||[Sep. 8th, 2009|09:13 pm]
Say "Words!" in a comment and I'll give you five words that make me think of you. Tell me about them in a post in your journal.
Despite the efforts of our current Mayor, who is really more a mascot than a civic administrator, to give the city an "edgier" sort of reputation, Invercargill is still fundamentally a rural service town that grew a bit. Historically, about all it's really had going for it is that much of what it has is the southernmost of its type in the world (as long as it doesn't duplicate anything that could be found in Port Stanley or Tierra del Fuego). While not really all that high a latitude (comparable with Montreal, or the north of Italy, or the south of France), there's very little that's actually farther south than Invercargill that isn't Antarctica.
The whole idea of postage stamps was to indicate the pre-payment of mail. This was actually a fairly revolutionary idea in 1840 when they were first printed, although it's ubiquitous now. It didn't take long for people to start collecting them (there wasn't much else to do as a hobby in the mid 19th century!) and they've fairly much never stopped since. Stamp collectors can also be found on the Internet, where they have a not entirely undeserved reputation as scary, scary people (those who remember the rec.collecting.stamps reorganisation flamewar can attest to that!) Let's just say that in the Discworld book Going Postal, a character who somewhat resembled a stamp collector was toned down from real life in order to make him more believable. Incidentally, I have a web page for some of the abovementioned small paper items; the civic mascot described in the preceding paragraph can be observed on this page.
For twelve years my only way of connecting to the Internet was over a somewhat unreliable telephone line. Finally, in January of this year, after a couple of years of trying to get anything organised, I managed to get a decent internet connection (through Snap Internet).
One of these days I will have to set down in electrons my recollection of my time with South End Science Fiction, Invercargill's very own SF club. It was definitely SF in those days; the mundane abbreviation "sci-fi" was pronounced "skiffy" and treated with about as much contempt as the... new name for The Sci-Fi Channel over in America which I refuse to type out... is treated with today. Because this was a long time ago, when the most anticipated event was the promised new series of Star Trek. Some time around 1989, at which point I'd been in the club for two or three years, I acquired a newsletter or a magazine or something which explained some of the arcane terminology within Fandom. Back then, slash was characterised as Kirk/Spock; "furry fandom" were people who watched Disney films or Road Runner cartoons; and the only news I'd ever seen about Japanese cartoons was a (very positive) review of Akira in the Listener. Of course, nowadays SF is completely mainstream, and I regularly get misinterpreted when I'm being sarcastic when people go on about how SF is a "boys' club" (there were women in SF fandom at every level while I was active, and some of them go way back... does nobody remember who Bjo Trimble is any more?) but, on the Internet, if you look hard enough, you'll still find pockets of Fannish activity which include much of what was good about Fandom back in the day.
I always say that the golden age of rock and roll is high school. It was my good fortune to be going through high school at the height of the post-punk era, when the raw talent that exploded in the late 1970s was learning to knuckle down, learn some musical discipline and then use what they'd learned to finish the job of subverting the scene they'd been attacking. High school was when the Clash's Combat Rock, Midnight Oil's 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1, The Clean's Boodle Boodle Boodle, Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart, New Order's Blue Monday, The Rip's A Timeless Piece, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's The Message, The Chills' Pink Frost and Trio's Da Da Da, and so many others like them, all pushed popular music to somewhere it hadn't been before. There's still great music being released, even this century, and much of the best of it owes a debt to this music. Even the pioneers of the late 1970s are still active and working; the Terminals, whose roots reach back to Bill Direen's 1970s group The Vacuum, released an amazing album just a couple of years ago. Neil Young, who, thanks to the Internet (and Russell Brown in particular), I've recently seen performing a great live version of Rockin' in the Free World, said it best: Rock and roll will never die.