The Null Device

2008/12/31

And here are my gig highlights of 2008:

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And now, here come the lists of things of the year. Starting with the top 10 records of 2008 (in alphabetical order of artist's name, as usual):

With honourable mentions going to Pelle Carlberg - The Lilac Time (with some great songs, such as the transparently B&S-esque 1983 and a song about how crap Ryanair is, how can you go wrong?), I'm From Barcelona - Who Killed Harry Houdini (their second album, which is not quite as exuberant as their debut, though still good for a fix), Los Campesinos - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed (the limited-edition second album from the Welsh tweexcore combo; good, but next to The Deirdres, sounds a bit too shambolic in places), The Motifs - Cross Paths (most of the tracks on this came out last year, which is why it's not in the top 10; otherwise, it's excellent), Slow Down Tallahassee - The Beautiful Light (girl-group indiepop with attitude from Sheffield). I'd probably have added Fleet Foxes to one of these two lists, had I ordered their CD earlier. As for things which didn't make it: well, the new Hot Chip album didn't grab me as much as the previous one did, and 2008 was the year Of Montreal disappeared into a vortex of self-parody. Their live shows should still be good, though.

If I were to choose a record of the year, 2008's would be Moscow Olympics' Cut The World.

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Today's heartwarming display of ecumenical outreach between religions comes to us courtesy of Australian Christian-right parliamentarian Reverend Fred Nile, who has tabled a bill to ban toplessness on beaches, to protect the sensibilities of Muslims and Asians who are not used to such licentiousness:

The Reverend Nile has rejected allegations that prudishness is behind a bill he has prepared to ban nudity, including topless sunbathing, on the state's most popular beaches.
Australia's reputation as a conservative but culturally inclusive sociery was at risk of erosion by more liberal overseas visitors, he said.
Of course, Australia has only been a "conservative society" for some 11 years. Well, and all the time up to the Whitlam government in the 1970s, but that was a long time ago. Now, it's gradually and haltingly inching its way back towards a Western secular-liberal consensus. (Not at any great rate, mind you; video games unsuitable for children are still outlawed, film censorship is still handled by the Howard government's conservative appointees, and there is that national firewall proposal that keeps lumbering forward, zombie-fashion, despite not being remotely viable; but still...) Some people, though, don't want to abandon their dream of Australia as a spiritually pure Kingdom of Prester John in the South.
"Our beaches should be a place where no one is offended, whether it's their religious or cultural views," he said.
No-one? I wonder whether this extends to the Wahhabi Muslims who would be offended by the exposure of naked female ankles and elbows, or even faces, on Reverend Nile's modesty-enhanced beaches. Or even by the fact that men and women can be on the same beach in each other's company. Unless Reverend Nile is prepared to mandate full gender segregation of beaches and the full burqa for women, I suspect he is being a wee bit hypocritical.

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