Police Not Relying On British Summer To Deter Ravers


An old clubbing pal of mine from Birkenhead Si forwarded on this interesting article in the Western Morning News. According to the article police are preparing to use the wide ranging powers of the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003 to clamp down on unauthorised open-air gatherings, in conjunction with provisions already made by sections 63 – 67 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. With its definition of music as an emission of a succession of repetitive beats, thus allowing unscheduled opera performances but not young peoples music.

While I can understand people’s concerns over noise I am more concerned about the right to associate, freedom of expression (by speech, music or visual media) and the two standards allowed in the law making ‘ravers’ second-class citizens.

And politicians wonder why so many voters are apathetic?

May it have something to do with:

– the persistent erosion of voters rights?

– a lack of clear differentiation between many of the social policies of both major political parties?

– legislation that no longer represents the social mores of much of the electorate?

– a collectively small amount of life experience amongst professional politicians, the significant majority of which are trained lawyers?

– a cynical political process that means that politicians go after softer targets rather than dealing with the big policing issues in the UK, such as organised crime, rise in violent crime, white collar and corporate crime?

Si also generously included a link to lots of information on free parties here, just remember its free as in speech; the parties do cost money to put on.

RAVE ON!

Unskilled and Unaware of It?


Bob Cringely’s column for PBS.org, the online version of America’s undervalued public broadcasting service usually provides an unusually clear window into tech industry issues that affect us all.

This week Cringely is talking about a court case between Microsoft and Burst Networks about alleged sharp practice and intellectual property theft by Microsoft (glass houses and stones seem to spring to mind).

What was of more interest however was a link to an American Psychological Association publication: Journal of Personality and Social PsychologyUnskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments by Justin Kruger and David Dunning Department of Psychology at Cornell University

For some strange reason reminded me of someone I knew and worked alongside, that had previously worked at Brodeur A Plus and in house at Cisco Systems, Inc.. ;-)

Death of the UK Dance Music Industry?


Many record labels have closed down, particularly those owned by the majors like Strictly Rhythm and Credence. Cream runs festivals and restaurants rather than clubs and looks to Latin America and Eastern Europe for growth, Home is looking to be let out as retail space and the giant screen on the side of the building sits there in darkness

– Young people are listening to rock now, yes they are but they also have varied taste – which is why dance music festivals are doing well

– People want live music, the amount of live music venues in the UK dropped way below what it should have done and it is good to see it come back

– People want R&B, R&B has always been popular

– The dance music scene has stagnated, much of it has and UK record labels have been guilty of churning out more rubbish than most. The mash-up is a classic sign of creative bankruptcy in the industry and Hoxton’s tastes do not play well thoughout the rest of the UK. I cannot remember the last record I bought from a UK label, I suspect it was probably this time last year. I have however, kept buying imported records from the US and Europe

– US labels like Nervous, Guidance or even going back to Trax Records and DJ International, survived in a hostile home market by selling abroad, why can’t the UK labels

-US labels on the west coast are surviving an onslaught on to their scene by police using draconian crack house laws to shut the parties down and send organisers to jail for ten years, they are still making good music and selling records worldwide successfully

– Young people are drinking and not doing drugs: that’s why cocaine seizures are up, MDMA is plentiful and cheap

There are labels that are thriving: Defected is licensing American content from the likes of Miguel Migs. While there is much of the input like Junior Jack that is not my cup of tea you have to hand it Simon Dunmore that he is managing to walk the line between quality and commercial success for his label

AATW – all around the world. A label based in Blackburn, Lancs that realised what Pete Waterman discovered twenty years ago. You can run a record label on single sales. Like Pete Waterman the records are well produced tat that know their target market really well. They are down market and the listeners are disparaged as ‘Northern Pill Monkeys‘ by London based record executives, and their acts are criticised as ‘a plumber with a tired lap dancer’ but they are getting out there and buying the singles.

I personally don’t believe that you have to provide customers with a ‘crap’ product, that a well crafted one will sell, but you have to know your marketplace. Many of the tastemakers within the industry have lost sight of that and need to move on.

One person that seems to have it right (all be it on a small scale) is my friend Nick Lawrence’s label Altered Vibes that has gone from strength to strength by not compromising on quality and developing its artists. Something that is hard to do when the majors like EMI are dropping 30 per cent of their rostered artists in one fell swoop and putting less and less each year into development.

Microserfs: revolt or just revolting?


Last week Microsoft Corp. announced that it was cutting medical benefits, stock discounts and parent leave for employees. The medical benefits cut amounted to a measure to encourage them to use generic drugs rather than prescription drugs in order to the help the company conserve its 50 billion USD cash pile.

The chosen few, are not happy according to results of an internal poll obtained by Reuters.

This follows on from changing the stock options structure, allegedly to improve corporate governance and had the effect of making it less likely that their hard work would be converted into the status of a burnt out millionaire. In addition, Bill Gates has become one of the largest investors in the pharmaceutical sector.

I must admit I don’t feel that sorry for them:

– In the case of the prescription drugs cut, why pay more for a brand that only does the same or is worse than a non-label product? Agreed, oh but wait a moment, that disrespects investments made by companies in intellectual property and building a brand, rather like the arguments that Microsoft employs against the open source LAMP cabal? (LAMP is geek marketer speak for Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP)

– It shows that Microsoft is becoming a middle aged and mature business. Therefore there is less likely to be a Windows 95 type cancer spreading through technology. The new new thing is likely to happen elsewhere

– Microserfs are likely to be less committed and work less hours, they will no longer feel that they have everything to play for. That means less products launched, products taking a longer time to get to market and less commitment in marketing the products. This provides other companies and start-ups with a better chance of bringing truly innovative products to market, with less chance of suffering a Netscape-like death

– Nothing loosens tongues like dissatisfaction. It is noticeable that that benefits cuts have been brought in after the company made its peace with the US government, Oracle, Sun Microsystems and AOL. However there is still some outstanding court cases like Microsoft v Burst.com, the EU and South Korea that could benefit from some prime time whistle blowing a la Deep Throat’s role in the Watergate Scandal

– It is a bit of a leveller in the Microsoft class structure. Vested staff (full-time employees) were known to lord it over contract employees wearing pin badges with the message “Fuc* You – I’m Vested”. This message kind of rings hollow now. In addition, it lows the still huge challenge facing those workers who would like union recognition. (Microsoft historically has been an anti-union shop, but treated its serfs well)

– Anybody who has seen the blue screen of death, been stymied by a wizard, irritated by a paper clip, or had a corrupt file with two weeks of work in it would be sitting there wondering why the hell Microserfs deserve more than a McDonalds Happy Meal(TM) and sharp kick in the backside. Guys many of your products lack quality, when they’re good they’re cool (Microsoft Word and Excel on the Mac) but the vast majority of time they are like a sprinkling of hundreds and thousands (marketing and candy coloured graphics) used to hide a manure heap. To paraphase Martin Luther – it doesn’t matter what you cover it with a manure heap is still a manure heap

OK before I get pro-Microsoft hate mail, I have enough respect for some of the decent products they’ve made to give the disgruntled Microserfs some words of wisdom:

– Don’t complete another survey on an internal web site, they can trace you from your IP address or other internal network identifiers. They know who you ‘troublemakers’ are. In fact wait until a colleague leaves their PC and do it on theirs instead, now your job is likely to be more secure because guess whose job is more likely to be offshored now? BOGU (a quaint Microsoft phrase that means ‘bend over and grease up’)

– Read Dilbert and Machiavelli’s The Prince diligently to learn how to survive in the Microserf culture

– Get a life, you aren’t going to make dent in the universe, get out meet people, make someone happy and through that hopefully find your own happiness, volunteer at The Samaritans and try to make more of a difference than just screwing over the same poor saps with a new winkle in the licensing agreement

Update on Fopp Vinyl

Further to my posting regarding Fopp and its vinyl section. As you can see from the mail below they will still be keeping their LPs, it is only 12″ singles that they are no longer selling.

Hi

just so you know it’s just the 12″ singles that were are losing not the LP’s

Hopefully, you’ll still shop at Fopp.

Cheers

Fopp
1 Earlham Street
Covent Garden
London
WC2H 9LL
T: 020 7379 0883
F: 020 7240 8355
E: earlham.street at fopp.co.uk
W: www.fopp.co.uk

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—– Original Message —–
From:
To:
Sent: Saturday, March 27, 2004 11:01 PM
Subject: store_londoncoventgarden – Posted : 22:01:51 27/03/2004

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store_londoncoventgarden – Posted : 22:01:51 27/03/2004
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First Name : Rorsharch
Email address : rorsharch at rorsharch.com
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Enquiries
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Enquiry CD :
Enquiry Vinyl :
Enquiry DVD
Enquiry Book :
General Enquiry :
Hi, I was very disappointed to hear today that you will be getting rid of
the vinyl section. You have gone to the trouble of building it up and having
a top quality team to run it alongside a really good selection, not a pile
of crap like many stores. I go to Fopp because I can buy my DVDs, vinyl and
books under one roof. SAVE THE VINYL or I’ll shop elsewhere. Who do I need
to take it up with at your head office?
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