Webcurios 26/07/13

Reading Time: 15 minutes

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15.07.13 – Sawdust – Morrisons, Aylesham Centre, SE15
Garudio Studiage photo of the week

So, a THING happened this week. I’m going to have to mention it below, for which apologies, but really there’s only one thing you need to read about it and you can find it here.

Otherwise it’s been much as it ever is. Warm, busy, stressful, LONG, leavened by occasional moments of muddlesome confusion and cathartic, frightened laughter. LIFE IS WEIRD. I’m off to the SEASIDE in about an hour, which inevitably presages rain – you, though, have ALL AFTERNOON to slather yourselves in the moisturising, nourishing infocream that is this week’s WEB CURIOS!

(By the way, the “Photo of the week” which accompanies the web version of Web Curios comes to you by courtesy of Peckham artist collective Garudio Studiage. They’re behind a wealth of brilliantly funny, meaningful mixed-media work. You can meet them and many other Peckham-based artists and groups at the V&A’s “Friday Late” event, taking place tonight (26/07/13). Further info is here: http://per.im/vafridaylate)

By Madame Peripetie


  • Brands And The R*y*l B*b*: Let’s get this out of the way and then never speak of it again (except maybe a little bit later on when we get to the Tumblrs). I blame Oreo – they’ve now made it mandatory for brands to think that they have to do some sort of ‘funny’ reactive response to real-world events. Here’s a hint – EVERYONE WAS SICK TO BLOODY DEATH OF THE LIZARDCHILD BY THE TIME IT EMERGED. NOONE WANTS TO SEE ‘FUNNY’ TOILET PAPER-RELATED CONTENT. Just…just…leave us alone, please. Please. Stop trying to become an integral part of the lives and conversations of real people. Just go back to making and selling stuff we neither really want nor need. You’re good at that. 
  • Facebook Results (It’s Still Growing)Much as we might like it not to be true, and much as London’s generic media wankers might say otherwise, Facebook is still the de facto social platform for most of the world, and it’s still getting bigger. And still making a LOT of money. Ho hum.
  • FB Takes User Feedback On Posts / AdsSo ostensibly this isn’t that big a deal – Facebook is set to allow users to give reasons for hiding posts and ads in their newsfeeds, to improve (they say) their ability to deliver stuff that people might actually want to see. BUT if we can all agree to mark EVERY SINGLE UPDATE from brands as boring, irrelevant, offensive, etc, then we will maybe end this whole sorry thing forever. Maybe. Oh God, it’s all too much of a wonderful utopian dream to ever become real, isn’t it? 
  • FB For BusinessIf you do this sort of stuff for a living, you may want to bookmark this. Facebook launched a new blog / website thing focusing on all the advermarketingpr-type stuff – there’s literally one very dull post on there right now, but I imagine they’ll throw some other things up soon enough.
  • Advertising on Foursquare Now ExistsI don’t really know why I’m including this seeing as, as I may have mentioned before, NOONE USES 4SQ, but who knows – maybe you have a rich client with money to burn who wants to try something new and innovative and pointless. If so, point them in the direction of 4sq ads – effectively vouchers / coupons which are delivered to users after checking in to a certain location. Interestingly, the coupons aren’t necessarily for the place you check into – the idea of related offers is actually quite a smart one.
  • Some Twitter Search HintsNone of this is particularly complicated or hard, but you may want to send it around your colleagues, particularly those who ask you repeated, stupid questions about how to find / track stuff on the internet and whose faces you have imagined pushing slowly through a colander whilst cackling maniacally.
  • Empathy On TwitterI’m staggered that this exists. There are whole swathes of this stuff on the Twitter website, telling users how to, basically, BE HUMAN BEINGS. It’s a strange and uncomfortable combination of weirdly funny and robotically awful.
  • Nice Time Out Stunt in ShanghaiThis is cute. Time Out (or, more accurately, their ad agency) in Shangai left a series of mobile phones in public places. When people picked them up, they received instructions to get into a cab, which then took them on a rather awesome-looking tour of the city. Not hugely original, but nicely executed. I do wonder, though, how many people dropped out at the first hurdle – after all, would you get into a strange car when instructed to do so by a phone you’d just found on the street?  
  • Lexus Instagram Video ThingNo, not that Instagram video. This is very smart – to launch some new car or another (sorry, I don’t really *get* cars), Toyota got 200 Instagram users, took them to a track to see the vehicle and take pictures of it – which were then composited together to make a stop-motion film from Instagram photos. The video contains a nice level of detail as to how they did it – what struck me, though, was the MASSIVE cost of this. I mean really – getting 200 people from across the States to one place, the 3-d modelling of the track, etc etc etc…seems a little much.
  • Nikon Facebook Photo ThingWHY? WHY DO BRANDS DO THIS? Nikon’s trying to create a community for photographers on Facebook. WHY???? There are plenty of communities / websites / forums / etc where photographers congregate (hello Flickr), so what is the point of trying to make another one, on Facebook, for lots of money. Oh, that’s right, THERE IS NO POINT.
  • QVC Pinterest Ripoff ThingSee above, but this time for QVC who for reasons known only to them (and, perhaps, some idiots at one agency or another) have decided that what they REALLY need to do is make a social platform to help them sell more tat. WHY DON’T YOU JUST USE THE ONES THAT NORMAL PEOPLE ALREADY USE YOU IDIOTS? Christ, this makes me cross. 
  • The Problem With Digital ProjectsIn fact, this excellent article (admittedly on Imperica, but would have linked to it even if it wasn’t, honest) basically encapsulates everything I find irritating / nonsensical about the previous two things and a whole lot more besides. It’s by Martha Henson, and I’m just going to quote you a bit of it here: “there are definitely massive howling alarm-bell-ringing clangers that should be sending up red flags right from the start. The “we need an app, never mind who for” people, the “we’ve got all this content, let’s just stick it online, people will come to us” people, the “let’s create a whole new portal for something that already exists” people, and so on. And sometimes it feels like we aren’t moving on from this; these whack-a-mole stupidities keep popping up over and over again and just will not die”. Well, quite.
By Roger Ballen


A Collection Of Things I Have Quite Enjoyed On The Internet This Week Which I Thought I Would Share With You On The Offchance That You Like Them To, Although You Are Of Course Under No Obligation To Do So, pt.1:

  • Flipboard Now Works On DesktopUseful to know, this – you can now read magazines created on Flipboard on desktop. Actually pretty big news in terms of expanding the potential audience for stuff made on the platform, although the fact that you still can’t make stuff on desktop is somewhat confusing and seems like a damaging limitation (to me, at least. You may not care).
  • Keep Your Details Private OnlineIf you don’t like giving out your email, phone number, address, etc, on the internet (what are you, some sort of CRIMINAL? WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO HIDE, EH????) then this service is probably quite useful. Mask Me effectively provides randomised proxy details to websites whilst still ensuring that you can receive emails, etc, from services should you so desire. It’s a bugger to explain, so I suggest you click on the link and get the people who made it to tell you how it works as I’m obviously singularly incapable of doing so.
  • Disney Making Haptic Air ThingyThis is MENTAL. So Disney’s working on a system that produces targeted, shaped gusts of air to give you force feedback for gestural interfaces (that may be the most incomprehensibly future sentence I’ve ever written). I’ve always thought that the problem with mainstream takeup of stuff like Kinect has been the lack of haptic feedback; this could be an interesting work-around for that. Also, THINK OF THE HAUNTED HOUSE IMPLICATIONS! You could scare someone senseless with this stuff, seriously. 
  • FrontbackThis is quite odd – an app that takes simultaneous pictures from an iPhone’s front and back cameras and displays them simultaneously. I don’t really understand why anyone would need this, and I can only envisage all sorts of dreadful pr0nographic uses.
  • Glass Bongo!Speaking of pr0n (SEAMLESS!), it’s finally happened – a bloke from VICE lent everyone’s favourite fresh-faced-but-filthy bongo superstar James Deen (imminently set to become VERY famous, I think, when his ‘proper’ debut with Lindsay Lohan comes out) his pair of Google Glass, and the inevitable happened. The link back there isn’t PROPER filth, but I’d probably feel a little weird watching it in an office, fyi. You can read how it all came about here, should you be so inclined.
  • Gay Bikers From The 70sA wonderful collection of found photography of…er…a load of gay bikers from the 70s. 
  • Nuke Map 3DOn the offchance that you want to see what it would look like if you dropped a nuclear warhead on a particular place, this little plugin for Google Earth will do that very thing. I confess to having cackled somewhat disturbingly as I reduced Swindon to the sort of rubble that causes Geiger counters to melt (NB: I absolutely, definitely don’t actually want to nuke Swindon, honest).
  • Images Of People Sleeping In WarzonesStrange moments of innocence – really quite poignant pictures, and very beautiful photography overall.
  • The Tube In The 80sTo be honest I reckon most of you will have seen these already, but if you’ve somehow missed them then do take a look. These are some GREAT pictures of the London Underground (or, more accurately, people on it), and a reminder of how much less nice London was in the 1980s. Also, smoking on  the tube. Mental. WHY DID THEY LET PEOPLE DO THAT??? Oh, there’s a whole other load of photos here, too, if you want an extra fix.
  • Drawing The RoadA man travels around America and draws bits of it in a sketchbook. There’s something nice and homely about this sort of Americana – it really does make you want to get into a wide-bodied car and drive coast-to-coast, eating solely in grubby diners and having slightly frightening pool matches with a toothless man called Bubba whilst sneaking injudicious stolen glances at his unfeasibly attractive sister in a gingham shirt and sprayed-on jeans. Or maybe that’s just me.
  • The Covers Of Life Magazine in 1963A really interesting way of looking at history, this is every single cover of Life mag from 50 years ago. It’s quite remarkable how it charts the obsessions and styles of an age. Although, to be honest, I’m not sure that future historians will glean the same sort of degree of cultural insight from scrutinising the OK! covers from 2012.
  • The Pixar Theory – VisualisedThis was recently in the REALLY LONG THINGS section of Curios, or at least the written version was – now someone’s taken the mental ‘all the pixar films are connected in some sort of weird scifi way’ theory and made it pretty and visual and easily-digestible. Do take a look if you didn’t last time – it’s really quite astonishingly odd (although creepily plausible).
By Someone on Reddit Who I Don’t Know, Sorry

A Collection Of Things I Have Quite Enjoyed On The Internet This Week Which I Thought I Would Share With You On The Offchance That You Like Them To, Although You Are Of Course Under No Obligation To Do So, pt.2:

  • Sad YoutubeYou know how YouTube comments are basically just hives of idiocy and hatred that you should never look at if you want to maintain your sanity? Well occasionally they’re also strangely sad and poignant; this is a collection of some of those moments where people are moved to share personal stuff under cat videos. What it doesn’t show (probably for the best really) is all the reply comments of ‘DIE FAG LOL!!!!111’. Jesus Christ, the internet.
  • 180 Websites In 180 DaysJennifer Dewalt decided to teach herself to code. She then decided that as part of this she was going to make 180 websites in 180 days, which is a frankly mental undertaking which would drive most people mad. There’s a lot of really pointless but quite fun sites in this, so have a dig around.
  • Furniture Made From Old PlanesHave you ever wanted to have furniture in your house which is made out of old fighter planes? OH GOOD
  • The Most Romantic Thing You Will Read / Play All WeekPart short story, part game, part poem, all lovely. There are thousands of little branching threads to this, all taking as their startpoint a kiss which may or may not be about to happen. It’s very hard to describe, but I promise that it’s worth fiddling around with, particularly if you’re a wordy person or, like me, a crushing ponce.
  • Composite Faces in FilmsA selection of faces made from the aggregate of all the faces of actors in a selection of films. Haunting, ghostly and a bit horrible – I think the Amelie one will give me the night-terrors for weeks.
  • StereopublicDescribing itself as ‘a public health service for built environments’, Stereopublic is basically exactly what I was asking for last week – a project to find quiet places wherever they may be, and share photos, audio, etc, and then use these to make art. Potentially lovely stuff, though dependent largely on whether anyone uses it. So, er, use it.
  • Genetics Are RemarkableAwesome photoseries, this, taking pictures of two people who are related by blood and joining them, highlighting the insane degree to which familial resemblance maintains regardless of age, gender, etc. I personally now want someone to do this for my whole family (hint). 
  • The DefectorBrilliant piece of interactive storytelling, this is a sort of film/game/website thingy which looks at the horror of life in North Korea and the difficulties faced by those trying to get out. An excellent piece of webwork, this – have a play.
  • StoryscapesANOTHER lovely digital storytelling project (SEAMLESS!) – to quote the website, ‘Osh is a city in the heart of Central Asia. And a window into a little known region. Osh is recovering from trauma. Almost five hundred people were killed here in street violence in 2010. These pages explore that experience from different viewpoints, revealing a rich reality behind the headlines’. Again, very well-made and a beautiful interface here. 
  • Golf BallsCross-sections of golf balls which, it turns out, are a lot prettier than you’d probably have imagined. 
  • DJ CHEF!Having a party? Want a DJ and some top-notch catering? Well why not combine the two by booking DJ CHEF! This doesn’t appear to be a joke – LOOK AT HIS FACE HE IS AMAZING!
  • Slightly Odd Charlie Brooker Fan FictionTo be honest, if people were writing stuff like this about me I would never, ever log onto the internet ever again. Poor the Charlie Brooker.
  • Meet The Burka AvengerAmazing. A kids’/family cartoon featuring the exploits of the fabulously named BURKA AVENGER in his fight against the evil Baba Bandook. Looks fun, and it’s nice to see some slightly different superhero-type things. Frankly I am bored to tears of Batman and the others – don’t get me started on the bloody film they announced this weekend.
  • Typing Through Tin CansA lovely website collecting a variety of writing on modern communications and how the affect relationships, emotions, etc. Essential reading if you’ve ever spent any time thinking about what the internet and STUFF has done to our ability to relate to each other as HUMAN BEINGS, YEAH?
  • THERE IS A SECOND SERIES OF MYSTERIOUS CITIES OF GOLDI know, amazing right? Also, the theme tune sounds BRILLIANT in French, it turns out. 
  • The GrizcoatI know it’s summer at the moment, but it will be winter soon enough. The best way to prepare for winter, no doubt, is to purchase a big, heavy, hairy coat which will make you look like a small grizzly bear when you wear it. IT HAS TEETH AND CLAWS, FOR GOODNESS’ SAKES!
  • He Took His Skin Off For MeThis is a lovely looking project to make a short film out of Maria Hummer’s short story about a man who takes his skin off for his girlfriend (literally, not metaphorically), and how it turns out not to have been a great idea. The story itself is BEAUTIFUL, and very much worth checking out, and a film of it could be a truly beautiful thing. Donate!
  • Photographing BabestationA series of pictures by Bronia Stewart looking behind the scenes at Babestation. I’m amazed that this channel even exists, and even more amazed at how much money they make from a few very lonely men calling up and spending insane amounts of money for little cameraphone pics of naked women. A friend of mine used to work as a cameraman there – he has some truly jaw-dropping stories which I might see if I can get him to write up in the not-too-distant future…
  • Fcuking New YorkPeople having sex in NYC. Not quite pr0n, but still as NSFW as you would imagine from that description. Great photos, though.
  • 7th September is Cassette Store DayA lovely idea to celebrate the beauty of tapes, this will see events happening in London, NYC, Tokyo and elsewhere. You won’t be surprised to hear that Rough Trade is involved. 
  • Finally, thisNo idea what it’s about AT ALL. A hugely puzzling curio featuring Bjork and a cat. 

The Circus Of Tumblrs:

  • Rozes Are RedThe pleasingly sleazy art and photography of Rachel Roze.
  • Posing DJsA selection of pictures of DJs, posing. It is thanks to this site that I discovered the wonder of DJ CHEF!, for which it will forever have a place in my heart.
  • Singh Street StyleStylish Sikhs. As anyone who either is Sikh or has Sikh friends knows, there’s a LOT of technique involved in making a tight turban – some of these are awesome. Will be incomplete until it features my mate Verinder, but still rather good.
  • David CamerpornIn response to Dave’s frankly preposterous anti-bongo posturing, a website featuring stills from ‘adult’ productions with the naughty bits obscured with Dave’s face. Oddly compelling.
  • WLTM Tall Handsome StrangerIt’s been dormant for a couple of years, but this collection of things people say on online dating sites is fairly wonderful / utterly horrific (delete as applicable).
  • Beer Labels In MotionAnimated beer labels, for no reason at all that I can discern. 
  • Desperate Royal MarketingOk, I promise it’s the last mention of the R*y*l B*b* – you’ve almost certainly all seen this already, but in case you somehow missed it it’s an excellent collection of the most egregious examples of brand bandwaggoning from Monday / Tuesday.
By Antony Tudisco


  • Joe Biden For PresidentA really interesting look at a very powerful man about whom relatively little is known. US GQ really does excel at this sort of stuff, as does US Rolling Stone. 
  • The Most Sensible Thing I Have Read About Teenagers And Pr0nA teacher writes about her experience with kids and their attitudes to sex in a post-smartphone, post-web world. Level-headed, sensitive and a little bit scary – but also refreshing and sensible, in that it reasonably asserts that the best thing to do is not to attempt to BAN THE INTERNET but instead to have open, honest conversations with young people about this stuff. Jesus, I am so glad that I’m not a teenager.
  • Finding Matt DamonA lovely Storify collecting a series of tweets recounting the author’s attempt to find Matt Damon in Morocco into an epic yarn. Twitter can be really, really good for this sort of thing – you get a lovely sort of fireside chat feel to stories when told well.
  • Why The Social Media Generation Never Breaks UpOn a similar tip to the tech / relationships writing I linked to up there, this is a great piece about how you really can never leave people behind in the internet age, and the constant reminders of past loves which assail us, unbidden, at every turn. It’s not a bad thing – it just makes the experience of no longer being with someone very different and somewhat more haunting/ed.
  • Making The Mad Men Title SequenceIf you’re into Mad Men, or if you’re into animation or advertising and STUFF, this will fascinate you. Properly in-depth look at the creative process behind the now-iconic titles.
  • Brooklyn’s Smallest PenisNo, really. This was an actual contest that happened recently in Brooklyn – and this is the writeup. Really, really odd – but actually all very good-natured, and the interview with the ‘winner’ (my inverted commas – I mean, really, it’s hardly a victory) is surprisingly happy and maybe even a bit uplifting. Still, though, poor the micro-penised men :-(.
  • We Live Like Gods And We Don’t Even Know ItI had no idea there was even such a thing as the Los Angeles Review of Books (there is, obviously) until I stumbled across this EXCELLENT piece on how lucky we are to be alive now, and why a Keynesian solution to the current global mess is the obvious and correct one. Which I obviously agree with being a pinko leftie, but your mileage may vary.
  • The People Behind OFWGKTA A really interesting piece looking at the management team who discovered – and made – Tyler, The Creator and all the rest. Also gets a more articulate and interesting perspective on the artists themselves than I’ve read in other profile pieces. 
  • The Reason All Hollywood Films Are Basically The SameYou will read this and then wonder how you never noticed it before. Amazing (and a bit depressing really).
  • Tales From $20 HandoutsA lovely series of essays from New Yorkers about giving away $20, how you choose who to give it to, how it feels…pictures of a city in words, and each one is a small gem. 
  • A Phenomenal Prose Poem by Patricia LockwoodIt’s called ‘Rape Joke’ and it’s very, very good indeed. 
By Roger Weiss



1) This was on the list a month or so back and inexplicably dropped off, but then I heard it again and was reminded of what a cracking song it is. If you don’t tap your foot to this you’re quite possible dead. This is the (dreadfully named) The Preatures with ‘Is This How You Feel?’: 

2) I don’t really know how to describe this one. It’s sort of like underwater ballet and ink in water and sea anemones and beautiful, weird floaty choreography all in one, although according to the blurb “Cocoon is an aesthetic exploration in underwater movement”. So, er, there. Anyway, this is Cocoon:

3) This is gorgeous, stylistically, directorially…just the whole thing. An animation about Japan, called Shinjuku:

4) Fidlar are, it seems, an LA punk band. Nick Offerman is an actor who stars in apparently very funny US sitcom Parks & Recreation. This is a video featuring both of them, and a truly startling amount of urine. The song’s called ‘Cocaine’, by the way:

5) I don’t really know much about Fiona Apple – I mean, she’s really famous and all that, but I’ve never really paid attention to her music before. This is a great song, though, and the video (directed by Paul Thomas Anderson of PROPER FILMS fame) is simple but weirdly compelling. This is called Hot Knife:

6) This week’s UK hiphop offering comes from Million Dan and a whole host of other people including Sway who’s been a favourite of mine for aaaaaaaaaages. The chorus is annoying, but the verses are SO GOOD:

7) This is hypnotic and lovely. A series of timelapses of US cities, mirrored to the point of near-abstraction. Pleasing in a way I don’t really understand:

8) I’m a sucker for pencil animation, and this video for Cuushe’s single ‘Airy Me’ is a lovely example of it. Sort of Studio Ghibli-esque, if you know what I mean, without actually being anything like Studio Ghibli at all:

9) Finally, this is weird, loud and sort of scary and, inevitably, Japanese. BYE!:

That’s it for now

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