Web Curios 14/10/16

Pray God the wheels are coming off. I mean, he can’t possibly come back from this, can he? Although the impossibility of The Donald does mean that we’re going to have to start focusing on our very own clusterfcuk of politico-legislative incompetence, which it’s been sort of nice to ignore for a few months while all this has been going on.

Anyhow, there is a LOT to get through this week (when is there ever not? Digital Sisyphus, me) so let’s CRACK ON. Roll up your sleeves, lube up to the elbow and prepare to help me clear this week’s infoblockage - you may want to stand to the side, as the effluvial spray’s likely to be a gusher. THIS, AS EVER, IS WEB CURIOS!

(Oh, and if you didn't do it last week, please take the 3 minutes required to fill in the Imperica Reader Survey as we struggle to determine what the future ought to look like. THANKS!)

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Web Curios 07/06/16

Isn’t Tory Party Conference a heartwarming thing? There’s nothing like seeing a bunch of socially awkward oddities indulging in their peculiar interpretation of ‘fun’ whilst simultaneously working out exactly how hard they can get away with fcuking the country over the course of the coming 5 years. Thanks, Theresa! Thanks, Amber! Thanks, Jeremy! Thanks, all of you!

Actually, in fairness to the Tories, all Party Conferences are a weird and hideous experience. I used to have a job which for a few years required me to go to all three of the damn things, by which point I was basically a jaundiced mess who hadn’t seen a vegetable for the best part of a month; I recall the moment where I decided that I absolutely had to leave the lobbying industry, which happened at Labour Conference in 2005ish, when I found myself at 2am drunk and angry and alone in a Young Labour disco (no, really) watching a bunch of MPs and activists actually holding lighters in the air and singing along to Brian Cox’s 1997 electoral anthem ‘Things Can Only Get Better’. THAT IS THE SORT OF THING THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS AT PARTY CONFERENCES. They are awful, and generally full of awful people.

Anyway, blanket-slagging of the political classes aside, HOW ARE YOU? Good? Good! I have a favour to ask - could you possibly take 2 minutes (really, it is that short) to fill in the Imperica Reader Questionnaire? If you ever wanted the opportunity to STOP WEB CURIOS and make me give this up for good, THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO TELL ME. Don’t let me down now.

Right, onto the webspaff, arrayed before you like the bloody leavings of a faithful pet who doesn’t seem to fully understand why you’re not leaping for joy at the assortment of bloody viscera it’s just deposited at your feet - WELCOME ONCE AGAIN TO WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 30/09/16

Hey! Hey YOU! Want a hot fix of web? Want to feel the warm glow of soma-like euphoria as this week’s infospaff courses through you like so much Fentonyl through a dying man? OF COURSE YOU DO, that’s why you’re here! This week’s Curios is a touch shorter than normal, because REASONS, but I hope that those of you who attempt to chew through this edition of what I’m increasingly of the opinion is the information equivalent of the power bar - noone actually likes it, it probably contains more than you need, but it does a job of sorts - find what you need.

Christ, even by my standards that was a pretty tortuous opener. Sorry. Anyway, kids, settle down for more of the usual mix of links-and-prose, delivered in a manner which I’m pretty sure is akin to an aggressive infoenema - THAT’S RIGHT IT’S WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 23/09/16

So it was an unexpected two week break from the internets, which obviously was no break at all as all that happens when I’m not writing this is that I store up all of the webspaff in my secret pouch until I can regurgitate it all again for your pleasure. Two weeks in which I unaccountably once again failed to win a Mcarthur genius grant AGAIN (DO THEY NOT READ WEB CURI...oh), and during which we slipped seamlessly into decorative gourd season once again. What a fortnight, kids.

Anyway, no time for reflection and rumination, which is just as well really. Brace yourselves to receive the full force of a fortnight’s pent-up internet full in the face; and yes, it may cause bleeding to the eyes and nose and mouth and ears, but, seriously, you have no idea what it does to me. This, as ever, is Web Curios.

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Web Curios 09/09/16

SHINY NEW TOYS! DISTRACTIONS! NEW, BETTER SCREENS! Yes, that’s right, it’s been another BIG WEEK for the world, with the announcement of a brand new expensive distraction box for us to mindlessly covet; oh, and there’s been some geopolitics and stuff, but let’s not worry about that.

How are you all doing? Are you ok? It doesn’t really matter either way, or course, but I’m told that it’s important to attempt to engender a sense of rapport with one’s readers, however superficial, in an attempt to make some sort of connection. Do you feel connected with me? PLEASE CONNECT WITH ME.

Ahem. It’s been a long couple of weeks, the nights are drawing in, Summer’s but a distant memory and all we have to look forward to is John Lewis advert day looming large on the horizon like some sort of beacon of hope in an otherwise black, black night. So draw in close and huddle round the infofire as I stoke it with links and attempt to bring some light and warmth into existences which, let’s be honest, are growing darker and colder by the second; don’t breathe too deep, mind, as the fumes are awful. This, as ever, is Web Curios.

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Web Curios 26/08/16

Another week, another example of how the web has basically ruined political discourse forever (not to mention journalism - I do feel a very sincere twinge of pity for the media forced to replicate Jeremy’s Train Funtime in the ceaseless pursuit of truth, justice and the hottest of takes). Please can we all just STOP - look, there are enough tedious obsessives devoted to cataloguing the minutiae of the Labour Party’s descent into full-on madness on the fringes of the web, so can the mainstream media which these people so disdain simply just stop covering it, please? It’s boring, and frankly this week absolutely ruined the silly season for me. FFS, JEREMY.

Anyway, it’s a bank holiday and I am preparing to celebrate it by, as is traditional, spending as much of it as possible disconnected from the sordid quotidian reality of of existence. You should too - after all, you won’t have to worry about the comedown until Tuesday, and that’s frankly so far away as to be basically fictional. Consider this a preparatory lining of the stomach, if you will, ballast to keep you going through the next 72 hours of hedonic joy and right up to the point of desktears and unpleasantly syrupy urine - GET YOUR INFORMATIONAL PRELOADING SORTED RIGHT HERE WITH WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 19/08/16

Ordinarily I’d kick this off with some sort of tedious screed about how terrible everything is - I’d be right to do so, everything is terrible - but seeing as we’ve only got three more days of TEAM GB OLYMPIAN SOMA left in the can, let’s just crack right on with the GOOD INTERNET STUFF - regular opening paragraph misanthropy will doubtless be resumed next week when the golden glow has worn off and we all remember that no matter how much effort most of us put in we will still never amount to anythi...oh, look, I just can’t seem to stop myself. Sorry.

Anyway, prepare for this week’s hot injection of performance-enhancing internet - tie one off, slap the vein and prepare for the hit, without of course thinking too much about what all this content is actually doing to your ability to think or feel or love or empathise or care or oh god make it all stop please. This, as ever, it’s WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 12/08/16

Every time I take a break from this I forget how utterly terrifyingly huge the mountain of internet I have to wade through becomes (seriously, you think there’s a lot of crap in here? IMAGINE HOW MUCH STUFF I DON’T INCLUDE), and each time I basically have something of a small, internalised nervous breakdown at 6am on Friday when I look at the linkdump and know that I am going to be typing for 6 hours solid. And yet, here we are once again - it’s a compulsion, I  tell you.

Anyway, how are you? DID YOU MISS ME? No, you didn’t, but that’s ok because I didn’t miss you either. You mean nothing to me (no, I don’t mean you- you’re special). While we kill time waiting for the superhuman parade of athletic achievement to kick off again in a few hours’ time, let’s embark upon our very own long-distance endurance test; stay hydrated, stock up on nutrional gel packs, and settle in for the long haul. The web is a marathon, not a sprint - and just like in a marathon, you may feel an almost irresistible need to void yourself at around the halfway mark. This, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 22/07/16

It’s probably not going to happen. It’s probably not going to happen. It’s probably not going to happen.

If we all repeat this, mantra-like, whilst thinking only of the good things, then surely by collective will we can stop the Trump horrorshow, can’t we?

NO OF COURSE WE CAN’T. What we want has at best a passing influence on our own lives, let alone the collective global experience; free will is largely illusory and the quicker you suck it up and accept that the better.

With that cheery opener, let’s move STRAIGHT IN to what is going to be your last dose of webspaff for a week or two (timescales as yet unspecified), what with me being away next week and planning to devote literally no time whatsoever to internetting. Til then, though, console yourselves with this BUMPER CROP of links and prose; like all modern crops, it’s best not to think too much about what it’s all been treated with and what the potential side effects of prolonged exposure might be (clue: like everything else, the answer probably involves death and pain). Welcome, one and all (though in all likelihood it’s closer to one, isn’t it?), to WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 15/07/16

There’s something horrible about language sometimes, and a cruel sort of irony in the fact that we’re seeing NICE ATTACK everywhere.

Another week, and another load of stuff too dreadful to even think about waxing funny about. So it goes. Focus on the Pokemon. The Pokemon are your friends.

Here we are, then, as I once more sit eagerly before you, proffering up the eviscerated, bloody corpse of another week’s internet for you to sort through in search of value. Pick through the blood and the viscera and you may find something to excite you - and what strange auguries can be scried in the intestinal scrawls? Here’s a clue - literally none, because NOTHING MAKES SENSE ANY MORE. This, for all the good it will do you, is Web Curios.

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Web Curios 08/07/16

It’s good to know that the natural order of things has been restored and we can go back to looking at the US in horrified awe and fascination rather than the other way round, eh?

Oh, no, actually turns out that looking across the Atlantic today is just making me feel a bit sick and nervous. As you were. FFS, America. Just on the offchance that anyone reading this happens to be one of the idiots who chose to argue with Saul Williams at his gig the other week about Black Lives Matter, this is why.

I can’t, frankly, be bothered to get angry about anything up top this week; I simply don’t have the energy or the inclination. Console yourself with the thought that (presuming you’re reading this on Friday) it’s only a few short hours until the sweet release of the weekend, when you can drink or drug yourself into whatever flavour of stupor you find most comforting in an attempt to block out the white noise cacophony of quotidian insanity.

Come, then - let us gambol, carefree, through the meadow-strewn pastures of the web - careful, though, of the rusty machinery buried just beneath the surface which will if given half a chance maim and gouge and tear and rend until there’s nothing left of you but meat fragments and fear. THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 01/07/16

Welcome, then, to this, the grinding, clashing, jarring, jangly, fraught, splenetic, spiky, hateful and quite kaleidoscopically mad comedown. NO-ONE TOLD US THAT IT WAS GOING TO FEEL LIKE THIS.

Look, none of us need to read any more words about this, so I’ll keep this bit short - never before, though, has it become quite so apparent that the internet really has made amateur proctologists of us all - like arseholes, everyone has an opinion, and now we have to smell and inspect EVERYONE ELSE’S thanks to the beauty of the web. SNIFF MY OPINION. WHIFF MY CANT.

Who’d have imagined that, a mere few short weeks after the murder of an ostensibly decent and hardworking parliamentarian whom most of us had never heard of because she was more concerned with doing her job and helping people than chasing the willo the wisp of political success, the top tier of UK politics would have manage to so comprehensively demonstrate the truth to the old adage that political power should never be granted to those who seek it? It’s been impressive to see a bunch of men and women working so hard to comprehensively destroy any last remaining vestiges of popular faith in their class, so well done all of you - you may have left us all in a frankly dreadful pickle, but at least we know what to think of you.

Can you imagine how weird you’d have to be to actually want the job of running the country right now? THEY ARE ALL THAT WEIRD.

Christ, what a mess. Sometimes there’s no recourse but to turn to literature (or booze; but it’s still a touch early for Casillero and I have work to do, so poncery it is) - two quotes to leave you with:

'Reality,' sa molesworth 2, 'is so unspeakably sordid it make me shudder'

‘The whole world’s a mess. We’ve fucked it. So let’s sit back and deconstruct it.’

This is Web Curios. It won’t fix anything, so the sooner you accept that the better.

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Web Curios 17/06/16

So I always start this off with some slightly laboured whine about how shit everything is, and how the world is going to hell in a handcart, and how this has been the worst week ever. I really don’t have the heart today.

It’s not like the world needs any more words about how fucked everything is, obviously, but fuck it, it’s my newsletter. Yesterday was horrific - genuinely, jaw-droppingly awful - and it’s sort of hard to know how to react, other than to maybe say the following. Of course Jo Cox’s death isn’t about political ideology; it’s about the actions of one desperately disturbed person, and it shouldn’t be attached to the actions of any particular group. Of course. That said, anyone who thinks that this isn’t a direct product of months of the most hateful political campaigning seen in this country for decades is a fucking idiot. You think that spending weeks upon weeks talking about TAKING OUR COUNTRY BACK and US AND THEM and WE NEED TO TAKE A STAND and THIS IS OUR LAST CHANCE and WE ARE BEING RULED BY ELITES OVER WHOM WE HAVE NO CONTROL doesn’t forment an environment in which the sort of scared, stupid madmen who perpetrate acts of this type become even more scare, that it doesn’t mean that this sort of event is exponentially more likely to occur? Please, you are a fucking idiot.

It’s not just that lot, though. The other lot are just as bad, with their constant talking down to the other side and the assumption that anyone who doesn’t listen to the opinions of the elites (and whether or not you consider the Bank of England, say, or the IMF, or any of the economic and political organisations who have come out to tell us what we should do to be elites is immaterial, as they are perceived to be such and that’s what counts) is an idiot; you think this doesn’t contribute to the disenfrachisement of an already-alienated body of people who feel belittled and ignored by a ruling class who considers them beneath contempt and their opinions of no import? Please, you are a fucking idiot.

A plague on all your houses, then. For what it’s worth - and not that I imagine I’m preaching to anyone other than the converted here, as you’re all, as far as I know, liberal-leaning tertiary educated mediamongs and you probably all read the Guardian JUST LIKE ME - I’d like to exhort you all to vote to remain next week. If you’re reading this, you probably quite like the web - there is much wrong with the world that the web has facilitated, but one of the greatest triumphs of the past 20-odd years of mass access to it in the West has been the opportunities for collaboration it has afforded, and the way in which it has fostered a sense of unity and collaboration amongst those who might not otherwise have found each other. As everything everywhere starts to feel colossal and jagged and frankly a little bit frightening, why would you not take steps to preserve one of the genuine, real-world collaborative unions we have, of which we can be an active, powerful part, and which we can shape to be an ameliorative force?

That’s a rhetorical question; you wouldn’t, would you?

Anyway, drink your soma. This is Web Curios, do with it what you will. I'm taking next week off - see you in a few weeks, come what may.

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Web Curios 10/06/16

Two more weeks of this. Two more weeks of endless bleating about FACTS and LIES and POTENTIAL ARMAGEDDON and FILTHY IMMIGRANTS COMING HERE STEALING OUR JOBS and HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF POUNDS OF WASTE and VOTER REGISTRATION FCUKUPS (good to see this campaign really took off, by the way) and oh God I am so, so tired of this all, please will you all just be quiet please.

Yes, as the ‘debate’ (I use the word advisedly; definitions include “a method of formally presenting an argument in a disciplined manner”, which I’m not totally sure fits in this instance) lurches onwards, attracting the same sort of attention from the public as one might normally give to a bemerded dipso railing at the pigeons at a provincial bus depot, so we’ve once again been subjected to a whole load of rhetoric and cant(ery) which has served mainly to make everyone contemplate leaving not only the EU but also this mortal coil, if only to make it all go away.

No matter, though, for we have a month of BREAD AND CIRCUSES to distract us from whatever happens on 23 June (or, more accurately, football). Before you all head to the pub this weekend, though, to binge on football and royal celebration and violent quantities of lager, get something just as pointless but far less popular down you - INGEST MY WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 03/06/16

In a week in which the British press reached something of a new low in terms of headlines - and let’s all take a moment to give thanks at the thought that the natural consumers of this sort of vile crap are all going to be dead within a decade or so, thank Christ, thereby putting  the paper out of existence, and in which a bunch of people worldwide revealed themselves to be unexpected experts on primatology and gorilla behaviour, there was also a small ray of light in the darkness.

Said ray of light is the return of the London International Festival of Theatre, which runs from now til July and contains some AWESOME work from all around the world, being shown all across the city. If you’re in any way interested in theatre, check out the lineup - I guarantee there will be something in there which appeals (obviously I don’t actually guarantee anything at all, so please don’t complain to me if your taste is wrong). I should probably disclose that I’m on their digital advisory board, but they don’t pay me anything so I figure it’s ok for me to plug it here. And what if it isn’t? IT’S MY SODDING NEWSLETTER, more’s the pity.

Anway, I’m tired, grumpy and my neck hurts from sitting at this desk for the past 6h19m typing this damned thing - here, take your internets and PISS OFF OUT OF IT. This, my children, is WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 27/05/16

In a week in which both typography and political campaigning reached a simultaneous new nadir, and in which despite everything going on the in the world the news has somehow been dominated by a once-beautiful Portuguese narcissist’s new job, it’s good to know that we have three days of uninterrupted heavy drinking to look forward to. It’s the best of all bank holidays, the one where we’re all pregnant with the possibility of Summer, where the weather might actually be ok and we can kid ourselves into thinking that this will be the year when Summer brings love and laughter and the PERFECT FESTIVAL EXPERIENCE and new beginnings and the sort of fun, friend-filled occasions ordinarily only seen in adverts for heavily-branded snack foods.

Don’t let me be the one to tell you that, just like every other year, this Summer will be characterised by missed opportunities and lost hopes and the sense that once again the perfect summers of your long-ago-remembered youth are vanished, never to be seen again. Don’t. Instead, prepare yourself for a weekend of cirrhosis and drug abuse (remember, kids, you’d best empty that Spice stash!) by plunging your face deep into the heaped, powdery mass of internet here arrayed before you - and don’t worry about the burning sensation in your sinuses, it’s nothing that a good sluicing can’t fix. LET’S ALL GET HIGH ON WEAPONS-GRADE INTERNET - THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 20/05/16

Turns out Copenhagen is lovely, like some sort of LEGO model socialist utopia with lovely food and free, EU-funded coffee (HEAR THAT, BREXIT PEOPLE?). But I’m back now, and although we have a new mayor everything’s still pretty horrid, so what was the point of going on holiday anyway, eh? What? To give you a break from not reading this? Ah, well, quite.

Anyway, totally unrelated by last night I was doing my mentoring thing at a school in East London and we had a quiz with the kids - a pretty easy one, just for lols, asking them to name as many cartoons, or arsenal players, or comedy movies, as they could in 90 seconds. All well and good, though the class of boys were slightly more stumped when asked to name romantic films (“We’s men, we’s don’t watch chickflicks innit” - look, THAT’S HOW THEY SAID IT); the first one to be named by the class of 14 year old boys? 50 Shades of Grey. When confronted by the teacher who suggested that it wasn’t really a romantic film and so didn’t count, one of the kids was so incensed that he felt moved to stand up and shout (and I mean SHOUT) “NAH MISS THERE IS BARE ROMANTIC SPANKING!”.

I mean. Bare romantic spanking. Were I in a band, that would totally be its first EP.

Anyway, you don’t come here for tales of the YOOT. You come here so that I can regurgitate my week’s worth of internet consumption into your hungry, gaping maws, like a mother bird feeding her just-hatched young before pushing you out of the nest and seeing whether you fly or whether you plummet to the ground in a mess of splintered bone and gut and feather - so drink deep of my partially digested webmusings, kids, because time’s a wasting. THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 06/05/16

WE DONE A DEMOCRACY! Well done us. At the time of writing it’s still unclear whether London made the RIGHT choice in the Mayorals, but still, well done us on being bothered to take 10 minutes out of our day to contribute to the illusion of political choice (right, kids!). Of course, the Americans are doing a democracy too, but they are doing it ALL WRONG. Silly Americans!

None of what follows is about any of that, though, and I’m off for the weekend and so keen to get this out - Web Curios will be AWAY next week, but in case you miss it you can get it all tweeted at you link-by-link from @imperica on Twitter. Oh, and if you don’t receive this as an email, you might want to - you can sign up here, TELL YOUR FRIENDS (or enemies, or indeed anyone; this is so terribly lonely).

What follows is, instead, another fun-filled playtime through the bowels of the web - pick up the speculum, strap on the head torch and make sure to thoroughly sterilise every single inch of exposed skin as we go spelunking through the moist, pulsating depths, looking out for polyps and floaters and immersing ourselves in the partially-digested slurry that is yet another week’s (only a week? My eyes) webspaff. This, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 29/04/16

In a week in which British politics has proven conclusively that we have little right to laugh at anyone else’s political goings on, and Syria continues to quietly, almost bashfully, get evermore banjaxed by the minute (BUT WE WON’T TAKE THE CHILDREN!), console yourselves with the fact that all of the UK’s media have been gifted the best week in living memory for the HOT TAKE (Ken! Beyonce! Nazis! Toilets!). The media is saved! Oh, no, hang on, it isn’t saved after all.

You don’t care about any of that though - or, if you do, you’ve read proper journalism about it rather than relying on this appallingly written heap of crap for your information. No, what you come here for is the seemingly neverending stream of links and webdistractions - a potentially toxic stream, admittedly, one thick with bobbing chunks of matter and viscous with the leavings of past culture; one practically coagulated and barely-flowing, so gloopily non-Newtonian that you could beat a man to death with it given a wide enough swinging arc...YES, THAT’S RIGHT, THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 22/04/16

Jesus, would everybody please STOP DYING? What’s that? There is no divine power that either cares or listens to your pleas, and even if there were do you actually think that the answer to any of your selfish demands would be ‘yes’? Oh, ok, as you were then.

So as another load of talented people shuffle off this mortal coil, and we’re all forced to contemplate some pretty bleak truths, let’s console ourselves with the thought that at least HRH Elizabeth II, one of the great creative and artistic minds of the age, was spared 2016’s strange and unsettling artistic genocide. PHEW-EEE!

Anyway. This is all too bleak for words, and it’s important to remember that all this maungeing is not what THEY would have wanted. No, THEY would have wanted you to dry your eyes, grit your teeth, strap on the protective goggles and once again prepare to take a full-force jet of internet right in the kisser, courtesy Web Curios - and so that’s exactly what you’re going to do, right? RIGHT?!?!

As ever, this is Web Curios. TELL YOUR FRIENDS. Or enemies. Or anyone, really, I don’t really care, it’s all just numbers to me, frankly.

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