What’s up?

I had a surprisingly nice evening.

Cycled up to the British Museum in the face of a bit of headwind for The Age of Stonehenge exhibition.

West from Waterloo Bridge

The recent Age of Nero exhibition had been a bit crap but this was excellent. Strong recommend.

The curation was superb. Yes a wall of axe heads can be moving and beautiful. The range of artefacts showed the extraordinary saltatory leaps in technical and cultural innovation in Europe, threaded round the development, domination and eventual desuetude of Stonehenge.

The whole was mysterious and beautiful. Exemplified by the extraordinary Nebra Sky Disk. No I didn’t take a picture. Go see it.

Figures with quartz eyes and detachable penises on a serpentine boat

Detachable penises! Dead beaker folk!

Beaker woman with child in swaddling protected with dog-tooth pattern of bones

Also lol aurochs were massive and scary. Stood another head or so above humans.

hi dere

Then went to the Museum Tavern. I always forget that it’s surprisingly beautiful inside, with a wonderful bar.

So home, on the back of a now glorious tailwind, to a very basic but a very nice chick pea soup that had been cooking in the oven for eight or so hours.

chick peas, bay, garlic and onions

Now off to continue reading Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing’s really excellent The Mushroom at the End of the World.

Lowenhaupt Tsing’s use of the concepts of assemblages, time creation and contamination between humans, fauna and the environment contributed significantly to my enjoyment of the exhibition, which after all depicted people carving tools and history and gods and art out of the cosmos. The overlapping assemblages of stone, time, stars, bone and swirling mystic design, transforming to sun worship, bronze and gold should in ALT’s depiction not be seen as progression but a change in the assemblage of elements, and cadences, a new set of lithic, cosmic, and anthropological contaminations and influences.

So, yes, sorry for the bland post. Pepys this is not. But I had a surprisingly nice evening. And that is a thing to be celebrated.

Two Great Songs for the Price of One Bike Ride

Took my toaster to be recycled at the Lambeth electrical recycling yesterday. On my bike. Up (v much *up*) into the rather weird Norwood/Dulwich suburban hinterland.

Sang Hexen Definitive/Strife Knot on the way back because i cycled past a red church on a hill:

All Saints, West Dulwich

Sang Political Confusion by Big Youth on the way there, because I was… recycling a toaster maybe?

Yes, I’m just going to be using this as a scrapbook blog of stuff why do you ask.

Crossing the Streams

A very good interview on the business model and economics of streaming here:

Episode 5: Jozefien Vanherpe on the Economics of Music Streaming | Machines & Masterpieces (castos.com)

Worth reading this Steve Albini thread as a complement to it:

I wonder whether the success major labels have ultimately had in negotiating the shift to streaming will also play through into video/broadcasting. Netflix unquestionable turned the tables up by making incredibly innovative, far-sighted use of CDN technology (Content Distribution or Delivery Network), Edge connectivity and variable bitrate management, but they face/faced two challenges:

  1. It’s a content first world – which means paying up front for subscribers by creating content, and as Jozefien Vanherpe points out, it’s difficult to predict the return on cultural goods.
  2. Once you reach saturation point with subscribers in the US, the job of expanding becomes a lot harder for localisation reasons (cultural, language and indeed compliance and technical). China is closed off to Netflix as a major revenue generator outside sharing some content via a partner, see my bit on Peppa Pig. Network technology coverage in India and the African content is a challenge. Europe is highly fragmented in terms of language and legislation per viewer.

Broadcasters have existing distribution channels and play the rights/D2C risk balance much more easily. Are we going to see the equivalent of the major label dominance in video streaming?

Publishing is of course the other area where incumbent businesses were extraordinarily slow and defensive in their approach to new technologies, but it’s not clear to me that e-books have disrupted to the same extent – certainly we’ve seen v little innovation in the publishing space as far as I know. Academic publishing is still in a heavily fortified mode. But this is no longer an area of strength for me, so this is just guesswork based on what little I see.