Half-naked and drunk out of their minds

I’m really pleased to see that Mark Eitzel and Simon Stephens‘ collaboration Marine Parade is having its world premiere as part of the Brighton Festival next week. Marine Parade is ‘a play with music’ set in a Brighton sea front B&B. There is more info on the Festival website here, including some free music and a concisely soapy blurb (‘…Claire needs more money than she’s ever owned. Christopher needs to see her one more time…’ etc.).

The play takes place ‘over the course of 24 hours at the edge of England at the start of its final century.’

That’s a nice line.

Another Marine Parade, this one in Seaford, East Sussex

I saw an early workshop version of Marine Parade a while ago while Mark Eitzel was in the UK and I’d just intereviewed him for the Idler. That showing was put together in a rehearsal space which was so shitty and rundown that its very survival in the heart of the west end gave me a kind of hope. I’ve been absent-mindedly following the play’s progress since then, via another batch of rehearsals and occasional catch-ups.

I’m a sucker for Mark’s music, whether with American Music Club or his solo stuff, so I could sit and watch this all night long, but Simon Stephens is also a brilliant playwright and I think that together they’ve done something really exciting.

At this point I’d love to put in a link to David Benedict’s rave review of Simon Stephens’ play Harper Regan for Variety, but their registration process is crap. If you can be bothered and you’re happy for a magazine to have all that personal data about you in return for fuck all the link is here, otherwise, google it and look at the cached version.

The title I ended up using for that Idler interview (see below) came from a nice line of Mark’s on late night Brighton and the ‘hen party girls with their matching outfits, stumbling around half-naked in the middle of the night and drunk out of their minds.’

Click the image to see the interview on Exact Editions (p.s. I'm not Idler lit ed any more).

Talking of which, a new Idler launched last week – you can buy it here or from your local bookshop. I’m really looking forward to reading it. Doubly so because I don’t have to wonder what is going to be in the next one.

As with issue 42 before it, this latest Idler takes the form of a beautifully designed and printed cloth-bound book, typeset by Christian Brett of Bracket Press, who does frankly amazing things with typesetting and print.

It’s impossible for digital editions to compete with that kind of quality, but ‘Beautiful and Anarchic and Crazy and Great’ is also online (at time of writing) as part of a free sample of Idler issue 41 offered by Exact Editions: the browser-based magazine subscription site. Or you can download a standalone PDF of the interview here: Eitzel Interview – Idler 41 May08.

Booking info for Marine Parade here.

Postscript – Saturday 15 May 2010

Who can see your personal data? Everyone.

Since posting this two days ago, Matt McKeon’s graphic illustration of Facebook’s gradual erosion of its users’ privacy (see screengrab and link, left) has been getting a lot of coverage. The discussion about Facebook and privacy has been going on for a while now, and it’s renewed with each new set of byzantine changes to the default settings. As McKeon’s graphics show, each change reduces the security of users’ information.

There was another good story doing the rounds yesterday, including on the Register here, about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg apparently once calling its users ‘dumb fucks’ for trusting him with their data.

This reminds me that a couple of years ago Bracket Press published Idler ed. Tom Hodgkinson’s anti-Facebook pamphlet We Want Everyone: Facebook and The New American Right, an adaptation of an earlier guardian article by Tom which explored this apparent ongoing data grab and Facebook’s business models. We Want Everyone is available to buy from the Bracket Press site. It’s a great read.

Unlike Tom I still have a Facebook account. A few months ago, tired of endless Farmville updates from Facebook friends who seemed to endlessly be collecting eggs or whatever, I paraphrased Baudrillard with this gently satirical tweet:

Farmville is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that Facebook is real  http://bit.ly/biioHD

But actually of course Facebook is real and it’s most likely not grownups playing Farmville that is the valuable data on there. Like Danah Boyd I find myself alarmed by the naivety of younger Facebook users. Among the young people I know (and more importantly many that I actually don’t know, but who happen to be friends-of-friends of those I do), there are many who seem to want not only to document all their let’s say ‘recreational’ activities, but also to post those photos in order to share them with their friends. I’m for ever hitting the ‘hide’ button as yet another photo album announces itself on my wall and every saucer-eyed moment of every weekend from make-up to come-down is posted and tagged; shared, in other words, not only with friends and – duh! – parents, but also of course with absolutely anybody or any agency or business that this might be of interest or useful to or who can pay for it for ever.

You’d think they’d never read Burroughs…

Fifty-plus years ago it was only Allen Ginsberg who could watch ‘the best minds of [his] generation […] starving, hysterical, naked.’ Now from a lack of understanding or education about what the internet is, coupled with an excess of trust in Burroughs’ ‘all powerful boards and syndicates of the earth’, it seems that every ‘Angel-headed hipster’ is making their ‘ancient heavenly connection’ in public: ‘For all to see, in Times Square, in Picadilly.’