Discover more from Documentally
Deliciously nostalgic 
Greetings from the shed...
I’m Christian Payne, generalist, photographer and writer. In this weekly dispatch I aim to seek out novelty, explore how we share, what we share and consume, while sweating in this shed-shaped hotbox. Thanks for hanging round.
My meditation app asked me to reflect on the week. Was it great, OK or not good? I was momentarily beating myself up about how little writing I’d got done, thinking perhaps I’d scrape an OK. But by the end of a session with Leah (a recorded human coach and not AI) I’d changed my mind to a solid. Great!
Once again it’s the little things that win each and every day. Vinyl shopping in Wales, a drink with a friend, chatting with wizened old folk in the shade, seeing my Daughter off to her new school, cycling before breakfast and motorbike rides in the sun.
The writing will at some point happen in the gaps between the living.
While checking that Leah was actually human and not a super advanced A.I, (She is human) I got to thinking how we live in a pivotal time. Those of us still enthralled about with sensory rich, tactile world we inhabit are starting to question which of our many interactions are authentically human. With video it’s still easy to tell. With audio it’s doable if you pay attention, but with text it’s hard now. Especially as more sites have a ‘write with A.I’ button.
I’m all for efficiency but when a friend sends me a hand written postcard and I reply with an email, I feel like I’m not pulling my weight in the relationship. But if I was to have AI draft the email for me I’d feel like a lazy inconsiderate shit.
I love voice messages for this reason. For someone like myself that can struggle to string a sentence together, and makes constant corrections to spelling and grammar, being able to record an audio message adds a whole new level of personalisation. In some ways richer that you’d get with a handwritten note.
Let me record a quick ditty to make my point.
(Obvs when I say “out of the question” I mean “out of the equation”.)
I don’t think making us less present is the answer to human connection. Efficiency is great for business but I really enjoy doing business with an authentic human.
Pixels, bits and bytes will soon be able to lie as well as a human. But at scale and potentially all the time. How can digital interactions maintain the same intimacy and authenticity as analogue ones?
Speaking of analogue business interactions… Instead of dropping a roll of 35mm film into an envelope and sending it off to be developed, I rode my motorbike on an 80 mile round trip to Skears Photographic in Northampton. That way I got to chat cameras and photography with both the really helpful staff as well as another motorcycling customer. As well as ogle the camera gear not in the site.
I used Skears when I worked as a photographer for the Chronicle and Echo in Northampton. I’m really pleased that Skears have survived when most of the other camera shops I’d frequent are long gone. I think that catering for diehard film users has really helped. Via their website TheMiniLab.co.uk and over the counter they process around 67 C41 films a day. Then on a Saturday they hand dev black and white film. That’s when mine will be done. I have the gear to do it at home but I’d rather pay someone else to dev and scan as my use of B&W film is rare.
It’s also nice to have something to look forward to.
While we are on the theme of analogue (Or if you are in the states ‘analog’). This documentary is about more than instant film photography.
It’s about the tactile, aromatic world of analogue. At the film’s centre is Doc. An eccentric dreamer who’s not so good with the business side of things. But he doesn’t let that stop him. Of course, in the few years since this film was made we might feel the world has experienced an accelerated digital evolution. But as much as Covid has inflated screen time as we become more networked and hyperconnected, for me it’s not one vs the other.
Analogue is not the opposite of digital. They are two different approaches or workflows for processing information. As much as digital offers precision and convenience, I am an analogue being, very much drawn to the full sensory experience. The continuous varying signals, infinite resolution and yet a certain simplicity in the workings.
I watched this documentary on Prime but you might be able to find it elsewhere.
I also watched the series The Tulsa King. Yup after 76 years Stallone gets his own TV show.
It’s nothing fancy. It’s slow and easy mobster TV. It took me a while to stop focusing on his eyebrows that appear to be running away to hide in his hairline. As a result he seems surprised in all the wrong places. But at 76 he has put the work in and survived the series. Allegedly there is another series in the pipes.
I spotted Fred Dibnah trending this week. Which sent me down all kinds of rabbit holes.
A moving story of Dungeons and Dragons and Death Row.
I just had a 16min phone call from a guy called Aman in Calcutta who was trying to sell me a website. I would never talk that long to a spam caller but I was curious and asked him how much a three page website (landing page, contact page and gallery) would cost. I don’t need one. I was just curious. He quoted £400-£500.
Despite telling me he’d scraped my phone number of Who-is, he sounded like a decent guy just trying to make a living. If he called again I’ll ask him about his family.
While in Wales over the weekend I popped into Cobb Records and picked up this.
I have very little Dub in my collection. You can hear the full album on YouTube.
A podcast for those approaching Stoicism for the first time. Practical Stoicism.
Recreating a 2000 year old curry.
Regulars will notice this email hit your inbox a little later than usual. I popped out to check if the local Beer Festival had set up and got beckoned in to make sure the beer was ok. As you do.
The Sidewinder Citra certainly passed the test.
On my list of things to make Ukrainian Garlic Bread.
This is a 4TB portable SSD that I bought for £203 as despite having the same footprint as a teabag (similar to my AirPods Pro) it has a read/write speed of 1050 MB/s.
It’s blisteringly fast and at 4TB it’s big enough to give me a fast Time Machine backup of my laptop as well as leaving another 2TB to store multimedia projects when I’m out and about. It’s also splash and dust resistant, making it a fantastic travelling companion.
I tried to buy it from Ebuyer but it was cheaper from Amazon. I’ve included the affiliate link just in case you feel like splashing out.
Using a Game Boy camera for FaceTime calls
I remember when I bought my first pair of Hiut Jeans and the lady who made them has signed the inside. Years later in the US, faces on labels appears to be a thing.
Every time I see a new GoPro come out I have to sigh. Especially as the GoPro 11 came out five minutes after I bought the 10. These updates seem to come out pretty fast. They're probably already working on the 13th, 14th and 15th iteration. But I won't be rushing out to buy the new GoPro 12 Black as I've hardly used the 10 as it is.
I grab a load of footage and then don't even look at it. Perhaps I need to reconsider my workflow and just use it as a safety camera on the bike. Or should I say a witness to any altercation I might get in to.
If I do invest in any new kit, there is a drone shaped hole in my documenting bag.
Thanks for subscribing. And most of all for taking out a supporting subscription. You are keeping this dispatch regular and supporting my writing/audio/video.
And thank you for reading, sharing and liking. It helps get this publication seen.
A teachers guide for teaching with A.I
The difficulty in using AI to talk to animals.
Know anyone in Mexico? Someone must. Can you ask them to subscribe and add themselves to the Documentally community map?
I wish I was this organised.
Don’t forget to update all your Apple devices.
Some of my other places include GoodReads, FarceBook, Flickr, Strava, Untappd, Diaspora, Vivino, LinkedIn, YouTube, Mastodon, a ham radio newsletter or search ‘Documentally’ on Wire, Birdsite, T2, Bluesky & occasionally Instagram.
You made all the way to here. If you didn’t click on anything you failed the curiosity test. But I don’t love you any less. Unless I have no idea who you are. Then I still love the idea of you. I’m back off to the local beer festival to help raise money for the scouts. Gotta do my bit. Hope you are doing yours.
Next week I shall be seeking meaning in moments and searching for the illusive bonds that connect us all.
Have a great weekend.
“The ideal business is composed of managers and dreamers, and it's the responsibility of the former to protect the latter.” ~ Edwin Land
See you out there.