Ghost World and the problem with nerd culture

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The minute I saw Thora Birch in Ghost World, I thought she looked familiar. Not because I remembered American Beauty, or because she resembles Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games. I recognised her because I saw myself at that age – belligerently “different”, sneeringly aloof.

Later on, I realised that she was nothing like me at all – just like in Mean Girls, there isn’t much difference between the cruelty of the alternative kids and the snooty jock set, except that here almost everyone is trying desperately to please her and she throws it all back in their faces.  Continue reading

PS4 real? Making sense of the Playstation 4

PS4 image from Kotaku

The future of gaming is just around the corner, or so they say: the Playstation 4 has finally been announced. Yesterday, Twitter and the wider web was buried under an avalanche of excitement and speculation (well, the bits of it not already knee-deep in the BRIT Awards) – so much information, it was just too much to take in. Especially when the console itself was nowhere to be seen.

Luckily the commentators of the gaming world were on hand to interpret the hyperbole and give us a realistic impression of what to expect.  Continue reading

tl;dr – what you REALLY agreed to when you signed up

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Blah-blah-blah-blah I accept. I mean, who really reads those Terms of Service anyway? I know, I try to, but they’re so very long and if you decide they’re being unreasonable, what choice do you have? OK, so you can choose not to use the service, but that usually feels like shooting yourself in the foot when those disclaimers are rarely used for evil and usually just to indemnify themselves against frivolous lawsuits.

But it would be nice to know which particular demon we were offering up our firstborn children to, so Terms of Service; Didn’t Read has very helpfully put together a rough guide to all those nasty, unreasonable clauses we agree to every day without bothering to read properly.  Continue reading

Nobody gives a crap about your stupid little project: 5 strategies for surviving the internet

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It was just about the rudest comment I’d ever seen: “Give up, mate … no-one gives a s*** about your stupid label and the s*** music you release…”. It wasn’t quite true: many, including me, cared quite a bit about this brave little indie, but it is a Have Not in the digital world, and with that, I can sympathize.

It’s very difficult to gauge hierarchy because it changes so fast: one week this little blog has more readers than the biggest magazine I wrote for; the following week, almost none. White Swan Events, I call them – unpredictable storms of traffic activity, but it’s dangerous to read too much into them, either way, because

Rule 1: Visibility does not equal engagement

Continue reading

The Hunger Games, Dredd and the 12ification of culture

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I initially thought that The Hunger Games was a really good film. A really good film. It had all the ingredients, after all: a perfectly-cast Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role, Suzanne Collins as screenwriter, and a sympathetic director who really seemed to understand the material. The opening scenes of shaky-cammed apocalyptic gloom offset against the slick Truman Show-style televisation were perfectly pitched, so it was disappointing as the film inexorably slid into mediocrity the minute the violence started. Or didn’t, as it turned out.  Continue reading

Felicia Day – Gamer Poetry

507px-Felicia_Day_2012 by MingleMediaTVNetwork

Felicia Day is so the female Neil Patrick Harris. As if acting, releasing novelty singles, producing and writing wasn’t enough for her, Ms Renaissance Woman has turned her hand to … poetry. About video games. The accompanying music sounds bizarrely David Lynch-like, to really top it off. Continue reading

Beyond 2012: Five things to look forward to when that Mayan calendar flips again

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Star Trek Into Darkness

Let’s not beat around the bush here: the last Star Trek was f***ing magic, and this returns with the same director and perfect cast. Here’s hoping for the same mixture of exhilarating action, spot-on humour and warm, fuzzy feelings we got from the last one.  Continue reading