Web Curios 23/06/17

I know that none of you asked for this, but here we are, back again like Daniel (retro meme reference for you there, don't ever let it be said that late 30s advermarketingprcunt is out of touch with the kids, yeah?). It's good to see you again; you're looking well, if a bit tired and, well, frayed around the edges; actually, are you ok? Honestly, you can tell me. I won't even pretend to care. 

Anyway, figuring out a new CMS for the mailout has taken far more time than I'd expected so I have minimal scope for opinion-wanging; let's get cracking, then. Grab whatever you can which will serve as some sort of tourniquet, tie yourself off and lie back, supine, waiting for the slight pressure before the skin breaks and the plunger drops and oh god that sweet, dull flood to the base of the brain and yes yes yes this is WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 02/06/17

A hand, pale, slim and with appallingly-bitten fingernails, gingerly slips between the curtains, fingers curling to pull back the material just enough to afford a glimpse onto the stage and to the empty seats beyond.

The vaudvillian slinks disconsolately onstage and addresses the silent, deserted house.

HI THERE! I’M BACK! DID YOU MISS ME?? No, no, you didn’t, did you? And yet, like the proverbial bad penny, the slinking cur which returns after each kicking to receive another dose, here I am again.

So, what’s been going on? Well, Imperica’s had a bit of a wobble but it is STILL STANDING - normal service, or what passes for normal service, will be resumed at some point over the summer, so HANG ON IN THERE, kids. To be honest, I wasn’t really planning on writing anything until everything was all sorted out but then I found myself staring at a 12-page Google doc full of links and knowing that I basically wouldn’t be able to delete them unless I’d filed a Curios out of some weird, damaged info-OCD.

So, here we are then - a BUMPER Curios! Full of the very best - and indeed much of the worst - of the past month or so’s web. Christ alone knows when you’ll get the next one - but you will, rest assured, it seems I can’t stop doing this even if I try - so enjoy this; use it as some sort of distraction from the current malaise. So lie back, close your eyes, let me draw the hood over your head and set the tap running; I promise, this is non-fatal. LET ME VOID MYSELF OF WEB! This, as ever, is Web Curios.

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Web Curios 21/04/2017

So much excitement! Whether it’s the looming potential threat of international thermonuclear conflict, mental sci-fi technologies or the fact that we lucky, lucky people of Britain once again get to DO A DEMOCRACY, it seems that the future never stops happening at us. It never stops. It is never going to stop, until we do, and then it will carry on without us anyway because we do not matter one iota, regardless of what our parents may once have told us.

Except obviously we DO matter, at the very least in a narrow electoral sense, so, er, make sure you’re registered to vote and stuff, whichever of the fcukers you want to watch screwing everything up for the next 5 years. WEB CURIOS POLITICAL OBSERVATION KLAXON! - the fact that this is all happening so quickly means that I can confidently predict we are in for some CRACKING ‘sex text skeletons inside candidate’s sexy closet’ scandals over the next few weeks, and we are going to have some truly woeful new elected representatives come June 9th - there is no WAY there aren’t going to be some spectacular oddities falling through the cracks, right? So that’ll make up for the next 7 weeks of painful, wafer-thin policy promises, attempts at ‘relatability’, and grin-through-gritted-teeth memebantz, then.

Anyway, you don’t come here for politics (or if you did you are a fool). You come here to have more links than you can possibly click on fed to you by a tired, misanthropic loner with an increasingly doomy outlook and a prose style which can most charitably be described as ‘lightly enervated’. Brace yourselves to receive a fortnight’s worth of internets straight to the frontal lobes - it’s *like* a lobotomy except without any spurious claims to efficacy. This, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 07/04/17

The problem with writing this on a Friday is that, sadly, by the time I get round to doing the opener the commentariat have had a whole WEEK crafting their INCANDESCENTLY HOT TAKES on the pressing issues of the week and they’ve consumed all the oxygen around the news, leaving me a gasping, suffocating wreck desperately seeking to find a crack in the media bubble in which I exist online through which to suck down a few microns of fresh air.

That’s by way of a non-apology for my failure offer any coruscating opinions on Kendall or school meals or Easter or Saudi or Syria or any of that stuff. Mainly because, I am coming to realise, current affairs commentary online in 2017 is much like Playdoh - all looks different and multicoloured, but spend a bit of time playing with it and it all blends into the one sh1t-hued morass. Opinions, bottoms, proctology innit.

So before you go back to watching politiTwitter desperately trying to work out what the most woke response to The Donald suddenly remembering all the fun toys he now has at his disposal (as an aside, does anyone else think that Assad looks a little like a drawing from one of the Molesworth books? No? Oh), enjoy this cannonade of STUFF off the web, fired at you at high velocity and close distance - you probably can’t avoid it at this stage, so just open your mouth and pray the bleeding eventually stops. THIS, AS EVER, IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 31/3/17

So that’s it - WE ARE TAKING BACK CONTROL! Do you feel in control? Do you feel like you know exactly what’s happening, where we’re going and how we’re going to get there? Do you feel that The Triggering is going to somehow resolve the creeping feeling that everything now happening is so far beyond our ken and influence and that the only reasonable response is to hide and cry?

No, you don’t. Still, CONTROL, EH?

Web Curios cannot, in all honesty, make any claims towards being able to help in that regard, but at the very least you may find one or two things in the following mess of html which put a smile on your face; or, alternatively, which finally convince you that it’s time to build the bunker and nail down the hatch.

So, then, come with me into the past - my past, the week I have just lived online. Slip into my digital skin, so to speak - I’ve always found it to be terribly uncomfortable, so, frankly, you’re welcome to it. This, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 24/03/17

Not a good week really. Let’s not talk about it and instead stuff as much internet as possible into our ever-ravening maws in an increasingly futile attempt to make sense of anything at all

Given it’s pretty clear in 2017 that we really *are* what we consume, what mind-bending effects will be imparted by you clicking EVERY SINGLE ONE of the following links? Aside, obviously, from a real and increasing sense of your lack of import in the grand guignol horror that is life, WHO KNOWS? Let’s find out shall we? It’s WEB CURIOS.

(I really hope you’re all ok).

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Web Curios 17/03/17

Is it OK that a sitting MP can be editor of one of the most influential papers in the country? It’s not, really, is it? AND YET HERE WE ARE!

Another week, then, and another succession of events which just make you want to throw your hands in the air and crack on with that experiment in intravenous opiate addiction 30 years earlier than you might originally have planned.

Seeing, though, as I totally failed to get the skag in for the weekend (fie on me!) we’re just going to have to once again try and dull the pain of existence with the finest collection of links and webspaff this side of Reddit. Panacea or placebo? SUCK THE MARROW FROM MY LINKS AND DECIDE! Happy Friday, one and all - this, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!

(Oh, and while I'm about it, if you have yet to do so then check out the Imperica Magazine for it is excellent and full of good new writing about a selection of properly wide-ranging and thought provoking stuff. Additional benefits include none of me in it). 

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Web Curios 10/03/17

OH MY GOD THAT FEELS BETTER. Not that you care, but this bit is always the last thing I write in Curios; as I’m typing this it’s almost impossible to prevent a slow smile of relief from plastering itself across my hideous countenance as I luxuriate in the feeling of having purged myself of internet after what feels like three weeks of infoconstipation.

By extension, of course, that effectively means that your minds are the lucky receptacle into which I’m evacuating my backed-up webmulch - you lucky, lucky things! Anyway, THANKYOU for letting me get all this off my chest; welcome to Web Curios, back after a fortnight’s hiatus caused by technical difficulties (er, me leaving a laptop cable at work) and the necessary finalising and release of THE FIRST EVER GLORIOUS IMPERICA MAGAZINE, which you can buy here for just two units of currency and which is honestly, genuinely worth reading (FYI I am neither in it nor do I profit from it, I just think it’s GOOD).

So seeing as there’s a LOT to get through, let’s crack on shall we? Prepare to receive a high-pressure stream of thick, curdled, near-clotted internet right to the brainstem as once again I roar to a largely indifferent world that THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 17/02/17

Another week in which it feels like he’s doing this to all of us, all the time. I’m KNACKERED, I don’t know about you. Still, nothing to be done but keep on keeping on - I know that you’re all grateful for my indefatigable devotion to scouring the web for fresh, soothing content (no, really, no need to tell me how grateful you are) (please tell me - I am awfully needy and fragile).

Anyway, as I type this the dulcet tones of Mr Tony Blair are piping from the wireless, which is EXACTLY what the world needs right now and is a pleasing throwback to a simpler time two decades ago when none of us even knew what reality TV was, let alone that it could spawn a world leader. 

Before I slip into a reverie and spend the afternoon wallowing in nostalgia for time in which I had both curtains and a girlfriend, though, let’s me first present to you this week’s offering of links - if you could see me right now, you’d know that I am looking at you all doe-eyed and expectant, hoping that you will look favourably on these leavings and pat me on the head rather than looking askance and wrinkling your nose at the bloody mess that I’ve sullied your digital carpet with. Look, kids, it’s the sanguinating carcass of the week’s web, here splayed for you to scry with the viscera - WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 10/02/17

Look, shall we just not talk about any of it this week? Shall we just agree that, if only for these few opening lines, we’re going to leave The World alone and just focus on the good things?

LET’S!

*tumbleweed*

Eh? Oh. Turns out that I currently appear to be incapable of focusing on anything other than THE PARLOUS STATE OF EVERYTHING right now, which make doing a breezy intro (even more) problematic (than normal). So, given that, let’s CRACK RIGHT ON with this week’s Web Curios - picking at the scabs of internet culture and presenting them to you on a slightly soiled pewter salver with an obsequious flourish! ENJOY!

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Web Curios 03/02/17

Right everyone, hands up who thinks they understand the world at the moment. No, thought not. Is everything a gigantic conspiracy or a gigantic mess? CAN IT PERHAPS BE BOTH? IT’S SCHRODINGER’S FCUKUP!

Anyway, I am TIRED and I simply haven’t the stomach for ‘funnies’ about how utterly FUBARed everything seems to be; make your own if you feel the need, I have nothing for you this week.

Instead, though, what I DO have is a beautiful selection of hand-foraged (seriously, foraged is the right verb; you’d never guess quite how *dirty* I got pulling this out of the websump for your delectation) links designed to explain everything, assuage your fears and generally ameliorate your life before this whole tedious merrygoround begins aga...eh? What’s that? It literally never stops? This is what it’s going to be like until we fcuking die, perhaps getting marginally worse over time?

Hm.

Well, on that CHEERING note, let’s crack on - welcome, one and all (mostly one), to this week’s WEB CURIOS - picking the scabs off the web so you don’t have to!

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Web Curios 27/01/17

DON’T PANIC! DON’T PANIC!

Ok, maybe do a little panic. Is the future a race between Musk and Trump, to see whether we manage to flee the planet before we irrevocably eff it in the a? Well, no, it almost certainly isn’t - for a start we’re all far more likely to die slowly and painfully by an infinity of self-inflicted papercuts than we are in some sort of extinction-level event, so relaaaaaaaax a bit and ENJOY THE SHOW!

I mean, it does feel ever so slightly like all we can do at this juncture is to open the metaphorical popcorn (though personally I’m advocating something less metaphorical and significantly stronger and more dulling) and see what lunacy happens next. Now, though, forget about all the mess and horror out *there* - focus on all the mess and horror in HERE instead. Welcome once again to the (mainly) weekly autopsy in which I slice from clavicle to colon and splay the still-warm viscera of the web onto a glistening slab for us to ponder. What can we scry from this week’s messily-piled infoguts? ONLY BY READING ON WILL YOU EVER LEARN. This, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 13/01/2017

Is being accused of watching a bunch of sex workers urinate on an expensively-hired mattress more or less embarrassing than being accused of putting one’s penis into the mouth of a dead pig? It’s not a question I was expecting to pose myself this week, and yet here we are. Are the Russians controlling everything? Are the Russians simply working to make us think they control everything? Is Elon Musk right? Is this all just a simulation, some sort of pan-dimensional higher being’s version of The Sims (this being that point in the game when they’re so bored that they decide to just fcuk with the computerpeople; we could, in this reading of events, see much of what’s happened in the past week as their equivalent of removing all the in-game toilets)?

WHO KNOWS?! The only thing that’s been of comfort this week is that, whilst there may be a few dozen people currently alive on the planet with a reasonable grasp of what’s happening, none of those people are currently talking. Frankly, would you? Watching all the speculation would be TOO MUCH FUN.

Suffice it to say, gentle reader, that I am as baffled and scared by all of this as you - probably moreso, frankly, what with my legendary sensitivity. Thank the Lord, then, that I’ve spent the past week stitching together this poorly-woven comfort blanket of internet scraps for us all to cling to together; it’s ugly, fine, and please don’t ask me about the things you can see moving amongst the seams or why the smell simply won’t go however much you scrub it - just clutch it to yourself and think about how weird things must have gotten already in 2017 that this poorly-curated (ha! ‘curated’!) load of webspaff is sort of reassuringly normal and familiar. This, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!

(A SHORT EDITORIAL NOTE: Firstly, thanks to all of those who've been in touch with Imperica about contributing to the forthcoming magazine - my editor is VERY GRATEFUL. If you're interested in writing about art, society, culture, tech, the future and LIFE, you still have time to get in touch with your pitches to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.- DO IT. Secondly, there is a NEW NEWSLETTER coming. I know nothing about it as it's not mine, but I can categorically guarantee that it will be both shorter and better-proofed than this one, and will function as a sort of 'cultural reading list' to the week ahead. So, you know, ANTICIPATE)

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Web Curios 06/01/17

And so it begins again. We return to our pens, fattened, bovine and docile after a fortnight’s enjoyment of the illusory promise of freedom, ready to once more face the uncertain future with a faltering smile and the deep-yet-unspoken hope that maybe this year will be the one in which it all just stops, just for a second.

But it won’t be. In fact, it’s all going to get faster and busier and more congested, more thick and clotted with signals and information and data and ephemera and news and anger and frustration. So, you know, deal with it. But don’t worry! Web Curios - part of the problem, definitely not part of the solution - will be here to hold your hand through what promises to be a truly interesting twelve months (in the most Chinese of senses).

Strap up, then, buckle in, and ready yourself as we start the long, slow descent into the very bowels of the information beast. IT IS ALL PROBABLY GOING TO BE FINE.

This is Web Curios.

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Web Curios 16/12/16

And so, we come to the end. You don’t need to read another tired ‘wow, wasn’t that all terrible’ wrapup - we all know just how dreadful it’s been, so let’s not labour the point. Here’s hoping that we all manage to not get everything quite so wrong next year and that humanity’s signature ability to learn from its mistakes helps us out yet again.

Eh? Oh.

Anyway, pretty much as soon as I hit ‘Send’ on this fcuker I am turning off the internet for the year - I suggest that as soon as you’re done clicking EVERY SINGLE LINK in here that you do the same thing. For now, though, get ready to put yourself through the webwringer one last time - let’s squeeze this bastard until the pips veritably squeak. For the final time in 2016, THIS IS WEB CURIOS - God bless us, everyone.

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Web Curios 02/12/2016

Oh look! Everything got magically better while I was taking a break and everything is fixed and the Lib Dem victory will set us on a course towards a political future which looks more like a light at the end of the tunnel rather than every single train ever invented hurtling down said tunnel towards us at 100mph!

HA! OF COURSE NOT! Everything is still awful, but frankly I’ve basically checked out for Christmas already and so I don’t care one iota. It’s almost literally impossible that the next month of my life can be any worse than the corresponding period last year, so on that basis I am going to declare 2016 officially DONE, and the remaining 29 days in this calendar month to be a weird sort of liminal space - consider this 2017’s waiting room, if you will.

And while you wait, you’ll need distractions and entertainment and FOOD FOR THOUGHT - consider the following, then, the yellowing, dog-eared Readers Digests of this particular antechamber - let’s not dwell on what exactly the appointment we’re waiting for entails, or indeed what’s making the sounds coming from the other side of that door which, now we mention it, is bulgingly unpleasantly with all sorts of dreadful portents. This, my children, is WEB CURIOS - it’s all probably going to be OK, I promise you.

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Web Curios 18/11/16

Well, I got that pretty spectacularly wrong, didn’t I? Two years of ‘look, guys, calm down, IT CAN’T POSSIBLY HAPPEN’ doesn’t half make you feel like an idiot when you wake up with a wall-eyed hangover to discover that in fact you know nothing about anything and that a startlingly large proportion of the US population decided that what they really wanted to do with the next four years was to fcuk each other, us and indeed themselves with knives.

Anyway, NOONE needs my opinions on this or indeed anything any more - I hereby promise never to predict anything again, or if I do then to keep VERY VERY QUIET about it. Man, what a sh1tshow.

Still, it’s not all bad - the Black & British stuff I’ve been working on at the BBC launched, despite Newsbeat’s attempt to fcuk me over with fried-chicken based content, I’ve worked on some brilliant live radio and I have the afternoon off. So, you know, the world is probably fine.

With that cheery thought in mind, then, let’s gaze right at the heart of the blossoming mushroom cloud of web looming large on the horizon - feel the hot nuclear wind of INFORMATION zooming towards you at pace, and, er, don’t mind that ripping feeling as it takes the flesh from your bones and leaves you standing, cold and alone, in what is set to be a very, very cold winter indeed. THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

(Oh, by the way, if you’re reading this then I imagine you have already signed up - but if you want to read this, you’ll have to sign up to Imperica now. It takes 2 mins and they won’t spam you, honest).

(Oh, and I’m not around next week, just in case any of you care) (no, I know).

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Web Curios 04/11/16

This week’s edition of Web Curios is specially dedicated to the person or people who somehow contrived to absolutely screw the project me and a whole team of people have spent the past quarter working on, approximately 12 hours before it was going to go live. THANKS, PERSON OR PEOPLE! You fcuking idiot(s). For those of you who I’ve not already bored with the anecdote, this (blistering hot and very funny, for which props to Mr Rants’n’bants here) take may give you a clue.

Anyway, no matter. Hopefully it will all get sorted on Monday and we’ll only have lost a week, and anyway as long-term readers doubtless know I am WELL zen and therefore minor setbacks like this won’t even touch the sides. It’s all going to be FINE. Fine, I tell you.

Which is exactly the sort of attitude we all need to adopt as we careen headlong towards BIG YANK DECISION DAY, and close our eyes and cross our fingers in the hope that we can’t have two seismically stupid democratic decisions in the English-speaking world in one year. That said, if next time you read this there’s a Trump presidency then at least you can all laugh at me for being so utterly, spectacularly wrong with my whole ‘oh, no, it’s impossible that he should win’ rhetoric. So, you know, small mercies.

Oh, and a further update on WHAT HAPPENS NOW WITH IMPERICA can be found here - basically it's all good stuff, and you can now chuck a few quid their way if you'd like to put some money where your eyeballs are. 

Anyway, as per usual I need to get moving - let’s get this show on the road! And when I say ‘show’, I mean the full-on sideshow geek experience - step back, kids, this chicken blood gets EVERYWHERE. THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 28/10/16

HELLO AGAIN EVERYONE! There’s a slight air of demob-happy devil-may-care about Curios this week (only in my head; the following links’n’prose is, be assured, as depressively turgid as ever, so DON’T WORRY) as next week a project I have been working on for the best part of three months drops and I get to go back to being a part-time wageslave again rather than TOILING for 5 full days each week (yes, I know that that’s the norm, but some of simply don’t have the constitution for it. What’s that? The sound of no violins whatsoever? FINE).

Brief bit of housekeeping before we kick off this week - THANK YOU to everyone who filled in the Imperica Reader Survey thingy which I’ve been pimping here for the past few weeks - the summary of what you all said can be read here, but the upshot is that I GET TO KEEP DOING THIS, at least for a bit, for which infinite thanks (tbh I would totally have carried on anyway, as I am now at the point where sometimes it feels like the routine of this thing is the only element of my life tethering me to something resembling sanity, but that’s not the point). Thanks, seriously, it’s very much appreciated.

Anyway, enough of that - veered worryingly close to sincerity there, and we can’t have that oh no siree. Step once again into the bathysphere as we prepare to sink to ever lowe depths, plumbing the web’s very own Marianas trench(es) for the weirdest, toothiest specimens of webspafffish (this one really doesn’t work at all, does it? Hey ho) - THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 21/10/16

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the final week to complete our annual Imperica reader survey. It only takes a minute or two, and we're sincerely grateful for everyone's feedback.

 

Let’s be clear about this - as a nation we’ve seen the pound plummet, racism and hate crime increase, our elected leaders display a lack of...er...leadership which would shame a tinpot dictator and yet the one thing we choose to throw our toys out of the pram about is the fact that we let a dozen kids into the country. TAKE A FCUKING BOW, BRITAIN!!

Anyway, welcome once again to Web Curios, which this week is slightly shorter than usual what with my basically not having quite as much time to read all of the web as I usually do (you can ACTUALLY blame the BBC for this, should you want to). On the plus side, though, that does mean that you’re getting this about an hour earlier than usual on a Friday so, you know, BE GRATEFUL.

Follow me, then, Dantes to my Virgil (I think, on reflection, that’s almost certainly the most hubristic and pretentious opening gambit I’ve ever essayed, so WELL DONE ME!), as we sink ever lower into the Stygian underbelly of the web and mine for webspaff - THIS, AS EVER, IS WEB CURIOS!

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