Dirty Feed

AboutArchivesBest OfTwitter

By John Hoare. Read about the site, visit the archives,
see the "best" stuff, or follow me on Twitter.


13.09.17

Cruz Control

Posted 13th September 2017

Tagged with
, ,

No Comments Yet

Have we all finished laughing yet at Ted Cruz’s Twitter account liking a porn video? I haven’t, you know. Just give me a second.

Right, I’m back. Now, I haven’t got anything useful to say on the actual incident. (Though I feel duty-bound to point out that I only find it funny because of hypocrisy, not because Sex Is Wrong. Go and check through the people I follow on Twitter and play spot-the-pornstar if you don’t believe me.) What I want to concentrate on is The Independent‘s reporting of the story.

We’ll skip past their description of “posted the pornography” – I don’t think likes count as posting, but whatever – and skip straight to the bit which is categorically wrong:

“Twitter prohibits pornography on its platform.”

Erm, no it bloody well does not. See Twitter’s media policy:

“…you may not feature graphic content (such as media containing pornography or excessive violence) in live video, or in your profile image or header image.”

So: no porn allowed in your profile image, header image, or live video streams. Fine. But there is absolutely no prohibition on posting pornographic images or normal videos.

The thing is, this isn’t some kind of obscure point. Twitter allowing porn is something which distinguishes it greatly from other services such as Instagram or Facebook. Surely a journalist tasked with writing a story about social media should know this? It’s pretty damn basic stuff.

It’s also important stuff. And it’s important because of the very next line in The Independent‘s article:

“Catherine Frazier, senior communications adviser to Mr Cruz, tweeted: ‘The offensive tweet posted on @tedcruz account earlier has been removed by staff and reported to Twitter.'”

Again, we’re going to have to ignore the clunky wording here – I don’t think a like counts as it being “posted”, but whatever. The crucial thing here is: Frazier stating the liked tweet was “reported to Twitter”. But the tweet wasn’t forbidden by Twitter’s rules of conduct. Catherine Frazier is bullshitting us all by pointing somewhere else and hoping we’ll all look over there instead.

But The Independent doesn’t mention any of that. Because the writer of The Independent‘s piece thinks that porn isn’t allowed on Twitter. And so Catherine Frazier isn’t held culpable for her nonsense.

As someone pointed out to me: The Independent‘s story was written by someone who couldn’t even work out that if Twitter prohibited porn, this whole story wouldn’t exist. A failure of research, a failure of logic, and a failure to bring people to account who should to be brought to account.

Excellent work, The Independent, well done.

Tagged with: , ,

31.08.17

How to Be Better Than Tim Berners-Lee

Posted 31st August 2017

Tagged with
,

1 Comment

I’ve written a lot in the past year or so about what I like to call internet archeology. Whether it’s revered web designers destroying communities, podcasts destroying their archives, or simply historically important web tutorials disappearing, there’s one recurring idea: hey, don’t just yank your stuff offline, man.

But you don’t need to take my word for it about how bad this is. A certain Tim Berners-Lee, in his seminal 1998 essay “Cool URIs don’t change”, covers everything you need to know on the subject.

“In theory, the domain name space owner owns the domain name space and therefore all URIs in it. Except insolvency, nothing prevents the domain name owner from keeping the name. And in theory the URI space under your domain name is totally under your control, so you can make it as stable as you like. Pretty much the only good reason for a document to disappear from the Web is that the company which owned the domain name went out of business or can no longer afford to keep the server running.”

But why should I care, Tim?

Why should I care?

When you change a URI on your server, you can never completely tell who will have links to the old URI. They might have made links from regular web pages. They might have bookmarked your page. They might have scrawled the URI in the margin of a letter to a friend.

When someone follows a link and it breaks, they generally lose confidence in the owner of the server. They also are frustrated – emotionally and practically from accomplishing their goal.

Enough people complain all the time about dangling links that I hope the damage is obvious. I hope it also obvious that the reputation damage is to the maintainer of the server whose document vanished.

Yep, makes sense to me. We’re all agreed, yes?

[Read more →]

Tagged with: ,

30.08.17

Scrapings from underneath somebody’s crusty bellend

Posted 30th August 2017

Tagged with
, , , , ,

Ah, it’s been rather quiet over here on Dirty Feed recently, hasn’t it? Sorry, I’ve been busy over on Ganymede & Titan, the Red Dwarf fansite I write for because I hate Red Dwarf.

Here’s what I’ve been up to over there, if you’re interested.

Better Than Reality
A short piece looking at the genesis of some of Red Dwarf‘s most popular episodes, as found in Radio 4 sketch show Cliché – Rob and Doug’s first solo writing credit. (I didn’t get much feedback on this one, and I don’t think it’s the best-written piece I’ve ever done, but the fundamental point is fascinating, I think.)

End of Part One, Red Dwarf XI Edition
A look at the placing of ad breaks in Red Dwarf XI, because I’m the only person in the world who would actually bother to write that article. (I did enjoy the person who told me on Twitter that ad breaks shouldn’t be used to set up cliffhangers in British TV shows. I told them they lost that argument in 1955.)

Observation Dome: Back From The Dead
About bringing an old part of Red Dwarf fandom back from the dead. (I’ll be writing more about this on Dirty Feed shortly.)

Red Dwarf and Me: Artificial Reality
On my relationship with Red Dwarf these days, which has been percolating in my mind for five years… and I only just figured out how to write it. The comment thread is lovely and well worth a read too.

Red Dwarf, there.

Tagged with: , , , , ,

11.08.17

On Ostentatiousness.

Posted 11th August 2017

Tagged with
, ,

2 Comments

I’ll admit it. Whenever I write an article I’m particularly proud of, I enjoy going on Twitter and yelling about it at the top of my voice. I don’t know whether that’s a particularly brilliant side of my personality, but it’s there. I’d be a bloody liar if I said I didn’t enjoy people telling me something I’ve written is good. TELL ME SOMETHING I’VE WRITTEN IS GOOD, DO IT.

And yet sometimes… that’s just not what I’m aiming for. Sometimes I write something I want to write, but I know most people who follow me on Twitter just aren’t going to be interested. Or sometimes I write mainly to work a few things out in my head, and if anyone else enjoys the piece, that’s a bonus. Or sometimes I just want to write something small – a piece which might be fun for a reader to come across randomly when browsing a site, but not something anyone would want to visit a site just to read.

When I first ran a blog – now stupidly deleted off the web, but partially available on The Wayback Machine – things were different. Social media was far less of a thing: people would see you had written a new piece through your RSS feed, or even – shock horror – just from visiting your site. Amazing. These days, very few people see any of my stuff unless I tweet about it, or somebody links to it on Facebook.

I can deal with that. But sometimes tweeting about something I’ve written feels right… and sometimes it just kinda feels wrong.

Some pieces don’t want to be tweeted about. Some pieces don’t want that attention foisted on them. Some things absolutely do not warrant me waving my arms around above it, yelling “Look at me!” Some pieces just want to exist… ready for the right people to stumble across them. That used to be so easy. Now, it isn’t. Social media is about yelling to get attention in a way that an RSS feed is not. These days, something has to be made a fuss about… or it disappears into the ether. And that’s a shame.

I will not be tweeting a link to this post.

Tagged with: , ,

06.08.17

Bob Says It’ll Be Alright on Carrott’s Commercial Wars

Posted 6th August 2017

Tagged with
, ,

5 Comments

Ah, Sunday. Where the vast majority of my Twitter feed seems to want to sit around and read/watch/talk about telly. So in lieu of anything else new here, I thought I’d point you towards a load of articles and videos other people have done instead.

Enjoy.

i.
First off, we have some brilliant analysis of Robot Wars by Christopher Wickham. Fancy learning about a robot which was renamed between the BBC Choice showing, and its BBC Two repeat? Or what about a rigged trial round? Or, indeed, a rigged Grand Final? Or a bunch of other obscure trivia about the show? Most of the CONTROVERSIAL BITS discussed have associated YouTube links, and I highly recommend you don’t rush through them – sit back and watch the fights in full alongside the articles. It’s worth it. Even when it’s difficult to nail down exactly what happened, some of those fights look very strange indeed in the final edit.

Out of all of the above, perhaps the thing which blows my mind the most is the existence of Robot Wars Revealed – a 1998 BBC Choice behind-the-scenes spin-off series. It being the early days of digital television, hardly anyone saw it – and seemingly only one episode is in general circulation. It’s incredible how easily things can slip away; even programmes made in the last 20 years. What programmes are you watching now that in 2037 you’ll think “Oh, I wish I could see that again”, and be unable to?

[Read more →]

Tagged with: , ,

31.07.17

Red Dwarf: An Accidental Trilogy

Posted 31st July 2017

Tagged with
, , , ,

When I’m not writing over here, you can find me over on Ganymede & Titan – the Red Dwarf fansite started in 1999 which is unaccountably still running. Having just published a brand new piece of mine over there today, it strikes me that over the past three years I seem to have accidentally written myself a little trilogy about the history, influences and themes of the show.

As they’re some of my better pieces, with a strong linking thread, if you feel like diving into my Red Dwarf writing you could probably do worse than check out the following. They do go into the show in a little more depth than “Dave Hollins was on the radio, and then it turned into Red Dwarf“.

History of a Joke (2015)
Tracing the history of a single joke Rob and Doug have used in various forms, right from their first solo radio show Cliché in 1981, to their novel Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers in 1989.

Hancock’s Half Hour: The Tycoon (2016)
A look at how the basic structure of the Red Dwarf episode Better Than Life was done by Hancock’s Half Hour thirty years earlier: even the supposedly science fiction element.

Better Than Reality (2017)
A brand new piece, which takes a look at how a single sketch in Cliché informed ideas that Red Dwarf would use time and time again – in Better Than Life, Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers, and beyond.

If any of my Red Dwarf writing interests you, give the above a go. They’re some of the best stuff about the show I’ve written over the past few years, so if you don’t like them then for fuck’s sake don’t hunt down any of my other shit.

Tagged with: , , , ,

25.07.17

How To Write, Courtesy of The Outline

Posted 25th July 2017

Tagged with
,

Man, I’ve been having a bit of trouble here on Dirty Feed recently. A combination of lack of time and writer’s block1 has left this site feeling a little barren.

Never mind! The Outline – self-described as “a new kind of publication for a new kind of human” – has shown us all the way. Their piece entitled “Who are your problematic faves?” shows that you don’t need to actually write an article in order to have something to publish. Merely writing a short list with no explanation or reasoning – and adding some weird spacing – is more than enough.

With that in mind, I thought instead of actually writing some proper articles on here, I’d just publish my preliminary notes for one of them instead.

Hi-de-Hi!: The Christmas Episodes

Intro!
 
 
 
Eruptions (TX: 26th December 1982)
Bong!
 
 
 
Raffles (TX: 25th December 1984)
Bing!
 
 
 
The Great Cat Lottery (TX: 25th December 1985)
Bibble!
 
 
 
September Song (TX: 27th December 1986)
Bash!
 
 
 
Tell It To The Marines (TX: 26th December 1987)
Blah!

There you go. The site has been updated, and I didn’t actually have to put any effort in at all. Thank you, The Outline. You’re the best.


  1. I don’t like this term, mind. “Writer’s ineptness” might be better. 

Tagged with: ,

13.07.17

Who Wants to Be a Boring Fucker About Old ITV Logos

Posted 13th July 2017

Tagged with
, ,

3 Comments

The other day, a tiny logo blew my tiny mind.

As I was watching the very first episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? on YouTube1, the following popped up at the end of the show:

WWTBAM with 1989 generic ITV logo

Firstly, apologies for Chris Tarrant’s face there. He looks like a ghost that’s getting sucked off. Secondly: is that the 1989 ITV generic logo I spy there? Surely that look had long disappeared by the time WWTBAM was aired? The look I always remember associated with the show is the yellow and blue identity:

1998 ITV logo

Clearly not, though the crossover was in fact very tight, just like your mum. The first episode of WWTBAM? was broadcast on the 4th September 1998; the blue and yellow ITV logo was launched on the 5th October 1998, just a month later.

It’s very easy to forget quite how long that 1989 generic logo survived; no way would I have said it was still being used on a network programme in 1998. In my head, the ITV of 1998 is very different to the ITV of 1989, as shown in this launch promo:

The appearance of this logo in WWTBAM? feels almost like a missing link. And an unpleasant reminder that yes, even the late 90s were a rather long time ago now. Shit.

To make us feel a little better about that, then, there is another reason why seeing this logo pop up is so surprising – and it speaks to how TV subtly rewrites itself. If you look at the Challenge repeat of the first episode of WWTBAM?, the section featuring the 1989 ITV logo is cut entirely. Not because of the logo itself – but simply because it’s on during the section where Chris Tarrant is asking for contestants for the show, and that wasn’t an appropriate thing to air in a repeat.

Understandable, and something needed to be done to this section to avoid misleading or confusing the viewer, but perhaps a little frustrating. As it is, a tiny slither of TV history is lost with this cut, and that’s somewhat unfortunate.

No wonder we lose track of this stuff so easily.


  1. There are two people in this world: people who entirely understand why I would want to watch the very first episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? on YouTube, and those who don’t. 

Tagged with: , ,

29.06.17

Get Ready for Jim

Posted 29th June 2017

Tagged with
,

1 Comment

Picture the scene. It’s the early 90s, and a tech op working for a commercial radio station (who shall remain nameless) has the joy of playing out Savile’s Travels to the eager listeners at home. Come out of the news, play a jingle, start the tape, listen to the output, and insert the local ads every so often. Job done.

Unfortunately, this means that this poor guy had to listen to hours upon hours of Jimmy Savile. And it didn’t take him long to realise a lot of the stuff a certain Mr. Savile said was… something fairly akin to gibberish. So when a new digital sampler arrived at the station, he decided to relieve his boredom and have some fun. The result is the most entertaining Jimmy Savile ever was in his entire career. Over 25 years later, perhaps this piece of audio only intended to internal hijinks deserves a wider audience.

Be warned, though. This does actually contain an awful lot of Jimmy Savile.

You may think the above was compiled from many different episodes of Savile’s Travels. I should leave you with one final fact, then: I’m afraid all the samples used come from a single episode of the programme.

Big ones.

Tagged with: ,

11.06.17

How Strong Are Your Moral Values?

Posted 11th June 2017

Tagged with
, ,

3 Comments

The Real You logo

Hey! You, over there! Ever wonder how moral you are? Don’t look at me like that. It’s a straightforward enough question, and easy enough to answer. Isn’t it? No?

Well, never fear. I have a BBC Micro program here which will tell you ALL you need to know. Published by Collins Soft in 1985, The Real You contains 16 tests to – and I quote the back of the packaging – “inspire you and challenge you to discover who you really are”. And one of those tests is simply titled: Morals.

The test consists of 50 questions, and I thought I’d run through some of the most interesting ones here. Feel free to download a copy and play along at home1, though the below gives you enough of a flavour, I feel.

[Read more →]


  1. You’ll need a BBC Micro emulator, and the disc doesn’t auto-boot unfortunately. Type CHAIN"REAL" to get it working. 

Tagged with: , ,


← Earlier posts