November 30, 2003
On Adbusters - [grid::brand]
Adbusters is a lifestyle magazine for consumerist anorexics and bulimics. Everyone in the western world enjoys shopping wether they like to admit it or not. Even those who hate to shop do buck eighties when it come to their product. Maybe its high heeled shoes, maybe its obscure Japanese comics, X-mas ornaments or hemp jewelry.
But even in the consumerist paradise of America, people sometimes feel a bit bloated. And Adbusters is where they go to purge. Feeling guilty about buying that handwoven toilet paper in a custom carved wooden box? Or maybe the fact that it only took 94 minutes to get bored of your new cellphone/vacuum cleaner has got you down? Adbusters sells the perfect remedy, anti-consumption in nice bite sized, well designed chunks.
Most readers don't even need to really purge, they just need the dream of purging. A fantasy of anti-consumption to occupy brainspace next to the dreams of having a body like Giselle or becoming the next Tiger Woods with that $5,000 golf club. "You too can save the world" screams the Adbusters salesman. Its a good fantasy, worth maybe $6 or whatever it is they charge.
And then tomorrow you can wake up, toss Adbusters on top of Wallpaper in the pile and read Look Look for a while.
Now don't get me wrong, Adbusters sometimes does great work. But for the most part their grip on reality is just south of Mr Jackson's. Issue after issue reads like a deep denial of the fact that the circulation of goods and information is necessary to the functioning of the world. There is a constant inability to distinguish the very criticizable manipulations of corporations from the unfortunate but acceptable side effects of living in a world of six billion interconnected people. Advertising a new cereal just isn't the same as Nestle pushing defective baby formula in the name of profit, yes?
If the closest you've gotten to growing your own food is leaving yogurt in the fridge overnight, how do you expect me to take seriously your anticorporate ranting? I've yet to see Adbusters and its crowd come remotely close to explaining how to feed and clothe 6 billion without corporations. Well I guess the marxists of the lot have a theory, but its not one I'm buying...
That's not to say everything in Adbuster's is wrong, from time to time they hit targets right on the money. But is a little rigor too much to ask for?
[please also note that tobias c. van Veen has his own lengthy critique of the mag up here, go check it out, its good.]
[grid::brand] has begun. Here in the US its not officially the date yet, a small lesson in globalism I suppose.
You can keep track of some of the activity here.
This might be a working RSS Feed, although it looks a bit funny.
Keep an eye out for the [grid::brand] brand across the internet.
And of course Ashley Benigno deserves massive credit for imagining this experiment and bringing it to actuality.
Blake Ashby is running against Bush for the Republican nomination for president in 2004.
"I am running because the extreme social conservatives are taking over this party-and it is time for freedom-loving moderates to take it back."
He's basically a moderate libertarian, and a hell of lot better then Bush. My dear friends, if you happen to have the misfortune of being a Republican then please vote for this man.
Abstract Dynamics of course remains independent of all American political parties.
Heads Up Design Fans
November 29, 2003
Is the Internet Coming Back?
Is Slavoj Žižek the world's foremost intellectual shit talker? Organs Without Bodies reads like an imaginary game of the dozens played with Deleuze as the stumbling sucker who never gets off a proper snap. Plus its a game of the dozens written in academic prose and coupled with non sequitur monologues. Entertaining? sometimes. Insightful? occasionally. Am I remotely convinced that Deleuze is secretly Hegelian? You've gots to be shitting me.
I'd hire Žižek as a copywriter in a second. Probably not going to read another book of his for quite a while though...
Up and Somewhat In
Back on what I hope to be the usable side of technology. Calls for the PC have been made, backups somewhat successful. Mac is in working shape, we'll see how it shapes the writing/posting style.
November 28, 2003
Down and Somewhat Out
My main computer is in a state of heavy crash. Just got my shattered Mac into somewhat workable condition. Hating the view of CRT, but I'm sure I'll adjust. Expect slow output until issues are resoloved.
November 26, 2003
Once Again Upon A Forest
A new once upon a forest, tasty visuals for the tkey day.
Funny though, view source on that page and you find this version is titled "Dynamic Abstractions", wonder why that sounds so familiar...
[via :: souljerky/threshold]
Longer Kompakt Hell + Seven
Yow, Kompakt Records' Michael Mayer and Reinhard Voigt brought a far more visceral sound then anticipated. Actually I wasn't anticipating much at all, being a touch out of touch with latest in electronic music, 99% of which is deep into the bland territory nowadays. And of course its the ignored genres that tend to surprise.
The Kompakt boys added to the surprise by starting off with 20 minutes or so of some same ole same ole, pretty, housish stuff. Almost gave up and then wham, in come the sawtooths. Big buzzing bass topped with fuzzing hooks, pure and simple, but raw as fuck. The techno/jazz comparison holds no weight here, in a way this has more to do with the stripped down rock of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and White Stripes. Heading home it was actually the Stripes one bass driven track, 'Seven Nation Army' resonating through my head. And yeah, Black Sabbath is the most natural reference.
Its still techno of course, and at times the acid line / kick drum German style resurface. And a small core of the crowd eat it up like it was the 90's again. The old tricks still have a touch of juice. But it was the fuzz and modulated noisiness that made the night, screaming like machines stuck in the speakers aching to return to an organic form.
Rewind a couple days for a taste of the older (as in a year ago) German forefront. DJ Hell of label du jour Gigolo, dropped into NY darkest venue, Void. Half the crowd was fashionistas in for a party hosted by Seven, the LES avant garde clothing outpost. A mixed blessing of course, the fashion crowd is notoriously cold, but at least it always looks like a good party... Interesting faces, diversity, freak show styles. Pity it stops at the epidermis.
Hell rocked it in as blasé manner as it gets. The party percolated always interesting, never quite fun. The techno hit the rock and roll in far more straight forward manner. The nights highlight was probably Nirvana getting flawlessly dropped in the mix. Plus 3 Rapture tracks (well actually 2 with the Sister Savior remix seeing double duty). Is 2003 over already?
Kompakt Records party = Thomas Brinkmann + Black Sabbath, hott.
soon a longer version, we hope. plus DJ Hell write up. Techno is the new black?
November 25, 2003
Linkage; N25 2003
Finally caved in and picked up a pair of Geoff McFetridge Nike Vandals. The seersucker looks better on then I thought, but its not going to last long anyways. I'm not a collector I'm going to wear these things and wear them out.
For those that missed out, these are the conceptual shoe of the season. The outer layer is canvas, but its designed to rip away slowly revealing an intricate print underneath. Constantly evolving shoes, that's the marketing tactic to win my heart...
Picked them up at Nom de Guerre and immediately rolled around the corner to have the kids on Bway write all over the left shoe. In retrospect I should have done both, and it should have read "Sweat" on one and "Shop" on the other. Instead it just says "Uprise" which is still political, and if I remember correctly the former slogan of a rival sneaker company too boot. Not much into the silver swoosh, think I'll try and get every good writer I know to tag up the branding... Stay tuned to see these evolve, I still haven't taken a knife to the canvas yet, thinking up a strategy.
Who Are You and What Do You Look Like?
Phil Gyford: Writing: Statement of a Photographic Man is a fabulous post in which he digs up this passage from London Labour and the London Poor, Vol. 3 by Henry Mayhew. Its the story of an early photographers shop. Tells quite a lot about how our understanding of ourselves has changed...
When we are not busy, we always fill up the time taking specimens for the window. Anybody who’ll sit we take him; or we do one another, and the young woman in the shop who colours [photographs with paint]. Specimens are very useful things to us, for this reason — if anybody comes in a hurry, and won’t give us time to do the picture, then, as we can’t affford to let her go, we sit her and goes through all the business, and I says to Jim, “Get one from the window,” and he takes the first specimen that comes to hand. Then we fold it up in paper, and don’t allow her to see it until she pays for it, and tell her not to expose it to the air for three days, and that if then she doesn’t approve of it and will call again we will take her another. Of course they in general comes back. We have made some queer mistakes doing this. One day a young lady came in, and wouldn’t wait, so Jim takes a specimen from the window, and, as luck would have it, it was the portrait of a widow in her cap. She insisted on opening, and then she said, “This isn’t me; it’s got a widow’s cap, and I was never married in all my life!” Jim answers, “Oh, miss! why it’s a beautiful picture, and a correct likeness” — and so it was, and no lies, but it wasn’t of her — Jim talked to her, and says he, “Why this ain’t a cap, it’s the shadow of the hair” — for she had ringlets — and she positively took it away believing that such was the case; and evern promised to send us customers, which she did.
There was another lady that came in a hurry, and would stop if we were not more than a minute; so Jim ups with a specimen, without looking at it, and it was the picture of a woman and her child. We went through the business of focussing the camera, and then gave her the portrait and took the 6d. When she saw it she cries out, “Bless me! there’s a child: I haven’t ne’er a child!” Jim looked at her, and then at the picture, as if comparing, and says he, “It is certainly a wonderful likeness, miss, and one of the best we ever took. It’s the way you sat; and what has occasioned it was a child passing through the yard.” She said she supposed it must be so, and took the portrait away highly delighted.
Once a sailor came in, and as he was in haste, I shoved on to him the picture of a carpenter, who was to call in the afternoon for his portrait. The jacket was dark, but there was a white waistcoat; still I persuaded him that it was his blue Guernsey which had come up very light, and he was so pleased that he gave us 9d. instead of 6d. The fact is, people don’t know their own faces. Half of ‘em have never looked in a glass half a dozen times in their life, and directly they see a pair of eyes and a nose, they fancy they are their own.
[via Test: Image repertoires]
Dear everyone who thinks that iPod batteries are not replaceable,
Please send your "dead" iPods to me. I will happily place a $49 battery in your old, beloved toy and use it daily with the utmost care and respect.
ps, if you are feeling real flush you can always just buy me a spanking new one off my wish list...
November 24, 2003
Centralizing the Interweb
John Battelle's Searchblog: Monoculture, Innovation, and the Ivory Tower: The Search Papers. Are a couple large corporations taking research in search technology out of the open, university, environment and placing it into closed corporate labs?
Whiskey Bar: One Big Occupation, ouch "U.S. Seeks Advice From Israel on Iraq", I think that says it all. If there was any chance of Iraq somehow not being a disaster it all over now...
Thankfully this Bill Clinton interview is a bit more positive in out look, good for clearing the pallette perhaps.
November 22, 2003
Miami, Two Days Ago
[via American Samizdat who have named us progressive blog of the week, holla!]
Juan Zhungur's primitive Christmas decadence at Safe-T-Gallery
Dream So Much 2 was quality all around, but Kenji Hirata stood out strongly. Mean while the post graffiti scene continues to walk the tightrope line between brand generation and art creation. So far so good...
No such worries for Daniel Zeller at Pierogi 2000. More of a threat of his millions of superfine lines inducing vertigo in the viewer as he delicately (and obsessively?) maps a space that oscillates between the aerial topographic and the neural microscopic.
Meanwhile I can't find any images that do any of these pieces visual justice, go view the shows. Also note there is an Artist's Talk for Dream So Much on Wednesday December 3rd at AAAC, 26 Bowery. No word on which artists.
Mr. Media Will You Please Follow Up?
"So do you use sleeping tablets to organize yourself?" Al-Rashed asked.
bq. "Yes. Well, I wouldn't call them that," (Colin) mPowell said. "They're a wonderful medication -- not medication. How would you call it? They're called Ambien, which is very good. You don't use Ambien? Everybody here uses Ambien."
So that's from the Washington Post almost 2 weeks ago. Am I the only one who wants to know more?
Well here is a bit more about that med:
Side effects include:
Common: abnormal dreaming, abnormal vision, amnesia, daytime drowsiness, depression, dizziness, double vision, drugged feelings, euphoria, fatigue, insomnia, lethargy, light headdress, vertigo, headache or confusion.
Rare: abnormal thinking, aggression, delusions, dementia, feeling of unreality, feeling strange, hysteria, illusions, intoxicated feelings, manic reactions, neurosis, panic attacks, personality disorder, speech impairment.
More from the warnings:
A variety of abnormal thinking and behavior changes have been reported to occur in association with the use of sedative/ hypnotics. Some of these changes may be characterized by decreased inhibition (eg, aggressiveness and extroversion that seemed out of character), similar to effects produced by alcohol and other CNS depressants. Other reported behavioral changes have included bizarre behavior, agitation, hallucinations, and depersonalization.
And a little bit from the products own site:
AMBIEN is classified as a Schedule IV substance by government regulation. Potential for abuse and addiction is a primary consideration of a drug’s classification. Please ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about this.
Addiction, or dependence, can be caused by sleep medicines, especially when they are used regularly for longer than a few weeks or at high doses. All people taking sleep medicines have some risk of becoming dependent on the medicine. However, people who have been dependent on alcohol or other drugs in the past may have a greater chance of becoming addicted to sleep medicines and should be under their doctor’s careful observation when receiving AMBIEN or any other sleep medicine.
Yow, this is our government my friends. You'd think a few more questions would be asked...
November 21, 2003
Out of Pocket Linkage
Emptied out my pockets from the past few days and these links emerged:
Downtown for Democracy - AUCTION - "Buy Art, Beat Bush", sounds good to me. Artists involved are no joke either, they're shooting to raise $10 million.
notKeren - quality art and illustration.
Dream So Much 2 - art, asian-american.
Anticipate Recordings - music.
Sonata For the Unaware
Lynn Fox sounds like a porn star but instead they make the sort of things that motion designers fantasize about.
[via beverly tang]
November 20, 2003
Far More then You Ever Want to Know About Dick Cheney
Notes From Something
Either I was missing something important or the Cory Arcangel curated video art at Deitch was truly awful.
Odds of me missing something in that crap are extremely low.
Shame since Mr. Arcangel generally does interesting things.
November 19, 2003
Bruno & Brooke
Somewhere Outside the Media Focus
...the recent unprovoked assault of over 100 attendees at a fundraiser for the Anarchist People of Color (APOC) this past Saturday.... The peaceful event, held at the Brooklyn headquarters of community activist organization Critical Resistance, turned to chaos after police officers, responding to a complaint that there were people outside the event drinking out of open containers, stormed the venue with pepper spray and other chemical agents and began harassing the attendees. The incident ended with the savage beating of dozens of people and the subsequent arrest of eight people, including members of BAC, Critical Resistance, the Prison Moratorium Project (PMP), and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.
Read more at the Critical Resistance Home Page.
November 18, 2003
Worshipping the Bomb
and you remember back to all those 50s movies where all these kids are doing nuclear drills, the air-raid siren goes and all these kids get down on their hands and knees and they hold their arms over their heads. You think: what's going on here? and it's obvious - they're worshipping the bomb, they're like atomic Muslims, the mushroom has become this Mecca and they're pointing towards the East. The bomb is mutation and the kids are going "mutate me, mutate me", "melt me, meld me".
from Kodwo Eshun's - Abducted by Audio (Live), which is actually mainly about the darkside in music.
And on the serious flip of the same coin, Edward Castronova delves into the messy world of people taking their games too seriously. Lawsuits, protests, bankruptcy court orders, the game addicts care about what goes down in "their" space. A space of course owned by some corporation. Makes me laugh, but these battles are for real.
From now on it looks like Abstract Dynamics will be known as: Diwrecktive
We'll of course have this fabulous tagline: "then three come at once"
Best of all we got all this rebranding work done for free. And What Brand Are You?
and on the other side of the joke, it appears some companies are actually using the fake names.
[via things magazine]
November 17, 2003
Notes from the PFFR/Japanther Show
Japanther actually work better as an aesthetic stance then as actual music. The music however sounds a lot like Big Black, which is pretty damn good for a rock band in the now. Punk no dead, it just works hard to look good. And Japanther does it right, stolen pay phone headsets as mics, the drummer's one is taped to his head, while the bassist is missing a string and using a credit card as a pick. The guitars and samples are all on a cheap tapedeck that just rolls. Mix with that good old punk rock energy and its surprisingly effective. Fuck 3 chords, all you need to start a band nowadays is 2 loud noises and a look.
The Art of the Social Network: Mark Lombardi
A fascinating (but sad) article on artist Mark Lombardi. Lombardi's work consisted of hand drawn diagrams of social networks. Fascinating, powerful and certainly a few years ahead of the curve.
[via connected selves]
November 15, 2003
Tupac Resurrection in Peace
It was real tempting to just lead this post "Tupac : Resurrection, tragedy". But that's misleading in the wrong way. Its a damn good movie, and the tragedy is in the story itself, not film. Two thirds of the movie follows Tupac's path through life and fame as a trouble young political leader, truly a son of the Black Panthers. And them bam, Death Row records enters the picture and the dark side wins. Shit, damn, motherfucker. Its depressing.
The flick tries not to drop the blame on Suge Knight, but its the story and we all know it. The bright eyed political insights of Mr. Shakur were always in danger of being seduced by the violent rage of the gangster life. And Knight took him straight from prison into a world that could only emerge from the vicious crossbreeding of Hollywood with organized crime. The result was death, tragedy.
Then of course the big question, resurrection. The movie spends a straight forward 5 minutes on his death. And it spends and hour and a half with Tupac voice narrating as if its the now. It opens with him talking about getting shot, in New York, while panning over scenes from Vegas where he was shot again and killed. The effect of course is to make it seem that he is still alive. Its done well.
And it begs, screams really, the question, did he fake his own death? Its turning into quite a conspiracy theory. And when the movie is called "resurrection" and features a scene where the camera pans over a Christ on the crucifix while Tupac talks about the 5 bullets that hit him, the rumors sure aren't going to stop. Me? Well if he really comes back its going down as the marketing event of the century...
Until then though, RIP Tupac. And peep the flick, for the politics if nothing else.
You know, for once I actually think the Washington Post is being a touch too harsh of our president. Perhaps Bush granted an exclusive interview to the Sun because its the only paper he actually, "reads"?
Sex Slave to the Dataset
Reading Paco Underhill's renowned marketing text Why We Buy: the Science of Shopping, I can't help but think Mr. Underhill is one sexist mofo. Now there are plenty of good and/or interesting things inside the book, and I hope to hit them up at a later date. But for now, lets talk about this sex problem.
The core of it sits inside a pair of chapters "Shop Like a Man" and "What Women Want", and the rest leaks out all across the book. Its almost as if the author is on a mission to reinforce the hard social divides between man and women that constantly fall apart when looked at in the real world. Of course there is no denying the physiological difference between the sexs, nor the cultural forces that shape and reinforce some of those differences. But the fact is these differences are far more graded and interwoven then can generally be represented by ideas "male behavior" and "female behavior".
Now the complexity of this situation is actually illustrated well inside of Why We Buy, when Underhill looks at how certain stores actually reverse his proscribed male and female shopping behaviors. Enter a computer store and suddenly the men shop like women and the women shop like men. One might think this would be a warning sign, a big flashing light in the data saying that perhaps sex is not the appropriate determinant here. Perhaps people shop differently not because of their sex but because of their interest in a particular subject?
People shop for things then need and for things they desire. Wouldn't it make sense that people would shop differently for each item. Sometime you think "fuck I need to get that damn item, lets do this quickly" and sometimes you walk into a store loaded with your dream goods. Perhaps those goods are photo equipment, perhaps antique furniture, perhaps rarefied cheese.
Underhill's male and female shopping behaviors seem to me to have a lot more to do with how excited a person is about the objects and tasks contained in the store then about actual sex. Now there are plenty of cultural (and perhaps biological) factors that push women towards different interests. But there also a massive amount overlap. Men who spend half their day dreaming of clothes, women who flaunt their Gigabytes of RAM and all kinds of spaces in between.
Now what's really interesting here is not that Underhill is intent of reinforcing male/female distinctions that show up only in broad averages, but how it must have come to be that way. There are strong clues in the very first page of the book, where Underhill describes the methodology of his company. He employees crew of stalkers (er sorry "trackers") that follow people through stores recording all their behavior. And he video tapes store after store from angle after angle observing. Observing from afar.
Now try and ignore Orwellian side of it all for a bit and step back. What's happening here is that Underhill is collecting massive amounts of data about shoppers actions and almost no data at all about who they are or how they think. In fact just about the only meaningful data he has on these shoppers is their sex. And of course even then he's just guessing.
So what we have is a massive dataset where the only meaningful difference contained inside is the shoppers gender. No wonder Underhill harps on endlessly about the difference between male and female shoppers, its the only information he has at all. He becomes a slave to his dataset, taking what little he has and stretching it out throughout his whole book. Which is a shame since his information on actions is quite excellent, and indeed the book is quite good (although sometimes frightening) once you ignore the underlying sexism to it all.
November 14, 2003
A Newer New
Cash Rules Everything Around, Cream Get The Money
The Money Map shows us where all that presidential money is coming from.
November 13, 2003
In Asia We Trust
Looking at the Fed's latest numbers, I see its "custodial" holdings of bonds actually owned by foreign central banks have now passed the $1 trillion mark -- an increase of almost 25% since this time last year:
The Fed's own bond portfolio, by contrast, is worth less than $660 billion -- and the entire left-hand side of the balance sheet (net reserve credit) totals just $722 billion. If this keeps up, Uncle Sam is going to have to put a new motto on the dollar bill: "In Asia We Trust."
Designers barking again? or is there real bite in this one?
November 11, 2003
Behind the Scene
icon | november | art factory is a profile of the Uk's leading art fabricator. You know the business that actually makes the expensive art. Interesting, but don't believe the bit about them being the only business really doing this stuff, there are other games in other towns.
[via rodcorp ]
Pay to Play Politics
Unconfirmed and potentially explosive. Stay tuned.
Incidentally isn't Neil Bush the Bush who was a close friend to the family of would be Reagan assassin John Hinckley? Its the ones who get the least media play that are scariest...
Double Edge Blades (for your feet and closet)
Now the photos don't do these shoes justice, especially with the precision manicure they are shown being given. What's exciting about these shoes is that they are built to decay. The outer layer is canvas, and underneath is an intricate screen print design. As the shoes get nicked and scuffed up, the very design of the shoe changes, transforming itself with every use. Pity most of the people buying these shoes will never actually wear them...
Couple other points:
1 - they launched these shoes with an art opening style party, giving free alcohol to sneaker fanatics is a devestatingly effective way to sell.
2- releasing light colored shoes at the start of winter? they must be designed for the Japanese market, where light colored shoes are far more popular then they are in the US.
Is there something in the DNA of the Democratic Party that ensures it will divide itself from the inside?
More of the Same (Design)
Design Observer: writings about design & culture: The New Certainties. Should be pretty familiar to any graphic designer, although its got a decent new twist in the form of a chemist.
Bottom line, designers love to talk about how important and powerful design can be, and if it can be done while knocking other designers or older styles, all the better. And if it involves doing more then talking...
November 10, 2003
Referenced for Future Reference: Information Wants to Be Valuable
November 09, 2003
November 08, 2003
Get. That. Dirt. Off. Your. Sholder.
note we cheated by highlighting Dirt Off Your Shoulder, which is certainly leading in playback outside of iTunes. The objective list would be more like First Song, Dirt Off, 99, Lucifer, Threat, Moment of Clarity (underrated in the reviews I've seen). Also note how important sequencing is, I just haven't listened to any of the tracks that appear before Dirt enough.
November 07, 2003
On John Edwards
Is it true that presidential hopeful John Edwards once played a used car salesman in Back to the Future? It sure would explain a lot.
On the Grid
Ashley Benigno is cooking up some tasty experiments in distributed media:
Grid blogging is about synchronized guerrilla publishing attacks carried out across a series of online locations. It respects and heightens the individual voice within a media-wise choir. It allows for idea-jamming and mosaics of diverse perspectives to emerge unfettered.
Abstract Dynamics will be a proud participant in this exciting experiment. Starts December 1st, stay tuned!
November 06, 2003
I got 99 problems, but the first Rick Rubin hip hop beat in years ain't one.
The rest of The Black Album? Not up too the hype so far. Some heat, lots of slush. Other highlights?
Lucifer: Kayne West beat, what's that vocal sample?
The Threat: 9th Wonder samples R. Kelly from only 3 years ago. Good thing its one of his best tracks. Lil Kim just covered it too, percolating underground.
Dirt Off Your Shoulders: Timbaland can do no wrong. Except on his own albums of course.
My First Song: Aqua! Who? Dangerous on the beats. What a way to go out.
I got 5 on Jay dropping another album in the next 3 or 4 years.
100% Pure Premium Propaganda
I'm a big fan of propaganda, especially when it comes from causes I support. The Meatrix is some of the best propaganda I've seen in a long while. Best of all its not the militant vegetarian shlog I expected, but instead is quality anti-factory farming propaganda. Good stuff. Requires Flash.
btw, I've probably mentioned it before, but the newish BP (British Petroleum!) logo is the most evil thing around. I'm mean it looks great, brings up thoughts of the sun, flowers and greenery. For an oil company. Great for them, awful for humanity...
Dracula's Real Estate
The opening of the M25 in October 1986 (Margaret Thatch-er's dome moment) signalled the end of London and its liberties. We were now a traffic island. The pollution was visible from space; we would be living under a skin of bad gas, an anti-Eden project. Walking the road, anti-clockwise, let me in on all the secrets: the vanishing hospitals, the asylums that became gated estates, military and pharmaceutical bunkers, the ever-expanding airport runways, CCTV cameras, John Wyndham villages and "severed" communities.
The best guides to the territory, in the days before JG Ballard perched in Shepperton, were to be found among the more imaginative late-Victorian authors: HG Wells at the southwest corner with The War of the Worlds, and Bram Stoker, who placed Dracula's abbey at Purfleet, where the QEII Bridge comes to rest among oil storage tanks. Count Dracula was the forerunner of contemporary real estate speculators: the first one to buy into Thames Gateway. The count anticipated Thatcher's boys-in-braces, Blair's quangos. Buy toxic, buy cheap: madhouses, old chapels, decaying abbeys. Then make your play: storage and distribution. "All that die from the preying of the Un-dead become themselves Un-dead and prey on their own kind," wrote Stoker. "And so the circle goes on ever widening, like ripples from a stone thrown in water."
whose new book, London Orbital is a chronical of walking around the massive highway that circles the far reaches of London.
November 05, 2003
Anyone have a copy of the Wesley Clark campaign ad where he mentions Outkast?
update: here it is, thanks to one Steve Garfield for the info. Anyone have any links to the other candidates Rock the Vote ads?
update2: Rock the Vote has all the candidates videos from their debate. Quality is crap, both in terms of the actual files and that actual ads. Damn, no wonder Bush is president, apparently no other candidate knows how to make a TV commercial. If this is what we can expect from the rest of the campaign Clark is going to steamroll everyone except maybe Dean...
November 04, 2003
What up Russia
Matt Taibbi has some crazy things to say about what's going down in Russia. No idea about the writer or the situation, so I can't verify any accuracy, but it sure as hell sounds like some real shit and it ain't pretty. Need to know more. Gangsta capitalism has been in effect, go get a late pass.
Forget Mr. Diddy, everyone knows MOP run NY. Sick beat, Beatminerz, strings, bass, only available on some Rawkus sampler and a Kay Slay mix cd, email me. Where the hell is the Roc debut?
November 03, 2003
Half a Review, Chickenbone Cafe
Its only half a review cause I've only ate one item... Place is called Chickenbone Cafe. Its a pretty good representation of a whole new layer of gentrification in Williamsburg but I'm avoiding that issue for a while, messy and cliched at the same. Some other time, maybe.
Went for the first time on Thursday, got the Cuban sandwich. Dreamed about it all weekend. Was back last night for another, plus the ricotta, pine nut, maple desert, which is fabulous and pretty unique as well. Remember something vaguely similar at a high end Indian years ago and that's it...
One annoyance. Sat at the bar both times. First time I ordered a pint of dark beer and sipped slowly, went to the bathroom, went out for a phone call. 40 minutes pass, no Cuban. Finish the beer and order a second. Bingo, a sandwich.
Second visit, order a light beer, came in a 12 ounce mug. Bartender forgot the water. First beer was gone in a flash. Quickly get halfway through the second and the Cuban arrives. "Sorry for the 'delay' we made it extra big because it took so long". Hmmmmm
Regardless, the Cuban gets caps cause its spectacular. Salty, juicy, with hits of garlic and superb long thin slices of pickles laced throughout. Its not an even mix and that's a good thing. There are maybe 4 or 5 flavors to the sandwich each emerging in its own bite. Sometimes its the salty meat, others the blast of garlic sauce, then the pickles might take a turn. Delirious. I'm not in the habit of dreaming of sandwiches, but damn this thing is good.
One economic oddity of the space. The Cuban is a "special" although indications are that its permanent. Its also significantly more expensive then anything on the menu. Perhaps it really costs more to make. But all indications are that it costs more because its more popular, not because the cost of the ingredients and labor. Now more popular restaurants often charge more as a whole, supply and demand and all. But its pretty rare for a restaurant to implement a popularity rather then commodity based pricing within its own menu.
Everyone's got to make their money no doubt, but its an odd statement isn't it? Imagine a restaurant that charged more for the burger then the lobster just because it got a write up as best burger spot.
In the end though whatever, if I'm going to dream about this Cuban I'm going to buy it. Hope the cheaper items taste that good...
and yeah the info:
177 South 4th Street, Williamsburg Brooklyn, 718.302.2663
opens at 4pm till late, possibly cash only
November 02, 2003
Barlow 2: Bush 1 quote
Barlow also has a great email sig:
Trying to eliminate Saddam...would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible.... We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq.... there was no viable "exit strategy" we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations' mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land.
- George Herbert Walker Bush, from his memoir, A World Transformed (1998)
Barlow 1: Burning Out
I felt as if I were watching the best minds of the next several generations blowing themselves into starry oblivions as deep as the desert night, pushing the envelope of strangeness into near-psychosis at a time when the world beyond The Playa seems to have gone quite mad enough already.
If someone like Karl Rove had wanted to neutralize the most creative, intelligent, and passionate members of his opposition, he'd have a hard time coming up with a better tool than Burning Man. Exile them to the wilderness, give them a culture in which alpha status requires months of focus and resource-consumptive preparation, provide them with metric tons of psychotropic confusicants, and then . . . ignore them. It's a pretty safe bet that they won't be out registering voters, or doing anything that might actually threaten electoral change, when they have an art car to build.
Indeed, Burning Man strikes me as only one of many reality distortion fields within which the counter-culture, myself totally included, has sought self-ghettoizing refuge. On reflection, I realized that I felt much the same about the massive protest marches that failed to impede in any way the Administration's unprovoked assault on Iraq. We all had a grand time gathering ourselves by the millions, but we were up against opponents far more practical and smart than Dick Nixon or Spiro Agnew. The current Dick knows that the best way to deal with dissent is give it a spectacle to exhaust its energies on. He knows that we're suckers for a good show, especially one where we get a starring role, so he gives us unmolested stages upon which to mount our extravaganzas and goes on about his corporate affairs.
not much more to say other then I agree completely. Didn't go to Burning Man the last 2 years, and those sorts of thoughts are a significant part of the reason. Its time to build not burn, the taz can wait a moment or two. For real.
November 01, 2003
How Gay is That?
Which just begs the question of who really is sexually confused, the trannie or the men who are suing? I mean really, if you haven't kissed a trannie once in your life can you even call yourself a man? And if that experience leaves you "psychologically and emotionally damaged"? Honey, you've got problems. What a freaking bunch of fa...
Damn, is it me or is this sneaker fetish thing straight exploding?
Freshness mag has pictures of people camping out for limited edition Nikes. The NYT even felt the need to write about it. Shit's about as cool as stamp collecting now. Where is the art to it now? Finding out what line to bring a sleeping bag too? I could respect sneaker fetish cats when it was about hunting down forgotten merchandise. But now they just line up overnight to let Nike hoover up their wallets. Tragic.
New formula: the rarer someone's kicks, the further I stay away from them.