I’ve been getting more and more obsessed with Tumblr. I find myself dipping into friends’ pages like a nervous Web 2.0 stalker, favouring hanging on the edges of a messy party while I pluck up the guts to get stuck in. Infact it’s more a fear of what I know is bound to happen once I do eventually Tumbl over myself that scares me.
A culture slut’s wet dream – quick, edible chunks of sound and film posted and spread about the site by an incestuous network of followers and followees – Tumblr’s demanding enough just pouring through the pages and lapping up the inspirations and obscure references to new and old, without having to create and stir your own into the mix.
And there’s the crux of it. My mind is a hoarder’s fantasy – the cultural equivalent of those quiet souls who find it impossible to discard anything until you hear of their tragic death, crushed under piles of used cereal boxes, election pamphlets and BT directories. This is a mind that struggles to remember presents given and received but can recite gig dates and support bands on command – ask me who supported Dinosaur Jr at Cardiff University in 1993 and I’ll tell you it was Superchunk and Come (both amazing), that it was a Friday night, 26th February and grunge upstarts Sloan played the Hanging Gardens (now ‘Solus’) upstairs afterwards. Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.
So just pondering the easy clicks it would take to create my own Tumblr gives me the fear. The most inane knowledge known to man occupies my mind – Senseless Things b-sides, paperback covers of JG Ballard’s Crash, Ron Jeremy movie cameos, NME writers 1991-1999, mid 90s late night ITV (the Beat, Get Stuffed, the Big E, Raw Power), Peter Greenaway tracking shots, Mr Men plotlines, the chronological history of Thrash Metal. These facts constantly tumbl around my head like balls in a bingo machine begging for freedom. Releasing them would just be a disaster, spewing forth fatuous insight all over the social web like an absurd cultural Deepwater Horizon.
For now I’ll continue to observe Tumblr from the safety of my laptop, on the outskirts like a cultural voyeur, stuffing more amazing knowledge into an over-flowing mind and trying to ignore that salacious little link on the homepage that says ‘Sign Up’.
I discovered this on Tumblr this week. Gifs work so well on the site – the platform’s minimal interface lends itself well to simple animated content. Animated Albums takes this freedom and creates a space for mutated album covers, records that come alive when you’re not looking. If record covers are relied upon to give a snapshot of the sound that lies within, these animated versions are the Terry Gilliam version, allowing them to mischievously run free. Well, for two seconds anyway.
Of course, this has all been done before and with a lot more effort, but the beauty of these simple animations are just that – the simplicity. I can never tire of Chameleon Boy David Bowie wiping away his face on Heroes, embodying the mood of the music that lies beneath that cover.
Incidentally , if you’re looking for someone to start Tumbling with, try A Room With a View – ideas, abstracts, passions and finds, Tumblr at its best.