Day Of The Monkey

Bizarre afternoon where a walk along Camden Canal ended up with us meeting a woman in a monkey suit charging 50p to be “fed” plastic bananas for charity.

Some bits of this video, shot at the Belmont St. flat, look like they could have been make in the 70's – there was a lot of polyester and funny hair cuts around at the time.

Please feel free to leave a comment or two.

ps. It was Steve filming Tamara in the kitchen (not me).

Changing Social Networks 1-2-3

I'm now on my third social network…how very modern of me. I've recently fully embraced Facebook, and so have many others –  it's growing at 3% per week (about 100,000 new users every day). Amazingly 50% of those members visit the site every single day.

Thanks to my friends in NYC, I was what they call an early adopter of social networks. First came Friendster which I joined late 2003. At the time I couldn't see there would ever be a need for a second social network. Friendster was exciting at the time, it was after all a totally new concept to me. Friendster was already “alive” with my American friends when I arrived letting me get a feel for what they were all up – something that wouldn't have been possible before.

Europe lagged behind the US in getting into social networking and to begin with it wasn't easy to persuade some of my friends here to join – some just didn't get it. Eventually of course social networks did take off in the UK and everywhere else in the networked world – and that was probably Friendsters downfall. Unfortunately for Friendster the technology just couldn't support the number of users. Messages would go missing, then friends would go missing followed by the site being down hours at a time. Eventually I accepted the invites (one step behind the US again) and begrudgingly moved on to mySpace.

MySpace was less flaky, and it needed to be because by now everyone and everything was on mySpace; people, bands, venues, clubs, you name it. Ultimately though this became a bit tiresome. In fact people just collected friends and most friends on mySpace pages are “bullshit friends” the type you could never call up to actually meet with – even if you did have their number.

This is probably how Facebook got it's foothold. People were ready for a real social network and Facebook is more real, more “grown up”. For a start it's about actual people, no bands asking you to check out their new tracks, no clubs trying to redecorate your page with their flyers. In fact I think I've actually spoken (at least once) to every person  on my Facebook page.. okay perhaps not for a while, but once.

I'm hoping this 3rd social network will be my last.

Guilt Free Ghost School Club

The Ghost School his new club night in Hoxton playing a a nice mix of old and new. The music policy sounds good (and the website looks nice too).

We mix the shock of the new with cult classics and guilt-free pleasures”

I like the fact they mention guilt-free pleasures. The whole guilty pleasure thing is crap really ( If you like something – you like it, so just admit it. Don't start up a club night playing stuff you feel guilty about. Work out what sort of music it is you like and play it whole heartedly.

And with that in mind I'll definitely be playing “Hip To Be Square” by Huey Lewis & The News at the next No One Died club.. I chickened out last time…

David Byrne in London

David Byrne has just visited London and has written about his time here on his online journal (or blog if you won't) …

The restaurant has doormen, dressed in traditional English tails, as does our hotel. I love the juxtaposition here between the two opposing poles of dress and manner: the reserved, polite, perfect and solicitous staff contrasted with the world of theatrical shock and gross-out represented by Chapman bros., Damien Hirst, chavs and football hooligans. It all has to come out, I guess — the bigger the front the bigger the back. I’m reminded of the ads that plaster the phone booths offering spankings and humiliation. One assumes that, for a Lord, keeping it all in and maintaining that reserve can get to be a bit much sometimes so one needs to be put in one’s place to redress the balance. I’m jumping to national stereotypes, here.”

Tube Seat Hierarchy

Detailed diagram and account of every possible standing and seating position on London tube carriage (Hammersmith & City type train) with pros and con's of each position.

It's one of those articles where you know the answer already, it's just interesting (possibly) to see some one rationalise it…

POSH Websites

POSH is the latest web acronym and stands for plain-old-semantic-markup.A short hand way of saying “semantic markup” then, but probably a step in the right direction if people start taking note of the new term and applying it to their site designs.

I've been an advocate of semantic markup for quite a while, it's benefits for search engine optimisation, usability and accessibility mean that's really the only way to build the type of sites I'm involved with.

However POSH is not considered quite as important to many other web designers I know (including my brother). Old habits die hard and these designers insist on using tables, spacer gifs, <font> tags and all that other bad stuff which just doesn't make sense anymore.

The argument often given is that it “gets the job done” and “the client's happy so who cares”, etc. But that doesn't wash with me. Recently I've been asked to provide some search engine optimization (SEO) for non-POSH sites and have to suggest the they get the basics right first and go back and re-design their site using semantic mark up. And with website accessibility now more than a nice to have and becoming law in some areas (e.g. Target sued over web accessibility) POSH makes even more sense.

Plain Old Semantic HTML