Year: 2004

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Barry Kavanagh attended the Random System Festival 2004 in Norway in April... Oslo, Norway, 15-18 April 2004. I am inside Oslo’s Parkteatret only five minutes when a Norwegian music journalist tells me “the extremes thrive in Norway.” It’s Thursday and I’m at the first night of the first ever Random System Festival, a festival of electronic and “adventurous” music featuring both international and home-grown acts, and we’re waiting for one of the latter, Jazzkammer, to begin. “Metal, jazz, electronic noise,” the journalist says, “are the extremes of music.” I suppose he is right. This is what Norway is known for. Parkteatret, in Oslo’s Grünerløkka area, was built in the 1920s as a theatre for the working class. Now it’s an interesting space for film screenings and unexpected art events. Tonight there are two performances by the duo Jazzkammer, Lasse Marhaug and John Hegre, best known for their album Timex (2000)...

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"...even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day..." For reasons more complex than Withnail's urine sample, this particular shitegeist entry has proven hugely popular and has drawn some wonderful comments. We'd like to encourage you to add some more... So, there I am, sitting at home, eating a bowl of peanuts and staring ruefully in the mirror at the patches of grey which are beginning to sprout on my temples. After some protracted moping around and generally wondering what has happened to all my hopes and dreams, goals and aspirations and general will to live, I finally decided that I needed cheering up. My Blackadder videos are in Dublin, so I put on the next best thing – my copy of Withnail and I. Now, as the legion of Withnail fans will attest, this particular movie has always had (for me at least) a sort of medicinal...

blather.net
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Good work by Blather and the Greenpeace boys and girls - they caught 3 boats in international waters bottom trawling. And no - those shark mouths (snouts?) sticking out of the nets - they certainly aren't meant to be there. Blather isn't on-line much, what with being in the middle of the ocean, but his Rainbow Warrior Blog is here

blather.net
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Dave Walsh is on board the Greenpeace flagship, in New Zealand... Notice that I have been quiet recently? I've been busy travelling... I've been in Amsterdam, and am now departing from Auckland, New Zealand, working with Greenpeace on a Rainbow Warrior expedition. My job is to write the weblog for the ship, detailing the day to day experiences of the crew. For more details, check out the Rainbow Warrior weblog »

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Taking a pessimistic look at the thinking behind both Al Qaeda and the hopes of liberal democracy… I don’t know for sure why the Americans invaded Iraq - maybe George W. Bush means what he says, maybe he doesn’t - but I think this is why ‘messianic’ Tony Blair supported him: “Now, this is an historic struggle, and we're at a very, very crucial moment… And you just imagine an Iraq, stable and prosperous and democratic, and think of the signal that would send out. Think of the instant rebuttal of all that poisonous propaganda about America, about it all being an attack on Muslims or it being part of a war on civilization -- Iraq, run by the Iraqis, the wealth of that country owned by the Iraqis, and a symbol of hope and democracy in the Middle East.” So said Blair on 16 April in the Rose Garden...

blather.net
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The Dublin Diva talks to blather.net... Camille's Live Dates » Camille O'Sullivan is a Dublin-based performer of dark and dangerous music. Her repertoire covers the blackly humorous works of the Weimar Cabaret years, the songs of Kurt Weill, Bertholt Brecht, and Freidrich Hollaender, and includes more recent songs by Nick Cave and Tom Waits. I was on her website, reading about her wide musical influences, and I wondered how she got into all of this stuff. And since no one else was asking... B: What draws you to the music you perform? C: I suppose I don't take things at face value, and I've always been quite curious and investigative. I'm quite a humorous person, and I'm interested in all aspects of people. There's another side to people's personalities, there's another world that exists, that people don't show socially, because it's too emotional or it would be too dark to...

blather.net
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Naked bodies, smiling soldiers, sexual humiliation and the random slaughter of civilians, all in the name of freedom and liberty. Now, where have we seen this before? The recent deluge of photographs and video footage emerging from occupied Iraq, showing images of American servicemen and women torturing, beating and abusing Iraqi prisoners have sent shockwaves of horror around the world, drawing universal condemnation from any right thinking person. And yet, none of this should surprise us in the least. War, as has been frequently stated, is hell. Indeed, it’s such an overworked phrase that we almost think of it as cliche. This war was supposed to be about the liberation of civilians. On the contrary, we are seeing first hand the enslavement of an entire people. There seems to be precious little liberation going on. Well, at least aside from liberating innocent civilians from their limbs and lives... War is...

blather.net
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Art is fanaticism that demands diplomacy - NSK Temple Bar Music Centre, Dublin, May 5th 2004 Only God can subdue Laibach. People and things never can. - Laibach and NSK Strauss's Blue Danube is playing over the PA. The stage is empty... Where the hell is LAIBACH ? The crowd is getting more dense, it's nearly impossible to move. I am in exactly the wrong place, and nearly dislocate my shoulder while toying with camera lenses. A man strolls onto the stage. A roadie, I think, he's too casual to be in LAIBACH. He drops down behind the drum kit, and starts laying onto the pigskins... they're here. The rest of the band file onto the stage, to a heavy techno drum beat. Searchlight beams light up the auditorium, and cut-up film sequences start playing on the backdrop... The first song, I seem to recall, is, B:Machina. The lead singer,...

blather.net
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Human Rights Watch released a report on the Sudanese region of Darfur on 7 May 2004: 'The government of Sudan is responsible for “ethnic cleansing” and crimes against humanity in Darfur, one of the world’s poorest and most inaccessible regions, on Sudan’s western border with Chad. The Sudanese government and the Arab “Janjaweed” militias it arms and supports have committed numerous attacks on the civilian populations of the African Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups. Government forces oversaw and directly participated in massacres, summary executions of civilians-including women and children—burnings of towns and villages, and the forcible depopulation of wide swathes of land long inhabited by the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa.' Read the full Human Rights Watch report here.

blather.net
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A few people throwing rocks doesn't make a riot... For those who don't know: Last weekend, Dublin was centre to a load of EU-related activity. The leaders of 25 nations - the fifteen EU members and the 10 'accession' states - signed up a 'new Europe'. Security was high, and the gardai and government, as well as the media, were warning of street violence from 'anti-globalisation' protestors. This was a chance make Ireland the rioting capital of Europe. Oh, the humanity. With full-scale riots promised, shops and pubs had closed down. Some business had nailed plywood over their windows. Street furniture was removed. Nothing happened. Nothing much, anyway. I was in town on Saturday afternoon. A rag-tag bunch came up Leeson St., and onto Fitzwilliam Square. It was all very playful, and black-and-red flag waving types were laughing and joking with the extremely friendly gardai. Suddenly people started swarming over...