a letter from the editor

The "entertainment industry" often becomes the target for politicians trying to win brownie points for a voting segment or parents who need a scape goat other than themselves. The lifestyles of those who chose to be in this field are often frowned upon — the pay is shit and it's an expensive trade to be in. "Why don't you want to be a doctor or lawyer like your cousin?" There's even that pathetic amount of ridicule that goes on when people tend to disagree on something as personal as preference. Over the last week, amongst many things on my mind is how important entertainment really is.

When I woke on September 11th, one of the World Trade Towers was on fire — nobody could confirm whether it was a bomb or fire. Minutes later, I, along with millions of others witnessed live an airplane crashing into the second tower, shortly thereafter a plane crashed into the Pentagon. What the fuck is going on in our world? What is next? Is this armageddon? It was the most terrifying day I have ever lived through. It didn't help that in these very tense hours, our selected leader was nowhere to be found, flying all over the country, in what seemed like a surreal chess game where the king is the most protected yet comparitively helpless piece.

Panic was taking over where shock was giving way. I tried to phone friends in NY and one in Washington who works for the government but all lines were overloaded, jammed. Soon, the towers crumbled, and the feeling of panic and everything just sunk into an indescribable feeling of void, sadness and emptiness. The pictures had clearly shown loads of rescue workers and volunteers scrambling to save thousands of people, many of them didn't have enough chance to make it out to safety. Towards the end of the day, contacts were made, all friends and family I knew who were in these places were safe. Contacts were made later with close friends and family just to say hi and how much we care for and love each other.
Over the next few days, the news reports were filled with much sadness and despair. The loss is catastrophic and the amount of love and support shown across the world was comforting in a time of great pain. (Heck, I even cried when the Brits played our national anthem.) However, tensions were high everywhere. From my own personal experience, many people on music-related electronic forums I either read or subscribe to engaged in heated arguments, finger pointing and name calling. If anything, these experiences have reinforced my feelings in the necessity for people to listen and try their hardest to exercise a bit of understanding. This goes for -ALL- sides: I'm hurt, sad and angry when I hear about people spouting their mouths off about killing people of various nations as well as when I hear people automatically assume my government is about to take part in the murder of innocent civilians. I have spoken my mind, but have been accused of being a bully, a stupid yank, intolerable, and siding with the opposing side of whoever I'm disagreeing with. All because I probably have not properly communicated that I wish people would try to be more understanding, considerate and less bigoted. Maybe Greater Than One were really profound when they wrote back in 1988, "Ignorance is the Agent of Fear"; "Fear is the Agent of Violence."

There comes a time where you feel that you can't take it any more. The TV shows you images nearly everybody has seen over and over and over again, the arguments get so fierce and personal that you begin to lose ability to focus properly on work, life, personal interactions, etc,... Now, more than ever, I'm finding how important music is in my life. To have the luxury of turning everything off for a bit of introspection, whether it be for the new Lali Puna, a comforting old Cocteau Twins, Beatles, Pixies, Nurse With Wound or Bjorn Again, is truly magical. Some may consider it escape, some may consider it solace, some may consider it spiritual or inspirational, but it is yours for consideration.

With that, I'm proud to have such a minimal part of "this industry" and an important role in a team who is helpful and sharing, caring and listening. We need this. We need to continue on. We need music and we need to continue sharing and listening.
13391 Hits

Jim Ellis, dead at 45

He might not be a household name but the world is sadly one honorable person less this week. Ellis (along with fellow Duke University graduate Tom Truscott) invented the concept of Usenet back in 1979. A year later, the program was written and two computers in remote locations were allowed to share information between each other. By 1993, there were over a thousand Usenet newsgroups, and at the close of the century, nearly 40,000. Their efforts helped create the spread of information which became the foundation of what the web has done graphically, all without ever making a penny. I may have never known the guy, but without him, you wouldn't be reading brainwashed right now - I probably wouldn't have known Chris Miller, Greg Clow or Alan Ezust. On top of that, I probably wouldn't have held on to my beliefs and experiences from the early days that the exchange of this information should be free of charge, advertisements and corporate sponsorship. Thanks Jim, wherever you are, you were a visionary, a pioneer and man of principles.
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justice has not been served

No matter what I say about Timothy McVeigh, I'm going to get hell, but I feel that I want to share my personal opinion, as a US citizen, as somebody who opposed the actions of my government.

First off I want to say how sick I am of being flooded with overused terminology and the majority of reasons for both justification or disapproval. People on one side use the term "closure" - which makes no sense to me as friends and family members have been removed permanently from the earth prematurely. On the other side, the argument "two wrongs don't make a right" is often spoken, but that's a pretty empty statement when just tossed around like the tired old proverb it is.

The death penalty is wrong: as we owe an intangible knowledge our families, our children and future generations, to closely examine people who have been produced by our own society. We need to be responsible for our own products, our own actions, our own people, and find out what needs to change in order to raise our children to benefit the world they are a part of. It's a shame sociologists, psychologists, biologists and other scientists will not have McVeigh as a specimen to poke, prod, pick at for years, use for research and learn from. The man was willing to die from the beginning, knowing full well what he was in for. He met the fate he chose six years ago this past Monday. He chose his destiny and they gave him what he wanted. He was not punished, we all were.

13376 Hits

This Just In! Erection!

Tonight on John Peel it was Sick Love Tearing Us Apart, introduced as V & VM & described by codger John as 'the sound of nausea'.

If elected
  • I'd get a law in to have anyone who didn't have a hand in writing that song who described it as 'nausea' publicly flogged. Not whipped, you understand, but flogged to Collectors on Ebay...
  • All daytime DJ's would be executed by guillotine and their heads displayed at branches of HMV which would then all be exploded with bombs made by Thorn EMI in an interactive Duchampian installation.
  • Gilbert & Lewis would be given the sounds of the explosions to remix. The public would all be fed the results via Radio 1-4 for a week solid.
  • They'd be quite free to call it 'boring' we can't be having fascism now can we not unless we lie like a Blair!
  • Next I'd ban fox hunting and have all former hunters chased thru the hills by naked Asian youths from Oldham astride honking elephants, whilst tree huggers blast 'Dearth of the Cold' by Ocsid from ghetto blasters amongst the leaves. Once run to ground the red coat scum would be slowly eviscerated and left to rot, Brian Ferry especially. The government would make a coat from his pelt and present it to Eno with an MBE in loving respect of his devotion to lost cause moneyspinners like James & U2.
  • Then I'd have a Dome installation at 'The Dome' and invite everyone from this list for free at the 'expense of the tax payer' (sic).
  • MacDonalds would be forced to distribute lentils to the homeless, and all their shops would be converted to drop in centres for junkies and others in need of excess fat.
  • Copies of the first Killing Joke album would be given to everyone in preparation for the coming apocalypse.
  • Work would be abolished by automation, and a tape loop robot installed at 10 Downing Street.
VOTE for the SHEER WILL SPIRIT party

We don't promise anything but the best!

"The best what?" said kids on TV.

The country went to the dogs.
12245 Hits

Out of Darkness Cometh Light

I want to take the time to wish everybody the best for this holiday season. It's too easy to get wrapped up with bitterness around this time of year with the increasing hostility of shoppers, advertisements, drivers, and other factors which are most peoples gripes about the season. What's remarkable to me personally is a tradition which seems to be part of nearly every religious undertaking during this time, something simple as light. In the Northern Hemisphere these are the darkest days of the year, and if you're celebrating Mithras, Channukah, Jesus or Kwanzaa, something is most likely being lit. Whether it's a tree, menorah, downtown display or front porch, the efforts put into bringing light to the darkest days of the year are a wonderful sight to see when walking through a crisp and pleasant cold winter evening. While watching my generation's definitive holiday film, 'A Christmas Story' on TV yesterday, I was reminded of one of my favorite lines in a film, "Only one thing could draw me away from the warm glow of electric sex in the window." Yes, for me, it's all about light displays. Okay, and drink some egg nog too. Have a great day off, however you celebrate it! I'll be getting Chinese food and watching a film with some Jewish friends on December 25th!
12905 Hits

Word of the Day: Turbid

The Word of the Day for December 2 is:

turbid \TER-bid\ (adjective)

  1. : thick or opaque with or as if with roiled sediment
  2. : characterized by or producing obscurity (as of mind or emotions) : confused, muddled*
Example sentence:
    According to one reviewer, Chauncey's first book was "the turbid and rambling product of an unclear mind."
Did you know?
    "Turbid" and "turgid" (which means "swollen, distended" or "overblown, pompous, or bombastic") are two words so frequently mistaken for one another that they could have been invented to keep dictionary makers in business. Not only do these two words differ by only a letter, but, adding to the confusion, they are often used in contexts where either word might fit. For example, a flooded stream is often both distended and muddy, and badly written prose is often both obscure and grandiloquent. Nevertheless, the distinction between these two words, however fine, is an important one for conveying exact shades of meaning, so it's a good idea to keep them straight.
*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

----------------

- Brought to you by Merriam-Webster Inc.
http://www.m-w.com

15954 Hits

Punish Your Fucking Machine

So I was enjoying Sunday brunch this morning at a semi-local diner restaurant. Next to me at the counter were two twenty-somethings talking about electronic music, dropping names of effects, software and hardware that I'm relatively familiar with. My curiosity was peaked and I felt compelled to ask them what they're doing with all this gear. From the conversation I heard, they seemed quite knowledgable about all the features and functions inside and out. When faced with this question, their answer was simply "house music." This made me sad, I didn't tell them this directly, but it reminds me of my days working for an ISP doing tech support. When the brand-spanking new all-powerful Macintosh G4 came out, the possibilities were seemingly endless. I was always curious to know what people were doing with such an expensive and powerful hunk of machinery the government wouldn't even let out of the country. Much to my dismay most of the customers were just rich people who love blowing their cash on useless things - "we're using it at the home for our spreadsheets and to browse the web." This is the time of year for giving and receiving, so with this in mind, be sure that if you've been good and get some wonderful gear (you can treat yourself, too, you know) USE IT! Scientists say that humans only use a small percent of their brain, don't do this with your gear.
19136 Hits

Winter Warmer

There's a tradition this time of year for those of us in colder climates that I'd love to share. Gather a small group of some close friends (who happen to be music fans) and prepare a night of music listening while sipping some tasty hot mulled cider.
Ingredients:
  • 1 Gallon of Fresh Apple Cider (not that alcoholic processed garbage, but the real stuff you can find in your grocer's refridgerator)
  • Cloves
  • Cranberries
  • 2 Oranges
  • Orange Juice
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Ground Nutmeg
  • Brandy (Ginger Brandy recommended but not necessary)
Directions:
    Dump approximately 1/2 gallon of cider in a large pot, slice up two oranges and add them with a handful of cranberries. Add only a small splash of orange juice. Add some cloves but don't go overboard. Add the ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg to your desire and let sit on a low heat for at least a half-hour. When the oranges have sunk and look pretty drunk and the cranberries have gone soft, it's time to enjoy! Ladel the cider into some thick mugs, add the brandy and a cinnamon stick. Wander out to the livingroom and gather around the stereophonic hi-fi for an evening of socializing around some of the finest selections to suit your evening.
I did this on Friday night with three close friends and it was a certified success. As an added bonus, the pleasant and warm aroma of hot apples, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg lingered around my house throughout the following day. With many long weekends coming up, it's a wonderful time to be close to your friends during these cold and dark months.
13131 Hits

Brainwashed endorses Ralph Nader

In the US Presidential election the winner is going to be either Al Gore or George W. Bush. This is understood, but this is why we're encouraging a Nader vote: If Nader gets 5% of the vote, the Green Party will get Federal Matching funds in the next election. This means that we can indeed live in hope for a more truly democratic future. Currently, Nader's only on the ballot for 44 states. Mathematically he could win, but more than likely he will not.

The most important vote however on Election Day is never the president. Your local and state politics are most important since they will effect you the most. Pay attention to ballot questions because it's your chance to say what you think is right for your state. Read the questions carefully and keep in mind that while tax cuts look good on paper, they might be cutting into education or other necessary funding. Pay attention to who's supporting which question and ask yourself who's causes would you rather support,... Whatever you do, get out there and vote.

11593 Hits

Sigur Ros on the cover of the NY Times(?)

On Tuesday this past week, "Rekyavik Rocks" appeared on the cover of the New York Times. Open to the Arts section and there was a large feature on the Icelandic music scene, with lots of attention paid to Sigur Ros. I'm pleased to see this, truly, as video outlets like MTV, VH-1, coupled with the commercial radio outlets (mainly those posing as alternative) are absent minded when it comes to fresh, exciting movements in new music.

It's nice that the New York Times will feature something like this, as these budding scenes should not go unrecognized. Reading further through the article, I'm somewhat disturbed when I find my former boss, Leigh Lust quoted. Lust was my boss at Capitol in A&R, now he works for Elektra in A&R, and he still doesn't get it. The man's a great man, but he talks about how the Icelandic bands should collaborate with English writers so their songs can be done in English, thus making them more commercially viable abroad. Is he that much of a buffoon to think that the people of Iceland don't already know English and choose to sing in Icelandic?

Hearing somebody sing in their native tongue and reading along with translated lyrics in a booklet is like watching a foreign film with subtitles while having the songs re-done in English is like watching a foreign film dubbed. A person like Lust has been so involved inside the music biz for so long, that it seems he's forgotten what art means. Score 1 for the NY Times, 0 for the major-label music industry.
13081 Hits

Rediscovering Death In June

First off, let me get this out of the way: I have only recently discovered DIJ, though being a fan of Coil and Current 93.
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11531 Hits

Need Another Reason to Boycott the Majors?

This past week, 28 U.S. states filed suit against the five major labels and three of the biggest retailers, demanding "hundreds of millions of dollars" in damages.
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10575 Hits

Major Label Boycott

Until further notice, brainwashed will actively ignore major label music.
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10424 Hits

Every Generation Gets the Vanilla Ice They Deserve

I have to admit that I like Eminem. I don't like his music and don't necessarily agree with whatever he's saying but he's good for the music industry in many ways.
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10402 Hits

A Tribute?

Jon Whitney used to think I was a woman.
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9977 Hits

"Wierd Al" Responds to Napster

I have very mixed feelings about it.
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11977 Hits

Innovation Deprivation

While watching The The perform on Friday night, various thoughts swimming about in my head came together and trends became more clearly understood.
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10211 Hits
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