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Don’t expect sources or sense.

Posted on September 28th, 2007 in Uncategorized

I wanted the web to be radio.

Two-way radio that didn’t lose signal going over the mountains. Short-wave radio for a shrinking world. My voice sometimes on the same channel as yours, your channel silent when you went to bed, all the rest fading in and out as the sun swept around the world. Blogs are so. fucking. close. The closest anything’s come, really. Blogs begin their broadcast when you wake up in the morning, and go off air when you go to bed. If I missed it, that’s ok, it was picked up and re-broadcast via the RSS waves. But even if I don’t listen to the time shift, that’s alright, I’ll tune in tomorrow. Social networks could be stations. Though I think I’m really talking about groupblogs, there — because social network sites are nearly fucking useless in their current incarnation. Well, no. But they’re television, and that’s not what I’m talking about.

Groupblogs, then. Like-minded broadcasters could be filling the frequency twenty-four hours a day. Sometimes it could be talk, sometimes it could be music, sometimes it could be a numbers channel that you’d only understand if you were meant to. The “networking” aspect could just be the links out to individual pages. Address your queries to the appropriate emails, or dial in on your IM client if you want to be live on the air. Talk radio can work… if it’s largely text. Because one-sided conversations can get old, but correspondence never ever does.

And podcasts… I miss mixtapes, and I miss listening to the radio and hitting “record” to make one. I don’t miss Loveline. I want my news at the top of the hour sometimes, but not when I’m trying to wake up. That one’s going to have to be another conversation because I don’t know what I’m trying to say.

So I’ll move back to networks. Social networks, and why the internet should never have become television. Because the you channel, all you, all the time… Well it’s kinda crap TV. It’s generally the very worst of public access. And unless I know you, I don’t care. There, I said it. You act on camera, don’t tell me you don’t. But you don’t have to perform online. You could just talk. You are interesting to someone, I swear. Maybe not me, but to someone. But when you take fifty shots just to get the right one, and then remix it in the studio, and then put it up and call it live… it’s flat, and it’s fit for public consumption, but it’s nothing to me. I’m just as amused by the adbar at top of the page.

Which isn’t to say I want a web full of stuttering and static. Though that’s nice, sometimes. I just want…

I want two-way radio. I don’t always want to answer, sometimes I just want to hear what you think about the world, but I want it live from your attic. And I want you to talk to me, not the camera. And I won’t always be the one answering, but someone will.

MySpace continues to be an excellent source for bands. Don’t ask me how the fuck that fits in.

6 Responses to “Don’t expect sources or sense.”

  1. Excellent post.

    As for MySpace being an excellent source for bands, I think it fits in thusly:

    When you hear a song on the radio, that song is put into context with the songs around it. With the format of the radio, the song is positioned in the world of songs. This is, of course, not its only position, but it is a position and gives you a certain perspective on the song and the songs around it. This builds the case that the songs are alike in some way: maybe they’re all hip-hop, or have all been released in the past year or something. There’s a context there.

    I think something similar happens with MySpace. as a vector for music and artists, the severe restrictions of the format work really brilliantly in a set of very specific ways. The MySpace format becomes its own context, it’s own way of linking often profoundly disparate music.

    That is, MySpace makes all the bands all the bands look alike. Or at least MySapce acts as a filter through which the bands, no matter how different, must be percieved. None of this “you can’t catagorize what we do, man. It’s just music.” MySpace forces bands to make these sorts of choices. More importantly, it makes all bands make the same sorts of choices. Even the bands that apply deliberately inaccurate labels to their music are making a choice with that label.

    Sure, they may customize the page in various ways, but the functionalities of the Bob Dylan MySpace page are the same as that of some hardcore band from Wyoming or a rapper from Osaka. It’s almost like going into a fast food place. When you go into a Burger King, you are going for a very specific experience. When you flip through bands on MySpace, you know how the informations is going to be presented.

    I submit that this effect mentally flattens the playing field in a strange, almost unconscious way that’s deeply appealing to those participating an increasingly atomized public sphere.


  2. “I submit that this effect mentally flattens the playing field in a strange, almost unconscious way that’s deeply appealing to those participating an increasingly atomized public sphere.”

    … That’s fantastic, thank you.

  3. […] Ariana Osborne : Don’t expect sources or sense. really interesting.. isn’t Twitter pretty close to the un-filtered You-channel tho? via (tags: blogosphere web-theory) […]

  4. My pleasure. I enjoy the blog.

  5. […] Ariana Osborne » Don’t expect sources or sense. […]

  6. […] Ariana Osborne » Don’t expect sources or sense. I wanted the web to be radio. […]

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BodyWorld via Warren Ellis

Tuesday November, 06 2007 06:48 PM PST

Dash Shaw just sent me the link to the prelude of his webcomic BodyWorld.

It’s fascinating stuff. You really need to go and read this. Here’s a piece of it:

6 via Trixie Bedlam

Tuesday November, 06 2007 05:51 PM PST

trixiebedlam posted a photo:

Random Lunch Excerpt via Dan Curtis Johnson

Tuesday November, 06 2007 01:47 PM PST
"Martha Stewart? Yeah, I'd hit that, if for no other reason than you're going to have a fabulous breakfast the next morning."

For consideration: also, never been with a vampire before, might like it!

Luis Bunuel via Warren Ellis

Tuesday November, 06 2007 08:29 AM PST

1964 French documentary on Bunuel, subtitled in English. Featured interviews with friends and collaborators, including Max Ernst:

Michael Moorcock At HELIOTROPE via Warren Ellis

Tuesday November, 06 2007 08:20 AM PST

Mike’s on fine form with this ill-tempered short history of everything related to books, libraries, fiction and culture since 1960. Notable in regard to recent thoughts here:

In my view we should not merely be seeking new markets for existing forms of fiction, such as the short story. We should be seeking personal forms of expression taking risks equal to those of electronic publishers who present us with the means of reaching a growing popular public. It would make sense that among the first publications to achieve this revolution, and seriously threaten the power of the bookselling and publishing corporations, should be those with their roots in the genre which got its first start as an independent form when Hugo Gernsback, using his own money and the cheap and popular medium of the pulp magazine, launched AMAZING STORIES some eighty years ago.

Holographic Models via Warren Ellis

Tuesday November, 06 2007 08:13 AM PST

Target Corp, known for its innovative marketing, is staging a “model-less” fashion show in Manhattan next week that will feature holograms strutting down a runway in its merchandise instead of size-zero models.

Further To The ?America Broke Sex? Argument via Warren Ellis

Tuesday November, 06 2007 08:11 AM PST

Susannah Breslin:

In this post-feminist era, some sex pundits have promoted the idea that “porn is good,” but what some pro-porn post-feminists have failed to do is discern between porn the product and porn the industry. As long time readers of this blog know, I have spent some time around the adult movie industry. A decade ago, I entered that world with the same assumptions as the pro-porn post-feminists. Over the years, my attitude changed. Eventually, I began referring to the porn industry as a meat grinder for the human condition. In my opinion, it is a lot to ask someone to get fucked in the ass for a living. Shalom Auslander has put it thusly: “I have never had a day as bad as a woman named ‘Cloey’ had the day they shot the video that appeared on that [Web] page — that is to say, I have never had a day where someone wrote the word ‘Cockwhore’ on my forehead with lipstick, tried to shove their entire fist down my throat and then ‘choke-fucked’ me with their penis until I barfed on their testicles.”

The Mourning Channel via Warren Ellis

Tuesday November, 06 2007 07:59 AM PST

“A German businessman plans to launch the country’s first television channel dedicated to funerals and mourning, complete with death announcements and documentaries about cemeteries. The channel, which will be called Etos TV, is meant to inform people about funeral practices and act as a counter to a growing trend in Germany to be buried anonymously…”

Borrowing Books via Tony Grist

Tuesday November, 06 2007 02:54 AM PST

I haven't been to the town library for years. In fact last time I went it was housed in a completely different building. The old library was Victorian and full of people who didn't wash (sorry, that sounds snobbish and I suppose it is). The new library is full of daylight and bright, young, unemployed men sitting at computer terminals; also it seems to contain fewer books- not that I counted. 

It was Ailz's idea that we should join again. I was sort of dragging my feet. I remembered the old library as a depressing place- the sort of place that used to give me a migraine. But I'm glad I let her win.  It's delicious to go round picking odd things off the shelves. It's not like going to the bookshop- where budget restrictions mean you have to pick and choose with extreme care. Instead you can be promiscuous, daring, irresponsible. I wound up with a graphic novel by Alan Moore, a biography of the Victorian spirit medium Daniel Dunglas Home, a big Taschen picture book about Luis Bunuel, and a pamphlet by the poet Geoffrey Hill. If I don't like them I can whizz  them all back and replace them- as indeed I shall whether I like them or not. I used to have this rather grim thing about wanting to own every book I liked; not any more; I've worked out- and it's taken me long enough- that I can't take them with me.

5 via Trixie Bedlam

Monday November, 05 2007 08:22 PM PST

trixiebedlam posted a photo:


cheer up, butter cup via Trixie Bedlam

Monday November, 05 2007 08:21 PM PST

trixiebedlam posted a photo:

cheer up, butter cup

this one's for all the marbles via Trixie Bedlam

Monday November, 05 2007 08:21 PM PST

trixiebedlam posted a photo:

this one's for all the marbles

cool goths via Irene Kaoru

Monday November, 05 2007 07:22 PM PST
At some point the tide shifted and goth became sort of cool again. I don't mean in 'reality' whatever that is, I just mean in the churning ever incestuously devouring sea of popular culture goth somehow slowly shifted from being interesting, dangerous, scary, sexy to nerdy and dorky and something like a dirty little secret to being "cool nerdy" like yeah so what! kinda cool nerdy and back around to - gasp, hmm - being sort of cool, being something that many people and bands and films might actually claim to be a part of, whether or not they had anything to do with "goth."

I'm being abstract because this is only a half-formed thought, but I'm an obsessive peruser of toy stores, art and design magazines, furniture catalogs, fashion magazines and all that assorted cultural ephemera, and I can tell you right now, my lonely wanders through the pages of Lucky and Blueprint have rewarded me with the striking return of black and neo-Victorianism and lucite paperweights with insects trapped in their light-catching centers, the fetishisation of all things John Derian and kabinett-o-curios-esque; my sleuthy stalking down the aisles of Urban Outfitters and anthropologie has uncovered black opaque glass goblets and mismatched plates with reprinted etched illustrations and long bell-sleeved garments, the return of cheap velour and deep purple, the triumphal wallpapering of everything in sight with dark damask and hell--even the return of dark wallpaper.

I should have known all this was coming when I spotted those black latex stockings in ANOTHER MAGAZINE in '04. This goth-creep has been going on, slowly, for a couple of years. (AM is always ahead of me.) I've been sort of perplexed and amused all the way at both the popular perception of "goth" and "freaky" and a tinge annoyed at the appropriation of what I kinda sorta felt was my own style but not really and more than a tinge happy to find really neat cheap china with black flowers on it at Target.

But the thing is-- the music. It was always about music. I blinked and suddenly there are bands who do not sound "goth" in the slightest--like this one for example, being pushed as "goth shoegaze" today on myspace--bands with nothing at all to link them with "goth" except for their art direction. MCR also comes to mind as a band rather successfully appropriating "goth" and making boring poprock, as if somehow elaborately costumed music video clips could make up for the utter lack of drama in the music itself. The result is unintentional self-parody. Kids today.

All these years of ridicule, of cape jokes, of vampire jokes, of sunlight jokes, of fat goth internet picture memes. I'm caught between well-of-course and wtf. When did goth become something to pretend to be?

Also: I just noticed this entry is incredibly pretentious. Sorry. I used to be goth.

equalization and mastery via Trixie Bedlam

Monday November, 05 2007 11:57 AM PST

trixiebedlam posted a photo:

equalization and mastery

4 via Trixie Bedlam

Monday November, 05 2007 11:57 AM PST

trixiebedlam posted a photo:


Dear Bicyclists, via Dan Curtis Johnson

Monday November, 05 2007 09:35 AM PST
If you are unwilling to participate in obeying traffic laws, get the fuck off our roads.

For consideration: I used to feel bad when I saw news stories about bikes being hit by cars, until it became clear just how few bicyclists are actually concerned about their safety; not quite strong enough irritation for the "hate" tag

Telepho.Ning via Warren Ellis

Monday November, 05 2007 08:58 AM PST

Just a reminder — all site commentary has been moved over to

::currently listening via Warren Ellis

Monday November, 05 2007 07:52 AM PST

Emusic has it, Bleep will have it:

Steve via Tony Grist

Monday November, 05 2007 03:45 AM PST
Steve is an engineer and he can't get work. "It's all these Poles," he said. "Eh up," I thought, "Here we go- the Daily Mail editorial." But I didn't jump down his throat and I'm glad I didn't because he went on to explain how he'd gone  to an interview and been up against all these Eastern European kids and the Eastern European kids had been hired- well some of them- and he hadn't. So he wasn't parroting something he'd heard down the pub, he was reporting his own experience. 

Middleclass, leftwing intellectuals like myself are wired to go off like alarm bells at the merest hint of racism. Which means we tiptoe round the subject, which means we can be blind to the facts. Steve isn't a racist- he lives in an Asian area and seems happy enough with his neighbours- but economic migration is something that impacts on his life. The Polish kids will work longer hours for less, so the native-born workman can't get a job and hangs around the house all day, drawing benefit and feeling worthless. 

The mass migration of labour is one of the spin-offs of globalisation and globalisation is unstoppable. It's a great leap forward- like the industrial revolution- and when the dust has settled we'll probably all agree that it was a very good thing. In the short term it's certainly a very good thing for the money men who can now pick and choose their workforces. But for the poor, bloody, English working class- for blokes like Steve- it's a disaster.   And ain't that always the case?

The Sunday Hangover: The ?America Broke Sex? Edition via Warren Ellis

Sunday November, 04 2007 11:27 AM PST

“The “Hot Carl,” apparently, is where a mentally ill man loosely stretches cellophane across the open mouth of a mentally ill woman and then -”