Tag Archives: culture

Some things just shouldn’t change

I’ve been giving Amazon praise for years now, but it has now managed to develop a glitch in its profile. Being the world’s biggest book seller, it provides some of the best customer support and a good choice of well-priced books in English, but as it turns out, it doesn’t have as much understanding of the customer or the reading culture as it should when it comes down to the Kindle.

If the Kindle is to resemble the reading experience, which overall it does pretty well, one should be able to lend/borrow books from other people. It’s enough that one can’t pass them on to those without a Kindle or with any other e-reader, but there is no reason why users should not be able to at least lend/borrow books from other Kindle users if not pass the books on entirely.

This must be a bingo situation for publishers and Amazon as far as the money goes – not allowing people to share content will force them to either:

1. get around it somehow by stripping the DRM and risk Amazon erasing content and share the content
2. keep buying regular books
3. get different e-readers that have that option (e.g. the Nook)
4. keep on paying out every single time they want to read a book on Kindle and not share the content later

I recently read a fantastic book on my Kindle called ‘The End of Mr. Y’ by Scarlett Thomas, but now every time I recommend it to someone that someone inevitably asks if s/he could borrow it from me and I end up telling myself that I should just stick with the good old second-hand books so I can share the love rather than hamster books on my Kindle.

Messengers united

For close to 2 years now I’ve been in falling in and out of love with several bicycles and progressively choosing those that allow better speeding on the road. The culture of messengers has intrigued me for a long while now for several reasons ranging from their traffic-dodgery, fashion, outsider status and underground squatting/raving/dreads-wearing underground community. Their trends have influenced the entire cycling community in London and particularly East London, which is now crawling with single speed fixed gear bikes.

Want to know more about them? Today I stumbled upon a paper about the bike messenger culture by a professor of sociology at University of Brighton, Ben Fincham. (Thanks again, Asi!)

The conceptual separation of ‘work’ and ‘life’, as distinct elements of social activity, has become established as shorthand for the social and psychological dislocation felt by being at work and not being at work.There is a literature on the work/life balance driven by governmental rhetoric, based on the idea of flexible working.This article suggests that distinctions between ‘work’ and ‘life’, implying a dichotomy in adult life, are overstated. Using material from a study of bicycle messengers this article presents a rich account of a group of workers for whom the binary distinction between work and life is meaningless.The account of this world of work is more closely aligned with those of the jazz musicians described by Becker or the boxers of Weinberg and Arond, where the occupation, identity and culture are not confined to hours of work

Although academic, the paper is highly readable and entertaining. Fincham takes the reader through the cultural backround, fashion and events surrounding the messenger phenomenon. If you’d like me to send it  to you, feel free to email me or leave a comment below.

Keep on riding.