The Bystander Effect [151]

Greetings from a pub...

This 393 year old pub offers a moment of perspective. A glimpse of stability in a country thrown into chaos and confusion.

Time is relative. But I waited till 2pm before I ordered this beer. And the weekend starts here.

After leaving here I’ll build a fire in the garden and come the evening, when the kids are in bed, I’ll cradle a drink and stare into the flames.


Delivered a workshop at the Open University campus in Milton Keynes. Not been there for an age. It used to feel like a second home. Somewhere I could brush shoulders with intellectuals and hope something might rub off. It works. I spent the day training smart people and left tired but enriched with weird and wonderful knowledge. I’ll be back in May to deliver an audio focused workshop.

Also test drove a BMW 530e.

We are on the look out for an electric car and test driving a variety of things. The BMW is a leather clad, fairy light, feature swamped, executive hybrid and not at all what I would drive. But at the moment all the interesting alternatives with close to 300mile range are not available. They are coming soon though. Yes it is fast and yes it has more whistles and bells than a folk dancing rave — but as fancy as the BMW is, it’s useless as a hybrid.

It’s really a flash BM with a small battery retrofitted. Unless you are a few miles from your workplace the electric drive is pointless. And if you are that close you might as well cycle.

This weekend we are looking at the Nissan Leaf. It’s an actual electric car. How ‘green’ an electric car is is still a mystery to me. If we do go full electric we will also need to get solar panels. All the energy we use at home is green energy from a supplier so charging it does not rely on fossil fuels, but what is the dust to dust impact of a new electric car?

It still produces tyre and break pollution but the main environmental impact happens before the car reaches the showroom. If according to Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics it takes twice the amount of energy to build an electric car over a conventional car then we really need these processes to be streamlined.

Cleaner streets, towns and cities are a big plus but at what cost? We still have lithium mining to worry about.

But let’s not talk about for now…

I popped into St Neots to see Michael Murfin's ‘A State Of Change’ exhibition. Love his work and if I had the money I’d pick up the painting of the ladder under the bridge.

Check out this film for some background to the project..


I watched Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse this week. So glad i’d watched it without seeing any trailers. If you plan to see it don’t watch any. Not even this one.

Fast paced, action packed, trippy and so much fun. The best animation I have seen for a while. My kids thought the same. We’ve watched it twice this week.


On September 24th, 1980, a man wearing cowboy boots and carrying two brown suitcases entered Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas…

The Phantom Gambler.


Ever heard Ludovico Einaudi’s I Giorni?

I hadn’t till this week. And it gave me chills. Me and my lad were stood in the kitchen. I’d just asked him if he’d done his piano practice. He’s never keen. Right on cue this started playing. We both turned to the radio and stood there staring. Lost in a wonderfully moving moment.

When the music finished we just looked at each other and smiled. Then he said.

“I’ll go do it now.”

Here is more on why music gives us chills.

This BBC podcast entitled ‘The Sheep of Art’ took me back to my time in the Swiss mountains. A time when I was alone but for 37 head of cattle. Sheep herder Chris Stewart and academic Alexandra Harris capture and contemplate some wonderful moments.

Computer keyboard sound triggering software. And it’s free:

There is a new podcasting app caller Brew.

It claims to be reinventing the tech behind podcasting but I don’t think podcasting needs messing with. Unless that is you would like to put your audio behind a paywall. There are some interesting features like tipping and pay-per-episode but everything is based on a $5 per month subscription on the user side. Not a massive amount of money but with Apple taking a cut, the payment system taking a cut and Brew taking a cut, I’d like to know how much the creators will actually get. For every person who subscribes at $5/month to this email I get £2.95 after Substack, Stripe and the tax people get their cut. I am very grateful for that, but If anything needs to change it’s the number of people between the creator and their community.

Any ideas?


I invented a cocktail. At least I think I did. I’d certainly drink it again.

We don’t buy Coca-Coke. It got into the house as a free gift that came with a take-away. I like other cola’s but I figured I could mix it with booze. So I dropped some ice in a glass and added a generous lashing of Spice Box (a spiced whiskey) a dash of Grenadine and then topped it up with Coke.

It’s more than a little passable and I’d certainly drink it again. Perhaps with Karma Cola. (Check out what they do). I’m calling it a ‘Bystander Effect’.

I’ve found mocktails that use grenadine and coke but nothing using a spiced whisky.

My experiments with out-of-date beer continue after a break. While on the painkillers I reduced my imbibing to a mere trickle. We are back up to speed. That’s the rare drink in the week and belly full on a Saturday night.

This six pack of beer cost £5.60

I’ve added a couple of wooden barrels to my wishlist as i’m thinking my infinity bottle (see older newsletter issues) could be made of wood and actually age my blend as I store it. One of the barrels is slightly cheaper than a years subscription to this newsletter. ;-)


Fancy shares in chairs?

Check out these crazy, drippy, paper thin ceramics.



The weekend is here and I plan to squeeze every last second out of it. I hope you will do the same. That said, I’m looking forward to heading into London on Tuesday. I’m working with a group who at present choose to remain anonymous.

I’ll also be releasing some tapes into the wild. One might make it onto the @Audiocaching feed.

Thanks for reading.

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.” 
Frank Zappa

Do something silly.

See you out there.


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