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Prompt Night

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PART 1: THE PROBLEM WITH INSTAGRAM

I spend a lot of time on Instagram. Helpfully, the ‘Your Activity’ feature tells me precisely how much. However… when I went to check I ended up losing twenty minutes to the infinite scroll. So just trust me when I say I spend a lot of time of this particular app.

I know it’s not good for me, but I have my reasons for keeping it installed. I joined Instagram when I was looking for photo inspiration, and for a while it helped, but the more I use the app the less I like the images recommended to me. Which…


Photo by Maid Milinkic on Unsplash

Welcome to Earth Major, 2307. Firmware 3.1.53.

It has been 2 months and 12 days since the last consumer uprising. Estimated GNP loss of ¥R 42 Billion. Since the Great Capitalist Rebellion of 2205–2209, Corporations are officially recognised as the governing elite, as Commercial Autocracy washed away the obsolete ways of State and Party rule. With the fall of the old establishment, Conglomerates now map the globe. National pride and brand identity has become one and the same.

In the west, 2 tech giants continue to battle for majority market share. The razor edged monoliths of glistening steel and glass that pierce the clouds of Microsoft loom…


Supermash’s overworld is a video game store

For the past few days, I’ve been playing Supermash, developed and published by Digital Continue. Supermash bids itself as a “game that makes games”. You run a video games store, that’s on the verge of closing, when you discover an old retro console that lets you combine (or mash) two different genres of game together to generate a unique old-school title that borrows elements from your chosen genres.

Every game you generate has its own challenge for you to complete. Whether the task is achievable however, is a whole other story. In fact, Supermash begins with a screen that states:


Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

The following is a short story in the form of emails between two people in a fictional UK government department that deals with ethical accounting.

From: A.Barker@DEEM.gov.uk
To: G.Law@DEEM.gov.uk
Subject: RE: Welcome to the team
Date: 01/01/20

Dear Mr. Lau,

Greetings from the Department of Her Majesty’s Exchequer of Ethics and Morals. On behalf of the entirety of the DEEM, welcome to the team.

The recent election has doubled the workload and upended the office. So there ought to be plenty to do, and no shortage of staff who would appreciate a helping hand.

The Brexit account is our most…


Image by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash

What’s your earliest memory? I have a particularly vivid snapshot from when we moved house when I was four. Sitting down on the delightfully brown carpet of the living room with boxes all around us, and watching Knight Rider with my family on our small colour television.

That was thirty-four years ago. Crikey.

I also have a vague recollection of an incident from when I was about two. For some incomprehensible reason I gleefully emptied all of my clothes from the lower drawers in my bedroom onto the floor. Ah what a rush! Only for my Mother to walk in…


Photo by Gabriel Benois on Unsplash

What will be your lockdown legacy? Apparently you need one. Why? Don’t ask, you just do. Maybe it’s your low-key motivation to cook, garden, or post every day on the ‘gram. Maybe you’ve got the self-control to work on a novel instead of bingeing Netflix again. Maybe you’re the type who won’t need to bleach their internet history.

For me, I’m surprised at how much time I’ve spent talking to friends.

In the first week of lockdown, we found Tabletop Simulator. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a video game for simulating a tabletop. I never imagined playing board games…


Who? THIS lot? (Left to right: Laurence Mason, Jesse Bradford, Renoly Santiago, Matthew Lillard, Angelina Jolie, Jonny Lee Miller)

The movie Hackers was written by somebody you’ve never heard of, directed by someone whose other work you probably won’t recognise, but stars a lot of people you’ll look at and go “Huh, you’re in this too?”. It’s also the most underrated movie. Ever. And it deserves way more than a 33% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

It’s the first film that came to mind when a friend of mine told me he’d run out of things to watch (How does that happen? You have access to the WHOLE damn internet, Derek!). But this story, unlike my favourite film, doesn’t…


Tomorrow’s world, yesterday’s haircuts.

From Annihilation Earth to A Quiet Place, Pacific Rim to Edge of Tomorrow, The film industry’s elaborately fictitious presentations of 2020 have often been pretty grim, typically featuring monsters or alien invasions, being fought with equally elaborate technology such as giant battle mechs and advanced robotic exosuits. Where’s my exosuit? Probably in the garage next to the hoverboard and self-tying shoelaces from 2015…


I co-host two podcasts (this and Bigger Pictures; available here), and I guess what connects them is that I talk a lot about pop culture in a vaguely absurd tone. So maybe it’d help to explain my life as a movie…

Or better yet, as an interconnected cinematic universe:

In a global pandemic thriller, I’m one of many relatable off-screen extras who survive by never being significantly at risk.

In a space epic, I’ll all along be back on the planet ditched in search of adventure, but where the protagonist will eventually return to in a moment of personal revelation.

Prompt Night

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