Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Clinton Uncut

Apparently Fox News isn't too happy that there are full clips of the Fox News Sunday interview with Bill Clinton, in which Clinton, faced with questions about the Democrats' actions in the run-up to 9/11, gives Chris Wallace's smug mug something to chew on. Fox has pulled "unauthorised" (read: unedited-for-maximum-possible-Republican-advantage) clips from Youtube, and has authorised only online versions which cut straight from Wallace's polite, measured introduction to Fox's outraged headlines ("Clinton Freaks Out", etc). We can't be seeing that interview with our own eyes, because then we might make our own mind up on a few things. So Fox has to protect us. While Fox is busy doing that, you can see the video of the full interview on google videos. And, since youtubers are uploading copies of the interview faster than Fox can get to them, you can still watch it here.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Photos from Secret Project Robot, Williamsburg

Secret Project Robot is a gallery space located in Monster Island, a converted warehouse building located on what seems to be the only few hundred square feet of ground not earmarked for high-rise development along the Hudson at Kent Avenue, Williamsburg. It houses several art organisations and hosts regular exhibitions and events; last weekend’s art and music festival was one of the best things we’ve been to in Brooklyn. Check out their (strangely antediluvian) website here, and get a sense one of the current shows, a sort of communal art store called cabin comforts, here. The photos below are of some of the other exhibits, including the superb super8 projection at the end of the night, which stretched across three buildings along the waterfront.The striped screen in the second-to-last photo was the result of an artist drawing straight lines of colour on empty super8 reels as they were projected onto the walls; it started as a single wobbly strip of orange and built, within minutes, to what looked like one of the old TV test screens, before turning to a single block of colour; the effect was gorgeous. These pictures don’t do it justice, but they give some idea of the event, I hope.

and lastly (and fittingly)...


Internet-savvy Sue

So that’s who was doggedly rooting around these pages from the offices of the London Times for most of last week, going through the archive and leaving little queries about my true identity - almost touching in their never-tried-this-blogging-thing-before bluntness - in the comments section. I could see you, Sue: you'd be surprised at what thorough little bastards these statcounters can be. ISP trackers and all! Anyway, thanks for the half-mention. I'll treasure it. It is to me what vol-au-vents are to Bono.

I'm the "observer", by the way. At last, my proudest moment!


Friday, September 22, 2006

"Wasps are the Neo-Nazis of the Insect World"

Our friends Ronan & James, aka Hoovers & Sledgehammers, are over from Dublin to play a couple of gigs; it's been fun watching the reaction of punters in Manhattan and Queens to their gentle performances of such hits as "I'll Stab You" and "Fat Fuck". Think a marraige of Glen Hansard and the dead Nazi soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. No, just kidding, don't. Think this video, for their song "Joyridin'". That's how he killed his sister Peg, after all. So a bit of respect...


Ardently Desire Away, Your Name's Not Down. Now Get Lost.

Now, hold on. Irish artists, or rather artistes, are just losing the run of their tempers these days, by the sound of things. First Twink, then Bono, and now the wonderful Mannix Flynn? Mannix, you may have heard if you’re in Ireland, is presenting a mysterious piece at this year’s Dublin Theatre Festival, about which the organisers of the festival claim to know relatively little. As described in Saturday’s Irish Times, the piece sounds promising:

Letting Go of That Which You Most Ardently Desire [is] described as an art process whereby members of the public can call a number, enter into a contract based on trust and then be given instructions on how to have a unique experience at one of a number of site-specific locations.

Word reached me from a friend in Dublin this morning, however, that there may be quite a delicate art to getting those elusive instructions. My friend called the number given for Letting Go… and left her details; when her mobile rang later that evening, who was on the other end only Mannix, all ready to give the necessary instructions. Except my friend was in a crowded bar at the time, and the line was bad, and she couldn’t really hear Mannix that well, and had to keep getting him to repeat parts of his “process spiel” so that she could actually work out where to go to take part in the thing. Well, this wasn’t the done thing at all, at all. Obviously, she wasn’t taking the whole process very seriously at all if she was in a bar while waiting for her call to be returned. Obviously, she should have been sitting in a darkened room with all the doors and windows closed, without radio or television, staring expectantly at her mobile, unable to breathe until it rang. Apparently disgusted with her lack of interest (even though she was trying to hear what he was saying), Mannix basically (not to mention allegedly) lost the rag, told her to get lost, and hung up on her.

And this is the problem with the Aosdána funding. For Irish artists, it can’t possibly stretch to the weekly tab in Grogan’s and Anger Management classes with Tony Humphreys. Increase the Cnuas now!!!


Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Unforgettable Ire: Bono's Fashion Week Tantrum

Damn those fashionistas. They just have no respect, man. Like, you're up there on a makeshift stage in the Hudson Hotel, and yeah, so you look a bit fat and dumpy, and on second thoughts that haircut and that auburn dye-job might not have been the best of ideas, but you've got your orange wraparounds on, and your leather kaks, and let's face it, the missus, tipping 50 and all as she might be, is still gorgeous. And she's up here beside you, and she's after designing this fashion line, no less, and getting girls in African countries to make the clothes in fair-trade conditions. And it rocks. Right? Right?!Hello? Is anybody out there listening? Hello???Listen, we've got Damien Rice here, and everything...and Jeff "Richard Dean Anderson" Sachs...Please??!!

So this was the scene on Friday night in the Hudson, as Bono and Ali Hewson stepped up before the last gathering of New York Fashion Week to launch the new line of Edun, the collection they co-created with the designer Rogan. Edun is about organic materials and fair-labour practices in family-run factories in Africa and South America. It's all very worthy...seriously. But the New York fashion crowd, frankly, doesn't do worthy. It does these things: free mojitos, goodie bags and celebrity-spotting, all of which were on offer at the Edun show, along with some dubious video-screen splicing of Lindsay Lohan (pouting in an Edun t-shirt) and African teenagers (grinning as they sewed together hundreds of the same t-shirts in a factory that looked like it was constructed from cardboard). As size zero biatches eyed each other up with vicious distaste, each trying to gauge the authenticity of the Christian Louboutin heels worn by the other, whilst simultaneously trying to get as close as possible to Heather Graham and her horror movie smile, Bono strode onstage, leading Ali by the hand and followed meekly by Rogan (no? me neither). The first signs of trouble came when, out of the 150 or so crowd gathered in the upstairs club space of the Hudson, maybe 15 people clapped at the appearance of the trio - and maybe 18 people stopped talking. The din of various Balenciaga-centred conversations wasn't deafening, but it was enough to irk Bono, who pleaded jokingly for silence to assuage his vulnerable ego. That didn't work. so he just had to keep talking while others did the same. He introduced Jeffrey Sachs, Professor of Economics at Columbia, who talked about how Bono and Ali were actually, literally, seriously changing the world (before making a nuclear-proof parachute out of chewing gum, a shoelace and an Edun t-shirt.) Then Bono talked about how at last year's show, they'd had "the poet laureate ", Lou Reed (actually, Bono, Donald Hall is the poet laureate, but let's not squabble over niceties) and, in keeping with that tradition of having major musicians play a song or two in honour of the Edun collection, they were now presenting Damien Rice. Who proceeded to blink and tremble his way through a mediocre performance while nobody listened, before erupting into a "please-be-quiet-I-can't-play-while-people-aren't-listening" pleading fit, and finally working out that, unless he played the song from the Jude Law film, nobody would have a clue who he was, and this was the only way to get people to listen. Which they did, eventually. Pity that by this stage, having played two songs, Rice had used up his entire repertoire and had to limp offstage again.

But!! The drama was not yet over!! Not content with having staged a fashion launch without a single piece of clothing in sight (not even one of the shapeless "One" t-shirts), Bono then came back onstage to make some closing remarks, rattled on for a minute or so and then, tired of having the whispered conversations of a handful of party-goers rasp cruelly on his sensitive eardrums, roared to the emaciated throng: "YOU KNOW WHAT? FUCK YOU AND YOUR FUCKING FINGER FOOD!!! WE'RE TRYING TO DO SOMETHING HERE AND ETC ETC ETC" This is pretty much an exact quote, folks. Fuck you and your finger food. Two fingers to finger food, if you will (to add insult to injury, the finger food was kind of disgusting. It stank the room out, and smelt a bit like sick, which is a not unusual smell at fashion shows, but hardly the effect Edun was going for).

Bonos' words after the outburst I can't remember; they're an embarrassing blur of middle-aged Irish malehood getting into a bit of a tizzy while its mortified wife looks in the other direction. (Besides, I was too distracted by the sight of one fashionista in front of me suddenly repenting of her ways and darting around to claw at the arm of another bulimichic while hissing "that's you he's talking about! That means you!!") Having delivered his diatribe to previously-indifferent-and-now-sniggering ears, Bono then muttered the requisite Irish parting shot about going off to get very drunk, and a VIP area consisting of Weathered Graham, Helena Christensen, "Lindsay Lohan's Mother" (whose presence Bono felt obliged to mention onstage...another classy moment) and...oh, that was sort of it, really. The fashionistas raced for their goodie bags, the free mojitos dried up and everybody went back to not giving a crap about Africa. And that was Bono's Fashion Week. Funny thing is, the Edun clothes, stocked in Saks Fifth Avenue among other places, actually aren't bad; some of them, at least. Maybe if they'd opted for a runway show instead of a running commentary on balding muso insecurity, the whole thing wouldn't have been such a fiasco. Then again, if they'd done that, it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun....

update: Alright, alright. If all you bloggorites are going to come over here pointing and laughing at poor old Bono, I suppose the least I can do is direct you to the bloody ONE site. There you can buy something new to go along with your Twink t-shirt. You're still not going to look as hot as Seal in it, though. What? Oh, right, Matteo from In America, whatever. And stop muttering about how $40 could get you a Ryanair flight to Lesotho to pick up one of the t-shirts for yourself. It's for charity. Next up: an Edun t-shirt in aid of Damien Rice's self-esteem.

another obsessive update: Open All Night has the exact quote, which is hardly any heavier on the peaches-and-cream than my approximation: “Take your fucking finger food and fuck off!” quoth Bono. And if you really want to hammer this story to death (like, er, me), read the squeaky-clean version of events at RTE online, which recounts The Bon’s sick-inducing endorsement of Rice’s genius in all its hilarious, overblown detail. So Damo can “still and distil the crowds into quiet reflection,” can he? Not this crowd. He should have tried bribing them with a Birkin bag.