Grok. Still being printed for some reason.

I thought I had purged all my media bile this week, until someone reminded me again how bad Grok (Curtin Uni Guild Mag) has become. It claims that, “Grok is Australia’s biggest and best student-focused news magazine…” It’s not. If they substituted limp wristed for good, then maybe.

Although Murdoch’s Guild rag is fairly laughable, with apparently a call to give Communism one more go, at least it still has some fire. Passionately held but ridiculous views, wild condemning of the administration and the government is what student publications are supposed to be about, not a forum for Sizzler and Braziliano Coffee ads which are the highlights of Grok these days.

The Page 3 editorial begins, “Chapters. You hear people say they go through them all the time, but how do you define a chapter..? ” (Even Paul Murray wouldn’t cut and paste that.) The piece meanders on with gems of wisdom such as “Chapters are like pages of a book: The more you read, the more pages you turn, the more you know…”

That’s just drivel. You won’t believe me, but the line “An old American Indian told his grandson…” comes up later. I half expected Jesus to make an appearance in this piece too, but mercifully no. Perhaps next month.

There’s a half decent bit on Indian rag pickers later on, something about bumper stickers, but really, what happened to the old Grok? Someone has kidnapped it and is holding it hostage somewhere. Possibly at the New Idea Offices. Someone needs to get a posse together and rescue it.


About AHC McDonald

Comedian, artist, photographer and critic. From 2007 to 2017 ran the culture and satire site The Worst of Perth
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79 Responses to Grok. Still being printed for some reason.

  1. Bento says:

    Oh, for the early-90s glory days of Grok, under the stoned yet steady hand of Nathan Lynch.


  2. Cookster says:

    Nah Bento, it was teh mid 80s when Grok really shone… wish I could remember who our editor was… but I was quite impressed when he tapped me on the shoulder at a Go Betweens / Hunters gig in London a couple of years later… very fucking small world.


  3. The Bedford Crackpot Fraternity says:

    Was that big “Shuts” Mike Shuttleworth? Did Ray Purvis edit it once? Peter Bonner wrote some fine reviews. Think those guys are bailed up in Freo these days!


    • Bonner says:

      Ray Brindal was a great helmsman at ‘Grok’; Shuttleworth was a fine scribe; Bonner some kind of witty iconaclast. Don’t forget Chris “KK” Wright — he could string a few good words together. Shutts is in Brunswick; Bonner’s in Darwin; KK is at Dada Records in Perth.


  4. toothsoup says:

    I was lamenting this to a visiting british student today. All I saw in this month’s issue was ads, terribly written reviews (that gave The Guru the thumbs up!?), and more glossy, irritating ads. And what was with the fashion shoot that had a terribly photoshopped rainbow saturated over the length of it? How can we tell how the fashion looks (not that I could care less) if there’s a tie-die of colour splattered over it? Disappointing.


  5. Were they ads for bad fashion, or some kind of features?


  6. Paul Nurry says:

    I Paul Nurry at first blush would definitely cut and paste that line. How dare you? If Armstrong’s Mummy suddenly allowed him to sack i Paul Nurry, I paul Nurry could see myself editing at first blush Grok. we would begin by exposing the role of The Sunday Times in Wa Inc. Teh kids are still seething about how that shit went down at first blush.


  7. The Bedford Crackpot Fraternity says:

    Student culture is currently so sanitised and pacified by massive overheads & fees, that no-one has time or could be bothered challenging anything, writing anything vaguely anti-establishment or expressing anything new because they’ve largely all turned into stunned mullets and become captives of an unsustainable education system that teaches irrelevance!

    The only thing worth teaching anymore is the fine art of scone making, permaculture and knitting smocks.


  8. Rolly says:

    @7 B.C.F.

    This was all part of a right wing plot to distract the population as a whole from the fiscal fascist movement that has spread its suffocating embrace across the whole of the planet.
    The trouble is, in part, the reluctance of
    average mug punters to accept the fact that they are being scammed in almost every facet of their daily existence.
    WTF are people working so hard and for so long in a world that is steadily disintegrating around their very ears?
    We’ve been (and are still being) successfully CONNED.

    Here endeth todays rage from Methuselah’s great-granddad.


  9. Bento says:

    Rolly, do you write for Metior, by any chance? That’s certainly not the sort of smash-the-state firebrandism Grok would touch, these days.


  10. cimbali says:

    @7 BCF
    I don’t think you can knit a smock – you have to actually smock one which is another dying art.
    Maybe the fact that so many students take a gap year to travel the world or work for a living these days makes them realise what a great lurk being a student in Australia is.
    The don’t want to complain in case someone notices what a fine time they are having and make them stop.


  11. The BCF says:

    Hey Cimbali thanks for the heads up – Damn I’ve been caught out smocking behind the shed!

    I thought for students it was all hard times and Ivan Denisovich!!


  12. Hughie says:

    “Oh, for the early-90s glory days of Grok, under the stoned yet steady hand of Nathan Lynch.”

    Bento, that’s exactly who and what I was thinking of!


  13. Cookster says:

    @3 TBCF – it was Graham someone… circa 1985… black wavy hair, glasses, kinda George Costanza looking. Sorry Gra Gra if you’re out there.


  14. Rolly says:

    @9 Bento

    Write for the Metior? Me? Surely you jest.
    Murdoch Uni wasn’t so much as a twinkle in the eye of the State Planner when I was of an age to attend such an august institution.
    No, it is really just a sad case of me being an angry *old* man. Heh! Heh!


  15. Your avatar lookks like it could still write for Metior Rolly.


  16. Bento says:

    Your avatar looks like the top of Marx’s tombstone.


  17. Rolly says:

    Yeh, maybe, Bento, but it’s of an altogether more illustrious individual: Edward Lear!


  18. The BCF says:

    I thought graham senders was a guild pres not a grok editor – not sure!!


  19. Marx has Lear’s head on his tomb? It’s a political struggle…


  20. I believe Mr Senders is a TWOP reader. I don’t know his N de P though.


  21. Bento says:

    Workers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your runcible spoons.


  22. Cookster says:

    I’m sure it was Mr Senders who 1. tapped me on the shoulder at the London gig (or vise versa) and 2. Edited teh Grok…

    @the BCF – obviously the Costanza reference twigged it for you?


  23. Bento says:

    @12 Hughie – I had the pleasure of being Tim Brooke-Taylor to Lynchie’s Bill Oddie at a Student Journalist’s Association end-of-year fancy dress bash.

    Ahh, undergrad humour. Tis ever the same.

    Still, not being and Engineers’ do, we were at least spared the always hilarious spectacle of football players wearing frocks.


  24. margeryx says:

    Bento@21. I think workers of the (WA) world have quite a lot to lose just now. Their McMansions and big screen TVs are just two things that spring to mind.

    The question that needs to be answered is what have the workers got to gain?


  25. Rolly says:

    @24 margeryx,

    A bit of time for actually living, perhaps, instead of wasting their lives on “lifestyle” and its concomitant alienation from all things of real value.


  26. margeryx says:

    Sorry Rolly, ‘actually living’ just won’t cut it. What does that really mean? What kinds of activities make up actually living?

    We’ve been sold the ‘lifestyle’ and we’ve bought it.

    I can’t remember what we used to do before Gloria Jeans and retail therapy.

    I went to the forest recently, it’s still there, but now it has a nice coffee shop tucked next to a golf course.


  27. I would say go back to russia, but it would have to be go back to Murdoch these days.


  28. Bento says:

    Or Fremantle.


  29. I alway thought Carmen Lawrence would retire to a Dacha in Fremantle. I originally wrote Dascha, but that seems to be the name of a porn star.

    I could see Peter Dowding retiring to a Dascha, but not Carmen.


  30. BCF says:

    Murdoch have Rabbits roamin wild around the grounds man! (crack!) come teh revolution we’ll be needin’ dem rabbits!! Better start practisin’ your fricasee Marg! Now thats livin’ :)


  31. There was some talk of poisoning or shooting them when I worked behind the limestone curtain at Murdoch.


  32. Frank Calabrese says:

    [Murdoch have Rabbits roamin wild around the grounds man! (crack!) come teh revolution we’ll be needin’ dem rabbits!! Better start practisin’ your fricasee Marg! Now thats livin’ :)]

    Hire an Italian to round them up and make a profit selling em to all the Comare and Compare to feast on :-)


  33. BCF says:

    Aaahh bugger! so probably toxic infested inedible wildlife, oh well better go back to escargoe, latte’ & golf then!


  34. Rolly says:


    There ya go margeryx, you’ve obviously not had the time to work that out for yourself. ;)


  35. margeryx says:

    LA, I don’t need to go back to russia or Murdoch. The bank loaned me some money for my own slice of Tuscan on Perth.

    It’s warm inside the hive and all the other bees are buzzing so loudly you can no longer hear the approach of doom.

    Well, sometimes I still hear it’s echo, but I just crack open a bottle of SSB and flick over to Two and a Half Men.


  36. The BCF says:

    Rabbits go delightfully with a full bodied Cab Sav Marg :) bzzzzzz…!!


  37. margeryx says:

    Thanks for buzzing BCF, but if I ever find myself hunting and stewing wild rabbits I shall know that doom, or the glorious revolution, has arrived.


  38. Rolly says:

    Hey, margeryx,

    How the hell else do you think us poor pensioner persons get a bit of extra protein, Eh? Eh?


  39. BCF says:

    ……and are they delicious slightly melted upside down toffee apples on your avatar marg? They look rather exotic and damned tasty! We are getting very off topic here sorry!!


  40. margeryx says:

    Those are toffee apples, BCF, they are real, you can buy them in Vegas for US$4.00.


  41. Pingback: Ixnay on the Untcay « The Worst of Perth

  42. Slanderer says:

    Senders was indeed Grok editor in the 1980s. He wasn’t Guild President though. Lucky you, Cookster, being touched by the Hand of Grok at a Hunters gig.


  43. Cookster says:

    The bizarre thing about that gig was that hardly any of the local Londoners knew Hunters, so it was just a few stray aussies gathered around at the feet of Mark Seymour.


  44. ratbag23 says:

    I remember the editor of Grok in the early 80s as being an amiable fellow by the name of Ray Brindle. Anyway, the old rag certainly went downhill since 1982-83 when I used to contribute cartoons to it. Probably.


  45. Slanderer says:

    The problem was that Brindal was a bit too amiable. To borrow the cliche, methinks Grok was never as good as it used to be. I vaguely recall it being briefly rebranded for the 1990s as “Alowa” or similar, allegedly the traditional owners’ name for a student newspaper or something equally PC. Who was the editor then, Cockster?


  46. Rolly says:

    […..methinks Grok was never as good as it used to be.]

    Alas, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be ;P


  47. My Ning says:

    Ray Brindal edited Grok until the end of 1983 – I think he saw the writing on the wall when Ken Gibbons started taking over the guild again.

    Carolyn Thomson was then in control circa 84-85. She and a few others there were also eventually pissed off by the looney right who were running the guild.

    Unlike the above two, the entertaining Graham Senders (1986-87) kind of thrived in that environment – he thought they were just a bunch of self-deluded kiddies playing politics. He also spent some time in London and has a massive record collection, so it could well have been him at the concert. Unlike some of the others who ran the paper, though, he didn’t smoke pot.

    Haven’t seen Grok recently, but surely one of its low points was in the early 1990s when Steve Cannings ran it. I could never figure out how a guy who came so close to being thrown out of the English department because he was a lazy plagiarist could be employed by the guild to write its rag.


  48. The BCF says:

    “No you cant fool the children of TEH revolution” no,no,no, bullshit!! they’ve all been totally fooled!Come on Rolly – I feel a protest rally comin’ on!!


  49. margeryx says:

    Overheard at Murdoch Uni today and said without any sense of shame –

    “It’s good to see that America’s finally got a nigger president.”


  50. Ljuke says:

    Apparently there’s an opening for Grok editor. Let’s hope the new editor sacks the new bastards.


  51. Caribou Bob says:

    “Passionately held but ridiculous views, wild condemning of the administration and the government is what student publications are supposed to be about, not a forum for Sizzler and Braziliano Coffee ads which are the highlights of Grok these days.”

    Oh Please! The new kids on the block aren’t interested in these things – and why should we be? Let’s be honest, life is pretty sweet for most of the kids reading and writing for their uni mags.

    Secondly, student publications don’t have the benefit of compulsory fees to call upon anymore. Those Sizzler advertisements are basically the only thing keeping the diminishing number of student rags ticking over.


  52. Ljuke says:

    Grok can kiss my creative works.


  53. David Cohen says:

    A rejection, Ljuke??


  54. Hayley Davis says:

    I’m the new editor of Grok for 2012 and am keen to restore Grok’s good reputation of its ‘glory days’. I’d like to know what you thought made Grok great, and where you’d like to see it head in the future – if you’d care to contribute. Thanks!


  55. My Ning says:

    Every edition should have an op ed by Mark McGowan. He’s in Labor, Labor is left wing, and students are still left wing, right?


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