Turning cranks

I’ve been occupied by work, ideas and also trying to get back into shape recently. The writing may have stopped, but the reading hasn’t.

By the way, don’t read Crash. I’ve got nothing but love for Ballard, but Crash was too perverted for my liking.

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Artisans in business

Scratch notes (ignore grammar mistakes and embrace swearing).

I’ve been thinking: developed economies spent – at least – a third of the twentieth centry trying to repair economic damage incurred by war, gain economic momentum and grow. A focus on growth, margins and profit, from the fifties and onward, created faceless organisations, which produced medicore quality, mass produced products and services. Comodification was the overall output of these economic notions and organisations.

Suddenly, and not without reason, production costs began to rise and businesses started to outsource their operations because they were predominantly competing on price and not much else aside a brand name. This went on for sometime and then global compeition, coupled with an increase in foriegn imports, started to kill off local manufacturing. The faceless organisations began to lay people off; jobs were lost; we just kept on buying shit from elsewhere because it was cheaper. Customer experience was forgotten and the economy suffered because businesseses lost their passion and innovation due to organisational bureaucracy, six sigma crap (you know who you fuckers are) and the accumulation of dead wood.

A new breed of businesses are starting to change commerce. I call them Artisan organisations and they will be the ‘green shoots’ that will kick-start local business, employment and manufacturing. Who are they? They’re Milkbar, Racer Rosa, Foffa Bikes, Howies, Joe & The Juice, SeaSalt and Huit Denim to name a few. These businesses have been built on a genuine passion to deliver beautiful, memorable products and experiences without exception; they use the best materials; employ artisans that see the beauty in what they produce, and maintain common ethics. The Artisan’s goals are the business’s goals and vice versa. You’ll never meet a person that doesn’t know what they’re talking about or encounter a truly horrific customer experience because everybody loves what they’re doing.

If you care about something enough, go and work for a company that shares your interest or concern. Better still, set the company up yourself. You’ll get the job because you care and your company – with some graft – will succeed for the same reasons. My thoughts are heavily influenced by David Heaitt and Steve Jobs; however, when you start looking around and notice the people that are winning, you realise that they were right.

Photo by Andreas Gursky

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I’ve always been fascinated by Mozzer. It’s probably because my opinions, about certain things, are not too dissimilar from his. However, in true Morrissey style, I don’t have to declare shit.

(via dangerous minds)

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The hidden side of everything

This work of pop-economics became somewhat disengaging when points were over-laboured and justified with cumbersome datasets. However, this book was, of course, written before the data visualisation and information design boom. Either concept harbours the potential to illustrate Dubner’s adroit story telling.

Levitt and Dubner collaboratively prove a variety of hypotheses — some quite ridiculous — with data mining and critical thinking that left me in awe of their confidence and unconventional approaches to problem solving. How are the Klu Klux Klan like real estate agents? What do sumo wrestlers have in common with school teachers? Intriguing questions and Dubner’s narrative kept me flitting in search for answers.

Unsurprisingly, the book concludes with the story of an anomaly: an instance where a person defied societal trends by maintaining indefatigable determination and an indomitable spirit.

Freakonomics confirms a notion that I’ve held ever since my curiosities surrounding the progress of people, classes and society began to emerge: trends can only identify points and standards, which are indicators and not defacto rules. Yes, we must understand data and information, but we must in turn use our understandings to charge creativity and motivation that must exceed or defy.

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I don’t need to read a book about materialism and status anxiety. However, I’m sure you probably know an idiot that does. Buying a copy of Affluenza for someone will obliquely salvage the remnants of their otherwise decomposing mind.

Giving is great. Do it. Rescue an idiot.

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Crack dealers

We have more in common with them than you’d think.

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Soma holiday

I was recently told that A Brave New World was a book for teenagers; a literary muse for the young intelligentsia. I disagree. The complexity of the book allows you to extract different meanings each time it’s visited. Immersed, I found my-self reading, re-reading and questioning chapters to confirm the sentiments they evoked.

Huxley was a visionary that had a grasp on how society would evolve to disregard the values bestowed upon it by religion, philosophy and history; and favour a synthesized utopia. Overpriced polyester sportswear, flat screen televisions, gaming consoles, recycled music (shitty, commercial house and dance) and the abundance of cocaine bring our London closer to Huxley’s narrow, soma-fuelled world.

I perceive A Brave New World as a polemic against a prophesy. Huxley was trying to encourage us to confront life’s challenges, make us self-aware and aware of societal changes effected by greater powers. Take it as you will, but most certainly read it if you appreciate anything written by George Orwell.

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Middle class triviality

(written at some point after the riots kicked off, but never got around to posting)

I sit here thinking about aspidistras whilst London burns. The shooting of Mark Duggan has triggered the neglected and often demonized communities of London to revolt. Comments on Twitter and Facebook suggest that many are puzzled by the furore and cannot comprehend the motivations behind the violence. Why would they? Why would I? People, products of a sheltered life will never understand their dystopia.

Completing Keep the Aspidistra Flying, a lesser known Geroge Orwell masterpiece, delivered an emotive perspective on local poverty. Through his arguably self-modeled character, Gordon Comstock, we inherit the frustrations of a man that feels constantly judged by his social standing and material wealth. Money, in Gordon’s world, buys acceptance, inclusion, safety, freedom, security, happiness and even creative license.

Gordon wages war on the aspidistra: the epitome of domestic, middle class triviality, and finally, through want of relief from poverty and social anxiety, he succumbs to his antagonist by re-adopting a once resigned bourgeois lifestyle. Conformity delivers Gordon’s relief and, for me, it’s a sad ending because, at the back of your mind, you’re rooting for Gordon to succeed in his plight.

best seo services Conformity is a pivotal action. Is this what we want everyone to do? Conform? Many lack the means to conform to a life we deem normal. I’ve heard people simply label the rioters as, ‘chavs,’ on the scout for trainers; however, my perceptions are different. People within the most deprived parts of the UK are contained within xenophobic microcosms, which are inescapable because they lack realistic paths to enterprise and education that’s not dogmatic. Conformity is seeing your way through our read-write education system, paying tuition fees, buying your groceries at Tesco and paying endless taxes. Normality will seldom materialize for the communities that are on the back-foot unless the roots of the issues obstructing progress are upturned. The government will continue to – knowingly – pluck weeds off the surface of a broken society without digging any deeper.

The widespread looting is, without any doubt, opportunistic mindlessness, which will obfuscate anyone trying to understand the people that have genuine frustrations, and contribute toward the riots becoming a bone of contention without conclusion.

(photo props)

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Cash, Rules, Everything, Around, Me
Get the money!
Dollar, dollar bill y’all.

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Not so velvety

When you see a book titled Memoirs of My Melancholy Whores, you gravitate toward it and ask yourself, ‘What the fuck could this be about?’ It’s the kind of book you’d discover after clicking ‘I’m feeling lucky’ on Google; a wildcard and frivolous purchase of sorts.

I flicked through it in a few days and – after confusedly putting it down – concluded that Marquez and I are never going to get on. I find his style of writing too fantastic and removed from reality; however, I didn’t have a problem with the story, which is the tale of a ninety-year-old man’s infatuation with a fourteen-year-old first-time, prostitute. As disturbing as it sounds, I’m sure the story could be validated if you ventured toward the copious arse ends of our world.

Marquez’s work is definitely suited to the ardent, literary aesthete and not a kinethestic, people-watching, truth seeker such as myself. Not to imply that his work is indulgent style over substance, you just have to work to extract any meaning and humility is a lacking ingredient.

Not as Tarantino as the title suggests, but definitely a dark, abstract tale about coping with age and solitude.

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Thinking about Marx

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