The Null Device
The Graun interviews Morrissey, who talks about his past and his songwriting, skirts questions about his sexuality, and reveals that his new album has been recorded, titled You Are The Quarry, and comes out on the 17th of May:
He admits he was unsure if anybody still cared. "I doubt that on a monthly basis and I'm always surprised when they listen. In the midst of the seven-year gap I went through great gulps of doubt wondering whether there was actually any point to it." And yet he is hardly crippled by excessive humility. Later on he says: "I think if I was shot in the middle of the street tomorrow a lot of people would be quite unhappy. I think I'd be a prime candidate for canonisation."
He misses walking in England, and the shared TV programmes. "I miss the drab everydayness and I miss the common experience that everyone has. And I quite like the absurdity and ridiculousness of British people." You have to ask yourself if he misses the real England or the long-gone, three-channel, Sunday-closing England that he sings about.
So why does he choose to be alone? "Well, you see, I consider that to be a privilege. I don't feel like I live alone because I've made a terrible mistake or I'm difficult to look at. Can you imagine being able to do what you like and never having to put up with any other person? And their relatives. You can constantly develop when you're by yourself. You don't when you're with someone else. You put your own feelings on hold and you end up doing things like driving to supermarkets and waiting outside shops - ludicrous things like that. It really doesn't do."
He took antidepressants when he was 17 in order to help him sleep, and he has had therapy intermittently since then, but he is almost proud of his black moods. "I think if you're remotely intelligent you can't help being depressed. It's a positive thing to be. It means that you're not a crashing bore. I mean, you don't get support groups for rugby players, do you?"
Is the future of Europe an Islamic one? This article suggests so, pointing at declining birth rates and the need for immigration (which would come from Islamic countries), and makes dark allusions to Gibbon's Decline and Fall and hypothetical histories in which Muslims conquered Europe. Though it seems to equate European culture with Christianity (whose relevance has been declining there over the past few centuries), rather than post-Enlightenment modernism and liberalism. (via MeFi)
Intestinal worms may prevent bowel cancer; as such, a health drink containing whipworm eggs to replenish your body's supply of the
parasites symbionts may soon go on the market in Europe. The worms will be the pig variety, which doesn't survive long in humans, and is less likely to cause complications. (via FmH)
I wonder how long until we all have personalised populations of genetically engineered ex-parasites, modified to eliminate potential health problems long before any symptoms would arise, in our bowels, bloodstreams and elsewhere.
Via Slashdot, an intriguing PowerPoint presentation (PDF) analysing spam, and using techniques to determine its origins. Among other claims it makes, spam intended to sell things is in the minority, and a lot of spam consists of other spammers' ads, resent to either identify valid recipients or to act as a carrier for encrypted messages between IRC groups. (It doesn't say anything about al-Qaeda terrorist cells or the like, but one imagines that if someone want to send coded instructions to covert operatives without disclosing their locations to traffic analysis, this would be a hell of a lot less conspicuous than mailing a Hotmail address accessed from a net café in Baluchistan or someplace.)
I just watched a DVD of Nine Queens, an Argentine heist film about two swindlers (one vaguely seedy veteran and one naïve but talented rookie he takes under his wing) trying to pull a high-stakes scam involving a sheet of ostensibly rare stamps and a collector, set against the backdrop of Buenos Aires. The film was fast-paced, and it seemed that each moment, some new detail or layer was unfolding (from crooked officials wanting their take to the scammers trying to psych each other out of their respective cuts, to things changing at the last minute, and the ever-present question of who is playing a deeper game and what is really happening). I found it quite gripping and enjoyable.