Archive for ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Death to Bullshit  Sep 03 2015

Brad Frost, a speaker and web designer, has launched Death to Bullshit. The website acts as a rallying cry to online designers and startups to up their game, and to respect people and their time.

Popups, jargon, junk mail, anti-patterns, sensationalism, begging for likes, tracking scripts, marketing spam, dark patterns, unskippable ads, clickbait, linkbait, listicles, seizure-inducing banners, captchas, QR codes, barely-visible unsubscribe buttons, 24-hour news networks, carousels, auto-playing audio, bloatware, sudden redirects to the App Store, telemarketing, ticked-by-default subscribe buttons, “your call is important to us”, pageview-gaming galleries, native advertising…

The website, which comes with an option to toggle bullshit on and off, is based on a talk that Frost gave at CreativeMornings, which you can watch here:

The Danish Girl  Sep 03 2015

After winning an Oscar with The Theory of Everything, Eddie Redmayne is back in a new film by Tom Hooper (Les Misérables, The King’s Speech), scheduled for released on 20th January 2016.

The film tells the story of the artist Lili Elbe, one of the first post-op transsexuals. You would expect this to give Redmayne another Oscar nomination.

So far, there has been a lot of negative feedback on social media from the trans community, who are angry that a cisgender white male is playing a trans female.

It remains to be seen how the film will be received when it comes out, but I’m guessing it could be in for a rough ride.

56 Dean Street Accidentally Reveals Details of 780 HIV Patients  Sep 02 2015

From BeyondPositive:

Yesterday afternoon (12:46 September 1 2015) 56 Dean Street a GUM and HIV clinic, part of Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, sent out a newsletter to its HIV positive patients. The problem? They left every one of the 780 patients’ contact details in the ‘To’ field. This means everyone who received this email now has contact details (name and email address) for the clinic’s 779 other HIV positive patients.

This is a nasty incident for all involved, and I hope that calm heads prevail. The Information Commissioner’s Office will be sure to take a close look, however.

This is the second issue with data in as many weeks, after the Ashley Madison leak. It’s easy to draw distinctions between the two, and argue that the Ashley Madison victims “had it coming,” but I’m not sure that’s the right approach.

Both the people who took tests at 56 Dean Street and the people who signed up to Ashley Madison had a reasonable expectation that that information would not end up in the public domain.

It should be incumbent on anyone working with data that sensitive to take basic security precautions, or to take the relevant training so that they know the consequences of cc’ing 800 people in an email.

In my line of work I’ve been asked numerous times why we can’t just “send an email using Outlook,” and on each occasion I’ve taken the time to explain why it isn’t good practice and the potential consequences.

My worry is that as more and more sensitive data comes online, we become immune to the risks that that brings. It’s not good enough to dichotomise between “deserving” and “undeserving” victims. We can do better than this.

Whip / Nae Nae Dance Workout Routine  Sep 02 2015

Alabama elementary school teacher Jason Paschall taught his students Silento’s “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae),” as a dance routine, integrating jumping jacks, push-ups and more:

Dancing is a great way to make exercise fun, and shake off being self-conscious. I tend to book into a couple of dance classes at Pineapple whenever I get stuck in a rut with my gym workouts.

The Poor School (Review)  Aug 31 2015


Photo: @TheMarkYounger

I was lucky enough to attend the Four Day course at Paul Caister’s The Poor School acting academy in Kings Cross this week.

The four day course is billed as a slimmed-down (but not dumbed down) version of the full two-year course, and I wanted to offer some reflections while the experience was fresh in my mind.

The cohort that I was in had 13 people aged from 17-50 with varying levels of acting experience.

Some initial reflections:

  • The four-day course does fully take over your life for the week you do it. Because of the demands of learning a piece of Shakespeare and a scene from a play in a week (to be performed before the other students at the end of the week), there isn’t really much time to do anything else outside the school. Bear that in mind so you can be fully committed on the week you do the course.
  • You are treated in much the same way a student would be. If your work isn’t up to scratch, you’ll get called out (in a nice way!) about it. This is really helpful for identifying weak spots in your game.
  • Because of the intensity of the course, you form some very close bonds with the students on the course. I felt like I knew everyone on the course a lot better at the end of the week, and there was an atmosphere of mutual encouragement throughout.
  • Although there is a heavy emphasis on Voice, Movement, Musical Theatre (a lot of fun!) through the course, there isn’t much in the way of formal acting training. I felt like there could have been more time spent going over content of the scenes – there was a lot of independent learning, and personally I would have benefitted from a little more guidance. Your mileage may vary though.
  • You learn a lot about yourself from doing the course. There are numerous learning areas for me that the course exposed, which I’ll now go and explore in more detail elsewhere. This was the biggest takeaway from the course for me.
  • Although you can treat the four day course as an audition for the two-year course, be realistic in your aspirations here. To get onto the course, you will require a significant amount of natural talent or ideally some kind of drama experience. I felt that I’d perhaps have been a little more relaxed throughout the course if I hadn’t been treating it as an audition for part of it.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend giving the course a go if you are considering a career in acting, or if you want a break from your day job for a week! At £295, the course is good value too.

High Tuition Fees Killing Student Bands  Aug 30 2015

Natasha Jokic in the Guardian:

“It’s not a lack of desire,” says Matt Kilsby, a civil engineering student at Bath University and a drummer. “But attitudes have changed and people want a safety net. It’s all about getting a first in your degree. None of us are willing to allow our marks to take a hit as a result of the band.”

It is a lack of desire. Music is an all-or-nothing option, where success means a life on the road – and the risk of being penniless for long periods.

The likes of BRIT School and the performing arts colleges aren’t struggling to churn out the next generation of pop stars, but for them, music is a vocation and they need to do it at all costs. Being a “civil engineer and drummer” would never cut it.

If a band, heaven forbid, wants to be the next alt-J, they should either commit to producing the kind of sound that can fill arenas or go home.

The Queer History of Grace Jones  Aug 30 2015

Barry Walters charts the career of Grace Jones and her relationship with the 1980’s San Francisco gay community in a wonderful long read for Pitchfork:

That night’s show was remarkable for the simple fact that Jones just kept on going, granting one encore request after another, waiting patiently while the sound man scoured backing tapes to find the fans’ offbeat choices. When Jones got to such minor numbers as “Crush”, it became clear that she didn’t want to leave. She was giving as much of herself as she could to the beleaguered troops, knowing full well that many wouldn’t live long enough to see her again. A few months after that show, I inherited Mark’s cherished copy of Goude and Jones’ art book Jungle Fever after he and Brian died within weeks of each other.

Priscilla is Going on Tour Again  Aug 30 2015

The stage show of Priscilla Queen of The Desert is going on tour around the UK:

Yes the rumours are true! Due to popular demand, PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT THE MUSICAL, the feel-good international hit sensation is returning to a city near you! Based on the smash-hit movie, PRISCILLA is the heart-warming, uplifting adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship and end up finding more than they could have ever dreamed of. With a dazzling array of outrageous costumes and a hit parade of dancefloor favorites, this wildly fresh and funny new musical is a journey to the heart of FABULOUS!

Great news, as I loved the original, and never got to see Jason Donovan as Tick the first time round.