So, look, I have some troubling news. You may want to sit down. Web Curios is taking a small break.
CALM YOURSELVES! STOP RENDING AT YOUR CLOTHES AND SKIN! STOP THE FLAGELLATIONS AND LET THE KEENING CEASE!
Compose yourselves, all of you, IT'S ONLY TEMPORARY. Paul, my editor here at Imperica, is going to have a bit of a rummage around the back end of the site over the next couple of weeks and do some other stuff to (read about it here); he'd be interested in hearing from you if you have any exciting ideas about what to do with the place and how to help out.
Whilst this is going on, I'm going to be catching up on my Friday sleep and possibly doing things like my laundry, or getting a haircut. It's going to be thrilling. Anyway, what this means is that Web Curios will be back in THREE WEEKS TIME - that is, on Friday 6 April. Until then, though, you will have to pass the time without it - WHAT WILL YOU DO? HOW WILL YOU COPE? Please feel free to tell us how much you'll miss this bitter, bitter shake of nihilism and ennui being forced down your gullet each week, even if it means you lying through your teeth.
Anyhow, this week's is a particularly mediocre edition in celebration of my impending break - during which I am going to be in part catsitting for my girlfriend, so there is the outside possibility that all my tendons will have -been shredded and I will never be able to type again, so chin up! = so without further ado let's pull the skin right back and take a look - it's probably fine, right? RIGHT! This, as ever, is Web Curios!
My chronic inability to avoid needless verbosity (see? even when I am trying to apologise for it, FFS) means that this has once again gone LONG and gone LATE - that said. it's fair to say in passing that if this week has taught us anything (and by 'us' I mean 'you' - I am no longer capable of learning anything, mostly instead leaching knowledge from my ears at a rate of knots) is that YOU DO NOT FCUK WITH VLADIMIR.
(as an aside, I texted that to my girlfriend this week but misspelled his name with an 'f' rather than a 'd' - turns out, he's a lot less intimidating if you call him 'Vlafimir')
(as another aside, let me make it clear to any agents who may be reading this that my opening this week is making absolutely NO inferences whatsoever, ok? Good)
Anyway, we ALL have things to be getting on with, not least YOU dear readers who have...no, I'm not going to tell you the word count this week, it will only upset you. Rest assured, though, that as ever it dense, thick and packed with the sort of chewy infolumps of questionable origin that have become Web Curios very own indigestible trademark. GET THE WARMING FLUID DOWN YOU, CHILDREN, FOR WHO KNOWS WHEN WE SHALL EAT AGAIN (next week, same time, same place, for reassurance) - this, as ever, is Web Curios.
I AM SO CHAPPED! SO CHAPPED!
I appreciate that it's pretty low down on the list of legitimate reasons to moan, but seriously, you really don't want to see my smile right now (plus ca change, eh?) (SO MUCH BLOOD!).
Have you been toboganning? Have you thrown a snowball? Have you, at the very least, drawn something puerile on someone's car windscreen? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??? (to those of you reading this outside of the United Kingdom, we've had some weather).
Anyway, whilst it may be COLD outside, in here, crammed in with all the internet, it's all cosy and not a little close. Snuggle up, warms yourselves on this week's BONFIRE OF THE LINKS, and watch the flames - see what shapes you can scry, what terrible futures are presaged, what dreadful auguries of the future coalesce. EVERYTHING IS AWFUL AND NOTHING IS GOING TO BE OK - it's WEB CURIOS!
Even by the standards of a pretty fcuking febrile 2018, this one's been a doozy. Things I have seen or heard about this week, and this is just a small selection - teachers should have guns, we're letting Assad getting away with (lots of murder), Jezzus is a spy, Jezzus isn't a spy, Darpa want to weaponise sea creatures, you can now buy a dildo which will order you a pizza, sex robots.
Jesus, the sex robots. I have to have a phonecall about them now, as it happens, so I'll leave you here with this week's hand-selected cornucopia of links, spilling ripely into your lap, pregnant with promise. Or at least you presume it's promise; then again, that swelling could be gases released by decay. Only one way to tell - BITE IN! Enjoy your latest tasty mouthful of Curios - IT'S LOVELY TO SEE YOU AGAIN!
OH GOD IT'S LATE AGAIN. I started doing this at 6am and now it's 1243 and I'm unshaven and filthy and CHRIST ALIVE I HAVE STUFF I AM MEANT TO BE DOING. Anyone would think that writing this rubbish is less of a hobby and more of a sort of overwhelming, life-consuming pointless timesink.
So with no further ado, let's get ON with it - this week has once again been a rolling cavalcade of horrors, but here's hoping that you at least got a plastic rose out of it. Now lie back, close your eyes and await the familiar sensation of being coated in a thin film of webspaff that it'll take you all weekend to wash off - THIS IS WEB CURIOS!
HI EVERYONE! I have a confession to make - this week’s Curios, due to my having really screwed up my timings this week, was in part written in advance, hence you may miss the slightly breathless, race-against-time-oh-god-my-fingers-are-bleeding intensity of the usual offerings. Or, more likely, you may not. We will see.
Anyhow, I have places to go and people to see and thus NO TIME to ruminate on the CAR IN SPACE or the rest of the world’s madness and insanity. Instead I ask that you wish me luck and that you enjoy this week’s Curios which I lay before you now much like a cat might lay the freshly-gutted viscera of a small animal at your feet in hopeful supplication; hold your nose, hide your distaste and try at least to pretend to be grateful. This, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!
Crikey. For reasons you really don't want to know about but which can accurately be explained by the first picture in this week's Curios I am slightly up against it this week, timings and deadlines wise.
So that means NO TIME to say a super-special HELLO to all the people who might have come here on Warren Ellis' very kind recommendation (I promise to buy everything you have ever written and will ever write in triplicate, Warren), no time to talk about Auntie May in China or the State of the Union or the honestly chilling sight last night of the Telegraph's Tim Stanley saying - honestly, he really did - that what this country really needs is Jacob Rees-Mogg as Prime Minister and a return to Thatcherism. NO TIME! Which is a shame.
Still, there's just enough for me to say an extra WELCOME to all the people reading this on Matt Hancock, and to tell you to strap in tight - no, tighter, TIGHTER, by the time we get to the bottom you will practically RELISH the reduced bloodflow to your extremities. This, as ever, is ALL OF THE INTERNET (or the bits that I saw this week) in the form of Web Curios.
Whilst ordinarily following a week like that we've just seen I'd be fully entitled to go FULL DYSTOPIAN HOWL, you're spared that specific horror this week - so you'll have to imagine all my white-hot takes on the Presidents Club and the rest, as I am running LATE.
That said, for the few new people who might have come to Curios in the past few weeks or months, I thought it might be useful to do a quick recap of, well, what this is. So:
- What is this?: It's Web Curios, the longest and least-selectively edited weekly linkdump on the web! Delivered every week (well, ish) to your inboxes and to Imperica around about 1230 on a Friday, give or take a few minutes.
- Who are you?: I'm Matt, nice to meet you.
- Why is this so LONG?: Two main reasons; there is a LOT of webspaff produced every week, and I have appalling quality control
- Who do you do this for?: Charming. Myself, mainly - I tend to find that if I don't do this almost weekly I get what feels basically like a fatberg of information building up between my ears (insert your own 'that's your BRAIN ahaha' gag here, but know that I judge you for so doing).
- What's in Curios?: Depends on the weekly link harvest, but the top section is always about social media platform news and stuff about advermarketingpr; the second and third are MISCELLANEOUS LINKS, the fourth is Tumblrs, the sixth is the best of the longreads I've consumed that week, and the final one is new videos music or otherwise.
- Why the desperately unfunny section headings?: I am a sucker for a running gag, even if the only person who recognises it as such is me
- How do you DO this every week?: I have a very, very limited 'social' 'life'.
- Can I nick all this great insight and pass it off as my own each week, thereby making myself look better to my agency colleagues and piggybacking shamelessly on your effort and curiosity?: I am your humble servant.
- Must you do the shouty caps thing?: YES.
GREAT! Well, now we're all caught up, and as we wait for Donald In Davos - and, on that note, the spectacle of a billionaire idiot, in his role as 'most immediately powerful man in the world', delivering a barely coherent address about why he is great to a roomful of other billionaires, some idiots, some possibly geniuses, who will then all get together and decide, based on their collective wills and whims, how the world is going to work for the rest of us, is enough to make even me, a reasonably rational person, start to get a bit BILDERBERG BILDERBERG LIZARDS ILLUMINATIE EYES AND PYRAMIDS OH MY DAYS about everything - let's CRACK ON WITH THE LINKS! It's another 8,000 word hit of web, RIGHT IN THE MAIN VEIN. This, as ever, is Web Curios!
BUILD A BRIDGE TO FRANCE! I'll tell you an other way to cement our ties with continental Europe, Johnson, you colossal ballsac...ah, no, no negativity! Let's be positive! Let's SMILE! Web Curios' resolution to ensnare new readers with a sunnier, more positive outlook has lasted into the third week of 2018 which is, frankly, longer than I expected - such an achieve, and it's only January!
This edition of Web Curios is dedicated to all the poor buggers at Buzzfeed who've spent the past week sending 'last day at Buzzfeed' tweets and by so doing painting the picture of a company that really has managed to spaff an astonishing amount of VC cash up the wall with nothing approaching a business model to show for it. Good luck in the content farms, everyone, and thanks for all the words.
But you're not here for (surprisingly sincere, on reflection) goodbyes to journalists - you're here for LINKS! And oh my DAYS do we have links for you here at Curios - fat links, skinny links, funny links, scary links, and links which, should you click them, will forever give you the scarred and haunted air of One Who Has Seen Too Much. Roll up, roll up, step inside the tent, adjust your eyes to the gloom and CLICK YOUR LIFE AWAY.
This, as ever, is Web Curios.
Look, whatever else might have happened in the world this week, it pales into insignificance when compared to THIS. Just enjoy it on a loop; you're welcome.
Anyway, I'm in quite a good mood today and so am going to try not to ruin it by ranting too much at you. It's Friday! It's the weekend (practically)! This week's Curios contains an uncommon number of excellent links! Oh, ok, fine, everything's still AWFUL, obviously, but manageably so. Sit back, relax, let my words permeate your consciousness like those weird little brain-burrowing worms in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan - because what could be nicer than having a whole week's worth of web insinuated into your consciousness on a Friday afternoon? Well, yes, fine, but you probably can't get away with that in the office whereas this can legitimately be timesheeted as 'general internet research' - HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE WELCOME TO WEB CURIOS!
Well that's disappointing. Despite all the end of year excitement and promises of a fresh start and OUT WITH THE OLD and the like, turns out 2018 is just like 2017.
YES THAT'S RIGHT IT'S A WHOLE NEW YEAR! A whole new twelve months of Trump and war and corruption and idiocy and beef and snark and cant and sexism and cronyism and hatred and nazis and fools and influencers and brands and work and disappointment and indigestion and sleeplessness and anxiety and loss and tears and fear and and and and
And, of course, LINKS! That's right, whilst the pages on the calendar may turn and the seasons may cycle, some things remain inviolate, such as my ceaseless devotion to finding stuff on the web to share with YOU, my silent, faceless, tiny readership. I fervently hope that each and every one of had a time this Christmas (whichever sort of time you like best), and that you're facing the coming 12 months with a spring in your step and a twinkle in your eye.
If you're not - if you're feelinng a touch tired and a touch jaded - then just dip a nostril to my mirrored surface, hold the note tightly and just inhale the linklines I lovingly present to you; these are guaranteed to perk you right up (don't mind the taste in the back of your throat). Welcome to 2018! WELCOME TO WEB CURIOS!
Another year done, then. Almost 12 months of getting up and sometimes going to work and coming home and eating and shitting and crying and what have I got to show for it?
Well, 33 Web Curios, approximately 230,000 words of prose, some 6,000-odd links and incipient carpal tunnel, as it happens, so IN YOUR FACE 2017!
So that was the year that was. No recap, no recriminations, certainly no predictions. I am DONE with this, and I hope you nearly are too. For those of you who don't make it to my heartfelt message at the bottom, let me deliver it once again up top - thanks for reading, and I hope you're all ok.
Take care, happy holidays, and try not to let anything bad happen. This, as ever, will be Web Curios. Happy Holidays.
So, how was it for you? As you peeled the crusted lids from each other at the alarm's insistence this morning, gingerly ran the cracked, dried sponge of your dessicated tongue over the crenellated horrors that your lips seemed to have become, tentatively explored your nostrils to dislodge the lignocaine rocks obstructing the airflow, and took the first, sweet sup of the foul soup that was your morning breath, was it with a sense of fear and regret? WHAT DID YOU DO? WHO WITH? WHO SAW?
Yes, that's right, it is OFFICE PARTY SEASON! Last night was, as far as I can tell, the BIG ONE when it came to friends and acquaintances of mine having their annual ethanol celebration, so how was it for you? What tales, what gossip, what larks?
I don't tend to go to office parties (this will no doubt shock you - "surely", I imagine you thinking, "surely someone with Matt's sunny demeanour and effervescent outlook on life is simply FIGHTING off the invites of a December?" well, readers, let me disabuse you of that notion) which is probably for the best; the first one I ever attended, in my second ever week of proper, full-time employment, ended with me drunkenly telling the MD of the company I'd joined that the whole industry was utterly vile and disgusting, potentially even morally wrong, and I didn't think I could keep doing it (I lasted three years).
Anyway, I hope YOURS was fun, whatever you got up to. As we bask happily in the glory of a Brexit deal achieved (you know that Churchillian "This is not the end; this is not even the beginning of the end..." spiel? Yes, well, exactly), let me apply the following stinking poultice of words and links and images to your sweating brow - or, alternatively, maybe just head to the pub for lunch and DON'T COME BACK.
THIS, AS EVER, IS WEB CURIOS!
So, as we roll into the final month of 2017, punch-drunk and reeling and with the very real sense that whilst it's been a tough one this is not the final round, oh no siree, let's take a moment to consider that in 11 short months we've gone from a position of vague hope that it couldn't possibly be as bad as 2016 and maybe all the doom mongering is a bit much to a world in which the President of the US can actively endorse the message of a fringe bunch of racist lunatics and doesn't even have to justify himself. Meanwhile Bitcoin's wobbling like a fat trapeze artist and everyone's a wanker or a rapist - it's fair to say that things haven't panned out quite as we might have wished.
But! What is that light I see yonder? Is that the Christmas star, bringing joy and light and hope to all who bask in its nighttime glow? Or is the light at the end of the tunnel merely the headlamp of yet another train, careening towards us at unconscionable pace? WHO KNOWS? NOT I! All I know that this is the THIRD-LAST CURIOS OF THE YEAR, and as such is full of even more bile, spleen, fear and uncertainty than usual. The penny in your pudding, the cloves in your mulled wine, the coal in your stocking, the unwanted present under your tree, the knowledge that all of the material goods in the world won't compensate for that very real feeling that assails you in that weird hinterland time between Christmas and New Year that this, frankly, is it, this strange interregnum of drunkenness and indigestion, this is all you really want because it's the closest thing to being able to turn it all OFF that you will ever get...WEB CURIOS IS ALL OF THIS AND MORE!
Sorry, I'm a touch tired this week, I'm sure it'll pass. NOW TO THE LINKS!
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!
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!
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!
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!