Issue №31 | 20 January 2020 | ‘Age of Adz’
If you’ve recently been seeing lots of news cropping up featuring weird and wacky inventions, it’s because CES — the Consumer Electronics Show — has been happening in Las Vegas this month. Sexy ’n’ cool, right.
To get into the spirit, we’ve gone full-on technophilia this issue. There’s a playlist featuring our favourite songs using autotune, a wacky comedy series featuring a Silicon Valley start-up and our own thoughts on tech-infused capitalism, plus lots more kilobytes of digital goodness. Alex and Freya
What Freya has been up to this week: Cried many angry tears over the documentary film The Street, about the gentrification of Hoxton Street and loneliness in the elderly, and took Madre Parr to the Mary Quant exhibition at the V&A and got all kinds of 60s hair/fashion inspo.
What Alex has been up to this week: Saw 1917. While it was a cinematic triumph, I couldn’t help think it was a WW1 version of Saving Private Ryan. You should definitely check out Parasite when it comes out in cinemas — this is my Oscar-winning film.
‘When everything else in the culture is digitally maxed out and hyper-edited, how could the human voice stay unscathed?’ — Simon Reynolds, Pitchfork
First featured in Cher’s 1998 single ‘Believe’, autotune has evolved — and flourished — as a stylistic musical tool in the last ten years, and now fits seamlessly into our digital, and arguably utopian, world of retina screens, glossy design and memes.
Unfortunately you won’t find Drake, T-Pain or Lil Wayne in this playlist, but you will discover a collection of brilliant tracks from artists such as Vampire Weekend, Grimes and Charli XCX who pushed the capabilities of autotune to new and interesting sonic heights. Alex
We live more than half our lives online, constantly seeking approval and gratification from endless swiping, double-tapping and enhancing. Poet Charly Cox speaks to this strange and damaging world we live in, combining witty, sharp poetry with insightful prose.
There’s been so much writing published on this topic, but so often it’s laden with cliché and judgment. This collection is raw, honest and worryingly relatable. A must-read for anyone who spends time online. Which, let’s be real, is all of us. Freya
Although we weren’t around during the days leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis (an event that nearly brought the US and the Soviet Union on the brink of nuclear war), we can’t help think that communications could have been better managed between the two countries.
Enter Twitter. And the US. And Iran.
In this Wired article, Garret Graff outlines how the social media platform played a part in easing tensions between the two countries after things were looking rather patchy earlier this month. Technology will save us all. Maybe. Alex
The next phase of capitalism: a wolf in sheep’s clothing
Everything now is available via subscription, from access to articles through a newspaper’s paywall to upmarket designer dresses at Rent the Runway. We own nothing, but have access to everything. For a limited time. And at a price.
If we are no longer buying direct from the creators and are instead participating in this ‘sharing economy’, are we not simply filling the pockets of the tech giants notorious for neither treating their staff fairly or giving back to the communities they supposedly help? Freya
A TV series…
Silicon Valley is the tech hub of the world. Apple, Google and Facebook have made this area in the US synonymous with cutting-edge technologies and forward-thinking — albeit not without controversy — work/life routines.
Written by a man who worked in a start-up in the same area, Silicon Valley follows 5 young men as they attempt to get their start-up — a compression algorithm — up and running.
While their new business sounds incredibly boring, this show is the complete opposite. The nerdy and eccentric characters you will meet are all true to the personalities that exist in real life, and the writing is cripplingly funny within a well-constructed plot.
For those with Now TV/Sky you can watch all six series there. If you don’t, we’re sure you have your ways of getting your fix. But beware — this show is addictive. Alex
Alexa, make showers great again. Yes, Alex wants this newly revealed shower head with a built-in Alexa smart speaker.
We spent a disproportionate length of time playing with this at Selfridges, and Freya’s not been able to stop thinking about it.
Odds and Ends
You’ve all heard of the vaping brand called Juul, right? Well we think this is the first instance of it in a song. And it’s fantastic.
Oh mate, we’ve all been there.