Notes for week of 5 May, 2024

⤳ Well, it stopped raining. It’s about 23 degrees as I type this and the allotments that my window looks out on to are full of people tilling (is that the right word?), hosing, weeding and… sitting around smoking and drinking (that last one is the activity I observe most in the allotments, to be fair).

⤳ This week has been fairly uneventful really. I watched the film Miller’s Girl without reading any of the reviews first… and I should have really read some reviews first. Oof, that was bad… in an interesting way… but still bad. Mini review when you hover over the poster on my Media Diet page. Also - don’t call your film ‘Miller’s something’ when Miller’s Crossing is a film everyone agrees is a masterpiece.

⤳ Other than that, I read a few things (see below), worked and took the dog for plenty of walks in the sunshine. It could be a lot worse.

⤳ I nearly forgot! We did see the (pink smudgy) Northern Lights from our back garden on Friday night. Amazing.

⤳ Some interesting things I’ve read this week:

The worst thing to happen this week was the death of Steve Albini. My most abiding memory of Albini was going to All Tomorrow’s Parties at Pontins in Camber Sands in 2002 (!), which was curatd by Shellac. They performed alongside Cheap Trick (!!), The Breeders, Low, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Wire. If you’ve never danced on a sticky dance floor in Camber Sands with Will Oldham then you haven’t lived. My memory wants to say that we played poker with Albini in his chalet, but that might have happened to a friend of mine, or I just dreamt it. Anyway… This by the brilliant Jason Diamond, pretty much sums up my thoughts on the man.

From James Bridle’s latest video essay To The Mountain :

I found, in particular, that most art work about, say, surveillance (and now AI) which described itself as critical (including my own) mostly just reproduced the structures and mechanisms of the things it was critiquing, and thus normalised it… One result of this, in turning to ecological work, was to insist on what I call “works that work”, or “works that do work”: pieces which function both as artwork and as engines of ecological intervention, however minor. Hence: windmills, solar panels, self-built architecture. Not always achieved, not always achievable, but necessary. There’s no point making work about climate change. You have to do the work.

From Meet AdVon, the AI-Powered Content Monster Infecting the Media Industry in Futurism magazine:

What we found should alarm anyone who cares about a trustworthy and ethical media industry. Basically, AdVon engages in what Google calls “site reputation abuse”: it strikes deals with publishers in which it provides huge numbers of extremely low-quality product reviews — often for surprisingly prominent publications — intended to pull in traffic from people Googling things like “best ab roller.” The idea seems to be that these visitors will be fooled into thinking the recommendations were made by the publication’s actual journalists and click one of the articles’ affiliate links, kicking back a little money if they make a purchase.

From a review of Francis Bacon: A Self-Portrait in Words by Michael Peppiatt in the Guardian

More eloquently, the young Bacon writes to patrons begging for loans, usually to pay off debts to the casinos where he gambled in an existential frenzy, outfacing fate in every accidental roll of the dice. He also frequently sends apologies for his inebriated antics the previous night, or explains that he missed an engagement because he had been blacked out in an alcoholic stupor.

⤳ Listening to: