Rucka Rucka Ali Interview: Constructing Parody and Character

This piece ties in to a podcast I recorded with Rucka Rucka Ali, available here.

For our final interview of 2017, we invited Rucka Rucka Ali to speak to us about his creativity and craft. Since 2006, Rucka has carved out a significant legacy as the internet’s most offensive parody artist. In his music, he often makes use of racial stereotypes and observations. All too often, and erroneously, his songs are accused of racism. In fact, his output is a cleverly constructed dissection of the culture politics we all drown in. They’re also incredibly funny, with a “no holds barred” attitude that starkly contrasts the safe-space mindset of modern liberalism.…   [continue reading]

The Work of Art in the Age of Microsoft Paint

This article is a re-formatted extract from Issue #1: Birth, which you can read more about here.

As Microsoft throws Paint into the digital wasteland with the rest of the internet’s abandonware, it’s hard not to get nostalgic about the simple graphical editor that influenced the “shit is good” aesthetic of the early 2000s internet. Its influence on internet culture is huge, with obvious examples being rage comics, stoner comics, and any image macro with awkwardly superimposed text and graphics.

Digital art that looked like shit started out as a necessity, yet slowly became a preference. Even today’s memes hark back to the days where the best material was thrown together on Paint in a matter of minutes.…   [continue reading]

Exploring Power and Public Social Spaces; Why The Network Isn’t New

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”

Thomas Jefferson can’t be blamed for not getting excited by historical materialism, given that he preceded its inception, but an optimism for the future doesn’t require a rejection of the past.

The past is not a static entity. The past can be re-imagined and reinterpreted much as the present can experience the same. The past can teach us new things about itself, the present, and the future. Equally, the present can help us re-understand the past. We can create a knowledge loop where each informs each other.…   [continue reading]

SCP3 #11 – Zine

Click here to hear SCP3 #11 on YouTube.

Since Benjamin and I recorded a bonus podcast detailing our first tape release, we thought we’d do a longer episode on Issue #1: Birth itself. Throughout this conversation, we discuss the zine page by page. We wanted to give some of the background behind the talents involved, and why we chose them. Each of the artists provided wonderful work, and deserves a spotlight. There are also some good stories behind some of our meetings. The intention is for listeners to have a copy of the zine open during this podcast, for some more context on our dialogue.…   [continue reading]

ACME: An Introduction

This ten-part fiction is currently being serialised in our zine. You can download a PDF of our first issue, featuring this part, here.

1

An Introduction
(welcome to the wonderful world of entertainment)

Petey stood perspiring, rubbing his porky and ill-defined pinkies together in angst, fearful but energized. Let’s proceed to paint this picture with all the full wonder and respect it commands, for the room in which Petey shook – not entirely out of disturbance, but more anticipation – was so unlike any enclosed space you have ever entered. The only thing known to the average human, like you or I, that could even approach the decoration, architecture or general ambience of that cavernous chamber is what hallucinogenic drug users may find in an un-enclosed clearing.…   [continue reading]

Decentralized Social Media and The Fragmentation of Control

The architecture of a social network doesn’t just affect a bunch of invisible server-whirrings and documentation jargon. It’s directly responsible for how the network’s users interact — what they’re allowed to say, what they’re likely to see, and who controls these factors.

A good example to start my examination into centralized/decentralized social networks is Twitter.

The name “Twitter” and the platform’s relentless bird imagery isn’t an arbitrary choice — it actually makes a lot of sense with regard to how the network works.

main_900

Starlings, for example, flock in groups of 10,000 or more, unified and communicating as a network. Birds learn to sing by listening and imitating, which often means that groups of co-existing birds learn the same patterns, inflections, and memes.…   [continue reading]

SCP3 #10 – Drugs

Click here to hear SCP3 #10 on YouTube.

For this podcast episode, we took a far less rigid approach. Over the past few editions, trying to corral my co-hosts into a workable structure has proven a waste of time. Therefore, I decided to throw caution to the wind and let the conversation evolve naturally. I’m a lot happier the results, though I’m still far from my dream of a “perfect podcast”. Perhaps, as time passes, it will just be a matter of chipping away at the mistakes of youth. With that in mind, I shall remain steadfast in my quest.

Both Benjamin and Katy join me in my endeavour for this episode of SCP3.…   [continue reading]

Blood on the Goban: Exploring the Myths of an Ancient Art

This article is a re-formatted extract from Issue #1: Birth, which you can read more about here.

Go, in its impenetrable elegance, is quite possibly the oldest board game that still sees widespread play. A product of ancient China, its popularity in East Asia far surpasses that of chess. In comparison, I’ve heard Go’s complexity equated with that of a war; opposing the self-contained battles fought on a chessboard. Though exaggerated, there’s some truth to that analogy, which has helped Go to maintain its appeal for over twenty-five centuries. In fact, it was once considered a founding art of the Chinese aristocracy.…   [continue reading]

Issue #1: Birth – The Frame

After the launch of Secret Cave’s online store, where slavering millennials and web-based creatives can, at last, feel the material presence of their favourite online “zine”, I, Lee‘s dad, thought it would be fitting to add to this existential element of the website.

It’s one thing to clatter around on a keyboard and instruct someone to switch on their machines and program them to churn out consumer goods, like magazines and cassette tapes. It is entirely another thing to take materials from your surrounding environment, produce objects to arbitrary dimensions, pre-determined physical requirement limitations and personal aesthetics using one’s own imagination, understanding, logic, practical skills and enough calorific intake to produce the energy required to shape and reform.…   [continue reading]

Rhys from Goldie Lookin Chain Interview

This article ties in to a podcast I recorded with Rhys from GLC, available here. I also previously interviewed his bandmate, Eggsy, which you can find here.

Last month, Goldie Lookin Chain released Fear of a Welsh Planet. It’s an album that continues their trend of hilarious, but relatable, hip-hop. To find out more on its creation, and the evolution of GLC across a lengthy career, I spoke to Rhys (also known as P. Xain). As the member responsible for almost all of the group’s music and production, he’s been deeply ingrained from their earliest beginnings.

Aside from Goldie Lookin Chain, Rhys has put out a number of intriguing solo releases.…   [continue reading]