booklist 2013: The Rolling Stones Discover America, Michael Lydon

June 3rd, 2013 | stuff2013

From 1969, a long piece on a tour with the Stones.  The first nine-tenths of the thing are as you’d expect, I guess.  Recounting the minutiae of a huge rock tour when such things were still relatively new.  An interesting period piece.  The last tenth is Altamont.  I was born in ‘68, but “Altamont” was still a word that meant something to people as I was growing up.  After the Manson Family and the Days of Rage, Altamont was the iron door swinging shut on the hippie years.  Michael Lydon was there in the middle of it, and his coverage is clear-eyed, even cold, bleak in its detail.  Sick of the Sixties.

#instabooking quote from Count Harry Kessler (LRB)

May 28th, 2013 | stuff2013

Instabooking via Instagram

The #instabooking thing is a way for me to publicly share what I’m reading, to some extent, and also a way to both keep some kind of timeline of what’s going into my head and also to present interesting or useful bits in a handy way.  If it really bugs the eight people still reading this site, then I’m sure I’ll hear about it.

[reading] #instabooking Great phrase from LRB piece on the black market.

May 26th, 2013 | stuff2013

Instabooking via Instagram

booklist 2013: LIVING IN THE END TIMES, Slavoj Zizek

May 22nd, 2013 | stuff2013

Forgive me for not using the correct symbols  – they always get munged somewhere between Windows Live Writer and WordPress.

This is catch-up reading.  I’ve read a few shorter pieces by Zizek in the past that I never found completely compelling – he has, in general, passed me by, and I never really got the adulation.  So I bought a couple of his books, deciding that I really needed to give him a go in longform.  I got a chapter in and then realised I’d already highlighted a dozen phrases and passages, as well as having seen him wander down a somewhat decadent and relativised cul-de-sac and given me the finger.  I kind of get him more now, and the book is remarkably hard to put down.  He’s all over the place, but he’s hugely entertaining and his writing is delightfully pyrotechnic.  I’m having fun with it.

Vine: Burst Culture Video

May 2nd, 2013 | stuff2013

So I’ve been messing around with Vine occasionally over the last few months. I followed some very heavy users – all strangers –- to get a sense of how it was being played with. As a professional writer, this can leave one with the sense that one is the only person in the world who doesn’t leave the house. Or have friends. Or eat, apparently, because damn I looked at a lot of food and coffee. Shades of early Instagram.
I’d always liked the idea of social short video – remember 12seconds?  Vine is very much a refinement of that idea, with much better tools.  I have to give it to them: the app is very well done.

I don’t know if it’ll ever leave the app-testing folder in the back of my iPhone, but I think I’d like it to.  It has that essential Instagram-like appeal of making me smile whenever I open it.  Matt Sheret once called Instagram the Twitter you look forward to opening.  Also, John Hodgman’s Vine is frequently wonderful.