Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe is the shit!!

Charlie Brooker

Charlie Brooker

Imagine there was a show that basically insults and ridicules everything really shit on TV in a hilarious and often ingenius manner. Sounds to good to be true right? Well that’s exactly what Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe is and last night he did a review of 2008 which without a doubt was probably one of the best thing I’ve seen on TV in quite a while. He rips into everything from Big Brother to X Factor and does it in a very funny way. If like me you hate most of the crap that passes for television these days then a programme of this nature should be right up your alley.

Tapping the Wire

Tapping the Wire

I fist became aware of Brooker a few months back but it wasn’t untill I saw him co-signing the sheer brilliance of my favourite TV show of all time “The Wire” that I really started to take notice. (Type in Charlie Brooker Tapping the Wire into a search engine to see what i mean)

InĀ  recent episodes of Screenwipe he spoke to various writers of shows such as Peep Show, Father Ted, Life on Mars and Doctor Who on their writing processes and ideas which providedĀ  very interesting conversations and a interesting look into what goes into a good script and good dialogue. It is not often we get a deeper look behind the scenes into TV writing so this was a nice refreshing piece and we should really be seeing more of this kind of stuff on our screens.

Instead we are fed constant shite on a daily basis numbing our brain to the point where we can’t really tell what’s good anymore. But fear not I find great comfort in the fact that if a TV programme is complete bollocks Brooker will call it out soon enough. If only more people knew about this programme we would understand what is so terribly wrong with today’s TV programming.

My advice is to get your arse over to the bbc website and watch the 2008 year in review on iplayer it will be the funniest outlook on this year you will have seen.

Published in: on December 25, 2008 at 2:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Is Katt Williams the funniest man in America right now?

Katt Williams

My answer would have to be a definite yes! No one is coming with a better stand up routine than this man right now. If you don’t know about Katt then I suggest you check the catalogue. “The Pimp Chronicles vol 1” was probably the funniest stand up I had seen in a very long time and “American Hustle” was just as good. His new dvd has been released and it is called “It’s Pimpin, Pimpin” and although I’ve yet to see it (it’s on the christmas list for sure) some of the clips below are an indication that it could be his best one yet.

Katt on Obama, Clinton and Mccain

Poor little Tink Tink

Steriods make your dick little

Katt calls Roast of Flava Flav racist

On drugs in America

Published in: on December 5, 2008 at 2:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Suge Knight: The Hip Hop Boogieman but did he have 2Pac killed?


Let me start this piece by saying that this originally was intended just to be a little blog about my feelings towards the allegations that Suge Knight is responsible for the murder of Tupac Shakur. However examining this type of thing is going to require alot more debate and research then this little piece can do justice so consider this an introduction to a much longer more in depth story.

He has been labelled the most intimidating and feared figure in the music industry. Former football player, bodyguard and later CEO of one of the biggest rap record labels of all time Marion Suge Knight is loved by very few (maybe none come to think of it) and hated by many. His business practices were described as being ruthless and violent. He scared record execs into releasing their artists, bullied people out of money or simply just for principle reasons (including his own artists) and terrorized anyone that dared to get in his company’s way. But I ask myself am I the only person that thinks he didn’t kill Tupac Shakur?
Detective Russel Poole clearly doesn’t think so as he has risked everything including his career and possibly his safety in the pursuit of the man he thinks is responsible for killing not just one but two of hip hop’s greatest superstars. Even though Suge has yet to be convicted of the murder(s) the public perception especially within the hip hop community is that he did it. He is already a condemned man yet Russel Poole is intent on on this man being convicted risking everything in the process for what. Truth, justice, principle…? It seems alot to put on the line for one man, a man that even if convicted would only confirm the feelings that people are already expressing about him. But if we are to believe what Poole is telling us the LAPD doesn’t want Suge Knight convicted of this murder. Or more importantly doesn’t want to show the links between the LAPD and Knight in the time leading up to the murder. Why? What information are the LAPD hiding that would be so drastic if it ever came to light . Could they have planned on using Suge all along as the scapegoat once the shit hit the fan? There are several things that don’t add up if you look at the whole situation.
The Motive for the killing: They say Suge had Tupac killed because he wanted to leave the label. Editor of Rollingstone magazine Randall Sullivan claimed in an interview with Davey D that you couldn’t just leave Death Row records without something happening to you as if it were some kind of cult. But Dr. Dre left and so did rapper Sam Sneed while Suge was still in charge and to my knowledge they are both still alive and breathing. So why was it that Tupac was killed and they weren’t?
Dr. Dre has gone on to make millions without Suge yet Knight has never made any attempts at extorting him or trying to have him killed as far as I know.
It is also claimed that Suge owed Tupac millions and that if he had him killed then he wouldn’t have to pay him plus Death Row had alot of Tupac material that they could make money off without Tupac there. If true then that plan has severely backfired.
The media portrayal of Knight compared to Puffy: Now I’m not sure if you are aware of this but Suge Knight is not the only CEO not to pay his artists properly. For years it has been common knowledge within the hip hop world that Sean Combs aka P Diddy has been what some describe as a “paperwork gangster”. There are numerous artists that were neglected (Craig Mack) signed to slave deals (the LOX) and producers that were not paid properly for their contributions to the Notorious B.I.G’s debut album “Ready to die”. Yet even though he mistreated his artists like Suge did the portrayal of Puffy is that he is a businessman as supposed to Suge who is seen as nothing more then a glorified street thug.
The Blood and Crip links and Orlando Anderson: Detective Russell Poole claims that the beating of crip member Orlando Anderson in the Vegas casino was to serve as the motive for the killing of Tupac Shakur. In a documentary made by Brtish filmmaker Nick Broomfield Shakur’s bodyguard also admits he was told to say that Anderson was attacked because he had robbed a Death Row member of their medallion prior to the incident although he knew nothing about it.
They also made a point of accusing Puffy of hiring Crip members to work as security for Bad Boy claims that Sean Combs has flatly denied. In some reports they even went so far as to say that it was the Notorious B.I.G. himself that had supplied the weapon involved in the murder of Tupac (as if a crip member couldn’t somehow get a hold of a gun if he wanted to).
Suge Knight often dressed in all red and it was known that he grew up in a blood neighbourhood in Compton. It is also known that he hired blood gang members to work for Death Row so i can see the connection there but Biggie’s camp have little to no connection with gang affiliation especially a LA based gang that had at that time had no base in New York at all.
The East Coast VS West Coast beef: It was actually the media in my opinion that created this war between rappers from rival coasts. And if not created then they certainly perpetuated it every chance they got. Tupac believed that Biggie had set him up in the infamous Quad recording studio shooting of 1994. From the moment Tupac declared beef with Biggie the media proceeded to hype it up MTV being the main culprit and it became this whole East versus West thing when in fact it was two rappers that had a problem not a whole coast.
That night in Vegas: They are so many things that don’t add up about this night yet are rarely explored. The police claim they had little to no co-operation from witness’ which was one of the reasons they hadn’t had progress with the case. But the one key witness they did have, rapper Kadafi (real name Yafeu Fula half brother to Shakur), who was riding in the car behind Shakur when the shooting took place was murdered six weeks after police failed to bring him in for questioning. Afterwards police said that “Our last good hope was killed in New Jersey. He [Fula] was our number one witness.” In the movies you always see the cop dragging the witness into an interrogation room untill they get the truth about what happened the reality is often very different. Didn’t really seem like they cared if he did or didn’t give evidence hardly the signs of a thorough investigation.
There is really so much to debate and discuss about this night I will have to leave it for another blog.

I think the LAPD deliberately placed officers among the Death Row organization to destroy it from the inside. Police officers were told on one hand that they could not have any policemen working for Death Row because it was a criminal organization yet they clearly did have certain people within the camp so you mean to tell me they knew nothing of their activity off duty?
In order for any of this to make any sense at all we have to look at what we know for definite and what is just merely speculation. It is speculation that Suge had Tupac killed for money reasons. Either to make more money or to stop from losing it. What we do kow is that Suge Knight has sinced filled for bankrupcy and is even trying lame attempts at suing Kanye West for an incident that happened at his party. He hasn’t made any money from Tupac’s death if anything he has lost money! And surely if he killed Tupac for this reason alone then why hasn’t he or at least someone been arrested for the shooting. What motive could the police possibly have in covering the whole thing up if it was Suge that did it? Why would they protect him and if they did what does he know that is so vital to this case? Are they keeping him out of jail for this particular thing because of stuff he knows about the LAPD?

For me if Suge did do it then he was definitely not alone. There is no way this particular man could have had so much power that he could have a famous celebrity killed on a Las Vegas strip in front of so many people and no one knows what happened. He would had to have control or at least have supreme influence among major police forces, the F.B.I, the supreme courts and the media. The same media that painted him as the villain from day one. Like alot of things in this situation it doesn’t make sense.

So as I said at the beginning of the piece I just wanted to make a little blog about this issue but as I have been writing this and reading various bits of information here and there decided a small blog would come no where near covering an incident of this magnitude. So stay tuned for more I plan to go real deep on this one.

Published in: on December 4, 2008 at 10:52 pm  Comments (4)  

Music industry is forcing music blogs to be deleted by Larisa Mann

Warning: Music Industry Is Forcing Music Blogs to be Deleted

by Larisa Mann

Music blogs are engines for fandom, DJ culture and music making. They range from websites featuring news, links and commentary run by individual fans, to label-run sites promoting similar sounds and scenes. Music blogs may also include producer coalitions that promote music as part of an ongoing culture of participation. Finally, there are blog aggregators that report on what’s hot and online music magazines with formal articles that include links to the music that they discuss. Many feature actual streaming or downloadable audio files that allow the reader to hear what all the fuss is about.

At minimum, a music blog might consist of basic lists or links to hot or obscure tunes, like a mixtape or playlist. But at maximum, many blogs provide fascinating context for the music they post, from scholarly analysis on a particular music element to a devoted fan’s impassioned history of a tiny subgenre, or even a wide-ranging set of thoughts on a musical theme.

Although blogs serve various creative purposes, they are above all social spheres. By posting links, entries and search functions, music blogs promote and embody a lively culture of interaction. Music blogs can also help artists. One anonymous blogger points out, “People like myself discover new music through these blogs, which often leads to album purchases, and even more often to support of the artist’s concerts, merchandise, etc.” Other blogs focused on DJ culture have new electronic artists post their work for feedback — an important step in developing artists and music scenes.

Missing Links

But now posts are disappearing. The trigger for deletion appears to be MP3 audio file links that possibly violate copyright law. However, many blog sites go far beyond simple link lists, including commentary, images and bloggers’ own creative work alongside music. The blogger’s original work, also covered by copyright law, often disappears along with the problematic link.

Apparently, some people’s intellectual property matters more than others!

Even stranger, some deleted links were given to bloggers by artists and labels explicitly for promotional purposes. As another anonymous blogger told me, “On the one hand record companies use blogs to help them sell records, and on the other hand, persecute blogs for it.

It also seems that one branch of the music industry doesn’t know what the other one is doing.
Linda, author of a small Southern California-based music blog, explains,

“I e-mailed my contact at the label of a band for whom I wrote an album review that was deleted. I told him which songs I posted and asked if I had done something that prompted the label to request a takedown. He denied that the label would have done that. I e-mailed another contact at a PR (public relations) firm regarding another album review that was deleted. The PR had sent me the album to review! They denied having any part in a takedown.

The Google-owned blog-publishing system, Blogger, has e-mailed bloggers after the fact, informing them that their posts were taken down because they contained a link to material Blogger has learned infringes copyright. But in other cases, entire posts have disappeared with no communication. Most bloggers have not been told which link in a multiple-link post is problematic.

When Blogger has notified music bloggers, they’ve cited the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), an unwieldy mishmash of compromises between the content and tech industries. The DMCA is supposed to protect middleman technology companies like Google (“Internet Service Providers” or ISPs) from lawsuits over what their users do. To avoid lawsuits over content that users post, ISPs must not create or edit content but simply host it, and must take down content when an owner says it infringes their copyright.

Bloggers can technically use the DMCA to fight back if they think their use is legal, by filing a counter-notification. In the best scenario, this would mean the copyright holders and the people who upload copyrighted content can duke out the issue themselves while the ISPs stay out of it.

However, Blogger hasn’t given bloggers the tools they need to defend themselves. Counter-notification can only happen after Blogger registers takedowns online. But, as Linda pointed out, since Blogger has not yet registered any complaints, “There is nothing for me to ‘counter’. I have no idea who I have offended or how.

Blogger’s own code of conduct says, “If we remove or disable access in response to such a notice, we will make a good-faith attempt to contact the owner or administrator of the affected site or content so that they may make a counter notification.
” Since when is no notice a good-faith effort?

Even if Blogger complied with its own policy and the DMCA, that might not be enough. Linda points out the asymmetry of the legal battle: “The direction[s] for filing a counter-notification includes agreeing to pay all legal fees if I am found in the wrong.
Without knowing what I am defending myself against, how can I possibly agree to such terms? Is it realistic for me, someone whose blog earns no money, to retain a lawyer?”

The system is biased in favor of those with plenty of cash and their own lawyers on staff. Luckily, in the US, we have a legal defense that would cover many music blogs — at least those that discuss, educate, criticize and comment. These could qualify for fair use protection, which does allow people to make use without permission of copyrighted works in ways that benefit society.

Although many bloggers, DJs and musicians I spoke with said that some blogs don’t play fair, they all emphasized the overall benefit that music blogs provide to artists and the public. “There will always be pirates,” said one blogger, label owner, producer and DJ. “File-sharing, mash-ups, and DJ mixes are all part of a huge explosion of musical creativity. We’re living in a time in which people are exposed to more new music than ever before and it’s the free flow of information that’s driving this push forward.

Unfortunately, it looks like Blogger may have made a private deal with content owners to automatically remove posts that owners complain about, rather than going through a transparent process with room for discussion. While this may not be illegal (although we should be concerned about the effect on our fair use rights), this is exactly why we can’t trust private companies to administer our culture fairly: They can make deals with other private companies without public input.

And why should we trust the content industry to make the rules when it doesn’t play fair? There’s a long history of baseless and debatable copyright complaints. If these companies have Blogger’s ear and don’t consider input from the public or users, they can basically define our access to works with no accountability.

What About Author’s Rights?

Worse yet is the fact that music bloggers’ own original material is being deleted. Even if some links in a post are not fair use, two wrongs don’t make a right. Google has made its name by promising to do right by its users and the data they host for the public.
If they keep deleting our own creative works, why should the public trust them?

Blogger is a private company, but it provides public services similar to those offered by libraries, archives and broadcasting. It’s a growing problem in the internet era: These private companies, controlled only by private law, have the ability to run their businesses with little or no respect for the public.

Google recently made a deal with book publishers over access to scanned books for Google Book Search. We have to be vigilant that they don’t snub the reading public the way they are currently dissing the listening, writing and remixing public on Blogger.

(Author’s Note: Only one blogger agreed to be identified for this column. Others say they are concerned about being further targeted.
So much for “Don’t Be Evil”!)

Larisa Mann writes about technology, media and law for WireTap, studies Jurisprudence and Social Policy at U.C. Berkeley and djs under the name Ripley. She is a resident DJ at Surya Dub, San Francisco, and collaborates with the Riddim Method blog-DJ-academic crew, Havocsound sound system, and various other cross-fertilizing organisms in the Bay Area and worldwide.

Published in: on December 4, 2008 at 2:37 pm  Comments (1)  
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