Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Digital Wrting Down Under

Fans of Douglas Adams' BBC series ( which imho merely kidnapped rather than captured a percentage of the humor in the four books in his trilogy. yet developing in that flawed process a pretty slickly comedic distinctive screen style - derived from radio !) and anyone interested in digital writing as a potential career (in which we can fail miserably but make that miserable failure the basis of a phoenix like comeback - well I hope we can, that's my plan anyway. Enjoy

Saturday, December 6, 2008

the relative merits of street cred

I recently saw this image above from Banksy and wondered about the tag currently attached to him, as 'the world's most famous street artist'. - Well that's the trouble with fame, credibility and particularly 'greatness', like Einstein's theory - they are all relative.

Below is some awe inspiring street animation from the Argentinian artist BLU (don't mention the Falklands pls) which to some more than tops Banksy for street cred...... originality and artistic endeavour. It may be like comparing apples and oranges - but hey isn't it tremendous to have such wonderful fruit:

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I know who I am

Now that the new Star Trek trailer has broken (even in HD) I love this reworking of it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008



Is my new word that means the ancient practice of breaking people into categories that we already know actually means nothing anymore.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

back inside the outside

The previous post, like the website in the image returned an invalid argument.

Ah yes, I've decided to join the Irish social media club after all, well not that 'official' style club via twitter 'lets somehow charge everyone for listening to each other' model - but the by far more imaginative Irish Arts Council initiative. Come along and remain outside the official structure if you so desire - right up my street really.

I suppose, when it comes to traditional arts and new media Ireland is currently a bit like it was during the 1950's electrification phase, while we were supposedly just working on the physical infrastructure we were actually having to perform some renovation work on the national mindset itself, bit by bit, mile by mile. I suppose in the 21st century arts & arts orgs must be taught to contextualize themselves in the current international technological paradigm - This seems to be the arts council's way of starting that process. I found it strange that the list of Irish Experts for the conference was quite short and not all that deep in relative terms - when you begin to consider the size and impact of the tech, innovation, software services industries we already have in Ireland

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Digital Dinosaurs : Sure but how long could you last listening to the Irish experts ?

I could survive for 60 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor

Sure but how long could you last listening to the arts council's new media 'experts'.

I've just spent over two years of my life researching just this sort of stuff while studying for my recently awarded MA in Creative Writing and New Media - I remember a very wise man once telling me that if I wanted to know what was really going on in the new media world today then I should ask my kids - (10, 15, 19) I must say the Arts council's definition of 'expert' and that of my kids' appear to somewhat differ: more bog roll than role call of Irish experts - residue of the old celtic dot bubble web 2.0 new media property porn hype crush thing, spectacularly mispromoted and mostly misunderstood by naive pr bandwagoneers, as thee idea that we all need to hear what they are seeking to communicate. wisdom it aint.

- Anyone who has blogged using or about new media obviously has something to say on the matter - in a similar vain to the assertion that almost everyone has a novel in them.. and in most cases it should stay in them. So tell that to me and another 100,000 plus over at http://www.nanowrimo.org/ so that's democracy for you, free will, but will anyone really last the whole day listening to these experts ?

I think I migh have another go with that other dinosaur.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

comedy is outright difficult

I signed up to the National Novel Writing Month partly because it's actually an international event and a tremendous way to (re)test self discipline for writers. There's also potential something there.

I genuinely want to spend part of the coming month writing a comic novel, but joining up I soon discovered that really wanting to write a comic novel can prove an unpopular and difficult idea. I am very grateful for all those folks who offered insight and opinion in that regard, below is part of my take on why writers tend to dilute novels and very rarely distill them into a purely comedic novel.

Yet it's potentially inspiring and fun but horrible and hard and ridiculously difficult to sustain and despairingly dumb when it dies and elating and frustrating in unequal measures when it flies, not only because comedy and the comedic somehow says publicly I want people to like me and find me and my writing funny, genuine, entertaining, slap on the back buddy brilliant, your stuff is like sooooo funny I'd buy the next one on Pratchett like pre-order. Its tough wanting to write comedy not just because it's some muted form of psychological defense mechanism developed over years scraping a living / learning on this miserable greedy weedy wee planet, not only because many of us have spent part of our life subconsciously examining the elements, components, structures and theories of successful comedy, and thus ensuring we socially conform if confronted with funny situations, It's odd and difficult not just because we can exaggerate in fifty million ways about what it is that makes stuff 'funny' to some people in the first place and totally unfunny to others in second place or in any sort of place if their's is being repossessed right now.

It's tough but rewarding not only because nonsense is often the least offensive vehicle to hold and transport actual sense and truth and attack the status quo, or that the history of clowns and court jester's is as valid and worthy as that of economic advisers, military commanders even spiritual leaders, or that to be prepared to be a comedy writer or comedy maker you MUST be prepared to lie, to cheat and trick your reader/viewer, even become a fool of sorts, that 'simple funny' is actually a very complicated process to which the vast majority of the planet is immediately capable of responding positively - while merely a minority are capable of instigating, sustaining or making those laughs and humor and the actually funny jokes live and, like a long line of incredibly convoluted unfunny dialog ...... going to the end of your tolerance level .. yet .....incredibly keeping your attention ...... last.

Even he who is regarded as that gifted 'wisecracker' or she as crackerette perhaps and we all know at least one, would have trouble with 70K words worth of wisecracking, you'd need to be slightly cracked to want to do that in the first place and he who laughs last, is he who didn't get the joke and he who says or writes 'he who' all the time sounds a bit like an ass backwards.

I think the objective of deciding to write comedy is making a decision to enjoy the process of writing that bit more than the straight forward or more mainstream genres - to be braver, to be more prepared than most to embrace failure, then on the other hand, there's four fingers and a thumb - I am always prepared to be this wrong in the pursuit of something that might somehow turn out right.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Web 2.0 non runner.

I'm so busy right now, I'm taking my own advice to do nothing at all electronic for one afternoon, just because I can ! For a couple of hours I'm not answering the phone, email, txts, mobile or even the door (ok it's wood but the bell has electronics). I'm checking out of the twitter stream, the superhighway, the loop, boards, forums, moodles, etc etc, powering down so I can actually plan and write up some stuff on paper for a change.

All the 'e' stuff is really great and the latest web 2.0 stuff does excite, broaden the horizons, add value, etc, but there is a strange competitiveness to it all, my blog's bigger than your blog sorta stuff, awards for this, recognition for that, all of which kinda perplexes me in so mnay ways, anyway, I decided to award my self the afternoon off by quickly creating the above award for me and my electronic presence.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

DUMB DIGITAL - Offended ?

I recently set up a twitter account - it's not a week old yet and I'm genuinely surprised that I have already received many followers. I embedded this Whoopi Goldberg Video here for reasons which may become obvious.

As with so much social media, I was required to offer the usual username, password, info, and a one line bio. Fine. We all have to do that, later we often go back and tweak that info. Well I do.

My one line twitter bio initially said, 'dumb digital paddy'. In parts of the UK, 'Paddy' is a label that would be easily given, in some instances as a term of endearment from boisterous 'Brits' or scallywag 'scousers', a jovial cultural classification from Good hearted Geordies, etc, I'm sure that slang interpretation of the term 'Paddy' has entered the British lexicon.

A mate read my blog but said he wouldn't f**king subscribe to my f**king twitter, he wouldn't get an account or follow me simply because I was demeaning the Irish Identity by calling myself, a 'dumb digital paddy'. " Irony is not your favorite subject ?" clevercelt asks, erm nope, he prefers his 'PADDY' as a racist slogan of condescension, even though his name actually is Paddy and he too is Irish.

I changed my bio, because I'm sure there are other sensitive paddy's out there that wear their own form of ractist glassess and thus colour their opinions accordingly, I have no desire to offend anyone, so I changed my 1 line bio to Dumb Digital Mick.

Now in the USA & elsewhere, they don't refer to Irish People as 'Paddy's' they call them 'Micks' but since my name is Michael and I have been called Mick by my close friends for over 40 years, then Paddy can go ' F... F... Find himself' (-:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My computer is recognizing your creative genius…. and some…

I very recently, while metaphorically scratching my head in search of a suitably quirky discussion topic for this blog somehow examining recyceled story ideas, received a promotional email from HP - not the nice fruity and brown sauce makers in the UK but that nasty global computer hardware entity - grrr grrr (feigned anger at anything that employs more than 1000 people!) grr grrr (genuine anger for similar and other reasons)grr grr, 'mocking is catching' as my grandmother informed me, so I’ll stop.

HP didn't send me that email directly, the admin bot at animation world network sent it to me, it and I ,usually get along you see. Since we do, I began to wonder about the actual validity of HP's question in that promo email- "Is your computer recognizing your creative genius?" What superficially seemed like a totally absurd Kotler cougher, (i.e. embarrassingly inept attempt at marketing cleverness) actually contains a modicum of provocative thought. However being Irish & a creative craftsman for in excess of twenty years, I respect the old adage, “A bad workman blames his tools" so you see, claiming that I cannot realize my creativity through my lack of HP hardware innovation is counter intuitive to what I’ve learned about creativity and being creative.

Such inane advertising slogan’s pander to a sort of selective whingey prima donna type creativity, "I can only be creative on Monday’s and only if I’ve had my Skinny Latte First " Sounds pretty ridiculous to anyone who has experienced genuine creative flair, na├»ve noobs and other apprentice types might think subscribing to such a idea is good for the ego and ergo good for creativity. Substitute the above ‘HP Hardware’ for 'Skinny latte' and somehow it’s supposedlyvalid ? Sorry I don’t think so, my brother often said, ‘a good snooker player doesn’t even need a cue’ and while that sounds utterly incredulous perhaps more so than this inane computer recognition concept, there is an underlying reverse wisdom in operation, a sort of prompt of the Zen Koan variety – being; no matter what kind of tool you have, whether top of the range, latest innovation or slow and clunky, the tool will not make you creative, if you are genuinely creative then you will also be creative in how you achieve that creativity.

My computers just do what I tell them to do, each an inert piece of hardware that passively processes my instructions - it doesn’t interpret them and therefore is incapable of recognising, pattern matching , comparing, or any other form of heuristic behaviour, HP’s ad agency on the other hand recognise insecurities in the commercial creative communities, specifically among those seeking an edge, advantage or indeed excuse, as a result of lazy or lack of creativity, such as that which spawned that stupid ad in the first instance.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

strikes me as strange flexi muscle

Well there is a rare photo, from the CPSU website, it's Derek Mullen Assistant General Secretary of the CPSU (Civil Public & Services Union) and he's on the phone, I hope that photo wasn't taken at lunchtime !

Why is that rare ? well his union membership is currently refusing to answer phones or indeed open social welfare offices at lunchtime. Specifically affecting those particularly vulnerable low income members of Irish Society - those on the dole or the sick or pensions. But hey when one man, i.e. that unknown train driver in cork, could, a the drop of a hat, completely and utterly fuck up the travel plans of twenty thousand people over some bullshit personal dispute (that subsequently disappeared into the ether,) then why shouldn't the CPSU show their civil service muscles with the low income strata of society over their flexi time concerns !

It's at this point where I reminisce, Jim Larkin, James Connolly, ahhh what men and then what other men, later Union Leaders with dodgey cars in eighties and dodgier morals in the 90s, the rotting of collective welfare concerns, replaced by the stink of self interest and the belief of the supremacy of the individual. Haven't any of these guys seen Star Trek.. not remember ? The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few - that idealistic idea of collective good - while trade unions are on the whole a positive force in Irish Society, it's telling that the majority of the multinationals here avoid them like the plague. One academic institution I'm familiar with is being run by trade unions in every thing but name.

Everyone wants fairness in our society, we like the idea of the little man being able to stand up for themselves if only collectively, but when the little man decides to punish the even littler man, how is that going to solve anything ? I think the CPSU could do with an injection of fresh conscience and new brains if this is the only course of action their collective intelligence could determine.

There is very little or no coverage of this dispute on the net currently, from any of the major networks or news/print media, I wonder why that is ? Well I don't really, if it was a strike affecting auctioneers or property developers, we'd have a government minister on railroading possible solutions down our throat faster than you can say ' are the fishermen still striking ?

Then there's the whole health service debacle. My solution is exactly the same as the solution I use for a bluescreen or frozen computer - reboot the whole thing in safe mode and only enable what you need, as you need it, that helps identify the bottlenecks and prolems, why can't that be done with the health service ? well one word really: UNIONS.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Kindle - A New Bet ?

Jeff Bezos has been talking (up) recently to the wall street journal and in his ultramodern view apparently todays books are like 'horses'. Which can only be great news for Paddy Power and all the other on-line gambling providers that allow you to enjoy a flutter. Wonder what odds you'd get on JKR coming first past the post again ? Anyway there's the whole aura of risk and innovation, exclusivity even, that's been created around the kindle - when to this observer it's really a one horse race at present (Sony hasn't got out of the gate really) and with the ridiculously low levels of content innovation it's turning into a one horse race on the flat.

But then hype and business and the business of hype ensures that we're cleverly fed intimations, cheap psychology, safe and tested communications, it all gets repackaged to make it sound as if it's actually new thinking. I have heard the book/horse analogy many many years ago, I added the (very entertaining in it's own right) clip below from last years TED where the Lady Erin uses that exact analogy just as a matter of record for anyone who thinks that Jeff Bezos is somehow engaged in innovative or new thinking on the subject, basically if you have a business plan and you have become the hulking tanker of an org that Amazon has become then you can't really apply agile thinking to your outlook - even a big famous powerful individual sometimes gotta do a bit of that stolentelling thang to get by.

All of which reminded me of that great Tommy Cooper Joke:

I backed a horse at twenty to one.

It didn't come in until quarter past five.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Two sides to any revision.

I happened upon two Gael gores (sic) warbling away to their heart’s content about a Charlie Haughey ‘Inish flickle on’ story they both knew - just while flicking channels on TV last night. Yes I do occasionally see the passive box but maybe rather than my seeking intellectual fare I just switched it on to get some value out of an exorbitant license fee and Sky subscription – yup almost Springsteen like channel hoping – 57 channels and only two old Irish gits slobbering on.

Like many myths, the story they were sharing was based in landscape, had a cast and even an absent hero, the under two minute tale carried a little internal didactic to be unearthed by anyone willing to mull it over in their head for longer than it takes to beat up a child and steal their lunch money. You see the hero (not) in question was good old Charlie J Haughey, former ‘tapioca’ (sounds similar but kinda the Irish President or prime minister type 'boss') one time savior of the Irish people, but specifically Saviour of Irish artists and writers and more specifically Saviour of many Irish artists and writers who were his own friends but even more specifically than that, himself being a ‘would be’ Irish artist and writer namely Saviour of his own thick deluded selfish skin.

For the record, which was by Denial O Donnelly I believe, I didn’t know Charlie Haughey personally but I did have to personally endure his belt tightening banana republic posturing back in the eighties, there was a kinda garment theme running through our simple life back then, we tightened our belts and did sweet F.A. while Charlie wore the pants, bought wardrobes of £400 designer shirts in Paris and fleeced us for our own good.

The story the two real Irish people were telling on TV was of Charlie’s unmitigated generosity over some expensive vintage wine in his personal cellar that the locals had borrowed in times of need, apparently reserves beyond comprehension of the simple locals were taken only to be later replaced by inferior grape. But good old Charlie saw the funny side, he laughed heartily at the honest simplicity of the locals and forgave their pillage. So the multifaceted legacy of the disgraced leader once again gets a revision, does time really heal all wounds, even the wounds of a nation’s consciousness ? Are we being offered two more sides to a revision of a proven thief who abused his position of trust ?

I think that's my TV surfing over for a while.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Off we go on paddy's day

Well Folks, I wrote last year about 'the future inside the box' (in the article - linked to the title) and this year some stuff has changed, namely my own personal optimism.

I finished the article last year by saying that I personally felt pretty optimistic about what Irish Digital Media Companies could achieve in late 2007 and indeed at MIP2008. Well the credit crunch, the housing bust, and the general deflation of sentiment has put pay to most of that. My faith in humanity remains, my faith in financiers may have been shaken violently and my faith in politicians........ well I never really had any faith in politicians to begin with, but the fact that an oilman from Texas can run one of the biggest economies, most powerful countries, greatest nations into the ground in such a short period of time is quite amazing. Sitting on the sidelines and watching the lack of federal regulation, the lust and greed and the simple ineptitude, it would be funny if it weren't for the terrible pain it will cause, as usual, the least fortunate in that society.

And what's happening here at home, well Biffo Cowen, (heir to the FF throne) sits on his hands and relies on the 'stratedgically' tied old rope to keep the ship sailing straight and true, but as anyone who has watched Titanic can attest, sometimes you need to change direction to ensure safe passage, currently our economy is just listing towards the same hole swallowing the USA, and as their 51st state we can look forward to plunging patriotically towards the abyss, safe in the knowledge that their is no safety in knowledge alone, action is what counts, and what actions are the government taking, well check out the photo's of the respective overseas correspondents, the upper echelons are off inviting people over to our parlor, unaware or oblivious to the fact that it might be burning to the ground in their absence.