The Null Device
The contenders in this year's Eurovision contest look like a pretty varied bunch, a bit more eclectic than the usual generic Eurodance/R&B/Pepsi-pop. Finland is entering a black metal band with a song about Satan, the Icelandic contender reads more like Leoncie than Björk, and the UK is harnessing the power of the chav subculture by getting a street thug sans teeth to do a rap titled Teenage Life. The entire spectacle airs in the UK on the 20th (presumably with the usual arch commentary by Terry Wogan), and elsewhere at similar times.
And in other news, Singapore's dominant People's Action Party was reelected, again, with a landslide. The party has ruled Singapore, a model "managed democracy" untroubled by the disorder and strife that having plausible opposition parties with a chance of winning brings about, since independence in 1965. Opposition candidates do occasionally arise, but they stand little chance of winning: electorates are so small that the government can punish rebellious ones by withdrawing funding, and any opposition figure who persists in causing trouble can easily be sued into bankruptcy under Singapore's British-style libel laws. In the government's argument, this is a good thing, as not having to worry about the cut-and-thrust of party politics means that the leaders can concentrate more on wisely and efficiently steering the ship of state:
It is clear Mr Lee expects to lead the country for many years, and comments he made last week showed he does not want a pesky opposition getting in the way. "Suppose you had 10, 15, 20 opposition members in Parliament," he said on May 3. "Instead of spending my time thinking what is the right policy for Singapore, I'm going to spend all my time thinking what's the right way to fix them, to buy my supporters' votes."This state of affairs may not last forever, though, as an opposition party has now formed and contested more than half of all available seats.
The PAP has easily won the past three elections because opposition candidates stood for fewer than half the seats. It has won every election since independence in 1965. This time, 47 of the 84 seats were contested.The People's Action Party can, for the moment, still rest easily: it has won all but two seats in the country's parliament, and won't yet need to submit to the indignity of parliamentary debate of its legislative programme.
Man memorises Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven backwards, videotapes himself singing it backwards outside St. Paul's Cathedral, London (complete with righteous air-guitar and exaggerated facial expressions), reverses the video, adds music and puts it online. The overall effect is eerie, not least of all because of the steady stream of people walking backwards behind the strange man in front of the camera.
(via Boing Boing)
Grant McLennan, one half of the core of legendary Australian indie guitar-pop group The Go-Betweens, passed away yesterday, dying in his sleep at his home in Brisbane. He was 48. His band, The Go-Betweens, formed in 1981 and reformed in 1999, released quite a few albums, had a number of hits including Streets Of Your Town and Cattle and Cane, and, with their jangly guitar melodies and thoughtful lyrics, were hugely influential on a generation of songwriters and musicians.