HEY HEY 16K, Need To Know, Monday (Big K) — The quintessence of British technical innovation and know-how has manifested yet again with third-party applications for the iPhone and Facebook: small, elegant, constrained, inarguably brilliant and deeply, fundamentally useless.
Third-party developers are gearing up to the challenge of a globalised world by churning out such unnecessary amusements as CCTV Wars, Council Tax Bureaucracy-Ville and Did You Do Any Bloody Work Today? at a fantastic pace. One of the most popular is What Do I Name My Digital Studio (a Web 2.0 jargon term for “bedroom”), which automatically generates and registers with Companies House an implausible name such as Digital Goldfish, Golden Gekko, 2ergo, Moshi Monsters, Masturbating Monkey or Tedious Twonk.
A quick scan of today’s tech titans, such as Google, Microsoft and Apple, reveals few that originate in the UK. But the peculiarly British style of technical innovation is a subset of the more general style of British design and cultural innovation, in which cocaine-snorting Soho design geniuses come up with gadgets, objets d’art and typefaces bought by several people in Hampstead but which cause any normal human to claw their eyes out. Whereas the victims of mind-numbing American vacuity merely claw their eyes out as quickly as possible, the victims of the British variety claw them out with care, knowledge and ironic understanding.
Perfect, well-thought-out complete superfluity is the way forward for British culture. The thinking that brought us the Robin Reliant, the Sinclair C5 and The X-Factor is the thinking that will cement Britain’s position in the world of the twenty-first century. Pointless at worst and parasitical at best but somehow sucking the pennies out of your pockets regardless. And making a good competition entry on b3ta.