The Null Device


Have I mentioned how wonderful Everything But The Girl's live version of The Smiths' Back To The Old House is? No dance beats, just a guitar and vocals. If any female vocalist can do Morrissey justice, it is Tracey Thorn. I'd love to hear them do a cover of Asleep, or Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me...


Ye gods, Vogonische Dichtkunst. That's right, someone has translated Vogon poetry into German.


News from Cannes: Bolshy British kitchen-sink film director Ken Loach has spoken out against current British film, saying that it's too concerned with being Hollywoodish. He has a point; most of the films coming out of the UK are rather formulaic. I blame Working Title and the "Cool Britannia" thing. Meanwhile, critical reaction to Baz Luhrmann's latest opus, Moulin Rouge, has not been the nigh-universal acclaim the Australian press would have us believe, with some critics dismissing it as little more than a music video aimed at adolescents. I guess we'll have to wait to find out.

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I went to the computer market in Collingwood today and bought an extra 128Mb RAM, doubling my Linux box's RAM. The change is quite impressive: I'm running Nyetscape 6.0, Windows 98/Internet Exploiter under VMware (with 60Mb allocated), and the GIMP, and it hasn't once touched swap. It's a lot cheaper than having a separate Windows machine for web browsing.


A short biographical piece on Douglas Adams, who passed away on Friday.

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An opinion piece from the Wall Street Journal argues that high-school cliques are good, that the parents of Alpha kids (cheerleaders, jocks, abercroms and such) should not feel stigmatised, because most of the anti-clique arguments come from former nerds and outcasts still bitter about being ostracised in high school. (One could probably argue that the clique system, with its subtexts of intense competition and conformity, is very useful for preparing children for taking their places in the consumer-capitalist world once they grow up.)


Retro-futurism: Some predictions for the year 2000, written in 1950.

Any marked departure from what Joe Dobson and his fellow citizens wear and eat and how they amuse themselves will arouse comment. If old Mrs. Underwood, who lives around the corner from the Dobsons and who was born in 1920 insists on sleeping under an old-fashioned comforter instead of an aerogel blanket of glass puffed with air so that it is as light as thistledown she must expect people to talk about her "queerness." It is astonishing how easily the great majority of us fall into step with our neighbors. And after all, is the standardization of life to be deplored if we can have a house like Joe Dobson's, a standardized helicopter, luxurious standardized household appointments, and food that was out of the reach of any Roman emperor?

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