OMGZ, check this out: the feminism loves you pin badge! I mean, I totally hate badges and stuff but you can get this customised with your own name so it says FEMINISM LOVES AMP or whatever and L@@K! It has a tiny little cunt and ovaries on it! That's so cute. And gross. It's that perfect mix of cute and gross that sets my pulse a-racing!
I fucking love the internet! No more waiting around for a decent women's magazine to come along, no more wondering 'what women want' from a magazine - just cobble together all the best bits of fashion, feminism, sex and politics, shove them in yr Netvibes, and bob's your bad uncle.
Speaking of which, have my FEMINISM Netvibes tab. It's got Feministing, The F-Word, DollyMix, Jezebel, Militant Female Artist, The Lipster and One D at a Time. What more d'you need?
Supposedly, this is an actual letter from an Austin woman sent to American company Procter & Gamble regarding their feminine products. She really gets rolling after the first paragraph. It's PC Magazine's 2007 Editors' Choice for best webmail-award-winning letter.
Dear Mr. Thatcher,
I have been a loyal user of your 'Always' maxi pads for over 20 years and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core or Dri-Weave absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants.
Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from the curse'? I'm guessing you haven't. Well, my time of the month is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed into what my husband likes to call 'an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.' Isn't the human body amazing?
As Brand Manager in the Feminine-Hygiene Division, you've no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers monthly visits from 'Aunt Flo'. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying, jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it's a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend's testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey's Anatomy was written by drunken chimps. Crazy!
The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants... Which brings me to the reason for my letter. Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi-pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: 'Have a Happy Period.'
Are you ****ing kidding me? What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness - actual smiling, laughing happiness is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you're some kind of sick S&M freak girl, there will never be anything 'happy' about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself in your house just so you don't march down to the local Walgreen's armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory. (Boy, does THAT sound familiar!)
For the love of God, pull your head out, man! If you just have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn't it make more sense to say something that's actually pertinent, like 'Put down the Hammer' or 'Vehicular Manslaughter is Wrong', or are you just picking on us?
Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bull sh*t. And that's a promise I will keep. Always.
Repost from Ladyfest London's Myspace. If I wasn't going to be enormously pregnant between 9-11th May, and thus stuck in Stockholm, I would totally go help, because I have decided that, for all its tweeness, Ladyfest is a Good Thing. Frances has been having all these cool interns at Plan B whose lives have been hugely changed by Ladyfest and by retrospectively discovering Riot Grrrl - girls who were into emo or whatever as consumers and then discovered riot grrrl and are now running nights, putting on gigs and being in bands - exactly what we envisaged way back when. So. Ladyfest London. 9-11th May. Get in!
Ladyfest London is on its way!!!
We are a non-profit, volunteer-run feminist music, arts and activism festival that will be held in North London 9th- 11th of May 2008, at The Camden Underworld, the Resource Centre on Holloway Road and the Islington Arts Factory.
Ladyfest celebrates the wealth and diversity of women's talents within the London independent art scenes and beyond, as well as to promote the do-it-yourself ethic and participation in feminist discussion and activism. We aim to provide creative, accessible and friendly spaces where people of all ages and backgrounds feel welcome to take part. It is a predominantly woman-organised festival, but all are welcome to participate.
Ladyfest have been happening in urban centres all over the world since it was first held in Olympia in 2000. The first Ladyfest London was held in London in 2002 at the Garage in North London.
We need you! Currently there are around 20 core members involved in organising the festival and and we really need your help! We come from a variety of different backgrounds and all have different skills and interests. Ladyfests, like other activism, is very much about learning new skills and trying things you wouldn't normally get to do in everyday life.
There is lots to do in the run up to the festival and lots of different ways you can get involved. No experience is necessary!
We currently need creative and organising types to join our publicity, fundrasing, merchandising groups, as well as people to get involved in organising performances, comedy and music.
If you are interested in helping out in any capacity please get in touch.
During the festival Even if you don't have time to get involved in the run-up to the festival, we are also going to need lots of people to help out during the actual weekend. If you can commit to at least one 4-hour shift between 9-11 May (plus ideally one afternoon or evening a couple weeks before the festival for a welcome/rota meeting) to staff information desks, steward, help with equipment etc, we can offer you a free day-pass to the festival for the rest of that day, plus a free lunch and travel expenses costs if required (within London only). If you can commit to helping out 4 hours a day for each of the three days you will have free entry to the whole festival.
Email email@example.com or send us a message on Myspace to get in touch. Or just show up at our next general meeting on Wed 13 Feb at LARC (London Action Resource Centre), 62 Fieldgate Street, E1 at 7pm.
Oh and, One Date at a Time - Vice writer (in a good way) Tracey Egan's slut-tastic hipster blog. You should read that too.
And yes, readers, yes, (note how I generously allow myself the plural form there, despite there being no evidence to support that. IS ANY FUCKER OUT THERE?) - I moved away from London and replaced my social life with an addiction to hitting 'refresh' on my Google Reader page. Is that so bad? Don't answer that.
Just in case you hadn't heard from one of the many online places in which I talk shit about my private life, I'm all knocked up and having a baby in June, assuming all goes well! W00T! Here is a picture of it when it was tiny:
Here is a picture of it now it is medium:
And here is a picture of me doing an impression of a preg:
Random quote (from 'Landed-Fish Orgasm'): "His eyes are going like roulette balls. Gasps halfmoon his mouth. Four more thrusts initiate the involuntary gesture: his head jerks back as though God, fishing from a cloud, has cast a hook through his top lip and tugged."
Random quote (from 'Hand-Halo Suckoff'): "The gap represents Straightboy's intact heterosexuality: to close it, and thus to make physical hand-to-head contact, would be to seal a homosexual fate. As long as he lets it hover, he's straight, he's straight, he is, he's straight."
Well, this is pretty sweet. It's like a trip to the now-iconic Dalston Supersavers but without having to actually go anywhere. It's a blog called Dalston Oxfam Shop and it's great. The guy buys awesome cassette tapes from the 80s (stuff like Frank Chickens or 1993 New York house music compilations), then digitises the best tracks and hosts them for download. He also posts about cool upcoming East End art shows and the African music night he runs in Soho. It makes me miss London loads, but I also know I'm missing an illusion because I'm kind of over chazzing for cassette tapes or going to African music nightclubs and even if I was home I wouldn't be going, I'd be sitting in my Goldfinger apartment reading novels and eating bon-bons. But that is so not the point.
Girly indie site www.thelipster.com launched last week. Edited by Jude Rogers of Smoke and Laura Barton of The Guardian, it has a similar look and feel to Drowned in Sound (it's produced by the same company). There's an interesting thread on it on DiS here, which presents the usual gamut of responses to girl-only stuff ('I feel patronised' / 'Why not just hire the same writers to work for DiS' / 'why are they only writing about women? it seems a bit full-on feminist i.e. anti-male' etc). I'm all for anything that foregrounds women and makes men feel left out, just so that male readers can see what it feels like to be sidelined as a result of a gender bias, so good luck to 'em (though the name grates a bit - what's a lipster? A lipstick wearing hipster?) I do wish such projects would be a bit more subtle with the marketing tactics though. Why describe yourself as 'the world’s best new female editorial-led pop culture website' when it's far more subversive to simply present a website full of editorial pop culture that just happens to be by and about females? After all, DiS doesn't broadly proclaim 'TOTAL BOYS' CLUB - MESSAGE BOARD FULL OF MILDLY SEXIST INANITY - EDITORIAL STAFF ALL MALE - COVERAGE OF MALE TO FEMALE ARTISTS APPROX 70/30'. It just does it, thereby promoting the status quo without advertising itself as doing such. Why can't female-focused projects do the same thing but in reverse? I'd love to see that - to see Reading or ATP with a 99% female line-up, or the NME with all the features by and about women, but nary a word advertising this fact. Now that's subversive. Maybe one day. When the world turns on its axis. Until then: The Lipster.
Weak boys, self-loathing females and misogynistic faggots look away now, it's time for your MENSTRUAL UPDATE! Nope, we're not talking about The Keeper or The Sponge this time - we'd just like to draw your attention to this adorable menstrual calendar produced by a girl living in Mexico. Card-sized to fit in your wallet, it has 12 of the cutest illustrations we've ever seen, and a handy calendar so you can track your body's business and get to know where you are with your cycle. Tracking your periods is a good idea so you don't get caught out by bad tempers or forgotten tampons. It's also handy to know when you're ovulating so you can know just how much to panic when the condom breaks or you 'forgot' to use one like the lazy slut you are. The site's called Vive La Menstruation and it's cool. There's also a handy links section, so check it out!
"With big love for her mama and her signature punk approach to dance music, is she the modern girl next door or the most exciting thing since riot grrrl? We're convinced she's both." The MIA interview I did for Venus magazine is now online at their site - take a peek!
They wear pink saris. They beat up dudes who abandon or mistreat their wives, and they beat up corrupt policemen, and they've uncovered corruption in the distribution of grain to the poor and beaten the crap out of those involved there also. They use traditional Indian fighting sticks called 'lathis' to dispense their vigilante justice, and they're led by a firebrand called Sampat Pai Devi, a former government health worker who quit because her job was 'not satisfying enough' and started her 'gang for justice' instead. Men can join too, but the main focus is on improving the status of women in Uttar Pradesh, one of India's poorest regions. "Village society in India is loaded against women", says Sampat Devi. "It refuses to educate them, marries them off too early, barters them for money. Village women need to study and become independent to sort it out themselves," she says. Looks like *insert cheesy quote about sisters doin' it for themselves, etc*.
More sophisticated than making your pet a profile on Myspace. Catbook allows you to make a mini Facebook profile for your pet! You can add photos, write on its wall, stroke it, etc... and of course, add this cute little box to your own profile so everyone can see / stroke / admire your pet. Aw. I made one for Katrina even though she's dead, because my replacement cat just ain't worth talking about (no offence MABEL, honest.)
Joanna Newsome in US Elle: "I wear a lot of high-waisted pants when I'm not performing. I like the studs on this Givenchy pair. When I'm onstage, since I play the harp, I go for mobility, mostly knee-length dresses. Right now, I have been wearing this incredible vintage piece that's silk jersey with tea-stained lace and a medallion belt. I wear it with my resin Chloe necklace."
I just had to share. If I was a boy I'd have such a crush on her.
I'm whispering here, but I have to admit that I've always had a bit of trouble with the whole third-wave rediscovery of traditional baking and crafting activity. I'm down with the anti-consumerist side of things (and I love cooking as much as the next awesomely cooking-skilled person), but somehow I've always sneakily felt that 'craftivism' was little more than another way for girls to avoid getting involved in 'real' artistic creativity. Encouraging them to spend their time baking cakes and knitting baby booties, as they have done for centuries, rather than learning how to play an instrument or master a CD or write a treatise or something. Continuing women's involvement in the private, domestic sphere, rather than the more high-profile and combative public arena. BUT. Randomly surfing old blogs led me to this delighful idea, posted on a LiveJournal community called Curious Cupcakes: the Pay Equity Bakesale!
"Finally one member came up with the BRILLIANT idea of holding a "Pay Equity Bakesale." In Michigan (where we lived), women make an average of 67 cents for every dollar a man makes at the same job. So we baked our hearts out, then charged women 67 cents, and men $1 for each baked good. On the bottom of each cookie, cupcake, and brownie, we had printed facts about the gender wage gap on address labels and stuck them on. When people said "Hey! That's not fair!" We replied with, "Actually, it is fair; it's the only thing that's fair. Women make less money." So we got to raise money AND awareness at the same time!"
That's such an ace idea! (And please feel free to email me with examples of more if you feel I am being unfairly anti-crafting.) If I'm ever involved in some kind of event where a Pay Equity Bakesale would be appropriate, I am so having one. I wonder when Ladyfest Stockholm is? :)
Deep within the bowels of this book lies a joke pilfered by your humble narrator from her friend Alice, then gifted to the author. Said joke was all about the perils of going on the internet while drunk. (Please remember that this was all the way back in 2001, when the net was just kicking off in Britain, and such observations were fresh and funny.)
Anyway, here's the feature Alice and I created around the joke, for dearly departed Brit spoof site Seethru.co.uk. Check it out - it's both funny and a nostalgic wander down memory lane to a time when websites and bulletin boards and cybercommunities and MSN messenger and so on were fresh, new, exciting, scary and addictive.
(Early protoype of modem breathalyser)
And now! Somewhere in The Internet - Now In Handy Book Form a version of this joke apparently lives on. Aw! I've not seen the book yet so I can't judge, but it's written by David McCandless, editor of Seethru, so is probably very funny. The perfect gift for the netgeek in your life, &c. Check it out!
Right, thanks a lot, Barbican, for waiting until I leave the country to bring the director Catherine Breillat over to give a talk on 24th Oct. They're showing Romance, her best-known but least awesome film. I prefer Anatomy of Hell, which features the ultra-hot and well-endowded porn star Rocco Siffredi, and some sexy hairy-armpitted French chick, in a house on a clifftop ruminating in ultra-French fashion about sex and desire and bodies and revulsion and the position of women and so on an so forth and all of that. Funfunfun! He's a fag, too, which is why she procures him for the task of 'looking at her where she can't be seen'. It's aces, and features an excellent tampon-dunking / menstrual blood drinking scene that made several men leave the cinema in disgust when I saw the film at the Riverside a few years ago. HAH. Anyway, Romance isn't quite up there with that but it's still pretty interesting, particularly if you're into a bit of slap with your tickle - and who isn't?
Wow check this video made by Horton and co. It's really excellently Boney M-ish. Good to see he's still doing that Jarvis thing with his hair, too. I also like how it's about eleven thousand million minutes long.
So I finally got around to watching Amy Kellner's 'The Cute Show'. Amy Kellner is one of my favourite journalists EVER in the history of the world. I first encountered her writing for Rollerdery, (the best zine ever in the history of the world, created by one of the other best writers ever in the history of the world, Lisa Carver.)
Then Amy did a great diary column for the sadly departed Index magazine, in which she detailed things like her trips to H&M or ogling cute catholic schoolboys even though she's a lesbian or the time she bought these really expensive Anna Sui face powder tissue sheets and then dropped them down the toilet. (This was late-90s pre-internet so blogs hadn't made such personal revelations seem redundant. And even if it wasn't Amy still has a lightness of touch that makes detailing that personal shit be somehow ok).
Then Amy went to write for Vice, but don't shudder, because she was one of the true beacons of light shining out from Vice like like like I don't know, like all the other apples in the box have got mould on them and some of them have just disintegrated but right in the middle there's one where the mould didn't touch, and it's so green it almost looks lonely, like it wants to be grey like its friends but it just can't. Read The Time Bratmobile Hurt My Feelings for an example of Amy's style, in which she wrangles with her guilt about writing for Vice as a result of Bratmobile refusing to do an interview with her for them. Or the classic Vice Guide to Cute.
ANYWAY, then she did a great photoblog called Teenage Unicorn which details her last few years of partying in New York yet STILL not as obnoxious as that sounds. (She basically has an ability to not become a horrid soul destroyed mean hipster no matter how extreme her surroundings!) Here is a picture of her from her photoblog doing a sadface:
Aw, it's so good to be blogging back here on AMPnet that I think we need a little Gravy Train to celebrate, don't you? This is the sad story of a girl who went on a diet and lost her boobs: hence, 'Ghost Boobs'. It's true! It happened to my sister, folks. (My other sister.) Don't do it!
Look at this early 80s gem, by NYC all girl band Pulsallama, that I unearthed while searching for Ann Magnuson / Bongwater clips. (Ann Magnuson was a former member of this band.) I am *so* crushing on the fashion styles of the lady who lives next door but just because she has 17 cats doesn't mean she's a witch.
more activity from Savage Messiah, top zine du jour:
NIGHT DRIFT THROUGH KINGS CROSS: ££££££££££££££££££££
@HOUSMAN’S BOOKSHOP, CALEDONIAN ROAD, N1.
On Saturday 29th of September 7pm ,LAURA OLDFIELD FORD of SAVAGE MESSIAH ZINE . …………. .. ……. .. …
. ………………… will facilitate a drift through the Kings cross area. The Savage Messiah employs the tactic of psychogeography to expose the repressed desires of the city. Savage messiah welcomes participants to this walk to join a collective cognitive anti mapping of the city and hopes that stories, anecdotes, drawings, ideas generated on the route will become part of the next issue of the zine to be launched at Housman’s in November.
JOHN WILD, frequent collaborator with Savage Messiah and psychogeographical explorer of data space will be collecting the locative data calculate from mobile phone signals along the Kings X Drift. The data will be compiled into an audio broadcast that will be transmitted in the location of Housmans book shop at the November launch.
IF OUR FUTURE HAS BEEN STOLEN NOW IS THE TIME TO LOOK BACK WITH VENGEFUL INTENT.
The greasy rebranding of Kings cross is in its final stages, sycophantic bilge, faux heritage, fragments left over for the sake of authenticity. This is the cosmetic veneer that is meant to distance millennial ‘regeneration’ from the tabula rasa brutality of modernism or the high octane demolition tendencies of Haussmann . Kings Cross is in a state of confusion,it is in gripped in the foolish tyranny of the masterplan.
Clarence passage is a strange juxtaposition of old tenements with the gleaming new architecture of an international airport. All places become surfaces that can accept the neo liberal stamp. Representations of places are decontextualized. These are placeless places, liminal realms opened up for subversion. Little alleyways of boarded up windows open up in the tenement ravines. And , like the damp construction of some Stalinist penitentiary are the Costain portakabin slabs.
The Golden Lion on Brittania st, 90’s pub done up, horrible, fuck this. We’re done up for a bit of the old ultra, a Bakunist wrecking spree on every gastro pub travesty we can get our hands on. Flick knife activates at sight of swaggering prick whose class background has assured him of lording it status, the dirty jeans and scruffy t shirt only serve to reinforce it.
Laminated flooring, best brawled over Ikea settees .
All I want to see right, is the Clinique counter at Selfridges smashed up with Paul McCarthy abjection, Robert Gober mannequins trashed in a Ballardian make up counter frenzy.
Sean, have it, have it go on.
Don’t know what he’s doing, head splitting with the hysterical banalities of Saturday night tv.
That day when we went in search of the Groaner, we had to scour The Boot. We scanned the orange paintwork, bottle green tiles and Guiness trinkets. It was a Saturday afternoon booze up, brawls erupting, hilarity and shouting, but the Groaner wasn’t there.
“The labyrinth is basically the space where oppositions disintegrate and grow complicated, where diacritical couples are unbalanced and perverted etc., where the system upon which linguistic function is based disintergrates, but somehow disintegrates by itself, having jammed it’s own works.The labyrinth we discuss cannot be described. Mapping is out of the question.” Against Architecture The writings of Georges Bataille, Denis Hollier.
The Savage Messiah seeks out nomadic architecture, transient architecture, places that can slip out of sight, re emerge and reconfigure somewhere else. Savage messiah drifts through the city in defiance of panoptican surveillance, seeking out places that do not exist on official maps, she roams through a maze of bolt holes, alleyways and sites that slip through the net. The Savage Messiah gravitates towards settlements and reconfigurations of forms that become an outward manifestation of nomadic subjectivities. These are the enchanted places that slip out of sight, re emerge and reconfigure somewhere else. There are numerous portals, fluctuating and reversible like a Baroque ceiling, lenses opening onto other realms.
Camden squatlands, headcases on psychoactive drifts, abandoned boozers, Nazi occultists, Rimbaud and Verlaine as proto flaneurs,Soane tomb transgressions, construction site labyrinths, subterranean rivers, Scala treble bills, Ballardian psychtropic nightmares……….
! VIVA SAVAGE MESSIAH !
SAVAGE MESSIAH DEMANDS THE ABOLITION OF ALL ZONES!! DESTROY CARTESIAN RHETORIC, SMASH THE VILLE RADIEUSE, SAVAGE MESSIAH IS CALLING FOR A MASS RETURN TO THE LABYRINTH!!!
Today's missive is brought to you by one Lisa Margreet aka My Sister.
Here is a picture of her doing the LOL face:
And here is her missive:
While AMP has "Manmarie" as her alter-ego, here at chez Payne in our east London apartment, lives Granny Payne. (Of course Manmarie lives with his Granny, what self-respecting slob doesn't?!) Granny Payne loves to moan, and complain, and knit, and make jam. Lots of jam. Anyway, Granny Payne has found something to temporarily distract her from whether she should lodge a complaint about the floodlit sports ground in the sports college opposite her bedroom.
It comes in the form of this website called "The Nag" which is part of the Anti-Apathy um, movement? social experiments? Let me let them explain:
Anti-Apathy* (AA) promotes awareness and action for positive social change and offers refreshing ways to connect you to the politics and economics behind your every day life, from fashion to free trade and everything in between. AA starts with awareness, but equally, it's about experience and action. Through our events and unique social experiments we aim to raise debate and inspire new perspectives.
Don't tell me you can't be bothered to check them out *rollseyesatadvanceapatheticjoke*
Hope you're all good, take care, and stop laughing at my organic jeans please.
PS: Oh yes, and I meant to say that The Nag's tagline is "changing the world one lazy assed mouse-click at a time" so its perfect for internet junkies and lazy asses alike as it won't interfere too much with your usual internet daily "rounds". Mentioning no names of course. xxx
Listen, here is the venerable Amy Kellner just totally hitting the nail upon the head:
"Well, it was a good run, but my social life is officially dead. Dead, dead, dead. Stick a fork in it. A sad, sad, sad, rusty, crud-covered fork. It's "fashion week" and "art opening week" and I have not gone to a single solitary "event." Not one. Here's my life now: Work (which is good, don't get me wrong), get home around 9pm, collapse onto couch, stare at television, fall asleep by midnight. Lather, rinse, repeat. Ta da! I guess this is what they call being a normal person. Am I sad about it? I don't know, I can't tell. Probably I am. But you know, I shouldn't even blame work for my newfound hermitude. Plenty of 9-to-5 working folk go out a lot, and there are weekends. I just don't feel like it. I mean, I am an elderly person now, what is the point of traipsing around at all hours with lithe, freewheeling youngsters ten years my junior? What I was searching for on all those dizzy moonlit nights (ha!), I never found. Maybe I found a little. But not enough and so I say good riddance, sir!"
I pretend as though I am worried that I might be lonely during my forthcoming sojourn to Stockholm. And indeed there are certain people I will greatly miss. But generally I just smile at the thought that I can indulge my hermitude with not a whit of guilt.
Anyway. Yeah. I ran away to Vox. And now I want to come back.
this is a test. i mean, vox has all the functionality, the tag cloud, the lovely 2.0 look and feel.. but... it's hosted not on ampnet. only voxers can post comments. it has that facebook 'walled garden' feel. and a couple of other reasons. basically. i think i want to come home.
What do you call a musician without a girlfriend? Homeless. AHAHAHAH! Right, sorry, now that's out of the way, let me tell you about my fave new band of right now, Tap Tap. (There are sometimes more of them than this, but this is the only picture on their Myspace that features a man with his top off, so what are you gonna do?) Tap Tap produce this wonderfully insistent guitary music that has all the emotional pull of the Arcade Fire, the twiddly menace of Agaskodo Teliverik or Marnie Stern, and the dancability factor of early Franz Ferdinand. You can't lose! You can download their album Lanzafame from Emusic, or see their Myspace. Tap it!
a record i like! the royal we. they're from magical glasgow. i don't believe in magic any more. magic is a boy with glasses pressing his knee against yours. he's wearing a paisley shirt. his hand trembles a bit. he talks about the field mice, the pastels album he's bidding on on ebay. he's reading an old puffin book, orange and cream cover, joyce carey or laurence durrell or something. the pages smell of old paper, they're faded to that tobacco colour of old pubs. he's wearing brogues, you want to stick pins into all the tiny holes. he could be your cowboy. magic is a girl, o a girl just seen out of the corner of your eye, tipping onto her back holding the camera at arm's length in her myspace shot. or with tilted head, gazing into the distance, the nothingness, the big black hole that is the webcam on the computer she's staring at, the person who's making her laugh, the person who isn't you. the girl she has wrinkles in her white stockings, her knees are all angles, her dress is elastic waisted, you want to ping it to make her giggle, you want your hands your fingers burrowing under the elastic, seeing the big spots on the fabric swish around her thighs while you burrow, camera obscura on the stereo, the girl kind of reminds you of traceyann or even clare groghan in gregory's girl, the girl isn't even real, she lives in america, you spoke on skype one time it was magic. she could be your cowgirl. HEY LISTEN, magic doesn't exist okay? glasgow isn't magic. that boy isn't magic. that girl isn't magic. magic is a bell jar. it flies around. it settles on you for a while, that boy, that girl, you move around inside the bell jar for a while, gently kissing, then the bell jar lifts up and what do you know, there isn't any cowboy. THAT SAID. this record opens with... nope, can't be bothered to do any describing. oh, quickly: fiddles. oohooh-ahh. drums. girls in hats and specs. some guitars in a kind of poppy chalets-ish way but better than that sounds. LISTEN UP FOR YOURSELF! especially 'all the rage', it has drums that make me gasp.
ps - they have a song called 'back and forth forever' so how could you not love them if you know what i mean and i think you do. ))<>((
Having recently been accused of using Twitter for the purposes of 'microbragging', I was very interested by this post about 'Status as skill possession' on Tiara.org. Apparently 'Status skills' has been identified as a September 2006 trend by Trendwatching.com and is something that 'ties into Web 2.0 intimately':
Now, consumers can acquire as many skills as they want, but equally important is the showing-off aspect of what they’ve learned and created. Don’t forget: without ‘the others’ seeing, tasting, hearing or smelling your skills, without the inevitable story-telling, there shall not be any status coming thy way!
So, y'know, IN YR FACE, twitter.com/finsbury. I'm simply demonstrating competency in high-status areas using an intimate yet worldwide outlet provided for me by the wonderful world of modern technology. Something with which I believe you are not completely unfamiliar, as evidenced by your preference for the Xbox over the Wii because of the need to gain achievement points for your Xbox Live Gamerscore...
I'll be singing in Shimura Curves for one last bonus night on Thursday 14th June. We're playing at Bardens along with No Bra, Bishi and Ebony Bones. It's put on by the UndGretel collective and with that line-up it promises to be very very good, so I think you should come along. See www.myspace.com/undgretel for more details.
Here's a review I wrote of a book called 'You Don't Love Me Yet', by Jonathan Lethem. The cover illustration was done by a lady called Eline Van Dam, who is a brilliant illustrator who can be found online here at a site called Zeloot. She illustrated the cover of the Club Kids issue of AMP that we did a while back. I love her work. Anyway. I guess you can't judge a book by its cover....
If you're stuck for something to do this Bank Holiday weekend, you might want to go see the wonderful EATS TAPES playing at the Buffalo Bar tonight. Barr is also playing, and Lucky Dragons, and something I've not heard of called Car Clutch. It's put on by the brilliant collective Upset the Rhythm and it's gonna be bleeptastic brilliance.
So the piece I wrote about cute fat chicks has been published in the Sunday Times. I wasn't prepared for all the feedback you get when you go mainstream. *buries head in comforting wing of underground*
This may seem ironic from someone whose pseudonym over the last few years has been 'Miss AMP', but let's just ignore that shall we? Back in the real world, I prefer to use 'Ms' on official forms and stuff, just because Miss seems gay and Mrs is ugly. And untrue. And... jeez, the whole advertising yr marital status thing seems kind of gauche, really. And men don't have to do it. So I go for 'Ms' on forms. In real life, Anne-Marie or AMP seem to suffice quite nicely. Nobody has reason to call me by my 'title' - I'm not a teacher, am rarely in formal situations, so what's the problem? But I was a little shocked yesterday when I signed up for Brand Republic - you know, "first for advertising, marketing, media and PR" (what can I say? I've been misguidedly trying to take my 'career' a bit serious for once) - and discovered that there was no 'Ms' option. I mean, there was Dr and Prof, but no 'Ms'. I was a bit shocked at this, and even went so far as to send them an email (whoo! direct action!) suggesting that this made their supposedly forward thinking edge pushing brand-building magazine look a bit - well - retro, and eventually, of course, I selected 'Miss'. But not without reluctance.
So yeah. What is the deal with 'Ms' these days. Apparently Lucy Mangan of the Guardian doesn't use it because, well, it makes her feel a bit old, and men don't like it, and neither do some women. Way to go, Mangan. Fight the power. But what about my contemporaries? I've realised that I actually have no idea which box they choose to tick. Let me know. Does the omission of a 'Ms' box on a form or website signup worry you? Or am I just being totally boringly rad-fem about the fact that I cannot see what relevance my marital status has to, well, absolutely fucking anything these days? I think we should be told.
The obsession with letter-writing continues apace. There's something gloriously hedonistic and wonderfully wasteful about putting time and effort into a hand-written letter and decorated envelope you'll almost certainly never see again. Knowing, after you've dropped it in the post, that you've entrusted it to a horde of unseen hands that will help it reach its destination. (Posting a letter is an exercise in wishful thinking). And once you start - particularly if you find a willing co-correspondent, who is not too tardy with the replies (selfish, selfish!) - then it's so hard to stop. You eye stationery shelves with new vigour. Woolworths winks at you each time you walk past, flaunting its glittery stickers for children at your oh-so-tempted adult self. A pink and white striped paper bag from a sweet shop screams to be made into an envelope: you buy white tippex pens to scribe on scraps of black leatherette you bought at Spitalfields market; a tin box that once held chocolates is stuffed with goodies from Berlin, gleaming with fresh purpose. When you're engaged in correspondence, the world is that little bit more alive. No, email does not count. This is a strictly real-world only operation, and it's very, very special.
And. Pod Post are two ladies who understand this. They share this vision, this lust for pretty postable things. This is their Pod Post mail art Bento box. They went to Japan and found lovely things other postal peoples might like to use, and wrapped them up in a bento box. They make also: sew-on badges for successful zinesters and bookbinders; notelets; exquisite looking fanzines. You should visit their site. Buy some things. Send me a message, drop me a line. I'll write you back. I promise.
Get thee to the Nog Gallery on Brick Lane on Thursday night. Upset the Rhythm are putting on an event which will feature a performance from Barr and a reading from Amy Prior. Frances will be dj-ing. Sounds super fun and is only £3. Be there!
I'm finally starting to understand Youtube. It's like a tiny telly. Which is ace because I don't have a telly. But I do have a pulsing 15 inch Macbook. Here is Youtube discovery brilliance number ten million and one; it's called "Text Message Break-Up":
... in which Kelly gets dumped by text message and goes mental. "I'll be like MACE in your FACE on MYSPACE.... Just you wait till you read the shit on you I'm gonna blog about. I'm gonna PODCAST yr BASTARD ASS from COAST TO COAST!"
There's also Shoes:
The videos are the creation of Liam Sullivan, a comedian. There are more. You can download them from his site in Quicktime, Windows Media and iPod versions. One of my favourite things about them - apart from the way they keep turning from soap-opera esque kitchen sink dramas into booty-shakin' hip-hop videos - is the fact that, even though Kelly is a dude dressed as a chick, there's none of the harsh edge that drag can often have; that worrying sense that the female is being laughed at. You don't really feel that Liam is taking the piss out of Kelly. You empathise with her. She feels a bit like one of your friends. <3
A flyer from my fave rad fem activist group of all time, W.I.T.C.H aka Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy From Hell. They practiced a form of guerilla theatre they called 'witch zaps', and ran around putting hexes on everyone and everything, from stockbrokers and bridal fairs to transport authorities after a price rise. Read about them here. Wouldn't it be fun to do stuff like that now? CURSE YOU O KEN AND YR STUPID OYSTER CARD THAT DOES NOT WORK ON MAINLINE TRAIN SYSTEMS SO I HAVE TO PAY THRICE.
Interesting interview on Venuszine.com with the estimable A.M. Holmes. She's talking about the difference between men's and women's writing; about how there are writers, and women writers; about her refusal to be pigeonholed as a 'woman writer' (a scribe of domestic, family topics); about her admiration for Didion and Sontag and Phillip Roth. It sounds kind of essentialist put like that, but you can see where she's coming from.
Tonight sees my erstwhile band Shimura Curves play a gig at How Does It Feel at the Luminaire. They're on at 8.20 so get there early to catch the new line-up (featuring Kate St Claire on guitar, my sister Lisa on vocals, ex-member Frances on synths and the mandolin-strumming Ed) take Shimura Curves in a whole new spacerock direction.
Archie Bell = swedish electropoppers with four tracks of downloadable bleepy goodness to help yr weekend get started with a wiggle. Check them out on Myspace.
And look, you can play old Nintendo games on the internet, in your browser, with no downloads required. Bless.
Nightwood is itself. It is its own created world, exotic and strange, and reading it is like drinking wine with a pearl dissolving in the glass. You have taken in more than you know, and it will go on doing its work. From now on, a part of you is pearl-lined.
There's a certain moment every year, every spring. It is shaped like daffodils and birds twittering more loudly than before. The sound of a lorry reversing; cars dashing down the motorway behind yr block of flats. The window's open and the air is scorch-cold but the sun is warm. It's like a kind of Saint Etienne shaped hole where only something by them or perhaps at a pinch Birdie or Dusty Springfield will do. But here is something to fill that hole for 2007: the new album from Johnny Boy, who brought us the Wall of Sound-esque glory that was 'You are the generation that bought more shoes'. It is so perfect for right now: girls singing, massive overproduction, like Go Team mating with Ronnie Spector and it's so ace that they forget their samples and just, like, lean in. Headphones springtime deliciousness awaits you, my friend. Accept it now.
So I know that punk rock aerobics is a bit of a dead fad now, and it never really made it to these shores anyway, but. I have been investigating it because I'm working on an aerobics fanzine with Raz, and it's so ace. Did you know it was just two totally normal girls who both got sacked in the same week and decided to actually go for it with a rad idea they had, instead of, like most of us, just sitting there going "Yeah... someone should invent mop shoes, yeah? Or rave aerobics where you can take pills but you have a choreographer for yr moves... or...yeah." They went and got aerobics certification, and set up classes in nightclubs,(and you could drink and smoke during the classes if you wanted - after all, people drink and smoke while accidentally exercising while partying, so why not?) and ended up with things like J.Mascis playing guitar along to 'Freakscene' while people worked out to it, and choreographing a routine for Le Tigre, and so on. That's so ace. Someone should make a film about these ladies. Anyway, now I think that PRA is not so much a going concern, and that the ladies are channelling their interests elsewhere - for example, a band called Sheperdess. Check it out! Maybe you can do some leglifts to this, and think about why going to the gym can be so boring, and wipe a little tear from your eye for all the punk rock aerobics classes you never got to try...
Despite the fact that there's something unsettling in the notion that one's online self should accurately reflect whatever activity one is engaged in in the real world - there's something gauche about so wholeheartedly embracing surveillance culture - nonetheless I have signed up to Twitter, so maybe you should like add me and shit.
And here is a message from my sister about where you should be tonight: HOT CHIX N VINYL: VAO
"Vinyl. The very word rolls around your mouth and ends up on your tongue. The spelling is strange, exactly how you'd expect but altogether wrong all the same. Tonight VAO will leave the technical wizardry behind that you've come to expect from their sets. Tonight, for your aural pleasures, VAO have selected a set of pure vinyl. Come. Listen. Enjoy. The George Tavern, Commercial Road, East London."
And for your viewing pleasure, the awesomely rapey 'I Was Robbed By Two Men' video that I forgot to link to a while back. Enjoy!
Look at this excellent event coming up in May at the Women's Library:
Saturday 12th May 2007
The Women's Library, 25 Old Castle Street, London
Zines are hand-made magazines which are made for love not money. Requiring few resources to self-publish- just a pen, a piece of paper, and a photocopier- zines are made on any number of topics,and showcase culturally innovative writing and art.
To promote the Women's Library Zine Collection (which collects women's zines and comics from the 1970s to the present day) we're organising a one-day zine fest on Saturday 12th May 2007. Focusing on the rise of the "girl-zine movement", this day aims to showcase women's talent in feminist and radical print cultures and to introduce lots more people to the wonderful, addictive world of zines!
Zine Fest! is free, but as places are limited please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7320 2222 if you would like to attend the zine making workshop. All ages welcome!
Programme so far includes: zine-making workshop, talk by zine academic Teal Triggs,zine reading lounge, distro and craft stalls, Grrly Show film screening, zine history art exhibition, and tours of the library's reading room and zine collection.
Via the venerable Jessica Hopper's blog, so excuse me if you've already downloaded this, but if not: check Dan Savage's Savage Love podcast, particularly the episode where he completely loses it at a 'misogynistic faggot'. I was smiling so hard on the bus I thought my face would crack from the effort of keeping my laugh in.
Jungsheft (previously Gluck) is a German publication featuring 'lecker jungs' (jung is German for boy, apparently) in their skinny nekkid hipster glory. As it's all in German I can't judge the quality of the articles, though they seem to be mainly sex-based - a guide to giving the perfect blow job, a feature on slash fiction, etc. I do like these new attempts at porn for chicks (New York's Sweet Action magazine being another example), but I think one of the things that slightly disappoints me about them is that the content is almost always exclusively about sex. One of the things I enjoy about Butt magazine is that the interviews are about politics and culture as much as - or more than - they are about sex. This has the effect of positioning sex somewhere differently, as just a small part of a rich life. If you surround your pictures of naked hipster men with features about sex and porn film reviews, etc, then sex becomes segmented, separate from the everyday - swept into a corner as though it is something distinct, (shameful?), rather than something that underpins and runs through our day-to-day actions. As though sex and intellect are at odds with each other. I think the difference between Butt and these magazines as well is that Butt is able to persuade gay fashion designers, writers, illustrators, filmmakers, artists and so on to pose naked and semiclothed to accompany interviews with them. Vincent Gallo aside, could hetero male artists, musicians, writers etc be persuaded to pose unclad for an audience of women alongside interviews about their work? Because I think that is what's necessary to create a porno* for chicks magazine that really really works.
*Also I don't think the expression 'porno' really works here. I don't know if I could get off to any of these pictures of naked boys. It doesn't mean I don't want to see them.
Owen: Yeah! I think all English girls are, maybe, kind of down-trodden. England seems really misogynist to me—the music scene and the art scene. Girls aren’t allowed to do anything without a man holding her hand. When’s the last time you saw an English band with a really conspicuous female frontwoman?
Ed: The Pipettes!
Owen: They’re new, aren’t they? I haven’t heard them but I like their style.
Ed: They’re totally popular. But I don’t know if they actually write their own songs.
Owen: The Long Blondes are the only band from England I know who are popular and have girls writing their songs. And Lily Allen, I guess, too, but I haven’t listened to her. Other than that, it’s all like, Pussycat Dolls. And I think one of the dudes from OMD writes all their songs. Anyway, they don’t seem to get behind the girls in England in their music or art scenes and I think it fucks the whole English female population up. It makes them non-intellectual or something.
(I'm not non-intellectual, you fuck!) But, does he have a point? Doesn't Dorian Cox write the songs for the Long Blondes? And Monster Bobby writes the songs for the Pipettes. And we've a new wave of female singer-songwriters (Bat for Lashes, Kate Nash et al) but, I don't know, they're all a little pretty, teenage and knock-kneed for my tastes. I keep reading about the right for feminists to be appealing and beautiful etc (see This Is What A Feminist Looks Like on myspace - whoo, feminists are white, pretty girls in their 20s, just like all the other images of women in the media ever!) but what about the right not to be? I would love to see more crazy dykes and fucked-up trannies and old fat fierce fugly women (shame my band broke up lol) in bands. Perhaps it's all the riot grrrl footage I've been watching lately (more on this later) but what I'm not getting is craziness and chaos and a sense of wild-eyed spontenaeity. I'm getting girls in frocks with acousitic guitars playing the pretty and slightly disaffected singer-songwriter role they've been allotted since the 1960s. Where's the British Gravy Train!!!! Isn't there something more? Is Owen right? Do Brit girls suck? I don't want this to be the truth. Please post me some links to prove it's not so!
And oh, the riot grrrrl thing. I have taken it upon myself to make a book documenting the early 90s British riot grrrl scene because, well, I want to. And I was there, guvnor! A little bit! I went to meetings! I had an 'I Love Blood Sausage' sticker on my diary! I saw the Voodoo Queens at the Monarch! I made fanzines! I spray-painted feminist symbols on the porno posters on the Holloway Road! Anyway so what it is. At the moment we're all about collecting as much archive material from the time as possible - we want to create a kind of rich dictionary of what went on, with timelines and bands and interviews and yeah, all the beautiful fanzine shit that inspired me so. Hopefully there will be some kind of CD, but riot grrrrl was about more than the music, it was about a whole slew of things, fanzines and comics and a whole way of living really, and we want the book to reflect that. We'll also be looking at how riot grrrrl impacted across Europe - my co-editor, Corinn of Passenger Books, was heavily involved in riot grrrl in Switzerland, where she was living at the time. So if you were living in the UK or Europe and were influenced by riot grrrl in any way, get in touch! You can sign up at the Riot Project website, check us out on Myspace, or simply drop me a line via the contact form.
I think my fave is actually the latter, not just because we were in band etc etc. What do you think? And are there any other songs about Myspace worth checking out? I still think Figurine wrote the best internet-related songs out there but they've disbanded and James Figurines's solo stuff ain't quite the same...
Check out Marmalade magazine's Myspace page if you've got a minute - I've been writing a bit of content for them. If you have anything you think should be featured on the page, drop me a line and let me know about it. Or go straight to the source and get involved in creating the mag itself - they're throwing their March 07 issue open to anyone who wants to help make it.
Billed as an experiment in web, art, community and economics, OPENSTUDIO combines a vector-based drawing tool with an economy of artists, curators, dealers, collectors and viewers. You can create, modify and 'sell' your drawings - each user gets a 'gallery space' and 25 units of the local economy, Buraks, with which to play. You can also commission and accept jobs from other users. Because the drawing tool is vector-based, it lacks the adorable retardedness of Paint (I love the naive edge Paint gives to everything, even porn), but, if you're clever (note = not clever) like me you'll still be able to create some pretty naive shit. Check my gallery for proof. You can read an interview about some of the more theoretical concepts behind the space over on we-make-money-not-art.com, or just head to OPENSTUDIO itself to sign up.
All I want to do at the moment is get away from the internet. This takes various forms: swapping regular email correspondences for hand-written letters and care packages sent through the post; switching the laptop off last thing at night so that the first thing I do every morning is write in a notebook instead of checking my emails; reminding myself that no new messages or comments on Flickr or Myspace does *not* mean I no longer exist as a human. And yet scientists are working on more and more ways to ensure that the world of the net and this one intertwine. I mean: the Flickr and Youtube UMBRELLA? Don't make me get a Flickr umbrella mummy! Free me of my addiction!
Good to see Lily Allen having a pop at NME editor Conor MacNicholas for his extreme weakness over the NME cool list issue in her Myspace blog. As you've probably heard by now, the list features Beth Ditto in first place, plus Lily Allen, Lovefoxx, Kate Jackson and Karen O in the top ten. Ace. But MacNicholas lamed out of putting Ditto, Jackson and Allen on the cover - the shoot was done, but then he replaced it at the last moment with - yep - another picture of frickin' Muse. Way to show you really mean it, Conor. Also, thanks for the press release congratulating these women for 'showing that you can rock a crowd while wearing stilletoes.' Because ultimately that's all that women bring to music, right? High heeled shoes. Allen calls MacNicholas 'fucking patronising' and finishes thus: "You should take your heads out of your New Rave arses and actually think about your responsibilities to youth culture, and to women in general." Hurrah for Lily. I couldn't agree more.
Ebony Bones sound like Delta 5 crossed the Ronettes, only less facile than that sounds. Stupid journalistic compounds aside Ebony Bones play post-punk with a more than a hint of '60s girl groups. Fronted by the impeccably dressed & incredibly sassy Miss Bones their live show is all about dancing and fun, or perhaps just fun dancing.
Shimura Curves play laptop pop with shoegaze guitar & vocal harmonies. Featuring Miss Amp of Plan B fame (THE PROMOTER WROTE THAT OVER ON DROWNED IN SOUND! NOT ME! I JUST COPIED AND PASTED IT IN!) they've just released their debut single on Brainlove Records.
No Bra is one woman who sings over lo-fi synths & drum machines. Her lyrics vary from the hilarious fashionista bating 'Munchausen' to the vaguely menacing sexual politics of 'Doherfuckher', a song Momus described as 'Throbbing Gristle with a tone-deaf Marlene Dietrich'.
Wet Dog are a shambolic post-punk band from Brighton who are constantly compared with to The Slits, but that's just because they're three good looking girls playing unusually good music.
My sister tells me that I am behind the times. My sister tells me that "nothing happens on the internet any more". My sister tells me that I interact with the internet as though it was 2000 or something and something stunning could happen at any moment - a message board revelation, someone sending you a dirty pic, somebody totally ACE that you just HAVE to speak to signing into Messenger. My sister says that nothing interesting has happened on the internet since about 2003, and even then that was only like one thing. My sister says that social networking gives the illusion of things happening online, but that is all it is - illusion. She says that I hang on the internet, checking in every few seconds, doing my 'rounds' of email and LJ friends page reading and Myspace stalking, as though I might miss something important; but there is nothing important to miss. My sister says there is nothing on the internet that cannot wait until tomorrow. My sister has a point, I fear: but... what then? Are we to return to a pre-internet world of phone calls and hand-written letters and fanzines and book-reading? What would that be like? I can't even imagine.
So it looks like FLA - you know, Fake Lesbian Action (girls making out in order to procure male attention) has finally jumped the shark. Yay. Emo Boy on Boy (EBOB) is much more fun! Google image search ‘emo boys’ and your eyes will be met with swathes of befringed boys kissing, or get specific and sign up for a Livejournal group dedicated to the phenonomen to ensure that goodies such as these photo collections and the video below are delivered to your browser daily. Still not sure what I’m talking about? Check the urbandictionary definition. Been there, bought the t-shirt, lost it at the laundrette? Then sign the petition (what are they petitioning for? EBOB to become compulsory for males aged 15-23? Those without fringes and eyeliner to be forcibly made over?) that advocates that ‘Emo boys kissing is the sexiest thing eva!!!!!’ And! Lest you think this is merely another underground fad, EBOB also sneaks into the gaming world, where Rockstar Games’ controversial new title Bully joins The Sims in letting two boys kiss like it ain’t no thang. (Which it, er, isn’t, though raving anti-games lawyer Jack Thompson doesn't seem to agree.)
This video’s got it all. The way it seems to start as a joke, but they slowly begin to get into it: the way the girlfriend’s hand keeps grabbing the guy’s arm as though to reassert his heterosexuality and her possession of him, despite appearances to the contrary; the way the boy rearranges his fringe each time they break off from kissing; the way the one in the hat gradually seems to be assuming the dominant role; the way, when it’s finally over, the hat one tries to get another emo to get off with "Jeff", and he's like 'uh, not right now.' Adorable. Hurrah for heteroflexiblity, the influence of manga / yaoi on teen culture, or whatever it is that's led to this increase in EBOB action in the 'straight' community. I'm off to sign the petition. Seeya!
This video is ace. It reimagines a plane crash as something licentious and lovely, like that Liverpool Poets poem about the world ending and everyone making love on a double decker bus. So much nicer than the awful plane crash visions of Lost or Glamorama. Hey, burying your head in the sand is the new black. Or something.
If you're in the London area tonight - or would like to be - then run, don't walk, to tonight's Shimura Curves show at the Fly Bar on New Oxford Street. Doors are at 8pm and we're on first, so don't be late. Tonight will bring wondrousness: with me playing an actual INSTRUMENT, the ultra-ravey Yamaha CSX1. Wow, what with guitar and synth as well as laptop we're almost like a real band!
And then, because we know how to exploit stereotypes of femininity for our own good, oh yes: we have two delectable blonde ladies singin and shakin it down the front, with NEW DANCES! And a new song about MYSPACE which is better than the CoS one by a country mile (no offence CoS!) And a banging cover version which you will love. Or hate. Because that's what people do with this band, they either love it or hate it, which is ace, because it's an excellent way of weeding the cool from the lame, and makes it that much easier to go round to the houses of the lame and hit them with sticks.
Ah, Comet Gain. Comet Gain are so indie. They are indie's distilled essence. They are formed from a hundred rubbish fanzines mulched down with the spit of a decade of inept indie kisses and tied into shape with the twisted brown innards of ten thousand discarded mixtapes. Watch their video for 'The Fists In The Pocket' - as my internet buddy Extensions Off pointed out, isn't this just the indiest video ever made? It's so Brighton: thirtysomething men in bands throwing stones on the beach during a comedown, thinking about that time their 15-year-old girlfriend kissed her mate Annabel from the youth club, wondering if he can get her to do it again. Ugh. Brighton scares me. Don't get me wrong though - I love Comet Gain. I love their murky, evocative sound. Their last two albums, Realistes (2002) and City Fallen Leaves (2006) form this glorious dyad, infused with all the depression and shite of aging within a culture (indie) and a city (Brighton) which fetishises infantilism, and you should definitely check them out. I know I sound ambivalent about them, but I'm really not. Or maybe I am. See? Ambivalence is exciting, anyway. Plus it's an ambivalence borne of an uncomfortable over-identification with their subject matter. So hurrah for Comet Gain, the indiest band alive!
I seem to have become Marmalade Magazine's online editor, which is nice. First stop is this newsletter, in which I have included so many exclamation marks that reading it back makes me feel slightly sick. I must have been in a good mood or something when I wrote it...
(Click to enlarge - it's a bit massive)
Anyway, if you feel like sending me any links or stories or whatever to feature in the newsletter, or you want to mention an event you're holding or something, then please do! I've also been writing a bit of content for their Myspace, so you might want to have a look at that, if you're so inclined. And! I have a feature in the new issue of the magazine as well - I met some disgusting sweary sweaty roadies (actually they were quite fit, but whatever) and they told me some ace stories, and now it is in the magazine. Check it out!
A lot has been said about how to prevent rape. Women should learn self-defense. Women should lock themselves in their houses after dark. Women shouldn't have long hair and women shouldn't wear short skirts. Women shouldn't leave drinks unattended. Hell, they shouldn't dare to get drunk at all. Instead of that bullshit, how about:
If a woman is drunk, don't rape her. If a woman is walking alone at night, don't rape her. If a woman is drugged and unconscious, don't rape her. If a woman is wearing a short skirt, don't rape her. If a woman is jogging in a park at 5 am, don't rape her. If a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you're still hung up on, don't rape her. If a woman is asleep in her bed, don't rape her. If a woman is asleep in your bed, don't rape her. If a woman is doing her laundry, don't rape her. If a woman is in a coma, don't rape her. If a woman changes her mind in the middle of or about a particular activity, don't rape her. If a woman has repeatedly refused a certain activity, don't rape her. If a woman is not yet a woman, but a child, don't rape her. If your girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, don't rape her. If your step-daughter is watching TV, don't rape her. If you break into a house and find a woman there, don't rape her. If your friend thinks it's okay to rape someone, tell him it's not, and that he's not your friend. If your "friend" tells you he raped someone, report him to the police. If your frat-brother or another guy at the party tells you there's an unconscious woman upstairs and it's your turn, don't rape her, call the police and tell the guy he's a rapist. Tell your sons, god-sons, nephews, grandsons, sons of friends it's not okay to rape someone. Don't tell your women friends how to be safe and avoid rape. Don't imply that she could have avoided it if she'd only done/not done x. Don't imply that it's in any way her fault. Don't let silence imply agreement when someone tells you he "got some" with the drunk girl. Don't perpetuate a culture that tells you that you have no control over or responsibility for your actions. You can, too, help yourself.
If you agree, re-post it. It's that important.
Note: This goes for any gendered rape, male on female or female on male or female on female or FTM on MTF or non gendered to dual gendered and so on and so forth.... -author unknown
Hm. Well, as my friend Alice so kindly pointed out, there's no use getting all excited about my new RSS feed (check it out! Over there ----->! In the pink bar! At the bottom! That little button!) if there's no decent content on this blog for you to subscribe to. She has a point. Bitch. So. I hereby promise to stop being unfaithful with Myspace, LiveJournal, and any other publishing service I can run my curious little fingertops all over, and return to the mothership, starting from NOW. To kick things off, may I present, from the current issue of Plan B: CSS LIVE!!!!! WHOOO!!!! TAKE IT AWAY AMPYYYYYYY! CSS DINGWALLS, LONDON
It's a crush it's a scrum it's, oh, it's rammed and it's exciting. It's Beatlemania in reverse. It's a forest of hands - manhands - stretching towards the stage like baby birds squealing for a scrap of food from mamabird. It's testosterone miasma floating in a cloud above our heads, rising to the ceiling like sweat, like mist. They're begging. They're pleading. They're grabbing. It's kind of rapey. I guess it's what rock and roll is all about.
Lovefoxx doesn't mind though. Lovefoxx is eating it up with a spoon. Lovefoxx is, mmmpf, I don't think I even need to tell you how hott and cute and sexxus and lovely she is, with her Shibuya-style babyface, and her long shiny flapping black hair, and her little outfit of black tights under a stripy black shorts-leotard thing layered under several black vests which she yanks on and off throughout the gig - UP over her head, BACK over her shoulders, now it's on her face and she's singing through it - it's hott, it's innocent, it's kind of naughty and she doesn't even realise. She's like a Samurai convict cartoon jazzdancer, and I don't even know what one of them looks like.
Anyway. Start at the beginning. C - S - S - SUXXXXX!!!!!! they are chanting. They are clapping. There's none of this slow build stuff you get at some band's gigs. They are chanting and clapping and I am hit from the back by a phalanx of menfolk. Gosh do the boys ever love this stuff. The girls onstage are the cliff wall and the men behind me are a fucking tidal wave. I am a piece of seaweed tossed too and fro inbetween. I swear a man - not the man I came here with - is grinding his boner against the small of my back. I haven't felt this testosterone surge since early Peaches gigs.
I am tidalwaving towards the front of the stage, pulled inexorably towards the guitarist, Luisa. Her tattoos are the seaweed now, glued to her shoulders, scraped across her wrists. The neck of her guitar extends towards me, past the shoulder of the photographer who ducks his camera away, barrelling towards my eyes till I dodge downwards, flexing my knees like I'm about to dive. She. Is. Immaculate. Her hair snakes in a lazy mullet and her body is knifelike and titless and she keeps half-closing her eyes and scrunching up her mouth into a shape that inscribes just how fucking cool she feels at that precise moment, and that's more than allowed, because she's making these riffs and thumps and noises on the guitar and the electropop of the album is bigger and more swaggery, than it's ever been on my speakers, mutating into bastard dog rock, and she's dangling a cigarette out her mouth and squinting her eyes up and yeah maybe it's a pose, but wouldn't you?
It's undeniable that a faint whiff of disposability hangs over the CSS album. Is that a problem? Spank Rock smell the same, so what? Disposability is the essence of a good party. Who would want a party that lasted forever? Who can handle more than three days without sleep? Could you actually function adequately as a human if the initial rumpetty-pumpetty in love sexmeup high so eloquently expressed by CSS in 'Let's Make Love and Listen to Death From Above' - 'wine then bed then more then again / wine then bed then more then again' - actually lasted forever and ever? You'd be a wreck; sacked; homeless; spent. Forget it. This is about a flurry, a tsunami, a smack in the face: spinning till you're dizzy, running till you're choking, dancing till you're broken; then you stop. And so we wave our arms left-to-right to 'Alcohol', just like we're urged to, and we laugh and smile as the men's thrusting grabbing manhands lift the crowdsurfing Lovefoxx high into the sky, and we wander home, drenched in sweat, the riff of Alala and the twist of the guitarist's mouth embedded in our heads for the following three days, and then we smile, and then forget. Perfect.
"Feminist Fightback is a one day activist conference, initiated by Education Not for Sale Women, for anyone interested in the struggle for women's liberation. Speakers include Abby Lee, author of the "Girl with a one track mind" blog on feminism and sexual expression; sacked Gate Gourmet workers; NUS Women's Officer Kat Stark; International Union of Sexworkers; Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq; Scottish Socialist women on sexism on the left; health workers on low pay and abortion rights; and many more..."
"I'm an emo kid, non-conforming as can be! You'd be non-conforming too if you looked just like me!" Cute video taking the piss out of emo kids (because nothing gets a laugh like hitting an easy target.) I like how it goes all homo at the end.
Check this charming little site, A Softer World. Photographs and scraps of text tell beautiful short stories in three tiny frames. She takes the snaps, he writes the wordage, and together they create loveliness.
I thought paisley was just a pattern that it was best to avoid for fashion related reasons. I WAS WRONG. It transpires that, in the PAISLEY PRINT PATTERN, you have a connection with:
THE COUNTRY OF INDIA (WITH ALL THEIR GODS)
GOAT HAIR (GOAT IS THE SYMBOL FOR THE DEVIL)
If you want to be delivered from evil and protected by Jesus, DO NOT WEAR PAISLEY! For more fascinating facts on everyday things that are actually quite evil, please see demonbuster.com. Down with Demons! Boo! Rubbish!
So out of practice it’s unbelievable. If this weblog was a lady's area (start as you mean to go on, hit ‘em with the tasty meaty labial metaphors asap, that’s what I always say, so quit scowlin’) it’d be beyond dried up and way into dessicated and cobwebby. Or maybe it would just have closed up and healed over, silent like a papercut.
Anyway, there would definitely be a big OUT OF SERVICE sign slung across it (personally, I just use a profusion of pubic hair to achieve the same aims. Getting it regular? Then the area gets friendly with my hot pink Venus razor on a near daily-basis. Getting it irregular, or worse, not at all? Tis a veritable thicket. Men need machetes to hack through the junglist massive before they can reach the rosy-pink clitoral prize that lurks within). But now it is time to apply that machete, hack through the thicket, smash the OUT OF SERVICE sign with a sombre stomp of my Swear-boot heel. It is time, ladies, FOR AN UPDATE.
Now, being both cheap and of course slightly late on various very important bits of work, I am going to completely chief these links off my friend Sam, because he has been deluging my inbox with them. First of all, Sam (who is a homo and, as we all know, homos are often far more sexually progressive wrt monogamy than us straightlords) sent this link over, entitled “Wow! Now even straight people are mixing it up!”
In this article, Nerve.com’s Em and Lo examine ‘Marriage with benefits – the new monogamy’. From ‘open flirting policies’ (e.g. flirting is ok and healthy and normal) and ‘above-the-waist-rules’(any touching above the waist is ok, but wander below-the-belt and it’s talking time) to polyamory, ethical slutdom and partner-swapping, Em and Lo take a look at all the different ways straight couples are using to attempt ‘managed monogamy’.
Course, us straightlords haven’t being doing ‘managed monogamy’ long enough to know if we’re any better at it than the other kind, so it’s early days yet, but the one thing Em and Lo concluded is that even all this talk about non-monogamy is still really just talk about monogamy – about commitment, and partnership. ‘Over and over, couples told us that their goal is less about sex than it is about wanting a relationship that will bend with pressure, rather than break.’ It’s all about love in the end, baby. Ain’t that the cutest?
You probably know about this by now, but just in cse: excellent literary identity hustle: Is JT Leroy for real?
And finally, while you’re pondering this, why not drink some delicious Liquid Cereal - a delicious blend of fat-free milk and real cereal! Apparently the apple and cinnamon one is green in colour and has a thickish consistency, with a mouth feel of real cereal. Mmm, that’s definitely what I’ll be reaching for next time I have one of those killer waves-of-nausea-style hangovers.
I'm off to Berlin for the weekend, so the shocking neglect of this site is due to continue for a little longer, I'm afraid. Next week though. Things will happen. I promise. In the meantime, the new Plan B magazine is out, so pop down the nearest Borders for your alterna-music and culture fix. Also due out next Monday is Good for Nothing magazine, with reviews, a Sugababes feature, and a column (on the horrors of mySpace) by your humble correspondent. Good for Nothing is available in various hipster bars and cafes around London town. It's free, so it disappears pretty fast - keep your eyes peeled!
Who says gamers are all boring boys growing little hip-hop bellies quietly beneath their controllers as they fight mindless, pointless battles which provide an entirely false sense of satisfaction and achievment while preventing them from actually getting on with anything at all? No one! Because it's not TRUE! Because here is Old Grandma Hardcore, who will beat any PS2, XBox, GameCube or other console game put in front of her. God, I can't fucking wait till I retire, and will finally be able to reach the end of SX3 and will never ever ever have to feel guilty for just lying around and playing games with stupid boys and never ever ever doing any writing. It's gonna rule!
PS - this link's probably been halfway round the internet and back, hasn't it? Sorry. Been out of the loop. Computer died. Please to be sending witty, urbane, AMPtastic links to ensure this weblog stays as menthol-fresh as a deoderised pantyshield. Thanks!
Just to let y'all know that our recent computer problems have led to the complete destruction of the entire (unbacked-up) hard drive. Need to reinstall software, download the files for this site, etc etc. So it may be a while before more updates start appearing on AMPnet. Also contributors with articles waiting to appear may need to resend the text and artwork. We'll be in touch about this. Sorry everyone!
"At the heart of Mac OS X one finds Darwin, an open source core that integrates a diverse collection of powerful technologies in a robust, flexible architecture. Darwin is like Linux with a day job: By day, it stays discreetly in the background, running Mac OS X. By night, Darwin shows its open source roots: hackable, extensible, and the product of the same community, culture, and traditions that created Apache, sendmail, GNU/Linux, Mozilla, and UNIX itself..."
That's nice. That's really fucking brilliant. I'm so glad that OSX runs a Darwin core. I just don't actually want to SEE IT. I don't want to be prompted with a black screen saying 'Darwin / BSD (AMP.local) (console)' when what I'm used to seeing is Apple's cuddly graphical login screen.
My iBook has died. It is at the Apple Store, hopefully being massaged back to life by the fingers of the Hott Genius, but I'm not so sure. Even before it kept rebooting into Terminal mode, instead of the GUI, there was a problem with the screen going black the whole time. I think its day has come. Of course, this means no AMPnet updates, if you're wondering why the long silence. Sorry everybody, espeically Maiko and Elizabeth, whose lovely article on hipster monks in Tokyo was just about to go live.
In brighter news, the new Plan B is due out, and I think it's going to be a corker. I interviewed the lovely Kevin Blechdom for it, and my wife wrote a stunning review of Delia Gonzales and Gavin Russom at Kosmiche... I think it's one of the best things she's ever written. Check the cover (above left) - it's out at the beginning of August.
Wow. I wish someone had made a modern-day chastity belt complete with GPRS positioning and temperature sensors. That would be hott! But, er, we don't actually live in the Middle Ages, so in fact Forgetmenotpanties.com is an entry for the Contagious Media competition. Ladies and gents, I think we have a winner!
Consumating.com uses social software - y'know, like Flickr tags - to hook up 'hipsters, bloggers, freaks and geeks'. You can specify whether you're after 'lingering online flirtations which never go anywhere' (internet friends), 'starter marriage' (serious relationship) or 'xxxx bootAY action' (naughtiness), describe yourself with a bunch of tags, upload a load of photographs and then sit back and wait for people who clicked 'ghost world one-stars glasses nerdy riot geek punk feminist slut' or whatever to start drooling over your profile. It's kind of cute, though I wonder how British levels of self-deprecation / self-esteem will handle the feature which displays, beneath your photograph, how many people have voted that they would 'do' you, and how many wouldn't. But at least it makes explicit just how harsh / two-dimensional the whole netdating thing can be. Welcome to the noughties, fuckers!
Good for Nothing is a lovely London style magazine and guess who wrote this month's cover story, all about Londoners' skanky molars and how hott and sexxy they are... ME!!!! So please pick one up from your local hipster emporium immediately, and read it and then send me a nice email if it entertained you (or nothing if you think it's shit, thanks). Yay!
Hey ladies. Fasten up the pretty buckles on those ankle-mangling taxi shoes - an Andrex advertising promotion is offering free cabs for a week! Ok, you’ll have to suffer the indignity of riding in a vehicle which is lilac and white, looks like it's wrapped in a large quilt, and is bedecked with a giant puppy, but hey, I know you're tenacious and stylish enough to deal. Boys are allowed too, but only when accompanied by a female companion. Vrooom!
It’s always good to have a eye-wateringly cute party trick to woo potential or recent lovers with, don’t you think? One boy I know broke hearts a-plenty with his origami roses, swans and, er, Viking war helmets. Another would make deer and small doggies from twisted paperclips, then hang them from the edges of drinks glasses, in order to woo the object of his affections. But if you personally lack such skills, do not fret! Learn how to draw hearts, hibiscus flowers, sunrises and clover leaves in the foam of your lover’s latte with this simple guide! People will be ripping their shirt-buttons off to reveal their enormous love-boners for you in next to no time.
Incidentally: I have a darling little anecdote published in The Guardian newspaper today. It's all about a haunted office chair - a chair which, I feel, was at least partially responsible for my broken leg. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: The Ejector Seat!
My iBook appears to have succumbed to the apparently infamous Logic Board Death problem. Which means that AMPnet, barring this Blogger-powered page, is going to be rather static for the next three weeks. Bah. Broken legs, lost cameras, and dead computers - 2005 isn't turning out to be quite the fun-fest I had anticipated.
DIY Writing: Online Journal Readings at The Horse Hospital, programmed by Amy Prior
Here's a thing for all those at a loose end tonight (Wednesday): A night dedicated to 'DIY Writing', and I'm not talking nuts and pulleys and u-bends, o no. It's a night of readings from online journals at the Horse Hospital, featuring my wife and Amy and some blond dude...
- Dickon Edwards, one of the first online journal writers in the U.K., reads excerpts from his cult diaries. - Frances May Morgan, editor of music magazine Plan B, reads from her music weblog. - Amy Prior reads her new fictional story based on texts by a Livejournal community.
Part of the launch for the book 'DIY: The Rise of Lo-fi Culture' by Amy Spencer (Marion Boyars).
Night with music, writers, DJs.
Wed 11 May The Horse Hospital, Colonnade, London WC1 (nearest underground: Russell Square) Doors open 7pm, readings at 8pm.
In today's Hilarious Dramatic Irony News, the world's least sexual band, BSP, have had their video banned by American MTV because the song includes the words 'wetter and wetter'. Violent / sexist / misogynistic rap videos? No problem. Five deerstalker-wearing milksops singing about the countryside? Waaaay too arousing for American youth. Wtf?