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Brightness Falls

Posted 6 August 2002, 2.13 am by The_Roach

Brightness Falls
by Jay McInerney
Knopf, 1992

Every once in a while, a book comes along that totally realigns your perspective on the world. Brightness Falls is not one of these books.

The story follows a married couple and their friends through their lives in New York City during the year 1987. A time and place in which God was replaced by Dow Jones, yuppie mentality pervaded every level of society that could afford it, and (judging by the author's analysis through his characters) literature was at an all time low. Russell and Corrine Carroway seem to have the matrimony thing pretty well worked out, something that none of their peers seem to be managing themselves.

Of course, it wouldn't be an interesting novel without some sense of conflict. Russell, an editor at a prestigious publishing house, determines that he (nor art) is recieving the kind of attention deserved from his superiors and makes a risky attempt at hostile takeover by way of a leveraged buyout. As his power and status grow, he becomes distanced from his wife and begins to let his eye wander.

At it's core, the novel attempts to bear the ancient theme of hubris causing the downfall of it's protagonist. Sadly, it's attempt to decry excessive ambition in the face of unsurmountable (and unnecessary) odds is hampered by that same sort of ambition, as McInerney attempts to connect every social, economic and political issue of the time to the protagonist, a feat far better accomplished by the still mediocre Forrest Gump four years earlier. Though, in Brightness Falls' defense, perhaps it's easier to cover decades in this fashion than a single year.

The real bright side to this, however, is what falls between the cracks. Rumors mentioned in passing get changed and referenced throughout the book, like some literary version of the child's game "Telephone". Many of the characters (especially Corrine) are very believable, even those who only make brief appearances once or twice in the book manage to stay in memory for quite some time. One supporting character has even become the basis for my own literary dream. He writes one great book once, and then lives off of free lunches from editors while scamming additional advances on his second novel for over twenty years.

Will I read it again? Probably not. The most likely chance of that happenening is if I were to somehow forget that I read it the first time. It was a fairly enjoyable book, despite it's failings and worth a page through, if only while sitting on the toilet.

The Holy Bible

Posted 6 August 2002, 1.54 am by Villager

I told myself that I would never review anything by the Manic Street Preachers on AKpCEP. Your first question is probably 'who are the manic street preachers?', your second is likely 'why do they have such a stupid name?' and your third is probably why wouldn't you review them?'. Well, the Manics are, easily, my favourite musical outfit. With the exception of 'This Is My Truth tell Me Yours', I adore all of their other five albums (Generation Terrorists, Gold Against The Soul, The Holy Bible, Everything must Go, and Know Your Enemy). Why? Because they make music that comes from the heart, ranging emotion from hate, anger, angst, love, pity, and much much more. That may not sound so unusual, but the Manics do it with truly ingenious lyrics, masterful manipulation of instruments and very skilled vocals. Now to the album.

'The Holy Bible' sounds sadistic, and it is. the subject matter is depressing; prostitution, immorality, disease, anorexia etc. The album opens with the ironic(I love our free country, the stars and stripes and an apple for mommy, passionate 'Yes', followed by the anthemic 'Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforjustonedayitswholeworldwouldfallapart' and the pure anger that is 'Of Walking Abortion'. Check out the verse:

LITTLE PEOPLE IN LITTLE HOUSES
LIKE MAGGOTS SMALL BLIND AND WORTHLESS
THE MASSACRED INNOCENT BLOOD STAINS US ALL.

WHO'S RESPONSIBLE - YOU FUCKING ARE.
WHO'S RESPONSIBLE - YOU FUCKING ARE.
WHO'S RESPONSIBLE - YOU FUCKING ARE.
WHO'S RESPONSIBLE - YOU FUCKING ARE.
WHO'S REPONSIBLE

Sheer energy, passion and emotion. If I were in a band, I could never hope to achieve such a perfect encapsulation of what I feel in music. It's not crude, either, like the Sex Pistols (who do bear similarity in some respects to this album). This album will change your life. It changed mine. Download either Yes, Of Walking Abortion, or Faster, if you want to sample the album, but they're all cut from the same high quality cloth. That doesn't mean it's predictable, as in contract to the passionate hatred and anger is the melodic This Is Yesterday, illustrating the range in styles the Manics have.


The greatest album ever produced by Wales' greatest band.

Idealistic

Posted 5 August 2002, 10.42 pm by Villager

Wouldn't it be wonderful to take a walk somewhere - say, for arguments sake, to the local shop. On your way you would encounter people with expressions not of hate and resentment, but of joy and respect. When you crossed the road any nearby traffic would slow down for you, both reducing the chance of you getting hit and not making you hurry for fear of your life. When you get to the shop, the person coming out holds the door for you, rather than rushing through and knocking against you. If there's a queue, the people around you don't audibly curse and swear at such an obstruction of their time, but rather they wait patiently and tolerate what they cannot change. When you get to the counter/checkout the assistant isn't visibly pissed off at having to deal with so many rude and unpleasant people all day, rather she/he smiles at you and processes your custom with a thankyoucomeagain, as she/he just wants to do her job properly.

When you turn on the radio, you hear not of murders, rapes, holocausts and invasions, but of great achievements, promising ideas and how everything is getting better. The news is full of stories of how the technology of rich countries has been used to alleviate poverty and suffering for those less fortunate/wealthy, not how the world's most powerful nation is invading one much smaller and in political and economic turmoil. News of successful multiculturism, not bitter fighting between differing races and cultures and the deaths of innocents in the name of some supposedly justifying cause. Politics is dominated by constructive debate and discussion, not childish, pathetic sniping, scandals and corruption. You have a feeling that humanity has matured, the world has moved to a respectable state of affairs and that the Majority share your morals, standards and outlook upon the world, and are working towards achieving that goal, for All.

Nobody here can claim anything like that as the truth. It is not a realistic prospect for the immediate future, and perhaps not even in some of our lifetimes. But are you really helping? Is your idealism matched by your behaviour? Or do you contribute to communal anger, hatred, resentment and destruction, even if you didn't mean to? Perfection is impossible. A very reasonable second to that is not. Think about that next time you take your frustrations out on others, or let ambivalence hurt your attitude and behaviour towards others. Evil requires that good men stand by and do nothing; a bad world requires that good people do nothing to effect change.

Taken for Granted

Posted 4 August 2002, 7.10 pm by Berly

Ian: "I'm moving to San Diego".

My heart dives into my stomach. I manage to say the right words. "I'm happy for you." "What can I do to help you out?"

All the while I'm aching.

He's not my lover. He's not just a friend. He's the best friend I've got right now. He's the only person I know who lets me be all I am without judgment. Music, literature, debate, art and life. We fit together, at least he fits with me. I feel like I'm being forced to give up my comfiest pair of jeans.

I have not seen very much of him lately. My job. My family. Other commitments. Things have been hectic. I believed he would be there indefinitely. Not in a myopic "how could he ever leave me" kind of way, but in the way that he's always been here and I just couldn't imagine him NOT being here.

We talk several times a week, and chat often on im. He makes me laugh, and this would be the first time he's made me cry. Not uncontrollable sobs, but a few tears which took me by surprise.

San Diego is not far away. I've got many friends there already - and a it seems more people I know are moving there every month. It's just that he won't be here, he won't be 10 minutes away from me anymore.

I am being a selfish child.

I will miss him terribly, while wishing only the best for him.

I will help him move, with a smile on my face.

Which Sex are You?!

Posted 4 August 2002, 5.54 pm by Craig


This is the best online test I have ever taken!!! Take the test!

Fart Fart Fart!!!!!

Posted 4 August 2002, 5.45 pm by Craig


A whole page full of farts!!!.

Fat Culture

Posted 2 August 2002, 2.23 pm by Jake

Bah. All the sensationalist media is overhyping this issue to an extreme. This is a problem that has plagued our country for decades, we were just too naive and sympathetical to say anything about it.
Fast-food companies pimp their "Quadruple Meat and Cheese Preservative-laden Cholesterol Burgers" while people zip around in their busy lives, only stopping at the drive-thru to buy and eat this pure, unadulterated shit. The companies cater to those with no time on their hands (i.e. the carpool mom with a carload of kiddies, the rushed businessman on his way to a board meeting, or even the newspaper delivery people who have to have a bite before taking their route.) and as a result, reap more benefits. This stuff is prepared quickly (sanitation not a guarantee) and peddled to those who are aching for a bite of savory goodness from the restaurants that they grew up with.
The concern over obesity only seems to have expanded (no pun intended) along with people's standards of body image as conveyed by the media. Maybe that's a bit of an extreme generalization. For example, there is a man that lives around this town, and every day, he goes to Burger King, orders two Triple-Meat Whopper Value Meals and eats them BOTH. He is so overweight that he has broken several benches in the park....no kidding. He may be a depressive, he may just have low standards, or he may just like fast food a lot. But I digress. People's concern for obesity has become more extreme as many multinational corporations advertise skinny, beautiful models with perfect bodies and sultry, seductive looks. The public has come to believe that this sort of glamorous plasticity is the norm, and we believe that everyone should live up to our pre-set standards.

But, that's the American way, isn't it?

How gay are you...

Posted 30 July 2002, 7.45 pm by Craig

I'm not sure if anyone has posted this link, but if they have I'm sure someone will tell me...

How gay are you.

Believe it or not, but I am only 16% gay... I think I'd better take it again!

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This is a flyer design for a club night i'm setting up. The basic concept i had was for the DJ as Puppetmaster, controlling the dancefloor. The computer modelled figures and hands were rendered in Poser (a fairly easy to use 3D package), and these were montaged with a photo of myself wearing headphones in Photoshop, where I also produced the graphics/logo. Due to cash constraints the flyers are being copied in black and white, but i figured that would be the case so designed it fairly contrasted in the first place.


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80s candy bars were pretty good

only because i traded it for a candy bar in the 80's.

lol we all know you don't have a soul ghoti

my soul for some carbs...

But of course!

Yo ! Does this work ?

* Alexander wonders if this still works

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