John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings Episode 171: Into Isolation, BABY

by on Sep.10, 2014, under Rum Doings

In our 171st ever Rum Doings, our topic is what is the chromosomal configuration of Kate’s zygote?

We talk about the nature and consequences of political criticism of art, at quite some length, especially how it relates to gaming. This meanders onto talk of our continued struggle with the pink and blue nature of childhoods, and a brief detour into baby having.

We’re such grown ups that Nick’s daughter starts school this week, so we chat about that, and then our horror at how young everyone is. No one is allowed to have been born after 1985.

You are of course required to leave a review on iTunes. Thank you to everyone who has – there are some extremely generous comments up there.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @rumdoings. If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, which apparently people still do, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

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Rum Doings Episode 170: What Are You Like With Liver?

by on Aug.22, 2014, under Rum Doings

In our 170th ever Rum Doings, our topic is, um, wait, we’ll get there… paint shades!

We discuss how wine tasting is finally proven a sham, John’s terrible aggressive shaving, evil cats, and a bit of Ferguson.

We rename the Mid-West, and decide America needs more sea. And we think how to get rid of the short.

You are of course required to leave a review on iTunes. Thank you to everyone who has – there are some extremely generous comments up there.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @rumdoings. If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, which apparently people still do, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here:

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How Internet Hate Mobs Work, And Why It’s So Insidious

by on Aug.20, 2014, under The Rest

In the wake of another really horrifying social media attack on a few individuals – some I know, some I don’t – I find myself needing to process the way it works. The awfulness of what is done, and just how frighteningly proficient are the organised attackers.

In this particular story, an angry ex-boyfriend has made public a huge screed of personal information about his former girlfriend, along with a long list of accusations. These accusations crossed my path when they included claims that someone I employed had behaved inappropriately. There was no evidence provided for these claims, and indeed no examples of the suggested corruption have ever existed. I assume much else was untrue or twisted too, but it’s absolutely none of my business. What I was in a position to know about, I knew was entirely false.

Yesterday the woman involved had her Twitter and Tumblr hacked, her personal information including phone numbers, family phone numbers, street addresses and PayPal information made public. She has received unending abuse on all channels, including to her personal phone and address. People close to her have received similar abuse. People who have made it clear they are against the abuse have received small fractions of the abuse too. There is, without question, a huge amount of abuse to go around. The thing is, it’s not from a huge number of people – they’re just exceptionally good at making it look as though there are.

(continue reading…)

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A Pointless Guide To Armstrongian Hyperbole

by on Aug.16, 2014, under The Rest

On the superb BBC1 quiz show, Pointless, I contend that co-host Alexander Armstrong perhaps a little over-effusively enthuses on the contestants’ competence after their failure. No pair of entrants appearing in the 600 aired episodes has ever fallen short of “great contestants”, no matter how fist-grindingly dreadful they may have been. This is part of what makes Pointless so absolutely lovely, in an age of quizshowing that otherwise focuses on humiliation or treachery. It’s also entirely daft.

Armstrong, who appears an all-round splendid chap, seems peculiarly beholden to a script, from which he appears unwilling to deviate. I do wonder if during his sleep he mumbles that everyone gets two chances to reach the Pointless final, or that for the remaining two pairs things are about to get even more exciting now as they enter the head-to-head. (Of course, the meandering banter between he and the adorable Richard Osman is incessantly delightful, and the primary reason to watch the programme.)

While I have no desire to see Armstrong berating contestants, and absolutely love that failure is met with warmth and cheer, I do fear that his madcap positivity is causing confusion, so have prepared a guide to what his terms practically mean:

“Great Contestants” = Really astonishingly terrible contestants, who likely scored 200 in the first round, two days running, and uttered phrases like, “The 1870s were before my time,” and, “Words ending in ‘EART’ isn’t a good subject for me.” That they found their way to the studio without accidentally strangling themselves with their own arms is of note.

“Brilliant Contestants” = Pretty poor contestants, unlikely to have displayed any knowledge, who most likely only got through to the second round after some “Great Contestants” inadvertently impaled themselves on the podium.

“Really Brilliant Contestants” = Okay-ish contestants, who knew a right answer that scored under 50. It was probably about football, which was, when they were asked what subjects they’d like to see come up, their only response.

“Properly Brilliant Contestants” = At this point the “properly” introduces the notion that there may be some credibility to their performance. These contestants potentially knew the location of a country on the planet, or the name of a film director. Where some Brilliant Contestants had said, “Well I don’t really follow politics” when asked to name a British Prime Minister, a Properly Brilliant Contestant might remember someone other than the present incumbent.

“Really Properly Brilliant Contestants” = Quite good contestants.

(It should be noted that the reason I would never go on a quiz show like Pointless is how it would immediately reveal me to be in the region of a Brilliant Contestant, as the woeful lack of knowledge I possess would be presented to the viewing world.)

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Rum Doings Episode 169: She’s Got A Special Brain Module

by on Aug.05, 2014, under Rum Doings

In our 169th ever Rum Doings, our topic is, why aren’t aeroplane flights available on the NHS?

There is a weird audio issue on this one. It’s Nick’s fault, even though it only happens when John speaks. So apologies. On Nick’s behalf. We talk about holidays, pregnancy, and then, at some length, Israel and the coverage of the Gaza situation.

We move on to talk more generally about the filters that are necessary for parsing any news stories, and John’s plans to get rid of his baby if he’s born on his birthday. And then John’s glorious air conditioner!

You are of course required to leave a review on iTunes. Thank you to everyone who has – there are some extremely generous comments up there.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @rumdoings. If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, which apparently people still do, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here:

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Rum Doings At Sea! Episode 168: Huh huh huh huh huh, SEVEN types of tea!

by on Jul.24, 2014, under Rum Doings

In our 168th ever Rum Doings, the topic is: should children read? Instead we complete our cruise recordings, docked back in Southampton, sitting on the sunbeds on a mostly abandoned cruise ship.

There’s discussion of correct and incorrect queuing, and then an account of the Stupidest Men In The World. For some reason John then sounds like he’s on the phone, despite having been lay next to Nick in a very sexy way, as he discusses how he has the hardest job in the world. Nick tells us about the Ukrainian barman he fell in love with, and we tell you about a very opulent meal we stuffed into our faces.

You are of course required to leave a review on iTunes. Thank you to everyone who has – there are some extremely generous comments up there.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @rumdoings. If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, which apparently people still do, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here:

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Rum Doings At Sea! Episode 167: DOREEN! THEY’VE RUN OUT OF PIE!

by on Jul.11, 2014, under Rum Doings

In our 167th ever Rum Doings, the rules continue to be thrown into the sea. Nick is locked out of the cabin and this week’s episode is brought to you by Victoria and John.

We bring you the latest news in Disney princess dress technology, and debate the merits of 3D printing. John explains Eggheads, and then tries to convince himself he’s okay with the boat’s rocking, all in an effort to tell a story about a mean lady.

As the waves outside the window start to grow really rather enormous, we talk cable cars, and Victoria tells us about her dad’s theories on the gays.

You are of course required to leave a review on iTunes. Thank you to everyone who has – there are some extremely generous comments up there.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @rumdoings. If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, which apparently people still do, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here:

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Rum Doings At Sea! Episode 166: It’s Just Rearranging Some Carbon Atoms

by on Jun.30, 2014, under Rum Doings

In our 166th ever Rum Doings, we’re still on the ocean waves. BUT WHAT IS THIS? John has been thrown out, perhaps overboard, and replaced by someone called “Laura”.

The topic is: should all of Gary Glitter’s records be pulped. Instead, Nick and Laura discuss whales, and are then rudely interrupted by the captain of the boat. Nick learns about pregnancy, and then they move on to John’s anger issues.

Laura laments not being a particle physicist, and Nick laments not being an endocrinologist. And then Nick delivers his Fountain Theory.

You are of course required to leave a review on iTunes. Thank you to everyone who has – there are some extremely generous comments up there.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @rumdoings. If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, which apparently people still do, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here:

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You Probably Aren’t Reading The Original Post

by on Jun.25, 2014, under Rants

I’ve deleted this.

I stated at the top of the piece that it was a deliberately one-sided argument, a counter to an ongoing topic I’ve seen come up over the years, and made emphatically clear that things about it would be wrong. But this is not a possible way to go about things, it turns out. A large part of the reaction has been incredibly inappropriate, with people interpreting an argument that contained,

“And I am quite certain that some brilliant writers are not receiving the consideration they deserve because of their sex, sexual identity or nationality. There are boys’ clubs in this business, and this business is a massive majority of white men. Hello. The lack of diversity in the coverage is a significant problem, and is most clearly revealed in the tacit or overt tolerance for the worst tropes of the games themselves. It’s a mess.”

as one that was arguing that there were no such problems, or even that I was deliberately attempting to oppress people. That’s insane, and not something worth trying to deal with. I know it’s a lie, and the people close to and important to me know it’s a lie. But it remains a terrible lie.

It’s been pointed out to me that my article, on a different day, might have been received differently, but right now a few people are hurting too much for it to be a useful contribution. This may well be the case. I haven’t engaged with that side of things, presumably I don’t follow the relevant people on Twitter and missed it. I was capturing thoughts I’ve had for a long time, and wasn’t responding to any individual. But if it just caused more hurt, then it wasn’t useful either. I likely wandered into a discussion I don’t know about, and looked like I was directly attacking specific people. I wasn’t, and I apologise to anyone who was hurt by it.

I have worked so hard to fight for the rights of freelancers, both when I was one, and since I’ve been in a position to employ them. I vociferously campaign against companies that are exploiting freelancers by not paying them. I am proud of what I’ve done. Since what I wrote was either so faulty and poorly communicated, or so wilfully misinterpreted, to suggest the opposite, I can see no good in leaving it up. Thank you to everyone who understood what I was saying, and thank you to those who engaged with where the argument was wrong and provided excellent replies. The comments are still below.

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Rum Doings At Sea! Episode 165: I DAHN’T UNNERSTAN’ YER LINGO!

by on Jun.19, 2014, under Rum Doings

In our 165th ever Rum Doings, we’re back on the ocean waves! The topic is: why can’t kings just reign until they die, for goodness sake?

After three days at sea, Nick and John find themselves trapped on a floating town with the most awful population on Earth. We begin with a look through the HMS Sinksalot’s onboard programme, the Pitter Patter.

There’s discussion of the world’s most passive-aggressive magician, when John interviewed Douglas Adams, and incredibly, Nick’s phone rings in the middle of the sea. More dolphin chatter, and just a generally happy fun time!

You are of course required to leave a review on iTunes. Thank you to everyone who has – there are some extremely generous comments up there.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @rumdoings. If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, which apparently people still do, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here:

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