The Null Device


I finally went to see Ghost World. I enjoyed it; it's a good film about outsiderhood and alienation in the (post)modern world. The main character, Enid, is sort of the anti-Amélie; an over-intellectual, sarcastic (almost to the point of misanthropy) 18-year-old girl, who has just graduated from high school, and hides her existential insecurity beneath an armour of defensive irony and sarcasm. Like Audrey Tautou's character, she is also a misfit, an outsider, not belonging with the people around her; though she's not particularly nice. The film had a subtly cartoonish air about it, populated with caricatures; the main characters, however, are quite realistic and complex; the portrayal of Enid, for example, balances irony and sincerity quite well.

(Oh yes, and they have the addition of Seymour the record collector, who wasn't in the graphic novel (or at least didn't have a name); fortunately, his interaction with Enid isn't the usual cloying romantic-comedy fare about kindred spirits finding each other and love conquering all and all that Working Title/Miramax schmaltz. They didn't make a High Fidelity out of it, thankfully.)

I usually only go to see films with other people; though this time I'm glad I saw Ghost World alone; this is the sort of film whose effect would be spoiled by seeing it in a group as part of a social activity.

I'll probably get this on DVD when it comes out.

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Hmmm... The Designers Republic, the graphic design outfit who made all those Warp and PWEI album covers and spawned legions of dodgy imitators, are coming to Melbourne; they're appearing at something called the Design Forum, on the 16th of October (i.e., one day before the Mogwai show).

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Last night as I was about to put my mobile phone into its charger, I suddenly noticed that I don't have a mobile phone. Calling it revealed that it wasn't in my flat. It seems to have disappeared somewhere between Ascot Vale and North Fitzroy, possibly on a train. I called the train companies, but to no avail (another Nokia 3210 turned up in Greensborough, but it wasn't mine).)

So today I went to the Telstra shop to look at new units. Basically, it appears, between the time I got my last one and now, they stopped making them free in the plans, and now one has to buy the unit separately. Not wishing to spend the $300-$1500 a passably decent new mobile phone costs (depending on features; the Nokia 7650 looked temptingly doovy, though there are more important things I could spend that money on), I went down to Northcote and found a Nokia 3310 (one model up from my 3210, and obsolete enough to be cheap) for $130.

The 3310 is basically like the 3210, only with a few other features (such as more slots for ringtones); a good inexpensive model. I looked at the ones with infrared, but they either lacked custom ringtones or cost more than I was prepared to pay for the convenience of beaming contacts from my Visor. The only annoyance (other than having to rekey my City of Lost Children organ grinder's theme ringtone) is that the 3310 doesn't have the 3210's dictionary-based text entry system (which I had gotten used to using in SMS messages).


This looks (and sounds) pretty nifty: Virtual Guitarist, a VST plugin which plays rhythm guitar in various styles, getting chord information from MIDI input. It appears to be an intelligent sample player/chord engine and a big bank of guitar note/part fragments.

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Via The Fix, a big list of links to MP3s of tracks played on the John Peel show, from artists including Mogwai, Hefner, Set Fire To Flames, Trembling Blue Stars, Solex, King of Woolworths, Kid 606, Low, The Aislers Set and more. They're not MP3s of the actual Peel sessions, but of original recordings, as released by the artists or their labels.

And some more MP3 links: Mogwai live, Radiohead live. (via someone calling himself Das Katerer.)

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