Friday 3 November 2023

wax; or, the discovery of television among the bees (11. 094)

Written and directed by David Blair and staring the talents of the filmmaker himself, William S Burroughs and Clyde Tombaugh, the psychedelic collage of found-footage, live-action and digital animation was the first to be available to stream (at two frames per second) over the internet as its hypermedia version, Waxweb, following its cinematic release in 1991. As a statement against Gulf War I and drone combat (see also), the structuralist work edited over a six year period is set in an flight stimulation and weapons research laboratory in Alamagordo in the desert of of the US state of New Mexico were the narrator (Blair) is a computer programmer and hobbyist apiarist, having inherited his hives of “Mesopotamian” bees from his grandfather. Whilst at work designing sighting displays, the protagonist realises that these bees have the ability to insert intrusive thoughts in his mind (a television), luring him into the bees subterranean home under the arid wasteland surrounding the test range and revealing through a series of hallucinations that he must become the become the weapon he is designing and destroy his target in Iraq before he can be released from this madness and reborn.

Wednesday 31 August 2022

gefahren warten nur auf jene, die nicht auf das leben reagieren (10. 099)

Hailed as a visionary abroad but with a bit more complicated legacy domestically, the former Soviet leader whose political quiver included perestroika and glasnost has passed away, aged 91 after a protracted bout of sickness, effectively ending the Cold War by trying to salvage what was beyond saving. His decisions not to use force to hold power or prevent the toppling of the Berlin Wall or against waves of declarations of independence ushered in a peaceful revolution, though Gorbachev survived long enough to see those reforms undermined and undone by the invasion of Ukraine and attempts to reestablish Russia’s former sphere of influence. Thank you Mister Gorbachev–we hope your outlook for the world ultimately holds and we regain our senses.

Wednesday 13 July 2022

(everything i do)

Released in mid-June, the power ballad by Bryan Adams for the soundtrack to the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves topped the charts in the UK on this day in 1991 and remained at number one for an unprecedented sixteen consecutive weeks a record that still stands, and was an enormous success internationally in terms of sales and radio play. At the Academy Awards the following year, it won an Oscar for Best Original Song and, decades later, consistently tallies on soft rock countdowns.

Saturday 9 July 2022

photocopy cha-cha-cha

Titled “Choreography for Copy Machine” this 1991 short is a montage of sublimely sequenced animated, dreamlike encounters made exclusively by layering and resampling on a xerox machine. Created by independent filmmaker Chel White, the award-winning the four minute exploration examines anatomy, physiognomy in an age where any asset is limitlessly reproducible and pre-figures our digital and automated over abundance. NSFW exactly as there are a few frames of nudity in line with what copiers sometimes used to get exposed to at office holiday parties.

Sunday 24 April 2022


Founded and headquartered in the The Hague in 1991, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation was constituted to champion the marginalised with membership made of indigenous peoples, minorities and unrecognised or otherwise occupied territories with an aim of achieving political autonomy and self-determination with the rejection of violence and terrorism as tools of policy. Current localities and groups on its rolls (not without controversy and in-group dispute) are Abkhazia, Bretagne, Catalonia, the District of Colombia, Guam, the Hmong, Savoy, Sindhudesh and Tibet. Former members Palau, East Timor, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia and Armenia have attained full statehood and independence.

Thursday 31 March 2022


The unrecognised, break-away region of South Ossetia, in northern Georgia on the border with Russia willhold a referendum shortly for the fifty thousand residents of the militarily occupied territory to decide whether or not to begin the accession process to and be absorbed by its neighbour. The other break-away region, Abkhazia, maintains it has no such plans at the present. Declaring independence in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russian forces have held de facto control since the 2008 Georgian-Russo conflict. The last time the Russia Federation annexed the land of another sovereign country was when it took Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, incorporating the independent Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol after a much shorter period of transition lasting only weeks.

Wednesday 16 February 2022

the simpsons sing the blues

The first cartoon ensemble to reach the top spot on the singles charts since the Archies’ fabricated band’s performance of “Sugar, Sugar” back in 1969, on this day in 1991 the song “Do the Bartman” from the titular album grabbed and held the number one position. Never officially released as a single in the US despite air-play, the song written and produced by Michael Jackson earned critical acclaim including a nomination for the year’s MTV Video Music Awards. Track listings included several remixes including a cappella and a So So Krispy version by artist Diplo.

Saturday 25 December 2021

fait accompli

Having persuaded the Supreme Soviet to vest within the office of president (a different entity altogether from the Presidium whose chair was sometimes conflated by Western governments and press) all executive powers for an amount of time not to exceed two years—like the Roman tradition of appointing a limited-tenure dictator, during this time of transition and upheaval, incumbent just since mid-March of 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev, his position strengthened by withstanding the failed August Coup but unable to reverse the party’s decision for dissolution, announced his resignation as commander-in-chief at the Kremlin before television cameras broadcasting internationally on this day in 1991. Expressing remorse for the breakup of the union, Gorbachev at the same time welcomed the reforms of a market-economy, greater political and religious freedoms as well as the end of the Cold War and its attendant brinksmanship, the Supreme Soviet the next day voted itself out of existence, allowing the Soviet Union to expire at midnight 31 December (Julian Christmas of course falling on the seventh of January on the Gregorian calendar but not reinstated as a holiday until 1992, with New Year’s the big celebration—see also) with the Russian Federation the successor to all Soviet Institutions.

Tuesday 14 December 2021

good posture is its own reward

One of two shorts before the main film The Unearthly about a crazed scientist in search of eternal youth, the educational, social guidance film from 1952 Posture Pals first received the MST3K treatment on this day in 1991, featuring a foursome of elementary students pledging to help each other improve their bearing. Hey—it’s Whistler’s Mother!

Sunday 28 November 2021

(i’ve had) the time of my life

On this day in 1987, the closing duet from Dirty Dancing with Jennifer Warnes ([Love Lift Us] Up Where we Belong with Joe Cocker and various collaborations with Leonard Cohen) and Bill Medley—former Righteous Brother—reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, and peaking twice in UK charts, once in November after the theatrical release of the soundtrack album and then again in 1991 when the film was first Broadcast on television. Written and composed for the movie by Frank Previte, Donald Markowitz and John DeNicola, the song won a Golden Globe, Grammy and an Oscar. The team were also responsible for Eric Carmen’s “Hungry Eyes,” which also went on to become a hit.

Tuesday 9 November 2021

teenage caveman

Airing for the first time on this day in 1991, MST3K’s lampooning of the 1958 Roger Corman film revived its status as a contender for the worst movie ever made. Summarily, the plot follows a tribe of primitive humans eking out a survival in a barren wilderness, prohibited from crossing in to lusher lands within sight over ancient superstitions, until one old teenager dares to defy societal norms. Beyond the barrier, the protagonist and his followers encounter the enforcing spirit of this taboo and kill the demiurge—only to discover that it is merely a much older man with mysterious dress and markings. The expository voice-over for the denouement reveals that the apparent supernatural being was a survivor of a long ago nuclear holocaust forced to live inside his radiation suit and wander his side of the river for decades. The triple-feature includes two shorts before the main film. You're wasted!

Tuesday 26 October 2021

the saga of the viking women and their voyage to the waters of the great sea serpent

The 1958 Roger Corman film with the ridiculously long title (see previously) about a group of women from a land called Stannjรธld embark on an adventure in search of their lost men, are shipwrecked by a sea monster and are imprisoned by the Grimaults and made to toil in their mines, reunited with themishing male companions in captivity was revived as a cult cult classic when it was lampooned by Mystery Science Theater 3000, first broadcast on this day in 1991. Starring Abby Dalton as Desรญr and June Kenney as Asmild, the film was apparently cheap-looking even by Corman’s standards, reviews were mixed and the director wasn’t enough studio-time in Paradise Cove for such an ambitious epic, going against his instincts and letting special effects carry the story forward. The feature is preceded by the educational short The Home Economics Story.

Sunday 26 September 2021

biosphere 2

Under construction since 1987, the environmental research facility in Oracle in the US state of Arizona host to the largest closed vivarium—that is sealed ecosystem—ever built, more than a hectare in size and meant to demonstrate the viability of artificial and self-sustaining life-support systems in outer space, began its first forty-eight month mission on this day in 1991, with a crew of eight impounded under the dome. With the crew enduring oxygen deprivation and near starvation over the two year trial and not all biomes that were to represent the different regions of Spaceship Earth thriving plus pests, lessons were learned and changes implemented, although by the time the second mission was to commence, there was vicious fighting amongst the project managers and accusations of bad science and bad methodology, including the engagement of Steve Bannon who put the programme into receivership incorporated under the name Space Biosphere Ventures. All this took place outside of the framework of competitive reality television and the era of business sectarianism. Since 2007, Biosphere 2 has been owned and operated by the University of Arizona, conducting experiments in atmospheric research, soil geochemistry and climate change and holding special week-long space-camps for students.

Sunday 19 September 2021


Discovered on this day in 1991, the human, natural mummy named ร–tzi (previously) was found by a pair of German tourist on the east ridge of the ร–tztal (Venoste) Alps spanning the Italo-Austrian border believing that this five thousand year old corpse was the remains of a more recently departed mountaineer and immediately summoned the authorities, the forensics department turning the case over to the archeologists. Frozen and exquisitely preserved, scientist were able to study his clothes, shoes and tools as well as the contents of his stomach, bodily composition, toxicity and glean a lot of about his civilisation’s lifestyle, diet and technical prowess.

Monday 6 September 2021

second city

Known as Leningrad since 1924 (following the death of its namesake), the sixteenth century Russian port town on the Neva and erstwhile capital had its original name, St. Petersburg, restored on this day in 1991 by the result of a citywide referendum held that June. Through the changes, locals referred to their home simply as ะŸะธั‚ะตั€ for short and the oblast colocated there still bears the former designation of ะ›ะตะฝะธะฝะณั€ะฐ́ะดัะบะฐั.

Friday 3 September 2021


Via Web Curios, we thoroughly enjoyed this scrolly-telling celebration of Ukrainian independence, having just recently observed its thirtieth anniversary, adopted by parliament on 24 August 1991 in the aftermath of the failed coup when party hardliners tried to reassert control and reverse the reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev, which not only presents the country’s history but moreover lauds its accomplishments, culture, attractions and other highlights with splashy call-outs and a touch of Doge-level mawkishness that compels one to read through to the end.

Sunday 29 August 2021

come doused in mud, soaked in bleach as i want you to be—as a trend, as a friend

Ahead of the album’s official release later in the third week of September, a Boston radio station (call sign WFNX from 1983 to 2012 and one of the first commercial broadcasters to play alternative rock) hosted by DJ Kurt St. Thomas premiered Nirvana’s Nevermind, playing the entire recording on this day in 1991. Launching four singles and an unexpected success, both in critical reception and sales, the album is credited with bringing the various genres of the Seattle grunge movement into mainstream media, awarded several honours and reissues. Despite having recreated the cover art with underwater photoshoots for the album’s tenth, seventeenth and twenty-fifth anniversaries, the then infant model has filed a lawsuit against the band for lifelong damages for exploiting his image.

Saturday 21 August 2021

dziesmotฤ revolลซcija

Beginning in 1987 after the introduction of the policies of glasnost and perestroika that rolled back certain limitations on political expression heretofore imposed on Soviet constituent member states outside of the core of Russia, the Baltic satellites staged a peaceful Singing Revolution that culminated for Latvia on this day in 1991 declaring its independence in the midst of an attempted coup to unseat Mikhail Gorbachev from his leadership position. One of the more popular songs of the freedom movement was the trilingual (also with verses in Estonian and Lithuanian) The Baltics are Waking Up!, composed by Boriss Rezniks for a protest two years prior commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, which defined German and Soviet spheres of influence in the region, with defiant ralliers’ joining hands and forming a human chain stretching across the three countries.

Sunday 20 June 2021


Casting their vote on this day in 1991, the Bundestag of reunified Germany made the decision to move the seat of government and departmental headquarters from Bonn to Berlin. As stipulated by the second article of the treaty between East and West—which also established 3 October as der Tag der Deutschen Einheit—Berlin was already declared the capital in 1990. The transition took place over the ensuing decades with field offices of several ministries retained in the western conurbation, near Brussels and Germany’s most densely populated region.

Tuesday 15 June 2021

your experiment today is called pod people. it has nothing to do with pods, it has nothing to do with people. it has everything to do with hurting.

First airing on this day in 1991, the third episode of the third season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (see previously) lampoons the 1983 Franco-Spanish sci-fi movie with the original title Los nuevos extraterrestres, which was originally meant to be a horror film with a murderous alien rampage in the tradition of Beowulf but changed course during shooting to capitalise on the success of E.T. (changed to avoid confusion) with a bond forming between one of the aliens and a human kid. The MST3K cast especially enjoy mishearing the performance of “Burning Rubber Tyres”—singing “hear the engines roar now” as “idiot control now.”