Compulsory self-expression [235]

Greetings from my shed...

For those of you stopping by for the first time you’ll notice this email is somewhat of a brain-dump. The product of an untethered mind. After multiple name and format changes it’s now reliably erratic in form, regular in time and mostly free. Since the pandemic it’s mainly written in my shed. Which I sometimes call my radio shack.



This week I’ve been turning off cookie consent and having my data mined anyway.

I’ve also been investigating the possibility of getting a Italian passport and preparing for the kids to head back to school.

In between all this I have been chatting to the locals on Ham Radio, spent a day installing an aerial for a band I can’t operate on, and have lay awake at night listening to something crawl around the attic.


This guy moved me.

A list of some handy tools for your campaigns.

Immerse yourself in the work of Catherine Nelson


Playing with radios has put me behind with a lot of audio listening. If you heard this episode of Heavyweight in June then you might know why I’m sharing it. Although a kind of filler episode as the team figure out what they’re going to do during lockdown, it’s beautiful all the same and had me teary in a couple of spots. It’s also interesting to travel back to June when all of this was still a novelty and we had no idea what the next week, let alone the next month might hold.

Stunning audio, wonderful storytelling. Jump Blue on BBC Radio 3. This popped into my ears without context and was all the more powerful for it. Worth listening to for the sound design alone.

Stephan shared this unusual podcast with me. A downloadable pause from the fascinating Steve Chapman. It’s short and easy to binge listen.

If you don’t subscribe to this email for the current offer of a piddling £4/month then you might not have heard the audio linked in this episode of ‘Therapy For Me’. Thanks to Ant for dropping it into his feed and then saying nice things about it.

I love his podcast and if you listen to the end he’s giving you the chance to be on it.

So now’s your chance to step behind the paywall you are yet to unlock and get the audio for free. Don’t forget to subscribe to Ant’s podcast while you’re there.

There is more audio, words and community chats happening behind the scenes so if you’d like to support my endeavours visiting here still gets you 20% off.

Or you can click this tasteful link I stole off the internet.

Did you see what happens when you click it?


My quest to sample 1000 individual beers continues…

This does not represent this last week. It represents months of selective tasting. Since 2014 I’ve logged 969 beers on Untapped. Just less than half a beer a day. Nearly there.

I just discovered this local brewery with some highly recommended dark ales but if there is something you think I should have in my final 31 ales please let me know.

Still taking booze. Sorry. Six friends have joined me in having whisky delivered once a month by Whisky-Me. If you use this link we both get a free pouch. Save your old pouches and you can return them for a free dram as well. I meet some old friends on screen and we open the pouches together. How about we try a similar get together with Documentally readers? Let me know if you’d like to video chat one evening.

But… If subscribing to whisky means you’ll not be able to subscribe to this email, sod Whisky-Me. Subscribe to this and I’ll give you a free whisky at my bar. Once a month or whenever you can stop by.


I sometimes use the phrase “You get what you pay for”. Normally after some piece of tat I thought was a bargain breaks. But it can also be used to justify the high price of something.

I’ve found many low price high quality objects to hopefully not fall for this luxury myth. Plus as I don’t have unlimited funds to spend on things, so I do believe the value of an object can and should be measured by more than cost.

So I tend to put a lot of time into research and reading reviews.

Take pencil sharpeners for example. You can spend well over £100 on a manual pencil sharpener but is it the best? Nah. I don’t think so. It’s metal jaws grip and chew the paint off the pencil. That’s lazy engineering. A botch job.

Back in issue 199 Drawing Conclusions I mentioned that one day I hoped to splash out on the best mechanical pencil sharpener in the world. And 107 days ago I did just that. Introducing the Mitsubishi KH-20.

To be honest, as I ordered it over three months ago I’d forgotten all about it. Then when I saw the Japanese customs slip on the box, it all came back.

It’s wonderful to use and a thing of beauty. Bring me your blunt pencils. Or even your semi-blunt ones.

Finally I had a reason to get one of these…

Sick of wondering what had moved into the attic, I bought this wildlife camera and crawled through a pile of ancient fibreglass in order to position it. Of course since then all has been quiet. I’ll retrieve it over the weekend and check the memory card. The mystery could well be solved in the next email.

Ok what’s the catch? A California based company is developing Nano Diamond Batteries using recycled nuclear waste packaged in tamper-proof diamond. (Thankfully industrial diamonds are way cheaper than naturally forming ones.)

They say the tech is only two years away. If this comes to fruition then the term ‘game changer’ is an understatement.

Each battery generates power for decades, possible millennia. With your electric car needing a recharge every 90 years you can say goodbye to range anxiety.



Thanks for reading.

It’s Record Store Day tomorrow and I’ll have some vinyl to collect. Then next week I’ll be back on school run duties. In between I will be embracing the mundane and attempting to make it sound exciting.

Right now I’m off to plan my escape to freedom and tranquility.

Join me. No too close, but within radio range.

“I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.” 

Rita Mae Brown

We don’t have to agree, we don’t have to conform.

See you out there.