Things left behind [229]

Greetings from my shed...

Here I am.

Remembering some version of a past as I wait for some version of a future.

Late nights and early mornings. A picnic by the water with friends. More slabs up, another skip away and a crane load of railway sleepers bringing minor injuries.

Other things happened.

Beers at the unfinished garden bar. A coffee and a chat. A exchange of tech in a service station with another friend. Nights in front of the radio and a lot of shed time.

I’m still trying to tidy in here. A continued attempt to make space in a place where all surfaces, including the floor, are covered.

Hobby stuff, used and waiting to be used. Tapes, cd’s, comics and books. 70% listened to and 90% read. All of it needed. As much as we need distraction right now.

Plus this kind of stuff. The stuff I can’t seem to let go of.

Two of my most valued school qualifications and a conker that I have been hardening for over seven years. This year it’s ready to DESTROY!

Some press passes.

Some other passes.

Top left in the above image was the first time I was paid to deliver a presentation and talk. It was an event in Manchester run by Redeye. That was when I realised people outside of the press were interested in my work. More than that. These people cared. I started thinking that I could supplement my documenting with speaking gigs. That a second stream of income would enable me to capture stories, whether or not I was commissioned.

This evolved into me focusing my interests on the technology. The incredible methods of dissemination and the platforms that democratised the sharing of media from previously unheard voices.

It was the beginning of an era I feel has now come to an end. At least for me.

An era of meeting my peers and mentors face to face. A shared experience between the auditorium and the bar. Corridor chats, handshakes and hugs. A sense of community and belonging.

As I boxed up these passes and many more, I wondered what the future may hold for public events in a physical space like these. And if I’ll ever be a part of them again. Maybe not as a speaker.

Plus as those that have attended my workshops will know — for a while now my tech-utopian outlook has shifted. I began wondering how we let the corporatisation of communication develop into this always on, always connected, always watched way of life. But there was also offline. For some things. Fewer things now it seems.

I am doing my quota of online video meetings and when the time comes will endeavour to embrace this brave new world of online conferencing. Be it 2D, or immersive VR. If not as a speaker or trainer, perhaps as an attendee documenting and learning. But I’m fully aware that we are building on broken foundations. We have created an inescapably pervasive Orwellian manipulation of reality.

Change is upon us, but is it the change we need? Our public sphere is fundamental to our sense of collective identity. After six million years of human evolution we have learned to tune in to one another in ways we still don’t understand. Plugging into the network is certainly a part of our future. But with our current technology I feel it’s a step back for humanity. It filters our senses and distances us more than by mere geographical space.

But needs must right? This pandemic has taught that much.

Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. I look forward to when we might get to meet. Even before it’s safe to hug.

Somewhere high resolution.

With the scent of reality.

In other news these corporatised spaces are bringing me some quality distraction. I’m currently watching the series ‘Travellers’.

It starts off strong but I’ve just hit a weird bit in episode 7. Feels like another writer has stepped in but I shall ride it out. It’s been great up till now.

This is mesmerising. The ancient art of painting on water.

A former CIA ‘Chief of Disguise’ shows off the five second mask.

Suddenly some of that Mission Impossible guff makes sense.

Thanks to @Topgold for sending this through.

Not had a paid for haircut for 143 days. I don’t miss it and as yet I still have both ears and am yet to offend anyone’s sensitivities.

I spotted this in @DavidHughes’s feed.

A photographer updates postcards of 1960s resorts into their abandoned ruins. Think of this project next time you are stood in Sainsbury’s.

Here is a little break from your doom scrolling. An audio diary about dealing with the pandemic, catastrophic thinking and how to focus on other people’s needs. The anxious type’s guide to 2020.

New app alert: I haven’t checked out Swell. Sounds a little like audio into Twitter. Remember. Follow the money and ask them if they will look after your content for at least 10 years.

You might also find some new audio to listen to amidst the winners of the British Podcast Awards.

I’d love for you to consider a paid subscription. You know that if you feel informed or learn one thing from this email it can be justified as a business expense? That means your £3.90/$5 is no different to one of those fancy business coffees you claim back. And I bet you have more than one of those a month (if you’re allowed out.) It would also make me eternally grateful for supporting my efforts.

So why not unlock the archives, listen to all future and past audio and if it’s not to your liking, cancel the subscription. No hard feelings honest.

I bought a new camera.

Well, technically it’s a microphone that can take photos. Actually a communication device that can take photos. Yes, like your phone.

But check out the specs of this particular camera…

It’s like stepping back to 1990.

I found the Yaesu MH-85A11U speaker microphone with snapshot camera going cheap on eBay. I can now send photos over the radio.

Why? Good question. Because I can? Also when society collapses I can still Instagram. Although depending on signal strength. It’s not that instant. Picture transfer can take up to 45 seconds for a 320x240 image (high quality). Haven’t seen any adverts or dicpix yet. So there’s a plus.

Links. (This is where the real learning is)

Microphones on Mars

A stereo recording from 1901

Been looking at topographical maps

A storytelling lesson from the UNHCR

Twitter is considering subscription models

“I think Facebook is hurting people at scale” 

Apollo 11 joystick is sold against NASA’s wishes

Europes biggest 3D printer knocks up a two-storey house

Today I would have been at EMFcamp with Longplayer. Now that is one event I really hope rises from the ashes. They have built a time machine for those that wish to travel back to talks and moments so you can experience them in real time.

The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules. It's people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages.” ~ Banksy

Next week holds the promise of adventure, excitement and the unknown. It’s also a subscriber only email so I’m afraid the vast majority will miss it.

Today is day 125 of the lockdown but at last there is freedom on the horizon. At least for me and the family.

I am now off to pack for a road trip and tomorrow at dawn we brief the house sitters, hug the dog (she hates long car trips) and head off.

I’ll be on the radio more than Twitter but will of course email some things.

I’m quite excited for a change of scene.

Have a great week.