HEATH LEDGER RIP #HeathLedgerRIP

This article was originally published the day after Heath Ledger died. It was my way of coping with a celebrity death that genuinely shook me. Fourteen years later, I repost it. Read the original editorial note below to understand what I was trying to do here. Enjoy.

Editorial note: A slightly surrealistic spoof of a tabloid article in the style of The Sun or somesuch. The paper is temporarily called The Fun.

–       Bryan A J Parry (23/1/08)

HEATH LEDGEND

ACTING HYPERSTAR HEATH LEDGER, HEREAFTER KNOWN VARIOUSLY AS HEATH LEDGER, HEATH, HEATH LEDGEND, OR “THE LEDGE”, HAS DIED. However, unlike in Heath’s blockbuster smash “The Brothers Grimm”, this isn’t all just a scam set up by conmen wiggling some duvet covers from the rafters and going “woo” a bit. He really is dead.

His brief but glamorous career saw him play such diverse roles as a knight in shining armour in the to be posthumously renamed “Heath Ledger’s A Knight’s Tale”. Whereas “Brokeback Cowboy” saw The Ledge playing the part of a gay cowboy who became crippled in a freak riding accident. And his last ever film, “The Dark Knight” (starring Batman, not Trevor McDonald as stated in yesterday’s The Fun), in an ironic twist of fate, has Ledgend play the part of the affable joker, a far cry from yesterday’s events, as nothing is less funny than dying. Life imitating art? No.

“The Dark Knight” will be on general release on pirate in the Spring. Turn to page 8 for your first six, free Heath Ledgend-shaped Bat-tokens.

The world of celebritydom was devastated.

Deranged racist Mel Gibson took a moment to reflect amid his hectic schedule of evangelising to say something decent for a change.

“As an Australian [and white], it is painful to hear of the death of a brother [and fellow milk-skin]. My thoughts and prayers, and the thoughts and prayers of my wife, my children, my church, and my fans are with him”.

Gibson, 52, went on to say how he is considering the viability of a bioflick based loosely around Heath Ledgend’s life.

“It will probably have him [ = Heath “The Legend” Ledgend] reprising his role as William Thatcher from ‘A Knight’s Tale’, but twisted and enraged by the death of his brother in my civil war masterpiece ‘The Patriot’. It’s probably gonna be necessary to computer animate it, and I’ve been talking to Dreamworks about this”. When asked if having a dead man star in his own production was even possible, Gibson shrugged his shoulders. “Tupac manages it”, he said.

“Why has God taken one of our finest actors from us? The Jews!!” Gibson added, in a moment of rare, frothy-mouthed passion, it has been alleged. Gibson was unfortunately unable to confirm or deny the rumoured outburst of rabidity as he was on a rally at the time, we assume.

Bruce Wallaby, producer of Home and Away in the 80s, recalls his memory of the late Heath: “I remember seeing this scrawny, blonde, mop-haired kid on the set one day. Thought it was some local kid trying to catch a glimpse of his idols. So I called security”. Only later on that evening, when Ledger had been released from jail, did Wallaby realise he’d seen actor legend-in-the-making, Heath Ledgend.  

“I’m deeply saddened. In Leith Hedger Britain has lost one of her finest daughters”, said Secretary for State, Jacqui Smith MP.

The PM was equally moved, saying: “Little Larry was only three years old. My deepest thoughts go out to his family at this time”.

The Fun newspaper urges all readers to fill in the coupon below with your name and address to support our “Legends Never Die” campaign where we petition the PM to put his money where his mouth is – not literally – and officially change Heath Ledger’s name by Deed Poll to “Heath Ledgend”. It’s what Heath would have wanted.

In other news, Heath Ledgend’s “Brothers Grimm” co-star Matt Damon was fined for speeding. He has accrued three Hollywood points.

© 2008, 2022 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://wallpapersdsc.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Heath-Ledger-4K.jpg

New Zealand Flag Referendum 2 #nzflag @noflagnz

Flag_of_New_Zealand_svg

DISCLAIMER: this post is a little late, but it got lost in my drafts!

New Zealand has voted to keep its current flag. The good news is that when they have a vote on this again in around twenty years, my NZL flag designs might stand a chance of getting picked!

I think anti-British opinion or a let’s-forget-the-past mindset are more prevalent in Australia than in New Zealand. Therefore, Australian might well change their flag first — and so NZL and Australia’s flag will no longer be similar, as this was one reason people gave for changing the NZL flag.[1]

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

[1] http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11353071

featured image https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3e/Flag_of_New_Zealand.svg

 

New Zealand Flag Referendum #nzflag @noflagnz

Kyle_Lockwood%27s_New_Zealand_Flag

So voting has begun in the New Zealand flag referendum. I’ve gotta say, I like the alternative flag design by Kyle Lockwood. It really is very good. But to me it lacks the necessary gravitas. Why? Well, it looks a bit more like a logo than a national flag. To my eyes, anyway. I think it’s to do with the way the fern is incorporated into the design. I would like to put forward my own ideas again as first shown online almost two years ago:

My new New Zealand flag ideas.

By my personal favourite is this one:
FLAGS
Of course, that’s if New Zealand should change its flag at all. And I’m not sure I think it should.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

Useful link: https://www.govt.nz/browse/engaging-with-government/the-nz-flag-your-chance-to-decide/gallery/design/2166

featured image from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4c/Kyle_Lockwood%27s_New_Zealand_Flag.svg

New Zealand Flag Debate

NEW ZEALAND FLAG DEBATE

Background

The Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, has said he wants to change the flag of New Zealand. The country needs a new flag to “acknowledge our independence”, and to represent modern New Zealand, rather than the current flag which, he says, “symbolises a colonial and post-colonial era whose time has now passed”. He calls for a flag that represents New Zealand as “it is now” rather than as it “once was”. He feels so strongly about it that he’s just announced that he’ll call a referendum on the issue within the next three years.

Of course, unless you’re totally ignorant, you’ll know what he’s talking about; the New Zealand flag, in a potentially twee and amusing manner, still has the British Union Jack stapled in the corner. This was standard across the Empire.

All the Colonies had a similar flag design: in the top left-hand corner (technically, the “canton”), the Union Flag; the rest, a field (usually red or blue) with some kind of coat of arms standing for the colony in question. Here are some examples.

bermuda falklands biot canada

Bermuda, Falklands, the British Indian Ocean Territory, and Canada. Wait, what? Yes, Canada’s flag looks a little different here. It was only in 1965 that the flag was changed to its current maple leaf design. There was an outcry for a new flag to show that Canada is its own country, no longer a colony of the “mother country”.

Canada's "new", iconic flag

Canada’s “new”, iconic flag

Papua New Guinea's flag

Papua New Guinea’s flag

And similar voices can be heard in Australia and New Zealand, two countries which periodically consider ditching their colonial-style flags. I’m not going to weigh in on whether they should ditch their flags — but to say that a mere 28% of New Zealanders currently want to change the flag — I’m only going to make some suggestions for what they might want to change their flags to if they decide to change their flags at all.

But before I go on, it’s worth noting that out of New Zealand and Australia, NZL might have more cause to change; people often mistake their flag for the Australian one, but nobody ever mistakes the Aussie flag for the kiwi one! Poor New Zealanders. And so this article will only concern itself with the New Zealand flag.

What Makes a Good Flag?

A good flag should be iconic, recognisable, unmistakable, and should resonate with what the nations stands for and its heritage; yet, equally, it should be simple. So, here’s some criteria:

  • Recognisable
  • Reflect nation’s culture and/or history in a non-partisan way
  • Simple, powerful design
  • Sounds obvious, but: should be well-designed and look like it could actually be a real flag

Canada’s maple leaf flag, as well as the flags of other ex-colonies such as Papua New Guinea, provide good models for what is possible.

Depicting an Entire Culture in a flag

A New Zealand flag should probably represent both European and Maori heritage. But it shouldn’t imply the two are distinct or cannot co-exist. Indeed, it should show the oneness of the nation without implying homogeneity. Tricky. I think that, instead of European symbols or Maori iconography, a safer model is that followed by Canada and Papua New Guinea: let’s look to nature, something all Kiwis can get behind. It seems to me that New Zealand has three widely recognised emblems, two of which are unmistakably only New Zealand, all three of which are nature motifs. They are:

  • The Southern Cross (with red stars): a symbol shared with other Pacific nations
  • The Silver Fern
  • The Kiwi bird

Note also that the widely-recognised de facto New Zealand colours are black and white.

I suggest that any flag worthy of our four design goals and worthy of the Kiwi people, regardless of their ancestry, would incorporate one or more of these three symbols plus the black-white colour scheme.

Therefore, I humbly make the following suggestions.

Flag Idea 1: “Swiss Style”

"Swiss-style" NZL flag

“Swiss-style” NZL flag

I call this the “Swiss Style” Flag. It’s a square, like the Swiss flag, which along with the Vatican flag is one of only two square flags in the world. A square flag: now that’s distinctive. It also features the black and white New Zealand colours. And the current red-starred Southern Cross. The red of the stars also echo British and Maori colours. And I think that the use of arguably the most powerful colour combination ever — red, white, black — is another plus.

It ticks all four of our criteria. A great flag if I do say so myself.

Flag Idea 2

PNG inspired NZL flag

PNG inspired NZL flag: black kiwi on white

PNG inspired NZL flag: all black white kiwi

PNG inspired NZL flag: all black white kiwi

This flag is most obviously inspired by the Papua New Guinea example due to its bird motif: a Kiwi-style Southern Cross in the Kiwi colour scheme with the most Kiwi of all Kiwi things: a Kiwi. The PNG flag of course features the national bird of PNG. Exactly the same as the Flag Idea 1 above but expanded to include the bird.

Two variants: one all black, one with a black kiwi on a white field. Proportion is 1:2, the same as the present New Zealand flag. But we might decide to opt for, say, 3:5; certainly the all black version looks better to me as 3:5. Why? Because there is a more aesthetically pleasing gap between the kiwi and the Southern Cross (the split white/black version does not seem to have as large a gap due to the wonders of optical illusion).

Again, ticks all four criteria.

Flag Idea 3

Black fern NZL flag

Southern cross and black fern NZL flag

All black southern cross and silver fern NZL flag

All black southern cross and silver fern NZL flag

This flag is the same as Flag 2 but goes in the Canadian direction of opting for plant life. Yes, that other NZL symbol: the silver fern. Again, two variants: one all black, and one with a white half.

Another design which fits our four criteria.

Flag 2 + 3

"All of the above" NZL flag

“All of the above” NZL flag

Basically a combination of Flag Ideas 2 & 3. I like that this one incorporates all three of the Kiwi symbols in one flag. It’s somewhat busier, of course, but I think it works very nicely. This could also work with a white kiwi and fern.

Flag 4*

Blue Fern and Southern Cross NZL flag

Blue Fern and Southern Cross NZL flag

This tries to be more conservative by essentially leaving the flag as it is but for the removal of the Union Jack on the left-hand side and its replacement by the fern. It also happens to be my least favourite one — mainly because of the colour scheme, but also because I feel putting the cross to the right of the fern looks a bit clumsy (to me). I think both that the Southern Cross is a must, and that it must replace the Union Flag on the left-hand side (the “hoist”) of the flag.

Flags 5 & 6

Couple more variations on the above.

Natural Heritage Black Background with White Stripe NZL flag

Natural Heritage Black Background with White Stripe NZL flag

 

Canada-like Arrangement Natural Heritage NZL flag

Canada-like Arrangement Natural Heritage NZL flag

Conclusion

So there we are. Whether New Zealand ever changes its flag or not, and I express no opinion either way, I believe my designs are pretty fricking awesome. What do you think? (if you disagree, you’re wrong)

 

Footnote

*I came up with all flag designs on this page. However, whilst that therefore includes Flag Design 4, I genuinely don’t remember if the flag 4 herein used was physically designed by me, or whether I saw that someone else had come up with the same design and so decided to borrow their construction.

References

“New Zealand to hold referendum on new, ‘post-colonial’ flag”  by Toby Manhire (11th March 2014)

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/11/new-zealand-to-hold-referendum-on-new-post-colonial-flag

http://www.nzflag.com/

http://www.silverfernflag.co.nz/

http://nzflaginstitute.org/

http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/photo/calls-new-flag

© 2013 – 2014 Bryan A J Parry