space exploration

Having been gifted a copy of Klaus Maeck’s film ‘Commissioner of Sewers’ (thanks Jo and Howard), I’ve also been reading again about Uncle Bill’s schoolboy education at Los Alamos. He attends a ranch school in the mountains, a rural retreat – evocative of all things heroic in the west. Yet, soon after this formative adventure playground scenario, the rustic homestead scene has grafted upon it the think tank of advanced military science. The Oppenheimer and Roosevelt gang move in, about to wreak ‘destroyer of worlds’ god-like devastation upon Japan. I think there are several reasons to worry here. The colonial conquest context of the old West continues today in the hybrid science of nuclear physics, as militarized space exploration and the commercializaed death of the weapons program, with new metals et cetera, stress-tested in space, not always with success. The spin-offs include both the development of building tiles and security cladding, as well as laser technologies and satellite surveillance, all of which have practical use in imperialism’s ‘war on terror’ as war on Islam, and which continue to enforce U.S. economic hegemony in business.

So when they turn your school into a think tank you gotta be concerned that the wrong kind of space mission is underway. What I am saying is that the little biographical curiosity about how Burroughs’ school was turned into the lab that brought us the atomic bomb is not just a salutary lesson about hi-tech boffins hiding in the hills. The corporate turn that turns your school into an ‘incubation centre’ has the same underlying motive and murder-death-kill mentality that stretched from the slave trade to international labour law. Education in the pursuit of dollars, the teaching factory privatised and commercialised, calculation favoured over thinking.

That said, did the courses Burroughs did at Los Alamos prepare him for the critique of mugwumps, centipedes and space invaders that brought the world to the ruin that it is today?

If it has become too easy to join the rapid-mouthed pundits who denounce ‘the spectacle’ for, as it were, a living (an easy living), then equally it is too easy to hope that setting out an alternative thinking to the society of the spectacle can be achieved by saying nothing more than the name ‘Debord’. But it certainly is not furthered by hiring other pundits to rebrand your space as a lab, and even a lab without boffins. What is that about? (goldies’ students and staff can see the college rebranded today in the great hall – I’m sure I’d prefer the skull-and-bones to any logo FutureBrand will come up with). Maybe we will institute a Burroughs think tank (dream on), or a Debord think tank (nightmare), but we will not think (more dream) that this will mean the end of tanks. OK, next movie pleasde. Where is that tank girl when I really need her?

Damoclash :: Bekijk onderwerp – Review van een Derive in Leuven

An interesting and wide-thinking bunch of stuff on Damoclash :: Bekijk onderwerp – Review van een Derive in Leuven:

“Whatever image the sociologist has, whether [of the] flaneur, [a] dull turnip, intrepid hero or deep thinker, women always have to ask: is this sociological identity a male only one, or is it available to women too? Clearly, women can be turnips; but can we be flaneuses, heroines or deep thinkers?’
I’m still uneasy, and my counter-question would be: do/should I want to be a flaneuse, pursuing the ‘access-all-areas agenda’ (Hutnyk’s term) and distinguishing myself my virtue of ridiculing the underclass (see previous quote: ‘the urban lower classes are an object of amusement’)? “
More: Damoclash :: Bekijk onderwerp – Review van een Derive in Leuven

Money talks: tracking dollar bills

Couldn’t resist a nod to the sly humour of these German researchers who somehow managed to get this research project up in Molochville. It has both a very serious mission in the medical field, and a subtly unremarked critical commentary at the level of the symbolic. Of course money travels like a virus. Uncle Bill was way ahead of the game yet again..Ha ha ha.

In beer Mat Veritas Us

A bright new moment to soak up your time in the bar. Significations are ablaze, globalisation appears at its micro-moment, culture in a mass-reproduced, absorbent, four inch square: there is no other way to adequately describe advertising other than the ubiquity of abundance – we got it all here, ready to buy.

It would be bad humour to complain of the new gimmicks dreamed up by the marketeers of Cobra and Kingfisher beers, but there are reasons to wonder if the sales pitch of these Indian refreshments isn’t self-defeating. How many beers can a lager lout down before closing time [as it then was] and still have room for a couple more alongside the post 11pm balti. The popularity of a ‘late night Indian’ has been attested to in all manner of cultural style-watch forums – from the literary world of Jeff Noon (Nymphomation) to the Eastern Eye curry awards through to the British Prime Minister’s recognition of the Asian community’s ‘contribution’ to catering. But isn’t this all a bit of a mythology? Doesn’t the equation of Asian culture with brightly garnished and turmeric coloured post booze-up stomach filler mitigate against any recognition of Asian culture as more than a flavoursome trinketizing accompaniment to business-as-usual service economy. ‘Good news for Curryholics’ the Cobra placemat add proclaims. Yet, with humour Cobra beer offers to ‘ventilate your vindaloo’ and with less gas than ‘fizzy Euro brews’ you can also avoid any ‘internal argy-bhaji’. The Kingfisher approach avoids the cheap word puns (formed no doubt through the malicious influence of waking up in time for one or two lectures in postmodern design during third year of ad-school) to tell us that Tikka or Balti is not compete without a lager. Why am I concerned? What can you expect from beer sales publicity? Its just a beer-mat John. I wonder if I am getting too grouchy. No surprise that it reinforces all the stereotypes and clichés, but at least its not a nodding-head Peter Sellers style melodrama… Well, I get all grumpy at the way Australia is advertised too, even at the very same time that I laugh out loud at that Fosters’ commercial with the Kangaroo on skis taking the piss out of pretentious Europeans. The point is not that I’m left unamused, but that the side-effect of these cheap jokes is that everything else about the country is occluded, thus reinforcing all too easy drunken assumptions. And anyway, Australia has a great many better beers than Fosters (a beer company owned by the right wing conservative politician John Elliot). But only to keep to the association of Australia with that symbolic kangaroo (or a koala, or the Sydney Opera House and so on) is to occlude the less savoury realities of that society – its racism, the continued expropriation of Aboriginal people’s land, the profiteering of the mining industry, the war on Bougainville, its growing class privilege and wealth for some, poverty for more, and so on. The kangaroo image is also a way of faking and forgetting the egalitarian element in Australian popular culture, the refusal of conscription, the ‘fair-go’ ethos, and other aspects now lost to commercialisation and cheap sentimentality. India too, is much more than a curry and most people know this most of the time (but not always after downing six pints in the last half hour before the bell). So, if our mass media were no more than just a string of crap ads this wouldn’t worry at all, but these days everything else is sequestered to a few obscure journals, and Sky Sports, The Daily Mirror and lousy billboards call the tune. There is a whole world of politics sitting there underneath your pint, soaking up the spillage.

ps. (‘D’ya fancy and Indian tonight?’ was a slogan used by Outcaste records club night in London 1997)
(from Crash Media 1998)
[the pic is to remind us that none less than V.I.Lenin used to collect German beer mats]

Jodie Dean is clear

Jodie Dean writes:
“focus is overrated, clarity is overrated, blurs, slurs, and indistinctions communicate too; as in also, as in excess, what sort of insecurities do we hide when we insist on an impossible clarity?”

doll4 Originally uploaded by oladybug0.

From the Vault –

[Maybe it would be better not to retrieve this from the hungry mice, but then maybe it does document something of the reasons why I left what my crafty friend Sooz calls ‘the toxic swamp’ that is Melbourne University. Its was written in 1990, the year before I departed for points north].

The Ten Errors of (academic) Convenience.

1) It is best not to think, or at least think nothing new.

2) Follow the prevailing wind, repeat instructions, learn the quoted quotations by heart.

3) Replicate ‘the’ technique, master a single universally applicable theoretical frame.

4) Avoid theory, scoff at theory, go ‘beyond’ theory.

5) Read the ‘latest’ authors first, read someone else new as soon as you discover that the ‘latest’ authors have been read by others.

5a) Read secondary material as a preference (if you must read primary texts, just skim. Better yet, skim the reviews).

6) Publish everything (after ‘hypertextuality’ you should always send your shopping list to some advanced literary journal? Real bright sparks will send your neighbour’s list in their name, after all, authorship is thrift).

7) Get a bank loan to buy a house on the basis of your ‘career’ as a critic. Ha! Show the bank manager your theoretical credentials and the prospectus which sets out how long your chosen and memorized theoretical perspective is expected to remain in fashion. Negotiate an excellent fixed term interest cap on this basis.

8) Avoid having to state your own position by all means necessary. Present your theory as the theory you might hold if you didn’t already see the (as yet unmentioned) flaws. If caught out, remember there are no more grand theories. Call it literary. Be a multiple self.

8a) Admit especially to no specific political position ever, but always allow it to be assumed that you do hold one (and one that is broadly left, liberal, retail). If pressured present two popular but contrary positions, arguing against the obvious objections to this that it is only the phallocentric, eurocentric, logocentric nostalgia for unity, presence and reason that proclaims the invalidation of contraity and the impossibility of peeling both ways. If you are then accused of dualism, condemn the simplistic binary fixations of western metaphysics and celebrate multiplicity, heteroglossia and the pursuit of the marginal. Politics will soon dissolve into the vortex of jargon – but never use the vortex metaphor unless you’re a ‘heavy’ intellectual and French, and dead.

9) Counter all cynicisms with witticisms, and all witticisms with the scathing weapons of cynicism.

9a) Avoid specialization – generalists are superior and they never need to know details.

10) Reject with anger any suggestion that criticism, especially literary criticism, is parasitic. Such accusations offer perfect opportunities for critical review. (see # 6).

11) Label rather than criticize – labels are more ambivalent. Never commit yourself to the necessity of trying to justify an argument with reason, you’ll just look silly.

11a) Make a caricature out of any approach that looks convincing (that is, if you didn’t think of it first, which would be a stupid risky thing to do anyway).

11b) Puns on names are good – like ‘Derridada’ or ‘Giggles-Giddens’. Use obtuse metaphors to dismiss anything significant you dont understand, i.e., “the inpenetrable jungles of structuralism”, the “shibboleth of deconstruction”.

11c) Respond to all criticisms by pouncing on any sentence/phrase/word which you can use to betray your attacker’s basic conceptual naivety – use this to avoid addressing any criticism of your own naivety.

11d) Criticize no-one in power, except where your victim remains anonymous (as in this criticism).

11e) Sacrifice it all for promotion, no worries.

11f) Lists are in again, enumerate.


Because it has become so fashionable to find other ways to pre-sent texts, because everyone can now follow these new conventions (!), because the conventions and symposia of scholarship remain inordinately dull, even as we applaud our tired old innovations, because I can, because you don’t care. Perhaps because the distinctions between irony, humour, cynicism and critique remain vague and blurred, because I really (?) don’t know why I write therefore I read therfore I… Because I like to see my unnamed and insufficiently understood anger set out neatly in all its confused confusion, because I still hope you’ll take it well, I wonder how you’ll take it, I don’t really ( ) care. How – will – you – re – act – to – this – ((do all these diacritical non-letter keys of the keyboard give you the shits too?)) – because I agree with you there is no clear point, no clear light, and why not? (Because of the essential dysfunctional logic of capital economics?). Because its like hopscotch, which I’ve never played but I appreciate the complexity, because it is so, because it could easily be otherwise. Because it covers up something I’d rather avoid, postpone, not write (why write?). Because there is no continuity here, now, none – no cause, be – cause, be brave. Because I like the slit slit slit of rhyming slangs, because of discord, wholesale, planned or accidental. For all this and more, for all of us, for all. Echo – because it sounds and returns (hollow, as from the hills). Because we’ve got it all right here, all right here, all night.

Clandestino Festival – Kollektiv –

The best annual music festival in Europe is Clandestino Festival – Kollektiv – “the Clandestino Festival, Goteborg Sweden (see linked for info in English). The next (4th one) will take place 8-11 June 2006. See also for international DJ-event in Beijing in May 2006.
Many thanks
Aleks “

Shiva takes the Goldsmith Elephant’s head – to what purpose?

Now its getting really weird. Shiva has been at Goldsmiths!

And probably, a new Ganesh is in the area. Ganesh?

Yep, him with the elephant head. You know the story. Parvati is having her bath, Shiva has been tempted down off the mountain and he is keen to see her. Their son, who Shiva doesn’t recognise (he’s been away meditating – as one does), is guarding his mum’s door – but the overeagre Shiva storms in and lops off the boys head with his sword when he tries to prevent entry to the washrooms. Parvati is, to say the least, annoyed, and she insists Shiva repair the mess he’s made. The God, I guess in a bit of a hurry to get on with it, sends out an aide to find the first head that would serve as a replacement. Unfortunately, its a quiet day and the only creature that the aide can find is an elephant. Parvati is spitting chips unless the situation is put to rights, so Shiva agrees this elephant head will have to do. Hence, Ganesh, the elephant-headed god is (re)born [the prognosis for our elephant was of course not so good before this recent auspicious intervention, see here].

Ganesh is a useful god – he’s a patron saint of sorts for students. The reason being a great story – when Valmiki was telling the tale of the Mahabharata he said he’d only tell it once and only if there was a scribe who could take it all down in a sitting (its 100,000 verses or so, and can be twisted to all manner of ideological ends). For such a daunting task only the memory-enhanced son of Shiva could be considered for the job. But even he got into trouble when his pencil failed part way through. Not to worry, he broke off one of his tusks and carried on writing. Brilliant. And this dedication is maybe why there are campaigns to ban trade in ivory. [strangely, reported by the Jehovah’s here]

You can read the rest of the story in many places, but to get a really good take on it, including the ways the Ganesh story has been used by the hindu right etc., check out comrade Raminder Kaur’s excellent book on the Ganapati festivals of Western India.


John Grech’s most excellent interactive photo project is worth an hour of your life (there is a lot to read and listen to). You get a really good idea of what Australia might have been like in the 1960s. And maybe this is relevant given the vigilante stuff going on in the UK now (Bradley claimed he was innocent). Highlights include lots of great pics and text about New South Wales politics; a cameo role for my place of birth – Ferntree Gully – that unfortunately shows tragic consequences of slot machine gambling; and a wonderful chance to hear Paul Robeson singing to the Sydney Opera House workers in 1960 – worth it just for that. There is much else besides – go there: Sharkfeed

Didn’t make the cut

When you write an application for research funding you have to stick to a crazily short word limit (4000 characters to describe a three years research project with 6 people involved! Go figure). So some things just don’t fit. The project proposal just prepared with Julian, Bart Ash, Roshini and Sukant is about sound – sonic diaspora – and was sent off today (phew! – a day before the deadline). Sound is critical, resonant, evocative and too often unheard in academic research (in favour of much looking at visual and textual stuff). The mix includes research on pritate radio, slavery, hip hop opposition and sonourous youth rebellion, among other things. Here tho’ is a part of the preambolic ‘research context’ that did not make the final cut.

Elvis Costello said that writing about music was like dancing about architecture. Paul Gilroy (1994) mapped the conviviality of black musical transnationalism though material ephemera carried in records and tunes over myriad Atlantic crossings. Kodwo Eshun (1998) evoked the critical spatial and alternative public sphere of soul, disco and hip-hop though a ficto-analytical writing that was not easily assimilated to scholarly convention. We think we need to make the category error of thinking diaspora and movement though the affective, emotive and creative dimensionality of sound. To record the ways diaspora, identity and migration are spoken, sung and musicked as they reverberate beyond their material culture trace, as they are articulated in a difficult, often unremarked (subaltern – Spivak 1999) voice and to write and report on the fraught but productive dissonances that come into play as creative expression is codified in scholarship (Koepping 2002).

Some critics (1999, 2004) of Dis-Orienting Rhythms (1996) demanded greater attention to the music in studies of music and politics (TCS 2000, Postcolonial Studies 1998), and we recall that Andrew Goodwin argued that commentators on music-television focussed upon image and had become deaf to ideas (1992). In this context, we take the emergence of a new scholarship of affect and emotion as an opportunity to hear a different story of diaspora and migration in the sounds, music and autobiography of metropolitan, cosmopolitan, multicultural conviviality and critique.
pic is of Paul Robeson’s visit to sing for the workers at Sydney Opera House in 1960, from Sharkfeed.

Alexander Bard’s Plantimaninuum life: NEWSMIX – MUSIC NEWS

I am deleriously happy to note the successes of Alexander Bard’s BWO project, conceived on a bad hair day (there have been many) with a dubious pop-book as footnote reference. Happily the pop itself is more dance than prance. And AB just agreed to speak at Goldsmiths again in the Spring.

A bit lazy, but here is the first review I found (original spellingx retained) – there are many of these too see a, b, c,


BWO strikes UK..

BWO STRIKES UK – Several single hits turns out to be a chart rockets.
After successes with new singles like the song ‘Sunshine in the rain…’
and Tons Of Hardware it’s no wonder they turn up on the UK charts.

SoundFactory remixes for Bodies Without Organs first Uk single Sixteen
Tons Of Hardware climbs the Music Week Commercial Club Chart from
place number 17 up to 13 nest week. —- The track gets raving reviews
from the English DJ’s and sets a bright future for the release of the first
BWO track in England in a couple of weeks.

– The Swedish gay group ‘Bodies Without Organs’. serenely strike the
UK disco fans as hip. – The single collection that includeds new remixes
is a collectors must. We love the latest song title ‘Sunshine in the rain’.

– We give Singing in the rain and Tons of hardware an 8 Plus’ (out of 10
Points). – We followed the reactions on one gay club when this songs came
on for the first time and they love them. – BWU radio editions are played at
almust all radio stations and we just congratuletes BQO and SoundFactory
for the good work in the studio.

2005-11-07 – 5 pm
Source: djs, emil and alto”

Left Curve

Left Curve is a great journal and useful website, and gets rave reviews from elsewhere…

ie from

Left Curve: “Plainly the biggest and boldest experiment in LEFT CURVE is a lengthy segment called PUBLICity, which includes thirty-five pages of very short prose pieces on a wide variety of themes reflecting ‘aspects of global public life’. As with the lengthier articles, this section includes pieces which are informative and thought-provoking, juxtaposed with those which are self-conscious, dull and poorly written. Dipa Basu’s POLICING THE COLOUR LINE: CONTROL, CRIME, AND CULTURE AND THE HIP-HOP GENERATION is fascinating, while Alexander Bard and Jan Soderquist’s CREATIVITY AND POWER IN THE AGE OF INTERACTIVITY and Kien Nghi Ha’s HYBRIDITY AS CULTURAL COMMODIFICATION AND NATIONAL MODERNISATION are both insightful, challenging pieces. Given that PUBLICity includes contributors from every continent, and that its authors (who courageously publish their own email addresses alongside their work) explore diverse subjects, the results are often stunning. For all its risks and weaknesses, this is an experiment worth repeating. ”

I am a lazy Marxist…

Think dirty. Muck in. For all the effort that goes into refining the analysis and debating the correct line and tactic, it may still be that a Bad Marxist will send out critical missives unworried about their destination. Sure, sometimes worry, but not obsess about what circulates out of immediately calculable control today. ‘Leave it to the Police to see that our documents are in order’ (Foucault The Order of Things – now here was a very bad Marxist). A Bad Marxist would be one who does not look for an ‘out’ from orthodoxy, but continues, while other doxa-lovers pack up in favour of post-Marxism and tenure. Leave it to the museums to catalogue Kandinsky’s colours. A Bad Marxist would throw paint on the classics to brighten the day. Not just the Mona Lisa whom Duchamp and Dali would deface with crayons and whom Burroughs would destroy, but Dali’s Lenin himself rendered dayglo.

What are the possibilities in equating Marxist understandings of value with structuralist and postructuralist inspired interests in meaning and metaphor? The Baudrillard project, even in the early works, seemed to spiral into games of vortex which delight, but offer little organisational or operational scope. The Deleuzean century offers more, but demands a sustained engagement with the intricacies of psychoanalysis and certain European strands of philosophical brainfood. The hostile familiarity of the activist Foucault so often opposed to anything but a kind of pop-Maoism, while appealing as an intelligently engaged practice, requires a suspension of programmatic coherence in favour of a weaving back and forth between radical incommensurate positions (Foucault organising in a disciplined way against disciplinary formations). The late Derrida project of keeping the flame alive, but doing so in a darkened cave which allows no other entry (much could be said about Derrida’s versioning of the allegory of the cave, he deploys the metaphor in numerous works. In this cave, which is not Plato’s, Heidegger’s etc, nor that of the crustated French Communists, a terrified (of ghosts) Derrida abandons the party form, indeed all form other than a maintenance of a avowedly critical thought) – this too leaves much for activists to think about, but is not always immediately useful. A commentary that refuses to defer to Derrida’s dismissive tone, Gayatri Spivak’s scattered speculations upon Marxism and the question of value suture these threads together within a postcoloniality to be contested, pointing again to the question of not ‘who speaks?’, but ‘who listens?’ as the important one politically today. Bad Marxists would shout irreverently in Church as in the Central Committee.

It is worth remembering that the proletariat is the agent of communist transformation not because of some dogma handed down from vanguardist sect to trot reading group to micro-party faction, but because there are reasons within the productive processes of capitalist economics that place workers as the ‘agents’ of production. Spivak reminds us that workers must access the counter intuition that they are the agents rather than the victims of Capital (Spivak 1993:12). It is possible to forget this in a victimology that assigns creativity to fat-cat entrepreneurs and which ignores the production of surplus value, and the place of the value form, in the mediation between the variously constituted classes engaged in appropriation/extraction and production/consumption (exchange). So, its the case that the production of surplus value by workers, and the adding to value of those who do not directly produce, is the motor force of capitalist productivity. It is for very good reasons that this productivity should not be harnessed to a parasitic class and especially if it can be shown that such entrepreneurs are not integral to the creativity of labour. It has often been thus shown, and so – whatever the form of communist transformation – the basic iniquity of the appropriation of surplus value and its recuperation as profit into the fat-cat coffers is obsolete; indeed, a hindrance. Bad Marxists would not be slow to point this out.


Tandana is an archive of anti-racist materials from the Asian Youth Movements of the UK. Its an historical archive developed by Anandi Ramamurthy with Heritage Lottery Funding. Its the best use of such funds I’ve seen – I mean compared to running repairs on the various facades of the monarchy, its palaces, and its personages, its much better value for money.

  1. Tandana aims to archive the visual and ephemeral culture of South Asian struggle in Britain for social, cultural and political rights.
  2. Tandana aims to give value to this heritage through:
    a. the creation of a centralised and accessible archive.
    b. the collection of supportive and contextual documentation.
  3. Tandana will digitise the ephemera and make this heritage accessible through the web to allow access by as wide a number of people as possible.

John Styth Pemberton’s Real Thing – 3am

Back to Blighty, past 3am and I can’t sleep – good, so that’s back to normal then. Jet lag is the real thing.

But the real thing is coke. Aren’t you glad that ain’t true. I like those Cola slogans from the past: In 1896 the company’s slogan was ‘Coca-Cola: a brain tonic for women and children’. In 1944 as GIs were marching up the road to Rome, killing fascists and handing out nylons, the slogan was ‘Coke: Universal Symbol of the American way of Life’. In the 1960s: ‘Coke is it’ – wow man. And in an apocryphal story (I guess – its also sometimes said of Pepsi in China) there was a northern Thai dialect that did not have abstract nouns and so everything had to be contextualised – someone’s hope, Miller time etc – and so the literal translation for the slogan ‘Coke Adds Life’ came out brilliantly as ‘Coke brings your ancestors back from the dead’.

Now Humphrey McQueen has a fine book on Coca Cola called The Essence of Capitalism which I’d happily recomend, but I got the slogans from a helpful little text in German that goes on about nefarious links between Santa and the corporation (see the story about the Sundblom ad of 1931; but also see Snopes for a technical critique of the suggestion that Coke invented the jolly red giant who – as I think we could gloss it – teaches kids to love capitalism).

I remember visiting a temple in Northern Thailand once and at a stall inside the temple grounds, selling coke from specially ‘donated’ coke frigidaires, I spoke to a Coke executive who was on holiday and he related the then company ambition to get Chinese Cola consumption levels up to the level of Australian consumption of a litre per person a year. This would then yield more profit than American consumption, which was an 8 Oz bottle per person per day (late 1980s) . I am not sure what is the scarier statistic, the one about American consumption, or that the exec said that Coke’s only competition in China was water.

But most recently the campaign against Coca Cola and its corporate crimes has taken off in India, and elsewhere. And with good reason… As the cat Felix Guattari said it: “it is clear that the third world does not really ‘exchange’ its labour and its riches for crates of Coca-Cola… It is aggressed and bled to death by the intrusion of dominant economies.” (Guattari 1996:238). cited in Souvenirs.

Coca-Cola campaign

This just in:
Dear supporters of the Coca-Cola campaign: We begin 2006 with the MASSIVE victory from the University of Michigan where the university has suspended its business with the Coca-Cola company because the company has not agreed to an independent investigation into issues in India and Colombia. The India Resource Center worked closely with the students at Michigan to ensure that the company was first placed on probation, and now suspended. The University of Michigan is a top-ranked public university with 50,000 students and with your support, we can expect more contracts to be revoked in 2006.

The campaign to hold Coca-Cola accountable continues to grow in India, with major demonstrations against the company to wind up 2005 – in Rajasthan <> and in Uttar Pradesh <>. More demonstrations are expected in February.

Help us spread the campaign to hold Coca-Cola accountable. We want to attend the World Water Forum being held in Mexico from March 16-22, 2006. Coca-Cola is one of the main sponsors of the event and we are getting ready to expose to the world why Coca-Cola and sustainable development are opposites. Do consider making a donation which will allow us to bring grassroots activists from India to the Water Forum.

SUPPORT US!! Make an Online Donation:

TAKE ACTION: Protest Coca-Cola’s Crimes in India

[Just in case you were feeling a little parched].

Contact Zones

Hybridity and Diaspora

John Hutnyk

It is by now established that authors writing on diaspora very often engage with the mixed notion of hybridity. We will see that this term also offers much for debate, and that this debate in turn offers material that elaborates, and may further complicate, the cultures and politics of diaspora. This text explores this uneven terrain and presents a kind of topographical survey of the uses and misuses of hybridity, and its synonyms.
[there then follows a text that is is part of the book “Hybridity and Diaspora” written by Virinder Kalra, Raminder Kaur and John Hutnyk, published by Sage, London, 2005.]

Google Mail – TV looking for medical Anthropologist

There are numerous reasons to despair for anthropology as a discipline, but it could be TV that is suffering even more. Evidence – this email recently sent to all in the Goldsmiths department looking for the future Davina McCall of Ethnography (Davina? She has an ‘interest’ in anthropology, surely…)

Google Mail – TV looking for medical Anthropologist:
“TV looking for medical Anthropologist” 10:46 pm (9 hours ago)

We are a production company called Optomen Television and are
currently looking for someone with an interest in anthropology to
become the presenter of a new series. We are searching for someone
that would relish a voyage of discovery, investigating medical
beliefs, remedies and cures across the globe. We would like our
presenter to get deeply involved in the experience, to immerse
themselves in a community rather than commentate from afar.

If this is of interest, please email with any relevant information
and we will get back in touch.

Many thanks and best wishes, My email is listed below.

Zara Lansdale
Assistant Producer
Optomen Television”

Drink and the Devil had done for the rest

As the New Year’s escape winds on, my reading regresses in a way (back to the classics of yore) and I’ve just reread Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”. No doubt there is a big incisive critique to be made here of the British Empire. The novel is full of stirring worthy stuff – so called pluck and courage, the good doctor and the bumbling squire, and young Jim. But I’ve just one real grumble: I was particularly annoyed at the way in which ‘our’ hero, that snivelling pup Hawkins (he deserts his post twice, he kills by accident, he is blind dumb in the face of treachery, he’d deserted his mother to go adventuring, he nearly loses the ship again, he does little to aid Long John Silver [our proper hero]) and he gets to live with the loot with narry a by-your-leave to the primary plunder that had amassed it [and I do not mean the plunder by the pirates, but the plunder of those that was pirated against – no-one thinks these ships were sailing the atlantic-caribbean routes for mere cruising pleasure do they? – the pirates were picking off those that had profitted by way of the slave trade. Our very own Cap’tn Drake for example]

Still, while Jim as narrator is merely a small annoyance, the trouble escalates when it comes to the booty. At least there is a great description of it, which comes to us in the voice of snivelling Jim:

“The next morning we fell early to work, for the transportation of this great mass of gold near a mile by land to the beach … I was not much use at carrying, I was kept busy all day in the cave, packing the minted money into bread-bags.

It was a strange collection, like Billy Bone’s hoard for the diversity of the coinage, but so much larger and so much more varied that I think I never had more pleasure than in sorting them. English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Georges, and Louises, dubloons and double guineas and moidores and sequins, the pictures of all the kings of Europe for the last hundred years, strange Oriental pieces stamped with what looked like wisps of string or bits of spider’s webs, round pieces and square pieces, and pieces bored through the middle, as if to wear round your neck – nearly every variety of money must, I think, have found a place in that collection; and for number, I am sure they were like autumn leaves, so that my back ached with stooping and my fingers with sorting them out…” (p148)

So, Jim does a day’s work at last! And bends his back into a circle (hmmm, just how Prospero decribes the old witch in The Tempest, bent to a circle – curious correspondence). For all the talk of hanging the pirates, its funny that here he wants to wear the money round his own neck. And what’s this talk of Oriental coinage where the markings (writing) is all bits of spider’s webs? This classic othering means Derrida will have to spook the ghost ship (Johhny Depp to play him in the manner of Keef Richards too).

So, in this autumnal mood, and so soon after lamenting the ‘good ships’ and ‘blood and sorrow’ that was in the amassing, Jimboy is off back to England to – I daresay – live ‘appily ever after. Well, at least RLS leavs open the chance that things are also turning good for Captain Silver: there was still a hidden hoarde of bars on the Island – and we recall who kept the map… Yo ho ho, and a bottle of rum…


Poco TV

Abhijit Roy writes:
> have you received the copies of the journal? they were
> posted more than a month back.

he’s referring to the Kolkata based Journal of the Moving Image vol 4. The article is called something like ‘Postcolonial Television’. ITs out, but I have not yet seen it. So this is to be updated I guess…

angry Chihuahuas… silly season news

From the Desk of Craig Smith:

Friday, December 30, 2005 (AP)
Pack of angry Chihuahuas attack officer in Fremont
Fremont, Calif. (AP) —

A pack of angry Chihuahuas attacked a police officer who was
escorting a eenager home following a traffic stop, authorities said.

The officer suffered minor injuries including bites to his ankle on
Thursday when the five Chihuahuas escaped the 17-year-old boy’s home
and rushed the officer in the doorway, said Fremont detective Bill

The teenager had been detained after the traffic incident, Veteran said.

The officer was treated at a local hospital and returned to work less
than two hours later, Veteran said.

It was the third time this month a Fremont officer was bitten by a dog
while on duty. Neither of the other officers were seriously injured.

And it was the second bizarre incident in as many hours for the
Fremont olice Department.

Two hours earlier, a homeowner in Niles reported that an intruder
broke into her home and added pornography to her computer.

The woman said she woke up and was startled to see a stranger typing
away on her computer. The intruder fled, but left behind an altered
screen saver that featured images of “erotic Indian art,” Veteran

Nothing was reported stolen, and neither the woman nor her
nine-year-old daughter was hurt, he said.
Copyright 2005 AP

quite clear, though, of course, tragic

The Master and the Magarita by Mikhail Bulgakov – 1938 – tells the story of, among others, a talking black cat with a fondness for chess and vodka, the black magic magician Wollan, and the hostess of the Satan ball, and muse to The Master, Margarita. This is Soviet fantasy at its best – something like a Dostoevsky in space, and on drugs – (soviet sci fi is my holiday reading; way before Orwell and Huxley did it worse, there was ‘We’ by Yevgeny Zamytin, and he did it so much better). What I best like in Bulgakov are the understated passages, though he does surreal just as well, its the bits, such as that excerpted here, after Berloiz has been run down by a tram, that are great too…

“…among the passengers from the Kiev express a respectably dressed man carrying a little fibre suitcase emerged from a first-class sleeper on to the Moscow platform. This passenger was none other than the uncle of the late Misha Berlioz, Maximilian Andreyevich Poplavsky, an economist who worked in the Planning Commission and lived in Kiev. The cause of his arrival in Moscow was a telegram that he had received late in the evening two days earlier:


Maximilian Andreyevich was regarded, and rightly so, as one of the smartest men in Kiev, but a telegram like this would be liable to befuddle even the brightest of us. If a man telegraphs that he has been run over, obviously he has not been killed. But then why the funeral? Or is he so desperately ill that he can foresee his own death? It is possible, but extremely odd to be quite so precise–even if he can predict his death, how does he know that he’s going to be buried at three o’clock on Friday? What an astonishing telegram! Intelligent people, however, become intelligent by solving complicated problems. It was very simple. There had been a mistake and the wire had arrived in garbled form. Obviously the word ‘ have ‘ belonged to some other telegram and had been transmitted in error instead of the word ‘ Berlioz ‘, which had been put by mistake at the end of the telegram. Thus corrected, the meaning was quite clear, though, of course, tragic.”

But if that isn’t restrained enough for you, there are even more curios and significances, to be explored (once you have read the text) on a strange site made by Kevin Moss and his students here. [Though some may think the gauche anti-Stalinism a bit much, these “Master & Margarita pages are intended as a web-based multimedia annotation to Bulgakov’s novel. You won’t find the full text of the novel here, as it is still under copyright and no one in his right mind would want to read a 300-page novel online in any language. Curling up with the novel, preferably in a basement apartment in front of a fire on a moonlit night, is highly recommended. You won’t find a summary of the novel here either, and it’s unlikely the site will make much sense as a whole if you don’t read the novel”.]