The Null Device


More on the Greens' strong showing in elections. They've clinched formerly Labor-dominated Yarra Council, and won seats in Apollo Bay (of all places) and in the People's Republic of Moreland. Whether they build up a power base, or whether this is just a transitional stage to Liberals winning newly-gentrified ex-Labor seats, remains to be determined; though their policies look more sane and humane than the others'.

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A Florida man has been told that he must get rid of his number plate, which reads "ATHEIST", which is apparently an offensive term around those parts. (via Mitch)


I've just returned from Apollo Bay, after spending about 3 days there at the Music Festival. It was great.

I got there on Friday afternoon, arriving on the coach, and checking into the Apollo Bay Hotel (that's the big flat pub with the sprawling beer garden); I then wandered around the township, which I hadn't seen for something like 10 years. I first came to Apollo Bay when I was 17, and have vivid memories of that summer; the sensation of the vast chasm of time between then and now (a lot changes in 11 years) was quite profound.

(Apollo Bay has changed, but not as much as I feared. It hasn't become the St Kilda by the Otways that some have said; and while there is a prominent tourist industry, it's not all chrome yuppie latté bars and bling-bling, at least not yet. (No, that'd be Lorne.) Apollo Bay is still a small township, with a lack of slickly branded consumer experiences, thank the Gods for that. (How long that will last I don't know; land prices are through the roof and the wealthy are buying up land, undoubtedly to knock down the modest houses and replace them with chrome-and-concrete lifestyle fortresses.) The changes I've noticed are that the old Post Office building is now a fruit shop (I think it was an arts shop in 1992, but I'm not sure), and the Mechanics' Hall is no longer a cinema. (I remember seeing a rather bad horror movie there in 1991.)

Anyway, the bands: the highlights from what I saw would be FourPlay (who rocked; the crowd went wild, even in the unenviable Sunday morning slot), Sarah-Jane Wentzki (who has a great voice, and played some melancholic almost trip-hop compositions on guitar, accompanied by Seth Rees' shoegazing guitarwork), and the all-star jam at the end (led by Melbourne reggae outfit Bomba, who obviously studied Bob Marley in great detail). Other acts I saw included the Mongolian Fishmongers (who weren't as punk as the blurb suggested, being more of a pub-style Celtic/country outfit, and none of them had bizarre hair or piercings), Ember Swift (who was quite good in a folky PC singer-songwriter sort of way) and Skazz (who played a mixture of 1960s-style ska and jazz, and did a good job of it). The opening night performance was quite cool too, with fireworks, fire twirling, and people in costumes, and various music (the second piece, with the flute and massed choir, was quite good).

Other than that, I bimbled around Apollo Bay, took a lot of photos (the ones which weren't obliterated when my camera crashed may be posted here soon), went to a few workshops (the TZU turntablism workshop (which was fun), and a blues guitar workshop (which was somewhat interesting)), and hung around with friends (Peter and the gang, and Seth and friends).

All in all, I had a great time. I'll probably go back next year.

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According to a lady in a quoll costume in Apollo Bay last night, the Greens have swept Victoria's council elections. They won 5 of the 9 seats in Yarra Council (inner Melbourne, where I live), which is now likely to have the first Green mayor. Meanwhile, over there, they have won their first seat in the Colac Otway shire council, where the big battle about old-growth logging is taking place. Rock!


French Intellectuals to be Deployed in Afghanistan to convince Taleban of Non-Existence of God.

Elements from the feared Jean-Paul Sartre Brigade, or 'Black Berets', will be parachuted into the combat zones to spread doubt, despondency and existential anomie among the enemy. Hardened by numerous intellectual battles fought during their long occupation of Paris's Left Bank, their first action will be to establish a number of pavement cafés at strategic points near the front lines. There they will drink coffee and talk animatedly about the absurd nature of life and man's lonely isolation in the universe. They will be accompanied by a number of heartbreakingly beautiful girlfriends who will further spread dismay by sticking their tongues in the philosophers' ears every five minutes and looking remote and unattainable to everyone else.

Somehow I don't think Dubya would be too keen on that though... oh, hang on.

Pentagon sources have recently confirmed rumours that America has already sent in a 200-foot-tall robot Jesus, which roams the Taleban front lines glowing eerily and shooting flames out of its fingers while saying, 'I am the way, the truth and the life, follow me or die.' However, plans to have the giant Christ kick the crap out of a slightly effeminate 80-foot Mohammed in central Kabul were discarded as insensitive to Muslim allies.

(via the Horn)