Beacons of self expression [258]

Greetings from my shed...

I’m happier than I look. Honest.


We might not be able to control our lives right now but at least we can still live them. and while we are doing that, perhaps we can inject a little chaos. Just to keep things interesting. I’d put ‘Do something chaotic’ on my to-do list on Monday. But it’s Friday already. You know how it goes. At least we still have the weekend.

The kids asked for a pay rise. (i.e more pocket money). So as a joke we put a chore list borrowed from the internet in front of them.

They thought it was serious and started ticking boxes. So we’re going to run with it. It looks like they crave more responsibility.

I wish the local authorities did. Lack of responsibility and ownership, passing the buck and canceled funding has meant flooding has decimated a part of my village. Quite a few houses round here have been gutted. This is the kind of thing I see on my morning dog walk.

Sadly the guy is still living there. He has nowhere else to go.


You may have noticed I’ve changed the tagline for this dispatch. You know, just incase you might like to tell someone about it. It was 'Thought provoking social commentary and countercultural adventures’ and now it is ‘A curious journal about what we share, how we share, and where we’re going.

The change was thanks to a DM chat with writer, musician and trainer John Hill. He also sent me the video below which will help you protect your shopping trolly from improvised explosives.


I’ve been playing around trying to design something to represent the Documentally Dispatch so I can make stickers or pin badges etc. Something physical.

This is one idea I had. Based on a typewriter key but it’s could also be Finn’s head from Adventure Time. Or a car. No idea how I might incorporate words.

I might have to go back to the drawing board. If you have any design ideas let me know.

A video about the first ever wireless hack from @TomScott

Wonderful work from Ian Howoth

You can buy his work here.

And of course the answer to the question you me and Christian Hambly are thinking.


Thanks to Adam who sent me this link. Jim Haynes sounds like an amazing guy.


This week I have been listening to the podcast How To Citizen from Baratunde. Peace, love, activism, community, revolution. Well worth subscribing to.

Listening to the new series of Foiled written by my friend and yours, David Charles. Did I tell you that my 59 year old sourdough Clint Eastwood has a cameo in the series? Well at least it’s name does.


While popping into Milton Keynes I was surprised to see Starbucks open. As I couldn’t see any other coffee shop doing business I thought (for the fist time in a very long time) I’d give them my custom. The precautions undertaken by Starbucks staff to ensure a Covid free environment were exemplary. They served you at the door from behind a full screen. You placed your card in a tray that was disinfected after every transaction and as it was so quiet there was no issue staying over 2m from anyone.

It’s just a shame that the same attention to detail wasn’t paid to the act of making coffee. Over-extracted and burnt, it tasted how I imagine the charred leg of a vandalised park bench might taste if you licked the bit where dogs wee.

A slightly more successful olfactory endeavour was the making of some Malt Wheatie Bars.

Yes we have got to that stage of lockdown where the recipes on the back of clone serial boxes look worth a punt. And occasionally, like this, they are. If you’d like to try them yourself here is the recipe.


My new MacAir looked naked without stickers. So I’ve added some.

But what drives people to plaster their laptops with stickers?

Lots of reasons.

For me mostly tribal. Before I put stickers on a laptop I sewed patches on a school bag, then stickers on a skateboard, then pin badges on a jacket. I was signalling the curious, hoping for new connections. And it worked. In the early 90’s a girl approached me in Rock City asking me where I got my MSG badge. We spent the next hour drinking Jack Daniels and Coke and discussing the Micheal Schenker Group. As a shy teenager I was very happy I’d paid a quid for that particular badge in Nervous Records. My beacon had been answered.

I got even better results from having my Twitter handle on display. From new friends found at a conference to work picked up on a train.

Laptop stickers are souvenirs, protests, beacons of self expression. They can represent a moment in time, a hidden interest or affiliation, a peek inside a mind.

Novel Writer looks like a simplified, free and open source version of Scrivener.

I’d hesitate to tell you how many radios I use for amateur radio. I don’t know. You can pick them up for less than a tenner and I certainly have few of those. But if you asked me what my favourite was there’d be no hesitation at all.

It’s this one.

My newly acquired Icom IC-705. It cost a lot more than a tenner. But I won’t bore you with the nerdy details. All I will say is that I’m already having fun with this low power portable radio, but it will really come into it’s own when I can head out into the wilds and throw a piece of wire up into a tree.


  • I’m keeping an eye on Impact investing, i.e. investing in companies that have a positive impact.

  • Have you added yourself to the Documentally community map? Welcome Jimmy in San Diego!

  • Just tried the Aristotle illusion with the kids and a wasabi pea. It freaked them out.

  • The GameSpot news has been fascinating. Amateur investors head to head with wall street.

  • And DOGE coin has gone wild. Here’s a little back story. Uchujin messaged me via Wire telling me he was struggling to buy the crypto currency DOGE on a number of apps. I sent him a link to (my link if you want) as i’d just managed to grab some coin. By the time I had sent him the link I was up 10%. 20% at time or writing. These are weird times.

  • I knew they were collectable but I never thought of my Magic The Gathering cards as a serious investment till I read this.

  • In only one year Vietnam installed more rooftop solar than half of Australia's entire capacity.

  • Welcome to Oregon, a 100% real place you can visit.


Subscribers might have noticed that the archive is growing. I’m slowly copying the older dispatches over to Substack. I’m sure there’ll be something in there that will interest. I must thank those people that took out a supporting subscription this week. You know who you are. It is very much apreciated.

It’s my birthday Wednesday. I’d certainly welcome new subscribers in next week’s subscriber only email. ;-) I’ll also invite a few (spaces are limited) into a spacial audio meeting place. If you’re up for it.

I’m now off to cook dinner and pop the cork on a bottle of plonk.

Thanks for reading. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.” ~ Roy T. Bennett

Make something,

See you out there.