We are back from Texas, here are some things happening in the future:
First off, we are coming back to our new home, England:
May 17 - Manchester May 18 - Sheffield May 19 - Leeds (and FA cup halftime show) May 20 - London (Old Blue Last w/ UFFIE) May 21 - London (w/ HARD SKIN) @ Grosvenor (in Stockwell) advance tickets at firstname.lastname@example.org May 21 - London (w/ Love is All)
Here is a video of us from SXSW:
You can find a better quality video of us playing on the Lamar Pedestrian Bridge here. It was shot by our friend Sikander, who you may remember as the director of that crazy RZL DZL video. Speaking of video footage, if you have any, get in touch, because we're making a DVD.
You can also get some footage from the bridge show on the Vice tv station here.
On April 7th in Toronto, we'll be playing with the band IRON AGE. (and Fucked Up)
Then, June 1 and June 2 we're booking the Hidden World Live shows - we will play the Hidden World LP live front to back with everyone who was involved in recording it. So far these dudes are also playing: Mind Eraser Jon Rae and the River Lulabye Arkestra Republic of Safety Aids Wolf Attack in Black Uncut Wyrd Visions
We are going on tour in North America also - here are the (tentative) dates: Fri JUNE 22 Brooklyn Sat JUNE 23 Richmond Sun JUNE 24 Nashville Mon JUNE 25 New Orleans Tue JUNE 26 Austin Wed JUNE 27 Las Cruces Thu JUNE 28 Phoenix Fri JUNE 29 Los Angeles Sat JUNE 30 Berkeley Sun JULY 01 Tijuana Mon JULY 02 Long Beach Tue JULY 03 San Fransisco Wed JULY 04 Oakland Thu JULY 05 Portland Fri JULY 06 Olympia Sat JULY 07 Vancouver Sun JULY 08 Calgary Mon July 09 Regina Tue July 10 Winnipeg Wed July 11 Minneapolis Thur July 12 Chicago Fri July 13 Des Moines Sat July 14 Kansas City Sun July 15 St Louis Mon July 16 Atlanta Tue July 17 North Carolina Wed July 18 Va Beach Thu July 19 DC Fri July 20 Philly Sat July 21 New York Sun July 22 New York
RIP Jean Baudrillard, a french social analyst,photographer, philosopher and former enrage, died yesterday in Paris. As well as influencing ourselves, his essays on the commoditization of reality within post-industrial society spread their influence though-out the free market of ideas, and most famously were included in 1999's The Matrix.
Rooted in the Situationist tradition of cultural analysis and Marxian critical analysis, Baudrillard argued essentially that postmodern human society, with the proliferation of communications technology and consumerism, had become a food-processor for meaning, and where reality was simply a self-referential symbol of its own existence. He began his work with The System of Objects, concerned with the nature of use value, as opposed to Smith and Marx. To him, the market wasn't a rigid and rational means of distributing goods, but a frenzy of seductions, all geared to symbolizing the user/consumer. Like the situationists, Baudrillard that in this way the market system had been grafted onto human desire and consciousness. In choosing between one good/symbol or another, the consumer signified themselves, defined by the ideological function of what they had chosen - a simple object like a pen conferred social meaning (one could need a pen to work, or write) - and thusly the consumer becomes a sign for the meaning of the object. In this way, Baudrillard came to view consumer society as a collection of symbols and signs rather than individuals.
His key and most distinct concept was hyperreality. Like and "opaque mass" and lacking definition, modern culture had replaced god with a reflection, and replaced real meanings with simulations. The world of mass media is full of representations on tv, billboards, music - all parts of culture. Hyperreality explains the process whereby reality is consumed by simulation - the viewer of pornography inhabits a non-real world of porn, which skews the meaning of sex, until it becomes non-existant, for example. Baudrillard argued that the entire world - all of reality, had undergone this transformation, and had been completely replaced with a world of hyperreality. America, the zenith of post industrial consumer culture, to Baudrillard was "the original version of modernity" - the reflection to which all others would reference (he called his own French versions "a copy with subtitles"). This rings true, as in America it is the powerful who yearn not just for money, but for meaning, and control over it.
The true nature of the problem goes back to his version of use value - if everything is a simulation, what are our choices? He argued that it was because of this that people only desired after simulated pleasure, which by this point the world was chock full of. Just turn on the tv if you don't believe me. When we describe Cheap thrills, or lament the "fakeness" of something or other, we are using his language.
Baudrillards work made him one of the most important voices in postmodernism, using his concept of hyperreality to argue that our cultural signifyers and meanings are self-referential.
He would go on to develop these ideas into even more real and indecipherable versions of themselves, and would often be criticized on the grounds that his books read more like science fiction than philosophy.
Despite this he will be remembered as one of the first to understand the true nature of the modern cultural battle ground, where interest groups compete for capital and power, but also for reality itself. He understood that within a globilized and technological economy, that meaning and symbol were as important to power. Never before have social and cultural definitions been so fractured and maleable - wars are fought not on the basis of lies, but of manufactured versions of the truth. Fast food, endless reams of useless commodities - a portion of us will argue to their negative utility, as they occupy our definition of "waste", or "junk" - but these things proliferate in part due to the mangling of their symbolic definition. On the television, they mean "convenient" and "tasty". The social victor doesn't use the most truth, simply the more effective simulation.
What most clearly explain hyperreality to me are fictionalized televisions programs. Populated by "real" people in "real" places and situations, that 1/4 inch glass television screen is but the finest line between reality and simulation - but what side are we on? Is it us who are seeing the tv characters reflect our own behavior - laughing, telling jokes, solving simple moral problems - back at us, or is it the other way around? Think about how closely the two can be seen to resemble each other, and how closely we in our daily lifes resemble television characters written and designed to resemble ourselves.
It's a rainy day. Over the past week riots have broken out all over Copenhagen Denmark, after police advanced on and then tore into the Ungdomhuset, or "Youth House", which over the past few years has become not only a focal point for punks and squatters all over Europe and the World, but became the flash point for the European squatters movement and continent-wide activistm through the summer of 2007, but wholly symbolic of movement for property and ownership rights.
Fucked Up played Ungdomhuset August 19 2005, and some of us had made travels to the squat on prior occasions. We left Amsterdam at 7am that morning and after a stop in Hamburg and a stop on the highway care of the Zoll, got the Copenhagen a bit after midnight, and set up almost immediately to play. Copenhagen is a distinct city, and the Ungdomhuset was always reflective - we saw all sorts of people that night, and people hung out to drink inside or on the steps until late at night. Food was kept warm for us in the basement, and despite being 6 hours late to the show, we ate what ranks as the best food you will be served as a guest of a squat in the entire of Europe. Traveling there in 2001 I was treated to a meal that was garnished with seaweed, among other things.
Despite the city's reputation for forward-thinking political tendencies, tending to a squat is never easy. The first time I was there, i spend the night trying to sleep in the room the police radio monitors were kept in. Each night it was someones job to monitor the feeds, to be able to intercept potential threats by the police. Closing up at night was reminiscent of the scene in Empire Strikes Back when they close the Rebel Base on Hoth for the night - you are either in or you're out until they open again in the morning. It's easy for a North American punk to take the existence of squats in Europe for granted, or as symbolic of a more managable political climate in Europe, but their ubiquity owes much to the decades long fight for squatters rights that goes on to this day.
For those unaware, the principle behind squatting a building is simple - industrialized cities are predicated on the production and disposal of waste, which can take the form of carbon emmisions, food, or in many cases, buildings. There are many reclamation movements that attempt to recuperate these wastes into positive use - for example the infamous Food Not Bombs movement that turns food "waste" into food for hungry people. Squatting acts on the same principle - cities churn out and dispose with buildings, and squatters attempt to make empty "wasted" buildings useful again. Torontonians may remember the Pope Squat, a large house on King West held by OCAP for a few months through the summer of 2002. Yet for the most part, squats in North America are non-existent.
Europe obviously has had a different social and industrial history, which lent itself better to the uprising of a fierce squatters movement. A subculture more prone to political rebellion, many countries experience with the fall of communism (and one-time state ownership of all buildings), and a glut of hospitals, bunkers, bases and factories produced on the stages of WW1 and WW2, squats are a part of urban life in cities all over Europe. In the small idyllic German town of Weimar, I counted 3 squats on a single intersection.
Squats are generally associated with living, but most also act as social centers, and draw on the work of many non-residents, acting as info shops, show spaces and gathering and eating places. In Italy we met people who had lived their entire lives within the social and physical structure of the squat, as the act transforms buildings into homes but also cultural hubs. For a North American band touring Europe, its this cultural transformation that affords such a relatively lavish experience - you play in the same place you sleep, you are fed dinner and breakfast, and eat with the people who are coming to see you play. Its as if in each city you visit the subculture has its own parliament building.
In many cases, squatting has become incorporated into the civil bylaws of the city. In the Netherlands, a building can be legally squatted after 12 months of disuse. In most cases however, squats in Europe exist in the no-mans land between legal and illegal, and between fleeting calm and the constant threat of eviction.
Such was the case in Copenhagen. The building, built in 1897, was handed over in 1982 to a group of young people for their own use, while the city would maintain ownership. Ownership changed hands in 1999, and was finally owned by Faderhuset, an evangelical Christian organization, bent on evicting the squatters. For the history of the battle between Ungdomhuset and Faderhuset over the building, please visit wikipedia. All over Europe people know Ungdomhuset. In every city we've been to, you meet people who make treks there to see shows or hang out. This past winter we played several squats in Germany and there was a new sort of tension - Ungdomhuset was in the midts of a court battle, and all over Europe other squats were holding benefits and getting tense about the situation. The general feeling was that of an uneasy tension - everyone understood that a battle was looming. In september of 2006 800 people turned out for a reclaim the streets event surrounding the building, and 260 were arrested. Last week, served notice and entered the building (by Helicopter). All occupants were cleared and the building was sealed, which was followed by this annoucement from the residents: "Either an Ungdomshus or a battle for an Ungdomshus — the clearing will never be forgiven". Shortly after rioting broke out all over Copenhagen and became a world news event. Despite this action, demolition of the building began on the 5th, and by now most of the Ungdomhuset is gone.
Ok, so VICE announced their sxsw stuff. Anyone who we've spoken to about RSVP-ing for the show we're doing in Austin, just go here vicesavestexas.com and rsvp yourself, its easy. The show we're playing is as follows:
Friday March 16 Austin Texas Scion Outdoor Stage (Across from the Longbranch Inn 1133 E. 11th St) Noon Free All Ages RSVP ONLY AGAINST ME THE BLACK LIPS FUCKED UP PANTHERS TURBONEGRO BORIS BIG BUSINESS QUI GREG ASHLEY
Here is the info for our first sxsw show, Thursday afternoon
This show is free and you don't need a wrist band and you don't need to rsvp. Not sure when we play yet.