Monday, June 26, 2006

Dave Landy's Alternative Marx.

Amidst the po-faced political discussions that abounded after the extraordinaire events of Dublin's Mayday 2004 where the city saw an unprecedeented mobilisation from the anti-authoritarian left, there was a series of discussions on Indymedia around the now expected characteristic sectarianism of the SWP in showing up and condemning the "Thatchers childern" who marched on Farmleigh at a Reclaim the Streets these same childern had organised. A series of emails sent around by some bloke called Landy encapsualted this real myopic Monty Python-esque tendency of some on the left by projecting contempory events back into the diaries of certain embittered Karl Marx. Here's an example of one such piece that deliberately echoes the left unity appeals of the SWP during the anti-capitalist wave post Seattle that disguised so much venom towards what it ill-concievably described as the "autonomists" within in the movement;

Karl Marx, the self-styled "leading theorist of the Anti-Capitalist movement", issued a call today from his London home for unity among his followers. Amidst fears that extremist Parisians bolstered by foreign agitators will march on Versailles and provoke a coup next Saturday, Mr Marx has urged peaceful protests.

"We haff seen", commented the heavily-accented and bearded Jewish foreigner, "the tragic consequences when lightly armed protestors try to confront the armed might of the state. Paris 1848 has shown us the futility of small bands of men, unlinked to the general working class, who use violence to make their voice heard."

These comments were made in the run-up to the controversial Franco-German Summit at Versailles. The summit has angered many sections of the French populace, who see certain provisions of the proposed treaty as infringing on their country?s sovereignty.

"Now is a golden time to build on this popular anger." Mr Marx declared. "Our politicians have betrayed us! Jail the corrupt politicians! We must communicate this anger in an imaginative well-policed fashion, rather than meaninglessly provoking the State to violence."

The rest of Dave Landy's alternative Marx can be read here..

The image to the left is of course from Theory.org.uk's excellent series of philosopher trading cards.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

NCAD and The Liberties: Categorise Under Philistine

Living within five minutes walk of NCAD opens up a world of potential for browsing through its regular showcasings of student output, but I've never been bothered. NCAD strikes me as a closed, self-contained world with only morning and evening strings of boho dressed students filtering in and out of it, back down to the city centre and onto Georges St. Occasionally a mob of them standing outside its gates, provide the only hint that there may even be a bar in there that could provide the same boozing potential as Trinity's pav during those lolling summer evenings. Concerns that NCAD may be moved to UCD have always struck me as an impulsive wish from students there to slide into an expected leftist reaction against the college authorities there. I've seen little evidence to suggest the presence of NCAD adds anything to the area, other than a nice little gloss over major socio-economic problems in the area with the occasional bill board art display on its front or the randomness of a hopeless Karl Marx stencil on its gate. Anyone who turns around and starts telling me that by keeping some arts and supplies store open you are putting something back into the area must be making better use of their glue than for bonding card board model walls together.

The Liberties is undergoing a dramatic level of gentrification at the moment. Many of the old industrial Corrie style streets are already well in the hands of the market through private ownership, attracting ridiculous prices that make ridicule of their original purpose as housing for factory workers. New gated appartment buildings spring up like mushrooms in October, devoid of both character and community with court yards designed to give the impression of soical space but absence of the substance of such spaces like a playground or benches. This gentrifaction really just matches the pattern of what has been happening throughout the city, with an old manufacturing working class, that was the very backbone of the city being pushed out and replaced with a new cognative class that is more reliant on the digital hub/IFSC than the traditional employment provided by something like Guinesess.

The presence of an art college in that area strikes me as something that will be used a peg upon which to hang a vast change in the area starting with Francis St renovation around new cafes and galleries that will deplace the more traditional pubs and greasy spoon cafes in the area. Cafe's like the Pale Space specialise in over priced breakfasts consisting of eggs on over sized bread. The recent opening of a Lidl threatens the traditional fruit market there and habits of selling household essentials on the street. That means the price of some where like St Nicholas of Myra is going to hop through the roof and whatever protestant church owns it could well be tempted to sell it, depriving the libertarian political movement of one of its key social and organising spaces. Thats even ignorning the more important issue of depriving long term residents of a community centre that provides hot meals for the elderly, a creche, night classes and more.

I wonder if NCAD students have any sort of awareness of this process? For a sector of the city that has spouted those obnoxious Defastenist muppets, with a website that confirms my own mantra of never trusting those of an artistic bent that can't pull together the basics of online design. . I'd hope at least that some of them would have paid some attention to the critiques of the city as a machine advanced by the situationists. Instead of lazily chopping them up and feeding them back through the post first world war avant garde and passing them off as the teenage flight of fancy that mostly comes out of the NCAD art world. If the Defastenists were the best the press said NCAD had to offer, it truly was a horrendus moment. Having stumbled across one of their exhibitions over two years ago and immediately being struck by the idea that a child drunk on Buckfast, armed with several crayons and a po-mo gibberish generator could quickly find themselves on a par with these tools. Hopefully Defastenism was a fleeting moment, its manic end something maybe the work at the recent spate of student art shows can testify to in many of its achievements .


Gig News : Ventian Snares that Canadian based mentalist of the chopped up beats persausion will be playing the Hub in what promises to be a sweat fest on Thursday night, June 22nds. This is an eagerly anticaipated follow up to his climactic gig in the TBMC last year, coming after the acclaimed release of Rossz Csillag Alatt Sz├╝letett which blended a Hugarian classical music vein with tense drum and bass atmospheres. Aaron Spectre will also be delivering some bashment madness with ragga vocalists being tortured over spluttering breakcore beats and the occasional splurge of a grinding guitar line. This one is in the intimacy of Kennedieson friday. Support in both nights is from Herv. For those of you knowing me its my 23rd Birthday tomorrow so be sure to put in an appearance at Spectre for some idiot dancing time...

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Sixty Seconds On Film, May 2006.

Okay - so whats the deal? Well the plan is to do some pretty succint reviews of the films I see each month in one post, and then start another similar thread at the end of the next month. Films can be both contemporary, recent and old. Previous Sixty Seconds On Films have been written in April, March, Feb and Jan'06. This month has been very quite over-burdened as I am with work, but here it is..

Night Watch: This is a pure cinematic epic that remixes the mythologies of movies as varied as Highlander and Lord of the Wings.
It's no surprise that Russian filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov got his start messing around on music videos, with this piece ransaking the music video vaults of convention to add an extra stunning dimension to action sequences that remain controlled enough to avoid over shadowing a complex and intriguing premise. The vampires as junkies theme is certainly one that should prick up the ears of horror fans left feeling stunted dosing on B-movies that enter into a critical dialogue with their genre that is about as deep as Noddie is multi-cultural. What 28 Days Later did for the Troma movie fan, Night Watch could do just yet for Hammer obsessives.

Dagon: a strange journey into the heart of the Lovecraft watery pantheon here in a horror flick that echoes the tensions of a revived paganism gripping a small island community in a manner that prempted the Wickerman by decades. Well worth a gander, if not a little offbeat.

Tron: for those of us capable of recalling the monochrome glory of a Commodore 64 screen, watching Tron certainly elicits some memories of the delusional optimism of a new world blooming that accompanied that early '80's IT revolution. Anyone of us could have been that hot shot Pong playing kid from War Games that cracked into military hardware and brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Tron sees the same idea unfold, the difference between video-gaming and hardcore computer hacking is miniscule, so you enter the game to take on the Master Control Programme, a fascistic device that's wrecking havoc inside the 8 bit world. Spill a load of philosophical drivel straight out of the determinism debate over the characters within the comouter and you've got a movie thats failings really highlight just how remarkable Gibson's early cyber punk visions.

Hostel:
all the qualities and atmosphere of a nightmare abound in this intelligent aping of 1980's gore flicks. A duo of jocular Americans screw their way across Europe before heading back to the coal face of study in their Ivy league colleges. But a journey to the East sees these Adam Sandler moments being butt fucked with a broken bottle by the spirit of Japanese horror movies. Eastern Europe has always had a funny part to play in horror and this movie too descends into a strangely cliched imagining of its darker and more gruesome urban myths. But that certain xenophobic overdrive in relation to Eastern Europe is nicely compensated for with its bizarre treatment of the commodifaction of the flesh from prostitution to the more twisted end of the market. This isn't one for the squemish, there are plenty of moments where you feel like a needle is dangling above your eye ball about to poke it out but the gore doesn't drown what is a fairly intelligent movie, that remains griping through out.



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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Look Ma No hands!

Biking across the country . . . everyone says your mad. But like most things like this I say yes first and think about the reality too late to skip out on the plan. Only one of the six of us had any experience of cycling long distances and as these things work, she was the only one who got injured. My faith in humanity was renewed as locals let us sleep in their fields and offered us tea. But only slightly as our entertaining trip to Knock reminded me that you get more people every day going to absurd religious sights and taking it seriously then you would get to any libertarian event in Dublin. Considering all the blasphemous things we did while in Knock we better be right about there not being a god!

Our trip started off in full force that has us cycling through many a country and 117 kms in the first day. If we didn't have a bed waiting for us at the end of that day I would have given up and fallen into any ditch to make the pain go away. But in the end it was all worth it, we left the green fields of the midlands and arrived to the coast of Mayo. All I have to say is I heart Mayo.

With my illumimous vest stating Shell to Sea that I never seemed to take off and ruined many a photo with the reflection I could pretend that yes this fun bike ride had some thing to do with politics. But the reality is the few flyers we gave out were just an after thought to things like swimming in the bay of Grainne Whales castle and sitting at the edge of cliffs while we
ate our picnic.

So don't worry I havn't become a lifestylist . . . just needed a holiday and believe you me the weather was with us the whole way. They say the Rossport solidarity camp is no holiday but when the weather is like this and they are located at one of the most beautiful spots in all of ireland with an isolated beach you can't go wrong.

Click here to see a photo essay of the weekend and here to read a random bits about the bike ride.

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