I’d like to pour one out for BuzzFeed News, which was unceremoniously taken behind the woodshed this month. I have shared my thoughts about my time at BuzzFeed, much of which was spent with the News division, and most of which was motivated by that division. Now they’ve finally gone and killed it, the most worthwhile thing that media corporation ever did.
I have a lot of fun and messed up memories from my time at the Fun Internet Company.
First, whimsy. I like it when people do something that could have been straightforward and to the point, but instead they inject a little bit of charming madness in there, the unpredictable human touch. Here is a band website that is old fashioned, simple, and yet deeply weird. Give it a minute. Here is a clock website that shows an excerpt from a book for every minute of the day, a bit like my favourite film installation, The Clock by Christian Marclay.
We are about to share a media experience together. Please switch off and put your phone away. Please switch off your smart watch and annihilate any other illuminated sources of time. Please strive to be entirely within the world created by the shared experience rather than in your own life or even your own body, whose use should be constrained to the sense organs need to consume the experience and the parts required for breathing, crying, and perhaps laughing.
This morning I was sitting at my desk with my eyes half closed. I started to yawn and I stretched my arms out and back. Something in my chest, around my sternum, made a dull pop. I didn’t realise I had anything to pop in there.
The last couple of weeks have been full of great new things, and I’ve totally worn me out. We moved into our new, more permanent home in Berlin.
So Popbitch (a very catty UK media gossip newsletter) reports that Fred Again’s people have been trying to keep the fact that he is minor gentry out of his Wikipedia article. Fair enough. I understood his story to go as follows: young South London guy makes poppy dance songs during the pandemic, goes viral, becomes instant stadium-packing act once the restrictions lift, and boy he just can’t believe his luck. Shucks!
Moving to a new country with a new currency, one of the things we’ve been thinking about is, “is it cheaper?” It’s a very intangible thing. I’m too stupid to do quick currency conversions in my head, I’m earning a different amount of money (is it more, is it less, yes!), and different kinds of costs work out very differently. Recently we had an incident with an outrageously expensive (or was it?
Well, we moved to Germany (we know!), so I’ve been correcting some of my gaps in recent German history by reading the lengthy Wikipedia page on German reunification. In terms of online life, that’s the only real giveaway that I’ve moved in the real world. The rest of the anglophone media roar rolls along as before with two notable edits. I’ve completely cut out the very high volume Westminster insider newsletter I used to read first thing every morning (why?
We’ve been living here together for a couple of weeks. It’s a quiet Sunday in our place in the city, the first of its kind. We found our long-term apartment and we’ll be there soon. We’re engaged; everybody knows. We made sure of that. We’re going to get married. Did you hear, we’re going to get married.
Roots are going down. We have our grocery shops, our first couple of bars and cafes that might one day be considered our places.
I haven’t felt sentimental about leaving London, I haven’t felt like I need to say goodbye. We made a list of things to do in the city to give it a big send off, but we haven’t been motivated to follow through with them. I love this city. I used to argue in favour of it all the time. Now I’m ready to leave it and barely look over my shoulder.
How long am I here for? Oh who’s to say, boy. We’ve got a cottage on the island, so I suppose it’s really up to me how long I’m here for. Where? It’s out on the spur, right out where the lane starts bolting back and forth like a silly little rabbit. Near the end. It takes an age to drive out there and it knackers your suspension and in fact… it’s a lot easier if you just walk it, if you don’t mind the distance.