Island Life by David Slack


Rage against the machines

Sometimes, things go wrong and our inner cave man comes out. The movie Office Space sees the hero and his two laid off friends drag a hated printer from their office out into an open field where they set upon it with baseball bats and extreme prejudice. The South Park people did much the same thing to Isaac Hayes' chef character. Who among us has not wrestled with these murderous feelings?

I can imagine Brian Connell wanting to do such things to Chis Faafoi's microphone. Or indeed Chris Faafoi. Why stop at house cats?

John Key would probably like to haul the word slippery from the dictionary and do damage to it if he could just get his hands around it.

Somewhere in IRD, there is surely a calculator that shows the signs of having been flung quite some distance.

All around the world, people great and small battle these wrathful urges. Robert Mugabe seems a man who gives in to them with few qualms. Hillary Clinton must battle them often, especially when the tape rolls once again and everyone remarks archly upon her courage under Bosnian sniper fire.

Who among us?

In the DIY phase of my life, the combination of my imperfect coordination and a hammer was an abiding source of misery. I would damage myself and commence to hammering something nearby with the utmost vigour a dozen or so times, cursing wildly, as I waited for the initial pain to abate.

Those days are behind me now, however I am still an occasional user of Windows, so I still know the sensation of extreme exasperation and impotent rage. The sounds I make are much the same but it's unwise to take a hammer to a computer.

This is not to say that some people haven't done so. Wired magazine knows the anguish. The title of their story is self-explanatory: Destroy Your Most Hated Gadget, Take Pictures


There are moments, they write, when you wish that your cellphone -- an otherwise helpful gadget -- had nerves and self-awareness so that you could cause it pain. Now is your chance to get even. Send them your pictures of catharsis. Or take vicarious pleasure in strolling through their gallery. So much destruction! So much deep satisfaction.


I have a contribution in mind. I wrote here and here of my encounters with a fried server. I have here at the world headquarters of speechesdotcom, the three dead disks from the most recent crash, freighted here all the way from the USA just so I could make some kind of cautionary art form out of them. Here are the three innocuous disks, crammed full of fractured noughts and ones that once gave up addresses, speeches and the hopes and dreams of website customers all around the globe. In less than a moment, they became a paperweight.


Keith Ng, who is the sweetest natured and wisest of young men, nevertheless possesses a cool, perfectly evil streak. I showed the disks to him and explained my plan. There was a perceptible sadistic glint in his eye as he pondered the possibilities, before settling on extreme heat stress, in a kiln. I like that a lot, but just in case I'm overlooking something even more satisfying, what suggestions does anyone else have?

I'm also looking to borrow a kiln.

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