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The Independent Culture
The Ring of Irony

If you thought that the only expressions of irony on the Internet were those obscure variations on smiley faces called emoticons, think again. (ROI) sets out to be a gateway to sites that ply their trades in satire, parody, spoof, black humour and irony.

As well as the offer of a daily dose of e-mail irony, there are links to divers and diverse sites. A random link generator takes you to places you might otherwise not have come across such as "Shallow Thoughts and Deep Doo Doo", the official site of stand-up comedian "Lonesome" Keith Turner, which tries to offend every man, woman, and child on planet Earth - a task which is too big, it seems.

Another ROI site, "Amazing Web Tales!", is less ambitious, merely setting out to spoof Gabriel Garcia Marquez with an extract from Magical Realism Meets Godzilla. There are at least another 115 sites along these or similar lines. You have been warned.

Shock Of The View

It's all very well digitising the work of a gallery and putting it online, but there's much more to art and museums in cyberspace. This six-month collaboration between the Walker Art Center, the Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University and Rhizome takes a two-pronged line. On one hand are exhibitions on broad themes such as architectural space, complete with online audience response.

On the other approach is an ongoing listserv discussion about the similarities and differences between traditional art and digital work, and what concepts such as the network mean if, or when, it comes to demarcating real and virtual art and museums.

After The Bug

The Dickens publication method is alive and well - with a twist. Whereas Dickens published his stories in serial form, in journals such as Bentley's Miscellany, the American novelist Alexander Besher has launched his on- going serial on to the Web pages of SF Gate, the electronic home of San Francisco's Chronicle and Examiner newspapers.

The story, complete with hyperlinks, is set in San Francisco around the turn of the millennium and revolves around the curiously named Geronimo Poe, a man employed to check hi-tech toilets for Y2K compliance. If you think that rogue toilets do not appear much in Y2K mythology, you're right - for now.

Even less aired by the scaremongers is the existence of a secret agency charged with dealing with paranormal fallout from the Y2K bug. Conspiracy theory that's intentionally farcical makes a welcome change. Tune in each week for a new episode to find out how it all unwinds.



Where did you see in the New Year? If you were one of the many thousands who took to the streets of Edinburgh, but find that your memory is slightly blurred after the event, you can drop in here and check out the RealVideo streams for evidence of how much you might have enjoyed, or embarrassed, yourself.

If you worked really hard at the celebrations and still have a hangover, you're advised to follow the link to the hangover page to see if you can find a cure that doesn't make you feel worse than the ailment - or even contribute your own if you can't get a patent on it. You might want to check out the bulletin boards for messages from other survivors.

For the dedicated party animal, this is a site worth bookmarking for next year's bash. Information and general news about Hogmanay YK2, including tickets for events and accommodation, will be posted throughout 1999. For those who would like to brush up on what it's all about, there are also FAQs about Hogmanay celebrations and resultant headaches worldwide

The Fantastic Films Of Ray Harryhausen

A labour of love devoted to the model builder whose puppet animation and special effects brought the mythological to fantastic life in Jason and the Argonauts, made a monkey out of Terry Moore and Robert Armstrong in Mighty Joe Young, and turned Raquel Welch into a grunting savage in One Million Years BC. It's a shrine, image gallery, filmography, biography and more.

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