Network: Web sites

Nagano 1998

http://www.nagano.olympic.org/home_e.html

The broadcasters and news services offer a variety of Nagano pages, but this is the official Olympics Committee site, a hi-tech production number in Japanese or English. A meticulous, Java-based grid marshals the complex schedules, and there are VRML pans around the facilities and a webcam view from the top of the ski jump. Fun stuff includes a children's section, where bouncy, beaky and bug-eyed little gonks give online origami lessons (this is Japan, after all) and pelt each other with snowballs. Plus live trilingual Olympic radio, a Shockwave ski game, the lowdown on the pressed flower competition, and the full text of Yuichiro Oda's theme song for the Culture Festival, "Hitotsu no Chikyu ni Hitotsu no Kokoro" ("One Small Planet, One Big Heartbeat").

Beyond Fear - The Dental Phobia

Virtual Self-help Group

http://www.btinternet.com/melandeye/

This Derby-based group aims to help those for whom Marathon Man is documentary realism. Dental phobia is, of course, a serious condition, and this online self-help site aims to help sufferers to get in touch with fellow victims and share their fears, both for group discussion and specific advice. Common causes of terror are examined, from fear of the needle to "are my teeth the worst the dentist has ever seen?", and there are links to more extreme solutions such as hypnotherapy and acupuncture. It's not the most visually interesting of sites - the exception being two, presumably cathartic little animations showing teeth being drilled to shreds, or a hypodermic inflating someone's head by mistake. "Only in your dreams, not reality" is the message here.

A Brief History of Banned Music

http://ericnuzum.com/banned/

A simple but fascinating list of songs banned from the US airwaves from the Fifties to the present, and from the sublime (Billie Holliday's "Love for Sale") to the Prodigious ("Smack My Bitch Up"). In 1956 Cole Porter was forced to change "I get no kick from cocaine" to "I get perfume from Spain" at the behest of ABC. More problematic bannings and burnings since then have ranged from Link Wray's "Rumble" (for inciting gang violence despite being a purely instrumental track) to the public bonfires made of Cat Stevens LPs following his support for the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Arguably, the targets of music censorship have gone downhill over the years, from the suggestive content of Verdi's La Traviata, to current, repetitious controversies over rap lyrics. But most of the actual music is available here, in Real Audio format, and the site lets the record(s) speak for themselves, offering even-handed listings of pro- and anti-censorship groups.

The Surrealist Complement Generator

http://pharmdec.wustl.edu/cgi-bin/jardin_scripts/SCG

"Madam, what a handsome moustache you wear! Certainly your trout are more proseperous to vacuum than the flying coachmen of Czar Nicholai! You are a banana moon subverting the sun. Your eyelids reflect and refract the turgid limnations of an eel trapped in the flickering paralysis of Chaplin's cinematography.You are the Ayatollah of Confusion on the night of Divali. The quietness of a manhole cover cannot compare with the wild vapours of nylon I sense in your larynx. Oh, how your melodic chewing of cotton balls cancels the stamp on my papyrus telegram from the Queen of England. Seven donkeys and a concubine cannot compare with the tarnished sheen left in your path of combustion. Suffer, for you are toasting the Marzipan... (...and may I upon pretense ring latent tintinabulations for your Andalusian raisins!)"

Aristasia, The Feminine Nation

http://members.aol.com/Raihir/Aristasia/index.html

A cross between St Trinians and something altogether more grown-up, the exclusively female land of Aristasia is mapped and annotated here. The media-savvy Miss Martindale has now extended her regime into what she calls "elektraspace", which she rules with a firm hand and an array of straps and canes: some of these are for sale, along with Fifties lingerie, on a related page. For the bongos of pit-England (the uninitiated), here's a detailed account of Miss M's suburban, pre-Sixties world of pounds, shillings and spankings. The glossary entry for "S&M" reads merely "Silly Monkeys", but Aristasian theory is fully articulated here, some of it couched in oddly Sixties-sounding talk of atomisation, banalisation and psychic space. At the heart of the enterprise, though, is the emphasis on discipline, and the "delicate and charming interplay of respect and submission" between Blondes and Brunettes.

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