One Stop Jerk Centre, Harlesden
Cory Doctorow, CC licence http://www.flickr.com/photos/doctorow/2147445224/
Happy Birthday, The Web! You all have Tim Berners-Lee to thank/blame for being able to read this, as do I for having something to write about. I remember the first EVER time I used the web – at college, in 1996, when we were all put into groups of 3 and given 45 minutes access to the one computer in the library which was connected. Amazingly, this was unsupervised access – the only guidance we were given was a large book called (I kid you not) “The Internet” which was basically a compendium of all the websites which existed at the time. Obviously being 16-year-old men we flicked straight to the ‘sex’ section; we then proceeded to spend 15 minutes navigating around ‘Bianca’s Smut Shack’ (again, I kid you not – look! IT STILL EXISTS! You can read a bit more about it here if you’re so inclined – it’s sort of a big deal in web history) – we also learnt a valuable if slightly scary lesson about the danger of clicking on hyperlinks from a sex site whilst in a reasonably public place, and about the strange feeling of guilt, shame and fear you feel when you know that you’ve been looking at stuff online which you really probably shouldn’t have been looking at (a feeling a large majority of the Western world is now intimately familiar with – YAY US).
How far we’ve come. And yet, not so far at all. Come, webmongs, let us step gingerly into this week’s internet, preserved as though in aspic, and prod gently at its wobbling form as we wonder exactly what we’re preserving it for – this is WEB CURIOS.
By Jason Yarmosky
THE SECTION WHICH WONDERS WHETHER MR BERNERS-LEE FEELS A SLIGHT SENSE OF REGRET AT THE FACT THAT WHILST HE BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A TECHNOLOGY WHICH HAS CHANGED HUMAN EXPERIENCE MORE THAN ANY OTHER SINCE THE PRINTING PRESS SAID INVENTION IS ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR FACEBOOK AND THEREFORE ALL SORTS OF DREADFUL SADNESSES:
- FACEBOOK PAGES TO LOOK MARGINALLY DIFFERENT SOON!: Another week, another aesthetic tweak implemented by Facebook based on doubtless-terrifying volumes of information about Page usage. This one brings insights for Page admins into a slightly more user-friendly configuration, allows better and more efficient ways in which to worry about why your competitors’ posts about pugs are getting more shares than your posts about pugs, and sort of completely kills the functionality of Tabs on the Page. Actually building stuff to live on Facebook’s sort of over, isn’t it? Poor the shovelware FB app development shops :-(.
- PREMIUM VIDEO ADS FOR FB ALMOST HERE, LIKE REALLY ALMOST NEARLY: Has there ever been a more-trailed ad format than the EAGERLY AWAITED Facebook autoplay video ads (rhetorical)? Anyway, I know that many of you have been champing at the bit to get your hands on this exciting new opportunity to force users to see your THRILLING BRANDED MESSAGES – reassure yourself that it’s superimminent. There’s actually something quite interesting buried in the announcement about Facebook’s plans to pre-assess the ads based on standard benchmarks for things like ‘engagingness’ (yes, I know it’s a made-up word but come on, it’s not like this is an industrial sector which is afraid of neologisms), etc, which feels a bit like the first step in Facebook eventually selling a service to optimise your content for MAXIMUM STICKINESS (for a fee). I could be wrong, of course. Who knows.
- How Facebook Lookback Worked: Quite techy, but actually very interesting in terms of the sheer scale of stuff which FB’s designers and engineers had to consider when sending the lookback thing live. Worth a read if you have to do BIG SOFTWARE IMPLEMENTATION stuff.
- Facebook F8 Announced: Facebook’s running another big developer conference at the end of April – the first one in a few years, which probably presages a huge, world-changing announcement of some sort (last time they did one of these it was Timeline, I think). If you’re the sort of person who feels they might want to go, fill your boots.
- Twitter Experimenting With ‘Click-to-call’ Buttons: May come to nothing, but an interesting potential step following the recent talk about them also experimenting with in-tweet payment options. This is a feature which would let users click a button within tweets to be put in touch with the organisation or venue (or, I presume, individual) behind the tweet – the example they use is of local restaurants using Twitter to promote discounted offers to local residents, and residents who see said promotion being able to contact the restaurant to make a booking by simply clicking a button. FUTURE!
- Twitter Fiction Festival On RIGHT NOW: We’ve mentioned this before, but right now it’s ACTUALLY HAPPENING! A series of experiments in storytelling and narrative using Twitter as its base, there are little games and stories and experiments happening almost hourly, and they’re documented on this central site. I’m not sure whether any of this is being recorded somewhere central – you’d hope so, but maybe the ephemerality is part of the point (/pseud).
- Twitter Museum Week On Its Way: For the week of March 24th, numerous museum institutions across the world will participate in Twitter museum week, which promises to offer EXCLUSIVE CONTENT from museums, behind the scenes info and inevitably all sorts of tedious hashtag pun games. It’s a nice idea – will be interesting to see whether this sets a precedent for multi-organisational / sectoral collaborations; I think Open House on Twitter could be quite fun, for example (no, hear me out – participating buildings / institutions sharing photos of the stuff that people don’t normally get to see for those people who can’t schlep around and queue for 4 hours to see inside the Lloyds building, etc? See, I’m RIGHT).
- Tinder Launching Verified Accounts: Tinder is making it easier for famouses to flaunt their famousness and, inevitably, get laid more (do they really need the help?). The main upside to this will be for gossip rags, who will doubtless be getting a few more kiss & tell stories out of the inevitable rise of hookups between verified famouses and civilians; the main reason I’m including it here, though, is that there’s probably a brand application – no, really. Clothing brands, etc, might want to consider paying famouses to wear their stuff in their verified Tinder profile pic, for example. Maybe. Actually, on reflection that’s a crap idea. Sorry. This probably didn’t warrant inclusion after all. Hey ho.
- Tinder AIDS Awareness Project: This, though, is a very clever campaign indeed and should frankly be ripped off by Durex or similar asap. Clever use of the app’s mechanic and the fact that it causes people to swipe without really thinking too much about the fact that there are an awful lot of other people swiping too, and that some of you may all be swiping the same people (I’m sort of using the word ‘swipe’ as an analogue for ‘fcuk’ in that last sentence, in case it was unclear).
- Pinterest Gift Feed Announced: Apparently this has been around for a few months but has only just been officially announced. The Gift feed will only show items on Pinterest which are available to buy – and which use the site’s ‘Product Pins’ functionality (the code which lets pins carry data about pricing. Good for users in terms of utility; if you are a brand which sells STUFF, this is a significant incentive to make sure that you use the special code to make sure said ‘stuff’ shows up in this feed.
- Google Adds Consumer Ratings Data to Ads: Small but worth knowing.
- Clever Man Utd Google + Stunt: Nice idea, this, allowing United’s legions of global fans to get the chance to be ‘present’ at Old Trafford this weekend for the game against Liverpool; Google Hangouts will be beamed to certain pitchside hoardings, ‘bringing fans closer to the action than ever before’ (or somesuch marketingspeakrubbish).
- There’s A New Video App Called Wonder: Let’s come right out and lay our cards on the table now – THE WORLD DOES NOT NEED THIS, I DON’T THINK. Why would anyone want to download an app to watch SPECIAL BRANDED CONTENT? Maybe I’m just being cynical, but I can’t see this really catching on in a mainstream sort of way; perhaps I’m missing something, in which case feel free to explain to me exactly what. It’s from London, though, and features quite a lot of posh food-y, lifestyle-y brands at launch which may make it more useful / relevant. Oh, who knows? I’m not a bloody seer.
- That Bloody Kiss Video Which Was An Advert You Know: You’ve seen it, I know, but worth mentioning as it’s the most successful ad of the year so far by MILES. Although, er, the fact that noone necessarily knew it was an ad possibly obviates that. Anyway, the handjob parody made me laugh quite a lot.
- Another Ad Video, This Time By Subaru: If you are a man, this may well speak to some childish part of you that was into remote control cars and stuff when you were younger. If you couldn’t care less about remote control cars, watch it for the filming which is BRILLIANT.
- Impossible Sleep: This is a really nicely made site. The video looks good, the interface is decent…but WHY WAS IT MADE? Ibis Hotels decided for some reason that the best way to promote their rooms was to…er…send an ‘adventurer’ and his mate to an exotic jungle location in Brazil to experience the perfect night’s sleep on some ridge or another. It’s obviously tongue in cheek, but it seems like an awfully expensive not particularly funny gag with a preposterously overlong setup and no real payoff. Unless of course it’s not a joke, in which case everyone involved needs to take a very serious look at what their doing with their expensive educations.
- The IBM Cognitive Food Truck: VERY clever promo by IBM, which has designed a system to autogenerate recipes on the fly from a fixed base of ingredients and based on some algorithmic stuff about taste, etc, and chucked it into a US food truck. Smart example of making maths and processing interesting (though I’m not 100% sure I’d trust all the recipes).
- Clever ‘Don’t Text And Drive’ Site From Holland: Sites which link up with your phone are the new hotness, it would seem. This is another one of those, following that storytelling one from the other week, which does a good job of what (as a non-driver) it’s like to drive whilst also receiving texts and things. Processor-heavy, but cleverly made.
- Cheap Tickets To Ad Week: WE HAVE ALL OF THE DISCOUNT! ALL OF IT!
By Michael Wolf
THE SECTION WHICH I’M REALLY BORED OF TRYING TO COME UP WITH A CREATIVE DESCRIPTION FOR EVERY WEEK AND WHICH I WISH I HADN’T PAINTED MYSELF INTO SOME SORT OF DREADFUL ‘RUNNING GAG’ CORNER WITH, PT.1:
- Seeing As It’s The Web’s Birthday: This is a site which is collecting people’s first memories of going online. Navigate using what was described rather beautifully by Adam Sweeney as the ‘Miro-esque’ sidebar, and lose yourself in reminiscence of how innocent and naive we all were back then.
- Omlet: Another week, another app purporting to offer all of the convenience and functionality of your favourite chat-enabler but with none of the slightly creepy surveillance worries which in 2014 appear to permeate every moment of our online existences. Omlet has a few nice features inbuilt – the gifmaker’s cute, for example – but the main draw will obviously be the ‘we won’t sell your data’ promise. We’ve probably reached peak ‘slightly more friendly Whatsapp? clone’, though, so can noone make any more please? Ta.
- Secret At SXSW: Obviously I’m not at SXSW because I’m not even good enough at being a generic media wanker for anyone to pay for me to go; I have to say that it looks a touch underwhelming from this side of the Atlantic, but that might be the bitterness talking. Anyway, HOT APP DU JOUR Secret.ly, the one which lets people share anonymous status updates with people in their phonebook, is running a feed of stuff people are sharing on the platform about SXSW. It’s less interesting about SXSW, to be honest, than it is as a chance to let non-North Americans see how the service works – I can see how it could be dangerously compelling, I have to say. MMMM SWEATY-PALMED VOYEURISM.
- Selfie World Rankings: Time Magazine did a bit of datascraping on Instagram, pulling the geodata from pics tagged ‘selfie’ and then determining which were the most narcissistic cities in the world (take a bow, Makati City in the Philippines – Manchester was 7th, before we get too smug). Very clever use of open data – and the sort of thing which brands can exploit. SMALL PROBABLY SH!T EXAMPLE IDEA: makeup brands! Why not take this ‘insight’ and set up a stand at the Trafford Centre offering a selfie makeover for the women of Manchester to allow them to take the ultimate self portrait? Ugh, I felt dirty just writing that. Sorry.
- Beyonce Trader: I’m sure that someone somewhere is writing an academic study about what Beyonce’s rise to the status of ‘most famous and iconic woman in all of the world’ means for us as a CIVILISATION (I’m equally sure that it’s a study I will never want to read); the latest step in pop culture’s attempt to link EVERYTHING to Mrs Carter is this site which analyses stock performance on the US markets and pairs stocks with an appropriate Beyonce gif to illustrate their performance at any given moment. BECAUSE WHY NOT?
- I Am An Idiot, Sorry: So last week I featured an app called LIVR designed for boozers and which basically encouraged people to get wasted and do stupid stuff. It was a fake. I AM SORRY. In my defence, a) I’m not a proper journalist; and b) I did start the writeup with ‘this can’t be real, can it?’, but still. I felt silly. There was another one this week – this time a fake ‘turn water into decent wine in 3 days’ kit designed to promote a water charity or another; can people stop lying about things, please, please? IT IS VERY CONFUSING TO BOTH ME AND THE POOR DAILY MAIL JOURNALISTS.
- 5by Video Concierge: Hang on – video concierge? What does that mean? Sorry, I just noticed the stupid strapline and got momentarily annoyed. Anyway, 5by is a site which collects videos under different themed headings (sport, fails, bloopers, comedy, animation, etc) and purports to develop a degree of semantic understanding of the sort of stuff you like / are into. I’m not convinced, personally, but if you’re a community manager and after a source of HILARIOUS CONTENT for your Facebook Page which noone will ever see due to previously mentioned reach-shrinkage then this may be of use.
- Mapstr: I really like this. Simple-looking map-based site which shows music which is being listened to all over the world, and then lets you play the songs in question – users can sign up to let it track the music they play (I am a bit sketchy on the tech details, I confess). As I type this I am listening to some African folk music which was streamed in Mali yesterday, which is sort of wonderful really. Very fun to play around with.
- Animated Infographics: Some nice examples of animated infographic design – the person responsible’s available for hire, but it’s a generally decent source of minor inspiration and the sort of thing you can point at when you’re trying to persuade your client to do something marginally more interesting than another poorly-designed non-infographic which noone is ever going to run however much they demand that you SELL IT IN BECAUSE CONTENT.
- The Best Typefaces Of 2013: Sorry, this is HORRIFICALLY late – although it’s their fault for not publishing it until this week. Anyway, if you’re a designer or typography nerd then this list will probably be the human equivalent of a cat getting a really good scratch behind the ears.
- HTML5 Audio Editor: Potentially useful in-browser audio editor with waveforms and all that jazz. Worth bookmarking if you occasionally need to make quick edits to audio and don’t always have the software to hand.
- The FBomb Map Of Twitter: Supposedly in real-time, but evidently not given the disparity between my feed right now and the paucity of ‘fcuks’ being registered in the UK. Anyway, utterly pointless but weirdly hypnotic. Although it does make you a little concerned at how many people seem to be shouting ‘fcuk you’ into the void with no context or apparently visible cause. CHEER UP EVERYONE!
- Routine Gifs: Julien Douvier is a French artists who has made this series of gifs called ‘Routine’; it’s a selection of looped images of people hurrying through a scene, presumably on the way to work, and they are all weirdly beautiful and sort of incredibly depressing. Save this and send it to your favourite colleague every Monday morning until their inevitable breakdown and emotional collapse.
- Collection of Lovely App Design: This is an old site but I don’t think I’ve featured it before – it’s a selection of beautiful examples of app design, UX & UI which is probably useful inspiration for designers, developers and the like.
- Frequency 2156: This is an odd site. Ostensibly a post-apocalyptic radio station, it feels very much like marketing for the Fallout series of games but apparently is just a very well-designed fan project. Anyway, you can go around the world listening in to radio signals from various people struggling to survive in a horrible, irradiated future. Obviously it’s not exactly a laugh a minute, but it’s a really interesting example of sustained fiction and world-building through audio.
- Bill Drummond – ASK HIM QUESTIONS: Would you like musical art terrorist Bill Drummond to answer one of your questions? Well click that link then.
- Weird Underwater Aquarium Simulator Thingy: This may be something to do with a new brand of tea which Nestle is launching in Japan. Whatever it is, it is BAFFLING – you just sort of float through an oddly surreal underwater landscape with no real point or purpose, but it’s very nicely made indeed. If someone can work out what the point is, other than to be vaguely soothing, could you let me know please? Ta.
- A Surrealist Dinner Party from 1972: You probably won’t have been to a dinner party quite like this one. Baffling and very cool set of pictures from Marie-Hélène de Rothschild’s Surrealist Ball of 40+years ago. Obviously features a bit of Dali, the hack, but the overall effect is like stills from a particularly hallucinatory Dario Argento flick – ODD.
- Meet Stacey Nightmare: Your new favourite Vine superstar.
- ANOTHER New Way Of Doing Music Videos: Actually that’s ridiculously hyperbolic – it’s not so much new way as a new platform on which to build them in sort of interactive fashion. I mentioned to.be the other week as a site which let you make weird, slightly arty, gify collages – now hipsterish musicians Djemba Djemba (is it possible to make a full XI of players who’ve had bands named in their honour?) have made a sort of videothing for their song ‘Coma’ on there. It’s a bit dull, frankly, but points for FIRST.
- The Cheesecake Artwork Of WW2 Planes: A great collection of the paintings of women which often adorned the nosecones of bombers and fighter planes in WWII. There are some REALLY BAD ones in there which are sort of poignantly cute.
- The DIY Weapons of Ukraine: It’s all a bit too scary to think of over there at the moment – this weekend’s going to be ‘interesting’, in any case. Wired have collected a selection of images of weapons wielded by some of the protestors in Maidan which make the whole thing seem horribly real. VICE did a similar thing with the molotov cocktails being used which you can see here, if you want additional slightly terrifying weaponporn.
- The Internet Of Things Will Be Beyond Parody: So, yes, the internet of things will be…er…a ‘thing’, and yes it will have all sorts of fascinating applications which will doubtless change the world in all sorts of ways which we can’t even begin to conceive of right now, but it will also spawn rubbish like this – an egg tray containing sensors which send alerts to your phone when your eggs might be going off. REALLY, CIVILISATION?
- Pornburger: This is food porn. A collection of ridiculously complicated and elaborate and fancy (in the American style, you know?) burger recipes accompanied by some truly GREAT photography. You will want meat for lunch. Unless you’re vegetarian, in which case you may not care so much.
- The Bulletproof Diamond-encrusted Suit: This doesn’t seem real either, but it’s sort of remarkable as a concept even if it doesn’t exist. What James Bond would wear if he had literally no taste whatsoever (although the tie made of REAL GOLD is a nice touch).
THE SECTION WHICH I’M REALLY BORED OF TRYING TO COME UP WITH A CREATIVE DESCRIPTION FOR EVERY WEEK AND WHICH I WISH I HADN’T PAINTED MYSELF INTO SOME SORT OF DREADFUL ‘RUNNING GAG’ CORNER WITH, PT.2:
- Interview-ly: Like the idea of the Reddit AMA but hate the site’s fairly horrendous layout and design? Well lucky you, for this is a new site which takes some of Reddit’s best / most popular AMAs and cleans them up with a proper Q&A format, vague chronology, etc. Also a nice place to just browse through a very wide selection of conversations with a variety of interesting people.
- Skrillex New Album App Thing: I feel a bit sorry for the bloke who calls himself Skrillex – I mean, the music’s not to my taste but he does get an awful lot of rage and hate which seems a little bit unfair; not only that, but he looks so unwell, the poor man (I’m feeling weirdly maternal as I type this, which is puzzling for a variety of reasons and something I’m going to now try not to think about any more). Anyway, he has an album coming out and has released a game to preview it – downloading the app gets you access to the album which will stream through it for a limited time. The accompanying site, linked to here, is an odd little dubstep jukebox thing which is diverting for 5 minutes (but you can also get the app from there).
- CV Dazzle: We’ve had ‘clothing to confuse cameras’ before (2-3 years ago, in fact, by some artist who I don’t have time to Google right now), but this is a slightly more deeply realised variation on the same theme. Coming to next London Fashion Week as a ‘thing’ for a big fashion house’s show, almost certainly.
- The Toilet Sarlacc: Decals for your toilet to make it look like…er…the Sarlacc pit from Star Wars. Not sure who this is aimed at, but I’d hazard a guess that they live alone or that if not they met their partner at a convention.
- The World Science University: A great repository of standalone videos and longer courses on all aspects of science. So much stuff in here, and presented in a very easy-to-understand format – if you have kids doing GCSEs then this might be a useful resource. Or, you know, if you just want to learn what string theory actually is so that you can drop really pretentious allusions to it into conversations which frankly could quite easily do without (I may or may not be slightly self-flagellating here).
- Sketchdeck: Have I mentioned before that I hate Powerpoint? I hate powerpoint. I hate it for many, many reasons (not least because I have literally no aesthetic sense whatsoever and as such whenever I’m forced to make one of the bloody things it inevitably looks like it was designed by a visually impaired person with ADHD), in particular when people use it to write documents (THERE’S A REASON THE OTHER PROGRAM’S CALLED ‘WORD’ YOU IDIOTS) and also for the fact that people call them ‘decks’ for no reason I have ever been able to adequately understand, ever. Ahem. Anyway, Sketchdeck is a service which for a small fee will design your presentations for you – I don’t know whether the pricing’s competitive or not, but might be worth a look in case you need this sort of thing.
- Popcorn Time: DISCLAIMER – THIS IS ILLEGAL AND MAY CONTAIN ALL SORTS OF WEIRD MALWARE. But, er, if you don’t mind the morality and are confident in your virus protection, then Popcorn Time might be very appealing, being as it is a service which acts as a streaming platform (a la Netflix) for torrents. So you can stream stuff which ordinarily you’d have to wait to download. Obviously PIRACY IS THEFT and all that, so I’ll just leave this here and not judge.
- Photographs of Rainbow Gatherings: Rainbow Gatherings are, according to Wikipedia, temporary spontaneous collections of people – basically loosely organised hippie festivals (probably horribly reductive – sorry, Rainbow Gatherers). Anyway, these are some awesome photos of some of the people who attend them – the text at the bottom’s interesting on the whole concept, if you’re interested.
- Soundwalls: Wow artwork as speakers. Soundwalls lets you get anything you want printed onto a canvas which acts as a speaker – I think there’s a LOT of interesting potential here beyond the obvious aesthetics around theatre and art installations and stuff, but aside from anything else I sort of want one in my house now.
- Paralym-pics: Sorry about that. Anyway, awesome pictures of athletes at the Paralympic Winter Games.
- They Rule: This is a really interesting project from the States – it’s potentially a bit David Icke / they are all LIZARDS-y, but doesn’t seem too conspiracytheoryish – which seeks to map the connections and linked interests of senior members of major US corporations. Would love to see this done for the UK.
- The Food Porn Index: A site tracking mentions of different food related topics online to show which particular aspect of Western civilisations collective greed is top of mind in the global consciousness RIGHT NOW. Actually this is a promo site for some US food retailer and so should have gone up there, but it’s not like any of you care so why should I?
- Messages In Bottles: A project on Twitter by Nathania Hartley, documenting messages in bottles left on the public transport network. Such a lovely idea – I am going to do one this afternoon, I think.
- Musical Toy Bracelet Kickstarter Thingy: This is either going to be really col or exceptionally irritiating. A Kickstarter for Moff, which is a snap-on bracelet which connects to an app and tracks the wearer’s arm movements and translates them into sounds – guitar riffs, sword clashes, that sort of thing. You could imagine kids having LOTS of fun with this, and parents wishing the damn things had never been invented within about 3 minutes of activation.
- The Analogue NT: Have you ever wanted to own a NES and SNES packaged together in one beautifully overdesigned high-end aluminium package? OH GOOD!
- Somewhere: Another Instagram/location hack which takes users to random locations around the world via the medium of pics lifted from the site and information from Wikipedia.
- Random Hotel Furniture: A blog (which ought to be a Tumblr but I’ll let that slide) which documents the strange phenomenon of hotels leaving soft furnishings in a variety of weird and seemingly pointless locations.
- Photojoiner: A site which lets you put two photos together side by side as one image. Erm, just in case you’d need to for some reason.
- The Showgirls of 1950s NYC: A beautiful slideshow collecting pictures of New York showgirls shot for a 1958 LIFE Magazine special on the US entertainment industry, and detailing the backstage life of burlesque-style entertainers from the era.
- We Can Now 3d Print Shoes: They remind me of the sort of massive, ugly trainers which were briefly popular in the early/mid-90s and looked like weird footwear spaceships or orthopedic shoes. Anyway, FUTURE!
- Dishy Literature: I love this – a blog which collects recipes as featured in novels, with proper cooking instructions. Which reminds me of The Debt To Pleasure, which is still one of the greatest novels sort of about food ever written ever, and which you should all go and read NOW.
- Bleepify: Turn any website into music. Really, really bad, atonal bleepy music, but music nonetheless.
- The Ewok Sex Den: I don’t really know what to say about this, other than wondering yet again at how it is that people with this sort of fetish first discover it – I mean, at what point do you respond to a vague sense of dissatisfaction with your sex life by thinking ‘oh, you know what will make it better? dressing up in a crotchless Ewok costume’?
- Memeoirs: A service which offers the ability to take Facebook messages and turn them into a book – so you could, in theory, immortalise a relationship from first chirpse to tedious, workaday conversations about whose turn it is to regrout the bathroom. I was sort of baffled as to why this existed, and then Anna Madeline suggested that it might be useful, for example, for couples who wanted to prove that theirs was a real relationship to immigration services. Which is quite a good point, although I’m still not convinced – nice name, though.
- Street Wars Returns: Water pistol assassination-fest Street Wars is BACK this Summer after a hiatus of several years. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, it’s a game which lasts for 3 weeks or so in June, and involves players trying to assassinate each other with water pistols across London. The game is always on, you are never safe, and it can take over your life. There will be a few of you reading this who will LOVE IT.
- Free Golden Age Comics To Download: AMAZING collection of Golden Era comics all available for free download.
- More About Bongo Searches: Italian social media data expert Vincos has produced this rather nice look at how all this data about what people are looking for, skinflick-wise, internationally cross-correlates by country; these are some rather nice visualisations of that research.
- The Adventures of Business Cat: This comic made me laugh a LOT on Wednesday, but I was admittedly quite tired.
- The Identity Project: Pairing photos of LGBT people from San Francisco with their own self-ascribed identifiers, this is not only a collection of really beautiful pictures of a whole array of people, but a small window into the STAGGERINGLY COMPLICATED world of gender-identity. It’s mindboggling how many descriptors there are in here.
- Old Polish Film Posters: You know the drill by now these are lovely examples, though.
- Play Android Games On Your PC: Just in case you ever wanted to, really.
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide Text Adventure: One of the funniest games ever written gets a 30th anniversary refresh on th BBC website – with text by Douglas Adams himself, the Hitchhiker’s game is probably the best text adventure ever written, in no small part due to the fact that it contains several thousand words of totally original Adams prose. It’s also INCREDIBLY hard, but I cannot urge you enough to have a go – you’ll want to smash the computer at the babelfish bit, though.
- The View From The Reconstructed WTC: Quite amazing really.
- 2048: Another sickeningly addictive browsergame with which to ruin your prospects of doing any more work today.
Design for 22nd July Memorial by Jonas Dahlberg
THE CIRCUS OF TUMBLRS:
- Animals Sucking At Jumping: Animals are MASSIVELY overrated, basically, and quite rubbish at jumping.
- Wolf & Unicorn: So much love for this. A tumblr telling of the unlikely, and frankly a little bit disturbing, relationship between wolf and unicorn through the medium of slightly janky CGI gifs. Much better than it ought to be.
- Matteo Renzi Fa Cose: To the 5 people from Italy who read this, have a blog featuring pictures of Italy’s latest PM doing stuff. The captions are better than usual for these things – I give him til Christmas, personally, poor sod.
- I Too Am Oxford: A week after last week’s I Too Am Harvard comes this, which is the same thing but for Oxford. I like the project, I agree with the ethos, but the capitalised use of the term ‘othered’ in the preamble really, really annoys me.
- Drawings of Girls on Tumblr: Erm, drawings of girls from tumblr. This is going to be a PROPER EXHIBITION at a PROPER GALLERY in a few weeks’ time, should you be interested in checking it out.
- Shares From Your Aunt: The stuff that OLD PEOPLE who don’t spend every single moment of every working day eating the internet see as memes.
- Fit To Print: I didn’t realise this, but the New York Times has a ‘no profanity’ policy – almost certainly the only reason why they have yet to approach us about syndicating Curios. Anyway, this Tumblr collects the more convoluted knots the paper can occasionally tie itself into whilst sticking to said policy.
- Un Gif Dans Ta Geule: Really wonderfully surreal loops, these.
- Dormouse Said Feed Your Head: Whereas this is just generally really creepy stuff, all told, in a sort of ‘malign Victoriana’-type fashion.
- Hello Let’s Date: Purporting to be screencaps of conversations the author has met through Tinder, this is probably all fake but is still very funny if you like the whole 27bslash6-type thing.
- Paul Ribeira: Paul Ribeira draws portraits of what characters from 90s children’s television might look like if they had discovered hard drugs and gone a bit off the rails. Say goodbye to those happy memories of the Rugrats, Doug, Catdog et al which you may still be holding on to.
- The Jogging: A rather excellent collection of ART (very wanky, for the most part, but I quite like that).
- Jeans and Sheux: Photographs of men wearing dress shoes with jeans, in the manner particular to people from the Middle East. Hot styles.
LONG THINGS WHICH ARE LONG BUT WHICH YOU SHOULD ALL READ JUST TO PROVE THAT THE WEB HASN’T TOTALLY DECIMATED YOUR ATTENTION SPAN IN THE PAST 25 YEARS DESPITE WHAT CERTAIN SNOOTY ACADEMICS MAY BE WONT TO SA….OH, HANG ON, SQUIRREL!:
- On Being A ‘Civilian’ At The Oscars: Well, sort of civilian – the author is Jennifer Lawrence’s apparently non-famous best friend, but she was there with an UBER-FAMOUS so it’s not quite bottom of the pile stuff. Anyway, this is a really charming little account of what the whole ridiculous orgy looks like from the inside, and contains some nice observations as well as the sick-making information that Brad Pitt smells really, really amazing as well as being all hot and rich and stuff. You bastard, Brad – I hope you’re wildly impotent or something, because otherwise it’s just all too unfair for words.
- Watching Nymphomaniac (So You Don’t Have To): Lars ‘Chuckles’ Von Trier’s latest has received surprisingly good press overall – this piece on Jezebel is notable mainly because it made me laugh quite a lot and because of the comparison between Stellen Skarsgaard’s character and Bubba from Forrest Gump, which I’m pretty sure won’t have been made anywhere else.
- Inside Brooklyn’s Barista Class: You don’t have to be a Brooklyn hipster to read and enjoy this (which is good, as I don’t imagine any Brooklyn hipsters read this) – it’s about working in a coffee shop and the service industry as a whole and people’s relationship with those who serve them and the idea of work as vocational vs work as functional and all sorts of other things besides, and it’s a good read.
- The Odd World Of Puddles The Clown: You may know Puddles from this video – his cover of ‘Royals’, which blew up at the end of last year. This is a very odd piece of writing indeed which does an awful lot of blurring of fact and fiction around the ‘character’, but which leaving aside verisimilitude is actually a great feature in its own right; it sort of makes you wish that every city had its own gigantic, terrifying, benign singing clown mascot. Sort of.
- An Obsessive & Exhautsive History of Aphex Twin: If you’re a musician or a fan of Richard James’ music, this will be GOLDEN. If you’re neither of these things, then I’d probably just sip this one as it’s a bit niche.
- What It Feels Like When Your Son Shoots Up A School: 18 months ago, Adam Lanza killed 26 people at Sandy Hook high school, after having murdered his mother, and then took his own life. This is an interview with / profile of his father, Peter Lanza, and a look back at Adam’s life. Hugely sad and quite horrifying in many ways, but a very good piece of writing.
- Miniature Crimescene Dioramas: A fascinating look at the weird world of crimescene modelling – the creation of small 3d representations of crime scenes used for training detectives in the mid-20th Century. No, really, it’s LOADS more interesting than it sounds, I promise, and the pictures are good too.
- The Beastmasters of Buzzfeed: I don’t know whether it’s that more and more writers are channeling a sort of homage-y Foster Wallace-ish vibe deliberately (or maybe even unconsciously) or whether there’s something about the general incomprehenible oddness of the world in 2014 which just sort of creates that tone, but this piece on the men and women who make Buzzfeed’s cute animals content has exactly that warm-but-distant-and-sort-of-confused-whilst-still-being-very-clever-and-analytical-about-everything vibe which DFW perfected in a lot of his non-fiction writing. Anyway, it’s excellent.
- London Is Servile: You’ll have seen this piece referenced all over the media this week – just in case you didn’t read the original which prompted the polemic, here it is (for what it’s worth, I think this is pretty spot-on in many senses).
- That Dong Nguyen Interview: Rolling Stone gets the first interview with Flappy Bird man. Frankly he sounds LOVELY and I sort of wish everyone would just leave him in peace now.
- Morgellons, The Mystery Disease: WARNING: READING THIS WILL MAKE YOU ITCH. Morgellons is, apparently, a condition which many people worldwide claim to suffer from but which as yet has no recognised medical cause and which doctors tend to see as evidence of mild psychosis. WHO IS RIGHT? Really good piece, this, which seems to take a liberal dose of inspiration from Jon Ronson and is no worse for that.
- Geek Love: A great piece on a remarkable cult novel which weirdly never makes the lists of ‘cult novels you must read’. Geek Love tells the story of a family of circus freaks – read this, about the novel’s genesis and cultural legacy, and then buy a copy.
- Street Fighter The Movie – What Went Wrong: Everything, basically. This is a good read overall, but especially worth reading for the JCVD anecdotage.
By Hyungkoo Lee
FINALLY, MOVING PICTURES AND SOUNDS!
2) La Iaia are a Spanish band, apparently. This is a great song but the video’s the standout here – beautifully composed and shot vignette of teenagers studying together and edging towards romance. You will feel YOUNG AGAIN watching this, I promise. And then maybe just a bit sad and empty, but, you know, plus ca change:
3) This on the other hand is by a band called Breton who definitely aren’t Spanish and who have crafted a very competent (if to my ears a little generic) piece of melodic indiepop with their song ’15 Minutes’. Again, though, the video’s the star here – I confess to not being 100% certain what it’s about, but it looks LOVELY and the performances are excellent (so that’s ok then):
4) Weird web art video of the week comes in the shape of ‘Post Modem’ 12 minutes of HIGH CONCEPT musical-ish satire about the signularity and suchlike. It’s a lot better than I’ve just made it sound, and the first 6 minutes in particular are really worth watching (it goes a little more abstract than I’d like after that) – skewers quite a few ideas rather well, and the MegaMegaUpload song is weirdly catchy:
5) Ok, I think this is actually a leak and isn’t meant to be up for a few weeks, so apologies if it’s been taken down by the time you get to this. If it’s still here, though, turn up the volume and marvel at the frankly insane dance party stylings of DJ Snake and Lil’ Jon’s Turn Down For What video:
6) Laurent Garnier must be, what, 50-odd now? Anyway, he’s still making techno and this video callled ‘Revenge Of The LolCat’ is a lovely and slightly unsettling meme-y animation:
7) My favourite video of the week – Elliot the Bull’s song ‘Colourblind’ is rather lovely on its own, but this stop-motion tale is just a gorgeous piece of animation and is incredibly, strangely, poignant. You may want to give the little wooden thing a hug at the end, is all I’m saying:
8) This on the other hand is not really a very interesting video at all, being as it is just footage of Louis Dunford playing his song ‘When We Were Hooligans’. I was really impressed, though – yes, there are VERY obvious Jamie T comparisons but the tune’s lovely and the songwriting is really good, I think. Ach, I don’t know, maybe it’s mockney crap but I LIKE IT SO THERE:
9) Finally this week, Statues by The Cowards. You will never see a better rendition of sex in SFW animated fashion EVER, I guarantee you. HAPPY FRIDAY, ENJOY THE SUNSHINE!:
That’s it for now