Sunday, January 30, 2011

Brighton Street Murals

There's some good street art in Brighton, including a pretty fine James Brown mural:

Look closely at the chess mural and you will see that Run DMC are also honoured:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

History is Made at Night in Berlin: Datacide Launch Party

Going to be in Berlin next week to do a talk as part of the launch of the new edition of Datacide magazine (number 11), in which I have an article. The next night there's a launch party. Details follow:

Thursday, 3rd February 2011 - TALKS & DISCUSSION
Cagliostro, Lenbachstr. 10, (Ostkreuz), from 17h

“333 bpm” - a sonic-fiction by Riccardo Balli
Iconographic references by: Caina
Every style in electronic music inspires a certain social behaviour, well more, it actually structures the listener’s brainframe. Do you want to know how? And, above all, do you want to smash this social brainframe down by hyper-mixing genres? Some tips on how to do this can maybe come from this fiction, a sonic one, of course!

Dance before the police come - talk by Neil Transpontine
What’s going on when police raid parties? Neil Transpontine explores the different ways laws on sex, drugs, noise, property and subversion are used to constrain dancing in the UK and across the world.

Friday 4th February 2011, Datacide Release Party at Subversiv, Brunnenstrasse 7, U8 with DJs including Nemeton (Darkmatter Sound System), DJ Balli, Kovert (Critical Noise), Christoph Fringeli (Praxis), LT (Cagliostro), Baseck (Darkmatter).

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Classic Party Scenes (7): Black Swan

Enjoyed Black Swan, a whole movie about dancing - what's not to like? If you've been living in a cave for the last month you might need to be told that it stars Natalie Portman as a ballet dancer struggling with her dark side as she prepares for the dual role of white swan/black swan in Swan Lake. Cue sex, drugs, blood and madness. All this and great eye make up!

It also has one of the best club scenes I've seen in a movie for a while, conveying a sense of messy, druggy dissociative intimacy on a dancefloor. It was apparently filmed in the Forum in Manhattan with soundtrack courtesy of The Chemical Brothers.

Weirder than anything in the film is the usual drivel on crazed conspiracy sites where David Icke acolytes ponder how the movie fits in to the supposed global/zionist/illuminati/Hollywood mind control plot. Apparently the movie teaches us to embrace our evil natures and commit ritual sacrifice. I don't dip into this stuff very often, and am not going to link to it, but needless to say much is made of the fact that Natalie Portman is.... shock horror... Jewish. There's a lenghthy obsessive post out there with the hilarious (but they're not joking) title Natalie Portman, Kabbalistic Kitten.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Parties and Police, January 2011

Party in the forest, Norfolk, England (EDP 15 January 2010)

'Officers moved in on an area of forestland at Two Mile Bottom, Thetford, at around 11am on Saturday morning. At the height of the event there were believed to have been up to 150 people attending. A boarded up holiday house had been broken into and used by the organisers.

Officers had been closely monitoring the situation since midnight and were actively turning away people attempting to attend. No complaints were made in relation to noise nuisance. The nearest property was around half a mile away... Sound equipment was seized and six arrests were made for offences including theft, burglary, being unfit to drive, criminal damage and organising an unlicensed music event. All of those arrested were taken to Bethel St Police Station'.

Warehouse Party in Bristol (BBC 2 January 2011)

'Three people were arrested when a New Year's Eve rave party at an industrial estate in Bristol turned to violence. The event, promoted on the social media site Facebook, was being held at South Liberty Lane.

Police said at its peak, more than 1,000 illegal ravers attended, breaking into commercial premises, occupying buildings, setting fires and throwing bottles at officers. The arrests were made for public order offences and damage. A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said officers were working under "sometimes exceptionally violent and difficult circumstances to bring the situation under control". Police broke up the party at about 1100 GMT on Saturday'.

Cavers hit back at police 'illegal ravers' claims: Bath, England (Bath Chronicle, 6 January 2011)

'Cavers who saw in the new year at a former underground quarry near Bath have criticised police for labelling them "illegal ravers." Wiltshire Police had issued a warning about trespassing on land after they heard about a planned underground gathering at the Brown's Folly mine complex at Monkton Farleigh.

But people who attended the event said the New Year's Eve incident had been exaggerated by the police and that they were not causing any harm to anyone. One of the organisers, who did not wish to be named, said they had come up with the idea around two weeks before and had been careful not to cause any trouble.

He said: "People sat around on stone seats, built from large square stones laying around, with some background music with a couple of beers, "bring a bottle" kind of nature, and chatted about the year's adventures. Some left before midnight, some slept underground and went the next morning. All the rubbish was removed."

He added that for decades people had been visiting these types of sites without any trouble. Another caver, who also did not want to be named, said it was sad that the police had been so quick to assume the group were troublemakers. Late last week police warned the public that anyone entering the site would be treated as trespassers and would be committing offences under the Licensing Act 2003'.

Kathmandu, Nepal (Himalayan Times 9 January 2011)

'Police raided Platinum Disco in Durbar Marg in the wee hours of Saturday and arrested 51 persons for allegedly violating the government rule that prohibits public gathering after midnight. The local administration citing security reasons has barred discotheques, restaurants, pubs and bars from dispensing business after midnight.

SP Pradhyumna Kumar Karki, acting Chief of Kathmandu police informed that 51 persons, including Platinum Disco staff, were arrested as they were found operating the business till 12:55 am... The police released 45 disco-goers this morning on condition that they would not indulge in illegal activities in future. However, the disco promoters and staffers have been taken into custody at Metropolitan Police Range, Hanumandhoka, for further investigation'

Sunday, January 09, 2011

UK Teknival Trial and the Licensing Act 2003

We reported last year on the police operation to close the UK Teknival at Dale Aerodrome in Pemrokeshire (Wales).

The court case arising from this ended in November 2010, with ten people pleading guilty to charges of holding an event without a suitable licence. They were given Community Service Orders, with nine sentenced to carry out 100 unpaid work and the other 160 hours. Charges were dropped against six other people who pleaded not guilty.

The charges were brought under Section 136 of the Licensing Act 2003, which deals with 'Unauthorised licensable activities'. The full text of the law is:

(1)A person commits an offence if—
(a)he carries on or attempts to carry on a licensable activity on or from any premises otherwise than under and in accordance with an authorisation, or
(b)he knowingly allows a licensable activity to be so carried on.

(2)Where the licensable activity in question is the provision of regulated entertainment, a person does not commit an offence under this section if his only involvement in the provision of the entertainment is that he—
(a)performs in a play,
(b)participates as a sportsman in an indoor sporting event,
(c)boxes or wrestles in a boxing or wrestling entertainment,
(d)performs live music,
(e)plays recorded music,
(f)performs dance, or
(g)does something coming within paragraph 2(1)(h) of Schedule 1 (entertainment similar to music, dance, etc.).

(3)Subsection (2) is to be construed in accordance with Part 3 of Schedule 1.

(4)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding £20,000, or to both.

(5)In this Part “authorisation” means—
(a)a premises licence,
(b)a club premises certificate, or
(c)a temporary event notice in respect of which the conditions of section 98(2) to (4) are satisfied.

What this effectively means is that if you put on an event for which a licence is required, but you don't have a licence, you can be prosecuted. But note that people can't be prosecuted just for taking part (e.g. playing music or DJing). This would normally be used against a place like a pub or a private home that was putting on events. I think it would be difficult to apply to an event in a field or even a squat that didn't belong to the party organisers, as it's not their premises so they can't be held to have 'allowed' it to continue. The police/prosecution would also have to prove who was organising it rather than just taking part in 'the provision of the entertainment'.

Have there been any other successful prosecutions under this Act in relation to raves/free parties?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

No to AB74 - the proposed Californian Anti-Raves Act

A campaign is growing against 'anti-rave' legislation being proposed in the California State Assembly by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma. AB 74, also known as the Anti-Raves Act of 2011, is worded as follows:

'SECTION 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the Anti-Raves Act of 2011.

SEC. 2. Section 421 is added to the Penal Code, to read: 421. (a) Any person who conducts a public event at night that includes prerecorded music and lasts more than three and one-half hours is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or twice the actual or estimated gross receipts for the event, whichever is greater. (b) Subdivision (a) shall not apply to a public event on private property if the entity that conducts the public event has a business license to operate a bar, club, theater, entertainment venue, or other similar business, or to conduct sporting events, and conducting the public event is consistent with the business license. (c) For purposes of this section, "night" means that period between sunset and sunrise'.

In effect the law, if passed, would prohibit raves on public property and prevent raves on private property unless a business owner has a license to host such an event. Ma claims that 'Raves foster an environment that threatens the health and safety of our youth... The introduction of AB 74 is the first step toward eliminating these dangerous events'.

The bill follows the death in June of 2010 of a 15-year-old girl died at a rave at the publically owned Los Angeles Coliseum, and of two people in May 2010 at the state-owned Cow Palace in Daly City. But as opponents have pointed out, the bill actually makes no reference to drugs and in any case drug dealing is already covered by existing laws. By targeting 'pre-recorded' music, the bill is explicitly singling out electronic dance music, with Ma stating: "The bill is not intended to impact traditional music concerts and sporting events. AB 74 is about cracking down on raves that harbor drug use and lead to teenage deaths."

Check out the Facebook group: Protect Your Right to Dance: Anti-AB 74

Here's a short film of people staging a Right to Dance protest rally in Los Angeles in 1997 during a previous campaign against state harrassment of parties:

Obviously there are similarities here too with the British Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 which notoriously legislated against unlicensed raves playing music 'predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats'.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Haunted dancehall: the ruins of Detroit

The ballroom in the Lee Plaza Hotel, Detroit, from the excellent Ruins of Detroit by Yves Marchard and Romain Meffre.
Interesting article about this by Sean O'Hagan in The Observer yesterday.