Matter Matters

October 26, 2009

I now work for Fabric and Matter.

The former, until a few years ago, was ‘the best club in the world’ according to DJ Mag. That magazine has a reputation for unjustified hyperbole, so I can’t cite my source. Nonetheless, it’s a great venue. Student nights, however, are another matter- chocked full of giddy provincial kids happy to not be partying in a musty barn.

Matter seems to be attempting to reclaim heavyweight status for London from Berlin’s Tresor and Berghain/Panoramabar. According to Time Out, Berghain might be the best club in Europe.

Clubbing in Berlin sounds like a beguiling experience.

Matter has only been open for a year so, like Tresor, which has been open for 2 years, it has to be given time to have a regular set up. It’s constantly being improved and rooms changed, so it would be absurd to lavish it with too much praise. Regardless, Room 1’s ‘bodykinetic’ floor makes punters’ skeletons shudder and the sound system defies description. However, its location on the Greenwich Peninsula isn’t particularly good, but that can’t really be helped. After all, putting an influential and attractive club on the site of the Millenium Dome- the white elephant of white elephants- was not something that was on the cards half a decade ago.

On Saturday, Matter hosted Sven Vath’s label Cocoon for the third time. Sven didn’t play tonight, so an underwhelming, even monotonous, tribal-tech headline set was played by Dubfire from 3-7AM.

Timo Maas was satisfactory but, as an ex-constable of commerce, its difficult to either listen or dance to his racket without being reminded of the last gasp of ‘ladette’ culture.It was quite telling that the most impressive sets were played by the almost-avant Adultnapper and the clean-cut minimal techno of Matter resident Yousef.

What you do you make of Matter?
Do you make pattercakes patter?
Do you frequent Berghain’s darkrooms?

By having questions at the bottom of my blog, am I just ripping off Hipster Runoff?

BNP: TNT

October 23, 2009

Nick Griffin is just like his voters- confused, awkwardly unfocussed, and inarticulate. Tonight proved that.

Watch bits of his embarrassing appearance on the BBC’s Question Time here.

Obviously, tonight was simply a chance for anyone without a paranoid, racist, agenda to flex their liberal aphorisms. Because of this, tonight might prove to have been a poor PR decision on Nick Griffin’s part. Or, it might simply suggest to the alienated people that the BNP seem to appeal to that everyone else’s agenda is fuelling the problems they think that they’re solving- under the assumption that they’re not just bigots.

The level of debate was like that of children in a playground- squabbling and inconstant. Nick Griffin smirked and shivered his way through a liberal onslaught and ultimately proposed an agenda that resembles a diluted version of Fascism’s self-mythologising.

We could get worked up about it, and let the emotive content of the debate that Griffin inspires drag us into mudslinging. Alternately, we could do that first before moving on to a more systematic refutation of whatever non-racial politics they propose. This isn’t necessarily a time for pompous liberal sloganeering, or leftist calls to protest. It might, however, be the time that we cut out the most dysfunctional cankers from our politics. Other nations- just look at the right-wing parties in some of the new EU states- are plagued by such ideas. However, if the BNP are dealt with sensibly and rigorously, then we can be satisfied that we’ve actually dealt with the problems they embody rather than letting them inspire a flurrying preciousness.


Could Nick Griffin be the Steven Gately of far-right ranting?
Is he the posterboy of post-fascism?

He’s certainly photogenic enough.

Swaggering ’80s peroxide-hard rock to is the best idea in human history. It’s the musical equivalent of inserting one’s penis into the hole in the O-Zone layer (which, I think, was a concern at the time). For someone such as myself, those earliest memories are hazy recollections scattered between ’93 and ’95, it conjures a sense of transparent, meaningless, nostalgia. How exactly does this occur? I’m not actually going to answer that myself- instead, I’m going to rant for a bit and let you make your mind up. However, I am going to suggest that we should all resign ourselves to Reaganite manifest destiny cheeseburger-and-a-shake-chic.

Manifest Destiny Chic: The resurgance of the ideals of American expansionism, but replacing physical space with the jingoistic colonisation of the ‘heart and mind’ and the wardrobe. It is characterised by contradictions: conservatism and cocaine; slow pleasure and fast cars; saving the whales and shaving one’s legs, it is the conceptual form of the explosive capitalism in the 1980s. Symptoms include expressing pleasure by screaming ‘wooo’, the use of fireworks, and the overemphasis of the romance of ‘the fairground’.

Van Halen are the original source of swagger. They always managed to take meretricious rock star clichés far beyond Roth’s ADD annoyance and into a realm of stratospheric cock-wielding supremacy. They’re a bit like watching Mr. Universe on TV and gouging it out of homoeroticism and/or ego-wrenching soul destruction with a plastic knife and fork. Look at the double denim, the aviator sunglasses worn indoors, the bouffant hair, the leather. Here, Van Halen look a bit like members of court at a pre-revolutionary Versailles, but entirely open to the possibility of ‘rocking out for the people’. They seem not to ‘give a fuck’ (about very much other than crystal meth). Their grimaces, meanwhile, inject a sense of fun into the preceedings. Van Halen imprinted in your head images of screaming into the glare of Beverley Hills in some bizarre, boxy, ‘80s convertible while the streets are lined with bikini-clad models. This is manifest destiny chic. They lived this dream.

Here is Van Halen playing “Dreams” live in the studio while recording their album 5150

It’s no surprise that it was played throughout John Kerry’s Presidential campaign in 2004. It has just the right amount of pseudo-inspirational, lighters-in-the-air, slushiness to appeal to both romantically privileged ‘free world’ teenagers circa 1986 and self-congratulatory liberals from the mid-noughties. “Dreams” epitomises manifest destiny chic. It strains itself, imagining an anti-capitalist apocalypse where wearing double-denim is outlawed in the same way that Enver Hoxha outlawed beards. It’s got the same quantity of “fuck yeah!”-isms that Andrew Dice Clay so preyed on, but it’s much more charming. All of this basically amounts to it being very ‘of its time’. That time was, no doubt, a desperately exciting time to be young and/or attractive.

Also, the finished, polished, product of “Dreams” featured at the inspirational, world-saving, finale of Power Rangers: The Movie. This is simultaneously the best and worst film ever made. The ending really is its saving grace. I first really paid close attention to the song when I was bought the film on VHS for Christmas in 1996. Over the next few years, after watching this final scene, I always found myself determined to go and ‘change the world’.

Are you a Van Halen fan?
Have you ever waved your lighter in the air to an inspiration ballad and accidentally burned off some poor girl’s pigtails?
Do the Power Rangers make you into a responsible/inspired post-teen?

As Tommy (the White Ranger) pointed out so astutely in the above clip, ‘anything is possible’.

Manifest destiny chic (1979-1995)

Apathy Syndicalism

October 17, 2009

Bread and Circuits: The electronic-era tendency to view party politics as corny, no longer relevant or meaningful or useful to modern societal issues, and in may cases dangerous. (Douglas Coupland- Generation X, 1991 [p.80])

Voter’s Block: The attempt, however futile, to register dissent with the current political system by simply not voting. (Douglas Coupland- Generation X, 1991 [p.80])

Douglas Coupland hysterically delineated generation X’s problems in 1991. In essence, nothing has changed. His neologisms not only described the condition of the post-baby boomers, they pre-empted those of post-Cold War kids. Of course, our problems are cyberproblems- non-physical, ultra-minimalist, instantaneous communication that acts like a vacuum on emotional responses. We are expected to express ourselves in 140 characters or less. We are also expected to believe that emoticons are adequate subtitutions for facial expressions.

I don’t care about politicians. This is because they’re almost uniformly smug and priveleged. They don’t represent anything I think. Nor do they consort with the opinions of anyone else I know or care about. The only suitable solution to this political pessimism is ‘apathy syndicalism’.

Apathy Syndicalism: The tortured, post-ironic, expression of Generation Y’s political apathy. Often a reaction to the saturation of information and the nullity of the personality cult in British politicians.

Spectactularly smug, non?

I’m unprepared to let my opinions be delineated by someone who thinks its ‘normal’ to live in Holland Park and have your household run by 17 year old Filipino girls. Like with Stephen Gately, look at his ominious stare. Instead of Gately’s ability to charm the ‘housewifery’ demographic, Cameron appeals to the ‘confused enough by New Labour to want to return to 1992’ demographic. He’s grimacing, staring moodily into the mid-distance. He’s endorsing radical Tory policies like ‘resorting to a flippant, patronising, tone when realising that you have absolutely no idea about what to do with the lingering scent of the working-classes’. Another favourite is ‘thinking, meanwhile, that the middle-classes are a sociologically monochrome group that can easily be divided into “upper” and “lower” middle class’. These are often based on really slim signifiers like ‘how big one’s TV is’, and ‘how clean is your house?’, or ‘wanting to look good naked’. He thinks that going on Radio 4 and providing an ‘edgy’ selection of songs both old and new, or providing the Weekend On Sunday with an article about what’s on his iPOD, will win him friends with that latter because, although he’s an Old Etonian, underneath the wibbling accent, he’s ‘just like us’. He isn’t just like us. He’s just the sort of person that, 15 years ago, would have so little knowledge of media semiotics that he’d be willing to go on the ‘political talk show’ segment of ‘popular political/social broadcasting program’ Brasseye to talk to [Chris Morris’s absurdly named character] about crime. He’s the sort of person who, 17 years ago, would have taken delight in demonising the concept of ‘the single mum’.

He has a massive forehead. What say you people: shall we carve a Swastika on it using a child’s plastic knife and fork?

At this rate- even with such a disfigurement- he’d still get elected.

Apathy Syndicalism

October 15, 2009

Bread and Circuits: The electronic-era tendency to view party politics as corny, no longer relevant or meaningful or useful to modern societal issues, and in may cases dangerous. (Douglas Coupland- Generation X, 1991 [p.80])

Voter’s Block: The attempt, however futile, to register dissent with the current political system by simply not voting. (Douglas Coupland- Generation X, 1991 [p.80])

Douglas Coupland hysterically delineated generation X’s problems in 1991. In essence, nothing has changed. His neologisms not only described the condition of the post-baby boomers, they pre-empted those of post-Cold War kids. Of course, our problems are cyberproblems- non-physical, ultra-minimalist, instantaneous communication that acts like a vacuum on emotional responses. We are expected to express ourselves in 140 characters or less. We are also expected to believe that emoticons are adequate subtitutions for facial expressions.

I don’t care about politicians. This is because they’re almost uniformly smug and priveleged. They don’t represent anything I think. Nor do they consort with the opinions of anyone else I know or care about. The only suitable solution to this political pessimism is ‘apathy syndicalism’.

Apathy Syndicalism: The tortured, post-ironic, expression of Generation Y’s political apathy. Often a reaction to the saturation of information and the nullity of the personality cult in British politicians.

Spectactularly smug, non?

I’m unprepared to let my opinions be delineated by someone who thinks its ‘normal’ to live in Holland Park and have your household run by 17 year old Filipino girls. Like with Stephen Gately, look at his ominious stare. Instead of Gately’s ability to charm the ‘housewifery’ demographic, Cameron appeals to the ‘confused enough by New Labour to want to return to 1992’ demographic. He’s grimacing, staring moodily into the mid-distance. He’s endorsing radical Tory policies like ‘resorting to a flippant, patronising, tone when realising that you have absolutely no idea about what to do with the lingering scent of the working-classes’. Another favourite is ‘thinking, meanwhile, that the middle-classes are a sociologically monochrome group that can easily be divided into “upper” and “lower” middle class’. These are often based on really slim signifiers like ‘how big one’s TV is’, and ‘how clean is your house?’, or ‘wanting to look good naked’. He thinks that going on Radio 4 and providing an ‘edgy’ selection of songs both old and new, or providing the Weekend On Sunday with an article about what’s on his iPOD, will win him friends with that latter because, although he’s an Old Etonian, underneath the wibbling accent, he’s ‘just like us’. He isn’t just like us. He’s just the sort of person that, 15 years ago, would have so little knowledge of media semiotics that he’d be willing to go on the ‘political talk show’ segment of ‘popular political/social broadcasting program’ Brasseye to talk to [Chris Morris’s absurdly named character] about crime. He’s the sort of person who, 17 years ago, would have taken delight in demonising the concept of ‘the single mum’.

He has a massive forehead. What say you people: shall we carve a Swastika on it using a child’s plastic knife and fork?

At this rate- even with such a disfigurement- he’d still get elected.

Born Under Punches

October 14, 2009

I really hate it when people who are neither funny nor clever think that they are simultaneously funny and clever and waste their time attempting to slate other peoples’ achievements.

Have a look at a friend’s recent post on The Guardian’s TV blog about daytime TV show ‘Pointless’.

Read the comments.

Read the comment aptly named Colinthestoat.

Then read my reply.

They closed comments on that page shortly after my reply.

Wanna design the new Wagamama uniform and win a series of shit hot prizes (inc. a heap of cash)?

If yes, go to http://www.viceland.com/wagamama/