Being Beta

Exercises in the higher banter with One of 26. Elsewhere called 'poet of adland'. By a whipple-squeezer. Find out why being beta is the new alpha: betarish at googlemail dot com

Friday, November 27, 2009

26 recommendations

for November are here.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Review: The Wikipedia Revolution

My review of Andrew Lih's book has been published in this week's Times Literary Supplement. Obviously, it's not online, so I've posted a JPG and PDF.

As it was commissioned a few months ago, I haven't touched on the flare up this week regarding the number of editors leaving the site. For what it's worth, I don't think that the exodus will adversely affect the development of the English site much - it has stablised, and this is what you'd expect to happen when a period of explosive growth ends, as it clearly has.

I think the central thrust of my review still stands, the role of the 'cognitive surplus' - which went oddly unmentioned on last night's Newsnight. Those loosely tied to the project have left to find a new hobby to spend their surplus time and labour on.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Commercial: You what?

I am greenhouse tomatoes
Originally uploaded by SgtRock333
Perhaps the apotheosis of Amelia's 'chatty packaging'. I think I just about get what Orange are trying to say. But only just. If I was the bag, I'd be having an existential crisis. Maybe the iPhone has gone to everyone's heads.

It's not helped by the little print, which says, "This bag's made from 80% recycled post-consumer fibre and 20% materials from a sustainable forest."

'Post-consumer fibre'? I'll leave you to make the 'shit bag' jokes...


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Reportage: Sunday at the Royal Court

She was – literally – all white rabbit armour and – he hoped – no chain-mail knickers. This wish was as close as he got to dropping the claim of saintliness he made on the back of his black and gold jacket.

‘More wine,’ she said, from under her blonde helmet. ‘I demand all the wine that you’ll drink in harvesting the confidence to ask me to bed.’

He looked the long lances she flicked our from under the table, clad in sheer black filo pastry. ‘A joust,’ he thought, ‘has never promised so much.’


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Video: Cook back in anger

So a few weeks ago, The Spectator ran a competition to submit an extract from a novel or a play where the title was changed by a single letter. At the time, I was reading John Osborne's Look Back In Anger. So naturally, I thought there was space for a spoof somewhere...

While I await to hear to whether I have persuaded the denizens of the Coffee House that it's worthy of some reward, I thought I'd have a muck around with the script, and turn it into a film utilising the whizzy Xtranormal service.

Isn't it amazing how 21st century you can make the kitchen sink 'drama'?


Monday, November 16, 2009

Crossrail pop up pop

James and me had a random twitter chat t'other day, lamenting the absence of the Astoria at Tottenham Court Road, to the (necessary) vicissitudes of Crossrail.

As is the way of these things, we thought we should try and do something.

Hence TCR Crossrail Pop up Pop.

What's the idea? Two elements:

1) A place to hold Crossrail and Westminster Council's feet to the fire, and make sure they keep their promises about being a live music space in the new development. It could even be a pop up venue; hence the name.

2) A place to share your memories of your great gigs and wild nights at the Astoria.

As usual, there's various twittery things you can follow too. Spread the word, and keep rocking.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Listorama: Facebook status updates vol 14

BetaRish (is):

Invisible Cities. It’s been the theme of the week

will fall through the cracks today

last day of school!

Routine is so routine, dontcha think?

Heads. And maybe fingers and toes too

is preparing to emote

will have a mazzy day today

The Platonic ideal. Obviously

Congrats to Kelly and Simon, who are getting married later today

Drying out. In lots of senses

Thinking big thoughts hurts the head

will give you the extra life

Damnation comes in multi-octave runs

Enjoying the silence


is serendipity

is super satisfaction baby

is the definition of fussy

is the wolf at the door


ah the ol’ ‘thanks for keeping me awake party people’ feeling

Heavens, I have all that to do today?

Inspiration required for this space please

Reading innocently

can’t decide between Alice or the white rabbit

Hello couch, my old friend

is in Liverpool. It is raining

is the lamb and the knife

Raise it up

should really write more things down

is XX

has forgotten what the question is

dreamed last night of an endless cricket pitch and a match that unwound like a carnival to eternity

last night dreamed of ambition coursing off the top of hills

This time, I was in a snaking queue of culture fiends, which wound round the city like an elastic band, waiting to burst

I saw the Big Brother house silently dismantled piece by piece,a nd for the last few hours of their incarceration, people asked to contemplate an expanse of grass and sky

Put the blame on mame, boys

doesn’t have any way of measuring that

Signal to noise ratio here is pretty much making it unusable

Heavens! We really must stop meeting like this!

Fears it has all caught up with him

Has a viral infection, is drugged up and under orders to rest

Seeing the sun and not being able to play. Boo

Darling, it’s a life of surprises

Bear with me baby, I’m a little behind

is a social object

Starting over. Or again, as it should more correctly be

If my night was any guide, I really have to start writing this thing

is in a corner, with a bottle of wine, wondering who’s next

is dead set on destruction

All this I’ve done for you

might hold a wake for thelondonpaper today. Or he might not

Getting ready for Day 1 of Open House London. Hope to see you out and about

Heavens to Betsey. And possibly Murgatroyd too

This is the killing of a flash boy

thinking about monologies

Slow motion meltdown

wants to be part of a farrago of show-offs

is in the office

needs someone to detonate The Wake-Up Bomb

What did the insomniac say to the pussycat?

The answer is sleep

Thank God that month’s over

Rage, rage against the waking at night

Who needs Mafia Wars when we still have The Godfather?

Head of dust, and leaves and sand

Will you look at that?

is painting the silence

Dialogue. It works, sometimes

Futile (n): eight hours on the road, for a two-hour lunch. Hello in-laws

suggests that being in a manufactured pop band really can damage your health

Dance, dance, dance to the radio

is an oyster fisher

Behind the cue ball

Inappropriate ballads

is primary colours

Drowning in newsprint. This is a good thing

Loins. Girded. Nose. Blocked. Bring. It. On


There’s a black ghost on my trail

Hamster. Wheels. Happiness? Go

Come on! Answer the question!

Packing, foxes, words, squid and spring. Yes, I didn’t win that round of word association

will be at Wembley later. It’s any given Sunday after all

Just met a viola player who was miming behind Westlife on The X-Factor tonight. No rock ‘n’ roll goss, alas

Heavens Betsey, what happened to you?

Another day of purdah

‘The tension mounts. On with the tea dance!’ was the rather unsuccessful first draft Ice-T presented to the rest of Bodycount

The beast still needs feeding

Hello boxes, my old friends

Day 1 of packing is over

is now just one day away from growing up

now owns a third of a house. And is living in it too

can hear Big Ben from the bedroom

Methinks with this Live / News feed distinction, FB wants to drive me away

Is it possible to have a pre-DIY flashback? If so, I could be in it. My very own painting ‘Nam…

is writing this from the desk he spent all afternoon laboriously assembling

Walls do tumble down

Beast needs feeding, beast needs feeding