Web Curios 13/03/15

Web Curios 13/03/15

In a week in which one of the UK's best-loved novelists (it seems a disservice to use the 'fantasy' prefix, frankly, for someone whose talent transcended genre-categories) died, we've also lost two of my favourite websites - both GigaOm and Holy Moly going to the great Wordpress platform in the sky due to people like YOU (and, er, me) expecting to get high-quality writing on the cheap (or, more accurately, for free). It seems ludicrous to segue from the sentence 'high quality writing' to suggesting you maybe consider chucking us a few quid, but I JUST WENT THERE, OH YES!

Ahem. Anyways, here we are once again, ready to spelunk deep into the damp innards of the web - get your ropes and carabiners ready, check the batteries on the head torch and wrap up warm, as it gets COLD AND DARK AND UNPLEASANT down there. As ever, I am your underqualified guide on this somewhat sulphorous expedition - this, webmongs, is WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 06/03/15

Web Curios 06/03/15

So sorry about the brief absence - turned out that I had to go to Canada last week to have a really crap time. Observations about Canada are limited to the fact that they love ice hockey, curling, snow and, apparently, stereotypes - never let it be said that I don't bring you insight along with the webspaff. 

Anyway, to be honest I'm not really overburdened with desire to wax lyrical about anything much up top here this week - go and look at the weblinks, and be thankful your legs still work. 

OH, AND DONATE/SUBSCRIBE TO IMPERICA YOU SODDING INGRATES, IT'S THE LEAST YOU CAN BLOODY WELL DO. 

Sorry, that was rude. I do love and appreciate you, I promise. 

This, webmongs, as ever, is Web Curios.

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Web Curios 20/02/15

Web Curios 20/02/15

I'm meant to be getting a train to Brighton REALLY SOON, so don't really have time for the upfront bit today. SORRY. Rest assured, though, that in the absence of anything resembling journalistic standards in certain sections of the UK media, Web Curios is guaranteed 100% to be completely JAM-PACKED wwith stuff filched off other people who found it first (you can't say fairer than that - CURATION!). 

Whilst I go to get rained on at the seaside, you get comfortable, settle down and listen, as this week's stream-of-consciousness internet stylings get dripped slowly into your ear - though whether it's honey or Shakespearean poison, only time will tell. THAT'S RIGHT, WEBMONGS, IT'S WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 13/02/15

Web Curios 13/02/15

I was going to try and write something pithy about banking and tax avoidance, all BITING AND SATIRICAL, here, but then I realised that I simply can't be bothered. Your gain, I suppose. Another week, another procession of mediatards vomiting opinion over every available screen like some sort of hideous, carrot-flecked tsunami of cant. Maybe the commentariat should all go on strike for a week, just to show how much we'd miss them if they were gone.

Anyway, my opinion is as worthless as anyone else's, so ENOUGH. There's more than enough internet to be wading through without getting bogged down in pink buses and unexpected penetrations, so, without further ado, climb into my metaphorical bathysphere and peer out, as we take our weekly trip into the internet's murkiest reaches, where everything looks sort of misshapen and wrong and even the seemingly innocuous has razor-sharp teeth - it's WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 06/02/15

Web Curios 06/02/15

Thanks this week go to IS(IL? IS? It's very hard to tell) for dragging us once again back to an era in which Ogrish and Rotten were the go-to sites for every teenage boy with a web connection and a morbid sense of curiosity about death (don't, seriously, Google those - truly horrible places, both). Oh, and to Emily Maitlis who set poor old Ed up for the first COMEDY GAFFE of the election (I confess to feeling a twinge of sympathy for Mr Somebody as that interview was going out, though). 

No thanks at all, by contrast, to my laptop which chose to pretty much just die at 11am this morning, meaning getting this thing done's been a bit of a rush. Not that you'll notice, you ingrates. Anyway, time's a wasting and I've got a series of increasingly bitter and futile conversations to have with the strange computermen of Tottenham Court Road - come with me into the multicoloured room of knowledge, webmongs, and lock the door behind you while I ready the assorted, threatening selection of instruments by which I will bring you to the edge of digital ecstasy and beyond (there is no safeword): THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 30/01/15

Web Curios 30/01/15

SAVE DIPPY! GO AND PLAY IN A BALL POOL! Or, maybe, grow up! The choice, as ever, is yours. Still, though, it's good to see that our priorities appear to be in good order as we pass the magical '100 days to go' mark - I reckon one of the party leaders will be asked about their position on the sodding dinosaur (THE BONES AREN'T EVEN REAL FFS) by the end of the weekend. 

Anyway, you're not here for that - you're here to have some words, links and videos for you to stare listlessly at while you wait for the clock to tick round to PUB O CLOCK, so you can undo all the good work you've put in over the past four weeks by drinking three litres of meths to celebrate the end of dry January. Don't pretend that this isn't in part true. Anyway, webmongs, I have just what you need - go with the trenchcoated figure to the dark corner and watch in awe as he shows you the fabulous wares hidden in the lining of his capacious Burberry; just don't think too hard about where all the STUFF came from. THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 23/01/15

Web Curios 23/01/15

So, it's GREAT TO BE BACK. No, really it is. The FUTURE is here! Or at least one version of it, for some people, maybe, in a while. For the rest of us, though, the future looks dispiritingly like the past with everyone shouting at each other and shooting at each other and generally being angry and disagreeable. O HAI, internet and global news and society in general - how I MISSED you!

Of course, the quite reasonable response to that whinging is to say 'well, you didn't have to come back, and noone asked you, and noone cares what you think anyway'. Which, it turns out, REALLY IS TRUE! I'm not going to bang on about this, because it would be ignoble and frankly failure / rejection is always embarrassing, but those of you who actually read this and like (or at least don't actively hate) it might want to click here and see whether you want to, you know, SAVE IMPERICA and stuff.

Anyway, that's the last time I'm going to mention that (until the axe is about to fall, at least). HAPPY NEW YEAR, WEBMONGS! Let's put on the gas masks, slip on the hazmat suits and prepare to venture into the long-abandoned warehouse with the eerily-flickering lights which is the internet - who KNOWS what terrifying new THINGS may have bred in there since we last looked in (CLUE: much the same blend of stuff as a month ago, for those of you who are of a nervous disposition). THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 12/12/14

Web Curios 12/12/14

So, after 35 editions and somewhere between 7-10,000 links (but who's counting, eh?) we come to the end of yet another year. Well, obviously 'we' don't - you may have to continue to pretend caring about your meaningless white-collar slavery for another few days yet - but Web Curios is OFF UNTIL 2015! Trust me, you're nowhere near as relieved about this as I am. 

This is the bit where were I a proper writer or chronicler of THESE FUNNY TIMES WE LIVE IN I would attempt some sort of pithy summary of the year just gone, themes and trends I've observed and my tentative predictions for the world that is to come. Seeing as I am neither, though, I will limit myself to saying this - I am tired, webmongs, a fact partly attributable to an overly late night on the sauce but also perhaps the fact that the world is just EXHAUSTING these days. So much stuff, so much anger, so much meaningless cant and rhetoric. 

Which I'm going to proceed to add to below. I'm nothing if not consistently hypocritical. So come with me into the backroom for one last time, take a look at my 'tree' and unwrap my 'presents' - THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 05/12/14

Web Curios 05/12/14

It's December. IT'S ALMOST OVER! A few more weeks of pretending to care about our jobs and we can once again swaddle ourselves in the alcoholic fug of needless gluttony to see out another year. Except those poor sods who have to keep working in order to enable the rest of us to swaddle ourselves in the alcoholic fug of needless gluttony, but let's not think about them, eh?

So, as thoughts turn to turkey, fratricide and matricide (for what is more headily redolent of the festive season than the creeping knowledge that you don't actually like your family at all?), let's all roll up our sleeves and grimly suffer through this week's secret santa of webspaff, where the only guarantee is web-based tat - it's WEB CURIOS! 

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Web Curios 28/11/14

Web Curios 28/11/14

To those three of you reading this rather than attempting to shank each other over the promise of a discounted toaster, WELCOME! To the rest of you, I hope your plastic gewgaws bring you untold happiness and that they somehow manage to compensate for the gnawing realisation that all we're doing is trying and failing to fill a society-wide emotional void with objects - no, really, you're welcome!

In a week in which America took a time machine back to 1992, I can't really bring myself to write much up top here - suffice it to say, webmongs, that below this fold exists your weekly dose of webspaff - roll up your sleeves, steel yourselves, and dip your grasping arms into the pot-luck grab-bag; who knows, maybe your fingers will close around some solid WEB GOLD, or maybe they'll be snapped off by something truly unimaginable. EITHER WAY, THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 21/11/14

Web Curios 21/11/14

So I awoke this morning into a world in which yet another malodorous purple nail has been hammered into the coffin of the possibility of an overall parliamentary majority next year - GREAT! I for one CANNOT WAIT for the political circus to properly start up in January, can you? Oh. 

Don't worry, though, because everything else is GREAT. The economy's screwed again, or at least it will be in short order, we're more and more terrified of foreigns each and every day, and I have a really annoying spot which I honestly thought would be a thing of the past by the time I hit my mid-30s. Frankly it was all I could do to muster the half-arsed enthusiasm to vomit this rubbish out today, so I hope you 'enjoy' it. Come with me now, webmongs, as we venture into the gigantic virtual casino that is the web and spin the near infinite-sized wheel of content possibility...What will we land on? It doesn't matter, EVERYONE LOSES IN THE END. That's right, it's WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 14/11/14

Web Curios 14/11/14

BOTTOM! SPACE! Regular readers of this thing will be aware that we're no strangers to hyperbole, but, seriously, has there ever been a week in which the web's, and by extension the world's, two biggest obsessions have been on such diametrically opposed points of the cultural/importance spectrum? Don't, any of you, please feel the need to actually answer this. 

Anyway, in a week in which we saw the most incredible maths project of all time finally come to fruition, and in which a very famous woman's posterior was potentially more culturally problematic than you may at first have thought, there's been SO MUCH going on that I've barely had time to blink. Without further ado, then, let's leave behind the airless deathtrap that is space, and the callipygian Ms K, to instead take our weekly trip into the web's wardrobe, as we rummage amongst the coats, rifle through the pockets and wonder whether the chilly breeze we can feel is the sign of a magical world just on the other side of that fur or, and we all know which is more likely, just the first presage of a cruel and unforgiving winter - that's right, Webmongs, it's WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 07/11/14

Web Curios 07/11/14

PENGUINS!!! CONSUMPTION! LONELINESS! EMOTIONAL MANIPULATION! The massed dancing of the thronging consumer-monkeys to the grinning organ-grinder's shop-floor muzak! Yes, that's right webmongs, it's CHRISTMASTIME!


Except it's not, it's November, though that hasn't prevented the UK from having a frankly pavlovian reaction to this year's inaugural exhortation to spend more money than we have on things we don't need. You know what, I can't be bothered to get angry about it - do what you want, seriously. Follow the penguin on Twitter, buy the dolls, sit there slack-jawed, drooling and uncritical as you bend to the ad industry's whim. I'm past caring. 

Instead, let me recommend that you go and see the Egon Schiele exhibition at the Courtauld, as it's very good indeed and will, if you're anything like me, make you want to go back through every graphic novel you own in order to see exactly how many famous artists have lifted panels from him, and also make you listen to this which is in many respects the most Schiele song ever ('notches in your spine', anyone?).

Patronising, arch reference to the idiocy of the masses? Check! Pretentious reference to London-centric cultural happening? Check! We're all set, then, to take this week's stroll into the stockroom at the very back of the web's information repository, the archetypal cold, dark storeroom into which the broken toys of the web's work get thrust, waiting for their very own Spotty Man to shine a torch on them and bring them back to some semblance of revenant life - it's WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 31/10/14

Web Curios 31/10/14

Those of you to whom I email this personally will know that I made some reference to hanging out with lizards last weekend. What that actually meant was going to see David Icke at Wembley. I sort of feel I should give a brief overview of what it was like. 

Erm.

It was like going to the Louvre, except instead of pictures there was just a man shouting at you about mad stuff while really disturbing pictures cycled behind him in the background (like the Louvre, I felt very, very odd afterwards). It was 5% reasonably sensible stuff about general structural problems in modernity and capitalism, 40% generic tedious conspiracy theory rubbish (GM food, chemtrails, 9/11 was an inside job, Global Warming is a lie, etc), and then 55% truly crazy, about how we live in a holographic universe and are being preyed on by a race of interdimensional lizard-like beings called archons who have created a  'bad copy' of the universe through manipulation of cosmic energy waves, and who feed on the wavelengths produced by humans. All of this is controlled by Saturn, which is sending manipulative interference to us across space, amplified by the moon which is actually hollow and basically just a piece of radar equipment. All the world's religions are unwittingly (for the most part) worshipping Saturn. Politicians and other 'elites' know this and are often simply puppets of the Saturn lizards who control them into maintaining the status quo or creating situations which will further remove humans from their intended state of 'cosmic oneness' and instead make us operate at the 'wrong' frequency which drags us closer and closer to living in the lizard archons plane of existence.

All of this is OBVIOUSLY true.

Can I just suggest that you don't ever Google ANY of that stuff, ever? Good, glad we've got that sorted. Anyway, webmongs, this week's edition may be suffering some sort of mild psychic hangover from the experience - rest assured, though, that the poor quality of the output is likely be be unaffected. This is probably the only time in which I can promise you that what is to come makes more sense than what I've just written. This is WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 24/10/14

Web Curios 24/10/14

HELLO AGAIN! God, it's good to be back in the saddle, cramming webspaff into every available orifice and then vomiting it out again through my fingers to create the glorious cathedral of temporary ephemera which I erect for you each week!

Ach, no it's not. Being on holiday is LOADS better - just as a passing aside, Lisbon is a truly wonderful city which I can unreservedly recommend - but my one selling point on the contemporary work marketplace is a terrifyingly comprehensive knowledge of 'stuff o  the internet' and as such I need to keep reading all this rubbish to stay employable (and frankly even this pseudo-skill is going to pall soon). With that in mind, then, know that what follows is not just the collected output of some people in the world which I have found and accumulated here for you like some sort of pathetically needy pup - it's the digital representation of one ageing man's struggle for cultural relevance in a world that SIMPLY DOESN'T CARE.

Er, Jesus, sorry, that went a bit odd. Not sure where that came from. In any case, webmongs, pull on the marigolds, do up the pinny and grab the plunger as we prepare to delve beneath the forbiddingly scummy waterline and attempt to clear this week's infoblockage from the piping of our lives - it's WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 03/10/14

Web Curios 03/10/14

Jam tomorrow (maybe)! Thanks, Gideon! Don't worry, though - if they can rebel in Hong Kong, there's hope for our chances (seriously, the Hong Kong thing is potentially HUGE - take a look at this). That said, though, WHO CARES? After all, it's DECORATIVE GOURD SEASON AGAIN, and the steady cavalcade of consumer distractions continues almost unabated between now and the big, festive daddy of them all. This is probably the last Curios in which there's going to be no mention of people trying to sell you stuff for Chri****s, so enjoy it while you can. Oh, and if I can give you another unwanted piece of advice, if you're in London then do try and go and see this - if you're reading this, you're pretty much bang in the middle of the target audience, and it's a really interesting production (also has the added bonus of seeing genuine incomprehension on the faces of theatregoers when confronted with the concept of Pedobear, which is worth the price of admission alone). 

ANYWAY, I'm off for the next few weeks - until my return, though, slip on this week's metaphorical dark clothing and balaclava and follow me, as we sneak round the back of the internet's house, take advantage of an unlocked back door and creep upstairs to rifle through its underwear drawer and enjoy its collection of special interest photography - it's WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 26/09/14

Web Curios 26/09/14

It appears that while I was typing this everyone's decided to go bombing. Hey ho. Fortunately, though, Web Curios doesn't really *do* geopolitics and so we can conveniently ignore all those troublesome questions about international responsibility and legitimacy and stuff in favour of pointing at a bunch of stuff on the web in slack-jawed amazement. 

So follow me once again, webmongs, as we venture into the hall of mirrors on the soul that is the internet - what you are about to see is the truest possible reflection of who we are this week, so if you don't like the hideously distorted picture gurning back at you then, well, tough. IT'S WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 19/09/14

Web Curios 19/09/14

So The Union is still The Union, and a whole new generation of young idealists have learned first-hand the unique pleasure inherent in participatory democracy. Does that mean we can talk about something else now, please? Not that it's not been important and interesting and all, but you know that the media's possibly overstretched itself when they're running interviews with the school caretaker who's erecting the polling booths to ask his opinion about his role in the MOMENTOUS OCCASION. 

ANYWAY, that's all over and done with and we can get back to the important bits of life - namely, busying ourselves exhuming this week's half-dried bombs of infoturd from the litter tray of human endeavour. That's right, webmongs, it's once again time to hold your nose and go digging for 'treasure', courtesy of WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 12/09/14

Web Curios 12/09/14

London. Early morning. The camera pans in on a writing desk in a filthy kitchen, covered in a good few millimetres of dust and surrounded by rotting food detritus around which flies are milling in disinterested fashion. A malnourished looking forearm, bearing a nailbitten and nicotine-stained hand, comes into shot, fiddles with the laptop lid, and fires it into life. Through the kitchen window, a hideous parody of the now-legendary batsignal appears in the night sky, showing the silhouette of a hunched, wizened figure, bent over a laptop and moving his arms in jerky, repetitious fashion. Is he typing? Is he masturbating? IS IT BOTH SIMULTANEOUSLY?

That's right, webmongs! To the delight of absolutely no one at all, Web Curios has returned from its summer sabbatical. Rested, refreshed and once again prepared to consume more of the web than is strictly healthy so that you, gentle reader, don't have to. Needless to say everything's gotten IMMEASURABLY worse in my absence, so let's not dwell on it. Instead let's strap on the masks, open the sewer hatch and once again go swimming in the stinking rivers of barely-filtered ID which make up this week's WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 01/08/14

Web Curios 01/08/14

I was hoping the world would sort itself out while I was away last week, but it didn't. Useless, the lot of you. THAT'S IT, I'VE HAD ENOUGH, I'M LEAVING. Not life, you understand, much as that might disappoint some of you; I'm just taking August off because, quite frankly, I realised that not spending disproportionate amounts of time glued to a screen is actually quite nice. And also because Imperica is CHANGING, of which more here. I'll be back at some point in September, presuming I don't die or have some sort of ludditic Damascene moment in the intervening weeks - hopefully the collection of stuff below will keep you entertained and occupied until then, but failing that I heartily recommend these books to accompany you through summer's dregs. 

So, webmongs, prepare yourselves to be smeared with the last dose of soothing web emollient for a while - close your eyes, and be aware that some of this will sting somewhat (and don't mind the smell, you'll get used to it); THIS IS WEB CURIOS. 
 

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