Posts from 25th March 2009

Mar 09

SF Writers: Stanislaw Lem

The Brown Wedge7 comments • 454 views

Lem was a Polish SF writer, occupying a strange place within the genre. He despised most SF (Dick was the only American SF writer he admired – an opinion that was not remotely reciprocated) for its vacuity and shallowness, which accurately implies the seriousness and philosophical bent of his own work.

His most famous novel is Solaris, made into a great film (the Tarkovsky version is my favourite science fiction movie) and later a decent one. It concerns a first contact with aliens: the distinct idea behind most of Lem’s several approaches to this standard SF trope is that Lem believed communication with an alien mind, or comprehension of it, would be all but impossible.


Freaky Trigger and the Lollards of Pop – Series 3, Week 3

Lollards Podcast2 comments • 240 views

Apologies for the late arrival of this podcast, technical difficulties combined with having to run it past the Lord Chamberlain delayed the posting.

Tom Ewing, Anna Fielding, Mark Sinker and Pete Baran talk about eyes, lies, Google Street View, elephants in the room and the five blind boys of Alabama called Moe, was Walt Disney a furry, would you fancy Bugs Bunny, why Billy Idol is better than Paul Anka and still have time to talk about sleeve notes and have a WORLD EXCLUSIVE from St Etienne (which we proceed to pretty much talk over – sorry).

So nonsense basically, and much misinformation presented as fact as ever. Please feel free to correct us below in the comments.

The Top 100 Tracks Of All Time: 30. White Town – “Your Woman”

FT/7 comments • 1,523 views

I think this is the last track I made go to number one.

Sorry, I’ll clarify that before hubris catches up with me. Your Woman, by White Town (or officially the Abort, Retry, Fail?_ EP) is the last single I bought which, in the week I bought it, went to number one. There aren’t many of these in my record collection at all, my single buying habits going from a slight ripple in the early eighties of pop, then album buying (singles were a waste of money) and then buying indie, and then dance singles to DJ with. Both genres rarely got to number one, I have Blur’s Country House and the odd KLF number one. But the charts we desperately important to me in the nineties, where every extra place you could bump Common People up by made the week so much better. We would probably have imploded if Pulp had actually gone to number one.


Everything I Know About Social Media I Learned From The Mighty Tharg

FT3 comments • 484 views

(This is the text of a five minute talk I gave at the Market Research Society’s Research 2009 conference, on 24/3/09. I was allowed 1 slide, and naturally selected a large scale reproduction of the cover of Prog 93 (see below))

Who is the Mighty Tharg? He’s the alien editor of 2000AD, the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic for the last 32 years. And when it comes to social media, quite simply he taught me all I know.

The brand values of Tharg and his comic can be summed up in a single phrase: thrill power. For our purposes it can be simply defined as “that which is almost unbearably exciting to a 10 year old boy”. Everything in the world of thrill-power is turned up to 11, like this legendary cover from the man-versus-dinosaur series Flesh II, which I consider to be the most exciting artwork of the 20th Century.