Friday, September 29, 2006
From a fringe that once made a name for itself distributing truth dollars to now more succesfully pushing viral videos on the youtubed and googled vidiot ciruit, 9-11 conspiracy theories have taken on a fast and furious popular growth in recent months. The successive releases of Loose Change, Terror Storm and a host of less competent productions has seen the 9-11 truth types quickly come to accumulate a louder and louder voice within the international anti-war community.
From a position of being able to ignore these cranks because of their association with Christian fundamentalists like Alex Jones who maintain that successive world leaders secretly signal to each other by making as many 'devil sign' gestures as Temple Bar kids at a Korn gig, sections of the left have recently responded to their crass parasitical attempt to ride on anti-war sentiment. Perhaps this is remains an international problem with little of the effect taking hold here, however there are some murmurings - some examples of this can be seen at the swamp that is the IAWM discussion forum, vandalised as it is with 9-11 conspiracy theory cut and pastes. Many other Indymedias are also lost under the growing signal of noise generated by these paranoics, this online effect obviously has repurcussions for the left.
When conspiracy loons that ignore all hopes of substantiating fact and condense unrelated co-incidences into sequenced pulling of the strings become one of the most visible groups explaining the events of the 'war of terror' it means the room for anti-capitalist arguments that challenge social relationships instead of cabals of devil worshipping elites is harder to hear against the rest of the noise. Thankfully Cockburn provides a useful article that demolishies these conspiracy nuts that share so many left wing themes as engaging in a socialism for the thick, while Schnews takes them on in its own wonderful 'in yer face' style by advising them to 'WAKE UP! IT'S PLANE YER CRAZY...' Let's just hope these nuts don't start infesting our own Indymedia with the same vehemence displayed on this particular thread.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Directed by stylish Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón, Children of Men is is the latest in a series of dystopian visions of a totalitarian society that isn’t actually so far away. It’s a cheap buck that appeals to the “Oh gosh, isn’t George Bush awful?” Banksy appreciating market, but really that market should be bloody well ashamed of itself if it swallows this sort of shite. Children of Men begins with the premise that human beings can no longer reproduce, and since then the world has gone to shit something awful, or as they put it, ‘No children, no future, no hope.’ In the face of a totalitarian state, public loyalty is maintained by the criminalisation of foreigners and the odd bomb-blast. And aren’t we shocked when someone suggest that the bombers may actually be the government in disguise!! So far, so typical.
We step around these mean streets with Clive Owens who slots in as the stereotypical disillusioned former activist, sighing about the awfulness of it all as he sips his coffee and grieves over his long dead son. Michael Caine throws away what little dignity he had left by appearing as a bearded old hippy whose wife has been tortured into catatonia by MI5, for some reason (we assume it’s cos she’s a little bit left). In fact, the first sequence with Caine is what started me hating the whole thing, summing up the political depth of the implied critique by the soundtrack of Radiohead and the Beatles; might as well have namechecked George Monbiot while they were at it....this guest review by Ronan continues at Indymedia.ie
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Anyone able to cast their mind back over the Robocop film franchise should be able to recall the many Omni Consumer Product ads featured in the film, with their distinct dystopian undertones amidst a sea of false consumer promise that sought to ever more wed the broken citizens of Delta City to their privatised servitude. A very similar style of ad has been circulating on the Irish inter-web as a viral video. The question of who's behind this viral video and planning application is on many people's lips at the moment. Produced by the 'multi-disciplined, multi- talented' Wasaki Global Corporation it details the plans to build three islands off the coast of Dublin, complete with a replica Howth, 42,000 flats, 3 golf courses, several motor-ways and a giraffe only zoo. Yeah right says you, next they'll try and resurrect Atlantis. Word on the blogosphere would suggest that it's the work of an ad agency called Chemistry who conceived it as a stunt to launch new property website Funda Ireland. Clever bastards, eh? Well clever enough to take in a certain Labour politician on Morning Ireland earlier today.
The Fringefest came to an end today, but it concluded good and proper for us last night with the Rockcandy Carnival event in the Speigaltent attempting to draw in some dosh for the Dublin Simon Community. The tent was certainly less crowded than on other nights, with the wooden ballroom style dancefloor never reaching more than half of its capacity. If the night was dominated by anything it was by that backward glance to eighties sequined chic that seems so ubiquitously attached to the non-chalent Dublin hipster scene. So there were synths and lots of them.
Les Bien opened up preceedings, heavily reminiscent of a car crash between Petty Hate Machine Nine era Inch Nails and the gritty bass undertones of Air's 'Sexy Boy', with the tempo of Underworld and the catchy drum kickings of New Order added for a dash of good measure. The next act Produse, left me rather confused; dwarved behind stacks of mean looking synths, drum machines and various hardware contraptions their bastardised blend of four by four dance left me eyeing around convinced they had to be Hystereo. Packing in the crowd pleasers they moved easily between they're own pieces and classics like 'Block Rockin' Beats.' Gawking over their myspace they seem linked into the wider Hystereo/Backlash scene so dominant in Dublin right now. Hystereo, such a highlight at the Electric Picnic and last weekend failed to really live up to the expectation that dragged me down to the Spiegaltent again, the sound seemed to some what falter after Produse, the bass never kicked in the same way and it felt a little empty on a dance floor of drunks barging each other out of the way and bumping into each other with out apologies.
Despite its all good intentions, the night smacked of that lack of critical air that's so dense around fundraisers for the NGO's. Some bloke who said 'groovy' so often as MC, you began to hope he'd choke on it bigged up a raffles for Budda Bags and signed acoustic guitars, and you are wondering 'my god where are my drugs?' Surrounded by over priced ethnic jewelry and knock off Banky designer t-shirts and art prints, the night had that Electric Picnic soul about it without any of the music to boot.
On nights like that you expect a party to arise and bite you with a taste of sanity in the nouveau riche hell that Dublin drowns you in. Then quickly instead you find yourself in the very hell mouth as 'Break on Through' by The Doors blares and the new students roar 'I fucking love this song.' That hell mouth is called Doyles and with the torrential downpour forcing you into cover on a window ledge behind some railings another Fringefest and another year in terms of the student calendar comes to pass. Now that I think of it where the fuck were the Betamax Format at that gig? Weren't they billed?
Friday, September 22, 2006
Lightswitch is a Dublin based production company promising to bring theatre goers the 'ridiculously serious and the seriously ridiculous.' If its a chaotic humour and theatre of the absurd they aspire to then through a healthy mangling of a Greek classic, Antigone Interactive proves to hit the nail partially on the head but falters at the point of audience interaction and political depth. The Antigone lead comes across oozing sassy stylistic rebellion like a photo shot prepped baile funk star MIA - all gun belt for show and Che Guevara t-shirt as poseurish portend to an inevitable martyrdom for ritually burying her brother against her father's edicts.
Her father of course is Creon and in keeping with the pisstake atire of the rest of the cast he has the physical presence of Only Fools and Horse's Boycie in a South American junta costume straight from the back of Del Boy's mini-van. With speeches conciously echoing some of the 'with us or against us' discourse of the war on terror, he melds in and out of purposefully two dimensional political caricatures that add the main political punch to a play that uses circled "A's" on its posters but fails to develop any political depth beyond a rather cliched critique of the gap between democratic vision and practice.... review continues at Indymedia.
The play runs upstairs in the International Bar every evening at 1830 pm until September 24th. Its 10e, but unlike After Dakota it won't leave you feeling the desire to shoot the cast. What more can I say?
Sunday, September 17, 2006
From Dakota: An Audience Crushed Under Emotional Weight.
Your head must be wrapped in cling film if you haven't noticed the Fringe Festival coming into colourful effect during the week with lantren art dotting the city. On Friday I managed to blag two tickets for Colin Gee's solo performance and video installation 'From Dakota.' This work focusses on Doug, a poor rural truck driver just released from jail after being done for drug trafficing. Trapped between the material ambitions he wishes on his family and their desire for improving family relationships, he is desperate to raise cash to extract them from the isolated dust patch they call home and takes one last job in illegally transporting immigants.
Having gotten over his addiction to speed, his journey takes on a monumental significance. He is delusionally haunted by memories of missing his daughters growing up due to his work ethic. The roadside stragglers he gives lifts to along the way focus his mind and he realises he leaves home because home itself makes him homesick. With the road as his home he puts an increased distance between himself and his family, this one last job will provide the means to end all that. But as it goes dramatically wrong, Doug is led to a bewildering emotional breakdown in the thumping sun.
At this point Colin Gee stumbles on stage as the lolling half hour drama that was the video installation ends. A former clown with the Cirque Soliel, there's an undoubted tint of mime in his solo performance. Unfortunately his excellent acting does little to comfort an audience that ends up buried in the overly wrought emotional weight of a man muttering the same several lines of dialogue repeatedly for half an hour. This final descent into tripe could have been limited to five minutes and contained all the punch needed in a far more restrained fashion. Taking place in the lounge of the Mill Theatre in Dundrum, an uncomfortable twitchiness took hold of the audience as phones were checked for times with the most courteous levels of subtelty manageable.
Colin Gee's play ran in the Lounge in the Mill Theatre until the 16th of September. If you missed it consider it a saving grace that means you won't freak out and absolve yourself of all desire to visit the theatre again.
Dorfmeister: Is this really what you call the shit?
Meanwhile down at that posh crannog we like to call the Spiegeltent. A serious cock up by security led to a queue of people developing outside who were being refused entry despite having tickets to the Dorfmeister gig. Spying an opportunity for a blag, three of us joined the throng and added our own complaint to the chorus of annoyance before eventually being let in. It seems the cock up was down to the Fringe Fest rather than any attempt at unscrupulous over selling from Remedy. The gig itself seriously sucked and was totally lacking in 'oompf' with a clinical delivery of a rather smooth set of house that brought images of sleazy wine bars hurtling towards the fore front of my mind. That this was clearly lapped up by a sweaty crowd was truly beyond me.
Fucking Weirdos and Stoner Dirge.
On Saturday it was down to a Hivemind gig in the Hub to finally check out the much mooted Party Weirdo. With the Dublin underground Indie scene so small, it'd be easy for the various creatives to hype each other up through the net but Party Weirdo deserve the praise they are getting at this early stage. An odd multi-instrumental barrage of quite and loud, they pay homage to the musical weight of riot grrl before rushing the barricades of experimentation in creating a very classical NY sound that should answer the needs of Dublins art-punks for some time to come. Even the great Estel sounded quite lost after them, wheter this was because they opted to play a piece of 19 minute stoner rock dirge, complete with church bells or because I've seen them all too much before is a point up for grabs.
You can check out Party Weirdo at the next Skinny Wolves night in the Hub on 28th of September, where they will be playing alongside xBxRx from the Kill Rockstars label. Also on the bill are Ten Past Seven and Retards.
Hystereo: They Call It Acii!
With a failed attempt to get tickets for Roni Size, leaving me a broken man I bet a retreat back into the Hub where unbeknownest to me Acii Disco took off. In looking back it was probably the jammiest fuck up of a night yet, with my 8e giving me a chance to throw a gawk back towards one of the highlights of the Electric Picnic, Hystereo right after seeing Party Weirdo. Delivering some seriously heavy chops of tech -houseto an absolutely mad for it crowd, you'd be crazy to miss out on catching these guys before they inevitably fuck off to Berlin to join the other stalwarts of this scene. Dublin we have never had it so good, someone in the club described how the Acii Disco night was just like Backlash on Thursdays. I've generally avoided much of the whole Bodytonic related scene, eyeying it up as a more successful but recognisable house beast with all the burgy as fuck connotations that emerge when you take a once popular form and hand it over to nerdy middle class whites in Dublin. However, it may well be time to dip the feet in even if its well over a year late.
Hystereo will be playing the Spiegaltent on Friday, September 23rd alongside Betamax format, Porntramua and others. Entrance will cost you an unkindly fee, so sell your childern for meat now.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Living beside IMMA is about to bring its own little reward with a bulbous feast of film opening on Friday, September 15th. IMMA's No Wave cinema season promises to be an enthusiastic tour through the gritty world of New York bohemia in the late seventies and early eighties. No Wave was a cinematic vogue that zeroxed the DIY philosophy from its musical new wave contemporaries and applied them to film, leaving behind a series of textured mood laden films to instil the burgeoning American indie cinema movement with its identifiable aesthetic. No Wave was about more than just film, it summouned a terse rejection of commercial structurings and a ruthless rejections of easy aesthetic formulae for the intense experimentation that also characterised the insurgent American Indie scene.
Among the highlights I'm familar with in this film season is the 24 hour surreal biopic of Jean Michel Basquiat Underground 81, which follows the protaganist through the city as he litters it with doom laden scrawls on walls and along the way encounters a bag lady princess played by Debbie Harry. The Blank Generation is an archival document of the NY punk scene, featuring many its definitive bands and artists from Patti Smith, to the Ramones and Richard Hell. Just as lesser known acts proliferate the Basquiat movie with seminal sounds highlighting bohemia's cross fertilisation, the Blank Generation becomes an easy epithet for a scene of extraordinary drive and self creation with an equal dose of self destructive penchants and grandiose egos. I'll bring you reviews of the films as and when I get around to seeing them after an equal dose of coffee, cigeratte, trench coats and sunglasses.
The film festival runs from Friday 15 September through to Sunday 1 October, in the Lecture Room in IMMA. Download programme here and the listings here
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Absoultely nothing would be the obvious answer, well apart from say maybe attaching yet another particularly knobish and upper crust Dublin bar to the continuing upward vogue of street art. If you want to see the heart and soul sucked out of this relatively disobedient form of art you could do far worse than take a stroll down to Four Dame Lane for the 'War What is it Good For?' exhibition taking place in tandem with Coors until mid-October.
Banksy's Gitmo exploit at Disney and his recent punking of Paris Hilton turned the eyes of the world once again to the subversive world of street art. The English guerrilla artist replaced 500 copies of her new album in shops around England with mangled culture jammed versions of the original cover. Taking aim at the cult of narcissism around her, the CDs were accompanied by audio remixes asking the question 'Why am I Famous?'
One of Banksy's most famous works 'Napalm' is currently featured in the exhibition which aims to sketch the intersection of war, consumerism and pop-culture through the visually arresting medium of street art and thrash culture collage. This print display by some of arts most critically engaged pioneers includes work by Warhol, Bast and Ralph Stedman. Shepard Fairey of "André the Giant" fame spreads the message of disobedience through his iconic postage stamp portrayal of revolutionary women. Also featured is Irish born Will St Leger, a sometime Greenpeace crusader running under the guise of 'artivist,' he apes the dominant aesthetic of graphic design to undermine advertisement culture. Here he provides a crude but effective ironic meshing together of traditional Irish nationalism and Celtic Tiger consumer when Michael Collins gets a pair of high-street shopping bags. Meanwhile Gee Voucher's visually arresting portrait Soldier undermines masochistic military culture with a simple set of pursed scarlet lips.
Unfortunately most of the work on display looks like prints locked away behind glass in a frame. You could do as well yourself lazor printing your favourite collection of street art off the net and wheatpasting it to your toilet door. There was no attempt to create an atmosphere from the work, it was left diminished in stature against the barren yuppie environs that is this particular dress code hell hole of a venue. In fact its impossible to get up close and view the prints without interupting someones evening at a table, mounted as they are above various booths.
This exhibition is meant to say more about Four Dame Lane's events over the coming winter months than either war or street art. They couldn't even have been bothered spelling Will St Leger's name right in an extraordinary display of half arsed latching on. I can't be bothered commenting on more of the art some of its great but really you can see it better on the net. This wasn't even worth going to for the opening night free drinks. Take a walk around the city and see whats on the walls, avoid this like the plague and hope for the best that the exhibition that took place in the Digital Hub last year returns again to showcase some of Ireland and Europe's finest street artists.
Elsewhere: Banksy's recent punking of Paris Hilton has drawn cynicism in some quarters ( 1 ). There is a view that paints it as a double edged attempt by the record label and him at promoting the various egos involved in it in a mutual wanking session of genius marketing. As usual make up your own mind.
The art on display in Dame Lane includes: Andy Warhol - John Lennon Banksy - Napalm Gee Voucher - Soldier Bast - Thug Ralph Stedman - Daily Mail Obey/Shepard Fairey - Revolutionary Women AN? - Hearts and Minds Will St Leger - Duty Free State Morgan - Def Con
I’ve warbled on about the the topic of boutique musical festivals before and I still see little point in pouring the sort of praise some have been dishing out about last weekend’s Electric Picnic. While you don't have the drunken laddish twattery that characterises Oxegen , another twattery goes uncommented upon such as the flouncing foppish types that passed our encampment shouting 'where are all the scumbags' on the Friday evening or the bongloid morons pounding out an arrhythmic beat until 9am after failing to reach transcendence in the Body and Soul arena.
In Century of the Self Adam Curtis outlines how corporations in the period after the 1960’s began to incorporate the recalcitrant identities being formed in the counter culture into their brand identities. Brands became bridges to lifestyles, if any CEO represented this cultural change towards the rebellious consumer it was Virgin’s Richard Branson. What a perfect image it was when walking past the mopey Bloc Party set, the Virgin balloon was lit in the distance, the crown on this great Georges St arcade come to Laois.
The Friday was slow and chilled out with Spankrock starting my weekend with a set that sounded like Curtis Mayfield being fucked by dancehall, in a partying hip hop set that veered well into areas explored by Diplo. Mogwai meanwhile failed to satisfy expectations built by friends over the years, perhaps they really are more of a closed room sort of band as their intensity failed to reach the back of the tent. Massive Attack were quite simply boring, with a lack of mid way speaker stacks in the main arena sound failed to carry. A crowd anxious to move to the front eliminated opportunities for sitting and chilling but their rendition of that last song was incredibly discordant and refreshing.
Saturday started well with Dancepig delivering a smooth set of electro on the Saturday morning, with Hystereo providing a complementary follow up. The delay to the Skatalites set disappointed many, but eventually provided a distractingly breezy set of summer ska to wile away an hour in a drunken sway meaning I missed Krafty Kut’s set in the Bodytonic arena. Shadow’s set was the most controversial of the weekend, with opinion predictably divided right down the middle. Tearing along all hyped up and bouncy his MC implored the dancefloor to move and shift its ass it did. Comments about it ranged from the ridiculous accusations of playing pop shite to accusing Shadow of not playing proper hip hop, music of a black origin is only acceptable apparently if it delivers lyrical rhetoric on ghetto life. This was pure and simple jump up, block rocking party music - if you expected different, tough!
The crowd for Numan looked disinterested in everything except 'Cars'. Walking in as Gang of Four battered a microwave to pieces with a mic stand was my own highlight and lowlight. A highlight because as they rampaged into ‘Damaged Goods’ and a low light because I’d missed most of their set, while bands half their age look pathetically over-blown and pantomimic on stage, Gang of Four owned the place having never played into the overblown hysterics of rock to begin with. Seeing Andy Weatherhall allowed me to collect both Loneswordsmen in a forthnight, but his set languished along miserably. It was all no surprises and I left half way through. 2ManyDjs equally failed to surprise and delivered on-cue street from their released mixes to an exuberant crowd.
Pendulum were an odd start for the Sunday morning, the early drunks or the late night manglers however were not the only ones to get into them as they piled on the drum n bass to a huge crowd with the introduction of Rage Against the Machine to their 'Voodoo' mix ripping the roof off. Respect goes to Coldcut for banging out the Killercoke message in their visuals despite Aiken banning any of the 'ethical' stands from selling any thing other than River Rock. Anyway I’ve yet to figure out what’s ethical about an organic burger without salad wrapped in a cheap bundy costing 7e. Other than that their set was poor, too unhinged and slightly more dependent on Let Us Play’s chilled atmosphere than hoped, 'Atomic Moog' stormed it though.
The Rapture held no interest for me, leaving their drunk student music three songs in I headed over to Saul Williams. There the crowd were electric despite the DJ being too high in the mix and his vocals only audible in a narrow corridor in front of the stage. The cancellation of his set at the Big Tree was as traumatic as having to wipe my arse with my socks the night before. One for the toilet rim, and one for the anal rim as the saying now goes.
New Order stuck me as just another shambolic stadium rock band while I was middling impressed with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs who’s performance was yards ahead of what I had seen at ATP. Convinced to stay for Groove Armada by friends I had a compulsive moment that led me over to stand between Cut Chemist and Mdslktr. Hovering between the two I was eventually drawn to the Foggy Notions tent where this Berlin outfit Mdslktr were truly rocking the shop in a full on banging rave up that took hold of a clearly mashed crowd.
Later Garnier took the piss for twenty minutes, building up records to drag the crowd along before winding them back down again. If this hadn’t been the last set of the festival and therefore compulsive to dance to most people would have been straight out of there. His mid set break was a classic moment of inspired DJ-ing, brilliantly judging the crowd he allowed a moments respite before slowly introducing some drum and bass and taking it skywards in an overall mediocre gig.
Entering into the festival site you pass this set of trees with photographed flowers pinned on to trees, in a way that’s emblematic of the festival. The organisers take a fairly typical set of woodland fields and temporarily erect these monuments to alternative ethical lifestyles within them, its all caring and sharing, good buzzes all round. Cynical as ever, lets face it - the water situation was appalling, there were no signs marking it anywhere and thats not to mention the toilets. After Garnier two us were refused entry to the main arena at 1.50 am to get water. Told to go down to the camps to get it we spend twenty minutes with no luck.
Eventually we asked a guy from Tir na gCasta who forewarned us that the only water available was mank. Right he was, what we eventually found came from these stainless steel wash basins being used as urinals by every drunk punter in the place and only dispensing this disgusting chlorine packed water. I know of three people who were turned away from the welfare tent when looking for water. One at about 5am on the first night, eventually he was given a bottle of the staffs water on the level of courteous disobedience towards policy and could only mutter about the bad old days of the early rave scene.
An equally obvious effort to embed Electric Picnic into the repertoires of alternative Ireland was the use of Tir na gCasta after their return from the summer teknival circuit as a chill out area tucked away in the woods. Forbidden to play any of their usual speedy free techno rubbish instead they churned out chilled reggae with the occasional glimpses of fifties pop till the wee hours. This was an almost perfectly co-ordinated artificial rave to add that further deepening of the picnic’s atmosphere. The area was a perfect zone to relax all weekend, far better than the conceited tripe of the main Body and Soul arena.
Until the last night of course, when word had spread too far and every party animal in the site had came down, leading to an all round cramped paranoia the highlight of which was the holding of knive to someone’s chest beside the decks before security arrived. DS were heavily factored into most people's weekends, with nearly every circle of friends I came across having a tale of a bust. One was busted by a guy in an 'enjoy cocaine' tshirt while another group had their grass confiscated by an officer feigning blindness! The DS prescence is higher than ever on the gig circuit, the lessons are to never deal or accept offers from anyone you don't know, keep your stash hidden in the tent and smoke the gange out of sight as one whiff can get a gang of mates done for possesion
The Tir na gCasta crew added a lot to the weekend, another sound system that returned from the continent also set up in the car park on the saturday night for a rave. Some more of their associates were responsible for erecting the psychotic merry go round that blazed flames near the Bodytonic and woke me up with its didgeridoo calling of the tribes everyday at noon. All it needed was Spiral Tribe kick drum and we were in crusty raver hell. The permanently K-holed mo-hawked guy involved with them was thrown out of the Bodytonic arena at the same time on two different days, collapsing at the feet of security on the second day he danced in a cross legged position with a soother in his mouth before the cops escorted him off.
A high police prescence did much to eliminate the need for heavy security numbers like at Oxegen but when they did emerge they were fierce prickish on Monday morning. Waiting for our driver to collect us I heard one fat peroxide cow shout ahead to the rest of her team who were concentrating ther effort on moving one particular guy to 'fucking bash him and get him out.' I kept my head down and continued to scavenge the ruins of the weekend, eventually coming home with 30 cans and much new camping equipment.
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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