May 21st, 2013 | station ident
- Announcing DEAD PIG COLLECTOR (warrenellis.com)
- The State Of Social Media Management, Early 2013 (warrenellis.com)
From a recent story about Google Fiber entitled "Good news for Google Fiber: Broadcast TV audiences are cratering faster than ever":
Google Fiber and its ilk may be the final straw that will break the back of broadcast television. Once high-speed video downloading becomes widely available, instant access to VOD services will make them even more appealing…
…What makes this possible is the complete paralysis of the broadcast dinos. All the majors are frozen in terror, repeating old behavioral patterns that turned self-destructive years ago. NBC spent the annual defense budget of Mauritius to promote “Ready for Love,” a tired Bachelor clone. ABC is going to build its autumn slate on “Scandal”, “Revenge” and “Betrayal,” as well as a hasty spin-off of its fading “Once Upon a Time” franchise. ABC also handed Robin Williams a comeback vehicle. Sensing desperation, audiences are tuning out in disgust.
Not untrue, so far as it goes. And, without figures to hand so yeah pinch of salt, but I think the US network tv “hits” of last season, like REVOLUTION, would have been woeful cancellation fodder even four years ago. I don’t know that the hit on Robin Williams is especially called for: the man’s a giant, but I haven’t seen the pilot of the show in question and I haven’t completely forgiven him for PATCH ADAMS.
I’m kind of curious as to how it apparently took Google Fiber, in this writer’s estimation, to make Netflix irresistible. In the office here at home, I’ve got about 20 mbps down and Netflix fairly rips along. Perhaps we’re talking about a higher resolution stream or something.
I think it’s worth admitting, now, that “television” has become one of those legacy words, like “phone,” that we use to point at a thing, without really fully describing it. What do you mean, now, when you say “television”? HOUSE OF CARDS and HEMLOCK GROVE? HAUNTING MELISSA on the iPad? Serialised (periodical) narrative? Shot for a small screen? Maybe. It certainly doesn’t mean what it used to.
(And, obviously, I’m only talking about scripted tv there. You could make an argument that “pure” television is presentational, or “reality,” or documentary.)
The term is becoming protean. The scheduling of television has quickly become meaningless, and it’s hard to describe to kids of a certain culture how there was once a time when you had to watch tv shows when they were broadcast, in realtime, because you might never see them again. Time was, the BBC wiped their own tapes. Now a significant number of people watch most of their selected BBC output in a timeshifted manner through the iPlayer.
When Amazon start commissioning drama series to follow their comedy and kid’s slates, television is going to take a new turn. Not only are Amazon in a position to take chances, but they have possibly the best analysis in the world of what people watch and will pay money for. Just crunch down that DVD-box-set data by year and genre. Amazon could actually own genre drama television within eighteen months if they chose to, either by Nate-Silvering those numbers or simply by creating five times as many productive relationships with important creators than anyone else can.
Cable, both basic and premium, have gotten their whacks in, but the full-on “disruption” of American tv by deep-pocketed internet business is going to be really interesting, not least for what disrupts them.
Developing/not fully baked.
May 20th, 2013 | brainjuice
May 19th, 2013 | spektrmodule
44 minutes and 13 seconds
If you don’t know what you’re looking at: SPEKTRMODULE is a podcast of haunted, ambient and sleepy music I compile for my own amusement.
Feel free to tell other people about this podcast for sleepy people if you like it.
2. “Nord I” – Montag (album: Hibernation)
3. “Tidal Wave” – Grouper (album: Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill)
4. “Floating Around” - Firetail (album: Learning to Cheat)
5. “Late Night” – Belong (album: Colorloss Record)
6. “Untitled 3” - Eddies In The Water (album: Untitled)
7. “The Slave Quarters” - Moscow Abandoned Hotel (album: The Salem Witch Trials Vol. 2)
8. “Porta Vox Umbra” - Black Seas Of Infinity (album: Amrita – The Quintessence)
9. “The South Sound” – British Sea Power (album: Man Of Aran)
May 16th, 2013 | guest informant
Rachel Rosenfelt, editor, The New Inquiry
I’m planning to read Brad Gooch’s Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor alongside her collected short stories.
I’m also planning on Woman Hating by Andrea Dworkin, and Albertine Sarrazin’s Astragal.
James Moran, screenwriter (Doctor Who, Cockneys vs Zombies)
I always feel guilty when asked what I’m reading, as for the past 4 years or so, I’ve had something I quite wankily call Reader’s Block – I can’t seem to read prose fiction anymore. I always used to read, a lot, several books a week, but lately I’m completely unable to concentrate on them. I’m fine with non-fiction, also comics, TV shows, movies, magazines, etc. Just not prose fiction. After half a page, my attention wanders, I start picking it apart, seeing the construction of the fake story, and my brain says "I don’t give a shit, this isn’t real, who cares?" It’s really, really annoying and upsetting, because I’ve got a stack of books that I know I’ll never read. I think it’s a visual thing – if there are visuals to focus on (TV, comics, movies) I can let myself be swept up in a story. But bare text, it has to be something real or I wander off. I’ve heard the same thing from a lot of other writers who work primarily in TV or film, so it must be an occupational hazard. Or information overload. I don’t know. But I get very guilty and defensive about it. It feels wrong, like I’m an incomplete person, and a fraud (as usual). On the bright side, I’m discovering a whole world of non-fiction which, for some reason, I had avoided for most of my life. Anyway. Currently in my (all non-fiction) pile:
Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements. I’m in the middle of this right now, it’s loads of fantastic stories and trivia about the elements. It’s fascinating, surprising, and genuinely magical – the best popular science books fill you with a sense of wonder while educating you, and this is no different. And now I badly want my own collection of elements, in a wooden display case, so I can touch them and smell them and lick them. Except the ones that would kill me, of course.
Them: Adventures with Extremists, and Lost at Sea, both by Jon Ronson. I’m very late to the Jon Ronson party (what an odd but brilliant party *that* would be), and just finished my first one, The Psychopath Test, so I grabbed these immediately afterwards. The topics are almost beside the point, I just enjoy going along for the ride with him and meeting lots of people who are really, really, really mad.
Confessions of a Conjuror, by Derren Brown. I really enjoyed his first book, Tricks of the Mind, and am sure this will be more of the same. He’s passionate about what he does, the history of it, debunking those who prey on the vulnerable, and rambling on about nonsense. He’s a lot of fun, and great at what he does.
Shockwave: The Countdown to Hiroshima, by Stephen Walker. Interviews with witnesses, flight crew, scientists, and victims, about the events leading up to (and directly after) the dropping of Little Boy. I’ve had this for a few years, and keep putting it off, given the subject matter, but am determined to read it soon. Maybe.
Jason Howard, comics artist, Super Dinosaur, Scatterlands (back next week)
Do audiobooks count? I tend to listen to a lot of audiobooks while I work. Lately it’s been mostly sci-fi and fantasy fiction.
Currently in the middle of Down These Strange Streets, an anthology of short urban fantasy stories edited by George R.R. Martin.
Next on the list are-
- Shadow’s Edge by Brent Weeks. I enjoyed The Way of Shadows quite a bit, looking forward to this sequel.
- The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. Another sequel book, this time to The Name of the Wind.
- Acaia by David Anthony Durham. Don’t know much about this one, saw it recommended online, liked the premise and added it my list to read.
May 16th, 2013 | researchmaterial
I remain peculiarly fascinated by certain kinds of marketers. And, as a writer who still lives and dies by social awareness, I’m always watching the changing seasons of social media. (Even though I can feel the required energy for it ebbing away daily.) This post by Guy Kawasaki caught my eye. It’s a supercharged, super-expanded version of some of what I do/did, but he has nothing to sell but ads. It is, presumably, just a way to keep a bucket of social capital topped up. Which, one way or another, seems to turn into money.
May 16th, 2013 | music
I lost track of the early witch house act Mater Suspiria Vision for a while there. Turns out that while I was gone they’ve mutated to the point where they’re now releasing vast drone suites. I find this an excellent progression, and ATEM is wonderful. G’night, all.
May 15th, 2013 | brainjuice
“It is the creation of art through the curation of time.”
Curation, curation everywhere. And what of photographers? The curation of moments. Of perspectives. Of angles. This has always been so, although the technical limitations of primitive photographic technology falsely imposed a performance art aspect on the medium, a "dance" if you will. The notion that a large part of the creativity of the medium was the ability to recognize and capture moments in real-time was the central conceit of the Decisive Moment. But in fact, much of what Cartier-Bresson describes is not about the art, but mainly about the tools that he had access to…
May 15th, 2013 | Work
“It is very important,” Mister Sun said, lifting the hammer again, “that we pulverise the teeth and facial bone structure as well as possible.” Crunch. “If we are caught in ten minutes, then, yes, we are standing over a dead body in the bath tub.” Crunch. “But we will, by god, force them to do a DNA test to identify the body. This purchases us useful seconds.”
“What about fingerprints, though?” Amanda said. “They won’t need DNA. He has fingerprints.”
“Well,” said Mister Sun, as the hammer’s impact reports degenerated from crunches to sounds like glass dust being pounded into pork chops, “that’s why there’s a thirty-dollar brulée torch in my bag. We will need some air freshener, by the way.”
DEAD PIG COLLECTOR is a long short story that will be released by Mulholland Books as a digital ebook single on June 15.
It is a love story. It is also about killing people and effectively disposing of their bodies.
Further details to follow.
May 15th, 2013 | guest informant
Molly Crabapple, artist, writer
John Richardson: Picasso- 1906-1917
Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung
My Apprenticeships: Colette
Hitchens: Why Orwell Matters
The Naked and the Dead
Simone de Beauvoir: The Mandarins
Baratunde Thurston, author, comedian, CEO
Writing My Wrongs by Shaka Senghor. Shaka is a friend. We’re both Director’s Fellows at the MIT Media Lab. He spent 19 years in prison for second degree murder. He was guilty. This book is the story of how a kid growing up wanting to be a doctor ended up on the opposite path and how writing helped him heal and atone.
I’ve bought these books on Kindle and should probably get to reading them. It’s so easy to buy, and reading is hard!
CivilWarLand in Bad Decline: Stories and a Novella: Saunders, George
Hybrid Reality: Thriving in the Emerging Human-Technology Civilization: Khanna, Parag
Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity: Dawkins, Marcia Alesan
Lizz Free or Die: Essays: Winstead, Lizz
May 14th, 2013 | brainjuice
May 14th, 2013 | guest informant
Ben Hammersley, author, speaker, non-executive director, trainee trapeze artist
Present Shock, Douglas Rushkoff (for the immediate second time to grab all the googlable references out of it. Is good.)
Bursts, Albert-László Barabási (which is driving me slightly batty)
The Portable Dorothy Parker
On Craftsmanship, Christopher Frayling
And Aleks’ book, Untangling The Web, which I’ve read at every stage, but really look forward to reading in full when the copies get in at home.
Stoya, columnist, performer, aerialist
That’s what I’ve got lined up for the next couple of weeks:
Professor Elemental, aka Paul Alborough, purveyor of fine chap-hop
In memory of the neutering of John Constantine, I’ve just started reading my way through the entire run of Hellblazer. Working through the early Jamie Delano issues at the moment, is a bit like having a some kind of fever dream brought on by too many psilocybin ‘shrooms. How nice.
There’s nothing I like more than a good anthology, so I am determined to finally finish off ‘Stories‘ edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantino. Sarrantino edited my favourite horror anthology ever (entitled ’999′) and like all anthologies, this is a mixed bag- but the high points pack more of a punch than your average short story.
Likewise, I working my way through the superbly angry, although slightly repetitive ‘Chav’ by Owen Jones and fully intend to read Tony Benn’s Diaries this year. I was lucky enough to see him speak the other day and he left me all fired up and inspired.
Comic wise- having long given up on DC, I am very happily romping through Marvel’s renewed titles: Daredevil, Uncanny Avengers, Hulk and especially Thor are all floating my boat at the moment. Might get to that ‘Marvel comics: The Untold Story‘ too. Likewise Mark Millar‘s cinematic treats and any of the noir flavoured tales that Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips put out are always right up my alley.
Not a comic, but should be, are Toby Frost‘s Captain Smith books. All cups of tea, space adventure and elder gods I have just started them and they share some common ground with some of my stuff. I shall work hard not to steal any of the excellent ideas.
I’ll also be dipping into ‘the incomplete Tim Key‘ for a spot of poetry, likewise The point of Inconvenience by A F Harrold is waiting for me to read at the moment, like a special treat. He is always very heartfelt and my favourite poet ever, can’t recommend him highly enough.
Oh and finally, somehow, someway I am going to track down the out of print, ‘I stole Freddy mercury’s birthday cake‘ , the autobiography of Malcom Hardee. Nothing like a biography of an eccentric to inspire and energise.
…I will also be reading a lot of old Plastic Man & Ambush Bug comics, probably in the bath or late at night, when no one is looking. But that, frankly, is none of your business.