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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

http://www.fear-and-loathing.com/

We are somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the Shockwave kicks in. The red Chevy is there on screen, and a skyful of bats, but no Web technology can keep up with the good Doctor Hunter S Thompson's prescriptions: the trip chugs along rather than races. This is fear and loathing Terry Gilliam-style - the movie opens in the US this week - and its gonzo Web site tries hard with the manic prose and with the spirit of Ralph Steadman's cartoons, notably as the Lounge Lizards defend Vegas from a monstrous invasion. Johnny Depp explains how he made his ears stick out further to resemble Thompson's, and it's all safely boxed in with

textual glosses (just who was Horatio Alger?) and the inevitable timeline for The Seventies.

The Box

http://www.sixsides.com/

La Caja in Spanish, La Boite in French, Hetay Oxbay (of course) in Pig- Latin - and in English, The Box. The virtues of the six-sided wonder are here celebrated by a Michigan Web design firm, hoping the aura of simplicity and usefulness will rub off on their commercial work. It comes, naturally, in a litle onscreen box of its own, and can be customised for colour and size, with tiny, medium and huge options, and a range of different flaps. Faulkner, George Bernard Shaw and Einstein praise the ubiquitous cube in subtly modified quotations. Elsewhere, online toys include a slot machine and other goodies, and whimsical little animations of blenders, toasters and vaccuum cleaners.

Verve Records

http://www.ververecords.co.uk

No definite article: this is the record label, not the Britpop band, and claims to be the definitive British jazz site. The full 700-CD catalogue is here, with audio samples and ordering facility, plus a memorabilia section with rare album sleeves and photographs ("Dizzy ruminates over a quiet pint"). Other nostalgia includes a stalls ticket for Count Basie's 1965 concert at Hammersmith Odeon, cost one pound one shilling. A glossary of jazz terms reminds us that "smoking" doesn't imply a nicotine habit in this context, and more worryingly threatens the imminent revival of terms like "squaresville". Navigation is via by a Shockwave piano keyboard which lets you play simple tunes with the cursor - white notes only.

NerveLink

http://www.nerve.com/NerveLink/

The e-zine for "literate smut", Nerve, has just launched a critically

selective links page of 3,000 sex-related sites. This is not just another guide to triple-X pages - though these may well be included and intellectually rationalised. Current pick of the week is a fake celebrity nude page, praised for "exposing the grim absurdity of our conception of the public body". Still, the net is cast widely here - to include "Courtship, Love and Marriage in Viking Scandinavia" as well as the latest updates on the Viagra craze. Also visit the rest of the magazine, launched last year as a sort of culturally informed Third Way between erotica and pornography: among the high profile contributions are pieces from Norman Mailer, Poppy Z Brite and an intriguing confessional/polemic from Deadhead and cyberactivist John Perry Barlow.

Giant Steps

http://www. giantsteps.co.uk

It is Time For the Harvest. Prepare Ye The Scythes! This "apocalyptic comedy serial for the World Wide Web" is now under way. With its cast of students, cosmonauts, cosmeticians and Umberto Eco wannabees, it's an amusing if not terribly innovative idea: radio-style comedy-drama with stills and text attached, and all under a heavy Douglas Adams influence. But tune in (sorry, log on) next Friday as the tall tale unravels, and watch for the special guest appearance by the Long Man of Billingdon.

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