Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

Industrial engineer, inventor and generally uber-impressive renaissance man Jacque Fresco held two lectures in the Oliver Thompson lecture hall in the Tait Building, University of London on October 3rd. He was joined by Roxaxnne Meadows to discuss the Venus Project, societal values, human progress and the like.

This is a high fidelity audio recording of the first lecture, which took place at 1pm. Fresco and Meadows then held a 1 hour Q&A which is also available below as a download.

Left click to play on the site, right click to download.

Lecture Audio

Q&A Audio with Jacque Fresco and Roxanne Meadows

Black Gives Way to Blue Leaks, is Awesome

Posted by admin On September - 18 - 2009

A few hours ago the heroes return that is the new Alice in Chains Album leaked, an impressively low 11 days before “official” release.

We have already covered the general quality of the album, an extraordinary return to form for the grunge behemoths of Seattle. Despite missing the Layen Staley jigsaw piece, the band has managed to complete the puzzle anyway with new lead singer DuVall.

Not quite a sound-alike, and not really a “lead” singer as far as Terry Date’s mixing of the album has judged him, DuVall’s power and raw awesomeness he gets from years of singing in a hardcore bank stands him in such good stead when harmonied with Cantrell’s half-folk, half-metal backup singing, that even old Alice fans, surely the hardest of all to win over, have pretty much accepted him as a worthy replacement.

The first track alone, All Secrets Known, will convince you that the fans are right – a staggering track of ethereal bent harmonies and snarling “Frogs” style riff will make you wonder if Staley did in fact “do an Elvis” and was at the recording session. Suddenly we remember how much we missed these boys, and how much we still miss Staley.

It’s a testament to how long it’s been since an Alice release when you consider this is the first of their albums that has had the opportunity to leak this way. In 1995 the internet was a little young for mass-availability of a new album ahead of schedule.Similarly, this album is the first to feature the marketing tools of a free download (A Looking in View) and a paid download single (Check my Brain) – and Velvet Hammer, the band’s present management, have done a damn fine job in collateralising the band’s release with In the Studio videos, an Electronic Press Kit that hit yesterday, video interviews, competitions and more.

While our pre-order of the album has been on the books for aty least a fortnight now, we might well have to accidentally hit “download” to hear it in the meantime.

Welcome to the 21st Century, Alice.

New Doug Stanhope Bootleg!

Posted by Ben On September - 16 - 2009

DOWNLOAD THE 2009 DOUG STANHOPE BOOTLEG HERE!

After what seems like an age, but is in fact only a year, Doug Stanhope graced the Leicester Square Theatre in London in the first week of September 2009. It was a welcome return after Stanhope decided to skip the usual financial H-Bomb referred to in some circles as the “Edinburgh Fringe”.

After a shaky start to the set, something that permeates most of his shows these days, Stanhope launched into three or four particularly strong ‘bits’ that will no doubt find their place in the new CD, and DVD offering.

Look out for venom against the modern perpetual habit of videoing everything on your mobile, an extended dark poetic riff on what sex with Doug Stanhope must be like these days, sniper sex, and the (literally) climactic “Blort” routine, destined, we suspect, for the ending of the new CD. A clever bit on George W Bush and the Queen, most likely destined for UK shores only, offers some new and counterintuitive but correct thinking on throwing stones whilst abiding in a glass house, and look out for the thinly disguised attack on Britain’s Got Talent too.

Whilst looking much older than in 2002 (compare his babyfaced energy in Word of Mouth, a mere 7 years ago), coughing like a madman and clearly unnecessarily down on himself after two rough sounding shows at Reading and Leeds Music festivals (with Jamie Kilstein, an up-and-comer who was Stanhope’s support act in the 2005 Austin Incident video Bootleg and an acerbic New York wit in his own right) Stanhope is nevertheless still a billion miles ahead of most stand-up comedy. If pressed, we can only name his equal in Louis CK, whose show in November in London we will also be covering (and hopefully someone will bootleg it for us again.) Apart from that, there is, as Bill Hicks would say, a “real big fucking drop-off” after those two.

A fan recording of the 3rd September exists and is available at this location for free download – the 68 minute set has been named (by Stanhope himself in the recording) “Doug Stanhope – Before Turning the Gun on Himself”. We will upload the raw .wav file as well in due course, in case anyone else can adjust the levels better than our resident “sound-idiot” – and naturally there will be a torrent with tracks divided up.

Enjoy the hate.

Katie Price and Peter Andre. Better than Jesus.

Posted by Ben On July - 30 - 2009

I don’t care about celebrity culture. At all. In fact, if you gave me the choice of eating a shit sandwich and speaking the words “You are a valid human being because of your cultural contribution to society” to one of Girls Aloud, it’s a face full of bready turd every time.

And despite this I am of the opinion that Katie Price and Peter Andre’s hilariously awful A Whole New World CD is possibly the greatest record I’ll never have in my music collection. This stands in sharp contrast to my acerbic and largely justified jihad-style dislike of those two column-inch hungry Orangutan-coloured dullards.

I recently found myself on the UK Amazon page for the Price/Andre collaboration and whilst there I discovered no less than SEVENTY-ONE 5 Star reviews and a mere SEVEN one star reviews. Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s Facepalm time.

However, I soldiered on, deciding I must understand the logic of so many positive reviews of a CD that has even been ridiculed by any and all reviewers.

So before we decode the reason behind so many positive reviews, let’s have a run down of the negative ones first, where one would actually expect the humour to be. There are seven 1-star reviews, the most sincere of which begins with,

“I don’t understand any of the reviews for this. The album is rubbish from start to finish.”

While Mr William Nisbett, of Nottingham, UK is bang on the money, he has probably made the (albeit very understandable) mistake of not actually reading the positive reviews for this piece of metallic crap (and who would actually DO that anyway?)

I just really hope he didn’t buy the album after seeing 70+ 5 star ratings without checking the content…

Another review, from a man calling himself Aladdin, (“The Disney one (so, the definitive Aladdin for all you care)” he writes) proclaims anger that Price and Andre have hijacked the eponymous song which HE wrote to woo Jasmine, but accepts some responsibility, citing the “unquestioning” acceptance of royalty cheques he is clearly earning from these two “shills”.

The positive reviews are even funnier. Variously reviewers claim they have cried, shat and laughed all at the same time, achieve sexual climax from hearing the album, or have, as “a hard bitten, cynical private detective with a bitter outlook on life” been put in touch with their more sensitive side after hearing the album.

Reviewers variously claim the album has “cured their cancer”, given them the ability to breathe underwater, made otherwise hollow lives abundant with clarity, meaning, fulfillment and joy and even caused one professorial music lecturer to throw away Beethoven, Bach and all other past masters in favour of Katie Motherfucking Price and Peter “Orange Elvis” Andre (as one reviewer puts it.)

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s 71 pieces of comedy awesome. One reviewer expresses his desire to invade Poland to create a master race with Katie, another recommends to “put this at the top of you list of albums to die before you listen to.” I laughed so hard I re-gave myself a double hernia. Happy now, Katie and Peter?

I know I am.

Perhaps the largest irony beside the deliberate inversion of reviewer values is that thanks to the creation of the  Andre/Price work, we now have a large online collection of hilarity. This, ironically, makes A Whole New World more worthwhile than half my music collection. It was made me laugh harder than Bill Hicks, and has one-liners worthy of Hedberg and the others.

For this reason, I give A Whole New World 5 stars unironically. It’s just I’ll never buy or listen to the album…

Zeitgeist – First London Lecture

Posted by Ben On July - 27 - 2009

Whatever your views on the subject presented by either of the two Zeitgeist films, one thing is beyond doubt – they certainly have appealed to the “spirit of the age” that their titles allude to, garnering by far the most views of any feature film released on the internet so far.

After the 2007 release of “Zeitgeist”, Google Video racked up 50 million views of the film, before resetting its counters. Its director Peter Joseph estimates that by now the film has been played around 80 million times worldwide, not counting the numerous free DVD copies made by fans or given out at events such as last year’s Z Day event on the Ides of March.

The 2008 follow-up “Zeitgeist Addendum” released in October of that year, already sits at almost a million views on several Youtube accounts, whilst Google Video’s numbers on all its content seem to have been moved out of sight. The total view count is estimated by Joseph again to be around the 30 million mark. Not bad for 8 months of exposure unaided by any of the established media outlets, and with absolutely no formal advertising campaigns whatsoever.

In the 2 years since the first movie was released, a movement of some 300,000 people from a variety of countries has been born from the thought processes and views expressed in the movies. Given that Joseph, a deliberate art school drop-out, originally simply made the film as an art project, and “flung it up on the internet” without a second thought to the global chain-reaction it would set off, nevermind the perfect timing of the horrors of an historic downturn whose epicentre was the very New York Joseph calls his home, he must wake up every morning with the phrase “Holy shit, how crazy is THIS?!” His continual reassertion that he is “just some guy” underscore the unprecedented differences between his original intent and the global village his work and research has given birth to.

To the movement – the final goal of which is to reshape and re-order a society from its current embedding in a monetary system (which developed out of existing environmental scarcity, helping to stabilize various civilizations which faced shortages in many if not all resources) to one of a “resource-based economy” where all are truly equal and where humans have the chance to live real, creative lives rather than persist on the hamster wheel lives that rotate around the much-cliched “Nine to Five”.

In such a new economy, technology is to be used to its absolute full potential minimizing waste, human involvement in production, unnecessary redundancy (one need only look at how many different versions of the iPhone there are after only 2 years of its existence) and inbuilt technological obsolescence (see above also.) In this scenario, human society employs inferential logic, vastly advanced AI technology and empirical testing to regulate and improve all facets of society, as it evolves, and as new and better technologies appear. The present system, it is argued, does not evolve, and it limiting every human from living a richer, more progressive, healthier and safer life.

The argument for change put forward by Joseph is based on the studies and lifelong works of industrial designer and social engineer Jacque Fresco, a man who first appeared on Larry King live in 1974 and has been back on the program numerous times, although not recently, and whose work has appeared on Fox News 7. Further afield than his native America, Fresco is known and appreciated across the world for his visionary idea of a future forged by practicality, environmental respect and plain awesome-looking buildings.

Joseph’s lecture at Goldsmiths College in Lewisham, which is available in its entirety via bootlegged audio at the end of this article, focused on expanding the current understandings of a monetary system’s cause and effect cycle, the ill-effect on the health of all people in a society more stratified than one where each individual is “more equal”,(to quote but mis-represent Orwell), and used examples of feral children to demonstrate just how much a human being is, or can be, shaped by their surroundings.

Ultimately, the negative effects of the society work themselves out upon children, and the resulting adult operates on his/her learned societal instincts to re-entrench the same value systems upon future generations through actions that perpetuate or worsen the status quo.

Joseph’s lecture, which itself lasted an hour and twenty minutes, was followed by another hour and fifteen minutes of Q&As from an audience which remained rapt and involved from beginning to end. This is a big deal for an event that is essentially based in cultural theory and economics.

An even bigger deal, however was the demographic of the attendees. Peoples of ages as young as seventeen to  old as the hills, older hippies and younger activists, and even a Norweigan businessman and a gentleman from the Ukraine who had flown to London specifically for the event comprised the 300 audience members. A live webcast on Ustream garnered another 300 viewers. The Eerie Investigations team who broadcast on Sky 220 were also present,  filming the entire event.

Joseph is a naturally able rhetorician, despite claiming he is normally introverted. His natural flow and ability to answer varied and often multi-segmented questions without the need to jot down any notes whilst audience members asked up to three questions at once stood in sometimes strong contrast to his less smooth flow whilst reading the lecture notes. This, however, seemed also to come down to sleep deprivation and a decent bout of nerves which all experience in front of a crowd, especially one overseas.

Overall the event was a real success, with quite a few over-eager audience members staying up to an hour afterwards to question Peter and talk to each other. Whatever the future of the movement is, it is very likely to be larger, louder and very very interesting.

More on the Zeitgeist Movement can be found at www.thezeitgeistmovement.com, and both films can be viewed online for free (part one is here, part two is here.)

Lecture mp3 Bootleg link (Direct Download). Torrent file here.

Q&A mp3 Bootleg link (Direct Download). Torrent file here.

The Alice in Chains London Listening Party reviewed

Posted by Ben On July - 24 - 2009

Being the site’s resident grunge geek, I very nearly “shat myself with happy” at being able to attend the London listening party for the eagerly-awaited-by-me 2009 Alice in Chains comeback album Black Gives Way to Blue. A hasty last-minute post on the AIC blog had offered five fans the chance to hear the whole album a nice and juicy 2 months before its official release date, and other than that, there seemed to be little warning of the gathering.

THE EVENT

Naturally the big question for this event, rumoured to be 2 hours long, was “WILL THE BAND BE THERE? WILL THEY? EH? TELL ME!!!!” AIC’s tour diary seemed to suggest it was possible. No US dates at the tail end of July, and a Dublin, Ireland date on 1st August meant that at the very least they were within a week of being on the right side of the planet.

Turns out, however, that they weren’t there. Which makes sense when you see the size of the downstairs private bar in the Sanctum Soho Hotel. It’s the size of my bedroom. A serious dry-humping cluster-fuck would have ensued if any of the band had actually turned up.

All mobiles, cameras, mp3 players and massive microphones attached to sophisticated mixing desks marked “Intended For Piracy Use” had to be left outside, unfortunately. A man with a magic wand scanned each of us as we went in. There are no recordings of the night.

However, Sean Kinney and Jerry Cantrell had made a pre-recorded address to the 35 or so guys and gals that had made the trek down. It was hilarious, I do hope they stick it on Youtube someday. Reading shakily from pieces of paper, Jerry and Sean variously (and deliberately, of course) misread, stammered, interrupted and repeated their way through a “thank you for coming” style note (at one point Sean read out that he was “really looking forward to playing at Sonic The Hedgehog…sonic….sonisphere.” They even had a hard time reading out their own album name, repeating it variously with weird intonations like “Black Gives WAY to-blue.” Trying to look at the camera, they lost their place on the page, and right at the end the whole affair collapsed into bickering, with Jerry claiming “hey that was my part you read out. That’s my part dude.” Hilarious self-deprecating stuff!

A screening of the new video (which can, despite Youtube’s dim efforts to remove it, watch everywhere including the band’s site) followed immediately after on the big screen. As soon as it had finished the album kicked in as seamlessly as going from one track to the next.

The Tracks

Now I was expecting A Looking in View to be Track 1. Which it’s not. The opening track begins with a series of 3 note arpeggios with the lowest note shifting a semitone for each alternate bar, heavily distorted, before blowing out into long sustained powerchords. Freaking sweet.

And all the while that haunting voice…

Were you not privy to the knowledge of previous singer Layne’s death in 2002, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s him on the CD. I was even starting to wonder if a trick was being played on me, or if the music was old material from AIC’s 1995 three-legged-dog-tripod-eponymous-yellow-purple album. Certainly the predominant vibe (and most definitely the twisted comedy horror Victorian artwork, that flashed up on a projector for every new song) are stylistically very close to Tripod.

So here then are the wailing multi-layered twisted harmonies of a sobbing angel that made the band famous (and unfortunately ultimately gave us Puddle of Mudd, Chad Kroeger and Days of the New’s most recent 3 albums…)

Track 2 is the upcoming single Check My Brain, which chorus is very close to the vibe given off by Facelift’s Sunshine – and it would be too happy-go-lucky were it not for the deliberate dissonance of the main riff, which uses a tremolo effect to bend portions of the riff alternately down and up a semitone. This track is, of all of them, the one that most closely resembles the “like Sabbath but faster” moniker the new album seems to be earning.

Your Decision is track 4 (I don’t remember track 3, except that it was heavy as hell and fitted with its surrounding tracks in style, tone and pace.) This is the first acoustic bit. Both the New York listening and the London listeners have noted that the song sounds like Keep on Rocking in the Free World combined with Nutshell – a Nutshell, however, it isn’t – the chords aren’t as cleverly arranged, much more straightforward. It struck me as a track that would fit better on Jerry’s solo project. Certainly a good song, and one of the times Jerry takes lead vocals like in the good old days of Brother, Grind, and others (I am avoiding Heaven Beside You and Over Now because they aren’t to my mind anywhere near as good as anything on this album.)

A Looking in View sits track 5, and since that’s already released and reviewed, I won’t do the same here again.

Track 6 is another acoustic one, and at this point the free beer was reaching critical mass, and some “fan” next to me was yelling his various opinions loudly into the evening. It got so irritating that I, a meek and tolerant chap, ACTUALLY asked him to pipe down, leading to  the following bizarre conversation:

Me: Excuse me, could you keep it down a little?
Him: Keep what down?
Me: (stares blankly)

He was either drunk, or a moron, and possibly both. Or he had an erection, and may have thought I was asking him to keep THAT down. Anyway, to his credit he did quieten down and we didn’t end up in the paper the next day.

There are, to my knowledge, 12 tracks on this album (although the reviewer in the New York listening event counted 11, so I may well be wrong) – none are as upbeat as Heaven Beside You, which, if you’re anything like me and dislike that song, is fantastic. Most tracks are steadily paced, one track in the centre of the album (track 7) features pretty much the only tempo and rhythm change, from a balmy twisted song akin to Shame in You, to a flooring odd-rhythmed Dam that River style riff. The song makes the leap twice, and it’s so different that you could be forgiven for thinking, as I did, that’s it’s actually a new song.

Tracks 8 and 9 become a blur at this point, mostly because I was too busy throwing down as many free Cuscados or whatever the hell that beer was (anyone remember? I sure don’t) and ruminating as to whether the free sampler CD dished out at the beginning may not, as it advertised, feature seven famous songs but in fact the new album – it doesn’t unfortunately. They’ve thought of everything, these guys.

The New York reviewer noted that track 9 sounded like Sea of Sorrow – and in my addled state I remember thinking the same thing about one of the later songs – so it’s probably the same one – something about the key reminded me of their earlier work, in a most excellent way.

Track 10 escapes me, even when I read all the other notes people have made on it. It will remain one of the universe’s great mysteries. That is until the album comes out. That’ll probably clear it up.

Unfortunately the last track is the one I missed part of, due to bladder issues. However, a quiet, beautiful acoustic and piano track with soothing and plaintive vocals, it appears to be the eponymous Black Gives Way to Blue, which Jerry and co have admitted is the track written specifically about Layne.

And that’s it!

So what do we all get to take away with us?
A short and dubious history of the frontman merry-go-round in modern Rock

Well, as if to remind us of what proper harmony-metal is SUPPOSED to fucking sound like (Nickelback, it’s the back of YOUR chair we’re kicking), Alice in Chains have crafted an album of pure twisted “pretty music that makes you want to die“. AND they’ve seemed to succeed at  the hardest thing any band forced into replacing a singer has to do – meet expectations, avoid simple vocal mimicry, placate fans that won’t be fucking happy either way, and fill the lyrical gap left by a band member who is usually the centre of the songwriting and performing force. Deep down I didn’t think they could do it, although I love their brand of music so much I might have never admitted it even if it turned out a disaster.

And history has not been kind to the bands who’ve made the jump. Although AC/DC is still a great band, fans have always been decidedly divided between the Bon Scott era and the Brian Johnson era that kicked off with Back in Black (an eerily similar title to the Chains album, perhaps intentional?) Think of what happened to Skid Row when they changed singers – Thickskin was a disaster. Revolutions per Minute was badly received by most fans – and it’s fair to say Sebastian Bach is one tough mother to replace. Van Halen have changed singers so many times that I think I’M actually scheduled to take over from Celine Dion sometime next year, the incumbent singer since Daffy Duck left. Warrant sucked BEFORE they changed singers, so you can imagine what an awesome failure Born Again was. Black Sabbath changed their singer and their name so many times that they are now officially recognised as a village by the United States of America.

But there are (arguable) successes – Judas Priest famously replaced their singer Rob Halford with a Judas Priest tribute band lead singer Tim Ripper Owens (whose “fan becomes star” story went on to form the inspiration for the cyclical Wahlberg film Rock Star) – and he was better than the original (bring on the flamers…) Guns ‘n’ Roses did the opposite, and the singer replaced the entire band instead, collecting up the world’s best session musicians. The results are, if relatively positive, nothing like the original band except the voice, proving that it ain’t ALL about the singer. Of course the remaining Guns ‘n’ Roses members had already reformed in a number of projects including Slash’s Snakepit and Velvet Revolver (the latter’s first album being the closest in style and sound to GnR that has occurred yet, but with an entirely different vocal style from Scott Weiland known as “being addicted to drugs”.)

In short, replacing the singer is a bloody difficult feat that even the best and most professional bands in rock cannot always pull off. And most of the time they really, really don’t.

And with Alice this is a particularly hard task, since the vocals were so very unusual and stylistically noticeable – luckily the band’s big driving force has (sorry Layne fans) always been Jerry Cantrell – Angry Chair being the exception, having been penned by Layne in its entirety. But they key, other than William Duvall being a top frontman, is the rest of the band. Something about being reunited with Mike Inez and Kinney brings something out in Jerry and the band that simply won’t appear when Jerry uses Mike Bordin and Metallica’s bassist Robert Trujillo in his solo projects.

Amid the shitty commercialised faux-margin-rock of the 2000s, a band that simply rocks your socks is a welcome return of quality, song craftsmanship and good old fashioned bloody NOSTALGIA. Welcome back boys.

Fringewatch: Gerry Howell’s Incubation Hour

Posted by Ben On June - 19 - 2009

The Edinburgh Fringe is a nightmarish, unedifying and contorted mess comprising thousands of comedy shows, theatre pieces and people yelling at you in the street. Last year alone, there were 84,000 performances of Blasted by Sarah Kane.

And like standing saucer-eyed at Starbucks, permaglazed by the unending variations of Chocolate Cappu-Lattoccino-moccha-frappes, you can be forgiven for your “rabbit in the headlights” approach to choosing a show to see. There are more events on offer than one could see in eight lifetimes with infinity dollars. Fortunately Gerry Howell’s Incubation Hour is one of them in 2009.

Now, full disclosure demands I admit that I know Gerry from Uni days. I also should probably admit to HIM that I once stole a really nice DVD from his room before super-gluing the door shut from the inside and telling all and sundry that “actually I live here now.” But I’m getting off the point. And inventing crimes. To look cool. Which I don’t.

Despite knowing Gerry (vaguely, it has to be said – if there’s ever a biography, I won’t be in it,) I had never seen any of his stand-up. Gerry was a playwright to me, and the only one I ever saw was a smart little number called Fiona off the Hook – one of the rare “student comedy” pieces that deserved to be shown.

But at The Hen and Chickens in Islington on Weds 17th June 2009, I finally got to see what Gerry’s stand-up is like. And describing it is a little tricky, for all the right reasons.

The Guardian did Howell a little bit of a disservice by calling him “A Young Eddie Izzard” – Izzard’s one of those comedians whom one can only come off badly against if compared even in the most glowing terms, as the Guardian has here. And while it’s true, there is one joke in french, plenty of stuttering and Howell’s attention is deliberately refocussed on different audience members throughout like Izzard, the overall style doesn’t really bring to mind the Great Izz.

It’s more of what a show would be like if a mixed media comedy show’s projector, video display and sound gear had been stolen, and the performer had only words at its disposal. In addition to regular “at the audience” stand-up, there is a duologue acted out by only Howell alone, jumping across the room in a manner reminiscent of Tommy Cooper’s Romeo and Juliet sketch, there are whacky Mitch Hedberg-esque and Demetri Martin style one-liners, and tangents aplenty.

If you see Gerry at the Fringe, watch out for a wonderfully observed piece on King Harold and 1066 – a real gem in his routine – if he doesn’t do it, request it at the end.

He’s gonna hate me for encouraging his audience to yell out, but it matters not – the piece is worth it.

Gerry Howell’s Incubation Hour is on Facebook, detailing upcoming events on London and at the Edinburgh Fringe. And if that weren’t enough, the bastard’s even supporting Stewart Lee and Richared Herring in July.

Here’s a quick video to whet that appetite!

The 5 Most Insane Museums Ever

Posted by Ben On May - 13 - 2009

Life is a weird place, so it’s very surprising that so many museums, supposedly the collectors and demonstrators of the wonderful products of the physical and creative world, are so very much the same from one country to another. And more often than not, dull as ditchwater.

However, there is a vicious and weird underbelly to the museum culture that deserves some serious illumination. Here are our top 5 picks of the most odd, obscene and crazed ideas for museums from round the globe.

5. Icelandic Phallological Museum, Iceland

Actual Tagline: None on their website

We Suggest the Tagline: The House that Dick Built

Finally! Its the world’s (apparently) only Penis Museum, “boasting” 209 individual “penises and penile parts belonging to almost all the land and sea mammals that can be found in Iceland,” even that of a “stray polar bear” which had somehow managed to get to Iceland, and after all that effort, blood sweat and tears, happened across some douche who cut said bear’s cock off and started a penis museum with it.

The museum was recently satirically featured in Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle and undoubtedly has become the reason for the renewed vigour with which US school children are defacing their schoolbooks. A quick look at the site’s guest list reveals some interesting posts. For example:

Date

May 4th 2008

Name

John

E-mail

johnd@somethingsomething….

Greeting

good afternoon arsenal are drawing with everton

So this museum really IS for dicks!

Aside from this random posting, most of the questions are from people inquiring if there are “T-Shirts” (read “novelty present for an unwilling friend who will NEVER wear a Dick-Tee and bin it”) and “Souvenirs” (Read “DILDOS”), the most amusing note comes from Mr Dave Menke at Prima college, who asks:

“Most interesting, particularly since the penis, as important as it is to most animal life forms, is often relegated to a forbidden status in pornography. I wonder if there is museum of clitori?”

Hey Dave, very interesting question – except, how can you have a museum for something that DOESN’T EXIST.

4. The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA), MA, USA

Tagline: Art Too Bad to be Ignored

We Suggest the Tagline: My eyes! My beautiful eyes! It burns! It BUUUURRRNNNSS!

Who doesn’t remember those great names in contemporary art; The great Sarah Irani! That master of painting the light, Frank B. Oldfield! Or that apparently all-pervasive genius whose artwork is visible in every corner of MOBA, “Unknown!” These pieces of sheer awful have to be seen to be believed, and then you’re stuck with not being able to un-see them. Forever. Just look at these – and if you still think “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” after casting your face over these, you belong in the phallus museum as an exhibit.

The site is damn well-presented, and in fact MOBA raises money from auctioning these pieces of “art” off (the highest bidder at the moment for the current offering has pledged a whopping $152.53.) Rather wrily, Curator-in-Chief Michael Frank states on the latest press release that “MOBA does not sell items from our Permanent Collection, although we have so far not been tempted with the opportunity to liquidate any of our works into “six figures”.”

The money the museum raises is being pledged to the economically afflicted Rose Art Museum , which is an actual museum with good art. A noble cause, but the ethics of it feel a bit like “helping” fight Homelessness by getting sponsored to walk around dressed like a homeless person all day while your friends laugh at you and throw coins.

3. The International Museum of Toilets, India

Tagline: None

We Suggest the Tagline: A shit museum

Picture a European traveler come to India to “find the magic” and diversify their cultural horizons. After approximately 4 minutes of a healthy stomach, and 10 days of painful, dangerous dysentery, what would the last museum on his mind possibly be? Yeah, I’d be pretty pissed off too.

But over 2 million page impressions tell me this site is weirdly popular, or a few random people keep clicking “Refresh page” a couple of hundred thousand times each because they can’t quite believe this could be a real website. But it is.

The introduction by its founder Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak has this to say about the museum’s chosen subject:

“Museums as repositories for the preservation and exhibition of the objects of historical, scientific and cultural interest are found all over the world. But rare are the museums that display the evolution of toilets and their various designs.”

Yes, I wonder why that is.

One thing very obvious here is that the designers of the toilets were one of three things: a) Batshit insane b) SO desperate to get their toilet exhibited by the museum they decorated it to already worse than what one normally resembles AFTER someone has sprayed their technicolor yawn all over it.

And this one…

That’s right – one of the “toilets of the 90s”, as they are called on the site, was a kitchen bin you could relieve yourself in. So we’re probably talking the 1490s. If I’d found myself in a house where a host regularly defecates in the kitchen, I would have very slowly walked backwards out of their house with eyes wider than a cartoon mouse.

2. The Homeless Museum, New York, USA

Tagline: The Homeless Museum of Art

We Suggest the Tagline: Touch the porcupine. Orange! Orange! That’s my Nelson!

By far the sharpest Museum website on the list, it is also the most willingly mental of the bunch. It’s not an actual museum so much as an apartment you can visit. Filip Noterdaeme, its creator/curator, walks around puffing on his pipe, sits in his studio bed next to his muse, a woman dressed up as Madame Butterfly, and has a stuffed dog sitting in front of a tripod-mounted mic in place of an official spokesperson. In a pram. Called Florence Coyote. Don’t believe us? Look!

The Museum features a Homelessness simulator, a large plastic opaque box you kind of just sit in, and the walls are adorned with placards like “Give to Charity. Just Not Here.” And just when you think Mr Noterdaeme might be just having a massive straight-faced laugh at your expense, you come across the hilarious letters he writes to other museums, suggesting to some curators that in the face of a bad economy, the Homeless museum will be relocating to the rooftops of their own museums around New York, or writing to Veuve Cliquot suggesting they set up a Help the Homeless program (“The Veuve Cliquot Shelter, for women, and The Dom Perignon Shelter, for men.”)

Most notably Noterdaeme writes to MoMA Chief Curator Klaus Biesenbach, offering him a free sample of Biesenbach’s “ex-lover Marina Abramovic’s” fragrance he created by salvaging an iceblock she used in a performance piece and “distill[ing] drippings from it to create Eau d’Abramovic, a skin care tonic infused with the aura of the self-described “grandmother of performance art.”

Yep, it’s fairly safe to say Filip is our kind of dude.

1. The Museum of Quackery, USA

Tagline: None Needed

We Suggest the Tagline: None Needed

OK, Bad news first – the museum’s curator and founder Bob McCoy retired in 2002, but the good news is that the Science Museum of Minnesota was the lucky recipient of his outlandish and brilliant collection of thinly-disguised torture devices, some of them so plain odd as to be a complete mystery in their supposed application, even to avid collectors of quasi-bullshit medical ephemera.

This museum is by far the one that will teach you the most. For example, it may surprise some readers to know that John Harvey Kellogg (yep, the guy behind Kellogg’s cornflakes) also presided over a chair that cures intestinal peristalsis issues by shaking the shit out of you (literally I suppose) while you scream for dear life – so think about that the next time you’re chucking down that breakfast of yours.

Or perhaps you want to cure a headache by giving yourself an electric shock in the face with an adapted grill igniter. No? How about an enthusiastic round on the foot-operated Breast enlarger. Sounds mental right? Only guys buy suction devices to make their anatomy larger, the dolts! Women know better! Except that in 1976, four million US women spent $10 on a device that does what this weird-ass object claims to.

Sounds like a 1970s free-love leftover oddity does it? Well, no. People are STILL paying up to $70 to buy these objects online, so much so that the the US Food and Drug Administration had to issue a press-release in 1988 and re-issue it in 1990 warning that quackery is targeting teens, who swipe their parent’s Amex cards and order a tit-tangler with it. And then presumably tell their fathers that “mum must have ordered it” and their mothers that “it’s probably for daddy’s new but top-light lover.”

McCoy himself has been on Television exactly 8,00,0002 times demonstrating these devices to a public that clearly can’t fathom that we once bought into this shit as a collective IN LIVING MEMORY. But what’s the lesson here perhaps? Maybe we’re all buying into something dumb right now, in this “modern age” of ours.

If we work it out or not, it’s a hell of a lot more of an interesting lesson to take away with you and mull over than your standard museum gift-shop plastic.

To play us out, here’s McCoy on Letterman in 1987, with some of the craziest shit ever bought into.

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