The Null Device


This afternoon, I went to The Hospital, a gallery in Endell St., Covent Garden, to see a video installation titled Anyone Else Isn't You, by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard (the artists behind the reenactment of that Cramps gig in the mental hospital, and a number of Smiths-themed installations in the 1990s). This video work (named after a Field Mice song, which played at the end of it) was about the way people's lives and relationships are influenced and mediated by music, and consisted of fragments of interviews with 12 people talking about such things as mixtapes they made for/received from lovers, songs they couldn't listen to any more because they were associated with relationships gone bad, records associated with specific times of their lives, and other anecdote (one woman mentioned a friend who did so much acid he thought he was living in Pet Sounds). The people were mostly in their late 20s/30s, and the music they mentioned ranged from the likes of My Bloody Valentine and Belle & Sebastian to the Velvet Underground; the video went on for about half an hour.

There is also a booklet with the exhibition, featuring writing on the subject by Momus, Steve Lamacq and one JJ Charlesworth.

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As well as seizing control of industrial relations from the states, the Australian federal government will also use its new powers to unify the school systems. All Australian schools will have an emphasis on "values"; not much is said about what sorts of values, but there are hints in the other changes: all students will take 2 hours of mandatory physical education training a week (all the better to make fit soldiers for our future engagements, and/or foster a naturally conformistic and conservative jock culture), and schools will also need to fly the Australian flag at assemblies (to instill a US-style culture of jingoistic patriotism; perhaps a pledge of allegiance will be next). And so, the Australian school system becomes a weapon in the culture war, striking a hammer-blow to the degenerate un-Australian values of Whitlam/Keating-era latte-leftists and producing a new crop of strong, patriotic, God-fearing future Herald-Sun readers; or so it is hoped.

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