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w/e 3 June 2018

It’s gone 10am on Monday morning but never mind.

I spent a day or two last week making a website for my company, Well-Formed. For years I’ve had a page on, this, my personal website, about work I’ve done. It wasn’t that I expected that page to generate work from strangers stumbling across it, but it was useful as a place to point potential clients at. Or for others to point at (“Maybe this guy could do [thing we need]?”).

That page was fine but for a while I’ve wondered if it should somehow be more “professional” or at least more isolated from the accumulated personal stuff here (like this post). Not that any (much) of this personal stuff is embarrassing, but it’s mostly irrelevant distraction from the purpose of demonstrating my suitability for work.

So, given I’ve got a limited company, through which I do my “freelancing” work, a separate site for that seems like the best idea. It feels a bit odd, talking as a company, not least the question of whether the site should be written as “I” or “we”. After changing my mind a few times I’ve settled on the latter, but I (or we) may switch again. It’s not that I want to fool people into thinking this is a big company but it seems odd for a company to describe itself as “I”. I’m not sure I’ve found the right solution but I’m not sure if there is one.

Anyway, I have a new site about my work! There’s not much to it, but maybe it’s enough? Do let me know if you have any thoughts. Or if you could use our (my) services.

Also recently, I’ve been reading How Soon Is Now? by Richard King, about the UK’s independent record labels, from 1975-2005, which is much more fun than I was expecting — a 600 page book rarely looks like “fun” — so thanks for the recommendation Russell. I’ll write more about it in a separate post.

I go swimming two or three times a week, always in the same pool, which has only two lanes: fast and slow (which is wider). It can get busy, which makes things difficult, especially when some people who are slower-than-others-in-the-lane never let faster people past them at the ends. It’s so strange. Like they’re entirely oblivious, as if they can’t see there are other people around (like some road users). There’ll be an obviously speedier swimmer or two immediately behind them and they’ll push slowly off again, leaving frustrated people in their wake. (FWIW, I’m a relatively-slow swimmer when in the fast lane and am very conscious of letting others past me.)

Recently I’ve swum a couple of times in a different pool that has no lanes. Everyone’s swimming lengths but there are no ropes creating lanes. Being used to the organisation of lanes, despite the occasional frustrations, this is terrifying for me. Unless the laneless pool is really quiet I feel like I’m inevitably going to swim into someone. Especially as I swim a front crawl with my face towards the floor. I have to almost come to a stop once or twice each length to ensure there’s no one approaching.

To be fair, it mostly works. Most people seem to swim breast stroke or a front crawl that involves looking forwards, so they adjust their paths. I’ve spent a lot of time waiting at the end before thinking there’s enough space to avoid people. I’ve still had one collision.

I realised this arrangment feels very like shared space road designs:

This is done by removing features such as kerbs, road surface markings, traffic signs, and traffic lights. Hans Monderman and others have suggested that, by creating a greater sense of uncertainty and making it unclear who has priority, drivers will reduce their speed, in turn reducing the dominance of vehicles, reducing road casualty rates, and improving safety for other road users.

When I first heard about shared space it sounded novel and interesting. But the few instances of it I’ve come across, such as Exhibition Road, have made me feel really uncomfortable as a pedestrian or cyclist. “A greater sense of uncertainty” isn’t want I want when I’m enjoying a stroll. The system can, I guess, work but it feels wrong to me. I like rules — as much as those who break the rules frustrate me — and to know where I am and where I should go.

And so I like marked lanes in a swimming pool.

OK, the week can now officially start.