Monday, October 31, 2005

Fuck the Garda

Last night I had the urge to punch a cop but due to the consequences of such actions I kept my fists to myself took down their numbers and swore I would make a complaint. Yesterday after a twelve hour shift James myself and a few mates decided we would drink a few cans before going into the gig to save money. We were sitting by the Liffey on the boardwalk chatting away. Every time guards walked by we would hide our cans and they would walk by without taking notice. But the last time guards walked by we weren’t so lucky, they noticed James' can under the bench between his legs and kicked it over. Then they had us stand up to search for more cans. They were being a bit thick and we were being a bit cheeky so they Section 8'ed us which means you have to leave the vicinity immediately or they can arrest you, but not before they took all our names, birthdates and addresses. James was asking them under what section they had the right to take our addresses, since as far as we knew we only had to give our names and addresses but not birthdates. Due to our inquisitive and less then respectful manner towards these pricks they started to get a bit more rude. One was questioning James asking where he worked. Our mate was saying “don’t tell him anything” but I think both him and I were on the same page and wanted to show them how we had good “caring” jobs and were not doley scum like they assumed.

The other guard was asking what part of America I was from, we had a hard time understanding that I was not from the states and had never lived there so instead of thinking ‘umm canada’ we decided to take a low blow and say so your from D4 then. He started to make fun of my accent and do a really bad American accent “Hey maaan” and so on. He was really pissing me off.

He then asked me where I worked, I told him a homeless shelter. He asked if it paid well, and then said that the homeless get paid well and was asking me how much they get a week, not in an interested way but rather in a manner where he could bitch about the homeless taking all the welfare money. When I asked why he cared he said that he works with the homeless aswell. Now this is were I get real snarky; I say to him “Oh right when you are beating them up and arresting them” oh course he went with it and said “yeah and I love it”

The blood is boiling!!! We left after making sure we had there number and calling then enough names . . .

While we walked off the board walk and onto the bridge there was this guy tapping, we warned him that he might wanna move on since there were two assholes heading his way that said they enough beating up and arresting homeless people. Low and behold the guards went right up to him and started to harass him. While they were doing that James went over with his note book and started to take notes. This actually shook them, one of them turned around took out his hand cuffs and started to run at us. We can take a hint and we ran off. Of course I opened my last can once we turned the corner ;)

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Masters Of The Accidental (or is that stoned?) Metaphor/ A Halloween Special.

It's Hallow'een again, and once more I'm failed by the national Broadcaster. Bank holiday viewing on the terristrial channels always revolves around several doses of under thought out, straight to video movies for brats or Hollywood blockbusters to unite the family just after the watershed. This year is no different, with RTE giving the finger to the season of fright, by dishing out Omen II as its flagship horrow classic, ripped out of its context as part of a series and lazily used to shore up a Hallow'een schedule. The Omen does rate as one of the classics of the genre, but whats at stake here is more than a mind-numbing, anti-dotes to The Clinic or whatever drama cum soap is always on RTE2 - its the sources of my horror kicks this weekend and how the relative artistic merit of them.

In an older psycoanalytical schema, the gothic novel and the horror movie allowed those sexualities and life-choices which were expunged as deviant to masquerade momentarily as threats on the screen or page before being viciously jettisoned as the old order was re-established in the closing moments. In this light, we see Dracula representing a virulent sexuality, that contaminates the young Lucy turning her into a ravishing, buxom-laden blonde, who moves from being a child on the path towards adopting her role as breeder within a tight Victorian marriage to feasting on an orphan in the graveyard. Dracula is also presented as the haunting memory of the feudal lord, returning to enact traditional claims on the female childern of the bourgeoise in the new commercial city of London. Suitably, this homosexual retrobate is returned to dust by that tryptch of emerging power, a scientist, a protestant vicar and an overly zealous, jilted and legalistically minded lawyer who earlier in the novel took the pleasure of thrusting a phallic stake into the corrupted virginal body of his wife to be, much to her orgiastic moans.

While sci-fi always grappled with sub-plots of deeply political meaning just think the finger pointing of the McCarthney era in Invasion of The Body Snatcher , the horror of the early cinema up until the late sixties still dwelled on the issue of sexuality with the practically soft-core approach of Hammer satisfyting the mastabatory fantasies of the teenage male. Yet while maintaining a cover of Satanic garb and velvet candlemasses, one film changed all of this. Rosemary's Baby explored issues of feminine control of the body, with its graphic depiction of a rape sub-plot and its representation of a masculine dominated medical profession, with its refusal to listen to the lead characters concerns over her dwindling mental health as the foetus developed in the womb. The overtly image based references to LSD of course helped the films success in abundance. So what was to emerge here was a form of horror film more closely referencing frission in the world outside rather than the psychological horror of previous films. Polanski would later effectively kill off the Hammer style with Excuse Me? But Your Teeth Seem To Be Stuck In My Mouth albeit an affectionate satire, it removed al potential for doing anything but laughing at the genre.

In the arena of post-modernity, it was the video nasty, that would most closely circulate a break from the religious based super-natural with the threat coming from forces all too human, usually that of over-bearing males, with a history of rape and slashing as in the Nightmare on Elm Street Series. Skip forward a generation and the rapists were having their asses kicked by a Buffy the Vampire Slayer, that didn't rely on a power giving lycra suit like traditional heroines like Wonder Womne, but directly took on those bad guys that would upset the quiet boredom of her home town. For anyone who hasn't seen it - the last episode of the series is a must see, with the show referencing wholesale the excessive academic analysis that emerged around it a response to the identity politics of the 1990's. The heroes narrowly escape a gaint fireball, then watch Sunnydale collapse into the hell-hole it always was left to wonder if the rest of the world was aware of such things as Starbucks and Nike runners.

But amidst this and closely aligned with the pollitically salient sci-fi of the 1950's and sixties was the zombie flick. For those that would wager horror as a genre was effectively dead, lost of its appeal to the deep seated remnants of Catholic up-bringings that propelled the fright. There has been a cerain re-awakening of the genre with the lastest in Alfredo Romero's Zombie series. Land of the Dead is a future where Terminater meets Mad Max, with an overture towards the dystopia of Robocops Delta City. The opening of Shaun of the Dead, a loving parody of Romero's work would parody much of the sociological weight attached to the zombie flick, with its credits set against the monotonous routine behaviour of commuters, and lowly wage slaves/zombies. On his first movie, Night Of The Living Dead, Romero commented that "I didn't want to just do horror. I didn't think of them as zombies. It was the '60s, man, we were just smoking and talking about politics. It was about revolution."

Ever since the popularity of Night Of The Living Dead, with its accidental analogy of a black leader being shot by a backward police force, Romero has always used a black lead to pour scorn on the faultlines of contemporary culture. The result is a pastiche of obvious methapors, such as the zombies attraction to the mall in Dawn Of The Dead, with lines like "you are hypnotised by this place all of you, its so neat and brightly wrapped you can't see that its a prison too?" directed at the remaining humans. Other classic lines like "they are not canibals...these creatures prey on humans, they do not prey on each other thats the difference" show the movies entering the realm of ethical debate on the inhumanity of man. The raiding parties on a wasteland suburbia in Land Of The Dead are so closely meant to represent the occupation of Iraq, that at times it gets tedious with one character going "I thought this was a battle this is a massacre."

Of course, whatever theories I may have about zombies representing dead labour come back to haunt the living linbgering in my head after years of doing English. There's no doubt that this sort of lark is purely compensation for mindrot by attaching doped up stoned metaphors to the subtleties of horror.

A Personal Top Ten:

1.
The Innocents:
Made in 1961, a young govenor is convinced two siblings in her care are possessed by a deceased servant and maid. This is pure psychological horror that remains unclosed till the end as to wheter the lead female is mad, or she is at the heart of a dark haunting. The suggestions that the siblings are having sex is frightful enough, this was the movie The Others ripped off. Unmissable.

2. Freaks: Straight back to the '30s with this one, and a controversial decision to see an ensemble of real life side show freaks hired for the parts. The film explores the relationsip dynamics between a show-girl who marries a midget for his money. The Ramones loved it, "Gabba Gabba we accept you" being the terryifying chant of the freaks as they enact their revenge at the end.

3. Lost Boys: With a wonderful soundtrack this film laid the grounds for much of the comedic horrors aimed at a self-aware youth market ever since. Think Buffy, but set in the Eighties.

4. The Nightmare On Elm Street Series: Yep, Mo-fu, thats how fucking hardcore we are over here. There's no point watching one when you can catch the lot. While the first film terrified the fuck out of anyone who curls their toes for safety at night, when you see Freddy whimper and run away from his ma by number 4, you know this is an accidental comic classic. Beware the bastard son of a 100 maniacs!

5. Rosemary's Baby: Two hours of pure suspense and inner torment that leaves you shivering.

6. The Wickerman: A Scottish bobby, heads over to a remote Scottish Island to explore the disappearance of a young girl, uncovering in its wake the pagan sexuality and rituals that its islan folk have taken on. The inspiration for

7. Dolores Claiborne: While not technically a horror, this movie comes from the mind of Stephen King and is definitely not one to watch alone. A young award winning journalist returns to her mother who is suspected of murder, forced to explore her own sexual abuse and the abuse of the men in her community who exercise institutional discretion. Horrifying.

8. The Exorcist. The novel was terrifying, but the film was farcical. I challenge anyone not to laugh when that kid starts shouting "fuck me!" and stabbing her self in the gee with a crucifix. Watch this with a squemish friends and your hysterical laughs will terrify them more than any satanci rite

9. The Omen: The movie that perfected the use of demonic childern as the best prospect for on screen terror there is. Is it because of this film that a generation of us remain terrified of a child's trike?

10. Psycho: Christ, that final scanning of the camera across Bates' eyes at the end is enough to make me shit me cacks.

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

A day of fitness

My years living in Ireland have caught up to me, chipper food and pints are a bad combination. I noticed this year the full summer pasted before I realised it had really began. Being a Canadian we believe in a few things, tolerance, layering and seasons. You realise summer is coming and with out consciously thinking about it your foods change, your intake lowers and you disregard your hibernation meal styles for fruit and little else. Living in Ireland has kept me on a constant hibernation diet for the full 12 months. And my physical activity although includes daily biking and the occasional rock climb and swim is actually restricted to running from the cops on the occasional direct action.

The thing is I use to be so fit, in my high school year book this one girl Stephanie wrote to the most athletic person I know. And although my concentrations have been side tracked by politics I still have goals of doing triathlons at some stage of my life. At the rate I was going I was going to have to become a born again athlete in my fifties for that goal to be realised.

So yesterday I took the dreaded first step and went to the gym. There is this gym across the street from my gaff that I have been eyeing the past nine months of living here and now with only three months left to go on the lease I am a proud owner of a St. Catherine’s health club membership.

I put on my surf pants I bought for Thailand and my space invaders t-shirt and I was good to go. I walked into the gym with confidence and looked around with the air of gym knowledge I walked straight towards this piece of machinery that I have never used before and jumped right on. The equipment is the strangest thing that they have at gyms, its kinda like you are cross-country skiing but you can go back and forth. Everything was going ok, I put in my weight, age, length of time and choose the cross training program.

Everything was fine till three mins in when it says peddle backwards. What how do I do that? I stop and awkwardly move my legs in a way that becomes a smooth backwards motion but wait how do I keep my feet attached to the peddles. they keep sliding back, at least when I was going forward they would slide to the stopper in front but this is madness nothing to stop my feet from sliding off this thing, I put all my weight on the peddles hoping that that pressure will keep them in one spot. Then I start to notice I'm sweating; good its working, the calories are flying off I'm getting fit.

But damn it I'm sweating all over this crazy machine and don't have a towel to wipe it off. It had been years since I had been at one of these places and I have forgotten the etiquette of the gym. I see a sign that says sweat towels are mandatory and that they are on sale at reception, but alas I have no cash so I leave traces of my sweat an the hang rails of all the equipment.

Next is the running machine, these things have always scared me, I mean how do you get on and how do you get off. I start slowly hoping to just be cool and not fall on my face. I notice this clip attached to the hand rail. It seems that you clip in on your t and if you fall it will pull out the clip that causes an emergency stop. This safety device seems more dangerous then falling yourself. The string is long so you have to be nearly off the thing before the emergency stop and then with the sudden change in speed you are sure to fall on your face, I put it on anyways and see what the deal is. Twenty mins later I’m well into this running thing, watching Sponge Bob on TV and doing an eleven min mile. In my excitement my pumping arms accidentally hit the control panel and the whole thing shuts down thinking I just fell. The look on my face when I stumble to halt must have been classic.

A gym disaster I am, but its been two days now and who knows where this health surge could lead.

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Man is the new middle east

Men are the original terrorist it would seem. The fear tactics used to protect women from this dark stranger in the alleys or even from the cunning, good looking manipulative man on the streets in the day resembles the paranoia during war times gone past or newer anti-terrorist propaganda. The idea that we need to be on guard 24 hours day and walk around in a constant state of fear places the women as a constant victim as a week vulnerable entity that needs to be in fear of her life and existence. Someone who needs to look around every corner, just counting down to that moment when the ‘predator’ will smell her weakness and attack.

This is not to take away from so many women’s experience of violence but to rather look at where the sexual violent power dynamic lies. It’s in the home, in among friends and partners. This is again not to say that women should be walking around in a state of fear waiting for the moment for there loving partner to turn around and rape then. It’s more to say that we shouldn’t fall into the role of victim walking down the street or at our parties and safety tip for women lists is as damaging to women’s self of self and feminism as the violence that women experience.

The following email is beign forwarded around, of course it was generated in the states the place were fear tatics replace rationla thinking at all levels. It would be like consulting wilderness survival guide to figure out how to deal with paper cuts. So check it out your self . . . very scary




Safety tips for Women

We can now add to the list of victims the retired 77 yr. old TCU professor from Ft Worth whose body was found last week in Oklahoma—and the 11 yr. old in Sarasota, FL. Because of these recent abductions in daylight hours, refresh yourself of these things to do in an emergency situation...This is for you, and for you to share with your wife, your children, everyone you know.

After reading these 9 crucial tips, forward them to someone you care about. It never hurts to be careful in this crazy world we live in.

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!

2. Learned this from a tourist guide in New Orleans. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you....chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON'T DO THIS!) The predator will be watching ou, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.

a. If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your
body in a remote location.

5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:

A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.
B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
C.) Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out.

IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)

6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!)

7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, Preferably ! in a zig -zag pattern!

8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP. It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked "for help" into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he
abducted his next victim.

************* Here it is *******

9. Another Safety Point: Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird. The police told her "Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door." The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The policeman said, "We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door." He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby. He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby's cries outside their doors when they're home alone at night.

Please pass this on and DO NOT open the door for a crying baby

----This e-mail should probably be taken seriously because the Crying Baby theory was mentioned on America's Most Wanted this past Saturday when they profiled the serial killer in Louisiana. I'd like you to forward this to all the women you know. It may save a life. A candle is not dimmed by lighting another candle. I was going to send this to the ladies only, but guys, if you love your mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, etc., you may want to pass it onto them, as well. Send this to any woman you know that may need to be reminded that the world we live in has a lot of crazies in it and it's better to be safe than sorry.

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Charting Your Cycle

Last week a group of women and a few token men sat in a lamp lit room on cushions snacking on tea and biscuits and listened to the adventures in menstration, a two women team reading from zines and telling stories of menstration. Your rag, the time of the month, your friend or your period, what ever you happen to say seems to be a mystery to most and a tabboo for many. The event itself was great, but the best part like usual is the discussions in the pub. Thats when the horror stories come out, the phlisophical discussion on to have or not to have the period and the support on our experiences of PMS. And from what I shared and heard there needs to be support groups for our partners almost more then ourselves!!

From my cultural studies feminist mind the most interesting part was the critique of mentration ads over the years. The pertrayal of menstration as something to hide to be ashamed about. Years of advertising that sell products that poisen our bodies and continiuosly tell us that there is something wrong with our bodies something we should be ashamed of and that we should subordinatly bow down to the men in our lives who don't want anything to do with our smells, moods and undaintness.

The duo had made this charts to keep track of your cycle. I never use to pay much attention to these things. But over the years I have begun a much closer relationship with my body, for the first time I have started to keep track of my period and I love it. The idea that you can start understanding the way to feel and can predict the upheaval. For someone who doens't have a 28 day cycle its intrigueing to see the pattern I do have. The women were saying that although your one year cycle might seem all over the place; if you were to chart your cycle for a few years there might be a bigger pattern out there.

So stories of keepers, reusable pads, leaking and mentrual blood art have filtered there way into daily conversations and I say its about time. Its not new for women to talk amonst themselves, yet we often filter our dialogue in groups with men. Yet if we are to reach equality I say that something that is this normal with such regularity among half the population we should be talking and talking loud, till the men in our lives are sharing stories in the adventures of menstration by proxy.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Why would we marry?

The following is a interview I did with my law and inequality and law proffessor. She is brillant, when I was working at OUThouse she came and did a talk on partnership rights and was ableto express herself in a way that everyone could understand. This interview has already been printed in wsm's newspaper and spread around the internet. Today my flatmate got it in an email from some anarchism list from the states that he is on!!!

Interview with Judy Walsh on a personal capacity

T: Can you explain how marriage and partnership rights are decided regulated in Ireland?

JW: There is a very clear hierarchy in Irish legal system. Marriage is the very privileged family form and that is confined to straight people. At the moment it excludes people who have a different gender identity that hasn’t been recognized.

In terms of what this contract involves, once you sign up for marriage you take on farley extensive obligations towards your partner but you also have a range of benefits confirmed on your largely around tax, social welfare, employment benefits.

T: Can you explain how the policies now around partnership rights as a negative impact for all relationship outside of marriage and not just same sex couples?

JW: Anything outside the marital family unit is treated less favourably so solo parents, people who are heterosexual but are cohabiting or not and are not married are all treated as lesser forms of family then the martial family, the courts have made that very clear. The constitution prescribes special protection for the married family.

In relation to social welfare last year the government introduced legislation to say that gay or lesbian co-habiting couples are not to be treated as couples for the purpose of social welfare.

In most area you find that married couples are benefiting and have the most defined set of rights. If own a property and if you are married your spouse has an automatic share in the property, more over married couples don’t have to pay inheritance tax. If you are not married and you are in the same situation and your partner dies it depends whether you have written a will or not. Your partner is a stranger to the law.

T: Can you talk about the few other inequality when you can’t be married, in terms of children for example?

JW: Sure, children are probably the one is most acute in people’s actual lives.

In terms of parent child relationships, if you are married both parents are automatically the legal guardians of their children. Where the partner of the kid is not married to each other the mother is atomically given custody and rights over the child.

Married fathers are presumed to be automatically good parents and unmarried fathers are seem as having a lesser status. The real problem here is not discrimination based on gender but on martial status.

T: How does this effect same sex couple that have a child?

JW: The biological parent, whether they be a man or women is the guardian. The partner would fall outside the parental unit. There is no provision at the moment to have gay or lesbian partner to be appointed as guardian.

T: When do you see these laws changing so same sex couple are able to get married?

JW: Marriage is somewhere off in the distant future. The Gay and lesbian lobby have various positions, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Many groups that have put in proposals are saying they don’t want marriage per say they just want some form of recognition. For example GLUE who are concerned mostly with people whose partner outside the EU was some form of recognition, for them it’s an urgent issue of being able to be with there partner in the one place.

David Norris drew up a bill to put gay and lesbian relationships on some sort of legal footing and opposite sex no married couples. This was introduced last year but it has been deferred. The government indicated that it would draw up its own proposals. The issue is gaining some political issues, and I can image there will be a larger debate around this fairly soon.

T: Do you think that state should be regulating interpersonal relationships?

JW: There needs to be some form of ground rules to protect people from being exploited from violence and abuse.

Traditionally the state as used marriage for the base of many things, basically maintaining inequalities, privatise responsibility and care. Basically the state subsidise marriage, we give it financial benefits, we need to ask why don’t we subsidize solo parents instead for example. At the moment children are inheriting the poverty of there parents. People talk about meritocracy and I think it’s a joke.

T: What is your utopian vision of relationship formation and regulation

JW: Autonomy and equality as the two core values, where every individual would have autonomy and the right to self-determination, to freely choose the type of relationships they want to form with whom, when etc. Subject there not being able to exploit or abuse someone else.

If each individual had a basic standard of living regardless of gender or martial status, the questions about what happens when you cohabitate with someone or get married become more or less irrelevant.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Over In Langerland and Beyond.

You may have noticed that The Frames have been reduced to an abusive shorthand for everything that's wrong with the Dublin indie scene on this site since its inception. Full of their own sense of sincerity, and framed by the head nodding antics of that other dismal muppet David Gray on a national level, the seeds were sown for the generation of moaning po-faced singer song writer cunts that now represent the elite of Dublin music. To cruel effect, a group of IT Tallaght students have developed a series of cartoons ripping the piss out of such luminaries as Glen Hansard, pitting him on a mission from God to prepare the ground for the second coming of Christ. They also do a worthy bout of Electric Picnic satire, projecting it as a festival for those "sick of northside knackers falling on your tent at 5am fucked out of their minds high on pot."

Over in Langerland images of Irishness are leaped upon to provide the engine behind a rather Father Ted-esque, self-derogotory humour. Of the best of these short features has Harney and Bertie adopting the role of Batman and Robin. The top ten what have the brits ever done for us, smacks of a suberpy placed sense of irony on the post-celtic Tiger Irish condition, iconoclastic as fuck it sweeps its way through a host of national stereotypes including teenage mothers, famine victims, alcoholic Irish labourers in Britain and all the usual shite.

If I said they used Aphex Twin as the soundtrack, you'd have some sense of what to expect of the multiple videos over at Fat-Pie. Each one viciously darker than the other, we see here a selection of fantastically misanthropic characters who dwell in a twisted and dark landscape of the blackest humour and the wierdest perversions. Fat-pies series of gritty, social commentary pieces on a Nordie Chav called Devo also managed to wind up as samples on one of the latest Shitmat EP's.

So check em all out boy.

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Boards Of Canada: The Campfire Headphase and One Trick Ponies

Under their Boards of Canada alias, Scottish brothers Mike and Marcus Sandinson have become deities within the so called “intelligent” dance music scene. They offer aural equivalents of the imaginative potential a kid feels when presented with an empty card board box. Wrapped in artwork that mimics whole sale the covers on previous releases, their aching sense of wonder has once again been borne out across 15 tracks. You are struck by how amazingly minimal for the most part their sound actually is, its like something that’s been transmitted across tin-cans and string. Its become uplifting after the paranoid drones of tracks like “Gyroscope” on Geogaddi. On tracks like “Chromakey Dreamcoat” there’s a schizophrenic marriage of beats and acoustic guitar and a viola is meshed in on “Dayvan Cowboy”. The mid range is up and the bass is down with the eerie voice samples expunged from the mix.

It’ll take multiple sittings to figure this one out, at worst its music for yuppies to fuck to or the sort of thing you’d expect to hear at a cult mass suicide. At best it’s just a rehashing of something that was perfected on Twoism yonks ago, now served up with a few acoustic slices thrown into cover their asses and assure us that they’ve been doing something more than getting stoned and watching documentaries for the past three years. The phrase one trick pony has never been so apt.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

DEAF ’05: A SUPERSONIC TONIC FOR DUBLIN’S ARTS SCENE

It’s October again. We’re settled back in college and the nights are getting shorter. For party people, hot days spent at festivals and dancing in the sunshine over the summer are just a memory now. But October is a time of change in the music industry-new artists, releases and genres. And that means its time for the Dublin Electronic Arts Festival.

DEAF was launched in 2001 to provide both a platform for Irish artists and DJs and a networking opportunity for the Irish and international electronic scenes. A five-day event taking place across various venues, attracting more than 150 acts, its obvious DEAF’s chief inspiration is Barcelona’s Sonar festival. Like Sonar, it aims to provide the public with an opportunity to appreciate the work of artists that might otherwise be sidelined by commercial constraints. Consequently, DEAF provides a relatively esoteric field by pop standards, but it will bring you the most interesting artists at the cutting edge of electronic music and multimedia art.

From the most well-known acts to the most underground, from the most orthodox to the most experimental, DEAF will this year present a comprehensive and intensive line-up where big names such as Mad Mike, Galaxy to Galaxy, Goldie, and Kool Keith will vie against the best of the Irish harvest for 2006.

The flagship event at this year’s festival will be DEAF @ FILMBASE on the 29th. The centrepiece act of the event is Roger Doyle, one of Ireland’s best-known composers of electronic music, who will be sharing the limelight on the same night with Theraminist (the theremin is an early electronic music instrument designed in 1919 to be played without being touched, since you ask) Pamelia Kurstin and bassist Lisle Ellis fusing free jazz and electronica. If navel-gazing obscurica ain’t your thing and you’re looking for something to stimulate dancing feet, then pop along afterwards to Traffic for some undisputable fun where Afuken will be dropping his bouncy brand of glitch-laden tech-house dance floor bombers.

The highlight of DEAF personally will be the Irish debut of Detroit techno innovators Underground Resistance, appearing as Galaxy to Galaxy, featuring a 7 piece band performing hi-tech jazz led by ‘Mad’ Mike Bank. Galaxy to Galaxy share the bill with label mates Los Hermanos and a special D1 Japanese showcase featuring Kan Shimomura and Bayion.

Also making his Irish debut performance will be Kool Keith, better known from his collaborations with the Prodigy and Tricky, but a modern rap legend in his own right. He’ll be performing in the intimate settings of the Village on the 27th, so expect a searing hip-hop prose accompanied with underlying edgy beats. Drum’n’Bass affeciados meanwhile can look forward to the meandering mediocrity of Goldie in Traffic on the 30th.

The Undercurrent live showcase in Soul 28 on the 28th will feature Irish sound sculptors Ikeaboy, Magnetize and Corrugated Tunnel conjuring up noodley instrumental grooves. And for the financially constrained, check out FREE events such as the DEAF DJ Weekender in the Globe Bar every night, Monkey Tennis playing in Anseo on the 28th and Afro-beat pioneer Tony Allen in the Bia Bar on the same night.

Music aside, there will be the film screening of ‘When I Sold My Soul To The Machine’ in Traffic on the 27th. This is the Irish premiere of a documentary film about Den Haag’s vibrant electro community, including I-F, Alden Tyrell, Legowelt and other folk involved in the local scene. Consider this compulsive viewing if you’re a fan of Dutch techno and electro. I-F and Simon Conway will be providing the beats afterwards. There will also be digital art and cinema on display, including key speakers and a special panel discussion on citizen journalism, podcasting and blogging, at the Darklight Symposium in the Digital Exchange on the 28th.

The mere mention of electronic music and art in the same sentence once conjured up ghastly images of Spandau Ballet and Culture Club churning out smudge-mascara disco. No more!



The Dublin Electronic Arts Festival takes place from Thursday 27th until Monday 31st at various venues and is open to the public. The full schedule is online at www.deafireland.com

For a Lyric Fm preview of the festival click here..

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Youd Be Daft To Mis These At DEAF


KOOL KEITH

The second night of the festival kicks off with what is sure to be a stomper with the appearance of the legendary Kool Keith. Appearing courtesy of Choice Cuts, Dublin based purveyors of regular hip hop flavoured nights, Kool Keith is known as a rappers' rapper. Starting off as one element in the Bronx based incendiary rap outfit the Ultramagnetic MC's, a group that would effectively lay the template for the work of groups like Public Enemy, raping the break beat sections of James Brown tracks to provide a backdrop for the smooth verbal verbosity that would characterise East Coast rap.

Kool Keith is one of those figures that lurks in the background of popular music, seldom fore-grounded but when he is – we all hear about it. His work has been relentlessly sampled, most obviously by The Prodigy, whose obsession with him led them to define some of their most successful tracks around his vocal lines. On “Out Of Space” he threatened to take our brains to another dimension, later a chunk ripped from the Ultramagnetic MC's 1988 “Give The Drummer Some” provided the infamous vocal lines in “Smack My Bitch Up”, he rapped across “Diesel Power” on the same album and on their last release he collaborated directly.

Once describing his own rhymes has having the effect of hand grenades, he has been thrown up by critics as a Bowie for the 1990's. Skiding as he has through an assemblage of personalities over the years. Since the demise of his highly influential Ultramagentic MC's outfit he has taken on the character of Dr. Octagon releasing one critically acclaimed album under that moniker before killing this side of himself off with another alter-ego Dr Dooom. Having worked with producers of the talent and scope of DJ Q-Bert and DJ Shadow, this gig sees his current producer Kutmasta Kurt on decks to provide a back drop of bombastic beats and noise.

October 27th in the Village

Admission : 20 Euro

Tickets available from:
Tower Records, Wicklo
w Street, Dublin 2 Selectah Records, Crow Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, City Discs, The Granary, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, All-City Records, Crow Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.

GOLDIE

He's just turned forty and at the moment is probably best known for getting dumped off Big Brother or posing menacingly, typecast as the regular goon in Snatch, Bond and Eastenders. Whatever about his acting, Goldie has always been something of a visionary. One of the original British B-Boy's he gained fame in the eighties for his work as a graffiti artist. He was featured in an Afriakaa Bambaataa documentary on the British graf scene, before ditching England to follow hip-hop to the states. His nickname derived from selling gold teeth in markets in Miami. Arriving back to London he hooked up with old graffiti mate 3D from Massive Attack and quickly became engrossed in the hard core scene, discovering drum and bass amidst the regular Fabio and Grooverider sets at Rage in London.

From the start Goldie revolutionised drum and bass, with time stretching and the grafting on of orchestral over lays and the sort of saccharine soulful vocals you'd expect on an Orbital track. Depending on who you listen to, Goldie lost all relevance ten years ago. Tracks like “Inner City Life” had pushed the production values of drum and bass, but he had lost the plot with hour long symphonic wank-fests like “Mother.” . The original bite of drum and bass as the aesthetics of the wrong side of the E honey moon, was exchanged for a darkness that was more cathedral than squat party. He broke the mould of the jungle producer opted for celebrity, and became prone to self grandiose, over intellectualising his music and attacking the hard-core hordes that created the scene to begin with. With the DIY dynamic foregone for an ethereal, epic bullshit, effectively he had taken the genre off the dance floor and introduced it to the dinner party. But then again, ten years ago this man reigned supreme over the junglist massive and if minimal isn't your thing and you want at least some pounding bass lines then I'd hedge your bets with Goldie.

October 30th in Traffic,

Admission : € 18.50
Tickets available from : Tower Records,
Wicklow Street, Dublin
2
Selectah Records, Crow Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, City Discs, The Granary, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.

UNDERGROUND RESISTANCE

It might be easier chasing a greased pig than trying to make sense of Underground Resistance. The sheer scale of their back catalogue is overwhelming and there's little point in expecting a “best of” from this popularity shy Detroit label/collective. In one way they echo the ethos of a label like Fugazi's Discord, formed in the wake of the original hardcore punk scene, but breaking with it to push the music forward. Emerging as the second wave of experimentation in Detroit techno, Underground Resistance was formed by Jeff Mills, “Mad” Mike Banks and Robert “Noise” Hood in the early 1990's.

Clothed in a shell of political imagery, UR are renowned for shying from the limelight to take on the mantle of the political consciousness of the techno scene. With titles like “Message to the Majors” and linear notes echoing militant manifestos Underground Resistance have cultivated an aura of electronic musical resistance to the whims and wishes of the dance floor. UR have a creed, to “combat the mediocre audio and visual programming being fed to the inhabitants of the earth, this programming is stagnating the minds of the people.” They regular emerge with scattered shots at the mainstream before retreating to the underground, eagerly entering into guerrilla skirmishes with labels like Sony who released a less than consensual cover of UR's most commercially successful EP, DJ Rolando's "The Knights of The Jaguar."

But leaving their creed aside, if anyone's wondering just what the fuck Detroit techno is then, imagine it as Kraftwerk and George Clinton thrown into an elevator, as originator Derrick May once described. So expect lots of slap head techno purists, stroking erudite paths into their aficionado chins at this one. The organisers of DEAF are billing this as the gig of the festival, a seven hour lapse into the purist side of techno with Underground Resistance members performing live as part of the Galaxy to Galaxy band, and when we say live, we mean just like the olden days. UR are coming on very early in the night, so if you want to see them there can be no pissing about. D1 artists will be stepping up to the plate later in the night for a showcase of the labels talent.

October 30th in The Village.

Admission : € 29.50
Tickets available from : Tower Records,
Wicklow Street, Dublin 2 Selectah Records, Crow Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2. City Discs, The Granary, Temple Bar, Dublin
2.
EARLY SHOW !! 7.30 PM SHARP

Underground Resistance / Galaxy 2 Galaxy are performing the early part of the night

.

THE WEEKENDER GIGS

Not so long ago DEAF was hosted in one venue, with the added bonus of being able to buy a single ticket to cover the whole festival. Unfortunately, the past two years have seen it scattered to the wind across a kaleidoscope of city based venues, with events clashing in venues across the city on most nights. Whatever about the mania of weighing up which of the headlining gigs to check out, there's another way to do the festival by exploring the rather incoherent Dublin underground presented as it is in the concise format of the DEAF Weekender series of gigs throughout the festival which are show casing some of the regulars on the electronica circuit in Dublin.

Among those to check out are Chymera who is interviewed elsewhere in this issue, Skkatter, tongue in cheek re-mixer of that atrocious “G-g-g-Galway” tune will be banging out infectious techno and electro, Don Rosco a prime mover in the early drum and bass scene here, Invisible Agent’s Corrugated Tunnel, and D1’s Toirse will all be making appearances throughout the weekend at gigs based in and around Hogans and The Globe. Undercurrent will also be holding its annual DEAF showcase over the weekend, while regular freeform club Lazy Bird, Electric City and anything goes head bangers Monkey Tennis will be holding events over the weekend too.

VISUALS AT FILMBASE

As if some projections weren’t good enough, DEAF@Filmbase is the part of the festival where the visuals begin to supersede the music, it’s where worries about the dance floor stop and the art begins. The event kicks off at 6pm and carries on until 11pm, stretched over three floors with the admission price including three free beers. This is where the shit gets weird, any idea that electronica stretches maybe as far as Kraftwerk gets dumped and suddenly the idea of looped timbres and revisiting base compositional values takes on an importance. DEAF are engaged in the project of creating a linear history and mythology of their niche music and a stream of composers and electronic avant-gardes are swept into the electronica cannon displacing the origin myths of pills, raves and better technology.

Elsewhere the Darklight Symposium will be hosting a seminar to explore the shifting relationship between technologies of surveillance and the citizen while Electric City will be hosting a film on the highly charged electro scene in The Hague in the 1990’s before their regular club night kicks off.

Admission €15 (the price includes three large bottles of beer free per person, courtesy of Tiger).

Tickets available from : Tower Records,
Wicklow Street, Dublin
2
Selectah Records,
Crow Street, Temple Bar, Dublin
2.
City Discs, The Granary, Temple Bar,
Dublin 2.

If you fancy taking an audio tour of some of the music to be expected at this years Deaf festival then click here

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