Thursday, October 19, 2006
The net cafe is a relatively simple idea that can all too often become ridiculously over complicated by zealous marketeers trying to connect the habit of web-surfing to coffee drinking and awkward 'easy to use' interfaces that are more apparent than fact. While some net cafe's opt for disabling the right click on your mouse to prevent you maximising your usage by scanning multiple windows at once - the most irritating strand of all net cafes are those that keep a normal windows interface but some how totally fuck with it by preventing the creation of folders, down loading and cut and pasting.
Take a bow Lemon Jelly of Temple Bar, sitting their opposite Cultivate you are perfectly located to cash in on the hushed hippies that do a 9-5 then retreat with panache in to Temple Bar for some ethical shopping and righteous information. As a cafe Lemon Jelly has everything possible going for it, this dark atmospherically relaxed place radiates with attraction. The hum of an air condition fan provides a relaxing under beat to the sedate folk coming from the speakers.
However, add in a remarkably relaxed looking employee that dangerously veers towards the dopey ignoring you for fucking ages at the check out, a net connection where the contention rate is about as fufilling as 32 calves sucking on one cow's udder and you have a net experience to be avoided. They also charge €1.70 if you want to burn CD's like some poll tax on piracy.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
The zerox machine certainly extended a whole new life to home publishing, breeding a whole swathe of often badly designed zines from counter-cultural communties as a result. The stark contrasts of the photocopier wrecked havoc with photos and the cut and pasted text of the typewriters that scripted their articles soon gave zines an image that quickly became misunderstood. What was the consequence of functionality quickly became almost revered as an anti-aesthetic associated with independent production and punk.
In an era where web publishing, blogging and print on demand have blown wide open a route to ease of production for the aspirant writer it remains wholly frustrating that some of the most creative documentary commentaries and polemics on alternative culture remain moribundly attached to outdated methods of distribution. Confusing past seizures of useful technological advances with an aesthetic mode they deprive themselves of whole new audiences to limit themselves to a relatively exclusive and closed underground.
Escaping this misplaced attachment to the photocopier, long running Dublin fanzine Loserdom has finally made the decision to place its archives online. Loserdom is the work of Anto Dillon, who recently used his college thesis on the history of zine publishing in Ireland to pull together a Zine Show in Anthology Books. The website features photos from the punk scene, interviews ranging from Fugazi to Saul Williams and Mudhoney, comics documenting the life of cyclists in the mess that is Dublin commuting and enough quality writing and thought to make most bloggers blush. For those of you who haven't taken the chance to visit Seomra Spraoi, its provision of a new home to the Forgotten Zine Archive might equally prompt you.
In a feature by student journalist Susan Cahill, the UCD based College Tribune carried an interesting piece on the rise of alternative media. The article focussed its eye mainly on the main Irish chain in this emerging phenomenon by interviewing a member of the Irish Irish Indymedia Internet Collective, Robbie Sinnott. Left wing UCD students have proven particularly adepth at using adept at using Indymedia to cover their activities over the years. This article will hopefully lead to some more use of the site down in the LG's where it is more common to see tortuous hours spent poring over social networking sites like Bebo.
In the past the UCD Students' Union have used the Oscailt software developed by the Irish wing of the Indymedia network to host its website. An evening of film screenings called 'Reels of Resistance' was also organised in 2004 by Global Action to showcase the visual work carried out by Indymedia activists in documenting the Mayday demonstrations over the EU summit weekend and the activities of the Ambush camp during Bush's visit to Shannon.
For many on the right wing within the college, Indymedia has been used as something to tag on to sneers directed against the student left. This approach was best exemplified by then University Observer (The Snobserver) editor Eoin Casey, who rushed to defend traditional models of journalism against open publishing concepts he viewed as 'dominated by left-leaning participants.' Ridding itself of the tedious hack gossip column that was Faustus, in its first few issues this year the Tribune is showing real signs of finally overcoming the difficulties of being the only financially independent paper on the campus to finally surmount the dominance of the arse-licking Observer. On another level the weight of seriousness attached to the piece reflects in one way the growing respect for Indymedia outside the bastions of power it so regularly attacks.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
The Cork dawn really is no different to any other dawn. Just like Dublin it has that desolute urban feel, the only thing on display being the gut workings of the city's infrastructure and the isolated dash of grim looking early morning workers rushing to open shops before the coming commuter heave.
It's against this drab backdrop of another breaking October sky that we find ourselves doing the pirouette of the picket at the entrance to a Shell forecourt, repeatedly walking the circled line - turning in unison to ensure a banner proclaims a boycott of the station to passing cars and equally blockades the garage for them. The pirouette of the picket is an almost timeless method, thrown up by those in struggle against tediously pedantic acts of legislation on loitering that are turned time and time again against striking workers and protesters.
Before the Gardai arrived, all eight of them for the twelve of us - the Corkonion mirth dropped away as an SUV complete with bull bars drove through us leaving two protesters to throw themselves on the bonnet to avoid their legs being crushed and folded under its forward weight. The discourse of the right to consume clashes with the discourse of the right to protest, as a raging anger overcomes this small business man with all the ferocity of Bill Foster on a log jammed Californian highway in the movie Falling Down.
Ever more text messages bounce across the informal messaging trees as another Rossport resident is pushed to the ground by the state forces laying seige to the Erris area. Over the radio, Willie Corduff crackles through with the tension of the area palable all around him surrounded as he is by shouting voices, while a radio presenter called Jim Fahey attempts to retain the air of obective composure that makes his coverage credible and that of sites like Indymedia irrational and hsyterical, well at least in the eyes of its critics. While the voice of Fahey is questioning and investigative, the voice from Rossport contains no doubts, it is assertive and strong. Struck through with that resilence gained from rising every morning at dawn with your whole community standing behind you. There is no question - Shell can fuck off out to sea.
I've rarely interjected in inter-blog discussions, apart from commenting on music reviews. Does the stark silence of the Irish blogosphere mean apathy to Erris? Consent to Shell and corporate governance or something else?
So here it is, why don't those Irish blogs willing to line up behind the people of Rossport in their momentous struggle against bullying powers take this code and add it to your sidebar? Don't ask why it's comtaminated with myspace code, is Blogger bugged? It links to the news archive on Indymedia which has been breaking this struggle since day one, while the west was awakening the mainstream media was slumbering. Show your support.
Other Links: an interview I did with some of the Rossport Five back in June 2005.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Presenting the latest in a series of Mind Numbing Muppets - a Soundtracksforthem response from the underbelly of the keyboard to the kaleidoscope of dazzlingly silly cahnts who impose themselves on us via their access to the media.
Number 7: Gillian Evans
Gillian Evans is one of those ponitificating middle rank academics populating the society page of the Guardian with regular downbeat pop-tinged sociological observations on Britain's urban social ills. If she exemplifies anything it's that some mutant version of imperial anthropology was alive and well over at the Guardian last week as she sets out to discover what it means to live on a council estate. Gillian relates to her subjects with all the respect Coronation Street script writers imbue in stock comic characters like the Battersbys. Her subjects are a supposedly dwindling and arcane tribe called the working class, complete with their own peculiar atavistic practices and ancient social habits. Faced with a downscaling in her own economic situation, poor Gillian resolved to 'overcome [her] previous efforts to distance [herself] from the people' sharing her estate in order to research and study them in a rather vicious colonisaiton 0f class for academic career led purposes. The odd article appearing in that newspaper of the British chattering classes - the Guardian - is of course a handy bonus.
Her neighbour, Sharon becomes the arcetype of the working class house wife with whom the 'educated talk of the middle classes is useless,' so exhausted she is with the dull concerns of her drab working class life, opting instead to settle for the 'permanent joke of the body's sexual and excretory functions.' In Lady Gillian's eyes, the sign of how common you are is how much free time you allow your childern to play evoking all sorts of moral cacophony on feral childern and improper working class parenting leading to anti-social behaviour. Gillian revels in purposefully keeping her children seperate from those around her for fear of them contracting common practices. Gillian finally gets profound after a statement from one of her subjects that 'the secret of bein' working class is bein' 'appy with yer position.' In a classic imperial form the article ridicules the accents of its subjects, coming replete with excerpts bracketed in explanatory notes such as 'finkin' you're upper [better than other people].' It reeks of how Anglo Irish authors such as Maria Edgeworth attempted to drown the voice of their own sub-altern peasant opposities in footnotes and glossaries.
For Gillian this is a world where social class is an issue of the clothes you wear and the voice you bear, and as a result any resentment of assertion of a rich bashing dignity is dismissed as 'an inverse snobbery.' Not surprisingly after the publication of her book Gillian decided to feck off out of Bermondsey. Could you imagine the plight of her windows if she stayed? Oh wait Gillian was probably banking on the fact that her neighbours were too ignorant to read the Guardian.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Over the past number of years there has been an emergent cannon of anti-capitalist literature providing polemic and analysis aimed at undermining the comfort zones of late capitalism with ripostes from its rebellious borderlands. This literature verges between two forms. There is the sometimes arid academic style shaping tomes on anti-capitalism as a new social movement. Then there are other compendiums that collate smaller pieces from the movement themselves in collections that inevitably end up sitting on undergrad reading lists or bookshop shelves in easy reach of a broader audience.
This is a very Irish book in one way, written by an exiled anarchist faced with immigration who opted for global political hot spots over the building sites of London or the dole queues of Dublin. The Temple Bar Gallery in Dublin played host last night to a book launch marking the latest addition to this world of anti-capitalist imagination. Ryan's Clandestines: the Pirate journals of an Irish Exile seems to be a book that infuses a stringent lived passion for revolutionary change with his own broad theoretical sweeps and political musings. In this way it clearly echoes the whimsical mental and physical travels of Naomi Klien's Fences and Windows, but takes a far more personal and biographical tone. From quickly glancing over it, Cladestines is composed of a series of easily digestable vignettes taking the reader from the squat scene of East Berlin, to armed struggle in Kurdistan and an eyewitness account of Michael Stone's murderous rampage at a republican funeral in '88. These primary tales represent the formative years in Ryan's growth, but are quickly eclipsed by his journeys in the new world of South American radicalism. The blurb on the back describes the novel as a Che like travelogue dripped in the sped up flair of Hunter S. Thompon's gonzo adventures and as such is one definitely worth adding to the reading list.
Unlikely to recieve much of a popular release, Ramor Ryan's Clandestines: the Pirate journals of an Irish Exile will be on sale in Anthology Books in Temple Bar and directly from AK. There will also be a reading from the book by Ramor courtesy of the Trinity Anarchist Society entitled From the Berlin Blacbloc to Zapatista Zones, it starts at 7:30pm on Wednesday, October 19th in room 4050b.
Links to some more of Ramor's Writings: We Are Everywhere | Confronting Capitalism | Days of Horror Nights Of War | More online pieces | Longer online review by a WSM comrade
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Journalistic Scumbaggery, Personal Vengence and Political Dogsbodies - Just Another Week of MSM Bull Shit.
Jim Cusack, a man hilariously described as something of a Walter Mitty figure by a DGN organiser on the Late Late Show back in 2004, was back in the SIndo this week, with his ramshackle journalistic style to expose the lack of investigative merit behind Village journalist Scott Millar's recent contribution to Searchlight on clerical fascist Gerry McKeough. The Sindo at this stage it seems will stoop to any low to engage in its red scare tactics against the Shinners and on a lesser note the far left.
If Sunday is anything to go by, this includes a new low of clearing the record of McGeough, whitewashing him as a genuine republican who left those nasty Shinners behind and now is being cruelly smeared as a former terrorist by those even nastier lefties. Considering McGeough's past, surely even the most sensory deprived of sub-editors could notice the smell of stinking bullshit off this one? Only a fool could suffer the notion that this has nothing to do with Miller's recent criticism of how 'anonymous Garda sources' riddle Cusack's work with all the worth of soap gossip in TV Now. Anonymous sources tell this Indy journalist that we'll be waiting some time for Cusack's construction of castles in the sky to melt away as long as the SIndo maintains its role as a tabloid bitching session for power choosing to masquerade as broadsheet opinion and analysis.
Aside from Cusack's mixing of some vehement red baiting with personal vengence, there was a more serious smearing in this week's Sunday World. Veronica Guerin would be Paul Williams got down and dirty with the people of Rossport. In a real act of journalistic scumbaggery he accused the Shell to Sea campaign of being hijacked by Sinn Fein. IRA heavy weights it seems have been rolling in behind this attempt to gain political capital, to strike fear into a silent majority of locals opposed to the protests. Williams of course is simply laying the justifaction for his own 'anonymous Garda sources' to forcibly gain access to the construction site this week as reported in today's Irish Times. When ordinary punters face the wishes of the elite down, they become extraordinary and surely must be controlled by some thuggish manipulative political masterminds? Don't forget how during the bin tax the Sindo claimed anarchists were infiltrating the campaign.
The first step in the process of re-pacifying the public is dividing it into 'good' and 'bad' protesters. The 'good' being a silent, law-abiding and largely imaginary public and the 'bad' being us Indymedia reading scumbags. So used to contemptously manipulating the public themsevles, the MSM, its pay-masters and their political friends really do find it quite the conceptual leap to understand mobilisation from below and seek out string pulling boogeymen to comfort themselves with. Bless.
As ever when it comes to this sort of thing, this was published first on Indymedia.ie
Some bright nerdish young spark out there has once again raised the irk of Myspace by releasing the latest hack facilitating download of tracks on Myspace despite user permissions set by artists. Using a tiny programme running at a ridiculously low 100kbps, you take the user ID of your desired artist, insert it a field and press a wee button that summons up the tracks locked on their profile. It then lifts their flash music player and allows you to record the playback direct to your hard drive.
Anyone worried that this lark is the gig going equivilent of nicking records from behind the table of an Indie distro can rest assured, the quality of tracks you download come in just over a paltry 90 kbps. In other words that might do something for your ear drums as your mp3 player blasts you half way to deafness, but it'll do nowt for the sub-woofers on an even half decent stereo. There's no point bothering to up the compression quality via Soundforge or its ilk - you may as well try increasing a last drop of milk falling short of a bowl of Corn Flakes by adding whiskey. Proper Dj's might go for acetate dubplates but this moran might stick with his gophers.
Others: Having handed in my thesis all bound and wretchedly underachieving, I intend to do some serious blogging this week to make myself feel better. In store will be a dubstep feature to celebrate an upcoming album launch I'll be heading over to London for. This BBC faciliated night will lead me into some commentary on the absolute glory of internet radio in the face of the poverty of the Irish airwaves. NME will get a pasting for its latest attempts to manufacture a scene from dispersed bands it saw fit to ignore until the inevitable backlash against the skinny jeans and cons brigade became apparent, a politically worthy art project in Carlow gets a mention, Orla Barry gets muppeted and more besides. Why the flurry? Well, this jammy bastard is off to South America for two months so there has to be some heavy compensation before this turns into a travelouge.
About Soundtracksforthem specialises in iconoclastic takes on culture, politics, and more shite from the underbelly of your keyboard. A still-born group blog with a recent surge of different contributers but mainly maintained by James R. Big up all the contributers and posse regardless of churn out rate: Kyle Browne, Reeuq, Cogsy, Chief, X-ie phader/Krossie, Howard Devoto, Dara, Ronan and Mark Furlong. Send your wishes and aspirations to antropheatgmail.com
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