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Showing posts from November, 2018

WORDS ARE WORKING HARD FOR YOU [137]

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With almost no exception, these articles use song lyrics for a title. There are three reasons for this: it provides a moment of recognition before I plough into dry subject matter; it fulfils the need for a title; and it may come up online when someone is searching online for those very lyrics. The first reason relies on the lyrics remaining in their original context, while the second requires them to stand on its own, and the last simply needs those particular words to be in that particular order. This time, the lyrics created the article. Tom Tom Club is a new wave band, formed by husband and wife Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, also members of Talking Heads. Their first self-titled album, released in 1981, led to two very different single releases: “Genius of Love,” more like of a traditional love song, while serving as a tribute to singers like Smokey Robinson, Bob Marley and James Brown; and “Wordy Rappinghood,” a torrent of words and ideas more along the lines of early rap

IF YOU DON’T ANSWER, I’LL JUST RING IT OFF THE WALL [136]

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There appears not to have been a time before the mobile phone or, if there was, it exists in an alternative reality, one where Biff Tannen did not turn the Hill Valley courthouse into a casino. More seriously, the mobile phone has changed how we live, changed our habits, and changed our infrastructure. Like with the World Wide Web, I will be one of the last, at age thirty-five, to remember a time without them. I had to remind myself of how I used to keep in touch – I actually remember once having to wait until somebody finished using a payphone before I could make my own call, using my pre-paid BT Phonecard. That all changed in 2000 when, ahead of my seventeenth birthday, I bought my first mobile phone, just as they started becoming affordable to everyone. By that year, just over half of UK adults had one. I’m not sure why I bought the phone I did, but I guess I recognised the name “Philips” more than “Nokia,” who made the phones everyone else had at the time. The Philips Sav

GET READY FOR THE SQUARE DANCE [135]

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Watching YouTube involves a lot of understanding. You understand that the people creating the videos are most often people at home, who have turned a passion into a paying job. You understand that, to earn a living from their passion, they need to advertise, seek sponsorship, and offer subscriptions for more content. You understand the advertisements you see are what pays for your ability to watch the videos, and what contributes to the creators’ income. You understand that Google, YouTube’s owner, will take the information generated by your having watched the videos to target you with the ads that will attract your interest the most, to ensure you continue watching. However, what I don’t understand is why YouTube is bombarding me with ads for only one company. In one evening, across six videos, five of them started with different ads for the same website, two were interrupted with another ad for that website, and when one of these videos joked that they were going to be interru

YOU TAKE YOUR TIME AND TAKE MY MONEY [134]

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It took me until October 2016 to subscribe to Netflix, but it didn’t take long from then for me to discover my problem with it. I had never seen before the 1978 version of the film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” with Donald Sutherland, Leonard Nimoy, and a very early appearance from Jeff Goldblum, and I knew I would want to watch it again... until Netflix removed it, possibly after their rights to it expired. The same was also true of “Psycho II” a film far better than that title suggests, and one that disappeared before I could get to it. In the end, I did the obvious thing – I bought both films on Blu-Ray, so I can watch them whenever I want. From the same publisher, I now also have a copy of the 1980 Italian horror film “Incubo cilla citt à contaminata” (English title: Nightmare City), something Netflix was never likely to have. In fact, when I came across the interesting science fiction film “Cherry 2000” on Netflix, I made sure I had my own copy in case it also went