linkmachinego.com
8 March 2021
[tv] Aha! – The Oral History of Alan Partridge … The real-life origins of Alan Partridge. ‘I was able to see quite quickly that this character could have more scale than just doing sports, and it seemed to me that the chat show was a perfect vehicle. I had a very strong image for Alan, and whether it actually happened or not, I’m not sure, but I think I remember a sports reporter on TV interviewing some footballers who then threw him into the swimming pool. He had to put on a brave face while sopping wet. That, to me, was everything about Alan – having to be brave in the face of his own humiliation. The principle with Alan was: how can we torture him the most? (Patrick Marber)’
5 March 2021
[web] A Grizzled, Months-Old Chrome Tab Welcomes a Fresh-Faced New Tab to My Browser Window – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency‘I’d say I thank god that I’ve stuck around as long as I have, but when you stick around as long as I have, you realize there is no god. Just an unfeeling, capricious universe, playing with us as a child with marbles. You’ll learn. Over time you’ll move further and further to the left, pixel by pixel, as each new recruit pops in. All you can do is load pages as fast as you can, keep your ad blocker ready to fire at a moment’s notice, and try to tune out the constant thrum of lo-fi hip-hop beats to relax/study to. Me, I’ve been holding this same Atlantic article so long I’ve atrophied. It’s too long to ever finish reading, but just vaguely interesting enough to not get closed. ‘
4 March 2021
[tv] Charlie Brooker in Conversation with Adam Curtis … A long discussion covering many topics.

All the unedited tapes from which the news stories were cut… They are extraordinary. They’re like a strange, magical world that is halfway between real life and the snippets of doom that we transmit. There are terrible things on them – but the overwhelming amount is just the record of stuff happening. I’ve got hundreds of thousands of hours of it, and the effect of watching it is incredibly calming. It sends you into that kind of dream state we talked about earlier, where you start wondering what happens to all the billions of billions of moments of experience that are never recorded. Where does that all go to? And I find myself drifting off into wondering about what other people’s experiences must have been like in the fragments I’m watching.

3 March 2021
2 March 2021
[meme] An anniversary for great justice: Remembering “All Your Base” 20 years later ‘This video’s 20th anniversary will likely make you feel old as dirt, but that doesn’t mean the video itself aged badly. There’s still something timeless about both the wackiness and innocence of so many early-Internet pioneers sending up a badly translated game.’
1 March 2021
[books] The Culture War: Iain M. Banks’s Billionaire Fans … Why do Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk love Bank’s Culture novels so much? ‘And this is ultimately the challenge of attempting to base your own real world plans and aspirations on fiction: reality is rarely so straightforward. The Culture has a great deal of qualities that we lack, or regrettably possess—they’re less vicious, more thoughtful, and just overall more pleasant. Banks created an ideological playground by waving a wand and removing the trickiest barrier to any utopia: basic human shittiness.’
25 February 2021
[fine] Work Reply Soundboard 👤💬 … A nicely done soundboard demonstrating a variety of moods at work. ‘Fine.’
24 February 2021
[grief] British grief centres mainly around the making of sandwiches … Grace Dent on grief and sandwiches. ‘Dealing with death in a time of Covid, with wakes permitted for up to six people and no hotels, pubs or restaurants open, is a strange, awry sensation. My grief has been oddly nomadic. Death is here, I can feel it – I even have the paperwork to prove it – but, as a good daughter, there is no known fixed point to stumble towards, featuring people and faces and hugs and stories and scones on three-tier cake stands.’
22 February 2021
[podcasts] The Battersea Poltergeist … I’ve really been enjoying this BBC Podcast’s deep dive into a paranormal 1950s British haunting.
18 February 2021
[comics] The 2000 AD Thrill-Cast Lockdown Tapes Interviews Kevin O’Neill [Part 1 | Part 2] … A long interview with the renowned British comic artist.
17 February 2021
[comics] Marvel Comics, Jack Kirby, and the NYHT magazine profile that broke them up. … A fascinating look at a key moment in Marvel’s history. ‘While chatting with Freedland that day, Lee also tore into Marvel writer/artist Steve Ditko, the co-creator of Spider-Man, with his signature passive aggression. “I don’t plot Spider-Man anymore,” Lee told the reporter. “Steve Ditko, the artist, has been doing the stories. I guess I’ll leave him alone until sales start to slip. Since Spidey got so popular, Ditko thinks he’s the genius of the world. We were arguing so much over plotlines I told him to start making up his own stories.” These digs wound up in the profile, too.’
16 February 2021
15 February 2021
[curtis] Adam Curtis’s Seaside Dream … Curtis visits Walton-on-the-Naze in 1983. ‘[Curtis] aimed to show that ordinary people could find fulfilment away from the ever-growing influence of global capitalism. His film was broadcast by the BBC on Tuesday 19th April 1983, only one day after 33 people were killed when terrorists bombed the US Embassy in Beirut. This documentary was “Just Another Day: The Seaside” and it depicted the small coastal town of Walton-on-the-Naze, where innocent holiday-makers found pleasure in a technology-free utopia…’
14 February 2021
[truecrime] “Lovers make the easiest marks”: Profile of a romance scammer … An engrossing true crime story for Valentines Day. ‘In 2006, Rootenberg found his next victim, an executive from Montreal. (She requested anonymity so her name wouldn’t be linked to Rootenberg’s online.) After dating for a while, and after she’d loaned him more than $200,000, they bought a home next door to where his brother Jonathan and sister-in-law Karyn lived, a five-bedroom house in Lawrence Park. She thought she’d met the father of her future children. He thought he’d discovered a gold mine.’
9 February 2021
[tv] From Tupac to Dom Cummings: meet the cast of characters in Adam Curtis’s new series … A looks at the personalities behind Can’t Get You Out of My Head. ‘George Boole, who invents Boolean Logic – a way of describing what goes on in people’s minds mathematically. It is the concept behind algorithms. His great-great-grandson – Geoffrey Hinton – now works in artificial intelligence at Google. Another of her relatives in the late 19th century puts forward the idea of being able to see the fourth dimension, which inspires a lot of the work of Alan Moore.’
8 February 2021
[tv] The John Munch Cinematic Universe … A good look at how one fictional cop unites a number of TV and Movie Universes. ‘Munch was based on real-life Baltimore homicide detective Jay Landsman. After retiring from doing actual police work, Landsman became an actor who pretended to be a cop in The Wire, a show that already had a character named after him (as did Michael Chabon’s 2007 novel, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union). When Homicide ended in 1999, Munch took the unusual step of getting a transfer to another fictional precinct. He became a regular on the New York-based show Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, the first of many, many Law and Order spin-offs. Munch remained there until his on-screen retirement party in 2013, where he reminisced with characters from Homicide some 14 years after that show’s finale. This, it’s worth noting, is not a typical career trajectory for a fictional TV cop.’
5 February 2021
[sound] Alvin Lucier – I Am Sitting In A Room‘I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice, and I am going to play it back into the room again and again, until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves, so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of rhythm, is destroyed…’

3 February 2021
[space] The Uncensored Guide To ‘Oumuamua, Aliens, And That Harvard Astronomer … A rational look at the interstellar visitor ʻOumuamua. ‘When it made its closest approach to the Sun, it was moving incredibly fast: up to 88 km/s, or three times the speed that Earth orbits the Sun. But we were lucky to image it at all. It was small (only about 100 meters long), faint, and very red in color, similar to the Trojan asteroids we see in orbit around Jupiter. Its color is different from the icy bodies we know of, failing to match up with comets, Kuiper belt objects, or even centaurs, and follow-up observations revealed a certain amount of boring-ness to ‘Oumuamua, as it displayed no molecular or atomic absorption or emission features.’
2 February 2021
[comics] The Old Gods Died… Michael Chabon discusses Jack Kirby with Abraham Riesman. ‘Darkseid is pure evil. He has no virtues. The world seemed like a dark place to Jack Kirby because of how he grew up, in poverty and fighting a lot and having to be a scrapper, and then serving in World War II. By all accounts, the little I’ve read, it seems like he was … I mean, I can’t make a diagnosis. It would not surprise me if he had some post-traumatic stress consequences, given the little I know about what he saw and did, serving under Patton in World War II. He had this really dark, almost nihilistic vision, and it gets increasingly so as he worked through the ’70s. I think I absorbed some of that.’
1 February 2021
[tv] Adam Curtis Explains It All … Adam Curtis has a new series of film coming out and the New Yorker has a preview/interview with Curtis. It has comments from “a former comic-book writer” called Alan from Northampton for those that are interested. :) ‘[Alan] Moore told me that he felt “quite neurologically fizzy” after each film. At the end of the binge-watch, he sent Curtis a postcard, comparing his work to “the kind of dream where we become aware that we are dreaming and can thus attain agency over the torrent of nonsense.”’
26 January 2021
[games] The making of Frankie Goes To Hollywood … The story behind how an 8bit Computer Game was created around the 80s band Frankie Goes to Hollywood. ‘Denton Designs began group brainstorming, Gibson and Noble on the ZX Spectrum (and latterly, Amstrad), Graham ‘Kenny’ Everett and Karen Davies the Commodore 64, with Fred Gray on sound duties and Steve Cain overseeing both versions. “We spent a LOT of time discussing and going round in circles with ideas, again and again,” recalls Noble. “It was a hard transition, from the music into something concrete, with playability.” Help and ideas from Ocean were slim, as Gibson remembers. “It was like, ‘Go away and produce a blockbuster game.”‘
25 January 2021
[moore] Brian Bolland’s Final Word on the Killing Joke (Maybe)‘Finally in London the finished script arrived. I was somewhat disappointed. As an artist you want to draw iconic moments. Pay homage in some way to the character of old. Where was Dick Sprang’s giant typewriter? I was worried by the three bug-eyed dwarves. I thought It perhaps offensive to persons of limited height. I thought setting part of the story in a funfair was a bit obvious. And – I was upset by the harm that came to Barbara and concerned by the implied nudity. As the artist I’ve never considered it my place to tell a writer what to write, especially a writer (and friend) who I admired as much as Alan. As an artist, if a scene has to be violent, I will make it so. Also I would never have chosen to suggest an origin story of the Joker. There were moments in the story, though, that I thought might be iconic and sections that were well up to Alan’s best.’
31 December 2020
[movies] The Great Unknown: The Story Behind Jerry Goldsmith’s Score for “Alien” … An interesting look at the struggle behind the creation of Alien’s soundtrack. ‘”I always think of space as being the great unknown,” Goldsmith had said in an interview for 2004 DVD documentary “The Beast Within,” “sort of an air of romance about it. And I approached ‘Alien’ that way … I thought ‘Well, let me play the whole opening very romantically and very lyrically and then let the shock come as the story evolves.’ It didn’t go over too well.” Goldsmith’s original main title is a gorgeous cue that is indeed incredibly romantic, while still having an air of mystery, with a grand statement of his main theme, a far cry from the more obtuse and esoteric film version, which carries a more foreboding tone and uses wind and string effect influenced by Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki originally intended to be used later in the picture. “I wrote a new main title, which was the obvious thing, weird and strange, which everybody loved. The original one took me a day to write and the alternate one took me about five minutes.”‘
30 December 2020
[comics] Séamas O’Reilly’s Bumper Comics Of The Year 2020 Extravaganza … Round up of 2020’s comics – a standout is Immortal Hulk from Al Ewing and Joe Bennett… ‘Immortal Hulk’s premise, if you’re not aware, is simple. It takes that old complaint levelled on superheroes — they can’t die so what’s the point? — and turns it into something existential — I cannot die, what is the point?!?. It posits that a bullet to Bruce Banner’s brain, or any fatal blow, will kill him, but not the Hulk, who will rise again, forever undying, rendering both he and Banner, effectively, immortal. Thereafter, it follows this thought to its conclusion, not merely as a schlocky power fantasy, but a horror of possession and personality disorders that takes proper delight in body horror. Hulk is mainstream superheroism’s werewolf, Hyde, Gremlin type — he has transmogrification baked into the text. But Immortal Hulk takes a pride, nay, a perverse ecstasy in the grisly, bloody, sinewy splatter of gore and guts that this transformation would entail. The stories themselves unfold mostly in a Monster Of The Week format, with several overarching strands of a greater story looped over the top. It’s one of the chewiest, grisliest titles on the stands and if you haven’t dug in yet, I simply don’t know what else to tell you.’
28 December 2020
[til] 52 things I learned in 2020 … Fifty-two TIL from Tom Whitwell. ‘The inventor of the pixel died in 2020 aged 91. He always regretted making pixels square, describing the decision as “something very foolish that everyone in the world has been suffering from ever since.”’
25 December 2020
[xmas] ‘That’s not a star. That’s an aeroplane’ — Maxwell the Magic Cat, December 1981.

24 December 2020
[games] Looking Back at Lode Runner … A nicely-done history / appreciation of the 1983 computer game. ‘Playing each level entails first experimenting and dying — dying a lot — until you can devise a thoroughgoing plan for how to tackle it. Then, it’s just a matter of executing the plan perfectly; this is where the action elements come into play. The levels in Lode Runner are dynamic enough that getting through them doesn’t require stumbling across a single rote, set-piece solution envisioned by the designer; there’s space here for player creativity, space for variation, space for quick thinking that gets you out of an unanticipated jam — or that fails to do so just when you believe you’re on the brink of victory.’
23 December 2020
[xmas] Eyes Wide Shut is an anti-consumerist holiday classic … Is Eyes Wide Shut a Christmas Movie? ‘The film is bookended by two extravagant Christmas scenes: first, the luxurious holiday party thrown by Bill’s wealthy patient Victor Ziegler (Sydney Pollack); and finally, the Harfords following their daughter Helena (Madison Eginton) around an enormous toy store while she points out gifts she’d like Santa to bring her. All the while, the manufactured lustre of Christmas permeates every scene – except, that is, within the cult, where the only decorative flourishes are the claret hues of the carpeting and the cult leader’s cloak. The outside world is already swathed in the drapery of one form of zealous, ritualistic worship – what need is there to bring it in another?’
22 December 2020
[politics] An Oral History of Dominic Cummings’s Barnard Castle Scandal‘Reporters gather outside Cummings’s house for a second morning… Minnie Stephenson, Channel 4 news reporter: He was taking such a long time to come out, and it was freezing, so I Deliveroo-ed two coffees to my house, for me and the cameraman. And then, sod’s law, as soon as the driver arrives with the coffee, Cummings comes out. I’m running after Cummings, asking him my question — I think I said, “Is it one rule for you and one rule for everyone else?” — and meanwhile, this poor, bewildered Deliveroo driver is in the background, holding the coffees. You can actually see him in the footage.’
21 December 2020
[xmas] Wondermark — The Breakthrough“What if we Jingled… All the Way?”