Friday Reading S13E21
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.
Before you do anything else, here's an incredible video of Kate Bush pouring tea. Honestly, you will not regret clicking the link.
This story is bizarre and brilliantly written by Alex Hern: They used my identity to flog a doomed cryptocurrency – and then things got weird
"I thought that was where this newsletter would end – someone pretended to be me, I burst their bubble, and learned something valuable about the world of crypto. And then I checked the value of Tsuka one more time, expecting to find it hovering around zero. Instead, I was surprised to find it had gone up. I asked a few of the investors in the coin, and was alarmed to find that not only had people started buying back in, but there was a growing theory that I was in fact the developer myself, and my claim to have been imitated was some sort of genius double-bluff."
It's honestly a great piece by him that speaks to a deeper truth of the way a certain breed of internet behaviour is having real world and financial consequences.
It also made me reflect that even, I guess, two years ago[?], three years ago[?], I would have happily piled on in Twitter shitposting that Alex was involved for the LOLs and to wind Alex up, and a few other very online mates would have joined in, and yet now I fear that even sharing the link on here as a fellow Guardian journalist will end up in unforeseen circumstances.
SEE ALSO: "Meet the Guy Who Went Viral for Explaining How NFTs Are a ‘Poverty Trap’" – Eliza Levinson
"If $100,000 JPEGs are a confounding new phenomenon, so is the longform independent YouTube documentary, a bold contradiction to the idea that social media has eroded attention spans."
Please note that I do not use or endorse: 1) cryptocurrencies 2) NFTs 3) Longform YouTube videos
Also worth a re-up of this. There's a standard internet playbook and I still don't quite know how media should/could report it: False conspiracy theories flourish after Texas shooting in familiar pattern
Ron wants to be sure that you didn't miss this week's Guardian Thursday quiz: Old dogs, funny names and fishy tales – take the Thursday quiz
It was a bumper quiz week from me on the Guardian website. We also greeted the news that the Tories were re-announcing bringing back imperial measures for the umpteenth time with a quiz that ended up doing over 150,000 page views and generating over 1,500 comments: How many pounds in a stone? Try our weights and measures quiz
Hilariously it then appears to have formed the basis for a segment on Sky News, as reported by The Times [£], where cabinet minister Lord Parkinson got asked three identical questions from the quiz. Could have been coincidence of course – although not sure how many grams of sausages do you get to the pound is a standard conversion measurement.
And then, ardent abolitionist that I am, I produced a quiz for the Queen’s platty joobs: Corgis, Sex Pistols and the royal bedtime tipple – take the platinum jubilee quiz
“What do you want to do when you grow up?”
“I want to write questions like ‘Astrology is as scientific as having a hereditary monarchy. What star sign is the Queen?’ for a national newspaper
Nice of the Red Arrows to swing by my office on Thursday though etc etc
They found footage of a Windows 95 launch event and nobody understands it.
“What follows is a 90 minute infomercial created for an internal audience, a victory lap showing off what Microsoft had created. Every few minutes Leno intrudes to tell a terrible joke, deliver a weird insider knowledge of PC history, or inappropriately hit on a woman. The video ends with a Rolling Stone song, which Microsoft allegedly paid millions for and used in its ad campaigns.”
I’m still 100% convinced this is why none of the “comedy relief” bits of Shakespeare is actually funny. It’s all just Have I Got News For You? references strung together to make Elizabethan audiences laugh, and even the official Have I Got News For You? Twitter account is faster than 500 years.
“My teacher said I’d more likely be dead by 25 than a footballer. What if I had listened?” – Troy Deeney
I went to see the restored/remastered/remade/remodel version of Get Carter at the BFI, it being one of 1,057 classic movies I’ve never actually seen. It’s a great movie, and now at 50 years old, is even more a fascinating period piece. The landscape and the buildings are such a part of it, and the brutalist bits that were the “shocking new” in 1970 have been demolished in recent years. Fascinating how the portrayal of violence against men and against women was shifted over the years too. I loved it. Of course, the first I even knew of it existing was that weird minimalist version of the Get Carter theme on Dare by Human League.
TRACK OF THE WEEK: Boiler Suits and Combat Boots by The Umlauts. Easily the best track by easily the best thing I saw at the Wide Awake Festival in Brockwell Park last weekend.
Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill is the track du jour thanks to Stranger Things. SuperDeluxeEdition have a lovely run-down here of Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill (But Were Afraid To Ask)
Kate Bush being the final and incorrect option on every single music question in my Guardian Thursday quiz has been a running joke since its inception 58 weeks ago, so it was lovely to have an excuse to make her the right answer – and retire the joke.
Also amusing me:
ALL THE KATE BUSH FANS ON FACEBOOK LAST WEEK: She’s an under-rated genius. More people should be into her stuff. It’s criminal Kate Bush is not more well known
THIS WEEK (FRANTICALLY GATEKEEPING THE FANDOM): NOT LIKE THAT!!!!
You may have missed (or not cared about): A one-line review of every gig I’ve been to in May 2022 and A one-line review of every #TimsTwitterListeningParty I joined in May 2022. The latter includes the immortal line “I fell asleep because I am old, tired and over-worked.”