The Null Device
Kidnappers threaten to kill Italian hostages unless Italians protest against their government. I wonder what effect this will have on May Day anti-war rallies in Italy; when a rally becomes, literally, a pro-terrorist demonstration, I imagine it would lose a lot of its moral clout, and a lot of people would keep away or get behind their government.
(Which leads to a somewhat far-out, and paranoid, theory about Bush's possible October Surprise: what if, say, a Republican/PNAC dirty-tricks unit had some "terrorist" stooges kidnap some Americans and send a videotape to al-Jazeera threatening to kill them unless Americans rally against Bush. I imagine such a scenario would take the wind out of the Democrats' sails and get Bush reelected with a sweeping landslide without even needing to use trick voting machines. Of course, the Republicans respect democracy and wouldn't do anything like that any more than allowing 9/11 to take place.)
A pretty good explanation of the C86 phenomenon; the trend in UK indiepop that emerged in the 1980s, took its name from a NME compilation tape, and gave rise to labels such as Sarah Records, and later influenced everyone from Belle & Sebastian to the extensive US twee/indiepop scene of the 1990s and today. (found on LiveJournal)
C86 was a subculture and a fanzine culture (Kvatch, Sha-la-la and Are You Scared To Get Happy?). It spoke to alienated teenagers bored with mainstream culture and hooked on DIY lo-fi sensibilities, an almost asexual child-like affectation, Sixties pop and girl groups, seven-inch singles, bedsit socialism and a romantic, pastoral, holding-hands vision of England.
The influences are basically classic, melodic pop music from any era. The most obvious ones are The Go-Betweens, Aztec Camera, The Smiths and Orange Juice. Other icons include fanzine writers Matt Haynes and Clare Wadd (who set up Sarah) and Mathew Fletcher (the Talulah/Heavenly drummer who tragically committed suicide in 1996). Alan McGee would have been an icon if he hadn't committed so many crimes against pop music since.