Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Urban 75: An Example Of What The Net Can Do

The website urban75 has been around for years as an online focus for Brixton residents. In 2002 urban75 hit the headlines. A regular poster called `Colinthecop' had riled up its users with homophobic comments and his claim that "the people of Brixton deserve to be treated with contempt". In response Brian Paddick (commander in chief of Brixton's police force) came onto the site and ended up debating cannabis policies, political philosophies and methods to improve community relations.

Of course the tabloids got whiff of it. The Sun's frontpage headline screamed "The Odd Bill: I back ANARCHY" and eventually exposed that Paddick was gay and smoked dope with a past lover. He got the chop. Since then urban75 has flourished as a site of controversy. It Provides reasonable advice on drugs, enlightening discussions on politics, on-the-ground accounts from the UK left and photo archives from music festivals and protests stretching back to the early nineties.

There's also a host of games to piss away hours online at work. Downing Street Fighter rips off Street Fighter pitting individuals from the Conservatives and New Labor against each other in combat. Punch a Celeb lets you hammer the crap out of the obnoxious gits gracing the tabloids. Urban75 is a great example of how the net has facilitated the creation of new communities of interest and culture. Check it out.


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