The Null Device
Add to your reading list: The Ironic Times; sort of like an all-headlines version of The Onion, with barbs like "Playing Violent Video Games Said to Improve Children's Visual Attention Skills Reading books hurts skills, and should be discouraged.", "Bush Promotes Thinning of Forests: It will mean `fewer trees for bad guys to hide behind.'", "Iraqi Oil Flowing Again. Water, electricity to follow.", and "Smithsonian Photo Exhibit of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Moved Downstairs, Behind Cafeteria; Photos judged "too beautiful" for originally planned display.". Though they seem to have an obsession with mass nudist gatherings, for some reason. (via Anthony, who's doing a good line in right-on political headkicking)
Something for the outsider-art fans: a list of notable music by the mentally ill and eccentric, from Joe Meek to Syd Barrett to Wesley Willis:
T. Valentine, "Hello Lucille, Are You a Lesbian?"
If a bloodline could be traced from Wesley Willis, it would lead straight to this R&B catastrophe, who in 1982 dedicated this song to his wife after she came out of the closet. "I hate all lesbians," T. Valentine emotes with a pronounced lisp (hmmm).
Richard Peterson, "New Young Fresh Fellows Theme" (PopLlama, 7-inch single)
You've probably seen the large-statured Peterson blowing his trumpet around town. Peterson, who could have played the lead in Sling Blade, has recorded four albums and this 1992 single, in which he wrote and arranged a new theme for YFF (which is musically brilliant), insisting in the lyrics that YFF should add Peterson to the fold.
Self-proclaimed "vampire" gunned down in Melbourne. And this less than a week after a guy tried to hijack a plane to Tasmania with wooden stakes. What's going on here?
The Howard government's back-to-the-1950s paternalism strikes again, as the OFLC bans a widely acclaimed film, which was expected to screen at the Sydney and Melbourne film festivals. Film festivals are normally exempt from the classification process, but are required to submit a list of films to be screened, and it just so happens that Ken Park, the film intended to be screened, had been found objectionable before:
The classification board, in a six to one decision, refused classification, finding Ken Park "deals with matters of sex in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality".
Bravo to the OFLC for defending Australians' right to not be offended, cementing Australia's status as a safe haven of traditional values, and bringing forward the day when this great country will be a place where one can live out one's entire days without ever being challenged by decadent "art" or made to feel uncomfortable. Who needs international film festivals anyway?
EMI executive waffles on "copy control", the behemoth's vaunted CD copy-protection scheme, repeating the usual homily about CD-R/MP3 piracy killing the music industry and unconvincingly denying consumer concerns. Meanwhile, EMI are quietly releasing unprotected Red Book CDs; first the new Radiohead single came out clean, and now the new album from those known anti-corporate radicals The Dandy Warhols is out and bears no "Don't Buy Me" stickers.
Recently aircraft were banned from the skies above Disneyland, to prevent terrorists from striking America in its heart (and to prevent competitors from advertising to its customers; one of the profitable side-effects of the War On Terror). Now Christian Fundamentalist groups are suing to have the ban lifted on Gay Days, allowing them to overfly the park with giant banners condemning homosexuality. Words fail me. (via MeFi)
I got around to seeing the new Matrix film tonight. Village City Centre has been showing it every day on the hour for the past few weeks in all their cinemas; the session I was in had about a dozen people.
So what did I think? The effects were very slick, in a TV-commercial sort of way (the sheer amount of work that doing all that must have involved is mind-boggling), and the philosophy wasn't completely gutted (as some commentators said it was). In places it seemed to go randomly from one impressive set/stunt sequence/effect to another, using the fact that it's-all-in-a-computer as a massive deus ex machina to get away with it, and parts of it seemed unclear, but it will hopefully be tied up neatly in film 3 (due out in a mere few months, undoubtedly to suit the MTV Generation's attention spans). The story also knocked down Keanu Reeves' messianic status a bit, which was a good thing (though his acting still has that plastic-action-figure quality about it). The soundtrack was mostly incidental music and the odd Juno Reactor psy-trance bit. The surfeit of extreme-sports-metal/fucked-up shit on the soundtrack had me worried for a while that they'd mook things up, but thankfully all that was pushed back to the closing credits.