A Change is Gonna Come

In 1978, Neil Peart (lyricist and percussionist out of pompous Canadian stadium rockers, Rush) wrote “Plůs cà chăngë, plüs cé lä měmę chõsē” (that’s foreign writing that is, and I don’t expect you to understand it, but it means – “the more that things change, the more they stay the same”), for the song Circumstances on the band’s Hemispheres album. Having said that, in the context of the article I am about to write, that quote is a load of bollocks but, I have seen how many online “journalists” like to put a couple of cultural references in their articles, to make themselves look clever.…   [continue reading]

Two Worlds: The Lament of Dr Cock

Gather ’round readers as I recount a tale for the ages. It is a tale of sacrifice, honour, betrayal, and bullshittery – a great struggle against a tyrannical lord in a long-dead realm. This is the Tale of Two Worlds: The Lament of Dr Cock.

We begin, as with any good story, by setting the scene.

two worlds lament of dr cock general screenshot

By modern standards (and even many contemporaries), Two Worlds‘ multiplayer is a broken mess. The maps and servers still load, but you can’t easily link everyone up to the same server without enduring endless wait times while the game attempts to sync up a player, then syncs again once they fail to connect.…   [continue reading]

What Created Alex Jones?

Alex Jones, explicit spreader of misinformation and founder of right-wing fake news site InfoWars, is a rabbit hole of intrigue I’d never expected to fall into.

From his sinister doomsday conspiracies to his brain force drugs and survivalist equipment he peddles through his online store, at first his very existence seems like a hilarious riddle.

Why would extreme right-wing media be associated with vitamins, survivalism, and hyper-masculinity? You can see the pattern in other alt-right figureheads like the grunting, nootropic-addled Mike Cernovich (he runs a pro-Trump blog peppered with pedophilia accusations and manliness advice).

The alt-right, Jones included, rallied around Trump in the run-up to the 2016 election.…   [continue reading]

This Machine Loves #Pepsi!

When Woody Guthrie scrawled “This machine kills fascists” on his guitar, it became an enduring adage to the revolutionary minded. He was a folk-singer, far ahead of his time. Richly associated with protest, he foreshadowed the posturing of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Billy Bragg and the rest. Accordingly, his lyrics and music carry as much weight and relation today as they did close to a century ago. That’s why it’s such a shame that he couldn’t be around to help out PepsiCo, leaving us with Kendall Jenner in his place.

Just imagine it. Instead of some modelling mimzy, crooning through crowds with the sincerity of a cold-caller, we’d have Guthrie championing peace like only he can.…   [continue reading]

The Internet Should be a Communist Utopia. It’s Not, Because of the Filter Bubble

When you talk about the filter bubble, you’re talking about something quite specific. It’s the heavily curated ecosystem of the internet. A set of rules that filter all of the world’s information and organize it into what algorithms expect you to want to see — algorithms that suggest your next video on YouTube, or show you an article on Facebook.

At first, it can seem like a user friendly way to prioritize and curate the internet according to a set of personalized boundaries. You only see relevant content, and it brings order to the sprawling, chaotic internet.

In the era where fake news and propaganda virally populates Facebook — the world’s biggest news aggregation platform — it’s gone from being a user-friendly convenience to a threat to how we perceive the world around us.…   [continue reading]

Super Deluxe: Editing as Part of the Art

It was only recently that I wrote about how damaging editing can be to comedy. Often chaining or dulling the creative process, there’s a lot of evidence for its oppressive implications. On the other hand, it’s only fair to discuss how liberating it can be for expression. In fact, creators like Super Deluxe have shown how effective it is when used constructively. There have been hints of it for years. Even Chris Morris, as shackled as he was, could reconstitute existing material into something new and interesting. To finally tie up connections to the previous article in this arc, here’s a prophetic example of Morris doing just that:

Examples go back far further too.…   [continue reading]

I’m Not Saying Andy Tyrrell Should Join Twitter

This is written in response to an article here by Andy Tyrrell, my father.

Est Pater meus, cunnus; it is true that my father is a cunt. Puffed up by the bitter fats of aged failure, only a taxi driver could spit such vitriol at something he doesn’t understand. This is why, as a hackney carriage operator himself, Andy Tyrrell concentrates on pedantry for the base of his criticism. None of this is to denigrate his obvious intelligence either, which is clear from his rampant eloquence.  Where my dad falls down, however, probably lies in the fact that he has no Twitter account.…   [continue reading]

I’m Not Saying Ben Brandall Should Kill Himself

Errare humanum est; it is true we all make mistakes and, from time to time, such mistakes can lead to disastrous events. I am reminded of the architect, John Weeks, who built Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow, in the 1960’s. Upon completion, the building was considered so ugly by everyone, including the Queen, that John, wracked with guilt and shame, threw himself from the roof of the six floor maternity unit to his demise.

The above story is not true. It is, in fact, urban myth. John Weeks did, indeed, build the hospital and everyone did think it was ugly, but John did not carry out the legendary, almost poetically, suggested justice upon himself.…   [continue reading]

Neural Network Art: From AI Nightmares to Alien Volcanoes

As we’ve seen from many Twitter bots, software is more than capable of creating captivating art.

But art created by neural networks moves past basic random patterns, using millions of source images, and AIs so advanced they can create surreal landscapes from scratch, paint portraits of dog-men and model alien volcanoes on planets we can’t closely observe.

In this post, I’m going to explain how neural networks — software designed to emulate the human brain — generate images, and speculate what that could mean for the future of art and entertainment.

…   [continue reading]

Viral Videos and Hyperreality: How Attention is Manufactured On a Massive Scale

Viral videos are a strange cultural phenomenon.

They’re your classic fail compilations, your controversial quotes clipped out of interviews, your Cat Falls in Bath, Disembowels Owner (MUST WATCH!!)s. Or — more interestingly — a document of some tiny, insignificant moment that was never ready to be scrutinized by millions.

Videos go viral by chance: they happen to be picked up in the right place at the right time, someone will get it up on the front page of reddit for a few hours, and it’ll blow up. Millions of views overnight, coverage from every major news outlet on the planet, and some drugged seven-year old babbling nonsense in the back of his dad’s car is suddenly world famous.…   [continue reading]