January 23rd, 2010 | notebook
Alexander McQueen, Autumn 2010 collection:
Ann Demeulemeester, Spring 2010 collection:
It’s the faces.
Both images from Fashionphilos
January 23rd, 2010 | station ident
When I was a kid, you see (and when everything in my world was the colour of the above photo), weekends meant the usual ITV station, Thames, segued to London Weekend Television. Which, when you were a kid in a country that only had three television channels, was kind of a big deal. Also, it meant regular morning broadcasting. Which, if you’re of my generation, meant Sally James in thighboots.
Anyway. Here I am. All kinds of things swimming through my head today, and I’m waiting for one of them to meet a hook. Good afternoon. This is warren ellis dot com.
January 22nd, 2010 | brainjuice
January 22nd, 2010 | notebook
* "reputation economy" is a particularly ’00s thing to be thinking about, but it’s been on my mind tonight.
* reputation economy is the "but" in "he/she’s a dick, but…" Look at the shit Cory gets on and around BoingBoing when he posts about his work; and yet the material he hunts down and brings to the table there buys him (reputation) (indulgence) (kudos)
* and in turn, when Cory/Xeni/operator directs the attention of the people at the table to something Cory/Xeni/operator deems worthwile, their (reputation) sends eyes and ears along that line to the something
* "hunting" and "table" are metaphors speaking to a pre-reputation-economy space: this is in fact still the era of The Feudal Internet, and "reputation economy" does not express in a manner as civilised as the term might suggest. It expresses as Clout.
Not a subtle thing. But it’s what gets the job done in a Feudal Internet where money = access and no-one wants you to read news on a freesheet in the street anymore.
* (it’s called "notebook," not "reasoned, polished and fully-baked discourse")
January 21st, 2010 | shivering sands
As of Jan 19th 2010, these are the sales on SHIVERING SANDS, the POD collection of essays and bits that we released on Nov 4 2009.
Shivering Sands Print: 664
Shivering Sands Download: 44
Now, I’m going to forestall the sperglord filibuster that "a PDF isn’t an ebook" by saying "shut the fuck up" and also that we offered it as a "download edition," and didn’t optimise it for whatever ebook-reader you have today. Most people don’t have ebook readers.
Profit has been made, but, obviously, no-one’s getting rich on those numbers. I’m far from unhappy with them — I’ve monetised old work that I wrote for free on the internets, and I’ve managed to collect a bunch of old work in a handy searchable form, too. But I think some people had unrealistic expectations of what this book was going to do.
We’re into the Long Tail part of the exercise now, and will see what the numbers look like by this coming November.
January 20th, 2010 | music
This was on one of my favourite records of last year. Just found a youtube transfer of it. And it’s the time of day for relaxing and dreaming for five minutes. Therefore, from INCAPULCO, I give you the tropical hypnagogia of High Wolf’s "Bizarre Moonlight."
January 20th, 2010 | knock john
The POD-magazine service MagCloud does an interesting sidestep around the "we have broken your business, now we want your machines" situation that the internet and clever people like Really Interesting Group present to newspaper printers (who are also, of course, a distribution solution — Newspaper Club newspapers get slung in the back of a van on a pallet right from the printers’ back gates). MagCloud is a Hewlett Packard initiative, and the position they take is "we will make the machines that make you do business with us directly." The print-on-demand machines, from slinging ink to punching binding, are all HP’s. The base cost they apply is twenty American cents per page, which makes a 20pp magazine four bucks before you add your own mark-up, that being your profit margin. They’ll sell the magazine for you, and mail out the copies to your customers. It is essentially a costless endeavour to produce and distribute a magazine, given that you have a computer and an internet connection in the first place.
It occurs to me that it also creates an interesting condition.
"Does it deserve to be a magazine?"
Given that you’ve got a computer and an internet connection in the first place, there are easier and faster ways to, as THE DAY TODAY used to say, Speak Your Brains. There was a time when it was easier to slap paste-up on a photocopier and bang out a print object than it was to sling the equivalent volume of material on the net, but that time, like THE DAY TODAY, is long gone.
Print’s not dead, and print’s not going away, but, in the magazine space, a print object is becoming a rare instantiation of a cultural operation.
And if I’m asking (say) five American dollars for a twenty-page magazine, I’m in the position of asking myself if this really needs to be in print. Is this a thing that people will want to pass around? Will it be more present and compelling than the same/similar content being passed around as a link? Is it going to survive longer than a week before going in the bin? Does it need the things that paper does in order to resonate?
COILHOUSE is an instance of a magazine that really took wings as a print object. The blog is great, but the magazine is such a fucking fantastic object that it completely transcends and occults the web organ. But something like COILHOUSE also creates something of a hurdle: if this is a new magazine that deserves to be a print object, does Magazine X also clear that bar?
Since MagCloud opened, I have from time to time toyed with the idea of publishing through it. A non-profit magazine featuring short essays and art pieces by a selection of my strange and future-facing friends, for instance, or a long piece by me constituting a wonder-cabinet tour on some subject or other. But I find, on sustained consideration, that I can’t meet the condition.
Which in itself is interesting, perhaps. It may explain why I haven’t seen the take-up of MagCloud services that I’ve expected. (I have their new-releases RSS in my feedreader, and buy a bunch every month or two.) It’s not necessarily that the web does magazines better: just the appearance of transience.
January 19th, 2010 | brainjuice
January 19th, 2010 | daybook
Facing another slog of a week, getting through the work I couldn’t do over Xmas/New Year/the manic first couple of weeks of the year.
Also, just got the paperwork for a consulting job I’m doing for an acquaintance, a job of science fiction for a fun and odd public project.
February, too, is going to be manic. Sorting out the dates for travel to the RED set (that’s RED based on the graphic novel by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner, thank you, film news sites), and then getting away from the world for a couple of days to put in some uninterrupted thinking time. As I’ve said before, time to just sit and stare at a wall or out of the window is the most precious and important time a writer — or at least this writer — can spend in pursuit of their trade.
So today it all looks like this, with thanks to Raja for his video:
January 19th, 2010 | station ident
I wrote a foreword for a book called DAYS MISSING, which comes out of the Roddenberry shop, and since I didn’t ask a fee for it they asked me if they could send me a gift, so pleased were they with my random jabbering.
So this bloody great box arrives when I wake up this
afternoon morning, and in it is an authentic replica of a Star Trek phaser, complete with display stand.
I have yet to discover whether or not it’s a working model.
And then I find this image from Katie West:
Good morning. This is warren ellis dot com, and it’s clearly going to be a very long day.
Unless it turns out that the phaser is a working model.
January 18th, 2010 | music
Kemper Norton, whom you may recall from the old 4am podcasts I did, has a new EP out for free download, entitled TO IRON JOHN:
A free four-track e.p loosely based on the men’s mythopoetic movement , but hopefully more fun than it sounds. CD release to follow.
January 18th, 2010 | brainjuice
Until the end of Friday this week, my message board Whitechapel is running two of its regular "residencies," or Q&A sessions and general conversation threads, with:
* …and, um… me.