My glasses should have an alarm to tell me when they’re covered in dirt. Because currently I just get a headache and spend half an hour wondering what caused it before I think to take the glasses off and wipe them.

And no, I don’t have anything more dramatic to worry about right now. Feels good, that.

new people; exercise; grumbling

Firstly, hello to the pile of people I just friended – and sorry for not doing it sooner, since you’re mostly people I knew anyway. Don’t worry, there’s no reason for it beyond me being bored and wanting more things to read.

Secondly the `what I had for lunch’ bit. Every now and again, people say that exercise cheers you up, makes you sleep better, cures the evil eye, and so on. So. And although all my prejudices, gut feelings and memories of school say `flee’, there’s a part of my head that thinks anything is worth a shot. So I went along to the pool yesterday, and all was going well until I tried to remember the last time I went swimming. And the last time turned out to be three years ago, at perhaps 3am in a forest somewhere outside Moscow, back and forth over a decent-sized river, in a state of total drunken bliss. Which, apart from hardly being the best example of healthy exercise, was a good reminder that life can be interesting, but won’t be if I let myself stay in Cambridge in a dead-end job. So perhaps exercise has done me a bit of good after all.

I won’t mope about work here – it’s predictable, I’d have to friends-lock the post, and Jagex doesn’t deserve much vitriol. So I’ll skip it and make the third bit a grumble about my crapness in things non-work, and in particular my tendency to write things and then hide them. This is reaching stupid proportions: my collection of ‘notes I’ll do something with one day, honest’ is now enough to fill about three books, and I have almost nothing to show for it. Meanwhile, even my livejournal only gets updated a few times a month, and in terms of real writing I haven’t finished anything since I left university. I think I’ve trapped myself somewhere between being too timid to reveal anything, and too scatty and lazy to neaten it up. Obviously I need to train myself to lower my standards – possibly by the tried-and-tested technique of working my way through a bottle of vodka before pressing the send button. Better still, I could get into the habit of writing things that don’t need to be reread before I post them – i.e. not leaving sentences trailing off into nothing, and avoiding cryptic comments everywhere.

David Byrne

Every now and again, a post on boingboing really does point you towards a wonderful. This time, it’s David Byrne, and his monthly set of mp3s from fascinating little corners of the musical world.

This month it’s all country. Country music reminds me of science fiction: there’s some great stuff in there, but 90% of it is crap. I’m lazy enough that I’ve not ploughed through the crap in country or in SF – I’ve hung around in the hope that somebody will point me towards the good stuff. In fact, I’ve been fortunate enough to find several guides before this. One was a set of Americana, which Ozzy played at Octaine in November 2004. Another is the country int he sets on Radio Paradise]( – from these, at least one of the setlist is familiar to me. But this set is my favourite of the three.

So, boingboing wins for that alone. I’ll probably spend while with tuned to country-tagged music, and try to get my bearings a little better.

But the icing on the cake is David Byrne’s journal. Just this paragraph makes me want to read everything else he’s ever written:

I hope also to catch and absorb some whiff of the Philippine ethos, sensibility and awareness — by osmosis — and by conversation, too. I believe that politics is an expression of the landscape — the streets, eroticism and hum-drum lives — as much it is of backrooms, ideologies and legislature. Geography, religion, sex, weather, music, food — these all contribute to a national policy and how it functions.

As in current genetic thinking, the word “expression” is appropriate here; just as there are elements in the genes waiting for chemical keys to allow the cells to express themselves as a chicken liver or a human heart, there are elements in a place that trigger expression in action and in culture. Much human behavior is a kind of expression of latent keys — genetic or geographical and cultural — unlocking tiny doors.


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squatter city

squatter city is a great example of taking an overlooked issue and using a blog to build up expertise on it. Over the past few months, he’s been noticing a trend towards European governments closing down well-established squats: Rhino in Geneva, St. Agnes Place in London, Christiania in Copenhagen. Robert, who writes it, also has a book about squatters.