The Null Device
Wisdom, a website which generates a new secret cosmic truth every time you visit it; adapted from a crackpot-theory generator script I wrote some years ago. Heh.
A NYTimes article about Verlan, a French argot spoken by immigrants and countercultural hipsters, in which words are arbitrarily reversed. I suppose it's sort of like a French equivalent of Palare, the English gay/carnival argot.
Thus the standard greeting "Bonjour, ça va?" or "Good day, how are you?" becomes "Jourbon, ça av?" "Une fête" (a party) has become "une teuf"; the word for woman or wife, femme, has become meuf; a café has become féca; and so on. The word Verlan itself is a Verlanization of the term l'envers, meaning "the reverse."
Originally a criminal argot in the 19th century, Verlan was adopted by second-generation immigrants after World War 2, and now by bourgeois trendies and rebellious teens. Perhaps not a small part of its countercultural appeal is going against the mainstream dogma of linguistic purism and sticking it to the Académie Française.
Ms. Lefkowitz explained: "There are now different kinds of Verlan. There is the Verlan of the original group, the working class immigrants from the banlieus. Then there is the Verlan of the urban professionals, bourgeois Verlan or `Verlan geoisbour.' There is also the Verlan of the teenagers who use it to distinguish themselves from the adult word as a game and a form of amusement."
German laptop/glitch record label Morr Music have released a Slowdive tribute compilation. Titled Blue Skied An' Clear, the first disc contains covers by the likes of Múm, Manual, Isan and a number of other artists of that stripe. The songs covered include the obvious choices (from Just For A Day and Souvlaki) as well as parts of Slowdive's now-deleted minimalist masterpiece Pygmalion (the title track and Crazy For You are listed). Disc 2 is apparently all original compositions in a similar direction; not too sure about that, but it may be interesting. More information is on the darla.com new releases page. (via the Avalyn mailing list)
¡Oye Esteban! Miserablist pop star par excellence Morrissey has become a cult figure among young Latinos in Los Angeles, and nobody quite knows why. Morrissey's new fans aren't mopey white suburban kids (no, those have rap-metal and industriogoth to angst along to), but marginalised Mexican youth in the space between Hispanic and anglo-American culture but not quite belonging to either. And thus, tattooed, macho homeboys openly cry along to Smiths songs, whilst refusing to believe that Morrissey might be gay.
"Some nights I lay in my bedroom and I listen to 'There Is a Light That Never Goes Out,' and I cry," he tells me. "I cry and cry and cry. I cry like a little bitch, man."
"People are always asking me if I'm gay because I have a photo of Morrissey hugging Johnny Marr," says Alex Diaz, a 16-year-old Smiths fanatic who plans on joining the marines when he's old enough. "My friends always ask me, 'Why do you like these queers?' But, you know, he's probably just bisexual. His songs aren't all about guys. Look at 'Girlfriend in a Coma'--that's about a girl. I think there probably would be some people who'd hate it if Morrissey ever came out and said he was gay, but, personally, I don't really care. And like I said, he's probably bisexual."
Mind you, the few remaining aging anaemic, besweatered wallflowers from the 1980s who haven't grown out of their Smiths phase don't quite know what to make of the new Morrissey fan subculture, one which they are as much outsiders in as they were back in high school:
"People have actually said to me, 'You like Morrissey? That's weird for a white guy.' And I find that completely bizarre," Hensley tells me, momentarily dropping his veil of irony for a grain of semi-sincere annoyance. "Most of the other people here wouldn't even know who Jarvis Cocker is. They only like Morrissey. We just came here to make fun of people."