The Null Device


Following after Freedom Toast, a campaign has started in the US state of Louisiana (a former French colony, named after Louis XIV) to rename New Orleans' French Quarter as the "Freedom Quarter". If successful, this could be the start of a cultural revolution in Lousiana in which all French placenames are replaced. (via


The Architecture in Helsinki backlash begins; Rocknerd has a scathing review of their album launch at the Corner, arguing that bourgeois middle-class kids have no business being twee and "innocent", and should leave that to those who have won that right through hard struggle. And that their stage presence sucked.

The innocence that Jonathan Richman and Brian Wilson explored came to them in brief flashes amidst the pain of trying to reconnect with a lost childhood. It went hand in hand with the madness of being lost in an emotional wilderness. It doesn't have anything to do with spokey-dokes, or windmills, or fucking ice creams. For middle-class kids to play with and fabricate that innocence - that was for Richman or Wilson, hard won and fought for - without acknowledging the pain it goes hand in hand with is reprehensible.
All in all, it's as though punk never happened. To perform and write pop music that doesn't reflect an element of the culture and society that creates it is to miss the point. You don't have to write about Redfern or Soweto, but to perpetuate a mythic 'everything-is-fine-and-dandy' theme - especially when things clearly aren't - is stupid and misguided. The best pop music alleviates your troubles without denying they exist. Architecture In Helsinki performs in some kind of kindergarten nativity bubble, with a false innocence borne of a Hallmark Cards sponsored vision of a pop utopia.

IMHO, "everything-is-fine-and-dandy" is good when it's done in a (subtly or otherwise) subversive context, with just enough being askew to suggest that that's a facade or a pathological case of denial. Radiohead's Everything In Its Right Place is one example. (Btw, did you know that a British gardening/renovations show actually used that as incidental music for the "after" sequences of rebuilt backyards? Irony's lost on some people.)

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Quelle surprise: Those "Copy Controlled" CDs EMI have been foisting on the public aren't proving very popular. Apparently, they don't play in some car stereos, and the top-s3krit Windows software that auto-installs when you try to play the CD may do things to your registry without your consent. EMI, of course, won't tell you what it does because it's a secret and if people find out how it works, then the terrorists pirates will have won. I've heard of people successfully ripping them on Windows and/or Linux, though they may have been mislabelled clear CDs (given that no software automatically started).

I wonder how long until recorded music comes with a shrink-wrap license prohibiting you from circumventing copy-denial mechanisms or making unencrypted MP3s of it, and indemnifying the company for any changes made to your system software?

(I can't see EMI's security-through-obscurity scheme holding up for very long, especially since it doesn't rely on "trusted client" PCs or anything. Soon enough, some guy without a girlfriend will break it and upload the details to a server somewhere. Yes, he may go to jail for it, but that hasn't stopped virus writers.)

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Two London-based artists reenact a Cramps gig at a mental hospital, bringing real mental patients into the venue. The original gig was played in a Californian mental hospital in 1978, and only poor-quality video tapes exist of it.

The band's hair, outfits and guitars were copied from what little can be made out in the bootleg video, but the audience were free to dress, act and dance as they wished. The overall "realism" is in the documentation, with the artists' video being scripted to ensure the same pulls, camera jumps and lack of focus as the original. The film will later be re-shot from a TV screen and copied from videotape to videotape until the desired breakdown in quality is achieved.
Some at the ICA were worried that they may be accused of exploiting those with mental health problems; mental health charities were concerned that they might be renting patients to the art world; and the artists themselves were wary of getting out of their depth.

(via Reenhead)

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Anti-virus consultancy Sophos Plc has released a profile of virus writers: they are male, obsessed with computers, 14-34, and chronically lacking a girlfriend. (via Techdirt)

(It also looks like another instance of the assumption that anyone who isn't usually in a sexual relationship is some sort of sociopathic freak. Soon not having a girlfriend will be probable cause for search and seizure. Hey, the 9/11 hijackers didn't have girlfriends either.)

(And shouldn't that be "chronically lacking a girlfriend or an interest in comic books/record collecting/trainspotting"?)

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