Double negative by James Kelleher

No Disco is back. The show that shaped my musical education like no other, an unhurried hour of airtime given over to the sort of music that TV, particularly Irish TV, didn't otherwise bother with. There was nothing to touch it when it was on RTÉ; there's nothing to touch it now.

Watch the new incarnation above, more performance-heavy, and beautifully shot by Miles O'Reilly, and keep an eye on This Ain't No Disco for more episodes.

The Best Long Reads of 2016 by James Kelleher

There is much to celebrate as 2016 closes. The end of death, the peaceful resolution of all conflicts, and a pleasant, frictionless user interface design for our every brush with the glossy surface of The Deep State. But now, in this coming golden age of prosperity and geopolitical stability, let us take this opportunity to revisit some highlights of the year in writing on the internet. 

As ever, if you particularly enjoy any of the work linked here, consider throwing the publisher a bone by taking out a subscription, or cut out the middleman and send the author a fat cheque.

Our hospital body, all rivers of scars; the day-to-day form that we present to the world; the sacrosanct one we show to lovers – we create our own matryoshka bodies, and try to keep at least one that is just for us.

Blue Hills and Chalk Bones by Sinéad Gleeson, for Granta 

Why shouldn’t a gun be like a car—or food? If you need to know the history, you call a number and somebody’s got the information. If we have an E. coli outbreak, we don’t have much trouble getting to the offending bags of lettuce. Guns don’t work that way.

Inside the Federal Bureau Of Way Too Many Guns by Jeanne Marie Laskas, for GQ

There is the whole class of kimo‑kawaii, or “gross-cute”, epitomised by Gloomy, a pink bear whose claws are red with the blood of his child owner, whom he habitually mauls.

The New Science of Cute by Neil Steinberg, for The Guardian

His delusions became increasingly florid but, as Waugh described it later, ‘it was not in the least like losing one’s reason… I was rationalising all the time, it was simply one’s reason working hard on the wrong premises.’

The Reality Show by Mike Jay, for Aeon

They were completely lost on the idea of a stranger harassing us over the Internet. It’s a feeling like you’re drowning, and the person doesn’t understand what water is.

The Serial Swatter by Jason Fagone, for The New York Times Magazine

The ultimate goal of the spectacular state is the restriction of the public sphere, where all ideas of culture and heritage are either filtered through – or respond to – the narrative of the state, ruled by a dictator who has developed a cult of personality.

Trumpmenbashi by Sarah Kendzior, for The Diplomat

Bro culture doesn’t care about heartbreak or subtlety: bro culture cares about having a good time.

How Bros Made The Charts All Sound The Same by Aimee Cliff, for The Fader

Machines don’t go wrong like humans do; they go completely wrong.

Attack of The Killer Robots by Sarah A. Topol, for Buzzfeed

Dreams, in short, are transient ‘trips’ and, when they forcibly and suddenly break through into waking life, they sometimes become visions or hallucinations.

Dreams and Revelations by Patrick McNamara, for Aeon

Well Marianne, it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon.

Leonard Cohen Makes It Darker by David Remnick, for The New Yorker

I was pummeled with narrowed, pointed questions that dissected my personal life, love life, past life, family life, inane questions, accumulating trivial details to try and find an excuse for this guy who had me half naked before even bothering to ask for my name.
By year two I concluded that I would never have the right answer, so I set about trolling the faculty instead. I aspired to adoxography, elaborate writing on trivial subjects.

The Girl in Your MFA by Roisin Kiberd, for Guts

Identity politics is not the sole preserve of minority voters. This election is a reminder that identity politics in America is a white invention: it was the basis of segregation.

Now Is The Time To Talk About What We Are Actually Talking About by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, for The New Yorker

I try to visualize the scenario, but it tests the limits of my open-mindedness. It is difficult to imagine supporting a pregnant woman’s injection-drug habit.

H.: On Heroin and Harm Reduction by Sarah Resnick, for n+1

Nobody ever goes broke overestimating the rage and misogyny of the average American male.

Travels in Pornland by Andrea Stuart, for Granta

When your goal is to make public benefits more accessible to low-income Americans, you are beholden to all sorts of things — laws, institutions, budgets — other than low-income Americans.

Code Cracking by Yiren Lu, for The New York Times Magazine

Polonium was a miasma, a creeping fog. It was found inside the dishwasher, on the floor, till, a coffee strainer handle.
How did this happen? How did we get here? Why does nobody listen to us, why does nobody care about us?

Brexit Blues by John Lanchester, for The London Review of Books

What time is it? Oh, God, I have to medicate.

You Want A Description of Hell? Oxycontin's 12-Hour Problem by Harriet Ryan, Lisa Girion and Scott Glover, for the Los Angeles Times

Finally, I will be able to satisfy my constant yearning and uncontrollable desire to peer into other people’s lives. My voyeuristic urges will now be placed into effect on a plane higher than anyone else has contemplated.

The Voyeur's Motel by Gay Talese, for The New Yorker

Is there just something about very smart minds that leaves them vulnerable to religious conversion about AI risk, and makes them particularly persuasive?

Superintelligence: The Idea That Eats Smart People by Maciej Cegłowski, for Idle Words

The Flight of The URLs by James Kelleher

Ben Kingsley and Petey, via  Liartown USA

Ben Kingsley and Petey, via Liartown USA

1. I've been playing a lot of PinOut!, a neon-lit infinite pinball game for iOS. Expect to buy the paid upgrade (which allows you to continue from checkpoints) after about five minutes.

2. Sunday Books is a new Dublin-based magazine and book store that leans towards design-related titles. Small, but perfectly formed.

3. Have a listen to the old-timey Westworld covers of The Cure, Radiohead, Soundgarden and The Rolling Stones:

4. An abandoned US satellite has started transmitting again.

5. Watch John Berger and Susan Sontag chew the fat for an hour:

The Lonely Beast stickers (and some handy iOS 10 Messages tips) by James Kelleher

We were long overdue a new bit of Beast on the App Store, so we've put together a bunch of 71 stickers that you can plaster your iOS messages with. Whether you want a handy visual reference to cake, animals, hats, ties, windmills, robots, birds or Beasts, we've got you covered. Get the (free) stickers on the Messages App Store here: The Lonely Beast

iOS 10's first implementation of stickers is a little bit finicky and they've made a couple of features damn near invisible, so here are a few tips that I had to learn by poking the screen randomly. First off, you can 'peel' stickers and drop them on chat bubbles, on top of photos, or on top of other stickers – just tap and hold a sticker, and drag it wherever you want. Chat bubbles will change colour slightly when you've got them in a spot that's OK to drop.

You can also resize and rotate stickers while you're dragging them – just put another finger elsewhere on the screen and move it around. It seems that you can't shrink stickers to a size smaller than their starting scale. 

Lastly, if someone's gotten a bit too handy with stickers to the point where they've covered a bit of text that you'd actually like to read, tap and hold the chat bubble and the stickers will temporarily disappear.


Dublin Graduate Shows 2016 by James Kelleher

Puca  by  Frances Johnston , from the DIT Visual Communications show

Puca by Frances Johnston, from the DIT Visual Communications show

Here's a quick run-through of the grad shows happening in Dublin this year.

DIT – Uncover, the Graduate Art and Design Exhibition, opens on Thursday 2nd June at 4.30pm at the Grangegorman campus, running daily from 11am-7pm (closed Sundays) and runs until Saturday 11th June. The show includes work from Visual Communication, Fine Art, Interior Design, Furniture Design, Product Design, Visual Merchandising, Photography and Visual Arts graduates.

IADT - Dun Laoghaire's Graduate Exhibition opens on Friday 3rd June at 5pm at Kill Avenue, running daily from 11am-4pm until Wednesday 8th June. You'll see work from graduates in Animation, Photography, Visual Communication, Visual Arts Practice, Film & Television Production, Modelmaking, Design & Digital Effects, Production Design, Costume Design and Makeup Design.

Griffith College Dublin - Creative Show 2016 launches on Thursday 26th May and is open most days until Wednesday 8th June. The full opening hours are here. Expect work from specialists in Fashion Design, Interior Architecture, Computing, Photography, Visual Media and Film.

NCAD - details to be confirmed, updates coming soon. 

Sidelines  by Mark Neiland, from the DIT photography show

Sidelines by Mark Neiland, from the DIT photography show

Radiohead's 'A Moon Shaped Pool' vignettes by James Kelleher

Radiohead have invited a bunch of artists to create short vignettes based on snippets from their new album – the first four are by Tarik BarriOscar Hudson, Adam Buxton and Michal Marczak, and I'll add more below as they arrive.

A video posted by Radiohead (@radiohead) on

A video posted by Radiohead (@radiohead) on

A video posted by Radiohead (@radiohead) on

A video posted by Radiohead (@radiohead) on

The Flight of The URLs by James Kelleher

Inokashira Park blossoms © Danilo Dungo

Inokashira Park blossoms © Danilo Dungo

Human ethics update May 2016: "Having a person stuck to the hood might prevent a human driver from fleeing the scene". Google has patented a sticky car bonnet that ‘traps pedestrians like flies‘, in theory protecting them from secondary impact injuries AND hit-and-runs.

Listen to Moderat's 2016 Essential Mix, featuring tracks from Alec Empire, Slayer, Basic Soul Unit, Vangelis and dozens more:
All you need to do is take two subcritical masses of uranium and smash them into each other to form a critical mass. Neutrons strike the heavy uranium nucleus, which splits, releasing a tremendous jolt of energy along with two or more neutrons, which split more nuclei, setting off a chain reaction that grows and grows and finally manifests itself as a huge fireball over a populated area, blinding, asphyxiating, incinerating, or crushing every living being within a five-mile radius.
— Atomic John: a truck driver's 'nuclear archaeology'

What happens when we get into the habit of following GPS directions uncritically? An annoying detour here; a harrowing death there.

Cillian Murphy has put together the lineup for IMMA's Summer Party and, in addition to having very piercing eyes, he's made a great job of it.

Jonny Greenwood's presence looms large on Radiohead's new album A Moon Shaped Pool. Watch him perform with the London Contemporary Orchestra, in one of Boiler Room's more against-type broadcasts: 

The photograph at the top of this post is by Danilo Dungo, who took a drone above Tokyo's Inokashira Park to get a new perspective on the city's iconic blossom fall. See more of his work at National Geographic.

The Sounds of Outer Space by James Kelleher

I was fascinated by the aesthetic part of it, the visual beauty, the idea of playing in the air.

Today would have been Clara Rockmore's 105th birthday, and you can see her commemorated in today's Google Doodle. The electronic music pioneer and theremin virtuosa was so good at playing the notoriously difficult instrument that its inventor, Louis Theremin, proposed to her several times. She turned him down each time, presumably making an eerie, alien, sad trombone sound as she did so.

Here she is, being a badass, and below that there's an extremely useful Spotify playlist of 10 songs that feature a theremin (or a fake theremin).

The Flight of The URLs by James Kelleher

Photo via Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Photo via Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Researchers at Wake Forest University have created a 3D printer capable of extruding bone, muscle and ear tissue. 

What happens if you have a lot of money, versus what happens if you have no money—none? In The Jinx it’s not whether he did it or not; it’s, you know, how come he’s never been prosecuted successfully for any of the things that he’s done? And I think the answer is a pretty simple one—money.
— Errol Morris on Making a Murderer

“Completely bullshit.” The NSA's terribly-named SKYNET program, which rates the ‘terroristiness’ of people by way of a machine learning algorithm, may be killing thousands of innocent people

Listen to William Carrà's 48-minute Donal Dineen-ish The Heart Has Its Reasons Which Reason Knows Nothing Of mix:

Wyclef Jean's Reddit AMA goes really badly.  

All Your Base Are Belong To Us is 15 years old:

Stiff Little Fingers by James Kelleher

Photo by  Michael Vadon

Photo by Michael Vadon

Like so many bullies, Trump has skin of gossamer. He thinks nothing of saying the most hurtful thing about someone else, but when he hears a whisper that runs counter to his own vainglorious self-image, he coils like a caged ferret. Just to drive him a little bit crazy, I took to referring to him as a “short-fingered vulgarian” in the pages of Spy magazine. That was more than a quarter of a century ago. To this day, I receive the occasional envelope from Trump. There is always a photo of him—generally a tear sheet from a magazine. On all of them he has circled his hand in gold Sharpie in a valiant effort to highlight the length of his fingers.
— Graydon Carter, Why Donald Trump Will Always Be a “Short-Fingered Vulgarian”

The Flight of The URLs by James Kelleher

↟ Animated GIFs as a design material: Sha's The Digital Materiality of GIFs.

With its entry on the Web, The Times is hoping to become a primary information provider in the computer age and to cut costs for newsprint, delivery and labor. Companies that have established Web-based information sites include television networks, computer companies, on-line information services, magazines and even individuals creating electronic newspapers of their own.
— The New York Times website is 20 years old today.

“He was bold enough to look for complexity when we are so often told to keep it simple.” Lynda Relph-Knight looks at David Bowie's influence on graphic design

It turns out that fairytales are a lot older than we previously thought.

↡ Listen to the The Wheel, the first track from PJ Harvey's forthcoming album The Hope Six Demolition Project:

16 Of Somebody Else's Photos That Lovin Dublin Used Without Bothering To Credit by James Kelleher

Update 10/12/2015: Lovin Dublin have now edited their post to include a credit, which probably took them about 30 seconds. Well done everyone.

In news that will surprise nobody, Lovin Dublin have created another listicle based on other people's time and effort, but forgotten to tell their readers who those people are. The original post is linked here using DoNotLink, because spite. Here are a few things that Lovin Dublin could do to be slightly less awful. 

1. Squid in a clog

Photo by  Howard Nye  via  We Want Plates

They could credit the original blog that most of these photographs appeared on, We Want Plates (itself an aggregator of other people's photos, which makes Lovin Dublin an aggregator aggregator). Maybe they could link to the blog itself, or to their Facebook page  or to their Twitter account  Preferably at the start of the post, maybe at the end of the post, but honestly, anywhere would be an improvement. 

2. A wooden block

They could embed a tweet, which might throw the original photographer a few crumbs of attention from the audience that their site attracts. Here's Twitter's support article that shows you how to do exactly that, but I know they know because they've done it before, the cheeky silly billies.


3. Champagne in a welly

Photo by  Kitty Roe    via   We Want Plates

You could credit the actual person who took the photo. This photograph of some prosecco in a welly was taken by London actress Kitty Roe. Here's her Twitter account – @kittyroeactress – and a link to her website which includes a resumé for people who might want to hire her, probably more for her acting skills rather than her welly photography, but you never know.


4. Seafood platter on a coral shell

Countless other sites have managed to cover We Want Plates and share the credit in various ways, including The Daily EdgeBuzzfeedVice (who bothered to interview WWP creator Ross McGinnes), and The Guardian. Some of them even managed to write a bit of context and colour around what is, at heart, a sequence of funny photographs. In summary, please stop being such a colossal bunch of lazy so-and-sos and start crediting the people who help to bring profitable traffic to your site. 

5. Lasagne in a 1948 iron lung

There aren't actually 16 photos. You get the point.

Coming home by James Kelleher

Here's my print for the Hen's Teeth/Emigrant Disco show, on the theme of 'Coming Home', available now (in an edition of 50) from Hen's Teeth

It was taken from Black Linn, Howth, on Christmas Day 2010. I have walked this hill for 35 years and every time I come back it's a different place. On still days you can hear the low murmur of the whole city; on Christmas Day you can hear your heart beat.

Have a gawp at some more shots from the show below; expect a meatspace outing for some of these prints in Grogan's in the run-up to Christmas. 

The best long reads of 2015 by James Kelleher

Here are 28 of my favourite stories from the past year. The list is in no particular order, but the online incarnation of Paul Ford's colossal 38,000-word What is Code? deserves a particular shout-out for its ambition, humour and compelling execution. I'm still dying to get my hands on the print version, so if anybody has a spare copy, send it to my luxuriously-appointed ivory tower and I promise I'll post you something nice back.

We're only mid-way through December now, so I'll be updating this post to include any other gems that crop up over the next month. 

Data management is the problem that programming is supposed to solve. But of course now that we have computers everywhere, we keep generating more data, which requires more programming, and so forth. It’s a hell of a problem with no end in sight. This is why people in technology make so much money. Not only do they sell infinitely reproducible nothings, but they sell so many of them that they actually have to come up with new categories of infinitely reproducible nothings just to handle what happened with the last batch.

What is Code? by Paul Ford, for Bloomberg Businessweek.

The solitude of so many deaths wears on Mr. Plaza, the fear that someday it will be him splayed on the floor in one of these silent apartments. ‘This job teaches you a lot,’ he said. ‘You learn whatever material stuff you have you should use it and share it. Share yourself. People die with nobody to talk to.’

The Lonely Death of George Bell by N.R. Kleinfeld for The New York Times.

Video games aren’t for us the way football and finance aren’t for us: sure, there are girls who break in, and we applaud them for it at a comfortable distance. But where there is a welcome mat rolled out for men, there is only a bloodied stretch of briar for women.
What if Westboro had been wrong about everything? What if she was spending her one life hurting people, picking fights with the entire world, for nothing?

Unfollow by Adrian Chen, for The New Yorker.

The Kamikaze was the ride that brought people into a water park; the Lazy River kept them there. Soon, Wet ’n Wild’s marketing photos had swimmers paddling in the river, gazing up at slides that towered above them like the beehive towers of Martian civilization.

The Wet Stuff by Bryan Curtis, for Grantland.

Between Columbine and Aaron Ybarra, the riot changed: it became more and more self-referential, more ritualized, more and more about identification with the school-shooting tradition.

Thresholds of Violence by Malcolm Gladwell, for The New Yorker.

Society’s recipes for fulfillment cause a great deal of unhappiness, both in those who are stigmatized for being unable or unwilling to carry them out and in those who obey but don’t find happiness.

The Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit, for Harpers.

When Javier Bardem shoves open the car door, you hear the door handle stick for a moment before it releases. There are three distinct sounds of broken glass tinkling to the pavement from the shattered window, a small handful of thunks as he falls sideways to the ground, his laboured breathing, the chug of his boot heel finally connecting with the asphalt – even the pads of his fingers as they scrabble along the top of the window.
I did what I wanted, and it was freeing and painful. Painful because the end of my marriage was a private thing, and watching Thurston show off his new independence in front of audiences was like someone rubbing grit in a gash. My friendliness faded away as one city turned into the next, replaced by anger.

Kim Gordon on the Pain and Anger of Performing With Her Ex by Kim Gordon, for New York magazine.

Our race, we think, is depressed enough, without exhibiting one of us with apes. We think we are worthy of being considered human beings, with souls.

The Man Who Was Caged in a Zoo by Pamela Newkirk, for The Guardian.

David Carr convinced me that, through the constant and forceful application of principle, a young hopper, a fuck-up, a knucklehead, could bring the heavens, the vast heavens, to their knees. The principle was violent and incessant curiosity represented in the craft of narrative argument.

King David by Ta-Nehisi Coates, for The Atlantic.

’Price is nothing when it comes to fashion. It’s all about the style,’ she said, turning her head slightly to see if the reporter was writing that down.

38 Hot Sex Moves That Will Make You a Better Feminist by Noreen Malone, for New York magazine. 

With no food in their bellies and two doses of psychedelics every day, people are very strange. Bill is lying on his back on the grass. He’s waving his arms and legs in the air like an upturned beetle. Bill took what looked like a whole pint of mescaline this morning.
The fundamental script of traditional romantic love, found in most poetry and literature, is of men adoring women, reversing the usual disempowerment of women, even compensating for it. In the Western world, until the 1970s, this was romantic love: men adored women, and at the same time deprived them of social and economic power.

She Swoons to Conquer by Batya Ungar-Sargon, for Aeon.

Jean McConville put on a tweed overcoat and a head scarf as the younger children were herded into one of the bedrooms. The intruders called the children by name. A couple of the men were not wearing masks, and Michael realized, to his horror, that the people taking his mother away were not strangers—they were his neighbors.

Where The Bodies Are Buried by Patrick Radden Keefe, for The New Yorker.

Russia’s information war might be thought of as the biggest trolling operation in history, and its target is nothing less than the utility of the Internet as a democratic space.

The Agency by Adrian Chen for The New York Times Magazine.

The utter capitulation of London’s planning system in the face of serious money is detectable right there in that infantile, random collection of improbable sex toys poking gormlessly into the privatised air.

The City That Privatised Itself to Death by Ian Martin, for The Guardian.

Participation in a game, any kind of game, gives you new ways of perceiving others. Victory only gives you new ways of perceiving yourself.

Even If You Beat Me by Sally Rooney, for The Dublin Review.

To approach the subject of red mercury is to journey into a comic-book universe, a zone where the stubborn facts of science give way to unverifiable claims, fantasy and outright magic, and where villains pursuing the dark promise of a mysterious weapon could be rushing headlong to the end of the world.

The Doomsday Scam by C.J. Chivers, for The New York Times Magazine.

Rather than studiously following a worn path to fame, the kids get famous first, while a new infrastructure tasked with figuring out what to do with them gasps to catch up.

Sexts, Hugs, and Rock’N’Roll by Ellen Cushing, for Buzzfeed.

If I were directing a movie and I could tell Ali where to knock him down and Sonny where to fall, they’re exactly where I would put them.

How Things Break by Dave Mondy, for Slate.

Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.

The Really Big One by Kathryn Schulz, for The New Yorker.

In a Strangelovian lair on the third subterranean level, Blatter holds executive committee meetings in a conference room with a floor of lapis lazuli. The room is lit by a round, crystal chandelier meant to evoke a soccer stadium.

A League of His Own by Tariq Panja, Andrew Martin and Vernon Silver, for Bloomberg Businessweek

There was some trial and error in trying to find the right girl, but eventually Scrooge found a 22-year-old whom he was able to take to Pink concerts and to plays and to movies before taking her up to his hotel or apartment to conduct the Weird Sex Thing he needs so badly that he cannot even wait till a third date before asking for it.

Searching For Sugar Daddy by Taffy Brodesser-Akner, for GQ.

After mujahideen reported having seen American soldiers in battle, Islamic State Twitter accounts erupted in spasms of pleasure, like overenthusiastic hosts upon the arrival of the first guests at a party.

What ISIS Really Wants by Graeme Wood, for The Atlantic.

I wanted to see the next generation of Spain’s bullfighters, naively pining for the next Tomás, but of course, he was not there anymore than Madison Square Garden has offered the next Ali in boxing, or any of Madrid’s galleries offered the next Goya.

Last Breaths in a Spanish Bullring by Brin-Jonathan Butler, for SB Nation.

Then the fatigue sets in. You feel like a torn net through which the thoughts pass, hazily. You cannot speak or write or do. Starving doesn’t transform your life into one glorious act of self-expression. Starving silences who you really are.

There Once Was a Girl by Katy Waldman, for Slate.

The two women in niqabs quickly found two items that the sheikh approved of: matching sets of thongs and skimpy, transparent nightgowns, one in red and the other in blue.

Learning To Speak Lingerie by Peter Hessler, for The New Yorker.

Near Mint by James Kelleher

Brian McMahon's blog Brand New Retro has spent the past four years making Irish print ephemera a little less ephemeral. He digs through charity shop bins and his gigantic collection of magazines, books, pamphlets and record sleeves, scans the best bits, and posts them for the world to see. The site will either make you very happy that you live in 2015, or make you pine for more innocent days when 'At Home With Mrs. Dickie Rock' was a unit-shifting cover line. 

Like any long-running blog worth its salt, there's a book on the way. Liberties Press launches Brand New Retro – with an introduction by Mr. Pussy – on Thursday 26th November at The Workman's Club

You can also see Brian speaking with Joe Collins and Sinead Kenny at Banter tonight (Wednesday 25th November) at MVP, where he'll be offering up (among other things) a copy of the last ever issue of The Slate as a spot prize. 

Here are a few of my favourite bits of BNR so far – click on the images to see the full posts. 

The Flight of The URLs by James Kelleher

Retronaut has a bunch of great National Archive photos of Wonderland, a pre-digital arcade in Kansas City. 

In 1948, the week before Election Day, [George Gallup] said, ‘We have never claimed infallibility, but next Tuesday the whole world will be able to see down to the last percentage point how good we are.’ He predicted that Dewey would beat Truman. He was quite entirely wrong.

Gallup liked to say that pollsters take the ‘pulse of democracy.’ ‘Although you can take a nation’s pulse,’ E. B. White wrote after the election, ‘you can’t be sure that the nation hasn’t just run up a flight of stairs.’

Jill Lepore in The New Yorker on opinion polls as “a form of disenfranchisement”.

Listen to .wav goodbye, a new collection of home recordings fresh from Richie Egan's hard drive.

Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever, 1963 vs 1991 editions. Father has taken up his rightful place at the stove. 

Watch Aran Quinn and Damien Bastelica's title sequence for Offset London, which is taking place today and tomorrow in Shoreditch Town Hall:










Blue Monday by James Kelleher

Last month, Spotify hit 1 billion tracks streamed from their Discover Weekly playlists. The real genius of the feature isn't that it throws out at least a couple of bangers every week – although it does – or that it has a better handle on your tastes than you do, but that it's tied to a specific day of the week, and that each playlist only lasts for seven days. Spotify have contrived to artificially create a sense of scarcity and urgency in the face of as-good-as-infinite choice. 

There are a few things I'd like to know about other people's Discover Weekly experiences. What's it like for a new user, with no previous listening history? How does it work for people who aren't particularly interested in listening to new music and just want to hear what they're familiar with? As anyone who's ever DJ'ed a wedding will tell you: there are a lot of these people walking among us. Also, exactly how creepy is it? If your Spotify account is tied to your Facebook account, is The All-Seeing Algorithm making musical inferences based on stuff you post there? 

A word on recommendation engines. They're remarkably difficult to get right. It's been seven years since Netflix awarded $1m to a team called 'BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos' (which makes them sound like a crew from the late eighties Amiga demo scene) for improving the accuracy of its internal system by a shade over 10%. Netflix never used the winning entry. The Netflix recommendation engine is still, in 2015, utterly terrible. They're at a considerable disadvantage because they'll always have less data points than a music streaming service and – to be generous – a lower quality library. Still, even given that, it's dogshit.


I should finish this post with a few gems that DW has offered up over the past few months, so here goes. It would probably make more sense as a Spotify playlist but I haven't been bothered to find out how to embed one. So you'll have to make do with some YouTube videos, like some kind of medieval cave-ape.