The Attention Economy

“Feeling the need to check your smartphone, like or post on social media? Then you’re part of the attention economy. David Grossman discovers why it’s so hard to resist the billion-dollar industry of digital distraction.”

Radio 4 radio show, The New Age of Capitalism

How our economy works is changing through the internet. It is like trading can now take place in a new place with new rules and new risks and new benefits. Another view is of the Surveillance Capitalism.

David Richardson talks to Tim Wu, author of ‘The Attention Merchants, The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads’ and former Google executive James Williams, author of ‘Stand Out of Our Light, Freedom and Persuasion in the Attention Economy’.

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Praise You

This is a link to a radio programme here about Bertholt Brecht, activist and theatre practitioner.

It is about his poem Vergnügungen.

One of the contributers talked about how the poem, just 16 lines, came out of an adventure journey he took, fleeing the Nazi party. She relates how he moved to Denmark, then Sweden, then Finland and on each move discarded more and more of the things and people he knew. In the end all he had was what was before him. Hence the poem.

It was in equal measure inpiring and interesting and set me off on my own adventure journey.


Der erste Blick aus dem Fenster am Morgen 
Das wiedergefundene Buch 
Begeisterte Gesichter 
Schnee, der Wechsel der Jahreszeiten 
Die Zeitung 
Der Hund 
Die Dialektik 
Duschen, Schwimmen 
Alte Musik 
Bequeme Schuhe 
Neue Musik 
Schreiben, Pflanzen 
Freundlich sein


First look from morning’s window
The rediscovered book
Fascinated faces
Snow, the change of the seasons
The newspaper
The dog
Showering, swimming
Old music
Comfortable shoes
New music
Writing, planting
Being friendly

The idea of journey or adventure struck me as a form of moving meditation, that whilst journey being a moving thing, it always brings you to the ever present here and now. To the simple pleasures.

There is a quote from Renny and Terry Russell in ‘On The Loose’ that goes

‘Hot fudge meets deep needs’.

Renny and Terry Russell

I always thought ot it when I got to a campsite, wet and cold, and put up the tent and put on my dry clothes, and had a hot drink. Deep needs were met.

In Germany Vergnügungen is a standard text, and another contributor talked about how it is used to invite students to write their own version of Vergnügungen. Their list their own ‘hot fudge’ things.

I listened whislt looking through my own ‘morning’s window’ to my back yard and the scrub beyond. It is a sea of green, the cow parsley is as high as an elephants eye, the fledglings have fledged. we have a pond full of froglets. Simple things. Pleasure.

The poem is about simple praise of simple things.

My mind went to ‘Praise You’ by Fat Boy Slim.

Praise You

It is a deeply wonderful video. A simple pleasure. Insane.

Now… Should you find yourself out somewhere and available to do some insane wonderful thing, here’s what you could do.

Look and list the things you can see that bring you pleasure and praise them. Or plant a single foot and gimbal around it, and reach and touch all the touchable things that give you pleasure and praise them. And, if there is a bunch of you, or just the one of you, go somewhere nobody can see you and dance, or if you are brave enough, do your own flashmob in the street and scare the neighbours.

Simple pleasures.

Jarvis Cocker and Jeremy Deller Create Arts Festival Celebrating Edale and the Peak


In a BBC Radio 4 programme Jarvis Cocker of Pulp and artist Jeremy Deller talk about a walking trail they’ve made in the Peak District. Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie present a feast of great music and chat for weekend breakfast.

Jarvis is reputed to have started Pulp when he was on the dole in Sheffield but that might just be an urban myth. Jeremy Deller’s famous work is ‘The History of the World’ where he connects brass bands and acid house, here,

The backstory includes reference to the Kinder Mass Trespass which opened up the National Park movement. Like Deller connecting acid house and brass bands, seeing this as art and performance opens up interesting perspectives on outdoor activity and AEOL. Ewan McColl wrote Manchester Rambler to celebrate the protest, which he attended. In the song he sings ‘I may be a wage slave on Monday, but I am a free man on Sunday,’ This connects with the way rave culture grew out of a counterbalance to Thatcherism and the austerity of the 80’s. As embodied performative, rave, outdoor leisure (and AEOL), Pride and Queer Theory are linked. Interestingly much of the early Rave culture occured in outdoor and feral or abandoned industrial sites. There is even a suggestion that ‘The Festival’ was originally the purpose of Stonehenge. See here and here. For more on performativity see the last Performativity entry on my blog here

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The Analogue Human

The offline and online worlds are also analogue and digital worlds. We live in both. Analogue is the thing. Digital is the code to make the thing.

BBC Radio 4 show The Digital Human made entirely with analogue technology. Yes they really did cut up the tape and splice it.

Monday June 10th.

“To celebrate the 100th episode of The Digital Human Aleks Krotoski explores how digital and analogue technologies make us think differently.”

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