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w/e 2020-05-24

Musical highlight of the week has been working to the sound of a live album by the Brazilians RAKTA and DEAFKIDS, Sessões Selo Desc #6 (on Spotify), which I heard about via Adam. Here’s a bit:

Sessões Selo Sesc #6: Rakta + Deafkids - Ao Vivo

Ideal for angry computing.

It increasingly feels like the appropriate mood. Grrrrr.

Onsind’s Pokémon City Limits, with its chorus of “Never trust a Tory,” was new to me this week and is very welcome:

Added to the Spotify playlist.

§   It’s quite a moment when one fulfils what previously seemed like an impossible goal and, as you may have read on Twitter, this week I did just that: I cleared my Mac’s desktop of files.

[pause for you to check that you read that correctly]

Yes, my desktop is empty. It’s quite a sight.

And there’s more! One further thing that I didn’t mention on Twitter. This felt like too much and I feared there would be dismissive cries of “didn’t happen!” But I hope that you, as a regular reader, trust me enough to know that I’m telling the truth when I say that I also cleared out my “Downloads” folder.

It’s for experts far more qualified than myself to say whether giving me the time to do this has made the whole global pandemic worthwhile.

§   We watched season three of Westworld this week and… let’s see if we can construct a feedback sandwich, even if the bread is pretty thin.

The visual effects are, to my uneducated eyes, very good. As so often these days, some are only apparent in “VFX Breakdown” videos, and other more obvious ones – a walking metal skeletal “host” – look seamless.

But. Often when I don’t like a show, like The Good Place, I don’t think “this is really bad”. It’s just that it’s not my cup of tea, or I’m missing something. We all have different tastes.

But Westworld season three was weirdly bad. Incoherent, inconsistent, clichéd, thin characters… I realised during the penultimate episode, as things approached the climactic potentially world-ending events, that out of the many lead characters I only knew what Dolores was trying to do (kill all humans, find a home for her people). All the others were very earnest and desperate to achieve… something… but I had no clear idea what any of their goals were.

I read some of the reviews at A.V. Club to see if it was just us that felt like this but, nope, it wasn’t. To pick a few quotes from Zack Handlen’s reviews that sum things up:

  • “Ye gods, why is a TV series about killer robots and the potential extinction of the human race so boring.”
  • “All of the plot lines on this show are so damn muddy and inelegant; it’s possible to view them at a distance and see their design, but the closer you get, the more it’s just a mess of stalling and padding and action scenes…”
  • “…this is like reading the Wikipedia summary of a season of television, in that it allows you to intellectually admire the plot without ever getting a sense of it being more than a collection of sentences.”

Very strange. It’s strayed a long way from the original idea — the thing that made it different! — losing the ideas that made it most interesting.

But, a thin slice of bread to top the sandwich… it’s great that a bunch of the strong lead characters are women.

Also, a little compliment garnish: I did like Charlotte Hale’s cape jacket.

§   I have, off and on, been enjoying playing Lonely Mountains: Downhill. Quite satisfying. I’ve only just started really but, still, it’s fun. Come back soon for more in-depth game reviews.

§   That’s all. An even quieter than usual week. I wish I was still in London so I could wander down to Whitehall and shout incoherently towards Downing Street. I assume it would feel therapeutic, if nothing else.


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