Paris’s war on squats
Artist squats are proud avant-garde tradition in Paris – or at least they would be if that wasn’t such a blazing contradiction in terms. Since the late ’90s, squats like Les Frigos, 59 Rivoli and the impeccably named Le Laboratoire de la Creation have entrenched into cherished Bohemian spaces for public exhibitions, live shows and workshops. But now the government is cracking down on all this wilfully uncommercial creativity, and this year the city’s oldest, La Miroiterie, closed its doors after 14 years. Merde. Just merde.
Here’s Steve Mackay and Mike Watt of The Stooges playing there in 2011:
‘I Can’t Sing’: the ‘X-Factor’ musical
Simon Cowell’s ‘X-Factor’-inspired vanity-musical survived the audition round with London theatre critics, who gave the show a tentative ‘er, it’s not terrible’… But then the theatregoing public voted it off the West End in May after a run of just two months.
We just felt that, tonight, Simon, this just wasn’t the right musical choice for you. You were trying to be something that you’re not, Simon, with the clever storylines and the overtures and the whole self-caricature thing you’ve got going on over here. Sorry. It’s a no from us.
An effective facial fitness regime is, of course, in no way a bad idea. A fellatio-powered helicopter is, though, and that seems to be what’s being demonstrated here.
And in this, THE BEST infomercial for a flapping adult-pacifier you’re ever likely to see…
And that’s even before you find out that the PAO facial fitness propeller is the only fitness propeller footballing hero Cristiano Ronaldo chooses to use on his face. Or at least chooses to hold in front of his face, at a respectable distance:
State action against penguins in a same-sex relationship
Time Out Singapore editor Iliyas Ong: ‘Singapore’s state-run library announced in July that it intended to destroy all copies of “And Tango Makes Three” – an award-winning children’s book from 2005 about a pair of male penguins that raise a chick. The decision was met with public outrage, and sharp criticism forced the library to reinstate the book. But only into the library’s adult section.’
Unintentionally tasteless clothing
Time Out Shopping & Style editor Katie Dailey: ‘2014 was the year the UK high-street fashion industry faced waves of outrage online for a ‘Kent State University’ varsity sweater in a spattered blood print (from Urban Outfitters, who were marketing it as part of a ‘sun-faded vintage’ line and had failed to pick up on the reference to the Ohio National Guard’s notorious campus killings of 1970); a pair of concentration-camp-style striped children’s pyjamas with a six-pointed star (from Zara, who had intended it to be a sheriff’s star); and countless cheapo ‘Native American’ headdresses in the name of festival fashion.
It’s likely that the people behind these quickly withdrawn products weren’t too hot at history – but, intentionally or not, it’s not a good look to wear suffering on your sleeves.’
Perhaps the idea of commemorating Chicago’s devastating fire of 1871 by setting another big fire in the middle of the city was asking for trouble. If so, it’s probably a good thing that the celebration’s centerpiece on the Chicago River failed to light. Windy City, people: Windy City.
China bans Instagram
Oh yes it did. Time Out Beijing editor Lee Williamson: ‘The protests in Hong Kong have led to Instagram being blocked on the Mainland, which really sucks. How else are we supposed to show people pictures of our lunch at the newest speakeasy pop-up?’
Personal-space invaders – schoolgirl edition
Unveiled at September’s Tokyo Game Show was this, a stunning new concept in virtual reality gaming. ‘Summer Lesson’ – played on a prototype of Sony’s forthcoming Morpheus VR headset – immerses the player in a teenage schoolgirl’s bedroom, allowing them to sit around while she studies, drops things and adjusts her clothing while they just… sort of… hang out.
We’re already looking forward to ‘Summer Lesson’s likely follow-up: ‘Night in the Cells with New Friend Big Terry’.
In January 2014 international financial markets braced themselves for the launch of a new online ‘cryptocurrency’, poised to take on the might of Bitcoin. Oddly, the currency was wholly derived from the persona of Kanye West. This is the kind of thing that goes on on the internet.
At the time, the creators of ‘Coinye West’ (because, you see, this was a 100% pun-based cryptocurrency – which would technically make it a ‘quiptocurrency’) told the music website Noisey: ‘I can picture a future where Coinye is used to buy concert tickets, with cryptographically verified virtual tickets, and other ideas I can’t give away just yet.’ But within seven days of its launch they withdrew the coinage after their hero filed a Kanye West-sized lawsuit against them. He wasn’t saying they were gold-diggers; he was saying they were infringing his artistic copyright under title 17 of the United States Code, 1947.
In August Argentina jumped on the money-that’s-not-really-money bandwagon, with the CEDIN – a ‘pseudocurrency’ intended to siphon US dollars from the Argentine property market – a scheme that had already launched and flopped in 2013. According to Time Out Buenos Aires director Mark Rebindaine, things aren’t looking any better second time around: ‘Recent reports show that the government has sold a tiny percentage of the CEDINs – of which, the opposition argue, the majority have been bought by drug traffickers laundering money.’ Third time lucky?
Because just look at them. And also because, according to Time Out New York movie critic Eric Hynes, ‘Even by low standards, “Grudge Match” is astonishingly undercooked’.
Applying the optional service charge in a no-service-received environment
A hot new dining trend we’re not so keen on. ‘Now we’re not against service charges,’ says Time Out Group Food editor Guy Dimond. ‘Clearly stated on the menu and then bill, they avoid confusion about any need for tipping, or how much. Which works fine if you’re in a restaurant which actually has table service… But queuing at a counter and paying at the till? 12.5 per cent? We don’t think so.’
Curfew for clubbers
Following two alcohol-related deaths, in February new ‘lockout laws’ came into effect for nightlife venues in central Sydney…
Time Out Sydney editor Nicholas Fonseca: ‘You want to enter a bar in the newly designated lockout zone after 1.30am? Can’t do that any more. You want to leave one club and head to another after 1.30am? Nope, sorry. In an effort to minimise violence on our streets, the lockout laws – propelled by fatal incidents that occurred in the early-evening hours – maximised chaos, enraged responsible patrons, left a good chunk of the city’s nightlife venues reeling and tarnished Sydney’s reputation as an international tourist destination.’
The ultimate haggisification of Scottish culture
Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games themselves were a sensational triumph. But, sadly, the opening ceremony, held at Celtic Park on July 23, gave new definition to the term ‘broad Scots’. From the 30ft kilt to the coyly grinning Nessie the procession of cartoon tartanry was relentless, mesmerizing and terrifying. A national anxiety dream that an estimated one billion TV viewers worldwide may never wake up from.
No more dinosaurs!
It was extinction all over again for the dinosaurs of Washington, DC’s Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History this April – when its hugely popular Fossil Hall closed its doors for renovation. For five years! To put that in context: that’s five years! No dinosaurs until 2019?! As if there’s ANY OTHER REASON people ever go to natural history museums. Stuffed elephants, cave-person dioramas, Ben Stiller – all sideshows. Everyone knows that.
Tunnel vision (or lack of)
Time Out Istanbul managing editor Antoine Remise: ‘Building the Marmaray underground tunnel, connecting Istanbul’s Asian and Anatolian sides was not a bad idea per se, but the construction work took no account of excess water drainage, and the square where its main stop is located now gets flooded whenever it rains.’
Other hyperactive construction projects this year, meanwhile, have caused ancient archaeological finds to be discarded and the rapid destruction of natural habitats on Istanbul’s outskirts. On the plus side, they have also resulted in this:
The demolition of this iconic art deco building
Time Out Melbourne Lifestyle editor Rose Johnstone: ‘The cold war between overseas developers and community members fighting for the protection of the historic Palace Theatre turned hot when construction workers started ripping out the building from the inside before the its heritage status had been confirmed.’
The nastying up of the Brooklyn Bridge
Time Out New York content director Nick Leftley: ‘Back in May, Time Out New York begged couples to stop attaching padlocks, as symbols of their commitment to each other, to the Brooklyn Bridge. A few months later the situation escalated as New Yorkers, evidently deciding that padlocks were too much effort, started tying bits of trash to the magnificent, 131-year-old structure instead. Among the items apparently meant to indicate undying love were old bras, tampons, tissues and condoms. See? This is why we can’t have nice things.’
‘The Interview’ as comedy blockbuster
In the hands of low-profile indie filmmakers, this might have been fine. But by fielding its powder-keg conceit in A-lister bromance territory, ‘The Interview’ has opened a whole popping-candy bagful of bad ideas that’s still fizzing. Featuring such bad ideas as: being mean about people you work with in work emails; crossing a Hollywood producer even slightly; the Hollywood studio system in general; self-imposed censorship; censorship in general; poking assassination-based fun at isolated military dictatorships; isolated military dictatorships in general…
Time Out global film editor Dave Calhoun: ‘Who ever thought it was a good idea for the actor-writer behind “Superbad” and “Pineapple Express” to get involved in sensitive global nuclear diplomacy? And to bring James Franco along for the ride? We’re all for free speech, of course, and we get the concept of satire – but we’re also all for choosing your targets and material sensibly, and “The Interview” just sounded like a very, very bad idea from the off. No one emerges from this looking good.’
Banning things that women in online pornography look like they like having done to them very much while failing to ban similar or equivalent things that men in online pornography look like they like having done to them, also very much
British obscenity legislators are currently accused of being both misogynistic prudes and prudish misogynists, thanks to their recent intervention in the UK porn industry – which seemed to target depictions of female pleasure in particular.
New laws have banned British pornographers from showing acts involving – among other things – humiliation, face-sitting, female ejaculation and verbal abuse (because British hardcore pornography must always maintain a certain degree of decorum, or else it simply wouldn’t be British hardcore pornography, and that simply wouldn’t do). A torrent of protests calling for the bans to be reversed quickly followed, including this one in which some 200 protesters WENT DOWN to Parliament to stage a face-sit-in. On. In? In.
— Martin Wefail (@wefail) December 12, 2014
And for anyone whose face has recently been sat on, may we recommend…
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