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Director's cut — August 2004

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August 1, 2004 by Tara Brabazon

Greetings to members and lurkers.

July 2004 has been a busy month for the Collective. The membership list has been expanding, and Carrie Kilpin — our outstanding Web designer — has created a remarkable site. While we are still building our virtual home, the structure is livable, warm and productive. It feels right. On behalf of all of the PCC, we thank Carrie for her terrific work, done late at night and on weekends while starting a new job.

Our virtual home improvements through August and September shift to the creative space — the Mezzanine. Paul Stock, our virtual curator, is organising our displays. The sonic workshop is about to sound out its presence. We hope to display Matt Hodge's — aka Infinite Detail — talent in the coming months. For the Rhythm and Movement hub, this is the first of what I hope will be many sonic exhibitions. Pass on any sound files you have been hiding in the digital attic to Felicity Cull, the RM Convenor. I also hope that the Sound and Vision Unit members can also display their designs on the Mezzanine. I know Kathryn 'Janeway' Locke also wants to actualise her city imaging project. So gather your creative productions, PCC members. Our task is to decorate our Mezzanine. This isn't The Block. This is The Mezz.

One of our great and active members Valentin Fyrst has given us so many ideas for the next year. He wants to make the site — and our work — more accessible to members, future members and lurkers with disabilities. This is an important aim for me, and I am sure this goal is shared by all members of the Collective. Also, Valentin would like to design a Popular Culture Collective logo. Outstanding. Other members with design expertise — please have a twirl. We would like to display your efforts and use them on the site. If you have always wanted to experiment with design — this is your chance. You have one month. Send your designs to me — and we will display them in September.

We are also planning our goals for the next year. I would like each hub to develop a project or agenda.

It does not have to be a sweeping reorganisation of life as we know it.

Just aim to add some content to the site, or run a seminar morning, have a (virtual or actual) road trip or write a collective project. Hold an exhibition in the Mezz. The options are limitless. Put your mind to it — and have a chat with your hub. We congratulate the Body Works hub — under the leadership of the irreplaceable Rachel Shave — for already sketching out some projects for the group. There are some great discussions circulating about sporting bodies, building on the outstanding work of Debbie Hindley. We look forward to future reports.

Collective work
There are a couple of projects I would like to announce to the Collective. Members of the Rhythm and Movement hub and Critical Digital are combining for a shared project. During July, it was announced that — in the United Kingdom — mobile telephone ring tones are now outselling singles. Felicity Cull, Mike Kent, Leanne McRae and I are conducting some research to see what we can discover on this topic. I nearly have a title — something about the jingle outselling the single. It rhymes — that is a good start.

I have been involved in music copyright discussions in the last six weeks — a story for another column! — but a large revenue earner for these organisations is the phone ring tone. This is interesting — let's see what we can find on this topic.

The Critical Digital hub has been busy under the leadership of Mike Kent — who is reorganising life as we know it. We are developing a new collective project around the notion of Internet 'access.'

What is the relationship between citizenship and internet access? How/Should intervention and regulation take place? What is digital democracy? If anyone has topics they have always wanted to write, then contact Mike or myself. Already, ideas are circulating about the internet and education, the internet and sport, the internet and the workplace. What about digital cities or virtual libraries? Have a think. Develop a topic, think of a title and write five lines about a chapter. Mike and I will approach you about more concrete proposals in the next three weeks.

I have a provisional title — Access all Areas? Building an e-democracy.

Thank you to Mike for triggering this great project. The Critical Digital moment is now.

Big idea of the month (BIM)

A book I am going to write over Christmas — that I'm writing now when I really should be thinking about databases, right Mike? — is titled Thinking Pop. I am working with the idea and phrase of Creative Non-Fiction. There are many definitions and applications of this term, using material from style journalism, ficto-criticism and auto-ethnography. Basically, the point of this phrase is to smooth out the clean division between fiction and non-fiction. Part of the project of the PCC is to corrode the theory and production divide. Another one of our goals is to think about the nature of creativity. Leanne has been researching this field and I believe she is developing an agenda for the Creative Industrial Matrix. She is calling it 'hub homework.' We look forward to her directions and directives.

In the next few weeks, think about Creative Non-Fiction. Do a bit of reading. Ponder the phrase during yoga. Breath in — creative non-fiction — breath out.

Regarding creative non-fiction — a big shout out to two of our creative writers in the collective. They embody this great movement between fiction and non-fiction. Sonia Bellhouse is soon publishing a piece in Bride Magazine about remarriage, titled "Another Bride, Another Groom." Valerie Gowlett is our resident poet in the collective and has recently won first prize in the 2004 Midland Literary Competition. We all congratulate Sonia and Valerie, and wish them well in future creative journeys. I am sure that there will be many more successes.

Teaser of the month (TM)
Those who know me well, know that part of me still thinks that it is 1987. On a good day, I can make it to 1992. Those of you who like dance music, know why I am stuck in this particular time loop.

I have news. Those of you who share the New Order, Happy Mondays, Northern English electronica journey with me — prepare to get excited. The rest of you — just click to Leanne's hub homework now.

Are you ready?

I have heard the new Bez single. Yes. Bez. The Freaky Dancer himself has released a single on Off World Sounds. It is titled "Rattle my Head." Shaun William Ryder sings backing vocals. Bez wears an outstanding hat in the video.

This is extraordinary. The greatest dancer in the history of popular music (Felicity and I will always disagree on this — I'd place Ian Curtis second … Rick Astley is third … ) actually sings. He is brilliant. The single is brilliant. I have more to say about how brilliant it is. Later.

Be well — keep freaky dancing — 'see' you in September.