Monthly Archives: September 2016

Cassettes & @PeterDoherty – How Very 1970s

Following on from the post, “If Technology is All That, What’s Going On With the #Vinyl Revival?,” there follows the news that new music is being put down on cassette format. Now, you’d have thought that cassette was also deader than dead, as was previously thought of our old friend vinyl, yet here we are with none other than Peter Doherty producing a cassette version of his new solo album, Hamburg Demonstrations.

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If this trend carries on, where do we end up, when at one end of the spectrum we have the Musk/TESLA guy banging on about the colonisation of Mars (and let’s hope to goodness that he’s using colonialism in a progressive way), and at the other we have cassette players coming back into vogue?


(Still) Troubled by Mr. Robot_2.0 – #MrRobotFinale

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<title>(Still) Troubled by Mr. Robot_2.0 – #MrRobotFinale</title>

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<p>Not as taken with season 2 as with season

Not sure if season 3 will be worth the wait

Feels like the potential for subversiveness is being eroded

Looks, feels, and sounds too much like a good video game (thinking GTA)

Drawing on well-worn tropes of character development feels fake

Going a bit too David Lynchy but not as raw as Lynchy-winchy

Is “star” involvement with production getting in the way

It seems that way</p>

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If #Technology is All That, What’s Going On With the #Vinyl Revival?

A simple question.

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MP3. iPods. Streaming. Spotify. Apple Music.

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Yet with all this, and more, vinyl seems to be growing in popularity amongst young and old alike.

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So, how is it that a way of listening to music that pretty much died out entirely – we’re not talking eBooks versus physical books here, where books never really went away – is now flooding back into shops? And why is it so expensive, compared to all the music that haunts its way, as if by magic, through the ethereal cloud that envelops us?


A World Without Work and a Mash-Up of Recent Posts

There’s an article discussing the way the world would look if future improvements in technologies eradicate the need for us to work. It’s nothing special. It’s reasonably positive about the outcome of such a thing. But, regardless of its merits, it does flag up something that seems to be entering the cultural lexicon more and more these days – a rabid discontent with what we have at the moment (failing economies, failing political systems, failing interest in working ever-longer hours for little or no extra reward, and other faily stuff), and the feeling that there should be a better way of doing things.

Now, my last post was all about the benefits of having time to think – and we’re not talking about 15-20 minutes spent pondering over a cup of coffee. We’re talking about day after day, until months and even years pass by, where we engage with the brain and have it working in far more productive ways than merely thinking about what new dress/tie/shirt/trousers/trainers/car/house/holiday/whatever to buy. To some that may sound a little scary. Many people cannot sit still, cannot stop talking for fear of the silence that fills the gaps between breaths, and may in fact choose to come up with the kind of argument that is situated within the above article and its readers’ comments section (always hilarious to read, as it shows how quickly we descend into aggression) – that we’ll all be poor and/or we’ll live in constant fear of crime and that we’ll all miss work because it’s such an integral part of our lives. Getting over that type of hysteria is required to think about the next level.

Now, as for the “cultural lexicon” bit, what is meant here is that there are interesting examples of conversations being had where the outcome of a shift in our society’s thinking is not yet fully formed – it’s more of a preliminary grabbing a blank canvas and kind of thinking about doing something with it at some point when you get a minute kind of thing as you’re busy thinking about many other things at the same time, to use such an analogy. Examples that have interested me recently are: #MrRobot; #RussellBrand; and #PeterDoherty, to name but three. Each one, though problematic, as such conversations are likely to be, speaks of a need to do things different to the way they are at the moment, and for that way to be better, fairer, more humanitarian in its ideals. Clearly, if you do the thing where you click the links that have been set up, there’s no single cohesive argument – but that’s the point. The conversations are starting to emerge.

The other side to the article in question, which engages with this kind of thinking from the reverse position, is that there is likely to reach a stage whereby the 1% of the 1%, let’s call them that just to be clear that it’s the very wealthy minority we’re discussing here, will have little or no need for a workforce. Now, though not one for conspiracy theories, there is the issue of what happens when the very wealthy have a workforce comprised solely of machines, along with a handful of skilled people (though that will only be a temporary thing) to service/repair the machines?

Do they:

  1. Redistribute their wealth evenly in a fit of egalitarian passion? (Probably not)
  2. Invent simple tasks for the majority to do, in exchange for a small sum of money? (Probably not)
  3. Set about ridding the world of all the extraneous mouths, so that they can keep all of Earth’s natural resources for themselves? (You’d hope not, but…)

Whatever the outcome, and I’m gunning for a), you perhaps have to ask yourself the following question: is the fact that we possess and continue to build nuclear missiles a potential problem for the earth’s population when at the same time we seem to have just completed a kind of “beginners guide to gardening the earth seed-kit” (Svalbard), which exists deep beneath the earth’s surface, protected by the thickest concrete walls imaginable and that are designed to withstand nuclear annihilation?

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What #Possibilities Occur with Time to #Think?

Does modern-day living provide us with adequate time for reflection, enabling us to process thoughts and come up with solutions to problems, or are we distracted at every turn, unable to spend time simply thinking about things? Our brains are so wonderful that we still do not understand how powerful they are, or what they can achieve.

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A fascination of mine is the fact that we live on a rock, essentially, that is not only orbiting a huge ball of gas at terrific speeds, but that we are also travelling at unimaginable speeds as the universe expands, dragging/pushing/pulling us along with it. Given that that’s the scenario we all live in, and imagining that we are approaching this information for the first time, what would we expect ourselves to be doing in light of this?

Might we be working together to identify sustainable futures for all of the planet’s inhabitants?

Might we be spending vast amounts of our time thinking about problems (both big and small) and coming up with creative solutions?

Might we be planning the succession of generations to come, by implementing smart thinking strategies that best protect our environment?

These are, IMO, valid questions.

Now, let’s consider what we actually do.

Most of us living in what might be considered to be post-industrial societies find ourselves scrabbling around doing jobs that mean absolutely nothing when all is said and done: most of the jobs that exist, exist purely from a desire to participate in a culture that views money as the be all and end all. I have a major problem with a society that operates this way, as money, capitalism, entrepreneurialism, and other ism-y things are all kind of meaningless when you zoom out and focus on the “living on a rock” scenario aforementioned.

If we are to find other planets where life has evolved, will we want to sell them things, set up financial centres, get them up to speed on the notion of credit and stuff like that?

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If we are successful in realising the birth of autonomous artificial intelligence, what do you think it will think of us and of our practices? Might AI take one look and think that although grateful to us for bringing it into existence, that it’d be a whole lot better off just kind of doing its own thing – rather than taking instructions from a form of life that thinks that peace is best achieved by building weapons that can effectively wipe out all human life?

Shop if you want to shop.

Work if you want to work (for most of us that isn’t really a choice).

Fill your time with all manner of stuff, if you want.

But try to spare a little time for thought. What’s the worst that could happen?


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