Brian Eno on Politics and Philosophy

We’re always being pulled in two directions, one is the sort of utopian side that says ‘we could make a better world’ and the other is the side that says ‘the world is getting bad, we’d better defend the bit we’ve got’. And that’s actually an easier message to sell, unfortunately. You can actually not ever find a position where you’re not doing politics. You’re always doing politics and you’re always doing philosophy as well – they’re sort of the same thing, you know. The position you take is a philosophy, whether you call it that or not.

Brian Eno, interview broadcast on Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone, BBC 6 Music, Sunday 8th May 2016.


Running Behind

This week’s post wasn’t ready in time – I only just finished it, and I don’t want to post precipitously without adequate time to mull upon its wording to an unhealthy degree that borders upon the obsessive. Suffice it to say it combines two classic topics of Only a Game: philosophy… and squirrels. Watch this space!


The Sting of Rejection

Seems the British Journal of Aesthetics rejected my recent submission, "Can a Rollercoaster Be Art?", and for quite bad reasons this time. There's no sign of the high quality peer review I received last time, indeed, no sign of any engagement with my argument at all. It's a shame as it's a great paper, and I don't have another home for it. It's strange to be told "I just don't think that this author is familiar with the BJA or the work that tends to be published in the journal" in a paper that cites the British Journal of Aesthetics no fewer than eight times. I'm afraid I am forced to conclude two things: that the reviewer did not understand my argument of the connection between 'game' and 'art' as aesthetic concepts, and that all the discussion of 'game' was therefore lost to them because it did not seem relevant. That smarts. But it's also a reminder that we have in no way won the battle over the artistic status of games: we just satisfied ourselves with the arguments we had.


A Warning About Amazon Marketplace

My new laptop arrives this week, and blogging will be disrupted while I configure it for my purposes. In the meantime, a short cautionary tale.

I had originally bought a new laptop over a year ago from Amazon Marketplace. It arrived, and I used it for a month or two before a fault developed in the screen. I returned it to the vendor… and never saw it again. Amazon wouldn’t give us any details of the vendor, and told us to contact them via the email contact forms. We sent these to the vendor every week. Eventually it became apparent he didn’t even have it anymore.

In the UK, when you purchase with a credit card you have additional consumer rights under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Agreement 1974 that means when you can’t resolve a problem with the vendor, you can claim from the credit card who are ‘jointly and severally liable’. So we claimed via Barclaycard. They paid us some titbits (without ever admitting liability) but ultimately we had to take it to the Financial Services Ombudsman for resolution. The Ombudsman ruled against us last week: buying from Amazon Marketplace did not constitute a creditor-debtor arrangement with the vendor, so our consumer rights were null and void.

Surprised that everything could go so wrong with a purchase from a big name company like Amazon and a big name credit card like Barclaycard, I mentioned it to a contact at the BBC who passed it on to Radio 4’s consumer affairs show You and Yours. They ran my story on Friday. Amazon then ‘generously’ decided to pay us the cost of the laptop. So we did eventually get our money back… but only as PR damage control. I advise everyone to be cautious about big purchases on Amazon Marketplace, as Amazon do not take full responsibility for these transactions, and in the UK they disrupt your consumer rights. As ever, caveat emptor.


I'm Getting the Band Back Together

Dear Players of Only a Game,

I want you back – even if it’s just for one comment! So starting in a few week’s time, I’m going to have a mini-campaign that attempts to reach out to old regulars of this blog and see how many we can get back for salutations and felicitations.

I’m still thrashing out the details, but expect more on this shortly!


Family Level Up: New Baby!

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Very proud to announce the arrival of the latest member to my family, 7 lbs 11 oz, name pending. He arrived on 30th April after another shockingly fast labour.

The following day was surreal: I slept the night on the floor of the hospital room, then almost immediately my wife, baby, and I were cast in a promotional film for the hospital and spent the morning doing takes for that. Then we were hanging around forever to be discharged – which eventually happened at 4:30 pm, an hour before I was due to speak in Edinburgh!

Surviving the Manchester rush hour somehow, I arrived at my robot with 15 minutes to spare, enough time for the weblink technical check. The talk, for the Sandbox/Fair events at the Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh, seemed very well received, and was built around a letter I’d written the day before about the value of art, and how this connects to games-as-art. I will share the letter here shortly as part of the Republic of Bloggers.

Much more to come this Summer, and apologies to anyone having difficulties posting comments at the moment. Hoping TypePad have been able to fix this… Hope to hear from you all in the corners of the internet soon!