Webcurios 07/06/13

Reading Time: 20 minutes

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John Lewis Sale. Rye Lane, London SE15
Garudio Studiage photo of the week

Another week, another 7 days to get reacquainted with the feeling that there is simply too much stuff happening all the time and there is simply NO WAY we can keep up and God it’s stressful I JUST WANT TO SLOW DOWN FOR A SECOND. 

Ahem. Obviously the big thing this week has been Turkey, and assorted issues around the protests there and how they are being received by society and media. It was also the week, though, when we were given a heartbreaking reminder of Bradley Manning‘s continued existence, we learnt that romance REALLY IS now dead (although perhaps less so if you are an anarchist), that American PSAs really do give the best life advice, that you can make surprisingly effective points whilst wearing a watermelon bra, and that some people are REALLY good at YoYoing


Yes, that’s right – from popular protest at the intersection of Europe and Asia to men doing tricks with bits of string and plastic. WHICH OTHER OVERLONG WEEKLY MISCELLANY GIVES YOU THAT, EH???? Whether you want it or not is immaterial. 

Anyway, kids. Strap in, sit back, pour yourselves a stiff drink and prepare for the imminent trepanning that is a trip through Web Curios. ENJOY!

By Andrew Lyman
 
 

THE BIT WHERE YOU GET TO PRETEND THAT YOU’RE READING THIS FOR WORK, UNLESS YOU’RE READING THIS ON THE WEEKEND IN WHICH CASE JUST SKIP IT:

FACEBOOK:

  • Facebook Simplifies Ad OfferingIt’s about time, frankly, given that (as I learned from this news) there are currently 27(!) separate Facebook ad products. There won’t be, by the end of the year – they’re killing more than half of them in favour of a simplified, streamlined system which combines the functionality of multiple ad products to eliminate overlap, etc. Obliquely it’s an interesting insight into the big blue Satan’s iterative design processes when it comes to the stuff that really matters (ie making all of the money).
  • This Is What Verified Pages Look LikeLook, here’s McDonald’s! They have a TICK. AMAZING! I for one am far happier interacting with the vapid, anodyne voice of a brand dedicated to selling me crap food with all the nutritional value of an iPad when I know that it REALLY IS that brand and not a stealthy scammer.
  • It Doesn’t Matter If We Hate It, We’re Stuck With ItInteresting – and clever – piece by Reuters as to why Facebook is not going anywhere, whether or not we like it. Which sort of makes you wonder WHO IS IN CHARGE HERE? There’s a lot of interesting thought-food in there about its service offering and how it may develop in light of recent misstep.
  • But That Doesn’t Mean It’s Not A Bit CrapA great, long, look at how Facebook is effectively edging towards being little more than a spam graveyard, based on the evolution of Open Graph and the gradual prioritisation of algorithmically-preferred content. Actually want to know what it is that your friends have been doing? TOUGH, LOOK AT THIS BRAND’S PICTURE OF A PUG IN A PARTY HAT INSTEAD. Actually this is less of an issue if you just take the simple step of not using Facebook for communicating with commercial entities, although you would obviously be a FOOL and a COMMUNIST to suggest that.

    TWITTER:

  • Lists Get Bigger & More UsefulThis was meant to go in last week, but I forgot about it (which says more about my priorities than it does about the significance of the announcement). Twitter has expanded the functionality of its ‘Lists’ service, to the point where they are now really, really useful (particularly for anyone who’s doing Twitter PROFESSIONALLY). You can now make up to 1,000 lists from a single account, each containing up to 5,000 Twitter profiles. Which really is useful if you need to do stuff with media or INFLUENCERS, although I still hate you for believing that INFLUENCERS is actually a proper word you are allowed to use. 
  • Twitter Gets Into Bed With The ManSuch a big story, this (I think). WPP, the advertising/communications behemoth and, ultimately, the people whose fault it is that this screed exists, announced yesterday that they have entered into a global strategic partnership with Twitter. Details are, at present, sketchy, but this can’t be anything other than a massive databuy, allowing all of Sir Martin’s multifarious corporate tentacles access to a violently large amount of information about what we’re all saying and thinking, which will then be used to try and sell us stuff more effectively. I’m presuming a degree of exclusivity on this, which surely is huge for the advertising / media buying industry as a whole. Or maybe it’s not, and I’m simply still in thrall to the strange charms of a stumpy plutocrat. WHO KNOWS?
  • The Best Vine Person EVERThis is sort of frivolous so probably should go down there (*gestures*), but it’s all about Vine, so sod it. This man works for Twitter, and therefore has almost certainly had more time to play with the product than anyone else, but his use of the platform is BRILLIANT. Brands, LEARN.  
  • Although This Is Also A Clever Use Of VineReally simple and clever, this site uses Vine to collect brilliant examples of UX design from around the web. An excellent example of what it is really useful for, and something that you should think about ripping off. IKEA – timelapse vines showing key points in the assembly of flatpack furniture? Foodie people – vines showing how certain things should look during the cooking process? You get the idea(s).
  • The Most Engaged Twitter Account IN THE WORLD: Someone ran the numbers – more RTs, favourites, @replies than ANY OTHER ACCOUNT. And all it does is tweet intellectually subnormal platitudes. Yep, this is what you need to do to ‘engage’ people. Talk like an idiot who’s read a lot of self-help manuals. This is both funny and immensely saddening. Community managers – go on, tweet like this for a week and watch your (largely meaningless) numbers SOAR.
  • Visualisations of Twitter Use Across The WorldNo London, sadly, but very beautiful nonetheless. 

GOOGLE:

  • No Bongo For GlassGoogle have clarified their developer policies for building stuff on the scary, face-wearable computing device of dreams / nightmares; sadly for the onanists out there (ok, ok, all of us), they have imposed a ban on pr0n-y apps. Which is a real shame for the people behind the brilliantly-named ‘Tits and Glass‘ app, which was announced about 24 hours before Google made this announcement. 
  • Google+ Is The MatrixClever piece of writing by Charles Arthur in the Guardian, which takes a look at what Google+ is actually for; nothing that wasn’t alluded to when it launched a few years back, but benefits enormously from the benefit of hindsight and the more zoomed-out view of the online ecosystem we are afforded in 2013. Basically what it says is that G+ is a gigantic datagathering tool which sits across all Google’s other gigantic datagathering tools. I still reckon there’s a possible future in which everyone is given a Google ID at birth and they ‘own’ the universal login thing. Maybe. Perhaps. 
  • It Can Tell The Future TooI was talking with someone about data analysis, predictions and government this week (because I’m SO ALONE); this ties into that, a bit. Just a bit of info from a Google research project mapping its data against the box office takings of films. We’ve all heard stuff about how social media is remarkably accurate when it comes to predicting 1st weekend box office receipts, but this is quite remarkable – to quote the study: “trailer search volume on Google coupled with both the franchise status of the movie and seasonality can predict opening weekend box office revenue with 94% accuracy”. That’s incredible. No wonder Goldman Sachs are working on scrapers to play the stockmarket based on Twitter, Facebook and Google data. Everything we write on the internet helps make rich companies richer, and this is only going to become more true. 

OTHER THINGS WHICH YOU CAN PASS OFF AS PROFESSIONALLY USEFUL IF YOU HAVE A SILLY, MADE-UP INTERNETTY JOB LIKE ME:

  • Niche Networks ‘On The Rise’This story’s been bubbling around recently, in parallel to the much-exaggerated DECLINE OF FACEBOOK. Anyway, an interesting look at smaller, more specialist social networks, all of which are set to be ruined by brands attempting to co-opt them for their own ends and effectively crushing all the things that made them special in the first place.
  • Internet Usage Trends – Some graphsA whole load of graphs and data looking at how the manner in which we use the web will change over the next few years. Basically it says that video usage online will continue to grow exponentially, particularly on mobile. Unsurprising, but useful if you need to justify a position to a client with 3rd party data and important-looking lines, which you probably will do at some point. 
  • How Digital Is Modifying MarketingThis is a really good presentation. Tells the truth, largely, and you could do worse than have a read and appropriate some of the thinking. It’s by a man called Gregory Pouy, so all credit to him. 
  • Coub – Like Vine But For YouTube VidsThat’s sort of all you need to know. Lets you create 10-second looping videos from any YouTube clips you like (or indeed your own footage). Hugely useful if you need to make a high volume of ‘funny’, ‘original’ content and don’t want to do it all off a mobile device. 
  • Simon’s Dating ChallengeA better-than-expected effort from BT, who’ve created this game to promote…er…some stuff that they do (again proving the questionable utility of this stuff as a campaign marketing tool, but let’s disregard that). It’s retro, it’s fun enough to waste 5 minutes on…hang on, I’m reading this back to myself and realising quite how low my standards are when it comes to this stuff. Basically, IT’S NOT DREADFUL. Huzzah!
  • Etihad x LinkedInThis, though, really is clever. A LinkedIn mashup which lets you see your primary and secondary contacts on a map, look at where you might be travelling to and work out who’s in the area who it might be useful to meet, message them, etc. Actually a potentially useful service, which is pretty rare.
  • Storytime HangoutI really like this. Google+ thingy by Penguin / Ladybird, which does an AR-style overlay on your Google+ hangout allowing you to roleplay the story you’re telling your kids. Although the fact that you’re telling your kids a story over the internet makes me a little sad, now I think about it. 
  • How GE Uses Data VisualisationA good, and comprehensive, look at what GE are doing with their data and how they are making it work in a communications sense. Required reading for any of you who’ve wanged on about BIG DATA in a client meeting without really knowing what you mean. 
  • If This Is Real It’s TERRIFYINGThis road safety stunt (part of the DfT’s THINK! campaign) is PROPERLY unsettling. Or, rather, it must have been for the people in the video, although they all look a little bit too goodlooking for me to 100% believe that they’re not actors. Real people don’t look that good in public lavatories, surely. 
  • The Domino’s Pizza DroneDomino’s gets a PR first (I think) using drone technology to deliver pizzas in this short video. Anyone familiar with the Bill Hicks skit about shooting bananas at hungry people should be getting weird little ‘living in the future’ tracers right about now.
  • The Dollar Shave Club People Do Video Well, AgainI almost don’t mind being advertised at when it’s this well written. It takes a lot of effort to put together something which looks this slapdash.
The hyperrealistic painting of Omar Ortiz
 

 WHY NOT LISTEN TO SOME LOVELY JAZZY DOWNTEMPO BEATS FROM GERMANY WHILE YOU READ THE NEXT BITS? GO ON YOU WILL LIKE THEM

STUFF OF POTENTIAL INTEREST FROM THE PAST WEEK’S INSANE WHIRLIGIG OF INTERNETTING, PT. 1:

  • What Is Going Viral RIGHT NOWFre.sh is built by Buzzfeed and links to the 50 stories / pages which are being most-shared on the web RIGHT NOW. The font size denotes traffic to that page, the ranking denotes how quickly that traffic is accruing. It’s obviously not ALL of the web, just a selection of curated sites, but it’s an interesting snapshot-generator nonetheless. Man, we like frivolous list-based articles. 
  • Making Sense of Large Numbers With ChromeHave you ever been confronted by a large figure in an article and thought ‘Yes, fine, but what I really want to know is how that compares to, say, the size of Wales?’ (it is a little-remarked fact that all spatial size comparisons in the UK are based on the idea that ‘a Wales’ is the most comprehensible large unit of space which exists, hence everything being described as being ‘an area X times the size of Wales’). Lucky you – this Google Chrome plugin will automatically do exactly that sort of thing, translating large numbers into theoretically easier-to-understand analogues. 
  • My Current Favourite 404 PageYou can play Space Invaders on it, which I think should be made standard practice for all these markers of failure and disappointment across the web. 
  • LOLCAT LoansJust an amazingly awful thing. A loanshark using the cuddly LOLCAT meme to peddle sub-prime lending solutions with a terrifying level of vig which will in all likelihood leave poor people penniless, homeless, and generally banjaxed. BUT IT’S OK BECAUSE CATS! A cursory bit of online research suggests that the company’s registered in Panama, along with a whole load of parallel businesses registered to the same parent company which also sells an awful lot of knock-off pharmaceuticals. Who better to borrow money from? Thanks to Chris Owen for finding this one. 
  • Great Photography From This Week in Turkey: A collection of awesome photos from The Atlantic.
  • A Love Letter To The Early Webthink that this is just a search engine which mines the Wayback Machine for old internet results. It’s a lovely nostalgic timesink, though, if you’re a webmong of long-standing. 
  • Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Marijuana StrainsThere’s a lot of really interesting stuff happening in the moment, particularly in the US, as a result of changes in legislation around the legality of marijuana (foreshadowing) – this is the internet side-effect. Leafly is a US startup which effectively acts as a cross between Wikipedia and Erowid and tells you all you could ever want to know about the difference between Black Domina and Bubblegum, and everything in between. I give it less then a year before the weed world has its own Jilly Goolden-style superstar, poncily reviewing different strains on YouTube. 
  • People Laughing Between Takes On Film SetsA lovely collection of candid snaps of film stars enjoying themselves on-set. Makes working on a film look FUN, when I am reliably informed that the reality is in fact a hellish carousel of tedium. 
  • Spoiler SilencerUnhappy at how you don’t have the self-control to ignore people talking about plot details from your favourite overblown US TV production? Oh good, then this is for you. Silencer is a plugin which purports to block mentions of…well, whatever you want, on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere. Not a new idea, but they have pre-set bundles that will remove EVERYTHING pertaining to certain shows (so ‘Game Of Thrones’, #got, #gameofthrones, #redwedding, #jesusfuckingchristwhatiswrongwithyougetasenseofperspective, etc).
  • Amazing Pictures Of The SkyJust incredible photographs by a Japanese person by the name of Yu Yamauichi. My lack of Japanese means that this is literally ALL I know about these, but they are lovely and very much worth perusing. 
  • Music Label Logos ExplainedThis is from Red Bull, but I don’t care as it’s actually quite interesting. A look at the logos of a load of classic record labels (mostly US) and how / why they came to be. Music geeks will like this, I think, as may other people (literally the vaguest endorsement EVER). 
  • GIANT DUCKS FOR SALEYou remember that giant yellow duck which did the world tour recently to promote something or other that noone really paid any attention to because LOOK IT’S A GIANT YELLOW DUCK? Well you can now buy your very own, in whichever colour you like. Amazing service by the ever-industrious Chinese manufacturing sector, who will make one which is 20m tall for a mere £16k, which is cheap by anyone’s standards. Seriously compared to the agency and media-buy costs of billboard ads, this almost makes sense. Almost. 
  • US Population CounterNice work by the US Census Bureau, which produced this population clock to track world and US population growth in (projected) realtime based on census data. Nice, user-friendly and interesting (and, obviously, pointless and linkbaity, but still).
  • Photographs of Crisis-hit GreeceBrilliant, and really sad, photography of Greek citizens living through the slow collapse of their economy. Taken by Iakovos Hatzistavrou, who is evidently a very talented man. 
  • Map Your 4sq CheckinsThere will come a point where I stop referencing Foursquare because NOONE CARES, but while I still see people’s checkins appearing in my timeline on Twitter then I’ll keep dropping the odd thing in. This one’s actually nice arty idea, printing you a map of whichever city you’re in with data overlaid about where you checkin; effectively a visualisation of your LIFE (or at least the bit of it which you choose to vaildate through the medium of checking in to Foursquare). Also potentially INCREDIBLY sad for some people (Home-Office-Gym-Home-Office-Gym-Home-Office-Gym-Home-Morgue).
  • Jacques Green Interactive Music Video: Another one of those ‘drag the boxes, make your own EXPERIENCE’ things, but nicely done (and bonus points for the garage-y music). 
Isabelle Wenzel, Objectification, With Céline Shoes And Vase, 2013 © Isabelle Wenzel
 

MAYBE NOW YOU WOULD LIKE SOME OTHER MUSIC BY HODGY BEATS OF ODD FUTURE FAME? YOU WOULD? OH GOOD. 

STUFF OF POTENTIAL INTEREST FROM THE PAST WEEK’S INSANE WHIRLIGIG OF INTERNETTING, PT. 2:

  • The Insane Tetris Art AlgorithmAs someone who’s a bit math-blind, my only reaction to the insane mathematics behind this is actual naked fear. I don’t really know how to explain it – someone basically made a programme which works out how to draw using Tetris. Just take a look.
  • Nathan Fielder Messes With People’s Heads AgainModerate hilarity once again ensues. Is this currently being ripped off by a breakfast radio show? It really feels like it should be. BONUS – human STI Hunter Moore rips it off in naked teenager-style.
  • London’s Abandoned Tube Stations, MappedTaking the many lost underground stations of London and placing them on the existing map. Really interesting, and the result of an initial project by the terrifyingly impressive Dylan Maryk, who I have met and confidently predict will be running at least a small part of the world in the next 10 years. Also brought to you by the new Rob Manuel-and-others project Us vs Th3m, which is a really good timewaster-y website, a bit like Buzzfeed but with more lots more brains. 
  • The Starbucks of MarijuanaOr at least that’s the idea. As mentioned above, there is a whole industry waiting to explode internationally – smart people are going to get VERY RICH. These people want to be the world’s largest legal weed brand – read more here
  • Starbucks Vs Dunkin Donuts: SEAMLESS! Well, sort of. This is included less for the content than for the beuatiful page design which I was really impressed by in an odd, geeky fashion. 
  • The Cleverest Sign In The WorldThis is BRILLIANT. A signpost which connects to the internet, meaning it’s dynamic and can be made to display and point to different things depending on user commands. Also, the prototype displayed on the website will show your tweets and point in the direction of where you’re tweeting from if you use a certain hashtag, which is a nice proof-of-concept. 
  • How To Pronounce IKEA Product NamesAnother website which is disappointingly not by IKEA but should be. Pronunciation guides to the more esoterically-named products from the Swedish meatball suppliers with the furniture sideline. Upsettingly doesn’t include any hints as to pronounce ‘Billy’ properly. 
  • Paris Is Getting A New Forest Next YearI WANT A FOREST ON A SKY WALKWAY. Can someone send this to Boris, please? Thanks.
  • Winners of the 2013 Underwater Photography ContestThis is an annual thing by the University of Miami, apparently. Great pictures of cool / weird undersea stuff. 
  • The Recording of Under PressureA great post looking back at the Bowie/Mercury collaboration. You may not be surprised to learn that a LOT of cocaine was involved. As a bonus, there’s also a recording of their isolated vocals embedded in the piece, which is brilliant. From Dangerous Minds, which is a great blog you should all read. 
  • Tennis, VisualisedVery cool, if a bit headache-inducing in terms of the volume of stuff, this is technically a piece of BRANDED CONTENT, but given the fact that I can’t understand why a beer brand has made it I am going ignore the branding. It’s a load of data from a series of ATP matches last year, visualised. The sort of stuff that I imagine tennis coaches use, and, if you play, probably actually really interesting. For the less physically ept (ie me), it’s just a clever example of how to make large datasets accessible. Wimbledon, do this NOW (or, more realistically, next year).
  • Someone’s Designing An ‘Improved’ Version Of ChessIt’s called Chess 2. It’s quite mind-melty.
  • Star Trek WineAfter last week’s Hannibal Lecter vintage comes Star Trek wine. We’ve basically reached the point where we’re all infantilised to the point where chucking some pop-culture references onto literally ANY product will have us clapping and gawping like idiots and reaching for our wallets. Go society!
  • Runed By FansSpeaking of popular culture (SEAMLESS!), this is a website which looks over a (very) wide range of stuff and tries to quantify exactly how much each has been ruined by the rabid endorsement of its fan base. We’re all part of the problem.
  • A 3d Virtual Universe: Sadly this only seems to work on Macs, but if you worship at the Church of Steve then it may work for you. A very cool tool that lets you zoom through space however you want – science geeks should love this. 
  • When 3d Printing Goes WrongObviously 3d printing is THE FUTURE and all that, but it’s not always perfect. This is a collection of pictures of what happens when the machines get a bit confused. Don’t know why, but I found it quite pleasing and oddly poignant. Perhaps its reassuring that our creations are still capable of mechanical imperfection (although perhaps we should be more worried than heartened). 
  • Will Love Tear Us Apart?I love this. A ‘game’, which isn’t really a game, based on the Joy Division song ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. Such gorgeous design and animation, and the whole thing really does give you sad, despairing chills. Which sounds horrid, I admit, but it’s very much worth playing with. Just don’t think of it as a game, per se.
     

THE CIRCUS OF TUMBLRS:

  • The Unintentional Poetry Of ZazzleZazzle is an online retailer that sells an unconscionalble number of items of clothing, with image / slogan combinations which are algorithmically generated and therefore almost totally random. This can lead to some odd and occasionally lyrical slogans, some of the best of which are collected here. I basically want a lot of what is pictured on here, but I feel quite guilty about it. Weirdly, I also found this this week, which is another Tumblr doing much the same thing but slightly differently
  • This is Popular PrivilegeCheck your priviliege! YES YOU! Or, er, don’t. I must confess to thinking that this rubbish (because, really) was confined to the insanely twisty world of CIS/non-CIS tumblr arguments, but it seems not. Anyway, the latest iteration of this appears to be the concept of POPULAR PRIVILEGE – that is, the unfair advantages enjoyed by the COOL KIDS. The author of this Tumblr insists that this is not a parody, and its a concept which they believe applicable in the real world, not just school. As a society we really do have too much time and not enough real problems, seriously. 
  • Awkward PintsStock photos of people holding pints of beer in less-than-comfortable fashion.
  • Phones Replaced With SandwichesWhoever’s maintaining this will surely get bored and stop soon. I sort of hope they do, anyway, as if not it suggests something of a lack of other stimuli and interest in their life. 
  • Film GifsI’m pretty sure I’ve featured something very like this before, but here’s a Tumblr collecting a series of nice, hi-res gif-ed film stills. Good work, ready to be spoiled with captions and inclusions in ‘…and then I was all like:’ industry-specific joke tumblrs.
  • Gezi, Minus The ViolenceInteresting. Takes pictures of protestors clashing with police (and each other) from this week’s Turkish protests ad airbrushes out the violence. Decide for yourselves exactly which high concept you want to apply to this. 
  • Gays Of South London: No idea why I’ve not put this in before, it’s AWESOME. Also, South London.
Literally no idea who to attribute this to, sorry.
 

THIS ALBUM IS CALLED ACID RAP AND IT IS BY CHANCE THE RAPPER AND IT IS GREAT  

LONG THINGS WHICH ARE LONG (THERE ARE SOME TRULY GREAT READS THIS WEEK, I PROMISE):

  • Profile of a Porn StarMarcus London is, apparently, a big star in the world of bongo. He is also, it would seem, a really odd man and not a particularly pleasant one. This profile of him on NSFW Corp is further proof that they are producing some of the best longform writing anywhere on the web at the moment – I know I keep on saying it, but it’s true. 
  • Italy, Football, Race and CultureSo obviously being half Italian with a mum who lives in Rome makes me naturally inclined to be interested in anything to do with the place, but regardless of your connection (or lack thereof) to the country, this is a stellar piece of writing, and explores some of the oddities of Italian political culture, the country’s uneasy relationship with extreme politics and racial integration, and its football culture. Really, really good. 
  • The Suicide EpidemicThis is very long and not a very cheering piece, but it’s also interesting and important. A look at the people who are investigating the reasons behind why suicide is now a greater killer of people than war, and why suicide figures have risen unchecked year-on-year since 1999. Read it and then go and donate some money to MIND.  
  • What It’s Like Being A Minor Actor in a Cult Film: Bit of light relief – this isn’t HUGELY long, but it’s a cute piece by a man who played an irritating TGI Friday-type employee in Office Space (SUCH A GOOD FILM) and how the one role continues to define him. Interesting to read about what it’s like to be someone who is by no means a superstar in a world dominated by them. 
  • The History of the UK Garage SceneI have a slight author-crush on the writer of this piece, who for my money is head and shoulders above everyone else writing for VICE at the minute (go and read through his other stuff, it’s uniformly excellent). This is an illustrated memory-lane-trip back the days when garage was bubbling under – great photos, too.
  • The Legend of Buster SmithOk, so this one really is epic, but it’s a great example of the sort of journalism that US outlets do really well and which, for reasons I don’t quite get, we don’t seem to produce here. A look at a Chicago icon and ‘the greatest checkers player ever’, it’s a wonderful story about a city and the communities within it, and not really about checkers at all (except it sort of is). Like reading a really good documentary film, if that makes any sense to you. 
  • Reviewing Tao Lin’s ‘Taipei’Tao Lin is an internet phenomenon and possibly the most weird authorial ‘construct’ ever seen. His strange, utterly blank prose is divisive, and the ultra-meta nature of his persona coupled with his other artistic activities / pretensions (delete as applicable) make him a hipster cult figure and an object of derision in equal measure. Whatever your opinion, this review of his latest novel is a brilliant piece of writing, and an interesting exploration as to what a book review can and should be. I think. 
  • Making Sushi for Kim Jong IlAbsolutely the best thing I read all week. The crazy, yet apparently true, story of the Korean dictator’s personal sushi chef. JUST MENTAL.
  • GamesMaster – The Inside StoryIf you’re in your late 20s/early 30s and grew up in the UK (and, probably, a man), this will be like a soothing nostalgiabath for you. A great long-form look at everyone’s favourite shonky games show featuring curmudgeonly racist Sir Patrick Moore. Worth reading if only for having your memory nudged about exactly how innuendo-filled it was.
  • The Annual Kid Rock CruiseEvery year, a bunch of middle-aged white people, largely from middle-America, pay to get on a big boat for a few days and hang out with redneck superstar Kid Rock whilst getting unconscionably drunk. This is the story of that cruise. Quite incredible. 
  • The Silicon Valley of MarijuanaContinuing this week’s theme of a hemp-based future, this is a great two-parter looking at the emergent legal marijuana industry in the States. The money involved is, potentially, astonishing.  
  • The Evolution of the Star Wars LogoHonestly, this is more interesting than you would expect, particularly if you’re into design, typography, marketing / branding or (obviously) Star Wars.

A SHORT SELECTION OF VIDEOS WHICH ARE NOT EMBEDDED BUT INSTEAD LINKED TO:

Calvin & Hobbes – SECRET AGENTS! By Coran Kizer Stone
 


NOW, FINALLY, MOVING PICTURES AND SOUNDS!:

1) After all the attention being lavished on the stupid EDL racists in the past few weeks, this is a lovely counterpoint. A few months old, and it’s got over 1million views so apologies if you’ve already seen it, but this is a great piece of spoken work by Hollie Mcnish, called ‘Mathematics’, all about the mistaken assumptions behind the ‘coming over here, taking our jobs’ rhetoric often spouted by the aforementioned stupid racists:

2) I reckon some of you will love this (and some of you will be bored to tears by it; sorry about that). This is effectively an animation / art piece to accompany Midnight Juggernauts’ latest single ‘Memoriam’, which tracks the history and evolution of CGI technology. If you’ve been a computer geek for a while, this will hit a lot of buttons:

3) This is such a good animation. Stop motion work for Professor Kliq’s song ‘Plastic and Flashing Lights’. The use of wire to make the figure is inspired, and allows all sorts of cool flourishes. Really slick:

4) People imitating animals off the internet! Better than it has any right to be, though the song leaves me COLD – the attention to detail on some of these is brilliant, though. ‘Humanity’ by I Am Un Chien:

5) Don’t really understand why this doesn’t have more views. Another one of those videos made from animated collections of stills (LIKE ALL VIDEOS BASICALLY ARE) – the craft that’s gone into this one, though, is crazily impressive – it was all shot over 1 24h period, which logistically is pretty punch. Also features Kelis, which is a pleasant bonus. Dan Black, with ‘Hearts’:

6) UK Hiphop corner! This week, have the fantastically named Stig Of The Dump, with ‘One’. Great sample – you’ll be humming this one, guaranteed (BONUS UK HIPHOP – I discovered this this week, it is brilliant. Skittles – Poor With £100 Trainers):

7) This is Marika. I think she is going to be FAMOUS. This is the video for her song ‘The Bath is Black’ and it is ODD, but beautifully shot:


8) A pleasing touch of whimsy to follow, with the latest video and single from The Boy Least Likely To, who are LOVELY and underrated. If you like Belle & Sebastian you will like this, and the video’s really cute and beautifully shot. WATCH:

9) Bruton Strouse are, I think, some sort of video agency. They are going to get SO MUCH BUSINESS as a result of this slomo showreel. So, so good:

10) Portugal. The Man are shooting up my list of ‘bands who I am expecting huge fame for which basically means they’re destined for anonymity’. Consistently good songs and videos; the faces here are great. This is Atomic Man: 

11) Finally, this, because it’s scarred my dreams this week and so I see no reason why it shouldn’t do the same to you. BYE!

 

That’s it for now

See you next week. Please forward this onto as many people as your mail server can physically handle. If you’re reading this and have yet to subscribe, visit the Imperica newsletter page to do so.
 

 

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