Web Curios 15/12/17

Another year done, then. Almost 12 months of getting up and sometimes going to work and coming home and eating and shitting and crying and what have I got to show for it?

Well, 33 Web Curios, approximately 230,000 words of prose, some 6,000-odd links and incipient carpal tunnel, as it happens, so IN YOUR FACE 2017!

So that was the year that was. No recap, no recriminations, certainly no predictions. I am DONE with this, and I hope you nearly are too. For those of you who don't make it to my heartfelt message at the bottom, let me deliver it once again up top - thanks for reading, and I hope you're all ok. 

Take care, happy holidays, and try not to let anything bad happen. This, as ever, will be Web Curios. Happy Holidays.

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Web Curios 08/12/17

So, how was it for you? As you peeled the crusted lids from each other at the alarm's insistence this morning, gingerly ran the cracked, dried sponge of your dessicated tongue over the crenellated horrors that your lips seemed to have become, tentatively explored your nostrils to dislodge the lignocaine rocks obstructing the airflow, and took the first, sweet sup of the foul soup that was your morning breath, was it with a sense of fear and regret? WHAT DID YOU DO? WHO WITH? WHO SAW?

Yes, that's right, it is OFFICE PARTY SEASON! Last night was, as far as I can tell, the BIG ONE when it came to friends and acquaintances of mine having their annual ethanol celebration, so how was it for you? What tales, what gossip, what larks

I don't tend to go to office parties (this will no doubt shock you - "surely", I imagine you thinking, "surely someone with Matt's sunny demeanour and effervescent outlook on life is simply FIGHTING off the invites of a December?" well, readers, let me disabuse you of that notion) which is probably for the best; the first one I ever attended, in my second ever week of proper, full-time employment, ended with me drunkenly telling the MD of the company I'd joined that the whole industry was utterly vile and disgusting, potentially even morally  wrong, and I didn't think I could keep doing it (I lasted three years).

Anyway, I hope YOURS was fun, whatever you got up to. As we bask happily in the glory of a Brexit deal achieved (you know that Churchillian "This is not the end; this is not even the beginning of the end..." spiel? Yes, well, exactly), let me apply the following stinking poultice of words and links and images to your sweating brow - or, alternatively, maybe just head to the pub for lunch and DON'T COME BACK. 


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Web Curios 01/12/17

So, as we roll into the final month of 2017, punch-drunk and reeling and with the very real sense that whilst it's been a tough one this is not the final round, oh no siree, let's take a moment to consider that in 11 short months we've gone from a position of vague hope that it couldn't possibly be as bad as 2016 and maybe all the doom mongering is a bit much to a world in which the President of the US can actively endorse the message of a fringe bunch of racist lunatics and doesn't even have to justify himself. Meanwhile Bitcoin's wobbling like a fat trapeze artist and everyone's a wanker or a rapist - it's fair to say that things haven't panned out quite as we might have wished.

But! What is that light I see yonder? Is that the Christmas star, bringing joy and light and hope to all who bask in its nighttime glow? Or is the light at the end of the tunnel merely the headlamp of yet another train, careening towards us at unconscionable pace? WHO KNOWS? NOT I! All I know that this is the THIRD-LAST CURIOS OF THE YEAR, and as such is full of even more bile, spleen, fear and uncertainty than usual. The penny in your pudding, the cloves in your mulled wine, the coal in your stocking, the unwanted present under your tree, the knowledge that all of the material goods in the world won't compensate for that very real feeling that assails you in that weird hinterland time between Christmas and New Year that this, frankly, is it, this strange interregnum of drunkenness and indigestion, this is all you really want because it's the closest thing to being able to turn it all OFF that you will ever get...WEB CURIOS IS ALL OF THIS AND MORE!

Sorry, I'm a touch tired this week, I'm sure it'll pass. NOW TO THE LINKS!

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Web Curios 24/11/17

Gah! So much to do, so little time! This intro is necessarily going to be on the short side as I have STUFF to be getting on with and to be honest I imagine that most of you are going to be far too busy buying VAST QUANTITIES OF STUFF to be bothered with links today. 

Amidst the babble, clamour and NOISE of Black Friday, then, take a moment to lie back and let the soothing waves of webspaff wash over your beetled brow and troubled countenance - it's apparently great for the complexion. Web Curios!

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Web Curios 17/11/17

Russia! Sexpests! Brexit! Mugabe! And that's just the past 6 hours I've been writing this damn thing. Web Curios may take a week off but the world certainly doesn't, as evidenced by the absolute tsunami of links about to engulf you. 

I am tired, you are tired, we are ALL tired. As we limp towards the end of 2017, I can't be the only one whose general sense of 'well, that was the year that was' reflection that used to accompany the the imminence of December has been replaced by a sense of trepidation and a very real fear about how much worse it's all going to get in 2018.

God, it's good to have me back, isn't it?

Anyway, with no further ado let us smear ourselves with clunkily metaphorical honey, stretch ourselves out in the infoforest and await the ravening maws of the WEBSPAFF BEARS (no, I know that doesn't work at all, but seriously, I have been typing for literally hours and I am somewhat enervated) - THIS, AS EVER, IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 03/11/17

Whilst the vast majority of me is gladdened at the shining of the LIGHT OF TRUTH AND JUSTICE which is being shone on the Palace of Westminster, another, smaller part of me is also enjoying the absolute bemusement being displayed in some sections of the Italian media at this; "he touched her knee?" is the general tone amongst much of the commentariat, "You mean there weren't even any sex parties? AMATEURS!"

Anyway, we certainly shouldn't look to Italy for guidance on any of this (witness, if you're unaware, the country's recent charming reaction to its daughter Asia Argento being at the centre of some of the Weinstein revelations); instead, let's all instead take bets on who the urolagniaphile is (also, I was asking the BIG QUESTIONS about this on Twitter should you care or indeed have any answers).  Not that there's actually anything wrong with that - shall we instead focus on the actual issues of power and control at the heart of all this Westminster gossip? No? Oh, fine, please yourselves. 

Anyway, Curios is early this week as I have a genuinely terrifying meeting at 2pm before which I need to spend a good hour or so sweating nervously in a corner, so on that note I am going to GET RIGHT ON WITH IT. Get into the tub, make yourself comfortable and prepare to bathed in the warm, fresh infostreams - you can choose to imbibe if you so desire, but bear in mind it does get awfully cold if you wallow in it. THIS, AS EVER, IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 27/10/17

I had to actually do some work yesterday - some ACTUAL THINKING - for the first time in what might actually have been months; it was hard, how do you people do it? This edition of Curios, then, is dedicated to YOU - whoever you are, whatever you do, I admire and appreciate your toil (this doesn't, of course, apply to the advermarketingpr drones - I know all about what you do, and you should feel ashamed) (as do I). 

It's also dedicated to all those of you who this week have succumbed to the first illnesses of the season and are reading this sat at home, surrounded by tissues, with red-rimmed eyes and an entirely unjustified sense of self-pity. DRINK YOUR CALPOL.

Anyway, another week of BAD MAN revelations this week culminated yesterday in what must be up there in the top 10 of 'wow, you really fcuked that up' non-apologies in the course of human history. If you haven't yet had the opportunity to check out Scoble's...extraordinary post, take a moment to read it and then marvel at exactly how intellectually deficient one would have to be to imagine that THAT is going to help you in any way. Leaving aside his status as a repellent lecher - one who, by all accounts, is being largely forgiven by the (male) upper echelons of the tech community for his excesses what with being a 'lovable rogue', so nice work, there, techbros, keep it up you awful self-optimising cancers, you - it's the language, the hubris, the sales pitch...seriously, it's amazing. Now let's sit back and see who other than cuddly Lord Rennard is going to be outed as a serial groper - FUN TIMES IN WESTMINSTER!

But we're not here to talk about any of that! We're here to delve deep into the freshly exhumed corpse of last week's web, burrowing through layers of faintly rotting epidermis, fat, flesh and muscle to the tasty, tasty marrow within. Come, my charming infomaggots, let's see if we can fatten up enough to make beautiful iridescent flies of ourselves - this, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 20/10/17

It's...it's not been a nice week, has it? I mean, I always say this - if you were to do a wordcloud of these opening paragraphs I'm pretty sure that a series of variants on the theme of 'awful' and 'despair' would loom out at you - but it really does seem like the past seven days have been particularly shrill and awful. 

Or at least they have in my corner of the London 'Generic Media Wanker' bubble.  I hope yours has been nicer. The world certainly doesn't need another bloke spaffing out WORDS on power and gender and coercion - all I'll say is that I hope a certain London gallery owner and nightlife impresario with a TV and newspaper column sideline is feeling particularly scared at the moment. OOH A BLIND ITEM WHO COULD IT BE? Feel free to DM me your guesses, kids!

And on that lawyer-baiting note, let's get to it! We have links, we have words, we have 6+hours of me sitting at a keyboard in my kitchen drinking tea and developing RSI as I try and fail to spin them into some semblance of coherence - we have, in short, all of the ingredients required. Strap yourselves in, then, and bite HARD on the leather strap as I power up the machine and spin the dial all the way to eleven - FEEL THE WEB COURSING THROUGH YOUR SHUDDERING CARCASS! This, as ever, is the overwrought mess of angst, anger and £5 prose peddling 10p ideas that is WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 13/10/17

Venice was GREAT. The Hirst exhibition is crazy, the Biennale is wonderful, the whole place is glorious. 

There, that was my holiday. It's the personal touches which make this blog / newsletter / mess, don't you find? Anyway, the glow of having been in a beautiful city consuming art quickly wore off on my return to the soul-sapping greyness of 'work', so don't expect this edition to be any less cynically beaten-down than it ordinarily is, OK? GOOD. 

I've got a whole afternoon of meetings today - I am SO important! - and probably ought to get dressed before attending them, so this is going to be a mercifully short introduction, all the better to introduce you to this week's murky soup of links and ephemera. Take up your spoon, hold your nose and DIVE IN - I can guarantee you a pleasingly chewy assortment of oddities in each mouthful, but be sure to chew carefully as much of this is a touch indigestible. SUCK DOWN MY WATERY WEB-BROTH! THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

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Web Curios 29/9/17

One of the things that struck me in the midst of all the media coverage of international superstar bongo-peddler Hugh Hefner's demise was (aside from the man's uncanny resemblance to Touche Turtle) quite how miserable he looked in almost every photo taken of him in his dotage. It's almost as if he'd discovered that being entirely in the grip of adolescent appetites whilst simultaneously staring your ninth decade right in the face is a bit, well, dispiriting, and that he in fact knew his was a tawdry existence that didn't bear too much examination (especially not beneath a blacklight). 

BUT! We are not here to talk about that man! We are here to grudgingly wade through another selection of this week's CONTENT, cobbled together by artisans worldwide for your browsing pleasure. Curios is going to be off next week due to me being in Venice with my mum (restaurant tips gratefully received, seeing as you're here), so be extra sure to read EVERY SINGLE WORD in this week's edition; carry my voice with you in your mind's ear, listen to my dulcet tones while I'm away, let me burrow deep into your very meningea and deposit there the spores that may one day develop into full-blown web psychosis. We don't quite know what the long term effects of this insane level of data consumption will be on our pliable mammalian brains, so with that spirit of open-minded experimentation to the fore let's CRACK ON with the WEBSPAFF FIREHOSE that is WEB CURIOS!

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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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