Thursday, October 27, 2011

Here's a quick reminder that this is taking place on Saturday 29th October.

Full details in my previous post about the night.

Image taken from Disclose.TV

Really enjoyed this article on Wired magazine's website about the mysterious Russian radio station UVB-76. It almost brings to mind Tarkovsky’s Stalker, in which two men, accompanied by a guide called the ‘Stalker’, visit a strange, haunted place called the Zone, where the visitor’s deepest metaphysical desires are said to be granted. You can imagine the UVB-76, which is based somewhere near the border with Estonia, most likely deep within a pine forest, existing in a forbidden zone, where no-one fears to tread. The reality, of course, is probably a bit more prosaic, and the reality of its military function most likely dissapointly mundane, despite the fact that notions of Soviet/Russian espionage have always exerted a wild hold on the Western imagination. Nonetheless, when you listen to the beeps and static of the ‘Buzzer’, as it’s been nicknamed, via this website, with the lights off and headphones on, you can understand the attraction of this mysterious station, which according to the Wired article has gained up to 41,000 listeners (and if you don’t believe me that people are obsessed, check out this forum. It’s especially spooky when you can hear audible voices in the background. Either the chatter is interference from other stations, or – more excitingly – it is coming from UVB-76 itself and is people talking near the microphone, which seems to be placed near the buzzer. Who knows what they are talking about?

Monday, October 10, 2011

After covering the National Union of Journalists’ Delegate Meeting 2011 earlier this year, I thought it would be interesting to attend the Rebellious Media Conference this weekend, of which the NUJ had a stall. Despite that terrible name – it was originally meant to be called the Radical Media Conference until a media company with the same name stepped in with a lawsuit – the two-day split-venue event turned out to be a good distillation of left-wing media. Organised by an umbrella group containing a number of publications and organisations – New Internationalist magazine, Peace News, visionOntv and others – the conference saw the likes of Noam Chomsky, John Pilger and ZNet’s Michael Albert, as well as speakers from UK Uncut. While the seminar involving Pilger was illuminating with its discussion on how mainstream media reporting is still subject to pressure from Governments, he remained in bullish mood, at one point insisting slightly disingenuously on the subject of Libya that the massacre in Benghazi “never happened” (surely that’s because NATO stopped it from happening?). Albert, meanwhile, had some good points to make on the left-wing movements’ crisis of identity, and how in America the 60s protest movement failed to capitalise on their successes and possibility for change in the following decades – leading, of course, to the nadir of much of the materialist 80s (embodied, to use a striking image, by Jefferson Airplane morphing over twenty years into the turgid Starship:

But, despite his soporific voice, which nearly sent me to sleep at one point, the highlight was Chomsky, with his profound insistence that the UK is following the US in its dismantling of the traditional NHS with the Health and Social Care Bill (Obama's attempted changes to the US Healthcare service notwithstanding). The NHS is one service that the Britain can justly be proud of, an egalitarian, accessible, efficient service which all of society is entitled to use. Yet, to use an example, while British Rail was not perfect, it’s unlikely that it suffered from many of the Byzantium problems which have resulted from contracting out the railways to different companies in the post-privatization age. Could the same fate now befall the NHS?

Monday, October 03, 2011

So yet another installment in the GoodnightLondon/Pennyblackmusic series of concerts is on the cards at the end of this month, taking place at the usual manor south of the river...

Morton Valence
The Doomed Bird of Providence
Rome Pays Off

Saturday 29th October 2011
The Half Moon, Herne Hill, South London (directions here)
£5 in advance from here
£6 on door
A description of the acts can be found on the Last FM page