2023-05-10I’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.
2023-04-25We 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.
2022-08-24First I have this amazing oral history of the production of certain aspects of the video game Red Alert 3. Specifically the story is about how this incredible cut scene, starring Tim Curry as a high camp Soviet general blasting off into space, came to be. It’s astonishingly detailed and manages to go far beyond “pretty funny clip”. It talks about how casting and producing these little fragments of video for video games works.
2022-03-12Image generated by Midjourney When, from the outside, a collection of people or an institution is doing things I strongly disagree with, it often turns out that from the inside I can see all the mechanisms and incentives that make perfectly normal people works towards bad outcomes. Take online advertising. In my last year at BuzzFeed I finally bit the bullet and started working in the part of the team that makes the money: the ad tech team.
2022-03-12Image generated by Midjourney When I was growing up I sometimes thought I wanted to be a writer, but I quickly realised that doing it for a job wasn’t going to be fun or rewarding. My position is that I took the coward’s way out in choosing to go into software engineering, for a more financially stable existence, but I went into the world with a respect for the writing staff and a general dread at their constant mistreatment.
2022-02-14I think the time I spent on the Community team was interesting. Firstly it was the closest knit team I’ve ever been on, socially speaking. Partly there was a good social chemistry between team members and a sense that we had a fun part of the product to work on and we knew about it more than anybody else in the organisation. The pandemic baked in those personal relationships strongly, to the point that we became a sort of insufferable clique.
2021-10-26Image generated by Midjourney I can’t stop watching and listening to things again. I’m back in a cycle of cueing up a continuous stream of video content from dawn until dusk. I walk into the bathroom watching TikTok, I come out casting a podcast to the speakers in the living room, where I work from home. I get on my bike and put my headphones in, queue up another podcast episode while I ride through the streets.
This is not the apocalypse you were looking for
The right, of course, has never had a monopoly on catastrophist fever dreams. The idea of a cleansing armageddon that instantly erases all the awkward parts of modernity, all the weary years of work and compromise between where we are and where we’d like to be, is universal, and universally childish. I’ve spent far too much time listening to drunk hipsters with retro-Soviet facial hair tell me there’s no point in feminism or anti-racism, because all of that will be fixed after the giant, bloody workers’ revolution that is absolutely on the way, so really it doesn’t matter how we treat each other in the present. You can hear the same gleeful anticipation in the rhetoric of “dark-green” eco-fundamentalist groups, which right now are outpacing religious extremists in their rush to claim the coronavirus as nature’s revenge on humanity. If you are really so keen to be punished, there are websites for that. If you find yourself eager to see the whole species punished, that’s not a fetish, that’s fascism.
— This is not the apocalypse you were looking for, Laurie Penny in WIRED
2020-12-15I think the last film I saw in the cinema before they all closed was The Lighthouse. After that weird nautical trip we emerged from The Ritzy in Brixton in the middle of the afternoon, dazed and out of sync with the normal world where people were charging up and down the pavement. The cinema was only a couple of minutes down the road from where I was living at the time; it didn’t seem like a big deal.
2020-12-04I’ve spent a lot of this year living in the worlds other people have made for us. The world of our senses is either too boring (the insides of our homes, dinner arriving in cardboard at the front door) or too awful (bodies in refrigerated trucks, forests burning, and police brutality) to enjoy, so I’ve been turning to media more than ever. It’s been mediating my perception of the world, organising the information so I can take it in, or turning it into stories so I can connect with it on some emotional level with my burned out stump of a brain.