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Sunday, 11 March 2012

Weirder Stuff


While doing a bit of administrative work on this blog recently, I realised that a number of links weren’t leading where they were supposed to go – particularly the ones going to Obnoxi.us. Having checked back with Chris, who originally got the site up and running, I discovered that, owing to, basically, pressure of time, he hadn’t been able to give the site the care it needed and had thus suspended it – hopefully temporarily. I understand his position completely; doing anything right inevitably takes time, and those who take a personally chosen habit like blogging seriously will need no further explanation. It is one of the wonderful things about this still very young virtual world that, while there are many on the web who are only interested in making quick money (sometimes in dubious ways), and many others who work hard on-line earning a living by providing quality services which help us in all sorts of ways, there is a huge group of people exploring the possibilities of the internet to be creative in all sorts of fascinating ways, investing immense amounts of time and energy in what can only be described as labours of love.

In all the discussions raging about digital copyright, SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, etc., there is a fascinating aspect of the virtual world which has not – in my view – received the attention it deserves; the extent to which the practical doings of hundreds of thousands of people on-line call the all-pervasive economic/monetary models of human living, which are the new (generally) unquestioned orthodoxies of our age, into question. For if, on the one hand, there is a general feeling on the part of many people that they should not be forced to pay for music and films, on the other hand, there are just as many more who put their own creative efforts – music, film, writing, photography and all sorts of combinations of the same – online without any thought of remuneration whatsoever. There are whole areas of activity on the web where other, more fundamental currencies than dollars or euros prevail; the satisfaction obtained by sharing one’s creativity with others, the positive feelings engendered through genuine interaction in virtual communities, the incalculable pleasure experienced through expressions of appreciation and praise.

At any rate Obnoxi.us has (temporarily) gone to sleep and I had a problem. Over the past year I had found the site useful for publishing material which I felt was somewhat different to what I was generally posting here on Attempted Essays. Though the essay form of writing is extremely fluid and flexible, it does have its boundaries, and there is a definite difference between an essay and a short story. And then of course, there was the embarrassing question of Frankie. He does have something to say – in his own, er, inimitable way – but I retain the conviction that he is as suitable for Attempted Essays as Sid Vicious would be as a member of Abba. Still, I wasn’t happy about having him consigned to some kind of digital limbo, much as he often deserves it.

For these reasons, I have decided to start a second blog. I won’t be posting there with the same frequency and regularity as here but, from time to time, when the muse kisses me in a particular way, I will be using it for more experimental material than I feel really fits in on Attempted Essays. And it will give Frankie a sort of home of his own.

Allow me, then, to introduce Weirder Stuff. I’ve already put most of the material I’d posted on Obnoxi.us on it (luckily I keep copies of everything I post on one or other of my hard drives). And, as an introduction, there’s also a new science fiction story I finished recently, called





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