Matt Muir is interested in lots of different things, and as a result rather likes the internet. Web Curios is a weekly(ish) snapshot of what he has found interesting this week. You can find Matt on Twitter, where he's quite good. In his spare time, Matt tries to ignore the web as much as is humanly possible (not very much, it turns out).
Web Curios 24/11/17
Gah! So much to do, so little time! This intro is necessarily going to be on the short side as I have STUFF to be getting on with and to be honest I imagine that most of you are going to be far too busy buying VAST QUANTITIES OF STUFF to be bothered with links today.
Amidst the babble, clamour and NOISE of Black Friday, then, take a moment to lie back and let the soothing waves of webspaff wash over your beetled brow and troubled countenance - it's apparently great for the complexion. Web Curios!
Web Curios 17/11/17
Russia! Sexpests! Brexit! Mugabe! And that's just the past 6 hours I've been writing this damn thing. Web Curios may take a week off but the world certainly doesn't, as evidenced by the absolute tsunami of links about to engulf you.
I am tired, you are tired, we are ALL tired. As we limp towards the end of 2017, I can't be the only one whose general sense of 'well, that was the year that was' reflection that used to accompany the the imminence of December has been replaced by a sense of trepidation and a very real fear about how much worse it's all going to get in 2018.
God, it's good to have me back, isn't it?
Anyway, with no further ado let us smear ourselves with clunkily metaphorical honey, stretch ourselves out in the infoforest and await the ravening maws of the WEBSPAFF BEARS (no, I know that doesn't work at all, but seriously, I have been typing for literally hours and I am somewhat enervated) - THIS, AS EVER, IS WEB CURIOS!
Web Curios 03/11/17
Whilst the vast majority of me is gladdened at the shining of the LIGHT OF TRUTH AND JUSTICE which is being shone on the Palace of Westminster, another, smaller part of me is also enjoying the absolute bemusement being displayed in some sections of the Italian media at this; "he touched her knee?" is the general tone amongst much of the commentariat, "You mean there weren't even any sex parties? AMATEURS!"
Anyway, we certainly shouldn't look to Italy for guidance on any of this (witness, if you're unaware, the country's recent charming reaction to its daughter Asia Argento being at the centre of some of the Weinstein revelations); instead, let's all instead take bets on who the urolagniaphile is (also, I was asking the BIG QUESTIONS about this on Twitter should you care or indeed have any answers). Not that there's actually anything wrong with that - shall we instead focus on the actual issues of power and control at the heart of all this Westminster gossip? No? Oh, fine, please yourselves.
Anyway, Curios is early this week as I have a genuinely terrifying meeting at 2pm before which I need to spend a good hour or so sweating nervously in a corner, so on that note I am going to GET RIGHT ON WITH IT. Get into the tub, make yourself comfortable and prepare to bathed in the warm, fresh infostreams - you can choose to imbibe if you so desire, but bear in mind it does get awfully cold if you wallow in it. THIS, AS EVER, IS WEB CURIOS!
Web Curios 27/10/17
I had to actually do some work yesterday - some ACTUAL THINKING - for the first time in what might actually have been months; it was hard, how do you people do it? This edition of Curios, then, is dedicated to YOU - whoever you are, whatever you do, I admire and appreciate your toil (this doesn't, of course, apply to the advermarketingpr drones - I know all about what you do, and you should feel ashamed) (as do I).
It's also dedicated to all those of you who this week have succumbed to the first illnesses of the season and are reading this sat at home, surrounded by tissues, with red-rimmed eyes and an entirely unjustified sense of self-pity. DRINK YOUR CALPOL.
Anyway, another week of BAD MAN revelations this week culminated yesterday in what must be up there in the top 10 of 'wow, you really fcuked that up' non-apologies in the course of human history. If you haven't yet had the opportunity to check out Scoble's...extraordinary post, take a moment to read it and then marvel at exactly how intellectually deficient one would have to be to imagine that THAT is going to help you in any way. Leaving aside his status as a repellent lecher - one who, by all accounts, is being largely forgiven by the (male) upper echelons of the tech community for his excesses what with being a 'lovable rogue', so nice work, there, techbros, keep it up you awful self-optimising cancers, you - it's the language, the hubris, the sales pitch...seriously, it's amazing. Now let's sit back and see who other than cuddly Lord Rennard is going to be outed as a serial groper - FUN TIMES IN WESTMINSTER!
But we're not here to talk about any of that! We're here to delve deep into the freshly exhumed corpse of last week's web, burrowing through layers of faintly rotting epidermis, fat, flesh and muscle to the tasty, tasty marrow within. Come, my charming infomaggots, let's see if we can fatten up enough to make beautiful iridescent flies of ourselves - this, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!
Web Curios 20/10/17
It's...it's not been a nice week, has it? I mean, I always say this - if you were to do a wordcloud of these opening paragraphs I'm pretty sure that a series of variants on the theme of 'awful' and 'despair' would loom out at you - but it really does seem like the past seven days have been particularly shrill and awful.
Or at least they have in my corner of the London 'Generic Media Wanker' bubble. I hope yours has been nicer. The world certainly doesn't need another bloke spaffing out WORDS on power and gender and coercion - all I'll say is that I hope a certain London gallery owner and nightlife impresario with a TV and newspaper column sideline is feeling particularly scared at the moment. OOH A BLIND ITEM WHO COULD IT BE? Feel free to DM me your guesses, kids!
And on that lawyer-baiting note, let's get to it! We have links, we have words, we have 6+hours of me sitting at a keyboard in my kitchen drinking tea and developing RSI as I try and fail to spin them into some semblance of coherence - we have, in short, all of the ingredients required. Strap yourselves in, then, and bite HARD on the leather strap as I power up the machine and spin the dial all the way to eleven - FEEL THE WEB COURSING THROUGH YOUR SHUDDERING CARCASS! This, as ever, is the overwrought mess of angst, anger and £5 prose peddling 10p ideas that is WEB CURIOS!
Web Curios 13/10/17
Venice was GREAT. The Hirst exhibition is crazy, the Biennale is wonderful, the whole place is glorious.
There, that was my holiday. It's the personal touches which make this blog / newsletter / mess, don't you find? Anyway, the glow of having been in a beautiful city consuming art quickly wore off on my return to the soul-sapping greyness of 'work', so don't expect this edition to be any less cynically beaten-down than it ordinarily is, OK? GOOD.
I've got a whole afternoon of meetings today - I am SO important! - and probably ought to get dressed before attending them, so this is going to be a mercifully short introduction, all the better to introduce you to this week's murky soup of links and ephemera. Take up your spoon, hold your nose and DIVE IN - I can guarantee you a pleasingly chewy assortment of oddities in each mouthful, but be sure to chew carefully as much of this is a touch indigestible. SUCK DOWN MY WATERY WEB-BROTH! THIS IS WEB CURIOS!
Web Curios 29/9/17
One of the things that struck me in the midst of all the media coverage of international superstar bongo-peddler Hugh Hefner's demise was (aside from the man's uncanny resemblance to Touche Turtle) quite how miserable he looked in almost every photo taken of him in his dotage. It's almost as if he'd discovered that being entirely in the grip of adolescent appetites whilst simultaneously staring your ninth decade right in the face is a bit, well, dispiriting, and that he in fact knew his was a tawdry existence that didn't bear too much examination (especially not beneath a blacklight).
BUT! We are not here to talk about that man! We are here to grudgingly wade through another selection of this week's CONTENT, cobbled together by artisans worldwide for your browsing pleasure. Curios is going to be off next week due to me being in Venice with my mum (restaurant tips gratefully received, seeing as you're here), so be extra sure to read EVERY SINGLE WORD in this week's edition; carry my voice with you in your mind's ear, listen to my dulcet tones while I'm away, let me burrow deep into your very meningea and deposit there the spores that may one day develop into full-blown web psychosis. We don't quite know what the long term effects of this insane level of data consumption will be on our pliable mammalian brains, so with that spirit of open-minded experimentation to the fore let's CRACK ON with the WEBSPAFF FIREHOSE that is WEB CURIOS!
Web Curios 22/09/17
OH NO WHAT ARE WE ALL GOING TO DO NOW WE CAN’T INFLICT OUR QUESTIONABLE MUSIC TASTES AND COKED-UP WEEKEND CHAT ON SOME POOR BASTARD WHO’S WORKING A 19-HOUR DAY FOR FCUK-ALL CASH?
Yep, these are the BIG QUESTIONS we’re all grappling with right now - well, all of us except the country’s top lawyers and lobbyists, who’ll be looking at the Uber ruling this morning with the sort of ‘dollars-for-pupils’ avarice that’s normally the sole domain of top-hatted avian plutocrats. Still, you’re not here for HOT TAKES on current affairs; you’re here for the combination of too many links and too many words which makes Web Curios a uniquely unappealing prospect!
So settle down before the blazing fire - ignore what it actually is that's fueling the flames, and make sure to wear the protective mask before breathing in any of the fumes - and prepare once again to listen to my grating tones in your mind’s ear was we embark upon yet another edition of the Jackanory you know you deserve, WEB CURIOS!
Web Curios 15/09/17
HELLO TO THE NEW READERS LURED HERE BY ME SHOUTING ABOUT S*C**L M*D** ON TWITTER! Look, let's get this out of the way upfront; you're unlikely to enjoy this very much - the overwhelming majority of the world's population don't, and there's no real reason why you're likely to be any different. That said, welcome to the overwhelming cornucopia of LINKS AND NEWS AND ENNUI that is Web Curios. It's lovely to have you here. The top bit's news about s*c**l m*d**, the next two are random things that I have found interesting this week, then come a selection of Tumblrs, then the long reads, then videos at the end. It's not a complicated proposition, but I ruin it with too much writing. Like this. I ought to stop now, really. Look, FCUK OFF AND READ THE DAMNED THING, OK?! This, once again, is the info-enema that is Curios - put your hips up, and ignore the discomfort; it'll feel loads nicer on the way out.
(to the rest of you who know what the score is already, this week's edition is as disappointing as ever so at least consistency's being maintained)
(oh, and by the way, one paragraph in here this week has been automatically generated by the AlgoMuir that lives on Slack and which has been trained on the Curios corpus to mimic my writing style. See if you can spot which - I really fcuking hope you can, or I am FINISHED)
Web Curios 08/09/17
One of the unfortunate side-effects of the filter bubble in which I find myself is that I've notmanaged to stumble across any examples of right-wing climate change deniers desperately attempting to explain away the BIG WEATHER in terms that don't involve, you know, ACCEPTED SCIENCE. Still, it's good to know that there's a positive side-effect to all these poor bastards in the Caribbean having their homes totalled - WE WERE RIGHT ALLALONG!
Anyway, leaving aside the planet's continued attempt to remove the bloated tick that is humanity from its scarred and pock-marked skin, it's been another week of marvelling at our own political classes as they vie to prove themselves the most incompetent and out of touch of all. From sentient dustjacket Rees-Mogg's unmasking as - and you'll have been as surprised as I was, readers, at this unpredictable occurrence - something of a small-c conservative(!), to the continuing inability of the team managing the UK's Brexit talks (I refuse to use the term 'negotiations' as it implies some sort of reasoned, adult dialogue rather than the insistence of one party to stubbornly believe that 2+2=whatever we damn well want it to mean thankyou very much indeed) to achieve anything much at all (and can we just take a moment to establish quite how spectacularly little has been achieved to date? I mean, if this was you at work someone would probably have taken you to one side by now and started making encouraging words about 'deliverables' and 'pulling your fcuking finger out', right?), it's been yet another reassuring demonstration of just how crap EVERYONE is, most of the time.
So! Don't worry about it! Cast your worries aside, for it is a FRIDAY - some of you might say FriYAY, and to you I say STOP IT - and there are only a few hours to go before you get to go home and stare at the leaden skies and remember that once there was sunshine and laughter. To fill in those empty hours, then, here I assemble for you a platter of the finest sweetbreads, foraged from the still-warm carcass of this week's web. Soaked and breaded and fried to creamy perfection, sink your teeth in and don't worry too much about the fact that you're not 100% exactly what sweetbreads are. This, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!