rashbre central: November 2022

Sunday 27 November 2022

Our Tragic Universe

I originally trialled mastodon back in 2018. It was much more of a DIY project back in those days and I even tried setting up a home made decentralised server. I did my usual thing of setting up a test userid, but now I can't find it. Like those bitcoins I left on a server that I eventually scrapped. 

C'est la vie. 

This time I followed a message from Scarlett Thomas, which took me into the world of Mastodon. Thomas has been a positive influence on my attempts at novel writing and also the appreciation of the artifact of a book. A couple of her marvellous black-edged paper novels continue to inspire - The End of Mr Y and Our Tragic Universe. 

Mr Y freaked me out with ideas of homeopathy in a parallel univese and Tragic Universe plays big with these ideas, blending cosmology, physics, tarot and foxy narrative theory, Our heroine(s) in both books wend their way through asking many questions including whether they are a superbeing. I realise that my own novel The Watcher must have been subconsciously influenced by these ideas. 

And at the prosaic end of fun, Tragic Universe also - even after ten years -  has a particular new-book inky-aroma from the pages, which works well if you open it slightly and dive in nose first. 

Penhaligons, take note:  'He's got his nose in a good book' etc. 

And back to Mastodon, and its 7 million subscribers. A subtlety is its distributed nature. Instead of big central servers, the architecture of Mastoden requires the servers to be spread around. Add to that the inconsistencies of the User Experience, different on a web browser from within a smartphone App. 

I can't help think there will be a tipping point when the Signal to Noise tragically increases to the level of other well-known social platforms. I'm following an experimentally curated set of users to see the way that things change. 

Or not.

Thursday 24 November 2022

#LTN: watching and waiting

Twitter has become the news in its own right, a little like some journalists who stumble into the story. I'll bide my time to see how it plays out. After all, many well-known names have been around on the system for a long time. I guess I'm also a #ltn (low twitter number) 

Anyone can find out this stuff.

Despite all the naysayers, I suspect Musk will weed most of the pile-on-noise-merchants out of the system.

But then, I'm holding economically priced Tesla shares as well, since they temporarily became discounted.

Wednesday 23 November 2022

tout va bien - A Book of Days - Patti Smith

I've been reading Patti Smith's new book - A Book of Days. It proto-blogs years of her experiences across art, music, photography, poems and features many great moments from a life. Every day of the year features a picture and a short text. 

It's a work of loving art.

I first obtained her music - Horses, - with that Robert Mapplethorpe photo of her emulation of Rimbaud, back when I had a red Ford Escort and worked in Germany.
The cassette - long since gone - accompanied my trips from Ostende to Stuttgart.

Then later - Just Kids - a slim memoire of her relationship with Mapplethorpe all the time continuing music and art. 

In the new book she features many: Murakami, Camus, Kurosawa, Lou Reed and Martin Luther King. Hendrix and the Electric Ladyland Studio where she made Horses and argued with producer John Cale. There's Virginia Woolf’s bed with its embroidered bedspread, Georgia O’Keeffe’s with a more humble covering ; Frida Kahlo’s with a spooky black skeleton above it; John Keats’s, which 'seems to contain the luminous dust of his consumptive nights'.

She holds a Polaroid Land Camera 250 on the cover of the book, which she used in earlier times to take the photos. Later, on her daughter Jesse's advice, she took to Instagram, where she now has many followers.

It's a book to dip into as well as read. There are so many inspirations, given and personal.
8 January
‘As a young girl, I admired the skater’s attire, eventually adopting the look as my own. The plate belonged to my mother who always tried to make me wear bright colours. The skater won out. He dwells beside my copy of Ariel, given to me by Robert Mapplethorpe in 1968.’

Tuesday 22 November 2022


I'm not watching that football thing. Even as many others are queueing up to see it.

They are staying at the ritziest of hotels, where the sponsor's beer costs $29 a bottle. And fine dining on sliders, which are complementary if you buy 5 bottles of beer.
I suppose if you want to get away from it all, the 60,000 berths of budget priced guest accommodation in shipping containers at £200 per night, might suit.
Surely FIFA is having a laugh?

Friday 18 November 2022

let the alpha birds sing?

I heard from a little bird that there's been a resurgence in interest in Friends Reunited (2000-2016) over the last few days. I wonder why? 

I'm reminded just how many social media systems have been out there and flopped, including Google+, Vine, Friendster, Periscope, Meerkat, Buzz, Friendfeed and (almost unbelievably) still hanging in there, MySpace. 

Useful characteristics of winners are that they must be simple, work on phones and make it easy to copy information to appear to be smart. Photos- especially selfies - help, too. 

Some consumer insights are useful. According to the graphs, I'm a Boomer, although my interests span far wider. Now look at the Generation Alpha (2010-2024) influences.
The incoming and outgoing technology makes for interesting reading. As does the 2.2 billion Generation Alphas by 2023, now we have a planet with over 8 billion people.

Thursday 17 November 2022

Deeply unfashionable

Blaming Boris might be unfashionable. So might blaming Brexit, which I'm told has been expunged from the Conservative lexicon.  Only the con part remains.

Thus I know I'm deeply unfashionable, because I can still consider these six-year aberrations as a starting point for the mess we are in. The 'long, unpleasant journey' as some Middle Englanders may call it.

Monday 7 November 2022

twitter as a metaphor for life on mars?


I was a low serial number twitterer. I watched it grow and the signal to noise ratio worsen. Then the sheer dumping of extra spam into my twitter feed as the SEO businesses muscled in. No, I don't want your protein pills and my shirts are fine, whatever label they bear. Now we can watch as the whole noisy and increasingly self-referencing platform gets dis-assembled. We can wonder if it will ever have its original promise again. Mars colonisation ?

Thursday 3 November 2022

round trip with sound

They say it is indistinguishable from magic. Advanced technology. There I was, on my 430 mile round trip, and I'd asked the car to play some music. 

"Play Regina Spektor," I said and it had selected "What we saw from the cheap seats." 

I let it run and then noticed that in with the album were mixed a few other tracks, which eventually took over the play list. I could understand if they were 'curated commercial tunes' but this was "Neutral Milk Hotel' and 'The Magnetic Fields'. Even a track by Nico and several by bands I'd never heard of, but all (with a few exceptions) good to listen to. 

 I compare this new car with the sounds played on my prior one, which were mainly from a connected iPod which had 160Gb of tracks I'd downloaded from iTunes/Music. 

This car is permanently connected to the Internet and so has a few more tricks up its sleeve. But the music. It really is excellent.