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w/e 2020-02-23

Ahoy! Pull up a bollard!

§   I still try to buy music I really like, rather than rely solely on streaming, which I think of more as a replacement for radio than a music library. I’m not entirely sure why, given I was feeling a bit old-fashioned about this a decade ago. But, because I also try not to spend too much on music, I’ve got a backlog of albums to buy. And, because I intend to buy these albums, I stopped listening to them on Spotify… with the result that there are a bunch of recent albums I’d like to listen to, that I could stream at no cost, that I don’t let myself listen to. I am an idiot.

Anyway, this week I bought masquerade by mxmtoon. Here’s the currently-appropriate seasonal depression:

mxmtoon – seasonal depression, on YouTube

I also got round to Better Oblivion Community Center’s (Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers) eponymous album:

Better Oblivion Community Center – Dylan Thomas, on YouTube

§   Talking of Spotify being like a replacement for radio, in terms of hearing a lot of stuff to see what sticks, I love that I can do something like read this thread on Ask MetaFilter asking for recommendations of jazz and modern classical, focused on trumpeters, and I can knock up a Spotify playlist to give the unfamiliar recommendations a whirl. I haven’t listened to it yet, and much of it might be unlistenable or just not my cup of tea, but not so long ago I’d have had to spend a lot of money to find that out. Or, more likely, never hear any of it. (Should you take a fancy to it, I wouldn’t count on that playlist sticking around forever.)

§   Mouse update. The electronic mousetrap is malfunctioning: a couple of hours after turning it on it switches into its “I’ve zapped a mouse!” state even if a mouse has been nowhere near it.

Until we get a replacement we’ve tried a traditional spring-loaded trap. One night the mouse sprung the trap without, apparently, sustaining an injury, and tided up the peanut butter bait. Another night the mouse ate the peanut butter without even setting the trap off.

I say the mouse. We’re assuming there’s only one. Who knows. Maybe treating mousetraps like this requires a whole bunch of them working together.

§   This week we watched season two of The Split and, reading what I said about season one, this is more of the same, in a good way, although the same minor downsides are still present: a few unbelievable moments and behaviours; possibly one-too-many-plots, with the result that they can’t all be treated as satisfyingly as I’d have liked; and the Hannah and Christie relationship is still a bit tedious. Well, the effects of the relationship are tense and heartbreaking, it’s just that Christie is a bit creepy and behaves like a teenager so I don’t quite believe it as much as I feel I should.

Nicola Walker, as Hannah, remains amazing to watch – even if the rest of the show was ropey it’d be worth it to see her thinking about talking, struggling to find the right words (even though the actor, obviously, knows them by heart). So good.

And the season builds tension nicely, so towards the end I was expelling a big breath as the credits rolled, as if I’d been holding it all in for the past hour. I’m intrigued about how a show builds tension like this, in the writing and directing. What makes it work? Some shows that feel like they’re supposed to be full of tension building to a climax are just… pffft I don’t care. Others pull it off to varying degrees – I think the excellent The Shield remains the tensest I’ve felt watching TV. But, if I was to try and write drama, I have no idea how that kind of thing works. (Thankfully, I have no plans to.)

I think The Split was the first TV show we’ve watched since we left London that featured the city heavily. It was a little odd seeing all these areas that are incredibly familiar – Holborn, Clerkenwell, Farringdon – that felt like “home” more than I expected. I did miss them, although it helped the weather was good and there wasn’t the same experience of crowds, pollution, noise, etc. one gets from actually being there. But still. People! Things! Events!

§   We’ve also just about finished watching Good Omens which I really enjoyed, much more than I expected, at first. It was so much fun and very silly, and it seemed like everyone was having a great time. But, somehow, half-way through I started getting bored, just as the slowly climactic end-of-the-world started kicking into gear. I’ve no idea why but I’m not feeling any of that tension I was just wondering about.

§   A scene that occurred to me yesterday:

Saint Peter: So, Philip… Phil? Phil. What was your biggest achievement?

Me: Er. Well. I guess I did this big project that helped find a wider readership for the diaries of a guy who was a bit rapey?

Saint Peter: Hmm.

I’m sure it’s all fine.

§   If I had employees I’d give them all the 29th February off as a bonus leap year holiday. But I don’t and also the 29th is on a Saturday this week so this is irrelevant. Have a good leap week or something though.

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