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w/e 28 May 2018

It’s bank holiday Monday here and so this week is eight days long and ends today. Fact.

Moments after I posted my previous weeknotes my laptop stopped acknowledging keypresses and trackpad taps. I realised, again, how my mood is affected by the malfunctioning of hardware and software that I rely on; I felt helpless. I’m not saying that my laptop malfunctioning was like a child or pet being poorly, because I don’t have children or pets and I assume that would feel much worse, but, still. I booked an appointment with a Genius, exactly as I imagine one does for a sickly child, and waited. A couple of days later, before I could see the Genius, my laptop started working again. Stupid thing. Cool story.

§   This week I got round to reading David Byrne’s How Music Works which was all pretty good, the best chapters being ones that were based on his experiences. The couple of chapters about how technology has changed music over the centuries were fine… but I wasn’t sure why I needed David Byrne to be recounting it to me, despite his pleasant, chatty style. The more interesting chapters focused on how they made Talking Heads albums, what it was like living and working in the New York of the time (both exciting and grim), and how the financials of making music work, based on figures from a couple of his own records.

I wanted more detail about how they made some of the records — that all seemed to go by so fast, sometimes not even naming the albums he’s talking about. Ideally, if you’re reading a book about how music was made, it feels like listening to the music should take a similar amount of time to reading about it. So, maybe 40 minutes or so of reading for an album. But he skipped through albums in less time than it took for me to hear a single song from it. I guess I sometimes wanted a different book.

Still, this book makes me listen to Talking Heads albums differently, having only really come to them late, after the fact, and so never really paying much attention to how they changed over time. The description of making Remain in Light made the process sound so simple; record several tracks of different instruments, no chord changes, and then turn tracks off and on to make the verses, chorus, etc. Then make up some almost nonsense lyrics that fit. It sounds so easy that anyone could do it. Literally anyone with musical skill and plenty of experience!

I also liked this from early on, when he was trying to find his own style, when he was trying to look like he didn’t belong to any particular scene: “When it comes to clothing it is next to impossible to find something completely neutral”.

§   I saw Ben Moor’s Pronoun Trouble this week which I enjoyed, as I have with his previous shows I’ve seen. (I forgot what the show was called briefly, and this has now made me want to create a show/book/something titled TK.) I feel like I should be writing and performing something myself, given how hard it is to get parts in anything. But I don’t feel I have much to say, no stories I want to tell, unlike some people in acting classes who seem to be bursting with things they want to do (or so they claim). Ben manages to conjure lovely one-man shows from what I imagine to be initially simple ideas.

§   We’ve been watching The Split which, assuming it doesn’t disappoint horribly in the final episode, as TV dramas sometimes do, is a good watch. Some of it stretches credulity a little — so many TV dramas seem to screw up quite basic things about business or professional workplaces, as if no one involved has ever had a normal job (hmm…). I didn’t need to watch the show with someone who has experience of law firms in order to find it odd that lawyers would leave a lawyer from the other side alone in their office, especially with important papers left out on the desk. There were other things that threatened the believability too. Why do that? On the plus side, it was nice to see one of the firm’s offices seem “real”, in that the reception was obviously the same building on High Holborn that the top-floor offices were in.

Anyway, aside from this scene-setting it’s been good, and worth it alone for watching Nicola Walker; she manages to show so much happening without saying a word. Her eyes and face seem to be thinking all the time. And she has a lot to think about. Possibly too much; the show does feel like it’s had one too many plots crammed into it. I could do without the tedious will-they-won’t-they thing with her tedious not-quite-ex. I’m not sure I’m selling this show well.

§   That’s all, bye.

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