The Null Device


Welcome to the Digital Millennium: In the spirit of the AOLTW executive who described skipping commercials as theft, here's a list of 10 new copyright crimes for the new millennium; these include things such as inviting friends over to watch pay-per-view and changing radio channels during commercials (which will probably be automatically disabled by legally-mandated standards when digital radio arrives anyway). And, of course, blocking pop-up ads. (via

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I just came back from the 555 Recordings/Red Square Records (i.e., Stewart and Jen's respective labels) popfest at the Empress. Some 7 acts played there tonight, playing everything from jangle-pop to electro-pop, with a definite indie slant. (I.e., none of the dross that passes for "pop" in the wasteland of commercial radio.)

First up was Jen Turrell's act; accompanied by husband and co-organiser Stewart on bass, and a TR-606 drum machine on a MiniDisc, she played guitar and sang some rather nice jangly indie-pop, including a cute little number based on the old Twinkle Twinkle Little Star melody. Ashtrayboy were guitar-pop with trumpet and melodica (that's that keyboard thing that you blow into), and Driving Past were similar, only with an old electronic organ. Then came Bend Over Boyfriend, a gender-bending Mod/power-pop act from Washington DC, playing all three of his songs, including an encore of "The Kids Are All Gay", accompanied by Stewart and Jen. They played a tight, punchy set, and were quite impressive. Other People's Children sounded a little synthpoppy only more abstract, with electronic backing tracks, guitars, Casio keyboards and vocals. Origami were a mostly female post-punk pop with alternately sung/shouted vocals and a fair bit of jumping about. Then finally The Lucksmiths went on; they played a somewhat stripped down set, as one of the members had his arm in a sling. There was little percussion, and mostly understated vocals and folk guitar strumming, though complemented with a xylophone in places, to good effect.

Oh yes, and needless to say I spent too much money at the CD table they had there; though, to be fair, Jen gave me a discount given how many I was taking home.

Tomorrow night, the second and final night of Popfest, promises to be just as good, with Boyracer, Minimum Chips and Even As We Speak just three of the acts involved.

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