“3-D is back!”-- a reference to the new Sony release Monster House (Dir. Gil Kenan 2006), “And it’s better than ever!”. Upon reading the article, the world stutters back, aghast. Hmm. Well, there will certainly be more than one person who looks around at the rest of the slack-jawed zombies beside them, stands up, and demands “Oh no it isn’t!”
A friend recently told me about clearing up at the Prince Charles cinema after a packed screening of Salo, where she found the leftovers of one man's excitement in a popcorn box. It was a startling tale as Passolini's retelling of the Marquis de Sade's 100 Years of Sodom was, until the late 90s banned, and still is in most of the world. As the UK government moves to introduce legislation banning the possession on a computer of violent pornography (which could include a home movie of consensual SM sex), one wonders if Salo's graphic depiction of the rape, torture and murder of a number of young teenagers has survived such a ban because it is deemed to be 'art'.
Why is this? Are patrons of art, and art films, considered to be somehow more responsible, more educated and therefore less likely to be 'corrupted' or excited by the work?
In another case last month a man in the UK was charged with
possession of child pornography after photoshoping adult pornstars so
that they had smaller breasts. Similar
effects work was done on naked body doubles from the last film
adaptation of Lolita, obviously without any quibbles. And in comparison
to some of Jake and Dinos Chapman's work, where statues of children stand naked
with vagina mouths and penis noses, again the sense is reinforced that
the rules of accepted decency change when the context is an artistic
Part horror movie, part critique of the American government’s stance on the environment since the 80s, Al Gore’s lecture on global warming is riveting, and, towards the end, unexpectedly optimistic. He has been aware of the dangers of the trend since his university tutor introduced the idea to his class – way back in the mid-60s. In the film, Gore expresses astonishment at the fact that so little has been done to curb the damage in the intervening years.
In fact, the effects of mass industrialisation and the excessive burning of fossil fuels are becoming harder to ignore. For instance, the 10 warmest years in history were in the last 14 years, with 2005 beating all of the years before it.
"So the guys who started this business all cheated somebody to get there, and now they're being cheated, perhaps, by all these crazy, geeky people all over the internet. I must say, my anguish level is not great."
"although iTunes has 70% of the pay to download music market - only 1 in 40 of all tracks downloaded on the web are ever paid for. That's 2.5%"
For many years now people have been telling us how much the media world is changing. And it is. Faster than we ever imagined.
I downloaded my first Torrent this week. It took me about 20 minutes to download and install the software and get an album called Wu Orleans - a mash-up of Old New Orleans Blues and the Wu Tang Clan which will never appear in a shop. There’s the rub - if I wanted to pay to buy the album I wouldn’t be able. Like DJ ‘Gnarls Barkleys’ Dangermouse’s Grey Album, and DJ BC’s Let it Beastles it’s in a strange category of illegal downloads where there’s no legitimate alternative. The choice is between never hearing these songs or breaking copyright law. DJ BC and Dangermouse are so good at what they do that the idea of simply never listening to the tracks wasn’t really an option.
But now, as a result, I have a piece of software which could, if I so chose, allow me to download pretty much any album, TV, piece of software or film. For free. I won’t. But I could.
Brick Lane Film Saga Crosses the Atlantic
While contemplating the small Portuguese village she's visiting, a character in London writer Monica Ali's new novel, Alentejo Blue, thinks to herself, "I could run away and be here." Given the events that have unfolded for Ali in the past month, the line must be resonating with the author, who has a very good reason to remain holed up in the vacation home in Portugal, where she wrote much of the novel: Back in London, the filming of a movie adaptation of her best-selling first novel, Brick Lane, has caused a major ruckus. In the real East London Bangladeshi neighbourhood of Brick Lane, which was to star as itself in the movie, community activists succeeded in forcing Ruby Films to halt filming. They disapprove of the tale of a young woman who arrives in London's Muslim Bangladeshi community via an arranged marriage, and eventually starts an affair with a young Islamic radical.