The Null Device
I just noticed that my Nokia 3310's text-messaging dictionary has "múm" before "mum". Someone at Nokia must really be into Icelandic glitch-pop. (Either that or they assume that 99% of their market spells the word "mom" like the people on TV do, and those who don't are a smaller mobile-phone market segment than indiekids.)
The 365 Days Project, Otis Fodder's downloadable collection of audio bulldada, kitsch, outsider music and found sound, has put up the remainder of its MP3s on its archive page. You have just under a fortnight to download them before they go offline forever, disappearing into the twilight zone of file-sharing networks. The last batch of MP3s includes, among other gems, Swing A Little, Kim A Little, a 1970s-vintage German advertising record for a brand of cigarettes (as heard on the excellent Popshopping compilation), and a somewhat disturbing Christian children's record by a big-haired woman named "Baby Lu-Lu" (after whom there's a Stereolab song named).
China amends its constitution to protect private property, formally abandoning socialism in favour of an authoritarian form of free-market capitalism. So far, there has been no announcement of any name change for the increasingly inaccurately-named Communist Party, which will continue to maintain an iron grip on the nation's political life and public discourse.
But it is stalemated on even these modest political reforms, leaving modern China an increasingly prosperous private economy ruled by a dictatorship. In this it resembles General Pinochet's Chile, South Korea under military rule - or Taiwan before it moved to democracy in the 1980s.
The Sunday before the most recent one, I visited the abandoned Mayday Hills mental hospital in Beechworth, northern Victoria; the hospital is now part of the local campus of La Trobe University, but many of the buildings are disused and bolted shut; apparently they're on the national trust register and cannot be adapted into modern facilities, or something like that, so they just sit there, slowly crumbling, and giving off the faint but distinctly eldritch aura of buried lives. Here are some photos I took (click thumbnail to see the full picture):
(All photos © acb 2003; if you wish to use them, ask me.)