The Null Device
Bizarre art item of the day: Roses and kittens. Wonder why nobody bid on it; you'd think that there'd be at least one weirdo who would be willing to put it on their mantlepiece or give it to their girlfriend for her birthday or something.
Human Rights Watch are claiming that, in the U.S., prison officers routinely encourage prison rape, or at least don't do anything to prevent it and refuse to prosecute offenders. Not really surprising; after all, you don't want to do anything that reduces the value of prison as a deterrent to the scumbags who may steal your SUV or push marijuana to your kids.
Researchers in China have developed heat-sensitive paint; a building painted with this paint would reflect light in warm climates and absorbs heat in cold climates. The paint will also change between warm and cool colours, matching the season.
A new book about the dot-com gentrification of San Francisco and the driving out of artists by SUV-driving, stock-optioned pinks, has come out. Rebecca Solnit's Hollow City aspires to be the next City of Quartz; except possibly for the fact that it came out after the dot-com crash; and possibly some debatable facts.
Great fraternity traditions: A newsletter from a fraternity at an American university has caused an uproar by publishing (among other things) a guide on date-rape techniques. The university authorities are threatening to deregister the fraternity. I hope that the woman who sent it to the authorities has bodyguards...
Italian scooter fans may have to scrap their aging Vespas under new environmental regulations in Italy. Or they could sell them on eBay, in the hope of them getting snapped up by indiekids overseas.
Comedy Festival: Tonight, I went to the final session of Dave O'Neill and Fred Rowan's show at the Prince Patrick. I really enjoyed it; it was one of the best shows I've seen in the Festival. First the warm-up act came on, a stand-up comedian named Adam Rosensomethingorother who fired off a succession of lines and got the audience laughing.
Then Fred Rowan performed; Rowan specialises in parody songs, and mimics the styles of singers and rock stars quite accurately. He took the piss out of commercial radio, classic-rock stations, and took off a number of musicians, from John Lennon to U2, from Slim Dusty to Michael Bolton (singing I Only Used You For Sex in the throaty voice of the latter, replete with big-ballad electric piano and Kenny G-esque saxophone riffs in the background, most amusingly), and later did as an encore an old song he did about Jeff Kennett (a man who did a lot for comedy, though none of it intentionally).
Dave O'Neill came on next, cracking jokes and harrassing a bloke named Ian in the audience ("Where do you live?" "Glen Iris? Nice leafy suburb. The heroin hasn't spread there yet."); later, he and Rowan teamed up and did a song about living in the inner city and longing for the outer-suburban wasteland of Ringwood; a song I found most amusing, having lived out in Ferntree Gully for a decade and a half.
I was going to see a play called Guerilla Film School today as well, but the matinee was cancelled, and I had to choose between that and An Evening With Dave & Fred. Oh well.