Web Curios 22/09/17


Yep, these are the BIG QUESTIONS we’re all grappling with right now - well, all of us except the country’s top lawyers and lobbyists, who’ll be looking at the Uber ruling this morning with the sort of ‘dollars-for-pupils’ avarice that’s normally the sole domain of top-hatted avian plutocrats. Still, you’re not here for HOT TAKES on current affairs; you’re here for the combination of too many links and too many words which makes Web Curios a uniquely unappealing prospect!

So settle down before the blazing fire - ignore what it actually is that's fueling the flames, and make sure to wear the protective mask before breathing in any of the fumes - and prepare once again to listen to my grating tones in your mind’s ear was we embark upon yet another edition of the Jackanory you know you deserve, WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 15/09/17

HELLO TO THE NEW READERS LURED HERE BY ME SHOUTING ABOUT S*C**L M*D** ON TWITTER! Look, let's get this out of the way upfront; you're unlikely to enjoy this very much - the overwhelming majority of the world's population don't, and there's no real reason why you're likely to be any different. That said, welcome to the overwhelming cornucopia of LINKS AND NEWS AND ENNUI that is Web Curios. It's lovely to have you here. The top bit's news about s*c**l m*d**, the next two are random things that I have found interesting this week, then come a selection of Tumblrs, then the long reads, then videos at the end. It's not a complicated proposition, but I ruin it with too much writing. Like this. I ought to stop now, really. Look, FCUK OFF AND READ THE DAMNED THING, OK?! This, once again, is the info-enema that is Curios - put your hips up, and ignore the discomfort; it'll feel loads nicer on the way out. 

(to the rest of you who know what the score is already, this week's edition is as disappointing as ever so at least consistency's being maintained)

(oh, and by the way, one paragraph in here this week has been automatically generated by the AlgoMuir that lives on Slack and which has been trained on the Curios corpus to mimic my writing style. See if you can spot which - I really fcuking hope you can, or I am FINISHED)

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Web Curios 08/09/17

One of the unfortunate side-effects of the filter bubble in which I find myself is that I've notmanaged to stumble across any examples of right-wing climate change deniers desperately attempting to explain away the BIG WEATHER in terms that don't involve, you know, ACCEPTED SCIENCE. Still, it's good to know that there's a positive side-effect to all these poor bastards in the Caribbean having their homes totalled - WE WERE RIGHT ALLALONG!

Anyway, leaving aside the planet's continued attempt to remove the bloated tick that is humanity from its scarred and pock-marked skin, it's been another week of marvelling at our own political classes as they vie to prove themselves the most incompetent and out of touch of all. From sentient dustjacket Rees-Mogg's unmasking as - and you'll have been as surprised as I was, readers, at this unpredictable occurrence - something of a small-c conservative(!), to the continuing inability of the team managing the UK's Brexit talks (I refuse to use the term 'negotiations' as it implies some sort of reasoned, adult dialogue rather than the insistence of one party to stubbornly believe that 2+2=whatever we damn well want it to mean thankyou very much indeed) to achieve anything much at all (and can we just take a moment to establish quite how spectacularly little has been achieved to date? I mean, if this was you at work someone would probably have taken you to one side by now and started making encouraging words about 'deliverables' and 'pulling your fcuking finger out', right?), it's been yet another reassuring demonstration of just how crap EVERYONE is, most of the time. 

So! Don't worry about it! Cast your worries aside, for it is a FRIDAY - some of you might say FriYAY, and to you I say STOP IT - and there are only a few hours to go before you get to go home and stare at the leaden skies and remember that once there was sunshine and laughter. To fill in those empty hours, then, here I assemble for you a platter of the finest sweetbreads, foraged from the still-warm carcass of this week's web. Soaked and breaded and fried to creamy perfection, sink your teeth in and don't worry too much about the fact that you're not 100% exactly what sweetbreads are. This, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 01/09/17

Mist! Mellow fruitfulness! Decay, rot, dampness and the annual reminder that everything tends towards entropy and entropy means, biologically speaking, death! That's right everyone, it's SEPTEMBER!

I mean, the seasons are all so banjaxed with climate change that this is sort of meaningless, but I though I might wax lyrical at the advent of the ninth month of the year and the fact that, once again, Summer is OVER. On the one hand, no more bank holidays until 2018 and the slow, creeping knowledge that we're going to have to put up with enforced jollity and familial proximity VERY SOON; on the other, you get to give your kids back to their carers and to stop pretending you actually like hanging out with them all the time (come on, there's a reason we as adults don't as a rule choose the under-tens as our conversational companions). 

So, then, a curate's egg of a month. Still, you've got back to back weekly Curios for the first time in an age, so, you know, BE GRATEFUL. Also, welcome this week to any new readers who might have been enticed here by Rob Blackie's very kind tip-off (the other newsletters he promotes are better, but this is by far the longest and, well, fcuk the quality, feel the width eh?) - yes, it really IS always like this. 

To the rest of you who know what to expect by now, let's get underway with this week's informational equivalent of a watercannon to the solar plexus - you'll be left battered and possibly bleeding from the eyes and ears, but you'll be CLEANSED BY THE LINKBLAST. Probably. This, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 25/08/17

There was meant to be one of these last week. I had dragged myself from my pit at 6am as per normal, drunk unconscionable quantities of appallingly-stewed tea and spaffed out about 6,500 words before a stray swipe of a sausagefinger on trackpad condemned each and every single one of those words - and they were good words, we have the best words here on Imperica, although I concede that occasionally the order in which they're arranged could stand a little more care and attention - promptly vanished forever. 

Reader, I howled. I gnashed and I flailed and I had something of a minor tantrum, it's fair to say. I'm not sure if you've ever had anything like that happen, though I imagine most of you have,  but it was the worst case I've ever experienced of intellectial coitus interruptus. Not to overextend this analogy (trust me, I'm no more comfortable with it than you are), but let's just say I've been in quite some discomfort this week. 

But! It is another Friday, and the web has delivered, and LO YOU ARE ONCE AGAIN BLESSED! So before you go out and spend the final bank holiday of 2017 assiduously pursuing cirrhosis or seratonin-deficiency, or both, fortify yourself with this - a veritable BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH BUFFET of content, except without being surrounded by a bunch of dickheads Instagramming everything in sight whilst they diabetes themselves on crap prosecco. It's Friday, it's a three-day weekend, nukes are out but nazis are back...it's WEB CURIOS! 

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Web Curios 11/08/17

There was meant to be a Curios last week, but I had to go to a wedding. Sorry about that. Also, if I'm entirely honest, there was going to be one until I fcuked up the CMS and lost 4000 words of TOP QUALITY PROSE and was too dispirited to contemplate starting again. So it goes. 

Anyway, at this wedding I met someone from Swindon, a friend of mine's girlfriend - someone who said something so world-shakingly troubling to me that I have to share it with you here. We chatted for a bit, doing the whole 'do you remember x' jazz, before someone else asked this (otherwise lovely) young woman whether I had a Swindon accent - reader, she said that I did, that I had a 'proper twang'. I DO NOT HAVE A FCUKING SWINDON ACCENT. Do I? Anyway, at that moment I had a proper 'Donald Sutherland at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers' moment, except looking a lot more like a very haggard Wooster-era Hugh Laurie, if you imagine he was acting out a scene in which Bertie had suddenly realised that he was trapped in a neverending sisyphean joke of someone else's invention, that he would never get laid or get rid of Gussie, and that the aunts would NEVER DIE. It was bleak. 

Anyway, I tell that less-than-fascinating anecdote because everything else this past fortnight, out there in the 'real' world, is so bone-shakingly horrid as to be unspeakable. WE ARE NOT ALL GOING TO DIE (YET)! Repeat it, mantra-like, and hope it stays true. So, in what might be the last edition of Curios before we're all living in Threads, let me wish those of you who aren't so selfish as to be sunning yourselves by a pool in France and killing yourselves with cheese consumption a VERY HAPPY FRIDAY. As per usual after a week off, this is a BUMPER CURIOS, pregnant with promise - or, depending on your perspective, bloated and pullulating with larva just waiting to explode from its swollen, greenish belly. Let's get the gloves on and see which! It's WEB CURIOS - tell your friends (or, more likely, enemies). 

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Web Curios 28/07/17

In a largely unanticipated development this week, the discovery by the idiot rump of the world that moral philosophy is A Thing and that it is HARD and COMPLICATED has made me almost wish for the return of politics, not to mention making me agree with Melanie Phillips. UNPRECENDENTED. 

Anyway, that was the week that was - how was it for YOU? I am in the temporary abeyance that precedes me once again doing something really stupid, to whit attempting to do three and a bit jobs in a 5 day week period, doubtless meaning that literally each and every one of my paymasters will feel slightly short-changed and I, as ever, will spend far too much time chumming for content yam across the web rather than doing that which it is that I am nominally paid to do. So it goes. 

Until then, though, I am LUXURIATING IN TIME. Which is why it was such a disappointment to note that the internet was pretty light on content over the past seven days - PULL YOUR FINGERS OUT, CREATORS, I HAVE A FCUKING KILOMETRIC NEWSLETTERBLOGTHING TO POPULATE. Nonetheless, much in the way the food industry has learned to scrape the smallest scraps of flesh and sinew from the mouldering carcasses the premium meat trade leaves behind in order to fashion 'nuggets' from the detritus, so I have skilfully fashioned the material available to me into a simulacrum of a Curios - perhaps slightly lighter on content, fine, but with the same unmistakeable carrion tang of disappointment. Open wide and let me regurgitate the half-digested remnants of a week lived largely online - this, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!

(oh, and for those on you on the web, we're experimenting with the ability to SKIP BETWEEN SECTIONS. Except, er, it's the first time and I think I might have fcuked the formatting, but, still, worth a try, eh?)

Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
The Circus of Tumblrs
Long things which are long
Moving pictures and sounds

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Web Curios 21/07/17

SURPRISE CURIOS! Yes, that's right, despite having spent the better part of the past week in a somewhat parlous state and certainly very far away from the web, I have still managed to find enough webspaff to fill the strangely-shaped receptacle that is this blog/newsletter/mess. Aren't I clever - or, more to the point, isn't it nice of all of the rest of the web to keep making interesting stuff which I can lazily dismiss and make fun of in tediously nihilistic prose?

Anyway, Holland is lovely, I saw friends and a godchild and basically ate no vegetables for a week, and now have the slight fear that I have no career and am going to die in solitary, penurous misery as my body decays along with what remains of my mind; but that's pretty par for the course after a few days with Fat Bob, who I know will hate himself for smiling when he reads that. 

ANYWAY, you're not here for tedious self-referential lines about my 'friends' - you're not really sure why you're here at all, frankly, particularly not this week when you were probably looking forward to not having to guiltily delete this from your inbox, unread. Still, I am here, and so's all this internet, and seeing as I went to all the trouble of gathering it up and laying it here at your feet and staring up at you expectantly like some sort of ugly, malnourished puppy you know you ought to pet but which you are equally sure has fleas and ringworm and whose eyes you don't quite trust, then the least you could do is fcuking well READ some of it. 

Yeah, yeah, Web Curios, wevs. 

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Web Curios 07/07/17

I overslept this morning, not that you care, and as such this has all been a HUGE RUSH. Apologies, therefore, for any perceptible drop in quality of what follows; rest assured that despite appearances I have poured exactly as much love, care and attention into this as I always do (you may speculate as to exactly how much that actually is).

Anyhow, this is the last Curios for a couple of weeks; next Friday I will be in Amsterdam with Fat Bob preparing to go to some terrifying-sounding techno festival, and the following week I will either be dead or, less excitingly, at a meeting in Chippenham. Take care of yourselves in my absence, kids, and don’t, whatever you do, attempt to roll your own Curios in my absence; you’ll never get the dosage right, and you really don’t want to know what an incorrectly-calibrated shot of webspaff does to a person - it’s UGLY. Until next time, then, assume the position and brace yourselves; IT’S WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 30/06/17

Curios in successive weeks - truly, you are BLESSED. Thanks one and all for the overwhelming reaction to our return last week (there obviously wasn't one, but my Mum reads this so it's nice to occasionally give her the illusion that she's not the only one); it's so good to be back!

Anyway, it's been another largely dreadful week leavened only by everyone's HILARIOUS jokes about magic money trees. I spent Tuesday morning in a ping pong club, helping executives from a multinational corporation write down inspirational facts about their job on carboard ping pong bats. Frankly my mood never really recovered, and I've largely been tearily catatonic since; you're lucky I managed to rouse myself from my torpor long enough to spaff this out, frankly. 

So, as we limp to the end of yet another seven days of disappointment and prepare to dull the pain with the usual combination of poisons - and those of you who don't, who are healthy and sober, how do you do it? I really mean it; how do you make all the noise and the shouting stop? - get ready for your informational pre-loading, shots of pure content delivered via the eyeballs! Lads! Bantz! WEB CURIOS!

(oh, and apologies to those of you who didn't get the newsletter last week - a few teething difficulties with the new mailer, but hopefully this should all be working fine now).

(although if you're not reading this then it isn't). 

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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?



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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