Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"I think you're missing the point... you're supposed to be wearing clothes"

I've been applying for new jobs and therefore procrastinating by spending a lot of time on the internet, surfing for movie spoilers (I'm not about to watch Right At Your Door but the promise of a massive, cunning twist at the end sent me scurrying around various movie spoiler sites. Gaaaad, am I glad I didn't bother with that film - not so much a twist as instant demand for a refund) and video clips of kittens falling asleep. This one is my favourite: it's the way it topples over backwards then swings back upright, still with its face scrunched up in sleep.

Then I was shopping in my local supermarket and found a discarded shopping list in my basket and it set off a chain of thoughts that I wanted to put down here... instead of chucking away the list, I scrutinised it, put it in my pocket and had a smile on my face as I went around doing the week's shopping. I was recalling an interview on Londonist with a chap called Scott who collects shopping lists, analyses them then scans them and puts them up with his thoughts on his site. It's a harmless, quite charming, whimsical project and he's recently been featured in The Times for a "what teachers do outside term-time"... and his wry, amusing efforts at making the ordinary a little extraordinary made me feel a little brighter and more uplifted just by finding a discarded shopping list in my basket that wet, rainy, miserable Sunday afternoon.

The internet is transformative. It offers people a different view on the world around them and gives them a chance to interact with their world in the widest range of ways with other people in ways that were previously unthought of - chat forums, group blogs, ARGs and MMRPGs, fansites, music and image sharing...

The last ARG I played was two-thirds online - I'm playing another one at the moment by the same folks and that's turning out to be about the same ratio of physical, geographically specific, IRL activities and clue-hunting with a hell of a lot of stuff carried out across a range of internet-based applications. The last ARG was based around the National Theatre and I spent some happy evenings in the theatre bars, crawling around the car park, going up and down in lifts, interviewing statues and hanging around on the terraces with a radio, clutching a biscuit (yeah, I'll explain later). But I also had a great time flitting between the various online things that were part of the game:

... at least three blogs on Blogger
... the edit history pages of the National Theatre entry on Wikipedia (this was a very clever way of making one of the characters from the game communicate with us from the shadow National Theatre, speaking from a very odd unreal yet existing bit of cyber space...)
... a bizarre and frustrating online chat application called Habbo Hotel (which I couldn't log into while at work but everyone who managed it thought it was a marvellous idea and all in real time too)
... hidden bits of the real National Theatre website that was password protected for those elite few who stuck with the adventure long enough to work out what the password could be
... YouTube clips of the mystery tracks played during the National Theatre Late Lounge club night; these music tracks had secret messages hidden within them - sonorous bells and half-whispered words from the shadow NTT and it was useful to be able to listen to them again and again on the blogs in our attempt to work out the next clue
... the initial set of photos on Flickr and then more photos on Flickr from myself and fellow adventurer MykReeve


Also,during my research, I discovered that over time I have joined the following Flickr groups:

And I've contributed my own photos to all of them.

I love Flickr. I love the people who use Flickr. I love the person I am on Flickr.

Ah. The internet. It's not just for porn.

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