The UK hip-hop scene is a largely maligned part of British music. It’s often mocked for its propensities for peaked beanies, bad lyrics, silly names, and the overwhelming stench of cheap skunk. Clive and the team headed down to Bristol—the spiritual home of the British B-Boy scene—to investigate if people from the UK can rap, or if they should just leave it to the Americans.
Anonymous Failed to Bring Down the British Government with Fireworks
Last night was fireworks night, which meant that members of Anonymous descended upon London once again to take part in their global Million Mask March. The event invited everyone to a “tea party,” the purpose of which was “to remind this world what it has forgotten, that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than just words.” Other Anonymous bugbears included the mainstreammediablackout and the whitewashing of world issues—legitimate, if fairly nebulous, concerns.
I didn’t know of any other tea parties where everyone wears masks and remains nameless, unless it’s the kind where you end up covered in a bunch of semen, so I decided to go and check it out.
According to the plan, Trafalgar Square was the launchpad for a march bound for Westminster, where everyone would shout at Parliament. Rather than going home when they got cold, the idea was that everyone would stay for an entire day. At least, that seemed to be the idea from the Facebook call out, which said, “NOTE: This will be a 24 hour event, please be prepared to peacefully assemble for up to 24hrs.” (Spoiler: This didn’t happen.)
Amid the throng, I was a little disappointed when I asked Jerry here what he hoped the march would achieve. “Nothing,” he replied. “It needs a lot more people. That’s why I go around with the billboard. Most people don’t understand what’s going on in the world.” His friend Mindy butted in. “We want to make a loud noise,” she said. “We want change—genuine change!”
Already it seemed clear that the marchers were operating at cross-purposes.
Thailand’s Full Moon Parties Have Been Taken Over by #YOLO Idiots
It’s an old cliché to bemoan what is compared to what used to be. But as the morning sun rises over the fluoro debris and thousands of empty plastic cups from the night before, it’s hard for me to do much else.
I’m standing on a crowded Haad Rin beach on Thailand’s idyllic Koh Phangan, home to the original and now infamous Full Moon Party. Hours before, 20,000 bodies writhed together in motion to pulsating house music, fuelled by cheap alcohol and magic mushroom milkshakes. Now, among the rapidly sobering hardcore who continue to dance, a smattering of those bodies dot the beach, their semi-conscious, half-naked torsos slowly roasting in the Thai sun. They lie surrounded by beer bottles, shattered glass, and plastic buckets.
It’s all a bit depressing, but of course there’s nothing particularly original about any of this. The descent of the Full Moon Party from fabled hippy love-in to an 18-30-club-rave-on-sea has been in motion for years. Once arcane events attended by 30 or so loved up psytrancers who, for all their faults, at least seemed to be striving for some kind of spiritual experience, now the Full Moon Parties seem to be yet another hedonistic playpen for actuarial science students whose idea of a spiritual experience is getting a henna tattoo.
As President Barack Obama faces off against sinister cipher Mitt Romney, for those of you who continue to be baffled by the simplicity of American politics, I’ve carved through the three remaining salient facts to bring you a bluffer’s guide to understanding the greatest election since Goldwater-Johnson.
This election will be decided yet again by these things that keep getting called “swing states”. These are the most unhappy places in the union because there are equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. In these squalid misery-zones, Americans can’t even have an abortion without 50 percent of their friends tutting disapprovingly and the other 50 percent cheerleading them into the stirrups. Let’s have a look at some of those key battlegrounds.
FLORIDA Key inhabitants: Pensioners. Minor rappers. Cubans. Hanging Chads. Analysis Pensioners love Romney because he also gets confused whenever he walks into a room. Minor rappers prefer Obama because Jay-Z said they should. Cubans prefer no one knows their immigration status and so will be staying at home, apart from Pitbull. Predicted outcome: Romney wins.
OHIO Key inhabitants: Tire factory workers. People who have given up hope of ever living a normal life. Canadian refugees. Analysis Ohio is famous for being ugly and polluted. However, it’s still hard to know whether voters there will want to hurt the rest of the country as much as they’re already hurting by voting for Romney, or whether they are just going to vote for Romney because they want to ship more of their pitiful jobs overseas to relieve themselves the burden of having to commute through its wretched streets every day. Predicted outcome: Obama wins.
VIRGINIA Key inhabitants Jockeys. Tobacco farmers. Perpetrators of random killing sprees at technical colleges. Anaylsis It’s hard to know why Virginia always gets flagged up as a swing state. Just because it’s halfway between north and south, pollsters often think it has a toe in liberalism. In fact, while jockeys may want to vote for someone who has promised to “stand up for the little guy”, overall, this is a state that thinks entirely with its handguns and has consistently voted for the candidate with the largest semi-automatic weapon and the boldest vision of America visible through a telescopic sight. Predicted outcome: Romney wins.