Weeknote 0001

Hey. It’s me. Hope you’re well. A longer introduction to this little site will follow below. For wider context, I also wrote about my 2022.

  • Returned from a nice break in Bilbao and San Sebastian. The dead-zone between Christmas and New Year is one of my favourite times to travel: it makes a conscious something out of an unconscious nothing. It also encourages careful thought about where to go, as typical holiday destinations are set up for summer trade. But many places make for a worthwhile visit anytime.
  • The trip was dented by illness in the group, but nobody was going to miss out on the Guggenheim: a building more impactful than a few of the works it houses. It’s as if some highly-capable artists set out to explore spaces, perhaps to fight off their kenophobia, and then Frank Gehry had a ‘hold my beer’ moment.
  • Received a few hand-crafted Christmas cards: that’s something I should do next time, perhaps.
  • There are train strikes. Many train strikes. I fully support striking workers, but I’m also aware how privileged a position that is. If I had the kind of job that required me to somewhere specific every day, it’d be painful. Even so, I expect the strikes will continue and catch me on the days I do need to be somewhere. But people should be paid fairly.
  • Otherwise, work was a relaxed and easy start to the year, apart from one particularly exciting but heavily confidential handful-of-minutes meeting: I mark it here just for my own benefit.

Bass notes

I bought a bass guitar! The build-up to this has been long. 20 years ago I was in a garage band, occupying the role of bassist but playing temperamental, thunderous analogue synths. Eventually we each headed off into four different kinds of adulthood, but then last June they tracked me down and we started putting some songs together remotely. I’ve been recording the old bass parts using various soft-synths and guitar emulators, while also writing new ones on, of all things, my ukulele.

I bought my first uke ten years ago and found it much harder than people say (I’m mostly left-handed but decided to play right-handed after many years of embuggerance from other left-handed instruments). When I started to be… not terrible… I bought a lovely tenor uke and it sits by my desk so that I pick it up often. It proved easier to write bass parts for songs written on guitars using a stringed instrument, so that became the process. Then three months ago I decided if I could find a practical bass, I’d buy it and learn how to play it. Eventually I did, and so I am.

Work has some kind of ‘passon project’ budget per head, so they’ve chipped for a beginners’ bass guitar course. So gimme nine months and I’ll be playing Seven Nation Army or whatever.

A longer introduction than I intended

In some form or another, I’ve been diarising for years. In 1999, I started posting to my site every day using a handmade content-management system. It was blogging by an early, loose definition; probably now you’d call it public journalling or something.

Eventually a public diary stopped being a good idea: as the web’s population grew I found myself needing to censor more, which increased the drag. I packed it in after six years or so. Revisited it a couple of times but by then social media was in full swing, so having some random little diary didn’t have its original social benefits. Lesson learned.

More recently I ran a newsletter for three years: something I’d wanted to commit some effort to for a while. The newsletter was strictly not about me and things I was up to, but I wrote a couple about mental health from a personal perspective, as well as some others that were inspired by wherever I was that week. I can see why people try and monetise their newsletters, although that was never of much interest to me. Recipients had many kind things to say about it, but it takes substantial time and effort to put together a weekly newsletter of any quality. Again, lesson learned.

So after that, I fired up a new blog, doing.digital, focussing specifically on digital-era human behaviours. Thinking about this stuff is basically my day-job and so the blog has a formal-ish style. Not quite right for rough notes and underbaked reflections. But I always enjoyed the discipline of getting stuff down on a regular schedule, which led me to firing up this little site so I can record and publish some weeknotes of sorts.

There’s a couple of weeknote conventions I’ll have to bend. Weeknotes are method of team communication, usually with a known audience. One of my work environments hasn’t adopted this open style and I don’t want to wait in vein for that kind of change to come about. I’ve wasted too much of my life waiting for these kinds of shifts when I should’ve just cracked on. So I’m using the rough format just to structure some early-definition blog posts.

Second, there are plenty of things I do in my week that shouldn’t be public, for reasons I’m sure are the same in everyone’s jobs and life. There will be omissions and obfuscations—perhaps enough just to remind me what it was, but not enough for anyone else—and leave it at that.