ANU student Allison Lyson-Britchetts has released a surprise visual album this week on Tidal, titled Caffeinate. Many have speculated that some of the irate lyrics on the album are in response to an underwhelming essay mark for SUBJ2016. This suggestion mainly arose due to Lyson-Britchetts tendency to make less than subtle Facebook posts about the essay and course convenor, coupled with angry demands that friends “like.” The work consists of twelve tracks and an accompanying film. “I offered to let HBO screen it,” writes Lyson-Britchetts, “but they weren’t interested #ungrateful.”
Several lyrics hint to Lyson-Britchetts’s academic grievances. At one point, the student asserts that: “You know I give you funding / If you try this shit again / You gon’ lose your SELT reviews”. In another scene, Lyson-Britchetts states that, the next time her convenor wants a class representative, “She better call Becky with the GPA.”
But Caffeinate is about so much more than one disappointing mark. Within the work, Lyson-Britchetts endeavours to explore the suffering by the most maligned of all groups: white, upper middle-class students. In one scene, Burgmann residents hold up photos hold up photos of their parents’ law firms, to protest being tragically passed up for internships in favour of those who were chosen on merit. Lyson-Britchetts claims to have interspersed the film with “quotes from the great leaders and thinkers of our time”. In one scene, we hear British columnist Charles Moore’s eye opening revelation, “You often hear of people being ‘trapped in poverty’, but it is also possible to be trapped in wealth.” Lyson-Britchetts reflects on her heritage as a private school student from the North Shore of Sydney and the teachings of her father, singing: “My daddy warned me about people like you / He said baby girl they’re playing you / Cause when trouble comes in town / Oh, my daddy said sue”.
Lyson-Britchetts’s course convenor, Dr. Georgette Sharma, was contacted for comment. “I don’t understand this at all,” responded Dr. Sharma. “In one scene, Allison asks repeatedly, ‘What did I do wrong?’ If she downloaded the Turnitin revisions I made, she’d see that I left her pages of comments and feedback. For starters, her referencing was a complete mess. If she liked it, she should’ve put a citation on it.”