The Null Device


Obituary: British actress Charlotte Coleman has died, after suffering a massive asthma attack. While probably best known for having played teenage punkette Marmalade Atkins on TV, she has played a number of other roles, including serial poisoner Graham Young's sister in The Young Poisoner's Handbook, and apparently had a part in some romantic comedy or other. She was 33.

(My first thought: damn. My second thought: guess she won't be starring in Not So Soft: The Movie then.)

It's a funny thing. I haven't seen many things with her in them, and yet the certainty that there will never be any more, that there is absolutely no chance of being surprised by seeing her name on a quirky character in a new film, seems rather sad. It's all so ... final.


Melbourne is hosting a Tibetan Culture Week, with exhibits of Tibetan art and culture; however, many locals who were involved backed out when they discovered that it is a Chinese government propaganda exercise to bolster its human-rights image abroad in the years before the Beijing Olympics. Prominent locals who are still backing the event include Olympic head spiv Kevan Gosper, who supported the Beijing bid, and state premier Steve "Jeff" Bracks, who, having shown himself to be a confirmed believer in the use of force to suppress dissident elements, can undoubtedly see eye to eye with Beijing.

Leaked documents quote Zhao Qizheng, Minister for China's Information Office, as saying: "External publicity on Tibet is an important element of our country's external propaganda. It is also a very important element of our struggle against the Dalai clique and hostile Western forces."