Category Archives: General

Announcements, comments, sideswipes, whatever

peter cook

Yep, the Archigram guy. (Insert your own “Dudley Moore notable by his absence” gag here.) From his just-now-ending retrospective exhibition at Louisiana, Denmark.

A fifty-plus-year career of drawing the wildest way-out shit and still managing to package it as architecture*; an inspiration for eccentrics of all sorts. Beating that sort of path for yourself anywhere outside of Start-Up World is surely a harder game now than it was then… or maybe that’s just what those of us who can’t pull it off end up saying by way of self-comfort.

[ * I knew he was still working and teaching, but didn’t know he was still occasionally getting actual buildings put up… still less that I’d been in one just a few years ago, namely the Kunsthaus Graz. Obvious in hindsight, but then what isn’t? ]

drink up, bar’s closed

Well, that happened quickly, didn’t it? Twitter’s board demonstrating that (to use a lovely British turn of phrase) they have the breaking strain of a KitKat

Now seeing lots of second-hand reports of exodus from the birdsite, and I ain’t gonna judge, because I went and stopped using it (again) back at the turn of the year—albeit not because of Teflon Mask, but rather for what I decided (for the second time) were a combination of media affordances which made the whole set-up toxic to me. But hell knows anything Mask considers to be an improvement is unlikely to endear it to me further.

On reflection, though, I’m not going to delete my account, because if you give up your account you run the possibility of some other clown setting up a new account with your old username—a situation which, combined with the sort of absolutist take on free speech that you might expect to encounter in a public-school junior debate team training session, could be both professionally damaging and impossible to do much about. I may turn off autoposting from this site to there, but I’m of two minds about that, too. Mostly it seems pointless, in both respects: a well-trafficked post here on VCTB these days means one that got maybe three or four referrals from the birdsite, but if I’m going to keep the account, I might as well keep it alive. I dunno.

My money’s on storm in a teacup, TBH; nowhere else permits quite the same sort of public discourse, the quality of which—for all the complaining about it—is so rooted in complaint that the people angriest about it all have little choice but to return to the scene of the crime for their dopamine fix. I expect most folk will stay, and many of those now leaving will find a reason to go back. And again, I ain’t judgin’; when I quit the first time, it was a horrendous blow to my social life that has in many respects never been recovered from. It’s hard to leave a network with sunk social costs; it hurts, even when the network itself is a source of pain. Ask any reformed junkie or alcoholic, they’ll tell you the same: it’s not just the substance you have to quit, it’s the life within which that substance is entirely entangled. That’s a lot to ask of anyone, and no one will ever do it until they really want to—which, to be clear, is a very different thing to thinking they should.

I’ve also seen a few follow notifications from a mastodon account which I totally forgot I had, and which I think I spent all of two days on before I abandoned it. I could log back in there, fire it up, see what’s happening and who’s about… but I could also just not bother. Perhaps because I’ve already done the hard yards of quitting the birdsite, I find I’m not looking for a replacement. What it was in the early days is simply not retrievable, and probably never could have lasted anyway: the phenomenon of early Twitter was less about it’s being Twitter than it’s accidentally being there at the right moment, and getting those tasty, tasty network effects as a result… and that’s exactly what has doomed it, too.

Selah. I’m too old and anxious for this shit. This blog existed before the birdsite was a thing, and it’ll be here after it’s gone, too.

“So pour one out for the old days, sure /
but we don’t live in that world no more.”

In other news, I have too many deadlines and too much travel coming up and too many suspended uncertainties and it’s starting to look a lot like burnout, but I can’t stop now because the post-postdoctoral bottleneck in academia is very real, but you only get the one serious shot at shoving yourself through it.

(Which is, naturally, why I’ve just spent the best part of an hour writing this post as a displacement activity from the work I actually need to be doing.)