NET GAINS

Virtual psychogeography

By Mike Higgins

netgains@independent.co.uk

www.unpopular.demon.co.uk/lpa

Psychogeography. If you've not heard the term before, trust me, it's not another wacko web phenomenon. It has a critical pedigree extending back to the last century and, should you need a definition, it's "the study of the precise effects of geographical setting... on (one's) mood and behaviour." The web has plenty of sites to get you acquainted with this odd, absorbing discipline.

The Virtual Psychogeographical Association has a well-ordered starting point at homepages. tcp.co.ul/mckay/vap.htm. The site is unfortunately undergoing an overhaul at the moment, but you can always try www.unpopular.demon. co.uk/lpa. While doing so, it's worth bearing in mind one of the psychogeographer's primary activities: the derive. A French term, it means, roughly, a carefully planned walk through an urban environment in such a way as to attempt a deconstruction of it social, political and personal significance. It may sound like rubbish, but there are a lot of sites covering the subject. The bizarrely entitled site, Ralph Rumney's Revenge, details the campaign of "psychogeographical warfare" waged by of the Italian political fringe group, Luther Blissett (don't ask) www. pengo.it/luther/rumney.htm. If you should be interested in the critical theory, try the Info Centre, ourworld. compuserve.co/homepages/ info, a strikingly designed site which includes excerpts from a number of key texts.

Trying times

www.rwc99.com

Break out the Barbour Jackets and dust down the yards of ale - the Rugby Union World Cup is nearly upon us. The forthcoming tournament's official site, www.rwc99.com (above), is elegantly organised, with daily news updates, team facts, match schedules and ticketing information though, notably, there are no on-line booking facilities.

Where you would expect some spark of originality, though - among the game's regular sites - there is efficiency but not much spirit. Rugby365 (www.rugby365. co.uk) will be familiar to anyone who's visited its brother, Football365. Regularly updated news, profiles, feedback and humour are just a few of the things on offer each day. Even Scrum, (www.scrum.com), the pick of a few comprehensive and detailed rugby sites, is, well, just a bit dull. As with Rugby365, the site tends to lean on features, team reports and star columns.

SITES OF THE WEEK

www.koekie.org.uk/ funnel

A veritable shrine to the news-god they call Chris Morris. The co-creator of On the Hour and the infamous Brass Eye is lovingly profiled here and his wisest words catalogued. For the real Morris junkie, there are even transcripts of the entirety of arguably his finest work, The Day Today.

www.nasa.gov

Why not see what Nasa's been up to in the 30 years since it put man on the moon? The answers are intriguing, if only because of the obvious attempts at this competent site (above) to win over sceptical hearts and minds in a difficult time for the administration.

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