The Null Device
According to the local street paper, the Bogan Bagpiper has been evicted from Flinders St. station. Brian McLaughlin, resplendent in mullet, faded blue jeans and heavy-metal T-shirts, has been playing the bagpipes on the station's steps for 18 years, but has now been banned by Connex (the new private operators of the station). Can anyone say "privatisation of public space"?
South Africa, Paris, Sydney: In Sydney, groups of youths from a Middle Eastern subculture are finding empowerment by abducting and brutally gang-raping young anglo-Australian women, some as young as 13. Police fear the attacks may be a racially-motivated and may have become an institution. (via Lev)
The War On Copying: According to some Extropian types, most US citizens are classifiable as "cyber-terrorists", under new corporate-friendly laws. This follows an argument that 55 million Napster users are federal felons. (All those skilled techie inmates should do wonders for the US prison labour industry, not to mention the correctional-services industry lobby; perhaps they'll even be able to release some classes of low-skilled crackheads to make room for them), and the denunciation of that group of pinko commie subversives, librarians, as enemies of copyright. (Known radical and un-American elements among librarians have been instrumental in supporting Napster and opposing the ban on DeCSS.) (ta, Mitch)
Film Festival: Tonight I went to see Possible Worlds, a Canadian thriller based on the premise that everything that can exist does exist, in some possible world. It was quite good, in a surreal kind of way; the photography was spectacular in places, and there were both funny and thought-provoking moments, though parts of it seemed a bit vague and confusing (though, with the premise being what it is, one can expect that; still, towards the start, I was half-expecting a Greg Egan-esque hard scifi treatment). It's a film that could benefit from a second viewing, though one it's unlikely to get given that it only screened at the film festival here and is unlikely to make general release or end up on a DVD.
(What is it about Canadian films anyway? If they're not dealing with incest or necrophilia or somesuch, they're edgy sci-fi mindfucks. Perhaps it's the need, deeply ingrained in the Canadian psyche, to differentiate their films from the committee-scripted, focus-grouped lowest-common-denominator swill that comes from south of the border?)