Writing from August 2000


I can't be bothered to expand on anything. Is this why weblogs are so popular, because they demand no expansion, less thought and coherence? They're easy.

Paulina Borsook apparently has a book coming out that (at least in part) says how selfish the new economy is. No, not really surprising, but it's true. Everything's so apolitical, with the only worthwhile stuff focussed on civil liberties. That's a bit narrow isn't it? The rest is all American libertarianism. If not quite "I'm alright Jack, screw everyone else," little thought is given to everyone else (and I include myself in this).

I've been listening to a bit of 80s stuff. Thomas Dolby, The Associates, Propaganda. All that electronic stuff sounds so hopefully futuristic, in a similar way to HG Wells-style Victorian sci-fi. It's kind of quaint but also exciting, wide-eyed and romantic. It also reminds me that I want to read lots of Michael Moorcock; Jerry Cornelius, Oswald Bastable, Jherek Carnelian, all the non-swords-and-sorcery sagas.

In Personal on 2 August 2000. Permalink

Here, have some email

I have other things to say, but, as usual, it's too much effort to compose them into coherent paragraphs while I'm wondering whether to actually carry on with this bit of the site or not. I'm not sure I have anything to say that anyone wants to hear, at least, nothing that other people can't say better. So in the meantime, have some pre-formed paragraphs from an email I just sent:


In Personal on 6 August 2000. Permalink

Late to the party

I really must write things down when I think of them, and not leave them hanging in the boxroom at the back of my mind.

I was thinking the other day how sending email leaves me exhausted. You've heard of tribes that apparently believe cameras can take their soul away with every picture? That, if it's not too overblown a metaphor, is how I feel if I've sent a lot of email. Emotionally exhausted somehow. And email sent to a mailing list is a bit multiplier in the equation. My psyche seems to balance out overnight, but this can get wearing after a few days of lots of email sending. As if I've shown too much of myself, become over-exposed.


In Personal on 8 August 2000. Permalink

My name is Phil and I am an…

I was going to write pages today. Screens full of dense text. Rich with insight and laughs. New perspectives on the human condition that had thus far escaped the great minds of all the major civilisations. Penetrating commentary on the modern world that would have you shouting from your window, marching into the street with banners raised. One minute the tears would be flowing uncontrollably as you howled a primal scream certain to give neighbouring kids sweating nightmares until well beyond puberty. The next minute you'd be laughing so hard, rolling around incapable of any action save the occasional life-saving breath, that there is no Internet acronym that could begin to abbreviate the shattering experience.

But instead I read hundreds of posts in the The Well's Big Brother topic. This should be enough to have me locked away in any moral and decent society, but I can't help it. If I had a fat enough net connection I would, right now, be glued, Timecode like, to the four simultaneous webcams and you wouldn't even be getting this attempt at confession. Yes, I am an addict, and I'm already dreading the withdrawal in two months time...

In Television on 9 August 2000. Permalink

Hard copy

So very busy. Programs to write, files to move, words to write, books to read, lists to make, emails to send, calls to make. Never mind the clothes to wash, groceries to buy, food to eat, sleep to have, and essential exercise to do.


In Personal on 10 August 2000. Permalink

Can become quite hypnotising

I was going to write a terribly insightful piece about how my life right now is remarkably similar to those inside the Big Brother house (that's the US one; the British one sounds far less harmonious, relatively). After mentally composing amusing lists of similarities and differences I realised, however, that the list of differences was long and obvious and the list of similarities boiled down to life being numbingly tedious. So you're spared.

In Television on 13 August 2000. Permalink

Big Brother

Yesterday I wrote something about how interesting Big Brother is in that you can see how CBS manipulates events. With Real World, for example, you just got the TV show. With BB, you can see events as they happen on the web (or, like me, read rough transcripts of them on the Well).


In Television on 16 August 2000. Permalink


Yesterday I briefly mentioned in an email how I find it strange hearing Americans speaking about traditionally "high culture" stuff. e.g. on NPR talking about some classical music recital in town. I didn't explain myself very well in one paragraph, so I expanded on what I meant. Lots of irrational knee-jerk reactions and unjustifiable statements ahead, but nevertheless, it's my reaction...


In Personal on 17 August 2000. Permalink


24 glossy ghosts of you,
I had to pay for 36.
But they had a special offer on;
I got a double set of prints.

Your first red eyes let love shine through,
But I see when it starts to fade.
It's the blurred one that that tourist took;
I think that's "13A".

The next you said "no photos please",
Covered your face up like a star.
A green sticker says the light's too low;
I peeled it off to see your bra.

The last shot is just me alone,
Blowing kisses to what was you.
To nothing but a bright white void;
The film's over before I knew.

In Personal on 20 August 2000. Permalink

Back to School

Monday was the first day of my third semester, and I feel like an old hand. No stress, no rush, no hassle. I know where to find things in the library. I know which food in the cafeteria is worth eating. I know the quietest toilets.

Suddenly the place is full of students buying books, queuing (sorry, "standing in line") to pay their fees, and trying to find their classrooms. I'd like to say the university is "buzzing" but unfortunately it only ever rates a mild hum on even the most hectic days.


In Personal on 22 August 2000. Permalink

Different Classes

I had my first classes this week, lumped together in a tidy but hectic cluster of six hours on Wednesday evening and three on Thursday morning. Someone, somewhere thinks starting classes at 8.30am is a good idea. It's a sick, sick world. Anyway, here's the line-up for the rest of the year:


In Personal on 26 August 2000. Permalink

Bleeding Obvious

This is going to sound like stating the bleeding obvious, but bear with me: This huge fuss with the recording industry and MP3s is a real vindication of how powerful all this digital stuff is.


In Music on 27 August 2000. Permalink

An Ad

One for the British among you. Imagine you're watching Channel 4. King of the Hill is half-way through and you're about to flip through the channels while the ads run their course. But the first ad catches your attention. It's for a sports shop. JJB Sports or whatever those well-known chains are called. The screen is full of scrubbed and smiling people in scarlet jackets riding horses through the woods. They're smiling as they trot. You can hear dogs barking in the background and, yes, look, cut to a shot of hounds scampering in pursuit of something small and fluffy. Cut back to the riders, whose clothing is particularly fine and bright and new, because it has presumably just been purchased from the well-known sports chain. A blond and rugged looking man grins down at a young boy, early teens, riding alongside the father. The boy smiles back, proud of his brand new hunting garb. Cut again. A change of scene. It's the same smiling father and son team, but now clothed in Barbour jackets and spotless trousers. They're both carrying shotguns, the boy's weapon slightly smaller but still definitely hard and cold. The father is carrying a small, dead bird. Cut to a close up of the father kneeling, waterproof waxed arms stretching round his son, helping the boy steady his child-size shotgun, raising it into the air as they both smile.

No, I can't quite see prime-time ads for hunting gear on British TV, but I saw one over here this evening. Very strange.

In Television on 28 August 2000. Permalink


Please return to your homes. I don't think I'll be writing any more entries here. I've never been entirely happy with this but have never been able to put my finger on why. Every time I write something I feel dissatisfied. And any day I don't write something I feel that something's not working.


In Personal on 29 August 2000. Permalink