Friday, 30 January 2009

ARGs ain't so AARRrggghh!!

Dinosaurs courtesy of the first Barg Alt. pass the parcel.

So through my new Twitter universe came this emerging buzz about a new forming Birmingham ARG group (#BARG hashtag). Now i'm not going to bother to try to define exactly what Alternative Reality Games are or even point you at an ARG website because i feel that would be pointless* (and confusing) suffice to say i tagged along out of curiosity. The fascinating thing was to be in a Digbeth backstreet pub room of about 20 people discussing the vague concept of games which appear to not be games (another ARG concept which has to be witnessed first hand) played out within different layers of 'reality' (the tangible, the digital, the artistic, the imagined, etc) slowly the fog starts to clear. When Benjamin (Not Brum) did his talk on his many intense ARG experiences and the fact that on an informed hunch he'd took a day trip to New York to desecrate a chunk of Central Park suddenly it became a bit clearer about what could possibly develop. So we shall see what we shall see but as one guy said 'it would be great to be in at the beginning'.

PS: In a few months if you're walking through Digbeth and get accosted by a 'Peaky Blinder' don't panic, ARG has just hernia'd into your reality.

*Yeah, ok i give in, here some pointers...

Barg the initial Brum 'is anyone out there' ARG post.
Futurelab's take on ARGs.
GiantMice take on ARGs.
Mirlando's take on ARGs.
Maquerade The 70's 'treasure hunt' game with clues hidden within a book leading to a Golden Hare
Perplex city
SFZero ARG based around San Francisco.
The Beast ARG based around Steven Spielberg's A.I.
Year Zero ARG based around the Nine Inch Nails album of the same name.
Rider Spoke ARG on bikes using GPS technology and such.
Hide And Seek an ARG variant on the popular parlour game.
GeoCaching I think this falls within the realm of ARGs?.
I Love Bees i'm led to believe this page is not what it first appears to be!?.
World Without Oil an ARG which addressed a real world issue (ARGs as problem solving).
Flickr a game? slightly offtopic concept that games are all around you.
All The Above Are Wrong?.

(Not sure if it has any relevance but ~20 years back i bought a copy of James P Carse's 'Finite and Infinite Games', there was a similar vein of defining games, rules and players running through that, i'll probably give that another read.)

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

That Brum Bloggers '7 Things You May Not Know' bit

I thought the sidebar 'About Me' bit would suffice for this blog but then Nicky 'DiG' Getgood nominated me (amongst others) as a participant in the '7 Things You May Not Know About Me' chain mail currently doing the rounds. Usually i give things like this a wide birth but then i'd feel like a complete heel for not joining in, so in no particular order...

  • I play Guitar and IMHO play it quite well but have never got it together to play in an actual 'proper' band despite several opportunities to do so. Actually i can usually get a tune out of anything with strings and am now hankerin' after a Double Bass.

  • I occasionally get swamped by Black clouds of Existentialist 'who am i, where am i going, what's the point of it all' angst but they usually blow over in a few hours

  • When i was about 16/17 i gave up Chocolate because i had half a dozen spots and i haven't touched so much as a flake of the Cocoa beany confectionary since. Thing is i really miss it, the thought of the combined taste sensation of a Twix and a packet of Walkers Cheese and Onion crisps is making my mouth water as i type.

  • My one real 'wake's you up in the middle of the night' regret is that i pissed away the final year of my Physics degree at Coventry University . It wouldn't of taken a huge deal of effort to get at least a passing grade but i just let it go. I feel i let a few people down.

  • Several years back i was alarmed to find what i thought was a bad case of saddle soreness was actually a mild case of Hemmoroids.

  • I'm a terrible hoarder, i loathe to throw things away because "you never know, it may come in handy". In ten years time i will be that bloke on the news found decomposing under a collapsed pile of newspapers and used kitty litter. In my defence though it can come in handy as some of my old Sounds papers ended up in the Birmingham Home Of Metal project (i'm credited in the program).

  • I currently have Three proper tattoos and three tiny DIY ones. One of my studio jobs is of Hunt Emerson's Calculus Cat (with a 'mistake' so i got it for free) and the one on my lower leg i'm not totally happy with so i'm looking to get it embellished.

Now i'm supposed to nominate Seven people/bloggers to carry on this letter but such is the exponential nature of such things everybody i know's been taken?. If you're reading this and you haven't done one yet you are now obliged to do so (if you don't do it within Seven days there will be Seven plagues of crapness visited on all your houses :) ).

Saturday, 24 January 2009

The Revolution Convenes at The Three Horseshoes

Taped to the wall outside the now defunct Woolworths. I've Googled it but i have no idea what this group is or stands for (Nation Awesome, NDN?), i didn't realise sleepy Sheldon was such a hot bed of activism. Even more suprising it's been there unmolested for about four days.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Big City Plan vs Joe Public

Just in the nick of time The Big City has been translated into proper English just like what you and me speak. The first thing that beggars belief is that a PUBLIC consultation document needed to be rewritten in the first place?. Kudos to Jon Bounds, Nick Booth, Nicky Getgood, Julia Gilbert and Michael Grimes for having the patience to wade through the Councilese gibberish and produce something that Joe Public could actually get involved with AND comment on. The trick now is to get this 'unofficial' version out there, plenty of buzz on Twitter and Blogsites already which once again puts the Councils B.C.P publicity 'drive' to shame (y' know, those placards 10ft up a lampost).

Sunday, 18 January 2009

The Dufus Epiphany

Have you ever had that moment when someone you look up to and respect does (or says) something that makes you realise 'Hey, this guy is as big a misguided bluffer as i am' ?

Friday, 16 January 2009

Country Punkins

I'll have a wander down to the Wagon, Digbeth Saturday night for my regular fix of noise and attitude but the real diamond here is lurking at the bottom of the bill , Bo Pilar and the Mountain Valley Boys. Alt-Country shenanighans well worth the £2:00 door tax alone. Here's a ropey Youtube clip as a taster.

(if you see me buy me a drink, i'm nearly skint)

Friday, 9 January 2009


Have i ever mentioned that there's no better smell than that of burning wood in a real fire (reminds me of bothying in the Scottish highlands). So to find a boozer in Digbeth's backstreets that had an open hearth full of crackling pallets was just heaven. I'd tell you where this paradise is but the picture would probably be used as evidence and i'd be labelled as Brums Smokeless Zone nark weasel!.