Mark Sinker

27 November 2023

Twitter Dispersed

‘Thanks to the internet,’ the Bluesky user Bobby Bungus (formerly Twitter’s @internethippo) wrote last month, ‘I don’t need to wait for the evening news to learn about recent events. I can read 2000 posts from the most deranged people on earth and make up my own mind.’ In the year since Elon Musk bought Twitter and renamed it X – at, well, deranged cost to himself, financial and reputational – it has largely dispersed as a useable medium and as a quasi-community. 

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16 November 2022


In Revolution in the Head, his otherwise loving guide to the music of The Beatles and the potential of pop as respectable art, the late Ian MacDonald was troubled by what he saw as John and Yoko’s irresponsibility in adopting the techniques and ethos of John Cage: all that randomness, all that self-conscious unmooring from meaning. How, MacDonald grumbled, could bad things not be unleashed, when listeners could supply (at unprecedented scale) their own reading? Plug the masses into the raw avant-garde and out slouches Charles Manson – or else @dril (1.7 million Twitter followers), that comedy performance at once prescient and archetypal. Point-missing and mispunctuating, forever under attack from his imagined haters, @dril is all our foes when the heat is on – and also all of us, gamely bellowing, wounded and belligerent. The spirit of the platform: Twitter as Goblins’R’Us. (Though Yoko is here too, with 4.5 million followers, and seems content, mild and neighbourly, herself but also unremarkable. The site has a Fluxus vibe, and she fits right in.)

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31 December 2021

In Beanotown

Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules consists of pages and tales from the comic’s eight decades, loosely organised into themes, along with work by some forty non-Beano artists that amplifies its characters, motifs and slapstick. Horace Panter (formerly the bass player in the Specials) has Dennis the Menace and Gnasher diving into David Hockney’s swimming pool.

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22 September 2021

The Fifth Season

This evening, according to the Guardian, Nigel Kennedy was due to perform live at the Royal Albert Hall with Chineke!, an orchestra of young, ethnically diverse musicians, in a concert hosted by the radio station Classic FM. They planned to play an arrangement of the Jimi Hendrix song ‘Little Wing’, but Classic FM apparently nixed this, insisting on The Four Seasons yet again. So Kennedy cancelled, accusing the station of ‘prejudice’ and ‘musical segregation’.

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