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w/e 23 September 2018

This week I went out, to a thing, and I talked to people. The Festival of Maintenance was a one-day conference that was very nice and very varied. Having a conference focused on a theme that’s common to many different fields seems a great idea, because it means most of the talks will be from fields you know little about.

The Guerrilla Groundsman

Some of my highlights were:

  • Simon Elmer from Architects for Social Housing on refurbishing and expanding council housing estates rather than knocking them down and building something new.

  • The anonymous Guerrilla Groundsman (pictured) on fixing and improving things around the streets of Cambridge. I assume he maintains anonymity by wearing his Minecraft mask when repairing street furniture, like a geeky altruistic Frank Sidebottom.

  • Adrian McEwen on how the co-working makerspace DoES Liverpool keeps track of what maintenance and improvements need to be done, and how they got done. I liked the idea of a “Somebody should…” list of tasks. He also made a GitHub issues list for Liverpool.

  • Chris Hellawell talking about Edinburgh Tool Library, who was so enthusiastic and cheery that I wanted to pop up to Edinburgh to borrow some tools.

Well done everyone. It was also very nice to bump into a few people I hadn’t seen for years. Hello!

Another movie this week, Lucky (2017), which I think was Harry Dean Stanton’s penultimate film. I liked it. It took me a little while to get into it as it felt a bit stilted in a way, like each little scene was a standalone vignette, and each speech within was a standalone soliloquy. But once I was on board it was good. Slow and thoughtful. It made me think about getting old and how I want to get there and where I went to be when I do. Obviously, I didn’t think about it hard enough to make any decisions.

I’m enjoying the return of American football, even though in many ways the NFL is not A Good Thing. I am weak. I enjoy the sounds and the rhythms, and the chat on the BBC’s shows is fun.

The past couple of weeks I’ve been doing a bit of work for a client, flattening several old microsites into self-contained sets of static files that will be simpler to host over the long term. It’s quite satisfying but is a process full of many little wrinkles and tricksy things.

I think that’s about all. I hope you have a good week. Have a treat.

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