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w/e 2022-05-29

Welcome back! Who guessed correctly that the amazing event that would occur during the past seven days would be a blog post about cPanel? fml etc.

§ Earlier this week my attention was caught by a track on the NTS breakfast show, so I sought it out on YouTube – the only place it exists – and it’s been stuck in my head all week.

Awakening – Gotta Do Somethin / Might As Well Cultivate on YouTube

In amongst NTS’s mostly contemporary music I assumed it was recent but turns out it’s from an early ’80s album of Buddhism-related music, which is “an astonishing work of art”. Anyway, catchy, and some of the vocals reminded me of mid-’70s Brian Eno, which is no bad thing.

Also, a new single and tour from Martha, which maybe means a new album is on the way and our/my/a long nightmare might soon be over:

Martha – Please Don’t Take Me Back on YouTube

I don’t understand music industry releasing. You can (obviously) watch that on YouTube, and stream it on Spotify, Bandcamp, etc., but you can’t buy the vinyl or download for another month. What does the verb “to release” even mean?

§ In another callback to last week (“…hopefully not catching Covid”) I feel like I nearly caught Covid?

Wednesday lunchtime I started feeling not-so-good and spent the next three days descending into, and slowly emerging from, what I assume was a standard cold. It’s been at least 2½ years since I last had one but it followed that recipe, with no extra Covid-y ingredients, and three daily negative lateral flow tests suggest it was only a common cold and not a common Covid.

4+ days feels like a too-long incubation period for a cold from London, which was another reason I was worried it was Covid, which seems to take longer. It’s possible I caught the cold from someone Sunday or Monday, but the seething mass of humanity in London felt a more likely source. I never used to spend this much time wondering where I caught colds from.

If, instead of the cold, I’d caught Covid from the trip to London I might have thought, “Well, that’s it then: I will never travel anywhere again until the virus is entirely eradicated.”

Or, if I’d caught no virus of any kind, I might have thought, “Brilliant, everything’s fine and I have nothing to be scared of! Back to gigs and cinemas and acting classes and what in retrospect was a carefree life.”

And so I guess catching a not-Covid-virus is somewhere in between, a confirmatory warning. i.e. exactly where I was before. “Everywhere and everyone is now slightly terrifying, and it’s possible to catch a virus that might, or might not, be life-changing, but I guess I can’t hide away from everything forever…?”

§ Baby birds have started to emerge and it is very cute to see black and yellow, slightly fluffy, great tits sitting, squeaking, waiting for a parent to come back with some food. Imagine being able to fly but incapable of finding food.

This is mainly a placeholder – Mary took some photos with her zoomy camera but they’re not yet on Flickr. I’ll update this when there’s a picture to show.

A photo of two small, fluffy birds with yellow, grey and greenish feathers, with black heads, sitting on the branch of a tree
Baby birds: Two Great Tits by Mary Loosemore

There is also a lot more hectic swooping around, which is a recipe for casualties. Two woodpeckers have hit the windows this afternoon; one flew off and the other was on the ground, a bit dazed, but has now vanished which might be good news. Be careful birds!

§ As I work my way through a backlog of The Wire magazines, I’ve been giving anything that sounds interesting (and bearable) a quick listen on Spotify. If I like it enough that I want to hear more, I add it to a playlist. I’ve now finished 2021’s issues so this playlist is now “finished” and I enjoy putting it on shuffle for some interesting, varied and, very occasionally, even tuneful music. (Don’t bother, Ben.)

I’ve now started a new playlist as I begin on 2022’s issues.

§ I subscribed to Mubi this week. I’d thought about it before but was never short of things to watch. But I realised I was increasingly keen to watch slow, arty, talky, foreign, sometimes older, films than I’ll ever come across on our regular services, and it’s not like I live within walking distance of the BFI Southbank any more.

I nearly signed up for BFI Player because Letterboxd suggested it had more films from my watchlist than Mubi. But it turns out BFI Player is an odd combination of some films you can watch with a subscription and a load more that you have to rent individually at extra cost. Despite, in Before Times, paying £12+ to watch a film in a cinema, paying £4.50 to watch one at home is, apparently, a crazy idea to me, so I’m not doing that.

So, this weekend I have very much enjoyed Éric Rohmer’s A Tale of Springtime (1990) and A Tale of Winter (1992). I’ve barely seen any of his films and I always meant to fill these gaps which were somehow left when I was going to see exactly this kind of film in the early ’90s.

They could not have hit the spot any better. After feeling like I was on a bit of a treadmill of trying to keep up with the latest TV series releases, it was refreshing to watch older, calmer, “content” that wrapped up perfectly in a couple of hours.

§ That is all. I swear these get longer the less I actually do.

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