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Big Brother | 06.02.2006 17:55 | Culture | Free Spaces | Repression | London

If I'd used a headline which includes the word's Big Brother I expect most indymedia readers won't bother reading the article thanks to Channel 4 and the likes of gorgeous george. If you read this article and can't find the secually explicit content then trying reading it again. If you've read it twice already and still can't find it, come to the rampART at 8pm SHARP on thursday and you'll get it. Otherwise, turn up late and you'll never know and get a bad seat for the show as well.


Yes it had to happen at some point. What with phone calls from those responsible for Channel 4's infamous Big Brother 'reality' TV series phoning the rampART plus the fact that George Galloway allegedly represents this part of London in parliament and is exploring new ways to reach those disenfranchised from Politics -- the rampART is this week becoming a special celebrity venue for a one-off edition of Big Brother Squat - get me out of here!!


Those attending the show live will no doubt be honored to find George Galloway providing an insightful introduction to the glamourous world of political intrigue and underhand shinganiguns in the house. There will be other wannabe and has-been celebrities and in an act of radical equality, at the end even the audience gets a chance to be evicted!

Starts 8pm, thursday night, live on 15 rampart street
(probably not available on most TV sets - don't bother trying to program your VCR)


Big Brother been hard at work in Greece eavesdropping (with the help of Vodafone) on the prime minister, top security officials, journalists, peace activists and for good measure, dozens of people of Arab descent. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and the foreign, defense and public order ministers were among about 100 people whose mobile phones were tapped for months around the time of the 2004 Athens Olympics, the conservative government said last week.

The calls were being relayed to unknown destinations via four mobile phone antennas in a zone in the center of Athens that includes the U.S. Embassy. While scenarios abound on who was the "Big Brother" listening in on the government's top brass, opposition parties have blasted the government for being unable to defend national security or citizen's rights, demanding a deeper investigation.


Yes, back to media assisted bullshit and our own Big Brother state. A couple of weeks ago Blairs plans for ID cards and a national database were delayed by the Lords asserting their power so the spin doctors have hit back this week and peppered the compliant media with stories about identity theft. Their manipulated figures claim identity theft is costing the economy £1.72bn per year and that the introduction of ID cards would provide a 'major breakthrough'. Quite why remains unclear. For example, the ID cards being developed by the Dutch government use RFID technology which can be read remotely by police up to 10m away - however such technology can be read by anyone else and collected encrypted data easily cracked on a PC within hours. How does that stop ID fraud?

Phil Booth, NO2ID's National Coordinator said: "Identity fraud will be made much worse by ID cards, not better. Numbering and indexing every person in the country on a huge central Register, then making us use cards designed to broadcast not only this number but our personal data, including our biometrics, will be an absolute bonanza for identity thieves and fraudsters."


Of course such an ID card and single national database will also give the government hitherto unheard of knowledge about our private lives. All this brings us back to thursdays Big Brother night at the rampART. Along with a screening of the 2004 documentary 'Orwell Rolls Over In His Grave', we'll also be showing the 1984 film adaptation of George Orwell's classic book 'Nineteen Eighty-Four'. It's amazing how many people have'nt taken the time to read this timeless and ever more relevant story, but whether you have or haven't, Michael Radford adaptation staring John Hurt, Richard Burton and Suzanna Hamilton is well worth watching.

what follows is chunk of a review of the film which we nicked off

"The performances from the chief principals are very strong. John Hurt is excellent as Winston, bringing a subtle and considerate approach to the character. Particularly disturbing is his final scenes, as he becomes gaunt and disfigured through government torture. Suzanna Hamilton is gentle and quirky as Julia and "Rab C Nesbitt" actor Gregor Fisher appears as Winston's ill-fated friend, Parsons.

Veteran actor Richard Burton lends a cold charisma to government enforcer O'Brien and he too excels in the film's final moments, as he coolly and sadistically tortures Winston, subjecting him to severe physical pain to subdue him, casually pulling a tooth out of his rotting mouth, then exposing him to the horrors of Room 101, all the while exhorting obedience to the Party and love to Big Brother.

The strong relevance of the concepts of "Nineteen Eighty Four" should not be underestimated. Whilst the term "Big Brother" is now synonymous with the ridiculous "reality" TV shows of the same name, others like the Two Minutes Hate (in which the workers are coerced, through a two-minute broadcast, into hating the enemies of the state); the idea of a government waging a perpetual war to advocate "peace" (especially relevant in the aftermath of September 11) as well as the editing of news and the abuse of language in order to suit the needs of government and disguise its true agendas are ideas that are chillingly present in today's society.

All of this is powerful and thought-provoking stuff, and helps to make "Nineteen Eighty Four" an accurate and powerful rendering of a still very timely piece of work." - Alain English from Aberdeen, Scotland

So, there you go, what with government's spying on the populous, and the war hawks and their media monopolies working on manufacturing the illusion of consent for military action against Iran, Orwell's story is perhaps more relevant than ever.

Which leads us on to the documentary....

"Robert Kane Pappas' briskly paced documentary, Orwell Rolls in His Grave, is about the Orwellian collusion of government, corporations and mass media, and the threat that collusion poses to American democracy. Pappas moves easily from the recent FCC ruling relaxing the rules of corporate ownership and dominance of media outlets-overturned by Congress and now in the courts-to the Bush administration's double-speak and the print and TV media's mindless repetition of it. The "stolen" election is also highlighted by the presence of Greg Palast, the BBC reporter who uncovered the Florida voting-machine scandal.

Pappas creates intimacy without invoking any Michael Moore-style inveigling, getting his subjects to say things they obviously didn't intend to say on camera. One priceless moment comes during an interview with executive producer Joe Klines of Fox News. In the course of a discussion about how networks decide what is "news," Klines quips, with rather too much sangfroid, that if something happens and you don't see it on the news, you have to wonder whether it actually happened.

By Maria Garcia (

"The persuasion of Pappas’ argument lies in the accumulation of original documentation, allowing the political perps to condemn themselves with their own words." - Les Wright

"An incredible collection of documentation and first hand testimony as to what is happening to us behind our backs - and under our noses." - Oz

"Get ready for a cultural wake-and-shake you won't forget for a long, long time." - David Sterritt "Great! Watch it, eat some popcorn and give a nice donation to the rampART." - Ben


There you have it, join us at rampART on Big Brother night and bring your friends and family...
15-17 rampart street, london E1 2LA

Thursday night (9th Feb)

Starts 8pm (sharp)

Features :

  • 'Nineteen Eighty Four' (1984)
  • 'Orwell Rolls in His Grave' (2004)
  • plus, 'Join the revolution, fall in love' and other shorts


Yes, more from Big Brother, this time with rampART hosting the first night of the PIG BROTHER LIVE SHOW UK TOUR. Soulless & Anger present 'It's your right to watch the Cops!' - a survey of police weapons, their effects and why police usually get away with it. Live multimedia show pus speakers Ken Fero and Brenda Weinberg, Chris Alexander of the Azelle Rodney Campaign and people from the Jean Charles Campaign.

7.30pm Fri Feb 17th at the rampART (15 rampart street E1 2LA)

[Please cut and paste and forward this to everyone you know!]

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Hide the following 3 comments

Brazil is the TRUE film version of 1984

06.02.2006 20:13

In the book, 1984, Winston Smith is NOT arrested until he agrees to be a terrorist, and acknowledges that he will commit any crime, no matter how outrageous, in the name of the cause. Of course, it is an agent of the state that gains his trust, and persuades him to say this.

My point, why does the film miss this crucial scene. Were the film-makers REALLY that cowardly?

MUCH MUCH MUCH closer to the spirit of the book (which has to be seen in the context of when it was written) was Terry Gilliam's masterpiece BRAZIL. 1984 the movie is OK for what it is (lowbrow and grungy, with fun performances from Hurt etc), but makes almost no significant political commentary. Brazil takes the point of the book, hones it to an edge that could cut god itself (hmmm, shouldn't that metaphor more properly be about poking god in the eye), and wraps it in Gilliam's extraordinary sensibilities. Brazil, and the movie 1984 were, of course, both made for release in the same period, the actual year 1984. 1984 the movie became famous for the fight over whether it's soundtrack should be the 'pop' (think 'sexcrime') one or the 'serious' one. Brazil became famous for having its ending neutered on original American release.


twilght the film critic right for once

06.02.2006 22:31

Brazil is definitely the more 'on it' of the two films but there are plenty more film nights and loads more big brotherly material to justify another similarly themed cinema night in the future with Brazil.

Speaking of Brazil, we'll be playing City of God the following week.

Strange, twilights critique is a lot more intelligent than normal - i don't think it's the real twilight but somebody masquerading as him (perhaps one of Blairs goons).


Repent Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman

07.02.2006 00:17

Yup, Brazil is great. Thats twice today I could criticise one of Twilights post, I think I'll go and lie down and check that I'm okay.