Better than IRL: “Finding your people on the internet of the mid-2000s.”


Having small children is an incredible experience, it can take in your whole world. Years fly by and you can be so very focused on our family and work that, unfortunately, you can lose track of a lot of friends, and your social life pretty much disappears.

When we got to put our heads above ground again in the mid-2000s, I found Tumblr (via Sussanah Breslin) and it really helped me to put my cultural self back together. Sharing work, art and ideas, meeting so many amazing people, (and I didn’t even need to go outside!) it really was an incredibly important time for me and I am very grateful to all of those who made that happen. I suppose the GDSP project was one of the many high points of that.

I left Tumblr behind when they brought in the censorship rules in because it seemed it was leaving the people who made it cool and essential behind, but I have been working hard on keeping my internet positive and fulfilling in that tradition.
It is the history of this spirit and time that Katie West, photographer, writer and publisher is documenting in her new book project “Better than IRL” currently open to pre orders on Kickstarter.

“Better Than IRL is a collection of true stories about the years when the internet first started gaining traction as a place to build connections and community. With 20 essays written by pioneers and participants from online communities, this paperback (or digital book!) looks at how this specific time on the internet changed us, and how we can take the elements that made it so much better than IRL with us into the future.”

“The book will be personal and hopeful. It won’t be nostalgic moaning about how the internet isn’t what it once was—it will discuss how it made us into who we are now and how we can take the lessons we learned about inclusion and belonging to be better people going forward. With talented authors from Canada, South Africa, Pakistan, USA, Singapore, UK, and Liberia, the book covers a wide array of experiences with the beginnings of the Web 2.0.”

Katie began a chat group on Instagram upon the launch of the Kickstarter, last week, and invited many of us who found each other then and it has really brought back many special memories and friendships.

I really hope the book gets funded, I urge you to consider backing the project, and sharing with anyone else you know who might be interested. The money doesn’t go out of you account until the project is fully funded, if that helps.

365 – Buses and Bus Stops, the first of many, perhaps.


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Attempt to draw the inside of the bus on a very bumpy ride and with a short pencil found in the bottom of a coat pocket.(➡️➡️➡️). Excuses excuses.
Always make sure you have the right equipment with you, is today’s lesson.
Did also learn that the inside of a First West bus is way more complicated than I originally thought.
Notebook: Beto
20 mins
Pencil (short)
🚌 ✏️ 😬
209/365 Bus Stop drawing. Silver birches on the Queens Road. Due to the workplace shift and commuting adjustment expect a lot more bus stop themed sketching. It’s the only time I get the time, if you catch my drift. There’s plenty to see at each one. 🚌 🌳 ✍️
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More Bus Stop drawings.
Another tree and a broken fence atop a brick wall from this morning.
Notebook: Beto
Coloured biro with very cold fingers.
20 mins
📓 🌳 🚌
211/365 Bus Stop drawings. Poorly executed renditions of municipal infrastructure. It’s done though. Notebook: Beto Biro and V-ball. #bfp 🚦🚏✍️


Hans Bellmer – “The Doll”, c. 1934

Hans Bellmer -

“I want to reveal what is usually kept hidden – it is no game – I tried to open peoples eyes to new realities: it is as true of the doll photographs as it is of Petit Traite de la Morale. The anagram is the key to my work. This allies me to the Surrealists and I am glad to be considered part of that movement, although I have less concern than some Surrealists with the subconscious, because my works are carefully thought out and controlled. If my work is found to scandalise, that is because for me the world is scandalous.”

Hans Bellmer

…by chance or by design?

“I don’t have a clue. Ideas are simply starting points. I can rarely set them down as they come to my mind. As soon as I start to work, others well up in my pen. To know what you’re going to draw, you have to begin drawing… When I find myself facing a blank page, that’s always going through my head. What I capture in spite of myself interests me more than my own ideas.”

Pablo Picasso

Stuart Hall and the Rise of Cultural Studies

“Culture, after all, is a matter of constructing a relationship between oneself and the world. “People have to have a language to speak about where they are and what other possible futures are available to them,” he observed, in his 1983 lectures. “These futures may not be real; if you try to concretize them immediately, you may find there is nothing there. But what is there, what is real, is the possibility of being someone else, of being in some other social space from the one in which you have already been placed.” He could have been describing his own self-awakening.”

Hua Hsu