— THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE

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ANY OTHER BUSINESS

It’s always a cliché, but true. January 1st gives you an opportunity to re-assess, and in the case of this blog. Reboot. I said I’d do it a number of times in 2013, but frankly, I had other things on my mind. (New country, 2 new cities, 2 jobs, it all went off). However, I was inspired to come back stronger than before by Bud’s relevant post on the same subject matter. This quote sums it up nicely:

“My blog is a safe place where I can try out all of my new ideas, without the need to be pithy or friend-safe, and it also helps me collect all of my favorite reads in one place. My blog is my best resume and I don’t think I would have landed any of my recent jobs without the product and process of it. ”

My blog has morphed numerous times since I started in 2009. It focussed more intensely on digital practices as the years moved on, and with my full-fledged jump into a strategic role at Spring Studios, (as opposed to operating in a fuzzier hybrid environment), this blog now gives me another opportunity to explore the impact and implications of my thinking.

This gets at the heart of why this blog is called the Society Of The Spectacle. The Situationists, among other things, were fundamentally curious. Debord’s book of the same name seeks to reveal answers (and solutions) by peeling back the layers of ‘unreality’ in the world. In the same sort of fashion, this is what this blog should aim to do. Peel back layers to reveal insights, ideas and disruptions that shake us out of current thinking, and make us better in the process. In doing so, it might hopefully, inspire people that might come across those posts, and work out my own brain cells to boot.

Here’s to a 2014 of becoming smarter in the world.

James.

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AMERICAN-FLAG

It’s been a long while since I last blogged. After 4 years of almost constant blogging, with a few glitches in between, I just stopped. New job, a new life in the USA saw me take my eye off the ball. It happens.

Close to 6 months later, I find myself at the heart of a great digital agency, in a city teeming with digital talent and digital stories to tell and a country that spits out more of these innovations and inspirations than any other.

I was ‘on the fence’ on a renewing this relationship. (As that’s what it feels like). Going back to the Society of the Spectacle is more than just starting to write again. It’s (a soon to be) redesigned site, that reflects something new and intriguing, it’s also a thematic refocus.

A couple of events helped push me back onto the art of blogging. One was an email from a friend, out of the blue, short and sweet, that professed how much she enjoyed the blog. Nothing more, just a word of respect and encouragement. Last Saturday, someone else enquired where the blog had gone. How he had used the blog as a resource for himself, and shared the stuff I had written about with fellow colleagues. In short, what I blogged about had relevance and value to people.

Most of the time, blogging can feel like a selfish act – an isolated place. I never expected my blog to be anything other than a small slice of the creative and strategic world, a bit of a messy hybrid, hopefully getting some clicks and hopefully building a core little fanbase that used it. The Society of the Spectacle was no BBH Labs. But, something about blogging is still hugely therapeutic and cognitive. It allows both long form arguments and little slices of creativity to nestle side by side with each other and have helped shape my own thinking.

Turns out it was more than I anticipated. It was helping to serve people with ideas and thoughts that might have slipped through the cracks. The nature of social sharing these days means we can always see the biggest creative ideas around, but sometimes we miss the these ideas and projects that push and fuel the boundaries of creativity, technology and beyond. It’s the little hacks, the people playing about with things, that are fueling some of the most inspiring work around. If the blog helped formulate my own thinking on digital creativity and culture, I didn’t realize it helped others too, so maybe there is still a small space for something like the Society Of The Spectacle.

So here’s what this blog will be from now on: This is a blog that helps articulate how and where the internet is changing creativity and culture. Showcasing the things built by and for the internet. Not just the creative that goes on it. This as digital practitioners is now our biggest challenge, to help frame this understanding.

The Society of the Spectacle, is named after Guy Debord’s manifesto for the Situationists. Debord’s arguments centered on ‘detourment’. The involvement of “using spectacular images and language to disrupt the flow of the spectacle”. I’ve always felt that detourment is the Internet’s go to truth (just in less pretentious forms); it is the ultimate disruptor of our times. It lives by constant evolution and revolution. Our business (Advertising) is fundamentally changing as a result of it. These detourment lies at the heart of what I want to uncover and put out there for people to see and understand.

It’s time to live again by this mantra from the 1968 Paris Student Riots:

‘Under the paving stones, the beach’.

http://sum1.tumblr.com/post/5572416529/claytoncubitt-may-1968-protests-paris-under

Thanks for joining me on this new trip.

@thekingmob

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The Internet has gone suitably Mad Men mental as Season 5, after a 17 month delay, finally returns to our screens (well, in the US anyway…). Having done a quick refresher of Season 4 this week, it’s quote easy to forget how brilliant the show is. It’s nuanced writing, it’s slow burn qualities (albeit diluted when you watch a few back to back), and of course, it’s obsessional attention to detail.

Newsweek has dedicated this weeks issue to the return of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce with these wonderful (and sometimes awful) retro ads for modern day brands. The brands that really nailed it? The ones that were around in that era. The collection shows how hard it is to do retro without it veering into pastiche. Having got a collection of vintage TIME magazines from around 1966/67, these ads really nailed the colours, and printing qualities, not just the art and copy.

The second thing that has broken this week is this weird fan mashup. 8Bit Mad Men is what happens when Choose Your Own Adventure, meets 8bit Arcade Game, meets 1960’s adland. Surprisingly, it works. It’s a hell of alot of fun, and is just another example of the devotion to detail that fandom of Mad Men generates.

Having read some of the preview reviews for the show, the quality of the two hour season premiere is undiminished. With so many questions left unanswered, and new plot-lines beginning to flower (Don & Megan etc…), it will be brilliant to see how the Mad Men evolve as the Summer Of Love approaches… (Which is nicely theorized in this article in the LA TImes; ‘How Groovy Will Mad Men Get?’)

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(Blue Source For Don’t Panic waaaay back.)

Hello friends, old and new.

As regular readers would have noticed, I haven’t exactly been setting the blogging world alight recently. (Well, since June 22nd to be exact) There are many reasons for this. But it has presented an opportunity to refocus and re-imagine what I want this blog to say.

The Society Of The Spectacle has evolved and grown hugely over the 18 months I have been writing and curating it. It started out as small snippets of creativity, as I found my writing feet. As the months rolled by, I got more into delving deep into my subjects. As my ‘voice’ has grown, I hope the Spectacle has become a richer and deeper experience to those that read it regularly, or those that stumble upon it in the gloriously random way the web operates.

The Spectacle offers what I hope is the best of the blogging experience, the chance to uncover, discover and be enlightened or inspired by the web. My mission has always been to uncover some of the more obscure elements of creativity, as well as music, film and fashion. Expressing my interests to the widest audience possible. Not out of an ego boost, but out of a love and passion for brilliant things that enter my world day in, day out. The stuff we create to stimulate our minds, our bodies and our soul.

The Spectacle has also offered the opportunity to embrace our increasingly ubiquitous social connections, and is my walking talking evidence to the richness of conversations and relationships that can be fostered and become hugely valuable. Writing and observing these developments has me assess the entire relationship between collaboration, creativity and what even the word ‘creative’ means. It has helped to question not only the validity of what I do, but, happy with my chosen path; understand and recalibrate this blog to create a clear and vital articulation for the wider world.

The Spectacle has also given me the opportunity to find out that I’m not just a designer, but something more, a thinker, a doer and an optimist. Both for our industries, and our collective ability to achieve great things. I want the Society Of The Spectacle to become the primary focus of this ‘goodness’. To give the site a chance to breathe, to take it’s next evolution. Hence the fact that I’ll now be using lots of other sites to spread my passions and clear the decks as it were for the this blog to breathe. Starting with Tumblr (for the music musings and yacht rock goodness)

So, say hello to REALLY REALLY SMOOTH MUSIC. Sort of does what it says on the tine really. Smooth music, smooth musings, and everything in between.

All of these sites will be going under some cosmetic changes to reflect this new approach (bear with me, I’ve got alot on!)  It is also an experiment. It may well be that the challenge of juggling an expanding network of blogging platforms might be just TOO much. But as ever in this age of experimentation, to not try seems more selfish and against the grain than trying and failing and learning more in the process.I hope you have enjoyed the journey so far, have found it inspiring and fun in equal measure, and will continue to enjoy it, in whatever size of chunk you desire.

Thekingmob.

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Boozers. We know them, we love them, some are poncey, some are gorgeous, some are ramshackle, some are boring while others are anything but. Yet, I have never come across a pub frequented by a robot from the future, a cross dressing host not unlike a certain Scouse light entertainment icon (link seriously NSFW or in fact, anytime) and a whole cast of deviants from across the environs of E2, N1 and E8.  This is the Stags Head, and this is the Knocking Shop. It might be one of the funniest, fucked up things you see this year.

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(Image from MlleToinette‘s Flickr)

I’m off to Thailand for two weeks, which will be probably (hopefully) amazing, which means for the next two weeks, I won’t be posting as the laptop will remain grounded. It got me thinking about an article I read from Johnathan Harris, the creator of We Feel Fine, that feels like an apt way to pause and reflect on what I’m sure is going to be a pretty incredible next six months. I’m going to shut down my screen and open my eyes.

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beatles-rock-band

OK, next week sees the release of the looooong awaited The Beatles Rock Band. No doubt it’s a coup for the Rock Band franchise in their ongoing (war) with Guitar Hero and from the looks of it, is going to be a pretty special game. One of the reasons the game has been so anticipated is the fantastic quality of the design and creativity that has gone into promoting the release.

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