The Null Device
31/12, ~-9 hours: It will soon be 2002; 2001 will be over; like the years before it, no longer the present, but consigned to the fading, receding past. So here is the obligatory :
High points: For me, getting my remix on the FourPlay Digital Manipulations CD, and played on Radio National, was one notable high point. Getting a PowerBook with MacOS X at work was also pretty doovy. Other than that, can't really say much.
Low points: Too many. There were the obvious ones; the terrorist attacks, with the subsequent reversion of the corporate-consumerist world to an authoritarian siege mentality, the reelection of the Liberals (see above), and Microsoft getting all but off the hook thanks to having bought a friendly administration. Other than all that, a few others stand out: the sudden and premature death of Charlotte Coleman (who? never mind) came as quite a blow (I was depressed for a week or so), and the news that the Punters Club is closing early next year (and with it, Brunswick St. moves closer to being a mere shopping centre for suburbanites seeking purchased "bohemian" experiences and/or a hangout for moneyed, soulless yuppie pinks like St Kilda or Beacon Cove or somesuch) has also put a pall on things. And the usual personal things.
Major events: changing jobs (at the start of the year), moving out of a shared house to a 1br flat (again), various personal entanglements, and that kitten I got for Xmas (which, incidentally, I'm thinking of naming Fantod, because of its boisterous temperament).
Minor events: working, seeing bands/movies/shows, learning the guitar (I'm still not brilliant at it though), making a demo CD-R (as Gurnin Spacecase) and sending it out to various places, writing various spoken-word pieces and reading them out, not joining in NaNoWriMo (maybe next year, or maybe not), and the usual things.
Best films seen in 2001: Angels of the Universe, He Died With A Felafel In His Hand, Late Night Shopping, Amélie, Run Lola Run (on DVD). I haven't yet seen Lord of the Rings 1, though from what I've heard, it'd probably be on this list had I done so.
Best live shows seen: a lot of shows were good, though the ones that stand out are: Harmon Leon and Otis Lee Crenshaw's respective shows at the Comedy Festival, Henry Rollins' evening of rant, Swirl at the Espy, Prop, at any of their Melbourne gigs (though if pressed to name one, I'd probably name the one at Pony), the production of Anorak of Fire at the Fringe Festival, FourPlay at Revolver and Down Town Brown at the Evelyn (the show with the giant robot)
Top musical finds:
- The Field Mice, Where'd You Learn To Kiss That Way
- New Buffalo, About Last Night
- Lush, Split
- a lot of Slowdive demos on N*pst*r (may it rest in peace)
Best books read:
- Ken MacLeod, The Stone Canal and/or The Sky Road (top-notch speculative fiction, with culture and society as well as science)
- John Lanchester, The Debt to Pleasure (because of the sheer twisted delight of the way it unfolds through the narrator's over-erudite yet subtly deranged commentary; warms the cockles of one's black little heart, it does)
- the four Harry Potter books so far (a bit obvious, but they are good)
- Neal Stephenson, The Big U (well worth a read if you like his stuff)
- Naomi Klein, No Logo (a good overview of the brand-dominated world)
With honourable mentions going to Jasper Fforde, The Eyre Affair, Neil Gaiman, American Gods, Nick Hornby, How To Be Good, K.W. Jeter, Noir, Craig Mathieson, The Sell-In, Chuck Palahniuk, Choke, Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation, Nury Vittachi, The Feng Shui Detective, Jeanette Winterson, Art & Lies.
Tackling the gangsta-homie problem: Under plans unveiled by Victoria's conservative opposition, teenagers convicted of graffiti-related offences will be ineligible for driving licenses until they are 20; the usual age is 18. This could be expanded into making drivers licences a badge of good citizenship, as they are in parts of the US. Not surprisingly, civil liberties groups have branded the plan as draconian. Anyway, from this it looks as if the next state election campaign can't be too far off.
Oops! You know those copy-protected CDs Universal are putting out? Well, a number of DVD-ROM drives can read them just fine. Which probably makes the drives illegal circumvention devices under the DMCA; wonder if Universal have the clout to force manufacturers to cripple their drives in accordance with their dog-in-the-manger copy-prevention schemes.
Was Flight 93 shot down, with the story of heroic passengers manufactured to boost the sheeple's morale? The authorities' reluctance to release cockpit tapes certainly raises some suspicions. (via onepointzero)
The Church of Euthanasia (which is like a cross between VHEMT, the Church of the SubGenius and something Jim Goad or someone could have come up with) has a new video out. Titled I Like To Watch, it splices footage of the WTC attack with pornography and sports coverage, over an electronic soundtrack, all to make a statement:
"I found it very beautiful." He continues: "I don't believe that I'm the only person in the world who derived sexual gratification from watching two of America's tallest buildings destroyed, but I do believe that I'm one of the few people with the courage to admit this in public. As an artist, I have an obligation to capture my feelings as accurately as possible. What I'm feeling may make me a monster, but I don't believe I'm alone in being a monster."
The bizarre story of Sexchart, which started as an ASCII chart of erotic liaisons in the "Internet scene" in 1997 (back when the words "Internet scene" had more meaning), and snowballed from there. Which is proof that geeks aren't as asexual as some believe, or at least that when they get some bootywhang they're compelled to obsessively chart it in ASCII line-art.
The chart may be found here. Interestingly enough, I actually know a few of these people from years back. (Though not in the Biblical sense, mind you; that would probably have involved long-distance air travel.)