Web Curios 15/04/16

In a week in which we have appear to have returned to the 1980s (Tory spanking scandal? Celebrities* all over the papers BUT ONLY THE FOREIGN ONES? We’ll all be doing cocaine and talking excitedly across each other nex...oh), it’s been cheering to see that the future is still happening, what with the whole SpaceX excitement. It didn’t stop everything from being basically just terrifying, though. Why is it all so scary? WHY?

No time to delve into that one this week - FOR SHAME! - as we’re running late; instead, attempt to master your fear by clinging to the poorly-stitched comfort of blanket of webphemera that I deliver to you each week; don’t dwell on the staining, or the fact that the corners are already damp - is that saliva or tears or something worse? Let’s not speculate - and instead clutch it close to your chest, in the hope that it will distract you from the fact that, fundamentally, life is pain. THIS, AS EVER, IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 08/04/16

HELLO WE ARE BACK! That was a slightly longer break than planned, for which apologies - not that I imagined you noticed, though, what with all exciting events of the past few weeks.

By ‘exciting’ I obviously mean ‘tremendously dispiriting’, but that’s sort of par for the course with THE MODERN WORLD. Which, frankly, is why Web Curios exists - to distract you from the actual horror of the world around you with a selection of more theoretical virtual horrors! No, you’re welcome!

Anyhow, there’s an awful lot to get through this week, as I attempt to fit three weeks of web into a space designed for much less - just imagine what it’s felt like carrying it all around in my head, though (like having a pregnant face, if that’s any help).

So let’s once again eagerly strap on the nosebag of webspaff, taking care not to imbibe too greedily for there’s always a risk of choking and you wouldn’t want me trying to Heimlich you, trust me - THIS, AS EVER, IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 18/03/16

Did you hear that, young people? THAT WAS FOR YOU! Forget about the fact that you’re going to have to work until you’re in your 80s, that we’re bequeathing you a planet that is soon going to be banjaxed beyond all utility, that we’ve taken all the houses and that you can’t have any, that we’ve eroded all the job stability and security of the old economy whilst in thrall to the new and that we have no idea what to do about, that there has never been a more overwhelmingly confusing time to be alive, because we’re going to save you from yourselves by MAKING POP EXPENSIVE. That’ll sort it, then.

Actually I’m fully in favour of the sugar tax fwiw, but none of you care about that. What you care about is the fact that IMPERICA IS BACK! Yes, that’s right, my publishers and paymasters are once again back on their feet - you should all bookmark it, it will be full of goodness. Oh, and in case you’re not subscribed to Curios, you can do that too. TELL YOUR FRIENDS (or your enemies, I’m really not fussed).

Anyhow, Curios is taking a break next week what with it being the most macabre of all public holidays (Easter really does afford one the most marvellous opportunity to applaud humanity for its genius in coming up with really creative ways to do each other harm) - don’t worry, though, because this week’s basket of links is FULL TO BURSTING with chocolate goodness/the partially-developed embryos of birds (not sure quite what the ratio is this week, so take care when biting in. THIS, AS EVER, IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 04/03/16

So this week it’s all been about FEAR! FEAR! SCAREMONGERING! FEAR! Without wishing to get bogged down in the minutiae of an already-tediously hyperbolic debate, I’m not sure that the ‘let’s stay in the EU’ side of the debate can really be said to be ‘fearmongering’ when you compare what they are saying to all the other things there are out there to be actually scared of, a list of physical, emotional and existential terrors so kilometric that even writing this sentence is causing sweat to pool in my clavicle as the first low echoes of the howling fantods start to yowl over the outer reaches of my consciousness.

There’s a LOT to be scared of.

One thing you DON’T have to be scared of, though (seamless, right?) is the imminent and much-anticipated relaunch of Imperica, which will be revamped and reinstated in the next week or so, complete with all new features and stuff - not least of which is a ‘community’ bit, which will serve to let you talk about all this digiapocalypticalarttechstuff (that’s the convenient portmanteau term I’ve coined for potential investors - good, isn’t it?) with other like minded folk. If you like the stuff you get in here, you’ll like what you get from Imperica, so why not go over here and sign up?

Anyway, enough of the plugging. Let’s get down to business - I’ve spent the past 6 hours of my life feeding all of the internet I’ve seen this week into the meatgrinder / sausage machine that is my brain. Position yourselves by the exit holes, prop your jaws open to their maximum extension and get ready to get a faceful of freshly-minced internet right down your throat (ignore the lumps, a bit of gristle never hurt anyone). THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 26/02/16

Well, now we know. 4 months of tedium as a bunch of dullards attempt to convince a largely ambivalent electorate of the validity of their point of view - I thought we did this last year, but it turns out that referenda are even WORSE than general elections from the point of view of them just wanging on and on and on and on and on…

Web Curios, by contrast, with its snappy prose style and easily digestible selection of infopellets, could NEVER be accused of outstaying its welcome, which is why the opening section is going to breeze past you as it’s barely here this week, leaving you free to root through the compost heap of internet as you see fit - please, though, remember the gloves and the facemasks, and remember to wash thoroughly afterwards as the stench of web is so hard to shift. THIS, AS EVER, IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 19/02/16

HELLO AGAIN EVERYONE! Rejoice, for 2016 can finally properly begin - Web Curios is BACK FOR GOOD (barring additional holidays, sickness, a general continuation of the overall lack of anything resembling a regular audience for this, the publisher pulling the plug, death or serious illness, or just the eventual victory of the crushing sense of ennui and futility which is almost certainly what will claim me if cancer doesn’t)!

I would probably traditionally try and make some sort of SEMI-TOPICAL GAGS about the past few weeks’ internet here, but it was so nice not really bothering with it for a while that I’m going to pretend that it didn’t actually happen. Sadly I am having to drag myself back into semi-regular employment as of next week, so expect this bright, breezy and generally Fotherington-Thomas-ish tone to be a distant memory come next Friday - if you would prefer a happier and more carefree Curios, feel free to get in touch directly to discuss ways in which you could contribute to the as-yet-empty Matt Muir indolence fund.

But now, let us CRACK RIGHT on. Slather yourself in whatever protective creams you favour and prepare to once more step into the multimegawattage glare of FULL-BEAM internets - side effects of prolonged exposure include the sloughing of the skin, weeping sores and the sort of blindness traditionally associated with the sins of Onan. This, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 29/01/16

HELLO LOOK WEB CURIOS IS BACK!

Yes, look, fine, I know that noone really reads this and therefore noone really cares, but I care, OK, and I need to do something ease the frankly terrifying buildup of internetpressure inside my skull in order to avoid painting my kitchen an unpleasantly bloody shade of grey matter like something out of Scanners.

Anyway, HOW HAVE YOU ALL BEEN?! 2015 seems like AGES ago, now that we’re all living under the pseudo-benign dictatorship of a stick-figure arbiter of acceptable behaviour. We’ve already birthed and killed a brand new social network, and it’s not even February - trul, this year promises to be full of excitement and VIM!

What it actually promises to be full of, if the first few weeks are anything to go by, is a continuation of the pathetic bleating about everything in the world ever which characterised much of 2015, along with an added and unwanted sprinkling of famous artist death. GREAT. Although it will ALSO be full of BRAND NEW IMPERICA - that’s right, the site’s getting a redesign and a relaunch in the next few weeks, which you can read about here.

In any case, I won’t be around for it as I am going on HOLIDAY next week. Yes, I know that I am basically unemployed at the moment and as such the idea of a holiday is sort of redundant, and I know that Christmas was only a few weeks ago, but frankly I need one and I don’t care. So consider this a stopgap, a snack, an appetiser, an amuse bouche before the full 46-week tasting menu of Curios kicks off in earnest in mid-February (even typing that made me feel a touch sick if I’m honest); tie on your napkin, hold your nose and trust the chef’s intuition and judgment as he prepares to stuff a full 6 weeks’ worth of internet RIGHT IN YOUR FACE. This, as ever, is Web Curios.

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Web Curios 11/12/15

Web Curios 11/12/15

I went to Amsterdam! It was fun! We played videogames and smoked weed and did mushrooms and all those sorts of stereotypical Amsterdam-type things - what LARKS!

Then last weekend my little brother died and the glow of carefree fun sort of wore off a bit.

WOAH! Big downer there, sorry. You’re here for a good time, not a hard time, right? RIGHT! Carry on reading and get stuck into the links, as there are lots of them and some of them are even quite good.

This may, or may not, be the last Curios of the year. If it is, then THANKS FOR READING, ALL OF YOU. You’re all very kind. If it’s not, then no thanks whatsoever you ingrates.

Anyway, let’s once more stare into the abyss - it’s not staring back, you dreadful solipsists, the abyss couldn’t give a flying one about you, you know. This, possibly for the final time in 2015, is WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 27/11/15

Web Curios 27/11/15

Everything’s fixed! All that talking and opining about What Must Be Done has sorted EVERYTHING OUT! Praise be!

ONLY JOKING! It’s all still a total fcuking mess, whichever way you look.The only people with reason to look happy at the moment are the arms manufacturers, and they tend to grin suspiciously most of the time anyway. The rest of us, though, can only reflect on how banjaxed everything is and self-medicate to take the pain away.

Which, in a SEAMLESS segue, is exactly what I am going to be doing this weekend, and I visit Fat Bob in Amsterdam and try not to let him tempt me into doing crack with strangers. Presuming I survive, I’ll see you in a fortnight - Web Curios will be taking next week off to deal with the inevitable empty feeling that comes from TOO MUCH FUN. In the meantime, though, enjoy these hand-foraged, artisanally-crafted nuggets of web, sourced from all over and served to you with the now-mandatory garnish of prolix ennui that literally DOZENS of you have come to...well...tolerate, I suppose, is the best way to describe it. Hold your nose, scarf them down, and don’t think too much about exactly what all of this is doing to you -  THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 20/11/15

Web Curios 20/11/15

Well that was vile, wasn’t it? Let’s accept that there’s little or nothing edifying I can say about Paris and associated issues and move on - except that I was watching Question Time last night and a few things struck me which I will share in passing:

  1. You know what? I don’t know enough about any of this to have a cast-iron position on airstrikes, the Middle East, Islam or any of the rest of it, and neither do you (unless you have access to Cabinet-level intelligence, perhaps,or your an expert in the millennial sh1tstorm that is the whole region). Just bear this in mind.

  2. There was someone, I forget who, on Question Time last night, who got annoyed with someone for ‘muddying the waters’ by bringing up the wider Middle East in the context of this. Leaving aside the bare-bones idiocy of that position, these are waters that are filthy with blood and oil and money; you can’t muddy them, because they are fcuking murky already.

  3. I read someone writing on Twitter somewhere that ‘this is weather now; you can’t stop weather, you just mitigate against it’. That struck me as depressingly accurate.

Anyway, noone needs or wants this, so by way of light relief let me share with you a brief vignette from my life last weekend which may amuse.

I was on the Tube going into town, when I spotted a crumpled flyer on the seat across from me. Being well into found oddities (I own several editions of this, for example, which is EXCELLENT), I picked it up. Here it is:
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Odd, eh? I mean, I’m not into spanking (too much information, I know, but I feel it’s important to clarify these things at the outset), but it’s sort of curious, right? Even curioser - on the reverse were the name and bank details of one Ishmael Skyes, who I obviously Googled later that evening when drunk and discovered was the doyenne and coordinator of a certain London spanking and CP (Corporal Punishment, apparently, with a tendency towards school uniforms and very British discipline) community, which was holding a spanking party in South London that very Sunday, tickets to which were £20. Not only this, but the party was being held under the aegis of a certain insitution, active since the mid-80s, specialising in this sort of school-themed fetishism. The institution’s name?

The Muir Academy

You know when sometimes it just feels like the universe is speaking to you? I mean WHAT ARE THE CHANCES that I would find a flyer on the tube for some weird S&M fetish club based around a school of punishment and domination bearing my actual name? I have been properly weirded out by this all week, and have avoided speaking to my Dad in case there’s some sort of dark family history I’ve never been told about. Christ knows what the universe is saying, in any case. It's probably telling me I need punishing, which is pretty accurate as it happens.

Anyway, that was something non-atrocity related which happened this week, and which I hope has somewhat lightened your mood in what has been, in no uncertain terms, a pig of a week. Without any further ado, let’s plunge headlong into the lost property cupboard of the internet - remember, you’re going to have to put SOMETHING on or you’re doing games in your pants. THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 13/11/15

Web Curios 13/11/15

So this morning I unaccountably woke up 75 minutes late (not unaccountably at all, I just forgot to turn on my alarm) which means that I had even less time than normal to write all this crap and which crap, as a result, is a little shorter and more pared back than normal. Sorry about that.

Although I don’t know why I’m apologising - I know it’s too long, and that that’s an ISSUE. Which is why (note the SEAMLESS SEGUE here) the clever man that is Shardcore has built THE WEB CURIOS BOT! Yes, as of this week, if you follow Imperica on Twitter you will receive, each hour, a link from the previous week’s Curios, with a screencap of the accompanying sparkling prose, so you can ‘enjoy’ it all in bite-sized chunks. I mean, I would say this, but it is SO USEFUL; do let us know what you think of it as a development. Oh, and if you think there would be value in a separate bot doing the same thing for the whole Curios archive (many THOUSANDS of links) do let us know and we will try and sort it (or lock Shardcore in a basement until he’s done it; either/or).

Anyway, I am spaffing on and I can’t afford to waste the time. Let’s MOVE, people, weaving through the thick linkforest, trying not to get snagged on the bark, and perhaps stopping a little too often to taste the assorted berries and fruits - they’re probably not poisonous, though don’t quote me on that. This, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 06/11/15

Web Curios 06/11/15

In a week in which we’ve seemingly just sort of rolled over and accepted the fact that we’re going to be surveilled everywhere we go on the internet with a broadly resigned shrug - look at us, apparently feeling all totally fine and relaxed about The Man knowing all about our secret bongo predilections! - and in which, more importantly, HEARTS replaced STARS, what could be more important than getting reacquainted with all of the week’s internetting?

*waits*

YES THAT IS RIGHT THERE IS NOTHING. NOTHING. THE WEB IS EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING IS THE WEB - THE WARP AND WEFT AND WOOF OF OUR EXISTENCE IS, IN FACT, CONTAINED IN THE LINKS WHICH FOLLOW (none of which, I’m pretty sure, should cause Theresa May undue concern as to your status as a terror suspect). Come along, and bring your passports, just in case I’m wrong about the preceding sentence and Guantanamo does in fact end up beckoning. THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 30/10/15

Web Curios 30/10/15

Across the world, people are looking forward to celebrating All Hallow’s Eve this weekend - a time when people everywhere can...er...get really drunk and, in certain cases, dress up as a sexy cat or something. PRAISE BE OUR DEAD ANCESTORS.

I’m not, though, I bloody hate Hallowe’en. Though I probably will get drunk, if only to try and block out the voices and the faces. No sexy cat for me, though.

Anyway, it’s that time again - shuffle over here and open WIDE as I prepare the deliveryfunnel and start to pour the DELICIOUS LINKCORN down your eager gullets, not stopping until you’re all swollen and tender and ready to be eaten. This, everyone, is WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 23/10/15

Web Curios 23/10/15

You know what the best thing about this week was - I mean, absolutely the best, bar none? The dawning realisation on Thursday that we as a species would never have to go through Back to the Future Day EVER AGAIN. Small mercies.

Otherwise it was as bleakly grey and mediocre as one would expect, as we limp unwillingly towards another orgy of relentless consumption and faux-celebration, watching the mornings and afternoons get darker and pretending that the extra hour in bed in some way compensates for the very real fear that we may never see sunshine again.

So consider this, and by extension me, the SAD lamp to your disorder - gather round and bathe in the comforting glow of this week’s content-prolapse (is it possible for a prolapse to glow? I suppose it is, depending on radioactivity of one’s colon), and ignore the fact that it gives little or no actual warmth and comfort to anyone - THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 16/10/15

Web Curios 16/10/15

HELLO AGAIN I AM BACK! Well that was a lovely break - turns out, people are right and Venice really is all beautiful and lovely and stuff, although they don’t appear to get the irony of having an art biennale which this year focuses on HOW TERRIBLE THE WORLD IS and how we probably ought to do something about said terribleness located in what appears to be the most expensive city on the planet, a city in which hotel rooms careen towards the low-5 figures per night at high season and where you can see ACTUAL OLIGARCHS’ YACHTS moored casually amongst the vaporetti.

No matter, though - normality is restored, or at least the shiny simulacrum of normality which we’re fed these days. BIG NEWS this week is that, according to the Evening Standard, newsletters are officially A Thing (they unaccountably failed to mention this one in their whistlestop roundup, the churls) - those of you reading this as an email, WELL DONE, you’re now part of a trend that, having been covered by the Standard, is now officially OVER. Those of you reading it on the web, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Those of you not reading it at all, I hope a terrible fate befalls you and all those you hold dear.

Anyway, enough of that - we have nearly two weeks of web to get through. Buckle in and hold tight, my blank-eyed, unthinking pretties, as we strap once again into the metaphorical crash test vehicle and send it careening at 70mph into the IMMENSE AND DENSE WALL OF INFORMATION that is The Modern Internet - THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 02/10/15

Web Curios 02/10/15

Disappointingly, this week has been nowhere NEAR as mental as last. Ah well, normal life has to reassert itself sometimes, I suppose. Speaking of normal life, or that which passes for it in these Ballardian times, mine's on hold for a bit as of tomorrow as I pop to Venice for a few days with my mum - anyone with any top Biennale tips, feel free to share them with me. Web Curios will hence be on holiday next week - in its absence, why not try smiling at strangers, or cultivating an unusual but by no means unpleasant feeling of gentle optimism about the future? Neither of those things will make any long (or even medium, or possibly short)-term difference to the course of your or indeed anyone else's life, but when you only have plasters with which to treat your axewound then you must make do and mend. 

Anyway, don once again the ritual blindfold and clasp tightly the end of the proffered string as once more we delve deep within the twisting, angular corridors of the weblabyrinth, taking care not to drop it lest you be left down here all alone with nothing but the algorithms and spambots and bongo agreggators and the loneliness which can only be measured in binary - THIS, AS EVER, IS WEB CURIOS!  

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Web Curios 25/09/15

Web Curios 25/09/15

Satire is dead, killed by politics. There's literally nothing that I can write here which could come close to the brain-splittingly odd events of a week in which several organs of the national press felt it necessary to publish definitions of both necrophilia and bestiality so as to assure their readers that the Prime Minister could not, in fact, have been guilty of either. 

I know that my continual repetition of this refrain is marking me down as an increasingly old and confused antique, but modernity is baffling to the point of incomprehensibility at times. 

So whilst I slope off to wrap a blanket over my knees and sit in a bath chair with an ear trumpet, you young things gather round and suckle at the many porcine knowledge-dugs of the web, each ready to dispense a warm and sticky flow of CONTENT MILK into your waiting, gummy maws - as ever, THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 18/09/15

Web Curios 18/09/15

So it seems the universe doesn't in fact read Web Curios, or that this particular form of cosmic ordering is broken, because despite my plea for everyone just to be quiet about Jeremy Corbyn for a bit exactly the opposite has happened and it now appears that everyone in the UK is currently afflicted with a strange variant ofspeaking in tongues whereby everything that anyone says must contain the words "Jeremy" or "Corbyn" or "beard" or "left-wing" or "national anthem" or, in my case, "deargodmakeitstopit'sfivesoddingyearsuntilthisactuallymakesanypracticaldifferencandhaveweallforgottenabouttherefumigrantsalreadyohyeswehave".

Anyway, was we eagerly await the next exciting step in the media vs a middle-aged former trot, let's step away from the political bearpit for just a second and instead take a moment to sit and smell this week's internets - close your eyes, inhale deeply, and let me help you identify the strands and unique musks which make up this week's webspaff. That topnote? Yes, it's wet dog and regret. THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 11/09/15

Web Curios 11/09/15

A marginally less rubbish week than last, thank Christ, not least because we all got to get distracted by SHINY NEW SLIGHTLY RUBBISH TOYS! Of course, outside of that people continue to have really horrible times all over the place and noone really knows what to do about it - YOU could do something about it, maybe, there's an idea!

Nah though, mate, we did all of that miserable stuff LAST WEEK! Let's move on! Let's look forwards, not back! Let's stare straight into the burning orb that is the future (is it the sun? is it an onrushing, skin-flaying explosion? WHO KNOWS?!) and not worry too much about what it's doing to our eyes (not to mention the other, more intangible bits of ourselves which seem to be increasingly necrotic and diseased and just broken) -  come with me once again as we peer into the scrying glass to a better (or at least different) tomorrow that is WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 04/09/15

Web Curios 04/09/15

Well that was a uniquely crap week, wasn't it? Except it wasn't actually unique at all, what with it simply being an extension of exactly what's been happening for much of 2015 and indeed before that too. I'm sure you're all nice people, you lot reading this, people who understand that it's not a question of logistics so much as it is a question of morals and responsibilities - you don't need some generic media wanker telling you what to do or think, so I shan't. 

Except to say that, on an unrelated note, I would really appreciate it if you could perhaps this weekend take a moment to do or say something nice to anyone you know who you think is a little bit sad or lost or alone - mainly because you never know whether if you don't you will find yourself regretting it five years down the line when they're dead. 

WOW, THAT WAS CHEERY! Sorry guys, don't know WHAT came over me there - the bonhomie will resume forthwith! Come now, follow the man in the red frock coat and the top hat as he pulls back the tarpaulin and ushers you inside the gaudily-striped big top for this week's exhibition of freaks and oddities and exhibitionists, and don't, whatever you do, look too closely at the tear tracks on the clowns' faces, or the gentle scarring on the contortionists' inner arms, or any of it really. Don't look closely AT ALL. This is WEB CURIOS!!!!!!

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