The Null Device


Oh yes, I got Blue Skied An' Clear (the Slowdive tribute CD) in the mail today. I've only listened to part of the first disc so far, and it has its highs and lows. It's rather German and laptoppish and minimal in places, which sometimes works and sometimes not. (As you can imagine, the Pygmalion covers work better than the wall-of-noise shoegazing ones, especially with guessed lyrics sung in high, thickly-accented voices. Manual's cover of Blue Skied An' Clear is particularly nice.)

(And nice to know that the Ulrich Schnauss' approach to Crazy For You is quite different from the one I've been working on for a year or so too...)

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Apparently the new Fischerspooner album is getting a local release; I may have to check it out. Bec Hornsby just played a track from it on her programme on 3RRR; it's much as I expected, stilted synthpop-inspired beats. I get the impression of them being to the 80s what the mid-90s Britpop movement were to the 60s, or perhaps Air to the '70s; not so much a slavish imitation as a reinterpretation and an updating. (Or perhaps an appropriation or opportunistic plundering.)

(Which makes one wonder what the '90s-inspired artists in a decade's time will be like. Grunge revivalists, perhaps, or 'old-style' commercial techno-pop with 909s and 303s in the mix; only done as an ironic reference, with a 'teens sensibility?)

Btw, while I'm on the topic, I think the word "electroclash" sounds rather daft; as it (i.e., Fischerspooner, Ladytron, Felix Da Housecat) doesn't sound particularly clashy, or indeed like The Clash. I prefer Mag/Tif's term "neo-electro". Then again, most music-journalist-coined genre names initially sound silly and ill-fitting (e.g., "goth", "shoegazer", "britpop", etc.)

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The bloke with the trolley has just turned up to move all my stuff. Today I'm being relocated from my existing office to a broom closet downstairs. (Oh, it has a window; just that it's into someone else's office.) Fun, fun.


You mean to tell me that the census results won't result in government funding for Jedi academies?


A Liberal (i.e., conservative) parliamentarian in Western Australia recently took part in a slave-for-a-day auction to raise funds for the local Rotary club. His services were bought by a local brothel madam, who outbid a local Labor MP (among others), and intends to get her money's worth:

"I thought I would start him off with a frilly apron and he could clean the brothel," she said. "[He would] see that not all brothels are dirty and I think I will have the most fun teaching him how to massage."

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The World's Leading Nation: In the US, 3% of the population are in gaol or on probation; most of these are convicted of drug-related crimes. Perhaps in a few years' time, Howard's Australia will end up following this lead, with massive prison cities in the desert housing hundreds of thousands of inmates, mostly those on the wrong side of morality legislation. (via

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Another (somewhat more detailed) article, this time in the Grauniad, about the Blackshirts, the adamantly non-racist, neo-fascist, extreme "men's movement". This time it goes beyond the scary uniforms and the this-is-not-a-swastika logos and actually gets these gents' opinions (which are, as one might expect, somewhat unhinged): (via Feorag)

The Blackshirts say that their only intention is to promote the sanctity of marriage, and they believe that to achieve this aim adultery should be punishable by death. Furthermore, they warn that if the law does not change they may resort to dragging adulterers from their homes and lynching them.
One Blackshirt, who gave his name only as Dominic, admitted that he had been refused custody of his daughter because of an unfavourable psychological report, but put the result down to bias in court.

Gee, I wonder why...

(It reminds me of the guy in the Bourke St. Mall with the signs about how The Simpsons and rock lyrics are full of Masonic codewords, who claimed that the Freemasons were trying to destroy him because he got in fights with the sons of Masons when he was a boy, and now whenever he gets a job, they deliberately set it up so that he gets in a fight and is dismissed.)

Mr Abbott claims that a fifth of Blackshirts are female and that a women's arm of the organisation is about to be established. But there were no women at yesterday's demonstration. "They do more the administrative work," he explained.

I'll bet they do...

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A number of scholarly (or perhaps pomo-wanky, or perhaps both) books are coming out looking at punk 25 years on. (via Rebecca's Pocket)

When punk emerged, it scrambled the distinctions between high and low culture even more severely than bebop jazz (whose practitioners sometimes wore "existentialist" goatees and horn-rimmed glasses) had in the late 1940s. The term "punk" had been coined in 1971 by critics who, disgusted by what they considered pretentious "art rock," were championing obscure American groups from the 1960s such as the Sonics and the Thirteenth Floor Elevators -- garage bands that made up in energy (and volume) what they lacked in instrumental finesse.
By the time newsmagazines and record companies were discovering punk, in 1977, a second generation of experimentalists had emerged, called No Wave, in which musicians abandoned rock primitivism for even more extreme musical experiments. (The feminist group Y Pants played amplified children's instruments, while the guitarist for DNA scraped and plunked on an untuned electric 12-string.)

Children's toys? Could those be the origins of Casiopunk?

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Mobile phones are getting insanely feature-packed these days. Take, for example, the Nokia 7650; which contains a digital camera, Bluetooth networking, and an OS with user-level multitasking and custom-loadable applications. It makes my 3210 look quaint; though I'm not sure whether a phone that multitasks and can download add-ons is necessarily a good idea. (I wonder how long until there are viruses and worms infecting these things, and spreading themselves as Klez-style MMS messages between users.) Nonetheless, it looks very doovy indeed. (For one, it can use MIDI files as ringtones; and the screen is larger than my Visor's.) (via the Reg)


Steven McDonald, former bass player from punk-pop band Redd Kross, bought the White Stripes album and found something missing -- namely, bass lines. So he added his own and posted the "improved" tracks to his web site. Gradually the uninvited bassist became more comfortable with his role, and his enhancements evolved from the missing bassline to edgy counterpoints and even additional vocals. Unfortunately, the MP3s are gone now, though various online felons are undoubtedly bootlegging them all across the digital underground. (via Techdirt)

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