Friday Reading S13E09
Friday Reading is a weekly series of recommended reads from the Guardian’s Martin Belam, covering journalism, media and technology, and other interesting nerdy things he found on the internet this week. It is now in its thirteenth season. Sign up here.
I just decided this week all you need is FUN links and things to TAKE YOUR MIND off the world.
An absolutely incredible set of pictures from the discovery of the wreck of Shackleton's Endurance, which sank under the ice of Antarctica in 1915. Regular readers will know I was already obsessed with this ship and the expedition, having watched the original 1914-1916 film footage, which includes it sinking, at the BFI recently.
In this YouTube video Geoff Marshall gets very excited about getting on one of the test Crossrail trains at Paddington, although not as excited as I would have been if I was making this video, which would presumably have just been one long incomprehensible SQUEEEEEEEE!
An absolutely cracking yarn here about how Bram Stoker's widow spent loads of her life trying to track down and every copy of legendary horror movie Nosferatu burned for copyright infringement and how she nearly succeeded but is also full of loads of unexpected twists and turns including an Oscar Wilde cameo and casually dropping in lines like "a veteran of the German Army in the First World War who after the conflict became an occultist and spiritualist, he even alleged that he first heard about vampires while in the trenches where a Serbian villager told the future filmmaker about the time his father was transformed into a vampire in death."
"Nosferatu and the Unholy War to Bury a Classic 100 Years Ago" – David Crow, Den of Geek
Someone took one of those terrible Alvin & The Chipmunks albums recorded with a squeaky sped-up voice and slowed it down to the speed that the voice would be at normal human pitch and it turns out to sound like these mad doom-laden ominous goth-rock cover versions of pop hits – try some here.
Ron wants to be sure that you didn't miss this week's Guardian Thursday quiz: Glamorous sculptures, champion cheeses and the secret of Uranus – take the Thursday quiz
Talking of Sparks and quizzes – what absolutely joyful news that I got asked by THE OFFICIAL SPARKS NEWSLETTER to do an official Sparks quiz for Sparks fan. Members of the fan club got sent it this week – one question about each studio album – and they designed it absolutely beautifully.
In less happy news:
Me, giving my children extremely secure and difficult passwords to their Nintendo accounts: Haha fuck yeah!!! Yes!!
Me, trying to guide my kids remotely through having accidentally logged out while I'm not at home and I'm actually busy doing something else etc etc
Bit of an odd one this if you missed it. A weird little website from the early 2000s has disappeared from the web and I can't help fearing the worst about the guy who used to run it. I've got this sense of loss. But it's more complicated than that …
"They say you are never truly gone until the last person who remembers you has gone, and I remember that website, and now maybe after I’m gone you’ll also remember that website too."
It is kind of a miracle that they ever worked at all, really: ‘I just wanted to play Duck Hunt with my kids’: the man on a mission to bring back the light gun
The past is a foreign country etc etc, Steven Pye with a fascinating and forensic look at the first ever league match broadcast by the BBC in the UK which was a decade before Sky and the Premier League and [REDACTED BY LAWYERS] and includes gems like:
"Another problem was the lack of a permanent scoreboard on the screen. After 35 minutes we were shown the score, but there would often be a frustrating period of trying to guess who was winning a match you had joined late. It is also interesting to note the role of the co-commentator. Jimmy Hill spoke on just five occasions in the first half, the first time being a minute after Graham’s comical opener. He upped his workload to six contributions in the second half. "
"Manchester United v Tottenham and the evolution of live football on TV" – Steven Pye, Guardian Sport Network
TWITTER ACCOUNT OF THE WEEK: @PayGapApp – spent International Women's Day quote-tweeting organisations platitudes about women with their pay gap between men and women. An absolutely brutal use of data and social media. Incredible work. Which apparently they also did last year and either nobody noticed or everybody collectively forgot.
"In 2017, film archivists at Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation estimated that half of all American films made before 1950 are now lost, and none of the major distributors are itching to find them. Streaming services may offer the appearance of infinite choice, but so many of them are increasingly focused on original programming, creating a bottleneck that squeezes out any film without a quantifiable audience. With algorithms designed to only show viewers what they already want to see, there are frighteningly few ways for a film to get back in."
I can't think why I am especially sensitive about archive TV and film material being lost or otherwise unavailable. Hmmmm.
Talking of which for some reason I was reminded that I had been meaning to buy this on Blu-Ray for some time so finally ordered it. The reaction when I posted I'd done that to my Facebook suggests I am some kind of madman.
Alright, the newsletter wasn't all distracting fun, sorry.
TRACK OF THE WEEK: Used To It by Sharon Van Etten – she'd completely passed me by until I heard that Porta track the other week and this is spellbinding, got a bit of the Mark Lanegan chills and Nadine Shah thrills about it.
Ned Raggett here with a guide to the 21st century shoegaze revival with lots of suggestions of things to catch up on if you missed them – lovely to see the much-missed School of Seven Bells get a shout-out as well.
600 Songs From 1990-1999 Remixed Into 34 Minutes And Also Clips From All The Videos by The Hood Internet. Definitely got this filed under "technically very impressive but would I ever actually do more than just dip into it and think 'That's clever'".
I’m doing another hometown m-orchestra gig in Walthamstow – it is TOMORROW i.e. Saturday 12 March at the wonderful Walthamstow Trades Hall. Free for members, £3 in otherwise on the door. Do come along. I’m gonna play new track Lonely Water from my forthcoming Care/Harm EP, and I’m also going to play that old Bug Brain Check-In track that was inspired by that weird little website from the early 2000s that I mentioned earlier.