31.8.05

Looting NOLA

"Around the corner on Canal Street, the main thoroughfare in the central business district, people sloshed headlong through hip-deep water as looters ripped open the steel gates on the front of several clothing and jewelry stores. One man, who had about 10 pairs of jeans draped over his left arm, was asked if he was salvaging things from his store.

"No," the man shouted, "that's EVERYBODY'S store."

Looters filled industrial-sized garbage cans with clothing and jewelry and floated them down the street on bits of plywood and insulation as National Guard lumbered by."

NOLA seems to be going a little bit crazy right now (with good reason), but the looting proves that it's people have the tenacity to survive, and haven't just let themselves be beaten back by the storm. Instincts win out. Pictures here.

*Update*

Related to the aforementioned pictures - Racism in the NOLA looting reports? Some interesting comments there.

29.8.05

Spotted 29/08/05 (fashion edition)

One NIN fan in Virgin Megastores with a Pretty Hate Machine hoodie; one dude on a bike in a Yahoo! t-shirt; two girls on separate buses showing their non-sexy underwear above the waistline of their jeans; a girl wearing lycra leggings beneath a demin skirt, and a pensioner wearing cheap looking Converse fakes.

28.8.05

Link Dump 28/8/05

  • - Local Bristol artist Will Barras is all about urban influence: graffitti and neon and concrete greys.
  • - Pete Doherty's new site Bala Chadha is very un-Pete-like. It's very clean, and according to the Guardian parts will be subscription only. I don't think Doherty could ever sell out to the man, so what's going on? Is he under new management or something? It's almost the antichrist of babyshambles.com.

27.8.05

Shh. Can't blog...



...playing Harvest Moon.

26.8.05

Vote or Die

Quick reasons as to why I think you should vote for us in the Digital Music Awards '05 (more concise reasons here):

  • - an overwhelming news and interview archive, including the old stuff, that's over 800 articles there for you to read. For free.
  • - Meathead
  • - Know the Score
  • - for the fans, by the fans. There will never be banner ads, or any other intrusive flashing crap that tries to make you buy something. If your site is awesome, we will link it, if your news is good, we will post it. Everyone is credited. There are no fucking politics, it's all about the news.
  • - NIN Historian
  • - because last year, a Madonna fan site won. She charges hundreds of pounds/dollars for her gigs and is married to a shit film director. And has a botoxed forehead. And kissed Britney Spears to sell a shitty MTV performance. We can't let that kind of thing win.
  • - because we work fucking hard. This time last year, the staff numbers were minimal. Now we have thirteen staff members, some of which live outside the US, thus bringing a less US-centric feel to the whole organisation. Very often, we get the news before the rest of the media, and we do a damn good job to boot.
So click on the picture link, tell your friends, vote for us.

25.8.05

Link Dump 25/8/05

  • - The Short Story is a new site dedicated to reviving the British Short Story. I like the blurb on the front page: "The buttons on her coat were tough as meat. She double locked her door, shaking it to make sure."

24.8.05

Talk Talk

Everyone (including the mainstream media) went nuts over Google Talk this morning. And this afternoon. And this evening. I now have the longest list of IM buddies I have ever had, including John Scalzi, with whom I'm having delightfully brief and random conversations.

If you want to add me and join in on the freaky novelties, I'm over here at saturnine -at- gmail dot com. Currently connected through Gaim, so no VOIP (I couldn't anyway, being that I seem to have the wrong operating systems for the official download; it is only Beta after all). Not that I talk to people from the internet anyway. Get away from me.

Paedophiles Good, Politics Bad

So, MTV. It's OK to have a man facing 21 counts of messing around with child pornography perform live on your show... but having Nine Inch Nails perform against a George W. Bush backdrop is just too much? It's so good to see where your morals stand. No. Really.

[from Oh No They Didn't!]

23.8.05

The Anti-Sit



New York evidently likes to keep it's people moving. More pictures over at Citynoise.

21.8.05

Aharon Appelfeld

"When he speaks of writing, he gestures like a magician pulling a rope of silkscarves from deep within himself. 'I don't write easily,' he explains. 'Writing is always taking out a piece of yourself; it's a mixture of pain and pleasure.'"
~ One man's road to freedom by Hephzibah Anderson

19.8.05

Tears For Agnes album available

Tears for Agnes is in the process of releasing their newly finished album "Shui", thank the gods. It's the brainchild of a few friends of mine, and let me tell you - this is a fucking fantastic album. I had a medley mp3 handed to me earlier this year, and it refuses to leave my playlist - to sum it up in one go, I would describe it as a galloping acoustic-electronic soundscape. Yes, galloping. I just think you really need to hear this album, and should go and purchase an early copy to help get it into stores (if it helps, you get extra special bonus stuff for doing so).

It also makes me feel lucky to know so many talented people through the various roads of the internet. This thing sure does make the world small and colourful.

18.8.05

I hate Microsoft entry #35625342c

Why the fuck is MSN ripping off Metafilter?

Spotted 18/08/05

One hundred and twenty bales of hay balanced precariously on the back of a dirty truck. They were yellowy brown, and I couldn't quite work out why they didn't fall off.

17.8.05

Link Dump 17/8/05

  • - A Catholic nun knelt for 12 hours to protest the filming of The Da Vinci Code, branding it as "blasphemous". 12 hours? She can't be that upset then. Looks like Catholic extremism is losing it's edge.

I don't like this man

"'If we can establish this strong sense of shared British identity it will fill the void that to some extent exists, which is often filled by philosophies and views that are utterly alien to our society, which breed hatred of our society and which ultimately lead to the kind of catastrophe we saw on 7 July."'

[Michael Howard, leader of the Conservative Party] said that multiculturalism was 'not a very helpful word to use because it means so many things to different people'. But he added: 'What we all want is a strong British identity which we share.'"

This sure as hell feels like he's trying to appeal to the minority of people that have been left feeling vulnerable after the London bomb attacks (much like the BNP, don't you think?). I couldn't give a shit what any survey says - I know exactly what multiculturalism means, I know exactly what the history of my country is regarding immigrants, and I know exactly what my British identity is. I'm not going to be persuaded into the same situation that the Americans are in - a culture of fear and racism perpetuated by politicians and terrorists alike. Least of all by some ineffectual old fuck. Fuck all of that.

Until recently, white Irish people were our reason for concern - did we start talking about problems with immigration then? No, we fucking didn't. This is not a Muslim problem, this is not an Arab problem, this is not an immigrant problem, and it's sure as hell not a multicultural problem. Maybe if we stopped treating certain citizens of our country as if they are somehow excluded from our society, and stopped waging war on innocent countries, thus giving them an outlet for their frustrations, we wouldn't have a goddamned problem in the first place.

He needs to shut up, and like a lot of middle class white people, start taking responsibility for the things he puts out into the world - like that void that he mentions, to begin with. That void opens up with talk like this, with ghetto-ing of the non-affluent and the non-white, with politician's high paycheques and low funded communities. With estranging people, making them feel like they are unwanted and uncared for, and giving them nothing to do but sit in their houses and hate other people. Destructive behaviour like bombing a tube train is no different to the kid that goes out one day, and shoots his parents, his girlfriend, his school and himself. It's just frustration dealt out in a different way.

But Michael Howard won't listen. No one will listen. Because thus is the nature of the beast. You would think the son of Jewish immigrants would know not to pick scapegoats for a problem that is more complex than skin colour and religion

[From BBC News]

16.8.05

Re-branding


"Packaged convenience is a theme of many Wegmans-branded products. The chain sells prechopped onions and celery, leeks cleaned and cut so they are more ''user friendly,'' as DeCory puts it, and so on. ''It certainly ties in directly with the trend of consumers wanting convenience, being unwilling to do work, being inexperienced at how to cook,'' Burris says. ''All of those trends make it seem that if we want to help consumers in ways that no one else is, this would be the way.''

Of course, Wegmans sells the raw ingredients for anybody who wants to make his or her own basting oil from scratch. The point is to meet consumers at whatever level of demand they show up with. Sharoff, the manufacturers-association president, suggests that this kind of thinking is what's making it possible for supermarkets and drugstore chains and mass merchandisers to become rivals of the traditional branded manufacturers. ''Rival,'' he adds, ''does not mean copy.''"

~ Knockoff Originals by Rob Walker.

This is pretty interesting, as Sainsbury's has recently launched a "Basics" range, presumably to compete with a still-cheaper Asda. I've picked up a few things - chocolate mousse, veggie lasagne - and it's very very cheap, but still quite decent quality. Both chains are my local supermarkets, and it's often a trade off between value for money (Asda) and good quality food (Sainsbury's). I do like the whole cult of the own-brand products. It has a "corner shop" quality to it. Completely fake, but who cares, right? It's the projected image and the price that counts.

15.8.05

Gilliam

"In the first week of shooting Matt Damon had a big nose?

Actually we never got to shooting it. We did tests on it and that was blocked at more than the eleventh hour - the twelfth hour. So we didn't shoot on it. BUT that nose on Matt just transformed him. And it made him really just a better character. It was fantastic, it really worked. It was good for his character, it was good for him as an actor, like Dumbo and his feather, but that didn't happen.

There was this rumour that Miramax sent someone to stand in front of the camera to prevent any shooting of Matt and his nose.

No, that's more interesting than what happened. No, it was "Put the nose on him, and we close the film down." It's as simple as that. And that was the night before the first day of shooting. Good timing.

If you look at Finding Neverland, look at Johnny - he looks like he's about 18 years old, and beautiful. JM Barrie was a big guy with a walrus moustache. I think Finding Neverland with Johnny as somebody less beautiful is more interesting. JM Barrie is a great character. What was interesting about Pirates of the Caribbean, Johnny wore this make up and gold teeth and eye liner and they loved it."

~ Terry Gilliam discusses his two upcoming new films with Phil Stubbs (includes pictures).

Link Dump 15/8/05

  • - Bromwell High is a new satirical adult cartoon by Channel Four. It starts on Friday. Looks pretty good.

13.8.05

Craigslist Bristol

I was just flicking through delicious tags for Bristol when I discovered that Craigslist finally has a Bristol section. I'm so happy! Much like delicious it's one of those "uncover a hidden goldmine" sites, a total insight to other people's preferences while taking something out for yourself at the same time. It seems to be a little slow right now (there isn't much publicity for it, and there's no side link on the main site for the section) but I'm sure it will warm up eventually. Definitely one of those internet revolution thingys.

Modan Na Bunkai

I've been hinting for a while that there has been an ongoing project happening with Amy, and today is the day that it stops being ongoing and actually launches.

Modan Na Bunkai is a match of photography and poetry. There's no real theme behind it, aside from myself and Amy working together to demonstrate just exactly what we can do. We have similar influences, themes and styles - modern life, popculture, the overgrowth of nature, mess - so it made sense to do something together. It took around four months to put together (we didn't set a deadline, or even a method of working, we just got on and did it) and I really enjoyed the whole process. Hoping to do it again sometime soon.

Let me know what you think.

11.8.05

An English Islam

"A majority of British Muslims say clerics should preach in the English language, a BBC survey suggests. The Mori poll for the BBC found 65% of Muslims backed such a move, compared with 39% of the national population. More than half of UK Muslims were born in the country and younger generations, backed by progressive leaders, have long advocated more English in mosques. Many believe English-speaking imams helps break down cultural divides between Islam and mainstream society."

I don't think English should be brought in just for the younger generations of British Muslims, but also because the foreign languages used are only helping to keep that whole feeling of "us versus them". It would certainly open the religion to higher levels of understanding, education and tolerance from non-Muslims in the surrounding communities. Because I spent a lot of my post-toddler/pre-teen years hanging out at a church, I've always felt like religious buildings and organisations should be places that anyone can walk into and understand what's going on without any pressure. There's too much negativity going on behind closed doors right now, simply because of a lack of communication. Introducing the English language would help, I think.

[From BBC News]

10.8.05

Spotted (recently)

A fat woman walking her grey whippet around and around her garden on a lead; berry bushes growing over a railway bridge wall; an emergency response ambulance car parked up at the end of the road that my workplace is situated; various dyed punk alternative folk at Sainsbury's; a mean girl I used to go to school with looking ugly and skinny on her bike; a small chinese girl sat behind the counter of a takeaway place; a hoard of beige monitors and keyboards below the stairs at work.

Link Dump 10/08/05

  • - The Nanking Massacre. "the occupying forces engaged in an orgy of looting and mass execution which came to be known as the Nanking Massacre. Most experts agree that at least 300,000 Chinese died, and 20,000 women were raped."
  • - The controversial BBC satire that poked fun at the Pope is due to be released on DVD. About time someone lightened the fuck up. It's worrying when people refuse to laugh at themselves. But I suppose that's what you get when you're running with a religion that's still using that whole "chosen by God" line.

9.8.05

Google News RSS Feeds

Google News now has RSS/Atom feeds. There's now only one thing left on my Google wishlist, and that's tags for Blogger.

8.8.05

Information Aesthetics

The Informations Aesthetics Weblog is one of my new favorite blogs.

"this weblog is based on the assertion that information visualization can be enriched with the principles of creative design and art, to develop valuable data representations that address the emotional experience of users, instead of solely focusing on typical task effectiveness metrics. as information access enters the everyday life of users and becomes increasingly ubiquitous and pervasive, novel approaches are required that take into account considerations of user engagement and visual aesthetics. instead of evaluating such information applications by measuring task performance and comprehension effectiveness, one should consider to determine user interest, attention, focus, enjoyment and curiousity."

William Gibson's worlds are based around those where technology is used to exchange information in a functional, inventive, aesthetic manner. Not for test purposes, not to be cool (although it nearly always ends up being cool), but because something has to be done and a tool is needed to do it. I have come across a few sites that claim to be reflecting his ideas, but until I came across I.A. I hadn't actually found one that lived up to even one of the grandiose claims.

(PS - if you only look at one thing on that site, let it be this)

Link Dump 8/8/05

  • - NTL subscribers are now getting a 10MB connection without any added cost. That's a 9MB upgrade for some. This company has an agreement with Telewest, the company that owns my ISP, to not share turf. So there's no way I can switch over. However, this could mean that Blueyonder put out a similar offer sometime soon. That would be happily received - I'm upgrading soon anyway.

7.8.05

Cuyahoga and OpenOffice

There's a really great list of shortcuts for Openoffice available on the Cuyahoga County public library site. Funnily enough, their index page states that they only use MS Office in their libraries (something that they've probably had to pay for). And when you go back in the url to the Openoffice directory, you just get redirected to the MS Office page.

Bizarre.

6.8.05

Banksy on Channel 4

Channel 4 have some exclusive footage of Banksy stencilling the Palestinian wall.

I think this could be the first footage of him at work - he's out in broad daylight, Israeli soldiers with their big fucking guns nearby, traffic whizzing past him. He's always been a big fan of keeping his identity hidden, so he has a big old hat obscuring his face - after all, he could be pulled up for some serious charges if his real identity was ever revealed.

He should just be granted an exclusive license to graffiti when and where he chooses. The man is a national treasure. But you know he won't - stuffy middle class council types still insist that this kind of art is a public nuisance. Assholes. I'd happily kill several of them and stack their bodies on College Green to have Banksy "deface" my house.

[via witz]

NextNext Big Thing

Earlier this week, I got an email from Matt over at NextNext Big Thing, asking me if I would write a short piece about the Japanese teen "decorer" trend for their newsletter. So I did, and now it's up on the front page of their site. Go check it out.

5.8.05

Link Dump 06/08/05

Banksy in Israel

My favorite home grown artist Banksy has hit Israel recently - stencilling the Palestinian side of the separation wall. One of the nine images includes a ladder going up and over to the other side, while another is of a group of children digging a hole and breaking through the wall.

"A spokeswoman for the artist, Jo Brooks, said: "The Israeli security forces did shoot in the air threateningly and there were quite a few guns pointed at him. The images are still there."


The barrier, made of concrete walls and razor-wire fences, has been declared illegal by the UN, which has ordered it to be dismantled."

There are pictures of all the pieces up on his site, appropriately named "Holiday Snaps". The man is pure class.

4.8.05

Lady S-O-V


"'I'm writing all the time, in the studio, all the time. My mates just do nothing, and they can't understand what I'm doing.' On the other hand, working hard is a royal pain for Lady Sovereign. Her new single 9 to 5 ('nothing to do with Dolly Parton'), which is released on Monday, is about how unprecedentedly weird it is to do hard work. It's also about lying in bed at night and worrying that the marketing goons who are grooming her for stardom want her to wear a thong and drape herself over a Lamborghini."

~ Grime Pays by Stuart Jeffries. An interview with 19 year old Lady Sovereign, one of a few new artists on my playlist right now.

3.8.05

New Job

So, today I officially started a new job. I'm not going to blog about it (just watch me break this rule in the future). I might talk about it on my usual forum, but really, it's barely interesting enough to write one post on the subject, let alone several consecutive ones. What is important, is that I have a job that lets me work through the most boring hours of the day (4pm to 8pm), thus leaving time for writing, searching out links and talking to my internet people. And I get to sleep in. Truly, all my passions kept intact.

Yesterday was a training day, which lasted 8 hours, and today was the first proper shift. I'm finding it a little weird to adapt to, which means I haven't been as organised and regular as I'd like to be with certain things, but I'm expecting that weirdness to move on in a week or so, especially as it's getting easier and easier the more that I do it. Time really does help. So expect lack of content for a few days yet - I apologise in advance.

I will however, post any interesting doodles that appear from my pen throughout the shift. We all do a lot of drawing. A lot.

2.8.05

Link Dump 02/8/05

Spotted 02/08/05

A blonde boy waiting for the bus, on the bridge just over Parson St. train station. He wore a blue shirt, and his left arm had been amputated from the elbow down.

1.8.05

William Gibson is alive and well

Gibson's updated his blog after about four months of silence. Looks like there could be a new book in the pipeline. Please do not think any less of me when I say:

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! SO HAPPY!

Even if there isn't a new book, I'm just glad he's back to communicate with us.

(eeee!)