No-one reads this blog

Thursday 11 August 2005

And I’m not reading anyone elses’ right now. I’ve got bigger problems, having been evicted from my bunker. About a year ago I thought I had me a nice, stable life in Melbourne and was happily settled in a large, crumbling house in the I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-Brunswick end of North Fitzroy. Thanks to perfidious landlords and some bad business decisions I am about to move for the fourth time in the past 12 months, one of those times being a midnight dash to the other end of the earth.
At least I’ve found me a new bunker, which is considerably bigger and cheaper than my present abode.
It may, however, be a while until I have regular internet access. I move Friday. Postings to resume soonish.

“I’m quite surprised that things written in personal blogs might not be so true after all.”

Wednesday 10 August 2005

Please forgive me for ignoring an unsolicited email sent to my blog’s email account some time ago, from people claiming they were taking a survey about bloggers. You can understand my suspicion that they were not serious. What’s more, they were from Singapore, where I thought surfing websites was a capital offence.
The survey purported to address the burning issue of “blogging and ethics“. I expected their idea of ethics might boil down to “Don’t say anything that might offend Lee Kwan Yu,” but it’s slightly more expansive than that. Their idea of blogs seems limited to the diary or the news digest, and they don’t seem to realise that they have become the self-storage units of the internet, where you can dump any old crap.
They also didn’t seem to notice their own Blogger log-in page which has been encouraging people for the last few months to post novels on their blogs. I don’t know how that would square with their ethical principle of truthfulness (see the comment left by one survey reader in the above title*.)
Who knows what they would make of blogs like this, this, or this. Their heads might explode, if the government-approved proxy filters let them see it.
Naturally enough, they conclude by wanting to establish a code of ethics for blogging, because what’s the point of living in Singapore if you can’t regulate something?
Bloggers currently do not see a strong need for a blogging code of ethics.

No surprises there: most people in the real world, particularly those who have had to access services through some type of computer interface, have grave doubts as to whether it is necessary or desirable to have any further aspects of their lives organised by the type of computer nerds who can sustain an argument for several months over whether or not a certain Star Trek novelisation is canonical. This goes double when said nerds have been brought up in a country where it is mandatory to have your TV switched to MSNBC at all times.

* Everything on this blog is 100% true.

A second pilgrimage, of sorts

Saturday 6 August 2005

I had two points of entry into London: Patrick Keiller’s film London (now out on DVD) and Iain Sinclair’s book Lights Out for the Territory. Between them they painted an idiosyncratic, irresistable portrait of the city’s complex psychogeography (Sinclair is the more metaphysically paranoid of the two) that made me want to explore it all for myself.
Before I can hope to get a handle on this place I have been visiting some of the sites mentioned in these two works, in an attempt to sense what type of signals I should be alert to when walking the city in search of points of personal significance, of the kind that won’t be found in the Time Out guides. This is why I wound up one sunny afternoon standing in front of the Tate Britain at Millbank, facing the other way and photographing the nondescript building on the south bank of the Thames.

For a similar reason I had gone to visit the Henry Moore sculpture Locking Piece: Sinclair draws a connection between this artwork outside the Secret Service headquarters and another Moore bronze, Two Knife/Edged Bronze which sits on College Green, outside the houses of parliament. Anytime you see a shot of a journo on the news standing with the Palace of Westminster in the background, odds-on they’re standing on College Green, where the sculpture “comes into its own as somewhere useful to stack camera equipment.”
Three buildings downriver from Locking Piece and the MI6 Building is the tower block pictured above, that I knew as Alembic House. The central episode of Lights Out for the Territory is when Sinclair gains entry to the building’s penthouse apartment to meet its owner and occupant, Jeffrey Archer. Archer, pre-disgrace, isn’t home but has granted Sinclair permission to look at his art collection and admire his view of the river. By chance, the two of them bump into each other soon after, on College Green.
Now I need to find the other Moore bronze on College Green, but in the current climate I don’t feel like taking lots of photographs around large numbers of police armed with automatic rifles.
Alembic House was recently renamed Peninsular Heights, and as far as I can tell Jeffrey Archer still lives in the penthouse, prison stretch notwithstanding. If you want to make a call to find out, the phone number ends 0077 – the legacy of the penthouse’s previous owner: John Barry, composer of James Bond movie soundtracks.

Happy Hiroshima Day!

Saturday 6 August 2005

It’s a cause for celebration among some people. Newspaper columnists, for example, know it as a day of rest, where they can just reprint the same article they trot out about it every year. And of course some of those pundits will have their annual crack at suggesting we should all be happy that we nuked Japan blah blah blah.
Without getting bogged down into the details of the debate, let’s just say that if people still want to argue the toss 60 years down the track, it’s probably not a Good Thing.

How Bad is British Coffee?

Thursday 4 August 2005

Filler by Proxy XXII: Backstroke of the West

Monday 1 August 2005

A couple of years ago a friend of mine arrived home from China with a suitcase full of dodgy pirated DVDs. The prize specimen was a bootleg of The Fellowship of the Ring, with the artwork on the front cover doctored to persuade punters that the famous Tolkein adaptation starred Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Lopez, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer – all wielding swords. The back cover featured screen grabs from a hardcore porno video, with a plot synopsis in gibberish (“Much confusion but enjoy the mutilation.”) and the credits for Black Hawk Down. The actual movie turned out to be some softcore French film from the 1970s, without dubbing or subtitles.
Thanks to the interweb you can savour the ineffable charm of East Asian counterfeiting without travelling all the way to the car boot sale taking place two blocks down. Flickr hosts a growing gallery of screen shots.
The hot ticket among cheap-arse VCD buyers these days is, of course, the new Star Wars movie. In particular, the Chinese edition with remarkably creative subtitles. Screen shots are collected for your enjoyment here and here.

You will be treated to dialogue that manages to improve upon George Lucas’ original script, learn of the Jedi Knights’ obsession with elephants, and gasp at the theological bombshell that Darth Vader is a Presbyterian. The wish power are together with you.