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w/e 2023-01-15

Following a tip from Fraser L, I listened to and very much liked the new album, Paste from Moin. Then I mistakenly bought their previous, first album, Moot! so that’s what I’ve been listening to a lot this week.

They do sound a bit 20-30-years-ago but that’s not necessarily bad. I love the bass, guitar, interesting drums, electronics, and snippets of repeated samples of speech. It’s also suited my mood.

§ I’ve been getting some things done on the Pepys website (here’s an update blog post) and adding OPML and RSS feeds to individual categories on (here’s that announcement). Slow progress but progress nonetheless.

§ A photo of three white sheep standing on a lawn, looking at the camera
Mary’s photo of the sheep on our lawn

The excitement of the week was this morning: we found three sheep in our garden, having made an escape from the field over the road. We herded them out and up the road but, although they made their way to the field’s gate, they ran off and down the hill before I could get close enough to open the gate. Mary kept an eye on them while I fetched the farmer, who then lured them in with a familiar white bucket of food. Everyone safely home.

§ Until this week, in the ongoing drama of Elon’s Twitter, I’ve been enjoying life on Mastodon but resigning myself to what I thought would be the worst outcome: having to read both it and Twitter in order to keep up with friends who have remained there.

But this week, with no announcement before or since, Twitter disabled third-party apps including Tweetbot which I’ve been using for over a decade to make Twitter bearable (purely chronological timeline, no ads, no distractions, nice interface, etc.).

Consequently, this week I’ve been reading Twitter much less often and I’ve been surprised how much I’ve suddenly felt the loss of what Twitter once was. Over the past few weeks-that-seem-like-years it’s been such a gradual decline (of standards, ethics, and of the number of people I know posting there) that there was no clear point at which to mourn it. But this feels like it. Twitter’s no longer a thing I want to read – the official apps and site are unpleasant.

Twitter’s always had its problems but, for me, it was a great place to chat with friends, and friends-of-friends, and read interesting and funny things through their filter. I’ve enjoyed and learned a lot there over the years.

Like the mythical boiling frog, I clung on to that feeling through Elon’s takeover until now, when, without having a nice way to read it, I suddenly realise it’s no longer for me.

As Kim put it:

Having the strangest sensation of grief for Twitter today: woke up to find Tweetbot not working as the API has been shut down. 22nd November 2006, user 15,663. 16 1/2 years - playfulness, stray thoughts, gentle connections. My timeline has few real people left, just corporate…

So, while things might change, I guess that’s mostly it for me there. It is not a good place to be. I’ll just follow a list of bands I like, who show no inclination of leaving, using Feedbin. I’ll miss hearing from you if you’re staying there and are avoiding Mastodon for some reason 👋🏻 Good luck.

Trying to end on a positive note… Ivory, the forthcoming Mastodon client from Tapbots, who make/made Tweetbot, is very good. Hopefully they can do OK from that having just had part of their business removed with no warning.

[Of course, minutes after publishing this it looks like maybe Tweetbot is working again. But perhaps this is a sign, and I shouldn’t look back. Never look back.] That didn’t last long.

§ I forgot to mention last week that we watched When Motown Came to Britain (on iPlayer) which, aside from the introductory “what was Motown?” section, was all new to me and a lovely story of Dave Godin’s Motown fandom.

We then watched 2 Tone: The Sound of Coventry (also on iPlayer) which was even more lovely and fun, all about Jerry Dammers, The Specials, The Selecter, etc. All quite happy and positive.

Incidentally, I’m always surprised when I see Pete Waterman on documentaries and what a nice bloke he seems. I instintictively imagine him as a cynical music biz guy but, even if he is, he always seems down-to-earth, and generous with giving others credit.

§ That is all.

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