering the case of Heather Osland, who was convicted of murdering her husband despite pleading provocation in relation to repeated counts of rape, constant assault, abuse and death threats against her and her children, for over thirteen years. Her son, however, was acquitted of all charges although he had allegedly struck the fatal blow. Her appeal too was rejected. The court believed that both provocation and self-defence to be irrelevant on the basis that the killing was premeditated for Osland had earlier dug the hole in which to bury her husband.

The homophobic nature of this defence is another aspect that outrages the Queensland society, contrasting it to the hate crime-excuses of the 1900s and before.  Those opposed against the defence suggest that it is an obvious mean of protecting homophobes and that there shouldn’t be reasonable justification for allowing it. The question is raised then, of if it is possible for someone to be so overcome with panic from being ‘hit on’ that they lose such control that the result is death? However, a recent study found that these killing are more so due to pure homophobia rather than the more commonly claimed ‘hit on’ panic. It is hard to judge the legitimacy of losing control and beating someone to death because of homosexual advance, and not something that society accepts as reasonable, or excusable behaviour. The R v Meerdink and Pearce case saw two men who beat a man outside of a Gympie church, due to sexual advance, successfully argue provocation. Following the sentencing, Father Paul Kelly began a petition to eliminate the provocation defence from Queensland law, which gained international recognition and support from known personalities including British comedian Stephan Fry. It was raised in the controversial sentencing of R v Meerdink and Pearce, that the defence must be abolished “because it reinforces the notions of fear, revulsion or hostility are valid reaction to homosexual conduct.” When allowing such a defence to exist, it sends the message that reactions alike are acceptable, contradicting the views held by our modern society.  Kirby J, also brought to light a major argument against this defence; indicating that the defence seemed to only apply to homosexual advances opposed to heterosexual, arguing that ‘if a woman had a non-violent sexual advance made against her, tried to use provocation as a defence for murder, the definition of provocation would be unreasonably extended.’ As said in David Donaldson’s ‘Provocation and Masculinity’ essay, “if every woman who was sexually harassed by a man killed him and then claimed provocation, half the men in Australia would be dead.” Provocation is the epitome of inequality and unavailability, brining injustice to courtrooms.

Many stakeholders have argued that the defence of provocation is too difficult for juries and people of the public – whom the law is created for, to comprehend. The test of the ‘ordinary person’, central to the provocation defence, is deeply problematic, as for each juror the ‘ordinary person’ is most likely someone they identify with and therefore sympathize with. The issue analyzed in ‘The Ordinary Person In Provocation Law,’ paper agreed that the test “…is not suitable even for a superficially homogenous society, and the more heterogeneous our society becomes, the more inappropriate the test is. Behaviour is influenced by age, sex, ethnic origin, climate and other living conditions, biorhythms, education, occupation and, above all, individual differences.” It is impossible to construct a model of a reasonable or ordinary Australian. McHugh J echoed in agreement stating that “the notion of an ordinary person is pure fiction.” It is often thought that the ordinary person is an ‘Anglo-Saxon male of Judeo-Christian background and of heterosexual orientation,’ again feeding into the gender and homophobe prejudice so common to the defence. This integral test of provocation promotes doubt, inefficiency and uncertainty, which all adds up to a compelling case for provocation being unjust.

For far too long the victim’s character has been destroyed, in the misogynistic tale of falsehood. For justice to occur provocation must be abolished, no amendment will be satisfactory.  In accordance to the QLRC recommendations, Queensland should consider removing the mandatory life sentence for murder, instead allowing judges discretion, considering aggravating and mitigating factors, much like the majority of states in Australia. Another point made by the QLRC, was that provocation couldn’t be removed as it served as protection for battered women who killed their partners, urging the consideration of adding to the Criminal Code a defence that would protect women in the scenario.  Queensland understood this recommendation, and added the ‘domestic killing defence’, to Section 304B Killing for preservation in an abusive domestic relationship, in 2010, insuring the safety net for women, that pro-provocation stakeholders argued upon previously.

The provocation defence fails to meet much of the criterion of what a ‘good law’ is, including that of it reaching societal acceptance, and changing as time moves forward, being equal and available to all citizens – especially when considering their gender and sexuality, and finally, being clear and certain, proving definite inefficiency and inappropriateness. Provocation must be abolished; it stands in the way of what is of utmost importance, when considering the law in Queensland and our nation- justice.

 

 

 

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Why HBO is the Best Thing Ever

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I’ll be the first in a long line of people to shamelessly admit that I love TV. I love the way I can binge-watch peoples lives, cry when there is a death, laugh when there’s a joke, look at the shock on my mum’s face when there is a a plot twist on Game of Thrones, and in one instance, vomit when a particularly gory scene suddenly popped up on Breaking Bad. And I love that I can do all of that in the comfort of my fluorescent-lit living room. However, there is truly one great television network today and I believe that it is HBO.

It’s safe to say that a significant portion of the shows I watch are on HBO. Whether it be , in all of its Game of Thrones in all of its sick, incestuous glory or reruns Sex and the City, a show that my mum passed onto me (whether or not that is a good or bad thing, only time will tell). Today however, I am not going to talk about the delicious deviousness of a specific show, no, I am going to discuss the incredible success that HBO has had with ALL of its shows (or at least the majority).

The first glimpse I ever got into the dirty, dramatic world of HBO, was an episode of Entourage when I was the sweet age of seven. My parents were flicking through the channels, in those desperate attempts to traverse the endless cosmos of TV goodness we have all experienced. Suddenly, the antics Ari, E, Vince, Turtle and Drama entered my life, swearing and shouting. With one swift click of a button, they disappeared as soon as they had come. But as fleeting as my first impressions of HBO were, this collision of worlds would influence the way I valued and viewed TV as I grew up.

I can’t exactly pinpoint what makes it so good. Possibly and most probably for me, a youth, is the social connotations of a HBO program. Every single show oozes sex, drugs and violence in a way no other TV station has done. Even something as ‘tame’ as Silicon Valley has the famous (or infamous) season 1 finale “jerk off” algorithim. HBO does not hold back. Week-to-week we indugle in the Desirously delicate stories of people who swear, smoke and orgasm their way through murders, pregnacies and affairs. It is truly a privilege to be able to fully invest ourselves in multiple programs per week whose quality seemingly matures and grows season by season, episode by episode. HBO is so brilliant because each showrunner has the unfailing abiltiy to engage their audiences in the vividly rich lives and endeavours of some of our most beloved or passionately hated charaters. We are so engrossed in these peoples worlds, it’s easy to forget real life. I know it sounds like I’m describing the plot of Westworld, but I’m telling the honest truth. We digest these twisting and turning plots in spite of our better judgements because HBO is so sneakily able to keep us hooked. I can assure you ladies and gentlemen, no other TV broadcasting channel has done, is currently or will ever be able to do that.

Am I a Feminist?

President Trump gave an enthusiastic fist pump as he appeared on the portico to cheers from waiting crowds. Former US Senator Bob Dole and his wife Elizabeth were among the first to see him In the wake of Donald trump’s inauguration, I found myself questioning the one strong belief I have had; that if nothing, I am, and always will be, a feminist. You see, I am not an overtly loud and vocal person who regularly voices their opinion. No, I am the sort of person who is, admittedly, and unfortunately, more of a talker than a walker. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy talking about women’s rights and, equality  between the sexes, because I do, and I have been able to hold my own in debates over the topic. I think the issue is that I am not a brave person, and will never be one of those women who promote and advocate equality to the public; so the question remains, am I a feminist?

1963. The year JFK got assassinated, my dad’s all time favourite film, The Great Escape was released, The Beatles became a thing, and, in the world of feminism, Betty Friedan, the most powerful voice for women the world has ever seen, published The Feminine Mystique, a book that swept through the world, inspiring housewives to get into the workplace, and challenge the stereotypes that had smothered generations of women. After the release of the book, the second wave of feminism began to grow, and left huge shoes to fill for the following generation. But here we are today, with thousands of Women’s March’s going on all over the globe, in protest of Mr Trump’s overall attitude and lack of respect towards women. Scroll through your social media feeds, and you’ll find countless posts and celebrity messages about fighting for equality. Women in Poland fought, and then won a battle regarding a ban for abortion. America almost had a female president. The fight against sexism is truly coming to a forefront in our society, and as a citizen of the global community, I honestly feel like I’m doing nothing.

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Now, I no that I will never be a Betty Friedan or a Rosie the Riveter, Dora Fabian or even Lena Dunham, but it bothers me that there are so many opportunities for me to be an active feminist, and participate in protests, and help out with flyers, or even spread the word, and I am not involved in any of it. How is it that we live in a world that is so connected, yet I seem to be drowning in the nothingness of my own self-pity and philosophical wonderings? Is my destiny to be the girl who argues about rights, but never fights for them?

I know I’m not the only one thinking it either. Discussions with friends and acquaintances have led me to believe that the issue is, indeed, not necessarily fighting for rights, but finding places and mediums to express our need for equality.

I think, however, the answer will not be found by blaming others for this lack of accessibility for areas and times to vocalise my thoughts on abortion, the gender pay gap, inequality between non-white women, and the rest of the world, and much, much more. The answer is, that I, have not been looking hard enough, if at all, for these things.

But, when it comes down to it, although I may not be an influential or dynamic feminist, I am a woman’s rights supporter. This I realised while talking to the other crazy youth (who by the way, is a very active feminist). I may not be radical, or exceedingly liberal, but I sure do love arguing why I am, if anything, an equal to my brother. And it’s nice to say that. In your face Donald Trump, and your ridiculous family.

Please, please comment. I would love to hear your thoughts. This is just the place to voice your opinion.

Love, One Half of the Two Crazy Youths xxxx

 

Reflection on the Year of 2016

I mean I think we can all say that the year of 2016 argued by some to be the ‘worst year in history’ is something we’ll all be happy to say a big “goodbye, thanks for nothing and f*ck you” to.

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It was the year of political atrocities in the circus of the US election providing us with one disappointing candidate and the other a sick joke, then slapping us across the face in electing this sick joke with zero political experience, accused of sexual assault and threatening of racial cleansing, the utter brainless of Brexit and the re-entrance of Pauline Hanson into Auspol.

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The world rightfully so weeped and prayed for Orlando, Brussels, and Nice; our entire world was shifted into panic mode.

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However, we stood silent watching as Aleppo crumbled into nothingness, we were ignorant and unchanged when ISIS terrorised Baghdad in the holy month of Ramadan, killing over 300 hundred and injuring hundreds more and the Boko Haram attack on a North Nigerian village at the end of January, killing 65 and burning some alive? Well I had to Google that to find out it actually existed.

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We lost the greats of Alan Rickman, Muhammad Ali, Prince, Harpar Lee, Harambe, David Bowie and as if the world thought it still hadn’t had the last laugh the beloved Carrie Fisher was taken from us as well.

Gun laws still remain legal in the US despite the losses they have brought, at a time where ‘love is all we need’ hate crimes towards the LGBTQ and Muslim communities have dramatically increased in the US, whilst in the UK hate crimes and racial abuse have also surged, and there was an outbreak of Zika viruses making the lives of those who had it tough – even tougher. The Dreamworld Thunder Rapids freak accident yet again brought us to tears for all those involved and there was an overwhelming sense of ‘that could have been me’,  as many around Australia had on multiple occasions enjoyed that very ride. A burkini ban was imposed in Cannes begging the question of how much have we really changed since the times where women’s clothing was dictated by men?

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The victim’s statement of the brutal Stanford rape case was powerful and moving, yet the pathetic Brock Turner received an almost non-existent sentence and is now released, bringing to attention the ignorance,  patriarchy and white-privilege coursing through the legal system.

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I guess it would be pretty safe to say that 2016, was the year where we realised our capabilities in hypocrisy, ignorance and off-handed racism, sexism and homophobia as a collective human race. Also other things that made this year the worst were the Brangelina split (and all the other ones), Alex and Richie from the Bachelor Australia bathing in chocolate and Batman vs Superman.

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So far all of this has been all doom and gloom and I mean – fair enough, but a lot of goodness has occurred that has gone past simply unnoticed which we desperately need to recognise and remember for the sake of our sanity. Pokemon re-emerged and the excitement it brought contagiously swept through the world, we were blessed with a Harry Potter prequel/spinoff with Eddie Redmayne gracing our screens,  Jon Snow came back to life and GoT gave us life, Chrissy Teigan’s tweets spoke our every thought and Deadpool reached out to me on a spiritual level. Lemonade got me frantically researching possibilities of who “Becky with the good hair” was, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are a thing, we got to see Blake Lively and Ryan Reynold’s perfect children, The Crown more than satisfied my long-lived curiosity into the world of the royals and Netflix’s sneak peaks of the Series of Unfortunate Events got me super duper keen.

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Leo finally won his Oscar – and we lived long enough to see it, Tatiana Maslany  won her much deserved Emmy and James Corden’s Car Pool Karaokes made us happy.

Then there was Paul McCartney taking part in the mannequin challenge, the guy dabbing his way through graduation and perhaps 2016 being the pinnacle in the production of dank memes. 200 strangers attended the funeral of a homeless WWII veteran with no family, 70 000 Muslim clerics declared a fatwa against ISIS, Micheal Jordan donated $2 million to try help bridge the connection between police and the community, and 21 of the Chibok schoolgirls were released by Boko Haram and reunited with family members with Government officials vowing to keep negotiating the release of additional captives.

Toys R Us offered quiet shopping hours for children with Autism and two brothers saw colour for the first time through specially designed glasses. Now there’s a vaccine to fight against Ebola, volunteers in India planted 50 million trees in 24 hours and for the first time a solar powered plane flew around the world. It was a leap year which means the Olympics where good things happen to a lot of people but it’s worth noting that for the first time ever there was a Refugee team, represented under the Olympic flag.

Babies were born, birthdays were celebrated, people got the grades they worked hard for, received promotions, survived cancer and overcame depression.

It is easy and often necessary to focus on what is wrong in our world (and there was a hell of a lot in 2016), so we can get up and actually do whatever possible to fix these problems; but lets not forget that in everything there are triumphs that we should applaud and be reminded of once in a while. I’m not saying 2016 was the greatest, but there has been worse – like the black death of the 1340s and we preserved, getting through that; so I’m sure that we can deal with the repercussions of this one. All in all, many including myself will be more than glad to say “cya” to 2016. 2017 – please be kind to us.

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X 1/2 of your Two Crazy Youths

My Top 5s’ – December 2016

Just a compilation of my top 5 faves from random categories throughout the past month. Thought it would be interesting to do this sort of jazz every once in a while, so I can reflect and you guys may even find it to be quite useful in case you ever want to try out any of these wonderful things.

 

Food:

  1. Maltesers
  2. Guac and dip (since always though – lets be real)
  3. Tacos
  4. Springrolls
  5. Lemon Lime Bitters

 

Fashion: 

  1. The Bvlgari Serpanti Forever collection
  2. Gucci ‘Ace’ Sneakers (or trainers)
  3. All of Stuart Weitzman’s high boots
  4. Pinafores
  5. Relying on cute sunnies as my main form of accessory

 

Beauty: 

  1. Mac lipstick – Mehr
  2. Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara
  3. Hydrating moisturiser
  4. Lucas Paw Paw ointment
  5. Mario Badescu facial spray with rosewater

 

Movies/TV Shows: 

  1. La La Land
  2. Veep
  3. Home Alone – 1&2
  4. Elf
  5. The Office (reruns)

 

Books:

  1. The Kite Runner
  2.  Wave
  3. A Thousand Splendid Suns
  4. Harry Potter series (always)
  5. A Monster Calls

 

Other:

  1. Vlogmas – specifically Tanya Burr’s and Zoe Sugg’s
  2. Beaches in New South Wales
  3. Christmas lights
  4. Being able to shop at 1am because why not
  5. James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke

 

 

Hope you’ve enjoyed this. Let me know in the comments what a few of your favourite things from the month were and any general thoughts you have on The Delirious Alternative- your words will always be much appreciated.

 

XX – 1/2 of the Two Crazy Youths

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, I Cried in Rogue One

WARNING SPOILER ALERT

The first thing to know about me: I’m not an overly emotional person. Yes, I cry in sad movies, books, moments in TV shows ( Friends season 9, episode 21), and you know, sad moments in life; however, I don’t cry at things that don’t at all require tears. So I was as surprised as you when I bawled my eyes out upon watching the latest instalment of the Star Wars universe.

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Another thing: I am not one of those crazed Star Wars fans who cry every time they hear the music or whatever. I grew up in a household where pop culture was the forefront of my childhood, so of course, Star Wars was a huge part of my younger years. I adored watching Luke, Han, Leia and Chewie take on the Empire, and I enjoyed nothing more than doing a marathon of Star Wars once a month or so. However, it is not my be-all-and-end-all. I can enjoy other things in life without the constant thought of George Lucas’s mighty creation buzzing annoyingly in my head my every waking second. Not that Star Wars could ever get old or brutally irritating; its just not my life. So again, you can imagine the slight shock I got when I found tears pouring down my face as the realisation dawned on me that Rogue One was not going to end happily ever after, like previous Star Wars movies have; discounting the Force Awakens of course.

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For those who haven’t seen it and wish to stay away from spoilers, may I politely ask you to stop reading here and go and watch it. I can assure you it will be a worthwhile experience. For those who have seen it, I’ll start from exactly where the reality of the dire situation hit me. After watching the plot slowly but steadily build its way through the heavy story it had to address, I was ready to see how everything was going to play out. You see, I kind of knew already that they were all going to die. Like every person who has watched the original movies at least once, the mystery behind Mon Mothma’s little line about the cost of lives to get the plans in Return of the Jedi has always been intriguing, and when the first trailer was released for Rogue One, it was obvious that these were the said lives. I knew that it was not going to end all dreamy and heroic and sweetly glorious. But what I did not expect was the wave of overwhelming emotion that came with it; the rough consciousness that forced me to understand that these people were going to die, whether I liked it or not.

And the moment that it hit, that stony realisation, was when, of all things, K-2SO died, the sarcastic, yet undeniably lovable droid who, lets be real, did not have enough screen time. I knew then that the characters who I had watched for a solid hour and a half + were dead. And it being a Star Wars movie, and not a dramatic movie that was specifically designed to tug at the heartstrings, I was bewildered at the deep sadness that overcame me. Even my mum, who is one of those people who cries at everything, did not shed one tear.

I think, along with other things, the answer to my sorrow is that there has never been a Star Wars movie that has shown the true repercussions of war. Rogue One is just so powerfully dark, it makes the story it tells compellingly beautiful, and therefore, the characters are people who you root for. You end up wanting the girl who lost her parents young to live, because she is so strong and vibrant. You need the man who has done terrible things for a cause her cares so much about to, well, survive, because he is part of a rebellion that is built on hope. Each and every person who you have seen struggle and fight, is a person who you begin to love. And suddenly, as soon as they came, they were gone, only to be fleetingly mentioned in the movies to come. It’s almost cruel.

The moment, though, that truly broke me is when, after everything, Jyn and Cassian sit on the beach, embracing, as the force of the Death Star’s weapon comes closer and closer. These two characters who I followed for over two hours were, to put it plainly, dead, and someone like whiny Luke Skywalker still complained his way through life. Do not get me wrong, he’s ok, and in Return of the Jedi, he’s even bearable. I only wish that Mark Hamill didn’t have such an annoying voice. The fact that these people died and he still gets to live is, as Luke would say, unfair.

Image result for luke skywalker whinySo there we go, a story about a person who cried over a Star Wars movie. I hope that you guys can at least relate a little to the emotion that I was/am feeling.

Love one half of the two crazy youths

A Little Something about Harry Potter

These are just the stories of how we came about Harry Potter and why the series means the world to us. Enjoy.

I was 7. My 2nd grade teacher had just told my mum that I needed to start reading books that would challenge me, instead of the rainbow magic fairy books the rest of my friends were reading. At the time, I was slightly apprehensive about reading such a ‘large’ book, but, classic me, I took on the challenge of doing something that was out of the ordinary. And so began my love affair with Harry Potter. Everything about it: from the characters to the plot to the simple magic of it all, made me feel like I was part of something. When I was 9, I moved schools, and I struggled. Bullying and no friends is never a good combination, and when you add new student in the mix, the outcomes are always going to be negative. For a whole year, my only true friends at school were Harry, Ron and Hermoine. As lame as that sounds, they were my everything, and I am so overwhelmingly thankful that they allowed me to tag along with their crazy adventures. My story is not devastating, or horrid, or happy. Its plain and its been told a million times over. But I love that I share it with so many others. You see, even after things got better, and I moved on and the world was no longer sad, I continue to re-fall in love with the beauty of magic. Hogwarts was a home to me; in a weird metaphorical way, and I loved living in its fire-lit stone walls. And some part of me does indeed still live there. Because, as my queen J K Rowling once said: Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.

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Unlike my genius admirable significant other, I stupidly ignored the good and righteous in the world for many, many wasted years and absurdly chose to make the conscious decision to not to enter the magical world of Harry Potter through its purest form of the book series.  I was told time and time again by my parents and my friends that I had to read these books that would completely change my life but I as a naive apprehensive little 7 year old was convinced that Harry Potter fell under the genre of horror and I just wasn’t up for that. For Eid, I was, to the great jealousy of my cousin, presented with the entire Harry Potter bookset but I didn’t even touch it, nope – I regifted. Still, I argued myself to be a ‘Potterhead’ after merely having watched the movies and look, don’t get me wrong – the movies are fantastic, they were my entire childhood and I could probably do a whole different post about all that is good about the casting, camera work and overall production and direction of the films; but those who have actually read the books just know it just bloody isn’t the same. Being best friends with a chick who glared at you every time you mentioned Harry Potter due to not having read it was draining and so I decided that fixing the situation and delving into these books was the most logical thing to do – I love reading and now I was past the stage of ‘oh but it’s scary.’

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I remember walking, side by side, with my other half back to our lockers from an insightful modern history lesson and I looked at her and I just knew I had to do it – I was to borrow out Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone that very  afternoon. We rushed to get our books in our bags, fast-shuffled (we’re not fit) down the longest flight of stairs ending up at the coolest place of the school – the library, all the while being told that I was so lucky to be reading these books and the envy of this experience I was about to embark on. Needless to say, I had pretty fucking high expectations. We sat by our celebratory, chill – ‘lets not study today’ window on the comfiest beanbags, got our Snapchats out to document this momentous occasion and I opened to the start of the book to read the first sentence, “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much,” and suddenly I was overcome with unexpected emotion and as weird and silly as this may sound –  it truly was the most magical moment of my life. Tears from both the ‘two crazy youths’ were shed and from then I was done, I did nothing but read. I fell in love with the skillful writing of the all-powerful J.K. Rowling, the well defined relationship dynamics between Harry, Hermoine and Ron, the indescribable warmness and welcome into Hogwarts, interesting professors, Quidditch, the understanding of hatred for that ‘Umbridge bitch’, Fred and George Weasley, the ever so exciting yet harrowing fight between good & evil  and so much more which I can’t go in the fear of spoiling everything for those who have not had the blessing of reading the books – compile into a long list of reasons that the Harry Potter books have become my absolute favourites. Several months after reading these absolute God-send of books I am still experiencing severe withdrawals, sudden bursts of sadness at the thoughts of my prior stupidness in failing to read the books earlier and also an expanded sense of nosiness whenever anything remotely familiar to Harry Potter is mentioned. I’ll forever be grateful for the joys this series has brought me and will always feel the overwhelming sparks of magic at the tips of my fingers as I turn the pages of the books that have genuinely changed my life.

Love, the two crazy youths xxx

Christmas Gift Guide – a bit of everything

Doing another one of these this year because it’s so fun to do and also pretty useful. This time round however, there’s a bit of something for everyone from everything between $$$$$ – $. I love every one of these items and although Christmas definitely is not about the presents; giving and receiving is pretty sweet so I do hope that I inspire some gift-giving options for your loved ones. Also all of these prices are in Australian Dollar.

 

1. Giuseppe Zanotti – Metal Cage Sandals ($2,696.75)

guseppe zanotti.PNGThese shoes epitomise elegance and are utterly unique. The show stopping details will jazz up your Christmas outfit or any party season do-up you plan on wearing. They also prove to be extremely versatile as often fashionistas are seen styling these with mini dresses and skirts, evening gowns to cropped trousers. Zanotti’s are also well-admired for their surprising comfort and that is something any woman will be beyond grateful for. You just cannot go wrong.

 

Find it here:

Harrods

 

2. Harry Potter – Quidditch Chess Set ($579.89)

qudditch.PNGChess is pretty cool. Brain power, strategy, competition and all of that fun stuff – what’s better though is Harry Potter. Combine the two and budampa-toosh you get the ULTIMATE Quidditch chess set, plus it is fancy as heck.  Anyone who appreciates Harry Potter – basically everyone, should absolutely die of happiness and admiration upon unwrapping this charm.

 

Find it here:

Harrods

 

3. Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World ($29.95) 

bad girlsss.PNG Have to have a bit of feminism and women empowerment in this post and this book is full of just that. Ann Shen’s work in this book should be displayed proudly for all to see for it is a masterpiece which revisits impressive women such Marie Antoinette, Billie Holiday, Cleopatra and other lesser-known names, honouring each lady with a stunning watercolour portrait as well as a thoughtful essay celebrating their accomplishments.

 

 

 

Find it here:    

Booktopia

Fishpond

 

4. Microwave Popcorn Popper ($21.43) 

popcorn.PNGPopcorn is just the easiest thing in the world and so delicious – perfect for movie nights. This tool makes it even better for those health conscious because oil is completely unnecessary but for those (like me) who just don’t give a shit or want to treat themselves a butter compartment is available – so it covers everyone. No denying the value of this present.

 

Find it here:

UncommonGoods 

 

5. Ray Ban – Aviator Light Ray II ($260)

raybans.PNGDudes are obsessed with aviators anyway, so make them better with the quality of Ray Ban. Sunnies are just an essential, you can never own too many and with the all black, you just can’t go wrong. However, these do come in 5 different colours if you wanted to turn things up.

Find it here:

Ray Ban                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               6. Bvlgari – Serpanti Forever Leather Shoulder Bag  ($1950)

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I’ll just start of by saying that I am beyond obsessed with the Bvlgari Serpanti collection, so every bag that falls under it would be on this post if I could but I can’t. Please do go and check it all out because something there will catch your eye and be total perfection for that special someone.

Find it here:

Selfridges

 

7. Diptyque – Baies Candle ($73)

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Diptyque just knows how to do it with their scents. This is probably one of their best selling and for a good reason that is. They last for yonkers and fill the air with the most divine aromas – this one in particular with a whiff of a bouquet of roses and a blackcurrant bush. I do recommend that you do go in store for a sniff just to ensure that its the right one for your person.

 

Find it here:

Mecca

 

8. Happy Plugs – Sound Piece Mini ($149)

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Just the pressie for the one that insists on booming music in every room. This speaker is minimalistic and at around 15cm, weighing less than a kg – it is super convenient. A guy, gal or kiddo could find of plenty use with this. It also has some some high tech features including Bluetooth connectivity, a battery lifespan of 15 hours and an emergency power bank to charge a phone on the run – this thing might just become their new constant companion.

Find it here:

Happy Plugs

 

9. T2 – Fruitalicious Loose Leaf Everyday Refill ($14-$35)

t2.PNGTea is just yum and fills you with warm happiness. A present you can consume is in my opinion, the best sort. A delicious blend of cranberries, blueberries, dragon fruit and goji berries – your taste buds will be thanking you.

 

 

 

 

Find it here:

T2

 

10. Dior – Diorama Précieuse Earrings ($17000)

dior.PNGHow freakin’ beautiful and in season are these earrings?! I’m loving the whole mismatching trend that’s going around right now; it’s kind of effortless but classy at the same time. The 18K Pink Gold, Diamond and Morganite all add up to the hefty price tag, but given the timelessness of these earrings the worth of it does go up often so it could also double as a good investment piece if you’re interested in that.

 

Find it here:

Only available in Dior Boutiques

 

11. Boda Skins – Jaws ($746.39)

jaws-gunmetal-zipped_1.pngA good leather jacket is essential to every wardrobe. It’s a basic, but this classic Boda Skins one is bound to wow. The quality is unbeatable, you may customise it to suite your taste in metal, colour or even have it engraved. A leather jacket is a definite go to gift for parents, siblings, partners – anyone really. The mullah that goes towards this is not at all realistic for most, but fear not there are so many dupes on the market – I found some from Zara, Target, French Connection, Asos and a few other places, which I’ll be sure to link below. Also remember to never forget the wonder of faux.

 

Find it here:

Boda Skins

Asos  ($82)

French Connection  ($169.95)

Zara ($95.52)

Target ($39)

 

12. Kailijumei Lipsticks ($22)

lips.PNGThese are clear lipstick infused with jelly, gold specks, and a tiny flower placed right in the centre – basically the glass encased rose from beauty and the beast. Anyone whose into beauty should fall in love with these much hyped lippes. To be honest, I don’t think I’d care if they didn’t have amazing colour pay off or whatever – I don’t really want it to to touch my lips; I’d love to just have it in my collection so I can admire it to my heart’s content.

 

Find it here:

Kailijumei

 

13. Parrot – Bepop Two Drone ($1299.99)

drone.PNGThis would be the most awesome thing to open up and fly around on Christmas day. This is mostly marketed towards guys but if this was the only thing I got, I would be beyond elated. I currently have a crappy one that doesn’t record footage but I still have the most fun with that so I reckon with the extensive capabilities with this funky gadget, life would be super great.

Find it here:

Parrot

 

14. Nespresso – Solo Capsule Coffee Maker (usually $199, now $169.15)

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Coffee, an essential aspect of human survival. A coffee maker at your home providing hot steamy goodness at the press of a button – no shitty customer service or long lines. Need I say more?

 

 

 

 

Find it here:

Myer

 

15. Ginia – Luxurious Robe ($299) 

robeSilk. Heaven on your skin pretty much. This is just so sexy and elegant and argh, I want it so bad. Navy also oozes chic and this will just last you a lifetime – I’m kind of obsessed. I don’t really know what else to say about this because it is just a robe and spending this amount of money for such an item may seem like complete idiocy for some but this just seems so irresistible, I am in in love.

 

 

 

 

Find it here:

Myer

 

16. Asos – Bow Tie and Pocket Square Pack ($18)

bow.PNG Often men don’t buy these snazzy items that are necessary for formal events. This set is inexpensive and I’m sure he will be grateful when rummaging through his drawer to find this handy set at a time of desperation. Simply genius.

 

 

 

 

Find it here:

Asos

 

17. Etsy – Minimalist Lavender Sachets ($33.10)

lavender.PNG For anyone like me, who takes forever to get to sleep – knows how much of a God-send lavender is. Even better, the little sachet is so very cute with grey polka dots on genuine cotton material. This could work with the decor of any household.

 

 

 

Find it here:

Etsy

 

18. Oroton – Salisbury Briefcase ($695)

oroton.PNGBehind every successful man is a darn good briefcase and this could be that briefcase for the men in your life. It’s the ultimate of style and sophistication and ensures that you can travel from meeting to meeting with comfort and ease – ‘tailored, timeless and iconic.’

 

 

Find it here:

Oroton

 

19. Country Road – Tassel Fringed Hat ($89.95)

hat.jpgSun safety, is always important. Especially in this season of jolliness (in Australia) where the sun is relentless. So why not do it with some style and the key piece of fringe from this season.

 

Find it here:

Country Road 

 

20. Lush – ‘The Magic of Christmas’ Reusable Bubble Bar ($10.95)

lushChristmas in your bathtub. Made to refresh and uplift, this all natural product is sure to tempt you at the end of a well-celebrated day. The ingredients have proven to ‘stimulate the skin and boost circulation’ and the aromas of sweet warmness, spice and zest will instantly rid you of those Grinch like moments. Worth every penny as it doesn’t just disappear after one bath – it can last you a long while depending on your bubble mood. A thoughtful treat indeed.

 

 

 

 

Find it here:

Lush

 

21. Edible Blooms – Luxury Chocolate Bloom ($175)

choc.PNGI mean…chocolate and flowers are a ‘can’t go wrong present,’ so when you combine the two – you know you have a winner. Ferrero Rocher and Lindt are so naughty and we often deprive ourselves from them throughout the year and so this will be such a lovely surprise to receive on Christmas and will be something they can truly savour. Also their Instagram will be thanking you as well.

 

 

Find it here:

Edible Blooms

 

I hope that ya’ll have a beautiful, blessed Christmas with you loved ones and that I’ve assisted in your present giving process; or entertained you at least? For those who this day isn’t too major on their calendar (like me) – I’m sure these gift would also definitely work out for any other occasion and that you too enjoy this very festive time of year and have a relaxed one.

Let me know of something things that you would love to be under your Christmas tree and any suggestions you may have for me.

Lots of love,

1/2 of the Two Crazy Youths

* Having some technical difficulty with formatting, so please bear with me until I sort it all out x

A Litany for Survival

It is of utmost importance that I bring to your attention African-American poet Audre Lorde’s statement on adolescent mental health, through the portrayal of societal ignorance and silencing of this alarming issue. Her renowned poem, A Litany for Survival alongside other contemporary references will be analysed, enabling the exploration of this youth issue. Ultimately, this poem concludes with the sombre understanding that society has created an environment where the survival of youth is not likely, so consequently Lorde demands that we stand up and let our struggles be vocalised for the better of our futures.

A Litany for Survival details the complicatedness attached to adolescent years and the blatant disregard of society towards the hardships and reality of our whirling state of mind affecting youth experiences today. Lorde describes the tumultuous moments surrounding adolescent’s navigation of mental illnesses through commentary upon society’s callous responses. Our obliviousness was epitomised in the confusion of situational sadness with the medical condition of depression as the hashtag #Igetdepressedwhen… “I don’t get Bieber tickets” and “1D goes on a break” offensively started to trend on Twitter. It’s quite impossible to dismiss Lorde’s call to break the silence that proves to be at the forefront of adolescent mental health. As Glenn Close – perhaps more easily identified as ‘the villain from 101 Dalmatians’ relates, “it is an odd paradox that a society, which can now speak openly and unabashedly about topics that were once unspeakable, still remains largely silent when it comes to mental illness.” Lorde’s poem accurately depicts the frustrations of adolescent’s living with a mental illness in a society where insensitivity is shamefully chosen. As the poet herself suggests we – the young people of 2016, need to speak up and bring more awareness to this youth issue.

Lorde’s use of metaphors throughout the poem “for those of us who live at the shoreline standing upon the constant edges of decision”, exemplifies the sense of jeopardy and aloneness felt by youth living in mental unrest which is so often hushed by our peers and families, “you’ll be fine” as they so often say; that finally it does become just that – ‘fine’ and mental illness becomes something that is normal, unchangeable and accept it as part of who we are, “imprinted with fear like a faint line in the center of our forehead learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk.” Society’s depiction of the years of youth as being the ‘golden ages’ and support without judgement being plentiful, “illusion of some safety to be found,” is a falsehood and realised with the obvious carelessness and stigmatisation of mental health that surrounds us on the daily, “the heavy-footed hoped to silence us” leading to the silent struggle of actuality that youth face to ‘get out alive’. The extensive use of the personal pronouns “us” and “we” serves to create an inclusive tone as well as highlight the enormity of this issue. This is most prominently used in the promotion of the underlying message of this poem which encourages youth to express their struggle knowing that society has skewed knowledge on the ‘ease of survival’, “so it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive.”

The poem’s title itself “A Litany for Survival” is a denotation of a communal prayer, and alike most prayers are offered, the speaker recognises their own insignificance and misgivings in relation to a power greater to themselves, establishing the influence that we as friends, siblings, cousins and even mere Facebook buddies or Snapchat story viewers have on the lives of youth going through a mental illness, with the concluding stanza offering the solution for we – either as those suffering or those that are ignorant to speak up. “In this poem we see shunned groups emerging from their silence and simultaneously empowering and restoring themselves with their new understanding.” We too must use our voices for the sake of our futures; to get out alive.

According to Beyond Blue Australia one in four young Australians currently has a mental health condition, although only 20% are willing to pursue help with the most common reasoning being ‘it’s not an actual issue.’ Epidemiologists have estimated that by 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disability throughout the world, trailing only ischemic heart disease. This is #notokay. The stigmatisation that we as a society have created around mental health is appalling and in fact, as demonstrated by Lorde –  stands in the way of youth asking for help and has created an environment in which the reality finds the teenage years to be a struggle to get out of alive and A-OK. Hans Pols, an Associate Professor at the University of Sydney recently commented on the ABC’s controversial Q&A segment titled ‘Mental As: Is mental illness a real disease?’ “The stigma associated with mental illness stops people from seeking help, and casting doubts on the nature of mental illness doesn’t help the situation either.” Eminem’s Academy Award winning song, ‘Lose Yourself’ encapsulates the emotions felt by someone who is experiencing mental illness, on the backdrop of societal reaction. There seems to be the expectation that youth are going through the best time of their lives, but the truth is far from what is promised, “snap back to reality, oh there goes gravity.” As reiterated by Dr. Pols, together we need to take the focus away from the shame and ignorance associated with adolescent mental health, and stop questioning “what is mental illness”, instead showing support and asking “what can we do to help.”

The silencing of mental illnesses in adolescents is a dangerous youth issue indeed and it is imperative that we change our mindsets on how we view and treat it #asap. We cannot afford to continue as is with our youth feeling any less of a person because we in 2016 can’t seem to comprehend the seriousness of this issue. Lorde’s ‘Litany for Survival’, urges us to speak suggesting that in current society’s environment survival of youth is unlikely, but with changes to how we deal with our responses to mental health can start the steps towards making our teen times not only survivable but enjoyable as well.

A List of Things I Wish to do Before Death

Everyone needs a bucket list to keep them going. It’s what keeps me sane.

1. Be invited to and attend a Fashion Week show – preferably in New York or Paris

2. Arrive at an airport an take a random international flight

3. Be fluent in French and Arabic and actually use it

4. Build an epic tree house

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5. Attend Wimbledon

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6. Get a degree in law and work in the International Court of Justice (and/or) the International Criminal Court

7. Taste truffles

8. Go skydiving

9. Have a separate room for my wardrobe

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10. Ride a mattress down a flight of stairs (Princess Diaries style)

11. Travel the world without being – or looking like an obvious tourist

12. Experience weightlessness – zero gravity

13. Stand in a prison cell in Alcatraz

14. Visit Area 51

15. Be a godparent

16. Have a skylight over my kitchen

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17. Have an engagement ring created for me

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18. Have a massive library in my house

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19. Create a complex conspiracy theory which actually makes sense

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20. Perform the religious pilgrimage of Hajj

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22. Own an original piece of artwork

23. Have a food fight

24. Solve a rubix cube

25. Go on a road trip

26. Operate a lemonade stand

27. Get a personal trainer

28. Be a member of an exclusive club

29. Have a meal with a group of people whom I admire the most

30. Sleep on a trampoline under a starry night

31. Receive a standing ovation

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32. Be given VIP access to the concert of my dreams

33. Cook every dish in one cookbook

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34. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

35. Go to Maccas at 12am in a ballgown

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36. Have a bath on a first class plane

37. Coin a word

38. Host a surprise party

39. Design and personalise my house to my heart’s content

40. Dance with an African tribe

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41. Experience a week of CIA training

42. Rent out an entire gold class cinema to myself and watch the movie in pajamas

43. Eat a full course meal prepared by a world-renowned chef

44. Send a letter to a random address

45. Be able to invest in designer bags

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46. Google search my name and have at least a page of results

47. Get a Doctorate degree

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48. Be on a panel discussing something I’m passionate about

49. Learn how to box

50. Randomly decide to join a flash-mob

51. Climb a lighthouse

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52. See a TED Talk live

53. Have a sun-room

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54. Attend a football World Cup final

55. Talk in and maintain varying accents for a week

56. Ride the scariest roller coasters in the world

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57. Be invited to the United Nations HQ

58. Be good at yoga

59. Learn to salsa and ballroom dance

60. Play a game of hide and seek in public

61. Stay on a private island

62. Get married

63. Have children

64. Become a grandparent

65. Successfully invest

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66. Shop at the European Christmas markets

67. Learn to say “hello” in 100 languages

68. Go shopping with a personal shopper

69. Start a scholarship fund/organisation for disadvantaged children from around the world

70. Go glamping

71. Be invited to the Buckingham Palace for an event

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72. Go to a sumo wrestling match

 

I’m sure this list will be forever growing and although some of these do seem kind of ridiculous and unachievable, I have quite enjoyed putting down a list of what I hope to do throughout my life and who knows – good shit does happen sometimes. Feel free to comment things that are on your bucket list and if you don’t have one I strongly recommend that you start compiling one… it really is very motivating.

 

Have a good one,

xxx – 1/2 of your Two Crazy Youths