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Volume 311

Decorations are up, presents are arriving, and Christmas vaccines are on the horizon - things are looking up for the end of the year. In the meantime, here’s some coolsh*t to keep you going. This week, we’ve got autonomous automobiles, a Luciferian love story, and a Knight looking like a bit of a knob.

Ghost Rider.

I’ve never been sure what to make of driverless cars. But then I think about some of the people currently on the road, and suddenly I feel pretty good about the prospect of them no longer being behind the wheel. Based on the news coming out of Shenzhen this week, the days of the teenage boy in the souped-up Vauxhall Corsa roaring around McDonald’s car park may be numbered. And maybe I won’t have to replace battery number 6 in a car that persistently fails to take me from A to B and instead takes me from A to K with brief stops along the way at F, U and C. (It’s been a tough week – if any good mechanics are reading, please send your CV to The aptly named ‘RoboTaxi’ – which could be the title of a dystopian sci-fi re-boot of that old De Niro Movie – has taken to the streets of China in a big way after being granted governmental approval. The video itself is pretty unnerving and constantly feels on the precipice of disaster – especially when they started giving Corgis lifts. But they did show it stopping at a zebra crossing, so that proves beyond any doubt that the RoboTaxi will absolutely and unequivocally NOT start mowing down pedestrians at any point. Which is a tremendous relief, but I think I’ll stick with my broken Polo for now, thanks.

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Unreal City.

If you’ve visited the South Bank this week, you may have been confused by the groups of people staring vacantly into the Thames. But do not be alarmed, they were actually taking in London’s biggest public festival of AR art, Unreal World. The walking tour features AR and virtual sculptures from the likes of Olafur Eliasson, Cao Fei, Marco Brambilla, KAWS and many more, and is free and open for business from right now up until January 5th. In what is arguably the centrepiece and main attraction of the exhibit, Cate Blanchett stars in floating crystal balls that represent the Greek philosopher Galen’s ‘four temperaments’: Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic, and Phlegmatic. Or as I call them, the four stages of a night out. So get yourself down to the South Bank for the type of experience of London that you could usually only get courtesy of a shaman or an acid tab.

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The Devil May Care.

2020, Satan, Taylor Swift’s music. 2 of these 3 things are evil – I’ll let you decide which. But when you add them all together, you get’s latest ad. Match wanted to show that there is somebody out there for everybody, and they’ve done so by telling the tale of the love affair that nobody asked for but everyone got, between this cursed year and the Devil himself. And it’s superb – but I had mixed feelings about it at first. Just a couple weeks ago, we said how sick we were of people whinging about 2020 being ‘the worst year ever’, and how just saying ‘bloody 2020, eh?’ isn’t a recipe for interesting conversation. So if you feel like you haven’t had such a bad year, does this mean you’re in the grips of Ol’ Beelzebub himself? No, but you might have a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome. This week, I actually had the thought, ‘Sure, this year hasn’t been that fun, but I’ve read 28 books and learned to cook a mean chicken cacciatore’. If that isn’t a cry for help, I don’t know what is. So if you’ve been experiencing similar symptoms: sit back, relax and enjoy the soothing sounds of Taylor Swift to get you through the remaining 20 days.

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It’s been an interesting week in the sporting world. First, it was announced that arguably the greatest pound-for-pound boxer of all time will be returning to the squared circle to go toe-to-toe with a 0-1 YouTuber who’s about half his age and double his height and weight in what has been dubbed a ‘super exhibition’. I don’t think so, pal – the only super exhibition round here is down on the South Bank. Plus this has got me thinking that maybe Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather ought to insert a ‘Needs’ at the beginning of his moniker. Elsewhere on the subject of sporting events that will have Boomers tearing their hair plugs out, Breakdancing was added to the Olympics this week. This has caused a bit of a stir amongst some purists, but I’m all for it. Need I remind you of some of the other ‘sports’ that are already in the Olympics? What about that gymnastics event that, as far as I can tell, basically just consists of twirling around while waving a ribbon? People literally train their whole lives to claim the title of ‘best twirler’. So if there’s room for that, then surely there’s room for some maniacs spinning on their heads. And if you don’t like it, then just do what everyone else does: don’t watch the Olympics.

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Big Green Energy.

As the cultural connoisseurs that we undoubtedly are, we often like to use coolsh*t to showcase the crème de la crème of the art and photography worlds. Disclaimer: this (arguably) is not that. But it is quite funny. I’m not one to kick a man when he’s down, but he sounds like a bit of sh*t, so looks like we’re lacing up the boots. Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group recently went into administration, so he was unsurprisingly in the news a lot over the last week. One story that really caught my eye, and one that you probably didn’t see on the BBC, came courtesy of Jake Waters, a photographer who was commissioned to take a few snaps of the almighty Knight of the Realm. And let’s just say Sir Phil came out of it looking like a bit of cock. Literally. Green apparently wasn’t terribly nice, so the photographer decided to have the last laugh with a little help from two tactfully placed, vaguely teste-like bushes. Boom. Lens Drop. So let this be a lesson to all of us: it’s nice to be nice. And if you can’t adhere to that simple maxim, then, well, you can end up looking like a grinning phallic ficus.

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realsh*t: Technology In Sport.

Is technology ruining sport, or helping it evolve? What separates the pros from the schmos these days? Have apps like Strava had a democratising effect on technology in sport, particularly during COVID? Or is ‘all the gear, no idea’ more true now than ever?

We asked our SELFHOOD network about the role that tech plays in their sporting lives, professional or pastime, and how the landscape of sport and fitness is changing.

Real People, Real Time… Realsh*t.

More realsh*t