Thursday, 31 July 2014

the game's afoot


It might be, anyway. We'll see. I'm having a meeting about the game, and if it's afoot, it will be so afoot I probably won't even have time to tell you.

I also, probably, and this will be really annoying, won't have time to write Episode 2 of my thrilling new Bond adventure before September's Tall Tales. We did Episode 1 last night and I thought it went well, in my biased way. In my less biased way, I loved the rest of the dudes in the show. I've started saying dudes a lot. I'm not sure why.

I knew nothing about online/real world harassment in the world of Dungeons & Dragons. I do now.

Who was Cliff Young? He was an Australian potato farmer[2] and athlete from Beech Forest, Victoria, best known for his unexpected win of the inaugural Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon in 1983 at 61 years of age. Also, says Wikipedia, In 1997 at age 76, he made an attempt to beat Ron Grant's around Australia record and completed 6,520 kilometres of the 16,000-kilometre run, but he had to pull out because his only crew member became ill. In 2000 he achieved a world age record in a six-day race in Victoria, and Young was a vegetarian from 1973 until his death. He lived in the family home with his mother and brother Sid. Young had remained single throughout his life, but after the 1983 race, at 62 years of age, he married 23-year-old Mary Howell, 39 years his junior.

Primary producers get exploited. We all know that. The romantic stories are about farmers, like Cliff Young. It's much less hard to feel pity for sportsmen and artists, and I'm not asking for it because my life is brilliant. However, I've read some great stuff recently, and re-read, about paying comedy writers and about Amazon vs Hachette and how neither is the author's friend, whatever they pretend.

Sports. I'll tease you in with Cheerleaders, because that's always interesting. Clue: they're totally exploited. Then I'll say that the owners of US basketball franchises have done a brilliant job of negotiating salary caps. A racist owner forced to sell his bad team still made a huge fortune while star players are congratulated for taking voluntary pay cuts in order to make teams stronger. Then I'll say that colleges make hundreds of millions out of sports while paying a pittance (scholarship) to top players who aren't allowed to sell their labour on a free market. These players are then lowballed when they get into professional football, basketball or whatever. If you're one of the footballers playing running back, your best five years are played, basically, for tiny fraction of what you're worth You might get one decent contract after that but you're already well on the downside of your career.

Monday, 21 July 2014

oops

Sorry, it's been a while. I know, because I have access to snooping tools barely less powerful than the NSA's, that there are not three million of you waiting avidly to hear whatever I come up with next, but I I have been providing an even worse service than usual, I realise.

I'm busy, is the obvious reason. I'm getting the first episode of a new radio thing ready for Tall Tales next week, which means a lot of writing, crossing fingers in the usual way that somehow, miraculously, this time I will have learned to plan something so that it doesn't need at least two radical rewrites, re-read, realise that the miracle hasn't happened, and so on. And also plan a musical I'm writing in the next couple of months, hopefully in such a careful way that I don't need at least two radical rewrites.

And also, at the same time, I am slowly working out the best way to rebuild slash redesign this blog, and maybe Listen & Often, which doesn't need it, exactly, because it was designed by someone who knows what they're doing, but I might try to put them on the same overall platform, along with my website (I worry that I might be boring you by now) and what might very possibly become a new podcast that I've been working on with Marie.

Also, therefore, I've been learning podcasting. I didn't have to learn podcasting for Listen & Often because Toby did all the work. It turns out that if I have to be relied on to do all the work, things take longer.

So, that's where I am. I have an annoying list of open tabs waiting to be turned into posts, so it's me who's suffering, really.

(If you want to audience at next week's Tall Tales, please email talltalesnight@gmail.com so we know you're coming.)

Monday, 7 July 2014

how the rich young live now

On Saturday night, I went to a restaurant on Saturday which had a large private room which was holding an evidently very posh eighteenth birthday party. Of the hundreds of eighteen year olds (the eighteenth birthday parties I went to were in people's gardens) a huge proportion spent a lot of the evening outside smoking.

When I was eighteen a lot of my friends smoked. Ten years ago, it seemed that many fewer people that age did. These things go in waves, blah, blah, blah. But what I wondered about, in addition, was this: is smoking for rich eighteen year olds a sign of conspicuous consumption? It's so much more expensive than it used to be that I can hardly imagine how even my comfortably off eighteen year old friends would easily have afforded it. Is this a thing like fat is a sign of wealth when there is no food?

(Interestingly, while eighteen year olds are conventionally supposed to look amazing by virtue of being eighteen, these eighteen year olds looked an absolute shower.)

(If I wanted to be able to afford to send an eighteen year old child of mine to a massive party like this, I would set up an chain of tattoo removing salons. Literally every fashion looks ridiculous twelve years on. I'm really looking forward to this one.)

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Clearing tabs

The least graceful thing in public life is rich, white, Christian, western men trying to pretend they are victims or underdogs. See also Amazon.

Fancy dress, fascism, gay men, Churchill. (Philip Hoare is brilliant.)

Why Britain can't do the wire. Excellent, especially on writers, but I would also say that it's easier-slash-more locative to go for niches in America because the niches contain so many more people. I do think UK telly culture is not as bold as it should be. But I would.

What is the really important thing about Bitcoin? It's the way it moves information. That's how it will change the world, says Virgin, which is a very odd-feeling source for one of the most interesting things I've read about Bitcoin.