Whither Anthony?

typed for your pleasure on 12 August 2007, at 4.20 am

Sdtrk: ‘Liebeszimmer’ by DAF

First Ian Curtis, then Martin Hannett, then John Peel, and now Tony Wilson? This is looking extremely grim.

Tony Wilson: Driven by music and Manchester
Former Factory Records boss Tony Wilson, who died at the age of 57, kept up his two major passions until the very end

By Cole Moreton
Published: 12 August 2007 | The Independent

Tony Wilson was a twat. The poster for the film about his life, 24 Hour Party People, said so right under a picture of his face.

Actually it was comedian Steve Coogan, who played the founder of Factory Records and the Hacienda nightclub in the semi-autobiographical movie. But Wilson approved the image, saying: “I found it very funny.”

Abrasive, acerbic and well aware of his own legend, Wilson would have laughed, too, at some of the more fulsome tributes paid to him yesterday, after his death at the Christie hospital in his home city on Friday night, aged 57. Pop stars and politicians alike praised a man who remade Manchester, crediting him with inspiring a cultural renaissance that began with the post-punk sound of Joy Division and resulted in a confident modern city.

“He had two driving passions,” said Stephen Morris of New Order and Joy Division. “One was the music and the other was the city that he lived in. In later life he was a campaigner for devolution for the North-west. I strongly suspect this was so that he could become Prime Minister of Manchester.” Hacienda regular and writer John Harris said Wilson showed Mancunians that they did not have to leave, and “sowed the seeds of the cultural regeneration of Manchester which has now come to pass”.

But Wilson knew that his abrasive, fast-talking personality got up some people’s noses. “People have treated me with contempt,” he said in his last television interview. “Quite rightly.”
the rest of the article is here

Without Tony’s forward thinking, Punk wouldn’t have gotten as big of an audience in Northern England, and without Punk, there would be no Post-punk, and without Post-punk, there would be no Joy division, and tracing the many myriad lines of influence Joy division’s made on music would be far too detailed for me to get into. Cliched as it sounds, Tony Wilson had a huge influence on the music culture of Northern England, and put Manchester on the map as far as the starting point for hundreds of bands.

Not since Sex pistols manager Malcolm McLaren had there ever been a band manager as ‘rock star’ as the rock stars he supported. We’re gonna miss you, mate

Technorati tags: Tony Wilson, Factory records, Joy division, Happy Mondays, Manchester

Well, it’s not as if I’m not slightly biased

typed for your pleasure on 9 August 2007, at 12.08 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Sister Ray’ by the Velvet Underground

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this.

Nice boots, missy

Lars and the Real Girl

Written by Six Feet Under scribe Nancy Oliver, Lars and the Real Girl is a heartfelt comedy starring Academy-Award nominated Ryan Gosling as Lars Lindstrom a loveable introvert whose emotional baggage has kept him from fully embracing life. After years of what is almost solitude, he invites Bianca, a friend he met on the internet to visit him. He introduces Bianca to his Brother Gus (Paul Schneider) and his wife Karen (Emily Mortimer) and they are stunned. They don’t know what to say to Lars or Bianca – because she is a life-size doll, not a real person and he is treating her as though she is alive. They consult the family doctor Dagmar (Patricia Clarkson) who explains this is a delusion he’s created – for what reason she doesn’t yet know but they should all go along with it. What follows is an emotional journey for Lars and the people around him.

Hm. Hrrrm. On the surface, it sounds like a cross between French black comedy ‘Monique‘, and Luis García Berlanga’s ‘Tamaño natural‘. Granted, though, there aren’t a lot of Doll-related feature films to really compare it to; ‘Love object’ doesn’t count, as it’s hardly sympathetic towards iDollators.

There are two main problems I might have with this film.
1) As I was lamenting to New Best Blogger Friend barstowmama (she’s linked, y’know), the trend in popular media ‘culture’ is that whenever a person is given a choice between a Synthetik partner and an Organik one, by the end of the film, the script will have him choose the Organik, having completely forsaken the Synthetik that he was completely happy with before (see ‘Cherry 2000‘ for a prime example, or this music video by Lim Jeong Hee). As professional photographer Elena Dorfman once commented, love can take many forms — just because someone’s partner is artificial doesn’t make the partnership less valid, which is what popular culture doesn’t seem to understand.
2) Society has a vibrating neurosis about people being happy introverts. Extroverts seem to believe that the only good experiences are shared amongst the company of others, which is patently false. Granted, it’s obvious that a person can have fun with others, just not all the time. They don’t understand that not everyone is a go-gettin’ Type-A personality — some people happen to like it quiet and calm. Extroverts are particularly nosey, and seem to be almost offended when introverts want to keep to themselves. ‘How can he be happy if he’s inside all the time by himself?’ Sure, there are people who actually want to reach out and just don’t know how to go about it, but there are others who have done that, didn’t particularly like what they saw, and decided to stick with what they know.

This film says to me we are going to drag you kicking and screaming into the outside world, whether you like it or not, cos that’s what we think is what’s best for you, which is reprehensible. Speaking for myself, I enjoy hanging around people I’m friends with, but large groups of people — especially ones I don’t really know — kinda freak me out, mainly cos I don’t know what they’re pondering. It’s not as if I dress, speak or act like the common herd, and in the back of my mind, I’m thinking that most people don’t really like what they see. Trying to ‘fit in’ isn’t an option any more than getting enormous crowds of people to switch over to my way of thinking, so I prefer to keep to myself or amongst those who I’m familiar with.
From the trailer, Lars alternately seems okay with being out and about, or fearful of leaving his house, but that’s like two different types of introverts rolled into one character. Some are shut-ins due to fear, but others simply don’t want to leave the house cos they know they don’t have to deal with people’s rampant shitwickery.

(I owe a debt, as always, to fellow iDollator and hard-working scribe PB Shelley, for recommending Anneli Rufus’ fantastic book, ‘Party of one: the Loner’s Manifesto‘, as reading and re-reading it has gotten me through some difficult periods…)

One thing’s for certain, however — Bianca is definitely a hottie. Anyone wanting to abandon someone like her would have to be delusional.

(insert typical tongue-rolling sound here)

In fact, she looks like she’s a Leah-type RealDoll; at the very least, she definitely has the Face 4, and as short as she looks, she’s probably got the Body 2. Probably tweaked a bit for the film, but I’d recognise that face anywhere, as that’s what Shi-chan is. I’m not normally a betting man, but I think once the film comes out, there’ll be a handful of orders placed with Abyss to make a Doll that ‘looks just like the Doll in “Lars and the Real Girl”‘. And with good reason!
Like I said, I’ll pass proper judgement when I see it, but as it’s a Hollywood production, I’m visualising Bianca getting the shaft in the end. No, not like that — get your minds out of the gutter

Technorati tags: Lars and the Real Girl, romantic comedy, iDollator, Abyss creations, RealDoll, Elena Dorfman, Anneli Rufus

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Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Aug 2007)

typed for your pleasure on 5 August 2007, at 9.57 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Black ants in sound-dust’ by Stereolab

So it’s recently come to my attention (via an alert reader) that there’s a rare iDollator making a name for herself in the media. Yes, not only is she female — and female Doll owners are as scarce as good Michael Bay films — but her Doll has an extremely distinctive look, as you’ll see below.

left, Amber; right, Amber

The Organik twin’s name is Amber Hawk Swanson, a video and performance artist from Chicago, and her Synthetik twin is named Amber Doll, appropriately enough. Not only did Organik Amber pony up $6000 to have a Hollywood special effects company make a laser-scanned silicone replica of her face for her RealDoll — the date of the scanning process coinciding with her birthdate, making them true twins — but the two of them were married (in matching rented dresses) on 26 January, in a small ceremony in Las Vegas. Apparently they have matching tattoos on their inner wrists as well — Amber Hawk’s reads ‘Bully’, while Amber Doll’s is ‘Prey’.
In their working relationship, Synthetik Amber will be a kind of a stand-in for Organik Amber:

I was looking for a receptacle for the onslaught of attention and negative feedback—a stand-in for myself… it was just the right amount of crazy to order a $12,000 doll.

Sounds like the best kind of crazy, if you ask me!…

Of course, the first thing I thought when I heard of them was hot Synthetik/Organik twin lesbian action. Heh, sorry. So the second thing that came to mind was that the Amber twins remind me of English artist duo Jemima & Dolly Brown, only the Organik Amber seems to be the dominant partner, as opposed to Jemima taking a backseat to Dolly’s ‘personality’ take centre stage. Organik Amber’s compiled a video that details, among other things, Synthetik Amber at Abyss creations and their wedding, called ‘To Have, To Hold, To Violate: The Making of Amber Doll’, which is obviously something that I must see.
It also brings to mind the age-old question, ‘if you have sex with a clone of yourself, is it actually masturbation?’ That’s one for the philosophers…

Alert reader (and relative of Edie Sedgwick) Maisie Sedgwick Deely Emailed me with a link to a story in the New York Times, entitled ‘The Real Transformers‘:

Sociable robots come equipped with the very abilities that humans have evolved to ease our interactions with one another: eye contact, gaze direction, turn-taking, shared attention. They are programmed to learn the way humans learn, by starting with a core of basic drives and abilities and adding to them as their physical and social experiences accrue. People respond to the robots’ social cues almost without thinking, and as a result the robots give the impression of being somehow, improbably, alive.

At the moment, no single robot can do very much. The competencies have been cobbled together: one robot is able to grab a soup can when you tell it to put it on a shelf; another will look you in the eye and make babbling noises in keeping with the inflection of your voice. One robot might be able to learn some new words; another can take the perspective of a human collaborator; still another can recognize itself in a mirror. Taken together, each small accomplishment brings the field closer to a time when a robot with true intelligence — and with perhaps other human qualities, too, like emotions and autonomy — is at least a theoretical possibility. If that possibility comes to pass, what then? Will these new robots be capable of what we recognize as learning? Of what we recognize as consciousness? Will it know that it is a robot and that you are not?
the entire article is here. Since it’s on the money-grubbing New York Times, you’ll have to log in to see the whole thing; in which case, you can either use my login — hope_u_like_it, password 123456 — or get round to bugmenot.com and use another one

Quite an interesting read on the development and ramifications of sociable robots. One of my favourite bits in particular is

[Robot] Kismet’s responses to stimulation were so socially appropriate that some people found themselves thinking that the robot was actually feeling the emotions it was displaying. Breazeal realized how complicated it was to try to figure out what, or even whether, Kismet was feeling. “Robots are not human, but humans aren’t the only things that have emotions,” she said. “The question for robots is not, Will they ever have human emotions? Dogs don’t have human emotions, either, but we all agree they have genuine emotions. The question is, What are the emotions that are genuine for the robot?”

And finally, for those of you who have been wanting to see Nicholas Rucka of Maboroshii Production’s short film ‘RealDoll Doctor’ ever since I mentioned it nigh on two months ago, he says on his blog that it’s apparently been on IFC.com since July. So get round there and see for yourself! It’s definitely worth viewing, so you have no excuse

Technorati tags: Amber Hawk Swanson, Jemima and Dolly Brown, performance art, Abyss creations, RealDoll, sociable robots, documentary

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Colour me Davecat

typed for your pleasure on 3 August 2007, at 2.23 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Cruel when complete’ by Dome

Heh. Everyone wants to be me, yet no-one wants to be me.
It seems I have a MySpace page! Apparently, I’ve not only taken leave of my senses and made one (it’s on public record that I despise everything about MySpace), but now Sidore-chan and I live in Australia. Also, I’ve changed my birthday, and am now a Cancer, too!

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but frankly, this is just stupid. At least they didn’t try to imitate my style of writing; they just wholesale copied and pasted my details and picture into that page. Fucking brilliant.
In summation, if you see a MySpace profile named ‘Davecat’ and the URL doesn’t read ‘www.myspace.com/artificialist’, it’s not me, it’s an impostor.

So my quandary is: do I make an actual MySpace profile, or do I just kick Tom Anderson in the bollocks over and over until he deletes that account? Or both? I’ll mull it over at work this eve

EDIT (1.57 am): 50% rectified. It’s a travesty that this sort of thing is even occurring.
I honestly don’t understand the mentality of people who create MySpace profiles for individuals who are either long dead, or without the permission of those that are still living. If I’m not mistaken, one of the musicians I like — either William Bennett or Boyd Rice — had to make a profile because some tosser already made claiming to be him. And I’m entirely sure Friedrich Nietzsche would use MySpace. You could totally be one of his Top Ten Friends, dude! I can completely picture the man who declared that God is dead leaving a message on someone’s MySpace page: ‘yo sup fag lol u goin 2 see the vans warped tour?’ Yeah, best fucking buds with Nietzsche. As I’m fond of saying, I really don’t understand people.

Anyway, like I said on the profile itself, you can request an add if you so desire, but it might take some time, as I’m sure you’ve sussed that maintaining that page isn’t going to be a high priority for me. I can promise you, however, that there won’t be a surplus of flashing .gifs, but there might just be an audio ambush. You’ve been warned!
Now to see about that errant Doppelgänger of mine… *loads Mauser*

EDIT (11.34 pm, 05 Aug): Now the Missus has an official one, too. We thought it would be a good idea to circumvent any further chicanery

EDIT (1.27 am, 07 Aug): Ohhh, so sad, too bad for the impostor. Let that be a lesson.
Remember kids; when enquiring about Davecat, be sure to ask for the genuine article

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Exactly as planned!

typed for your pleasure on 2 August 2007, at 12.42 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Man in the corner shop’ by The Jam

I cannot argue with this assessment! If I had a Death note, the world would be a much better place. I guarantee it.

What Death Note Character Are You?
Hosted by theOtaku.com: Anime. Done right.

I really couldn’t have asked for a better answer. Apart from maybe ‘You are Ryuk’

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