The Null Device


Check this out: Malory, a German shoegazer band, have some MP3 excerpts on their site. They're all rather Slowdive-inspired. May be worth checking their CD out...


Knowing which side your bread is buttered on: Ever wonder who's behind the tidal wave of disposable boy/girl band pop? former pop artists, such as OMD's Andy McCluskey (once signed to Factory and singing about nuclear war, now writing for bubblegum trio Atomic Kitten), as well as retired pop starlets such as Cathy Dennis and Alison "Betty Boo" Clarkson, both now accomplished commercial songwriters.

OMD may have begun their career on the achingly credible Factory label - home to gloomy bastions of high seriousness Joy Division - but they quickly learnt lessons about music- industry survival that ultimately led McCluskey to form Atomic Kitten: "After our 1983 album Dazzleships failed commercially, it dawned on us that we'd spent five years experimenting and selling records. All of a sudden, we realised that we'd better make sure we do something that actually sells records. That started informing our decision-making.
"Yeah, but I'd do it differently. I'd have a boyband. It's a piece of piss, a boyband. Girls have to survive on instinct, wit, talent and quality of song... You can write the most contrived drivel for a boyband and sell millions because teenage girls are in love with the members. They say love is blind," [McCluskey] chuckles. "Well, I'll tell you something, it's also deaf."

And don't forget Max Martin, who may sound like he would be a New York R&B producer, but is actually a former Swedish heavy-metal guitarist.

I suppose that's what happens when you lose your youthful passion for making a statement, and the zeitgeist passes you by. You either (a) play 15-year-old songs in small revival shows to please an ever-shrinking base of aging fans, (b) take Prozac and write bland, clichéd lyrics for your own band (like certain AOL Time Warner franchises we could name), or (c) cross over to the dark side, write bland, clichéd lyrics for pretty boys/girls to dance and lip-synch to and watch the cash come flooding in.

boy bands commercialism manufactured culture music omd pop 5

3RRR just played the unreleased Hybrid remix of Radiohead's Everything In Its Right Place. It's a pretty standard dance/club workout, seemingly unrelated to the original, up until some minutes into it when the original is faded in, with the usual club/house drum loop/bassline over the top of it. Rather reminiscent of some of the mixes off the mostly disastrous (the rest of) New Order that came out in the mid-90s.


Sentenced: Republican guerilla Gregory Anastasiou, aka Lucifer, was gaoled for five years for a campaign of arson attacks against those symbols of British colonialism and upper-class hegemony, the hedges of Melbourne's leafy inner eastern suburbs. Anastasiou previously served time for a similar series of hedge burning attacks in the 1980s, and was a cult hero of sorts, giving rise to the Hedge Burner Fan Club.

crime hedge burner larrikinism melbourne republic 2

For some reason OptusNet's networking appears to be cactus tonight; ssh connections keep timing out, and so is ICQ.

Speaking of things which are cactus, one could hardly have thought of a more appropriate name for a scheme of rendering CDs unreadable. (At least in Australian English.)


Bidding farewell: A page of readers' tributes to Charlotte Coleman, at the BBC. It's interesting how many people grew up watching Educating Marmalade, and never forgot her from that.