Thursday 1 June 2023

the annoying thing (10. 780)

Originally shared as an MP3 audio recording of a student in Gothenburg called Daniel Malmedahl imitating the sounds of a two-stroke engine revving (Tvรฅtaktare) in 1997 that was picked up as a signature sound for Formula One Racing in 2001, the concept, with the addition of a CGI character, became a ring-tone licensed and rather aggressively marketed in 2004 and on this day in 2005, just a couple of weeks after being released, its incarnation as a Eurodance, techno song by Axel F became the number one single in the UK and a summer hit (internationally—tube de l’รฉtรฉ), beating out the likes of Cold Play in the charts. This enduring cult classic, which is periodically called into service, saw more than a dozen remixes, concert tours, a video game, a documentary plus an unrealised television series and feature film. Deng deng!

Tuesday 13 December 2022

eh-oh! (10. 382)

Reaching number one on the UK singles chart somewhat inexplicably on this day twenty-five years ago for a two-week run and remaining in the top seventy-five for some thirty two weeks, the hit is a remix of the children’s series theme song with a few nursery rhyme bridges thrown in. We won’t make you watch the video.  Beating out the Spice Girls in the holiday race to be the Christmas number one, a prized annual distinction in the run up to the season. Following the success a Dutch version came out the following month, “Teletubbies zeggen ‘A-Oh!,’” reaching number twelve.

Sunday 11 December 2022

unfccc (10. 377)

Adopted on this day twenty-five years ago with a nearly eight year period for signatory states to curb greenhouse emissions, the Kyoto Protocol—an extension of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change, which first acknowledges anthropogenic climate change and sets forth a legally-binding plan to mitigate the seven most damaging industrial and agricultural gases and reduce concentrations down to a level that would no longer interfere with natural, prevailing weather systems. Further recognising that individual parties have different capabilities in the front of combating climate change, the treaty informs a common goal but with graduated responsibilities. The protocol was superseded by the Paris Agreement in 2015 after years of annual renegotiations and richer companies resorting to carbon-offsets (see also) rather than genuine progress.

Sunday 21 August 2022

champagne supernova (10.076)

On this day in 1997, the Brothers Gallagher and their band Oasis released their third studio album, highly anticipated after the success of (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? two years prior, and was at the cusp between physical media and more ambient interfaces among the fastest-selling records of all time. In retrospect, however, the commercial success of Be Here Now did not translate to magnanimity in terms of legacy—consequential nevertheless, revealed as cynical and formulaic and of its moment as part of a rivalry with Blur to vie for victory in a constructed class proxy war.

Friday 27 May 2022

memorandum of understanding

Signed in Paris on this day in 1997, the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation was a declaration that included confidence-building measures and a framework for cooperation and disarmament that attempted to strike a balance between security and policy interests of both sides. Agreed upon principles included the renunciation of threat or use of force against any other state, respect of territorial integrity and political independence as well as inviolability of borders, the right self-determination and the right to choose the best means of ensuring their own security to be overseen by a joint council. Russia violated the agreement in 2008 with its war in Georgia, in 2014 with the annexation of Crimea and with the current war in Ukraine. In response to aforementioned incursions, NATO for its part has violated its pledge not to permanently station troops in new member states.

Saturday 21 May 2022

paranoid android

Though perhaps as remarkable in its departure from the band’s usual fare that came before and after, the third studio album from Radiohead was first released on this day in 1997 and limns the world to come fraught with social alienation, political tribalism and unbridled consumption and commodification—as opposed to the era framed as the end of history and post-modernism—by means of a lyrical narrative that speaks to the vague anxieties perhaps represented by though not exclusively about y2k in the existential dread of loosing oneself to forces inscrutable lumped together as technology.

Tuesday 15 March 2022

i’ll do my exploring in the laboratory, if you don’t mind

First subjected to the MST3K deluxe treatment on this day in 1997, Terror from the Year 5000 is a Samuel Z Arkoff and Robert J Gurney Jr. collaboration from 1958 about a science experiment that first involves an exchange of objects and artefacts from the distant future, sort of like the show’s regular invention exchange segment. Eventually (about an hour into the movie) this trading beckons a disfigured, Greek-speaking envoy to travel to the present and present a warning about the nuclear holocaust in the hope intervention will change the timeline. The Observers’ forcing Bobo and Dr Pearl Forrester to engage in combat is a reference to “The Gamesters of Triskelion” when the disembodied minds called The Providers demanded Uhura, Kirk and Chekov fight to the death.