The Null Device
It looks like there's a new Slowdive CD release coming out on the 24th; titled Catch the Breeze it's presumably a best-of/retrospective, though details are scant. Oddly enough, it's not being released by Sony but by some outfit named Castle.
Strange Horizons Magazine has published a list of scifi plot submissions it sees too many of; these range from generic poor writing (boringly linear plots, deus ex machina plot twists and vaguely Mary Sue-ish pieces about writer's-blocked creatives) to clichés (AIs loose on the net, dystopian futures, cultural misunderstandings with aliens leading to interplanetary incidents) and terribly clever things which everybody else has thought of, like tech support calls for magical items or humans described from alien perspectives as vermin or monsters. (via bOING bOING)
And here's the one for horror stories. Not surprisingly, serial killers feature several times in the list.
John Harris (who wrote The Last Party) on how popular music has been subsumed by corporate globalisation:
For musicians whose sensitivity to such chicanery places them a few notches up the evolutionary chain from Busted and Avril Lavigne, the implied contradictions can be pretty hard to swallow. Put bluntly, Anglo-American popular music is among globalisation's most useful props. Never mind the nitpicking fixations with interview rhetoric and stylistic nuance that concern its hardcore enthusiasts - away from its home turf, mainstream music, whether it's metal, rap, teen-pop or indie-rock, cannot help but stand for a depressingly conservative set of values: conspicuous consumption, the primacy of the English language, the implicit acknowledgement that America is probably best.
As the record industry's corporate structure has hardened into an immovable oligarchy - EMI, Time-Warner, BMG, Sony and Universal - so the range of musical options on offer has been dramatically scythed down. In 2004, there are but a handful of international musical superstars: Beyoncé, 50 Cent, Justin Timberlake, Eminem, Norah Jones, Coldplay. To characterise the process behind their global success as top-down is something of an understatement. MTV may have initially been marketed with the superficially empowering slogan, "I want my MTV"; more recently, with billions gladly hooked up, it has used the flatly sinister, "One planet, one music". Those four words beg one question: who decides?
Such, to use a phrase beloved of the Bush White House, is the cultural aspect of the New American Century. How long, I wonder, before Halliburton and Exxon start sponsoring festivals?
A gang of drag queens goes on a car theft spree across the US South, stealing prestigious cars from dealerships to get to drag beauty pageants in grand style. One queen would distract the dealer with questions, while others would grab the keys from the office and make off with the most fabulous set of wheels in the place. (via Die Puny Humans)
One hapless salesman couldn't believe the beautiful woman who kept him busy was actually a man. "God, I feel so foolish," the man, who asked that his name not be used told 365Gay.com. "I mean she, he, was gorgeous. I was trying to get enough nerve to ask her for a date."
There has to be a movie in this. Though, on second thoughts, it'd probably be a gross-out Hollywood comedy, starring some MTV-generation teen-comedy/dumb-stunt-show stars and packed out with bodily-function gags.