Tag Archives: Tipping points

2009 till now ➤ Archive of posts at Shapersofthe80s

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➤ 20 years ago today the free world wide web was born

❚ TO COMMEMORATE THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY of the web being made available free to all, the international physics laboratory CERN has recreated the world’s first website and posted it today, at its original address and this is it – http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html The home page provided an explanation of what the world wide web was, and how to use a browser and set up a web server.

The British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee proposed an information management system in 1989 and had a working version of the web in Dec 1990. The first website built was at CERN within the borders of France and went online on August 6, 1991, but by 1993 some user groups were positioning themselves to try to monopolise the web as a commercial platform. So on April 30, 1993, CERN announced that the world wide web would be free to anyone, with no fees due.

CERN, firsts, website, worldwideweb,

The web’s first home page: click on the image to visit the site at CERN

➢ The World Wide Web Became Free 20 Years Ago Today – By Mark Fischetti, senior editor at Scientific American:
You and I can access billions of web pages, post blogs, write code for our own killer apps – in short, do anything we want on the web – all free! And we’ve enjoyed free reign because 20 years ago, today, web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and his employer, the CERN physics lab in Geneva, published a statement that made the nascent “world wide web” technology available to every person, company and institution without royalty or restriction …  / Continued online

➢ Long live the web: Tim Berners-Lee wrote a treatise for Scientific American in 2010 explaining why the web must remain for ever free:  “The web is critical not merely to the digital revolution but to our continued prosperity – and even our liberty. Like democracy itself, it needs defending.”



Tim Berners-Lee at the Olympics opening ceremony (Photo: Getty)

Tim Berners-Lee at the Olympics opening ceremony (Photo: Getty)

❏ The internet is a global computer system that provides information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardised communication protocols. In contrast, the web is one of the services that runs on the internet. It is a collection of text documents and other resources, linked by hyperlinks and URLs (addresses), usually accessed through web browsers from web servers. A browser is a so-called “graphical user interface” which simply means an accessible visual entry point into the arcane world of computer coding. Mosaic is the web browser credited with popularising the world wide web and today most popular browsers (Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox) retain the characteristics of the original Mosaic.

In July 2012 Tim Berners-Lee was honoured as the “Inventor of the world wide web” during the Olympics opening ceremony in London where he appeared in person, working at a NeXT computer, the model on which he worked at CERN in 1989. He tweeted the message: “This is for everyone.”

The mighty tweet: Tim Berners-Lee’s message to the world at the Olympics

The mighty tweet: Tim Berners-Lee’s message to the world at the Olympics

➢ EFF asks, How safe is your privacy? CISPA passes out of the House without any fixes to core concerns

➢ CERN’s original Public Domain document of April 30, 1993: “CERN’s decision to make the web foundations and protocols available on a royalty free basis, and without additional impediments, was crucial to the web’s existence. Without this commitment, the enormous individual and corporate investment in web technology simply would never have happened, and we wouldn’t have the web today.” – Tim Berners-Lee, Director, WWW Consortium


➤ Six rewrites punk history with an outlandish claim about the Not-Really-From-Bromley Contingent

Simon Barker, Six, Punks Dead, Jordan, photography, exhibition

Reunited: a plonker from Six for Jordan at Divus Gallery © Shapersofthe80s

❚ OLD HABITS, EH? A day in the spotlight and Simon Barker, aka Six, starts rewriting history! There we were last night in a Spitalfields gallery, chatting for the first time in 20 years at Punk’s Dead, his new show of early photographs of the now fabled Bromley Contingent, the posse of a dozen fashionistas who helped put the Sex Pistols on the map back in 1976. Having staked his claim to fame as the only person clapping at the end of the Pistols’ sixth gig (Dec 9, 1975, at Ravensbourne College) and being one of four fans with the band during the infamous “Filth & Fury” TV interview (Dec 1, 1976), Simon today works as a photographer in Prague.

Why Prague, I ask, as a big fan of the Bohemian medieval city? He groans: “Oh no! Why Prague? Why does everyone ask me the same question?” You’d never guess Simon and I used to natter away as if we liked each other back in the 80s when I’d pop into Viv’s Worlds End shop after going for a haircut next door at Smile. OK then, Six, why *Bromley*? As in Bromley Contingent. What was in the water in Bromley that produced his posse of poser punks?

“Ah, excellent question!” he replies. “We hated the name. It was created by the media — that woman Caroline Coon.” This is a double-edged dig at both the middle-class, ex-hippy Melody Maker writer who coined the phrase after seeing the “very striking” posse at three Pistols gigs in a row and asking where they came from (Bromley is a town in the south London commuter belt)… and also at me for being another member of the despised legion of journalists.

His Always-a-Punk gene is really kicking in now. “In actual fact, only two of us — me and Steve [Bailey, aka Severin] — came from Bromley. Siouxsie [Susan Ballion, later singer with the Banshees] was from Chislehurst. Billy [Broad, later Idol] lived in Bickley. And Jordan [born Pamela Rooke] came up from Seaford.

“For me and Steve, living in that bit of suburbia, Bromley had the best connection into London — 20 minutes by train. Any further away and it wouldn’t have been so easy to visit for gigs, sex, Louise’s…”

Aha, the location-location transport solution! A recurring theme, because in a surprisingly cooperative interview in 2002 Six did admit that his reason for moving to the Czech Republic “was its location. It is the heart of Europe and a great base to travel from.”

Six was either being pure-punk cussed by splitting hairs about his posse, or possibly was having a bit of a hashtag_Senior_Moment. Bickley is after all the next stop down the line from Bromley, only 2,000 metres away, and Chislehurst another 1,000 metres further on. But fair enough, he’s got a point. Even if you include Sioux and Idol and Bertie “Berlin” Marshall, who lived three doors away from Bowie’s mum in Bromley, five out of a posse of 12 does not a “Bromley” Contingent make. So last night, we witnessed history being rewritten.

WHO waS WHO in the “Bromley” Contingent

Bromley Contingent, Soo Catwoman, Jordan, punks

Ray Stevenson’s classic 1976 pic of some of the Bromley Contingent, plus Soo Catwoman who came from Ealing

According to Wikipedia: Siouxsie Sioux, Jordan, Soo Catwoman, Simon “Boy” Barker, Debbie Juvenile (née Wilson), Linda Ashby, Philip Sallon, Alan Salisbury, Simone Thomas, Bertie “Berlin” Marshall, Tracie O’Keefe, Steve Severin, Billy Idol and Sharon Hayman.

Caroline Coon’s 1977 book The New Wave Punk Rock Explosion remains a fresh and pro-fan account of the movement’s origins, less prone to mythologising than later histories

➢ Fresh pix from the “14 months” of punk and the last word on what it all meant

➢ Simon Barker chats to Dazed about the anarchic punk era

➢ Another epic Stevenson picture of the Bromley Contingent, 1976

Simon Barker, Six, Punks Dead, Jordan, photography, exhibition

Jordan then and now: the Queen of Punks with Simon Barker’s 1977 photo showing for a month at Divus Temporary Gallery, London E1 6QF © Shapersofthe80s

❏ Mind you, the true superstar present in the Spitalfields gallery was Jordan herself, Queen of Punks, artfully positioned in front of Six’s truly iconic portrait of her on the wall, priced at £300 a pop. There wasn’t a moment all evening when she wasn’t surrounded by a buzz of fans and old stars of punk and she was such easy company, chatting away without airs or graces. She said: “I’m a veterinary nurse now and I breed Burmese cats. Look at the number of photos here of me and Siouxsie with cats.”

She has returned to live in Seaford but loves telling the 70s stories about travelling up to London from the south coast resort, being harangued by commuters for her spiky hair and outrageous bondage clothes from McLaren and Westwood’s Chelsea shops Sex and Seditionaries. To keep her out of trouble, one British Rail guard told her to go sit in first class. “The day I came up to apply for a job at Sex, it was shut, so I wandered over to Harrods and applied there in my blonde spikes and green face foundation. They gave me a part-time job in Way In” (their trendy top-floor fashion department).

As the single most inventive pioneer of definitive punk looks, Jordan soon joined Sex, however, becoming their totemic house model and honorary fifth member of the Sex Pistols, all too willing to flash her tits for the press at their ninth gig in Andrew Logan’s loft. In 1977 she briefly managed Adam & The Ants in their hardcore phase, but most notoriously starred in Derek Jarman’s dystopian fantasy movie, Jubilee, singing a raunchy version of Rule Britannia.

➢ Punk’s Dead by Simon Barker is an exhibition of his intimate punk photographs, open for a month from June 7, at Divus Temporary Gallery, 4 Wilkes Street, London E1 6QF.

➢ Punk’s Dead the book by Simon Barker is published by Divus

Click any pic below to launch slideshow

The Year Of Punk 19/12/77

Six, Simon Barker, Punk 1977, LWT, Janet Street-Porter, video

“You don’t have to be a fantastic musician”: Six explains the magic at 7:15 in Janet Street-Porter’s LWT documentary, The Year of Punk, 1977 … Click pic to view video at YouTube


1980 ➤ Why Face founder Nick Logan said: Publish and be Dammers

The Face, magazines, style bible, Design Museum, Nick Logan,

Five landmark issues: Without a cover-worthy photo, Nick Logan says of the New Order cover, July 1983, the radical crop was his suggestion. The “Shock report” on Thatcher’s art-school budget cuts was an epic piece of crisis reportage by yours truly. (Guardian collage)

❚ IN 1980, A RESPECTED EX-EDITOR OF NME staked his house on launching a new magazine that was to make style the focus of youth culture, as much as music. The Face was quickly dubbed Britain’s “style bible” and soon ranked among the half a dozen publications that had changed the direction of journalism since the Second World War. On Dec 1 London’s Design Museum announced that it had added The Face magazine (1980-2004) to its permanent collection, among other newcomers, the Sony Walkman and the AK47 rifle.

➢ In today’s Guardian, Nick Logan, the owner and founding editor of The Face, chooses five of its landmark covers, and explains why…

Issue 1, Jerry Dammers cover, May 1980 — This was the launch issue. I knew I could find something more current for a first cover than the Specials. But they embodied everything the magazine aspired to — they had a look, a passion, and great music — so there was never an alternative. In a sentimental way too, I owed 2 Tone a debt for the inspiration to pursue the idea. And, as it was my savings at risk, I could call it what I liked — after all, The Face was to be my escape from a career where too often I struggled to explain myself to publishers or committees. No focus groups here: I was purely, wholeheartedly, following instinct.
/ continued online

➢ The Evening Standard announces the launch of
The Face in May 1980

➢ 30th anniversary of the magazine that launched a generation of stylists and style sections


➤ Vision On, Sound On: 75 years since BBC TV beamed out ‘a mighty maze of mystic, magic rays’

The BBC’s opening broadcast, November 2, 1936

➢ Click the picture to watch The Television Song in a new window — from the film Television Comes to London

❚ ONLY ABOUT 400 “LOOKERS-IN” were able to view the world’s first scheduled television service in high-definition (240+ lines) at 3pm on November 2, 1936. The engineers wore white dust-coats and the star wore a cocktail dress. With immaculate middle-class enunciation, she sang a song full of amazement at the newest technology of its day:

♫ A mighty maze of mystic, magic rays
Is all about us in the blu-u-u-u-e,
And in sight and sound they trace
Living pictures out of space
To bring our new wonder to you-u-u-u-u ♫

Everyone knew the musical comedy star Adele Dixon, though not yet the BBC Television Orchestra conducted by Hyam Greenbaum, also glimpsed in the clip above. The opening show was called Variety, and the song was called simply Television — known universally today as The Television Song. It had been specially written for the occasion, with lyrics by James Dyrenforth and music by Kenneth Leslie-Smith. Its innocence still wows us for six.

Alexandra PalaceThe broadcast was being beamed from what became a landmark transmitter tower atop customised studios 350ft over North London at Alexandra Palace, the original “people’s palace of entertainment”. Two different black-and-white television systems were being tested in quick succession on that first afternoon, and then on alternate weeks for six months: in the 70 x 30 feet Studio A the Marconi-EMI 405-line electronic system; and in Studio B, John Logie Baird’s 240-line mechanical system.

Baird the tenacious Scot is usually claimed to be the inventor of television and between 1923–1925 he demonstrated his clunky apparatus with a spiral of revolving lenses in the Soho building which became Bianchi’s restaurant soon after, refurbished today as Little Italy. The Times reported in 1926: “The image was often blurred. But it substantiated a claim that it is possible to transmit and reproduce instantly such things as the play of expression on the human face.”

Baird’s televisor in Frith Street, 1925: before transmission, the received image at left has been scanned by a spiral of revolving lenses, shown at right with inventor Logie Baird. Photo: Hulton/Getty

The flaw lay in Baird’s underlying technology being mechanical. In the end, Marconi’s electronic rival proved to be the future and it endured until the 1960s. Cecil Madden, the BBC’s fledgling TV Programme Organiser, says the differences were all too apparent: “Working in the Baird studio was a bit like using Morse code when you knew that next door you could telephone.”

A kick-start to the novice TV industry had come two months earlier. At very short notice the rival systems had been demonstrated at Radiolympia, the annual exhibition mounted by the Radio Manufacturers’ Association. The radio industry couldn’t sell the stands for the 1936 show (Aug 24-Sep 3) and a desperate call for help went out: could television save the day? (All the more desperate considering that TV sets in 1936 cost a princely £150, which is equivalent to £8,300 in today’s money.) Given only nine days’ warning, Cecil Madden appointed himself producer of its first broadcast.

➢ The Alexandra Palace Television Society tells the tale alongside this film documentary about Radiolympia 1936…

❏ On August 26 at 11:45 a piece of Duke Ellington was heard, accompanied by a caption card reading, BBC Demonstration to Radiolympia by the Baird System, transmitted from its tiny one-camera studio. This was followed by another ten minutes of music. The highlight of the demonstration was to be a variety show someone had the bright idea of calling Here’s Looking At You, featuring a song with the same title by Ronnie Hill, performed by Helen McKay.

Alexandra Palace, BBC studio,

Alexandra Palace: Studio A with an Emitron camera

It was not until the next day, when everything was repeated using the Marconi-EMI system, that the show was seen in its full glory: with three cameras, two mobile and one fixed. This was the version filmed by British Movietone news cameras and featured above. “Hello Radiolympia,” said announcer Leslie Mitchell, standing in front of the first set of curtains. “Ladies and gentlemen, Here’s Looking at You.” And Miss McKay sang:

♫ Here’s looking at you
From out of the blue
Don’t make a fuss
Just settle down and look at us ♫

The 30-minute show that followed went out twice a day. Cecil Madden says: “It’s still unique because noone has ever done 20 programmes live, twice a day for ten days, from Alexandra Palace to the radio show at Olympia.”

The BBC’s twice-daily running order for Radiolympia 1936. Click for the full document where eagle eyes will note readings by T S Eliot, Aldous Huxley and Rebecca West, and film appearances by Charles Laughton, Gertrude Lawrence and Paul Robeson. Source: Terra Media

The programme was received as far away as Bournemouth and Nottingham, and the Marconi-EMI team, with their mobile camera, were able to include some exterior shots from Ally Pally. All of which resulted in the official inauguration of the BBC Television Service being brought forward to early November. Regular programmes were broadcast twice a day from 3pm to 4pm and from 9pm to 10pm, except on Sundays. One of the early fears was that television would cause eye strain — even after only two hours a day.