The Null Device
Dying throes of the belle epoque: This evening I went to the launch of Ampersand #5, a typographical zine/book. This book makes a map of a kilometre of the Melbourne central business district, in terms of the typefaces seen in it, concluding that 76% of typefaces seen are sans serif, and just over half of those are Helvetica or variants thereof. Then it goes into a rant about typographical homogeneity and the marketing of the "Helvetica lifestyle", at one point comparing it to corporate globalisation. The book is printed on sticker paper, and the publishers will send you free stickers with anti-Helvetica slogans if you promise to put them up and send photos back to them.
Anyway, the launch was in an inner-city bar, of the sort that's probably full of graphic designers even when there isn't a launch. A DJ was playing dub and various Prahran-style techno, and a projector was playing what looked like a Flash movie of the booklet; processed live video and letterforms and text moving around, presenting a diatribe on endangered typodiversity.
The new Onion, the first since 11/9/2001, is in, and it's not the terminally ironically detached Onion of yore; no sirree, this is a patriotic, flag-waving, God Bless America-singing Onion, for now at least. Don't expect anything as blasphemously flippant as "Terrorism matches obesity as top killer of Americans" (no, for that you have to go to that scurrilous convict rag the Chaser). The "hijackers surprised to find selves in Hell" story reminded me of a Weekly World News piece about great villains like Lee Harvey Oswald being tortured in Hell.