Webcurios 20/09/13

Reading Time: 22 minutes

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Half a mile to Wham
Garudio Studiage photo of the week

Videogames, videogames, videogames. And fashion too. EXCITEMENT! That’s basically been this week, along with an awful lot of work – it turns out that helping people open a new venue is actually quite demanding. WHO KNEW?

Anyway, I have yet ANOTHER wedding to get to this weekend, this one in Wales of all places, so without further ado let plunge a sounding rod deep into the urethra of the web in search of anomalous findings (sorry) – it’s WEB CURIOS!

By Xooang Choi

BITS OF INFORMATION WHICH LARGELY PERTAIN TO THE MAKING OF MONEY VIA THE MEDIUM OF ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS (OR THE PEDDLING OF SNAKE OIL – FEEL FREE TO CALL THIS WHATEVER YOU WANT, TO BE HONEST, AS I AM PAST THE POINT OF CARING) ARRANGED IN A CAREFREE FASHION WITH NO APPARENT TAXONOMICAL GUIDELINES BECAUSE, WELL, BECAUSE I CAN:

  • How Machine Learning Will Make Glass Useful (and the future a terrifying dystopian nightmare): I’m starting with this one largely because it sort of scared the bejesus out of me, and in the spirit of SHARING I want it to scare the bejesus out of you too. Maybe everyone else had thought of this stuff already, but this piece about how machine learning (that is, pattern recognition, etc) will be applied to Google Glass is properly scary. The bits at the end about the tech being able to automatically detect when a user is looking at, say, a human face or something – HUGELY CREEPY for so many reasons. Not least the censorship / control stuff – let’s hope that wearable tech never takes off (and maybe that we all decide that everything past, say, bulletin boards was actually a terrible mistake and we go back to 1998 when everything was safe and we were young and my hair wasn’t falling out in clumps and my skin had the lustre of youth and OH MY GOD I FEEL SO OLD). 
  • Glass For Fashion: Seeing as we’re talking about it, and seeing as it was Fashion Week this week (impossible to miss – were aliens to have taken a cursory glance at media this week they would have been reasonably convinced that all we cared about were unfeasibly tall, skinny women wearing moderately ridiculous clothes, and videogames), this piece is about some Glass hacks which pertain particularly to fashion. Some clever ideas here, and if you think about them enough they almost make you forget the scary machine learning horror of the last link. Think of it as a mental palate-cleanser. 
  • Google Does Health: Just FYI, really – the CLEVER PEOPLE are looking into the healthcare market and pumping money into research to preemptively sort out the problems of 20 years hence. Do you know why they are doing this? SO THAT WE WILL NEVER DIE AND THEREFORE CAN BE SOLD ADVERTISING FOREVER. Trufact.
  • Watch YouTube Videos Offline: Come November, YouTube will let people watch videos offline for a short period. Details are sketchy, but I presume it will mean short-term downloads of stuff. Anyway, there’s the potential for some clever usage of this – I quite like the idea of fourth wall-breaking allusions to where something is being watched, or the creation of videos that are designed to be watched solely on the Tube, say. It’s probably a dreadful idea, though. 
  • Subway Dress: What’s the most Fashion Week thing you can think of? THAT’S RIGHT! Hypercalorific fast food with a strange and oddly unsettling chemical smell! Subway commissioned some designers at New York Fashion Week to design and make dresses using materials from the horrible chain restaurant. “THIS IS NOT INTERNETTY!”, I hear you cry…well, it sort of is, isn’t it – a prime example of someone, somewhere, thinking “Oh, ‘the internet’ (sorry Evgeny) will go nuts if we dress models up in sandwich wrappers – LET’S DO IT, and then webmongs will write about it in their webmongy blogs!”. And lo, it came to pass. 
  • People Are Quitting Facebook For Reasons of Privacy: Hey look! Some research you can quote to prove to people that they should spend their money in a certain way! This is moderately interesting, although it’s also important to note that the people who are surveyed here are, like me, 30somethings. Do THE KIDS care about the privacy stuff in the same way (clue: no)?.
  • Brand Pages Coming To Etsy: Crafty, folky marketplace Etsy is going to launch brand pages. I have literally no idea why this is happening, I have to say, and neither does the article I’ve linked to. Anyway, chuck this into your next presentation to any client whose target demographic is a little bit hipster. “Yeah, we’ll, like, pull together a collection of the best artisan craftsmanship to really anchor the brand identity to the craft movement, yeah?” stabstabstabstabstab.
  • Pinterest Ads Are Coming: This makes a bit more sense. Again, details are a little sketchy but this seems to be planned to work by placing promoted pins in search results and category feeds – so if you work for someone selling interior design stuff or anything to do with weddings then get on this now.
  • The Oddest Marketing Campaign I’ve Ever Seen For A Place: This is quite bizarre. Canadian island province Nova Scotia is promoting itself via a campaign which purports to be for a phone and then turns out to be for…er…a place. Leaving aside what they thought the link was between people who’d stumble across a phone called ‘Pomegranate’ and people who’d want to go to a snowy, cold, remote destination, you will finish this wanting the phone quite a lot, but feeling relatively ambivalent about Canada. The website’s quite nice, though – click on ‘release date’ for the big reveal.
  • The Specsavers Crime Novel: I do rather like this, though. Specsavers is running a campaign whereby they’ve commissioned some (fairly big name) crime authors to pen a series of tales based on fragments of plot suggestions sourced from the wider world through Twitter, etc. Apparently this is borne out of the ‘insight’ that ‘people realise their eyes are a bit messed up when they struggle to read’ – I love the way agencies do that! – which is obviously a bit tenuous, and frankly the benefit to Specsavers here is somewhat unclear, but there’s something really rather nice about how people are engaging with the concept online. Check out the Twitter search – it’s actually rather cool. 
  • Beer Brand Blocks Mobile Signal: I was in Regent’s Park the other week and was talking to someone about how long it would be before places with signalblocking fields would become an attractive thing – you know, the opportunity for proper disconnection, etc (actually, that’s quite a nice gimmick for a venue – signal near the entrance, where you can wait for others, text them to say you’ve arrived, etc, fading to no signal in the back where you head when you just want to talk to an actual person, face-to-face). Anyway, this beer brand’s made a beer holder thingy that blocks mobile signals within 1.5 metres, doubtless due to some total bollocks ‘INSIGHT’ that people want to drink their beer without interruptions from their phones (you know what, if they want that then they can TURN THE THINGS OFF). Cute, although KitKat did it with benches a year or so back, so no giant FIRST! award for these people.
  • 240+ Slides on ‘Native Advertising’: This is FAR TOO LONG, but actually quite a useful read – basically it’s a whole rationalisation of why it’s really important for brands to do editorial partnerships with Buzzfeed. Obviously there’s a bit more to it than that, but effectively that’s the big takeout. 
  • 160+ Slides on THE FUTURE OF MARKETING!: Again, far too long (why it couldn’t have been a Word doc escapes me), but not totally stupid and contains several examples of sensible stuff on brand behaviour online, etc, which you can lift – helpfully, it’s written in gratingly corporate language which means you can seamlessly integrate large swathes of it into your next meaningless presentation.
  • Significantly Less Slides On What ‘Digital’ Is: This, on the other hand, really is quite smart. Clever overview of what digital is within an agency / organisation – if you have anything to do with running or growing digital business within a company this is probably worth a quick look. It’s much shorter than the previous ones, I promise.
  • The Gif Is Dead: The United States Committee on Energy and Commerce has made this. I’m actually quite impressed with the creativity – you wait until the next election where EVERYTHING gets presented in Buzzfeed-style gif format. Including the manifestos. Seriously, you could actually start making these now. Labour, have this for free – “when the coalition first got into power, we were all like [INSERT RELEVANT ‘HUMOROUS’ REACTION SHOT OF SOMEONE LOOKING INCREDULOUS] and then they started with that austerity stuff and we were all like [INSERT RELEVANT ‘HUMOROUS’ REACTION SHOT OF AN INDIGNANT LOOKING CAT]…etc…etc…and that’s why we’re going to vote Labour – because AIN’T NONE OF US GOT TIME FOR THAT! [INSERT EMBEDDED SWEET BROWN VIDEO]”. You may think I’m joking, but I am TOTALLY going to be resurrecting this post come 2015.
  • The Living Piano: I really, really like this. Simple and well-done and strangely happymaking. Go on, steal it and make it tawdry and horrible. GO ON. 
By James Blair for National Geographic

SOOTHING MUSIC INSPIRED BY THAT VERY POPULAR TV SHOW ABOUT THE DRUG DEALER!

SOME THINGS I HAVE FOUND ON THE INTERNET THIS WEEK OH GOD I HAVE JUST LOOKED AT THE LIST AND I REALLY, REALLY NEED TO APPLY A LITTLE MORE EDITORIAL RIGOUR TO THIS OTHERWISE I’M GOING TO HAVE TO START WRITING IT ON TUESDAYS IF I’M GOING TO GET IT OUT ON FRIDAY LUNCHTIMES, PT. 1:

  • A Small Piece Of Very ‘This Is The Future’ Graffiti From Twitter: Go on, save this in your ‘pics I am going to use in a presentation about digital sooner rather than later’ folder. I know you want to. 
  • No-upload Image Hosting: This is quite clever, and also quite a convenient idea. Snag.gy is, as far as I can tell, a service which allows online image hosting with no upload or account – you can just cut & paste an image onto the webpage, whereby it will MAGICALLY APPEAR with its own shareable URL. Quite good for a variety of purposes, some of them potentially nefarious…
  • Minimalist Football Team Logos: Some of these work better than others, but there’s something quite cool about the concept. You can make your own joke about Jonny Ive / Apple – I’ll just wait here til you’ve finished (judging you). 
  • This Is What It Looks Like When Insects Bite You: Entomophobes, I suggest you don’t click this one. Photographer Alex Wild specialises in taking pictures of insects in superHD close-up. This is a selection of pictures of those insects feeding from him. Even if you’re not entomophobic you’ll probably wince a bit, particularly at the ones of the massive pincers quite clearly embedded in skin. They’re technically awesome photos, though, honest – I fear I’ve put everyone off now, sorry.
  • Dating for Ghosts: As far as I can tell, this is just something that someone knocked up for fun, but there’s a surprising amount of depth to it for a single-serving joke site. Purporting to be a dating site for the ectoplasmic, it’s strangely compelling. A bit of digging revealed it to be one of a series of websites built for no visible purpose by some 39 year old mormon bloke – there may well be WEIRD religiosity buried in there somewhere.
  • Hugely Impressive Origami: I know that these come around comparatively often, but these really *are* spectacular, not just for the technical execution but also for the imagination behind some of the designs. Also, there’s an origami poo – if at least one of you doesn’t spend the afternoon hiding by the printers and secretly using reams of A4 to try and recreate it I will be VERY disappointed.
  • Posters For Villains: Scroll down a bit and you will find some great posters of film villains with apposite quotes. In fact the rest of the work on there’s pretty good too – take a look.
  • Great Fashion Week Webwork: This is excellent, and a really good example of webdesign. The New York Times fashion editor’s picks of the catwalk shows, arranged in a beautiful, navigable way. I particularly like the thematic annotations beneath each fashion house’s selection, and the way the hover-over works (I really hope I’ve used semi-recognisable terminology there, as otherwise that last sentence was largely incomprehensible). 
  • Totally Pointless But Rather Lovely: Move your mouse around. Then click, and HOLD. Keep holding. It’s lovely and will properly relax you, I promise. 
  • Decals For Escalators: It’s boring and cliche to talk, as a Londoner, about the unique anger inspired by people standing on the left on escalators (but OH MY GOD IT’S INFURIATING WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU DO YOU HAVE NO SELF-AWARENESS AT ALL YOU SELFISH GITS?) – instead, let’s all quietly get behind this wonderful design innovation by Yoni Alter and make it happen.
  • Drawing on Skin: Not tattoos, just ink drawings, but incredibly impressive technique. Maybe one of you who wants a tattoo can get this person to do the sketches? Go on. Get Thom Yorke on your left thigh, you know you want to.
  • Man Makes Infographic For Own Wedding: In fairness, it’s sort of what he does, but I’m still quite unsure about this. It’s maybe just a little bit too internet for its own good. Is that unfair? Am I a loveless curmudgeon? Quite possibly, BUT I DON’T CARE. 
  • YouTube Doubler: Tool to create YouTube mashups. Actually quite good, in a low-tech, ugly sort of way. The one linked to is a good example of how it works – community managers, that’s your Friday afternoon sorted. 
  • Looney Tunes Characters Made Of Typography: Erm, that, basically. Very nicely done, though, and were it not for the horrific rights / licensing issues, the sort of thing which would make a nice ad campaign for….er…something which I can’t at present quite identify but which I’m sure will come to me this afternoon in some sort of crap esprit de l’escalier moment. Oh well. 
  • Folding Is Like SETI But For Biology: Everyone should sign up to this. Much in the same way as SETI did with SETI@home, coopting the processing power of home computers to help the agency find aliens, this project aims to use collective computational resources to conduct data-intensive research into protein folding – the rearranging of proteins which, when it goes wrong, is a major cause of serious illness. I think that there should be a corporate charter thingy where large companies all sign up to this stuff automatically. Go on, WPP, BE THE CHANGE (ahahahahaha).
  • Wikipedia’s Guide To Internet Phenomena: A wikipedia page listing some of the biggest memes of recent years. If, like me, you spend far too much time looking at this sort of stuff this will be a lovely trip down memory lane full of nostalgia and long-forgotten earworms. By no means comprehensive (Y NO SCUMBAG STEVE?), but interesting – and actually potentially useful for any students of web culture, or people who want to see if they can define any common themes in what’s memeworthy (good luck with that, though).
  • Symmetrical People: Photograher Julian Wolkenstein takes portrait photos of people and then mirrors their faces on both sides. The results are as unsettling and borderline-creepy as you might expect.
  • Add Cookie Monster To Everything: Like that ‘Add Ryan Gosling to every website’ website from the start of the year, except with Cookie Monster. Surely there must be a fairly easy script which can make these on demand? Go on, make one for me (I keep on writing stuff like this – it NEVER happens. God you’re cruel).
  • Star Trek Next Generation vs Old School: A slightly odd project, largely because of the volume of pics and the quality of the photoshoppery – someone has taken the time to drop a load of characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation into stills from the original Shatner vehicle. No idea why – fans are STRANGE – but they’re actually rather well done. 
  • Miniature Pop Culture Paintings on Coins: Yes, I know this was on Us vs Th3m, LEAVE ME ALONE. Anyway, technically marvellous miniature pictures of pop culture icons painted onto coins. Does this mess with their status as legal tender? If not there’s a variety of ways in which you can take this as *ahem* inspiration for campaigns…
  • Generating Utopia: Interesting project creating shifting 3d maps of cities based on 4sq checkins. Its high concept is to imagine what cities would look like if their topography responded to a resident’s activity (leave out what it would look like, it would be TERRIFYING) – watch the video and read the blurb, it’s very clever indeed in an artytechcity sort of way.
  • Sylvia Plath In Comic Form: Another week, another link to Zen Pencils, whose work continues to impress. This time it’s a piece from Plath’s The Bell Jar, illustrated in poignant fashion. WARNING – it’s Plath, so unlikely to make you feel all that sunny and warm.
  • Multicolour Search for Flickr: Really clever search engine. Choose upto 5 colours, choose how much of each you want, and hit ‘search’ – the page then trawls Flickr for pictures that best match the colours and proportions you requested. Also it only searches Creative Commons images, so it’s properly useful too.
  •  The Encyclopaedia of Life: Huge and incredible resource which effectively acts like Wikipedia but for biology. The world’s flora and fauna, classified and arranged into a website. I had NO IDEA that this even existed until yesterday – things like this are why the internet is wonderful. If you have kids who are interested in animals and nature and stuff, this might be a useful thing to plug them into for a while.
  • Favimon – Pokemon With Websites: Erm, yes, that. Pick a web url and this site turns it into a Pokemon-type creature and lets you battle other websites. No idea why you’d want to do this, but Pokemon are still REALLY popular (no, really). My brother met his fiancee thanks to Pokemon, and they’re moving to Canada to live happily ever after, so it MUST be a good thing.
  • Code The Star Wars Opening Text: You’ve probably got a small window where this is ok to do. This website gives you step-by-step instructions on how to code the whole ‘A long time ago…’ scrolling text from the start of the Star Wars films. Brands – noone wants to see your ‘funny’ takes on this (or at least I don’t).
  • Meowmania: This week’s frivolous cat-related website. Click for cats and meows. Funnier than it ought to be.
  • Picasso Superheroes: Your favourite superheroes as they would have appeared had they been drawn by stumpy Spanish genius (has he ever been so dismissively described? Sorry, Pablo) Picasso. Also the website of a very talented graphic designer who might sell the prints to you if you ask nicely.
  • USB Condoms: Oh, the future, you give us so much. I had not even begun to imagine why such things will be necessary, but one day they will be – these are devices which will protect your device’s data integrity when you plug it into a ‘strange’ USB port. Makes perfect sense as we move towards a world in which we will use more and more public / shared USBs, but it’s also a bit sad.
  • Dreamspace: A clever, well-written little dystopian cyberpunk webcomic with some very nice artwork and gif-y animation. Takes about 5 minutes, and it’s really rather nicely made.
By Robert Longo

A 200-SONG MASHUP BY SOME BLOKE CALLED MELKER!

SOME THINGS I HAVE FOUND ON THE INTERNET THIS WEEK OH GOD I HAVE JUST LOOKED AT THE LIST AND I REALLY, REALLY NEED TO APPLY A LITTLE MORE EDITORIAL RIGOUR TO THIS OTHERWISE I’M GOING TO HAVE TO START WRITING IT ON TUESDAYS IF I’M GOING TO GET IT OUT ON FRIDAY LUNCHTIMES, PT. 2:

  • Google Mechview: Have you ever wondered what the world would look like as seen through the cockpit of a giant mechanical robot-type thing? OH GOOD. It’s weird how much superimposing a cockpit onto Google Street View images changes the way you see them.
  • The Most Hipster/Artwanker Sunglasses EVER: You will see someone wearing these soon, and you will want to hit them, but you will also secretly want to have a pair yourself and the sense of self-loathing which this will provoke in you will stay with you for several hours. 
  • Crime Scenes Then And Now: This is a brilliant photoproject taking old crime-scene photos of New York and seamlessly merging them with modern photos of the same locations. Very clever idea, and incredibly well-executed.
  • The Best Response To A Customer Complaint In A Restaurant I Have Seen In Ages: Just brilliant. Take a bow, Chester’s The Sticky Walnut (dreadful name, though). 
  • Make Better Websites: Inspiration, should you need some, for web design. Some very nice examples on the site; worth scrolling through to see if anything catches your eye.
  • Secret Images From The Stasi Archives: Incredible, and really rather sad, photographs from an upcoming book looking at the Stasi. Your first instinct will be to laugh at the disguises – you have never seen secret policemen in disguise who look quite so much like secret policemen in disguise – but the shot of the bed and the child’s toybox, and the accompanying text, is chilling. I prefer my surveillance to be faceless and inhuman, thankyou very much – thanks, NSA!
  • Speaking of the NSA, Get Caught By Them!: Another one of these – this week it’s Flagger, a Chrome plugin which automatically puts trigger keywords like ‘Semtex’, ‘Jihad’, etc, into the url of any web address you visit. Which I’m sure seems really funny now, but won’t be so much of a laugh riot when you’re serving year three of your infinite sentence in virtual Gitmo. 
  • Reading ALL of the Penguins: A laudable but slightly unhinged project to collect and read every single Penguin paperback of which there are 3000. MENTAL. There’s a blogpost about each book – it’s actually a great site to browse if you’re looking for new, high-calibre reading material.
  • Hulk’s Essential Reading List: As is this, actually – some very good recommendations in here. 
  • The Most Hipster Arts Grad Job EVER: Middle Class? Arts degree? No direction or ambition, but an overweaning sense that you deserve a good life? Oh hi, nice to meet you, we’re exactly the same. Also, you could be a book therapist, apparently. CRAZY.
  • Transmit Sound Through Touch: I don’t even pretend to understand how this works, but it seems to be tech, developed by The Mouse, which lets people transmit sounds to each other through touch alone. Or indeed can transform anything into a speaker with no need for modification of the object in question. The possibilities are HUGE – although the first thing I thought of was stuff that tells you off for touching it, which is really quite sad actually. I should have a word with myself.
  • Disney Princess Magazine Covers: Speaking of Disney, this made me temporarily quite angry when I found it. This is basically everything that’s wrong with female-oriented publishing / marketing – and a really horrible example of how small children get indoctrinated without anyone really noticing. 
  • Slyphone: Have an iPhone? Want to take pics of people without them knowing you’re doing so? You’re probably a pervert, in that case, but you may also like the Slyphone, which is a little clip on attachment which lets the phone take pics at 90 degrees. You can get one free by interacting with them on Twitter and telling them what you’d do with the tech (I’m guessing the most likely answer, ‘upskirts’, is probably not going to get you a freebie, though). 
  • Utopia: A short story told through text and sound and 8-bit animations. Rather lovely, and will only take you 5 minutes. 
  • Welcome To Fear City: In the 1970s, New York was quite a crime-ridden and scary place. This pamphlet, produced by the City in 1975, is intended to scare the living bejesus out of anyoe potentially visiting the city, and makes it sound like you would die within literally seconds of leaving your hotel room. Can someone paraody this for modern London, please? Thanks.
  • The Guccione Collection: The incredibly hubristic website collecting the GENIUS of pronographer and publishing magnate Bob Guccione. There’s actually a lot of really intreresting stuff on the site, but the tone’s pretty offputting. Great photography, though. Anyway, I only discovered it as a result of THIS piece on VICE, which is an eye-opening account of the alleged sexual appetites of Chuck Berry, and which I wouldn’t read whilst eating. 
  • A Quite Remarkable Obituary: Wow.
  • License This Picture, Turn It Into Cards, Make Millions: I will take 3% of lifetime earnings, thanks.
  • Keynes For Kids: This is AWESOME, and, it appears, just done for the love of it. An introduction to everyone’s favourite economist JM Keynes, designed for kids. It’s just brilliant, and made me spend a good 20 minutes playing around on it and dimly remembering the IB Economics I did 17 years ago (OH GOD 17 YEARS). Really well designed, the content is spot on…aside from your interest or otherwise in the subject matter, it’s worth a look from a design point of view alone.
  • Bicycles Made Of Lobster: No more, no less.
  • A Sick But Entertaining Ragdoll Sim Game: GTAV? PAH! THIS is a torture simulation. Also, really quite worryingly fun.
By Raphael Dallaporta

A MIX COMPOSED OF VINTAGE PR0N SOUNDTRACKS!

THE CIRCUS OF TUMBLRS:

  • Bad Estate Agent Photos: If you have ever looked for property in London, this will resonate unpleasantly (and yes, I know you have already seen this this week GIVE ME A BREAK). 
  • Glitches: Daily glitch art. Nice, if you like that sort of thing (which I do).
  • Calvin And Dune: Another week, another pop cultuer Calvin & Hobbes mashup. This week it’s text from Frank Herbert’s Dune making the strip all DARK and EXISTENTIAL and stuff. 
  • Awesome Posters: It’s quite hardto glean anything about who’s behind this, but no matter – this Tumblr collects posters designed by…er…someone, and they are AWESOME. In particular, they’ve designed posters for each and every episode of Star Trek, which is mental (see mad fans comment passim) but also rather cool. 
  • Men Taking Up Too Much Space On The Train: I never do this, fyi. I am a lovely commuter. 
  • JS Apps Failing Horribly: This is a very, very geeky joke. Sorry.
  • Daily Otter: An otter a day to lift your mood and calm your nerves.
  • Poetry Mashups: you’ll have to look a bit to find them, but on this Tumblr are a selection of readings of classic poems mashed up with modern pop music. The person behind them suggests that the purpose is to highlight the lyrical quality of poetry to young people – whatever, the results are AWESOME. No, really – go and listen to Dylan Thomas vs Miley Cyrus (I am not shitting you) and then feel your world change forever. 
  • Things In Charlotte’s Mouth: I have literally NO IDEA.
  • Bartkira: Akira + The Simpsons = this. One for you, Adam
  • Sad Desk Lunch: Images of depressing food eaten at the desks of office monkeys. Go on, treat yourself today, you deserve it, you’ve had a long week. 
  • Project Unbreakable: This has been going for a couple of years now, but the Tumblr is, I think, newish. Project Unbreakable aims to highlight issues surrounding sexual abuse and public reaction to it – it collects images of women who’ve been victims of abuse, holding cards showing things which were said to them by friends, family, the police or the perpetrator. It’s often incredibly uncomfortable, as it should be, and it will probably make you want to go and donate to these people or someone simliar
  •  

A MIX OF MUSIC WHICH IS REALLY HAUNTINGLY BEAUTIFUL AND WHICH I RECOMMEND UNRESERVEDLY

LONG THINGS WHICH ARE LONG AND OF WHICH THERE ARE A LOT THIS WEEK SO GET A BIG POT OF TEA READY OR MAYBE SOME WHISKEY:

  • Inside Nintendo’s Treehouse: An incredibly detailed look at how Nintendo make games, and the role of writers and translators in that process. Obviously if you like videogames this is going to be more interesting than if not, but the piece is actually worth reading as a more general look at the importance of integrating writers into each stage of the creative process. 
  • Ladies! Control Men’s Minds With Your Vaginas!: No, really. The Hairpin (which, as a man, I think is one of the best women’s interest blogs on the internet and which I heartily recommend) takes a look at Copulins, which are basically pheremones, and how these can be used to CONTROL MEN. Just…just weird, really.
  • On Being A Dominatrix: Really interesting piece on what it’s like to abuse and humiliate people for a living – or as it’s more commonly known, BEING THE CLIENT!!!! Oh God, I’m so sorry. 
  • The Papal Interview: An astonishingly long and detailed interview with Pope Francis. Whether or not you are Catholic, or Christian, or religious in any way at all (or if you think that the Pope’s the leader of some giant illuminati-style paedophile ring which has been going for centuries), this is worth a skim – if nothing else, the Pope is still one of the most powerful people in the world (whatever Richard Dawkins might want) and it’s useful to know in what sort of direction he’s likely to point his several hundred million followers. Contains some positive noises on women and gays, which is A Good Thing in general. 
  • Soho in 1983: Words and pictures from the seedy part of London back when it still was a bit seedy. An interesting slice of historyand OH MY GOD 1983 was 30 years ago. Jesus.
  • On Jim Henson and Making Money From Art: Fascinating not only as a look at Henson’s early life and work, but also as a discussion / meditation on how artists can and should make profit from their output, and in so doing how they can avoid diminishing the quality of the work. 
  • A Truly HUGE Piece On Post-Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush US Politics: Obviously if you’re in any way interested in US politics, this is a good read – even if not, though, it’s worth a look as a general look at what voters of a certain age are drawn to in terms of ideology, policy, etc, and the manner in which the terms ‘left’ and ‘right’ have shifted in meaning in the past 30-odd years. 
  •  The Boris Bike After The Apocalypse: A very weird piece of writing, imagining the role of Boris Bikes (well, actually Citibikes as it’s American) in a post-apocalyptic world. They do look sort of indestructible, come to think of it. 
  • The Life Of Joyce: A brilliant story about how a class of schoolkids uncovered the life story of a truly remarkable 20th Century man. Read it, and then go and take a look at the website they put together archiving all the materials from the story. It’s BRILLIANT. 
  • Do We Still Care About Syria?: This brilliant and slightly harrowing piece in the New Statesman is a convenient reminder of why we should, and why the whole place is such a potentially intractable mess.
  • A Portrait of a 10 Year Old Girl: A wonderful portrait of what it’s like being that age and gender in a Western country – in this case Canada, but I would imagine applicable to here too. Would be fascinated to hear the thoughts of those of you with kids on this one. 
  • The Cage Fighter, The Bad Debts and the Fake Death: Well this is a film waiting to be made. Also, the way the page is designed is wonderful – I love the HTML graphic novel-type panelling. 
  • On Why It’s Hard Not To Look Like A Hipster As A 30 Year Old Man: Not actually long, but quite funny. My tip for avoiding this problem, incidentally, is to dress really, really badly. 
  • The Poetry of the NYC Probation Department: This is a collection of verse by employees and clients of the New York City Probation Department. Some of it’s tripe, admittedly, but there are some genuinely affecting pieces in there and I am very much in favour of the idea (not that anyone cares what I think, but still). 
  • A Chat With Norman Spinrad: I’ve had a looooooooooong relaionship with the work of Norman Spinrad, sci fi novelist and contrarian who wrote some AWESOME books that you really should read, in particular Bug Jack Barron (which basically did reality TV in the late 60s and is like Big Brother crossed with Austin Powers crossed with Superfly (no, really, it is)), The Iron Dream (which is a sci fi novel written as if by Hitler and is brutally brilliant) and The Men in the Jungle which I read when I was 10 and I’m pretty sure scarred me in some fairly deep-seated fashion. Anyway, Spinrad is always an interesting read, and this interview with him’s got a lot of interesting observations in it. Go read. 
  • Why You’re Unhappy: If you’re in your 30s, at least. ENJOY!
By Andy Gillmore


NOW, FINALLY, MOVING PICTURES AND SOUNDS!:


1) First up, there’s a LOVELY montage of the final shots from a variety of films. Sounds boring, really isn’t – put on headphones and take 5 minutes to watch this through. Web Curios takes no responsibility for tears shed as a result (contains MASSIVELY EMO STRINGS): 

2) This is Majical Cloudz with their song ‘Bugs Don’t Buzz’. It’s a haunting and gorgeous track which I am 99% sure does some pretty serious ripping off of some other song, but no matter – it’s LOVELY. The video, on the other hand, gave me the formicating heebiejeebies and should only be watched if you’re not in any way creeped out by insects crawling all over people’s faces and similar stuff. Another one best avoided by the entomophobes :

3) Photographer Gioacchino Petronicce has taken a load of his photos and turned them into a video and it is a thing of gorgeousness and gorgeosity. Watch, it’s only 2 minutes and it will make you happy I promise:

4)  Yamantaka Sonic Titan is, apparently, a collective art project established in 2007. It’s largely baffling to me, but I stumbled across this song and video this week and fell in love with it. The music is really, really good, in a sort of dirty rock way and the video’s rather cool too what with all the dancing and slowmo and stuff. It’s called ‘One’:

5) This, on the other hand, is just a lovely slice of slightly jangly indiepop. Eleanor Friedberger, with ‘When I Knew’:

6) I think Kn1ght are French – it’s electro, anyway, and it seems to be something of a law that all electro artists must be French in 2013. Anyway, I LOVE the video for this – all 80s and neon, and it feels like a short action film which is never a bad thing. The song’s called ‘Last Moon’, should you care:

7) More electronica here, although this is a little more WARP than the above. The video is brilliant – glitchy, techy animation which gets progressively more angular and broken down as the song progresses. This is Aleph with Fourth Way:

8) I LOVE WATSKY. I keep saying it because it’s TRUE. Anyway, this is his new one, ‘Kill A Hipster’, from his very good album Cardboard Castles. I love him so much I’ll even forgive him for the zombies thing, as it sort of makes sense in this context:

9) Scarlet Chives are Danish, I think. This is their song Some Days Stay, which features a LOT of girl-on-girl and probably isn’t safe for work – the reason I’m including it is not, as some of you might be thinking, that I’m some sort of pathetic peddler of low-rent lesbongo, but more because the song’s lovely, and the video has the air of something which features two people who actually know and like each other rather than actresses, and has the sort of weirdly innocent vibe of 1960s documentaries on nudist camps:

10) Last up we have this, by FKA Twigs. It’s called Papi Pacify, and the video is beautifully shot and quite ambivalent about the relationship between the two protagonists and I think it’s gorgeous. I’m off to ANOTHER wedding now – bye, happy Friday, etc:

 
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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