Friday, December 23, 2005

Soulful eyes

High-kick brown horsey
Ears gone, but still beautiful
'cept for your privates

There are strange things on eBay

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Recently various sources reported a German man who turned himself in to authorities after an email virus persuaded him that his child-porn surfing had been monitored by the FBI. That started me thinking about the power of belief and the potential for manipulating that faith, with a certain tech-twist of course. Thinking turned itself into the faint rumblings of a short story.

You wanna see big belief? You gotta go small. Yeah, real big belief, real tiny small. Folks don't get that, much.
People assume that stuff like cells and microchips don't have souls. But a chip, a chip has belief, a belief stronger than any fundamentalist preacher. It believes in binary, in the purity of the ones and the zeroes. In the truth that one is always one and that zero is always zero.
Now bumping up against a firewall the other day it turns me down. So I slide out an angelzero, a little prophet who can turn black into white, make that closed-door 1 turn welcome-home 0. Something superspecial cooked up by my pal Grove in among his laptops and his ashtrays. Grove is my investment in genius, my fixit man. Clever little bastard, like all those 100%-proof databrains are.
Anyhows, sweet pretty little angelzero flaps its wings and bats its eyes, gets to what it does best which is a-sermonising and a-lecturing. Hella beguiling to the digitally devout, and you show me which chip isn't. Starts with the "wolves in sheeps' clothing" crud, drops a few subtle false zero hints, really lays it on thick. Mister firewall gets to doubting himself, doubting dogma writ holy since silicon slice. It ain't easy to get with the program when angelzero's crooning creedcode, believe you me!
That chip is a goner, friend, and that firewall comes tumbling down. Some people say that the online world ain't a place for religion, but you & I both know that belief ain't going anywhere, long as they keep churning out the chips with cast-iron conviction. Amen to that.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Stable Partemple's Urban Pottage

number one in a series of bulb

Geoffrey Palmer tried to sell me a cellphone the other day. I heard him, snuffling away in the lounge, muttering in a matter-of-fact and terribly reassuring way about LG's new flip-phone. I immediately put the kettle on and sought out our most wartime teapot.

I can imagine Geoffrey calling Dame Judi on his slender handset, hoping against hope to catch her, dripping, as she emerges from the shower. His gnarled, Shakespearian hands calloused against the smooth buttons, wiping grease smears from the camera lens, cradling its industry-breakthrough thinness (for a 3G phone; as of writing).

He is our relic, Geoffrey. He is our WWII romance, our voice of reason. If he can handle such a handset, then surely so can we? The ticking cocoa of his intonation beguiles us... yes, the world is fast and bright and demanding, it says, but this mobile transcends such blather (and Geoffrey would undoubtedly use such a word). Ease it into your pocket and, for all its microchipped intelligence, its predictive video calling downloads, you could just as easily forget that it is there.

Stable Partemple is a futurology consultant at the Institute of Modern Now, London. He has published many articles and books, most recently "Shavings of the Culture Truffle" with Simon Schama

Aiming for divine comedy

Inaugural posts are always so delicate, aren't they.

This is and welcome to Dante's Handcart, my own little mezzanine on the journey to Hell (define:Hell A state of netless agony, punctuated by telemarketers). Together we'll puzzle and muse on the detritus, spittle and gurning fact-flesh that the media spews into our brand-shiny-new money back guaranteed no-risk no-downpayment pain free lives.

You're all very pretty.