I’ve been home alone most of this week, which turns out to be easier when the weather’s good and the days are long, compared to when the pitch-black countryside night descends in late afternoon and lasts until after breakfast.
§ This week I’ve enjoyed watching some videos of a man, Dom Whiting, cycling some decks around cities. It’s a bit like those walking tours of cities but with the camera pointing backwards at the guy while he spins drum‘n’bass, giving viewers shout-outs.
The London ride from April was lovely, aside from me being worried he’d get knocked off at an unfamiliar junction while peering at his controls. It was just him, a couple of guys leading the way, and another couple taking photos. I enjoyed seeing London again, through the telly.
It was also nice to see Bristol again in a more recent ride, now with a larger gaggle of people following him on their bikes. This time I felt a bit more icky about the amount of time they spent swarming along pavements. I’m a stickler for keeping to the road. Inconvenience drivers because there are so many cyclists, fine, but cyclists getting in the way of people on foot feels like punching down.
And this afternoon I watched his Brighton ride live and, only a handful of rides into this, he had dozens and dozens of people swarming behind him, across the roads and cycle paths and pavements. On the one hand it looked fun, the sun was out, and the tunes were good. Happy times. On the other hand, dammit, the stickler in me isn’t going to relax for sun and smiles and nice beats.
Either he can translate these rapidly-growing social media events into more organised gigs with many, many fans, or these informal gatherings will get out of hand and it’ll all end in tears (and then maybe he’ll translate it into more organised gigs with many, many fans). That’s my reckons.
§ As I said I enjoyed the music and in a couple of the videos I noticed this nice tune which turned out to be the Toby Ross Bootleg of Play Play by J Hus. Unfortunately, what sounded like a wistful summery tune about fancying a girl with French braids is actually a guy comparing his dick, and the damage it can do, to a series of automatic weapons so, nope. It’s an odd one for a happy gang of pasty young men to be playing at volume as they cycle around cities.
§ Last year I subscribed to The Wire magazine in some kind of effort to feel that, although I’m now surrounded by fields, I’m still somehow in touch with weird and interesting creators (as if I ever was in the first place). I guess it’s serving that purpose because it’s great to see just how much often strange music is being put out every month. It’s genuinely encouraging and inspiring.
Given the existence of Spotify and Bandcamp I’ve been able to listen to most of the music reviewed, which makes the magazine more interesting than I’d have found it in past times. As I read through I’d usually find the album/EP/track and give it a quick listen. Maybe only a few seconds, maybe the whole thing. I guess it’s surprising how much of it does away with any discernable rhythm and tune — there are a lot of people who not only enjoy making lengthy, droning soundscapes but also publishing them. I must admit that, after a while, I just want to hear some good pop music.
Anyway, no matter what I think, or how much of it I listen to, I put most of the music mentioned, if it’s on Spotify, into this playlist which is now 248 hours of listening.
Unfortunately this process was a bit laborious and I’ve only got through four issues and currently have six unread. There are a lot of reviews! And, while occasionally I’m only a few words into a review before I think, “I won’t like that,” it’s so often hard to tell whether this particular Fluxus-inspired “collab” between an experimental DJ from Japan and a Kraków-based improvisational harpist will be up my street until I give it a try. You never know! I have found some enjoyable new-to-me things!
Anyway, I’ll probably carry on doing that as I start on 2021’s issues, using this currently empty playlist, but I might be a little more picky, or random, about what I listen to in an effort to speed up the reading.
§ This week I’ve concentrated on finishing the tests for the Pepys’ Diary code, which I started earlier in the year and which has dragged on. Over the past few days I’ve made steady progress and coverage has gone up from 70-something-% to 96% today, and I’m satisfied I’ve covered practically everything public-facing. In the process I tidied up a few bits of messy code and found a handful of tiny bugs, although nothing that anyone’s noticed all these years.
If there’s an opposite to Test-Driven Development maybe it’s this, writing tests for code that’s mostly been running smoothly for nearly a decade? It’s possibly a waste of time, a way for me to put off starting anything more difficult or creative or likely to fail. Or else future me will thank 2021 me when one of these tests catches something in an upgrade that would have caused a big problem. Who knows.
§ My viewing of The American Version of The Office has been continuing and this week I passed the point at which Michael leaves. Episodes prior to that hadn’t perhaps been quite as good as the early days but were still fairly consistent and had their moments. But now he’s gone it’s obvious that, despite there being so many other characters, everything revolved around him. And if it didn’t revolve around him at first, he’d find a way to make sure it did. I suspect that these final two seasons are going to be trundling on, like a vehicle whose motor has cut out, surviving only on existing momentum. The complete-finisher in me will find out.
§ Summer’s here! Probably!