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w/e 2021-07-04

Happy Q3!

§ After temporarily forgetting it existed I’ve been enjoying listening to NTS occasionally this week. I particularly enjoyed OK Williams on The Early Bird Show on Wednesday and Thursday, 7-9am UK time. Just the right start to the day. (I haven’t listened to the Mon/Tue version with Maria Somerville so no idea how much it varies. UPDATE: It is also good.)

I forget on which show it was that a guy played Lift Off by John Collins who went on to produce Ghost Town by The Specials, using the same hand-built synthesiser to make the eerie sounds on both tracks. I’d never stopped to think how unusual they were, or where they came from.

I remember my friend Richard playing his new 7″ single of Ghost Town to me and we both loved it. But as I was ten, rather than seeing it as commentary on the decaying inner cities of Thatcherite Britain, I assumed it was about a ghost town in the Wild West.

Also, obligatory nod to the excellent cover version by Kode 9 and The Spaceape.


§ This week I’ve felt physically productive around the place. I redecorated our small hall after we had some old surface-mounted wires removed. A change from old magnolia to new white paint suddenly makes it feel a bit more like our place.

I’m also gradually dismantling the supports that were once underneath a model railway layout in the garden. Spending an hour with a heavy hammer and chisel, separating bricks and stone tiles, and chipping off the cement, is extremely satisfying. Probably less so if you’re doing it eight hours a day as your job, but as a brief and temporary task it’s almost therapeutic.

§ One evening this week we went round to some neighbours’ for dinner – meeting people! eating inside! – which was nice. And then we had a couple of friends to stay for the weekend – etc! – which was also nice. But I found talking to people hard enough before the months of extended isolation so now I’m very much feeling this dinosaur cartoon.

The weather wasn’t as bad as predicted but a walk up Skirrid was a little cloudy:

Photo of a path along the ridge of Skirrid, with three people in the distance only just visible through the low clouds

At the summit I got to play fetch with a border collie who was just starting the Beacons Way. A very good boy.

After that we went to Abergavenny and had lunch at the very nice Bean & Bread, which was more eating inside, only this time with a load of randos. It was reasonably spaced out, and doors and windows were open, but I kept my mask on every moment that I wasn’t consuming lunch or coffee. I am definitely not yet ready to relax indoors among maskless strangers. The hygiene theatre of people putting on their masks to walk between the door and their table, then sitting maskless for an hour, before donning masks to walk to the exit, is 🙄.

§ After discovering an annoying bug in the Lingvist language-learning app a few weeks ago I have continued to use Busuu instead and, while I’m still enjoying it, I’ve now found a bug in that, which results in its grammar revision asking me the same very basic questions day after day after day. Apparently it’s a known bug. Great.

I stopped using Memrise a long time ago because its revision kept showing me the same friendly faces, saying the same phrases, every time.

Does anyone at these companies use their own products? If you have a language learning app, why not give me a free subscription so I can find your bug for you?

§ This week we carried straight on to season five of Better Call Saul which was good — nice that Mike and Jimmy/Saul’s stories have finally intertwined more — but we now have to stop and wait for season six to be released like animals.

§ That’s all. Stay safe, whatever they say.

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