Xmas Eve 2023

I’m please to report that everyone is in the rudest of health this year and I’m looking forward to food and family.

6 minutes

Last year was a Covid Christmas. A plague house where we all got sick one after another a few days apart. This year I’m please to report that everyone is in the rudest of health and I’m looking forward to food and family.

I’ve been back on the chalk since Friday, and have quickly fallen into Mum and Dad’s routine. Jumping in the car whenever they are popping out around town.

We’ve been for some very blustery walks along the seafront. And its been super nice to see the horizon and see the sea.

Had some nice coffees and trips around the island. It’s been good! A very different Christmas from the year before!

My brother is spending another Christmas where he lives in Taiwan so it’ll just be a zoom call with him tomorrow, but my uncle Michael arrives Christmas morning and is staying until the 27th which should be nice.

Eve and I already did Christmas the other night. This year she got me the new Folio Society edition of Dune Messiah. It’s a wonderful hardback full of incredible art by Hilary Clarcq. The book also includes the restored ‘Death Cell’ interview from the first edition, which I haven’t read before.

It looks great next to the FS edition of Dune!

I hope that everyone has a lovely couple of days!

Experience.Computer

Having an existing show thats a top 20% show by download numbers means that ‘what success looks like’ is a bit of an open question. So I went into launching my new podcast with zero expectations. But I’ve been please with the response to it so far, and the show charted briefly as top 100 iTunes shows in a few countries around the world – but quickly dropped back out again.

Asking existing listeners to 301 to commit to listening to a weird 90min long interview show about aphantasia, imagination and creativity is a bit of a different ask to a 5min essay show, lol! I think the show will be a slow burn/build – finding its own audience month on month as new Epsiodes come out. Now that the show is out and online though, when I get back from Thailand in Feb, I’m looking forward to reaching out to guests etc

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Photo 365

photo-a-day 14/356/2023

The Ministry Of My Own Labour

  • As I said above Experience.computer is out. It was a lot of work to get it over the line! who knew!
  • Calls with founders of cool companies that I was introduced to last week
  • Last of the xmas shopping
  • Train home

Terminal Access

Following my massive 9k word drop on the history of web2 last week someone on medium (in Portuguese) wrote some commentary on it, and the beginnings of the social web – which was nice.

I’d also like to hilight Brett Scott’s piece from the 19th Dec on The War on Informality: What seven hours in London teaches me about surveillance capitalism.

When I lived here, this mix of dripping corporate inauthenticity and stultifying paternalism was there like a suffocating blanket, but the city had a strong counterculture to balance it out. I was born at the tail-end of the authoritarian apartheid regime in South Africa, so when I arrived London seemed a city of exhilarating experimentation and freedom. I lived in the neighbourhood of Brixton from 2008-2013, where every day the street market was a multicultural carnival with home-made ginger beer, ska music and the smell of weed. London seemed to have a decent balance of power between the formal corporate and state sphere, and the informal street life that teemed around it in the cracks. There was, as it were, a vibrant outside to the suffocating blanket.

It’s one hell of an essay – not very festive or cheery reading, but worth the read.

Behind the beeps on the contactless terminals I can see the grinning faces of the execs at Barclaycard, Visa and ApplePay, watching all the β€˜cashless’ feedback loops accelerate, entrenching their platforms as the only means of survival in this environment. Their hegemony is amplified by state authorities, museums, universities, theatres and other institutions of cultural clout that add their official blessing to this takeover by β€˜going cashless’.

Still, when I first lived in London, cultural immunity to this was higher. Using cash was normal, and it was also the currency of the informal underground that provided a counterpower to the formal sphere. Very few people experienced cash as β€˜inconvenient’ in 2008, but even back then payments firms were working to shift that perception.

Dipping the Stacks

(Reasons to) Get off social media – time spent offline

As far as I am concerned, in my reality, my life is great. Nothing out of the ordinary, mind you; nothing noteworthy and worth posting about on social media, but it is a great life nonetheless.

Social media is sugar. It’s time we limit its negative impact

There are plenty of resources available to help us break our addiction to social media and boost our understanding of its tripwires and underlying advantages, not least of which is the fact that it’s been architected by psychologists, engineers, and powerful businesses to drive behaviors that lead to profitβ€”and control. Remember that even Steve Jobs wouldn’t let his kids have iPads for the same reason we regulate our kids’ candy intake.

None Of You Know What Haiku Are

Well, let me get into why the 5-7-5 understanding of haiku is wrong, and also what makes haiku so special (with examples)!
First of all, Japanese doesn’t have syllables!

Manifesto for posting online in 2023

Most people would prefer you to be an indentikit loaf of sliced white supermarket bread, but we know that all of the goodness is in your funky sourdough starter mix.

Yahoo! Internet Life: The Strange World of Offline Internet Magazines | Good/Bad Marketing

So, why then did Yahoo! Internet Life end in 2002? The simple answer? Because the target audience of Yahoo! Internet Life was the same audience that moved onto the internet.

Reading

Still reading Art Of Gig by Venkat from Ribbonfarm. To quote Ben V “I don’t know why I haven’t read this before”

Been really busy, but I did manage to listen to most of The Practice by Seth Godin. I have about an hour left to go. It’s a good book, but nothing is going to beat The Creative Act for decades to come.

Music

UCC Harlo – Topos EP

I listened to UCC Harlo’s (Previously on the blog) 5 track EP Topos on the train home from London on Friday. The record is also named ‘Place’ and each track feels like a landscape of its own. Each track has its own tonal centre. My favourite being March 6th

A sort of mesmeric folk dance full of strings, stomping, clapping, hollering underneath a repeated mesmeric viola refrain. Wonderful stuff.

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