AnthroBlog

Thursday, January 31, 2002

QUESTION: where do you go when you read a novel? Popularly we talk about this experience as 'transport' or 'escape'; where do solitary readers imagine they go to? contact me
posted by adam 10:35 AM

AWARDS: the GBloggies seems to be gaining pace. Whispers of a public offline ceremony; venues are being discussed already: ICA, Westminster Hall, Wembly Areana...contact me
posted by adam 10:31 AM

SNOWCAT: thanks for Cath for her advice on WWI books. contact me
posted by adam 10:22 AM

Monday, January 28, 2002

STUPID TRANSLATOR: big thanks to Mo ; his stupid translator has brightened up my day. contact me
posted by adam 5:38 PM

DUBLIN: I am over here in Dublin [a city I've always liked, but which has changed a lot in recent years: much more affluent] for a conference at new MIT Media Lab Europe. As a social scientist, it is pretty weird walking around rooms full of robotic and digital technology demonstrations and to hear talks on microelectronics and biology. You can smell the money this institution has too [certainly a very different environment from your old UK academic institution; they even have celebrity guests, like Bono etc from U2; all very weird].contact me
posted by adam 5:19 PM

Saturday, January 26, 2002

NO MAN'S LAND: last night went to see the Pinter play at the National Theatre. Haven't seen a Pinter play for ages; I forgot about the implicit threat and violence there is, the imagistic language, the lack of dialogue [no one actually really speaks to anyone else; they address monologues at each other]. Not sure what it was all about, but enjoyed it greatly. Corin Redgrave was fantastic. Only complaint was the price of two glasses of white wine at the NT bar [£6.25!!!] contact me
posted by adam 5:18 PM

Friday, January 25, 2002

HEROES: I see that Marvel comics have brought out a special comic to celebrate the heroes of September 11!
Excerpt from back cover:
Comic book universes are populated by colorful characters that possess fantastic powers.

But on September 11th, 2001, an untold number of real men and women amazed the world with their phenomenal acts of bravery.

When others ran away, they charged forward. When others reached out for safety, they offered a helping hand. When others cried out, they responded with a soothing voice.

And, tragically, many of them died...but in doing so taught us all how to live.

They can't stick to walls.
They can't summon thunder.
They can't fly.

They're just HEROES.


Strange, but interesting. Actually I have always found comics interesting forms of expression [the prisoners I worked with in Papua New Guinea were big fans of comics]. Something about the state of comics: half way between film and drawing: the contrast editing of juxtaposed images. contact me

posted by adam 7:52 AM

FIRST WORLD WAR: lately I have been talking to a bunch of people about their interest/enthusiasm for the history of the First World War. I remain fascinated by the hold that event holds over people, the emotions it still draws out. What is that about? The wiping out of a whole generation; a sense of tragic loss? The end of romanticism? Basis for sense of nationhood? Anybody got any books to recommend on the subject? contact me
posted by adam 7:43 AM

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

THANKS TO MIKE: just a quick note of thanks to Mike at Coffeecorner for agreeing to be interviewed. I enjoyed our chat today; it was interesting to get the perspective of an American blogger living in London.contact me
posted by adam 10:28 PM

COMPUTERS CAN'T THINK LIKE BOOKS: for a while now I have been thinking about what someone [not a web logger] told me when asked to describe the relationship between books and computers in his life: "A computer is very demanding, you only do it in one place and it doesn’t think like a person. It’s just a silly old machine. That’s what I find frustrating about computers, and what I find so rewarding in reading a book. Because it thinks like a person." Why does a book 'think'? Why doesn't a computer? How do you view these two objects in your life? contact me
posted by adam 10:25 PM

Sunday, January 20, 2002

MOTION SICKNESS: as I write this our washing machine is dancing across the kitchen floor. Having tried to hold it back I now realise I am getting motion sickness from watching the dial in anticipation that the cyle will finally reach its end! contact me
posted by adam 3:27 PM

Saturday, January 19, 2002

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: I am in the middle of reading my first Henry Green novel 'Caught'. I love it! Stylistically it is strange and original; takes a bit of time to get used to the word structure, but there is a very English wartime melancholia about the whole book. Try it. contact me
posted by adam 5:24 PM

Friday, January 18, 2002

DIRTY DANCING: I see that they are cleaning up ice skating! Always thought those girls in those skimpy outfits were getting away with murder! contact me
posted by adam 6:29 PM

VIRTUALITY: been reading some ethnography of the Internet; the authors' argument is based around idea that the idea of 'virtuality' needs to be assessed at the point of articulation rather than taken for granted. So the assumption that Internet activity is 'virtual' and that the virtual world of cyberspace can mirror the 'real' world is only interesting if and when Internet users are articulating that distinction [the authors conducted work in Trinidad, where, they say, the distinction was not pertinent to how people conveyed their Internet activity].contact me
posted by adam 3:21 PM

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

DUTCHBINT RULES: just visited Marcia's new site design and I like it alot. She has managed to really freshen up the look of web logs; I like the vertical columns. contact me
posted by adam 3:52 PM

SIMPSONS QUOTE: had to retell a line from the Simpsons last night:
Homer: "You know Mr Burns you're the richest guy I ever knew."
Mr Burns: "Ah yes, but I'd trade it all for a little more."
contact me
posted by adam 11:55 AM

Monday, January 14, 2002

THOSE DAM PRETZELS: poor old George W fainted after choking on a pretzel [while watching American football on TV!]. It almost seems too funny to be true.
What are pretzels?
Chewy salt-encrusted snack with distinctive, twisted shape, popular with beer
Originated in Europe, where some consider them a good luck charm
Introduced in America by early settlers
Annual US sales top $180m

contact me
posted by adam 5:01 PM

SOLITARY READING AND SENSES OF PLACE: I have been working on a paper from my research with a group of fiction readers; it focuses on the ways in which these people use texts as means of making and sensing place. An example would be the way in which the event of reading is understood through metaphors of spatial and temporal transgression:ie 'transport', 'escape' etc; these readers conceive that they are transported to a another world, but one that remains geographical identifiable. Consequently, part of their reading enjoyment involves paying occasional visits to the landscape that features in the novels they like. This habit seems to be far more common than one expects; and I think is a potentially interesting way to think about the ways in whcih solitary reading is embedded in social life. Perhaps these people read novels in order to visit a place they miss [one geographically distant]; and perhaps they make trips to the actual landscape in order visit the novels. Interesting symmetry between sensings of place and sensings of text. What do you think? contact me
posted by adam 4:57 PM

Sunday, January 13, 2002

OCCASIONAL MOVIE QUOTES: Being John Malkovich (1999)
Lotte Schwartz: "Don't stand in the way of my actualization as a man."
contact me

posted by adam 6:16 PM

THRONE OF BLOOD: last night went to NFT during their Kurosawa season and saw Throne Of Blood. Loved it. Shot in black and white in the late 50s, it is less polished than some of his later films, but the imagery and soundscapes were amazing [the sound scape in itself is worth hearing: bleak and haunting]. In particular, some of the final scenes when the 'Macbeth' figure is showered with arrows, which seem to shadow him, leaving an indent of himself in the walls, was stunning. I think I liked Ran even more, but compelling viewing. contact me
posted by adam 2:29 PM

WHO AM I?: thanks to Tom for this quiz/test. Confirms my worst fears [I hated Holden too!]:
You are one morose motherfucker. Everytime something goes the way you want it to in life, as soon as it is at its peak, it always comes crashing down to hit you in the face. That factors in with your almost always unreachable goals, and that you always manage to say the wrong things at the wrong time. If you just get a haircut and quit trying to make the impossible happen, you're going to be much better off.

Take The "Which Kevin Smith Male Are You?" Quiz!!

contact me
posted by adam 11:26 AM

Saturday, January 12, 2002

SOUNDING OF THE TEXT: just came across a really interesting piece by anthropologist called Lansing who worked in Bali. He claims that the Balinese describe texts in two ways:
1] Meaning of the text: like literary critic, Balinese ascribe texts inherent meanings which can be mined by the reader.
2] Sounding of the text: but they also talk of the significance of performing that text: in his translation 'sounding the text', ie all the performances, rituals etc that surround textual delivery.
the distinction is helpful for me; particularly in light of my ongoing work with a group of fiction readers in the UK; they literally get together to sound the texts they love: at group meetings they visit locations where scenes from the novels are said to take place and read the relevant passages aloud. I wonder if the term might be helpful to describe any of web logging activity: are blogmeets opportunities to sound the text [not really, but maybe there may be something there: about the performances that surround textual production]. contact me
posted by adam 11:26 AM

UNWANTED ENCOUNTERS: just read Meg's posting on bumping into an old unlooked for acquaintance on the tube. It reminds me that I have to still to bump into anybody in London from my past; since I moved down 6 months ago from Manchester. Always imagine I would find myself confronted with old enemies from school days [most probably they would be suits, fabulously wealthy and in the City], and we would have nothing at all to say to each other. It hasn't happened yet. contact me
posted by adam 11:16 AM

FAVOURITE WORD: my favourite word has always been puddle. I like everything about: as a sign [the object it refers to], as a sound spoken and as a graphic image. Always imagined that if I had a son I would call him Puddle, but never met a girl who would go with it [best offer I got was to name a dog]. Anyway what's your favourite word? contact me
posted by adam 11:06 AM

HALF EMPTY: the cup's half empty today and has been for several days now. Seem to have got myself into one of those black moods, which arrive for no discernible reason. Only cure: get out and walk it off. contact me
posted by adam 10:54 AM

AUDIENCE: one of the reasons I still find it hard to know how to pitch my postings is that I have never really worked out whom I am writing for. As many web loggers tell me, they are writing for themselves. But if web log postings are meant to be conversations with self then why the need to make them public documents? Many say they start off imagining they are addressing themselves to a general global Net citizen, others that they initially see themselves writing for a select group of friends or family back home. Nearly everyone says that eventually they find themselves in part writing for other web loggers. I think maybe in order to find a 'voice' that is going to work for me here I need to at least initially imagine a specific audience, so that I can set a tone. I think at the moment I imagine myself writing to those other web loggers I have met and interviewed. contact me
posted by adam 10:51 AM

Friday, January 11, 2002

BLOGGING TEXTS: the other day I was running through in my head all the different kinds of texts web loggers produce. Have I missed any obvious types out:
1] Links based text: a short text organised around a link [so the posted text is secondary to linked to text]
2] Reviewing: texts that offer reviews of films, plays, restaurants, museums, nightclubs, galleries, bars, pubs etc.
3] Reportage: texts that offer witness accounts of news covered stories or alternative news reports.
4] Brain dump : texts that are spotaneous expressions of thoughts and also forum for rants.
5] Diary : confessional texts, day to day accounts of life.
6] Creative writing : experimental texts: unpublished novels, poetry, short stories, essays etc.
7] Opinion : texts as expressions of opinion or taste.

if these are at all relevant categories, which type of text is most important to you? contact me

posted by adam 12:56 PM

TREKKING QUERY: just started thinking about summer holidays. I like trekking and in the past have spent alot of time in Morocco, but wanted to try somewhere else this year. Any suggestions? I was thinking about Turkey. contact me
posted by adam 12:47 PM

Thursday, January 10, 2002

CHRONCILING LIFE: last night had a fascinating couple of hours chatting to Jon about his web log. He brought up a motivation for web logging that I have heard from others as well: that is the desire to create a chronicle of one's life. So web logs are written in part in anticipation of the writer looking back on his or her site in years to come. Why this desire to chronicle life? Is web logging a 21st century version of the 19the century diarist? contact me
posted by adam 5:16 PM

WELCOME: okay, so this is the first posting on my new web log [I tried to do a joint web log before with my partner, but it just didn't seem to work]. The title of the site is just a reference to the fact that as a social anthropologist I have been conducting research on web logging for 5 months or so now. This is my web log, but also, I hope, a space where I might try out and chronicle my changing thoughts on the practice of web logging. I would welcome any feedback. Here goes... contact me
posted by adam 5:08 PM

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My blog, my blog on blogging

Me
I am a social anthropologist working at the University of Surrey, but conducting research on the culture of web logging in London. Since August 2001, I have been reading web logs and interviewing members of the UK blogging community. AnthroBlog is first and foremost my web log, but it also a site where I hope to explore ongoing issues and themes of fieldwork. I welcome any comments or inquiries from UK web loggers interested in being involved.contact me

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